February 19, 2018

72 Hour Bug Out Bag List; by GraphixStation.com

Some years ago, I had the pleasure of getting to know the owner of GraphixStation.com through email. Over the years, they have created all of the logos for the Prepared Christian blog, facebook and twitter pages, as well as the Preparedness Club. Sometimes I have an idea of what I want but don’t do a very good job expressing it. They knock it out of the park every single time!

I recently got an email with a .pdf attachment containing a very nice looking 72 Hour Bug Out Bag List. The email said that after so many friends and family asked what should go in one, they made this list so they could just hand it out! What a fantastic idea! I have been given permission to hand it out to all of you!

You might need to tweak the list but, for the most part, I think it is pretty solid. It being in .pdf form means you can print it, download it or email it to loved ones who can benefit.

72 Hour Bug Out Bag List; by GraphixStation

To download the 72 Hour Bug Out Bag List; by GraphixStation, right click on the link or the image, and “save file/target as”.

If you are ever in need of graphics design work, I cannot recommend GraphixStation highly enough! Fellow Prepared Christian and very talented!

Challenging Bug Out Myths

Challenging Bug Out Myths

Over the years I have read several blog posts, and statements in many different preparedness/survival forums about bugging out that I want to challenge today. I call them “myths” because, as I see it, they are just not true. The trouble with these myths is that the person saying them might not mean it as a hard and fast rule but the person new to preparedness who reads it, might not understand that.
Myth One: You Have to Bug Out

This is probably the biggest of the myths; that there are many reasons that you’ll have to bug out. The truth is that for the vast majority of scenarios, you will be safer, more secure, and more comfortable by battening down and staying home. Home is where your family feels the safest. It is where you have a routine and familiar surroundings. In dire times, those two things go a long way to uphold our mental wellbeing.

Home is also where all of your preparations are and where you’re best suited to face the most “come, what may” scenarios.
Myth Two: You Don’t Need a Bug Out Plan

This is the other camp that says they won’t ever bug out and don’t need a bug out plan. As I mentioned above, in the vast majority of scenarios, staying home or “bugging in” is a better solution. To me, this means that the events you do need to bug out for are much more serious. Events that could push me from my home are things like imminent fire, flooding, a prolonged grid down or civil unrest in an urban and some suburban areas. When do you know you should bug out? When you would be safer leaving than staying. The events I described could be extremely dangerous, so not having a plan to put in action, having BOB’s and a plan for bugging out, is equally as dangerous.
Myth Three: You Need a Bug Out Location (BOL)

The majority of preppers don’t own a separate piece of property that they consider their BOL. The truth is, you don’t need one. Sure, it might be ideal, but it isn’t needed. Below is a way to develop multiple locations. That way you have four routes out of your area. First, if you have a relative or friend outside of your general area, consider asking them if you could head there.
If you don’t have another location to go, I recommend finding a town that’s big enough to have a hotel but small enough to be inconspicuous, which is thirty to sixty miles away. I say “large enough to have a hotel” because that is the landmark. If they have a room available, stay if you like. If you want to continue on, do so. Do this going north, south, east and west. Now develop a couple different routes to each location and label the routes “1” and “2”. We purchased plastic foldable maps and have one in our BOBs and one in the vehicle.
I think each car should have a map and the directions to each location. If you’re at work and your spouse is at home when you need to bug out, you can send a text or email that says “North, route 2”. Now you know where they are going and the route they’re taking to get there.
Myth Four: BOB’s Need to Last 72 Hours

Many times BOB’s are referred to as “72 hour kits”. The purpose of a BOB should be to get you from your home to your BOL and to last a minimum of three days, or 72 hours. As I have stated above, the events that would actually force me to bug out are pretty serious. If I have to leave, there is a good chance it won’t be safe for me to return to my home in 72 hours.
My point is that you might have to make do for longer than 72 hours. Keep that in mind when stocking your BOB. You don’t know if you’ll find a working ATM while you’re out so you might consider keeping cash or precious metals in your BOB so you can restock while you’re bugged out.
Myth Five: Your BOB Needs to be as Light as Possible

There have been more posts and comments about this than any of the other myths. Anytime someone makes a forum thread and shows their BOB, there are always people who make a comment like “Good luck carrying that”. I always wonder where these scoffers are planning on bugging out to. Me? I plan on driving. If there is some type of event that keeps me from driving, I can think of five ways to carry my BOB and other gear as well.
Maybe they plan on heading to the deep woods? For 95% of people, that is a bad idea. Even if you are a primitive skill master and can make do with a knife and a dirty look, what about your family?

