While everyone in the preparedness community seems to have a bug-out bag many appear to believe that a pre-packed bag is where preparations end. The bug-out bag and the get-home bag are both important: the intention with either is to give you the ability to grab what you need very quickly in a package that can be carried on foot. Realistically, however, bugging out in the face of an impending disaster is going to entail doing so by vehicle for most people, most of the time. Certainly having a bug-out bag is wise, but only part of complete bug-out preps.
What is needed to truly be ready to bug-out by vehicle is an extended bug-out system. A lot of folks recommend having a system of containers, like Rubbermaid crates, loaded with everything you may need, to be loaded in the car. Some prefer an assortment of bags. The bottom line is, similar to the bug-out bag alone, the extended bug-out system needs to be pre-packed and it should be ready to load into a vehicle quickly.
I personally maintain a series of several larger heavy-duty duffle bags that comprise my extended bug-out system. My approach is to have the most immediately critical components of that system at the top of the “must take” list while the lesser important components are further down the list and will be packed if time and space permits. The top priorities in my system are my own EDC items, obviously, but next is my go-bag, as was discussed in the previous article. In the event of an emergency my go-bag will be the first priority gear-wise to get in the vehicle. Now, what follows, are the next tiers of gear:
Along with my go-bag is going to be a dedicated defensive long-gun. I keep a rifle with loaded magazines ready to go in a carry case. Beyond this will come another large duffle bag in which I keep two weeks of freeze-dry food and some shelter items for the whole family, along with a larger pack of water. Beyond this I would take a second long-gun, a dedicated large pack of spare magazines and ammo, and another pack of food. Finally, and very importantly, one or two spare gas cans to get me where needed if fuel is not available and I must travel far.
The most important element here is that all of these bags need to be already packed and ready. In any sort of emergency where you must move fast there will not be time to run around the house looking for all of your needed gear. Having the bags already packed makes your ability to load the vehicle much faster and it also ensures that you don’t forget anything important. Beyond just food, water, clothing, weaponry, medicine, and other essential survival stuff, having any important paperwork such as deeds, IDs, etc…, is wise. Also, keeping some cash within your survival bags makes good sense.
I also suggest some redundancy where needed. For example, have food supplies and weaponry spread out through several of these bags or crates. That way, you are not at a complete loss if you miss a particular bag when loading the vehicle. And, while redundancy is good, keep your most critical gear in your most critical bag, of course, and give that priority when initially loading the vehicle. Give it some thought and put together a sensible and tiered bug-out plan.