8 Items You Need To Bring if You Need To Leave In 10 Minutes

C. Davis
By C. Davis March 26, 2018 07:19

8 Items You Need To Bring if You Need To Leave In 10 Minutes

Leaving home in a hurry is something most preppers have given some thought to. Your house might be well prepared to let you ride out any crisis, but what if it’s too dangerous to stay in it? That’s why most of us have a bugout bag packed and ready – if we need to go, we can grab the bag on the way out and we’ll have enough essential gear to give us a fighting chance.

Generally, though, we expect to be able to make an organized departure, with enough time to collect more supplies before we lock the door behind us and head for our bugout location. We probably have a list of things to pack up and take with us, either in our head or written down. But what happens if you don’t get the time you expected to have? Will you still be able to collect the stuff on your list?

Not long ago one of our regular readers, left coast chuck, shared a story on the site about how he found himself having to bug out a bit faster than he’d expected. He’d done exactly what most of us do – made a mental list of what to take with him, but assumed that he’d have a bit of time to get it all together. What actually happened was that his home was threatened by a major fire and he suddenly realized that he had no more than ten minutes before he’d have to leave. That’s not a lot of time – and he lost some of it because, faced with an emergency, he found it was difficult to think through what he needed to take. Since then he’s made a list of what to take next time he has to leave in a hurry. We thought that was a great idea, and we decided to put together a few suggestions on what to add to a “bugout NOW” list.

1. Bugout bag

Let’s start with the obvious one. If you already have a bugout bag, it’s safe to assume all the stuff in it was put there for a reason – because it’s useful. Grab it right away; unless it’s absolutely packed it will also give you somewhere to carry the other items you collect. In fact some (maybe most) of the other stuff on the list should already be in your BOB anyway.

Related: 11 Smart Tips to Make Your Bug-Out Bag Lighter and Smaller

2. Water

The items you grab need to reflect the usual survival priorities, and water is at the top of that pile. That doesn’t always mean you have to take water with you, just that you need to know you can stay supplied with it. In reality, to be sure of having water you probably will need to take it.

The thing is, when you realize you need to be on the move in ten minutes, that’s not the time you want to be filling water containers. If you’re planning to bug out by vehicle, store filled containers in the garage or somewhere close to the vehicle; either use preservatives in the water or refill the containers regularly to make sure the water is always safe to use.

If you have to bug out on foot – either because that’s part of the plan or because your vehicle is disabled – smaller water containers are the way ahead. GI canteens are good, but water bladders have more capacity and are great for staying hydrated on the move. Again, keep them filled and replace the water regularly.

3. Food

The chances are you have some emergency rations in your bugout bag anyway, but if you have ten minutes, grab what you can from the kitchen as well. Bread, canned goods, candy, snacks – anything that’s easy to eat and high in energy. It’s better to have too much food than not enough.

4. Weapons

Some preppers keep a gun in their bugout bag – but it won’t hurt to grab any extra ammo you have. If your designated bugout weapon is a handgun, and you have a long gun in the house, take it and all the ammo you have.

Another thing to think about is what to do with any weapons you’re not taking with you. There are various reasons you might leave some behind. If you have 50 guns and you’re bugging out on foot, you won’t be taking them all. Do you really want to leave most of them behind to arm any looters who find them? If you have guns you don’t use regularly, disable them by removing bolts, firing pins or trigger groups and storing the parts in a locked ammo can. If you have to bug out, take the can with you and throw it in the first river you see.

5. Medication

Empty the medicine cabinet into your bag before you go. Whether you need prescription medication or you just have a big tub of Tylenol in there, you’re better having it with you than leaving it behind.

Related: The Only 4 Antibiotics You’ll Need when SHTF

6. Cash

The same goes for cash – if there’s any in the house, grab it. Even if there’s a total collapse and currency becomes worthless, it’s going to take a while before everyone gets that message. That means that, for anything from a few days to a few months, you’ll be able to buy useful stuff from optimists who think those dollar bills will be valuable again one day.

If you’ve invested in cryptocurrencies, keep a paper copy of your wallet along with your other important documents. You don’t want the network to be rebuilt from backups, but your investment is lost forever because an EMP – or even an unplanned dip in a river – destroyed your wallet.

7. Documents

There are documents you don’t want to lose. Birth and marriage certificates for you and your family are among those you’ll want to save, along with passports, academic and professional certificates, financial documents and the title to your home. Insurance policies are handy, too – if your home is threatened by a fire, it’s nice to know you’ll be able to put in a claim for it later.

It’s always a good idea to make copies of these documents and keep them in your bugout bag. Paper copies in a waterproofed package are durable; it’s worth getting a couple of USB thumb drives and making digital copies, too. They won’t survive an EMP, but if you have to evacuate because of a wildfire they’ll be handy to have.

Of course copies are great, but the originals are better. Keep all your important documents in an envelope. That way, if you have to leave in a hurry, you can just grab the envelope instead of having to hunt for each document.

Related: How To Disappear Completely When SHTF

8. Clothes

You’ll probably have clothes in your bugout bag, but if it’s cold out and your coat is hanging by the front door, grab it on your way past. The coat you wear every day in winter is probably better than the one you were happy to pack away for an emergency, so why not make use of it? I have a fleece and a Gore-Tex jacket in my BOB, because they pack up small and, together, give pretty good protection – but given the choice I’d much rather have my big warm parka.

This list is just some basic essentials that you can grab in a few minutes. There are probably some other things you can think of, too – but the time to think of them is now, not when you’re under the pressure of knowing you only have a few minutes to collect as much as you can. Once you have your list of the things you’ll take if you only have ten minutes to get moving, make sure you know where they all are. Where possible, keep them in a centralized location – a closet near the front door is good if you plan to bug out on foot, while the garage is an obvious place for an escape by vehicle. You know your own plans, so you’re the best person to decide how to fit this into them.

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C. Davis
By C. Davis March 26, 2018 07:19
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  1. Rydaartist March 26, 15:32

    Take your own pillow. Especially if you end up in a shelter. Also hard copy phone book with account numbers. Fire evacuation veteran (6 fires with a away time of up to 11 days), I am completing a Tiny House so I can take my dogs.

