Many Shades of BOB* – by Doug Irvin


*Also, yes, it’s long. You don’t skimp words or preparation. Also Doug Wishes me to make clear this is not precisely his, he just compiled it from various places — SAH*

Foreword: I started compiling ideas and source lists for emergencies some years ago. Not all of the material below is from my own research. Some of it is from other sources. I didn’t keep track of the sources at the time, since this was primarily for my personal use.

If someone claims this is their work; fine. I’ll split the proceeds with you. You can have half the zero amount I got. OTOH, I would note you as a source then.

The Absolute Minimalist BOB

The minimalist BOB is something you can chuck into your trunk and forget about until needed. It is for the family member who is resistant to the idea of a BOB, or meant as an extra bit of smart packed into each of your car’s trunks to augment a basic BOB.To assemble it you will need:

Several quart sized and one gallon sized Ziplock type bags.

A lighter. Fire is our friend.

One flattened roll of toilet paper with the cardboard tube removed. Toilet paper is also our friend. Once flattened, place in appropriate ziplock bag, squeeze out all the air and close Ziplock bag.

A pocketknife, preferably a Leatherman Supertool or something similar that is high quality. This is without a doubt incredibly useful. You shouldn’t even put it in the bag unless it is a spare, put it in your purse or on your belt. This isn’t a pocketknife, it is a toolset. It is a can opener, a knife, a saw, a file, an awl, a bottle opener, a pliers, a wire cutter, a crimper, a flathead screwdriver, a Phillip’s head screwdriver, and both a metric and English ruler. This ain’t your Daddy’s Swiss Army knife. Spyderco also makes a gadget knife with a blade so sharp you could do surgery, so check it out as well.

Five Maxipads. This is optional, but in addition to their accepted use, they are very absorbent and sterile, so they can be used as pressure bandages in case of an accident. Put in Ziplock and squeeze out the air.

2 pint bottles of water. (optional).

2 or 3 power bars. If you can, get the horrible kind like they put in military combat rations, the dreaded MRE (Meal, Ready to Eat), these bars will last longer than commercial counterparts.

A flashlight. They now make small disposable LED keychains that are extremely bright and run off of a watch battery. Normally these things run under $1.00USD, although some places charge more. While this is good from a size standpoint (they are about as big as a quarter around), and from a weight standpoint (maybe a quarter ounce), they are not terribly rugged. Mag-Lite makes a very small flashlight that uses AAA batteries called a Mini Mag-Lite that is very bright and about as big as a man’s middle finger. All Mag-Lite flashlights can be used to kill or injure a grown man, so look at getting one of those. It is more expensive, but wow! Tough as tough can be, water proof, and they come with a spare bulb in the base. Leave the batteries in their package and stick the light into a ziplock bag with at least 2 extra batteries.  Other light sources are, and  

If you have these items you will be set for the vast majority of life’s little curveballs. The Leatherman or a similar tool alone will solve the majority, but the others really do matter.

Take the stuff and put it into the gallon ziploc bag. Express the air and zip it shut. You can then take the second bag, place the full bag into the second so that the zipped portion is put in first, express the air, and zip the second one shut. This will provide a lot of moisture protection.

The Basic BOB

The Basic BOB is meant to be carried every day, and is geared towards an urban or suburban environment. This is something that, since it is meant for everyday carry, must be comfortable, rugged, and useful in daily life.

The bag itself. We suggest something inconspicuous and easy to carry,

but with an appreciable load capacity. A medium sized briefcase will suffice, but try to get a North Face or Jansport type bag that college students use as book bags. The bags will have extra external and internal pockets which will come in handy for little things you need to get to quickly such as toilet paper or food. The bags often come with Fastex buckles which allow the bearer to externally attach other items allowing the user to customize his carry.

A Leatherman Supertool or something similar as mentioned in the Minimalist BOB.

Spare glasses. If you wear glasses get a spare set and put them in. If you wear contacts, get a pair of glasses and store them in the bag. In an abrasive or caustic atmosphere you can seriously damage your eyes with contacts, and you may not be able to clean your hands enough to replace dirty or lost lenses. So, glasses it is.

One roll of toilet paper. Never be without at least one roll of toilet paper. For ease of carry remove the cardboard tube and smash it flat. Then take it and put it into a ziplock bag. Express the air from the bag and seal it tightly. If you’ve ever in a position where there is no TP, you understand the necessity for this one.

A multifuel lighter (zippo-type) or an unopened drug store butane lighter. If you don’t smoke you may never need it, but fire is man’s most basic tool, so get it and have it. If you get the Zippo, remember extra flints and fuel.

Food. Have some power bars or some cookies. The best way to figure your needs is to miss lunch, then see if one or two packs of Oreos or a power bar or two takes most of the edge off. The prepackaged cheese and crackers snacks for kids are a good idea also. Plan on a 48 hour period of relying on your BOB. Have six very small meals, each in its own ziplock bag. Eat them once a month and restock so they don’t go bad on you.

Water.  Have a minimum of 4 20 ounce bottles. If you can stomach warm Gatorade, get that instead. Most hunger pains are actually thirst, so try drinking a half a bottle of fluid with each mini meal you eat.

Medicine. Be absolutely certain you have any daily meds you take. This may be something you have to put into and remove from the bag each day, but don’t forget them. If the medicine you take is not easily perishable and not a controlled substance, get your doctor to write an extra prescription and keep a spare bottle, that you rotate out monthly, in the bag at all times.

Space blanket. There are emergency blankets that fold up to about the size of a sandwich. They are inexpensive and very warm. They are also usually waterproof. Get one or two.

Toothbrush and toothpaste. This is optional, but performing personal hygiene can make you feel worlds better in a bad situation. Put them in a ziplock bag together.

Money. A spare $100.00 is a very good idea. At the very least get a roll of quarters for vending machines since they may work in the absence of electricity. Be aware that money may not have much value in a true SHTF situation. Money is a good idea, but it only works in a civilized paradigm. 

Deodorant. Very optional. This only applies if you are from the US. Other countries don’t seem to want it.

Spare clothing.  This is optional, but not a bad idea. At the very least you will want some spare socks sitting snug in a ziplock bag.

Personal protection. Get the strongest pepper spray you can find and rotate stock every six months or so. If the button gets pushed, get rid of it. The can will leak.

Firearm. If you live in a free state, get a concealed carry permit so that you can carry your weapon without fear of arrest. If you are in a state where the rights of all people are not recognized, rely on the pepper spray. For a BOB firearm, the suggestion is for a something reliable. It has to go boom every time the trigger is pulled. A compact lightweight revolver such as Taurus or Smith & Wesson makes may be the ticket. Firearms are a very personal sort of equipment, and if you don’t know anything about them, get help and get good teaching.  At the very least get a small semi-auto .22LR pistol and learn how to use and maintain it. Keep it in a holster or case so the sights and trigger can’t be bumped. Any gun is better than no gun when people around you lose their minds.

Feminine hygiene. Get some maxipads. Remember they can be used as pressure bandages.

Pencil and paper. Being able to write a note can be very necessary at times. You may need to write down a license plate or a description for the police, so get a small wire bound 3”x5” notebook and put it in a ziplock with a pencil.

Band-Aids. Always a good idea. Stick 10 or so in a ziplock bag and seal it tight.

Radio and batteries. A cheap transistor radio can be a big help. If nothing else it can tell you if there are road or bridge closings or if there is a shelter nearby. Make sure the radio isn’t a flimsy headset design that will break with rough handling, and make sure it is a RADIO, not a CD or an MP3 player when you buy it. Put the radio and batteries in ziplock bags.

A flashlight. Just as described in the minimalist BOB, get a small AA or AAA battery using Mini Mag-Lite or a LED keying. 

A respirator. This is optional. Lowes, Home Depot, and other hardware stores stock painter’s respirators that run about $15.00 USD. They use replaceable canister filters that are really very good for what they are. This isn’t a gas mask of course, but if there is a lot of stuff in the air these cans will help keep it out of your lungs, especially dust in the event of a nuke or radiological “dirty” bomb. A respirator doesn’t weigh much, is about as big as a fist, and is cheap insurance. Get one and put it into a ziplock bag.

Soap. One or two bars of hotel sized soap can help with cleaning hands before eating or for just getting yourself a little cleaner. This is especially helpful in the event of a small wound. It may hurt to wash a scrape or cut, but it is the best way to avoid infection.

A fork and a spoon. Eating with your hands isn’t just bad manners, it is a health hazard. Remember the Four F’s of Food Sanitation: Fingers, Face, Flies, and Feces. Getting food poisoning when you have no ready way to care for yourself can be very problematic. Even freshly washed hands can carry enough bacteria to make you ill in dirty conditions, thus poor personal hygiene coupled with a failure of civil sanitation is a recipe for trouble.  If you have a regular metal fork and spoon, you can sidestep this large potential problem. Put them in a ziplock so they won’t get lost and put them in the bag. You can make a cup if needed by cutting the top off a plastic pop bottle, or by using your can opener on a soft drink can.

Intermediate BOB

Now we move on to something a little more substantial. Since cold weather is the most difficult thing to deal with, this section is geared towards people who travel in rural areas and who may experience unpleasant winters. This is a BOB you will fill and put into your vehicle, opening it only to rotate stocks every so often or if you need it.

The bag itself should be larger. We suggest a medium sized rucksack with or without a frame. An internally framed ruck is better, but it is not necessary. A cheap solution is a medium sized military issue ALICE rucksack. ALICE stands for All purpose Light weight Individual Carrying Equipment. Leave it to the military to come up with a 7 word name for rucksack and then an acronym to shorten it. The ALICE ruck’s design was employed in numerous conflicts and to the best of my knowledge no one ever complained about the rucksack except to say the frame was somewhat flimsy. The frame is aluminum, and will bend if abused by being sat upon or in some other fashion. If it is used in its intended fashion, it will last a lifetime with no care at all. Read some reviews on the ALICE

Another alternative is a gym bag of tough construction, preferably with 4 or 5 external pockets. Several sporting goods places on the web offer “range bags” or “shooter’s bags” that are made of very strong stuff and have many external pockets. Get one with good sewn in handles and, if possible, end handles as well as the standard top handles. Good quality gym bags can be found at most retail outlets like Wal-Mart.

If you drive a truck with no back seat, try to get a gym bag with a bottom width the same as the floor with the seat moved to the rear. If you have to put the bag in the back of the truck, try to avoid putting water in the bag as it will freeze and burst the container.

Consider this list a continuation of the basic BOB:

Clothes. Put in a spare set of jeans, a shirt, socks, spare boots or athletic shoes, a scarf, a balaclava or a ski mask, good gloves, a lightweight waterproof parka or windbreaker, and some long underwear. Put them separately into plastic bags and seal them as best you can. That which will fit into a ziplock, put into a ziplock. As always, get the air out of the bag before sealing.

Fatty, salty, and sugary foods. Get a can or two of Spam, yes Spam. I said Spam and throw it in there. A can or two of Dinty Moore stew should go in there as well as junk food like chocolate chip cookies, etc. A good rule of thumb is if your kids whine for it, you will want to carry a little of it for any potential on foot impromptu camping trip. Get also a few packets of dried noodle soups like Hot Ramen or Cup A Soup so that you can drink stuff to warm up. Hot chocolate packets and instant coffee is also recommended. The General Foods International coffees are about half sugar and come in a sturdy tin, but beware, after drinking a cup you may feel compelled to start talking about your feelings. When the temperature drops and you have to walk through snow and ice you need to eat and drink horrible crap like that. The drinks and noodles will warm you, fat will feed you, and the salt will constipate you. Constipation is good because who wants to stick their derriere out and squat in 10F weather?

A small pot. Get a 2 quart, preferably iron, pot for melting snow or heating water for drinking or making soup.If you feel that a 2 quart pot is too much to carry, there are alternatives. One may choose to go with aluminum cookware, but it may be damaged or crushed if abused in some fashion. It may also make your food taste nasty and is unhealthy from a long term perspective. Another suggestion is titanium cookware which will only crush your wallet.

Get a small camper stove. This is optional. They are simple inexpensive affairs of flat stamped metal that you can build a small fire under and put a pot on. Alternately you can have a small propane stove with a cylinder of gas.

Maps. Don’t forget the map if you have to ditch your vehicle. Try to avoid going out without one. You will want that piece of paper if you are unfamiliar with the area, and you will want it if you are. Things look different at 3 miles an hour, land marks won’t pass with that familiar tempo.

Yes you have a map function on your phone – how well does it work when the battery is dead?

A tent. Get a small inexpensive pop up tent and put it in your bag. A $20.00 USD tent will be more than enough to keep the wind off of three huddled people, which can be the difference between life and death in a nasty winter storm, especially if wet.

