Are you like the many that are not prepared? If so, you are not alone. Fear stymies most of us and the unknown bewilders the rest! A recent federal government survey stated fifty-nine percent of Americans lack any kind of emergency disaster plan. This astounded me! It is this sombering fact that inspired me to create a highly researched, Preppers List: Guide for Bugging In or Bugging Out.
I also have heard skeptics say, “Plan for what… nothing like that will ever happen to me!”
I mean, who wants to think about a disaster occurring, without warning, which could conceivably change the lives of you and your family forever? However, the threat of a disaster is not only conceivable but probable.
According to Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, in a speech before the National League of Cities stated, “Never before has humanity faced such a threat as it does today.
The sheer number of people at risk at any one time is unprecedented.”
As the above statements imply, it is imperative to begin raising your awareness to the importance of family emergency prepping.
I hope to not only provide you with a practical and usable prepper supplies list or preppers gear list, but also other essential information and ideas . I have gathered together and researched items that you can use in developing your emergency plan that you and your family can execute successfully.
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Disaster Prepping, for What?
Prepping for the most part has been misunderstood or maligned. Popular shows like Doomsday Prepping or Survival Man have not helped the battle cry for personal emergency preparedness.
Instead, these programs have had the effect of desensitizing people to the importance of disaster prepping.
These shows have also promoted the idea of doomsday prepping and prepping in general as one and the same! I mean do all potential disasters need to be of “the end of the world” variety?
Adding to the confusion are the ideas purporting that survival prepping means you must live off the land or portrayed like those of the Christian Prepper, Southern Prepper or Urban Prepper as wacky and out of touch with reality.
These shows are also guilty of promoting the message that the survivalism way of life constitutes becoming destitute and forced to live off the land.
Others have implied that a good prepper, needs to depend on unnecessary, frivolous or expensive doomsday prepper supplies in order to survive a catastrophe. The fact is these are confusing and misleading notions that are farther from the truth.
Disaster Prepping, is an all encompassing approach, helping you chose the necessary and appropriate resources. Its focus is on getting you to the point of readiness and response to various levels of difficulties, threats or dangers to you and your family. Situations arise that may have the potential to drastically change your current life circumstances for the worse.
This more comprehensive definition allows you to consider preparing for every type crisis or events that can and will affect your daily life no matter the level of severity or impact. It may mean buying extra food now to use just in case the main breadwinner in the family becomes unemployed.
Knowing this allows us to move forward in discussing what you should consider before using the Preppers List provided later on in this article. Consider as you read what you are ready to purchase and what commitment it entails.
Prepare for What Crisis?
Crises that would impact your family can be as simple as losing a job and income to a catastrophic weather event or worse.
However, unless you have been living under a rock, I am pretty sure you have noticed many signs around you that suggest things are not quite right.
It is an instinctual unrest that has likely prompted you to read this article.
You, however, as a responsible person, family member and citizen, should take the threat of a potential disaster head on with complete commitment and resolve.
Your mission is not to become a tragic statistic in the aftermath of such an event. Importantly, include all your family members and or friends in preparedness discussions and planning to make your planning efforts more thorough and less cumbersome.
Because we live in different climates and geographical regions, identifying potential threats found in your specific area is the key to effectively respond and counter these dangers. Thus, discuss and identify with your family and or friends all possible dangers of man-made, natural disasters and/or “X” factors most likely to occur in and around your locale.
Below I provide a checklist of topics to introduce to your group /family/supporters to bring about an orderly discussion and formulation of your disaster planning in a thoughtful group centered approach.
List of Potentially Life Threatening Phenomena
1. Tornadoes, Blizzards, Flooding, Fire storms, Sand storms, Drought, etc…
2. Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Volcanic Eruptions, etc…
1. Inner-City Chaos, Terrorism, Power Outage, etc…
2. Nuclear Plant, Chemical/Petroleum Facility, Prisons, Military Posts, etc…
C. “X” Factor
1. Civil War, Economic Collapse, EMP/CME
(Coronal Mass Ejection from the Sun), Martial Law, Pandemics, Job Loss,
Family illness, Zombies, etc…
Once you identify possible crisis events, begin to brainstorm with your group for answers to questions like the following;
1. What natural or man-made disaster(s) am I (we) likely to face in the next 5 years?
2. What supplies or items will I need to make it through and after the crisis?
3. How will I find the extra money to pay for these needed supplies?
4. Can I redirect monies I current have and budget for these prepper supplies?
5. Who in my family, neighbors and friends willing to work, cooperate and prepare for emergencies?
6. Are these potential preppers willing to share or trade their current on hand supplies?
7. Are these partners willing to share in the expense in buying needed survival gear?
8. How should you and loved ones effectively respond to each threat?
9. Does your community have an early alarm system?
10. Will the places you work, play or learn have the appropriate infrastructure to help you and your
family during an emergency?
