Have You Tested Your Bug-Out Bag Lately?

It’s been awhile since I grabbed my primary bug-out bag and took it for a walk, so last night I picked it up and headed out into the woods to my wilderness camp.  I’ve got a lean-to and a fire pit out there and it’s one of

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my favorite getaway places and what makes it even better is that it’s pretty close to the house – meaning I can get there quick.

One reason I like to do this  is to find any shortcomings in my BOB that could cause me problems if I ever have to use it for real.  I usually find a few small things wrong and this trip was no exception.  I’d made some changes to the bag awhile ago and hadn’t bothered testing them to see how those changes worked, so this was a good time to do it.

One of the first things I noticed on the way out were the horse flies and the mosquitoes and when I went looking for my bug spray I came up empty handed.  For those of you who don’t know about the Maine woods this was nothing short of a Greek tragedy.  So there I am without bug spray and I’m getting eaten alive.  What did I do?

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Made a fire, of course.  I actually hadn’t planned on building a fire, but I needed the smoke to keep the bugs down while I made coffee and got comfortable.   I also put on a bandana to help keep the bugs out of my hair, but still wound up getting one down my shirt that I didn’t dig out until I got home.That’s when I ran into the second problem.  The matches I keep in my survival tin were a little damp and I went through about five before I got one to light.  I managed to get the fire going, but I thought I might have to resortto the firesteel for awhile there.Next I got out my alcohol stove and canteen cup and lit it to heat up my water.  The pot stand I have for the stove wasn’t a great fit for the canteen cup.  It was originally designed with anotherCIMG5308pot in mind, but I thought it would work fine with the canteen cup.  It did work, but I wasn’t totally satisfied with the stability… I was afraid it was going to fall over and I was a little jumpy around it.  I didn’t put enough alcohol in the stove and it didn’t heat the water up enough.  Once the stove went out I just put the canteen cup on the fire and let it finish heating that way.   I could have just used the fire alone of of course, but I wanted to see how the alcohol stove would work heating water.Once I had my coffee made I got some cookies out of my bag and because I’d left them floating around they were quite stale.
For the most part I was satisfied with the experience. loose they were stale.  Oh, I still ate them, but they were a little less crunchy than they should have been.CIMG5302What Did I Learn?

Here’s what I came away with.

First, even though there was a short list of things wrong there were a lot more things that were right.  The basic gear I packed was sound and I was satisfied that I’d have been comfortable if I’d had to spend the night out.

Things that are sensitive to moisture like matches or loose food packages have been removed and/or replaced and I put in some bug dope.  I had some in there at one point, but I must have grabbed it and used it and then never put it back afterwards.  That’ll teach me!

I took a few of the pictures below with the flash and a couple without just to give you an idea of what it looked like sitting around the fire.

Have you tested your bug-out bag lately?

If you haven’t you should get out there with it or at least go through it to make sure everything is still relevant to the mission and working as it should.

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