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Posted October 28, 2014 in Gear Reviews by Jim Markel
Survivalists were once considered outer limits crazy. However, due to recent developments, the idea of preparing for survival doesn’t seem quite so ridiculous now after all. Being prepared for emergencies such natural disasters and the like can mean the difference between survival and death. Having a packed and ready dependable, survival “Go Bag” is the first step in preparedness. In this article we will explain what the ultimate “Bug Out Bag” could look like and contain.
But what is the point of packing all that survival gear to get you through a few days or weeks of Hell-on-Earth when the bag you’re packing it in could fail?
Where will that leave you when all your important bug out gear is suddenly laying about? When it’s up for grabs by legions of Zombies? Up the flooded river without a paddle, that’s where!
Meet BOB, short for the Bug Out Bag (also known as a “Go Bag”). BOB is a sturdy, reliable bag that will get you through flaming Hell and high-water. Red Oxx builds a number of bags that could become your BOB. You could even devise a group BOB for a variety of disaster or emergency scenarios.
The guys here at Red Oxx know all about survival. The CEO jumped out of airplanes and splashed into murky waters. He crept through dark jungles while serving Recon in the Marines. They know the value of tough bags; stitching that won’t fail, and hardware that resists breakage and corrosion.
We’ll talk about which Go Bag is right for you, and what kinds of every day carry survival gear you need to pack in it.
The advantage of backpack style BOBs are many. You have the shoulder straps in case you have to hike long distances. Most are easy to pack, unpack and find what you need in them. While lacking internal frames, our backpack “Go Bags” will certainly carry a good deal of survival stuff, certainly more than most common teardrop style backpack bags.
The Tres Hombres is a three compartment bag that’s a versatile convertible hybrid. This means is combines the ease of backpack carry with the storage room of a hand or shoulder carry duffel bag.
One advantage of the Tres Hombres over most convertible bags is its three compartments fill the full length of the bag. There’s one large center compartment and two narrower long side compartments.
Another advantage is the exterior compression straps. These help to cinch down your load so it won’t be bobbling around on your back. The hidden backpack straps are there ready to pull out of the smuggler’s pocket when you need them. Simply tuck them out of the way when you don’t.
Extra padding on the bottom of this BOB pack helps protect your gear and your back from rigid pointy/lumpy things. Choose the Tres Hombres when you need a large backpack-style bag with big, long cavernous storage compartments.
This is the essential Red Oxx version of the classic Paratrooper rucksack. Called the C-ruck because it can serve as a legal carry-on a commercial flight. The Rucksack’s heritage is right in line with that of a survival pack. Paratroopers leaping out of airplanes into dense jungles needed to be able to carry several days worth of survival gear.
The C-Ruck Rucksack features a large center compartment that can be extended upwards with the pack sleeve. This sleeve adds several vertical inches of compartment capacity and / or provides a rain/snow cover that can be cinched tight. Then over this the flat flap “map” pocket is positioned. This arrangement provides a relatively weather resistant package.
Despite having the strict top-only access, the C-Ruck “Go Ruck” rucksack has excellent easy access side and front raised pockets. The dual raised side pockets can pack longer items like water bottles, fire extinguishers, thermos, and so on. This leaves the front raised compartment available for emergency gear like first aid kits, binoculars, and snack items.
A daisy chain on each shoulder strap can be used to clip those frequently used items like a water bottle or flashlight. The C-Ruck Rucksack and Tres Hombres both make for useful and reliable “Travel BOB” pack kits, ready to go when you are.
The Kat Pack seems to be marketed as a kid’s backpack. Make no mistake, this is a durable backpack that’s fully capable of carrying a large load with ease. This is due to it’s signature rectangular design.
The Kat Pack would be ideal for hauling BOB survival gear that is square or rectangular in shape. Such gear may include any of these informative survival handbooks according to Outdoor Life, or a variety of excellent plant identification books, and so on.
A couple .30 or .50 caliber plastic ammo cans you commonly see in Army Navy stores will stack neatly inside the Kat Pack. Ammo cans make excellent all-weather storage cases for ammunition, food, and medical gear that absolutely must not get wet.
You can stuff the Kat Pack into a filing cabinet or your desk drawer and make it your “Office BOB”. Its innocent in appearance. Choose a bright playful color. It’s sleek trim lines will keep the snoopy questions and curiosity to a minimum.
