As part of my meager attempt to pass on some of the knowledge I have accumulated over the years, I'd like to present my thought on various subjects. I thought about one big post, but then thought it would be better to break it up into different threads.

This thread is about bug out bags or kits.

What's the difference between a 72 hour kit and a bug out bag or kit? Well, the time. A 72 hour kit is just for an emergency get out of the house for three days, and then you can return. A bug out is for potentially a much longer, perhaps indefinite period, and probably not in a shelter or any sort of building.

In my thinking, bugging out would only be necessary if the conditions at my home would be so bad as to make it safer if we left to disappear into the woods than it would be by staying.

Consider these situations. The government fails, by whatever means...economic, civil unrest, war, natural disasters, etc. There are no more utility services, food, cell phone. Roving gangs of hungry people are systematically going into neighborhoods and searching every house for what they can find. Or, a major natural disaster has occurred, and your whole are is dangerous to live in, due to possible re-occurrence, those roving gangs again, whatever. You have stayed in your home and have successfully kept out of everything. Now it appears you will have to defend yourself against 10 times your number.

It may be far safer just to get the heck out of Dodge. You may have a few hours or even a couple of days to prepare. What do you bring with you?

You already have your 72 hour kits, so you grab them first, along with your food bag. Will you be able to safely drive out and escape to a pre-planned location? Great! Load up your vehicles and get going! At the very least, your bug out kit should have a sturdy tent, ropes, gear, etc. for a long stay in the woods. Think camping over a very long weekend and you won't have any stores to go to for resupply. Along with your food back, you can pull some pre-selected and marked cases from your food storage and load them. Remember to bring what you will need to process that food....wheat or corn grinders, pots, pans, utensils.

If you are very lucky, you can have a camping trailer or small RV you can pre-stock with everything you will need. Then all you need to do is monitor it to rotate the contents as needed, and when the time comes, do the final loading, hook up and leave.

What if you don't have a trailer, or won't be able to drive to a pre-selected safe haven? What if the situation goes south so quickly, you don't have any time? This is where you suppliment the 72 hour kits with your bug out bag. A bug out bag can just be a large duffel bag with items like a small tent, tarps, ropes, tools, etc, and more food items that you will need for an extended stay in the woods. Now you'll need to be very careful in selecting what you will bring because you will most likely have to carry it all. No matter how healthy you are, trying to carry too much will ultimately cause you to fail in your mission of keeping yourself and your family safe. There are no clear guidelines on what is an acceptable load, only various suggestions. The loads the military carries are far different, and by men that are in top shape, which leaves out most of us normal people. I can carry much more than my lovely wife, but less than my strapping son. Just consider that you may have to carry everything for several days for very long distances.

Even good quality small and light tents will not keep you warm in cold weather, and a full scale winter storm may be fatal if you are caught in one. And if you are out for months, these tents may be rags at the end of that time. Bring with you tools to be able to build yourself some sort of semi-permanent shelter from surrounding materials. In my neck of the woods, we have hundreds of thousands of square miles of forest, so building materials are plentiful. I could build a small three sided lean-to shelter in a couple days, and perhaps even a small cabin in a few months. Either would be better than crouching in a tent for days as you are slowly buried in snow, or trying to keep your stuff drive as tiny rivers flow through the tent after days of steady rain. A good axe, and a saw will make your life much better and safer.

You won't be able to carry with you all the water you will need, but you can't just drink anything you find, so a good quality water filter is essential. You can save the plastic water bottles from your 72 hour kit and refill them as necessary.

You will also need tools to mend your clothes, as you may be in the field for many days. A simple sewing kit is all that is necessary.

A good first aid kit is essential. Get the book "Where There Is No Doctor". The companion book, "Where There Is No Dentist" would also be useful. Learn how to treat the minor and not-so-minor wounds you may experience.

The food you bring won't last forever. Learning what to eat in the field, getting game, etc, is a subject all in itself so I won't cover that except to say you will probably need those skills. You can learn those now.

So, what we have is a three tiered approach to preparedness as far as having to leave your home:

1. 72 hour kit
2. Bug Out Bag (includes 72 hour kit)
3. Bug Out Kit (includes 72 hour kit and bug out bag)

My 72 hour kit is two small backpacks for myself and my lovely wife, and a food bag, described elsewhere.

My bug out bag supplements the 72 hour kit with a large duffel bag that contains blankets, tarps, a small tent, tools, ropes, small pots, more clothing. With this we could survive in the woods for weeks, but we would be uncomfortable, but safe.

My bug out kit consists of a trailer stocked with everything we could need on an extended stay just about anywhere. This is a subject for another post, but if we had to leave and I could bring this along, we could live in the woods for months and months and have everything we needed to be safe and comfortable, including food. We would not need the 72 hour kit of bug out bag, but I would bring them along anyway.

I hope this post has helped.