What about a bug out bag (B.O.B.)?
This is a popular subject, and one of much debate. What to carry?
First, why would we want a bug out bag? Or a get home bag? Or a rescue bag? Or a bushcraft ruck? Or any type of survival bag, whatever we may call it? Simple: Our vehicle may break down somewhere and we need to get home, camp in place until help may arive, help someone who is stranded or injured, or flee a dangerous situation.
When I was a boy, I read in the news paper about man who got caught in a snow storm on his way to see his girf friend. He was only about five miles from her house but died of exposure. He was unprepared. This story and others like it have shaped my thinking about being prepared. We never know what might happen. This last year is a prime example of sudden changes that caught many off guard.
How much should we put in our bag? Many things may factor into that question. Things such as our physical build, strength and conditioning, medical condition, time of year, terrain, and the senario we wish to prepare for. If I’m out for the day and I’m within thirty miles from home, I carry in my vehicle a minimum of a light haversack with a Grayl filter water bottle, a very small tarp (7’x7′) I purchased from Walmart, a knife, simple fire kit with tinder, stainless steel cup, snackies, compass, and about 25 feet of 550 cordage. I also have a small first aid and trauma kit. If I were to find myself having to walk home, I know I can do it with such a light kit even if I had to stay out for the night. If it’s winter, I will carry more. I will have a small pack for my gear with an added sleeping bag and mat, more food, and anything else I feel I may need like added winter clothing and boots. If we live in cold climates, we should be wearing a base layer for warmth to start with.
Any distance over thirty miles, for me, I like having more food and a sleeping kit, winter or not.
The idea is not to be foolish and put yourself in a dangerous situation, but to mitigate the peril if a one arises. For instance, staying with your vehicle will probably the best choice until help arrives.
Lighter is better most of the time. Traveling light means traveling farther faster, less strain on the musles and joints, and much easier on the feet. Some say don’t exceed 10 to 20 percent of your body weight. So a 200 pound man should max out at 40 pounds, and a 120 pound woman should max out at 24 pounds. Keep in mind we often pack things we’ll never use, and if we’re not physically capable of carrying our minimum, we need to make the adjustment. Having a little is better than having nothing especially if we have knowledge and skill. Still, not having enough or the proper equipment can mean one’s demise.
What do we want to carry? KISS — Keep It Simple Stupid. We need to make sure we can stay warm and dry when we’re sleeping, we can make a fire, we know where we’re at and where we’re going, we can carry and purify water, and we have food and a way to cook it. Don’t underestimate how long a person can last with plenty of food, water, and shelter from the elements.
Having basic life supporting gear and food can make a dangerous situation survivable. We may be uncomfortable, but we can stay alive long enough for rescue.