How To Prepare a Bug Out Bag | Avoid These Mistakes
Often times, we discuss ad nauseam what TO pack in your bug out bag. But what about bug out bag mistakes? In my How To Prepare a Bug Out Bag article, I will go over common bug out bag mistakes that could leave a survivalist on a much shorter timeline. By learning how to prepare a bug out bag, the prepper learns to take nothing for granted. Just because you already bought your bug out bag essentials certainly doesn’t mean you are completely ready for anything.
Bug out bag mistakes are common practice, mostly because preparing a bug out bag illicits a little stress. Let’s face it, you can’t prepare a bug out bag without considering some unsavory narratives. That can bring you anxiety even if on a subconcious level and that can cause you to make lapses in common sense judgements. That’s exactly how mistakes tend to occur.
You Forget TO Pack Water
No matter what else you have in your bug out bag, if you forgot to pack water, you are dead in the water (see what I did there?). I hear of this happening more often than I’d like to. I think for so many of us, it isn’t a question of common sense application, rather, its just that we tend to forget the obvious. Additionally, we worry that the noted weight of carrying water can be enduring. Not everyone is in that type of shape.
And water is beyond obvious. You can survive a while without food, but not without water. Water is the key resource for any legit bug out bag. Any survivalist will tell you that you aren’t going to get far without a water. No water in your bug out bag and the clock begins ticking. If you are in the best shape, you might make it three days before the Grim Reaper comes calling. But even before that, your energy levels to seek out water will be abysmal.
Carrying enough drinking water for three days might be too much weight for you personally and even too rough on your bug out bag in general. Therefore, you might consider a negotiation between actual water and water filtering bottles and water filter purification tabs. This is a simple way to negotiate the weight of the bag for both yourself and for your bag’s material integrity. Clearly, you are going to need other items in this bag, so just piling in a ton of big robust bottled waters won’t help that situation either, no matter how good of shape you might be in. This is about survival, not winning a medal. Negotiate your water supply and don’t overlook it.
You Don’t Include Survival Knives
You can take a look at my best survival knives list (after, please). This will give you a good idea of what type of survival knife might serve you best. When you consider how to prepare a bug out bag, you need to think about your knife situation.
The fact is, many people leave out survival knives. They do this because, like firearms, many people just aren’t comfortable or knowledgeable about them. And when people don’t feel comfortable, they don’t tend to buy them. A survival knife is a big deal. There are many safety issues, where you use a fixed blade knife or a folding knife. So don’t take this as me telling you to purchase something you don’t feel safe carrying. This is me telling you that you need a survival knife inside of your bug out bag so now is as good of time as any to learn more about knife safety.
Survival knives are great for performing a variety of tasks: Cutting clothes, opening cans (if you choose a swiss army version), skinning fish and animals and even using it as a self-defense knife. You might be in a position and need to cut a zip tie. If someone breaks their leg, you’d need to cut their jeans off. This list goes on and on.
Test Your Bug Out Bag
Ok, all the bug out bag essentials have arrived. And the bug out bag looks great. So now you pack it up. And now you are done, right? Wrong. You need to give it a test run. You don’t have to put on a mock terrorist attack (although you could if you wanted to!). But taking it out for a test hike isn’t a terrible idea.
You want to get a true idea on how the bug out bag feels on your body. Is it too heavy? Does the bug out bag’s material hold up? Typically, as with any backpack, fibers tend to tear where shoulders straps meet the body of the bag. If you notice any inkling of tearing while on an hour hike, you know you have issues and you should choose to resolve those issues prior to a real event going down.
Additionally, testing it out will alert you of any packing issues you might have. You can unpack and repack that bag after the test.
Don’t Overload Your Bug Out Bag
I’ve coined a new phrase: Bug Out Packing. This means you have anxiety while you pack and that anxiety tends to cause you to “overpack.”
The overpacking is merely a result of your anxiety telling you that you might need more and more to survive. But overpacking is to your detriment because it adds weight and it causes things like, say, a concealed carry weapon, to be not as easily accessible.
You can figure out the right amount to pack during your test run. But also, realize you are packing for two weeks and consider daily needs exponentially. You don’t need water for 2-months or 8 survival knives.
Pack Socks and Bring Great Shoes
Your feet matter when it comes to hiking, whether it be in the outlying regions of Montana or through the urban jungle of Minneapolis. You need 2 to 3 pair of good socks. You need to change your socks when they feel wet to prevent bacteria issues and blisters. You can use tape to patch up worn areas of socks if need be. But changing your socks will be essential. And make sure you can walk long distances in your shoes.
Hey, maybe you will have a killer bug out vehicle? If so, good on you, you were the ultimate prepper. But in the event you don’t, or, your vehicle hits the skids, you need to realize your new engines are your feet. Take care of them.
When thinking about how to prepare a bug out bag, think long and hard about setting aside that time to test your bag. That key component could save your life if things go down. It is not enough to just buy a bug out bag.
Photo by brewbooks
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.