Death before dismount…

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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Death before dismount…

Post by Arty » Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:41 pm

First, let me say thank you to all of you that post info on your BOB’s and pictures. I started to put my stuff together and your posts are helping me a lot.

Having said that, I have to ask; how much do your bags weigh? Lord almighty the size of some of the bags.

Now, I was in the Army. I was in the “Mechanized” Army. We had a saying, “If god intended us to walk, he wouldn’t have invented the diesel engine.” I can honestly say that I only had to do infantry like humps a few times. It sucked. I was young and full of my self, and humping a 50+ pound ruck up and down hills in 90 degree heat and high humidity sucked big time. No offense, but some of those bags look like the weigh in at 70+ pounds when you consider weapons and ammo. Realistically, are your bug out plans to walk with those packs on?

Right now, my bag comes in at 20+ pounds and I am planning on getting it up to 30 pounds. After that, more stuff goes in a box in my car.

My problem is that living in Southern California, I can’t come up with any plan were I am willing to rely on water supplies being available. That means that I have to plan on caring my own and water is F-ing heaving.

Anyone have any ideas on how to cut down on the weight of stuff.?

Also, I am thinking seriously of trying to include a pair of bolt cutters in my BOB, but again the weight issue is keeping me from doing it.

Thanks in advance for any advice or info.
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Post by PlatonicPimp » Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:38 pm

Try making your BOB modular: make a lot of the potentially useful things optional. My BOB breaks into 3 parts. The first is my belt pouch, the second is a small backpack, and the third is my full pack. The necessities are in the hip pouch, minimal food, water, and a change of clothes are in the small bag, and my full on camping equipment lives in the large bag.

When I first put my BOB together, I tried to pack enough water for 3 days of moderate physical activity. This is about 1 gallon per person per day. In my humble opinion, this isn't feasable. I am down to a single gallon, plus 2 half liter bottles per person. There are also liquids in my canned goods that will be consumed.

regardless of where you are, there are methods to gather water. It doesn't matter how much water you carry, eventually you will have to gather it yourself. learn what local plants signal underground water. Learn which ones store water, and where it is. Lick dew off plants in the morning. Set up solar sills. Figure out where water gets stored in buildings and drain it out. There are a lot of ways to get water, and you will need this skill.

Also, throw out anything that only serves a single, specific purpose. Everything in your pack shold have more than one use, if you can help it. Also leave behind anything that "might be useful". Unless you know exactly how you are going to use it, under circumstances you can count on happening, then it's excess baggage. If it won't see daily use, you don't need it. For every pound of "man, that came in handy right then, there will be a hundred pounds of "man, I never used this." There are specific exceptions (radios, first aid kits come to mind), but these are solid general rules. The bolt cutters really fit into this catagory. I dropped a crowbar and sledge from mine for this reason.
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Post by thekessel » Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:43 pm

What about a tactical wheelbarrow? You could haul all sorts of water in it, and a midget to man the guns...

Sorry, couldn't pass that up. So, I would pick up a very good water filter system and a 5-6 gal container. Filtering 5 gal per day is not much if you have a source. I grew up in SoCal. Get water to filter from the storm drain systems. They are everywhere and almost always have some water in them. If you live near the metro, I think that has some sort of water system run through the tunnels (I could be wrong, it was still being built when I left).

If you are on the run, filter into a hydration bladder and canteen. Easy to carry. Quick to fill and enough (4L) for you for the day. You won't have any left for bathing, dishes or other sanitary needs, but it will be enough until you can get to a more stable location.
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Post by LastRebel » Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:12 am

+1 on the modular system. Some things you ought to always have on you, like a knife/multitool and flint & steel; some, like water & means to carry it, shelter, and, if necessity so dictates, a firearm and ammo -- will allow you to survive for several days. Everything else is third-line stuff -- nice to have but not essential to immediate survival.

