Why a Bug Out Bag isn’t Enough

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

The other day, my son-in-law came by to borrow some camping equipment. He was going with a couple of buddies and needed a good water filtration system and a camp stove to take with him. Seeing as I’m well stocked in that department, I didn’t have any problem with supplying him what he needed. But, as usual, when I’m looking at my survival gear, I ended up mentally reviewing my bug out bag.


Once again, I came to the conclusion that a bug out bag just isn’t enough. You see, the original concept of the bug out bag was a 72 hour bag, to be used in the event of an evacuation. FEMA determined (yes, this was established by the government, not any true survival expert) that 72 hours worth of food should be enough for anyone who was evacuating. Of course, that assumption is based upon people leaving their homes and heading for a FEMA run emergency shelter (sometimes called a “FEMA camp”).


I don’t know about you, but if I have to evacuate my home for some reason, there’s no way I’m going to turn myself over to the government to take care of me. Not only have they proven themselves totally inadequate at doing so, but I don’t trust them to have my best interests at heart, such as my freedom.

With that in mind, it’s clear that 72 hours worth of food and water isn’t going to be enough. I don’t think there’s any way to get to a good bug out area, build a shelter and find food all in three days. Maybe it would be enough time if I had a cabin in the woods, a couple of hours from my home; but I don’t have that. Like many others, bugging out for me is going to mean finding some wilderness area to go to and starting from scratch. Having to start providing myself with food as soon as I get into the woods is going to make that much harder.

This means taking much more food with me. If I’m able to drive all the way, that’s not going to be a problem. But I seriously doubt that any of us will be able to drive all the way to a good bug out location. The roads, especially the highways, will turn into parking lots as people run out of gas and their cars overheat. When that happens, we’ll all be stuck.

The obvious solution is to devise a way of carrying additional gear, over and above my normal bug out bag. Since I can’t carry a 200 pound pack, that means some sort of wheeled cart, which can carry additional baggage, yet still be moved over rough ground.

My dad had such a cart, which he built himself to carry deer down through the woods when he went hunting. The “mule” as we called it, consisted of a bicycle tire, which was attached by aluminum poles to the bottom of what looked like a stretcher. Two people could hold the ends of the stretcher, guiding it along the trail, while being relieved of having to carry the load. This type of carrier greatly increases our cargo carrying capacity, even without a vehicle.

The average bug out bag weighs somewhere between 25 and 50 pounds. My dad’s “mule” could carry 200. So, you can easily see where such a device would be useful. In a bug out situation on foot, that extra cargo capacity could be used for carrying additional food, water and survival equipment, making the bug out much more comfortable.

The next question is what to carry on the mule. Besides additional food, which I would really stock up on, there are a few categories of other items to consider:

  • Clothing – Most bug out bags don’t have any extra clothing. Once again, they are designed for three days. But if you’re going off in the wilderness, a couple of changes of rugged clothing would be extremely useful.
  • Tent – If you don’t already have a tent in your bug out bag, this extra weight capacity will give you the ability to carry one along. Nevertheless, choose a lightweight one, so that you don’t bog yourself down.
  • Sleeping bags – Few people add sleeping bags to their bug out bag, due to their size. However, a sleeping bag will make you much more comfortable, especially in colder weather. Once again, seek out something lightweight, such as a backpacker would use, not one for carrying along in a car.
  • Tools – The idea of building a long-term survival shelter with the tools that are in the typical bug out bag is ridiculous, but many people act like there wouldn’t be any problem doing so. A bow saw, axe and shovel will go a long way towards making it easier to build a shelter.

Of course, the main reason to increase your cargo carrying capacity is for food, but that’s not to say that you shouldn’t take the opportunity to take along other useful things while you are at it. Just don’t allow these extras to overburden you, or you’ll end up with the same food problem, all over again.

So, why not take another look at your bug out bag this week, and maybe consider adding to it. A mule like my dad made or another type of carrier, could make a huge difference in what you can take off into the wilderness with you. It will even increase your chances of survival, as you will have more to work with, especially in the food department.

Well, I just thought I’d share that idea with you. Until we meet again, keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Chris & Dr. Rich



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