Assume you have a medium sized bugout vehicle (station wagon, medium-sized pickup or van), which you don't want to keep filled with bugout supplies, so you keep them in your garage, basement, burrow, shed or whatever.  Now, if besides four human occupants (weighing up to a total of 600 pounds maximum), you have enough space in your vehicle to carry bugout supplies and equipment that would be the equivalent of the following:

  1. Ten (10) 4-cubic foot heavy-duty plastic storage containers  or their equivalent (i.e. 40 cubic feet), plus
  2. Four or five tools, (including firearms, axes, tent poles, hiking staffs, fishing poles, etc.) each up to 5-feet long that will all fit in a 1-foot diameter tube 5-feet long, plus
  3. Fifty-five (55) gallons of water.

How would you organize these supplies and equipment in containers and store them in your garage, basement, burrow, shed or other storage space so you could load them into your vehicle in the shortest period of time?  (Note:  They all have to fit inside the vehicle with you and 3 other occupants.  One or more dogs would be considered occcupants and would be included in the total maximum weight of the occupants allowed.)

I am personally facing this problem myself, and am considering the following issues in setting my priorities:

  1. What kind of disaster should I plan for in assembling my supplies and equipment?  (Earthquake, wildfire, flooding, extended power outage, radiation, poison gas, biochemical agent, epidemic, enemy invasion, etc?)
  2. How much redundancy of supplies and equipment I should store.
  3. How the stuff should be distributed in containers so the most essential stuff could be loaded first, in case we have to bug out before we can get everything into the vehicle.
  4. How much weight will this stuff add up to, and how do I keep from overloading my vehicle?  (So, 10,000 rounds of ammo are probably out of the question.)
  5. What will be the most valuable "trade good(s)" I can take, and how much space should I take up with trade goods? (Pain killers, first aid kits, knives...?)

I am arbitrarily assuming that I will have only 15 minutes to load my vehicle entirely by myself, pick up my passengers who are within 1000-feet of my home, and bug out.)

How will you organize for this survival scenario?




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The biggest questions—What time frame (duration) are you looking at and most importantly, will you be able to return home?  The other major question is what’s the weather like—winter requires far more and different planning then summer does?


Also, is this just a man made (i.e. arson) or natural disaster compared the fecal matter finally hitting the oscillating aero device in say a post apocalyptic turn of events?


If you are providing ten boxes for four people then you have to divide up all the supplies and distribute them as close to equally as possible—little Nancy gets the fry pan, Joey the kettle, you the lidded big pot and the wife the lidded small pot…Food in each one, matches etc. and especially ammo…The last thing you want is if one container and it’s contents gets damaged, lost or stolen you don’t want all your food or food preparation stuff to go at once—The big lid or even the bottom of the pot can be used as a fry pan if you lose little Nancy’s box.


I used to work in the travel industry and told my married couple clients that a suitcase has two sides--a his and a hers and since you’re each taking one, split your clothes between the two bags in case one gets lost…If four are going, say two children, then a quarter goes in each bag…In your carry-on take a complete change of clothes as you’ll have something to change into before your bags arrive at your room or cabin or if they get lost you can always wash out the stuff at the end of every day.


To get to the lodge we need twelve to fifteen plane loads of goods at start-up and yes, every thing is broken down into how many loads there are with certain exceptions—fuels go by themselves and only one partner per plane run…During the season, two planes bring and take out our clients at each session start/end and we try to place couples, one in each plane…If the plane goes down then the family will have at least one living parent then being suddenly orphans.


I’d suggest eleven five gallon water containers over one fifty-five gallon one—firstly, far easier to handle but more importantly weight distribution…8.35 lbs a US gallon x 55 gal = 459.25 lbs or 10# Imperial gallon = 550 lbs…This way you can have them scattered all over the vehicle to balance the weight…Also have some ¼, ½ and 1 gallon containers for throwing in the pack, mixing Kool-Aid or frozen juices, passing around in the vehicle while in transit etc.


