Bug Out Bag Definition (For the Un-Initiated)

bug out bag defintion

The "Bug Out Bag" or BOB, a universal calling card of preppers worldwide, and is often attributed to the development of the mainstream knowledge that is preparing for doomsday. Although this concept is becoming widely used, it has been around for over a hundred years.Having roots in military combat and survival while in the field, it has only been taken in by the civilian population due to growing fear and rising tension over the future that has yet to come. Below we will explore and present a Bug Out Bag Definition with the history, types, and popularity of the prepper and BOB. The Bug Out Bag is often regarded as an incredibly important item in most all prepper's arsenals.

bug out survival


The etymology of the Bug Out Bag is derived from a slang of a retreat tactic that was often used by soldiers during the Korean war. "Bugging out" as it was referred to, is derived from the act of trying to squash bugs, they would scatter in every direction to avoid getting stomped. It is most commonly accepted that it entered the civilian lexicon in the 1950's, and subsequently became a part of the modern day prepper knowledge.

The Bug Out Bag concept, however, was originally thought of by a branch of the military, specifically the aviator sector. As when over enemy lines, it was possible to be shot down and stranded in a remote area. To combat this (metaphorically), the first iteration of a Bug Out Bag was created. Named a "bail-out bag", it held enough emergency supplies to apply first aid, create a fire, a knife, and other items that might be useful in a survival situation. It was adopted by other branches of the military, which gave birth to other types of bags that fit situations such as a 24, 72, and get home bags. All of these bags that held more specialized or specific equipment that was effective in the field.

What is a Bug Out Bag? What are different types of BOB's?

A BOB is primarily used to survive in an emergency situation for a period of time and to be able to travel on foot. Do not be mistaken, however, it is not made to be the end all, be all bag that you can have and survive indefinitely in an emergency situation. Not to say it cannot be done, but it is not the aim of a BOB, in fact, the main concept of a BOB is to make it to a safe place or a designated area for safety.

Surprisingly there are many types of BOB's, all with different uses and degrees of effectiveness. There is the 24, 48, and 72 get home bags, that are created to allow for the chance of getting to a safe area with supplies on foot or by car.

These bags usually have food, water, a firestarter knife, and a compass or map. Sometimes there are other items that can be put in, such as a sleeping bag or a length of paracord to help with staying outdoors. These bags are again not for indefinite amounts of time since you are bugging out to a better area for stashed supplies.

The other type of bag is the long term bag. Known as the "I'm never coming home bag", these bags are upgraded version of the 24, 48, and 72 bags. These bags have items that have multi-use, as well as being able to last long periods of time. It should be noted that having a large knowledge base of wilderness survival might be very beneficial as you will be able to survive if your supplies run out. These bags should have water filters, fire starters, sleeping bags, tarps, and knives.

Impact of the BOB

Since the idea of a looming, rapture, doomsday, or end of the world event, there have been people preparing for it. Although it was never as widely known or thought about until the turn of the 20th century, it has become more and more popular.

Everyday people have been exposed to the idea and fear, often to the extreme by the way of media. An example can be seen in the TV show by National Geographic, "Doomsday Preppers", in which television crews explore and investigate people preparing for the end of the world and how each one has a different view on how it will occur. Whether it be by nuclear war, rapture, electromagnetic pulse, and even a zombie apocalypse. There is a recurring theme on the show, in which almost every prepper has a BOB in case things become too dangerous or their location becomes compromised.

This show is not the only way the average person has become introduced to preparing for doomsday. Mainstream media has incorporated another facet of information the doomsday prepper might need. BOB's have become the calling cards, and the one thing every kind of prepper agrees to have on hand. While not all alike, a BOB is a necessity in any emergency situation, hence the use and popularity among the prepper community.

Final Thoughts

What is the true definition of a Bug Out Bag? It may just be the one uniting item that has introduced many a people, into the world of prepping and has interconnected the prepper community since its inception. While many people might not be hooked on the idea of the end of the world, or if is even possible. One thing is for sure though, when in doubt you can never go wrong with having a Bug Out Bag on hand, or within reach. Most uninitiated will ask, "why should I have a bug out bag?" The true prepper will ask, "how can I put one together?"