It’s Time To Leave- Part 2, by Pat Cascio

Our family has a plan for bugging out, if it’s time to leave and things come to that. Actually, we have several plans. I am continuing to tell you my plans. Yesterday, I shared my choice of weapons for self defense and hunting.

My Choice of Blackhawk Products

Let me share a word on my choices here. As long time readers will realize, I’m a big fan of Blackhawk products. (Know that they do not pay me to promote their products. I just happen to think very highly of the quality of their gear, and that’s why I selected it.) My family all have similar setups, but they use different makes of gear to their liking.

The Bug Out Bag

As to the bug out bag (BOB), this is a pretty subjective thing. We all have different needs. I have at least one spare mag for whatever rifle I’ll carry and one spare mag for whatever handgun I might be carrying. Magazines get lost or damaged, so it just makes good sense to have at least one spare for your long gun and your handgun. I also have one hundred rounds of spare ammo in my bug out bag for the rifle and the handgun. I recently put a Ruger limited edition Black Hills Ammunition .22 pistol in the bug out bag, along with a couple hundred rounds of extra ammo and three mags all total for it. It’s ideal for taking small game for the stew pot.

In My Bug Out Bag

I have personal hygiene items in my bug out bag as well. You can stock your BOB with the items you need. I have three day’s worth of freeze-dried food, as well as a bottle of survival tabs that will keep me from starving for three weeks. They’re not perfect but better than going hungry. I have a change of clothing and several changes of socks and underwear. A small first-aid kit is in there as is a small survival book.

For many purposes, I like to keep no less than about 100 feet of 550 Paracord and a roll of Gorilla Tape. (No more duct tape for me; it isn’t well made like it used to be.) On the other hand, Gorilla Tape is outstanding for making repairs.

Shelter and Sleeping Bags

I keep two plastic tarps in my BOB, as well as a military-style poncho. Note that I said a poncho, not a rain suit. A poncho will keep your BOB covered when it rains. Even though I have treated my BOB with a water proofing spray, it still isn’t water proof. So, if it rains, the poncho will keep the BOB and the contents dry as well as myself. I don’t not have a tent in my BOB. The tarps will be used for making a shelter and as a ground cloth. We all have several different types of sleeping bags, too.

For Making Fire

One of the best things you can have in any BOB is several methods for making fire. My late friend, Chris Janowsky, who ran the World Survival Institute up in Alaska, always said that fire was “magic”, and it is. Chris was so good that he taught the U.S. Marine Corps winter survival instructors how to survive in winter conditions. That said a lot about how good Chris Janowsky was. It was also his advice on some of the contents to include in a BOB.

Vision and Vitamins

I also have a pair of binoculars, a pair of reading glasses, and a pair of eye glasses, even though I have a good supply of contact lenses in my BOB. Eye glasses are extra insurance. I keep a bottle with a year’s worth of multivitamins in my BOB, a year’s worth. They are inexpensive, at under ten bucks. Let’s face facts; odds are good that we won’t be eating healthy meals out in the boonies, so a vitamin supplement is really needed. I keep a good supply of “coin” tabs, which are tablets that you dip in water and they expand. You use it as toilet paper, as it takes up very little space in a BOB. I suffer from hypertension, so I keep a month’s supply of meds for this and need to increase this amount.

My BOB weighs 28 lbs. That’s all the weight I want to carry these days. Remember, ounces, lots of them, equal more pounds. In my senior years, I don’t want to carry any more weight than I have to.

One Thing That Will Go With Me

One thing that will go with me when I bug out, no matter which plan I might have to use, is a water proof winter parka. It doesn’t matter if it is the middle of summer, the parka goes with me. It is very light-weight, yet it will keep me warm down below zero. I also have a pair of tan water proof ankle high boots from Blackhawk Products. In Western Oregon, we get a lot of rain, and wet feet are not something you want to have, ever!

There are some other miscellaneous items in my BOB– small items that I believe will come in handy, just as you should add whatever miscellaneous items you think you should have in your BOB. Every summer, my family and I go through our BOB and update and change some of the items.

Our Youngest Daughter

Our youngest daughter will be 30 years old very shortly, and she served as a combat medic in the U.S. Army. She’s in great shape, and she and a friend from the army hiked across Spain a few years ago. So, they know how to pack up a backpack and how to plan and dress for various weather. The hike was 500 miles!