11. Where are the emergency shut off valves for the various appliances in or around your home?
12. What important resources (first-aid, emergency supplies, safety equipment, etc…) do you presently have?
13. How will you respond to an evacuation order?
14. Where will you relocate in an evacuation order?
15. How will you care for your elderly and or disabled members?
16. How will you care for your pets during a crisis?
The key to remember is to start preparing now when conditions are relatively calm.
It is often times better to initially keep your preparation plans low key from friends, neighbors and family members which are not interested, fearful or skeptical of planning.
These naysayers can become convinced in the later stages of disaster but likely will deter you to act now based on their fear of the unknown. There are other reasons for secretively keeping your emergency preparation which I will present later .
Heck, it isn’t unheard of for those in your immediate household to discourage and dissuade you from reaching your prepping goals. However, even with their hesitation and lack of support, it is important to continue your efforts and keep an open mind to prepare for them as well.
My wife and I approached it from the stance of keeping a 3 month food supply available just in case. A good example of how to keep it relevant to immediate needs of your family without drawing out a fear response from them.
When a crisis occurs they will come to appreciate all of your hard work and effort. Nevertheless, their negativity will be a difficult obstacle to overcome. Therefore, it is important to prepare your mind for what may and probably will come by developing a mindset.
Developing a Survival Mindset
Preparing for any crisis should be one of your top priorities. The question is how do you begin?
First you must develop a survival mindset that will successfully incorporate into your life from now and forever. There are 5 aspects to internalize;
1. Develop a Thrifty and Frugal Mentality
+ Try to not be wasteful of time or money (waste not, want not)
+ Practice the motto’ “use it up, wear it out.”
+ Choose what you need carefully and try to get three estimates to get the best price before you buy.
+ Fix and reuse items that you find useful
+ Save for the future
+ Try to live a minimalist lifestyle (fewer material possessions)
2. Attempt to Be Independent and Free of Harmful Addictions
+ Manage money and become the master of it
+ Create a realistic household budget and make every effort to stick to it
+ Learn to save by paying yourself first before spending it on frivolous stuff
+ Become drug, smoke and alcohol free
+ Fight against the obsessive use of electronic and computer devices
+ Do what works for you and not because it pleases others
3. Seek Opportunities and Be Enterprising
+ Always be learning and expanding your knowledge base
+ Continue to learn new skills
+ Constantly be improving yourself
+ Attempt to be doing something even if it fails (motion creates emotion)
+ Look for new ways to create what you need in order to succeed
4. Be Self Reliant
+ Try to become less dependent on “the system” and others for your needs
+ Attempt to get “off the grid” wherever possible
+ Make , grow and create what you need whenever possible
5. Strive to Have a Year Supply of Every Needful Item for You and Your Family
+ Identify those items that would cause difficult if you do not have it
+ Purchase supplies in manageable increments of time until you reach a year supply
(work towards a 3 month supply then 6 month, etc…)
+ Make sure to have the machinery, equipment and replacement parts for systems
that will provide you with essential sustenance needs
(ex. water gravity filtration system and its replacement parts )
What I present here I believe, provides you with a good beginning to start and begin to develop not just a different perspective but a way of life.
I know it seems easier said than done but a very well known quote by bestselling author Robert Kiyosaki goes as, “Every journey of a thousand miles begins not with the first step but first thought.”
The rudimentary but sound foundation set forth in the ideas mentioned above, will help you have a better appreciation for the prepper list of supplies presented below. Hopefully you will secure the suggested items and store them securely to use if and when the time of crisis arrives.
The Preppers List: For Home Preparedness & 72 hour BugOut Bag
In creating this preppers checklist, I used the latest information provided by government, educational and expert sources to give you the bare prepper essentials but most suggested prepper gear and prepping supplies to have on hand in the event of a natural or man-made crisis.
Unique about this list is that I combine the preppers supplies needed in case you must hunker down and stay in your home “Bugging In” or if you must evacuate to a safer location (hopefully of your own choosing) until the coast is clear “Bugging Out”.
