Vehicle Bug Out Bag (B.O.B.) – packing list to get you home
Living in Southern California, we all have our suspicions that the “big one” may hit someday. It could be in the form of an earthquake or as I recently became aware of, in the form of a 500 year rain storm that could potentially drop 10 ft of rain over a period of approximately 30 days. Meteorologist say that having a major rain storm is as probable as having a major earthquake. So what can I do? Well, nothing to change the weather, but I can prepare as best I can to make the ride a little easier.
Since the big 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, thousands of people have become aware of the need to prepare for a major natural disaster. In fact, the local surplus stores are just going crazy with the amount of traffic they have been getting. I saw one gentleman walk out of the store, pushing a flat cart filled with 10 cases of MRE’s! WOW, talk about feeling the pressure! I don’t know if I can stomach all those MRE’s, but either way, I think he did the right thing preparing for the worst. Having a large supply of survival goods at home is an excellent, potentially life-saving idea. But what happens if you’re not at home? What if, like the vast majority of us, you are at work when the “big one” hits? I suppose if you live only a few miles away, it’s not a big deal: just walk it. However, if you’re like me and the majority of the population in Southern California, you commute more than 40 miles to work each day. That’s 20 miles you have to hump if the “big one” hits while you are at work. Are you prepared for a walk of that distance? Maybe, maybe not. You may be thinking, “wait I commute twenty miles, I’m screwed!” Don’t feel bad, I commute 37 miles each way to work (the laughs on me, so go ahead). But you know what? I’m prepared for such a scenario and hopefully after reading this blog, you can get an idea of what to pack and how to plan in case you find yourself in a similar situation.
It’s been called by many names: BOB or Bug Out Bag, Get Home Pack, Get out of Dodge Bag, etc. Whatever you call it, make sure you have the stuff you need to get home to your loved ones. And for those of you just starting out, don’t just buy the gear. Take it out and practice with it. You’ll learn the nuances of said equipment and not get screwed when it’s for real. With that said, here’s a list of the things I carry in my Vehicle Bug Out Pack (I call it a “pack” because mine’s more of a pack than it is a bag).
The Packing List
Bug Out Bag:
- 1 ea, Voodoo Tactical MSP-4 Hydration Pack – another contribution from Bugout Equipment
- 1 ea, 1:24K maps of possible routes home in a waterproof ziploc bag
- 1 ea, GPS with my home marked as a waypoint plus spare batteries
- 1 ea, headlamp (preferred) or a flashlight
Signal / Communication:
- 1 ea, cell phone
- 4 ea, chem-lite (chemical light sticks)
- 1 ea, pepper spray
- 1 ea, folding knife
- 1 ea, emergency blanket
Food / Water:
- 8 ea, bottled water (used to fill hydration pack)
- 4 ea, individual sized electrolyte mix (ie, Gatorade or Cytomax)
- 4 ea, bottled water (packed)
- 8 ea, energy gel packs by GU
- NOTE: just be sure to pack enough calories to get you home plus 20% extra just in case
- 1 pr, running shoes
- 1 pr, running pants
- 1 ea, running shorts
- 1 ea, moisture wicking T-shirt
- 1 ea, thin sweater
- 1 pr, socks
- 1 ea, hat
- 1 pr, thin work gloves
Personal Hygiene / First Aid:
- 1 ea, package of bath wipes
- 1 ea, roll of Krylex gauze
- 4 ea, alcohol prep pads
- 2 ea, 4×4 sterile gauze
- 3 ea, large bandaids
- 1 ea, 7×8 dressing
- 1 ea, cravat or bandana
- 1 ea, roll of medical adhesive tape
- Separate all items into categories (ie, First-Aid, Clothing, Food, etc). Place all items into waterproof plastic bags. **I use ZipLoc brand plastic bags and Food Saver bags to waterproof and organize my gear.
- Place all items into the bug out bag. Be sure to pack the critical items in easy to reach locations. **My navigation, signal/communication, and personal defense items are stored in the easy access outer compartments.
- When the time comes to “get out of Dodge”, my plan is to fill the hydration pack bladder with the bottled water. Store as much of the remaining bottled water in your pack. ** I keep a case of bottled water in my car for this purpose. I chose bottled water over containers of pre-made “emergency” water because of the cost and simplicity of rotating stock.
- Put on running clothes and shoes. **I chose to pack running clothes in my bugout kit for one reason only. I plan on getting back to my family as fast as possible, which means keeping things light for my run home.
- Place your pre-written E&E note in a visible area AND tell a co-worker / friend (if available) where you’re going. **My E&E note has a strip of double sided tape on the back so that I can easily stick it on a wall or something (MRE humor).
- Move out with a purpose and don’t let anything or anyone stop you. Get home to your loved ones.
Your bug out bag, at a minimum, should be large enough to fit all the items except the bottled water (these will get dumped into the hydration pack), clothes, and shoes (since you will be wearing these). If everything fits, even better, as long as your pack has compression straps.
My spare bottles of water and the Vehicle Bugout Pack are kept together in a duffel bag in my car. The running shoes and spare bottles of water aren’t kept inside my hydration pack so that I can save space which allows me to have a smaller, lighter pack. One of the cool features of the Voodoo Tactical MSP-4 hydration pack is the mesh net that zips out of the lower part of the pack and hooks ontop the top of the pack, effectively creating a large mesh pocket.
Be mentally ready. You may see disturbing things on your way back home. People will notice that you’re prepared: decide now what it will take for you to stop and help someone vs getting home as quickly as possible. Will it be a crying child asking for mommy? Or perhaps some guy trapped underneath rubble? Can you even help them? Tough decisions are going to have to made: keep in mind that we have a responsibility to each other in times of need. I don’t mean to sound all grim, but that’s the reality of a disaster. People get hurt or worse. Be ready to deal with the stress and don’t let it catch you off guard.~ John, Modern Bushman>