Letter Re: Some Travel and Bug Out Gear Recommendations

First, as promised earlier I wanted to follow up and describe the kit I take with me on my trips. As I have mentioned in the past my job takes me overseas all the time, so for the past decade I have spent 80-90% of my time in third and second world countries. As a result the type of kit I take with me becomes important – it has to be packable and lightweight (especially now that the airlines are limiting you to 50 lbs. per bag versus the old 75 lbs. per bag). I have built up a kit that fits inside a one quart water bottle that goes in my suitcase whenever I travel. In the kit I have:

1. A folding knife (not a one hand opening one … just a plain old Buck style knife). When asked (four or five times in a decade now) I explain that this is for cutting my food.

2. A pocket knife (Swiss Army knife) [JWR Adds: Per FAA regulations, edged weapons may only be carried in checked baggage–not in carry-on bags,.]

3. A fork and spoon (titanium)

4. A small (AAA battery size) LED flashlight

5. Several packets of sugar free hydration mix

6. Water purification tablets and a water purification straw

7. A compass (Marble’s Brand Pin On)

8. A waterproof container with matches in them (while technically not allowed I have packed them for years with no problems)

9. A length of 550 cord

10. A map of the region that has been waterproofed after various routes out of the area have been marked on it.

11. A waterproofed copy of my passport front page, driver’s license, and birth certificate, and contact number.

12. A couple of Krugerrands

I also have in the suitcase:

1. A small SW receiver (Grundig)

2. A first aid kit

3. A medical kit with various antibiotics, cold medicines, etc. in it.

4. A sewing kit (scissors come in handy and the thread and safety pins can be used for fishing)

I also use a backpack to carry my laptop and business stuff in. I have in the past pulled the hard-drive from the laptop and left it sitting there when I have had to evacuate. The survival kit goes into the backpack in this case. Just because the backpack is a 5.11 RUSH24, it has not raised any eyebrows by customs officials. In addition to this I have always carried a packable raincoat or poncho and a cold weather jacket in my suitcase along with a good pair of hiking boots and a couple of pairs of wool hiking socks.

Notice that other than the items in the water bottle, they are all items that one would use on a long business trip anyway.

I make it a habit to never pack and carry anything with me that I would not be willing to dump if the need arose.

I am sure this list will cause all sorts of heartache and discussion but I have used this kit or something very similar since I was a teenager (my father was posted all over the world) and unless we are talking about a complete breakdown of order it has enough in it that I can make it out of an area if need be.

Second, we are using this weekend as a chance to go enjoy the great outdoors and practice our load out at the same time. As mentioned in the past we plan on using a camping trailer to get out of our area if we are forced to. So this weekend (as we have in the past) we are practicing our load out and go skills. The kids look at it as a game, and now while the world is not as bad as it could be, we can survive if we forget something basic – and have time to add it to the trailer.

Third, when it comes to a bug-out many of us are tied to our computers and would want to take them with us. While I plan on taking one laptop with me if we ever have to leave our house (plus the K-12 educational CDs that we have for it) along with vital records, there is another way to keep your records with you. I have started to use products from a couple of different sites for many reasons – portability and security are chief among them. Portableapps.com allows you to load a basic set of applications onto a USB [memory] stick and use it in “stealth” mode on any computer with a USB port. This allows you to keep your records and a basic set of applications with you at all times (things like money management software and email are critical). I also frequent pendrivelinux.com and have a USB stick set up with a virtual linux image that allows me to do the same basic things as with the windows portable applications. I would urge you to set up several USB sticks like this so that you can get by with a single laptop/PC per family versus multiple ones. I also have the same sort of setup (using the windows briefcase function) for my critical business documents – while pulling the hard-drive does work this is a much cleaner solution.

In this way if I need to walk out of an area, a small USB memory stick is a whole lot easier to carry than a laptop. Plus with the large number of companies that are placing tracking software on your laptops these days, being able to keep certain things private has a great deal of appeal. – Hugh D.