My BOB really needs some work…

Oh boy… where to start?

The quick lesson of this forum post is to check your preps. And here is why I say that:

About 3 or 4 years ago I decided to make a BOB. I didn’t have much of a budget to put towards it, so I just used things that I had laying around the house and bought a few smaller items. And for the past few years I told myself “You have your BOB, you are prepared in that area and you don’t have to worry about that anymore.”

I finally knew that something was wrong though when I went to go lift the bag and seriously couldn’t lift it. (I am in a wheelchair, and can’t lift too much like a normal person could, but still it was very heavy) And there isn’t much of a point having a bug out bag if you can’t even carry it. So I decided to record a video of me going through my BOB like a time capsule, not knowing what I would find.


My prepping knowledge has increased significantly in the past few years, especially thanks to The Prepared, so I knew what to look out for as I went through my old bag. Here is a summary of what I discovered about myself while going through my BOB in case you don’t want to watch the video:

  • I had one bag full of all the items for my wife and I. This is something I want to change and make two separate smaller BOB’s for each of us. Distribute the load, and if we ever got separated, we could survive on our own.
  • Back when I built this bag, I kind of just threw old camping gear, extra things I had laying around, bulk first aid items, and old EDC things that I had since found better replacements for. This really is a budget bag and I spent so little on it. I guess I should go easy on myself because I did pretty good with being resourceful and making a step in the direction of making a BOB is better than not having one at all.
  • I really lacked in some areas such as fire making, light sources, and tools such as knives, saws, and multitools.
  • I had a bit too much in some areas such as just throwing all of my extra Mylar blankets in the BOB, and having quite a lot of first aid gear.
  • Some items I just didn’t really need. While they would be nice, they are taking up valuable room and weight. Like the notebook, pen, and pencil.
  • While better than nothing, some of the items really are horrible for a survival situation and should be replaced. Like my all cotton extra pair of jeans, t-shirt, underwear, and socks. These won’t give me much protection and help.
  • I need to think about the most likely scenario for my bugging out. Will I bug out to the woods and camp and make fires? or will I bug out to a hotel and the fire making stuff will be pretty useless? I need to tailor my new BOB a bit more to what I think I will be doing.
  • In the video I say that I want to split the one big bag into two smaller backpacks that I had just laying around. While I still want to do this, the two smaller backpacks that I show in the video are way too small and couldn’t hold the minimal gear I was putting into them. So I need to invest in a slightly larger and better bag.

Here are some things that 4 year ago me did pretty good at:

  • I still like categorizing my things into gallon ziploc bags. So I just need to reach in for the first aid bag, or the shelter bag.
  • I liked how resourceful I was by using things around the house like free sample shampoo in my toiletries kit, but probably should invest in other items not likely to burst in the bag.

So I’m going to add a goal this year to improve my BOB. I want to make it more balanced. Weight, size, quality of items, and making sure each category is covered not too much or too little.
I will do an update as I make a new one and will present it in a very nice kit using The Prepared’s kit builder. But for now, I need to go back to square one and really work on figuring out what I want in there, and how to do it.

So what do you think? What would you rate my BOB? I give it a 4/10, better than nothing, but lots of room for improvement. 

What are some items you recommend? Have you taken a look at your BOB recently? I think you probably should…


  • Comments (6)

    • 7

      Ha— thanks for making a video of this process, Gideon, I enjoyed it, related to it, and learned some stuff, too.

      What I found relatable: If I had filmed myself going through the car kit and BOB that I put together for my mom like ~7-8 years ago (which I did a few weeks ago when I was bubbling with her for the holidays), the video would have been similar: There were duplicates or even triplicates of a lot of items, choices that made me go “What was I thinking?”, expired items, and missing categories.

