The BOB List — A Guest Post By Doug Irvin

*I want to point out that despite us having been called “the Church of Heinlein” that’s not the Bob. Also, I’m up to my neck in a plot that’s escaped my control, and am probably going to ride it, on tattered fingernails to the finish. I’m okay, my muse is just torturing me.* – SAH.

The BOB List — A Guest Post By Doug Irvin

*Foreword addendum. The date this first appeared, 2/15/2021, my state was hit by crippling harsh weather. Temps dropped well below freezing, the electrical network collapsed as gas pipelines froze over and wind generators iced up. Over a third of the state was without power for a week. Frankly, my precautions failed, and I had to bogey south to a relatives house who had power. You live and learn. – Doug Irvin*

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.

155 thoughts on “The BOB List — A Guest Post By Doug Irvin

  1. On batteries, I’d recommend low self discharge nickel based rechargeable batteries. I use Eneloops myself (Panasonic owns the brand now).

    Basically, they hold charge for years, and I have never once had one rupture in a device, even leaving them forgotten in a set of game pads for something like ten year.

    There’s little worse than discovering your maglit has not just run out of charge, but has also erupted in a fountain of nasty goo that completely ruins it even if you did have fresh batteries.

    Basically, get a few big bricks of AA and AAA eneloops, two or three chargers, and battery cases to keep them corraled when not in use and you’ve got all the batteries you’ll ever need ready at hand.

    They are so convenient.

    1. Be sure you know your product.
      Eneloops are the best rechargeable batteries out there IMO. But.
      The standard ones are rated for 2100 discharge cycles, with 90% charge retention at 6 months and 70% at 5 years.
      The Eneloop Pros have a higher charge density and hold that charge better over long periods but are only rated for 500 discharge cycles.
      Translation: Standard Eneloops in everyday items, Pros are for caches and emergency equipment.

  2. Minimalist BOB list; Except for the maxi pads & the multiple ziplock bags I pretty much always have those items on my person or in my rigs. I also have in every rig a roll of nylon filament tape and/or at least 100 feet of 125 pound test nylon twine.

      1. Sanitary products pull blood out of the wound, into the padding..


        You want blood in the -wound- and -clotted-. Because that leaking red stuff is fatal if not stopped, which is why you must stop it right now. They make stuff that does that. Those things are not sold as feminine hygiene.

        Myth. Far to often repeated. By surprising authors. Myth. Don’t. Nononono.

  3. “…it is almost an impossibility that even soldiers in a combat zone will ever encounter them much less a civilian.”

    Two words, tear gas. You want the full-face respirator for that stuff. Antifa wear them all the time. Also great for pepper spray. Because you never know, right?

    As to the BOB, your points on the Leatherman tool are spot on. I carry one everywhere, it has fixed a lot of broken stuff over the years.

    The other tool I carry, apart from a jackknife is a folding electrician’s screwdriver. Mine is called a 10-Fold by Klein Tools, it has the usual Robertson/Phillips/slotted driver bits plus a couple of TORX sizes and two nut-driver sizes.

    Between duct-tape, the Leatherman and the screwdriver most common issues can be solved long enough to get you by. Throw in a little spool of iron wire and you can do a lot.

    1. Might I also suggest a few hose clamps in assorted sizes? They’re bloody useful.

      Strike anywhere matches aren’t as easy to find as they once were, and they’re not nearly the quality they used to be. But they’re still worth the effort. They can be waterproofed by dipping the heads and the first 1/4” in clear nail polish. Empty prescription bottles are waterproof, and the perfect size to hold them.

      1. You can make hose clamps any size out of iron wire. With a leatherman and a screw driver. ~:D I keep the wire because there’s never a friggin’ hose clamp handy.

        Videos on youtube. There are specialty tools that make it easier, but for emergency/temporary fixes you can get by without the tool. That means you can fix anything from a blown turbo boot to a hole in a coolant hose. (Duct tape, pop can over the tape, two clamps. Ugly but it will get you home.) You can lash timbers together with wire as well, for those things where cord won’t do.

        The nail polish tip for matches is a good one, I’ll try it.

  4. Even pepper spray can get one in trouble with the law in some areas. A plastic spray squeeze bottle, such as a lens cleaner spray bottle refilled with ammonia in it is great for cleaning your glasses and, so far, hasn’t been a problem even boarding airplanes. As is, the mist shoot two or three feet without drilling the nozzle hole a bit bigger.

  5. Sanitary pads aren’t technically sterile. (It’s one of those things that doesn’t get discussed much because folks get squicked out– I think the difference is they’d have to be much better sealed to qualify for that?)

    They are very good options for a big bandage, though!

    We have basically what you list, plus a couple of cans of Progresso ready to eat soup, a light rain-resistant jacket, a fire extinguisher and a full first aid kit in our cars, we call it the Car Wreck Kit.

    1. Quickclot and pressure bandages keep forever, more or less. They’re small and lightweight enough you’ll forget they’re there until they are needed. Sterile gloves are pretty darned useful, too. Not just for first aid.

      There are many good tools for first aid out there that are purpose built for the job. I really wish folks would take the time to get first aid trained, too. The more people trained and capable of dealing with light injuries in the moment the better, in my book.

    2. DO NOT use sanitary pads or Maxi-pads for any first aid type of bleeding.

      This myth has been around forever and can cost lives. They are designed to absorb blood and you don’t want that in a wound situation. The objective is to get the bleeding to stop by clotting and the weave in medical gauze is for that purpose. You want to keep as much of the blood inside as you can. If the blood just gets absorbed and wicked away (as with a sanitary pad) from the wound site – the bleeding will have a hard time stopping. Basic bleeding care has you bandage the wound, put a dressing on it to hold it in place and add more if needed. Duct tape can be your friend!

      The rest of the ideas are very good – just tailor to your needs/environment and training.

        1. Depends – arterial bleed needing a tourniquet, yes.

          Less enthusiasm in exsanguinating often can be handled with a pressure bandage, ‘wrapping it up with considerable firmness’. Repeat layers until it stops or you decide that really did need a tourniquet and do that.

          There are signs and portents to tell you if further intervention is needed – see “How Much Blood Can You Lose Without Severe Side Effects?” at

          1. It is worth the investment to get a first aid kit that has a broad range of supplies. Don’t forget to include thinks like anti-inflammatory medicine (think Advil or other such OTC meds)

            1. There are a lot of situations where you want to tape something over something, and maxipads work for that. Like covering a rash on your back, if the rash isn’t actually bleeding, but you really don’t want it to get uncovered or be accessible to scratching.

              Things can be clean and dry even if not sterile. TP isn’t sterile, but we all get good use out of it.

            2. Add a bottle of super glue too…Nothing beats it for a nasty cut needing just a few stitches…Just clean wound, hold skin tight together until bleeding stops, wipe away excess blood, apply over the area and blow (moisture in breath helps it set up quicker). Hold edges together until glue hardens. Should last a day or two giving time for the wound edges to “stitch together”

              1. Super glue does work – until it doesn’t. That’s about 1% by repute. Again, for planning purposes, save yer pennies and spring for the VetBond, a different formulation that works better on skin, as it is not likely to burn from the chemical reaction and it remains more flexible.

                Standard butterfly bandages, or ZipStitch closures, are better for large-ish wounds presuming always the wound has been cleaned out.

      1. “DO NOT use sanitary pads or Maxi-pads for any first aid type of bleeding.”

        When SHTF, you use what you have, right?

        But this thread is about preparation. There are much better bits of gear to stop bleeding than feminine hygiene products, including simple rolled gauze.

        1. Tampons and pads are so absorbent they make bleeding worse, by actively retarding clotting by removing blood that would otherwise clot in the wound and stop bleeding.


          SHTF does not support “make things worse”. Use or make bandages. Don’t use feminine sanitary products as bandages.

    3. “Sterile” has a lot of testing and regulations attached. Including an expiration date and liability.

      I have a goodly amount of expired medical supplies in my kit. They are no longer certified to be 100% free of all potential pathogens, but they’re magnitudes better than anything I’m likely to find laying around.