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis March 27, 05:33

      A pillow’s a good thing to have, but it’s also bulky. If you’re bugging out by vehicle you can pack a few, but if you have to move on foot a pillow is going to take a lot of space in your pack. Would you take one hiking? I wouldn’t! A coat rolled around some spare clothes will do just as well – and spare clothes will come in handy a lot more often than a pillow will.

      Reply to this comment
      • ShirleyD April 13, 21:23

        But you should take the pillowcase – It will keep the coat and clothes contained better and it weighs almost nothing.

        Reply to this comment
      • InkBlott September 10, 21:08

        Bring a few gallon freezer bags as one may get a hole in it. open the freezer bag to get as much air in it a possible, then seal it. In the morning open the bag fold/roll it n put in pocket till next night.

        Reply to this comment
      • Dee July 7, 19:07

        My Pillow has a wonderful small pillow that rolls up into the pillowcase. We love ours. Big enough to sleep on, yet tiny and lightweight.

        Reply to this comment
    • Groot July 12, 20:43

      I use a cheap, rolled-up, small air mattress (made for the pool or beach) along with two pillow cases to slide on each end. Takes a minimum of space and keeps you off the ground. Also remember to have a small vinyl repair kit in your bag for the small punctures.

      Reply to this comment
    • Black Swan September 11, 13:37

      You might not want to carry a pillow around if you’re on foot, but it’s good to have in a car for more than just bug-out related reasons. I like having my own pillow when visiting family overnight, and I’ve also found it useful for padding fragile things I buy that could break if I have to stop suddenly and they get thrown around before I can get them home. I also like the idea of letting a passenger take a nap back there on a long drive if they want, but so far nobody’s done that. There’s a pillow in my back seat all the time now, and I give it a clean case when I think of it.

      Good article, Left Coast Chuck! Plenty of good suggestions, including of course your main one–being prepared for a bug-out situation that is longer than 15 seconds but much shorter than, say, a full day or longer.

      Reply to this comment
    • John P August 17, 23:46

      A one gallon freezer bag blown up then sealed makes a good pillow. After waking, just let the air out. It folds to a tiny piece of plastic.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Djinn10 March 26, 15:32

    I’m having problems getting around I hope this easy cellar is everything yaw said it was.

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis March 27, 05:36

      The Easy Cellar is impressive. It’s cheap to build, easy to conceal, and pretty tough. Because the design is so simple it’s also easy to customize it to exactly what you need. For example the standard design has steps down to the entrance, but if you need a wheelchair ramp that’s easy to do. A lot of expensive commercial shelters just don’t allow that option – unless you’re used to getting in and out of a submarine they’re not so accessible.

      Reply to this comment
  3. left coast chuck March 26, 16:00

    Let me add a few items to the list:

    1. Your medications.

    2. Your wallet and your wife’s purse with her wallet. I assume you carry your identification and credit cards in your wallets. I.D. and credit cards are important items to have with you even if you have cash.

    3. Toiletries. You can probably buy replacements when you reach your destination, but they may be at inflated prices.

    4. Your phone and your spouse’s phone and chargers.

    Most importantly, make a written list and keep it in the drawer of your nightstand of what you want to take and where it is located in your home. Keep it up to date if there are additions or deletions.

    We don’t keep everything that we need to take when we need to get out NOW by the front door. Not every item you want to take is conveniently located and packed up. If you decide to change the location of an item for any reason, change your list to reflect the change of location.

    Today or this week, gather all the items you plan to take and pack them up. Count the number of parcels and described the parcels on the list. We have our bug out clothes in two bags marked prominently with the name of the vendor. So on the list we have “Two XXX bags.”

    When evacuating, when you have loaded your vehicle, count how many bags are in the vehicle. Oops. There are seven on the list but only six in the vehicle. What’s missing? Aha, the green tote!

    If you have a valuable item that just absolutely must go that is breakable, get a box or packing that it can be conveniently fitted into so that when time is short you can easily pack it and not have to worry about whether it will be destroyed while you are hastily evacuating. Note the location of the packing so you don’t have to search for it.

    It is important to have a designated place for items we use every day. For instance, the phone. If you always place your phone on the nightstand next to the bed. That is fine. Where is the charger. How about your spouse? Do they always put their phone in the same place all the time? How about the charger for the phones? Is it always in the same place all the time? How about the charger for the phone for the car? Is it always in the same place all the time?

    If you plan on taking a notepad or laptop computer, the same questions apply. If you have to hunt for the charger occasionally, you are not following the discipline necessary to have an organized evacuation.

    While we were organized and we evacuated promptly, due to a lack of detailed prior organization, we left behind some items that we should have taken.

    Finally, while flashlights are great, it is much more convenient when you are trying to move around and pack up stuff to have a hands-free light. So make sure you have either an area lantern or lights that you can place on your head close by. I store such lights without the batteries in them so that they aren’t corroded and useless when needed. Store the batteries for those items with the item itself if you store them without the batteries so that you don’t have to waste time getting the batteries from the place where you store all your batteries. Replace them periodically with fresh batteries. You don’t have to throw the old batteries away. They may still have life in them. If you have to use the lights for an extended period, even a battery that only provides light for an hour will be useful.

    A few items that we didn’t take but should have: The phone charger for the car. It was in the hall closet where we keep our jackets. Makes sense because the hall closet is near the front door and so it is easy to get it on the way out to the car – if one remembers that it is there and might well be needed.

    My wallet. I had been on line doing Christmas shopping when I decided to call it a night and go to bed. I left my wallet by the computer instead of putting it on my dresser. I was going to continue shopping the next morning so didn’t put it in its usual place.

    Our prescription medication was on the dining room table but we didn’t look there to see it. Left without it. We were able to get replacements because the drugstore where we have the prescriptions on file was still open. It could well have been evacuated and closed and we would have been a week without medication.

    Those items and their locations are now on my check list of items to be sure to place in our vehicle.

    The check list is like having a fire extinguisher or a tourniquet. You hope you never have to use them. But if you need them, the need is immediate and imperative and if you don’t have them it is too late.

