The Mission Drives The Gear

Preppers are notorious for caching stuff. Gear is our life. We can’t seem to get enough of it and at the same time we could camp_bugout_gearprobably all have a huge garage sale and never miss half of it. Have you ever really thought what you are going to do with all that stuff?  If you are not a list person, I recommend you become one. Gear management is just as big a part of survival prepping as planning for it in the first place. With a comprehensive inventory, you can not only get a handle on what you have amassed in terms of survival gear, but you can review it, refresh it, and begin to task it for specific missions.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Achieving a balance between too much and just enough is the difficult part.  You want to be mobile but at the same time, you must be thoroughly prepared.  This guide will help you achieve this balance and fine-tune your bug out bag.

Re-Do Your EDC

What do you keep stashed in a daily carry bag?  Is it designed to sustain you for a day in case of an emergency or a longer time frame?  Is there a weapon and support supplies in that bag?  Where is it stowed, in the vehicle, or do you carry it into the office each day?  How discreet is its carry and your protection of it?

How often do you recycle the supplies in this bag? If you keep several loaded magazines for a pistol, these should be rotated, beretta-pico-3unloaded for a time, and then put back in service again.  Every 6 months ought to be about right so spring tension does not memorize.  The gun itself should be wiped down with an oil cloth every couple weeks especially if you live in a high humidity region.

Related: Knee Deep in Bug Out Vehicles

Life sustaining supplies in this bag should be used regularly and replaced, too. Drink the water on the way home, then replace it with fresh bottles every week or so.  If you have energy bars, GORP, or other eats, then keep them fresh. Nothing is worse than opening a zip lock bag of raisins and M&Ms only to find them melted into a slurry.

Essential, too, is keeping this daily carry bag as efficiently stocked as possible.  If you find, upon opening the bag, that it contains items never or rarely used, then reconsider the necessity of these items.  Don’t over weigh a bag you have to carry or may have to tote for miles during a SHTF.  Occasionally lay everything out on the floor and reassess each item’s usefulness.

Revise Your Escape Plan

In the same vein, if you travel out of town with the family either on business or a combined vacation, the stuff you take to supply might be different. You might want more gear for personal defense including a more powerful long gun.  This may mean packing a half dozen mags each for a self-defense pistol and perhaps an AR.  You may find you have other stuff rarely used that you could sell or trade for needed items.

Overnight stays will mean more clothing, more personal care items, and regular medications for the longer time frame. Double check your packing lists to make sure you have everything you need. If you are driving, consider taking a supply pack with extra food and water.  Be sure to have a cell phone charger. Kids along? Have more stuff for them, too.

Before you leave, let your neighbors know where you are going, give them phone numbers, notify police you will be gone, and secure your domicile.   Suspend newspaper deliveries and mail or better yet ask a trusted neighbor to bag them for you.  That way, other outside sources do not know your travel plans. Put lights on timers so it appears like people are home.  Double check locked doors, set the alarm and be sure the garage door closes.

Prioritize the Bug Out Plan

Be sagacious: assess your plan. If it is to escape a severe storm threat like a hurricane, estimate the time out of the area and pack accordingly for what you hope will not be a terribly long time. This then assumes your residence is not damaged or outright destroyed. Ask yourself if your redundancy is over extended having accumulated too much stuff or several of the same kinds of items.

Also Read: More Tips for Your Bug Out Bag 

Put your plans to escape in action. Ideally you are going to family or friends or a predetermined hotel location. Execute your bug out plan that you worked out well in advance of any incident. Pack and take only the items you need for this scenario.

For a worst case scenario, hopefully you have a plan. Maybe it is an escape to another house in the country, or a spot where you have set up a permanent trailer for housing or even a dedicated camping trailer. Ideally you have cached and stashed essentials at this location including food stuffs, water, fuel, tools, gear, and everything else you might need to stay for several months. This situation may finally mean to grab all those bug out bags you have spent years packing and fine tuning. This gives you important time to choose what gear is needed for the mission. Excess stuff can be contributed to a team effort or sold off for revenue to buy other more essential gear.

