Whether you call it a go bag, bug-out bag or bail-out kit, the prepared survivor has a pre-made, ready-to-use pack in case he has to pull out of his home in a rush or live out of his vehicle for a few days during a breakdown in infrastructure.
In either case, you want to have enough gear to sustain life during a minimum of 72 hours. Missouri hurricanes, L.A. earthquakes, Georgia ice storms and Oregon wildfires are just a few examples of headlining disasters that require evacuations. Whether you elect to construct your own bug-out bag or buy a premade kit, you should strive for obtaining quality items, as your kit will become true life insurance in the event of an actual disaster.
One kit that meets and exceeds that need is the new Bug Out Bag Loaded Eberlestock G4 Operator Pack made by Survival Bags, Inc., out of Illinois. Mike Haller, the president of the company, said he wanted a top-notch kit that could handle a 72-hour crisis in the city or the wilderness. With a background as a first responder and having witnessed numerous disasters up close, Haller put together a formidable survival pack more than capable of dealing with a short-term emergency.
The pack itself is probably the most rugged setup I’ve field-tested; it’s a real workhorse. The Eberlestock brand of packs is well thought of within the tactical community, and the one I tested comes with a lightweight rain cover. In addition to the 4,700-cubic-inch capacity, which easily handles the voluminous amount of survival items, the pack has ample room for stowing a rifle and additional water or clothing.
During my field test in the mountains of northern Arizona, I was able to carry all the supplied gear, Ruger 10/22 rifle for rabbit hunting, winter jacket and extra food.
As with the pack itself, no expense was spared in the array of survival gear that was included.
Medical items consist of a SOL Hybrid Medical-Survival Kit and QuikClot Pak. These items will take care of trauma, but I would recommend beefing this up by adding in a few more basic staples such as anti-inflammatory meds, Benadryl and Imodium.
Water needs are met with 18 prepackaged SOS water packets, each of which contains 4.22 ounces. You will want to supplement this by filling up the 1-liter water bottle and 2-liter water bladder that come with the pack. Water purification is handled via 24 Aquamira tablets. (Note: As with any type of purification tabs, try them out at home to make sure they agree with you.)
Food consists of three MREs and two SOS 2,400-calorie food bars. The latter are probably the best-tasting rations on the market, akin to shortbread cookies, and will sustain one person for two days. This pack also contains a comprehensive assortment of fishing items, such as a survival fishing kit and gill net. This is often a neglected area in larger survival packs and I was pleased to see a variety of low-tech options. My own kit has a spool of .20-gauge picture wire for making snares, as fishing only happens in this Arizona author’s dreams.
Communication is covered with a combo solar and hand-cranked multiband radio by Voyager. One feature I like about this radio is the built-in USB port for charging cellphones and other tech gadgets.
Tools—what survival kit would be complete without an assortment of cutting tools? Two Ontario blades are included, one a small axe, the other a 5-inch, serrated fixed blade. I personally prefer a non-serrated blade as most of my work involves carving, but I understand the company’s reasoning for having a multi-use blade to meet a variety of situations. In addition, there is a Leatherman Blast, pocket sharpener and folding mini-shovel.
Shelter needs are covered with an all-weather tarp, two-person tube tent, two emergency ponchos and a SOL breathable bivy bag. I’ve used the latter on survival courses and they hold up to constant punishment far better than a standard Mylar blanket.
Cooking and firemaking tools are well thought out and include a Blastmatch spark rod, stormproof matches, fuel tablets, 36-hour candle, folding stove and nine-piece GSI cooking set.
The pack also comes with three N95 masks, hygiene items—such as wet naps, toothbrush/paste and toilet paper—and a Surefire Dual-Output LED flashlight. It also comes with an LED headlamp to provide hands-free operation, so pack along a dozen spare batteries for each device.
Because disasters are often regional, your bug-out bag should be tailored to fit your geographic location, weather conditions and even seasonal demands. I do an inventory of my own kits twice a year to update batteries and medical supplies as well as adding or subtracting summer- and winter-specific gear.
GO FOR IT
The G4 Operator provides a wide range of options to gather food and water, start fires and provide shelter, warmth, light and safety. These options—and the ability to adapt and try something a different way—can make the difference between living to tell the story and being a statistic. If you’re looking for the Rolls-Royce of bug-out bags on the market today, then consider Survival Bags, Inc.’s Loaded Eberlestock. With its high-end backpack, myriad survival supplies covering the critical priorities and attention to quality, you will be in good hands in the event of an unexpected emergency in the wild or the urban jungle.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the June 2014 print issue of American Survival Guide.