    Fortunately, my wife took her wallet and so when we needed to make purchases we could use her credit cards. We had cash we could have used, but we made a Costco run during the week we were evacuated. Her Costco card got us in the store. Mine on the desk by the computer wasn’t a lot of help. When we came back the road blocks had been lifted. Had we wanted to return prior to the road blocks being removed, we could have used her I.D. Good looks and charm haven’t been working that well for me recently and without her I.D. we would not have been able to return. Fortunately, I drove carefully and didn’t get stopped, otherwise I would not have had my driver’s license.

    The prescriptions and the wallet were the two most important things I overlooked in our bug out. A written list would have prompted me to get them and take them with us.

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis March 26, 18:14

      Thanks for helping with this, Chuck! It was your experience that got us thinking about it in the first place. Having a list is vital, to avoid the deer in the headlights experience when the moment arrives and you need to get out fast.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Miss Kitty March 26, 17:14

    Excellent article and thanks for your additional comments Chuck. The only thing I would add would be in your pet’s bob to make sure you have a hard copy of vaccination records, any meds they need, and your vet’s business card. Also a good photo of your pet in case they get separated from you.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck March 26, 19:25

      Yes, I thought about pets, but since the bobcat got our last koi, we have no pets so to speak, although fish in my view hardly qualify as pets — I don’t want to get flamed by all the fish lovers, please. Feeding a fish isn’t quite the same as petting Old Fido. Sorry, reasonable minds can differ.

      Since we don’t have pets, I wasn’t up to speed on what to recommend, but lots of folks who did have pets found they couldn’t take them to the shelters or were unable to retrieve them because they let them roam at night and just didn’t have time to try to find them. Some got their pets back and some are, apparently, gone forever.

      So, I would recommend the same if you have pets. Plan ahead, make a list of what you need and where it is. And maybe housebreak Fluffy she she doesn’t have to roam at night. Besides, the coyotes are very active now that the mice and other small animals they depend on for food have moved elsewhere. Fluffy makes a very nice meal for a coyote.

      In addition, it might be well to make arrangements ahead of time to be able to leave your animal at some safe location for the duration. Folks who had their homes burned are finding they can find rentals for themselves but many rentals will not take pets PERIOD. No inducements can make them change their policy.

      The town of Ojai has a fairly large horse population and a good portion of that town had to evacuate. Putting Fluffy in her car carrier is a lot easier than hooking up the trailer and getting Old Dobbins in there plus feed and water etc.

      There is still bitterness in the whole area about the lack of warning issued by officials who should have known better. The fire is supposed to have started at 18:30 and was deemed out of control by 20:30. I went to bed at 23:00 and listened to the 22:00 news and there wasn’t a word of the fire on the hour long news broadcast. The first inkling I had was when I got up at 0400 and smelled smoke. I was told a police car had driven down the street announcing the warning to evacuate but being partially deaf and having a bedroom at the back of the house, I didn’t hear that brief warning.

      Folks with large animals had about the same amount of time to flee as I did. I’m really glad I didn’t have to consider how to save my wife and my horse. I would have hated to put the horse down but I wouldn’t want it to burn to death either. I don’t know what all the horse owners did. I have a feeling some just don’t feel like talking about it.

      Good point about pets, Miss Kitty. For some pet owners, loss of the pet is almost like losing a child. So you need to be thinking about Fluffy, Fido and Old Dobbins if you have to evacuate.

      We all think about an EOTW situation causing us to have to evacuate but sometimes the local event, while just a blip on the 6:00 o’clock news is pretty much a kick in the teeth for those involved. There have now been three fires in the hills behind my house in the fifty years I have lived here and this one is the closest call so far. I had considered that our house was pretty safe and I still do as we didn’t even have much ash fall on our property due to the winds. We have had more ash from fires much further away. BUT seeing houses fully engaged in fire about 500 yards away with just under hurricane force winds blowing does cause a moderate amount of concern for the safety of one’s loved ones and oneself.

      It’s really hard to put into words how the experience has changed my outlook on preparing. I had always felt confident that I had done pretty well in my preparations. I now have a whole different appreciation of things. I just hope the readers of this list will really give some serious analytical thought to their preps.

      Reply to this comment
      • Claude Davis March 27, 08:15

        Hi Left Coast Chuck,
        Again, thank you so much for all the insightful and down to earth comments. You can learn more from them than in many of our articles. I would love to read and post an article written by you on any subject you would like. I have tried to contact you via email but I couldn’t reach you. If you are interested please email me at me claude.davis@askaprepper.com.

        Reply to this comment
  5. CJ March 27, 01:19

    Although I don’t live in a danger zone, I do have a forest close by, so anything is possible. I keep a suitcase packed at all times, and a med case. All I have to do is through them in the car. I keep my BOB in there 24/7. Actually , in 10 minutes, I’d be good for a long time. The longer I have, the better I am.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck March 27, 05:00

      CJ: As I tried to make clear in my posts, you probably don’t walk around with your 110 volt phone charged connected to your phone. Sure, you may have your car phone charger in your car, but if you are not living in your car you may not want to have to run out to your car when you want to charge your phone. It may be a long trip from your room on the third floor of the local Holiday Inn down to the parking lot where your car is.

      There are papers you need to take. Are the insurance policies and title to your car in the same place as your marriage certificate/divorce decree, birth certificate, passport, deed to your house? Do you have guns you really want to take with you and are the cases to transport them readily available? Where is the ammo stored? What about extra cash and your medical insurance card and social security card?

      Most of us don’t keep all those things in a nice neat stack just inside the front door or stacked along the blank wall in the garage so we can just neatly put them in the car and drive away.

      Throughout our evacuation I didn’t feel any panic. I wasn’t hyperventilating, didn’t feel dizzy, had what I thought was a well-thought out plan of evacuation that I had seriously thought about beforehand. I did feel time was of the essence because from my vantage point on my street it appeared as though the fire had jumped the intervening four lane road north of my property and was burning in our tract east of my home with the wind blowing from east to west. It was blowing at 70+ miles per hour which is just below hurricane strength so I realized if my assessment was correct, I only had a few minutes to load and get out. Everyone else in the tract who had heard the cop car had gotten a head start and most of them were driving down the street as I assessed my position.