Mission Drives the Gear and the Plan

Again, the specific mission drives what gear to pack and take.  As a prepper, try to avoid just buying all kinds of stuff that looks great but is not really purposed as it should be.  Prepper budgets are usually stretched enough without buying extra neat stuff that is never used. This goes for every category of gear, too, including weapons, and ammo.  If you go overboard, then do it on water, food, and medical supplies. Lighten your load of unnecessary gear.

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4 comments… add one
  • TPSnodgrass November 4, 2016, 12:53 pm

    Very “interesting”article, I have been considering getting a small travel/camping trailer for alternate housing, especially for events that occur in winter. While I am not a me fan of towing a travel trailer, I am enamored enough with the concept of acquiring one.
    I appreciate the time and effort Doc, that you put into this article(and the others). It really helps!

  • WreakHavoc November 4, 2016, 2:08 pm

    This article is long on ideas but short on actual content. What someone who is bugging out does is not far from what the military does. Pack all required equipment into a vehicle and go out into the field and set up shop.

    The military develops and outlines written requirements that make up a unit’s core mission, those requirements are then taken and used to find material solutions or to develop training regimen to meet those mission requirements.

    This article does a great job staring down a path similar to this, starting with the title, but doesn’t go all the way. Requirements or the mission should drive the specific gear that is purchased. But a requirement should be laid out in each area. Communications for example, a need to have short range verse long range comms with drive how high power, high tech, or powerful your radio equipment should be.

    A studious prepper can outline requirements in areas such as:

    Shelter Facilities
    Messing Facilities
    Hygiene Facilities
    Visual Augmentation
    Load bearing gear

    The list goes on. And there are sub requirements to the above categories. Some of these categories may not even apply depending on what one needs to prepare for. This and beyond is the depth that this topic needs to be appraoched at if someone wants to actually sustain themselves post event in any number of situations.

  • Roger November 4, 2016, 9:23 pm

    The main difference between a military mission and a bug-out IMHO is that the military is either going or preparing to go to war and they don’t plan to live-off-the-land so they have a huge logistics system of supply and planned resupply. Hopefully you’re not going to war (especially with family in tow) and the vast majority of preppers don’t have the resources that the military does! Personally, I try to stick with the very basics; I’m not planning on rebuilding civilization. For example, beyond the cell phone that my lady thinks she can’t live without, communication is not a priority for me, there are very few people that I’d want to talk to in a SHTF situation. Truthfully, I probably wouldn’t want to contact the government because I simply don’t trust them; COG (continuance of government) is their priority not my life, no doubt they would see me as expendable since I’m past that half-century mark! And anything that the government gives you they first had to take from someone else; no free rides! Another example would be in choice of self-defense, an axe makes a fierce weapon, but for the vast majority a firearm is the only realistic choice. As well, a huge .50 caliber sniper rifle is a great scary long range weapon. IF, you have the skill to use it and the money to buy it and the not-so-cheap ammo, and your back is strong enough to carry it along with your other gear? A repeating medium-caliber rifle should be your first choice IMHO because it has the greatest amount of uses for the average person/prepper. Then a handgun for close-in fighting (urban, thick woods, etc.) and is easiest to carry on your side full time and probably fastest to bring-to-bear. A large knife (6″+ blade) makes a good weapon but takes a lot more skill to use effectively, especially mentally! I prep in layers, adding gear, food, water, etc. to my basic load as needed (or maybe needed); there’s too much redundancy in making different set-ups for different situations because you’ll always need the basics no matter what! GLAHP!

  • Pita45 November 12, 2016, 8:09 pm

    You ask in your first paragraph; “Have you ever really thought what you are going to do with all that stuff”? Yes! Hopefully I will never need it! And as for firearms and ammo. Hope to pass it to my kids and grand-kids!!! As for the rest, My wife says when I’m gone she is going to sale it all for ten cents on the dollar!!!! LOL!!!!
    But really great article! I just move a few thing from my main storage area! To the master bedroom closet! Thing I have not used for a while. Small pistol cases, soft rifle scabbards. Maybe soon ammo! Any way I was thinking of a note book listing just what I had in that closet!!! Or any where in the house!!!
    Thanks again! Please keep it up!!!


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