My bug out bag - yes, really

This post is not about my wardrobe at all. You have been informed ;)

The reason why I share this is that after various TV-shows (hello, Apocalypse Preppers), this topic has gotten a bit ridiculous. A shame really, because having one of these babies may come in handy. Now I am not a prepper as those you can see on TV. I have no stockpile to feed eight people for six years, I have never even held a MRE, let alone bought one.
Basically, I started my bag after visiting a friend. He works for our crisis management agency (THW, Technisches Hilfswerk for me fellow German readers) and has been deployed to crisis regions all over the globe. When I came to his house, I saw a backpack in his hallway and asked him if he had to go on a mission again. No, he said, This is my bug out bag. After a short giggle and some really dumb jokes about him prepping for the end of the world, we sat down and he explained more about it. That night, I came home and started my own bag. It was not really a big thing for me. I am going hiking in my free time and owned most of the bags' contents anyways. All I had to do is collect them all in one place. Add some food and some other bits and bobs and the thing was done. Over the course of the last two years, I adjusted it based on experience and shifted needs. 

To get things straight, this pack is not designed to run for the woods and camp there for weeks and months. In fact, I think this is the dumbest thing one can do. Especially us civilization-accustomed folks. But I shall not go on waffling about this topic. The bag and it's content are designed to help me out should we get into a situation where help is not around the corner. When I still lived on a farm, the river in front of our house used to swell in spring. And all of a sudden, you find yourself in a situation where you cannot use the washing machine anymore. Where you have to walk to your neighbors early in the morning to use their shower while it is pitch-black outside (they had to shut down street lights because they were flooded as well). You have to stay up all night to pump water out of your basement,... You get the picture. This bag is meant for scenarios like this. 

Right, let's get started.

This is the pack. A pretty old, but perfectly worn in Deuter ActLite 25 liter hiking backpack. I used this baby for years and years and it fits me perfectly. This is an important point. USE THE BAG! Wear it in so that it sits comfortable. Should the unlikely event occur that you would have to be evacuated, you should be able to walk with your bag for a while. You can also see that I have a drinking system integrated. This is a camelbag knock-off and can hold 2 liters of water.

In the outer pouch at the top (where the logo is stitched on), I carry a few things I want easy access to. From left to right: a mirror for signalling, reflective tape, a headlamp, a small flashlight, a pouch that stores all this.

In the mesh pockets on the right and left side I carry: A rain poncho and a compas. Both have been used, as you can see. I tend to take some items with me when I go hiking. First of all, because I need them and second, because I want to be familiar with them. Can someone please explain to me why in most videos about these bags all items appear brand new? How do people know how to use them if they never really try out their gear?

In the main compartment, I keep everything packed in these watertight bags. I live in a country with a lot of rain, so keeping my gear dry is crucial. First off, my food bag. Army-biscuits, tea, coffee, salt and pepper, granola bars and some pate. I also added more granola bars that night. A fire steel and cutlery. One thing about fire steels. PRACTICE with them! Really. They are surprisingly difficult to handle if you have never used one.

I have a radio in there as well. This thing works without batteries.

Personal hygiene kit: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, bodylotion, face cream, sunscreen, shower gel, tissues and toilet paper. This pouch is great if you go on a hike and stay somewhere over night. In the long run, I will replace the shower gel with a more nature-friendly option.

Medicine pouch: aspirin, sore throat relief, allergy pills, stronger pain killers, hot lemon drink (this stuff also picks me up whenever I feel exhausted, very strange), superglue and water purification drops. And ear plugs.

First aid pouch: gloves, tick-removing tweezers and your classic first aid kit. I also added iodine for wound desinfection and some diarrhea pills.

A map of my country in a watertight pouch.

Clothing, the first: gloves, a hat, a scarf and a bandana as well as a pair of garters. Ever walked wet meadows without them? Yeah, you will get some for next time ;)

Clothing, the second: fleece jacket, an extra pair of trousers, extra underwear, socks, a towel and another T-shirt.


 A citronella candle and a lighter.

My favourite cup. Reminds me of my childhood.

 More lighters and batteries as well as some rope.


 Fun-reading for nights at the campfire. I also tried a couple of things from this book when hiking / camping. This is written to help you survive. Still, it does not hurt if you know basic skills.

Paper and pens.

In a little extra pouch inside the backpack I keep garbage bags.

There is also one more compartment inside made for easy access that holds the essentials: tissue, a flashlight that works without batteries, aspirin and my swiss army knife.

I also wanted to share with you what I packed in the first version of the bag. These items are not necessary to carry and just weigh me down. So out they went: Extra bottle of water. I have one liter of water in there, another 500 ml were too much, considering I can also fill the camelbag-thingy. Cody Lundin's survival book. A good read, but not necessary to shlep around. Read at home. Another tank top, a towel and socks. More tea and coffee. And last but not least, I replaced some expired meds.

This is it. A helpful bag with all the necessary items both for hiking or the unlikely case of emergency where one may have to get by on your own or even get evacuated. Does not take up much space at all and did not cost a lot of money because I had most items anyways.