      You may say to yourself, “Well, I’m not a deaf old man like LCC but there may be circumstances that prevent you from hearing the cop car racing down the street with his PA system on. Remember, he is running form the fire too. Or as in some areas, there was no official warning whatsoever, just the fire racing over the hills to the east.

      So, despite having what I thought was a well thought out plan of evacuation because I had given it serious thought beforehand, I still managed to screw up. The lack of ID and forgetting our prescription medicine could have been serious. It turned out not to be, but I sure don’t like having to depend on good luck. I cured the lack of a car charge cord by stopping at the first Target I came to but that was $30 I could have avoided spending had I had a list before I needed it.

      So while you may feel set, I would wager the $30 I spent on the car charger that you don’t have the deed to your house in your bugout bag. You don’t have your medical health insurance card in there or your social security card. I’ll bet most of the other papers I mentioned are not all in just one place in your house just waiting to be plucked up and placed in your vehicle.

      I urge you and everyone reading this series of posts to have a written list of what you want to take as I have described with a list of your baggage. I forgot to mention that somehow I managed to leave my wife’s suitcase with her clothes sitting in the foyer of our house by the door to the family room. Had I made a list of the number of bags we were supposed to pack and checked it before we drove off, I would have noticed that we were short one bag. We were able to buy replacement clothing when we got to my daughter’s house, but that was another expense we didn’t need to incur.

      I can tell you that each time you go out to put luggage in the car you are paying close attention to the fire and nothing else. A written list will help keep you on track.

      Reply to this comment
      • CJ March 29, 00:34

        Your information is invaluable to others, because you’ve been through it. I’ve had to bug out a couple times unexpectedly, so that’s why I keep things ready. Actually, I do keep my medical cards in my wallet. Other papers or copies of are in my medical bag, along with a weeks worth of meds, and some necessary toiletries. I’m 70 years old and don’t rely on my memory anymore.Those cases set in a corner in a small room., next to a closet that I keep camping equipment. If I can’t bug out in my vehicle, I probably will stay unless no choice. Then I’ll strap on my Bob and go. Yes, I have a phone car charger in the car, but also an extra regular charger in my med bag. I also have two extra full charged portable units. I also have a converter in the car to use small appliances should I need to. I’ve gotten stranded in my car and know what I wished I had. Thank you for your input.

        Reply to this comment
        • left coast chuck February 6, 02:21

          Our medicines are in two separate containers. One is on the dinning room table and it is what we take our daily med from. The other is in the hall closet and could have been easily snatched and carried away—had I remembered to take either or both of them. Without a list, although the daily use container was in plain sight as I rushed by it multiple times getting stuff staged and loaded, I completely overlooked it. It wouldn’t have taken me two seconds to grab it and move it to the staging area by the front door. Because I didn’t have a list to remind me and thus walked past it numerous times made me realize that it is absolutely necessary to have a current, accurate list to remind oneself of what is most important to take.

          A list would have reminded me—Oh, grab the meds and get the back up in the hall closet too.

          One may think they are focusing on the important and omitting the trivial in an emergency situation. If that is the case, you are a better man than I, Gunga Din. I thought I was exceptionally cool and collected as I hurried deliberately without panic gathering the essentials. Perhaps I was cool and collected but not collected enough when one considers what I left behind that a list would have solved.

          Perhaps the list wouldn’t have helped a bit. We won’t know until the next time. I must say, however, like a fire extinguisher, I hope I will never need the list in the future. But like the fire extinguisher, I will have the list anyway.

          Reply to this comment
  6. Stumpy March 27, 03:01

    One hing that I have learned is that when you have documents in a fire proof safe is to not open the safe for a couple of days after the fire. back in the late 70’s or early 80’s a close friend lost her house to a fire. She had the normal stuff in it, Birth certificate, Passport, Insurance papers, and other stuff. The day after the fire she opened up the box and poof everything burst into flames.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck March 27, 04:18

      Good point, Stumpy! The physics and mechanics of it as not hard to understand. I think I have read that a house fire burns at between 1700 and 2000 degrees F. The air inside the safe probably got hot enough to scorch the papers and use up the oxygen. When the fire extinguished and the safe started to cool down, the door got sucked tight against the frame sealing it against any more oxygen leaking in, thus smothering any smoldering paper. When the door was opened, oxygen rushed in and the insides, insulated and retaining heat over 450 degrees ignited the papers. They may have been scorched inside the safe, but as soon as they burst into flame there was no telling if they were scorched or not.

      Very good point to remember post fire. Hope it is something nobody has to remember in the future.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Rydaartist March 27, 06:50

    The Chinese have a curse, “May you live in interesting times.”. Here is my record, Santa Cruz County, CA…3 100 year floods, two major earthquakes (one was the San Francisco of the 1980’s) and 6 fire evacuations in Lake County Ca. You have to be nimble and strong.

    Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady March 29, 06:12

      I’ll just say wow. I mostly grew up and stayed in Napa County till I was 25. Loved the Bay area and Lake County too. Shopped outlet stores for my school clothes in Santa Rosa. Helped as a volunteer making firebreaks driving a D9 Cat when I was 19. Calistoga area.

      Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady March 29, 06:44

      I have several bug out bags and a box of things always in each vehicle that changes winter into spring and fall going into winter. Some things the same all year, some seasonal.
      Sure the list could be expanded but I try to have the important things covered. Always have some food, water, clothing, blankets, TP in an oatmeal container, a minimal set of tools and jumper cables and always a shovel. The bug out bags sit ready to grab on the floor of the linnen cabinet. Perscriptions are in a drawer close by. Try to keep it all handy.
      Since I pastor in another town there is a packed suitcase at the foot of the bed at all times. I commute 100 miles to a friends home where we can shower Saturday night and get ready for church Sunday morning. Then home again in the afternoon. I change out clean laundry and church outfits week to week so the bag stays ready to grab. Seasonal clothing in vehicles. Some more clean under wear would be handy if in a hurry to bug out. Going in the car or truck it would be easy to grab a set of pillows. If taking the class c motorhome just grab bags, meds, and go. It has food and kitchen, bathroom, shower, propane, gasoline, and water tanks and a generator. There are even some changes of clothing and a madeup bed ready to be used. Only drawback is poorer gas mileage.

