Thursday, May 14, 2015


There have been several different types of bags mentioned here and elsewhere, and I think it is time to differentiate between the types and their uses.

Since the only “one-size-fits-all” bag would barely fit onto a cargo plane, most of us have to tailor our bags for different jobs or times. For example, my vehicle bag gets a lot bulkier in the Winter because I live where it gets bitterly cold, but during the Summer it contains bug spray and other things that would otherwise freeze.

Bug Out Bag- intended to give you the bare essentials if you have to leave home in a hurry. Having somewhere to go will be the determining factor for the contents of a BOB. If you're planning on bugging out to a location fairly close to home, your BOB won't need to be as complicated as one designed to get you three states away. Evelyn talked about her BOB here

Get Home Bag- similar to a BOB, but intended to give you what you need to get home if a crisis occurs while you're away. Most GHBs are stocked for the normal commute to and from work, with additional items added for longer trips. Erin talked about her GHB bag here and here

David talked about his EDC (Every Day Carry) bag here. Having a discreet way to carry more than you can keep in your pockets comes in handy for those who deal with the public. “Don't scare the sheep” is a maxim for CCW, and it is applicable to prepping as well. A “turse” or “murse” is also a good form of OPSEC, as it conceals your possessions from prying eyes.

72 Hour Bag
This can normally be used as either a BOB or a GHB, as well as being a simple way to store 3 days' worth of supplies for you if you choose to (or have to) bug in.This is usually the "starter" bag for a prepper, with contents being modified as they learn more and refine their plans.

Blowout Bag
AKA a trauma bag, this is a well-stocked medical aid bag carried by those of us with advanced training. The contents will vary according to the level of training and budget. This should not be confused with a simple first aid kit, which is smaller and fits in BOB, GHB and EDC bags. 

Range Bag
A range bag is going to contain the stuff that you're likely to need for a trip to the shooting range. Spare parts, ammo, cleaning gear, first aid kit, and safety gear are the most common.

Go Bag
This is a philosophical issue, since a Go Bag doesn't really have much to do with preparing for most emergencies and crises. For those who anticipate the possibility of having to respond to armed conflict, a Go Bag is how they tote and store their tactical gear. Go Bag is short for “Go to war bag”, and is normally stocked with a minimum of survival gear and contains more “tactical” equipment.

The Differences
These different types of bags are designed and packed to cover different scenarios. Trying to compare two different types of bags, or critiquing a GHB as if it were a Go Bag, is a mistake. Doing so is akin to criticizing a Honda Civic because it can't tow a 52', 40,000 lb. trailer or complaining that a Freightliner semi only gets 4 MPG: different jobs require different tools.

Each type of bag is going to be packed differently, by different people, with different skill sets, for different scenarios. This makes it quite hard to go through a bag and criticize the contents in a unbiased manner. Personally, I will be glad to help a fellow prepper choose what to put in their bag, but I have to keep reminding myself that it is THEIR bag. I need to remember:
  • I may have skills that they don't (or vice versa).
  • They may live in a drastically different climate than I do.
  • They may be more concerned with a Zombie Apocalypse than a tornado.
  • Their physical condition is probably not the same as mine.
  • They're the one who is going to have to carry it, not me.
  • It's easier to dump unneeded items out of a bag than it is to find a needed item.
In the end, it's going to come down to a .45ACP vs. 9mm, Ford vs. Chevy comparison. Look around, ask around, and take all information with a grain of salt. As always, YMMV.

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