The “bug out bag” is one of the most well known items in preparedness. Whether you literally use it to “grab and go” from your main location, or as a “get home” bag for getting from your car, work, or some other location back to your home, every prepper should be intimately familiar.
As a prepper, it is very likely you already have at least one bug out bag ready to go for yourself. If not, what are you waiting for? The worst case scenario is having yourself all prepped up at home, but being caught away from your preps or forced to abandon your preps by a fast moving crisis. The bug out bag will help hedge against this most unfortunate situation should it occur.
What one keeps in a bug out bag, what kind of bag to use, and how heavy it should be is a topic of frequent discussion in the prepper community. General agreement is to target needs for survival for at least a 72 hour period. This includes some form of shelter, food, water (or at least the means to purify water), means of defense, general tools (think duct tape, Swiss army knife, leatherman, etc), light, firestarters, first aid materials, communications (radio / walkie-talkie), etc. There are some great discussions on bug out bags on The Survival Podcast and on the PrepperRecon podcast.
While it’s great to have your own bug out bag, if you’ve got a family and/or a spouse, it’s important and often overlooked that they also should have their own bug out bags. Let’s discuss why.
While some preppers start out in the world of preparedness from a defense point of view, having grown up as hunters or just being around and familiar with firearms all of their lives, many of us have not been exposed to defensive issues. Growing up in quiet suburbs where the population doesn’t generally hunt and there are very few issues with crime, the need for self-defense likely wasn’t a high priority. But at some point, we wake up and realize the thin veneer of civilized life has the potential to come crashing down very quickly, and the best made preparations can be subject to theft or destruction. It is at that moment if you haven’t thought of defense before that the idea takes hold.
Procrastination: Normalcy Bias
Once we realize a need for defensive measures, many of us still seem to procrastinate. We figure when the big economic collapse hits, we’ll have time to account for that as in a major crisis involving civil unrest, since the big cities will come unraveled first before any danger comes to our relatively smaller & safer location. Unfortunately this is the result of normalcy bias, thinking that bad things only happen “to those people, over there” and “my area will stay as it always has been”.
This is a dangerous thought pattern to become trapped in. It could be that a disaster is local or regional, and it can strike any town or area at any time. Think of Katrina, or a major chemical spill, mudslide, wildfire, or gas leak which causes fires to rage out of control. Even in a community with mostly good folks, there are always some bad seeds who will want to take advantage. Such situations can unfold rapidly, and as we said with resolution #4, you’ll want to have your gear in place AND be trained up and familiar with it. Keep in mind even with the popular big financial collapse scenario such as where the EBT & WIC cards start getting rejected, or the food & medicine stops rolling in, many people in quiet small towns who are normally well mannered will likely come unglued quickly.
Since the election of President Trump, the preparedness industry has seen large reductions in the purchase rates of key prepper items. This includes long storage food, a primary staple of any prepper’s stash. People are feeling good that soon as a nation we will be out from underneath the horrible policies the Obama administration has pursued over the past eight years. Preppers should beware though – while the vast majority of us agree that Obama leaving office is a good thing, we are still facing many serious problems as a nation. Now is not the time to let your guard down.
- Repealing Obamacare – President-elect Trump has made repealing the “Affordable” Care Act a #1 priority of his administration. Obamacare is crushing household budgets with skyrocketing premiums, but what if anything will replace it is TBD.
- Supreme Court – If Trump sticks by his word to nominate conservative justices, we can look forward to our constitutional rights being protected for decades to come at the federal level.
- The Wall – If we are to have a country, we must have borders. Today illegals, criminals, and potential terrorists stream easily across our porous southern border.
- Better Trade Deals – The deals we currently have today are so bad for America, there is indeed major room for improvement. We are still a powerful consumer, and Trump will leverage that power to get better deals.
- Tax Reform – Taxes will be lowered across the board for individuals as well as corporations. This should result in increased repatriation of offshore funds as well as a much needed boost to family bottom lines.
- Russian Relations – The brink of WW3 with Russia has been averted with Trump’s proposed foreign policy of cooperation rather than confrontation.
- Infrastructure Spending – With taxes being lowered, any increased spending in the near term will almost certainly go directly to the already high federal deficit.
- Draconian Leftist States – Even with some Trump appointments to the SCOTUS, nothing has been proposed to counter the efforts of states such as New York, California, Maryland, etc. in their continued drive to restrict our liberties in terms of the 2A, excessive “sin” taxes (soda / sugar), raw milk, and so on.
- Increased Military Spending – While having a powerful military is a good thing and something the federal government should actually be doing, again there just isn’t the budget for it, so the deficit will likely skyrocket.
- Repealing Obamacare – While repeal of the ACA is listed in the “Good” list above, it is also potentially bad in that it is unknown what it will be replaced with. If it is replaced with nothing, and the medical industry issue below is not dealt with, folks who have pre-existing conditions will be back to square one. I expect a likely potential outcome is that after a repeal, a compromise so called “public option” will be added where people who cannot otherwise get insurance will be allowed to buy it from the government, such as buying in to the plan federal employees & Congress have. This starts us down the slippery slope of single payer.
- National Debt – $20 trillion in direct national debt will not be solved by the Trump administration. The debt will in fact likely grow by a substantial amount.
- Unfunded Federal Liabilities – No realistic proposals have been made to address the near term bankruptcy of the Social Security & Medicare trust funds. Entitlements, especially Medicaid, will continue to grow.
- Unfunded Pensions – The pension systems of many state and local government workers as well as private companies have been woefully underfunded for decades. A zero percent interest rate environment has decimated the required returns for these pensions, and they are beginning to fail and will continue to fail dramatically over the coming years. There is no money to fill the holes, and retirees will be lucky to get pennies on the dollar.
- Medical Monopoly – No major medical reform, such as an anti-trust & racketeering crackdown on the entire medial industry, has been discussed. Without addressing this health care time bomb, nothing else will matter in terms of the federal budget. This will cause a collapse within the next 4 to 5 years according to Karl Denninger.
- US Polarization – The country is more polarized than ever in terms of race and political ideology. It would not be a stretch to expect increasing episodes of civil unrest. Leftists have become more and more violent in reaction to the election, and have acted out against folks even perceived to be Trump supporters. They plan unparalleled obstruction efforts to the new administration.
- Transition Minefield – Obama has left a minefield of issues for Trump to make his transition as difficult as possible. The most important of these being the recent abstention to the UN Security Council vote condemning Israel’s settlements outside the 1967 boundaries. This will very likely be impossible for Trump to reverse, and sets the stage for another powder keg in the Middle East & increased terrorist attacks.
As you can tell from the items above, while there are some good things to look forward to, this is absolutely no time to stop preparing. There are a lot of very serious problems at our doorstep right now, which President-elect Trump either will not be able to solve at all or certainly not in the immediate future. Do not let your guard down – continue to prepare and maintain situational awareness about the government (local and federal) as well as of the people in the nearest population centers.