      Reply to this comment
  8. mbl March 27, 15:35

    One thing i’d suggest is to have practice runs. A prepper friend and i have discussed this, and so far, we’ve only done one at her house. She invited me over, and in the middle of a regular conversation, i said, “Go. You have to evacuate now. NOW.”

    And i timed her. She, as LCC mentioned has everything written out. She goes to one tote, it tells her what’s in there, and what else she needs to grab. She gets the second item, it tells her the third tote/box. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    We didn’t try corralling the cats as we were still unsure if it would be best to take them or leave them (we’ve since decided it would be worth it to take them), but it was still a good drill. She had everything in her launch area within two minutes, and loaded it into her car herself within five minutes.

    We had a post-mortem afterwards, including taking things back out of the car, and then my asking her questions such as, “Hey, i need to cook something, do you have X?” Just to see what she had/didn’t have.

    I”m still assembling things for a quick bug out. Currently, i’d need more than two minutes to assemble all the items in the launch area.

    In my to-go tote that has a lot of what i need, i do have a list of what is inside and a list of what i else i need to grab and where it is. Ideally, i’ll be able to corral more of those things in one spot so i won’t need to go all over the house.

    Since we get some pretty severe winter weather, i routinely make sure my phone is charged up. I’ve recently decided to keep the handheld VHF radio i use for my sailboat charged up all year round, because in case of an emergency, i can get NOAA info, and while it’s against the law to use it to talk on land, i can listen in, and if the emergency is bad enough, it may make sense for me to use it to contact someone. And our evacuation may indeed have us on a boat.

    I decided to have a more robust BOB in the truck, so some of the useful items are already there, but i can’t leave water in there all year long, since we do have freezing temps for several months on end.

    We are due for another drill soon. Our thinking is that if we can at least get used to what to grab when for our stuff, it’ll be more familiar in a crisis, and then we can spend what extra time we have left trying to get our kitties.

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    • Claude Davis March 27, 16:19

      You can leave water in the truck all year round – just don’t fill the containers all the way if you expect freezing weather. Fill them to about 80% capacity and they should be fine. The water might be frozen, but it’ll be fine when it thaws.

      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck March 27, 17:38

      Try leaving the water overnight on a freezing night in a styrofoam ice chest. Fill it as full of the water containers as you can so there isn’t a lot of empty air inside the ice chest. I would start with the .5 liter water bottles first and move up to larger bottles. You may be surprised. Make sure the bottles are standing upright so the ice freezes up into the open space at the top. If they are on their sides the ice may force the lid off. I keep .5 liter bottles of water in a styrofoam chest in my car and in SoCal in the summertime the car can easily reach 140°, yet every time I take the water out of the ice chest it is cool to drink, despite the inside of the car being hot enough to at least make jerky. Styrofoam ice chests are quite efficient.

      As Claude suggests, if you only fill the bottle 80% it will freeze but not burst the bottle. I keep 2 liter bottles in my freezer constantly. I don’t allow any empty space in the freezer. If I take something out that leaves room I shove a 2 liter bottle in. I don’t fill them all the way and (fingers crossed) none of them have burst yet. I always freeze them standing up before I lay them on their sides.

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    • mbl March 28, 14:24

      RE: the freezing water thing, I’m thinking that if I need to evacuate within 10 minutes in winter, I want to be sure I have water that isn’t frozen in case I need to have it in a liquid state before it thaws.

      I have some of those 3.5L water blocks and will take those from the house to my vehicle in freezing weather.

      I’ve allowed room in various sized containers to see how well it works. Some have become misshapen, and haven’t reverted to their initial shape,

      A Styrofoam chest buys some time, but when we get a spate of 20 below temps, which happens at least several days in a row, the water freezes.

      So, I’m thinking having some in the truck ready to go and possibly frozen is okay, but I do also want to know I have some that is liquid and immediately available. ymmv

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck March 28, 18:51

        Smaller containers will thaw quicker than larger containers and the water doesn’t have to be completely thawed to be potable. Draining a couple of bottles that haven’t thawed completely can satisfy your needs. Take a bottle out as soon as you depart. Put it by the heater vent if it is that cold out, you will be running the heater anyway. That will hasten the thawing.

        Have a 2 liter bottle in the kitchen ready to go. That will give you water if you need it before your bottles in the ice chest thaw. Frozen water in the ice chest isn’t bad. You can chuck items from the fridge in there if there is room. You might need ice for a sprain or bruise if you are bugging out. Ice doesn’t hurt water even if it freezes and thaws multiple times. It isn’t like that steak in the freezer that has pretty much lost its taste by the 10th time it has thawed and frozen.

        You may have read that water stored in plastic bottles dissolves plasticizers and drinking them will affect your health. I would suggest that the study is flawed and like so many “studies” fatally flawed.

        First, I saw no peer review of the findings. That is always very important for any study. Having fellow scientists in the field look at your study and your data and pick holes in it.

        Second, the time frame was too short and in my view, at least, not broad enough to apply to the 330 million people in the U.S.

        If your choice is retrieving water from a stream where you have no idea what is upstream from your position, filtering it and boiling it versus drinking water from a plastic bottle that has been sitting in an ice chest in your vehicle for a year, well, that is a no-brainer in my view. You may disagree. That is your choice. I think if I were going to feed that water to someone not past puberty, on a regular basis I would boil it first. If you are 30 plus, I think possible effects of plasticizers on your long term health in an EOTW situation is going to rank way down on the list of possible bad things happening to you.

        Water born infectious disease is going to be the first thing to worry about and water stored in unopened plastic bottles is going to be your best choice for water. I won’t bother to list all the other concerns that one would have in an ultra emergency because they are all familiar to us.

        Don’t be distracted by minutia. You have to have water to survive. Water from a known source, stored under known conditions is always better than water from an unknown source, even if it looks sparkly clean and refreshing.

        Reply to this comment
        • mbl March 29, 01:30

          Yes putting a frozen bottle nearer the heat vent will help it to thaw out quicker, but I’m thinking if I’m in a situation where I need to evacuate quickly and am injured or sustain an injury that requires washing a wound, I want liquid H2O, not the ounce or two that may have melted.