    1. In the maxi-Bob kit there is a hand crank radio (crank runs generator, generator charges a battery). Almost all of these today include a USB A charging plug so with the right cables and some (well a lot) of elbow grease you’re good to go to keep phone and other low power devices running. I might add a power brick, a 2500 mAh one is relatively cheap at <$30 and can provide 2-3 charges for a phone (and can also be charged off the crank radio). In the days when I commuted by rail I had one in my bag and it saved me many a time when the train got delayed and I burned through phone charge or my kindle got low. Actually that bag was decent for carrying stuff, a timbuk2 messenger bag, actually decent sized, tough as heck and water proof (Computers don’t like rain and I had a 1/3 mile walk to the office from and to the train in all weather). Oh and something else to add into the mid range, nail clippers. You can do that with a pen knife or the blades from a multi tool, but its clumsy. And honestly for discomfort value a torn nail thats into the nail bed rivals a toothache. And damage there is a real good source of infection (trust me type 2 diabetic, you REALLY keep an eye on the extremities especially toes even if NOT insulin dependent).

  6. I would also encourage people to get a portable car jumper. It needs to be recharged once a month, but otherwise it can stay in the back of your vehicle. Make sure it’s the right size for what you drive.

    The one I have also has outlets for pretty much every type of electrical plug you find in a modern car, including the nearly unique cigarette lighter outlet. As I discovered when my power was out early this year, the battery in the jumper will keep a phone going for a while. The battery isn’t great, since it’s only meant to provide a jump start. But it’s better than nothing.

    1. Those are very useful, especially if they’ve also got a tire pump.

      We’ve got one in the back of our car, and I’ve ended up using several times already to jump people. Way easier than figuring out how to couple two cars in a crowded parking lot.

      1. I’ve had a Clore Jump’N’Carry JNCAIR that’s saved me a couple times, many more saves for others. With a truly dead vehicle battery, I’ve run it alongside a set of jumper cables, if they didn’t have enough oomph to get going in a reasonable time.

  7. If I can dare to risk a book recommendation, “Pulling Through” by Dean Ing is a good primer for surviving in ultimate SHTF situations.

    It’s a novella with several nonfiction articles attached written by someone who actually knows the subject matter. Chilled the heck out of me because it was the novella is set where I live.

    I’ve given friends extra copies I had if they showed any interest in the subject. One copy is next to my BOB.

    He introduced me to the concept of the “staged” BOB. A tool on the keyring or in the wallet or purse was the BOB that helped you get to the BOB in the car that helped you get to the BOB at home that made it easier to get to your refuge (if home wasn’t safe).

    From Wikipedia:

    “Robert A. Heinlein dedicated his 1985 novel The Cat Who Walks Through Walls to Ing and eight of the other members of the Citizens’ Advisory Council on National Space Policy.”

    1. I second “pulling through” . Lots of useful stuff in it.

      But the pet Cheetah was kinda off-putting.

  8. “Pencil and paper. Being able to write a note can be very necessary at times…”

    This was something mentioned by the Apollo 13 crew – they had to scramble (relatively) to find stuff to write on. I suspect “blank notebook” is on a checklist or several now.

    1. I bought a bunch of Rite In The Rain waterproof notepads and stuck them all over the place: glove compartment, tool kit, backpack, etc. That way my writing materials won’t get soggy and useless.

      1. Fisher Space Pens are also quite good. They use a pressurized ink system so it writes in any orientation and can’t dry out, though if you leave it be for long enough, it will develop an ink glob at the tip, that needs to be wiped off.

        Their pens start at $12, but the cartridges fit in anything that takes a Parker Ballpoint cartridge.

        Or if you like fat pens and have naturally oily hands, you can even fit them into a Lamy 2000 Rollerball (the one with the cap) using a Uniball click pen spring at the front, and a cut short eraser as a spacer at the back to position the tip correctly relative to the pen body. That’s getting a bit pricey and fiddly for most people though.

    2. Along with the notepad, some means of attaching a note to a handy tree or post or wall would be good. Again, that tape, or maybe a couple of push-pins.

      I had reason to turn back on a hike; I was last, because I’m slow, and I was out of sight of the rest. No cell-phone coverage of course. I had the pen and paper, but no way to leave a note! Now bright orange paper tape lives in my bag.

      1. No cell-phone coverage of course.

        Which is a thought: if you’re expecting there to be more than one in your bugout party, maybe a cheap set of GMRS walkie-talkies would be a good thing to distribute among the backpacks.

        1. Radios.

          We have those; just didn’t bring them. Don’t know if they would have worked – it was mountainous with bunches of little valleys.

          Our CERT instructors said ‘buy a set whose manufacturer starts with “M” ‘ – Motorola or Midland. GMRS/FRS radios are inexpensive, and if you’re punctilious about FCC licensing, and in ‘normal’ times you should be, one license covers a whole family. Ours are Midlands.

          But that introduces another layer of complexity. First, have to have a battery-recharge plan while not in use. Like recharging the car jump-starter, just need a schedule. Can’t just leave the handsets in the charger – the chargers are ‘dumb’ and will overcharge, damaging the batteries. ‘Smart’ chargers can be constructed.

          Those take AA batteries, as well as their 4-AA-equivalent rechargeable things. The expectation is, for a CERT event, eventually .gov will deliver a pallet of AAs. For bug-out, rechargeable AAs and a solar panel charger make more sense. There are smart chargers for rechargeable AAs.

          And then there’s learning to use the features of the radios; in a bug-out, it’s the wrong time to learn what those icons mean, or how many button presses in what obscure order you need to change channels or do other stuff like go to single-sideband or such.

          And one might want something besides GMRS – those are designed to use only the stubby, non-changeable antennae they are sold with. They’d have better range with better antennae. There’s lots of ham radio hand-helds with more capability, but they require a Technician license, and they do get some attention from the FCC and other ham radio operators. A vehicle convoy would do better with ham radios than with GMRS.

          And that’s just the surface! Real radio people have a lot more to share.

          1. Of course radios are a giant rabbit hole that preppers loooove to dive into. Don’t overthink it. All I meant was that maybe if you’re traveling in a group, especially on foot, and you worry you might get separated out of sight of each other, you’ll probably want to have a non-cell-phone means of communication. Which of course you would set up ahead of time on a shared channel and security code or whatever.

  9. Where I live, even though it’s Texas, I’d need to be able to drive over 100 miles to escape the zombies. And then I’d need to throw myself on the kindness of strangers. Who probably don’t want strangers using up their own family’s limited resources.

    I have a lot of the BOB stuff, just no place to go. And as we don’t really look particularly prepper-like, probably “safe” to shelter in place (security by obscurity?).

    As we’re both over 60, no reason to believe we’d be welcome as refugees anywhere. And we have no desire to buy firearms to kill other people (that’s what that means). Cancer does something to that part of the survival instinct.

    I guess we’re just toast… But maybe not… YMMV…

    No. I mean it. Be sure to take the precautions your wisdom, knowledge, and conscience demand. What I believe is not intended as a direction to those who believe the same or differently. For one thing, you may not be as cripple and anti-social as I am…

    I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? (Psalm 121:1, written by some guy named David, they say.)

    There’s even a musical version:

    1. “And we have no desire to buy firearms to kill other people (that’s what that means)”

      Yes it is, and that’s really important to understand and accept. (At least, in the prepping context that’s the principal meaning – lots of other reasons to have firearms and learn to use them that do not involve interpersonal violence as the likely use-case.)

      One needs serious contemplation on both moral and practical levels; first is ‘can I accept even the idea of killing another person?’, and second is ‘if so, could I bring myself to do it?’. And you need the answers to both of those questions long before the necessity to act.

      My answers? “yes” and “Lord, please don’t let me find out for sure.”

    2. “And we have no desire to buy firearms to kill other people (that’s what that means).”

      No, that is not what that means. I get pretty tired of this. It’s stupid.

      You keep a firearm for those cases where other people are trying to kill YOU. It does not follow that you will use your firearm to try and kill them.

      Self DEFENSE, right? You keep yourself alive. Killing the other guy is not the point and in fact rarely happens.

      Merely having a firearm stops 99% of fights, even fights with drug-addled career goblins from inner-city America. They will run.

      No gun? Then you get to find out why we call them goblins.

      1. That gives 3 answers to answer:

        “Could I pull a gun for self defense?” – Yes.
        “Could I use the gun if I have to, in the limited percentage that pulling the gun they don’t back down and go away?” – Yes.
        “Could I actually shoot?” – “Lord, please don’t let me find out for sure.” quoting JohnS.