You will notice the recommended prepper gear and supplies for each category on the Preppers List are different in many respects. The possible rationale for the list items in each group are discussed below.
I think it pertinent to review some aspects of the survival and prepper supplies to rationalize key but subtle thoughts behind the items listed under the Home Preparedness or 72 hr Bug Out Bag columns of the Preppers List. This quick but important overview will help especially those wanting to know how to be a prepper.
Whether you are preparing to bug in or bug out, the need to have all of the necessary survival supplies at hand is all important. This is when The Preppers List comes in handy. I have tried to make it simple to use.
The list is color coded to let you know quickly those primary items you need to acquire quickly. It is also organized into 10 categories. Each category listed is in order of importance per US Army and Boy Scout manuals on Survival and Emergency Preparedness.
Although this system of organization was set up for the construction of an effective bug out bag, I applied it to the Home Preparedness part of the list.
Looking at the prepper list, it is obvious that the quantity of goods kept at home will be more substantial then that you will carry in your BOB. For instance, LDS preppers suggest a family have at least 1 but as much as 6 years of food provisions (2300 cal. daily minimum) for each member in your home.
As you stock your BOB, you will be limited by the size of your bag and physical ability to carry the weight of the gear. You also have to determine the distance and time you will need to carry your fully loaded 72 hour bag.
LDS experts, recommend one with limited funds prioritize the wanted survival supplies and begin to obtain your provisions weekly. This method works especially with” two for one specials” at your local hardware or grocery store. Thus you will build up your emergency gear without breaking the budget.
I furthermore make some suggestions on how to find the extra monies you will need and even how to get some survival items for free at the conclusion of this article.
The emergency products you gather to store at home or pack away in your bag are not all the same. When it comes down to it, there are some key factors that should play important roles in your purchasing decisions.
There should be a priority to purchase high quality gear that has a long lasting as much as possible. It resolves issues of replacement availability especially in a grid down situation.
Although, long term use is an important factor, it may be misleading. This is most evident for example, in selection of prepper foods. Ones first inclination is to purchase as much processed, freeze dried, MRE’s or non-perishable foods to store away for that proverbial “rain day”!
For a bug out bag, these survival food types work best due to their efficient use of space and weight. And though they may be useful for home preparedness in the short term, they are not the most preferred.
According to survival expert Christopher Parrett, when it comes to your prepper food supply at home, food ingredients such as flour, honey or lard is a much more desirable food product to have on hand then ready-made foods.
They not only help in making a variety of food stuffs, they actually have extremely long storage times.
Though vital when it comes to BOBs, size of your prepper products, may or may not be a major factor to consider when it comes to your selecting the item. It always depends on one’s ability to secure space in and around ones bug in location.
Because of these size constraints, your prepper items should always be compact, durable and possess redundancy functions. As a small tube of petroleum jelly is used for first aid or personal hygiene, it can be useful in fire-starting.
Recharging and multi-fuel use in energy and light sources should be the most desirable aspects to consider when make your gear selection. In both home preparedness and bug out bag assembling, the need to have these reproducible and off the grid is needed especially if fuel and electricity is hard to come by.
Thus, It is not enough to just go out and purchase all of the prepper supplies and items illustrated in the prepper checklist . It was therefore most important that I provide you the rationale as suggested by experts in emergency preparedness to utilize, practice and implement.
So if and when the time disaster strikes, you and your loved ones will have the basic skill and knowledge to overcome and survive any disaster crisis with confidence and success.
Thoughts on Home Preparedness and The 72 Hr/3-Day Bag (BOB)
There may come a time when not leaving your current domicile makes prudent sense. This was one of the reasons for me to prepare for you this Preppers List.
So being prepared to stay at home to wait out the crisis is as important as being ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
The question you must answer is… under what circumstances would my family and I consider moving to a safer location better than just staying put?
I discuss in painstaking detail how, Home preparedness and Bug Out Bags are important in your overall prepping plans. This should give you a framework from which to rationalize what you would select and store away in your prepper gear and supplies either safely in your home or a 72 hour bug out bag.
For the most part, staying put at your current domicile works during minor incidences of crisis at least in the short term.
But sometimes even these seemingly minor crises would be better suited to action and relocating ahead of a worsening potential disaster developing.