Candles. Get two or three emergency candles. You would not believe the amount of heat these things throw off in a confined space. Try it out. Get in the tent sometime, seal it up, and light a candle. You should have to start taking off clothes within 10 to 15 minutes. A note about clothes. If you are cold with your clothes on, try taking some off or opening them up. The cold may just be there because your sweat can’t get away from you. Dry is warm and warm is dry.

Sleeping bag. Get a decent bag. Try to get one that goes into a “stuff bag”. They compact the best and are easiest to carry.

Poncho. Get an army surplus or, better yet, a new poncho. We wouldn’t advise wearing one because they will make you sweat, which will make you cold, but they are great to rest a tent on. Also, they make a great hasty tent or sleeping bag. You can find quality stuff at

GPS and a compass. This is most likely unnecessary except in a blizzard, but hey, be prepared. Get a moderately priced GPS with preprogrammable waypoints and an expensive compass. Preprogram your waypoints along your most traveled routes. Never be lost again, right?

Spare fuel. There are emergency fuel packs sold in Wal Mart, K Mart, Auto Zone, etc. These are “trunk safe” containers of mineral spirits that can be used in a pinch if you run out of gas. One or two is a good idea. If you have a diesel, cooking oil can serve as an emergency fuel, so keep a couple of gallons of vegetable oil in your vehicle.

A small can of red spray paint. This is optional. If you need to mark your way whether by marking trees or by leaving a directional arrow in the snow, have this item.

Water. If it is snowy, you have water. If it isn’t you need at least three 20oz bottles per day. Figure to have on hand a 3 day supply. Gatorade is better, but have something to drink.

A charcoal hand warmer. These can be found at sporting goods shops. Have one and extra fuel. Store them in ziplock bags. This item can be the difference between losing and keeping digits in a frostbite situation. If you can, get two so you can warm your hands and feet at the same time.

Personal protection. I know I am repeating myself here. Carry pepper spray. There are bad people in the world and you don’t want to get to know them. There are good people on the road, but that’s not the expectation you should use.

Firearms. Get a quality pistol and get good with it. Stick it in your parka pocket and zip it shut when you walk. If you have it on a holster it might show and people might not slow to help you. It will also be more difficult to get to under a parka. If it is in the pocket you can keep your hand in there and no one will notice. They will assume you are just cold. Make certain you zip of button you pocket when you walk as to prevent your weapon from falling out.

Advanced BOB

Oh dear, it finally happened. Some jackass nuked half a dozen major cities simultaneously, the food and petroleum supply has been disrupted, there is a plague that makes the Black Death look like a head cold and we can’t fight it, or Mike Tyson is in an elevator with you. Whatever it may be, it is time to haul ass in a big way, and you have a long way to go. This isn’t just getting home due to a bad hair day, this is Bosnia for a Croat or Rwanda for a Hutu time. It is time to “Run Forrest, run!” or “Run Luke, run!” depending on how grandiose your self image is.

When you go you know that travel may be uncertain. There may be roadblocks as is routine in rural Africa when there is one of their periodic disease outbreaks, there may be civil unrest like the Rodney King riots, there may be martial law declared so you can’t use the roads. Any way you slice it you have to maximize the chances of getting yourself and your family safely to safety, and this may involve transition from wheels to feet in order to get there.

Before you can even consider this level of planning you need to consider the goal. If you wish to go to Grandma’s farm 300 miles away, you need not one plan, or two plans, you need several alternates. What takes 5 hours by highway may take weeks with a family in tow on foot. Write down the plans in a notebook and have the appropriate maps. If you catch some Apache’s arrow, the rest of the family will still need to make it there if they can.

Consider the size of your family and their ages. This will be a major indicator of what needs to happen with regards to provisions.

Never try to carry any more than 50-60 pounds per healthy adult male, and never try to go 25-35 pounds per woman or teen.

Always plan for the worst. If you have 3 kids and a wife make every plan as though it would be made over land without roads and carrying at least one member. Figure that if you can go 15 miles a day with a family on foot, you are really doing well, so 300 miles equals a minimum of 20 days of travel, with a realistic expectation being 30 days. And an angry, dirty, whining, X Box withdrawal group of unhappy campers they will be.

This list is a continuation of the above BOB lists. The first two lists were just for a single person. Do the math. Multiply where you need to, more tents, ponchos, etc. Figure a roll of toilet paper lasts an adult male a week when he eats regularly, so multiply rolls times people times weeks. Family of five going 300 miles? 5 people X 4 weeks is twenty rolls of paper, which is a lot of volume, so everyone carries their own TP in their personal ruck. Another thing, get the roughest TP you can get. It wipes off the poop better, it stores better, and the women won’t use as much.

The bag or bags. Go to a dive store, that is a place SCUBA divers shop, not a store with cheap beer and cheaper women. Get one of the large dive bags they sell. These bags are designed to hold heavy and bulky stuff in harsh environments and are extremely rugged. Don’t forget to buy individual rucks for those who don’t have them. They make good book bags for kids, so tell them that is what they will use them for. It will get them used to carrying them.

A shovel. You will need to bury your poop and scrape a fire pit.  You may also need to bury someone. If you have to bury someone, mark the location in your GPS. It may be important for you to return later. Bring at least a military issue entrenching tool. They are small, inexpensive, light, and they collapse.

A water filter. You cannot expect your wife or kids to drink ditch water. Get a reverse osmosis filtration pump with an iodide filter. An inexpensive backup that you must have is regular household bleach. 3 to 4 drops per gallon is all that is needed to make water safe for consumption, so get a small medicine dropper and fill it with bleach. Add the bleach to the water, stir or shake vigorously, and let it sit for an hour. It will then be drinkable. Try to avoid ingesting any sediment.

Binoculars. Have at least one pair. You may have a need to look at things at a distance. Don’t go cheap on binos, this is one area where expensive is good.

A wagon. Go to Lehman’s online catalogue or go to Lowes or Home Depot, etc. They will have very sturdy wooden wagons or metal garden wagons. The metal garden wagons typically have better handles, better wheels, better suspensions, and carry more, but they can be uncomfortable to touch in winter and they can rust. If you have to put an infant in one, you don’t want there to be a chance of instant frostbite just because he was fussy and flailing around. The suggestion is to go with wood. You can order a Lehman’s wagon with very large wheels for off road use. If you have small children who may need to be pulled, get two wagons. One wagon is for provisions and the other to carry rug rats.  These wagons can carry two or three hundred pounds easily, so these are not your old Radio Flyer.

Food.  Half a cup of dried rice is equal to roughly 1 ½ cups of cooked rice. That is a lot of rice per person, so no one should be very hungry. Figure a family of five eating twice a day is five cups a day times thirty days travel is 150 cups of rice.

With 16 cups per gallon two 5 gallon containers should suffice for a month’s travel. Get PVC buckets with pour spout lids.

Beans. Rice and beans twice a day for a month will cool ardor and may lead to acts of violence, but you will be pleased to see that they have plenty of energy to argue, since rice and beans will provide almost all the nutrients a body needs.

The question is, “How much of beans do we carry?”  If you plan on canned beans figure 60 eight to twelve ounce cans. If you get dried beans, figure ¾ a cup dried volume per meal, or a little over 3 gallons of dried beans. The drawback to dried beans is that they have to be soaked for 24 hours, so you will have to start soaking beans 24 hours in advance of each meal which is a pain.

While dried beans are better in the long run because the excess can be planted at your destination come warm weather, you may wish to opt for canned.

Fat.  Get a two gallon jug of Crisco. You will need it in order to cook wild game which is  always extremely lean meat. You may wish to  get a three pound block of lard instead. Lard would actually be better since it is a solid and can’t leak. It also tastes better, and takes up less space.

Salt. Carry a pound box of iodized salt. You will use it at your destination or for barter. Ever wonder where salt comes from? It most likely isn’t a local product. You will be sweating a lot on this trip, so you will need salt.

Meat. This will be provided by Mother Nature. Do you know the Iroquois word for bad hunter? Vegetarian.

Cookware. Bring a metal measuring cup. You need to measure that rice. Bring a cast iron skillet and a cast iron 2 quart pan with a lid. Get a metal serving spoon and a metal spatula. That should take care of all your cooking utensil needs.

An axe. Never be without a good axe. Get one with a hammer side if you can.

Soap. Carry a few bars. You need to bathe once a week, and daily hand washing is very important. Try to stock anti-bacterial if at all possible. Don’t carry liquid soap as it is heavier and can spill.

Radio. Get a hand powered radio. They will pick up shortwave, weather stations, AM, and FM stations. They don’t take batteries, so that is one more thing you won’t have to bring. Also consider getting some walkie-talkies. Have extra rechargable batteries and keep them charged.

Insect repellent. Get some suitable repellants for the older people and for any infants. You can’t use high concentrations of DEET on infants and toddlers because it can cause skin irritation and seizures. Remember, spray it on your hand and wipe it on the kid, don’t spray it on them.

Fishing tackle. You can make a fishing rig out of a bean can or a Coke can, some monofilament line, a float, and a hook. Fishing rods can get broken, so unless you are one of the lucky few with a Pocket Fisherman, you will have to improvise. They are available on Amazon.

Hammock. Get a cheap fishnet hammock for every member of your party except the littlest ones. The hammocks will serve as hammocks, naturally. They will also serve as a hasty stretcher and as a hasty fishnet with the use of saplings cut for poles. You can simplify putting them up and taking them down by tying a heavy duty D ring on the end ropes. You just wind the line around the tree trunk a few times and snap the D ring onto the rope to secure it. They are cheap and will roll up into a ball the size of a man’s fist. They fit easily into a small ziplock for carrying.

Rope. Get about 20 or 30 feet of stout ½ or ¾ inch rope. You may need it to pull the wagons or for some other unforeseen purpose. Learn some knots. A ready source (and free!) Is  A. Hyatt Verrill’s Knots, Splices and Rope Work, on If your Bug Out is by water, his “The Book of the Sailboat: How to rig, sail and handle small boats” might be handy. But regardless, knowing a handful of useful knots will always be helpful. A couple of hundred feet of paracord will always be useful. An older copy of The Boy Scout Handbook would be handy.

Firearms. Have a .22LR rifle at the very least. It isn’t much of a self defense weapon, but it will kill rabbits and squirrels. A 12GA shotgun is also strongly recommended with a variety of loads. A centerfire rifle is even more strongly recommended. Every able bodied member should bear a long arm on the trip, even if they don’t know how to use it. If you carry some slugs, some #1 buckshot, and some #6 shot, you can take deer as well as small game. Again, firearms are a very personal choice, so make yours wisely, and get some training.

Personal bags. Each person who can carry one should have a backpack of some sort. In addition to toilet paper, let them put whatever they want into it without comment when you leave, they will need that psychologically.

Medicine. Over the counter meds are strongly recommended if you have needed them in the past. Also make sure you get some Imodium for the treatment of diarrhea. Diarrhea can be fatal in kids. Children’s vitamins are also a good idea if they are already taking them.

A sewing kit. A good all purpose emergency sewing kit will weigh only a few ounces and take up less space than a pack of cards. It is good not only for suturing clothes, but skin as well in a pinch. Get one and a few extra buttons.

Gas mask. A gas mask, better called a protective mask, may be something an individual may consider not carrying at all. Protective masks are good for filtering out nuclear, biological, and chemical threats.
Lets talk about the three NBC scenarios.

They work best against a nuclear threat where they will act to keep radioactive dust out of your lungs. Since an area that has been bombed will lose most of its danger due to fallout in days, hours if there is a strong rain, this mask will be of limited usefulness. In fact, this degree of protection can be approxamated by breathing through a wet rag, and an almost identical degree of protection can be given by a cannister type painter’s mask. A promaks is a good thing to have in this instance, but the remotenet possibility of an nuclear attack along with the extremely remopte chance of your encountering it may not justify the purchase of this item.

Chemical warfare agents are difficult to make, transport, and employ. They just plain old don’t work very well, and as a result it is almost an impossibility that even soldiers in a combat zone will ever encounter them much less a civilian.. A good quality mask will protect you from inhalation of toxic fumes for several hours to several days.

In the event of a natural or man made plague a quality pro mask will provide excellent protection. Virises cannot easily pass through, bacteria certainly cannot at all. The problem here is that most likely by the time you discover there is a danger of infection, it is too late to don your pro mask.

The problem with pro masks is that they provide temporary protection. You can’t live in one, so you must leave the area. Another problem is that if you have a family you may be able to protect your adult and young adult members, but infants can only be protected by “Gas Tents” that use battery powered filtrations systems, and retail for several hundred dollars each.