        There are a lot of people who the first answer is “No”. Have no other reason to have a firearm. They shouldn’t bother. There are some where the answers are Yes, No, and definitely No. Baring having a firearm for other reason, should these individuals bother having a firearm? That is up to the individual. My opinion? The few percentage where pulling a firearm, unwilling to use it, is putting self and those protecting in extra jeopardy if up against someone calling their bluff, regardless of how low the percentage is. This is where “killed with their own firearm” often comes in.

        “I have a gun.” Is not enough. It needs to be “I have a gun. I will use it. Do not make me.” And mean it.

      2. I hear you. Look up Saint Boniface. I’m nowhere near that holy. I just have similar feelings. And if you are willing to point a gun at someone you don’t intend to make room temperature, you may be surprised unpleasantly.

        1. At the risk of being unpleasant, I must ask: is there some rule that says you have to point your firearm AT somebody while you make up your mind if you should shoot them or not? Generally, I don’t point the loaded gun at the target until I pull the trigger. Generally, I don’t pull the trigger if I have the choice not to. See how that works? So far so good.

          You know, it’s all very well to have these moralistic discussions about the value of human life, but I’d encourage you to have a little look around the interwebz to see for example what the Russians have been doing to civilians in Ukraine the last while, or what the cartel boys are doing this week in Mexico. (Helpful tip, don’t look at the pictures.)

          That’s who we’re talking about here, that guy who did that stuff. He lives in Texas and Canada too. He’s an opportunist, he waits for a nice easy victim. He comes in all shapes and sizes, colours, even genders. Sometimes he works alone, sometimes in groups.

          I’m pretty comfortable saying I’m not going to be a nice easy victim for that guy and his little friends. Your mileage may vary, I suppose, but I encourage you to consider the value of YOUR human life, and your -responsibility- to resist evil.

          1. God bless you. I’m over sixty, crippled by cancer surgeries, overweight, out of shape, and untrained in using firearms in combat.

            I’ll be damned, begging your pardon, if I’m going to build an arsenal for a criminal. Because, unless you’re ready to kill them as soon as you see them, the firearm is a liability and an attractive nuisance.

            I understand what you’re saying. I was a B-52 Defensive Aerial Gunner in the Cold War. I’m a proficient marksman with handguns and rifles. And I would buy something that would “get er done.”

            But I would flip on the light, say “Freeze!” or “Put up your hands!” and in that split-second of hesitation, the evil person with no compunction against killing me would do so and have all my pretty, pretty guns.

            And then they’d use those weapons to hurt others.

            So yes, it is unpleasant; but it’s something I’ve considered. And found myself a poor risk.

            1. “I’m over sixty, crippled by cancer surgeries, overweight, out of shape, and untrained in using firearms in combat.”

              Me too. Mine’s a knee injury, not cancer, lucky me. Plus I live in Canada, where using a firearm for self defense is -illegal-. Being unable to run away from trouble focuses the mind, as it were. I wish I lived in Texas, where the government doesn’t stack the deck in favor of the goblins quite so much.

              And by the way, self defense is not combat in the same way that gardening is not combat. Completely different things. We are not cops, we are not soldiers, we are not hunting zombies in post-apocalypse Raccoon City. We’re old guys, at home because we can’t run.

              “But I would flip on the light, say “Freeze!” or “Put up your hands!” ”

              Why would you do that? You want to give him a sporting chance? Like a fox hunt?

              I’m seeing a pattern here. All the scenarios you’re positing put you as the aggressor “defending your territory” against robbers. Too many movies. If you are screwing around barking verbal orders at an intruder, that is not self defense. That is a Hollywood fantasy.

              Maybe take the notion seriously, eh? This is your life we’re talking about, not a tv show.

          2. Also, as interweb pictures go, if you are, God-forbid, diagnosed with cancer and the doctor says don’t look it up on the internet, follow their advice.

            The things you can find will include a lot of things every bit as distasteful as war.

            1. Mom has had recurring skin cancer that has now occurred 3 times in 3 different places: her leg, scalp, and now right hand. Third time she did an in depth internet dive that freaked her out, a bit (okay, a lot), after she read the biopsy report. Not helped that she tried to push to get a quicker appointment for the surgery. And was pushed back on by the scheduling staff. “The doctor hasn’t even read the report!”, etc., etc., etc. Granted her reasoning wasn’t exactly medical, she was headed to a big (and likely her last) trip to Europe with friends (not one under 78, she’s 87). She was scheduled before she left, but had bandage on her hand (then the stitches caused and infection …). When the doctor saw her hand (VS biopsy PA) he stated, she should have been in earlier. Her response? She tried. She is now on the immediate list for both “Biopsy” and actual “surgery schedule”, “No Waiting”. The cancer is considered “persistent” but as long as it keeps getting removed in a timely manner and not ignored (as if) it is controllable. I forget the name of the cancer. It is a type that typically grows out, looks like a scab. Key is to not ignore it when it occurs. It has been 2 to 3 years between each occurrence.

                1. Thank you. Since dad passed almost 14 years ago, someone checks on her regularly. She keeps busy.

            2. I’m a physical therapist. I’ve seen all that stuff, live and in colour. Cancer, head injuries, gangrene, amputations… Yep. Seen it. No biggie. I just look at the person.

              War is worse. They do it on purpose. I’m not inclined to give them a free one.

  10. One more observation… don’t just buy some stuff and put it in a bag and think you are good. You have to know how to use it and if it will really work the way you think it will. Also, don’t go cheap if you can help it as the better quality baggies (think commercial grade) will hold up better than something off-brand from the dollar store. So – practice with it by having a mock event and actually use the stuff to see if it works and you know how to use it. Try that radio, work with the tools and be sure it lives up to expectations.

    The absolute best advise is to ‘train’ with it… get a first aid class, buy a tourniquet or two and use one to actually practice (wrap it around some pipe, big stick or whatever) as it takes some use to be able to do it effectively. I’ve had a ‘bob’ bag or jump kit for many, many years and it keeps evolving and changing to meet my changing needs too. Ok, I’ll shut up now.

    1. There’s Stop The Bleed classes all over the place, usually free, curriculum it set by the Red Cross IIRC. Mine was taught by a nurse who was tired of people coming in to her ER basically dry. Bought a couple cheap tournequets to practice with, on myself, as I’m going to be the most likely target and want to make sure I’ve the muscle memory to do it to myself, and have a good $25ish range one that I carry with me always, and a couple more in my work bag. More is better, as one may not be enough to stop a bad bleed, or there may be more than one injury that needs one.

      I also rotate though my QuickClot bandages yearly.

      1. “I also rotate though my QuickClot bandages yearly.”

        No technical reason to do that. QuickClot’s important ingredient is kaolin, basically dirt – nothing to expire. Keep the package clean and dry and unopened, good essentially forever.

        But, it’s your $25-$30 per copy, so do as you think best.

        1. It spends a lot of time in my bag, which is either in my car or in my truck, baking in the Florida sunshine. I figure that much time over 130 degrees the packaging will be compromised

  11. Great thread – lines up with what I know or have been musing about. Burning Times and SHTF I know, but what does BOB stand for in this usage?

    1. Bug-Out-Bag, or Bail-Out-Bag. Mine is the tornado bag, because that’s the likeliest thing in terms of “natural disaster” I’m likely to deal with in my current location. Ice storm, blizzard, have to shelter in place because can’t drive. I have a separate bag in the vehicle that I change seasonally (don’t need a snow-pole in summer, for example).

  12. Re: knives/hatchet

    This tool in your vehicle serves as escape/defense/chopping tool rigged in center console reachable be driver or passenger – KA-BAR 200038 BK3 Becker Tac Tool,black; successfully used camping to split small wood, decapitate snake, hammer/saw, quick cut cables/rope; if you’re on foot lashed to pack or belt carry.

    A carry knife, fixed blade, legal length in a concealed but easily accessible sheath may provide additional personal protection, especially in wild or SHTF situations when you run out of ammo or firearm only able to function as club.

    1. For truck carry, a good machete will do a lot for you for little weight and space. You don’t need a hatchet to clear brush- it is usually heavier and with the concomitant fatigue penalty. A decent, cheap machete will do the job just fine. And usually cost less.

      If you want to pile in the best tool for specific jobs you can carry all sorts of stuff. But a machete goes with you pretty easily in the woods if you’ve got to go walkabout.

    2. I have a Dead On Tools “Annihilator” demolition hammer that I carry in my car between the seats. Legal in all states and localities, and I’ve enough additional tools within reach to easily defend its’ presence.

