Airport BOB, by T.H.

I agree that flying is a huge loss of rights, but I can’t afford not to fly.  I’m a college student getting ready to graduate, so I’m busy trying to find a job.  For an interview, I was flown to Dallas the same day they were setting records for snowfall.  As my flight had a connecting leg, home/Denver/Dallas, there was a distinct possibility of getting stuck in Denver and not being able to get to my interview hotel.  These flights were a great and so far safe/easy dry run.  All of this led me to really think about what would I need if something were to happen.  First, I have to define something happening:  I define something happening as a delayed or canceled flight, think 9/11, DC blizzards, Snowmageddon, et cetera, not necessarily a collapse but more of a large inconvenience.  I think that things will degrade worse before a collapse;  a cautious and minimal flying approach will continue to be employed.  If you think that a collapse will happen during your trip, then I wouldn’t travel.  That must be your informed, calculated call as you would be at a serious disadvantage.

Making a BOB for the airport has some very non-beneficial considerations that must be addressed:  No knives, no firearms, nothing but happy thoughts and sugar coated pacifiers are acceptable.  All things here are considered for a carry on bag.  My kit so far consists of a smaller bag inside of my backpack.  I would choose a sturdy pack that you would be comfortable carrying your gear back home in if you had to walk.  Make sure that it is not camouflage in any way.  Don’t go too big; otherwise, you could have problems carrying it on.  Think also about your footwear.  I like short boots in case I have to walk, and they turned out to be good for walking in the snow and would be the best for the long walk home.

Here’s what I carry in case of something happening:

  • Carry-on Bag. Currently, I own a Tom Bihn “ID” messenger bag, which is now out of production. It’s made in the USA and not tactical looking to draw attention. I’ve carried it daily for three years, and there is almost no noticeable wear.
  • LED flashlight. You should only be using LED’s (existing tactical lights excepted), due to their incredible efficiency.  Something small, requiring one or two AA or AAA batteries. Pulse width modulation (PWM) models are even more efficient.  See candle power forums for good reviews.  The two lights I have carried every day are the Fenix E12 (what I currently carry) and Fenix LD01 (now available as LD02). Having carried both for almost three years each, I am drawn more towards the E12 for the following reasons: the AA battery has three times the life of an AAA battery and they are easier to find, and the tail button. I don’t like that it doesn’t have a clip for mounting to a hat brim or collar. The LD01 is a twist on and comes with a clip; it’s great light especially for the size. A less expensive option that I have carried but not used as much is the E01 using AAA batteries and a twist on/off. I’m considering adding an LED headlamp of the same size battery.
  • Extra batteries, appropriately sized for whatever you are carrying. The #1 rule of smaller batteries, like AA and AAA, is friends don’t let friends use alkaline batteries. When alkaline batteries run out of juice, they truly do give up the ghost and corrode your nice electronic device, too. Just keep a good eye on them. I carry my spare batteries in a Storacell case. They come in various sizes and are inexpensive. These will keep your batteries from accidentally draining while they float around in your bag. For my spare batteries, I carry a fresh rechargeable to use first and a lithium. A couple of alkaline batteries would work too; just don’t let your rechargables or alkalines sit too long as spares.
  • Bic lighter. These lighters are totally legal for carry on. I just did it.  See TSA’s website of prohibited items.
  • Zip ties. Get the longer zip ties.  You may need them to fix your gear or attach something.  Additionally, you can use them to subdue whatever idiot tries to take your bird down.
  • Two pens. I carry one in my pocket (collapsable) and one in airport BOB.  This has the additional effect of keeping you from touching public use pens that were touched by the last person who wiped and didn’t wash. Stainless steel pen casings are stronger and will provide some, although minor, defensive capacity.
  • Small note book. You never know when you will need to write something down.
  • Credit card. Have at least one for possible flight changes, hotel, and chow.
  • Cash. Keep this for emergencies and chow.  Snow may knock out power, so having cash could be the difference.
  • Four or five dollars in quarters. Pay phones still exist and may need to be accessed if your cell phone gets lost or dies.  Put these in a coin roll to keep noise down and avoid having loose change all over.  Additionally, you may consider picking up a $5-10 phone card.  It will be less bulky than the coins and provide you with the ability to make more calls in case you can’t reach someone or may give you more time to talk.  Check with returning personnel that were deployed to get their phone cards as you can reload them with minor amounts instead of having to buy $20 cards.
  • Socks. Like parts for your vehicle, take care of your dogs. 
  • Undershirts. I wear outer shirts, like polos and casual button ups, for two reasons: 1) I try to always look semi-professional without standing out (hiding in plain sight). A side effect from this is that I get taken more seriously and treated better wherever I go.  You don’t want to look like riff-raff when you are trying to get something or get taken advantage of, so leave your “I’m a country bumpkin” camo flannel and torn-up/worn out favorite shirt at home.    2) I have layers.  I can change the shirt underneath if I get sweaty, and it also keeps me from having huge sweat stains.  I run hot, but you will get used to it.  It also saves me money as I can buy three undershirts for the cost of an outer shirt.  When traveling, you can pack your undershirts how ever you want and when you put it on under your outer shirt, no one will see all the wrinkles.
  • Drawers. Who doesn’t want to change their skivvies after a long day?
  • Cell phone charger. They are small enough now; why run out of battery if the power is still on?
  • Cell phone battery bank. They are small and able to charge other things. Find a way to keep it charged consistently.
  • Water bottle. I really like Klean Kanteen unpainted/uninsulated stainless steel bottles.  They have plastic lids with a carabiner loop.  If a bugout situation happens, you now have the ability to store water and heat it/melt snow without melting your bottle; try that with your plastic canteen.  Take it into the airport empty and fill it up as soon as you get through security.
  • Hygiene kit. All liquids are less than 3.5 ounces.
  • Deoderant
  • Baby wipes. I recommend buying smaller packs with plastic snap lids.  The sticker type of lid will lose stickiness quickly causing your wipes to dry out.
  • Tooth brush and paste.
  • Dental floss. This doubles as inexpensive twine.
  • Two to four quart ziploc bags. Double or triple these, and keep your hygiene gear in it.
  • Plastic grocery bag. These are to keep your used skivvies in.
  • Long sleeve shirt. Again they make layers.  I like to have something lighter than my jacket to wear.
  • Small phillips and flat screwdriver (less than 7 in). Again these are both legal for carrying on; see TSA’s website of prohibited items.  Additionally, these can be used for defense, if necessary.
  • Scissors (less than four inches from fulcrum). These provide you with the means to cut something and can be used for defense, if necessary.
  • Roll of electrical tape. This helps with the above, but also it can be useful on its own.
  • Compass. It’s a “cheap way to see if wires are conducting”.  Well, not really, but it adds a bit more credibility to your tools above if it becomes necessary.
  • Motrin and/or Tylenol. You have it stocked at home; save money by not buying it in the airport.
  • Pepto and Anti-Diarrheal. Who wants an upset tummy during the end of the world?
  • Nasal decongestant. I carry two that are still in the blister pack. I just cut each one out with enough to leave them sealed.
  • Chapstick. Airports are notorious for dry air.  I also use mine as lotion for dry spots.
  • Hand sanitizer. Use it on the area before you rub your chapstick on it.  I also keep mine handy for anytime I am going to touch my face.
  • Snacks. Carry these because the stores in the airport aren’t aware of what the rest of the world charges for the same items; bring some snacks to save yourself money for long layovers or delayed flights, et cetera.
  • Itinerary. Print this out with a list of local hotels, food joints, and taxi companies.  If something happens, when everyone else is trying to get to the courtesy phones, you will already be making reservations because you had the number handy.  Also keep a printed copy of your phone numbers and contacts.  How many of your phone numbers in your phone are backed up to where you could use them?  It is hard to contact your friends when you don’t have their number because your phone is dead.
  • Book. Have something long to read for entertainment.
  • Whistle. This can draw attention faster and from farther than many other sounds.  Having multiple witnesses could be your salvation.
  • Small first aid kit.
  • Latex/nitrile gloves
  • Emergency blanket. They are so small; just throw one in your pack.
  • Extra/optional:
    • Laptop with cord. You can learn what is going on, scout the local area, and have some entertainment with this.  Most airports charge anywhere from $3-15 for wireless Internet. 
    • Wireless network card. Avoid paying for expensive airport Internet and also have the ability to use it at home.  I’m pretty sure it only works with cell reception. Not all hotels have free wireless.
    • Blanket. If you have to sleep in the airport or while bugging out, a blanket is useful, or you could also just use your coat.
    • I recommend that you learn how to roll-pack your clothes.  My socks were laid flat and stacked.  I then rolled my undershirts around this.  Next, I rolled my slacks around this “loaf”.  After flying 1500 miles, my slacks were ready to wear right out of the pack.  You can also do this with shirts.

I realize that this kit will not be very ideal for bugging out if disaster happens, but you will be infinitely more prepared than the typical airport horde.  Additionally, I realize that it does not address bugging out issues very well either; sometimes you just don’t have a choice.  Remember that your mindset is the most important thing if a collapse happens, especially when you are traveling.

Semper Fi