News

Marine Corps Clothing and Packing a Bug Out Bag

If you have never heard the term “bugging out,” it is a relatively new phrase that is quickly catching on. In a nutshell, bugging out is what happens when catastrophe hits. You grab your bug out bag and leave your home until things settle down a bit.

This isn’t something only “preppers” do, it is something that everybody should prepare for because you never know when disaster might strike.

It is not at all unrealistic to think about having to evacuate your home in the event of an emergency. The truth is that such uncontrollable events happen all of the time. Disasters such as storms, hurricanes, floods and earthquakes strike fast and they can strike hard. Such natural disasters can destroy homes, vehicles, medical facilities, roads and disrupt supply chains that provide water, food, medicine, electricity and fuel.



We know this to be true as past events, like Hurricane Katrina, for example, have left thousands of people homeless and in peril for days. The reality is that most of these people were unprepared for such an event and suffered because of it.

And don’t think that nature is the only culprit that delivers disaster. Man is a threat as well. Man-made structures like dams can fail, pipelines explode and spills occur, resulting in disaster. An outbreak of disease or illness could also warrant evacuation.

With no emergency plan, people are left to scavenge and beg for food, water and shelter. A bug out bag in this type of situation would have been a priceless resource and possibly a life-saver.

Nobody can control where, when or how disasters strike. What we do have control over is how to be prepared for such an event. This is why it is so important to have a bug out bag prepared.

There are many things to consider when preparing a bug out bag. For example, your bug out bag should be a backpack and it needs to be large enough to contain the necessary gear and supplies that you will need to survive for at least 72 hours. Sgt. Mark's Depot Store, your source for Marine Corps clothing and products, offers how to pack a bug out bag.

Don’t Pack More Than What You Need


A bug out bag should hold all of the essentials that will help you survive, not your whole life. One reason not to overpack is due to weight. The more items you have in your bag, the heavier it will be and you aren’t going to carry 80 or 100 pounds very far very fast.

So make a list of what you need in your bag, then double check it and start crossing things off the list. When you have finalized the list, grab what you need and pack it in your backpack.

Put your fully-loaded backpack on and take a stroll through the neighborhood to get a feel for it. You will be surprised by how heavy it is. Now take your backpack on a stroll on a hiking trail, don’t forget to jog a bit because in the event of an emergency, chances are you might have to run.

Once you have hit the balance between gear and supplies you need and weight, you are good to go.

Leave a Little Room


You are going to run across things once you have left your home and if you don’t have room for it, you have no choice but to leave it. Survival, in part, depends on capitalizing on opportunities. For this reason, you need to have room in your bug out bag for things you find along the way.

Two is Always Better Than One


When you reach for your flashlight and it malfunctions, you have nothing. If you have two flashlights and one breaks or malfunctions, you still have light at the end of the day. So keep spares of the most important things in your bag.

The same holds true for bug out bags; two is better than one. You never know where you will be when disaster strikes. In a perfect world, you would be sitting comfortably on your couch at home watching Netflix when disaster strikes. But since this is not a perfect world, you could be at work when disaster strikes, or at your sister-in-law's house playing charades.

To make sure you are best prepared for a disaster, you should have a bug out bag at home and one in the back of your truck or in the trunk of your car. Just in case.

Here is a list of what you need in your bug out bag.

Lighting


You need to have at least two sources of light packed in your bug out bag. It makes perfect sense to pack a flashlight that can shed light at a distance and a light source you can use around the campsite.

A mini LED flashlight will work well for all sorts of applications. A mini flashlight on your keychain will come in handy as well.

Other lighting options include glow-sticks, candles and head-lamps. And as important as lighting is, just as important are the batteries you need to keep your flashlights functioning. So make sure your bug out bag has plenty of batteries.

Tools


A quality knife is one tool you don’t want to be without. We aren’t talking about your basic folding knife you find at Walmart, you will want a fixed blade knife that is large enough to chop, splint and protect yourself from danger. You don’t want to go too large otherwise the knife becomes bulky and ineffective for some delicate camp chores like preparing food.

