We see more and more blooming on the web the notion of “Bug Out Bag” and it is an excellent thing.
Nevertheless, the articles that talk about it are still far too often theoretical and highlight errors of assessment, even false beliefs that die hard.
However, a really good BoB can save your life!
We will therefore, in this article present to you in detail what a BoB is, its usefulness, its content, its use, etc.
To do this, we will ask ourselves the following questions:
Here we go…
What is a BoB?
Literally, BoB means “Bug Out Bag”; in other words, an “evacuation bag”.
It is also called the SER (rapid evacuation bag) or Survival Bag.
Born in the USA, like a lot of concepts of survivalism BoB is a backpack made up of different materials and resources, intended to be able to allow you to live independently for 72 hours, following a forced evacuation from your home (tornado, hurricane, fire, civil war, etc.).
Note that, sometimes, this survival kit can be used in many other situations: it can for example also be a base for your hiking trips, bushcraft etc…
We will see below in this article what exactly this BoB is made of.
What are the differences between the American BoB and the French BoB?
In this article, we are therefore going to present you with a useful BoB, practical and practical… and therefore adapted to our topography, our urban planning, our risks, etc.
A BoB. What For?
To answer this question, I would first like to underline my last sentence: “a useful, practical BoB adapted to our topography, our urban planning, our risks, etc. »
This sentence, full of common sense, also has a limit: what does the word “our” mean?
If you live in the “hot suburbs” of a big city or if you live in the countryside, your topography, your urban planning and your risks will not be identical.
The same if you are 24 years old and single, or if you are 47 years old, married and have three children.
The same applies if you heat yourself with wood (risk of fire) or electricity (risk of cuts and therefore no more heating in the middle of winter).
You will have understood: an evacuation bag is above all a personal story, unique needs and therefore suitable equipment.
But rest assured: we will still help you equip yourself, by directing you and offering you lists of equipment, but also by offering you concrete examples of Bug Out Bag.
However, as a first step and in order to answer the question that interests us here (a Bob, what for?), you must ask yourself the following questions (and answer them!):
- What risks am I exposed to? (power cut, fire, hurricane, flood, social crisis, personal risks such as illness, etc.)
- For each of these risks, for how long would this lead me to leave my accommodation? (one night, three days, a week, more?…)
- What materials and equipment are needed to respond adequately to these risks?
It is important to understand that each BoB is unique, also because for the same situation and the same risks, we will not react in the same way.
The evacuation bag: a survivalist delirium?
When we talk about the subject of the survival bag or bug-out bag, with someone who has never thought of it before, we are sometimes met with rejection.
Many people see the Bug Out Bag as a “survivalist delirium”.
However, this is obviously not the case, point out that the Government has itself set up an Internet site dedicated to the “emergency kit in a crisis situation”.
A BoB, for how many people? For who?
I already briefly mentioned it in the previous part (“A BoB, what for”), but I want to insist on this point.
You absolutely must take into account your family structure in the creation of your BoB, but also your knowledge, abilities and physical skills.
- Your family structure: You don’t think of a bug-out bag the same way if you’re on your own or if you have a wife (or husband) and kids.
- Your knowledge: There’s no point in taking a firesteel, because you’ve seen a list of BoBs that had one, if you don’t know how to use it properly (also under high stress, in very wet weather) .
- Your capacities: I am talking here about financial (don’t look for expensive equipment) and organizational capacity. A small, ill-conceived BoB is better than the theory of a perfect BoB… but that’s only on paper.
- Your physical skills: We regularly see 25-kilo survival kits, USA style, created by people who have never really tried to carry this type of bag over long distances. Also think about the weaknesses of each evacuee (compulsory medication, Ventolin, ongoing pregnancy, etc.)
What equipment to put in a BoB?
If you have read the article so far, you will have understood that the answer to this question is: it depends.
It depends on your risks, your geography, the people to evacuate, your sensitivity, your physical shape, your point of fall (we’ll talk about it next), etc, etc.
In short: it depends… but we will still guide you and give you ideas.
For this, we have written articles dedicated to each module:
Four important tips when it comes to material and creating your BoB:
- The best time to do your BoB was yesterday. The second best time is now. Don’t wait until it’s too late and “build it” as you go, following your instincts and our advice.
- Do not try to have the super complicated (or super stylish for Instagram) and overpriced thing: you need reliable, simple and solid equipment.
- Do not overload: your BoB should not exceed 15 kilos, especially if you lack experience in loading, adjusting and carrying a backpack.
- Think of your BoB in Emergency Modules.
What are emergency modules?
In short, it’s about classifying your different equipment into “family” (fire, water, food, health, administrative, etc.) and organizing them in such a way that you can have quick access to each module.
Did an accident just happen? You take out the care kit module, corresponding to a first aid kit with the appropriate colour code.
An identity check when you want to leave a town in the throes of social conflict? The administrative module, with a copy of identity cards, vital cards, permits, etc.
To go further, you can also “divide” your Bug Out Bag into several bags made up of different modules.
For example, a BoB / main module that responds to the main risks… and then BoB / secondary modules for specific risks (a special flood module, a food module for X additional days, etc.)
How am I going to evacuate? To go where?
I immediately risk breaking some fantasies… but the evacuation in the green is for me a utopia.
I believe that we must make a distinction between the emergency bug out, useful for fleeing a disaster area or one about to be, and the desire to go ” off the grid“, which must be widely anticipated.
Resident in France or Belgium (even in some parts of Canada), in urban, semi-urban or even rural areas, it is rare to find yourself miles without refuge.
It is especially rare not to be taken care of by emergency services within 72 hours. (unless you anticipate a major crisis; which has a lower probability than a flood or a fire!).
It’s up to you to project yourself!
Once again, there is no universal answer because it depends on where you live, your location at the time of the “event” (outside your home, you will only have your EDC at hand), your family structure, your physical preparation, etc.
Chances are, in a hurry, you’ll grab your two kids hurry and run out of your house…leaving your pretty BoB, neatly prepared and tidy in your upstairs closet.
You will therefore have to think, for each potential risk, of an evacuation scenario… and of a possible drop-off point.
Are you going on foot (big city, the means of transport are out), by car, by bike?… Where are you going: do you have a refuge, with family, friends,…?
There are many possibilities, the outer BoB (survival cache), the trusted BoB (at a friend’s or neighbour’s), the BoB in your country house (or your forest cabin), or even the human-powered wheeled cart (also called ” Bug Out Cart).
On Prep4War, we like the theory, we like to go into detail… but we appreciate even more than anything the concrete and the real!