While many people romanticize the idea of social unrest or martial law as motivations for “bugging out,” the more likely event is that something like Hurricane Katrina or a forest fire will be your stimulus for actually leaving your home behind and hitting the road with your bug out bag (BOB). If you classify yourself as a “prepper,” then you may already have your BOB packed. However, you may not know that system redundancy is just as important in building your bag as it is in every other aspect of prepping.
When building your BOB, make sure you have particular items in multiple pockets and pouches, as well as retaining multiple versions of the same functionality. For example, instead of having one lighter in your front pocket and that’s it, make sure you also carry some waterproof matches in your medical kit, a ferrocerium rod and steel striker in your waterproof clothing bag, and a road flare in the side pocket of your bag. That way, if anything happens to any piece of equipment you have (i.e., submerged in water, stolen, dropped along the way), you will have diversified your reliance on any single part of your bag.
Obviously, you can’t create redundancy with every item in your BOB, but you certainly will want to make this a priority with the most important tools for your survival. Namely, the top five C’s of survival:
- Containers: primarily for water (preferably something you can bring to a boil)
- Cordage: shelter, medical, trapping, fishing and more
- Cutting implement: too many uses to count
- Combustion: fire (food, warmth, light and security)
- Covering: should be waterproof
Creating system redundancy in these five main areas of survival will give you a much better chance of thriving in a true bug out situation.
In the event you ever really have to bug out, don’t forget to duplicate each of these items on your person as well. Developing your bug out outfit to include a survival belt made of paracord, a boot knife, a Zippo lighter, a stainless steel water bottle (not double walled) and a waterproof jacket will ensure that you will never be without these items, even if you completely lose your BOB. You don’t have to wear these items every day (although some are recommended), but try to at least set them aside with your BOB in the event you need to get dressed and go.