A bug out bag that is constantly in use…looking for organization tips

Hello, I am new here.  Hopefully I can organize my thoughts well.  I live in California and have a bag that reflects that, but I also carry it when we travel.  We are divers and travel to, shall we say, many destinations that are not exactly developed, usually in Asia and the South Pacific.  So I have a bag that is very overbuilt with regard to specialized first aid (I carry liquid prednisone and tons of things for respiratory illness because my son is a severe asthmatic and tons of things for emergencies when diving), as well as water filtration (we’ve visited a few islands where the water isn’t safe to drink). We take about three fairly long overseas trips per year.  

I also carry a fairly robust hygiene kit and my own 2p big Agnes tent and a bivy for when that tool shed of an airport in Fiji cancels our flight and we are stuck overnight (We have slept in a tent in a terminal in the Bangkok airport) I’m also taking the bag on 5-15 flights per trip where I have to remove all of the tools and some liquids and place them in my checked bag.

 I’m thinking about just taking all of the disparate items I can’t take in a carry on, like my knife, multi tool, handsaw and liquids and placing them in their own ziploc I can just place in my checked luggage (which means they’d be in their own ziplock in the emergency bag I guess?).  I also don’t necessarily need all of the first aid items I’d carry on a dive trip in my bag at home when we go in our RV.  

does anyone have a good system for rotating items in and out as needed?  I’m afraid an emergency will occur at home and I’ll be stuck without my knife or my gravity bag. 


  • Comments (7)

    • 5

      Welcome to the forum, Frenchie.  This is a great website.  As long as the pants aren’t the French Foreign Legion’s go-go shorts, the jokes will be minimal to none.

      My system uses carnet shipments. Everything doesn’t travel on my person or checked luggage. Unless corporate-funded, most private citizen preppers cannot have a quality system. 

      A seperate diving kit is required independent of the BOB. I used to dive to check some offshore oil rigs (am retired now) and can guess what you’re carrying. Your family medical kit – it’s more than first aid with the RX medicines also for son – requires much review.  Consider traveling with double the trip anticipated needs and additional supplies arranged for at destination(s).

      My personal opinion; Never carry a knife and large,sophisticate multitool on person to the airport. Ditto: non-emergency liquids like RX medicines. If aforesaid not appropriate for checked luggage carriage, reevaluate your assignment and needs.  Other arrangements can be considered. In the oil exploration industry, besides customehouse clearances, also had to arrange and contract for medical/dental care at destinations. It is done often enough but usually not by a private citizen without sponsorship.

      Fiji is not the worst.  Chittagong, Bangladesh is.

      Your thoughts are organized. It’s CCC that’s not well-organized. Customs clearances remain a headache for business. 

      The French Pacific closed down in 2000 when UTA French Airlines was diseastablished. 

      Thank you for generating memories – some fond; some not – of my work assignments.

      All the best re your son’s health.

      Again, welcome to forum.

      • 4

        I have a French bulldog named “Pants”. 🙂 closest I’ve been to Bangladesh is Sri Lanka.  

    • 9

      I have family members that have medical conditions that require them to carry medical equipment on board with them. If you say that a bag is for medical, they will let you carry it on with no other questions asked. Don’t have your knife or multitool in that same bag, but those liquids for medical conditions should be safe to bring in your carry on if need to.

      If I was in your situation, I would place all my non-TSA approved items in a small pouch like an IFAK tactical pouch. Have this easily accessible in your BOB, and just pull that out and place in your checked baggage when you need to travel. As soon as you unpack your check bag, place it back in your BOB. Make it easy on yourself, so you know that once you take that little pouch out, everything in your BOB will be TSA compliant and there won’t be an issue.

      • 7

        Yes this was kind of my thinking.  Thank you!  

      • 6

        I applaud you for carrying a BOB around with you on your trips. That is something I need to work on, I take few if any preparedness items with me on my vacations.

        While I think that Robert’s suggestion above is a good idea if you want to carry those items around with you, I might not want to carry them just for my sanity of taking them in and out constantly if I went on 5-15 flights every trip like you do. I might look into replacing or omitting some of those items in your BOB when you are on vacation, you still will be more prepared than most, and that is still great. But by all means, if you want to carry everything with you wherever you go, that is great!

        For example you could maybe replace your multitool with something like the leatherman style while on vacation. While it doesn’t have a knife, it does have many things that you might need like pliers, scissors, screw driver, and more and is TSA compliant. 

      • 6

        Thats actually not a bad idea.  My husband has to carry a dive knife so we do always have a knife but the multi tool is heavy and also has to be placed in the dive bag.  

    • 5

      I often mailed important prep gear in advance of my travel and collect it from the Post restante or the hotel, or a friends home on arrival.