A good source for these items is This is another place where expensive most likely means good quality. Don’t skimp if you buy one of these, it is a false economy.

184 thoughts on “Many Shades of BOB* – by Doug Irvin

  1. Our bug out bags are the last line of defense after everything else. They are prepositioned in the truck. On the refrigerator we have a 5 minute list a 15 minute list and a 1 hour list.
    The 5 minute list is basically to dump all medicines/ jewelry box / top shelf of safe in two garbage bags and GO.
    The hour list gets to turning off water and pouring antifreeze in the traps on exit if coming back is a possibility.

  2. I have a hospital bug out bag and I’ve stockpiled certain food for a three day emergency. It is harder to get medication. I won’t be able to leave because I need the dialysis supplies in my apartment to survive. But I might make a smaller Bob to put in my car– I always carry small bottles of water in the car (warm water is drinkable) because I live in a desert. You should always carry water.

  3. My 2 cents about firearms (and any other weapons for that matter.)

    If you don’t know, or don’t think you can pull the trigger to kill someone, don’t get it. Otherwise it will be used against you and other people after you’re dead.

    Know when to use it. If you can safely leave the area, do so. If brandishing the weapon gets them to leave you alone, do it. Otherwise, if the person is coming at you with a weapon raised or pointed at you, you are a free to kill them. Verbally warn them off if you have the luxury of doing so. Who knows, they might stop.
    If the person is bigger than you are, and threatening bodily harm, you are free to shoot them; especially if you’re a woman. Guys, it sucks to be us in a court room. If you think you’re going to get hurt or killed, then shoot, and take your chances.
    If you have multiple assailants, doesn’t matter if they’re armed or not, if they’re threatening harm, like closing in for the kill and not just spouting off, shoot to kill. Don’t get fancy, take the closest ones out first, center of mass.

    If you’re in a bug out situation, then it’s assumed that the SHTF and police protection has broken down. Shoot, and go. Don’t worry about it.

    If this is a singular crime situation (house break-in, mugging, attempted rape, kidnapping), that changes. If the person you shot is still alive, call the ambulance, then call the police, and then call your lawyer. Call your insurance agency too, and if you have firearms insurance, call them.

    1. I would like to add that if you own a firearm of any kind, it’s a very good idea (as in, it’s rather dumb not to) take the time to learn what the firearms laws are in your area. If your bug out plan takes you out of your area (as in the sample Grandma’s house 300 miles away), also research the firearms laws at your destination and every where in between. It’s much (but not completely) better down here in Florida now that we have preemption, but at one time here in Florida just driving a few miles in any given direction could mean going from being a law abiding citizen to a Felon. Note that “but not completely”. What we’ve found is that even with preemption, and even with more recent Florida law supposedly giving preemption some teeth, there are still jurisdictions that have their own laws (cities, counties, etc.) and just because those laws are technically not valid, that doesn’t mean you won’t get arrested and have to defend yourself in court.

      In a complete breakdown scenario, most of the above doesn’t apply. However, the few times that “bugging out” was a possibility, it was due to political unrest – Rodney King Riots, Potential for race riots due to Martin/Zimmerman thing, 2020 (enough said) – the rule of law hadn’t broken down completely, so I would have needed to be careful not to bug-out from the frying pan, only to jump into the legal fire.

      Doug, thanks for taking the time to put this together. I have never needed my BOB, but there have been a number of times it’s presence has helped with my peace of mind. On the other hand, there have been a number of times that the BOB in my trunk has been raided for non-emergency reasons (kid getting a cut while at the park (bandaids), friend’s angry wife having a headache at an event (aspirin), a friend “freezing” and being very appreciative of the spare sweater I always have in the BOB (even though I live in Florida) etc. Always replaced asap, of course

      Oh, and a note for those of you who are laughing at the idea of a BOB. Look again at my previous paragraph. You wouldn’t believe how often that bag saved the day in some minor way. Maybe you won’t ever have to leave your home. Frankly, plan A for me is to shelter in place regardless. BUT when something unexpected pops up, it’s great to have good ol’ BOB around.

      1. One other item –

        Don’t just learn the firearms laws. Learn how the local cops are likely to respond. Open carry might be perfectly legal in your area. But if walking down the street with a holstered pistol is likely to draw a SWAT response and a confiscated weapon even though it’s legal, it’s best to be aware of that ahead of time.

        1. Don’t just learn the firearms laws. Learn how the local cops are likely to respond.

          Yes. Look what happened to the Veteran in Oregon. Open carrying handgun. Employee called police and reported it. Veteran killed in parking lot by police complying with police orders. Happened within last year or two. DuckDuckGo couldn’t find the incident. Oregon is Open Carry legal. Legally, most (if any?), retail, etc. non-government, cannot bar someone legally carrying open or concealed carry. Costco isn’t under one of the exceptions. (The classes required for concealed carry covers the types of businesses that are exceptions. Which doesn’t help if one only plans to open carry.)

          One thing I found interestingly irritating is: Let’s pretend hubby has concealed permit, so is is being carried in our vehicle of choice. We get out wherever (gas, rest area, meal). Me to let dog stretch her legs, then do whatever, hubby to do whatever. Generally he is going to be back to the rig before I’m done. But dog is generally done before he is back to the rig. Unless I have my own concealed permit, legally I can’t put the dog back in the vehicle before I go do whatever, unless hubby is back to the rig (unless he is going to actually remove the firearm from the vehicle during the stop). I mean I can just take the dog with me (she is a medical alert SD), but not normally what I prefer to do. (Have you seen some rest area or gas station rest rooms?)

          Hubby has taken the requisite class, but never sent in the paperwork required. Since I learned the above, I’m taking the class too. Then we’ll get the paperwork turned in … Although right now not sure I want to be on anyone’s list. Also right now these type of paperwork and background checks are taking forever. Not that we have any firearms to carry … stupid boat.

          1. Although right now not sure I want to be on anyone’s list.

            FWIW: no one is not on a list.

            And if visiting a linux news site is enough to get you on a list (it is), then not just visiting, but posting on this blog gets you on a few lists.

            1. Well … there is that.

              What? Using “d” as user name isn’t generic enough? … I know. Don’t answer that. (sarcasm jic).

          2. Imagine what might happen if the husband has a permit, but the wife doesn’t, and the husband forgets to remove his firearm from the car. Then the wife is pulled over making a run to the store.

            This is why I support constitutional carry. Do we need a permit to practice free speech? Do we need a license to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures? No. There is no other constitutional right that we are required to get permission from the government to use.

            Sorry, soap box put away now….

            1. Imagine what might happen if the husband has a permit, but the wife doesn’t, and the husband forgets to remove his firearm from the car. Then the wife is pulled over making a run to the store.

              I have thought about it. All 3 of us in the household will be getting concealed carry.

              support constitutional carry.

              Amen. Agree.

    2. On warnings: I have always been of the ‘My enemy should find out I have a gun about two seconds before I shoot’ school.

    3. “Know when to use it. If you can safely leave the area, do so. “

      Very much so THIS. Avoiding combat, as long as it does not lead to worse, is best. Also. Pulling a weapon in a mob situation is going to be a last choice. Mobs may be unpredictable, but they outnumber you and yours.

      1. Anyone who didn’t see it or has forgotten needs to go watch the Kyle Rittenhouse video. Most of the attacks happened after he shot PedoDwarf. Even after he shot S8trboi The Gutless and the Armless Medic there was still someone angling to attack him, and they only stopped because they saw that Kyle was still up and had seen them.

        Incidentally this is why your starting point for a rifle should be an AR-15. If your idea of defending yourself from a mob is to use granpappy’s old hunting rifle just shoot yourself in the leg and bleed out. It will hurt less, and the corner will be able to identify your remains for any relatives.

        1. Getting an AR-15 is still a challenge. A look at the not-Cabellas in town shows that one could order a Century Arms in 7.62 x 39, and if you talked really well, a Utah branch might part with a midrange -15 variant, but those were the only two rifles in stock.

          If what you’ve got is a hunting rifle, and you are competent with it, it *might* be an acceptable option. If I have to stay overnight in a city because reasons, I know what I’m comfortable with. (Jeff Cooper’s rules apply.)

          OTOH, the local city is “polite” by Heinlein’s standards. The other one on my list isn’t quite so, but the overnight destination has been safe(ish) in 2020.

      2. One of Lazarus Long’s survival traits was typically sneaking out before the violence started. His problem is that he lived long enough that statistically, he couldn’t avoid ALL the violence around him.

    4. I keep a small firearm (9mm) in my car at all times. (In Texas, this is legal.)
      The purpose of having it is to ESCAPE danger, not go looking for it. If I had to look for danger, I’d carry something considerably more powerful, with more rounds.
      But the goal here is to avoid hazards.

    5. Also note that if you are not comfortable using a gun, but you want self-protection, DON’T go for a knife. Knives are all too easy to turn back against the wielder.

      If you’re hiking, have a hiking staff. That would make for a decent swing weapon.

      1. There’s another issue with knives, as I understand them: they require you to be up close and personal. This means you have to be close enough that the person will be able to hurt you back, and even if and when you come out of the attack alive, the chances of psychological damage are much greater.

        This isn’t to say that knives should be scoffed at. They are considered deadly force for a very good reason. And they have advantages that guns don’t have: they are silent, and they don’t have to be re-loaded.

        As you mention staffs, it occurs to me that they have another advantage: They are less likely to be considered weapons than knives and guns are. Well, maybe not staffs per se, because they are too conspicuous, but certainly things like umbrellas and walking sticks at least qualify.

        Finally, I would add that committing violence against another human (even if that human has abrogated all claims to humanity) is dangerous for anyone psychologically. An important way to do that is to do a lot of research in self defense law and techniques. In the past, I have come to really appreciate Andrew Branca, The Cornered Cat, Massad Ayoob, First Person Defense videos, and No Nonsense Self Defense, as things I have exposed myself to over the years, and would recommend. It should be kept in mind, though, that (1) I have not by any means exposed myself to all the resources these sources provide, and (2) there are other sources (A book called “On Killing” comes to mind) that I certainly need to hunt down and study. This is a field that will likely require a lifetime of study.

        Having said that, knowing the law will go a long way to giving you the confidence you need to act, will help you know when to step back and get away from “stupid people doing stupid things at stupid hours in stupid places”, and work through different scenarios so that if you have to try to kill someone, you are mentally prepared to at least think about it, if not attempt it.

        Come to think about it, another thing to remember: even if you can’t get all these things as outlined in this post (or by others), it’s very valuable to think about what can happen, and what you can do, so that there’s less “unthinkable” things to happen, and even if the “unthinkable” happens, you are at least a little more likely to have your head on your shoulders, rather than running around like a panicked monkey.

        1. Knowing the law doesn’t always help, as one outrageous conviction in Portland showed. Clear case of self defense, the guy brandished, but did not fire, and was arrested and convicted of threatening the poor dear peaceful BLMifa victims. That one is trying for a SCOTUS reversal.

          In short, don’t go there if you can possibly avoid it.

        2. I forget where I read it (it might have even been On Killing or another of his books), but the “unthinkable” is what causes people to freeze. One’s OODA loop gets stuck toggling between “observe” and “orient” as your brain tries to make sense of an “impossible” situation.

          I’ve had this happen in trivial situations (e.g. crossing a street and a car turns the corner toward me – I stop and wonder if I should hurry across or go back [arguably caught between “orient” and “decide”]; a _very_ counter-productive thing to do while standing in front of an oncoming car), but never anything serious, but I have also not been in many serious situations.

          Our brains are excellent simulators – arguably that’s what they’re for – so there’s no reason not to use them that way: Imagine possibilities.

        3. rather than running around like a panicked monkey.
          Just as an aside, monkeys seldom run in panic. They swing from trees, leap about, screaming and hooting, and otherwise making normal critters want to quietly walk away.

          Humans, OTOH, tend to just do whatever is required to get in the way of those who are keeping their heads. Their screaming, hooting, and leaping about is generally less useful than that of our lesser cousins.

      2. You can kill a bear with a good sturdy quarterstaff. There are a couple of news reports of people killing black bears with a hunk of firewood to the head.

    6. Why would they still be alive after you empty the gun? If they are trying to kill you you shot as long as they keep moving at all. They can get back up after the initial shock and pain – happens all the time. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting dry.

      1. Depend on your locality. Some places you get penalized for each additional shot you put in them. Plus ammo isn’t so cheap that I can easily write it off. My crowbar works good in case they get frisky after taking that first round; and doesn’t require reloading.

