Bug out bags (BOB) or get home bags are ubiquitous at this point, though I still get questions from time to time. We are, after all, adding a great many members to our ranks at this point. And even amongst old hands, sometimes bad ideas persist. So I thought this week we would take a minute and look at some often missing bits and pieces to the BOB conversation.
First, what are we talking about? Actually, two different things. The bug out bag is what you are supposed to keep always packed by the door in the event you have to leave in a hurry. If you can grab just one thing on your way to BUG OUT, it is this bag, hence the name. Due to environmental factors, and personal needs, these can vary greatly in contents.
The second type is what many refer to as a “get home bag,” which doesn’t feature a cool acronym. This one derives from what in the military we called a “go bag,” which I will be using because it is shorter to type. A go bag had all the stuff to you would need to live and fight in dire circumstances. The idea was that if your Humvee was burning or your Toyota taxicab got shot to pieces, you could grab this bag as you rolled out the door.
Now odds are you won’t need to pack one exactly the same way, nor do you have access to hand grenades and white phosphorus. But, the principle is the same at least. Your go bag is something you can take with you to work or every day in the car, in case things go terribly wrong. Mostly with the idea that whatever has gone wrong has left you stranded afoot. Otherwise, you would be driving home and it wouldn’t be a problem.
The first bit you have to decide is whether you need an urban or rural get home bag. It would be silly of me to pack for Los Angeles when I can cross my entire city on foot in about an hour. Where I live, the odds of being stranded afoot are much higher in the woods than at work. So I make my personal go bag out of an Eberlestock Gunfighter II, complete with a rifle in the scabbard. And if you also live in a rural environment, that makes a lot of sense.
If you don’t, you have a lot of choices to make. The first, since this is GunsAmerica Digest, is firepower. I’m a big fan of the AR pistol if things are going to go pear-shaped. But, you may also not want it to be seen. Walking down the street with a (civilian) subgun is certain to attract some attention, especially during a SHTF scenario, and probably not the kind you want. You may also not work in a place where stashing a bag of that size in the car all day is a good idea. A fenced/gated, security-patrolled parking lot? Maybe. On the street in downtown Dallas? Not a good plan.
Which may also mean you need to pack a smaller bag. A go bag could be small enough to be unnoticed in your locker at the plant, but still add some goodness to the fight. (Legal mandates that I now say, if such a thing is not prohibited in your place of employment.) Like many of you, I don’t always carry a reload for my concealed carry gun. In day-to-day life, I have calculated the odds of needing one and it isn’t high enough to warrant it. But if I gotta go through the Rona’ riots on the way home or some other nefarious happenings? Damn skippy I want one. So into the go bag goes a G-Code Scorpion paddle mag holder. And a second one is on my acquisitions list.
If your CCW platform has the option of extended magazines, I would toss one of those in as well. Glock Gang has a very real advantage here. If you are running a G19 with the 15 rounder most of the time, adding 24 or 33 to the pack makes sense. Not exactly great under a t-shirt, but you’ll be happy you had it if the blasting starts in earnest.
Depending on your job, a solid pair of shoes should absolutely be in the go bag. This mostly applies to office workers, not construction crews. But, those wingtips or pumps are going to chew you up on concrete in very short order. If your day to day job doesn’t put you in well-made boots, you most definitely want a set on hand. If you don’t believe me, do a 3-mile walk on the streets in your loafers. Let me know how that works out.
Finally, the most neglected of all. Medical Kit! No one likes to think of having to patch up friends or colleagues. Seriously, I think psychologically many people don’t have medical supplies on hand because thinking about using it hurts them in the feels. But I’m telling you, this is the most likely thing in your bag to ever be used. Even without some kind of Armageddon scenario, people get banged up. Accidents happen. Be it a car crash, a shattered mirror, or a GSW (gunshot wound), eventually you are going to need some medical supplies. And you absolutely are going to be glad to have some on hand when that day comes.
Right now, my personal favorite comes from Solatac. Founded by an Off-Shore EMS professional, these kits come with everything you need, and nothing you don’t. Needle decompression and whiz-bang stuff are great, if you have the training to use it. But most of us don’t. So I like kits that feature baseline stop the bleeding stuff that has worked for decades. Gauze, tape, pressure dressings. And a little CELOX for good measure.
Can you make your own? Sure. As long as you stay away from urban legend nonsense, like using tampons to pack bullet wounds. But make sure you have something in this category. And in my opinion, supplement it with a couple of high-quality tourniquets as well. There are a lot of soldiers still walking this earth thanks to a tourniquet, and the packaged ones are much easier to use than making one up on the fly.
You have plenty of time right now to be working on a go bag or get home bag, if you don’t already have one. Gym bag, camping pack that gets used once a decade, you have something to fit the bill. So this weekend, make it productive. This is the time to build habits that keep you alive.