As a journalist, no matter where I am or what I am doing, I am always looking at things from the perspective of, “Would this make a good story?” And so I found myself one day in my friend’s RV looking at a bulging camo backpack under her table. At first I thought she had things in there to unpack, but every time I went over, it hadn’t moved. On the last day of her visit, I inquired why the backpack hadn’t moved and why it appears to be as full as on the first day. She looked over and very matter-of-factly said, “It’s my bug-out bag,” and went back to what she was doing. I sat there for a few seconds trying to decipher what on earth she was talking about, and finally, at the risk of looking stupid, I said, “What are you talking about?”
She sat down, pulled out the bag and one by one explained the contents of the bag. A bug-out bag is a backpack that has close to everything a person would need to survive for three days. Now understand, there are different types of bug-out bags. There are ones for the wilderness and ones for urban. She explained that bug-out bags aren’t just for the zombie apocalypse. Anytime she is traveling via RV or car, she throws her bag in the back. If she was somewhere remote and unfamiliar and broke down, she could survive. So, my research on bug-out bags began, and it took me down a very interesting rabbit hole.
I read about the importance of everything from a hiker’s bug-out bag to, yes, the zombie apocalypse one. The one that surprised me the most was the urban one, which is very basic compared to the others but made perfect sense. Think 9/11, when so many people were stranded and hurt in the city and had to walk miles to get home. The urban bug-out bag would have been such a help. It would have things in it like bandages, something to defend yourself with, flashlight, local map, packaged water, pen and paper, money, baseball cap, granola bars and dried fruit. It’s not a backpack because you would start to get strange stares walking into work every day, so it’s more like a courier cross bag. I actually think it’s kind of smart.
With summer around the corner and camping/hiking trips being planned, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce you to the bug-out bag. Now remember, this is a bag that if something happened and you had to be out of your area in literally minutes, you would have everything in this bag where you could just grab it and be out the door. For example, if you are camping and something happens and your car won’t start and you have to evacuate the area and time is a factor, you can just grab this one bag and dash out. That being said, you cannot take things out of this bag to use while camping. You have your camping supplies for that. The last thing you want to happen is to go through your bug-out bag trail mix and then need it while you are walking miles to a town.
List: map of area, compass, water, food, cash in small bills, pen and paper, glasses, sunglasses, knife, waterproof matches, small ax, shovel, flashlight, rain cover, face mask, fire starters, glow sticks, water filtration, solar charger, copies of driver’s license, social security card and passport, family picture and spiritual resource, work gloves, over-the-counter medications and basic first aid supplies, emergency blanket, hygiene items, insect repellant and suntan lotion, whistle, socks, heavy-duty duct tape and eating/drinking utensils.
In researching all this, I came across survivalist schools that I will discuss in next month’s column. Some even have camps for kids, which might make for a very interesting back-to-school story in the fall.