Bug Out Bag Levels
When you talk of prepping, you have to take into significant consideration several specific scenarios of disasters and other emergency situations you might get yourself into. These specific situations you create in your mind will be the starting point of your preparation. There have to be bases why you need to include particular items in your bug out bag list. Of course, you cannot bring everything you think you need when the situation calls for evacuation. After all, the goal of prepping is to come up with a lightweight and compact bug out bag or survival pack, or whatever name you want to call it that will allow you to survive self-contained for at least three days.
However, the magnitude of disasters differ from one to another. And depending on the severity of the situation, the stuff that you need to pack up would also vary. For example, you do not have to carry with you a bug out bag containing advanced gear such as a night vision device, rifle, and a lot of ammo when the situation only calls for you to evacuate to a friend or a relative’s house just a mile away using a car on a daytime. There are minor and severe calamities and each calls for a different preparation.
So your bug out bag has different levels depending on the seriousness of the situation you are preparing for. And of course, you also have to bear in mind your specific location, its climate and weather conditions, and its terrain. These are also relevant factors when you build up your bug out bag. These factors might require some content modification for your bug out bag.
Bug Out Bag
Strictly speaking, a bug out bag is a bag or pack which contains the essential items that you need to be able to survive evacuating from point A to point B. Although we are often reminded to stay at home during calamities, there are certain situations when leaving home is the best thing to do to be able to survive. When the circumstances call for such action, it would most probably be a quick one. In just a matter of seconds, you must already leave your area to avoid exposure to danger that might prove fatal in the end. That is why it is always important to have a bug out bag prepared all the time.
As mentioned above, each bug out bag level requires items and tools that would match the specific emergency scenario you are preparing for. In view of the situation you have in mind, start making a list of what to include in your bug out bag. Perhaps you need to go over it several times to make sure it does not lack something before you start gathering them. Only then can you proceed to choose a perfect backpack or any kind of bag or pack to properly contain all your items.
In every bug out bag level, there is an assumption that you already included the items of the lower levels. All bug out bag levels are cumulative; meaning to say, bug out bag level 2 includes all the items in level 1 and some more additional items. The same is true to the rest of bug out bag levels.
Bug out bag level 1 is termed as Every Day Carry or EDC. This bug out bag comprises of items and other stuff that you carry with you every single day. These are the most essential items without which you do want to leave home. As EDC items, these form as bases for the rest of the higher bug out bag levels.
Bug out bag level 1 items include a butane lighter, a knife, and a paracord. In any survival situation, there are three abilities you always need: the ability to make fire, the ability to cut things, and the ability to tie things together. EDC items would help you make all these three essential abilities a lot easier and quicker. Survival is basically founded on these abilities which you can easily acquire with these 3 simple and small items.
So, once again, your bug out bag level 1 items should always be at your side wherever you go. Regardless of your trip’s duration or every time you leave your house, see to it that you have all these items with you. These stuff will prove to be of much help.
The situation you put in mind when you try to make up a level 2 bug out bag is like this: you are on your way home on foot and it may take you a couple of days to arrive. There is a need for you to walk because the circumstances render any help in doing so unavailable. You are in a civilized area though and although the situation is not business-as-usual, some items and services are still available. You are not worn out; there is water available but needs filtering to make it potable. The weather is not that bad. There is minimum civil disorder or nothing at all. And you do not need any medical attention.
Bug out bag level 2 is termed Core and it supposes that you already have with you the 3 basic EDC items. As additional items to your level 1 bug out bag items, the Core level bug out bag includes the following:
– small first aid kit
– $150 cash
– a map of the area
– a quart sized ziploc bag
– 10 coffee maker filters
– a poncho
– a cell phone, with charger or extra battery
– 1 pair of socks
– a filter straw
– a lawn & garden trash bag
– a compass
– a bandana
– jacket or windbreaker
– gloves and a hat
– 3 energy or candy bars
– a packet of tissues, or toilet paper
The Core items can easily be accommodated in a small bag or pack. For women, these items can be contained in their hand bag.
Level 3 bug out bag is called Evacuation. Obvious enough from the name itself, this level requires you to evacuate from where you are. The level of emergency is quite higher than when you only need an EDC or Core level bug out bag. In this situation, you may find yourself in your office, in your home, or in any public places. You are on foot but you are still in a civilized area where stores are not anymore open for business. To where you are heading, the stores may still be open. You have no major injuries and the weather is not severe, but you may be on your own for 7 days at most.
