The misnamed bug out bag (BOB).

by Bryan Mennie

Most of us who read this publication are gun people and whilst we all like guns for different reasons, the majority of us like to believe ourselves more prepared than the bulk of the populace at large. Being prepared is part of the gun owners make up a part of what typically is our alpha type personalities. For many of us the concept of the bug out bag (BOB)has a significant role to play within our daily lives and that preparation concept. Yes it is important and yes I am glad that people in general realize that a gun is just part of what it takes to live safer, however:

When I see many other gun owners getting themselves set up with a BOB, it occurs to me that their risk assessment and contingency plan includes them walking through miles of post-apocalyptic desolation to some off grid bunker. Trez zombie chic, however here in Reality Ville, being a slave to that concept makes you less prepared not more.

So let us communicate correctly, the first step of your BOB is to call it what it is. A get home system, yes, yes I know; a GHS just doesn’t sound as cool and no I cannot make any uncle jokes with it but whether you are taking step one in your own version of the walking dead or you are dealing with a myriad of emergencies that happen in life, getting home safely should be your first choice of actions.

So how do we go about getting home safely?

Understand your environment and the risks related to it.

We don’t want the tale to wag the dog do we? We need to create a GHS that will be flexible to the reality that we face and not a useless expensive waste of space. If I may I would like to delve into some illustrative examples of a hypothetical character I like to call Typical Ted, Ted is an average urban Joe. He spends some of his time in a corporate environment, some at the mall, the gym etc. Ted, like many South Africans, drives a double cab four wheel drive pick up to work and on the weekends he spends time either sport shooting, with his family or having a braai. Ted is security conscious, concerned for his own safety and that of his loved ones so he carries his Glock 19 every day. At home has a 12 gauge pump action shotgun and a 308 hunting rifle.

Being the sensible chap that he is, Ted has realized that during his day to day life he faces a risk environment which includes a key set of scenarios and he designs his GHS to cater for eventualities such as;

  • Being trapped or stuck in a large building during a power failure.
  • Being the victim of a violent criminal attack.
  • Getting a flat tire when the spare has been stolen or some other breakdown.
  • Getting stuck at the office with the route home cut off due to major accident, civil unrest, police action or some other eventuality.

So now with that understanding he can build a suitable GHS based on certain practical fundamentals. These fundamentals are;

The system must support the goal and the goal is getting home safely. An easy manner of remembering this is Do, Defend, Depart and Dial. In the military they use shoot, move and communicate. In essence your GHS needs to be able to support you in Do-ing whatever it was you were originally tasked to do, so if you were at the office then your kit needs to include your business tools, it needs to have options with which you can Defend your own safety, it needs to support your ability to Depart or leave by various options and the Dial concept speaks to being able to communicate and summon help and provide or obtain information.

The system must be practical, aside from meeting your risk environment, your system needs to be practical, and no carrying a big pack everywhere just isn’t that. Time to borrow another example from the military and to build solutions which are tiered. Just as the defensive concept where a handgun is designed to get you to your shotgun, your shotgun to your rifle and your rifle to your car, so your GHS must follow course.

Ted has a standard set of equipment which he carries with him everywhere, his so called every day carry (EDC). Ted’s EDC is that Glock 19 we mentioned earlier with one spare magazine, a sturdy folding knife, an ASP expandable baton, a five function tactical torch, a wallet, car keys and a cellular phone. This is his tier 1 equipment or belt kit in military parlance. He never wants to be more than an arm’s reach away from any of these items, how he carries them depends on his environment. If it is to the gym or the beach he might use a 5-11 fanny pack or bro sack J. When he is in jeans or casual pants he would use the pockets and a holster and an actual belt, Ted is a huge fan of the Ogre Tactical Belt by the way. The point is, all of these items would be stored and transported on his person. His tier 1 supports him getting to his tier 2 gear.

When Ted needs to go into the office he adds the following key items to his EDC, a note pad, pens, pencils, a laptop, Ipad, satellite phone plus chargers, spare socks and a spare pair of underpants, a 1liter water bottle, a couple of energy bars and a few packets of raw nuts, another small fixed blade knife, a utility box-cutter, a small led torch, a small medical kit which includes gloves, celiox powder, a wound dressing and an Israeli bandage, aside from the obvious trauma kit there is an ouchie pocket which holds plasters, pain tablets, anti-diarrhea and anti-nausea medications, also if appropriate an additional loaded magazine or two for the Glock 19 gets put in. This is his tier 2 kit, webbing kit as our soldiers say and typically this gets carried in a simple non-descript low profile yet sturdy laptop back pack. His tier 2 kit is never more than a few paces away from him and in combination with his tier 1 kit this would support him getting to his tier3 kit.

Ted realizes that his vehicle is his primary mode of transport, he also realizes that it can be used as a fairly secure place to store certain items which might be to heavy or inappropriate to carry on his person or in his laptop bag. He also knows that he cannot leave all his kit on the back seat as it will get stolen or get in the way of his daily life so he needs to pack it out of the way. Behind his rear seat in the same space as the jack, tool and emergency kit, he has the following items neatly stored in several low cost tupperware boxes: A standard vehicle first aid kit, another wound trauma kit, duct tape, electrical tape, paracord and cable ties, more energy bars, a sowing kit, a few old books, spare underpants and another pair of socks. Also behind the seat he has a pair of well-worn sneakers, a rain jacket, an empty backpack, all of these are neatly covered by a blanket. Up front Ted has a GPS, car chargers for his phone, satellite phone, I pad and laptop in his cubbyhole right next to a spare cellular phone. A paper map which covers the route home and a note pad and pencils. In his console he has a medium sized fixed blade knife in a belt sheath and another torch. In the back of his pickup he has two 5 liter plastic jerry cans of water. His vehicle kit has taken on the role of the big pack to further our military metaphor. It provides him with the capability of slightly longer term sustenance, shelter and most importantly time, space and relative comfort to think things through.

With all of the items Ted has the option to regain mobility by driving his vehicle or if that proves impossible by reverting to walking. He has various options of defending, dialing or departing. More significantly he has the ability to regain composure and restore some measures of comfort, an element which is key in allaying panic and engaging your most powerful preparedness tool, a well functioning brain.

You see Ted knows that the nuclear blast, tsunami or zombie apocalypse might never happen and he doesn’t have to be Bear Grylls or Les Stroud eating bugs and giving himself an enema, but if he is out on the range and his vehicle breaks down or he gets stuck at the office for an unexpected late call with the boss or he is in the mall with his kids when the power goes out, then he has options. These options means that he makes better decisions and the better decisions means that his ability to deal with that situation are far better than the person who has no options and a flat cellular phone.

Bryan Mennie.

Bryan is a former police officer and following a stint conducting protective work in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and the Sudan he joined the corporate world as an incident management specialist. Part of his protective work entailed teaching kidnap and hostage survival and austere environment preparedness to various G- and NGO’s.

Originally published by Gun Africa.


6 thoughts on “The misnamed bug out bag (BOB).

  1. One of the better articles explaining what is all about to the armchair warrior and airsoft squad out there. The only thing that I would add is a solar power charger for the electronics in the Tier 2 kit set up but otherwise good article. Well done!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. GHS – get home system or get hom bag
    BOB – bug out bag

    Good article, though a BOB is more for when leaving home and not (in ny mind and hours spent reading on the subject) getting home.


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