          As for the containers, plastic make the most sense as they are lightweight and fairly unbreakable. I did forget a full container of bottled water, which froze solid and split open the bottle, and that experience had me wonder just how much I could put in a container and have it hold without breaking. As Claude mentioned, 80% seems about right. The containers that became misshapen had a bit more than that. They were still functional containers, but never went back to their original shape after the water thawed.

          My current practice is to take a water bottle with me any time I leave the house to drive somewhere, so the habit will be engrained if there’s a situation where I have to leave at once.

          I live in a place with four seasons, and each season has its advantages and drawbacks. The biggest one in winter is knowing that I can have water in its liquid state at the ready. Well, I suppose weather would be the biggest problem because it’s hard to drive In whiteout conditions.

          I’ve also been caught outside walking in whiteout conditions, and it’s a very strange thing. Even if it’s somewhere you know well, like your back yard, it’s easy to become disoriented within a minute. The first time it happened to me, I decided I needed to know how many steps was between two points so I could make my way to place where I could get my bearings again.

          I suppose something similar could happen if you are near a large wildfire and needing to navigate through lots of smoke.

          I need to talk with my friend again, as one of our waypoints was a house where the owner has recently died, so that place won’t be an option for us anymore.

          It was a great location, hand pump well on the property, some outbuildings, and good places for caches.

          Reply to this comment
          • Enigma May 7, 18:04

            For rinsing out a wound, H2O2 better than water. Dollar Tree often sells 946mL containers for $1 each.

            Supermarket 1.5 liter orange-juice jugs can be reused to store water. Put _one_ drop of pure (unscented) bleach in each before filling.

            A water container which contains circa 40% to 50% grain alcohol resists freezing. Has various uses; also more fun to drink.

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  9. Labienus March 27, 23:28

    This is why you have the bugout bag ready ahead of time.

    I usually have some simple stuff in it as a base, then I’ll add or deduct from it depending on what is going on.

    -morakniv companion
    -cooking tins
    -dried food
    -water bottles
    -wool blanket
    -marlin 60

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    • left coast chuck March 28, 00:06

      With the exception of the Marlin, all that stuff x 2 is in my car 24/7/365. The only exception is if I have to leave my car for service, then I take it out. There are items that one uses in daily life that you don’t have to run out to the car to retrieve but that you certainly want to take with you in an evacuation.

      There are documents that you wouldn’t want to store in your car but that you definitely want to take with you.

      Your daily meds – ditto.
      The list goes on.

      Reply to this comment
  10. deb March 28, 18:50

    great suggestions. but what if you don’t have a car? how will you decide what to take then?

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck March 28, 19:06

      It’s always easier to discard unnecessary items than it is to wish that you had what has become a life-saving item.

      I can’t tell the future. What I do is stock what I can that I think I could might need. I can only make that decision at the moment at hand and that is governed by how urgent the need to leave is.

      With the fire the urgency was great in my estimation. I left lots of stuff that I would ordinarily have taken with me. If I have more time, even if a motor vehicle was not feasible, I have several alternative modes of moving gear. Do I have time and can I take my bicycle with its trailer? If I can do that I can haul a lot more gear than I can carry on my back. Do I have time to convert one of my ladders to a travois with wheels? The Indians moved their teepees and their households on travois pulled by the women in the days before they acquired horses. Even the dogs pulled small travois. You can travel over some rough country pulling a travois. There was no Interstate road system when the Indians were dragging travois.

      Do I have time to make a trip to the big box hardware store and pick up a cargo wagon? There are cargo wagons that can haul up to 1,000 pounds if you can pull the load.

      Do I want to pull a wagon weighing possibly 500 pounds?

      Can’t make that decision until the moment arrives.

      So the decision regarding what to take other than some very basics, matches, a large knife, food, water, firearms, ammunition, stove, sleeping bags or tarps, warm clothing, changes of underwear and socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, wipes. . .

      Then how much one takes depends upon whether one anticipates returning or not.

      Reply to this comment
  11. Clergylady March 29, 06:20

    Love the article and comments. Good in put.

    Reply to this comment
    • Lucy March 30, 04:13

      What a great article and comments! There is an immediacy to all this that is compelling and alive.

      One small aside, regarding bugging out in an RV, or any vehicle that gets low mileage. When Hurricane Irma was about to hit, my sister and her family in Palm Beach County in southeast Florida were all packed up to go — but. My brother-in-law’s job delayed their leaving as soon as they might have. On the radio they heard about the many-hour lines of traffic snaking north, and that the gas stations along the way were running out of gas. They decided to bug in, to sit tight, rather than run out of gas for their monster RV along the way. They packed all 8 people and two dogs into an interior concrete block bathroom to wait it out. Fortunately for them, Irma changed paths and went up the west coast of Florida, and their house was still standing at the end. As LCC says, though, we don’t like having to depend on good luck.

      I’m not sure Irma’s changing course was necessarily good luck for my sister. We can hear the urgency, the warning us to amend our ways in Chuck’s postings; I fear my sister has a blithe disregard for the real danger that they escaped, that it “wasn’t all that bad.”

      Reply to this comment
  12. Clergylady March 30, 05:11

    When Irma went up Florida my daughter and son in law needed to stay in the Jacksonville area as they were both on call. They had planned extra food, water, meds et in their apartment. Area was cut off but safe for a few days. Bathtub of water and so on… glad they were ssfe but it is still unsettling to have your baby staying put in a huricane.
    I have a class c motor home and a tank of gas will take you a long way but if it were fire and immediacy… my car or truck would be my choice. Faster, easier to manuver, better mileage..all would be considdered. We keep extra 5 gal cans of gas here and rotate to keep them pretty fresh. A few on a rear trailer hitch mounted platform would be handy unless fire is upon you then no way would I be hauling around cans of fuel.
    Glad you were safe Chuck and thanks for sharing.

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  13. Enigma May 7, 18:14

    Disasters some in different forms, as in fires and hurricane cited. So dividing up items by categories into different ‘bug-out’ bags – rational.