The Evacuation level bug out bag assumes that you already have with you all the items included in EDC and Core bug out bags. All of the following items listed below are additional items to what you already have. Evacuation items include
– a weapon and about 40-50 rounds of ammo,
– ID & essential papers (driver’s license, insurance information, telephone numbers, credit cards, etc.),
– a radio (12v, 110v, crank, battery, solar, with AM and FM),
– a N100 dust mask,
– $150 cash,
– a metal spoon or fork,
– at least 25 feet of para-cord,
– 3 changes of underwear,
– 3 pairs of socks,
– additional food (freeze-dried food, canned goods, tea or coffee, etc),
– advanced first aid kit (can be an augmented pre-made kit),
– water purification tablets,
– a canteen with cup & cover,
– 2-3 butane lighters.
Just like your compass in the previous level, to be able to put your weapon into proper use you need enough training, practice, and knowledge on how to use it, beforehand.
We termed level 4 bug out bag as Wilderness. This refers to a situation where you are already removed completely from civilization. Wilderness items are intended to keep you alive and well in an area where there are no houses, stores, and other habitation. The weather is erratic and you are on foot. While you may have no major injuries, the possibility of acquiring one is much greater.
This situation is very much possible especially to motorists who may be stranded in the wilderness or those who are on wilderness excursion. Most people involved in pleasure trips in the wilderness and those who are fond of heading out for long car trips do not prepare thoroughly for such possibilities. It is very much important to prepare Wilderness level bug out bag when making a trip through very remote areas.
This bug out bag level assumes that you already have with you all the items included in EDC, Core, and Evacuation bug out bags. Wilderness bug out bag includes the following items:
– an axe or saw,
– a tent,
– a rifle with 100 rounds of ammo,
– a sleeping bag,
– a wool blanket,
– a full fishing kit,
– a mess kit,
– a fixed blade knife,
– sharpening stone,
– a firesteel plus tinder,
– 2 gallons of water.
The survival level of this situation is much more difficult. Expect to live in the open for quite a long time, possibly weeks. And even if you bring with you an ample supply of food and water, there is still a great probability that you will have to look for it somewhere. You have to make your own shelter. This will prove to be extremely difficult especially to those who do not have enough knowledge and practice of the survival techniques needed in the wilderness.
The level 5 bug out bag is called TEOTWAWKI which stands for The End Of The World As We Know It or SHTF which stands for Schumer Hits The Fan.
A TEOTWAWKI situation may often be construed by most as a result of an asteroid strike or a nuclear war or even by a zombie apocalypse by some. However, situations like these do not have available kits anymore. The reason being is that it is simply impossible to continue living while storing, carrying, and maintaining everything you need to be able to survive, with no assistance of any kind, for the rest of your life. If caused by a pandemic, then most of life would surely be wiped out. If you made it, however, then some other would most probably make it as well.
The reality, however, is that TEOTWAWKI may happen but only locally and with very extreme severity. Think of the tsunami in Indonesia, the hurricane in Haiti, the earthquakes in the Philippines, Turkey, and Mexico. Global TEOTWAWKI is something very far from happening. If indeed it happens, expect no more bug out areas to head to. If there are, they would be very few.
Basically, the items included in the EDC, Core, Evacuation, and Wilderness level bug out bags are already complete for you to be able to survive. However, if indeed there is still a need to prepare a TEOTWAWKI bug out bag, you have to prepare tools and other equipments that are highly reliable for fighting, evasion, and escape.
Of course, a TEOTWAWKI level bug out bag supposes that you already have with you all the items of Level 1 through 4 bug out bags. A TEOTWAWKI includes
– battle rifle plus ammo,
– additional ammo for handgun,
– optics for the rifle,
– suppressors for handgun and rifle,
– night vision device,
– tools of a trade,
The best thing to do with this kind of extreme situation is to form or join a group of like-minded individuals, the larger the group the better. This will increase your possibility of survival. However, groups formed during TEOTWAWKI would most likely accept additional people only if they have something to contribute to the group and its members. So skills such as the ones related to medication, farming, electronics, construction, and so on are very much important for you to be admitted. Tools and other items worthy of trade would also be of great help for inclusion.
And remember, when this happens, expect no more rules. So the best thing to do is to equip yourself of the necessary tools and devices to be able to defend yourself and fight for your life. Avoid and escape fights. As much as possible, stay out of sight.
So that’s it. The best time to start preparing your bug out bag is not later nor sooner but now. After all, the key to survival is being prepared. And disasters always strike surprisingly. In one way or another, I hope this article gave you a lesson or two about survival.