According to emergency experts, it takes at the very least 3 to 4 days for emergency response teams to reach a disaster zone.
But this is true if the crisis is an isolated incident. In an all out disaster, this may not be the case.
Taking this into consideration, the items illustrated in the Home Preparedness portion of the Preppers List are suggested appropriately for crises lasting no longer than 72 hours. These prepping basics are the bare minimum one wants on hand in case of a disaster. As stated, the recommendations originated from emergency lists found in fifteen top government, educational and emergency expert sources.
Whether obtaining the prepper list of supplies, staying put and waiting out a crisis at home is sound advice depends on the type of emergency that presents itself. You must decide from your group discussions what event would be most likely the ones your group may face.
However, the situation may not be so obvious on whether to evacuate or not.
Based on survival preparedness expert Jack Spirko, normalcy bias and fear are two important but dangerous obstacles to overcome which can affect one’s judgment during a time of possible calamity.
According to gold and silver expert Chris Duane, “Normalcy Bias is when one underestimates the possibility of a disaster and the possible effects of that disaster.” He argues that normalcy bias is a direct result of people failing to question things, blindly obeying authority or failing to apply logic to a new set of information.
Duane further maintains that this “bliss of ignorance” is so dangerous during a time of upheaval, one falls into a false sense of security. This leads a lack of urgency to take massive dramatic action in the face of crisis.
Fear is a very difficult emotion to pin down as it relates to survival prepping. There is a distinction to be made here, fear may be actually a good trait to have in one’s arsenal it is a basic life saving response.
Many experts in disaster prevention agree that fear can “set off that inner alarm” to take the necessary actions against a potential threat, to be supportive of preparedness expenses and tolerant of emergency inconveniences.
However, the type of fear that is extremely crippling is described as that which paralyzes you or elicits terror or panic. This famous quote sums it best, “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
Author of Strategic Relocation and a relocation consultant, Joel Skousen suggests, the need to consider the following factors in your threat assessment;
- Visibility (What threats are prominent in your area or community?)
- Timing (When is the threat likely to strike? Will you be able to see it before it occurs?)
- Degree (How bad or dangerous is the threat?)
- Location (Where is the threat likely to strike? Is there a pattern to where the threat occurs?)
- Personal Probability (How likely is the threat to affect you and your family?
- Causes (Are the causes for the man-made or natural disaster likely to be random or consistent?)
- Prevention and Mitigation (Can you effectively prepare against, lessen or mitigate the threat?)
Therefore, instances where staying at your immediate location might makes sense are;
- Minor weather phenomena or storm
- Job loss
- Minor social disturbance (celebrations of sports team that gets out of control)
- Localized power outage
Some events with a potentially long duration period and social impact that may be a cause for evacuation are;
- Terrorist, nuclear, biological or chemical disaster
- World war
- Social upheaval
- Major volcanic/earthquake/hurricane/flood/ forest fire event
- Government action against its citizenry
- EMP (both natural or man-made)
In an all out societal collapse, you need to pre-plan and choose other reasonable options in case staying at your current locale becomes untenable. Unfortunately for some, escaping to a retreat may not be an option. So what do you do?
In this case, one might consider the ideas presented by LDS (Later Day Saints) Preppers.
For the most part, they are raised to become self-reliant in education, health, employment, family home production and food storage, family finances and spiritual strength.
For example, one important tenet strongly encouraged by the LDS is for each household to have no less than a week’s worth of food and as much as seven years for each family member in case of long term disaster.
Their strong message on the importance of self reliance and independence are sound and sensible transcending religious philosophy or belief.
In the instances when leaving is not an option, survival guru James Wesley Rawles in a TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World as We Know It) scenario suggests the following factors to consider especially for the urban survival prepper;
- Seek out like minded individuals beforehand include them in your prepper team (they can provide mutual protection and share additional prepper supplies and gear).
- Select your team members wisely (seek doers not talkers).
- Uphold the morale upper hand at all time (keep the faith in humankind and provide charity whenever possible).
- Develop survival skills rather than fancy gadgets (the stuff might breakdown but your skills have value and worth).
- Prepare to use lethal force if necessary but be restraint if at all possible (use it only if all other less lethal options have been exhausted and become impractical).
- Have a deep larder (Food Storage of up to 7 years comes in handy especially if no other food sources are readily available).
- Train to use your survival tools and gear (acquire the education to use your gear and weapons as much as possible).
