How do you prevent your BOB from getting stolen?

In a recent discussion of emergency cash on this forum, it was mentioned that burglars often grab things they can go through later. E.g. backpacks. That started me thinking about my BOB, which is very prominently displayed in my not very large living room. It’s there because I want to be able to grab it and go if I need to, but that also makes it excellent fodder for anyone who might break into my house. Of course I realize that the best remedy for this is to harden the perimeter to our houses, but still…. I’ve put quite a bit of money into my BOB, and I would hate it if all that got stolen.


  • Comments (31)

    • 3
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      • 3

        Very interesting. Unfortunately, I don’t really have anything in my living room to which I could chain my BOB. Which also makes me realize that the other very valuable thing I have in my living room is a $3000 GoalZero solar generator. I didn’t buy it — the local power company gave it to me! But it’s probably the most expensive thing I own. It sits right next to the BOB, which is very convenient for usage. Don’t know what a burglar would think of a 70 lb box with outlets sitting on a dolly.

      • 1

        Then have a shackle fitted discreatly to the wall or floor to secure your valuable to.

      • 2

        Wouldn’t be chaining your BOB defeat the purpose of having it at the ready?

      • 1

        Not really, a few seconds to put in the code number, or less if you have a thumb print opening lock, its better and quicker than going into the back of a cupboard or running upstairs to retrieve your BOB.  Many folks only have their Bags PART ready, IE the universal items of kit are prepacked, but the rations, water, seasonal clothing and often firearms etc are selected just before leaving.

      • 2

        I wouldn’t trust myself to not fumble while trying to open a lock in a panic 😉

      • 1

        Then think Cammouflage if a lock is going to delay you to much, look at the trash back cammo I refer to further down the page.

    • 4

      Good morning Jonnie,

      With a somewhat required preface that a large BOB looking like something used for working a climbing expedition on K2 and Mt Everest, … think valuable and costly stuff … is a criminal magnet …

      Consider using deceptive means.  My cargo vests over field jackets … one is not a jacket but something else … draped on bsck of 2 front seats in truck … have a black logo and lettering on red plastic bag labeled “medical waste”.  I;m aware many do not know English and many cannot read … 

      Just present idea of deceptive means when security choices are limited.

      If your BOB is in small living room, consider placing a card table over it and perhaps putting BOB in a cardboard box. You can pre-cut sides of bag and reglue with something that won’t hold up when grabbling bag for emergency evac.

      Time for a game of cannister.

      No Russian roulette !!!

      • 2

        My VAN kit is well hidden under the seating unit inside the van in a lockable metal box. But my wife has an Estate (Station wagon) so her kit is concealled in the luggage area covered by selected and cleaned garbage , like fast food wrappers, pizza box, etc as a rather efficient form of cammouflage.

    • 2

      Good food for thought, Jonnie. I keep my BOB next to the doors that lead to the garage, where we keep shoes and hang jackets, and, although it is not concealed, it doesn’t feel too obvious when you walk around the house. But to be honest, I’ve never worried about the potential for a burglar to break in and steal my bag. I don’t know if it’s because a) burglary in my neighborhood is not an issue b) I have an alarm system set up so I feel even more protected c)  I percieve the odds of someone breaking in and steal the BOB as low (there are so many more shiny things that someone could grab in a hurry).

      Do you by any chance have a secondary exit where you can leave you BOB next to? Or maybe a closet next to the main door where you could hide it, while still being reachable? 

      • 3

        FYI there is a lady survivalist in London who only has one door into her apartment, she keeps her BoB in a black trash back next to the litter bin in the kitchenette which is next to the closed door. Again with selected and cleaned garbage on top of the Bob inside the trash bag. To prying eyes it just looks like she has not put her trash out.  Its her who gave me the idea to use cleaned garbage to cammouflage the back of my wifes car.

      • 3

        The garbage can disguise is a great idea!

      • 2

        Urban cammouflage rules OK

      • 2

        you can do the same thing with pet food – ice melting salt – laundry detergent – anything loose fill that would be common to a kitchen, laundry room, near the rear door …

      • 1

        Good morning Illini Warrior,

        Speaking of ice melting salt bags, … had already mentioned inside truck cab I use medical logo waste bags, in section of truck’s cargo bed next to tailgate, … where visible to prying eyes whn stopping at some place on toute plans for something, I use some cleaned out well house salt bags.  They are thick – Don’t kniw the mil width but a boag holds 40 pounds of salt pellets – In washed-out bags with top still having handle portion, I keep some tools.  Am not going to advertise to prying eyes that the crash axe and battery jumper contraption is in a container labeled “portyable expensive stuff here in wheeled toolbox.

