SHTF is an acronym that stands for sh*t hits the fan. This means that something drastic has happened, like a natural disaster, financial crisis, or a war has started. This term is generally used for when things go south quickly. The other acronym that is commonly used to signal it is time to pull out your bug out bag is ‘TEOTWAWKI’. This stands for ‘the end of the world as we know it’.
It is easy to improvise most things on this list but some can’t be improvised so easy on the go, thing is if you are bugging out to a safe area you can possibly keep things minimalist, and if you are lucky enough to legally obtain firearms then a reliable compact pistol such as a Walther P22 or Springfield XD 40 can be teamed up with either take down .22lr rifle (AR7-1022tdr) or .40S&W carbine so you can have close in capabilities and also reach beyond the typical shotgun toting highway raider.
or, I’ll give you a very serious and concrete example, I live in a highly seismic area, if the reason I’m fleeing is the earthquake, I will have to take my backpack really running, but I would hate to run down some unsafe stairs, with a heavy backpack that contains an ax, a bow and a rifle, on that occasion quite useless, but if for another reason I am running away from my house to never go back, or to take a long journey, then maybe even the carpenter’s scrap metal must be taken rushed.
I am in the process of finishing up the first book in a new survival fiction series that I think readers of this blog and my other novels will relate to. Set in America in the near future, this series of stories will deal with a collapse scenario caused by coordinated terror attacks, riots and widespread civil unrest. Considering the situation that is unfolding in Europe now and potentially spreading, I think this type of SHTF scenario is more likely than the solar EMP collapse I have written about in my previous novels.
Some additional items that you should look for in a quality bug out bag include a hydration tube and bladder compatibility (although you’ll usually have to buy these separately), hip belt pockets (where you can store items you want quick access to), and at least one large compartment (where you can fit bulkier items like a tarp, sleeping bag, or large clothing).
At 70 years young I have survived many natural disasters. These include tornadoes, wild fires, earthquakes and many hurricanes. In each case the “government” did NOT show up within 72 hours! That is why I never recommend a 72 hour BOB. My personal BOB is packed with enough light weight food to last two weeks. To accompany these provisions I always carry snare wire and a light weight fishing kit. I also carry at least two books, a wild edible foods guide and a book on medicinal wild plants and how to prepare them. All of these should be used from day ONE. Reserve the food you carry in your BOB for those unlucky days when you can find nothing else to eat. You WILL last a lot longer if you do and you will not starve to death.
Packing a bug out bag can seem overwhelming as the task of not forgetting something important can be daunting. There are many checklists out there that will tell you the essential items you should always keep in your bug out bag. You can buy an already packed Bug out Bag, like this one here- Urban Survival Bug Out Bag, which contains essentials items like food, water, and a first aid kit. You can also check out our Bug Out Bag Checklist and personalize your bag yourself.
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