- Consider obtaining old technology over new technology gear especially in a grid down situation.
- Be redundant with essential emergency items and supplies (can be used for barter and charity)
- Prepare alternative plans in case staying is impossible (need to be flexible and adaptable to the situation at hand)
With your team and plan in place, there are more practical concerns you will need to address if you must hunker down;
- Obtain water sources (1 gallon per person is the BARE minimum) per day which also depends on locale.
- Secure food for at least one year per member (need at least 2300 calories per person however will probably still keep you hungry)
- Seek sanitation options (bucket with seals, powdered lime and wipes come in handy)
- Find appropriate heating sources (small heater, candles, coal stove or kerosene heater will work. Have a working battery powered smoke and fire alarm).
- Need to have ventilation available (using an open flame in your dwelling may cause carbon-monoxide poisoning).
- Secure your dwelling (reinforce doors, block unnecessary entrances and windows)
- Learn self-defense with weapons (train to use them).
- Store ample fuel (odors from these fuels may attract unwanted attention).
- Keep noise and light visibility to a minimum.
- Stay physically fit (consider a stationary power generating bicycle).
Always be aware that even if you are well stocked, adequately prepared, self-reliant and independent you may lose it all! Surprisingly enough, not from marauding bands of misfits but by the very government and military sworn to protect and defend us.
Our own government officials have in place executive orders that if enforced, will assure their existence during and after a total collapse
Executive Orders 12919 and 13603, give the federal government direct control and seizure privileges overall all civilian communication, food and water resources, transportation, farm equipment and labor under a national emergency.
In any societal disintegration or government action scenario, large populated cities will be most vulnerable to this threat of property confiscation while the sparsely populated towns in the countryside will most likely fare much better.
You may see that played out in the series Jericho in which small towns band together to survive during a lock down situation.
So no matter how well stocked and prepared you are, you might be faced with making the life saving decision to leave your home. In fact you and your family will need to be ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice.
Thus, if forced to leave your home, what preparations ahead of an evacuation situation would you need? Remember your freedom of movement might become restricted by government directives.
That’s why it is recommended to have a premade 72 Hour Bug Out Bag (BOB) and if possible, a preselected Bug Out Location (BOL) for which to have procured ahead of time with all of the gear suggested from the survival supplies list (Preppers List) I provided. So what is it? Read on.
72 Hr. 3 Day-Bugout Bag
This list supplies found on the Preppers List that provide the necessary items for an emergency crisis lasting for three to four days. Again this is the time that most disaster experts say it takes emergency personnel to arrive and resolve most disasters situations.
In most cases, your crisis is short term; a hurricane, chemical spill, flooding, etc… and of a temporary nature. Thus, if you had to leave quickly to get out the way of a storm, a prepared bug out bag for each of your family members (and pet) comes in handy.
Although we are mainly discussing 72 Hour/3 Day Bug Out Bags, I think it important to briefly mention and clarify the distinction of this bag type to all other emergency prepper bags/kits you will find discussed in the prepper community.
There are three other types of emergency bag/kits that are constructed with different types of survival gear and supplies; The Everyday Carry Kit/bag (EDC), Get Home Bag (GHB) and Bug Out Vehicle Bag (BOV).
The EDC emergency items are carried on your body, in the clothes and hat or cap you wear on a daily basis to be used in case you are unable to immediately retrieve your other bags. It is for example the mini keychain flashlight or pocket knife you would carry in your shirt, pant or jacket pocket.
The Get Home Bag is usually stored in a locker, office drawer or car with the expressed intention of helping you get from your immediate locale to your home or designated Bug Out Location (BOL) within a day or so. It differs from the EDC and 72 Hour in the type and quantity of survival gear you carry.
And lastly, the BOV bag or kit is found in or on your vehicle to help you with the extra supplies and the essential vehicular tools in case of breakdown.
All of these three additional prep bags are essential to have and most importantly serve to provide you the necessary items and equipment you will need during most any disaster you may face. Although I am a firm believer of possessing all survival bag types at all times, it is however the 3 Day Bug Out Bag (BOB) that I think is most important necessity.
It is this 72 Hour BOB that is safely stored at home to provide you with the necessary three day supplies to get you from your home to BOL safely.
It holds the most gear (as compared to the other bags/kits mentioned above) you will need to get to safety safely.
