Why Make A Bug Out Bag?

Having a bug out bag for a survival situation is the difference between life and death. In times of crisis, you will be faced with two options, either stay at home and wait for someone to take care of you or leave your current situation and survive while being on the move. A bug out bag is designed to keep you alive in times of chaos. 

Survival Situations That Require An Emergency Backpack

Civilization’s technology and supply chains blind us to the fragility of society which we take for granted. The following is a list of the most likely cataclysms that will require the use of a survival bag. 

  • Virus / Pandemic
    • The coronavirus panic has made it clear how susceptible our society is to a pandemic. Staying safe and deciding on whether or not to self-quarantine at home or hit the hills depends on your inclinations. Having the right survival kit built and a bug out bag ready to go will help you escape the city. 
  • Martial Law
    • When there is panic in the streets the government will resort to absolute military might. The military will be sent into cities to “keep the peace”. The ultimate result is the taking away of your constitutional freedoms and your ability to stay self-reliant. Leaving the controlled area is the only way to stay free; your bug out bag will be an important resource for your journey. 
  • Impact Event
    • Comets, asteroids, and meteoroids impact the earth more often than people care to imagine. The most recent cataclysm happened 12,800 years ago, known as the Younger Dryas Period, and it wiped out human civilization. If you survive the initial impact, your new nomadic lifestyle will get a head-start thanks to your bug out bag

10 Bug Out Bag Essentials

  1. Shelter
    • Carrying a fast to set up, ultralight shelter will keep you safe from the elements when living on the run. Here at the Wild West Trail, we recommend carrying a Big Agnes UL2 tent or similar model. However, tents are not necessary for survival and as long as you have some form of portable shelter to keep the rain off, your bug out bag will be complete. Many people choose a simple tarp, with the addition of rope or para-cord, to create a waterproof shelter. 
  2. Water Filter
    • The importance of drinking water cannot be overstated. Whether you find yourself in an urban, mountainous, or desert landscape, the ability to create potable water will keep you alive. Any of the modern gravity filters common in outdoor stores such as the Sawyer Squeeze or Katadyn’s water filter will be ample for any survival situation. Be sure to pack a water bottle! Try to keep at least 1 liter of water on you at all times. Dehydration makes you stupid and the difference between a hydrated brain and one lacking water could be the difference between life and death. 
  3. Fire Starter
    • Making fire is a stone-age survival trick. Regardless of the cataclysm you are surviving, the ability to make fire will keep you alive. We recommend always carrying a lighter; they can be found at every gas station in the world. Having a backup supply of water proof matches and a striker isn’t a bad idea either. 
  4. Fishing Equipment
    • Do you like eating? Carrying fishing equipment in your go bag will make sure you can feed yourself. As the saying goes, “teach a man to fish…” and you don’t have to be good at it to catch fish. A simple pack rod, a basic fishing reel, and a handful of hooks, sinkers, and floats will keep your dinner pot full – as long as the water hasn’t become irradiated, in which case don’t eat the fish. 
  5. Communication Device
    • If a comet hits the planet, all communications will most likely be wiped out, making this item unnecessary. However, in all other situations you will want a tether to the world around you. Reading news headlines, messaging friends and family, and staying alert for new potential threats can all be done from a smartphone. Keep your phone on airplane mode to conserve battery life. We also strongly recommend carrying a large battery pack and potentially a solar panel to always keep it charged. 
  6. Food
    • Easy to grab non-perishable food items are necessary for all survival kits. Clif bars, trail mix, etc. – the goal is to pack as many calories into your backpack without weighing you down too much. It will be impossible to carry enough calories to live on, just bring some basics to get you through to your next meal. 
  7. Knife
    • Used for much more than self-defense, your knife is a mandatory item for the bug out bag. Use it to gut fish, keep nefarious people at bay, and to repair gear. Your knife will quickly become the most used tool in your survival bag. 
  8. Backpack
    • Small and lightweight, the backpack chosen to host your bug out bag needs to stay on your person at all times. Using something too bulky or uncomfortable will limit the miles you can put between you and the danger you are outrunning.  Choose a bag that’s small enough to pack quickly but large enough to house all of your go bag equipment
  9. Outer Layer Clothes
    • Insulation and rain protection need to be at the forefront of your decision making when packing the proper clothes. Your outer layers will protect you from the elements. Pack a solid rain jacket and an insulated underlayer, such as a lightweight down jacket. This is a winning combination in 3 out of 4 seasons. If you need to survive in winter conditions, pack heavier clothes. 
  10. First Aid Kit
    • Basic first aid supplies will be in limited supply when living out of your bug out bag. Carrying only the essentials will allow you to move fast while performing basic medical procedures. We recommend carrying bandages, antibiotic cream, and a sewing needle and thread for large wounds. A properly packed bug out bag will also have an emergency blanket and paracord. These two items will protect you from hypothermia and the rope will come in handy for setting broken bones and even repairing gear. 

Stay Calm With Your Bug Out Bag Emergency Backpack

The most important thing to remember in all survival situations is to stay calm and not panic. The Wild West Trail Trailblazer is an unbreakable silicone pipe that will stay with you through all emergencies. Mental health is arguably even more important in a crisis; it’s vital to remain in control of the situation, and finding a way to relax – such as smoking out of your pipe – will be necessary.

Stay safe out there! Prepared people are independent people. Self-reliance will keep you alive in all situations. 

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