Part two of the Bug Out Bag discussion is going to probably be one of the most debatable topics regarding your BOB load out; Shelter.
Now the topic of your shelter for a BOB is so broad and far reaching that we could spend days if not weeks discussing it and so, for the sake of length and conversation, I want to focus on a handful of main points on the topic. In future blogs we will be discussing, in length, various types of shelters and the pros and cons of all of them, but for now, let’s just K.I.S.S.
One of the most overlooked portions of shelter in the BOB is clothing. So many people get caught up in the specialty equipment and cool guy items that an extra set of clothing and a proper jacket for the season is often forgotten. We stated in part 1 that your BOB should be ever changing and upgraded per the seasons and your location as well as your skillset. We stress that point in regards to your choice of clothing that you have in your pack as well.
There’s a reason why when that survival show came out, where the contestants are naked the whole time something inside of us instantly said, “that would suck”. And why do you think that is? It’s because right off the bat, on day one, they are exposed and potentially vulnerable to their surroundings. And as we’ve all seen on that show, it takes its toll on the participants. Their survival priorities instantly change and many times the primary focus throughout much of the show is based on the need for a better shelter in order for them to survive the environment in which they’ve been placed. Simply adding proper clothing to the contestants would dramatically change the dynamic of the show and possibly the outcome in many situations.
So now that we’ve brought this to your attention are you thinking about what your first line of defense is against the elements? Do you already have rain gear, change of socks and clothing top and bottom in your pack? If not, here are a few things to consider. First, what’s your local weather like on a seasonal basis? Does it rain throughout the year? A good Gortex jacket is lightweight and packable and is worth its weight in gold when the winds kick up and the rain begins pouring down. If you’re in a colder region, then you may need to consider a liner for that jacket. If nothing else, a great, cost effective option for you is a military surplus field jacket liner. They can be purchased online for under $20 and are a great bit of kit to keep handy. Nothing’s going to make life more miserable than being cold and wet while you’re attempting to build a shelter during or after a downpour and a simple raincoat alone can make that difference. Second thing to consider is your choice of top and bottom. A couple of good options are any kind of work wear bottoms that a place like Tractor Supply or your local Co-Op sell. Most of that clothing is durable and wears well over time and is comfortable during most any season. I would suggest staying away from the rip stop material due to its light weight nature and inability to hold up over long periods of time. Comfort is going to be a key factor as well. Loose fitting, cotton clothing is durable, comfortable and dries rather quickly with little to no effort. When it comes to your choice of top specifically, we recommend a long sleeve button up shirt, similar to the angler shirts. They’re lightweight, comfortable and easy to maintain. Keep this in mind regarding your top selection though. When it’s hot, you want to sweat. That’s what keeps your body cool. Wearing compression gear or tight fitting clothing draws your sweat away from the skin, to the top layer of clothing and allows it to evaporate and that’s not conducive to your survival. Next on the list, a good pair of socks. The importance of fresh, dry socks can’t be stressed enough and with so many options out there I recommend making that good, small investment to keep your feet healthy and dry for as long as you can. Now, this is a case that you want the water to be wicked away from your feet as quickly as possible and have the ability to dry quickly. Do your research and choose the right sock for your environment and potential conditions that you may encounter. And lastly, a hat or headgear. It never hurts or adds any substantial weight to a BOB to throw a lightweight hat and beanie in with everything else. Most of your body heat can be lost through your head in winter conditions and a billed cap is an easy and effective way to protect your face and eyes from the sun throughout the rest of the year.
All of this is subject to so many variables that you have to take into consideration. As stated previously, know your environment and the season your currently in or will be traveling to and plan accordingly. If you are a daily wearer of camouflage clothing, then you may want to pack your BOB with non-camouflage attire like that mentioned above. Depending on what kind of SHTF scenario you end up in, being able to blend is, in itself, an essential survival tactic. And so, the opposite can be considered for those of us who aren’t regular camo wearing folks.
Now, onto your BOB survival shelter. As mentioned earlier, there are so many types of shelters out there ranging from single man tents to primitive shelters and we will soon broach each and every one of those shelters in time, but for now let’s talk about what is in your BOB to help you stay as comfortable as possible in the elements and what we recommend for simplicity and ease of setup. We personally carry and recommend the Snugpak All Weather Shelter. This is a military grade shelter that comes with everything needed to set up a sturdy weatherproof environment. Measuring 10’ x 10’ it’s much larger than many other shelters on the market and the size makes the variations of shelter configurations limited only by your imagination and ingenuity. They’re Polyurethane coated and UV resistant which makes for a great use year round. We’ve tested and personally use these Snugpak shelters and they are tough as nails in the field. And when we’re camping long term, these make a great add on to our primitive shelters whether to reinforce from rain or keeping the sun and wind from entering from different directions. There are many options out there for you to choose from and like we’ve said before, find the one that suits your needs and go with it.
Now, we want to hear from you. We’re working hard to bring you the information and the equipment we think is pertinent to the daily survivalist/prepper, but we want to start an open, mature conversation on our blog with your questions, opinions and ideas. Tell us what you have in your BOB or ask us a question about ours or other blog members BOB. We appreciate each and every one of you that are part of our survival family and we look forward to the New Year and what it holds for all of us.
Nomad Survival Solutions
Tested. Reliable. Practical.