All posts by Ed Morris

Bug Out Supplies

Six Common Things To Leave Out Of Your Go Bag

There are about a million blog posts out there on what to put in your Go Bag, and that’s great. Let’s talk about things not to pack in your get out of dodge bag:

Glass Jar1. Glass/Fragile items – Anything that is in a glass container needs t
o be transferred to something more suited for rough travel. Plastic or Lexan is a better alternative for portable liquid storage.
Sure you want some of Grandma’s jam on the go, but the mason jar rattling around in your bag is a no go.

Flammable liquid2. Flammable Fluids – Speaking of liquids, if you are carrying any liquid fuel, find a way to pack that on the outside of your bag. If you have it inside and the container it is in cracks or leaks, you now have a bag soaked with fuel and anything inside, especially food, will be unusable. Water bottle carriers, or ammo dump pouches work great with cylinder type fuel containers.

3. Food – Wait, that should be “food that is not suited for long term storage”. Canned,dried and packaged camping/trail foods are the way to go here. Foods that expire quickly or damage easily have no place in your bag.

4. Huge/Heavy Items – There seems to be a tendency to pack everything and the kitchen sink in a bug out bag. There is always that guy who is trying to cram a family tent, a tailgating sized grill …do not try and carry more than 25% of your body weight, so if you are 200 pounds, avoid carrying a pack that weighs over 50 pounds. It may not seem like a lot, but put 50 pounds on your back and carry it all day is not something you want to do for days on end. Keep gear light and durable. You will need to be able to move, not drag behind and keep the rest of your group waiting for you to catch up. The disaster you are trying to move away from can and will spread given time.

Defibrillator5. Unfamiliar Medical Equipment and Medicine – Not everyone is a trained medic, so do not try and act like one by loading up your gear with medical equipment you are not trained to use properly. The same goes for meds, getting the dosage wrong can be fatal in a situation when emergency medical services are going to be strained and a response unit could be hours if not days from coming to assist you. Unless someone in your bug out group is properly trained, do not be tempted to do any medical procedures outside of common first aid. Take some Red Cross classes, get certified in basic first aid and CPR. If you the the time, get EMT trained. Just because you watched MASH and ER a few times doesn’t count.

M16 breakdown6. Unfamiliar/Illegal Possession Weapons – Like the unfamiliar medical equipment, do not carry weapons (firearms, edged weapons) that: A. You do not know how to use or care for properly and B. Are not allowed in your state to possess. What you are allowed/permitted by law to carry or have packed on your person or in your vehicle will vary by state. Check your local laws before putting your bug out plan together. At some point the crisis you are in will be over and the law will be restored to your area. Make sure you don’t survive the situation only to be arrested for what you are carrying. If you state allows it, apply for a firearms permit and take a carry class. And make sure you know how to use and care for that firearm properly.



GPS Navigation: Tips & Tricks before Heading Out

Handheld GPS are not only fun to use, but they can get you out of a bind. Make sure you know how to use it. Here are a few things to make sure your GPS is good to go whenever you need it:

  1. Update, update, update! – About once every few months, fire it up and update your maps if your make and model allow for it. This way you will always be able to use the most accurate map data.
  2. Power – Get a few extra sets of batteries for your GPS and put them into a waterproof carrier. If you are trying to keep that bag light, put them in a zip lock freezer bag.
  3. Test Run – Fire the GPS up and go and find a nearby Geocache. This will ensure you and your device are both ready to go. Nothing is worse than when you are in a position you actually need your GPS to get you out of a bad situation and can’t figure out how to use it!
  4. Teach – Once you have got the basic functionality down, instruct other members of your party (family members, friends or anyone else you are heading out with) how to use the GPS. If something happens to you, the rest of the party will be able to take over navigating.
  5. Heads Up! – I have seen many folks out in the woods trying to navigate with their device, heads down, and ignoring the terrain around them, to end up tripping over a downed branch or that gigantic bolder that just appeared out of nowhere! Heads up, and look at the map display with your device up in front of your face, not down by your hips!
  6. Back Up – Electronics fail, so get paper maps of your location(s), a compass, pencils, sharpener, and learn how to use them. Many counties in the USA offer Map Reading/Land Nav classes. Find one, take one, and be ready. Also check out our article on navigating with the sun.

So be familiar with your GPS device, teach others how to use it, use it safely and have a backup!

Need a new GPS? I recommend the Garmin 62S, get the version with the digital compass and altimeter built-in. Garmin, Magellan, and Bushnell are all recommended brands.