According to Jack Spirko, “…a bug out bag is designed to support you and the people who are with you …for a seventy two hours to get you from point A to another location safely and comfortably as possible…”
Therefore, a bug out bag is not considered a tactical bag which is mostly used in a battle scenario or for a defensive military response.
There are things to consider when you begin to select the features and various important aspects of your BOB.
When it comes to selecting an appropriate Bug Out Bag, some survivalists and preppers suggest to select a BOB that does not make you stand out among the other evacuees during a crisis. It probably would be safe to choose a color that is not “tactical” in appearance (ex. one that looks to militaristic).
You might attract authorities who might see you as a possible threat. Also roving thieves looking to take an obviously elite looking bag would that most likely favor your life saving provisions to suffice their own needs.
Although price is going to play a role in the bag you ultimately choose, I emphasize the following points that are important aspects you will want your bag to have; bag weight (before you stock the bag with preparedness items), bag storage capacity, storage compartment, storage pockets, and other special features. Also note that the following findings came from bags I researched found on Amazon.
The weight of an empty Bug Out Backpack may appear insignificant but it will be a part of the overall weight of a fully loaded bag.
Keep in mind, medical experts warn against the overloading of your BOB.
They urge that a fully packed Bug Out bag be no more than 30% of the users overall weight. If you have health issues, then a loaded backpack should not be more than 25%. As for children, doctors suggest the bag weigh no more than 15%.
Thus according to my research, the average BOB sold on Amazon weighed 3.375 pounds. The heaviest bags were 5 pounds while the lightest bag was 1 pound.
When it comes to bag size, it is one of the more difficult metrics to comprehend. But it is vital to know because you need to determine how much stuff you can fit into a BOB. Naturally, one would think the only thing you need to do is take the dimensions (l x w x h) of a bag to figure out how much it will hold.
However to understand bag capacity I used cubic inches (in3) and then converted it to gallons to better conceptualize the actual amount of room the bag possesses. In my research about 3166 in3 was the average bag capacity. This is equivalent to a space of little less than 22” x 16” x 8” or 13 gallons of storage volume.
Please note I am not saying that a BOB will hold 13 gallons of water weight. If I was, the bag would weigh an absurd 104 lbs! Just imagine what pouring 13 gallons of water into a bag looks like then you can ponder how much the bag would hold without spilling the liquid.
With this in mind, the largest bag size I measured was 4896 in3 or it would hold 21 gallons of weight. On the other hand, the smallest bag was 867 in3 or 3 ¾ lbs.
One often overlooks the importance of having sufficient compartments and pockets in or on a Bug Out Bag.
These storage spaces not only hold all your gear but also help organize and protect it. However too much of a good thing can make for confusion and “losing” items within the bag.
That is why it is extremely important to account for all your gear and record the location of these items inside your bag onto a document you carry in your bag.
If possible, labeling the items within an inner pocket would also help you when you need to return an item in its proper place.
There are other desirable features to have with your BOB. They are;
- Molle Straps (straps on the front and/or side of the bag to attach smaller pouches or gear)
- Hydration Compartment with water bladder
- Multiple Carrying Handles ..a key portability factor
- Internal/External Backpack Frame
- Sleeping Bag Straps
- Water Repellent/Resistant Bag Material
- Belt and Hip Straps
- Extra Pouches/Attachments
- Compression Straps (tightens up the sides of the bag)
- Additional Padding on the backside of backpack
When it’s all said and done, the average size and weight of a BOB according to my research of 15 random bags on Amazon revealed that a common backpack, weighed an average of 21 pounds (with all the necessary supplies contained within), and had the dimensions of approximately 22” x 16” x 8” or 3166 in3 (consisting of 13 gallons of storage volume).
As important as selecting a good quality Bug Out Bag are the prepper supplies. When one skims over the recommended survival items from the Preppers List, experts suggest there are some key points to keep in mind.
- Gear in your bug out bags to be of the highest quality.
- Items must be compact/modular in size and shape
- Supplies should have multiple use capabilities whenever possible.
- Tools and supplies selected should have an added redundancy quality for more effectiveness and utility.
When experts say multi-use or redundancy, they mean for example, an alcohol wipe used in first aid to clean a wound can also used as a fire starter. Applying these thoughts as you procure your survival supplies will help keep your 3 day BOB as small and lightweight as possible.
It is extremely important to note, there is debate among emergency preparedness experts whether it is better to create a 72 hour bag from scratch or to purchase a ready-made BOB.
