I've used my BOB when our neighborhood was evacuated due to an armed stand-off that took many hours to resolve, when the spouse had a heart attack and ended up in the hospital for a week, when I met a buddy in a city three hours from my home and decided to get a hotel overnight instead of driving back late at night...the possibilities are endless for the usefulness of your BOB. I've also seen people evacuated due to wildfires/hurricanes/tornadoes with very little notice. If they had a bag packed, they were far and away more prepared than people who got the evacuation notice and ended up in a panic because they didn't know what to take and what to leave behind.
The basic premise of putting your BOB together is to determine what you would need if you had five minutes to grab your bag and go for an undetermined amount of time. What kind of stuff would you need? Since I generally plan on getting a hotel in most instances when I can't return home, my BOB is pretty much an overnight bag. I have separate gear for backpacking which I would take in the event that I was heading out to the wilderness for an undetermined amount of time.
The contents of your BOB should include:
- EDC bag (it goes with you everywhere)
- A bag. I prefer a 35l backpack, others prefer a duffel bag or even a suitcase.
- Tech. Laptop and charger, a mini travel mouse, extra batteries for the mouse, a power pack and on-ear headphones. Note, your cell and charger should be in your EDC bag.
- Clothing. Besides what you are wearing, pack a complete change of clothing which can be layered, a pair of flip flops, hat, gloves, poncho, rain gear, puffy jacket, buff, etc.
- Water and food. A couple bottle of water in addition to enough food to last your for a few days to a week should be included in your BOB.
- Toiletries. Include a basic toiletries kit which includes: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mirror, comb, soap, deodorant, razor, tweezers, nail clippers, nail file, and Vaseline.
- Fix it kit. This should include sewing kit, folding scissors, zipties, rubberbands, and duct tape.
- Medical kit. It should include bandaids, alcohol wipes, antibiotic ointment, moleskin, benadryl, acidophilous, aspirin, Tylenol, opiod pain killer tabs, Super Glue, gauze pads, medical tape, condom, Ace bandage, Thera Flu, and Quick Clot. Also include extra prescription meds, feminine hygiene products, make up, an Epi Pen, glucose tabs, glasses, and hearing aids/batteries, etc.
- Wilderness emergency packet including sunscreen, matches, lighter, paracord, emergency blanket, compass, whistle, magnifying glass, electrolyte tabs, water purification tabs, bandanna.
- Other backpacking gear. For an extended outdoor trip pack a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent, tent footprint, stove and fuel, toilet paper, bear spray, bug spray, trowel, GPS, maps, headlamp/batteries, water filter system, mess kit/spork, Bonners soap, trekking poles, ziploc bags, pack rain cover.
- General travel items. These include: air/bus/train tickets, passport/visas, an unlocked cellphone, extra memory cards, power adapter, and cash.
- Depending on the situation you may want to add a concealed pistol, holster, spare magazine, box of ammo.