  4. I’m using a printed version of this post as a checklist, guide, and reference. Most excellent.

    I think the most important thing of all is mindset: game out/role play the situation. Make the hard decisions now–can I kill another human being if I have to? Yep, and I’ve got several ways to do it. But I’ve already made that hard decision.

    I’ve got bags close, in the car, and in the storage. As time goes on I’m pulling everything where I can touch it because I can’t count on electronic gates working. I can’t count on anything working.

    What I can count on is my Creator, my wits, and the malevolence of human nature.

  5. Here’s something I posted a while back, elsewhere:

    Make up some bags – small “school backpacks” would be best – and make each kid responsible for one. It gives them something to do and look out for as opposed to trailing along like baby ducks.

    Bring a deck of cards, print out some rules for card games, and put them in with the rest of your stuff. There are also (or used to be) “travel games” of various sorts; metal or plastic markers with boards that doubled as storage containers. Most of them were about half the size of a paperback book and weighed almost nothing. They were popular with airline travelers as late as the 1960s.

    If possible, don’t put all of something in only one bag, just in case the bag gets lost, stolen, or “confiscated.”

    I’d also get a metal or wood “walking stick” for each family member. Besides being something to lean on when they’re tired, they’re good for pushing away inquisitive animals, poking things to see if they bite, seeing how deep that puddle is, etc. Lots of uses for a stick, particularly if you have some paracord on hand, and remarkably hard to find a useful one in urban or suburban areas. If parental sticks are stout enough they could serve as stretcher or travois poles as well.

    We have scanned copies of all our important papers, including medical records (always get them after a doctor visit), and insurance policies. No, a scanned copy of your policy isn’t a legal document, but if you wind up far away from home, at least it gives a different agent information they might need to start your claim, depending on what kind of renter or homeowner policy you might have. (and read those policies – some of them cover more than you might expect!) We have a thumbdrive *and* a CD in each bag… and they also have copies of our address books, phone numbers, account numbers, and so forth. Note: if you encrypt the data, you should put a copy of the decrypt program on the medium, with versions for each major operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux).

    You should have copies of birth certificates, adoption papers, legal guardianship papers, or whatever you have on your children, particularly if they’re from a previous marriage. The way things are getting now, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility some overzealous official might decide you’re some kind of child abductor.

    Each child should also have a set of papers of their own, in a waterproof container (a Ziplock is enough) saying who they are, who their parents are, and preferably the name and contact information of someone NOT in your local area to whom you’ve assigned “medical power of attorney” if you and your wife aren’t there or able to deal with a sick child. Most hospital admission desks will have clerks and pre-printed forms they’ll give you without charge. Put the kids’ IDs in those little hiker pouches that go around their neck on a string or chain. You might also see about appointing a guardian if you and your wife are killed or otherwise indisposed; for that, you might want paid-for legal advice, since how that works varies considerably across jurisdictions.

    A multi-tool of some sort in *each* bag; preferably no two alike. Each tool seems to have one specific thing it does well. They make some small child-size tools as well. If you normally carry a blade anyway, break or grind off the ones on your multi-tool. If you wind up being “helped” by authorities, they’ll probably confiscate anything that has an edge. Even without a blade, there are plenty of uses for a tool.

    If your family has more than one phone, turn all of them except yours OFF to conserve charge, and turn that one off when you’re not actually using it for something. If they use SIM cards, move the card from phone to phone as they run down.

    And if you can, *practice*. Take the family to some hiking trails every now and then, work your way up until it’s not a big deal.

  6. Tape. Duct tape at the least, Gaffer tape is better. Pull it off the roll and make a few small flats the size of a credit card. or go slightly bigger and carry them in a pocket. make several and stash them in with various other items. Rolls of electrical tape are also a good idea and both work well in first aid situations. More than once TP and Electrical tape were my bandages, and once it was the gaffer tape I keep in my pocket.

    1. I hadn’t even thought of the difference between gaffer and duct tape, but you made me look it up! I definitely need to get some gaffer tape now for those emergencies.

  7. I completely understand the BOB concept; but for those like myself who are pretty much buried in the middle of “civilization” (too far to drive to escape our fellow-travelers), above the 500y flood plain, don’t know where to bug out, and too old or crippled to survive for long on our own anyway, I recommend having a decent supply of essentials as above, stored in at least two places in the home (in case of theft or damage), and a well-read Bible (start now, if you haven’t already). Sure, we may need to move; but God *will* provide.

    For those believers who might be upset by current events, I have two addition recommendations:
    1. Read Psalm 91, in fact pray Psalm 91 about yourself and your loved ones. It’s not a magic charm and God’s plans may differ from ours; but it helps put things in perspective.
    2. Memorize John 16:33, Hebrews 13:5-6, and James 1:12.

    As Sarah often says, we win, they lose. So don’t give in to the “long defeat” way of thinking. We’re supposed to be fruit-flavored (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in the ESV).

    1. You don’t have to go 300 miles. Bug out in an urban setting may involve moving only a couple of blocks, to a couple of miles. That can make all the difference. For instance, consider getting out of East Berlin just ahead of the Russians.

      Walking sticks. For adults, I’d recommend 7 to 8 foot long quarterstaffs. 2, 8 ft staffs make a very good stretcher. They’re also long enough to make a travois. If you’re really handy, you can mount wheels on the ends and have a 2 wheel hand cart/rickshaw. And they can be used as weapons.

      1. Agreed completely. And that bag put together sitting in the trunk might be “bag in the trunk with enough stuff so I can get back home to ‘Bug-In'”.

        If one is fixed in place with no means of outbugging or no practical destination in bug range, Bugging In should be the prep concept, and such bags should be thought of as stuff to get back home if away from when balloons go up.

        1. In some areas, that bag can also be the “There was an earthquake, and I’m stuck downtown ten miles away from home with only the contents of my trunk” bag.

          1. Or wildfire, flood, riot, whathaveyou. Prepping isn’t just for the zombie apocalypse. *grin* Could be a car broke down in BFE, could be road washed out, could be fundamentalist Lutherans on a rampage. Or plain old leftist policy agitation.

            1. The odds of a fundamentalist Lutheran rampage are 100 times less than the chance that Biden-Harris would have won the 2020 November elections without fraud. Not impossible, but I’d win the Powerball 5 times in a row before that happens.

          2. That’s OK: All those businesses ten miles away from home that one might be away at have been shut down in California for long enough to have closed permanently or moved to Texas, so there you go.{/sarc}

            But yes, earthquakes, wildfires (see suburban wildfires last year in Talent, OR and year before in Redding, CA), pipeline bursts, tidal waves, meteor strikes, and zombies all fall into the category of “might have to walk home from a place to which I drove.

            I likely do not have to inform those in this august assemblage, but do note that a meteor strike or orbital kinetic bombardment both will outwardly resemble nuclear blasts, complete with visible and thermal flash, ground shockwave, and air overpressure shockwave, simply absent anything much above background radioactivity in the fallout. Unless you carry a handy pocket radiation detection device you will not be able to tell the difference (radiation detection ranging from a handy pocket card detector like on up to electronic meters – to avoid running afoul of WP purgatory for more than one link, search for B00IN8TJYY or B07WCDWGGZ on ‘zon for a couple of examples).

            And re earthquakes, prepping for them is not just for the ring of fire: Most people with whom I am acquainted out here have and maintain an “earthquake kit” in homes and car trunks, whereas most of my relatives who live back in New Madrid fault region look at me funny when I ask about theirs.

            1. This sets off a few memories. Back in 1980 when nuclear winter killed us all, Dean Ing wrote Pulling Through, using his bounty-hunter Harve Rackham as the narrator. Along with the story is a bunch of useful information on living with an atomic disaster, including a quick and dirty radiation counter. (Also, lowtech fallout shelters and how to live therein.)

              We’re rural enough and decrepit enough that we’d rather make a stand here. Wildfire risk is medium low thanks to some strategic logging, and the area is pretty hostile to leftists. (and government noseys). I have bits and pieces of a bug-in stash set, and if I have to spend the night elsewhere, I usually have enough to get by, but there’s not yet a bag. Time to do one, I think.

              The Dean Ing book is in paperback and on the ‘zon for about $3 in used, or collected in The Rackham Files in either Kindle or hardback. (Note to self, check out his more recent novels. They look interesting.)

              1. Find the paperback if possible. That has a separate section with discussions on all the stuff he uses in the novel and more besides. The ebook only has the novel.

                1. Arggh. As memory serves, the dosimeter and the bellows/filter were developed through Oak Ridge.

                  I found the dosimeter page:

                  Part of an Oak Ridge Nuclear survival handbook. (the rest of the book is accessible from the sidebar on that page.)

                  Somebody sells a kit for $75, but we’re talking about stuff that needs kitchen goodies plus some monofilament line (thread might work).

                  No first hand experience with any of this. $TINY_TOWN isn’t downwind of any targets, unless attackers are stupider than belief.

            2. Yup. While earthquakes are linked with California in the popular imagination, they are not limited just to California. There are fault lines pretty much everywhere. And earthquakes are unusual in their ability to utterly and completely devastate the environment around you while leaving you largely untouched. Very strong storms (for example, Hurricane Katrina) have similar ability, though afaik they still don’t get as bad as an 8 or 9 on the Richter Scale.

              1. Living a structural brick house, I don’t worry about earthquakes. The house will fall down on my head and kill me. I’m very surprised Denver (and Colorado, generally) doesn’t have earthquakes. SOMETHING pushed those mountains up.

                1. Shout out to a MGC writer: This nonfiction book about the earthquakes that hit middle america – one specifically that was YUUUUGE back at the turn of the century (19th) – is a really fun read.

                  Rock and Roll: New Madrid Fault System.

            3. I was in Puyallup when the Rattle In Seattle happened. Talk about a lot of very surprised people! Yeah, it’s not a bad thing to prepare for.

  8. I’m humbled by how much I’m missing in my BOB preparations. The comments here are also filled with information that I’m going to integrate into my planning.

    One item that I have not seen mentioned is a small, solid-state drive that contains a backup of my computer, including my writing, copies of all family documents, and my photos. It gets backed up twice a day, and I can take it and slip it into a pocket in a couple of seconds. A 2T drive is about $60, well worth the peace of mind.

    Now I have to go make some lists. Thank you for posting this, Sarah.

  9. Toilet paper: Learn how to do without. Even if you’re as parsimonious with the stuff as I am, it runs out. Emergencies don’t always conveniently end when your supplies run out.

    You don’t use a handful of leaves or grass, you use sticks, smaller around than your pinkie, as long as convenient, and preferably with bark so it has a little “scrape”. Spread ’em (fore or aft, depending on your equipment) and drag your stick =sideways=, repeat as needed until the last stick comes away clean. Remember to drag in both directions. (A few strands of long tough grass stems with NO blades attached will also work, but not as well. Don’t use grass blades, they can cut like a razor.)

    Remember that the more fiber you eat, the less solid (and more stinky) the results; meat leaves little smell and no messy residue. If it gives you gas, it will give you toilet-paper nostalgia. And believe it or not, motivated humans can track by scent just as well as a dog. If you’re hiding, consider this.

    This ain’t theory; it’s practice. I lived without running water or indoor plumbing for many years, and got completely out of the habit of toilet paper. Sticks were handy and free and worked just as well. Toilet paper was for blowing the schnozz, or if I was sick, not for everyday.

    [Corncobs actually work very well, but are bulky and require planning. Sticks are available most places for the trouble of breaking ’em off or picking ’em up, and are easier to dispose of, especially if you need to avoid being tracked.]

    Remember that if the power is off, the water eventually goes off, and anything you put down the toilet WILL plug the lines.

    1. Agreed. In a true SHTF situation (or even something more short term), space is a precious commodity and TP is an unnecessary convenience.

      1. Yep. And aside from the TP considerations… think about water, and whether you’ve got enough to waste. You consume ALL the water that goes into softening and cooking rice, and other grains. But dry beans have to be soaked, and you don’t drink that water, and you have to be sure they’re thoroughly cooked (raw beans are to varying degrees poisonous, and you need to thoroughly soak and cook that away, or you’ll be sorry. No, the soaking and changes of water aren’t just to soften the beans.)

        Which is why I don’t consider beans a suitable survival food. They can be a staple, if you’re in a stable location with sufficient surplus water. They’re not so good for on the march, unless you have a chuck wagon to handle the dirty details, and someone to dig latrines.

        I also hauled my drinking/cooking water in a bucket for a lot of years, and became acutely aware of how much I used, cuz getting more was Work, and it was possible to run out. So I’d do things like recycling pasta water to boil eggs.

