When you bring up the topic of prepping and especially bugging out, one of the first things that comes to mind is an image of a guy (or gal), hiking off into the wilderness with a huge exterior frame backpack stuffed to the gills.
Thanks to shows like Doomsday Preppers and other survival shows, preppers are often teased about the extremes some of them go to in order to be prepared for future disasters.
But if you’re confused about the multitude of bags and kits that many preppers have, in what follows I’ll talk about each of them, and highlight the differences.
Most Popular or Well Known Bags Preppers Have
Bug Out Bag (BOB)
Probably one of the most talked about bags preppers have is the bug out bag or BOB. This is the fairly good sized backpack or rucksack that even people who know nothing about prepping are probably familiar with.
The BOB is the bag that preppers store and carry supplies in to sustain them if they need to leave their home temporarily for whatever reason. The BOB is designed to carry supplies a prepper might need to get through up to 72 hours away from home, such as some of the ones on this list of bug out bag essentials.
EDC Bag or Kit
The everyday carry bag or kit (EDC) is one of the bags preppers have that they try to carry every single day, no matter what they are doing. The EDC contains the items necessary to handle life’s little inconveniences as well as items to help a prepper survive a bigger unexpected disaster.
The items in your EDC kit are smaller and designed to be carried more discreetly. In many cases, EDC items may not all be carried in a fanny pack or pouch, but are worn in various places on the body or tucked into a few pockets.
Your EDC bag or kit includes things like your cell phone, keyring, wallet or purse, and personal firearm or other self defense devices. If you’re pulling together your first EDC bag or looking for additional items to add to your current EDC, consider some of these EDC essentials.
Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) bag
This is typically a first aid kit in a bag or container small enough to fit into a pocket of your pants or shirt. Some preppers may carry first aid items in a bag attached to a belt.
The IFAK typically contains just single use or single doses of basic first aid supplies such as a band-aid, pain reliever, etc. Most preppers include the IFAK as the first layer of their EDC first aid kit.
Get Home Bag (GHB)
The Get Home Bag (GHB) is designed to supplement a prepper’s EDC bag or kit on a daily basis. Most preppers keep their GHB with them or at least nearby and accessible, maybe on their workplace office door or in their car.
The GHB holds additional items that might come in handy if a disaster or SHTF event happens when you are away from home, such as while you are at work or while on vacation not far from home. It’s basically designed to carry items you might need if you are stranded away from home for 12 to 24 hours unexpectedly. Explore more about what items are in a GHB versus a BOB if you still have questions.
Some preppers refer to their BOB as their Go Bag. Others might refer to their GHB as their Go bag. Personally, I think of a “Go” bag more as the bag that is kept at the ready if you are a professional in the criminal justice system and might have to work a double shift or travel out of state on a moment’s notice.
This would be for people who have careers such as FBI or CIA agent, Homicide Detective, or some other kind of task force type job which might require you to immediately follow a lead, without taking time to go home first.
In this type of Go Bag, you would include a change of street clothes, personal hygiene items, perhaps your spare firearm and extra ammo, a bullet proof vest, maybe a handheld radio, and/or a burner phone and alternate ID that identifies you as a civilian rather than an agent or officer.
The car BOB is not exactly a bag, but it is a survival kit. It may consist of an actual bag, but may include tools and gear that are kept in the car’s trunk, outside of the bag.
It is similar to your bug out bag only it’s designed primarily to maintain your primary car and/or your bug out vehicle (BOV). So the car BOB should contain anything you can think of that you would need to repair your car and keep it moving forward.
Things such as jumper cables, extra spark plugs, a can of fix a flat, tow chains, and so on. The car BOB is not only helpful in a crisis situation or SHTF situation, but can also come in very handy if you break down or experience an accident or another emergency while driving to or from home.
You can also include a few extra supplies for yourself such as food, water, warm gloves and a hat, a few warm blankets, etc.
Get Out Of Dodge (GOOD) Bag
This bag is often referred to as a BOB by some preppers. It’s basically an overstuffed BOB that a prepper puts together when they know they are leaving home but aren’t sure how long they might be gone or if they will be able to return home. It typically includes larger quantities of supplies designed to sustain a prepper for 72 hours to a few weeks or even months.
I’m Never Coming Home (INCH) Bag
The INCH bag is the bag preppers put together to load into their vehicle when they know without a doubt they are leaving their home without the possibility of coming back.
The INCH bag is large enough to carry items that can’t be replaced such as family photos and other sentimental personal belongings. The INCH bag is typically heavier than a BOB and can sometimes be split and carried in separate bags between the adults in the household or even in larger containers like tubs that are loaded into a BOV and taken to a bug out location.
Okay, so now you have a better understanding of all the bags preppers have or could have. If you followed some of the links provided above, you have a pretty good idea of what goes in each bag.
But how do you know which of these you need? And how do you know which of all the prepper bags to put together first? Read on and we’ll get you on the right track.
Which of All The Bags Preppers Have Should Come First?
If you are new to prepping, or if you have become overwhelmed by all the bags preppers have, just start by putting together your EDC bag or everyday carry bag. Make this your main focus for a couple of weeks or even a month.
It’s likely the kit that you will get use from almost immediately and it’s the one you will use most frequently. Once you are in the habit of carrying your EDC kit daily and you’ve adjusted it to meet your needs, start thinking about your bug out bag (BOB). Remember, that’s the 72 hour bag in most cases.
It gets stored at home somewhere where it’s easily accessible when you need it. Some more experienced preppers can get by with a comprehensive EDC kit, an IFAK, and a BOB, nothing else. But most people will need to go at least a step or two further in order to really feel confident that they are prepared for any type of evacuation.
Next, move on to the get home bag (GHB). It’s the one we described above that stays near you but not necessarily on your person. This can be a messenger bag, a laptop bag, or even a duffel bag in the trunk of your car.
Finally, and you may not get to this until many months or even a year from now depending on how quickly you process things and what your budget looks like, consider a GOOD and/or an INCH bag.
Whether you need these more comprehensive prepper bags will depend on where you live, how skilled you are, how sentimental you and your family members are, and what types of events you feel could come your way.
If you don’t foresee an event in your area that could force you out of your home, and be so devastating that you wouldn’t be able to return for months if at all, you may not need either of these.
Which of all the bags preppers have do you already have at the ready? Which one will you start working on putting together this week? Let us know in the comments below.
Born and raised in NE Ohio, with early memories that include grandpa teaching her to bait a hook and watching her mom, aunts, and grandmothers garden, sew, and can food, Megan is a true farm girl at heart.
For Megan, the 2003 blackout, the events of 911, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, spurred a desire to be more prepared for whatever may come along. Soon to be living off-grid, this mother of four and grandmother of nine grandsons and one granddaughter, is learning everything she can about preparedness, basic survival, and self-sufficient homesteading. She is passionate about sharing that knowledge so that others can be increasingly prepared to protect their families.