Sunday, March 25, 2012

The “Bug-Out-Bag” and METT-TC

Every survival blog, editorial, forum or article has discussed the over used term “bug-out-bag” or BOB for short.  There’s nothing really wrong with the term other than that it can be misleading to the purpose for which it serves.

First, the BOB is generally viewed within the “survival community” as a small to medium size satchel or backpack that holds essential survival items that one might need if they were displaced from their domicile or area of operations, i.e. their hometown.

Okay, you have a BOB, the question remains, where are you bugging out to and why?  Quite honestly, your BOB could be helping you get you and loved ones back home in a bad situation, not getting away from home.  I think that gets over looked.  You might not be using your BOB to go anywhere at all; you might just be helping apply first aid to a person who’s stuck in a traffic jam that doesn’t have access to an ambulance.  This brings up a good point:  The best BOB is the one you have with you when you need it.  So don’t be without it.  If you have your car with you all the time, keep one in there.

What should you put in your BOB?  The BOB isn’t supposed to have everything but the kitchen sink inside.  Then it would become a heavy ruck sack and you wouldn’t be as likely to have it with you.  There are so many things that “could” be useful to have, where’s a good place to start?

You might be familiar with the military acronym: METT-TC.  If you’re not, it’s used in military operation planning.  You might not be planning a military operation, but planning is no less important when considering what items to carry in your BOB.

Below is the breakdown of what METT-TC stands for and some of the factors that might come to mind during planning.


Mission, Enemy, Terrain & Weather, Troops & Support available, Time available, Civil considerations.

MISSION:  Your mission should be to get yourself and/or your loved ones to safety, and more resources that you cannot carry with you.  This will bring up questions like, how far could I possibly be traveling?  Who will I be trying to get to safety with me?  The mission can change at anytime, and it’s important to remember that.

ENEMY:  Your enemy will be anything or anyone that threatens your life.  The elements, injury, lack of water, exhaustion, and hostile people in a bad part of town.  The list goes on.

TERRAIN & WEATHER:  What region do you live in?  What time of year is it? Snow can easily effect southern US states more than northern states.  If I did not have transportation could I get to safety and more resources on foot? These are things to thing about.

TROOPS & SUPPORT:  For civilian purposes, this comes down to: Am I own my own or do I have friends to help me out?  Maybe I don’t have to traverse 20 miles on foot with no transportation, when my friends that live only 5 miles away are willing to help me.  It always helps to have predetermined support for “bad times”.  Being a hermit is not a good thing to do.  Have friends and lots of friends you can count on, and who can also count on you.  A 20 mile drive home from work during severe tornado weather might not be so bad if your buddy lives right around the corner and has a basement.

TIME:  How much time do you have available to have to accomplish your mission?  Your mission is to get you and yourself to safety and more resources during a “bad event” right?  Okay, so how quickly do you think you can make that happen?  How much time do you have to get things done before other issues become a factor?  Time may or may not be on your side.

CIVILIAN CONSIDERATIONS:  Just as important as terrain and weather, are the considerations of the people you might come in contact with during a “bad event”.  What is the population level like?  Is it rural or urban?  What is the civilian culture like?  Do they not like outsiders, are you considered an outsider?  This is important when realizing that the people around you can be support, enemy or just indifferent to your existence.  If you’re familiar with the area you are in during a “bad event”, you might be able to better read the populous around you and predict whether you’re going to run into support, enemy or indifference.

In the picture above, I’ve listed my “Bug out Bag”.  You might notice the items show are a pistol, extra mags, a holster, head lamp, a lighter, paracord, a wrist compass, a bottle of water, assorted Band-Aids, medicines and creams, a topo/road map, a tube of peanut butter, a survival straw, a tourniquet, a compression bandage and a good size folding knife.

All of these items fit very nicely into a rather small BOB.  I can always have it with me.  It fits my mission requirements, which because we are not all the same person, are different than yours.  My BOB fits my area of operation and has taken into consideration the distance I regularly travel from better and more resources.

Regardless of what you call your Bug Out Bag, hopefully you do similar “mission” planning when considering what you put into it.  Not every BOB is same, because your mission might be different. So don’t feel like yours should have a trendy kit item if you wouldn’t use it.  Always have some cord, a knife and a sparking device, but other than that, tailor your bag to YOUR individual METT-TC requirements. After all, getting home safely, is YOUR mission, wherever “home” happens to be during a bad event.

Thanks for reading,

- GLSC Team

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