    One class of item unmentioned; photographs and albums. Since albums are generally bulky, persons fleeing sans vehicle(s) should have copies of family photos in ready Zip-Loc packages. For folk with vehicles, albums in water-resistant storage containers another choice.

    Acid-free paper, properly cared-for and stored, may last 500 years. After a CME (Carrington Event), DVD players and computers unlikely working, even if you eventually generate / get back electricity.

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  14. Clergylady May 8, 07:25

    I have digitalised the family photos. Captions and all on thumb drives can be printed. Also have photos with information on cds. Copies of paperwork… the same. Ready to print.
    My bobs are seasonal as in warm or thin clothing.. going to aim for a bugout location or escaping fire in the truck. If its chaos and dont expect to return, take everything. Bags are tagged. Contents of area with perscriptions and general med items ready to dump in a partially packed bag that is in the cabinet in the master bathroom. List near the front door too check on the way out. Any food/water et can be quickly bagged in shopping bags. There are sleeping bags and a small tent with the other bags.
    I do a dry run weekly and a full on evacuation with my husband.
    I have a simple revolver and amo ready for dogs attacking my critters or to take with me. There is a slingshot and a few arrows and basic wire and tools that can become snares et in a bag. I can pack the truck for a total evacuation in 6 minutes. If taking food and water…12 minutes will get it. I figure practice will help make it more routine and iron out bugs.
    My biggest worry here would be fire. Lots of grassland across these high mountain desert foothills.
    I lost most of my picture albumns to vandals. Glad I”d started a digital record so each kid could have a printed copy. It ended up being what I have for me.
    I have a bag of hard candy in almost every bag. Pleasant calories, wets the mouth, calms babies and my husband with dimentia. Diabetics or hypoglycemics both can need quick sugar. Just a cheap easy thing to include when packing.
    If I were heading to the mountain with a back pack… the meds, snares, and shelter items would be my choice. My deeds, tax items, marriage license, et would be handy, but aren’t essential to survival.
    Clothing, a way to start fire, knowledge, and a pocket knife to cut or skin with were my essentials when I did it before. I’d prefere to be better prepared and I’d hope not to hit the hills in below zero nights.

    Reply to this comment
    • Enigma May 17, 18:18

      Deeds and like ‘official papers’ may be buried on your property, as in a ‘time capsule’. A surplus industrial-size pressure-cooker comes to mind as a vessel.

      ‘Official papers’ have utility if government is soon restored, but a lengthy crisis easily may see everything change. That’s what happened during the latter Roman Empire (afflicted not only by ‘barbarian’ tribes (like current US border problems, but also by periodic plagues)). Circa 1/3d to 1/2 of European populations got periodically wiped out by various diseases. Some/all of those maladies brought via trade routes from Africa and Asia. ‘Histories’ celebrate the spices, ivory, silk, etc., but deprecate horrific prices due accompanying plagues.

      Before diseases extirpated Indians, those and other diseases did much the same in Europe, and lands and much else changed hands several times. Insofar as world history ever got taught in US public ‘schools’, so much got left out.

      Other stuff you cite good. (Although I’d be chary about giving candies to a diabetic.) I keep many cheaper and durable items in my vehicle.

      Pistol have limited utility outside urban zones. Unless in expert-practiced hands, their range circa 8 meters/25 feet. Pump shotguns have wide capability and better range. Yet firearms are noisy. Crossbows and slings much quieter.

      Lock-blade knives have limited uses. Belt-knives with guards rather better; hand doesn’t slip down a slippery haft & get badly sliced. Knives best double as tool & weapon. Better to have a set of sheath knives; thin-light one suitable for skinning and fish, one for kitchen chopping, and a third of the Kukri/Bolo design for heavy work. If multiple persons in party, then other designs likely included for them to carry.

      Those periodic practice runs important. Too many preppers just buy and mess about with gear, and never actually exercise scenarios. Maybe that word ‘exercise’ a clue?

      High country with challenging climate(s) at least discourages most interlopers. Your vandal experiences irritate me somewhat; have never understood destruction for malice or for destruction’s sake.

      Napoleon once remarked that we shouldn’t attribute to malice that which may be explained by stupidity. But in my experience, malice and stupidity most often are boon companions.

      Reply to this comment
  15. TruthB Told July 12, 16:02

    # 1. on my list is my wife.

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  16. Clergylady July 12, 19:07

    Given a few minutes extra I’d go to out large fires safe/ gun safe. All original important papers are there in an acordian folder. I’d grab the 38 amo, my 45 and amo and my old 22 bold action rifle and amo. Everything prescriptions is pre packed. Prescriptions and pets and a bag of pet food on the list by the door. All close and easy to grab and go. A case of bottled water is handy as well. It is used and changed out 4 x per year. An extra package of TP sits near the water a n d could easily be grabbed as well.
    Kitchen items easy to grab and fill an ice chest to go if time allows.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Enigma July 15, 02:31

    Prepackaged non-perishable items (ie., TP) which aren’t costly best to keep in vehicle where space available.

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  18. Clergylady July 15, 06:12

    Car has cinnamon graham crackers, tp, snack bars and often trail mix plus things like a shovel, carpet scrap, rock salt, et. A mix of things for different circumstances and different seasons and usually some bottled water.
    Before retiring there were times snow closed the roads so clothing, edibles and a blanket were thankfully present.

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  19. Enigma July 17, 06:56

    Absolutely. Thus the sheer and on-going practicality of prepping. Serves current needs as well as that of foreseeable futures.