Since the events that you actually need to bug out for are severe and you don’t know when you’ll be able to go home, what will you do in the woods when your supplies run out?

My thoughts are that if I do have to bug out there is a pretty serious reason. Since I don’t know how long I might need to be away, I want to make sure I have enough gear to take care of my family. I’m more concerned with making sure I have what we need than I am with the weight of the pack. On the very slim chance I can’t drive and have to carry it, I can find means to negate the weight.
My Bug Out Plan

If there is something that forces us to leave, we’ll grab the BOB’s and other gear and load the truck. We’ll then head to one of our locations and keep an eye on the situation. If something happens that would force us to walk, we have a wagon and would find a shopping cart nearby as well. In the winter we have a couple children’s sleds we could load up and tow behind us.
I hope this helps clear up some misconceptions about bugging out. I look forward to reading your comments.

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Executing a Bug Out Plan

In past articles such as “Bugging Out or Battening Down?” , I have suggested that, in the vast majority of scenarios, staying home and battening down is a far better idea.  However, there are scenarios like fire, flood, extended blackout in an urban environment and multiple others, where bugging out might be a must.  Today I want to give a quick refresher on building a bug out plan, even if you don’t have a Bug Out Location (BOL).  I’ll then give some thoughts on executing your plan.


Making a Bug Out Plan (BOP)

If you have a Bug Out Location (BOL), I suggest you document multiple ways to get there.  If you don’t have a BOL, you still have options.  One option is to have an agreement with a friend or relative that, if needed, you would head there.  You could go one step further and ask to store some food and gear there so you have more than what you were able to BO with.

Another option is to pick small towns, one north, one south, one east and one west of your home.  We picked towns that are 30-60 miles away, had a population of around 5,000 and, if possible, a small hotel.  You don’t have to stay at the hotel but it can serve as a rally point.  Another reason for the hotel is that if you and your family don’t bug out together but agree on which direction to take, if someone is delayed they can call the hotel and ask to leave a message for your family member who is on their way and will be checking in.

The reason I like this idea is that you have a plan to execute and won’t have to try and figure out where to go if things start going sideways.  I like the idea of four directions because you don’t know what direction things might be melting down.  For instance, many Minnesotans might think about heading ”up north” because there are many lakes, woods and plentiful wildlife.  There is a nuclear power plant along one “up north” route for us and a state penitentiary along another.  In a worst case scenario such as an EMP, there is no way I want to go near the nuclear plant, and I’d like to keep my distance from the prison as well.  It might be easier to just go east instead.


Documentation Package

Here is an idea that I got from Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast; make a travel folder and stick one in each vehicle. Inside this folder you should have three destinations with three routes to each destination. Label them destination 1, 2, 3 and route A, B, C.  If you and your family are separated, you can call them and tell them to head to destination 2, following route 3 and eliminate any confusion.

I also think that you should include information like local towing companies and your insurance agent’s phone number. This is information that you will want quickly and may not have someone to call to give it to you.


When Should You Bug Out?

There isn’t a cut and dry answer.  The best answer I can give is that you should BO when being on the road heading to a BOL or being at the BOL is safer than being at home.  If you BO too early you can just call it a mini vacation.  If you BO too late you might find yourself in gridlock.


Bugging Out on Foot

As I have stated, I think that, in the vast majority of situations, battening down at home is a better solution.  If I have to BO, chances are that I’ll be able to do so in my vehicle.  But what if the worst-case scenario happens and there is an EMP that makes all vehicles with a computer inoperable?

I’ve seen many articles and forum posts that say you need to make sure you can hoof it carrying your BOB.  Ideally everyone would be injury free and in shape enough to do this, but are there options for those of us who just aren’t going to be able to carry a full BOB?

I have a few ideas that might work.  One, as you may have guessed, is the shopping cart.  Just taking one would be stealing.  If we’re talking EMP, there is a chance the store manager might be willing to sell one, if the store is even open.  I have seen bicycles modified to attach and pull shopping carts.  It could simply be pushed, or attached to a person via ropes and towed behind as they walk.

Another option, if you already own one, would be a game cart.  They have a very high weight limit and are ruggedly built to withstand bringing heavy game over rough terrain.  Yet another option is securing gear to a bicycle and walking along side.  Still another would be a wagon, though you’re pretty limited on space.  An option in snow would be a sled.