Another excellent ammunition bag is the Gator. Stack and sort your ammo inside the gator, co-ordinate calibers by bag color.
You can also pack a gas mask, spotting scope, weapons cleaning supplies, and first aid kits in the Gator. It’s inconspicuous appearance won’t garner questions about what’s in it. Like all Red Oxx Gear, it’s built-in wall and floor padding, and tough-as-nails durable construction will hold-up to heavy ammunition and shooting supplies.
The Rail Runner Rucksack is our one of our largest and toughest rucksack style BOBs. Constructed of tough 1050 weight Ballistic CORDURA® nylon, the Rail Runner was developed for our Railroad customers. They needed a bag tough enough to withstand the rough life on the cold, hard and sharpened rusty steel rail lines.
This pack rucksack is massive and can easily carry loads over 50 pounds. Because of its capacity and heavy-duty materials, the Rail Runner is an essential “Travel BOB.". When used and packed in the same manner as the smaller C-Ruck, the Rail Runner could very well be the world’s ultimate Bug Out Go Ruck!
Sherpa Jr. Expedition Bag.
The Sherpa Jr. makes a superior outfitter style BOB because it too, has the hidden retractable backpack straps. When you have that extra big load that you need hiked into the wilderness, the Sherpa Jr. is up to the task. Capable of hauling over 6000 cubic inches of survival gear, the Sherpa Jr. is ideal for large soft outdoor goods like sleeping bags, tents, tarps, coats and boots.
Like the Tres Hombres, the external compression straps come in handy for when you want to keep all your survival gear safely bundled in one place.
When you have a larger load such as several sleeping bags and a larger tent, the Big Oxx works in the same method as the Sherpa Jr.. It’s also equipped with retractable backpack straps and external compression straps. If you can’t get all your survival gear into a Big Oxx, you should probably rethink your packing list.
Our line of simple Aviator bags also work perfectly as Bug Out storage bags due to the sturdy materials used. While not as “carry friendly” as the other bags in this article, the Aviators get the job done without busting your bank account. The Aviator uses the same tough materials as our regular bags. All the Aviators use the same “rectangular” design principles to make the most use of available space.
Clever and thoughtful packing with a smart use of a couple luggage compression straps on the outside of the bag, and a Claw Shoulder strap attached to the compression straps, and you can make any Aviator relatively easy to carry, no matter how loaded down.
Are you keen on using your Red Oxx bag for general travel? Do you still want the quick escape idea intact? Try organizing your survival gear into several smaller “packing cubes” such as the Tri-fold or single compartment Nomad Toiletry Bag.
The advantages of the Tri-fold over the Nomad is it has three built-in zippered see-through container pockets. It also has the handy ability of being able to hang it up. The Tri-fold when unfolded open, allows easy access to the interior compartments.
Simply have all your Go Bag’s contents packed into a few color-coded Nomads, Lil Roys or Tri-folds. Then you can shove them into your primary Bug Out Bag in a flash. Of note is how easily the Tri-fold and Nomad fit into the raised side pockets of the rucksacks.
Have several Lil Roys on hand to organize your smaller Go Bag’s survival gear. This works well when you color-code your survival belongings. For example, you could pack your FIRE gear into a RED Lil Roy. Lil Roys feature interior divider sections and easy carry handles.
Speaking of packing cubes, Red Oxx offers a variety of sizes in vibrant neon colors. This helps to color co-ordinate your BOB bag’s contents. All Red Oxx Packing Cubes feature breathable mesh lids. This allows easy ogling of the contents. The carry handles allow you to hang them up. Or hook one to your belt.
Non/perishable food items packed in lightweight waterproof packaging makes for ideal “survival food”. If you can stomach them, the classic MREs found at sporting goods stores and Military surplus outfits will get you through a famine.
Dehydrated fruit, meat and vegetables in Ziploc bags are easy to make at home using a dehydrator, smoker or warm oven. Packages of high-calorie food bars are popular. However, we recommend avoiding the kind made with soy protein and nuts due to common allergies.
Packaged dried soup mixes require safe “potable” drinking water to cook with. Therefore be sure to include a water filter or water purification tablets to prevent illness from water borne pathogens. Bring along a handful of extra Ziploc sandwich bags (both regular and quart sizes) and some garbage bags.
