Credits: (QMI Agency File)
'Bug-out bags' are backpacks full of gear that will keep you secure for at least 72 hours when it all hits the fan and they are a central commandment of survivalists. "Bugging out" is a term used by military types who need to leave an area on the double.
"Bare bones. You should focus on the elements of survival: shelter, food, water, fire and clothing," said Joel Jones, not his real name. Paranoia is part of the survivalist culture.
Jones is a former U.S. marine and part-owner of Survival Cache.com.
"Bug-out bags are where things have gone drastically wrong, there is no government help in sight and you have to think for yourself for an indefinite period of time whether that's 10 days, months, years, and all you have is what's in your preparation bag."
Jones started his site in 2009 and it now gets more than 200,000 visits per month.
"Watching the 2008 financial collapse made me realize I could be witnessing the fall of Rome." said Jones.
It doesn't have to be TEOTWAWKI ('The end of the world as we know it' in survivaleese) in order to prepare - just ask people walloped by Hurricane Katrina or Canadians hit by the ice storm. While there are hundreds of nifty supplies to purchase, experts warn not to be too obvious if you actually do need to flee a city.
"If you have to bug out of your house, do not go out wearing a lot of camouflage, military-looking equipment," Stirling Silverman (yes, another fake name), host of the The New Survivalist channel on You Tube, tells his viewers. "You do not want to stand out in a worst-case scenario. You want to blend in with the crowd."
For most survivalists, it comes down to self-reliance.
"With a bag, you are able to not only help yourself but you are able to help others. Without a bag you are a burden to someone else and a detriment to a bad situation," said a law enforcement specialist in the southeastern United States who uses the alias William Smith.
Smith has a "get-home bag" as well, that includes clothes, walking shoes, maps and water. He also keeps a fully stocked bug-out bag if he needs to leave home forever. "The reason the movie Red Dawn never happened is because the United States, up until the last few years, there was no one who could beat us. Now we've been bled of blood and money, so who knows?"
What goes in a bug-out bag:
First Aid Kit (medications)
Tent or tarp
Change of clothes and shoes
Cash and documents