  13. Unless the wounds are surgical, they’re ‘dirty’, so ‘clean’ gloves and non-sterile bandages are fine in the field. Sterile is fine, too, but no need to stress; unless you’ve practiced unwrapping and donning sterile gloves, they’re likely to no longer be sterile by the time you have them on, and of course they’re no longer sterile as soon as you touch something, like a bandage wrapper. Of course, you want to avoid adding junk to a wound; also, that water you carry is good for rinsing out wounds.

    As Dan Lane notes, quikclot and bandages don’t actually expire, despite dates on packages. If the packages are still sealed and clean, and never have been wet, they’re likely to be fine.

    Another tiny-seeming thing – put colored tape strips on the outsides of the ziploc bags in use. If you’re organized that way, get a couple distinct colors for different categories. But you want something to mark an empty bag, so you can pick it up for re-use, and to show that yes, there is another bag in that pile, probably holding what you are looking for. Darn things stick together in piles, and try to vanish when you set them down.

    Also note that a bunch of sandwich and quart bags usually fit in an outer gallon or 2-gallon bag – you get an extra bag or two for little weight, and your antacids don’t hide in the bottom of your carry bag. And the filled larger bags usually do not blow away.

    See also ‘Handbook to practical disaster preparedness for the family’, Arthur Bradley, 2011. It’s an introduction; quite good if you’ve never thought about this stuff before. 3rd edition now on Amazon, I have 2nd.

    1. That reminds me, a tip from my Grandfather about dealing with injuries is, decide early whether or not the patient is going to the emergency room. If you think they are, don’t put anything on that’s going to cause damage taking it off.

      Apparently emergency rooms will remove everything before they get to work. So any topical creams or salves, they will scrape off. If it does not absolutely have to be there to keep them going until the ambulance gets there, don’t put it on.

      1. Yep. Pri-alphas, you’re not concerned about the rash on their leg or the weeping cut on their knuckles. ABCs- Airway, Breathing, Circulation. Keep the airway clear, keep them breathing even if you have to help, and keep the blood on the inside. The ambulance is a LOT more capable than what you’ve got in the field 99% of the time.

        That 1%, they’re probably dead anyway because the services are overwhelmed, don’t exist, or are not coming at all. That’s when you try your damnedest and pray.

    2. Do not use sandwich bags. they are not air tight and may not be water tight either. Use either storage or freezer bags.

      1. I used my vacuum sealer to pack a wool hat, gloves, and neck gaiter as flat as possible to put in my work backpack as part of my EDC kit. Since they were “open in emergency only”, they didn’t need to be resealable.

  14. Footwear is something to keep in mind. Since I deal with tornadoes, having shoes with puncture-resistant soles if I accidentally step on something mean are important. Applies for going cross-country in my part of the world – mesquite thorns are vicious, and some people get a severe allergic reaction to puncture wounds.

  15. Gatorade (and similar sports drinks) are useful mostly to replace lost electrolytes and may be too “strong” for small children; Pedialyte (and similar brands) is an unflavored alternative, especially if you are concerned about artificial dyes.
    Philmont Scout Ranch is currently recommending 1:1 Gatorade & water, as the additives in the drink by itself can be too concentrated for most people. For hydration per se, use plain water.

    1. Pedialyte is also a good resource to have around in SHTF. If you drink bad water and get diarrhea, pedialyte is better than gatorade.

          1. Lifestraws to some means “don’t have to carry water can drink safely out of any water source”. Wags hands. That presumes there is water where you need it. Lifestraws do mean that the water being carried doesn’t have to be purified (whatever method), and don’t have to worry about possibility of contaminating water storage containers. OTOH be aware who is in the party. Infants/toddlers, and pets, won’t be able to use the Lifestraws. Believe it or not, our dog (she is my Service Dog, so probably a lot more paranoid) has annual vaccines because of water and ground born pathogens. Vet has recommended to not allow her to drink out of puddles or other non-moving water sources. Deadly algae blooms is only one problem. Places like Yellowstone, toxic natural contaminates is a huge warning issued by the rangers. Geyser/hot spring Heat isn’t the only killer related to the water in the park.

    2. Per my doctor, and a number of other pros, cut Gatorade 10 water to 1 aid, to render it isotonic (relatively same as your inbards) and easily absorbed. Else your body first has to add water to it to then absorb it.

      Diluted 10 to 1 orange juice works also.

  16. For people who can’t carry big bags, or for cases where you want to be kind of unobtrusive about having survival gear (e.g., plane travel), we use the multi-pocketed vests favored by camera geeks, or something similar. We got ours at Duluth a few years back.
    When I’m on the plane, I have everything I think I will need in those vest pockets, because the attendants frown on you hauling your bags down the emergency slide.
    Plus my money, ID, credit cards, phone, pencil & notebook in one of those small bags that hangs around your neck (even if you aren’t THAT old) because there are two zippered pockets on the sides.
    I wear that cash bag any time I travel, by car or plane, with the vest or not, because things fall out of pants and shirt pockets. It’s bulky when full, but it fits under my top shirt and isn’t too noticeable (an undershirt keeps it from rubbing your tender flesh).
    Which brings up: when you’re on the run, wear as many clothes as you comfortably can to maximize your wardrobe.

    1. “Fishing vest” or ” photographers vest”

      Best ones hide most of the pockets.

      Note: vest of bulging pockets says “stuff to steal”. Don’t overstuff.

  17. Throwing in Vitamin D supplements seems important in case one is stuck underground-out of natural sunlight for an extended period.

  18. I was our LDS Ward Emergency Preparation Specialist a couple of different times in different states, and AesopSpouse and I are long-time Scouters, so I will try and add as many tips as I can from our references.

    As with everything on the internet, trust but verify. There are a lot of myths and out-dated recommendations, and I won’t promise not to inadvertently add to those files.

    An up to date Wilderness Survival book, in addition to your basic First Aid book is a good addition to your library if you think you are going to walk 300 miles across country.
    Based on the decline in encyclopedias and dictionaries, you may want to get a really recent book AND a very old book, and check them both to see which has the better advice, which of course you will do in your copious spare time before the Blow Up happens.

    In the spring of 2020, we started getting really serious about our own storage, but a lot of our stuff is big things needed at home for the Zombie Apocalypse shelter-in-place time, or when the stores are totally empty (it’s estimated that not even the big box stores have more than about 3 days worth of critical goods without resupply trucks – which kind of makes you wonder why TPTB are so intent on crippling the trucking industry).

    We lived along the Gulf Coast of Texas for 20 years before we came up here to Colorado, and missed Snowmageddon (sorry you were there, Doug; AesopSon #5 had just moved back in time to enjoy it with you, and all my family lives in Texas, though none of them are exes).
    The primary rule of Hurricane (or Arctic Blizzard) Preparedness is this: get what you need before the weatherman starts telling you the Category of the coming storm, because everybody else is going to raid the stores before you get there.
    Works for the Zombie Days as well.

    And ROTATE PERISHABLES, preferably but not necessarily before they actually hit their expiration date.
    Most “best by” dates are legal argle-bargle, but there are some items where they Really Mean It, and you don’t want to be stuck with outdated meds or food; as Doug said, make it part of your plan to pull things out regularly and replace them with new stuff (I even do that myself sometimes… when I think about it).
    This may be the single hardest part of keeping the BOB family in line.
    There are lots of posts on the webz that will give you details for different items.

  19. @ JohnS > “Another tiny-seeming thing – put colored tape strips on the outsides of the ziploc bags in use.”

    Excellent advice for identifying categories of stuff, and I will go one step further, which we employ for group travel: use a special-design duck tape (it is NOT authentic duct tape) to mark each person’s personal gear, or maybe to designate which bag or box or wagon the item should be returned to, or even both if you’re really OCD like I am.

    Dollar-and-a-quarter Tree sells really good plastic bags that are larger than 2-gallon (they make sizes L, XL, XXL), and have handles at the top. You can get more expensive brands, but I’ve never had a problem with their quality (pre-Covid), which is unusual for the Dollar brands. Be warned: they sell out quick once the store gets a supply, at least in my vicinity.

    Use those for clothing or large gear that needs to stay dry, or to organize your small bags.

  20. And if you really, really think you will have to walk across country to safety, you can get one of these.

    They work surprisingly well, and are easier to pull than you would think (we did a Mormon Pioneer Trek with our youth in 2019 — good timing).

    You can buy one ready-made, or a supply kit to make your own.
    Fun project for the carpentry-enabled.