Always handy to have something somewhat waterproof to protect your survival items from moisture, bugs and vermin. The trusty old black trash bag makes for a quick, effective (and lightweight) rain poncho.
Water purification tablets, water filters and filter straws and a few bottles of drinking water are absolutes to pack in your Bug Out Bag. Or try the common and popular Camelback re-hydration packs which work well with all our backpack/rucksack style BOBs, slipping comfortably in the slip pocket usually reserved for a laptop. While humans can survive several days without food, we cannot make it a day or so without liquid refreshment.
Keep in mind dehydrated foods will draw moisture from the body, whereas fresh fruit and vegetables contain water and can substitute for straight water. However, the later food items of course, aren’t very pack-able and are obviously extremely perishable, not exactly recommended.
Tent, sleeping bag and emergency space blankets. A hammock is helpful for suspending oneself off the ground to avoid dangerous ground based creepy crawlies and keeps you out of any flooding. A spare tarp is also recommended for a temporary shelter from the harsh elements. When properly folded, takes up little room.
A fire striker such as a compact innovative fire starter or lighter, tinder cubes, waterproof matches, and a water proof case to put them all in. A Crème brûlée torch is a fine compact fire-starter, takes up little room and pack along the extra gas cylinder to refill it as needed. Having an adjustable hot torch with a trigger finger push button is lovely to hold and behold when out in the wooly or wet wilds. Using a lens to light fires is helpful when you have sunlight available, mostly worthless when not.
An entire change of clothing that’s comfortable, adjustable and durable is wise. Stick to garments that can dry quickly (such as nylon or wool) or are water resistant and moisture-wicking. Zip-off convertible pants may not be fashionable, but they sure are useful when you’re trying to survive comfortably in an environment where the temperature variation during the day is broad –such as the mountains or the deserts.
Always think of the layering effect when packing survival clothing for your BOB. Avoid bulky clothing items like quilted cotton or leather. Thin, light insulated underwear is a no-brainer, as is a pack-able, and compact-able, water/proof shell or poncho with a hood. Be sure to include a pair of high quality waterproof and insulated light weight gloves. Plus a pair of leather palmed heavy-duty gloves.
Folding Knife and “spork”. Here’s where the ubiquitous Swiss Army Knife comes in handy and lives up to its reputation. A “spork” is a combination fork and spoon. Always consider the weight of items for your Bug Out Bag and try to pack it with compact and lightweight survival products as much as possible. For example, you can buy a spork made of titanium, a super metal that is both lightweight, strong and corrosion resistant. Simple lightweight camping cookware is a necessity if you intend to cook.
Be aware that some states do not allow the “concealed” carry of firearms in luggage, or in this case your Bug Out Bag. Fortunately for us here in Montana, carrying a handgun in a backpack is not considered “concealed carry.”
It’s highly advisable to look up your state’s policy before loading your favorite firearm into your bag.
While some may scoff at the idea of packing a firearm and ammunition with your BOB, we consider it to be an absolute necessity, especially in light of the “circumstances.” Many have their personal favorites. We prefer “hi capacity” full size handguns in non-snagging striker configuration as opposed to an exposed hammer. Look for big, bold sights and lightweight corrosion resistant polymer frames. Glocks, HKs, FNxs, Springfield XDMs, Smith & Wesson M&Ps and other “plastic” polymer striker-fired high capacity pistols all make fine reliable self-defense Bug Out firearms.
Be sure to bring along a comfortable holster. There may be when the time comes you’ll need to “open carry” in the wilderness or to ward off potential violence from stray looters.
Taking a step up in power and range, rifle-caliber “pistols”, whether bolt action like the classic Remington XPs or TC Contenders, or semi-auto, like any AR or AK configured firearm pack the punch to take down larger game or fend of crowds of zombies.
Good quality compact LED flashlights, headlamps like the wonderful tiny Petzl e-LITE. Pack plenty of rechargeable (using a solar charger) batteries or a hand crank or squeezable lamp. Don’t forget long lasting candles as BOB essentials.
Our Customized Dog Tags can be used as handy signal mirrors as can a compact makeup mirror. It’s a wise idea to make sure you have any critical medical information on your personal Dog Tag such as blood type and allergies. A whistle is a light-weight highly useful sound signaling device.