My youngest and I are a bit too much alike in many ways. Putting it lightly, we “bump heads” more often than we should on various topics. She believes that if I disagree with her on just about anything that I’m being critical and don’t love her. Far from it, like any good parent, I only want what is best for my children, in any event, I refrain from even making any suggestions to my youngest daughter about nearly anything. As I stated, she lives about 200 miles away. She has an SUV with 4-wheel drive and keeps her BOB in it. I also equipped her with an AR-15 and a full military A.L.I.C.E. web belt setup with plenty of spare ammo and mags for her AR. She has her own handguns. I just hope and pray that, when (not if) the SHTF, that she can jump in her SUV and head for home.

Medical Care

In another life, I was a paramedic and even worked as a physician’s assistant, long before there was such a position. I got a medical school education working for him, and I owned my own medical clinic at one time. However, with my youngest daughter’s combat medic training, she is more up to date on things and would surely be a blessing in a SHTF scenario. You see, we plan on providing emergency medical care in exchange for whatever we might need in barter.

In the “Wilderness” To Avoid Trouble

Needless to say, BOB and weapons/ammo will go with us, if we have to resort to Plan B and bug out with vehicles only. However, we can pack everything we need for survival for a long, long time, even years, in our vehicles. Once again, our plan is to avoid trouble if at all possible, and our game plan is to be in the “wilderness” to do this. I know the area around where we live fairly well. I’m always exploring back roads and logging roads for places to “hide” in, if it comes to that.

The Worst of Plans

The worst of the plans is, of course, Plan C, which is bugging out on foot with only the gear we can carry on our backs and around our waists. It’s not a good plan, but it’s better than no plan. I’m sure our readers have heard from their uneducated friends that when the SHTF, they plan on grabbing a gun and heading to the “woods” or to the “mountains”. That simply won’t work, if they’ve had no training in survival or military training, et cetera. They will die in short order, so it always amuses me to no end, when I hear or read about people who are going to grab a gun and head to the boonies. It is a ‘script for disaster in short order.

Family and Friends To Keep Watchful Eye

My family and I have been preppers all our lives. Even when I was a child, growing up in the 1950s and 1960s during the Cold War and the threat of a nuke war, I stored up a little bit of food and supplies. We have worked extra hard over the years to reach the point we are now at with our preps.

We planned on having enough food for a family of four for no less than three years, and we reached that goal and then some by quite a bit. As I stated, I hope and pray our youngest daughter can get here in the event of a serious SHTF scenario. She’d be a great asset. Still, I know I can’t stay awake 24/7 to keep a watchful eye on our small homestead. So, I have discussed this with some other close and very trusted friends, and they said they will make their way to our digs. Between us, we can protect things. The only problem is a few of these folks are now too far away from where we live and probably couldn’t get here.

One friend is a recently retired U.S. military guy, and a young guy at that, and he will head here. My best friend, unfortunately, lives in Colorado. He’d have a difficult time getting here, though he keeps his 5th wheel trailer fully loaded at all times and has spare gas, enough to get here if possible. He’s trying to get his house sold and head this way, but some unforeseen medical issues came up. Now they have to be dealt with before making such a move. He’s a Marine, as there’s no such thing as a “former” Marine; once a Marine, always a Marine. He would be a wonderful military asset to have here. We are so close that we consider ourselves brothers, literally!

Have Several Plans to Bug Out or Fight

I know my coverage of firearms is probably a disappointment to many of our readers, but it is more important to have a plan, even several plans, than it is to have an arsenal of firearms and a million rounds of ammo. If you want to fight, then join or start a militia and have at it. My game plan is to protect my family as best I can, and if that means bugging out, then that’s what we’ll do. However, if it comes to a fight, we’ll do what needs to be done.

My two daughters and wife are all expert marksmen. They are dead-on with their ARs, and you don’t want to even consider messing with them within handgun range. They “are” that good. Both of my daughters got their first guns when they were four years old. By what you see on the lame stream “news” media and in the eyes of liberals, it would be considered child abuse today to give firearms to four year olds.

Drinking Water

There’s one more thing I wanted to touch on, and that is drinking water. You must have a way of filtering and purifying drinking water. If you don’t, you’ll die in short order. We all have water filters in our BOB, in our trailer, and in our house, and we have numerous methods for making bad water drinkable.

Another Plan That Wasn’t Good

One of my friends, not a close one, joined the Oregon National Guard when he was 37 years old with no prior military experience. He used to be a police officer but found out that being in the military is quite a bit different than being a police officer. I’ve been after him for years to start prepping. He took some baby steps. He has a BOB for himself, wife, and two school age daughters. His plan, if there was an EMP attack, was to hike 110 miles over the Cascade Mountains to a National Guard base and get in there with his family.