    1. A slightly less-capacious option for a cart is a 2-wheeled game cart – Cabela’s, Walmart, lots of places. The 1-wheelers can go more places, but they fall over when you stop.

      But look at pictures of refugees, WWI, WWII, whatever – lots of carts and wagons.

  21. If you live in the middle of nowhere- as I do- you should prep yourself to stay in place. A lot easier. 10 five gallon cans of gasoline and I can run my generator continuously for 5-6 days. In the middle of winter- I can keep my house warm with boiler running and freezer stuff frozen by running it one hour out of 6. Been there, done that already. I’m thinking of installing a second fuel oil tank. I use about 1,000 gallons a year for both heat and hot water- with a full house or people and no skimping on the heat. If I lowered the upstairs to 60 deg (the bedrooms) and the downstairs to 65, It would last a lot longer. Then, of course, I could use the wood stove, with it’s temperature setting of too hot and too cold…

    Have suitable arms. Both long and short range. Both quiet and noisy. And practice with that crossbow. You’re local- you should know where the good concealment spots are. Someone in a group suddenly falls over when no one is looking, and no one hears a “BANG!” the group is going to panic. A semi automatic rifle with an illegal (here) 30 round magazine and the element of surprise, you can pick off more if you fire first. Know your retreat route and secondary and tertiary stand.

    There are a lot of nasty surprises you can rig up in advance and leave in place for literally years. And trigger as needed.

    You probably already have a 30 day or more supply of food in place. City dwellers don’t. If you make a lot of recipes with milk- you will need some of the nasty assed dry milk. Tough to drink and pretend it’s milk, but it works in most recipes.

    If I have to bug out- there isn’t anyplace to go.

    1. Until Dad passed away we planned to bug in. He couldn’t walk far or well and was pretty unsteady.

      Depending on the situation, bugging in is probably the best option for most people. But best to have an alternative, even if it’s just for a wildfire or a tornado tearing through your community.

      1. Stay put works best, provided home is still viable and fairly safe.

        Your bug out plan should have a destination you know, and that knows and expects you. If not, you are probably just another locust to the locals, who may be too busy for “sort em out.”

        Don’t expect welcome or charity from strangers. Be greatful for it, and be charitable yourself, but neither expect nor demand it in SHTF.

        If you check in to government shelter, you will be stripped of anything remotely “weapon”, and anything useful will likely be redistributed/shared. You will not get any of it back. Example: Hurricane Katrina at New Orleans. (If you do get it back, it will be later, probably after litigation, and it will be F-ed up like Hogan’s Goat. So not really.)

        1. “Your bug out plan should have a destination you know, and that knows and expects you. If not, you are probably just another locust to the locals, who may be too busy for “sort em out.””

          That is where we are. Until 2005 (maternal grandparents died), can argue, maybe 2009 (dad died), maybe even now (as mom is still alive). We had a place we could arguably head. Still lots of local paternal cousins of the 2nd to once removed variety, but they really don’t Know Us. Mom’s classmates are all quickly disappearing (I think the annual class reunion covers any class up to 1970, mom is 88 this fall). We see the closest relatives, 1st (none live in the area) – 4th cousins, and everyone in between, annually at the historical graveyard clean up (Saturday the weekend before Memorial Day weekend), and 1st through 5th cousins, at the annual family reunion. The latter if I take mom (did this August, first Sunday in August). But keep in mind, every year, the introductions are “Hi. I’m D. I am Grandma A’s 3rd oldest grandchild, J, her second oldest son’s oldest.” Everyone Knows of grandma A whether they were born before she died in ’87 or not, the older surviving cousins remember J (died 2009). If not it is which family line Jesse, Charles, or Lindsey, Applegate (August gathering). Or which of Jesse’s children or grandchildren line (May gathering). It is 40 miles to this location.

          The other location that is possible, is heading to maternal aunt and uncle’s (they are 85 and 88) ranch in eastern Oregon. Their daughter also lives in the nearest town, and they would head there too. About 15 miles for them. For us? 350 miles, through the Cascades. A lot of choke points, but reachable with one tank of fuel, with our vehicles. Cousin will inherit ranch (she is 61, her husband is 65). Their children would head there too, his are spread wide and far. Hers have the same mountains to travel.

          A third location is sister’s place. They have 5, under utilized acres, east of Vancouver Washington. Regardless of the mileage, it requires getting through Portland via 205 over the Columbia. SHTF, not really an option, whether on foot or via vehicle.

          Conclusion. At this point if SHTF. Stay put.

          1. There are ways around the Portland metroplex and across the Columbia, you just might have to drive way out of your way. In an SHTF situation you probably want to avoid all the freeways anyway.

            Specifically, there are bridges at Longview on the west, and Bonneville Dam, Cascade Locks, Hood River, and The Dalles on the east. If you check directions in Google Maps, you can click “Options” and then check boxes for “Avoid Highways”, “Avoid Tolls”, and “Avoid Ferries”. And then you can click and drag on the route to find alternate routes.

            1. Yes. Know about the Longview/Rainer Bridge, and the Hwy 30/Portland bypass route, through northern coast range route. We lived in Longview. Been almost 40 years since we’ve driven it, but know of it. While sis is outside of Vancouver, and Portland. Their property isn’t that far out.

  22. I have a sleeping bag, pup tent and BOB that are always in the trunk of my car. When I faced the possibility of living in my car for an extended period of time I added a water bucket and a hygiene bucket.

    The water bucket holds filters and other water stuff. The hygiene bucket holds compressed TP and toilet enzymes.

    1. Second the suggestion of the toilet bucket. We use them for glamping in huts where the communal facilities were too far to walk to at night. There were good choices at REI and Cabela’s pre-Covid.
      You can also get plastic “urinal sacks” for one-time use; handy to have in the car if you are stuck in evacuation traffic.

  23. The WuFlu thing made me recognize just what bad physical shape I’d allowed myself to get into. Number two son pushed me hard to get into the gym and it’s made a big difference. Still, in case of a real SHTF moment one has to realize that one might be carrying that BOB on your back. Enter the sport of rucking, which is simply taking a walk with a rucksack on your back. Start low weight and get it up to about 20% of your body weight. I’ve been lazy recently because the weather has been atrocious, but once or twice a week doing about 3 miles will make a big difference. Bets thing, up you use up jogging calories but only put walking weight on your knees, which is great is your pushing 60 like me.

      1. Go for it. Rucking is great because you just take a walk, very low impact. I’ve been doing weights and lots of cardio including something called heavy hands. Really smokes the shoulders that does, when done properly. Trouble is that it looks like Russel Simonds and most men won’t do it. thankfully, I have no shame.

        I’m also taking a stroll with the wife of an evening. She already has one fake knee and the arthritis isn’t being kind to her so we’re trying to keep what mobility we can.

        I’m down 40 lbs, which leaves another 40, but my endurance is good and my body shape is changing. I feel better than I have in years, which is bleeding into my mood, which is improving despite the times we live in. I had put on about 80 lbs when I quit smoking and I’m trying to get back to a good weight for my size and build.

        If this goes on, I’ll be back in my good suits and I used to be very dapper in a rugby forward sort of way.

      2. Never too late to increase exercise.

        Well almost never….

        This is one case where almost any non-harmful activity will pay big dividends. Even if just improving mood and basic tone.

        Plus, one may find new fun.

    1. This. 1000X this. And here is why.
      Some of the comments here disturb me. The talk is for a Bug Out Bag, not a glamping trip.
      If you are bugging out, you are heading for a preplanned and prepared location. If not, you are planning to become a refugee.
      Rucking, and then actually hiking with your BOB loadout, will teach you what absolutely needs to be in the bag and what doesn’t, as well as what equipment actually works in the field and what just looks good in an internet picture. Ounces are pounds and pounds are pain. You only need what you absolutely need to traverse a set distance over a period not to exceed 72 hours. If 72 hours doesn’t get you where you need to be, then you need to be heading for a string of caches that have resupply of food and other consumables like baby wipes, underwear and socks, etc. You don’t need a tent or a sleeping bag, you need a lightweight but waterproof tarp and extra clothing layers, or maybe just a high quality poncho and liner. Trying to carry an entire “survive indefinitely in the woods” kit on your back is for professionals not amateurs, and the professionals will learn enough bushcraft skills that they can whittle down the equipment list to something that’s reasonable to carry.
      If you need a cart you are doing it wrong.
      Bicycles will funnel you into limited options for paths, which will be the places that people will be looking for people like you. You don’t want to be that predictable. Either things are good enough you can drive, or bad enough you need to walk.
      Lightweight and mobile with preplanned routes, objectives, and resupply is the way.

