*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. http://www.SPYDERCO.com
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 http://www.MAGLITE.com, and http://www.surefire.com
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. http://www.SPORTSMANSGUIDE.com
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.
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 here-www.trailspace.com/gear/review/00002483
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 http://www.rangerjoes.com.
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.
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. http://www.LEHMANS.com 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 gutenberg.org. 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 http://www.APPROVEDGASMASKS.com. 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.