      What I learned:

      • That clothing roll! What a good idea! I don’t know if my fleece hoodie will fit in my socks, but I might give it a try. I’ve also been thinking about getting a set of those vacuum sealing bags (the kind with a one-way valve that don’t require a vacuum or vacuum sealer) to compress my clothes a bit better.
      • I also like the idea of using those larger Ziplocs to sort things by category. I use Ziploc sandwich bags for a lot of things as it is— one for fire, one for water, one for phone charging stuff— but getting larger sizes could be a good idea for some applications.
      • Current Gideon’s discipline re: pack weight is something I could emulate— and, in fact, already have! I happened to have received my January prep order from Amazon today, so I watched your video while adding my new items to my BOB, and I realized that I had a full pack of zipties in there, too. (Why?) I kept 8 and put the remainder in my car, consistent with when/where I’ve actually needed zipties in the past. I also removed the cheap trash bags I had in there from before I ordered contractor bags (I don’t need both), and replaced the silicone dog food and water bowls with a waterproof squishable codura bowl that (get this!) fits in the dog’s BOB. The silicone bowls went in the trunk of my car for use at the beach (where my poor guy gets a frothy mouth from exerting himself and I never seem to have anything to give him water from).

      Feedback/suggestions: Is the battery pack charged? Does it hold a charge well? How do you plan to remind yourself to recharge it? (I have trouble with this.) Also, rather than waiting until you have upgraded your BOB(s) to show them off on Kit Builder, why not use Kit Builder to show your plan for the upgraded BOB? My BOB on Kit Builder isn’t finished. I use the “price” function to distinguish between items I’ve got (no price) and items still to be purchased (priced), which shows me how much more money I have to spend (and by extension, how many more months of prep buys!) before I’m “done.” But you could also just put asterisks next to unpurchased items in the titles or something. Just an idea— no need to take my advice!

      Finally, I love that you caught yourself double-dipping with the fire stuff. 😀

      Thanks for sharing!!

      • 7

        I’m glad that you enjoyed the video! Thank you as well for sharing your experience. I’m glad that I wasn’t the only one that had some issues with a previous bag.

        Excellent idea to use the kit builder to make my dream bag and help me to budget and plan what to buy. I’ll definitely  be doing that. 

        That battery pack was completely empty! I do need to set a calendar reminder to top it off every 6 months or so. I could use that solar panel to charge it, but still would be better to have it charged and ready.

    • 6


      Head Notes:

      HN1:  Just about everyone’s BOB needs some work.

      HN2:  You’re just as normal as the rest.  If I took you to some of my vet meetings, you’d wonder how these folks got to bldg and returning home.

      Recommend prep for realistic WORST CASE scenarios. Colorado winters and cotton don’t work. Yes:  seperate BOBs for Madam and you.

      There is/was a US Army issued nylon duffel bag w/ shoulder straps. It meets the basic purpose of the expensive back packs.  I’m sure the web has various copies of the Army bag.  The thrift stores have them showing up. Don’t know costs.

      Walmart-as an example; not promoting place – sells some combination fire-making products. It’s really about a lighter or waterproof matches and packaged kindling.

      Hotels, motels, college dorms, are usually reserved for emergency responder personnel and critical infrastructure personnel.  The public sector’s emergency shelter … cots on the gym flood … are on hold, at least in many places … due the pandemic. I can’t provide clearer info because I also don’t have land evac arrangements.  

      A decent multitool replaces the need for a knife and a saw. Review your first aid / medical kit. It’s for both of you; not others.  Consider having the OTC creams, ointments, powders.

      Pen AND pencil ?  Load the best for adverse conditions.  5-10 index cards or end of a pack of long axis stick-ons … not enough to write a novel but can exceed requirements.

      In reply; Save funds on backpack and get for Madam and you all wool sock hats and hard hats. On helmet add a light and attach a whistle.

      Yes, looked at my BOB – daily.  Most of my “real” survival loadout for a land evac is in cargo vests and pouches on load-bearing suspenders.

      Feet Notes:

      FN1: I do carry the smallest Grundig AM-FM-SW radio because of habit.

      FN 2:  Madam treats me like a pack mule. I have a shopping basket ready for the extra stuff.

      • 7

        Great suggestions Bob! I do want a smaller AM/FM/Weather radio. The Prepared just released a great article about them, so I need to look into one. You should comment on the article about your Grundig radio, maybe the writer didn’t know about that brand and will add it to the article after your suggestion.

        And YES! I do need to get some non-cotton clothes for my BOB. Wool, polyester, and other synthetics would be a much better choice.

    • 10

      Your BOB is still better than 90% of the population’s, that is because 90% of people probably don’t have a BOB. 

      So good on ya for doing something and being a bit more prepared than most. 

      You’ll probably get into that top 1-2% easily with just a bit more work.

      • 3

        Thanks Conrad! I appreciate your upbeat and uplifting support! I GOT THIS!