First of all, (and most importantly) Happy Easter, y’all! HE is Risen!
Second, I know it’s been a long time since I posted. . .but I’m going to make an effort to start posting more often.
And now to the actual post: I wanted to revisit probably the all time most discussed prepper item: Bugout Bags. Specifically, I wanted to discuss a few things that I don’t see often addressed. First, let’s talk about what motivated me to write this post.
In my prepping I learned that using the Plan, Execute, and Assess model works great. What I do is figure out what I need (Assess), then decide how to mitigate that need (Plan), and then I take the measures actually take care of the need (Execute). Then the cycle starts all over again. There are of course, many factors at play (usually, “Can I afford this right now?” being the primary consideration), but this basic model is very handy. What I tend to do is address a need, then move on to the next one, and when time and finances permit I eventually come back to the original need in order to maintain or upgrade.
That’s where I am with my Bugout Bag. At present, I’m using a very lightweight civilian Granite Gear “Crown2” 60. I really do love this pack: it’s light, it’s durable, and I can carry a lot of gear in it. However, there’s one thing I can’t do with it: by design, it’s essentially a big sack with only a few outer pockets which translates to me not being able to organize things in what I deem to be an efficient manner. Also, it’s a top-loader. What that means is that I have to put different items into dry bags to separate them, then pull everything out to get to whatever is in the dry bag on the bottom. So while I’ll keep the Crown2 because it’s great for leisurely hiking, I’m going to go another route for a BOB. Thus, I’m again going through the cycle: I assessed that I didn’t like my present setup and now I’m planning how I’m going to fix that. Execution, the purchase of the new pack and transferring gear to it, is the next step. Then I’ll assess everything again.
In my search for a new pack for the BoB I’ve pretty much decided on the Eberlestock HalfTrack. Yes, I know it’s almost three times the weight of the Crown2 and has less capacity, but in my opinion the ability to manage the contents more effectively is worth the extra weight. None of that is really the point here. What matters to this post is that I spent a great deal of time researching my options and watching YouTube reviews of the various backpacks that I had come down to as finalists. While watching those reviews, two things started really standing out to me.
First, I saw a lot videos of bag layouts showing an absolutely enormous amount of gear. I get that as preppers we consider redundancy and ruggedness as major concerns. But do you really need six knives/hatchets/machetes in your bag? Do you really need eight different flashlights/headlamps/lanterns, along with spare batteries for each of them? Do you need enough medical supplies to conduct open heart surgery? And almost none of these layouts had any ammunition included in them. Seriously folks, weight is a factor and you have to factor in everything you plan on carrying, which includes ammo and water. Also, it doesn’t matter if you can put on your BOB and carry it across the living room…can you carry it ten or twelve miles a day for three or four days?
This brings me to the second thing I noticed, and even more important than a lack of ammunition: where the hell is the food? These people are planning on using these bags in the event of an emergency and have filled them with the tools to navigate to a site and then build a cabin, but most of them don’t have anything more than a few Cliff bars in them. What the hell are they planning on eating? A BOB, in common theory, is supposed to last at least 72 hours. That includes food, y’all. You have to eat, especially when you’re burning a massive amount of calories hoofing it somewhere.
Want some advice on planning and packing a Bugout Bag? Don’t just watch the BOB videos by preppers or only read the prepper sites for tips and ideas; watch and read those who carry big hiking bags for long distances and do it often. There’s a lot of info out there about the long distance trails, especially the Appalachian Trail, and thus lots of info about what people carry, how they pack it, and the packs they use to carry it all. Yes, I know that often they’re liberal hippie tree-hugger types, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to long distance trekking…and you’ll always find three to four days worth of food in their packs.