Through the years, I’ve seen countless lists for what should be included in a bug out bag. By and large, those lists are relatively the same, with the exception of one of two items. It seems everyone has their own ideas for something special they want to have, even though we all seem to agree on the major items.
But that’s not to say that we’re all right. The basic problem is who came up with the idea in the first place. While bug out bags of one sort or another have existed for longer than memory can pin down, the modern idea, along with the names “bug out bag” and “72-hour bag” originated with FEMA. But their idea of a bug out and our idea of a bug out just aren’t the same.
FEMA’s intent is that everyone have enough to get them through the first 72 hours, because their mandate is to have some sort of temporary shelter or refuge center set up within that time. So the 72-hour bag is just to get you to there, where the loving arms of big brother government can care for you.
But I don’t know any preppers who intend to put themselves and their families in the hands of FEMA, especially considering that they won’t be able to bring their guns along with them. At the same time, few of us live close enough to our intended survival retreat (aka bug out location) that we can walk there in 72 hours, if the roads turn into a parking lot, like many of us expect.
Even worse, there are those who plan on heading for the wilderness with nothing more than those 72 hours worth of supplies. While the equipment they are going to carry along will obviously be useful for much more time than that, what are they planning on doing for supplies, once that food runs out?
Here are two options to consider:
Use Supply Caches
If supplies are the only issue, then there are two things that can be done. One is to carry more supplies and the other is to have supplies prepositioned, where they can be picked up along the way. The problem with packing more supplies is weight. With all the gear that most preppers carry, it’s hard to add more food, although it might be possible to add another day or two.
The better option is often to set up caches of food and other critical supplies, at places you will pass as you bug out. These can be the home of a friend, a storage facility that you pay for or buried in the ground on public land.
Supplies can be buried fairly easily in five-gallon buckets. One bucket will provide enough space for several days worth of dried food, as well as extra toilet paper, ammo and other critical supplies. Just be sure to bury it where nobody can see you and where there will be clearly identifiable landmarks to find them again.
Take a Trailer
Another option is to build a cart or “backpacking trailer” which can be used to bring more with you. This may slow down travel, but it has two distinct advantages over a supply cache. First, by taking it with you, you are not forced to go by your cache, should that prove to be difficult. Secondly, you can take larger items, like a real axe and shovel, which won’t fit in your pack or a five-gallon bucket cache.
There are several ways of going about this, including some commercially manufactured carts. I’d stick with something that’s designed for going off-road, like a cart designed for hauling game down out of the woods.