        1. As I recall, ricin is one of the nasty substances that has to be soaked out of some varieties of beans.

        2. Cracked lentils supply a lot of nutritional needs, balance with rice very well, require no soaking (though a rinse helps) and cook relatively quickly. And I don’t know about you, but even hiking in the winter I would rather have a decent amount of fiber in my diet. A thirty second squat every morning is much less of a pain that a three or four minute squat every other day.
          I have been carrying squashed down TP for 20 years and it has come in handy a time or two in normal life and more often than that when traveling. The emergency pack in the back of my vehicle usually has the.blanket, energy bars and first aid kit, but other than that is sadly lacking. I have a list of “to gets” now that I will have by next week.

  10. I don’t really have anyplace to go if the shtf. And we’re not going to be able to compete with other bugger outers. We’d probably be best off staying where we are and being the place to which my sons bug out. But I think I will stock better for days of no power or a breakdown in food distribution.

    1. One of the things I’ve come to realize about preparing for emergencies is that it’s impossible for all of us to prepare for all situations.

      Indeed, I can make sure I have a year’s supply of grains and other basics, but all that can be taken out by flood or fire. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have them — after all, if I lose my job and can’t find work, or if an earthquake takes out the electricity and a couple of freeways, I’m going to be very thankful for that food — but it’s a good reminder that we need to do whatever we can, big or small, to prepare.

      (And I use the year’s supply as an example — I know I need it, but I don’t by any means have it, and I’m not sure where to put it if I wanted to get it. Perhaps under the couches, maybe? But it’s a bit of a mystery for me right now.)

      Additionally, the more we can stay where we are, and maintain our local connections, the better off we can be. If we have to flee, we necessarily leave behind a lot of useful stuff, and a lot of that useful stuff is our local support network!

    2. Anyone in a large urban area is probably screwed.

      If you have a place to go, and think you might go there ‘in the event’, go NOW. You won’t be trapped in a million-person traffic jam (LA, NY, Chicago, ,,,), you’ll be able to take more stuff. And, pretty much anywhere to go will already have people there, who may not be welcoming.

      That’s much harder to do than to advise – jobs, school, friends, family, instant finances all may be barriers.

      1. Best advice in the whole post. Virtual work and home school spread can help with implementation problem. Financial fitness is always a problem. If you have cable, I know where to get about $100 a month and improve your quality of life at the same time.

  11. Deodorant. Very optional. This only applies if you are from the US. Other countries don’t seem to want it.

    Not optional. Those countries are wrong and need to change; why help perpetuate such delusions?

    A friend of mine who does Search and Rescue recommends having simple games and teddy bears (or similar). Because the best way to keep kids or freaking out adults safe and sane is to give them something to do. “Will you keep an eye on $TEDDY_BEAR_NAME for me?” is a problem solver.

    For weapons, while pistols are very personal due to grip and you have more room to get away with oddball calibers, rifles do in fact have a Generally Correct Solution. You start with a 16″ AR-15 chambered in 5.56×45 (YOU! Yes you in the back! Sit down and shut up I’m getting to that!). This is more likely than not lighter than whatever wood stocked behemoth you were thinking of, and you can carry a lot more ammo for a given weight. A 5.56 is entirely capable of taking a deer with the right ammunition and competent shot placement. There is a reason why the military abandoned the M14 in 7.62×51. And it wasn’t just because the M14 was a pile of hot garbage.

    Also if conditions require you can get around a need for a gun in a heavier caliber by carrying a second upper in the luggage for less weight than a full rifle. A .458SOCOM or .50 Beowulf can do the job of a shotgun slug (though less commonplace… tradeoffs everywhere). A 6.5 grendel will give you more killing range than you can use.

    1. Don’t call into the “pick the most commonly available caliber” trap.

      Those guys who bought .223 and 9mm saw their preferred choices dry up long before the “odd” calibers.

      Unless you’re planning to scavenge ammo from bodies (in which case, it would be reasonable to take the gun too) you’re going to be limited to whatever ammunition you had on hand, so it doesn’t matter if it’s .333 Whiffenpoofer or .40 S&W.

      1. They are also the only ones getting access to the intermittent stock….

        For setting up an ideal weapons mix I’d like to give everyone suppressed 12″ 6.5 Grendels. Easy hits out to 800 yards in an ultra compact package is a hell of a sales pitch. But I’m giving an answer for someone who isn’t a weapons geek.

        Also an “ideal weapons mix” runs into the problem that IFVs are gas guzzlers.

        1. There’s no such thing as more killing range than I can use. Maybe its a Zen thing for long range shooters. Range, air density, windage, how well the bullet is balanced, precise velocity, maximum velocity point, latitude, direction of shot, whether the target is moving or not.

          Now I have to go look up who wrote, “The gun that shot too straight.”

          1. I’ve been doing a back of the envelope design for a lightweight 6.5 grendel carbine.

            If you are willing to use more exotic materials — and pay for them — you can get a 800-1000yd-lethal rifle that is still very light, and useful even in CQB.

              1. Haven’t seen one of those. But Proof Research makes high quality carbon wrapped ones, around $800 for an 18″ 6.5 grendel AR barrel.

                And it isn’t just weight: the way the CF is wrapped makes it *stiffer* as it heats up so there is less accuracy loss. Plus the CF quickly conducts heat out of the core.

                You can get lighter barrels, but not lighter bull barrels.

      2. So as an aside, based primarily on all of the Holywood stuff which seems to be the primary source of tactical training these days, just as a little tip to help me not shout at the screen when you show your adventures: PICK UP THE DAMN WEAPONS.

        If you leave them lying there, that’s a loaded gun behind you, so when the next schlub comes by you just armed them. And you can always disable and dump at the next rest stop if you don’t want to retain as backups or trade goods or evidence, options unavailable if you leave them lying there.

        PICK THEM UP.

        1. Remember all the Westerns where they NEVER picked up the bad guys guns and ammo or anything else? I could never believe they could be THAT stupid. Guns, Ammo and other things were worth a LOT of money and they were USEFUL! Why leave them for someone else? Never could understand that.

          1. I’ll cut the Westerns some slack on that — scavenging guns and ammo would take screen time and slow the action without giving the audience much entertainment value. They might have somebody doing it in the background while main characters advance the story, or have a couple of the guys walk up to the campfire to dump their gleanings.

            It would be the sort of thing to have cavalry troops so that stuff won’t fall into the hands of the Sioux/Apache/Tribe of the Week. John Wayne could detail troops to do it with a few words, then go on with the story.

    2. The AR-15 is truly an everyman’s rifle, good enough and even excellent in many cases. If you have to have just *one* that’s probably going to be your one.

      Another one, if you want a second long arm, might be a takedown .22lr. I’ve a Browning SA-22, but there are other options out there. Good for small game, ammo is nice and light. Weight is less than half an AR-15 + decent scope. Good for training little ones in good habits, fun too. Bolt guns tend to be very reliable, too. Downside is .22s tend to be pickier on ammo.

      Then there’s shotguns, and that’s quite the different rabbit hole to go down.

      1. AR-15 in 5.56 does well on critters between 100 and 600 pounds. It can reach out an touch coyotes and wolves, works well against 2-legged predators, and also works well against deer, black bear, and medium sized hogs. I suspect that it’s a bit too light for moose, musk ox, elk, grizzlies, or the African big 5.

        1. I’d say you are right about that. Bigger critters need a bigger bullet. And greater penetration. Not to say that you *can’t* take larger game with leetle boolits if everything goes right, but at a certain point it just becomes untenable.

          You have your .308, your 30.06 and the like that work quite well, but if you’re talking large game, then you are probably looking in the range of the .416 Rigby, .338 Win Mag, and the .458 Lott and their similarly punchy brothers. I definitely wouldn’t want to hunt big game in Africa without the proper set of tools. Kim Du Toit could tell you better of this, of course. So could Peter Grant, I’d wager.

    3. Eldest Brother spent ’68 Tet in Basic Training, and I got the impression he learned to loath the M-14. Something on the order of “shoot X rounds, replace the barrel, shoot X more rounds, replace the barrel”.

      OTOH, he spent his tour in Seoul as a REMF, so I took his stories with a bit of salt.

      The local store had a fair amount of Winchester Short Magnums in stock, back when they had stock. The last primers that sat on the shelf for a week or three were from .50 BMG. I revere John Moses Browning, but anything that chambers such ain’t going into my BOB. Especially a Ma Duece, though it would be nice, mounted in the Subaru. [VBEG]

          1. Using my best Arte Johnson page (if you don’t get it, get off my lawn 🙂 ) “Verrrry Interesting”

            TM 31-210 downloaded just in case.

            1. The comments associated with the archive page were entertaining. One group: “OMG, this is soooo dangerous it should be classified.” Other group: “F*** off, moron!” (or similar verbiage. I’m partial to “Sod off, swampy”, but I’ve owned two(!) British sports cars*, so my verbiage is well hosed.)

              (*) They were fun, but I spent more time keeping them running than enjoying them.

              1. The two major chunks of modernity that are underappreciated are how much of a change is the modern experience of “jump in the car, start it, and drive away”, and how nice it is to not have to spend time under the hood every weekend keeping a car running properly – both due to integration of electronic ignition, fuel injection, and computerized engine controls.

                I used up all my “work on them for fun” in my years of “work on them so they will keep running this week”.

    4. Just keep in mind with the deodorant that Clooney was tracked by his pomade in “Brother, Where Art Thou?” Yes, a silly movie, but also something to ponder where scents are concerned. Maybe not the bloodhound, but that deer you’re sneaking up on or the bear who is hungry, or whatnot.

  12. Matches. Especially if you live where it’s really cold. Bics stop working around -20°. Liquid fuel on zippos evaporates in a short time.

    Down pants. Compressed, stores well & takes little space.

    Cheap hardware store nylon string. Most will support a hundred pounds and a 150 foot roll is pocket size.

    BTW: those are, along with muckluks, mittens etc., in my winter get home bag that, in winter is always in in my rig. I never, in winter, drive without clothes & equipment I may need to walk home at -50° F.

    A couple of railroad fusees (Flairs, I always have at least two in my Jeep and two in my truck.). Great if you want to indicate distress and also will start a fire in almost any conditions if needed.

    A heavy crowbar or at least a light prybar is surprisingly useful in many situations.

    1. Propane also stops working around -20, but if you can find a regulator that’s stuck open, that solves the problem. At a guess cold tanks don’t create enough pressure to push past it, but if it’s stuck open, no problem. (You can tell if it’s stuck because paired tanks will equalize if you open both valves.)

      Or why I wish I’d kept the regulator off my old trailer.

    2. FWIW, there’s a tool called a “trucker’s friend” that’s part prybar, part hatchet, and part hammer on an easy-to-grip handle. Very useful combination.

    3. FWIW, flares come in three sizes. If you can find them, the longest ones last about a half hour. If they don’t get damp, they last a long time. If you need a long run, stick the starting end of a fresh one at the far end of the working flare. You can run that chain a long way if you have the need and the flares.

  13. Much of this I recognize from the many years defunct Bug-Out-Bag Oracle, which I copied that text from the Way-Back Machine, way, way, back ago. 15 years or more. I don’t think it ever had any real handle or name attached, Doug, even when it was a website.

    It’s good stuff, and if you have the basic level ninety percent of what happens in civilization running scenarios can be dealt with.

  14. I’m in the process of reevaluating my kit in light of the current weather. I no longer have the clothes or supplies to survive at -10 F for 24 hours, the way I did when I lived closer to the Arctic. That needs to change. Will we get weather like this again? I hope not for a while, but it will happen.

    1. Looking on from afar:

      Current temp at NAS Corpus Christi, right on the gulf, is 22F, with windchill it’s 5F.

      Down the coast at SpaceX Boca Chica it’s 24F with wind 24mph gusting to 32mph (from the WX bug on one of the live cams watching SpaceX – the NWS WX stuff is all down so I can’t get Brownsville temp or official windchill numbers.)

      Lucky we have global warmening – otherwise it’d be really cold.


    2. Why, unless skiing, which we really don’t do, we go for layered. Outer shell is Good Rain jacket and pants; Oversized. Good water proof/resistant boots. I can’t wade in my boots, but splashing or wet brush, I’m good with good layered sock conditions.

      When I say Good I mean “Good”. Not cheap plastic tourist things. Not the Old Uniroyal stuff either (locally you’ll be raining inside the rain gear with the Uniroyal rubber rain gear … great if working In the woods, going through uncut brush where nothing else would hold up, but otherwise, no).

      Oversized, because layering, depending on what, can get bulky. What depends on where you are. Locally … Cotton Kills is the meme to remember. Silk or Wool/Wool-Blend (and I’m allergic to wool). Most synthetic works, just be very careful with it around open fire. Synthetic or silk is what I wear as base layer under Smart Wool when it gets really cold. The base layer insulates me from the wool.

