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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bug-out-bag vs back-up-plan

One of the things that folks here in tin-foil-hat land are always talking about is there bug out bag.  Much time and much effort are placed into the planning and execution of these little critters.  While many have intrigued me, my favorite has been over at Survival Chick.

I can't really say as I have a bug out bag per se.  I am hard pressed to figure out a situation where a sixty year old man will need to instantly grab a bag and run away from the mutant zombie hordes.  The only thing that a bug out bag offers you is a means of having everything in one place so that you don't have to think in the case of an emergency, you can just get going.

And that is where my biggest complaint about the concept lies.  If it is an emergency, if you feel you need to be able to react without thinking, then you will be visiting with Mr Darwin soon.  An emergency is where you need to be able to think the most clearly.  Your bug out bag may very well allow you the luxury of running headlong into a meat grinder.

Bugging out is something that you have to think about.  Plans must be laid for the contingencies that exist to the current situation.  Truth be told, it damn well better be your last resort, to be undertaken with great trepidation and even greater certainty of failure.

I look at bugging out as a bow to a catastrophic failure at multiple levels.  Kinda like the stupid "crash positions" found in the safety pamphlets in planes.  If something happens like a stuck landing wheel, it might do you some good, but if the plane augers it in, it is a waste.  Making big plans and obsessing about low-probability events is a good way to allow natural selection into your life.

I have always counselled the need for multiple back-ups and flexibility.  A plan usually doesn't survive unless it resides within a specific set of conditions.  Change those conditions and your plan becomes a useless affectation.  It is much more important to be able to react effectively to unknown conditions.  That is a trait of the mind, not a piece of macho stuck over there in corner, gathering dust.

But to be truthful, I am spending this morning updating mine.


  1. In a TEOTWAWKI situation, superior forces will likely steal or confiscate your bug-out bag within the first hour. But if a trainload of hazardous chemicals derails in the next town, if there is an accident at the nuclear power plant, if there is a gas leak in the neighborhood or the house is on fire and you have to leave NOW, it would be nice to have some spare meds, glasses, shoes and skivvies at hand and ready to go.

  2. One has to ber seen, detected and caught before they can snaffle your bag and whilst many people would opt for armed confrontation more erm like experienced peoople advocate the Gray Man system has much merit with violence as a last resort.

  3. I bugged out from one of those famous fires in the greater LA basin many years ago and after getting a few miles away I had to go back for some things I forgot. 400+ houses burned down it was certainly a disaster for most of them. If I had a bag ready to go I would have been in a better position to think about taking the family album or other things. As it was I didn't even have time to think of all the necessary things.

  4. I keep a bug out bag in my car in the event that I become stranded away from home. After having my car break down on the north side of Houston after dark, over 300 miles from home, I realized that I needed to put more thought into what I have on-hand at all times. I agree - different scenarios require different plans and it takes some forethought to be truly prepared.