If you’re thinking of assembling a bug-out bag — and I strongly recommend that everyone do so — you may find yourself becoming confused by the boatloads of sometimes conflicting (and often useless) information you’ll find on the web regarding the subject.
The first thing to keep in mind is that there is no one perfect bug-out bag that will meet the needs of everyone or every situation. There are as many different schools of thought and definitions as to what constitutes a bug-out bag, as there are people who have made their own versions, so no one person or website can be considered the single best source of expertise on the subject.
After all, even the most well-considered approach to creating a personal bag will always be a compromise between the considerations of weight, space and whatever is deemed to be essential to survival.
In other words, a bug-out bag will contain some of what most people would agree to be essentials (and I’m not speaking so much of water and food, which, of course, are the first considerations) — items such as knives, cooking stoves and utensils, medical supplies, etc., but no bug-out bag that is portable enough to carry for any distance will contain everything that could be of use in a survival situation.
It’s more a educated guess of what might be the most important items to have handy in a survival situation balanced against the limits of what can be realistically carried by a single person.
That being said, there are some very good resources to be found on the Internet, and I recommend comparing the information found on several sites before making any purchases towards assembling your own bug-out bag — especially if it’s a completely new concept for you.
And there are some real experts who can provide you with solid advice based on years of research and survival experience.
One of the best sites I’ve run across is called GraywolfSurvival.com, which was created by a “former Intelligence Officer and combat veteran” who “grew up in the woods and spent a lifetime in various environments from deserts to jungles to politically-sensitive urban environments.”
Of course, anyone can call themselves an expert and invent an impressive pedigree, but a casual glance at Graywolf’s site will probably convince you that this guy indeed knows what he is talking about.
There are at least three articles on his site which I highly recommend for anyone serious about assembling a lightweight and extremely functional bug out bag. They are titled: “What you need in your bug out bag — a comprehensive look,” “How I built my ultimate 25 pound bug out bag” and “14 brilliant bug out bag packing tips.”
All three contain a wealth of practical information, including general tips and specific suggestions on what a well-equipped yet lightweight bug-out bag should contain.
One thing that becomes obvious while reading these articles is that, even for an expert, assembling a bug-out bag is a continual work-in-progress. There’s always room for refinement and improvement.
And that’s the reason why anyone should go ahead and get started. When you build your own bug-out bag, you’ll begin to understand the principles more clearly as you go.
It’s also a great idea to take your bug-out bag on a practice run to see how it feels to carry it for some distance and to find out what the essentials truly are. You’ll not only learn a lot by doing so; you’ll likely have a lot of fun in the process.
Why not go on your own “survival adventure” instead of just watching those guys on the television? Be sure you don’t stray too far into the wilderness without some knowledge and experience, but you can easily do a controlled test of your bug-out bag and survival abilities within a safe distance of your car or a campground.
Just make sure that you can easily return to civilization and safety if you begin to run out of essentials.