      Anymore, locally, even in the mountains, we avoid Down. Too easy for it to get damp or wet no matter how careful one is. Damp Down bags or Jackets are worthless.

      We pack emergency bags when we travel. We keep smaller first aid kits in the vehicles. But at home we don’t have a BOB setup. Can throw one together easily and quickly because we have our camping, backpacking and car camping, not RV, gear and supplies organized.

      The Big First Aid kit, kept underneath the xcab backseat storage, was used for the first time ever this last summer. Hubby fell and scraped, bruised, himself pretty good. Four vacationing nurses were around to clean him up and apply the appropriate first aid to stop bleeding (he’s 68, so scrapes have a tendency to bleed), and first set of bandages, but didn’t need anything more than that. Kit now resides in house, but will go on long trips with us.

      We don’t have anywhere to go in a SHTF situation. Retired. Even when working if “can’t drive home, leave vehicle at work” situation” it was 2 miles for hubby, and 6 miles, at most for me. Son’s current work isn’t any further. Have to get home from shopping now? 5 miles, max. From my sister who lives locally or mom’s, a mile, each. Sis’d have two miles if she’s at mom’s. From other other sister? Probably just hunker down there. Otherwise … sigh, 100 miles including crossing the Columbia to get home.

      Backpacking? I carry 35# fully loaded; about 20-22# “dry” (no food or water). That includes my gear, tent, water filter, cooking gear, food, and water. When hubby is along, he takes the tent. (Backpacking he also has the larger camera.) We split the food and cooking gear. He may or may not have the water filter. I’m 5’4″ and overweight, was in better shape when we were backpacking than I am now.

      The fires this last summer have me rethinking prep. We are too far into the middle of the valley to be in real danger but the “dive into car and drive now” alerts, is kind of eye opening. Bad enough when down south in CA. When it is 15 to 20 miles away? Ummmmm.

      1. When I was in high school we had a guy come and give a presentation on wool vs cotton. Started with four cans of hot water, wrapped up in the various materials, and compared temperature after an hour.

        50 years later, I still remember the results:

        DRY cotton is actually slightly warmer than wool. Advantage about 2 degrees.
        WET cotton is WAY colder than wet wool. Difference about 30 degrees.

        Should be noted that this is without any air movement. Wet anything out in a cold wind can be deadly.

        1. Wet anything out in a cold wind can be deadly.

          Better off in Wool. But true.

          If you have good decent rain gear over cotton, the cotton can still get damp. Right conditions and hypothermia to some degree will be a problem.

          Swap that cotton out for wool, and you might not even know it is actually damp. Same conditions where cotton is a problem with Hypothermia, with wool it isn’t likely a problem.

    3. I usually keep a winter coat in my car, though right now it’s in my apartment since I was without power for about 20 hours and it got chilly in here. Power’s back for now (though I suspect they’ll hit use with rolling blackouts later this morning) but I’m keeping it in my apartment and keeping a flashlight handy.

  15. YMMV, objects on the internets may not reflect actual size, local conditions may affect usefulness of product, et cetera:

    On the note of pot(s). A tin or otherwise metal cup will work well enough for a single man, and a coat hanger wire or otherwise non-burnable support can give you the same effect for less weight and mass. Not going to denigrate the usefulness of a good pot- I’ve a copper bottomed steel set that has served me well in many situations.

    A cast iron skillet is a fine implement for heavier/longer term bug outs. The fat in the meat doesn’t get lost this way. Don’t try cooking with direct flame if you’ve got another option (and it isn’t s’mores or hot dogs, of course). You get better results from cooking like a proper human. *grin*

    If you have access to fresh water (Southeastern US, most anyplace with rivers, etc), you can save mass by using Gatorade powder instead of the liquid. Soup satisfies thirst and hunger, so powdered soup stock is your friend. If you have fresh water, you probably have trees. Trees = wood = fire. Fire boils water, now you have drinkables.

    For fire starting, I tend towards flint. Steel or iron is usually easy to come by in places that have people. A two inch pencil width piece of flint is going to last you a long time.

    For light bags and ultralight bags, Maxpedition makes some good kit. Pluses are lots of pockets and places to hang carabiners if needed. Some bags you can CC in plain sight, looks just like a plane Jane book bag. Water resistant- stuff inside stayed dry after work in the rain, damp after six hour downpour. Reasonably easy to keep clean. Downside, the plastic clips can be flimsy on the chest rig. I’ve used them for work bags for years.

    On multitools, the saw is not something you want to rely on excepting you have literally nothing else. A fold up saw is lightweight, effective, durable, and has enough blade length to make a decent fire that will last more than the twigs you can get with a multitool. I use a skeletool for most things, and I used to use it daily. Megatool goes with the heavy bag.

    If you need to travel overland, get a hat. Seriously. The hat is your friend. Sunglasses are nice and all, and if that’s your thing, more power to ya. I prefer hats. Boony type with a decent brim. If there is snow, or sandy desert, or beach running, then yeah, sunglasses too.

    For clothes in your car bag, if you need them then you are likely going to *need* them. Durable clothing, just in case. Yoga pants, designer jeans have a limited wear life. I would add a good pair of cross trainers/hiking boots, too. Just having a spare pair when your others are soaked with rain and mud is a blessing.

    For medium/heavy bags, a fixed blade knife is on my list. Many uses, sturdier than a folder, tent peg in a pinch, tourniquet windlass rod in a pinch. Instead of an ax I tend to favor a good machete. You can use nigh anything as a hammer if you really need. And for multiple people, some variation can be good, as long as you are covering the basic necessities.

    These are just personal opinions, so make of them what you will. For background, I grew up poor as dirt and had to “make do” a time or to, among other things.

    1. Don’t forget extra socks, wool or wool blend. And remember that before socks, people used footwraps. You can do the big square Russian style, or the long narrow strip, whatever you’ve got that doesn’t make lumps. Lumps will kill your feet.

        1. Yeah, I wear those wool-blend Costco Ugly Socks year round myself. Tho they’re not anywhere NEAR as good as they used to be. Have consigned the crappy newer ones to summer and hoard the old ones for winter.

          Those “Weatherproof” brand winter socks Costco has now now are extremely warm (to where they’re uncomfortably so unless it’s seriously cold… I have ’em on right now and not only is it 59F in my house, the floor is cold, yet my feet are too hot, and that’s without shoes) but have gawdawful hard toe seams, so I wind up wearing ’em inside-out. And then the fuzzy lining collects every splinter they can attract.

    2. On the issue of “cooking like a human”, the sous vide route is a great choice if you can plan ahead. It means you only need a pot where water can boil – eliminating the need for cast iron. (I’ll gladly carry your ammunition if you want to carry a cast iron skillet on that 300 mile stroll.) You can also cook nice backpack omelets that way (scramble an egg in a quart freezer baggie, add chopped stuff, seal and boil). One other advantage is the water doesn’t have to be pure, since everything is sealed up.

      1. That’s why I said for heavier loads or longer term bug-outs (i.e. you have bikes, burros, or caches). *grin* If you are traveling in a group, everyone doesn’t need a pot (aka “somebody has to carry the base plate”). Sous vide is definitely doable, but there are wild hogs to be had in my area- and I love me some skillet fried bacon. Though it *is* possible to cook it on the blade of a wide machete, I prefer not to.

  16. A few thoughts, then I’ll go back and read the rest of the comments, so apologies if I am repeating someone else:
    1. Instead of band aids get an inexpensive first aid kit (military grade IFAKs (individual first aid kit) are perfect but cost more)
    2. Socks should be wool, not cotton.
    3. Instead of a battery powered radio get one with a hand crank. i picked up an unopened pair of Duracell radios at a garage sale for $2.50. They work perfectly.
    4. Gym bags are really hard to carry long distance. Skip this and buy a cheap pack until you can afford to buy a better one.
    5. Camp stove good, Jetboil (or similar) better. If you can afford it. It also doubles as a cookpot so you don’t have to lug one of those around.

    “On the refrigerator we have a 5 minute list a 15 minute list and a 1 hour list.” Great idea.

    On self defense, if you have to defend yourself using lethal force because your attacker has a weapon, put your foot on the weapon after the encounter is over and while you are waiting for the police (assuming law and order society). Don’t pick it up (fingerprints) and if necessary slide it away from the attacker (or his body) in order to wait safely. Opponents weapons have a habit of disappearing and then you are facing charges of excessive force.

    1. Skip this and buy a cheap pack until you can afford to buy a better one.

      Get a metal tubed older external frame. Looked into replacing my 42 year older one for a newer one, thinking the newer ones would be “lighter”. Well yes, if you get the essentially minimal expensive extreme light backpack version. That type was barely lighter, and definitely not as sturdy. The sturdy newer internal packs weighed almost double. You have to look really close to see any fraying or usage on my pack. It has definitely been used, and slung around. It might have been used as example on how packs could be tossed around, loaded, on parental 101 scouting demos; both with and without it’s rain cover. Hubby’s pack, same structural type, the bag is a bit faded and frayed, still good structurally, but then the it is closer to 60 years old. Garage sales. Goodwill, etc., are good places to check for almost new packs.

    2. Also, if the situation is resolved, take a pic with your phone of the weapon. Then take a pic as the cops are picking it up.

      1. Yeah, I’ve got something like that partly written. There were reasons a criminal’s gun was not high on her list of priorities.

        “No gun was found at the crime scene.”

        “Then somebody took it. I did NOT imagine being shot at three times. There were witnesses, too.”

  17. Get trained in first aid. Classes are available online from eth Red Cross and others. Get exposed to the concepts and current info. Last time I took one they had changed CPR to all compressions (no breathing), and that was before C19. If you are thinking about getting remote in your bugging, look at wilderness first aid classes.

    In each first aid kit, include a self-applicable tourniquet like the CAT or SOFTT ( SOFTT link: ). For a long time first aid training discouraged tourniquet application, but that has changed.

    1. If possible get training from SAR types. They are more likely to teach the things that *work*, instead of the things that will keep them from getting sued.

        1. WFA training: (1) American Red Cross, (2) Emergency Care & Safety Institute, and (3) providers accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA). If participating in BSA Scouting, then your local scout council will have regular training or list of local resources for training. Why?

          “Two members of each crew participating in a trek at Philmont Scout Ranch or one crew member at all other high-adventure bases operated by the BSA are required to have this certification. It is also recommended that troops or Venturing crews participating in any other high adventures, whether through a council or on their own, receive this training. Also, having more people on a high-adventure trek trained in WFA is always beneficial in the event that an emergency does occur.”

          When my son’s crew went to Philmont, dad was one of the adult volunteers. All 4 adult volunteers and their sons, and me, were certified WFA. Other local crews when they went, had all 12, adults and youth, participants certified before going. They ended up using the first-aid too. Not in their crew but there was a medical emergency one night for another crew. They had scouts thunder through their camp (on the way for medical help). One of the adults was having seizures. One of the two with the WFA training BTW; father and son who took training*. They attended to the individual, and also sending two backup from their crew for emergency camp personnel. Emergency personnel took over. Next day they were back on the trail.

          * Hard enough to need to take care of an emergency on your own crew, when not your normal training. For a child to be responsible for a parent? Even a 16 – 18 year old? (Average age of a crew runs 17. Our son was barely 14 …) Seizures came out of nowhere. No History. Physical condition good to excellent. (Example, despite my history of backpacking and working in the woods, I could not volunteer to be on a Philmont backpacking trek. I wouldn’t be allowed by the medical rules in place. I weigh too much for my height and gender. Dad had to have not only the standard high adventure physical, but because of his, limited medication list, had to have an additional notation from his physician attesting that he was physically able, and he worked outside all day in all weather.)

      1. Also some vets who train. Old time SF vets and corpsmen aren’t doctors, but more than a few of ’em have performed all kinds of operations from appendectomies to dental surgery in the rough.

        1. Volunteer ambulance services and/or EMT training is also a potential. Our service was a spinoff of another town’s, and the parent service’s paramedic was a damned good teacher. There’s also the community college route (never went that way; my own health issues cropped up and stopped my service).

    2. I need to get training in how to apply a tourniquet. I do know, however, that the recommendation didn’t just change — the way tourniquets applied changed, too.

      When I was in Boy Scouts, I remembered that you made a tourniquet using a rope and a stick, and you only applied it as a very last resort, because chances are, applying the tourniquet means the doctor’s going to cut off that limb. “Modern-day” tourniquets can be made from a bandana, a key chain loop, and a carabiner in a pinch, but other tourniquets follow this design: pressure is spread over about 1 1/2″ to 2″, is tightened just enough to cut off blood flow, and can be loosened if done carefully. Unlike the rope-and-stick method, it doesn’t necessarily destroy tissues and vessels, and thus is much less likely to require amputation afterward.

