In Building a Bug Out Bag Part I we discussed why building a Bug Out Bag is important and what type of bag to select. Today we’ll discuss what Transportation items to include when Building a Bug Out Bag. Remember, this is your last ditch, carry on your back, walk away from trouble Bug Out Bag…not what you hope you can get to your bug out location if your car, SUV, or deuce and a half makes it.
I think it’s appropriate that we start our discussion of Bug Out Bag contents with Transportation Preparedness items. You should consider the following items while building a Bug Out Bag:
Maps: Maps of your area including neighboring states or any states you might travel through to reach any of your potential bug out locations. These are a free item that you can pick up from most State offices (like your local driver’s license department) or from highway rest areas. Keep in zip lock bags to protect from the weather and/or treat with waterproof map sealer. Another inexpensive option to waterproof your map is to laminate both sides with laminating sheets or clear shelf paper but it makes the maps hard to fold. Waterproof map cases are also available but are much heavier.
Good Walking Boots: I like Redwing and Dannerboots, but there are lots of good options and you probably have something already in your wardrobe that will work. Good boots protect your ankles but good walking shoes are better than bad boots. Additionally, make sure to take the time to break in your footwear…and the exercise is good for you as well. Footwear can also be waterproofed if necessary and should be if snow is a possibility. Boots/shoes don’t necessarily have to go in your Bug Out Bag (they should go on your feet as soon as you decide to bug out or as soon as it’s safe to put them on), but should be kept with your Bug Out Bag or even tied to it.
Quality Socks: Quality socks, like boots are a clothing items but are mentioned here because they’re also your backup transportation. A pair to wear and at least two more stored in such a way that they won’t get wet in your Bug Out Bag.
Compass: A compass on a lanyard is preferred but a quality watchband or button compass (not the cheap one you got out of the Cracker Jack box though) is better than nothing and weighs less. Make sure that you know how to use a compass and how nearby metal effects the needle (I carried a compass once that didn’t like my M-16 so I had to put my rifle behind my back any time I wanted a true reading). Some compasses have a magnifying glass built in which give you another way to start a fire.
Handheld GPS: If you do decide to carry a Global Positioning System (GPS), don’t rely on it…also carry a map and a compass as a backup. I purchased one for my Bail Out Bag in Iraq, but dumped it as it was too difficult to operate and too heavy once spare batteries were included. They make some now that are wristwatch size but they are very expensive and the same warning about having a backup applies.
Check back tomorrow for Building a Bug Out Bag – Part III when we’ll discuss Water Preparedness for your Bug Out Bag.