You are doing it wrong.
4 knives, 2 flashlights, 20lb of MREs, 2 shovels, a collection of mini EDC tools, camouflaged clothing, heavy binos, 3 pistols and 100lb of ammo will not get you out of trouble.
Target dictates the weapon, and the weapon dictates the movement. I learned this a long time ago and it has saved me countless hours of planning, and pain on my back. You need the right emergency gear for the mission. Period. No more, no less.
Start with the mission. What is it? Is it to go off the grid and live there for years? Or is it to bug out of your house, with your family if you have one, and get to safety, and remain there until the emergency has passed? If the former, well, by all means, carry that monstrosity you call bug-out bag, but if it’s the latter, you need to rethink the problem, what you prepare, and how you carry it.
Now, this is not an article on "what to carry", so I will not give you endless lists of gear, and call endless brands of things. No. There are plenty of those out there. What I want to focus on is the thought process, the mindset and whether it is in the right place.
What is the problem you are trying to solve? Get to safety. Start with that. Then ask “what is safety”. After that, make a plan. You are bugging out, then what? Are you wandering around aimlessly, or are you going to a specific place? Are you driving? Are you walking? Is it you, or you and other people? Do you have food and warmth at the destination? Think first of what, where, and how. Then think about the gear.
Getting to safety is key. For this to happen, especially in urban and semi-urban areas, you need to remain light and fluid. Speed equals safety. That should be your main thought. You can procure a lot of things on the road if you need to. Hell, I’d argue that if you have only a few key things, you can acquire everything you need. However, I understand that sometimes you need a bit more, especially with kids around. Still, think. What are the key things you might need if you must leave your house? The list is simple:
- A way to get into things
- Trauma kit and medications (if needed)
- Initial ration of water and food
You need a weapon, whether it’s a firearm or something else I’ll leave it up to you. This weapon will help you stay safe, but also procure things if you really can’t get to a safe place. You have your plan, and if you are smart, you have supplies at your destination, however, you might need to procure them before you get there. Have a weapon. Even a flashlight can be used as a weapon.
A Way To Get Into Things
As you are getting to your destination, maybe you run out of food, or you need medical care, or you need to get gas, or… Most likely these things will be locked behind doors, padlocks, fences, etc. Having the tools to open things (and knowing how to use them) is a must. Simple things work the best.
Getting from A to B, to safety, is your mission. Do you know how to get there? Do you have an alternate route if the main one is closed or disabled? What if your phone runs out of battery? Or the GPS network goes down? Do you know what to do then? When it comes to navigation, have a couple of options, from a phone/GPS, to a compass and map with a predetermined collection of routes. PACE: primary, alternate, contingency and emergency.
As you try to get to safety, maybe you need to coordinate with your family members that left before you, or you need to keep comms with the people at the safe place you are traveling to. Either way, you need a way to communicate. Again, have a PACE. Phones for sure, but think of an alternative.
You need to know how to stop bleeding. Period. And you need to have the right ways to stop bleeding. Sure, you can have some bandages and booboo kit stuff, but you need a simple, yet effective trauma kit. Tourniquets and quick clots at a very minimum. Learn.
Initial Ration Of Water And Food
Sometimes you know you will be on the road for 24 or 48 hours. That’s normal. Have some water with you, and some lightweight food. If you have kids, get some sweets to boost morale too. Now, I’m not saying bring 10 gallons of water. No, have a Nalgene or other water bottle per person, and add some water purification capabilities. You can get water in many places. Same with food, protein bars are light, small and work well.
Remember: target dictates the weapon, and the weapon dictates the movement. Once you know where you need to go, you can plan what to bring and how to move. You don’t need a 100lb backpack to survive. You need a small, capable kit, and lots of training.
Do not neglect training. Know your tools.
Remain light. Speed is safety.