How to Build a Bug Out Bag FAST from Unlikely Places by Daisy Luther for The Organic Prepper
What would you do if you were out at a tourist attraction or traveling, and suddenly, it looked like things were about to go sideways? For this exercise, we’re going to pretend that for some reason, we don’t have our emergency gear with us. Maybe it’s in the car that’s on the opposite side of the melee, maybe you forgot it, or maybe you never even had a kit to begin with.
Suspend your disbelief for a moment and let’s create a bug-out bag that will help us get to safety. This information is based on the things I learned when I went to Selco’s last Urban Survival Course for Woman. (Registration is open right now for the next session – it’s only $875 on Black Friday weekend!)
In the course, we talked a lot about the pillars of survival and the basics you want to have covered at all times. You want to be able to navigate, make fire, have water, have food, protect yourself, perform crisis first-aid, have basic sanitation items, and have shelter from the elements. For the purposes of this exercise, I was putting together an emergency bug-out bag.
What you want is the skill, knowledge, and flexibility to put together a survival kit quickly and under less-than-ideal circumstances.
Setting the scene
I made my emergency kit at the beautiful Monastiraki Flea Market in Athens, Greece. It’s a crowded weekend tourist attraction and a lot of fun to visit. I went there on a Sunday, the busiest day, with the sole purpose of putting together a kit so I could leave quickly.
I got the idea when I was working on a piece of fiction. (Finally, I’m writing some fiction, after you all have been asking me to for years.)
Why do I need to leave? There could be any number of reasons. For example, what if I noticed a bunch of protesters setting up in the square? What if I saw a bunch of cops in riot gear getting out of vehicles to face off with protesters? What if there was simply such a change in baseline (I discussed baseline in this article) that I just knewsomething was about to go down? Never discount your intuition. If you think things are going south, in the wise words of Toby and Selco, “Don’t be there.”
What supplies should you get and in what order?
Now for the fun part – putting together your kit as fast as possible.
Many of these things, a prepared person would already have on hand. But we all know that emergencies have a way of striking when we least expect them. When we took the kits out of our trunk to transport something large, or when we’re “just stopping for a moment” – those are the times when disaster will hit. Murphy’s Law.
So pretend you’ve got nothing but a wallet for the sake of this exercise.
If you are fully confident that you know what the pillars of survival are, creating a kit based on only what is available at a given moment won’t be difficult. We talked about this multiple times per day in Croatia, and it’s second nature, now, for me to have at least a minimal kit with the things I might need. And if for some reason I didn’t have that kit, I could assemble a reasonably useful version of it quickly.
What you’re looking for here if flexibility. If you’re caught without your supplies for whatever reason, how can you quickly put together what you need within the limitations of where you are?
You could find most if not all of these items at a convenience store, an American pharmacy like Shoppers, or a recreational location like a flea market or tourist area.
So what are you going to do when all hell is about to break loose and you may need to head out on foot to get to safety? Here’s what I did at the market.
1.) Hit up a convenience store or kiosk
This place was a survivalist gold mine.
- Grab yourself a map of the area. This is particularly important if you’re traveling. How in the world are you going to get to safety – whether that’s back to your apartment, to a friend’s place, or to the US Embassy – if you don’t have a map? You can find maps at most convenience stores or kiosks. If they don’t have a map, ask where to get one – they may be able to help you. For the love a fluffy kittens, don’t rely on your phone for navigation. On more than one occasion, cell signals have been blocked during riots.
- Water– heavy, yes, but there’s no way you’re going to find a water filtration device at a tourist location. I grabbed 3 one-liter bottles.
- Food– I also got some cashews and a bag of dried banana chips. Your choice of snacks may be limited – this isn’t a moment where you need to think about being on keto or everything being organic. You need to grab something and get out. I always opt for nuts of some sort for the protein, and then something carby. Even Peanut M&Ms would be a reasonable choice in this situation, assuming you are not diabetic or allergic to nuts. Obviously, use your head.
- Lighter– you always want to be able to make fire.
- Vodka– it was right there at the kiosk so I bought a small bottle of vodka for first-aid purposes.
- Kleenex– just in case you’ve got to do your business without the luxuries of a bathroom and toilet paper.
- Hand sanitizer– one of those tiny keychain ones. Even if you don’t normally use hand sanitizer, these are unusual circumstances. You’re not going to be able to wash your hands after you pee in an alley and before you eat your snacks. Get hand sanitizer.
2.) Get a backpack.