  24. Our BOB is mostly kept at home. But when we travel we carry the BOB. We have backpacked, so we have the small tents (multiple), water filters, two liter water bottles (multiple), etc.

    I agree with the weight limits that is recommended for women. Backpacking my dry weight (not food, no water) is at 20#s. That includes a light weight older outer frame backpack. (Thought I wanted a “new modern” one. Until I weighed mine and checked out the weights on newer ones. Mine is over 1/2 the weight of new modern backpacks. When the household is purging older equipment for newer lighter, read expensive, titanium, and decreasing by ounces, I passed.) Adding food, for a week, and two liter water bottles full, the weight pushes to 30# – 35#’s.

    First aid kits. One warning. Self stick bandages loose the ability to stick overtime. Especially when kept stored in a vehicle. We learned that a couple of years ago. Ditto for the first aid tape. Have and carry what is called Vet Wrap. Unlike duck tape, vet wrap can be removed and reapplied more than once. Luckily when hubby needed first aid, we had the bandages, that weren’t sticking good at all, but the vacationing nurses, who helped, had vet wrap to hold them. (Note, bleeding scrapes and road rash, made worse because of medication. Looked worse than it was. But still bleeding needed to be controlled.) Now we restock from fresh supplies before each trip.

    Wagons. The now available collapsible sports wagons would be a good alternatives. Good base structure. Designed to go over uneven ground with the big tires and axles, good heavy canvas construction, likely to be lighter than other heavy duty wagons.

    Our problem is that we also have no where to go. Not anymore. Our son would be welcome anywhere. He has the skills. He has the work ethic. But not only are we in the 60+ club, some of us are in the 70+, and almost 90, clubs. Then too are the 4 legged fur companions. Not leaving them behind.

    1. I’ve used a lot of twenty-year-old Band-Aids, and never had they lost their stickum. But this may not be true for all bandages.

      That said, an awful lot of people will go with a clean towel/paper towels plus Scotch tape/duct tape. (Restaurant kitchen first aid, for instance. Also, a lot of people will bandage a hand wound by paper towels plus those disposable plastic gloves, because a plastic glove keeps a bandage/paper towel secured and dry.)

      Plastic gloves have a lot of uses. Baby bottle top in emergencies. Doll made out of ice/water. All sorts of stuff.

      1. Of course, what a lot of people are assuming is, “I will be able to clean out the wound later, and I will be able to get to an ER or urgent care if it turns out to be serious.”

        Which wouldn’t necessarily be true in a total bugout-type emergency.

      2. Um. The ones in the kit might have been older than 20 years. Cloth flex bandages, typically NOT found in prebuilt kits, worked a lot better. Not that they “didn’t stick”. Just they didn’t adhere very long. Have also ran into the warning after we discovered it on our own. Oh, well. Just meant more frequent and easier bandage changes. Not a bad thing with what amounts to thin old person skin. If I get cheap bandages, he ends up with a rash from the bandage adhesive, which hurts, along with whatever original reason for needing the bandage in the first place. Comes under “can’t win”.

  25. @ Lauren > “even if it’s just for a wildfire or a tornado tearing through your community.”

    The people in this part of Colorado learned that the hard way last winter.
    Less than 2 hours from discovery to mass evacuation, 15-30 minutes notice for some, less for others.

    They aren’t the first, or the last, just the most recent in our vicinity with an impact on people we know. Our son in Utah had to evacuate on short notice that same fall, but fortunately the fire was stopped before it got to his house.

    The people in the Twister Belt know it’s only a matter of time before it’s Their Turn. As a child, I spent many nights in our neighbor’s cellar or at the closest church to our house that had a basement. We never got a touch-down in our neighborhood, but it wasn’t because the tornadoes didn’t try.

  26. OH! Don’t forget mustard packets! Because mustard really is good for burns. I’m a believer now. (Takes the heat out of the burn almost instantly, probably because of vinegar. Mayonnaise allegedly also works, but I haven’t tried it.)

    Burns should be fairly minor ones, not breaking the skin. Run cold water on it first, duh. Put on the mustard, and then wrap it in foil if you’ve got any. Unwrap and wash off mustard in about an hour. It is like magic.

  27. If it ain’t been said already, if you’re serious about this you might want to think about packing and staging when you assemble your BOB/disaster supplies. Plan it out.

    What goes into the bag first comes out last. That means what goes into the bag first better be the stuff that won’t save your butt in a real deal emergency. Clothes. Food. The situations where lack of those things would kill you take longer to creep up on you. There will be time to get them.

    Top of the pile should be ammo/defense tools followed by first aid supplies. Why defense first? Because that’s what will kill you and yours first. Of course you should have your defense tools actually on your body primarily. These are the secondary tools for when the fight/ambush/chase is on and you really need it.

    The same applies to first aid. For obvious reasons.

    Rule one is always secure your own oxygen mask first. Look after yourself, stay alive and healthy, look after your own. Acquire training. Practice. You may never “need” it as in civilization collapses under the zombie apocalypse.

    But fire/flood/tornado/hurricane happens. Power might go out for a week or two. Stuff happens. If you’re prepared for worse than what hits you, you’re immediately better off than someone who gets caught blindsided by adversity. Be prepared. Be adaptable. Your lives are precious. Don’t waste them.

  28. For the Advanced BOB, some things to consider (in no particular order)-
    *Gun KISS-With few exceptions as you can, stick to the same kinds of weapons and stay in NATO-standard in the US. Worse case, most military and police units are going to have 9mm, 5.56mm and 7.62 mm, and if you need to do a moonlight requisition, you have that option. Stick to the AR platform for your rifles (commonality of magazines, parts, and ammo). And, have a cleaning kit.
    *If you can pick up the older Boy Scout books that have the actual, useful, helpful information on how to do a lot of things, do it. Same thing with first aid and basic shelter creation. Doesn’t hurt to have some options.
    *Entertainment. At the very least, pack at least two decks of cards. Books, too-pick up larger print copies if you can (easier to read in bad light). Don’t forget books for the kids as well, because having something to read to them is good when you’re done with the day and you need to settle them down.
    *Trade goods. You can pick up the small sampler bottles of various hard alcohol at most stores. Get a sealed pack of underwear (men’s and women’s) and socks in the spread of sizes (small to extra-large). You’d be amazed how quickly you can sell off clean underwear and socks. This is for the circumstances when you need to buy something, and money doesn’t work. (And, if you need it, you have clean underwear and socks and something to drink when you need some liquid anesthetic.)
    *Bicycle. Bikes are important for any larger groups, because it allows for fast scouting and mobility as needed. Spare tires are nice but have at least three spare tubes and a good hand pump for each bike. And repair tools. Unless you have to, minimum loading on the bikes so that in worst-case circumstances, you lose very little if you have to abandon it.
    *Assorted things. If each cart doesn’t have a spare proper can opener, spare fire-starting kit (even if it’s just matches, some sealed-up tinder to start a fire, etc, etc, etc), a flashlight, and a first-aid kit, get one.

    For a cart, I’ve been using this around the house (Gorilla Cart) and it’s been pretty decent. Big enough to carry a decently sized dog around in most circumstances.

    Think logistics whenever possible. Unless you have to, your flashlights and such should use classic batteries (i.e. AAA, AA, B, C, D, etc, etc). Easier to find those than some exotic battery for your lovely tactical flashlight.

    1. There are ‘cap flashlights’ for 9 Volt batteries (what do you do with the old ones from the smoke detectors?). They’re not great, but they are something, and the batteries, having served their time in the smoke detectors, are “free.”

  29. “Mr. Jefferson, nowhere do you mention deep sea fishing rights.” – “1776”

    Or P-38 can openers.
    Buy a lot, learn to use them, and scatter them around your BOBs.
    Much smaller and lighter than the rotary kind.
    And then, when you encounter a can of food begging to be eaten, Bob’s your uncle!

      1. The P-51 or P-38 lives nicely on your Keychain. A multitool will not. Also, some places prohibit multitools as “knives”. ( hospitals, airport sterile areas, government buildings, etc)

        1. If those places are not running walk-through metal detectors with armed staff, they’re just kidding.

          Polite people will not go in. Impolite people cannot be stopped without the armed staff opposing them.