In a perfect world, everyone interested in bug out bags (BOB’s) would research, review and purchase all the necessary individual items to assemble a completely personalized bag/kit (BOB).
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. For some, it may make good and prudent sense to just buy a ready made bug out bag with all the necessary items packed and ready to go.
Although some would beg to differ, there are reasonable arguments to be made for purchasing a ready-made or pre made BOB such as;
- Achieve immediate preparation
- Quickly accomplishes your goal
- Extremely convenient
- Immediate preparation for love ones
- Overcome tendencies to over pack
- Prevent overbuying and overspending
Either way you decide, personalizing your 72 hour bag with prepper items is essential. It will familiarize you with the storage placement of your items and those already found in it.
It provides the chance to touch the gear making you more comfortable handling it. It gives you the opportunity to be aware of any time sensitive items especially medications. So you can replace expired items accordingly.
Most importantly you and family members must review and restock on a scheduled basis. It is suggested to do this at least twice a year. As you check your home fire/smoke alarms twice yearly, you can check your bags as well.
With the building or purchasing of BOBs for the whole family, it is highly recommended to store them in a location that is convenient, safe and secure. They are ready if and when they must be used in an evacuation or hasten escape.
If you should need to, “Get Out of Dodge!” a reliable form of transportation, a bug out vehicle (BOV) needs to be secured.
Bug Out Vehicle
Whichever type(s) of Bug Out Vehicle you choose, the following are a few suggested guidelines I devised after listening to such experts as Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast and Creek Stewart of Willow Haven Outdoors that you might consider when making a selection;
- Reliability (Is the vehicle in the best working condition to get me to my Bug Out Location (BOL)?
- Maximum Distance Coverage Potential (How much fuel or physical exertion is involved. How long will it take me to get to my location using this BOV?)
- Repairable (How difficult would it be to fix and find replacement or generic parts for my vehicle?) (Do I carry spares (parts, tires, etc…)?
- Underside Clearance (Is the space below my BOV high enough to clear most obstructions or debris?) (Think of flooding and debris or obstacles on the road).
- Additional Storage Capacity Options (Does the vehicle have areas to add carts, roof rack, hitch, etc… to increase storage capacity?) (Does your vehicle have the towing capacity to handle your payload?)
- Stealth Factor (How well will my BOV blend into the environment or in a crowd of other vehicles?)
Once you have your vehicle of choice It is extremely important to map out various escape routes (just in case one road or outlet becomes blocked or impassible).
Reviewing these routes and take periodic trips on these paths will provide you enough familiarity with the terrain. It is strongly advised to consider possible detour options and any new changes in the environment.
This would allow you to make necessary modifications to your escape plan.
Some ideas to consider for your plan and is to create and review with your family or friends and creating a checklist as suggested by experts like Creek Stewart’s of Willow Haven Outdoors and Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast;
- Deciding which Bug Out Locations are available and under what conditions should any one location be used.
- Mapping out alternate escape routes and determining the circumstances to use any one of these routes.
- Determine which vehicle to use for which crisis scenario
- Delegating responsibility to family members on securing and initiating or turning off all unneeded or unused items or utilities at your current residence and practicing implementing these measures
- Deciding how to properly care for your pets if applicable.
Contemplating worst case scenarios and mapping them out will give you options that would have otherwise been neglected. Remember the ideas presented above should be implemented before the need to Bug Out becomes a reality.
When Bugging Out is the Option
Whether it is best to stay or leave your home is a matter of your threat assessment.
Threat assessment was covered earlier in this article. However there are some survival experts who share further thought on bugging out.
Fernando Aguirre, who lived through Argentina’s tumultuous economic crisis of 2001, shares his insights on determining when bugging out is best. According to Aguirre, bugging out does not exclusively mean escaping into the boondocks to live off the land as a solitary bare knuckle survivalist.
Instead, he explains it most likely will be a temporary move to another home usually that of a family member, close relative or friend due to a natural disaster or man-made catastrophe blows over.
It is however possible you might live away from your home for a longer period or in the rare instance, permanently due to a more personal crisis event like your home burning down, flooding or losing your job.
But what if a deeper and widespread events impact your community such as a collapse or disaster? Depending on the severity of the crisis, you might need to leave, escape or evacuate (forced or voluntarily) before or during the anticipated disaster occurring.
If you choose to bug in, our government response teams just might arrive in time to provide much needed help and assistance of food, water and if necessary shelter.
