Bug Out Bag System

Forest fire kelowna 1

A forest fire burns near Kelowna, BC, 2013.

by Sakej Ward, July 9, 2017
Considering the wild fires in BC and the provincial state of emergency, I know their is a lot of our people wondering how to prepare for such an emergency. I want to help out, a little bit, by providing a packing list for a Bug Out Bag System, think of it as a evacuation bag list. If you are in a threatened area and may have to face the threat of a wild fire start to prepare now.  Hope is not a strategy!

The Bug Out Bag System

Backpack 511 Rush 72 back

5.11 backpack, the Rush 72, shows a typical medium sized pack used for BOBs.

The Bug Out Bag system is more than just a single backpack. It starts with 3 components – (1) Every Day Carry (2) Survival Kit and then the (3) Bug Out Bag.
Based on your emergency situation these components can be used individually or together. They should be stored together for quick access. However, it is a good habit to start carrying EDC with you all the time.
The goal of the system is to get you to a pre-determined safe location, known as a Bug Out Location (BOL) along a pre-determined evacuation route. The bag (rucksack) is just grabbed and tossed in your vehicle as you evacuate. It is kept in a rucksack because if you have to separate from your vehicle, perhaps due to traffic jams or vehicle breakdown, you can go on foot and effectively carry the items you will need to stay alive.
A Bug Out Bag system should be prepared for each individual in your family. Make special considerations for children and elderly. You may also need to carry extra items for a family pet too.
The Bug Out Bag system is not meant to just take off with when you have no idea of where you are going, requiring you to go on a long term random search for a safe and suitable location. That requires far more gear, particularly for sustaining yourself over a long trek. That kind of packing is called an INCH BAG (I Aint Never Coming Home bag). Don’t confuse the two because the Bug Out Bag would be lacking in that scenario.
As I mentioned this system is just the beginning, if have the time and money, you can add a Vehicle Emergency Kit (VEK), which is really a beefed up Bug Out Bag with tools and spare parts for the vehicle, to your evacuation preparedness also.
Here are the three components to the Bug Out Bag system.

Every Day Carry (EDC) List


An example of EDC items. Photo by Josh Dick.

Every Day Carry (EDC) is a small lightweight set of kit that is worn on a daily basis. It is designed to keep you alive for a few days.
Note: a “/” means “or”.
1. Belt – to hold your EDC pouch
2. Small pouch to hold contents about the size for a large cell phone case
3. Boots – replace your bootlaces with 550 Cord
4. 550 cord braided key chain – use cobra stitch braid
5. Small LED light with pouch or on key chain
6. Watch with button compass on watch band
7. Leatherman Super tool 300/core/wave with pouch
8. Contractor bag – the 3 mil bags. They are far thicker, bigger and hardier than a garbage bag making them far more useful in a survival situation.
9. Emergency blanket – get a good large on like Adventure Medical’s Heat Sheet
10. Swiss Fire steel ferro rod and Wet Fire tinder – replace handle with tape
11. Water purification tablets – several placed in pill bag
12. Advil – several placed in pill bag
13. A few days of personal medications
14. Power Bar gel pack – in freezer bag Freezer bag acts as a water container and placed in EDC pouch
15. Iphone with ear buds, waterproof hard shell, downloaded apps – Add password to open your phone to lock it, scan in important documents like passport, license, birth certificate, vehicle registration into your computer then save these pics as a file on your phone as a backup digital copy, encryption app for personal files, flashlight app like Mylite app, SAS survival guide app, 1st aid app, radio scanner app with police frequencies app, am-fm radio app, Tac Nav for military style map reading, saved file from Google map of region and city or Ihike app with key info – primary and alternate evacuation routes, hospitals, clinics, ponds, lakes, obstacles, fire rescue, police, potential supply locations, safe houses, Lay Up Points (rest areas along evacuation route). Also get the Qik app for near real-time video sharing.
Note: this list of apps is getting old so keep an eye out for more recent ones.
16. Contact list – of people that can provide assistance along the evacuation route and a designated person outside of province that act as communication coordinator in case local numbers are swamped.
17. Additional options – belt buckle cutter and auto-window punch

