What in the World is a Bug Out Bag?
What are so many people preparing for? At TwoWulves, we say that survival means many things to many people, despite the fact that it can only have one true definition. Whether we’re cognizant of it or not, survival is a practice that plays out every day of our lives. Consider someone serving in an active warzone, or living in a third world country - survival can be a haunting reality. On the other hand, your average middle class American might view things a bit differently. We all approach life from a different angle, which means that the way that we prepare for catastrophic events can also vary widely.
The term ‘survival gear’ can conjure up some interesting associations. For example, it’s not uncommon to assume that survival gear is reserved strictly for, what many often call, doomsday preppers, or someone who has simply taken The Walking Dead a bit to literal. Whatever the perception, there are real events that can come very close, or actually intersect with our lives that we can prepare for. The truth is that there is a growing movement in our society of individuals taking ownership of their well-being and are prepping for what’s ahead.
Self-reliance is a mindset where members of our communities are prepping for a time when the systems we rely upon to provide us with the necessities of life are not there to support us. That scenario may seem far-fetched for some, but for people who live in the path of hurricane’s, or near a fault zone, such as the San Andreas, the threat of going several days without food, water, or medical help is a very real possibility. Natural disasters are quite common, which can include everything from hurricane’s, earthquake’s, floods, wildfires, tornado’s, droughts, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. Some regions are more prone to certain types of disasters, but no one can guarantee that they won’t become the victim of one. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 160 million people worldwide are affected by natural disasters every year, but as common as they are, they are not the only threat we face.
In the more extreme scenario, many preppers are getting ready for a more prolonged life displacing event – something often referred to in the prepper community as SHTF, or shit hits the fan, for the newbies. While less likely, we cannot deny that there are existential threats that can change life as we know it. Climate change is certainly one of them, but political upheavals, societal breakdown, or nuclear war are all valid concerns. In the United States along with other modern economies, it’s easy to overlook what other nation’s experience in their climb to prosperity. If you live in an advanced society, you’re likely the beneficiary of years of war and turmoil. That’s not to say that we don’t continue to fight for our freedoms and stability, but we definitely have a great start.
So, You're Saying I need a Bug Out Bag. What the Heck am I Supposed to Do?
The short answer is that you don’t have to do anything – that decision is up to you. But, being prepared for where life takes us is what got us started at TwoWulves. Being based in the Carolinas means that we have our eyes on the annual hurricane season and the flooding associated with it. Imagine a situation where roads are flooded and impassable, power is out for days if not weeks, uprooted trees broke sewage lines contaminating your drinking water, it’s 90 degrees and your pantry is a bit bare. Not quite the apocalypse, but you’re in for a rough few days. For the elderly or someone who requires daily medical care, it could be life threatening. A natural disaster of that magnitude is the more likely scenario that you may experience in your lifetime, but who the hell knows.
There are various levels of SHTF (you’re catching on), which all require their own unique checklist of supplies. But what it boils down to is that there are just a handful of ‘things’ that keep us alive – some may even call them the ‘pillars of survival’. Whatever you want to call them, none of us can survive long without water, food, shelter, and fire. Sounds like advice from a caveman, but we’re all cavemen and cavewomen, just with better furnishings.
What the pillars of survival mean in practical terms is that you’re going to need to stock up on water, long term food, have a roof over your head or something to protect you from the elements, and something to create a spark when electricity and gas are not an option. The quantities you’ll need all depend on your personal situation, how many people you’re providing for, along with how long you plan on being without access to those things. Luckily, there are survival kits designed to accommodate a wide-range of situations. Some even create, what are commonly referred to as bug out bags, or an emergency pack containing these essential supplies to store at home, or take with you should the need arise. Diving into what you need and how much you’ll need of it is an exercise in itself, but do your research and think of what you’re prepping for.
In the end, whether preppers are just overly paranoid people or not is your judgement. But, survival to us means that we’ll be able to sustain our way of life until help arrives, or at least eat beef jerky until it doesn’t.