However the trade off for accepting their help might be the strict limitation of you and your family’s freedom and mobility or the possible threat to you by the other refugees.
It is therefore always advisable you leave your home of your own volition before the authorities force you into a designated evacuation/relief center. Do not become a refugee your chances of survival diminish greatly!
So it is without saying, you want to and need to recognize the signs around you ahead of time before it’s too late.
Bug Out Location (BOL) Defined
In an interview podcast between Jack Spirko and Fernando Aguirre, a better meaning of “Bugging Out” was established.
According to Spirko, Bugging Out has been misinterpreted by both preppers and survivalist to mean leaving to a remote location away from civilization.
Somehow the thought of living on an off the grid homestead has become overly romanticized.
To support this point, Aguirre’s from his own experience maintains the choice of living a homestead lifestyle does not work. He also points to firsthand accounts where South African farmers, Jews during Nazi Germany, and Bosnians tried to escape the onslaught of government forces by hiding in the hills. Endeavors, which ultimately failed with their capture and demise.
The main problem with the Bugging Out concept is that it has been devised by so called experts with no actual experience. These experts rely mostly on fiction novels with fantastical and unrealistic events, actions and outcomes.
Both Aguirre and Spirko agree that Bugging Out simply means having alternative housing options. This could be as simple as going to live with relatives or friends across town, in another city or state. Another alternative would be to find lodging at a hotel room until the coast is clear.
However, they also say there is a time that the only logical move is leave to a more distant location. This occurs when, for example, securing a job or when social stability becomes unattainable. But before thinking of moving to the boonies or abroad, one I advocate one only needs to relocate in our own country to securer safer pastures.
Aguirre along with relocation expert Joel Skousen, consider the United States (and Canada) to be but a few places in the world to be reliable and safe even with the possibility of internal strife.
Because the states across the country present a vast geographically, politically and economically diversity, one only needs to research, plan and strategically move to a more favorable location.
The states according to Skousen book Strategic Relocation with the highest rating and most favorable attributes are;
Although these were rated highest, there are other states which still possess the qualities that are worth mentioning;
Whichever state you eventually choose, all the experts agree to select places that have smaller populations with a dependable water supply and some qualities important to you (e.g. hospital, cultural activities, family oriented, etc…)
Still, there might be a time where staying in ones country becomes either too difficult (because of widespread disorder) or dangerous (civil war).
This is therefore, when thinking about expatriating becomes a viable alternative.
The question remains, are there identifiable indicators one can identify that say it’s time to get out? Borrowing from two sources (Bugging Out and Relocating and When to Bug Out: Knowing the Signs), these are the signs to look for:
- High levels of crime and street violence
- Hearing news sources talking about a possible threat is the time to begin preparing to leave.
- Increasing media censorship
- High rates of corruption
- Noticing long lines at the bank with people limits on withdrawing money
- Freezing of bank accounts
- Declaration of Martial Law/Suspension of Habeas Corpus
- Blocking Importations
- Price Freezes
- Deployment of foreign troops on national soil
- Widespread internet blackout and communication outage
It is not one particular sign that should be a concern but a combination of them. This is when you have to either at the very least, move to your bug out location or at best, leave the country. Although not a topic covered in this article, obtaining a second passport ahead of time would definitely come in handy.
The overriding message here is to prepare no matter what. It begins with redirecting your way of thinking, form a plan then act. The Preppers Checklist gives you a good starting place to go out and find the most essential prepper products to have in your home or carry in your bug out bag.
For some of you, your financial realties may limit your ability to properly and thoroughly outfit you and your family with the optimal prepping gear found in the survival checklist I have provided.
However, take into consideration the prepper essentials you purchase, they need not be expensive just practical and useable.
If money is tight, think about selling personal items you no longer use. This can facilitate those prepper tools like a generator that can definitely come in handy. Another option is to find a second part-time job.
Trading your time for some extra money can go a long way in securing your much needed preppers supply. Searching on sites like Craigslist can help you find gear that can be had for a lower price, barter or even for free.
Finally, there will always be those who will refuse to believe the need to prepare. It may even be someone within your very household. You should not be discouraged by their lack of foresight. Even if they do not agree with what you do you must still do the right and prudent thing for them as well.
With faith, foresight and perseverance you bestow a chance to live a prosperous life to your family and win a place in their hearts. My sincerest hope that you take this advice and act on it.