Now a days it seems there are almost as many theories on "proper" prepping as there are people walking the earth. Though most are different in one way or another they all center around the same objective… staying alive, and what works for some may not work for others. That's why many people find that as they start the journey of learning and planning their preparations their methods and priorities may change. So with that in mind, let's talk about why using a minimalist approach to your bug out bag may be better than over planning your bag. In this post we will talk about just a few of those reasons:
- Bag weight
- Ease of travel
First, let's start with what a bug out bag is designed for. I know I know most of you are think that we already know what it's for, but bare with me just in case. The typical Bug out bag or 72-hour bag is designed for just that; To carry 3 days worth of supplies. It's not meant to live out of for an extended amount of time, It's intent is to get you from where you start off to where you are going. Now let's get back to the reasons a minimalist approach might be a better approach.
The weight of a person's bug out bag is always a consideration when planning out preparations, and it would be hard to argue that in a get out fast situation that lighter is better. A lot of us have been there at one point or another, staring at our pack that's busting at the seams debating between having every item we think we may need for any scenario and the need to keep the weight down as much as possible. Let's be honest the average person isn't going to be able to tote a 40 to 50-pound pack as well as other items for long distances, so stripping that pack down to bare necessities may be the better option. If nothing else the weight of the pack would drop significantly and would still have what is needed to get us through the first three days.
One advantage of packing light is you become more maneuverable than if weighed down with a big bulky pack. In an emergency situation you never know what obstacles you may come across, so being able to adapt and achieve flexible maneuvering would be extremely important as opposed to being bulky and restricted. Let's use an example, let's say on your journey you have to weave through a parking lot full of cars to avoid contact with a group of people. Would you rather have to duck, crawl, and move with a pack that feels like a 20-pound sack of potatoes or one that feels like an 8-year-old child on your back?
Ease of Travel
How quickly you can get from point A to point B should always be a main factor in the decisions we make on what preparations to do. And realistically, considering that any number of unforeseen obstructions could face us in a bug out situation leads us to think about the ability to travel as quickly and easily as possible. So, what benefits does minimizing your pack have compared to carrying everything you may or may not need? First of all, having less optional gear and a lighter load means you can get out quicker when every minute counts, your rate of speed increases due to carrying less weight and slower fatigue, and if your planned "easy" route has to be abandoned and alternate routes utilized then if the terrain is tougher and harder to navigate than having a cumbersome will be a huge disadvantage especially to anyone with health issues or lack strength and stamina.
The effectiveness of minimizing or packing for any situation imaginable can be argued either way. But, is it really more effective to carry a loaded down pack full of little items just in case you may need them? For example, having multiple changes of clothes instead of just one, or 6 MRE pouches instead of 3 and a couple small bags of calorie supplements which are much smaller and lighter, the list can go on and on. It's hard to see the advantage whether it be financial or survivability to over stocking your pack. As long as your core necessities are covered such as Navigation, sheltering ability, water collecting, ability to create heat/fire, and food to last the trip if possible you have what you need most of all. The key to being able to confidently minimize your bug out bag is training, if you have the right training and knowledge then you won't need as much "stuff" in your pack. So remember your most important prep is knowledge, the rest is supplemental.