Small Survival Kit List

This kit is used whenever going to wilderness. A kit designed to keep you alive for up to three weeks provided you have some basic survival training.
Note: a slash ” /” means “or” . This provides some options.
1. Pouch – large enough to hold all the items.
2. Knife – camp or survival knife with sharpening stone on a kydex sheath with ranger bands (1” wide bicycle strips). Can look for Ka-bar Becker BK-2, BK-7, ESEE-6, Ontario RAT-7 or if you have a smaller budget then a Schrade SCHF37.
3. Shelter kit – military poncho/ 6’X8’ tarp/ two 3 mil construction bags. An emergency blanket (like Adventure Medical’s Heat Sheet). Emergency poncho to wear.
4. Fire kit – Always have two different forms of fire lighting. Such as Zippo or Bic lighter/blast match/swiss fire steel/flint and magnesium block/hurricane matches in waterproof container.
Tinder – Lighter with a 6″ to 8″ long and 1/2″ wide strip of bicycle tube wrapped around it or around a plastic match container because it can be used as tinder, even when it gets wet. Wet Fire commercial tinder or cotton balls/drier lint in Vaseline kept in sandwich bag and a 8 hour emergency candle.
5. Water kit – canteen or stainless steel water bottle, canteen cup, canteen cover (pouch), and a container of water purification tablets.
6. Food – 5 Metrex or 6 protein bars, container with tea/coffee, hot chocolate, creamer, honey, emergency vitamin C drink powder, Tabasco sauce, lexan spork, 8 Nitric Oxide or Gator Aid drink mixes and a P-38.
7. IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit)– pouch, 2 pr of Nitrile surgical gloves, tourniquet such a Combat Applications Tourniquet (C.A.T.), blood clotting agent such as celerox, 2 Israeli field dressings, 2 tampons, small gauze roll, medical tape wrapped on a sharpie and small tube of polysporin.
Note: It is critical that you learn how to use these first aid items.
8. Navigation kit – acetated (waterproofed) maps, compass with luminous dial, protractor, pace cord, alcohol marker, all in a freezer bag
Note: learn land navigation skills.
9. Sewing kit – cargo needle wrapped in sinew or dental floss, 4 needles wrapped in thread all in small bottle
10. Signal kit – signal mirror, whistle, 2 to 4 glow sticks – each pre-tied on 4 feet of 550 cord , pen flare with flares and bear bangers
11. LED head lamp with batteries
12. 100 feet of 550 cord wrapped in doughnut wrap
13. 30 feet of 100 mph tape or Gorilla tape wrapped on old credit type card
14. Note pad in sandwich bag with pencil
15. Bandana – at least one but 3 is more useful
16. Gloves – tactical or mechanix
17. Cell phone and battery charger
18. Xtra batteries
19. Bug jacket or head net, bug repellent, sun screen and chap stick – If required