Weather will dictate what you can and should take and also how it’s stored…Here we don’t store in the garage but the basement as outdoor temps can and do get into the –40 C/F…We keep basic tools and camp gear in our boxes, along with freeze dried foods and we have winter/summer boxes (as well as car survival bags) that we just switch out as the season dictates and that also applies to our personal bags for clothing that reside, packed, beneath our beds…We have set up for a seven (clothing, personal stuff) day event with a month’s supply of food. But we have to divide it up differently as there could be eight of us bugging out at the same time, so that requires a minimum of two but we’ve practiced using three vehicles—SUV pulling a utility trailer, station wagon and truck pulling a travel (RV) trailer…Depends on how many of my six teenage daughters are home at the time?


We take three high power rifles, three rimfire rifles, three shotguns with 100 rounds in each group and three bows and two dozen arrows and of course divided between the vehicles as well…Each vehicle has its own a full size and a folding shovel, a come-a-long truck jack, a full size axe, a buck saw, basic tool and liquids (oils etc.) kit, a quite advanced survival kit, tarps (lay down on snow or mud and keep yourself clean), wool socks, coveralls, gloves etc…All the vehicles have nearly identical kits in them as we live out in the country and going off the road from hitting “black” ice is a possibility just going to and from work or school.


You can't plan for every eventuality but you have to prepare for the most common ground...Train for the nearly worst case scenario and then everything will seem a lot lighter but still important to consider.


What disaster will you most likely face is a good place to start.

Set down and list all of the potential disasters or civil unrest you may come to meet.  I would put enemy invasion at the bottom along with natural disasters just above.  For me....civil unrest would be on top then Plague and terrorist attack.  Terrorist attack would be very focused but if they hit a nuk power plant and cause a leak, this would be a game changer.

Terry I would buy a couple books like SAS Urban Survival Handbook by John Wiseman and The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.  Here is some of his ideas: 

  1. Organize before they rise!
  2. They feel no fear, why should you?
  3. Use your head: cut off theirs.
  4. Blades don’t need reloading.
  5. Ideal protection = tight clothes, short hair.
  6. Get up the staircase, then destroy it.
  7. Get out of the car, get onto the bike.
  8. Keep moving, keep low, keep quiet, keep alert!
  9. No place is safe, only safer.
  10. The zombie may be gone, but the threat lives on.

All you have to do is custom his ideas to the disaster.  The Federal Government (FEMA) has some good literature too.

The first thing I would do is make a dry run with all who would be on the bug-out list.  See what worked and what didn't work and how long did it take to get loaded and on the road.  Make corrections and in a couple of weeks make anthor dry run.

Next I would have a protocol to be followed by all who will be going with you.  On an individual basis what are you to do to rendezvous with the others.  What if family member Jane is on the other side of town at the mall when things suddenly go to crap?  She is thirty minuets away.  She may have to drive and even fight her way back to the others.  I would set up alternative rendezvous for those who will not make it to your house in twenty minutes.

Remember, I found this to be true, any plans made will not go as planned.  Be fluid and flexible in your emergency planning.  Need to know is a good rule of thumb.

As for trade goods I would say batteries, seeds, repair items such as needles and thread etc.  As for firearms I would keep it to one for every trained adult.  Mostly shotguns, one scope rifle in 5.56, .22 rifles and pistols.  Maybe two to three .38 spl. revolver or .45 1911 is my favorite.  The .22 cal ammo takes up little space but can kill most game if the shot is placed properly.  The 38 spl or 9mm is very common so ammo will be more available.  Shotgun shells will be available as well.

For transportation I would say a good two wheel trailer on the back of a vehicle which is designed to pull.  Most medium size vehicles will pull the two wheel trailer.  You can keep many of your bulk items stored in this trailer.  You will have to keep the trailer in the ready mode and change out the water if it is not sealed in an air tight container.  I would say a minimum of two quarts of water per person per day for five days.

In Iraq I lived with my bug-out bag for over two years so I had plenty of time to figure out what to do in that scenario.  What is your scenario depends on your environment.  Living in the Kansas country side....your good to go at home.  Living in Detroit....Tampa.... Ft. Worth.... L.A. ....good luck.  Well here are some of my ideas and by no means do I have them all.


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