In addition to a quality knife, you should pack a multi-tool, and not a cheap one from Walmart. A multi-tool will come in very handy for a plethora of tasks. Your multi-tool should have both a flat-head and Phillips screwdriver, knife blade, pliers, saw blade and wire cutters.

Communications


We assume that you will have your cell phone with you and it should be on the top of your list of things to bring when you evacuate. Even if cell phone service gets jammed up, you should still have the ability to text.

You should also have means of charging your phone, like a charging pack, solar pack or hand-cranked charger.

In addition to your cell phone, you should pack a hand-cranked AM/FM radio as it will be an important source of information.

In case of an evacuation, you should also bring important documents including driver’s license, social security card, passport, phone numbers, bank numbers and medical information.

You should also have a detailed map of your neighborhood. You cannot count on Google Maps to be up and running.

Self-Defense and Protection


You can bet that in the event of a catastrophe, there will be some level of chaos and disorder. Such events overwhelm the public and public safety measures as well. If we look to history, we see that tragic events produce looting, rioting and violent crimes. You need to be prepared to protect and defend yourself.

A gun is the best measure for self-defense straight up. In addition to the intimidation factor, a gun has stopping power. A gun can also be used for hunting if the opportunity presents itself.

What kind of gun to have in your bug out bag is a whole different topic up for discussion in other articles. Personal preference wins out here.

Other tools that can be used for self-defense include your knife, a machete and even a walking stick.

Food


There is no need to worry about packing away three balanced meals a day for three days, you will be in survival mode, not on a vacation. It might not be very pleasant, but you can live for three days without food.

That said, you should still have a few simple and easily prepared meals packed. Canned beans and meat are always a good option. Dehydrated camping meals are great as well. Just remember that dehydrated meals require water to prepare.

Another option is to pack candy bars and energy bars, both of which have long shelf lives, are full of calories and full of carbs.

Just as important as food is the gear you need to prepare it. A simple cooking kit is all you really need. Such a kit should contain a metal cup, small metal pot and plate. Anything more than this is quite unnecessary.

Water


You will need at least one liter of water per day for proper hydration. And since you are packing for a 72-hour bug out bag, three liters of water at minimum is needed. Your water supply should be stored in two or three durable containers that can collapse when empty to reduce bulk in your pack.

A metal canteen is a good idea because it can be used to boil drinking water collected in your travels.

Because water is critical in survival, you should be packing at least two options for water filtration. These can be anything from filtration straws to purification tablets.

Shelter


What to pack for a shelter is often a point of contention in the survival community. But you will definitely want to protect yourself from the elements.

One shelter option is a military poncho, one that is designed with grommets so you can use it as a make-shift emergency tent. Another option is a reflective survival blanket. Whatever you choose, a wool blanket should be included in your kit to help keep you warm. A disaster might occur in the middle of winter.

It is also a good idea to have a tarp handy. Tarps are lightweight, waterproof and can be used as a tent or placed on the ground to keep you dry.

Clothing


Regardless of what part of the country you live or the climate, you will want clothing that keeps you dry and warm.

It is recommended that you pack: 

Fire


It is important that you have the means to make a fire in the event of an emergency. You should have at least three ways in which you can make fire. There are always easy options including waterproof matches and lighters, but you will also want a fire steel or something that can generate sparks in any type of weather conditions.

In addition to fire starters, you should pack tinder for fueling the initial flame. You can find tinder at any outdoor store. You can also make your own by soaking cotton balls in petroleum jelly.

First Aid


You can buy a pre-made first aid kit or you can choose to piece one together yourself. Just make sure your first aid kit includes bandages, butterfly bandages, gauze, alcohol pads, suture kit and tape.

Other Items


Your bug out bag should also include cash because in the event of an emergency, cash talks. Besides, it’s not likely that the credit card machine at 7-11 will be working.

Here are a few other items you might want to consider packing in your bug out bag:

When all is said and done, there is no perfect bug out bag. And you will find that the items you pack in yours will change over the years. An imperfect bug out bag is far better than none at all. If anything, having a bug out bag gives you peace of mind knowing that you are prepared for the worst things that can happen.