Bug Out Bag — It’s Not If But When!
Creek Stewart uses that catch phrase at the end of each of his blog posts. If your are not familiar with Creek and his website you should check it out (http://www.WillowHavenOutdoor.Com). Creek Stewart teaches disaster preparedness to individuals, corporations, non-profit groups and government agencies across the United States. He is the owner of Willow Haven Outdoor, a leading survival and preparedness training facility in Central Indiana.
Creek recently authored a new book called “Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag“, he forwarded me a few signed copies and asked me to do an honest review of the book and to conduct a couple of giveaways (winners announced below) to help promote its release.
Over the past couple of weeks I have been reading “Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag“, trying to pick it apart by going through it with a fine tooth comb. The only problem is that I can’t really find any major areas of disagreement. Which is a bit crazy because I am really good at picking apart peoples work! I have a found a few minor areas that I disagree with in a few small portions of the book, but all of them are very inconsequential and “isms”, not anything that will affect survival in a disaster scenario.
A Bug Out Bag Is Your 72 Hour Survival Kit
There are four primary things that I really liked about this book. First, it is very well organized! Creek breaks down each critical area into chapters and clearly and concisely explains each section, why you need the items and even offers a few survival tips here and there. Here are a few examples of some of the major sections he covers: Choosing a pack, Water & Hydration, Food & Food Preparation, Clothing, Shelter & Bedding, Fire, First Aid, Hygiene, Tolls, Lighting, Communications, Protection and Self Defense as well as several other key aspects that are often overlooked liked Pets, Organization, Mental and Physical Preparedness and others.
The second thing I really liked about the book is that there are a ton of pictures! I am a guy, I can’t help it! Even though I also write a lot, I really appreciate good descriptive pictures that flow well with the content. I didn’t count how many pictures there are but it has to be more than a hundred! Which is great.
The third thing I thought was really good about “Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag” was that it was laid out in a manner that a total beginner can understand and use as a guide to help them build their own personalized bug out bag from scratch. But it also goes into sufficient detail that a more advanced person will likely be able to draw a few good nuggets from it. He offered several small tips that I had not thought of before. So to me that makes taking the time to read it all worth it!
The fourth thing and probably one of the best things about the book are the lists in the back of the book that break down the costs of some good dependable items from some of the popular big box retailers. He also has supply lists that break down each of the major categories. This is highly useful for those new preppers that want to have a list to compare what they have against what they need and then can look at the cost list to get an idea of how much money they will need to save to get the items. A very cool thing for those of us on limited budgets!
If your looking to build a small portable Survival Kit on a budget take a look at a post I wrote here on how to build a survival kit for about $50 from items found at Wal-Mart.
How do I differ in my own Bug Out Bag?
Actually there are very few areas that I differ from Creek on in how to prepare and build a Bug Out Bag. One area is that he recommended carrying 3 liters of water. Which is perfect, but he didn’t recommend having a larger collapsible water container to fill up once you arrive at camp. To be fair he did recommend carrying a smaller collapsible water container. Like I said, I struggled to find any big differences. I find a lot of value in carrying at least a 5 liter or larger collapsible water container. I first used a 5 liter bag in this manner when I taught at the USAF Survival School. They come in very handy for around the camp type tasks like cleaning utensils, washing up, putting out fires, etc. Stuff that requires a lot of water. Again, he did recommend having the capacity to carry at least 3 liters, so this is a very minor difference. I have recently found that the Jolly Tank an 8 liter collapsible water container is great for the purpose I am describing.
Another small difference is that I prefer to carry MREs and Emergency Ration bars as a food source in my pack. He discusses several types of foods and the advantages and disadvantages, but seems to prefer freeze dried food/dehydrated food noodles, etc. For me I prefer the MREs, because they are ready to eat. I find that in stressful field situations if I have to stop and boil water before I eat, many times I will just skip the meal all together. Which of course leads to more problems down the road… Basically, I am lazy and when there a ton of other important things to be doing, I just want to be able to grab eat and go. Again, just my preference but Creek did a good job of laying out the advantages and disadvantages of several food types.
Lastly, Creek provides some advice tips and tricks on building fire and does an excellent job laying out tinder, kindling, fuel, etc. But doesn’t advocate using a forearm size brace to rest the kindling on over the tinder’s flame. See how nit picky I had to get on this to find any points of disagreement. The method he demonstrates will work fine and thousand of people start fires using the same method. But personally I have found that by using a forearm sized log as a brace to lean the kindling on is the best way to build a fire. Again, just preference both ways will work this is an “ism”. You can see an article I wrote here on the basics of fire building.
Creek and I actually both have very similar thoughts and philosophies when it comes to Bug Out Bags, Get Home Bags, etc. You can see an article I guest authored on Vehicle Every Day Carry Items and Get Home Bags on Creeks site here last July.
So How Does Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag Rate?
Overall, I think Creek has done an excellent job with this book! If I were to assign a numeric rating to it, I would say it gets a 9 out of 10. The only real substantial comment I can offer for improving it would be to offer it with color pictures. It is very well organized, the editing is excellent, the message is clear and laid out in a very understandable way and it is a great tool for anyone to use as a way to double check their own bag to make sure they have not overlooked something important!
Where Can You Buy A Copy Of Build The perfect Bug Out Bag?
If you are interested in picking up a copy of Creek’s new book “Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag” you can get them on Amazon.Com. Or if you would like to pick up a signed copy of “Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag” you can do that here at his website!
And The Winners Of My Facebook And YouTube Giveaways Are…
For the Facebook giveaway the winner is Darrin Forbing! I will be contacting you shortly to get your mailing address so I can ship you your free copy of Creek Stewart’s new book Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag.
For the YouTube giveaway the winner is AvonCTStyle, I will be contacting you shortly to get your mailing address so I can ship you your free copy of Creek Stewart’s new book Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag and your three free Jolly Tanks!
Thanks to all those who entered the contest on both Facebook and YouTube!
As a part of this review Creek asked me to answer a few questions about myself so that you the readers can get to know a bit more about me. I initially planned on answering his questions on this post but think it may be best to do them on another post since this on has turned out to be a bit longer than I expected! So look for that to be coming your way soon!
Remember it’s not IF but When!