|Peace Pilgrim Walking Lightly|
You gotta know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
From The Gambler by Kenny Rogers
Let's Say We Have to Cut and Run: Prioritizing our Bug Out Bag
Don't be a refugee; plan a retreat.
Even mice know this! They don't like to leave their digs, but if they do, it's out the back door with no hesitation. And even the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.
A Bug Out Bag (BOB) is a fine idea - one for each member of our tribe.
My opinion is that as light a load as possible leaves us as fleet-of-foot as possible. Some of the checklists I see would have us staggering along. If we are fleeing predator(s), we'd be fat targets and slow. Without the predators, we'd still be slow and range-impaired.
So here' my lineup on priority considerations:
- Attitude -- More important than anything. Be ready to adapt; move, forage, scavenge, defend, eat bugs. Whatever is necessary. And sooner rather than later... don't wait until you're weakened before broadening your mind.
- Knowledge -- Almost as valuable as attitude. Light, portable, don't have to grab it. It will do more to stack the odds in your favor than any accumulation of gear/outfit/weapons. Great trade item that makes you worth more alive than dead.
Know your options and have exit strategies in mind. Know how to find nourishment and locate water in your area. Know how to improvise shelter. Know how to find your way from observations. Know how to handle medical emergencies. Know how to handle the tools in the rest of this list.
Educate yourself. Start now.
- A Good Knife -- The one-tool-that-fits-all. It's handy to have on your (paracord) belt (or in your pocket) every day of your life, so you won't have to grab it on the way out the door.
- Fire Starter -- Even if you've practiced firemaking from scratch, you'll likely be rusty. If you need a fire, pronto (to boil water, say), a quick light can save the day. So even if it's a Bic lighter, you're ahead of the game. Personally, I like a magnesium fire starter.
- Water Purifier -- Depending on your area, this may not be an issue, but GastroIntestinal (GI) disorders are big killers among transient populations. At the very least, the 'squirts' are going to hobble you. This will get you along until you can safely boil water.
We still keep small BOBs with some additional stuff, handy if there's time to grab it. All of it can be improvised, but these give a head-start.
- SOL Thermal Bivvy or equivalent -- Like a tent / sleeping bag that fits in your hand.
- Energy Bar(s)
-- Don't get carried away. One or two bars, rationed for clear thinking
in critical, early stages of your retreat. Hungry is stupid.
- Wire Snares -- Snares hunt 24/7, covering several locations.
- Fishing Line and Hooks -- Fish provide some of the best fat around, vital to survival.
- Paracord -- A world without string is chaos. With a paracord belt, it can move up to the first list.
- Compass -- A small, button-style will do (they also fit pockets... look for smooth cases).
- Solar or Hand Chargable LED Light -- Forget backup batteries. Red option saves night vision.
- A Multi-Tool -- Leatherman makes good ones.
- Wound Kit -- A large syringe with a brush, ziploc(s) and provodone iodine stowed in the handle slots. Can add a sterile pad, and tarred friction tape if there's room in your BOB.
Mix iodine with clean water in ziploc to resemble weak tea. Rinse (and brush) wound clean with clean water, final rinse and bandage with solution. The iodine can also purify water. Improvise everything else.
Consider a refiller bottle of iodine, if there's room, but repackage... containers it comes in may degrade and leak.
- Antibiotics(?) -- If you carry these, take full courses. If you string them out, they don't work.
This doesn't mean that stuff won't accumulate once you've dug in elsewhere. All sorts of things can be scavenged, improvised and adapted. Chances are, unclaimed stuff is going to be in high supply. Clothing, especially.
But most stuff won't do you any good until you've arrived. Take what you immediately need, but don't load yourself down.
Walk lightly, my friends, and arrive!