Exclusive: Bug-Out-Bags

What to take when you need to move fast!

Even prior to the horrific events of 911 I’ve always made it a daily habit of keeping a well-stocked Go-Bag full of emergency gear close by when I leave the house. It also contains a twin copy of my EDC (Every Day Carry) firearm. This bag goes with me nearly everywhere. If I’m somewhere prohibiting weapons I keep it hidden and locked securely in my vehicle, along with my EDC firearm. At home I also keep a larger more elaborate bag that has everything but the kitchen-sink in it, as well as some heavier fire power, but that’s another story.

I was a Boy Scout as a kid and have since been through a few survival type situations that have helped to ingrain the Scouts motto of “Be Preparred” indelibly into my brain. Bad news has become more and more prevalent than good news lately, with no sign of things getting any better. Mother Nature has been running amok with hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, huge wildfires, floods and viruses such as the swine flu. If that’s not enough, just add in the threats of nuclear, biological and EMP terrorism to make matters even worse.

Having a compact Bug-Out-Bag with you in the event disaster strikes and you are stranded hundreds or perhaps thousands of miles from home in a hostile environment can make all the difference in getting you and your loved ones back home safe and sound. It can also serve to give one a bit more piece of mind.

bag 1

Exploded view of my Eagle Fanny Pack and the BMGB contents

bag 2

Pelican 1150 with Glock 23, 3 mags, 100 rounds ammo, Blade-Tech’s Appendix
IWB holster, Revolution Belt holster, double mag pouch and locks.

Travel Problem

The problem when traveling via the airlines is you don’t have the luxury of toting a full blown “End of the World, Zombie Slaying” B.O.B along with you. However, there is more a compact alternative I call the BMGB or Bare Minimum Go Bag. This is a small but well stocked emergency kit weighing in at 9 lbs. packed and locked securely in my checked bag after I check in at the ticket counter and go thru TSA to declare my firearm.

Before I elaborate on the BMGB, let me touch on some other crucial items I pack in my carry-on bag, which is the equivalent of what most suppliers call a 3-day pack. I’m currently testing Blade-Tech’s new SF Pack. In it I pack my laptop, prescription glasses, sunglasses, camera, medications and any other non-prohibited items I’ll need at my destination, and a high quality lightweight weather resistant fleece lined jacket, along with a tactical nylon belt and pair of Kevlar tactical gloves.

I always pack extra emergency gear such as a tactical pen, quality LED flashlight, spare batteries, pocket size emergency shelter, 25′ of paracord, TAC PAK w/Qwik Clot, small first aid kit and a mini survival kit (which includes a magnesium fire starter). I also keep water purification tablets, a spare survival straw and several protein energy bars. In the packs hydration compartment I keep an empty 100 oz. hydration bladder and some cleaning tablets, along with Camelbak “Elixir” electrolyte tabs. To round things out I also pack two styles of Blade-Tech Holsters. The first is a Kydex “IWB” inside-the-waistband” appendix carry holster and a Revolution series injection-molded belt holster with a double magazine pouch.

This gives me three carry options at my destination, IWB, Belt and Fanny Pack. With the exception of the holsters and the bladder, the above emergency gear is a duplicate set of the emergency items carried in my BMGB that’s been locked in my check bag with my firearm in case my check bag ends up MIA when I land. If I’m not wearing a pair of sturdy lightweight “GoreTex” hiking boots I’ll carry a pair in my 3-day carry on pack.

Before 9/11 when you flew with a firearm, you declared it and locked it at the check-in counter prior to boarding. Back then you didn’t have to deal with a complete TSA bag inspection. I like to call those “The Good Old Days” when you could carry a decent folding knife on a plane as long as the blade was under the 4″ mark. Knives have always been at the top of my gear list. They never run out of bullets.

bag 3

BMBG loaded and ready to go.

bag 4

Duplicate Items packed in my carry-on pack.

Post 9/11

Since that fateful day, there have been five main changes. You can no longer carry knives or similar tools of any size on planes. The prohibited carry-on items has grown much larger and now includes fluids and gels. You’re now required to go through TSA Inspection to have your bag and firearm frog-fingered before it can be locked up. You now have to go through a much more intense personal screening. Allowable weight limits have shrunk considerably making it necessary to refine the weight and contents of what you pack in your check bag, or pay through the nose.