If you want to pack light, the thing to do is to buy top-of-the-line camping stuff (read: light and packs small). I recently replaced my beloved -10* USGI bag with a new North Face model. Weight saved -- 7 lbs. Space taken up by the bag was cut by about 2/3. Since the USGI bag took up most of the room in my Alice pack, I no longer need the pack now that I have my new bag. Sleeping bag is now strapped to LBE. Weight saved by 'retiring' the Alice pack -- ~8 lbs. Since my AO (area of operations) is primarily wooded hill country, I'm not too worried about a source of heat for cooking/survival; I'll simply pick up and use dead wood. Thus, stove & fuel are also 'retired' -- cutting 4 more lbs from my load. Dunno about the situation in SoCal -- you may not be able to eliminate the stove & fuel from your pack if there's no naturally occurring fuel to burn. Using a USGI poncho as rain gear AND shelter eliminates the need for a tent. Average weight saved -- 5-7 lbs. Replace heavy clothing (wool, cotton/polyester BDU's and field jacket) with Underarmor and fleeces -- save 5 more pounds (I did this only partially, as synthetics tend to stink after a few days in the woods and are vulnerable to sparks from the fire).

The above are examples of what I have done to lighten my load. Hope they help give you ideas. As far as general rules go, Platonic Pimp said it best:
Also, throw out anything that only serves a single, specific purpose. Everything in your pack shold have more than one use, if you can help it. Also leave behind anything that "might be useful". Unless you know exactly how you are going to use it, under circumstances you can count on happening, then it's excess baggage. If it won't see daily use, you don't need it. For every pound of "man, that came in handy right then, there will be a hundred pounds of "man, I never used this." There are specific exceptions (radios, first aid kits come to mind), but these are solid general rules.
Sewing awl, camera, sharpening stone, spare boots, 4-pound bivy bag, USGI mess kit (truly an abomination unto the Lord, especially when the canteen cup does the job 10 times better), spare batteries (unless they are AAA-sized), rope thicker than paracord, full-sized tent, 25-lb bag of rice, etc. may be nice to have, but are prime examples of the above quote. Stash items like these someplace safe, and dig them up as needed.

As far as water goes, again I'll second Platinic Pimp's post:
regardless of where you are, there are methods to gather water. It doesn't matter how much water you carry, eventually you will have to gather it yourself. learn what local plants signal underground water. Learn which ones store water, and where it is. Lick dew off plants in the morning. Set up solar sills. Figure out where water gets stored in buildings and drain it out. There are a lot of ways to get water, and you will need this skill.
I'll add that you may want to bug out to someplace where water is easier to obtain (Northern California?). I imagine your area would go to hell in a handbasket real quick in the event of an emergency, and your running, well-stocked vehicle will be a prime target for folks desperate for supplies. Several million folks... Getting back on topic, though, water is really not that hard to purify, in the sense of making it safe to drink. Boil it, and if you are still unsure, add a couple iodine pills. Or, run it through a filter. Seems to work for most backpackers. The water you'll end up with may still look like it's got sh!t floating in it, and taste that way, but will be plenty safe to drink. A good trick for getting rid of most particle matter, by the way, is running your water through a coffee filter (a dozen of these weighs next to nothing) before purifying. Just drape the filter around the filter intake, or the top of the boiling vessel, and commence filtering/boiling.

A thought on bugging out in vehicles, in general: UNLESS you're bugging out TO somewhere -- survival retreat, grampa's ranch -- and doing it in the first couple days after the emergency, you and the vehicle will stick out like a sore thumb. Gas will be hard to come by immediately after the emergency (think NO-LA in fall '05). Can't hide in the bushes, use deer trails, travel cross-country, pretend to be one of the people, etc. if you've got a well-stocked SUV and intend to keep it. Depending on the emergency, having said abilities may be a great asset. Plan accordingly.

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Post by Miami » Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:20 am

I was once a dirt chewing infantry GI. When you hump your gear you have to realize that not all of your gear is combet gear. You drop the ruck if the SHTF and you need to open up a can of firefight. My Ruck and LBV weighs about 40 lbs together. That's not counting my rifle and ammunition. All together, my gear is around 60 lbs.

I was Airborne, hence we walked everywhere and anywhere. You legs had it easy.... :lol:

But you set up your gear the way you want to. Lastly, folks need to test their gear out and see what they can and cannot do with it.
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Post by airborn4x4 » Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:49 am

Miami wrote:I was Airborne, hence we walked everywhere and anywhere.
Um..isn't that a little counter-intuitive? Aren't you guys supposed to fly everywhere, being "airborne"? :lol:

Note: I am not airborne...my truck is, at times.
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Post by Gunny » Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:50 am

We get these posts pretty often. In all honesty, my BOB weighs around 80-85lbs fully loaded.