Traveling Safely

When people on various forums talk about bugging out, I always get the impression they mean to do so through the wilderness.  If you spend a lot of time hiking in the wilderness, this is a solid option for you.  If you don’t, you might want to give it a second thought.  Walking through rough, uneven, and often slippery terrain, dodging branches, might not be the best solution unless it can’t be avoided.

Most people will choose to travel during the day.  For this reason, you may instead choose to travel at night.  This is probably a very good idea if you live in the south, as it will be much cooler at night.

Some nontraditional routes may include following; power lines, railroad tracks, and rivers.  Use caution with railroad tracks, as some tracks go over bridges that are not made for human traffic.  Use similar caution when following rivers, as they can lead through treacherous wilderness areas, unsuitable for travel.


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Bugging Out or Battening Down?

Bugging Out or Battening Down

I am going to use the acronyms here, if you don’t know what they are please see the Acronyms, Mottos and Phrases page.

Some of the favorite topics in preparedness are BOB’s and BO. In this article I want to cover the decision to BO vs. battening down (staying put). I have seen some people on forums say that they will just head out to the woods if they have to BO, or hide out in a Costco, Wal-Mart or a similar store. I’ll cover those options and why I think they are a bad idea.
Batten Down

Some people use the term “Bug In”, I prefer the term “Batten Down”, it’s the term we used in the Navy to secure the ship and get ready for rough waters. We would batten down the hatches (doors) and stow or batten down any loose gear that could go flying as we got ready for severe weather and rough seas.

While I think everyone should have a BOB and a BO plan, I think that unless you own a BOL, battening down is a better option 95% of the time. Unless I have a retreat at a BOL and I must ride out a rough time. My home is the place I would want to do that from. It is where my family is comfortable and depending on the reason why we are battened down, this sense of normalcy will be huge. Also unless you have a BOL or a cache somewhere, this is where your preps will most likely be and BO with all of your preps is likely never going to be an option for most people.

There are things you can do to make your home more secure (or batten it down), both now and if the stuff hits the fan.

Here are a few tips for now, I may write an article about this at another time.

This might be a stretch for some of you but think like a dirt-bag; look at your house like a criminal would. Look for the easiest ways in, look for any spots someone could hide near a door or window and remain unseen from people passing by. If you see any obvious weaknesses find way to secure or mitigate their weakness.

Most doors are secured to the door frame but not to the stud. You can replace the existing screws with 3” screws, making the door much more resistant to being kicked in.

Dogs are very effective deterrents. Big dog aren’t necessary all the time. The little yappers are just as good because the goal is noise not attacking.

If you have a deck door you should have a board that rests in the full length of the track. I don’t know if this is true or if it can still be done, but I have read that it is possible to knock a deck door off it’s track to open it. This is done by just opening it an inch and lifting it and pushing in, this is the reason I say the board needs to be the full length of the track, so it cannot open that inch.

This will keep the door from being opened until the board is removed. It might keep thieves out in normal times, but having a plan to secure that big pane of glass is a good idea, in case things get ugly but not bad enough to BO. The most some of us will be able to do is keep the shades drawn and barricade it with furniture.

Outside lights that are triggered by motion sensors are another good idea.


Bugging Out

Bug Out Plans

There could always be something that forces you to BO, such as wildfire, floods, attack of killer tomatoes (hehehe), civil unrest, etc. When should the decision to BO be made? There are so many variables that there isn’t just one right answer. You may need to have different thresholds and when the circumstances are reached you bail. For instance, if there is a hurricane heading your direction but it is two days away and may lose strength, you might decide to stay until it is twelve hours away. Another threshold may be a true pandemic (not H1N1) with high morbidity and mortality, for this you may decide to either impose a self-quarantine or BO early.

There are two basic types of evacuation orders, immediate and time to react. Authorities will only tell people to evacuate as a last resort. If there is an order given, it should be followed.

For the types of BO when you have time to react, you may desire to take more then just your BOB. Now is the time to make a list of what will go with and where it is, not when stress is high and you’re on the way out the door. These types of events would be hurricane, flooding , wildfire some distance away, but headed in your direction.