Bug Out Bag List

Purpose: The purpose of the Bug-Out Bag is provide you with essential survival items to get you from home to a Bug Out Location. It is an emergency bag that has longer term survival needs than just a survival kit. Used in conjunction with EDC and the Survival Kit that is kept on this pack.
Note 1: I am not addressing the security category, as every place has different regulations concerning rifles, knives and non-lethal weapons. You will have to determine those security items based on your particular situation.
Note 2: a “/” means “or”.
1. Medium sized rucksack (backpack) – such as an military ALICE rucksack (cheaper), 5.11’s 72-hour Rush bag or Maxpedition rucksacks–
Get a dry-bag or 3 mil contractor bag (buy at Canadian tire) to line the main compartment for waterproofing.
You can also use a strong durable civilian back pack about mid-sized to blend in with everyone. Still use dry-bag or 3mil contractor bag to keep everything water proof.
First gather up all your gear then determine the size of the rucksack you need based on that.
2. Large chopping tool – for fire wood collection and shelter building – Tomahawk/hatchet/machete/Kukri with sheath and small file. Attached to outside of rucksack.
3. Folding Saw – such as Silky pocket boy saw, Bahco Laplander, Corona or Kershaw taskmaster. Keep the saw small about 7”.
4. Folding shovel and cover – Gerber Gorge, SOG or military issue E-tool or even a solid metal trowel, you can buy at Wal-mart, but make sure it can take some hard work. The rockier your soil is in your region the more solid the shovel you need. Be careful though other brands of folding shovels tend to be very weak and will fail.
5. Sleeping bag or poncho liner or wool blanket placed in a compression sack and then in a waterproof container, such as a dry-bag or 3 mil contractor bag. The cold rating of sleeping bag depends on your climate, environment and season. In a cold environment look for a good condition surplus Military Sleep System (MSS) if you can afford it.
6. 5 green bungii cords (to build shelter quickly or to make easier at night). To be used with poncho or tarp in survival kit.
7. Sleeping pad – can cut in half to make shorter. Only really need to pad the hip and torso area from ground.
8. Rain gear – gortex jacket and pants or Frog Togs rain gear or an emergency poncho (get a decent one not a $1 one).
9. Xtras for fire kit- Lighter with a 6″ to 8″ long 1/2″ wide strip of bicycle tube wrapped around it, a ferro rod like “light my fire” rod, several wet fire tinders or cotton balls in vaseline or drier lint – keep in sandwich bag to waterproof
10. Two additional 1- quart canteens with pouches – keep them on rucksack waist belt, or on the outside of rucksack or as last resort put them in the rucksack. Make sure you have coffee filters to pre-filter water and a month worth of water purification tablets.
You can replace the additional canteens with Nalgene water bottles or you can use a Camel back hydration system just make sure it is integrated with your rucksack so you don’t forget to carry it.
If you have the money, also get a Katadyn hiker pro/MSR Sweetwater/Sawyer mini- water filter, very useful.
11. Food – approximately 3 to 5 meals (such as MREs, the military Meals Ready to Eat or dehydrated hiker meals like those made by Mountain House), 4 Metrex bars or 10 protein bars, Beef jerky in a vacuum sealed bag.
The amount is based on the calculation of how much time you will need to travel to the bug-out location.
12. 1st Aid sustainment Kit – Pouch, 2 Israeli field dressings, one Israeli abdominal dressing, butterfly stitches or steri strips, roller gauze, med tape wrapped around sharpie, larger tube of polysporin, band aids with knuckle and finger tip strips, 2 triangle bandages with safety pins, ACE bandage, alcohol and anti-septic wipes, small bottle of Ibuprophen, Tylenol, gravol, immoduim, pepto, erithomyicin (250 mg for full period), tooth ache drops, and mole skin
Note: It is critical that you learn how to use these first aid items.
13. Boots – hiking or military. Make sure they have good ankle support. You can zip strip them to the outside of the rucksack.
14. Two additional set of clothing. Make sure they are loose fitting, rugged and good for outdoors.
15. Fleece or wool sweater
16. Four pair of socks
17. Two to four pair of underclothes
18. Water proof boonie hat – water proof with silicone spray
19. Small set of binos or monocular with case
20. 50 feet 550 cord
21. 50 feet 100 mph tape or gorilla tape
22. 6 heavy duty cable ties
23. Carabineer
24. Communications – cell phone with portable charger, handheld radios for family (such as the Baofeng UV-5R ham radio or GMRS Motorola types) with extra batteries or alternate method of re-charging.
25. Survival hand cranked radio – to listen for updates on the situation over an extended period of time.
26. Small survival book such as SAS survival pocket book, placed in sandwich bag.
27. Toilet paper in a freezer bag and “wet ones” wipes in a sandwich bag
28. Additional personal hygiene – camp soap, face cloth in a freezer bag, toothpaste, travel toothbrush, comb/brush, micro towels or a 1/2 of sham wow.
29. Additional personal medication – for another 2 weeks
30. Important documents bag –, place all the actual important documents that you scanned and moved on a file to your iphone into a dry bag or freezer bag.
31. Cash – coins and bills. Keep some cash (not coins) in your shoe, under the sole too. Have about $20 to $50 stashed away.
32. If you have kids add – comfort items like cards, small games, colouring books, etc. Something to keep them busy and their minds off the problem.

Cold weather seasons additional items

1. A larger, colder rated sleeping bag or Military Sleep System (MSS)
2. Poncho liner to line inside of sleeping bag (if cold enough)
3. Polypropylene thermal under garments base layer
4. Watch cap
5. 2 pair of wool socks
6. Winter gloves
7. Hand, foot and torso warmers
Urban environment additional items
1. Small vise grips – to open any obstacles
2. Small pry bar – wal-mart has the Stanley wonder bar II. Also for obstacles
3. Small hack saw – also for obstacles
4. Small multi-bit screwdriver – bits kept in handle. You may also want to consider buying bits security screws.
5. Three to five N-95 or N-100 particulate masks. If buildings collapse or catch on fire – for dust, small debris or asbestos in urban areas. Make sure it’s the type with 2 straps behind head not just one strap over ears.
6. Small goggles such as swim goggles – for dust or debris

If you have questions about the packing list please message me.

Posted on July 10, 2017, in Warrior Fieldcraft and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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