Now, 80lbs sounds like a lot (it's a little shy of 1/2 my body weight) BUT, I carry it around in a fantastic system called the Kifaru EMR. The EMR shifts the weight around so that carrying such a load is not only easy, it's also comfortable.

Try doing that in an ALICE or MOLLEE pack all day :(

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Post by Ponce » Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:08 am

Use a good belt to keep your pants up and on the belt you will have the following......pistol and extra clips, knife and a mini pack at the back with what you really need........ the reason for this is in case you have to drop every thing and run like hell you still will have what you need the most.

The back pack that I keep by the door in the mud room weights 40 lbs but because I am already at my "bug out" place this is only for an extreme emergency and I will have to carry it only for two miles to one of my two hide aways up in the hills, the other hide away is at five miles.

I keep all that I need in both hide away in order to start a guerrilla warfare attack......food, weapons (conventional and otherwise) extra ammo, clothing, equipment and so on.
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Post by Grace » Wed Mar 14, 2007 2:37 pm

It looks like my bag is going to be around 25 lbs including water. I'm in an area where streams are abundant, and even during a dry spell my bug-out route is looking like it's going to be along a very large and deep river. Anyway, the best way to get advice on how to cut down on weight when it comes to your particular bag is to post a rough list of what you're packing. I don't know jack about what kind of terrain you'd be going across, but if it's possible to go by bicycle, you'd be able to carry more with less effort.
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Post by Miami » Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:42 pm

airborn4x4 wrote:
Miami wrote:I was Airborne, hence we walked everywhere and anywhere.
Um..isn't that a little counter-intuitive? Aren't you guys supposed to fly everywhere, being "airborne"? :lol:

Note: I am not airborne...my truck is, at times.
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Post by Arty » Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:56 pm

Guys, thank for the info so far. I hadn’t thought about getting water from urban run off and treating it or filtering. I also have to remember, modular, modular, modular.

" I don't know jack about what kind of terrain you'd be going across, but if it's possible to go by bicycle, you'd be able to carry more with less effort."

Terrain is urban, urban, and urban.

My BOB is primarily for doing the bug out buggie from work. I work smack in the middle of downtown L.A. Anything happens in L.A. and the freeway system is going down the toilet. That means walking out of downtown to get to my wife and daughter.

I have two probable routes of travel.

Route 1: Straight north from downtown to the foothills, then follow the foothills west to the access points to the Santa Clarita Valley and home from there. Distance: 38 miles some urban environment, and the foothills, mostly chaparral.

Route 2: Interstate 5 corridor, 100% urban the whole way until I get north of the San Fernando Valley. Less distance, (30 miles instead of 38 8), but totally urban city walk unless I walk on the interstate.

I have been thinking of a bicycle, but is it worth keeping a bike at work just in case my car is not available? Where do I keep it/secure it. By the way, not being able to use my car is a real possibility.

Any input on what route to take?
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Post by PlatonicPimp » Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:33 pm

Arty wrote:
I have been thinking of a bicycle, but is it worth keeping a bike at work just in case my car is not available?
Maybe. It wouldn't be a BAD idea. You could use it around town when you are at work. I don't know your work's policies, but you might be able to stash it in a storeroom.

The only thing is, you'd absolutely NEED to pack your BOB with the bike in mind. You can't just hop on the bike with a frame pack, you'll be too top-heavy.

What I'd do is pack a "get home" bag in saddlebags on a bike, and see if you can stash it at work. Remember to pack tools and parts to fix common bike problems, such as flats. Have a "belt BOB" at all times. Finally, Keep a serious SHTF BOB at home.

Disclaimer: this isn't the setup I have. My BOB is a cheapskape's BOB, so a lot of the stuff is less weight or space effecient than it should be. I'll upgrade it as I have the funds, probably in 2008 or something. My bike is a POS. I work within 2 miles of home, and live within 5 of my initial Bug-out. So I hoof it. In the future, as funds allow, I'll get the bike setup I've described going.
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Post by airborn4x4 » Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:36 pm

How about stashing a folding bike in your work area?
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Post by Arty » Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:18 pm

"How about stashing a folding bike in your work area?"

Maybe.

Ten floors down the fire escape carrying a bike in an emergency to get to ground level would be a bitch.