      While I don’t have the confidence to apply a tourniquet in an emergency, I like to think I at least know enough to avoid amputation, if I had to do something in a pinch ….

  18. Great post. This comment is mostly about traveling on foot.

    Cast iron cookware is nice, but it’s heavy. Relatively, it’s the heaviest, densest item on the list. Conceptually, weight and space are two of your primary considerations when making a bugout bag you’re going to have to hump around. If you don’t have experience moving 15-25 miles in a day on foot while lugging gear, it’s going to be an extraordinarily rude wake-up call. Not only do you need to be in shape, but you need good socks and footwear designed for it. If you’ve rubbed up some nice blisters after day one, your burning calves and thighs will be joined by a bone-deep ache the following day, even if you’re not moving at infantry pace during your march (don’t try). The food advice here is great – you need carbs (simple and complex), because you’re gonna be burning them like crazy.

    All of this gear adds up in terms of weight, so that’s why things like cans of food and cast iron cookwear aren’t the best ideas for foot travel. Aluminum, if you must have cookwear, is much farther down the periodic chart. Even pulling a wagon (which is a great idea, btw), it’s going to get difficult over uneven or hilly terrain over long distances.

    Bottom line, prioritize your list, for when you run out of space (and you will). And get in shape. Now. Yes you. It’s just good advice in general. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete, but if you can’t easily do a 15 mile nature hike with just the clothes on your back, carrying a BOB is gonna severely restrict your distance. Even if you’re able to use your car, you’re still going to need to move within a 3 mile radius of your base camp while carrying some gear.

    Go take some walks. Regularly.

    1. Even if in relatively good shape, if you haven’t hauled weight, for mile after mile, day after day … It is eye opening. What feels “comfortable” the first day, or even the second, is dang heavy as the days and miles go on. Keep in mind, as the days go on, technically whatever is getting lighter. It. Won’t. Feel. That. Way. Worse if you are dealing with high elevation. This doesn’t even take into account if your footwear is less than ideal.

      1. Absolutely. And that’s not really even getting into the soul crushing psychology of humping gear mile after mile for several days. After about mile 10 of hauling gear on your back, hell – on day one, you don’t really think about much else. It’s hard enough when you’re in the military, in shape, and doing it for training.

        If you just had to leave your life behind, even if only temporarily? I can only imagine your morale after a few days of doing that in that particular situation.

        1. “Remember. You. Volunteered!” might have been muttered a time or trek or 40 … each step. I had the gear. I had the experience. Comparatively, to other parents, I was in good shape, or better anyway, for all that I was overweight. Except for ’03 – early ’05, dad was there on weekend hikes too. (Just not the week long ones, leave without *pay was the issue, IF it was okayed. I could take vacation time.)

          Might have been different before scouts and before baby. “We’re. In. Love. Remember!” At least before kid I weighed 35 or 40% less, and was 20 years younger (I was 42 by the time son was in backpacking level Scouts).

          * Including the Philmont trek. Once in a lifetime father/son bonding trek.

        2. I used to have to hump between 40 and 70 lbs of gear around every day (when I was a younger and somewhat more innocent lad). You don’t “get accustomed” to the weight. You can acclimate to it. Get stronger, etc. But it will still. Be. One. Heavy. Slum Beach.

          It’s part of why my back and knees have the damage they do today. It is going to suck mightily if you have to do such a thing and are not either in good shape or as young and foolish as I was.

          When planning your BOB, weight is the enemy. If you can reasonably cut it out, do so. Long treks under load will hurt. Your shoulders hate you. Your back will pile on. Your knees will plan insurrection, and your feet will lead the effing charge. You situational awareness will take a hit when you are hurting- pain is an annoyingly persistent b*stard.

          If you can bike it, do that instead! If you can wrangle a horse or mule, that’s one heck of an upgrade. Long distance hikes under heavy load are for masochists and morons (again, of which I was the second, never the first).

          1. part of why my back and knees have the damage they do today.

            Hubby is in the same boat.

            We whittled down our heavier backpacking stuff. Titanium pots, well a tea kettle anyway. Two (good) thermal plastic mugs. Spend $100 save 10 oz … Kidding, isn’t quite that bad.

            1. 10 oz is no joke when humping weight long distances. 10 oz of extra weight on your knees during ~12000 impacts (steps) per knee over 10 miles will register whether you know it or not. Sure, you can take that, but when you’ve lumped 20-60 pounds on top of it (depending on what you’re able to carry), you’ll start to thank yourself for being able to economize your load.

              Anyone who hasn’t economized will start reassessing their necessities after about mile 5.

              1. Anyone who hasn’t economized will start reassessing their necessities after about mile 5.

                Amen. Seriously. Amen.

                Like I said above. My weight load was 20# before I added food and water. That was when hubby wasn’t along to take some of the load. We were even in the habit of swapping out heavy duty Zip Locks for original dried food packaging, when we did the solo volunteer (split multiple meal packs, into, multiple meals). Although I tended to take soups and oatmeal instead (my system doesn’t do well on a week of the dehydrated high fat high salt meals). Food and water added 10#s. Oregon backpacking so water was limited to enough for the day … refills daily. Which put me at a max of 32#. That is down 10# from when hubby and I started, and that 42# didn’t include me packing any part of the tent, water filter, stove, or any of the cook gear. Now I can share some of the cook gear, tent, water filter, and stove or fuel canisters. So we’ve lightened my loads by more than 10#s. (Not to mention that before the last major backpacking trip I’d lost enough weight that I was essentially packing my prior weight without a backpack! Then I lost another 15#s, during the trip. Not that any of the stupid weight stayed off … sigh.)

    2. Start by walking an distance you can handle reasonably. Work up from there.

      If you use a pedometer or some other fancier foot-step counter, adding about 500 steps is, in my experience, a good way to increase when you could handle the last level, so that you aren’t too sore. Also, be sure to keep track of how many steps each period of your day lasts. (If you spend about a thousand moving about the house in the evening, you have to factor that into the increase.) AND — make sure you get enough protein to build muscle.

  19. The three most useful knots I know:

    1. Square knot. Simple, secure, and able to be undone as needed.
    2. Bowline. Also known as the “rescue knot” because it doesn’t slip, which is really useful when you’re trying to haul a person up a cliff or out of a hole without cutting off circulation.
    3. Taut-line hitch. A knot that slides when you want it and then holds where you leave it. It is perfect for securing cargo, tightening tent lines, or anything where you don’t want to have to re-do the whole knot just to get it tighter.

    I don’t know how many of you live in hot climates, but don’t keep things in the car if they are at all heat-sensitive. That includes pre-sealed packets of sunscreen, alcohol wipes, any modern foodstuff that comes in a plastic or lightly foiled wrapper (because the rancid plastic taste is nobody’s friend) or plastic water bottles. Yes, that does make things a bit trickier, but it’s no good to keep things that will spoil that way.

  20. I don’t have a BOB per se, just a couple of ‘winter survival bags’ in the cars that I’ve been expanding a little bit each year. These are for short term survival, several hours to maybe two days, tops.

    -empty metal coffee can (can be used to transport, cook, or just seal up stuff.
    -TP (like you said, inside a plastic bag) stored inside the coffee can.
    -couple of packets of tea, coffee, and hot chocolate (stored inside a plastic bag inside the coffee can)
    -metal coffee mug (stored inside the coffee can)
    -light weight gloves, hat, and scarf (inside the coffee can)
    -matches (stored inside small baggie, inside the coffee can)
    -lighter (stored inside small baggie, inside the coffee can)
    -candy bars (stored inside small baggie, inside the coffee can)
    -candles (inside baggie, inside the coffee can)
    -beef jerky packets
    -can of sterno
    -multi tool
    -crank radio (mine has AM/FM/Weather but no CB or SW) that can also be used to charge phones
    -boyscout type mess kit. The type that has a pan, plate, pot and cup that all folds up. I’m using aluminum
    -batteries (AA and AAA, inside baggies)
    -small water filtration system with extra filters.

    each car also has a shovel, blanket, binoculars and flash lights, just not in the bag. State road maps are in the glove compartment along with napkins and plastic utinsels from fast food places. There’s a small tool kit in each vehicle as well as a traveling first aid kit.

    I need to add a folding shovel/entrenching tool, a hatchet and a compass soon. Some cash and coins would seem to be in order as well, just in case.

    If longer durations are expected, I do have a small tent, some sleeping bags, cast iron pots/pans and a tea kettle I used to use camping. The ALICE rucksack looks like a good investment as well.

    1. I have amused myself with the notion of getting this particular shovel, just to say “I carry a Glock in my trunk”.

      I also find it amusing that the first thing Glock made wasn’t a pistol, but this!

      1. I have amused myself with the notion of getting this particular shovel, just to say “I carry a Glock in my trunk”.

        We have that shovel. It came in a kit my husband won at a raffle … It isn’t just a shovel. The handle sheaths a serious machete type knife.

        Pretty sure the entire kit was lost in the boat accident.

      2. I also find it amusing that the first thing Glock made wasn’t a pistol, but this!

        Obviously, the shovel wasn’t selling all that well so management asked, “What can we do to stimulate demand for our shovel?” with the obvious answer being “Make pistols!”

  21. One thing I would include in your BOB, no matter what the size, is a sealed manila envelope full of important records-home and personal insurance, photos of your home/apartment interior and exterior and any cars and bicycles with license plates, copies of all your ID and credit cards, a sealed envelope from your doctor on their letterhead and ink-signed that has any medications you MUST have refills for, why, and multiple ways of contacting the doctor as needed. Kids BOBs should have contact information for family members and relatives and friends you want to have contacted first. Make sure to have at least two copies and have the kid never let at least one out of their sight. There’s also a number of programs that you can use your smartphone to log your books and movies and such and print out copies-good for if you have to file a claim. (Thrice evacuated from home in the last few years due to wildfires.) Always pack at least 1.5 spare chargers for any equipment you have.

    Also, two to three paperback books of various kinds, a sealed deck of playing cards, and any BOB above minimal should have a compass and map of the local area.

    If you have a labeling machine of any kind, anything perishable should have a buy date put on it. Set reminders on your phone to buy replacements at least a week in advance. In any larger BOB, one set of men’s and one set of women’s underwear in each size and the original packaging-if you can fit it-makes for good “friend making” and light trade goods. A selection of the various kinds of female hygiene products-even if you don’t use them-are good “friend making” and trade goods as well. Saline wipes (usually for babies) are a good general “wet” toilet paper and “scrape off the worst of the dirt” washing tool-and nothing will make you happier when you want to blow your nose and you can use one as a treat.

    (If I missed that, sorry-I’m in the middle of reorganizing my closet BOB right now.)

    1. On the envelope – I’d suggest inside a sealed Ziploc bag with the air mostly pressed out and that inside a sealed Tyvek envelope. Unless easy tear-in access is a feature, the zip-bag-inside-Tyvek will not disintegrate when wet as good old manila envelopes do.

      For printing stuff out to keep, look for waterproof laserprinter sheets so the document you want to preserve does not similarly succumb to dihydrogen monoxide – on ‘zon search for B0016H1RYE for Rite in the Rain brand white 20# 200 pack.

      And finally, someone mentioned flash thumb drives – there are hardened and water-resistant versions of those as well, such as the CVorsair Survivor series (‘zon search for B00YHL1OKI ), or just search ‘water resistant thumb drive’ for a bunch of options.

    2. If you have a labeling machine of any kind, anything perishable should have a buy date put on it.

      Waterproof, non smearing, Sharpies work for this too.

      This is how I mark items in freezer, for the date they were put into freezer.

  22. I’ve got bad feet, bad knees, a bad back, arthritic hands and take meds for insulin resistance and blood pressure. NO WAY I am bugging out. I figure to die comfortable in the rear guard rather than slowing anybody down.

    1. I’ve got much of the same, plus a few additions. My focus would be a bug-in bag, in case things went sideways in the city and I had to make the 40ish miles home. Years ago, it would have been a pain in the feet, but doable, but now it’s dubious. OTOH, if I got closer, I might make it.

      With respect to natural disasters, we’re likely safest at home. Strategic logging made us fairly safe in wildfires, and catastrophic earthquakes should be west of us.

      Unnatural disasters are a different crock, but our area isn’t known for being friendly to strangers. Intelligent oppressors would give us up as a bad bet. The likely candidates might be trained to leave us alone. Depends. I’m working on ways to help.