    Reply to this comment
  20. Clergylady July 17, 16:09

    One of the packed bags if we bug out by vehicle… Has pasta mixes and canned meats. I’ve opened as needed and used from that bag when I had unexpected lunch guests. With moving and working on the place, cupboards have gotten a bit sparse. I’ve closed down and gotten rid of my freezer. Now, what is on hand is just what is in the refrigerator freezer, cans and Jars.
    I wasn’t a “for disaster future” kind of food prepper. My food preps have always been health centered. Grow it, dry, can, or freeze it to eat all year till fresh is available again. That is still my basic plan. Some years I grow less than we eat because of moving or health problems but I still grow what I can and watch for case sales to supplement in those times. I still aim for a years food on hand. The bug out foods are renewed most often.
    We still have fresh eggs, both duck and chicken, ducks, chickens, and rabbits for meats, and herbs and vegetables in raised beds and containers. The tree fruits all failed to produce this year because of late spring freezes. The grapes are set incredibly full this year. Mostly Thompson seedless. We will eat fresh and raisins later.
    Kale and other greens have been drying. Surprising good to add to soups, pasta, or smoothies later. I have also been drying mints, stevia, and basil the past few weeks. Extra jalepanios will start drying in the next few days.
    I didn’t harvest asparagus or rhubarb this year. I’m letting the transplants regain strength. Next year I’ll harvest from those permanent plantings.
    Fresh alfalfa is not my permanent planting. It comes up everywhere spread by birds from neighboring fields. When I pull it from the garden beds my critters especially love it. They eat most of the weeds that don’t make it to the compost area.
    Heading to town today. A neighbors grand daughter Is just 15 and asked to go to rehab. Since she has asked for help, and has been accepted, I’ll help grandma get two outfits and a swimsuit. They required 10 outfits and the swimsuit. They managed to put together 8 outfits from what she has. Grandma and I are going shopping. I figure our young people are as important to the future as food will be. We will each put in what we can to meet the required clothing.

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  21. J A WYATT July 21, 19:12


    11 June 2018
    Consider this to be a football team, a football team of American tradition.
    The plays are called from the Owner down to the Coach and the Coach relays them to the Quarterback.
    The Quarterback conveys the ‘plays’ in detail to the team, the team consisting of each of us in general and the major players’ members of the team.
    Not this is where the situation gets a bit “dicey”!
    The explained in detail “play” from the Owner to the Coach to the Quarterback HAS TO BE EXECUTED PRECISELY; NO DEVIATION WHAT-SO-EVER and this is where the temptation potentially for the Player Ball Carrier to “bust the play”, i.e. deviate !!!!!!!
    James Allen Wyatt, Jr., LIBERTYWATCHMAN@YAHOO.COM; Kosciusko, MS H.S. Class of ’56; Mississippi State University Class of 1961

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  22. j a wyatt July 21, 21:22

    “WORDS” have become the norm for many folks now-days, factual truths seldom found in these wordy pronouncements; “much noise signifying nothing” . . . except for lies and propaganda.
    “Words of a fool” can serve as a great asset however as those who have built their lives and livelihood on ‘talking’ will make a mistake if they are allowed to talk long enough; their ‘words of the mouth” not only revealing real condition of their soul and mind but in their almost uncontrolled verbiage they invariable reveal what has sought to be hidden.
    They’re ‘ self-righteous’, their belief that they are superior in all ways to all others and thus above the law of man as well as the Law of God; a God that they reject totally but make mention of only in their effort to support a belief in their ‘selfrightneous’


    Wise council gleamed for wise famous learned writers of books of great wisdom!?
    NO, THIS WAS WISE COUNSEL FROM MY RED HAIRED DAD, a poor farm boy who went to Arkansas at age 15 years in 1916 to work in the rice fields, who never finished school but who was a quiet man who was always listening and learning; one who spent any idle time in courtrooms listing to hearings and thereby gaining a degree of knowledge of civil law; he became a gunsmith that was designated by Remington Arms as their Recommended Gunsmith and who built Wyatt-Power Custom Sporting Rifles and who taught his son RIGHT FROM WRONG and expected that admonishment to be followed to the letter. To say that he and Mom ran a “tight ship” would be an understatement!!!

    From a perspective of some 81 years if “I make it through November 2018” I have witnessed a nearly total abandonment of these principals that were previously held dear; the Holy Bible and common decency for the most part discarded by the ‘wayside’.

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  23. J A WYATT July 22, 03:29


    It is said that the eyes are windows to the soul and this one among a multitude of others validates this observation.


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  24. Enigma July 22, 15:43

    Posting details of a theology inherited from the Medieval Catholic Church not particularly helpful to a prepper/survivalist.

    However there are aphorisms and principles in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes which have benefit. For folk of anarchic bent, they would do well to also read the book of Judges and reflect on that record.

    We are agreed, if I read aright the foregoing, that the Democratic Party has made itself into the Demonic Party. And due its efforts over the past century the American Imperium has been made evermore like Byzantium, which arrogated to itself the honorable label of ‘Christian’ while at the same being in fact hypocritical in nigh every espousal.

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  25. barbuto April 13, 20:06

    i live in NY. I wish I didn;t but I am here. We were going to leave NY and go to NC…no not the expensive part but the part where prices have not been raised by the dam incoming yankees!…Unfortunately family matters kept me in NY and now I am stuck in the middle of the chinese flu pandemic( and yes, it was cause by the Wunan lab in China….follow the bullet points expressed by The Equidia Letter)…Any way I wish I had left NY but probably like a lot of you I just can’t pull down the tent and leave. I have family obligations so, I am stuck in NY and looking at my bug in and bug out options. I plan to got up state NY. Believe it or not there is still a lot of virgin territory up there. The farther north the better i like it but as you go north you approach Canada and its very cold in that neck of the woods, Eh?…So my bug out location is somewhere in between NY and Canada. I have planted caches every 100 miles and hope I can reach the cache…to sustain me and my family till we reach oru destination. Altho I have guns, I don’t believe that I am going to survive any firefight. I agree with what long time Survivalists Duncan Long and Mr Black ( I forget his first name is it Jack? he wrote “what to d o when the SHTF”)….says…the best fight is the one you can avoid. So altho I have weapons they are not for travelng but for protection at my last redoubt…..my last stand so to speak. I wish I had had the time as Duncan Long states to leave the city and make friends in the country. Once you establish your self with country folks you have strength in numbers to resist any “zombies” who may come for you…and your goods. Any way I pose the idea of establishing caches along the route. This way if you are held up enroute by the “zombies” give them your goods as you know you can resupply at the net cache…just my two cents….OH,,,FYI,,,,I have discovered that used ordnance tubes are cheaper than making up cache tubes from PVC. The large diameter PVC gets expensive…then u need to buy the fittings, glue etc. Ready made ordnance tubes are usually sealed at one end and have some cap with seals…etc, on the other end….thats what I use….just FYI…

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