Ever since I had bag slashed open and the valuable contents stolen some years ago, my check bag has always been a locking hard-sided case. I prefer the Hardigg Storm Case model 2720 or the slightly larger 2750. In it I pack my clothes, toiletries and my EDC firearm, a Glock 19 or 23 and three unloaded magazines and at least a 100 rounds of quality ammo that’s packed into two, tough, 50-round ammo boxes. My Glock is locked in a small Pelican 1150 case inside my checked bag. Though not fully theft-proof the locked hard-sided cases aren’t prone to being slashed open and looted as in my previous experience, and require much more effort to gain entry if locked with a couple of stout padlocks.

bag 5

Loaded fanny pack with Storm Case 2720 (Note: Glock is in Pelican 1150 case).

bag 6

Carry-on bag, Blade-Tech’s Brand New SF Pack.

The Gear

The meat and potatoes of what’s in my “BMGB” are the result of on-going refinements made over the past 11 years. Being a gear nut, like many of you, I am forever reevaluating my kit and always looking for newer, lighter more efficient products. For the actual BMGB, I use the large model “Eagle Industries Fanny Pack” with the following items carefully packed into it. With the fully loaded Glock, two magazines, knives and all of the gear listed below, it tops off at nine pounds on the money.

bag 7

Storm Case 2720 carefully packed.

bag 8

All packed and ready to go.

The List

1: Blade-Tech “Pro Hunter Magnum” Folding Knife (or equivalent) in Eagle Nylon pouch.
2: DMT “Diafold” Diamond Sharpener, Fine/Extra Fine.
3: Leatherman “Wave” Multi-tool with spare bits kit, in Eagle Nylon pouch.
4: SUREFIRE “Aviator” LED Flashlight.
5: SUREFIRE “Spares Carrier” with 4 extra lithium batteries.
6: Silva “Huntsman” Compass.
7: Emergency Shelter.
8: TAC PACK Emergency First Aid Kit w/Qwik Clot.
9: Adventure Medical first Aid Kit w/tweezers, small hemostat, sutures, painkillers, broad spectrum antibiotics and anti-diarrhea medication.
10: Adventure Medical Survival Kit w/fishing gear and snare wire.
11: Survival mirror
12: Whistle
13: Frontier Survival Straw
14: “Aquamira” Water purification tablets.
15: 50′ nylon cord
16: 6 Zip ties
17: 2 power bars
18: Firearm cleaning rod
19: Bore Snake
20: Outdoor Edge folding saw
21: Small magnifying glass
22: EXOTAC “MATCHCAP” Match Safe with 20 waterproof, windproof matches.
23: EXOTAC “nanoSTRYKER” Ferrocerium rod fire starter.
24: Mil Comm TW25B Grease for Firearm and Knife maintenance.
25: Smith & Wesson Micro 90 Weapon Light.
26: Blade-Tech “INyati” 5″ Fixed Blade Knife in Kydex sheath (or equivalent) attached to the fanny pack belt strap with a TEK-LOK.

bag 9

bag 10


When I arrive at my destination the first thing I do when I get to a place with privacy, such as rental car or hotel, I load the Glock and two magazines. The Glock goes into an Appendix carry IWB tucked securely in my waist. The two spare Glock magazines are kept in the fanny pack with the emergency gear, unless I choose to carry both the Glock and mags on the belt rigs I have in my pack. The BMGB goes into my pack, where it stays until my return flight.

Besides Eagle Industries, there are many other quality small BMGB options to choose from by companies like 5.11, Spec-Ops, Tactical Tailor, Maxpedition, S.O.TECH, CamelBak and Blackhawk — the list is endless. As far as the contents of your bag goes, that’s entirely up to you. Everyone has their own ideas of what they’ll need. If you don’t have a BMGB use this as food for thought. With domestic air travel you don’t have a lot of options unless you choose to drive instead of fly.

But at least, be prepared — even if you only have the most basic survival gear! Don’t get caught in an emergency with your pants down a thousand miles from home with only the contents of your shaving kit to get you out of a survival jam.
By Tim Wegner

Tim Wegner Founder/Blade-Tech Industries Inc. “Retired”
Top of the Food Chain Products LLC
Wegner Design & Development LLC

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