What I was thinking of was to get a cheap, and I mean cheap, used mountain bike. Find a storage place walking distance from office or ground level of building.

Thinking about it seriously. I worry about a terrorist attack or bomb in the parking area my building. Job is a building with a name with a lot of symbolism that could be a target. That is why I think that maybe my car would not be available. Also, I have a much maligned federal law enforcement agency using a couple of floors of my building. :(
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Post by Ponce » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:13 pm

While in Calif. my bug out route was underground, I had a underground map of all the pipes bigger than six feet and also a micro motor bike together with a small back pack and extra gas (two gallons) for my get away.

Now days it would be impossible to get hold of such maps or prints.
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Post by Big Mac » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:16 pm

Ponce wrote:While in Calif. my bug out route was underground, I had a underground map of all the pipes bigger than six feet and also a micro motor bike together with a small back pack and extra gas (two gallons) for my get away.

Now days it would be impossible to get hold of such maps or prints.
So how many Cuban Soldiers did you dispatch on that?
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Post by Jamie » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:20 pm

Ponce wrote:While in Calif. my bug out route was underground, I had a underground map of all the pipes bigger than six feet and also a micro motor bike together with a small back pack and extra gas (two gallons) for my get away.

Now days it would be impossible to get hold of such maps or prints.
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Post by jamoni » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:53 pm

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NICE. :)
Regarding stashing a bike at work, (and please don't hit me) have you considered one of those Razor scooters? You could stash it in a closet or under a desk, you could ride it with a backpack on, it's faster than walking, and you can get them for $10 at every goodwill I've ever seen. If you decide to go the urban route, it's something to think about.
Also, I love zombies to the modular BOB. My level one is a pistol belt with pistol, speedloaders, combat knife, flashlight, and multitool. Most of this is on the dropleg, so I can wear other levels over it. Then I've got a hip pack with 2 liters of water, first aid kit, food, emergency blanket, lighter, etc.
For most situations, this is all I'll have or need, but I also have a couple of backpacks packed for different situations (cold weather, never coming home, etc.)
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Post by Big Mac » Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:12 pm

nfa wrote:
Ponce wrote:While in Calif. my bug out route was underground, I had a underground map of all the pipes bigger than six feet and also a micro motor bike together with a small back pack and extra gas (two gallons) for my get away.

Now days it would be impossible to get hold of such maps or prints.
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Post by IrideLLAMAS » Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:21 pm

I would suggest storing the bike in the trunk of your car instead of the office or close location. I would do this because if you get a few miles away by car, you would not want to have to go back for the bike. Just my thoughts.
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Post by MPMalloy » Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:22 pm

Hey Arty:

I was in a Light Infantry unit. I remember passing thru the gate my very first time and thinking, 'light infantry - we must not walk very far or carry very much...'

I was immediatley educated. I learned not to take a fucking thing I didn't have to. I even got into trouble now & again for leaving behind things. You do what you have to. The more important it is, the more the thing weighed. water is about 9 lbs/US Gal. Ammo, Guns, MRE's.....it all adds up.

My aid bag was 50# at any given time. Then I carried basic kit load. I was lucky in that I wasn't issued a rifle. Add K-pot & flak vest.


1. Bug in.

2. Good vehicle, place to go.

3. There are varied senarios, all with different 'requirements'.

4. I have no idea of how to carry all of the things I see on some lists.

5. I'm racking my brain here, but nothing is really coming forth. Walking out doesn't seem like a good idea in any senario. ZPAW for sure. With all of the stuff I hear about, a good vehicle seems like a must. I would want to armor it incase of attack. Nothing humps mpg like weight. Urban terrian can be very dangerous.


Live at your BOL. Good Luck all!

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Post by ThatGuyFred » Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:42 pm

airborn4x4 wrote:How about stashing a folding bike in your work area?
I like this a little more

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Post by DarkHorse » Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:23 am

If Shtf at work, I'd have 70 miles to go to get home. I'm either going to go with a bike/trailer combo or buy a cheap beat up moped/dirtbike. Luckily my inlaws live near where I work for storing it.


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Post by Da Plumber » Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:26 am

Have you given any thought to caching a couple of gallons of water and maybe a couple of cans of sardines... maybe just wrappad in a plastic bag under an overpass around the half way point along both routes? It's quick, simple and cheap.
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