          (Worked ‘security’ for 15 summers at a concert venue in CA.)

  30. A word on face masks/painter’s masks with replaceable Filters:
    Get the organic filters, and depending on brand, an over filter for dust. Organic charcoal filters handle a lot of fumes, and you can extend the life if it is the kind with an dust filter over the canister. Do Not Open The Filters Until you are going to wear it, or know you will need to replace the filters often.
    Know how to get a good seal. You’d be surprised at how tight you think you have it and acid fumes sneak in anyhow.
    Clean the mask after every time you wear it. Have isopropyl wipes, or Hydrogen Peroxide wipes, to clean the mask, then put it back in its bag.
    If you’ve gone through something noxious and the mask is now able to come off, wash the outside before removing it, and be careful to keep the bad stuff from getting in where your face will be.
    If you’ve had to pop the thing on for a short time, and the filters are new, you can extend the filter life, but sealing them with tape. Again, make sure the nasty stuff is off, if using an added outer dust filter, get those off, then seal the outer portion of the filter, hopefully sealing in any loose bits you might want to keep from breathing. ( I used to play 1,2,3,4-Butanetetracarboxylic acid and Sodium Monochloroacetate) then a quick wipe/rinse, then remove the mask (yes, you will be unable to breath for a few moments when you seal off the filter), remove the filter and seal the outlet side with tape. My 3M is easy to do this to, it has built in dust filters though, so the nasty might still be reacting with your charcoal filter after sealing it, the North was a bit harder, took more tape to seal, but you could rinse and remove the dust filters, carefully remove the mask then deal with the filters, the old MSA was hardest to seal (3″ round screw in filters) so I usually trashed the dust pads, and sealed the face with a rubber band and plastic wrap, then sealed the filters in ziplocks.

  31. Novice mistake: geardo. Buying survival, versus learning it.

    Do you, right now, have -two- pair of “walk all day, rough terrain” boots or shoes, well fitting, broken in, and non blistering? -good- ones.

    Your feet will save your ass. They get the priority. Footwear first, don’t scrimp, maintain them with lots of remaining life. At least have two pair of good -something- that facilitate a very long walk. Two, because you rotate the pairs daily.

    Socks are essential parts of “good footgear”.

    Get skills before you stockpile. If you don’t have good instruction on use of a thing, probably not worth buying a whole bunch of it, yet.

    Start small. Pack light. Ounces are pounds. Pounds are pain. Novices badly overpack, and an emergency is not the time to overload yourself.

    0Learn first aid from a credible trainer, and only then buy the stuff beyond band-aids.

    Learn how to hike/backpack, from credible trainers, then go buy the good ruck you now know how to fit/pack/-balance-. (Yes, rucking is skills, plural)

    Learn. Practice. Or all that prep is just ballast or someone else’s loot.

    I use a small nondescript ruck every day. Despite some serious health issues, I can still confidently walk miles with that ruck and with others. Because I do it.

    The confidence of learning and practice will get you through rough stuff that a bag full of novel talismans will not.

    Or, having bought a kit or a list, now go learn how to use it all, and practice.

    Because knowing you can, beats frell out of hoping you can.

    1. Absolutely, “Take care of your feet, and they will take care of you”. When I did my cross-country trip, I had only one pair of sturdy, well fitting hiking shoes. I would stop every three hours or so, take both shoes and socks off, and let them air/dry out for ten minutes. And change socks daily. 3 months, no foot problems at all.

    2. Also practice walking.

      A pedometer (or something more fancy) may help here. Spend a few days with it, checking off (so you get an idea how the steps are accumulated) but not trying to increase it.

      Then build up in units of 500 more steps per day, over at least a week.

      And make sure you eat enough protein to build muscle.

      1. Incidentally, once I was up to 14000 steps a day, I found I could basically walk as far as I liked with maybe some twinges, but nothing like the pain of increasing too much under it.

        Also, after long walks, make sure you move about when stiff, to loosen up. At least every half hour.

  32. “Money. A spare $100.00 is a very good idea.”

    Slightly worn bills. Not to the point where they’re falling apart, but enough that they’ve obviously seen some use. Crisp new bills could make it look like you’ve got a stash of money hidden away somewhere.

    1. Money clip for the ready/working cash.

      I put my weekly budget/ allowance for impulse/fun spend in a simple folded-metal shiny money clip. When empty, no more spend. Works.

      You might prefer non-shiny for more discretion.

      Plus. It is a droppable/ throwdown diversion if some freelance collectivist tries to rob me. No ID or cards to worry about. No hesitation, I already wrote it off. And am already on “flee” or “fight” when the dufus is possibly on “Oooh!”.

      If such diversion is your plan, practice throwing, tossing, and dropping it, so it always goes where you want. Their eyes may just follow it, and buy you a 1/2 second or three. Or not. They may be practiced enough to watch you instead.

      Note: experienced muggers know that “second stash” trick too. Be prepared mentally for “gimmie the rest!”.

        1. Mom got mugged, sort of.

          Thug demanded purse.
          Mom dropped purse ar his feet.
          Thug bent over to grab.

          Mom brained him with her cane.
          Until it broke and so was he. She stopped when he stopped, then she hobbled away.

          Go mom.

    2. And at least part of it small bills. If you need a water bottle and all you have is a 20, the price has just gone up.

  33. @ junior > “Crisp new bills could make it look like you’ve got a stash of money hidden away somewhere.”
    Don’t stock bills so worn they won’t be accepted at any potentially working vending machines.

    Pro tip from the mission field: when assigned to countries whose grasp of law-and-order is somewhat tenuous (or to cities in the USA ditto), missionaries whose uniform of suit and tie makes them appear prosperous (they are dirt poor, on very restricted allowances issued monthly) are advised to have one wallet in an obvious pocket with a few small bills of the local currency to give to the inevitable mugger, and a second wallet in a less conspicuous location with a slightly larger cache and ID papers if they have to carry them.
    One of our sons was mugged 3 times in Brazil, twice in cafes among witnesses; only once by armed thugs.
    We didn’t know this until after he got home!

    1. Cousins (they are only a couple years apart in age) were on a tour trip, without parents, in southern Mexico, central America, somewhere. They were told the wallet with a little local currency, and a “throw away” credit card, with a very tiny limit. When/if stolen, if used, and parents hadn’t been notified, it was a red flag. Their group wasn’t mugged. So, don’t know if good advice or not.

  34. RE: water filters

    Sawyer makes a fantastic filter. It’s relatively inexpensive, reasonably rugged, compact, lightweight, easy to use, and fast, which means every member of your party can carry one.

    It does have two weaknesses:
    1. You do have to attach one end to a container holding the water you’re trying to filter, but the company also sells water bladders of various sizes (and when you buy the filter it often comes with one or two). and the filter will also screw on to any standard disposable plastic bottle opening.

    If you have water in it and it freezes, it’s broken. You can solve for this by keeping it in places that are kept warm by body heat, but it is something you have to keep an eye on in colder climes.

  35. Plan: Bug Out, from work to home. Probably your most likely Bug Out.

    Can you walk it? If not, what is your plan?

    Do you have what you need to get home?

    Have you tried it?

    Does your plan work year round? Bad weather?

    If stuck at work for three days, what is plan?

    1. Commonly requires ‘stuff’ in a GHB – Get Home Bag.

      Slightly different contents from a BOB, mostly driven by expected short duration of need.

      Paper map with routes noted, water and water bottle, good walking shoes are typical primary items.

    2. All the EDC stuff I kept in my work laptop backpack was geared toward walking ten miles home after a disaster … in the winter, during a snowstorm, at night. Thus wool hat, wool socks, gloves, neck gaiter, beef jerky and protein bars, water, multitool, folding knife with glass breaker, Lifestraw, goggles, N95 mask, space blanket, bivvy bag, micro first aid kit. My standard jacket was a heavy wool sport coat that I already knew would keep me warm in the pouring rain. I knew the basic route intimately from having driven it a thousand times, and since I would have to cross a river I made sure I had personally scoped out all the alternate bridges.

      A co-worker who lived way out in the suburbs had a much more extensive get home bag, plus hidden caches along the way.

      Now that I’m not working downtown, my big box of stuff in my truck has a lot of the same things, although I need to put together a portable breakdown bag.

  36. On personal protection: There are still a few states where both concealed carry, and chemical deterrents (pepperspray/mace) are not allowed by the Overlords and Dimwits. Then you need to be creative, and alert.