        Morton well house reservoir salt (“When it rains, it pours.”) now has a competitor. Walmart has it.  Don’t know if same type of pellets but this bag has handles on both sides of bag. The rest involves thinking. 

    • 2

      Good morning Jonnie,

      Preventing theft of something in one’s apartment is one of the less difficult preparedness assignments.

      This leads me to ask WHAT is in your BOB ? Unless you’ve packed the silk drapes and some velvet pillow from the old country, something’s amiss in the initial question.

      Please do clarify. This matter is solvable with nil costs.

      • 3

        Well, Bob, what I keep in my BOB pretty much follows TP guidelines. It does add up and is not cheap on my level of income.

      • 3

        Good morning Jonnie,

        Now you know why I push for preppers to have, at least, some small group. There will be ready solutions when seeing the BOB.

        For me on the oposite coast, my view is to use an assortment of ideas presented in this thread.

        Go to Dollar General or similiar type of store and get a garbage can just large enough to hold BOB, BOB will already be placed in some sort of salt bag. Go to Dollar Tree (least expensive of these stores, at least here) and get a small dish washing basin.  This will go over the packed BOB in salt bag.  Place some paper garbage (Clean!) in it. Everythime leaving apt, spray a disinfectant on the paper and then close the garbage can.

        I understand and appreciate watching costs for all this stuff.

        Nothing can be 100% prevented from theft. Otherwise insurance companies would rate risks and price accordingly.

        Now if I used any chain for security … the bottom of the garbage can would have a marine/boat battery rigged to the chain. A virtual class on voltage shocks available for criminals. Won’t consider amps.  My humanitaranism frowns on this coupled to the maintaince needed to maintain this type of security. 

        Do remember that the security must also be maintained for an evacuation. Evacs approximate funnel loops.  You’ll be comingled with church crown, biker crown, soccer mom crowd, thieves as many as can be found in California. In my truck is a spray bottle of pine oil.  I do not waste money.

    • 2

      Another key tip is to ensure you have insurance. It is still a complete pain to be “burgled” (is that even a word?) but if it happens and you have insurance, at least you get to replace everything with far less financial pain. Naturally it’s best to avoid having it happen, but if it happens anyway, remember that financial preparedness is a key part of overall preparedness, and financial preparedness includes comprehensive insurance. 

      • 2

        Good morning M.E.,

        Perfect point being made.

        Much of my working career in overseas oil industry involved insurance.

        I go one step further. I do not use “peer-reviewed” material for my decision-making.  I use what is called an indirect method, insurance reports.

        This industry, founded in modern times at Ed Lloyd’s coffee shop in London, tells of what society pays money for and what money is delivered to thoses with insurance contracts.

        Ed’s coffee shop – no Starbucks – now known worldwide as “Lloyd’s of London”. 

        For those liking to read up on background, highly recommend:

        “Against The Gods-The Remarkable Story of Risk” by Peter L. Bernstein.  The cover of book has picture of Rembrant’s “Storm on the Sea of Galilee”.

        I am now in the mood for another coffee – actually an espresso – and thinking of my risks here – based on insurance availability and costs. So far: OK. 

        Again; M.E. a great and timely post that answers most unknowns !

      • 2

        Burgled totally is a word! And good tip on having insurance, even renter’s insurance will cover a stolen or damaged BOB, even if you are not at home when it happens. But you need to document what is in there, how much everything is worth, and be ready to pay your deductible. 

    • 3

      A follow up re Jonnie’s initial question;

      Like SCUBA diving, never dive alone. 

      Consider planning for evacuations requiring one to never evac alone … trying to get preparedness plans to allow for this.

      Remember the emergency event about 20 years ago involving Aron Ralson ?  He self-amputated part of his arm when it got pinned between the rocky terraine and a loose boulder that rolled onto arm.

      He was knowledgeable on hiking, climbing, etc.

      He was alone.

      Work on “best practices”.  There will be enough instances in life when obliged to do otherwise.

      • 2

        Good morning Bob. 

        It is very important to never go alone. Evacuating or a simple day hike. Things happen to even the most trained of us like you mentioned, and the consequence can be devastating like Aron experienced and now is a missing arm now. 

        If you must go do something alone, make sure you leave good communication and notes with others on what, where, and how you are doing. So if you don’t show up at the end of the day, they know where to come rescue you from. Leaving good plans is still something I need to work on. Even if it’s a road trip to visit family, I usually will just say which day I’ll be arriving, but not which road I will take, which vehicle I’ll be in, what time I am estimated to be there, checking in with an update on my location when I stop for fuel, and things like that. I need to practice what I preach and work better on that right!?

