If and when something ever happens, and you need to de-ass your AO with the haste, it’s a good idea to have your friend BOB handy with essential items for survival. BOB is a good friend, BOB never eats your food, never drinks your drinks, and he’s always there when you need him, day or night. BOB will be there for you to feed you, clothe you, protect you, and keep you safe. Who is this BOB? BOB is your Bug Out Bag.
A Bug Out Bag (BOB) is a bag, typically a MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment) pack, ALICE (All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) pack, or a backpack that you keep at the ready for an emergency.
Whether it’s a hurricane, tornado, a fire, meteorite strike, terrorist attack, declaration of martial law, zombie apocalypse, outbreak of infectious disease, outbreak of world war, volcano eruption, or any other reason you can think of: Your Bug Out Bag should always be ready to grab it and run and you will have everything you need for at least a few days.
What are the contents of a BOB
Typically your BOB will have everything that you will need to sustain yourself away from home for at least a few days, if not longer. The main contents will be pretty much universal whether you are in an urban or rural environment, but there will be some location specific items as well.
For example, a guy that lives in Texas will have different items in his BOB than someone in Alaska just because it is such a vastly different environment. But I feel that these are the nine most important items to have in your BOB regardless of your location.
The Top 9 Most Important Items
#1. Spark Producing Ferro Rod
The ultimate tool for any survivalist or prepper is the humble Ferro rod. Traditionalists may like to use an energy consuming bow drill, but when it comes to efficiency and reliability, the Ferro rod is the way to go.
This is a rod that produces sparks when struck against a hard surface, such as a knife or metal. In a wet, or cold, environment the Ferro rod will be the quickest way to make that all important fire.
#2. Portable Water Filter
Water is an absolute necessity. The problem is that it is very heavy, 8 pounds per gallon to be exact. With a recommended daily requirement of one half gallon (the 8×8 rule says to drink eight, 8 ounce glasses daily) you would have to carry 16 pounds of water just to last four days.
For that reason I think everyone should have a personal water filtration system (filter straw) in their BOB. This is a small water filtration and catchment system for wilderness survival.
You can drink from a mud puddle with these things, and usually come with a couple filter refills.
Boiling and storing water every morning will add to your stores for bad weather or when you can’t forage out for fresh supplies. There are certain methods to catching dew and rainwater, but I would still filter them if they touch any surfaces.
#3. Multi-purpose metal water bottle or canteen
A metal canteen is handy to have as you can not only gather water in it, but you can boil water in it to help purify it.
You can also get the kind of canteen that has a mess kit attached to it. This gives you something to cook in for making soups and stews or boiling pine needles for tea (pine needles are high in vitamin C).
Stainless steel or aluminum is the best choice for a canteen. They are also handy to dig and dip in the water to help wash your hair or carry water place to place.
#4. Mylar blanket
At the very least you will want to have a couple of those Mylar space blankets in your BOB. They take up practically no room and will help keep you warm. Build up some brush under the blankets and you have a nice cushiony bed, you’ll practically living in a woodland luxury hotel at that point.
In colder environments or harsher seasons, regulating heat by using blankets such as these is a must. Strapped to the outside of your BOB, you can roll other items up in the Mylar blankets to have some extra carry space. Just keep in mind, ounces mean pounds and pounds mean pain.
#5. A Utility Knife
I usually have a knife or two on me, but it’s a good idea to keep a good sharp knife in your BOB. The knife is considered one of the top items to take in any situation. You will want one that is versatile, but heavy enough to split wood and chop bone.
A Kukri knife is a good choice for its proportion and thick blade. A sharp Kukri can scale fish and carve spoons, then split some wood for the cooking fire.
You are likely in your travels to encounter situations where you will need some type of cordage.
I like military surplus paracord. Paracord is extremely versatile because on its own it has a tensile strength of five hundred pounds. But if you pull it apart there are 6 individual nylon strings inside of a nylon tube outer casing.
Each of the individual strings has like a 50 pound tensile strength and can be used to make fishing line and to lash things together.
Like if you cut off a 2 foot piece for lashing, rather than use the full piece of paracord you can pull the thinner strings out and have several lashing strands. This will let your paracord go farther and the 50 pound strength lashing is sufficient for most things. Then you will have the outer tube which has about a 200 pound tensile strength for heavier lashing needs, and without the inner strings it is more limber and will tie tighter.
Paracord cordage is good for fishing line, tent lines, pole/stick lashing, lashing sharpened points onto spear sticks, lashing rocks between split spear stick tips for making fishing spears, and so much more. You can easily carry 100 feet without taking up hardly any space and it only weighs a few ounces.
#7. First Aid Kit
It’s always a good idea to have at least a basic first aid kit. In this day and age you do not think as infection as being the number one enemy in many countries. Immediate follow up to any scrape, wound, or bite is the first step to take.
If either of the simple steps of cleaning and dressing are left out, a life threatening infection can set in. a simple infection from a minor cut or abrasion can lead to a very painful sepsis and excruciating organ failure.
A basic first aid kit should include:
- Bug bite kit
- Sun burn lotion
- Triple antibiotic ointment
- A scalpel is good to have on hand in case of an injury
#8. Fishing line and hooks
Keeping about 300 yards of fishing line along with several hooks and a few split shot sinkers is a good idea because you can supplement your food stocks by catching fresh fish from any waterway you may have the fortune to encounter.
Use 100 ft. to make a line for actual fishing. You can use the rest to knot together and weave your very own gill net. Or like many primitive tribes, use the net to catch birds. Just string between two trees and everything can taste like chicken that night…air chicken.
The advice here is about using gill nets or bird nets for hunting for survival or post-TEOTWAWKI situations. There are hunting and fishing regulations in place for current day use.
Keep in mind that when you are next to a lake you are out in the open and can become a target. Try to stay tucked away in the trees or weeds or even belly crawl to the water’s edge if you have to but try to stay out of sight.
#9. A Small Axe
The most needed tool besides the knife, is the hand little axe. This is a great choice whether you are in a bog, or a slippery rainforest.
The axe is good in every terrain and a survivalist necessity. Saws are hard to keep sharp, so I’d choose an axe over one for my BOB carry.
Walking into the Sunset…with a Bob on Your Back
These are the basic items that every BOB should have in it. This is not a comprehensive list, you can probably think of many more items you will need based on your location, but I think that these 9 items are the most important items to have.
Think of this as a “universal” basic BOB to be built on and tailored to your individual specific needs.