I also think there should be a plan in place for an immediate BO. This is the catch all, no time to grab the kitchen sink, you simply get the BOB’s and go. For these things you just have to leave when it is safer to be on the road than it is at your home. These types of events would be something like tornado, near by fire, terrorist attack and other things that don’t give much of a warning.
BOB’s or 3 day kits

a BOB is the same as a 3-day kit, they should be used to get you to the BOL and support you for 72 hours. Unless you have a stocked BOL, your BOB is not going to have enough supplies to sustain you and your family for any length of time. Read here for basic BOB (Bug Out Bag) or 3 day kit list.
Should I stay or should I go?

If you have a BOL then you might decide to BO sooner. If you go too soon and it turns out that you didn’t need to, you might be out a few days of vacation. There is a catch 22, if you wait too long, there could be a lot of traffic doing the same thing.
No BOL? You still have options

Since you don’t own a BOL you’re not tied to one piece of land. Pick a destination in each direction; north, south, east and west. This gives you two to three directions to avoid trouble. I would pick a smallish town, big enough to have a hotel and use the hotel as the BOL. Why a hotel and not a camp or park? If your family is separated, you can call the hotel and see if they are there, you can tell the attendant that your family is on the way and leave a message for them. Once there you can either rent a room, or move on to another temporary BOL.

If things get bad enough to force you to bug out, the most important thing is that you’re no longer at home. Keep in mind that you’ll not be the only one with the idea. That’s why I think a small town is a good choice. It’s important to have a plan ahead of time, as you won’t want to be paralyzed with trying to figure out where to go.
Special Needs

If you have someone with special needs in your life, you are already aware of the extra care they need on a day-to-day basis. When planning a BO or batten down procedure, there may be other things to consider. FEMA has a document called People with Disabilities and Other Access and Functional Needs.
Documentation Package

Here is an idea that I got from Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast. Make a travel folder and stick one in each vehicle. Inside this folder you should have three destinations with three routes to each destination. Label them destination 1, 2, 3 and route A, B, C. Now if you and your family are separated, you can call them and tell them to head to destination 2, route 3 and there is no confusion about not knowing where to go.

I also think that you should include information like local towing companies and your insurance agent’s phone number. This is information that you will want quickly and may not have someone to call to give it to you.
Other Important Papers

It is a good idea to have important papers in one easy-to-grab place. These could include: birth certificates, social security cards, passports, insurance papers and family photos.

As responsible pet owners we need to make plans for our pets. We recently got all of our dogs micro-chipped. This is a good idea now and in an emergency. It could prove essential should one wander away. For their safety having a travel kennel could prove essential. If you’re bugging out, time is of the essence; you do not want to spend it chasing a scared pet. Keeping pets’ shot records with the family’s important papers is also a good idea.

Bad Ideas

Into The Woods

I have seen plenty of people who think that if worse came to worse they would just head for the great outdoors. In this scenario you don’t have a stocked BOL so you probably have your BOB’s and maybe some extra food. How long will it all last? How skilled in the outdoors are you? How much food can you forage, fish or hunt for your family.

I love those survival shows on the Discovery channel, the ones where either a single person or a group of people are “stranded” and they need to survive until they are found or make it back to civilization. I’m guessing there is some element of Hollywood in them but I have only seen a few episodes on all of the shows combined where people got any food, let alone enough food to feed them for any length of time. Sometimes they would go a week with only eating one or two small meals.

Now consider the time of the year. In late spring, summer and early fall, sleeping in a tent here in Minnesota would be fine, but late fall through early spring, I don’t even like being here at all, never mind sleeping in a tent or trailer.

The number one reason this is a bad idea is; if you thought of it so did a huge number of other people. If you know of the perfect spot others probably do as well and when food runs out in suburbia, people will start looking in the places they go hunting and fishing. There are certain people in the right situation that this may be a good option for but for the vast majority this is a bad idea.
Hiding Out at a Store

While I don’t believe anyone reading this would ever see this as an option there are those that think Costco, Sam’s Club, Target, Wal-Mart or stores like these would be a great place to hide out in if things ever got really bad. The main reason this is a bad idea is because it’s illegal. if it is a true survival situation, I think you can “commandeer” needed items for survival. Like I said, “I think” this is something that you’ll need to check in your area. As we saw during Katrina, there are those among us who think 60” TV’s are a survival item.

Let’s pretend that it wasn’t illegal or immoral. Its still a bad idea because; if you thought of it so did anyone who ever shopped there. The supplies will not last long. The shelves will be empty quickly. Since we’re pretending, let’s pretend that it isn’t illegal and you had a store with minimal competition. There are still too many entries to secure to make this viable without a small group.

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