I told him that if he arrived there on foot, it would be a miracle itself, but if there was anyone there, he wouldn’t be allowed in and odds are there wouldn’t be much, if any, food. Then I asked him how he planned on carrying enough food for a 110-mile march through the mountains. He hadn’t thought of that. His plan had many flaws and was another plan that wasn’t good at all.

Friends Who Haven’t Prepped

My friend mentioned in the previous paragraph who hasn’t really prepped said he’d just come to our place. I told him that would be workable if he had enough food for his own family for at least a year and I know he doesn’t. I live more than 10 miles outside of the town he lives in. If there is an EMP, he would have to walk here with his family, and they sure couldn’t carry a year’s worth of food. I’m a staunch Christian, but my charity has limits. I can’t feed everyone who might show up here. I told my buddy that I’d give him a case of Ramen Noodle Soup and send them on their way. I’m not taking food out of the mouths of my family simply because someone else didn’t plan in advance for a SHTF scenario. Am I heartless? I don’t think so. He has the same opportunity I have to start building up a food supply, and he hasn’t!

Close Friends Who Can Contribute to Survival

I stated early on in this piece that I have invited a couple of close friends to come here, and if they didn’t have anything other than the clothes on their backs I would welcome them because of what they would bring and contribute to the survival atmosphere. It is possible for me to feed two more mouths without taking the food out of my family’s mouths. I can also get them geared up with everything they’d need to help in our overall survival, too.

The sad fact is, no one can feed everyone who comes to their door. You just can’t stock up enough food for everyone. It’s as simple as that.

I hope this article helps some of our readers who are looking for a direction to take in their preps and survival. It’s not a game! Take it seriously, and make several plans. If you don’t plan, you will fail, so have more than one plan. Not everyone can live out in the boonies like we do. We are blessed that we found this place, and it “only” took us 27 years or so to find just the right spot to wait out whatever may come our way.

God Bless!


  1. Very good article. You covered everything. I’m in agreement with all. The sad part is that those people that don’t prepare will lay in ambush in the mountains and be a real problem. They will be very ruthless, thinking they have to feed their family or die trying. We know how that story ends. Sad. Pray it doesn’t happen.

  2. Thank you for this article! So informative! I would be interested in knowing more about other possibilities other than meds for blood pressure that could be used. Herbs?…not sure.

    1. Replying to Debbie: I’m far from expert in herbal or alternative medicines, but there is one I’ve tried with considerable success. I’ve been taking hawthorn — 250mg hawthorn extract, available from Swanson, 2x/day — and have been able to cut my prescription BP med in half. And it’s comparatively cheap. Results will depend on your own condition, of course, and experimenting with something like this should be done very carefully, preferably with advice and monitoring by your physician.

      And, as SHTF preparation, it’s cheap enough to stock up on for extended periods. It may not be a cure-all, but is far better than nothing when pharmacies are unavailable.

    2. Hi Debbie

      I used to have so much calcium in my arteries that I could hear my carotid artery. Not fun.

      Life Extension carried an article about Vitamin K, which removes calcium from the arteries, and puts it back into the bones. K is a multi in itself, and Life Extension carries a K with all subtypes.

      I tried it. My carotid arteries are now silent. When I finally went back to a cardiologist, he found no deposits in my arteries at all.

      No osteoporosis any more either.

  3. Good article. I also am getting older. (78) I still have my bug out bag in my car but bugging out is probably not an option for me at this stage. If I am caught away from home when the SHTF maybe I can make it home. I will certainly give it my best try. I still read this blog every day.

  4. To Debbie,
    If your high blood pressure is from calcium deposits in your arteries and their resultant loss of elasticity, then EDTA (calcium disodium ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid), a chelating agent designed to remove certain trace minerals might help. It is non toxic and removes the crud in the circulatory system that helps heart surgeons make a living. It is safe enough to be used on babies and available without prescription from 800-437-4148.

  5. It’s nice to see a realistic approach to the possibility of SHTF- starting to prep tomorrow is too late, and showing up at my door with nothing to contribute will get you nothing more than a hot meal, a night’s rest, and a handshake on the way back out the door. My family and close tribe have primacy in my plans. I will be doing a similar thing as you Pat- I plan on providing med care for barter and will do my Christian duty to heal others so they can rejoin the fight; it won’t be for free though. I am just a few miles away from you, so perhaps our paths may indeed cross, God-willing it will be for coffee and not for sutures!
    Semper Fi

  6. You forgot the most important item in the BOB bag; A SMALL KING JAMES BIBLE (Gideon gives out a small bright orange KJV New Testament with the Psalms and Proverbs). If you ALWAYS remember the Lord, He will ALWAYS remember YOU and help YOU now, and forever!

