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The typical Bug Out Bag is often overstuffed with less-than-critical materials, but there are five pieces of gear that you absolutely must have in any good Bug Out Bag (and they might be the only components included in an ultra-light BOB). Every ounce should count in a situation where you must leave your familiar world behind and subsist on your own. Here is the minimum of what you’ll need.
Security Items: Keep a survival/fighting knife in each of your BOBs to serve as both a tool and a self-defense item. If you have a BOB in a secure location, it could also hold a spare handgun and 30 to 50 rounds of ammo. If you do keep a handgun in your BOB at home, keep it locked up where kids or casual thieves can’t access it.
Shelter Items: A tarp and a fleece or down blanket can be a lightweight form of shelter that packs down small. One hundred feet of 550 paracord can be of great service turning the tarp into a shelter (among hundreds of other uses). A leaner shelter option is a space blanket or bivy. Go with a thick, high-quality model if that all you choose to rely upon.
Water: A one-quart water bottle and two packs of Micropur tablets from Katadyn can produce many quarts of water while creating very little weight in your BOB. Each of these tablets will disinfect one quart of water, and two packs of Micropur represents 20 quarts of safe drinking water. Start with a store-bought quart-size bottle of water (which should keep for a year or more) and refill as necessary.
First aid: The standard camping first aid kit, with some additional bleeding and trauma supplies, will work for your BOB first aid kit. You could also start with an IFAK (individual first aid kit) or trauma kit, and supplement it with some everyday basics like band-aids, burn gel, and antibiotic ointment.
Food: A great option is a few Mainstay 2400 Emergency Food Rations. Each package of these cubes has a 5-year shelf life. They can’t melt or freeze, they weigh only 16 ounces, and they provide 2,400 calories a piece. You might also opt for boxes of energy bars or some other favored super food. Pro Bars are a favorite of the OL staff.
What are your Bug Out basics? Let us know in the comments.