I put this post idea down last August, little did I know then that the weather this winter would be insane, a major volcano would erupt in the Pacific causing many tsunami warnings, and oh tornados — doesn’t bode well for the summer fire/hurricane seasons if you ask me to extrapolate from unrelated events. Anyways, this isn’t a listing of gear in my bags, but rather updates to my thinking about each bag, the needs for the bags, as well as other odds and ends of that nature.
The big thing heading into 2022 is my shifting focus and thinking around which bag I prioritize, and focusing more directly on the most likely, instead of the most terrifying needs. Which is surprisingly hard for me personally to do.
Members can keep an eye on what I pack in each bag here.
Bug Out Bag / At Home Emergency Bag
Since I started building out emergency bags, this bag has been my primary bag. In that when I think about the singular bag I would grab and survive out of — no matter the situation — this is the bag. It started life as a GR2 40L, then 34L, then Duffle Bags, the Scree 32, and now it’s a GORUCK Kit Bag 32L.
And the reason it’s a 32L Kit Bag now, is because it is no longer my primary/singular go bag. It’s my secondary. It’s my “not leaving home emergency gear”, or my “I have time and room to spare” bag. Over the past 4 months I’ve transitioned this bag, and the gear inside of it, to be something that is not the fast ‘grab and go’ type of emergency bag, but rather the second one I grab when I leave.
There’s three main changes to highlight:
- The Bag: When most people think of a bugout bag, they think about a backpack. And it makes sense: you should not assume you can drive out. However, once this bag became my secondary bag, a backpack became a poor choice. My primary bag needs to be a backpack, but wearing two backpacks is not fun. A duffle and a backpack is manageable for short distances though. To do this I wanted a good duffle that gave me confidence in it being tough, durable, and able to easily organize gear in for better packing/unpacking and living out of the bag. Initially I went with Tom Bihn’s ‘retired’ Road Buddy Duffles, but when I got the GORUCK Kit Bag 32L, I knew this was the bag to use for this purpose. I still have a little room to spare in it too. Just fantastic.
- Clothes > Gear: ok, maybe that’s being hyperbolic, but if this is my secondary bag I can focus a little more on having clothing in the bag, and a little less on making sure I can craft a log cabin in a desert. To that end, I’ve worked to get a core set of clothing which covers a wide variety of settings, and which is durable, fast drying, and comfortable while still being presentable. Basically: if I need to do traipse through damp brush, my clothing should hold up, but I should also look presentable should I need to go into an Applebee’s to get some hot ‘food’.
- Feed Me: speaking of food, I’ve also focused on adding more food to the bag. My thinking being that if I did grab this bag to go somewhere, it’s likely that I might not be able to easily procure more food, and so having some in the bag could go a long ways to helping everyone feel a little less on edge. Just enough food to get me and the kids through a day or two. I’ve also added coffee (instant) and snacks to the bag. Food, yeah, need that — but coffee too.
To sum this all up another way: in the most likely emergency situations I will face more food and clean underwear will trump knives and paracord. Likewise, it’ll be far nicer to have a duffle bag in a hotel/motel, than it will be to have a backpack. And thus, I shifted this setup accordingly — but that’s only because I changed to having the next bag be my primary bag.
Get Home Bag / Car Bag / Primary Emergency Bag
This is now my primary emergency bag, the one I keep in my car. And there’s a simple set of reasons for this change:
- I cannot recall a time when I was at home, but my car/GHB was not also at home. Even when I take my car in for service, I remove this bag from the car. Thus, it’s always at my house when I am.
- My car is the car we drive whenever we go somewhere as a family, as well as the car I commute in, so this bag is the most likely to always be with/near me when we are out and about, as well as when I am at home.
- Perhaps more than anything though: this is the bag which I would depend on the absolute most, in more likely extreme scenarios. It’s one thing to hunker down at home because if you can you should and then you have the full resources of your house, but quite another to only have the bag, no notice, and be no where close to home. Your shit better be good in that case. Your gear better be optimized for being — quite possibly — in the middle of nowhere.
The above is all common sense, but something I honestly forgot about a lot over time. And once I started thinking about this more, I wanted to really take this bag far more seriously, and set it up for a few scenarios: impromptu stay at whatever hotel/motel I am close to; having to walk an unknown distance to my house, or shelter; being stuck in my car for an unknown stretch of time to wait out an emergency situation. It’s also unlikely I would be at home with time to grab my Bug Out Bag (above), but not have time to grab this bag instead. So it seemed stupid not to focus on this bag being my primary bag, and hence why I changed.