  23. If you’ve stored a set of bug-out clothes, don’t forget to check them periodically to make sure they still fit. And to make sure the styles haven’t changed to the point they look silly.

    A portable car battery jump starter can be a very useful thing to keep in your vehicle. Just don’t forget to recharge it periodically. At least some of them also include a USB charge port. If you’re willing to lug the thing on a hike (and they do weigh a bit), you can probably find a use for that charger.

    1. On batteries, note well that temperature extremes can change how well the batteries work, and almost every change is a bad one. And by extremes it can be as simple as being left in a hot car for a few weeks on end. Or a steamy bathroom in the long term. You can get moisture formation with rapid temperature change and high humidity. High altitude and extreme cold can cause components to swell.

      If you keep electrical devices in your BOB, and said BOB is in your car for example, make sure to check the devices and batteries regularly. This can save your butt when you actually need said device in an emergency.

        1. This is yet another reason why we shouldn’t worry about the occasional Roomba that decides to leave us through the front door to take on the world!

      1. I’ve taken to keeping my Li pack in my interior winter coat pocket to minimize at least Winter temperature variance issues. The connecting cables can stay in the vehicle.

  24. I suspect this is better for long-term supplies than BOBs, but – consider stashes of chocolate, marshmallows, and puffed rice (sweetened or not) cereal. All of the above are shelf-stable for a while so long as they’re dry (marshmallows for only about 8 months, but you can freeze them). A sweet treat in the middle of exhausting and stressful times can really help morale.

  25. And for your reading pleasure, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, check out “Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag”, by Creek Stewart. Then carefully evaluate YOUR needs, abilities, and knowledge while you prepare. But prepare you must. Preparation should always begin with study, then proceed with practice.

    1. Can’t get a good seal on fur. Same with beards. You can try with a bandana or dust mask, but keeping it on will be an issue. Tear gas is survivable, if unpleasant. More toxicity, and they will drop before you even notice, most like. Smaller bodies, faster respiration.

      Best not to even be in that situation, I’m afraid.

      Only thing I can think of that would be sorta doable is a pet carrier with its own sealed air supply.

  26. If you really want to understand knots, I would like to recommend “The Knot Book” by Colin C. Adams.

    I would have to confess that I haven’t personally gotten past the first chapter, although I’m familiar with some of the contents. The book will be useful if you want to tell whether or not one knot is different than another by referring to it’s “knot polynomial” (if two knots have different polynomials, they have to be different, although, if I recall correctly, it’s still an open question as to whether two knots can be different yet still have the same polynomial). It will also help you to classify knots, and do other fun things with them!

    It can be a great stress reliever when you’re stuck in an emergency with nothing to do.

    1. I had a book on knots by Klutz Press(?). Also, the Chapman boating books.

      There’s also a really old Boy Scout manual…

      OTOH, I have about 4 go-to knots; Bowline, Clove Hitch, Trucker’s hitch, and a square knot. #1 and #3 will get a load home if I can’t use straps and ratchets, while the Clove hitch is good for tying anything to a post.

      1. I should add that if you want to know how to actually tie knots, your recommendations are far better than mine!

  27. If you are cold with your clothes on, try taking some off or opening them up. The cold may just be there because your sweat can’t get away from you. Dry is warm and warm is dry.

    Beware — you may have to go through a “clammy” stage first. But dry off.

    Also be wary of anything else that could get you wet. Avoid crossing ice unless desperate.

  28. Also, if you are traveling those 300 miles and heat is a problem, you want not only water and salt, but the knowledge that it is possible to walk by starlight once your eyes adjust.

    Also, your flashlight will be REAL obvious when there are not so many artificial light sources about.

        1. When I was visiting my mother-in-law around the time that the comet was in the sky (bah, I never saw it, even when I was in places with almost zero light pollution! the clouds were in the way every single time, and almost always only in the area of the comet) and was away from light pollution, I was able to recognize Scorpio for the very first time, and Cassiopeia (I think it was Cassiopeia, it may have been a different constellation) for the first time. When I got back home to Orem, I could barely see four out of the five stars that make up Cassiopeia.

          It’s kind of hard to learn the constellations when you can’t see them! And when I was trying to see the comet, after failing to see it in Southern Utah, I tried to take my family to a place with low light pollution. Such places are rather hard to find! And they are somewhat out of the way, too.

          1. I saw the Milky Way for the first time in my mid-teens. It was not only in the Adirondacks, but we required some shifting about to find a place where it was feasible there.

  29. One trivial addition – a nail clipper suitable for fingers and toes both.

    Sore feet from nails beating against shoes are avoidable agony.

  30. A huge winter storm came roaring down the Central Plains yesterday, and today the electrical service in most of Texas has failed. Folks are freezing in the dark, right here in America. Some of ’em are gonna die.


    Well, it seems Texas has been ‘retiring’ a lot of those nasty coal-burning power plants and replacing them with nice, clean wind turbines, until they now get 40% of their electricity from wind. Last night, the big windmills got all covered up with ice and stopped turning. The remaining generating capacity wasn’t enough for the load, so it all shut down. You can’t just power part of a city without making a LOT of preparations.

    Today they showed video of drones spraying hot water on windmill blades. They might get one windmill an hour turning that way. They might get half of them going before the ice thaws out on its own.

    Welcome to the Green New Deal!! (SUCKERS!)

    That’s what those ‘Green’ idiots don’t get. Our existing energy supplies are supported by trillions of dollars worth of infrastructure, which didn’t just spring up overnight. Any systems that replace them will also require infrastructure that can’t simply be summoned into existence by government decree. Nor can it be built in a day, or by the government.

    The government almost always spends our money on the wrong things. Government spending is dictated by politics, not engineering or economics. It is rare indeed for the politically correct solution to make any economic or engineering sense. As we are seeing with all those useless frozen windmills.

    Will this debacle ever be reported as a failure of ‘Green Energy’? Of course not. It just means Texas hasn’t gone Green ENOUGH!!
    Governments can’t create prosperity; at best, they can refrain from destroying it.

  31. I have a monocular (mini-telescope) in my BOB. It’s for bird watching!

    For food, I have two types, depending on availability.
    First: fruitcake. High in nutrition, number of servings, no cooking required, and I usually get them donated from other family members.
    Second: peanut butter. Cheap, high nutrition, no cooking. Put the jar of peanut butter in a ziplock bag and add a plastic spoon, you’re set.

  32. Consider finding and including a power supply for critical electrical equipment that has a 12v cigarette lighter plug. I also have TWO adapters that can clip on to a 12v battery and end in a cigarette lighter female port. I use a CPAP machine that fortunately runs on 12v and only needed the plug, and I also dropped a couple of bucks on the same kind of adapter that works for my laptop.

  33. Two more suggestions which weigh almost nothing and take up not much space:
    1. One of those silicone thingys that you use to open jars. I have one in the car so that I can more easily open the cap on the oil tank and the washer reservoir, which the husband always tightens way too much. I could whack the caps with a wrench, but a jar opener is less likely to do collateral damage under the hood.
    2. At the risk of being labeled a domestic terrorist, a bunch of heavy-duty zip ties don’t take up much room and are tremendously useful for all sorts of things including equipment repairs, creating a makeshift handle for something, etc.

  34. A good addition to a car BOB is a large coverall. Dickies would be one of the most recognizable brands. Buy it extra-large on you so it can go on OVER your regular clothes. Nothing like having to change the tire in freezing rain in your good suit because you just left Easter service. It might have other uses, as well.

    As to a first aid kit in your car, I suggest actual trauma items. If you encounter a car wreck, those Cur-ads for a paper cut are unlikely to help much. Just a good compression bandage, some clot powder, and a splint. And a plastic bag you can put over a sucking chest wound. A small water bottle to irrigate wounds. And take a first aid + CPR class.I

    This is good info. Better than on some sites you would think should be knowledgeable.

  35. squat in 10F weather
    I first read that as “ten f*ing degrees”. THEN I read it as “10 degrees Fahrenheit.” Heh.

  36. Get a small camper stove.
    I found one on Amazon called “Stove In A Can” that uses non-toxic solid disks for its fuel. Everything is contained in the can, and the disks can be snuffed (put the lid on the can) and re-used later. It says it’s “not toxic like tablet fuels.”

    And YES to the candles. Make those a part of you car BOB. A good stubby candle will heat your car interior (unless you’re a Suburban Mom, where you might need a campfire) a goodly chunk of the night if you’re stranded there. And the light it provides can be quite cheering in that situation.

    (I’m betting others have made similar suggestions, but I haven’t finished the post, nor started reading comments. I wanted to catch a few things before I forgot.)

  37. Can you do a follow up article for city folks in apartments? Our biggest issue, obviously, will be water. I have ten gallons always at the ready and fill the tub for hurricanes, blackouts and riots. I have an in-the-tub giant bag and some collapsibles. What else do you all recommend? Can’t have a legal gun here, but I do have fire extinguishers and hornet spray and pepper spray.

      1. Welllll, most probably for a big collapse, that would be true.

        But city folks have adapted to some pretty nasty conditions; look up survival in Balkan cities in the 1990s for recent stories. I won’t post links, to avoid moderation, but they’re easy to find. But the Balkans are a pretty small geographic area, even if essentially a whole country. ‘California’ or ‘US East Coast’ are a big increase in scale.

        I do think that works for the young and healthy only, which excludes me on both counts.

      2. Yep.

        Your city dwelling neighbors are barbarians in waiting. Get out if you can. Or prepare a getaway vehicle that can act as a fortress.

    1. How tall is your building? Is it designed for stairs, or are those just ’emergency’ features? Power out, no elevators, no lit stairwells after a while.

      If you might shelter-in-place to endure short-term events as you note, you want the ability to barricade your entrance while you are inside. Plywood, lumber, tools, fasteners. There are ‘door stops’ in gate hardware (Home Depot, Lowes – you’ll be spending some money in such stores …); bolt those into something solid on either side of your door, drop in a 2×4 inside the plywood inside your door.

      If you have light, you probably need heavy window coverings – ‘Look, Henry, third floor, fifth window over – light! I bet they have stuff we need …’ Etekcity has some small battery-powered lights that are good, Costco has some larger ones that can be dimmed.

      Batteries. I’m not big on solar recharging, but maybe your area gets more sun.

      You probably need a stove and fuel. You need a chimney to vent cooking stove fumes/smoke, out a window I’d guess.

      No water means no working plumbing, so buckets and plastic bags for waste. Probably some portable toilet deodorizer, but not too harsh or it might eat the bags.

      No services means no garbage pickup, so heavy-duty trash bags. No garbage pickup means rats, so traps.

      No guns? How about knives? Cold Steel makes a ‘Roman Gladius machete” for not too much $$ – sharp and a nasty point; I got 2 from Walmart on line. Short for tight spaces with little room to swing. The plastic trainers are nearly as good, as short clubs.

      Manual can opener. Manual knife sharpener. Canned food – fresh/frozen will be gone in a couple days in a refrigerator. If you have the water, freeze-dried (e.g. Mountain House) is OK, but sort of expensive for the little bags; #10 cans are more cost effective.

      Guess at a reasonable time extent you think you could tolerate. Say, for example, 14 days.

      You need a gallon of water per day per person. A sturdy 1 or 2 gallon water carrier with good comfortable handles is good. Remember, water is 8 lb/gallon, and carrying that for a distance and up stairs can be a challenge.

      A water purification system – I like Sawyer. Katadyn is also good. Lifestraw is good.

      Stock food in calories per day, not ‘servings’; one estimate is “Calorie needs for adult women range from 1,600 to 2,400 per day. For men, the estimates range from 2,000 to 3,000 per day. Aim for the low end of the range if you are mostly sedentary (little to no activity). If you are more than moderately active, the high end of the range is more reflective of your needs.”

      You may be climbing a lot of stairs; plan for the high end. Work on your legs now, not then.

      Get to know your neighbors! Don’t have to tell them about your preps, but you’ll need to survive next to them. Which are useful, which parasites?

      If you need to go out and gather, even just to a relief point where goobermint is passing out cheese, you need a good carry backpack; plan for ‘ordinary’ camping stuff, too military attracts bad attention (both clothes and gear). Worn-looking surplus should be OK.

      Grim thoughts.

  38. Excellent work, as always. If I may offer just another thought or two – a headlamp, even the cheap ones for less than ten bucks, and extra batteries, allowing you to keep both hands free while using light source…yes, you CAN old a small flashlight in your teeth but the headlamp is better. And a fixed blade knife, with a full tang and a blade length between 3 and 5 inches. The single use light sticks, or lumen sticks, are well worth the small investment also. Thanks for your good work,take care, stay strong and free.

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