  7. If you have the Word in your heart and your head, where it should be, a printed Bible is not a necessity. That said, it sure makes good reading material and doesn’t weigh a lot. One can read that Book every day for life and never come away without learning something.

    1. “can anyone tell me how to purchase a year’s worth of bp meds?”

      if they’re not “controlled substances” you can just up and buy them. you’ll have to pay full price, but most of them seem to be fairly reasonable.

      1. Buying art Wal-Mart (which I generally avoid) DOES make sense for common prescription meds. They often have deep discounts available, to encourage customers to visit their stores often. Many blood pressure medicines like Lisinopril are on that list. That could save you as much as 75%, which is important if you are paying cash, rather than begging your insurance company for the funds.

  8. Dear Ken,

    Regarding large-scale prescription drug purchases, in most states there is no limitation on how much your doctor can prescribe, IF the medication is not a controlled substance (opioid pain meds, Valium-like anxiety meds, etc. – ask any pharmacist). Blood pressure meds don’t fall into this “controlled substance” category, so usually, the problem with buying more than 1 month supply is related to, 1) your doc wanting to follow up more often than annually, 2) the cost of purchase (this includes insurance plans that won’t pay for more than 30 – 90 day’s supply), and 3) some big drug store chains have internal policies against multiple month Rx fills.

    So…here are a few suggestions to mitigate these possible roadblocks:
    1) If you have a good relationship with your doctor, just be honest. Tell him/her that you would feel more secure with some backup – promise to still come see him/her as they think best
    serves your condition. Most docs I know wouldn’t have a problem with your request.
    2) There are MANY blood pressure meds that are available generically and cost very little money, even without insurance involvement. Check out the Walmart $4 prescription list to get an idea of which products are available. After more than 30 years of hospital pharmacy practice, I really believe that 90% of patients could be controlled on generic blood pressure meds if an interested, competent practitioner worked with them. Big Pharma puts lots of pressure on docs to prescribe the very expensive, name-brand only meds, but many other options exist – it just requires working up the right combination and dose. So…talk with your doc about getting onto affordable generically-available meds, and don’t worry about insurance limitations. A year’s supply of many 2-3 med regimens can be bought for less than $ 100 cash.
    3) Develop a relationship with a good independent pharmacist. Even if your insurance requires you to use a big chain or mail order, try to give some business to your local independent. They are MUCH more likely to help you out with things like this, and aren’t bound by volumes of customer no-service policies!

    For example, if your BP can be controlled on metoprolol tartrate 25mg twice daily and hydrochlorothiazine 25 mg once daily (common brandnames: Lopressor and Hydrodiuril), a year’s supply can be had at Walmart (and most independent pharmacies) for $80 cash. If you can be controlled on lisinopril 20mg and hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg daily – a combination product exists (common brandname: Prinzide or Zestoretic) and a year’s supply is only $40 cash!

    Of course, some BP is very hard to control (especially in chronic kidney disease), and requires multiple agents – still, it is rare that a super-expensive name-brand product MUST be used.

    And finally, as a medical practitioner I must say: Weight control, exercise, and a low-fat, low-sodium diet can make many blood pressure meds unnecessary, which is the best of all worlds!

    Hope this helps!

    1. Ken, I certainly concur with all th doc above stated. I’ll add that if you are close to our southern border with Mexico you should check out the pharmacies there. Many medications that require a prescription here are available over the counter in Mexico. As far as going through customs it isn’t like you are trying to smuggle opiates if they find a large bottle of beta-blockers in your possession.

      An on line search might be helpful before taking a trip. As far as counterfeit medications go there is always a risk anywhere in the world. However a lot of the medications we purchase in pharmacies in the states are sourced from inspected pharmaceutical manufacturers in Mexico. Just like most other places, labor is much cheaper.

    2. Yes since starting intermittent fasting and a low carb diet I’m down 30 lbs in 4 months. No surprise my BP (and blood sugar) is much better as well.

  9. Have a look at the book by My Mr. Cascio’s late friend Chris Janowsky I have not read it but it is on my to buy list.
    Survival: A Manual That Could Save Your Life (Survival Skills)1 Mar 1989
    by Chris Janowsky and Gretchen Granowsky

  10. I would like to add something about what the writer said about handing out cases of top ramen to starving people who are in serious need. I had a discussion with a Christian man who posed this same scenario. No Christian wants to send away a family, including possibly children, without helping. We agreed that preppers should have a supply of inexpensive canned dog food. It will sustain life, will last forever, and will encourage the people in need will not come back. Instead they will look elsewhere for more palatable food – like ramen. Dog food will sustain human life. The thing one must say, however, is something like, “This is what we have. You’re welcome to share.”

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