Today’s review is courtesy of guest blogger Captain William E. Simpson II – USMM. Captain Bill was featured on National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers episode “Fortress At Sea“. Bill has other articles that may be of interest to you on his website.
All too often I read posts on the Prepper and Survival threads where people are asking questions about Bug-Out Bags…where can I find one? How can I make one? What should be in the bag? And many other related questions.
From my chair, the critical questions in these considerations are;
1. How much time and money do you want to spend putting a Bug-Out-Bag together; and,
2. Do you have enough experience to put the right stuff in the bag?
Bug-Out-Bags (BOBs) are a constant source of debate and everyone has a different opinion of what makes-up a Bug-Out-Bag, myself included. The reason for this is a Bug-Out-Bag must address all the common needs of Preppers, plus your ’personal needs’, which vary greatly from person to person. On top of that, the contents of any BOB will vary based upon the intended use.
Why make the process of creating a quality Bug-Out-Bag (BOB) any harder or expensive than it needs to be? We all have busy lives, regardless of what we do, so running around town looking for all the ‘right stuff’ (at least the common needs) for the Bag takes up time and money (fuel on top of the cost of the items).
What I tell my family, friends and clients is this: Find a high-quality Bug-Out-Bag that is already assembled, and then add the key ’personal items’ that you want included to that Bag!
There are manufacturers who make ready-to-go, out-the-door Bug-Out-Bags, and some are better than others. When we returned from our latest sailing expedition (living totally off the grid at the islands in the Sea of Cortez) some of the people we know starting asking questions about the essentials for remote survival and what should be included in a proper BOB. So I started nosing around at different outfitters and survival stores, as well as doing a lot of online research to determine what was currently available commercially as a ready-to-go BOB. I went to this trouble only because some of our family and friends may be forced to Bug-Out from their homes, and they will require a proper BOB.
First of all, it’s important to understand that your BOB may sit-around for many months or even years before you may have to suddenly use it. So whatever is tucked away inside that BOB must not spoil. There’s a real art (both science and gourmet chef) required to make MREs that taste great and last! Food & water are two of the common needs that we all share. As such, these needs must be properly addressed in any BOB. What good is a BOB that has food in it that has spoiled, or tastes like flavored sawdust? Not very! As it is said, an Army moves on its stomach and good food, as opposed to just calories does make a difference in morale, which also important.
There is a company that has been in business for a long time called FoodInsurance.com, and in my opinion they have combined the culinary arts with the science of long-term food preservation, creating great tasting, highly nutritious, ready-to-eat meals.
And quite surprisingly, they have also created a very high-quality BOB that has all the common needs! But some people may not have heard about their BOB because they market their BOB as an ‘Emergency Plus Kit’ (EPK), instead of using the more common Prepper name; ‘Bug-Out-Bag’. In aviation and marine operations a BOB is known as a ‘Ditch-Bag’.
Recently I obtained one of Food Insurance’s Bug-Out-Bags, which as I have said, they call an ‘Emergency Plus Kit’ (EPK). The fact that it’s not known as a ‘BOB’ may be why this outstanding ready-to-go Bug-Out-Bag is somewhat unknown to many Preppers and Survivalists.
The Emergency Plus Kit (‘EPK‘), as it is called, is in fact, a high-quality, well thought-out assembly of preps that is all contained and ready to go in a very high quality water resistant back pack, making this a perfect basic BOB for anyone, once you add your ‘personal needs’.
As I carefully examined the EPK, it was quickly apparent to me that for the price of $250.00 I couldn’t duplicate this BOB on my own without spending a tremendous amount of time. Heck, just the backpack they use is worth $125.00!
But it was what I found inside that well-made backpack that really sold me on their approach to providing a ready-to-go BOB….
First off, there was a 2-week supply of food that provided 3 tasty meals each day! All the meals were individually sealed and packaged in tough soft pouches, and all of those pouches were sealed in a very tough master pouch. The shelf-life of these meals is 7-10 years. Of course the pack also contained a special water filtration bottle that is tested and certified to remove 99.9% of Giardia and Cryptosporidium. This special water bottle utilizes a special technology that suppresses the growth of bacteria, algae, fungus, mold and mildew. This refillable water bottle is rated for the provision/processing of 100 gallons of water for drinking.
The first aid kit in the pack was better than many kits I have seen selling for $50 and contained all the basics. The pack also contained a nice stainless-steel multi-tool with the following items: needle-nose pliers w/wire cutters, 2.5 inch and 1 inch knife blades, file, fish scaler w/hook remover, 3 inch ruler, can-opener, bottle opener, large, medium and small flat blade and Phillips screw drivers, 3 common size Allen tools, all fitted into a durable nylon pouch that can be worn on a belt.
Also included was a unique solar-powered device that combined an Am & FM radio receiver, a flashlight, and charging station for a cell phone or other devices (it has several adapters including a mini-USB), which has a secondary power option of a hand crank generator. We placed the unit in the sun for about an hour and tested the flashlight and radio, and both worked very well!
The pack also included a cooking tin and reusable heat source. Finally, there were waterproof matches and 2 face masks for protection against dust and pollutants.
Considering the quality of the pack, its contents and its price, it’s really well-done and represents an outstanding value. Best of all, it only weighs in at approximately 20 pounds! (I used a bathroom scale)
As I have said, we all have our own ‘personal needs’, so there is no BOB commercially made that would be perfect for everyone. But that’s really not a problem anyway. By starting with a great basic BOB such as Food Insurance’s EPK, you merely add your own ‘personal needs’ which are based on ‘your’ tactics and plans, and you’re all set!
So for example, for some of my family and friends in Oregon, I would add; a fishing kit, a large blade (knife), a magnesium fire-starter, an alloy camp saw (breakdown model), small ax, a plastic tarp, a compass, and a space blanket.
Even with these items added, this versatile pack would still weigh-in under 30 pounds! You might choose to add other or additional items of your own? The backpack has several zippered storage pockets, and it large enough inside to also possibly add a break-down .22 rifle and fishing rod w/reel if desired
The bottom line here is that for about $250.00 you’ll have an outstanding basic Bug-Out-Bag!
I should also mention that Food Insurance also sells a far more comprehensive Bug-Out-Bag that they call a Disaster Preparedness Kit (DPK):
Given the excellent value that is offered with their EPK, I am betting that this far more comprehensive Bug-Out-Bag (the DPK) is also an excellent value.
As far as the Emergency Plus Kit (EPK) Bug-Out-Bag, I give it a big thumbs-up!
Please feel free to contact me directly with any comments or questions that you may have by using the CONTACT form on my website:
Fair Winds & Seas!