Bags, Bags and More Bags - What Say You
One who delves in to the topic of Preparedness probably hears lots of chatter about a bag. A GHB or Get Home Bag; a EOD bag or End of Day Bag or the ol BOB or Bug Out Bag. We could add to this list of names and types of bags. But, the bottom line is having a bag that serves you and your needs during the event you are enduring or may endure. Right? Not long ago I was watching a Podcast of some fellow preppers who discussed the top 10 things needed in a bag. All great information but it was generic. Why? Because it wasn't your bag and you didn't determine what you need for your purpose. It is nice to have someone tell you what you may need but you should be the one to decide what you need. Find a bag that is durable and comfortable on your back when filled with weight.
You can find numerous checklist of recommended items for your bag. Lots of goodies and great stuff to have. But, I would suggest you determine wants vs needs. Someone may have to carry the bag at some point. If you have a 50 lb bag and breakdown ten miles from home, can you carry the 50 lbs on your back? If you don't know, try it sometime and let me know how it works out for you. I would suggest you identify your mission first. Like, to work and back, or driving a few miles to the grocery story weekly, or maybe a road sales person who travels a lot in your job. Or maybe you are like me and work in a different state from your home. The commonality of the listed missions would be you need the ability for the basic four ingredients. Food, water, shelter and security. Why would you need these items if you are three miles from home? What if you are stranded and have to walk home, but because of a breakdown in society or your community you have to go off road to avoid people. There's numerous reasons you could need the ability to survive for 24 hours or more before you arrive home.
So once you figure out your mission, your primary and two alternate routes to travel, conduct a Risk Analysis of the routes and mission, you can then start picking the "needs" for your bag. Also, keep in mind, if this involves a child or two that would be with you, you must also determine if you will include their needs in your bag or have separate bags for them. Even if a child has their own backpack, you may end up carrying theirs along with yours. Now we are talking. So, give it some thought and determine your physical capabilities. You may want to pack a collapsible wagon or a golf bag cart in your truck with your bags. If you can tote the bags on wheels you may do much better. But, bottom line, you need to consider the reality that you may need to carry the bags.
When doing your route survey, did you include identifying water ways crossed? If you cross waterways, you must consider the fact you may have to cross the water by going through the water. During disasters and/or emergencies all bridges and crossings could be closed or controlled by gangs. Have a plan to either go around or else cross through the water. That doesn't mean you will need an inflatable boat in your bag. Or that you should go stage a boat at every crossing point. Now that would be nice, but not needed. Worst case you may have to borrow a boat to go across. Or, pack trash bags in your back pack and inflate them as temporary floats under your arms to cross the waterway. Be creative in your thinking and planning. If you have no other choice, take your pants off and tie the bottom of each pants leg in a knot and inflate with water. Use this as your flotation device. As you can see, doing your homework is critical to your safety and arrival to your destination.
On simpler terms, the Ready Bag or Go Bag that is in your trunk could be handy if you have to change a tire while transiting. The change of clothes may be handy if you get your work clothing soiled from the tire. Of you may come up on a wreck and be stranded in traffic for hours. The water and food in your bag will be handy to feed yourself and possibly your kids. Your bag becomes your go to bag for survival while you are in transit. I keep multiple bags in my vehicle. A short term day bag that I used at work if an event occurs and for going around the community. My Bug Out Bag is for 72 hours and beyond. This is my 28 lb bag with my needed items to survive. Food, water, shelter and security. I have a first aid kit strapped to my pack but available 24 x 7.
When packing a bag for your child, stash some supplies in the bottom of your child's backpack - water, a snack, any tools that might be useful, and a map. Be sure your children understand the importance of OPSEC. Because the child needs less items, you have extra space to store more of your needs. Always find and know multiple routes home and map out alternative backroad ways to get home as well as directions if you must go home on foot. Create your own "over the valley and through the woods" plan. Find hiding places along the way. If you know this would be your most likely route by foot, establish a cache of resources some place that is protected and unlikely to be found.
If you work or go to school a substantial distance from your home, figure out some places to lay low, if you have to do so before a crisis situation. Sometimes staying out of sight is the best way to stay safe. But remember, you do not want to wait too long or else you may become a victim. Avoid groups of people. It seems that the mob mentality strikes when large groups of people get together. Often folks who would never ordinarily riot in the streets get swept up by the mass of people who are doing so. Keep in mind that in many civil disorder situations the authorities are to be avoided every bit as diligently as the angry mobs of looters. Who can forget the scenes of innocent people being pepper sprayed by uniformed thugs in body armor just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Get ahead, make a plan, practice it and use it if it works. If it doesn't work, fix the vulnerabilities or accept them and move on. Always have a back up to your back up plan.
PS: The pictures are of the two bags I keep close to me at all times. My day bag and my bug out bag. Just examples.