Sturdy sunglasses or over-the-glasses fishing glasses with polarized lenses help reduce wear and tear on your precious vision. Remember to include a pair of over-the-glasses ski-type goggles to protect your eyes from dust and airborne diseases. A small pair of binoculars or a monocular are helpful to identify friend or foe from a distance. Necessary to scope out far away animals while hunting.
A good solid dependable and well-stocked first aid kit is a must-have. Our friends over at Wilderness Medical have put together some highly effective first aid kits. These should be included with any BOB set up. A fresh bottle of liquid Band-Aid is essential. Include a bottle of good quality spirits to ease the pain of a wound and as an anti-septic and fire fuel. You can never have too many pain killers. Insect repellent wipes are a nice alternative to a bug spray or lotion and take up far less room.
The usual toiletries like a toothbrush, toothpaste, and wet naps. Compressed towels efficiently pack so grab a few of those. Always smart to have a sharp set of scissors or pointy tweezers to help with cutting open clothing and removing splinters or other intrusions.
Nobody likes to wipe their bottom with a leaf so a roll of toilet paper will make you a hero. A bottle of hand sanitation could make you something more. While alcohol can act as an anti-septic excessive use will dry out your skin and bleach is nasty (but necessary as an anti-viral agent). A good quality bar soap beats out the liquid kind. There’s no flimsy dispenser to break thus spilling your soap into the contents of your BOB. If you have an elderly person in your midst, Depends diapers are a Godsend.
Today, every Bug Out Bag should have the PPE essentials for avoiding airborne and surface borne diseases. Killers like Ebola or even the Enterovirus d68 are nothing to scoff at. It’s been too long since our over-crowded world was hit by a devastating plague. Sooner or later it will run its course and if you don’t have the basics in your BOB you might as well not pack anything.
Those basics include the usual PPE: anti-viral N95 respirator face masks, disposable surgical gloves, over-the-glasses safety goggles, concentrated bleach in a small spray bottle, hand sanitizer, and a hazmat suit complete with booties and a hood.
We are fortunate in that we live in a world where tools have become so clever and compact. Heading out without one of these miracles is sheer stupidity. Take your pick of any one of the amazing folding multi-tools and toss a couple in your BOB. They are so small and lightweight that not having more than one available is foolish.
A hatchet with a hammer head plus a zip saw hand-held chain saw is a must-have. Some sort of fishing kit that includes line and hooks. Don’t forget a sewing kit. You can fashion a fishing pole from a stick. Hazard flares, folding shovel, pry-bar, compact can opener, paracord, roll of duct tape, a little hand-crank radio, and a pack of cards for entertainment rounds out the last of the BOB must-have tools.
Children and infants add a whole ‘nother dimension to the BOB pack list. Kids should not require a much different list. However, in today’s world, having some of these goodies along will make your Bug Out evacuation excursion more bearable.
Formula, reusable diapers, change of clothes, plastic bottles, moist towelettes and pacifiers are all must-haves. A small waterproof soft blanket, soothers and possibly a tethered leash should be included as well.
Misbehaving, undisciplined and fussy children will bring you down as fast as any raging storm, mob, wildfire, or infectious disease. Taking them on a Bug Out requires unquestionable obedience and discipline. It might be wise to consider a few “practice runs”. The kids can get the idea that this is an important event. Their being on good behavior is absolutely essential. That said, packing a few simple toys or games should be a priority.
Most of today’s children could use a few lessons in imagination so keeping them busy doing things they think are important is helpful to the group unit. Gathering wood and water are good tasks for example. A few goodies for rewards is a helpful touch. It’s important to assign children partners so they can track each other while you focus on the task at hand: your survival.
And finally it’s smart to make sure your car’s gas tank is topped off because when an evacuation crisis strikes. You don’t want to be stuck in a long line waiting for quickly diminishing fuel.
These are just a few tips and tricks to preparing for the worst case disaster survival and evacuation scenario. Having a ready-to-go Bug Out Bag (or go bags plural) sitting in one’s closet or car trunk can bring some rare peace-of-mind in today’s tumultuous world.
We welcome any and all ideas you may have for packing the ultimate BOB. Send you ideas to info(at)redoxx.com with the subject line: My BOB.
Cheers and may you never have to use your go bag!
~ Minister of Information for D.O.R.A. (the Department Of Redoxx Affairs).
Red Oxx Bug Out Gear.