    1. A sturdy wooden cane can go almost anywhere. Learn to fight with one.

      So can a sturdy pen and pencil set.

  37. Lots of good ideas here, including in the comments.
    You want lifeboat rations in a BOB because they hold up under all weather conditions, including high heat, which is to be expected in the trunk of a car in summer. Most other things out there, including and especially MREs, do not last long in high heat. They need to be replaced about every 5 years or so but that’s just a note on your calendar.
    The gear is nice, but don’t equip a bag and throw it in the trunk or closet and forget about it. You need to get out and learn to use it.
    Don’t forget, where are you BOBing to? You have a plan, right? For a safe place with like minded people you can get to, on foot, in 72 hours or less? Or a cache to get you farther than that? A BOB is a 72 hour survival kit, meant to get you SOMEWHERE. That somewhere needs to be planned and prepared in advance.

    1. Just make sure you’re practicing correct procedures. My high school band teacher used to say “Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent”.

  38. Something that just occurred to me, that fits in with this topic. Does anyone know of a good “bite” adapter for a 1″ diameter tac light? I’ve seen ones for the old AA MagLites, but not for the newer “Three AAA in an adapter” lights. I know my CAD skills are not up to designing one for my 3D printer, but if someone else can make the files I’d be happy to print some up for people.

    Just not nuts about holding a metal light bare in my teeth, especially if I don’t know when I’m going to be able to get to a dentist.

    1. Locate a bicycle inner tube of smaller diameter than your light. Cut across to make fat rubber bands. Pull one or more over the light. You have a bite guard.

      Also for tool handles, etc.

      The tube bands are sometimes called “Ranger bands”, and can be used to secure loose straps, tabs, cords, etc on web gear and packs. Lots of uses. And tubes are fairly cheap, even free if one has a bike or biking buddy. One tube makes a bunch of bands.

  39. @ lazuhrus – Save your teeth – get a headlight (flashlight integrally contained in a headband or hat.) They have downsides, but leaves both hands free to work and mouth available for shouting warnings or instructions.

    I picked this link at random because it was directed specifically at kids – which has the advantage of you being able to see them in the dark on the trail.
    No recommendations implied; there are lots of sources for this gear.

    1. I have several headbands, and do indeed use them, but I don’t carry them all the time. The tac-light goes on with my belt, along with the Leatherman. If I could pop a couple caps in around the rest of the bags I have nearby all the time, they’d take up less space than the aforementioned headband, as well as having guaranteed fresh batteries as I swap ’em weekly.

      1. I use a small rechargeable Streamlight product (model 66608) as my EDC flashlight. Clipped in the corner of a front pants pocket, I forget it’s there until I need it.
        It has a genius clip that can be used forwards or backwards, meaning it clips onto your pocket but also can clip onto a hat bill in reverse to be used as a headlamp. It’s also small and light enough to be easily held in the mouth if necessary, and putting a rubber band around it for this purpose would work even better.
        It’s made out of durable aluminum with a multifunction tailcap switch, and it is USB rechargeable so I can keep it going with a small folding solar panel that’s in my BOB.

        1. I’ve a couple Streamlights for when I need sound and fury more than light, and have an OLight with a similar pocket/ball cap clip that lives in the kitchen next to the stove, I love their magnetic charger system. My EDC light is a ten year old 200 lumen 3-AAA Maglite, that just won’t die no matter the abuse I’ve given it. The reason I asked about the bite cap was that end caps for the old AA mini Maglites are still available, and I was kinda hoping some bright person had been hit by a clue-bat and updated it.

  40. h/t lazuhrus – I hadn’t thought of enlisting our son with the 3D printer in the design process for BOB gear. If you have a printer, obviously you want a stash of the raw materials.

    Does anyone have links to people who have published patterns for useful things not readily available in the stores or needing custom dimensions?

    Reddit, of course, has a channel for emergency prep.

    One good suggestion is to stockpile recipes for replacement parts (I would add making a few test pieces before they are needed).

    Scroll on down a bit and there are several useful suggestions for a Get Home Bag.
    Sadly, GHB is not as pronounceable as BOB (Bug Out Bag). And what would be the best acronym for a Shelter in Place aka Stay at Home bag or kit?
    I’m also happy with ZAK (Zombie Apocalypse Kit).

  41. Great advice here, both in the article and in the comments.
    The comment I am compelled to respond to, however, is the one about gun use and self-defense.
    I grew up in SoCal, in a deep-blue Cal Teachers Assoc household. When I moved to Cajun Louisiana to work oil in my 20s, I was officially advised that I was expected to deal with peoblems myself, and that tge cops would then come to do the paperwork.
    This caused me several months of soul searching, abd I finally concluded that if all I did in my life was to support myself through work and commit no crimes, that my life was of greater value to society than was the life of someone who would come and crimially do violence to me, and that it would be right and proper for me to stop such an attack by such means as were necessary.
    I considered, but as yet have made a decision on whether I had a duty to stop an attacker now to prevent him from attacking others in the future.
    I tgen bought a handgun and learned to use it, and enjoy training with it. YMMV.
    John in Indy

  42. Also found this video by Mike in the Woods > tick remover with long handle for first aid bag; emergency whistle sized for your Altoids or other tin; survival snap cards – fishing hooks, “flat” cutlery*, “arrowheads” – for back-up of the back-up; figure 4 deadfall trap – 3 pieces ready-notched so you don’t have to depend on finding & cutting suitable “found” wood; modular sling bow – see his post for a link to that and other videos.
    Related ones will also start showing up in your “recommended” sidebar.

    *one of the bug-out redditors cautioned against using 3D cutlery for more than one meal because of potential bacteria buildup in the plastic, which is not as durable as commercial products

    1. I’ve actually made some “use once” tools for the bicycles, as they’re light and if I lose ’em, so what I just print some more. Extra wrenches ( I do carry some metal ones, but sometimes you need two) chain guides, holders for splitting a chain, etc. Made some light posts and mirror mounts as well that way.

  43. }}} Money is a good idea, but it only works in a civilized paradigm.

    Gold Chain. You can probably find some ugly-assed gold chain from a pawn shop at a small markup from gold weight, esp. if you let the pawn shop know what you want and wait for them to have some customer come in with it.

    It’s jewelry, so even if the government gets confiscatory with gold as they were at one point, it’ll probably be ok to keep it.
    It’s chain, so it’s easily broken up depending on the amount of value agreed upon for transfer.
    It’s gold, so even in a less-civilized environment, it should retain substantial utility as a money-like resource.

  44. For flashlights, try Amazon, “Tactical Flashlights”. They are “tactical”, in that you can temp-blind someone by turning it on into their eyes when already low-light-adjusted. No perm damage but it does give you a few moments of bonus action in a confrontation.

    Here’s one:

    They are heavy enough to hold in your hand when punching and get some benefit, also use both 18650 rechargeables as well as AAAs in a holder. Others may use AAs straight-up. Note that you can/should add a small hand-crank pocket generator to a BOB, they can be had for <20. If you don’t know, 18650s are the standard package for recharge batteries. Many devices actually have packs of 18650s to do “bigger” jobs, such as jump starting a car. you know of AAA, AA, C, etc? If you were looking for a modern “B” battery, that’s what an 18650 is the equivalent of… a size between AA and C.

  45. }}} 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.

    You may well be best off getting a set of suitable hiker’s packs, rather than standard backpacks. These are generally designed with a waist-band, which helps shift much of the weight onto your hips. You will greatly appreciate this benefit, when you’re walking long distances under a load. The human back is not designed for a pack animal, and is very subject to strains and those can be the #3 pain humans generally indure, after Labor pains and passing a kidney stone.

    With luck, you’ll never need them, but if you do need them, you will be grateful you made the effort.

    Also, you want some clear film — some type of glad wrap — clear, not “waxy paper” colored. You can make any number of needful “glass” containers for the purpose of distillation if you find a temp or perm stopping place. Baggies can do this, too, but film is lightweight and worth the effort. There is a size of baggie available, often, at dollar stores, which is “Jumbo”, or larger than a gallon. Also recommended. And some thin tubing of various sizes, because, when your filters are fouled from use and your bleach has run out, you can make a still (if you don’t know how a still works, look up the design and commit enough to memory that you can make a basic one — they could make them at least by 1650, so the design is not overly complicated in principle). Better to get solvent-resistant tubing and perhaps some equivalent plastic, as another use would be to distill good fuel from contaminated or otherwise problem fuels

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