Just like any group that works towards a similar purpose preppers are a pretty diverse group. They have different ideologies and ways of doing things. Some preppers believe in arming themselves with weapons and some do not. Some are hunters and some are vegetarians. There are preppers who have had extensive military training and there are preppers who looked like they stepped right out of a Good Housekeeping magazine. They could be religious or they could be atheists. It also goes that preppers will have different views when it comes to the issue of bugging out.
The term bugging out was made popular in the military and means to leave or retreat quickly. Bugging out doesn’t just include getting up and leaving at a moment's notice, but to prepare supplies needed in case you have to leave a secure location such as home that will guarantee your survival; that if you have to bug out you do so well prepared.
For some preppers part of their bug out equipment includes gas masks, weapons, ammunition, medical supplies, food, clothing water purification supplies, water, and perhaps even a tent as well as a sleeping bag. What you pack is really up to you, but preppers try to imagine every possible scenario and prepare for it.
There are also websites who sell already assembled bug out bags, but these can be costly; the prices range from $50 to $300. Purchasing a bag is actually defeating the purpose of being a prepper: to be more self-sufficient and less dependent on big business or government.
If you are determined to have a bug out bag you should put together one yourself recycling things you may already have around your house such as supplies you’ll need and the bag itself which can be a knapsack, an old military duffle bag or book bag.
There are many preppers who don’t believe in bugging out; they believe that if you do your due diligence and prepare your home for an emergency you might be better off there. If you bug out you’re exposing yourself to all kinds of things such as the element of the weather, animals (the four legged kind), and other people who may not be so-friendly.
If you already have a place away from your home designated for an emergency you also need to take into consideration that you may not be able to get to this place or the place may not be there.
Perhaps one thing to consider if you are intent on bugging out is to not only have a plan in place, but to also have a plan B and a plan C. It’s better to be overly prepared then it is to be underprepared. Preparation equals survival. Unprepared equals disaster or even death.
There are times when you may have to bug out from your home no matter how well prepared you are so you should prepare for that as well. These particular times may include a natural disaster such as a hurricane, flooding or tornado, war or some type of weapons assault and if your home or apartment is deemed to be unsafe due to emergency conditions; that it’s falling down around you.
It’s not hard to imagine these types of scenarios. If you can’t you can go ask survivors of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, or the earthquake that hit Japan in 2011 which was followed by tsunami which was followed by nuclear meltdowns at three of their reactors about how they had to leave their homes and all of their belongings. How prepared do you think they were?
You may also want to consider making bug out bags for you and your family especially if your work or your kids’ school is not within walking distance from your home (a block or two). You can make these bags yourself and keep them in your car, lockers at school or under your desk. Even if you’ve decided to stay in your house getting to your house may prove to be a challenge.
In these bags you should pack a change of clothes which includes thermal underwear, a flashlight with extra batteries (make sure you consistently check the flashlight to make sure it’s working), food, water, a poncho, map of the area with the route home mapped out with a black Sharpie, sunglasses, a change of shoes, at least three disposable lighters, and an instant fire starter kit like the one that Zippo makes.
These should not be your only bug out bags, but just the bags you need to get from work or school.
Make sure you and your family tells no one about the special bags that are under your desk, in your car or a school locker. Also forget about packing a cell phone. During 9/11 these phones were useless.
Have a plan in place that each member has an x amount of time to get back home and that they’re to follow the map as best they can in an emergency, but to try not to deviate off course too much.
For your children make sure they take notice of certain landmarks such as an oddly painted house or a store in case the street signs get torn down or are missing. In Philadelphia it may even be an abandoned property or a mural that was painted by the city’s Mural Arts program. Try to get them to notice a landmark at each intersection.
In case you do have to bug out work out a plan for you and your family going over it multiple times so it becomes second nature to you. Not knowing what to do is a very dangerous thing. Don’t think you’ll be able to skip off into nowhere like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. If you think the world is dangerous now just wait until an emergency hits.
Please don't think for a minute that you can survive in the wilderness if you have never even gone camping. It's really not as simple as TV shows like Grizzly Adams made it look.
Don’t forget to also have a bug out bag for the family pet(s). This should include food, water, a blanket, food bowls, grooming essentials which include flea and tick treatments as well as snacks and their favorite toy.
So should you have a bug out bag prepared? Yes, but also a plan to stay at home where you’ll have all the supplies you need plus it’s an environment that you can control. It’s smart to have a contingency for both options.