Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bug in Bags

Bug in Bags, or BIBs (and I may have mentioned these in the past) are a vital piece of kit to carry.

Over the next few postings I'm going to go over some of the stuff I carry in mine and how to set your own up.

In case you don't know what one is though, let me elaborate. Any ex SF guy worth his salt will have a backpack lying around his house. If you ask him what it is he'll reply "it's my bug out bag." A bug out bag is a bag that, should it ever be necessary to hit the ground running, you can grab and go. In it will be the essentials to survive out in the wilderness, typcially for about 3 days. They'll have tents, freeze dried foods, a weapon of some description and everthing else necessary for going bush.

A bug in bag is a similar concept except its designed to get you home...infiltration as opposed to exfiltration if you like.

Cast your mind back to the power outage that affected the entire NE a few years ago. People in places like NY were forced to walk miles in the dark in high heeled shoes and suits etc. Same thing happened during 9/11 if you remember.

What if your car breaks down and you have to hoof it somewhere? What if transport is disrupted for whatever reason?

The bug in bag is similar in design to the bug out except it typically doesn't have 3 days worth of food or tents and camping gear. Its job is to keep you alive and well for 24 hours max and get you home no matter what mother nature or the bad guys throw at you.

The bag itself can be any design at all. Mine is a regular old backpack that a school kid would wear because it looks like a regular old backpack that a kid would wear. In other words I purposely avoid the Maxpedition uber commando models because it can indicate to someone savvy enough exactly what it is. Others are specifically designed for that very purpose and are made by companys that supply gear to the military. You decide which ones for you but it should be comfortable enough that you can sling it on and carry it for a few miles. Something you're going to try and hold in one hand is going to get mighty uncomfortable after a while.

Over the next few weeks I'll go over some of the essentials to keep in it and you'll be able to add or delete items depending on where you live (think weather).

If you want you can make this a project...go to the store tomorrow and grab yourself a day pack. Your local camping store is the place to go by the way as there's tend to hold up better and are often waterproof which isn't a bad thing. As I go over the various things to carry and how to use them, you can follow along.


Fami-Lee said...

Nick: Attended the presentation last evening in Memphis. I have a specific question regarding international travel. My job requires me to travel overseas very often. Most trips I only see the interior of a hotel room, conference room and airport, but on occasion, I get a chance to walk around the cities I'm visiting and "see the sights." Over the last few years, I've made it a point to try to blend in to my surroundings and practice your tip of looking like I belong there. The funny thing is, Americans are so easy to pick out in a crowd, no matter how hard we try and we don't need to be draped in an American flag to be a target. 1.) what's the terrorist kidnapping likelihood, 2.) any tips on blending in? We're talking Asia, Europe and Latin/South America here. Karen Lee

Nick Hughes said...


Glad you made it to the event. That's a great organization.

To answer your questions...

The kidnapping likelihood is unfortunately on the rise. Years ago you had to be either an employee of a company with deep pockets or independently wealthy to be targeted.

In Central and South America now however there is a disturbing trend where kids with backpacks are being taken. The locals figure they can hit their families for money and, even though it might be less than what they'd get from someone with deep pockets, it's still substantial to them.

When I was in Russia I carried round a packet of Russian cigarettes (and no, I don't smoke) and a Russian newspaper. I undoubtedly still looked foreign due to my wardrobe but, I looked like a foreigner who's lived there and spoke the language which makes a huge difference.

The other thing I'd suggest is the buddy system I talked about and avoid doing anything routine. Don't go to the same restaurant all the time, change hotels each time you go to the city, leave via different exits, don't take the first cab on the rank etc.

As I mentioned during the presentation, it's very hard to get someone if you don't know where they're going to be in advance.

Hope that helps