There has been a lot of talk over the years about bugging out, bug out bags, and bug out bag lists. The subject of “bugging out” is bound to come up in any conversation about survival preps and every survival blog has at least one article posted about how to put together a bug out bag.
Why Bug Out?
The subject of bugging out and bug out bags (some preppers refer to this kit as a bug out backpack) is a popular one and for good reason, disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes , flash floods or other natural disaster, could force survivors to “head for the hills” in search of safer ground.
We are constantly threatened by a series of potential disasters, both natural and man-made. It seems like we are being threatened from all sides, and sometimes, I admit to feeling like just throwing up my hands in despair and just giving up. It’s easy to give up. But I shake it off and prep harder than before. I’m funny like that…
We also face a series of potential long-term disasters including, ecological collapse, economic collapse, agriculture disaster, war, plague, pandemic, an over oppressive government or any number of disasters that could force the need to seek safer footing or even hide-out in the hills long-term.
Bugging Out Vs. Hunkering Down
If you’ve read my article bugging out vs. hunkering down then you already know that bugging out to the hills should be your last option, when you have no other choice.
Bug out bags should be considered as a temporary survival plan or as a backup at best. You should keep in mind if you are forced to leave your home or retreat; you have essentially made yourself a refugee, which is the last thing you want during hard times.
A bug out kit will keep you alive for a few days, or weeks… then what? You had better have a way to supply your basic needs after exhausting the gear contained in your bug out bag contents.
Keep in mind that we are not talking about bugging out from the city to a pre set-up and well-stocked retreat in the hills, if this is your plan then you might not need a “bug out bag” since you can just load everything into your car and take off. But still having bug out bag essentials, i.e. life-saving gear in a pack or kit that is ready to grab and go is a good idea if you have to abandon your bug out vehicle and head out on foot.
It would be great if you already have a stockpile of food, medications and gear waiting for you at a mountain retreat, let’s just hope that you can actually, get past the blocked roads, carjackers, checkpoints and other hazards that will be met along the way get there, unscathed.
If you do somehow, manage to make it through, all of the en-route hazards to your well-stocked retreat in the hills, still don’t be surprised when you’re “greeted” at the door by another family or group that has already, moved in. What would you do? They may outnumber you and be better armed… Will you walk away? Will you stay and fight for what is yours?
If at all possible, move to your retreat or relocate to a safer area now – before disaster strikes. Learn to grow your own food, raise small livestock and get to know your neighbors. I just hope that it’s not to late in the game for you to make the move. Time is running out and deep down I think that it’s already too late to relocate…
Bugging Out and Putting Together Your Bug Out Bag
Anyways, back to bugging out and how to put together a bug out bag…
Some survivalist aka “preppers” look at this type of bug out kit as an “escape and evasion” bag. Where they will use the kit as a grab and go bag that will be used if they’re forced to head out to the forest and mountains to hide from danger – for most this is a flawed idea.
Living completely free of civilization, scrounging for food and shelter in the forest, mountains or desert for any significant length of time can be done, under the right conditions, by some people. But it would not be easy and the constant struggle to stay alive would be more than many could handle and most would not make it very long.
But when you’re left with no other option, besides stay and die or bug out to the hills and maybe survive a few extra days, it’s worth a try, and having a “bug out or escape and evasion bag” ready to go will give you a better chance of making it…
The prospect of the hidden cave or dug out stocked with survival supplies should be a considered. Having a hidden cache of essential survival gear could mean the difference between death and survival if you’re forced to head for the hills.
I have several cache tubes hidden around my area, and have been working on putting in more. I will only leave my home / retreat if I have no other choice. I would rather stay and fight then run and hide, but if I have to run and hide, the hidden caches will give me a better chance of making it…
If it’s a natural disaster, where help will be on the way, but you have to leave for you immediate safety (say a hurricane is heading your way) would a friend or family member in a distant town take you in? You need to have a “disaster buddy” in another area, but still reachable in a few hours’ drive, with whom you’ve already made plans and have an agreement with, where if a disaster happens in your area that you can go to his place to wait it out and vice versa.
A government shelter, not for me thank you. I want to stay out of the FEMA camps. And who wants to be dependent on the government for their survival anyways? Not me. But then I’m one of those “wrong-headed” Americans who would rather trust their own wits and skills than the government to take care of them after a disaster (or anytime)… They just hate that.
What You Should Have in Your Bug Out Bag
Okay, so what should be included in a bug out bag? Well that depends on you personally – you’ll have to consider things, like your location and where you’re going, your health, your skills, and time of the year. That’s why that there’s no one bug out bag list that fits all needs and individuals. But by looking at bug out bag lists that have been put together by a number of different people, we can get ideas to work with and expand our bug out bags for our personal location and needs.
What’s In My Bug Out Bag
Okay, since we are talking about bug out bag lists, I’m sure that you’re probably wondering what is in my bug out bag. Well I’ll show you… below are photos of my bug out bag contents. Hopefully, the photos will help you or someone who you know put together your own bug out bag.
Bug Out Bag Firearms and Self-Defense
Most people will suggest a .22 caliber rifle, such as the Ruger 10/22 and this is a great choice. A .22 caliber rifle can take small game as well as larger game such as deer with proper shot placement.
Another advantage for having a .22 Long rifle is the relatively low-report especially when using CB caps and the ability to be effectively silenced with a homemade sound suppressor aka “silencer”. Just remembered that such a device is illegal without proper government approval and will land you behind bars if caught, and is suggested here for a worst case scenario only or after you have went through all of the legal hoops.
The downside of the .22 Long rifle round is limited range, penetration and stopping power all of which limit the rounds effectiveness when used for self-defense. I suggest a backup handgun chambered for a cartridge suitable for self-defense. I would not go below a 9mm or 38 special and then us good expanding ammo.
Even with a 9mm and 38 special, you should seriously consider using only the +P rounds such as the 115 or 124 grain JHP +P in the 9 mm or 158-grain lead semi-wadcutter hollow point .38 Special +P for defensive purposes .
Your location would also determine weapons choice. For example those bugging-out in grizzly country should definitely consider something more powerful than the aforementioned 9 mm or 38 special.
My first choice for protection against such large game would be a center-fire rifle chambered for 308 or larger. My second choice would be a magnum revolver with a 5.5″ to 7.5″ barrel chambered for .44 Magnum or larger.
It is wise to avoid any armed confrontation if possible. Trust me you are not a coward if you avoid the possibility of being shot or having to shoot someone else. You are not expendable – neither are the lives of your family or those in your bug out group. Those with the macho kill ‘em all attitudes will not last very long after the poop hit’s the fan.
With that being said, a semi-auto military style rifle should be considered especially if you are trying to get from an urban area to the country, where facing organized gangs or other threats attempting to block your exit could be a possibility.
An AR-15 with collapsible buttstock or folding stocked AK-47 (for compactness and conceal ability) could help get you out of a dangerous situation if pressed into one, while taking up little space and not adding significant weight to your overall survival gear.
I hope that you’ve found this article on bug out bags, and bugging out useful and can put the information above to good use – please share this article with your friends and social media contacts.
Well over to you… what do you have in your bug out bag?