The big changes for this kit, and what I still feel I need to add:
- I moved my Mystery Ranch Scree 32 to this spot. This gives me a really comfortable, and large bag I can wear and carry over a long distance without any issue. Another benefit of this bag is that unlike most of my other bags, it doesn’t have an overt tactical vibe to it. Good bag, more discrete bag, comfortable bag, one I would not need or want to use for other purposes. Win.
- Extra bags: in addition to the Scree, I also have two extra bags in my car (which sit empty): a CaB-II tote, and a Mystery Ranch Full Moon sling. The reason being: if I need to split the gear apart, the sling affords me the ability to give someone else a way to carry water and such. The tote gives me the ability to carry bulky extra gear, or stash it in the bag should I come across bulky extra gear I want to collect. Or even to keep wet gear out of the pack itself. In addition an empty tote and an empty sling both offer me non-emergency items which would help in various situations. But, also, they give me a place to put gear I take out of the Scree should I get into a scenario where I don’t want to tote it somewhere.
- Stable snacks: I needed to find food that would be good, but also that would survive heat and not need a lot of rotation, but also be edible if I have nothing to cook with. That’s still on going, we will see how the goods I have in the car now fair over the summer.
- The last big add was/is more water. Instead of just a single 32oz bottle of water, I’ve added a second. That should be good until I can top back up with water. There’s a further two empty containers should I need to use my gear, and have extra storage later on.
- Removal of fixed blade knife: this is really a multi-part thing. First is that I carry a good pocket knife everyday, everywhere, so I only need something in the bag I can abuse. The second is that it is unlikely a fixed blade will really help me, so I swapped that spot with a burly EOD Prybar from CountyComm. It’s far more likely I need a prying tool than a large knife. Last part of this is that I am trying to carry a small fixed blade in my Sling/Office/Gear bags everyday to begin with, so I have that blade if I need it. All in all, I wouldn’t even pack a folder in this bag if pressed, but it doesn’t really add much to the bag and so why not.
Some things I still am looking to add:
- As I mentioned, I have snacks, but I am looking to add something more substantial in food. I am not sure what I want to add there in this case — emergency rations or more dehydrated meals. Ideally something that requires no heat/water to make. But also something that doesn’t dehydrate you as you eat. Still looking, suggestions welcomed.
- Solar Charger: I am very torn on this. Do I need it? Maybe. Is it cool? Yes. The issue is that in order to get one with enough output, it has to be large. But I don’t really want to lug around something that large, and I am not sure something smaller is worth it.
Coming in at under 25lbs, this is a setup I can easily walk the distance with — which is only something I feel confident in saying over the past couple years. I don’t plan on walking home with this bag ever, but it gives me a lot of confidence knowing I could if needed.
Oh Shit Bag / Fast Kit / OSB
Of all the bags, this is truly the one I hope to never have to use. This bag is a sling that stays underneath my side of the bed, and has a tritium glow fob connected to it so that I can locate it quickly and easily. I used to call this my ‘Fast Kit’ but I’ve rebranded it to my “oh shit bag” — meaning this is the thing I try to grab in the case I wake up to a tornado/fire/whatever bearing down. The “it’s already too late bag”.
The entire goal is to support that mindset. Enough tool/equipment and chargers/light to be able to get through that. That’s all there is to this one. It’s important this one stays light and stays small so that I can be nimble with it. Just enough to get out of the house, or a bad situation, and spend a night somewhere — maybe even a neighbors.
There’s not been a lot of changes to this one this year, just slight upgrades all around on it as I rotated a bunch of old gear out and made room for some better stuff. In my mind this bag is mostly reserved for waking up to a fire, needing to get up to my kids and make sure I can punch a way out of the house upstairs to get them to safety. So, yeah.
On Going Thoughts
I am in major flux on all my pocket knives because I simply had a huge mindset change. Next year there is likely to be all new stuff there. Likewise on the pocket knives I keep in these bags.
I am focusing more on chargers and cables. Ha.
I am guessing my 2023 update will have decently changed what I pack, hopefully while shedding weight, not adding.
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