Thursday, December 24, 2009

Vehicle Bug Out Bag Update

As those who have read my earlier blog articles know I've arranged my Bug Out Bag's (BOB) in three stages:
1. EDC (Every Day Carry) minimal items very small easy and convenient to carry about.
2. Vehicle BOB larger and aimed as much at keeping my vehicle on the road as getting me home with or without the vehicle.
3. Home G.O.O.D. (Get Out Of Dodge) BOB for getting the heck out of town long term.

In this article I'm going to cover my vehicle BOB as I've recently updated it.

Spurred on by reading some other survival blog somewhere I finally got around to updating my vehicle BOB (Bug Out Bag). Good thing too. I'd been raiding it over the years for "a few ounces of windshield washer fluid" here and a tool or two for a moment or two. It was in pretty sorry shape so I decided to redo the whole thing.

Road Trip
Not too far: to Walmart, Sears and AutoZone. Grabbed gallon jugs of windshield washer fluid and Prestone anti-freeze along with two quarts of oil and one quart of automatic transmission fluid. Also bought smaller size bottles of Prestone power steering fluid, break fluid and radiator stop leak. I added a small multi-purpose funnel too because my old one had somehow disappeared.

While I was at it I added a bottle of "Slime Tire Sealant" (which I've seen demonstrated to work on a local TV news show) and a can of "Ultra Instant Tire Sealer" which I've used (which is why it was no longer in my vehicle BOB).

I kept the roll of duct tape, as it is still in pretty good shape, but bought a new can of WD-40 just to be on the safe side. I also kept the unopened package of J-B Weld. Also splurged on a five piece "Slime Tire Plug Kit" 'cause it was under six bucks.

While I was splurging I plunked down $12.88 for a "Energizer Trailfinder series 3 LED Headlight" with two white LED's and one red LED (to preserve night vision according to the package, but also good for tactical light discipline) which straps around your head like a headband and gives you hands free light where you're looking. It comes with a storage bag and looks so handy I'd better get another 'cause I can see myself raiding the BOB to "borrow" it for other tasks.

As with all electrical gear I tested it out as soon as I got home. Middle of the night fifty miles from the nearest telephone pole is no place to find out that a piece of equipment you're depending on isn't dependable. It works fine. I augmented the three AAA batteries that came with the headband with six more (all tested with my battery checker) batteries packed separately from the headlight in a little plastic container that'll keep'em from jiggling around and contacting each other's ends.

My Walmart had two other LED headlights. One, that the salesman really wanted to sell me for some reason, clipped onto the bill of a baseball cap and looked really neat. But it used two nickel sized and shaped batteries that I reckon might be hard to find in the middle of WTSHTF so I passed on that because we also have lots of devices around the house that use AAA batteries and would more likely have more AAA's around if TEOTWAWKI arrived unannounced. Simplicity of supply.

The other proffered LED headlight had six (6!) LED's Two white, two red and two ultraviolet (supposed to be good for night fishing) which I passed on because of the higher price and I couldn't see me needing ultraviolet.

I'm not very mechanically inclined (in fact I somehow manage to cut myself every time I touch anything sharper than a crescent wrench) so my original BOB tool kit was small and got smaller over the years as I raided it for tools to do this and that.

I've reconstituted it so it now contains a small needle-nosed Vice Grip and large Vice Grip pliers, a pliers & a wrench (both from Sears) that adjust themselves to the size of whatever they're grabbing, a Phillips screwdriver, a pry bar masquerading as a large flat blade screwdriver and a Sears "Dog Bone™" eight in one wrench. All rolled in a piece of canvas. Those tools plus the genuine Leatherman I always carry in the glove box should be capable of performing any repairs I'm capable of performing.

I also repackaged the Jumper cables (the long thick-wired ones not those shorty thin-wired ones like they sell at Walmart) and a long thick tow rope and a short towing strap that'll attach to the towing shackles on my vehicle.

Being a retired surplus dealer I've got an E tool and a bunch of brown (camouflage) Army surplus washcloths which I'm using to stuff between things in the boxes (so as to keep the rattling down) and as towels and mechanic's hand wipes. Also, since they are tufted like towels, they could be stuffed into clothing for insulation (instant field expedient sleeping bag) in a pinch. When I was stationed in Germany in the early 1960's our field pants and parka liners were made of a similar material. Not as good as the stuff they use nowadays, but better than nothing.

Here I should point out that my vehicle BOB is actually three containers; two sturdy cardboard boxes and a gray plastic tub I got from Walmart since I wanted a container that wouldn't leak oil or whatever if one of the containers in it did.

Since I don't plan to be taking anti-freeze, oil or windshield fluid with me if forced to abandon the vehicle I'm not worried about how "man portable" that part of the kit is. If there's time I can always strip out the duct tape, WD-40, JB Weld and tools before abandoning the vehicle.

I chose to keep the vehicle Bug Out "Bag" in the cardboard boxes because the old things are abnormally strong and don't look like there'd anything valuable in them. The gray plastic tub, however, is a different matter. It simply reeks of "something valuable may be in here" so I'm planning to write some off-putting label on it with a broad felt tipped pen. Something that says "there's nothing worth stealing in here" like "Baby clothes" or "Family Photos" or some such.

As stated the gray plastic tub holds the liquids and tools. One of the old cardboard boxes holds the jumper cables, tow rope and tow strap and assorted lengths of 550 cord and some other cordage. Also a windbreaker, baseball cap, bonnie hat and patrol cap.

The cardboard boxes are more of a 72 hour Bug Out Bag. Their primary purpose is to provide the tools and supplies to get me to the home Bug Out Bag.

To Comment on this article
E-Mail Me
Unless you specifically ask me not to, I'll post your reply here in the blog so everyone can read it. Of course I'll remove your last name, email address or any other specific information for privacy purposes.