Leaving home in a rush is what most preppers have given some thought to. Maybe your house is well-prepared to let you ride out any crisis, but what if it’s too risky to stay in it? That’s why most of us have a bug-out bag packed and ready, we can grab the bag on the way out if we need to go, and we’ll have enough critical equipment to give us a combat opportunity.
Generally, though, we hope to be able to make an orderly escape, with enough time to gather more supplies before we lock the door behind us and head to our bug-out place. We probably have a list of things, either in our heads or written down, to pack up and take with us. But what if you don’t have the time you’re supposed to have? Can you still collect the stuff on your list?
Not long ago, one of our frequent readers, posted a story on the website about how he found himself having to bug out a little faster than he planned. He made a mental list of what to take with him, but figured that he would have a bit of time to get it all together. He had done just what most of us do. What really happened was that there was a big fire threatening his house, and he suddenly realized he had no more than 10 minutes until he had to evacuate. That’s not a lot of time, and he missed some of it because he found it hard to think about what he wanted to take in the face of an emergency. He has since made a list of what to take when he has to leave in a hurry next time. We thought it was a brilliant idea, and we wanted to make a few suggestions about what to add to the “bug-out NOW” list.
1. Bug-out bag
Let’s start with the one that is obvious. It’s fair to say all the stuff in it was put there for a reason if you already have a bug-out bag, because it’s helpful. Grab it right away; it will also give you somewhere to bring the other things you find, unless it is completely packed. Some other stuff on the list should already be in your BOB (maybe most) anyway.
Related: How To Make A Bug Out Bag Jacket
To reflect the normal survival priorities, the things you grab must reflect, and water is at the top of that list. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to take water with you, only that you need to know that it will keep you supplied. In fact, you will probably need to take it to make sure you have water.
The thing is, that’s not the time you want to fill water containers when you know you need to be on the move in ten minutes. Store filled containers in the garage or somewhere near the car if you’re going to bug out by vehicle; either use preservatives in the water or periodically refill the containers to ensure that the water is still safe to use.
Smaller water buckets are the way forward if you have to bug out on foot, either because that’s part of the strategy or because your car is disabled. GI canteens are nice, but there is more capacity for water bladders, and they are better for staying hydrated on the move. Again, keep them filled and occasionally replace the water.
The odds are you’ve got some bug-out bag emergency rations anyway, so if you have ten minutes, grab what you can from the kitchen as well. Everything that is easy to eat and high in energy like bread, canned goods, candy, snacks. Better than not enough, it’s better to have too much food.
Some preppers keep a gun in their bug-out bag, but it won’t hurt to grab any additional ammo you have. If your designated gun is a handgun, and you’ve got a long gun in your house, take it and all the ammo you’ve got.
What to do with any guns you don’t carry with you is another thing to worry about. There are different reasons for which you might leave some behind. You won’t take any of them if you have 50 guns, and you’re bugging out on foot. Are you really interested in leaving any of them behind to arm any looters who spot them? Disable them by removing bolts, firing pins or trigger groups and placing the pieces in a locked ammunition can if you have weapons that you don’t use regularly. Take the can with you if you have to bug out and chuck it into the first river you see.
Before you go, empty the medicine cabinet into your bag. You’re better off bringing it with you than leaving it behind, whether you need prescription drugs or you just have a large tub of Tylenol in it.
The same goes for cash, grab it if there is any in the house. It’s going to take a while before anyone gets the message, even though there’s a complete crash and the currency becomes worthless. That means that you’ll be able to purchase useful things from optimists for anywhere from a few days to a few months who hope those dollar bills will one day be important again.
Keep a paper copy of your wallet along with your other significant documents if you’ve invested in cryptocurrencies. You don’t want the network to restore from backups, but your investment is lost forever because your wallet was ruined by an EMP or even an unplanned dip in a river.
There are documents that you don’t want to lose. Among those you’ll want to save are birth and marriage certificates for you and your family, along with passports, academic and professional certificates, financial records and the title to your home. Insurance plans are also handy-if a fire damages your house, it’s good to know that you’re going to be able to put in a claim for it later.
Making copies of these documents and storing them in the bug-out bag is always a safe idea. In a waterproofed pack, paper copies are durable; it’s worth having a few USB thumb drives and even making digital copies. They won’t survive an EMP, but they’ll be handy if you have to evacuate because of a wildfire.
The copies are fine, of course, but the originals are better. Keep in an envelope all of your valuable papers. That way, you can just grab the envelope if you have to leave in a rush, instead of having to search for each document.
You’re probably going to have clothes in your bug-out bag, but if it’s cold and your coat is hanging from the front door, you’re going to have to grab it on your way past. The coat you wear in winter every day is certainly better than the one you were pleased to pack for an emergency, so why not use it? In my BOB, I have a fleece and a Gore-Tex jacket, since they pack small and provide pretty good protection together, but I would rather have my large warm parka given the option.
This list is just a few simple essentials you can grab in a couple of minutes. There are certainly some other stuff that you can think about, too, but now is the time to think about them, not when you are under the strain of knowing that you have just a few minutes to gather as much as you can. If you only have ten minutes to get started, make sure you know where they all are once you have your list of stuff you’re going to take. Keep them in a centralized location if possible. If you intend to bug out on foot, a closet near the front door is fine, while the garage is an obvious place to escape by car. Your own plans are known to you, so you’re the best one to determine how this fits into them.