Begin Your Bug-Out Bag

Emergency preparedness can seem formidable at first. The quest to be “completely prepared” is an overwhelming and honestly impossible goal.

Trying to be perfect neglects an important truth: every human being is given a finite amount of time, a finite amount of resources, a finite amount of willpower and metal focus that must budgeted and doled out to the best of their ability.

Instead, your level of preparedness should be judged like most other things in life, in relation to yourself and as a function of your own self-improvement.

How prepared are you today, compared to how you were yesterday?

Enhancing your Everyday Carry Options

If you’re thinking of starting a bug-out bag, I have some good news.

You already have one.

Everybody has stuff they carry around all the time. Sometimes its in a messenger bag. Or a purse. Or just in your pockets.

What folks usually refer to as your EDC (Everyday Carry) is also your fall-back equipment should the unexpected happen during your daily life.

The day I decided to “enhance” my EDC options, my emergency supplies consisted of the following: my wallet, my cell phone, and my car keys.

I remember the day so clearly because it rained on the way to work.

And when I say rained, I mean God filled a 5 gallon bucket from their tap and did a slow pour over my immediate area all morning.

I arrived into the office soaked to the skin, shivering, and reflecting heavily on my position in life.

So on that day I bought a poncho. I matched that with a cheap umbrella I found in my hallway closet at home. Suddenly I had 2 rain protection solutions, one for showers and short trips, the other for major deluges and longer distances.

That’s when I started carrying a backpack.

And once you have a backpack, at least if you’re anything like me, you start thinking about what else you can put in that backpack.

The Rule of 3’s

My damp encounter exposed me to one of the foundational elements of preparedness, the Rule of 3’s.

Also known in some circles as “how long it takes you to die.”

  • 3 hours of unprotected exposure to the cold/elements
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food

In my case, I decided I didn’t want to explore any of these theoretical thresholds anywhere close to their limits.

I don’t like being cold. I don’t like being thirsty. Nobody does.

72 Hours of Independent Survival

A true bug-out bag, by most accounts, should be capable of providing the essentials to allow for 72 hours of survival in an unwelcoming environments.

We’re talking water purification. A tent and sleeping bag. Extensive fire-starting options. The list truly becomes endless the more you think about it.

But creating a EDC Bag is much simpler. And you will automatically have a sub-optimal Bug-Out Bag.

You probably aren’t going to have enough stuff to go for 72 hours in the wilderness, but it’s better than nothing. For 8 hours or 12 hours, I’m probably OK.

But yes, I know, once the sun goes down, I’m going to be out there in the dark of night re-enacting Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Match Girl.”

The truth remains: good is better than perfect. And OK is better than Zero.

The adventure of making your Bag into an “optimal” configuration can than be an on-going process that can easily take the rest of your life.

Turning Doomsday into a Hobby

I have absolutely zero advice for the serious preppers out there. You should be the ones giving me advice.

But if instead you’re just getting into making a plan, here’s the deal: start out small, keep expanding, keeping thinking about it, and make it into a life-long hobby.

Celebrate your acquisitions and your little successes.

My Current Bag Contents:

  • Poncho
  • Umbrella
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Neck Gaiter
  • Small Flashlight
  • Notebook
  • Pencil and Pen
  • Folding Knife
  • Multitool
  • Lunch
  • Small Snack
  • Extra Sweater/Jacket
  • Lighter
  • Matches
  • Large Water Bottle
  • Headphones and chargers for my phone/computer
  • Small First Aid Kit
  • Card Game
  • Library Book (that I need to return tomorrow, don’t forget!)

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4 Responses to “Begin Your Bug-Out Bag”

  1. Greg Dodd

    Do you have a preferred warm weather hat and a different hat for cool weather that you swap out depending on the season or do you have a hat that you like for year round use?

  2. arky

    it is not impossible to be completely prepared. we are.

  3. Chuck Brick

    One or two Mylar “Space Blankets” could be a valuable addition for minimal cost, space, or weight.

  4. Ken

    Bug-out day: grab family; grab bags; grab keys; hop in car and speed to library on way out of town.