The anniversary of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami has come and gone, but the memory is still very fresh in the consciousness of the global population. It was also the main the cause of the ongoing meltdowns in the Fukushima nuclear reactors. I think this event will become a major turning point in the world’s view of nuclear power and the use of uranium as a power source. Many people have praised the Japanese government and people’s quick response to the calamities, but have criticized how the nuclear situation was handled.
It was a major tragedy, but it’s one we must all learn from. It’s difficult to prepare for such a massive catastrophe like the ones experience by Japan, but being prepared is a necessity. In line with that, we’re going to talk about setting up and organizing a “Bug-out Bag” or BOB.
So what exactly IS a bug-out bag? BOBs are emergency supplies for any emergency situation. Whether it’s a natural or man-made calamity, a BOB is supposed to contain supplies to sustain an individual for 72 hours. These essential supplies will allow a person to weather the first 3 days (which are the most critical periods of time). BOBs are also known as GOOD (get out of dodge) bags, 72-hour packs, grab bags, and some people even consider BOBs as INCH (I’m never coming home) kits.
Let’s get down to business: Setting up a BOB is dependent on many factors, the largest being the terrain and environment that you are based out of. The BOB tries to equip the individual for most situations without being too cumbersome. The terrain is important because you will tailor your equipment as to give the best possible chance of avoiding injury and even discomfort. There are various communities which share their experience and ideas about what to include in their own BOBs and INCH bags. While each BOB is as unique as the person assembling it, there are items which are a must in every BOB.
- Drinking water, various countries suggest different amounts per person, but the average comes out at 3 liter. Water for hygiene and sanitary purposes average around 2-3 liters per person. It would also be a good idea to include a water purification system. Include some iodine tablets and/or chlorine bleach. For clear water, 3 drops of chlorine bleach is enough for a liter of water while 5 drops must be used for cloudy water. Camelbak is offering a new water bottle that has a built-in filter along with a UV light that kills bad microbes. It’s called the Camelbak All Clear and it might be something you can include in your BOB.
- Food with a long shelf life is suggested, and should be able to sustain the individual for at least 3 days.
- A first aid kit should contain supplies to treat most common injuries and illnesses.
- Fire-starting tools such as weather-proof matches or lighters. I’m setting up my BOB as I write this, and I think I’ll also include a fire-starter (they’re usually flint sticks, and available at most camping shops. Check out Swedish firesteel. They’re handy and small enough to stick onto your keychain for EDC: Everyday Carry) along with weather-proof matches. There are many tutorials online to show you how to DIY regular matches to make them weather-proof.
- Supplies for people with special needs in the family. This includes your pets and kids.
- Clothing that suits the type of weather in your area. Make sure you have enough clothing for 3 days.
- Include portable radios and flashlights in your BOB. It would be best if they were crank or solar. It’s a lot easier since you don’t have to worry about packing dead batteries when you need them.
- Camping equipment, including tents and sanitation in case you have to sleep outside.
- Maps and a compass will help navigate in case you’re not too familiar with the surrounding areas. Having a map also allows you to locate the major bodies of water.
- Literature to instruct you for various emergency situations.
- Duct tape and/or rope. You never know when you need to tie stuff together. Paracord is the best material for this. Its weight to tensile strength ratio is very high, meaning it can support a lot of weight even though it’s very light.
- Cash in small bills, because you never know if electronic banking is going to stay up during emergencies (they’re most likely going to be down).
- Multi-tools are good because they combine numerous tools in one small and easy to carry package.
- Fixed blade knife is always handy. You never know when you need to cut stuff. If you’ve ever watched Man vs. Wild with Bear Grylls, you’ll see that a fixed blade knife can do wonders. Having a folding knife is great but a fixed blade is invaluable.
- A small folding shovel
- Tarp for a makeshift shelter and to collect water in case the necessity arises.
- A large bag to fit all the equipment
Remember not to carry too much stuff, the BOB was put together to allow quicker evacuation during emergencies, and the harder it is to access and carry your equipment, the higher the chance of injury. Keep your emergency supplies where you can easily get them.
The BOB is always a work-in-progress and must constantly be updated to increase the effectiveness. You can add and subtract gear from your BOB to fit your specific needs.
There are various sites and communities you can refer to for information and suggestions regarding BOB completion and other stuff. Just in case you’re interested, the culture which expanded and continues these discussions is called “survivalism.” Here are a couple of links to the sites I referred to during the creation of this article:
Why did I think of putting up an article like this on GreenJoyment? Well, my primary motivation was to promote the idea of keeping safe, especially during these times. Climate change is real. It’s here, and it’s biting hard. We can expect rougher weather and quite possibly more calamities so it’s best to stay prepared. I hope this article was helpful.
Stay safe, keep smiling, and stay green.
Juan Miguel Ruiz