        One of the first things someone needs to do, to be better at this, is to feel valued and cared for from others. If you are struggling with low self esteem or value in life, then you won’t as easily reach out to loved ones and tell them your plans because why would they worry about you if you told them? But they do! There are people out there that would be very sad if you went missing or died, so identify those people in your life, and show them the same love and care back that you would like from them. Everyone needs to feel loved and wanted, not just for the best of times, but it could be the one thing that gives you or them strength to get through a difficult survival situation.

        Sending my best love and wishes to you all!

      • 3

        Good morning Alisa,

        Thank you.

        All the help in explaining this stuff needed.

        We must get the national population out of the “In case of emergency call 9-11”.

      • 2

        Katrina, Andrew, Ida etc first thing to go was the 911 service.

      • 7

        Actual incident of a burgled bag – my backpack equipped for response to mountain rescues, kept on the front seat of my truck.  One fine day, it was gone – completely. 

        Fortunately , my home owner’s insurance covered the loss.  I gave an inventory of the contents and started replacing the equipment, upgrading and updating my gear where necessary.

        Later, i learned that the insurance adjuster had inquired of my local climbing shop (where I was a very regular customer) – “Did he really have all that stuff in his bag?”  Answer – “he really did”…..

        Contents were harness, climbing helmet, 100’of climbing rope and related items, alcohol stove and food and drink for about 48 hours unsupported, clothing adequate for seasonal conditions, bivvy sack, (sleeping bag sometimes).  Total weight -around 45 pounds

        This bag was set for grab and go situations, somewhat like you might need in a BOB.  I almost always had time to adjust/augment or fine tune the contents, even in emergency situations.  The bag served me well in both hot desert and sub zero mountain operations – I usually adjusted contents with the changing seasons.  During summers in Tucson the ag closely resembled what a colleague described as “a giant water bottle.”

        Insurance is worthwhile….

      • 3

        😲 I bet that was a frustrating day, but good to hear that your insurance kicked in. 

        I’m still trying to weigh the pros and cons of filing an insurance claim. I lost some electronics due to a power surge and got them replaced. I was happy until I tried shopping around for insurance rates a year or two after and couldn’t find a better deal because all the other insurance companies saw that I had a claim and raised their prices accordingly. They said it would stay on my record for a few years and then it would fall off and I could then get a quote from them at a cheaper rate. 

      • 2

        It’s a tough call. I’ve had to file two insurance claims, both for amounts far above what I could possibly have paid out of pocket (which is why insurance is needed!) For small claims that I could have paid out of pocket I would recommend not raising your insurance rates by filing a claim.  

        It would actually be interesting for The Prepared to write an article about “How to prepare for a burglary!” Because how the heck was I supposed to know that fingerprint powder does significant damage to carpets and furniture? And how to get it out? Or how to find a contractor in the middle of the night to board up the house when burglars broke down the door?

        For all of you about to weigh in about alarm systems – according to the cops burglars have it down to a science. They know exactly how much time they have to clean out the house and get away before the cops can arrive from the activated alarm. They were VERY efficient and though they didn’t actually get a whole lot of valuables, they did a lot of expensive damage in a short period of time. It was actually a good thing. I am no longer afraid of being burgled. I was burgled, and it was fine (because insurance), and life moves on.  

      • 3

        Thank you for the suggestion M.E. Another thing that could be included in that article would be how to file a police report (what to say, what not to say, how to know what was stolen, and how to properly document and report that to the officer and insurance company, …) 

        We have thoroughly covered how to harden your home before the break in and burglary occurs, but it doesn’t mean you are invincible and it won’t happen, so having some content on here about what to do after the fact is a good idea.

        Feel free to start a new forum topic about this and people will probably pitch in their ideas and experiences to get the ball rolling on having that content on here.

        Here’s some of the ways to harden your home:

      • 2

        Good evening Hikermor,

        Real good information especially with insurance explaination.

        I do ask to comment on something indirectly related.

        Great, high quality narratives written here at 84 years old !  Am  wondering what Department of the Interior gives out for trail mix.

        A decade younger and I have difficulty with subject, predicate agreements, am omitting words and phrases, sometimes do not complete word.

        Maybe more outdoor work instead of inside oil rigs and boats would have helped me.

        Unless it’s just me ……. 

    • 4

      Instead of leaving your bag next to your window Jonnie Pekelny, you could get a plant stand or table and put the bag under there with a decorative table cloth covering it up. Then you can just reach in and pull out your bag but it will be out of sight 👀.