An essential part of preparedness that is often neglected is the escape and evasion bag. Unlike a bug out bag, your E&E bag is generally kept in your vehicle and is typically smaller than a bug out bag you might have at home.
The purpose of your E&E bag is to get you home from work or somewhere else in case of an emergency. The goal of this article is to help you choose what you might need in your E&E bag.
By Greg Chabot
I reside in New England, so I use one bag for Fall/Winter and one for the Summer months. This article will focus on items that I use in both bags regardless of the season. I believe all E&E bags are unique to the individual. Someone in an urban area will have different needs from someone in a rural area.
When making E&E bags for you and your family, you should do a thorough threat assessment and then make up their bag specific to your threats, strengths, and weaknesses.
Part of your planning should involve looking at egress routes from where you work. Are there high crime areas nearby? Do you cross a bridge to get to work? If the interstate is blocked or shut down, how will you get home?
Remember you might be on foot and have to go through a rough area. This should all be part of your planning.
Escape and Evasion Bag Size
After doing your threat assessment, it’s time to figure out what size bag will be best for you. I prefer a small to a medium sized bag with good shoulder straps — the bigger the bag, the more gear you will want to pack in it.
As a former Soldier and avid hiker, I have watched this occur numerous times. So always factor in weight and plan accordingly. It is no use having a bunch of gear you don’t need slowing you down when the goal of an E&E bag is to get you home safely.
I recommend looking for a good quality bag from a reputable manufacturer. Well, that is, look for a good quality bag if you value you and your family’s lives as much as I do.
Food and Water
Water is a must for any situation. I tend to use both a water bottle and a larger water bladder. I believe that you can never have enough water because dehydration is no joke and can quickly kill even the most experienced preppers.
For food, I keep protein bars and other snacks in my bag and rotate in fresh food on a regular basis or as I eat my current bars. I also keep two Mountain House meals in my bag, which have a long shelf life and taste great.
It’s good to remember that the Mountain House meals do require water (remember I said you can never have enough water) and it is not advised to eat them dry. Personally, when it comes to food, in my opinion, lighter and longer lasting is the best way to go.
E&E Bag Knife
Besides water, a good fixed blade knife is also a must in my opinion. Knives tend to be a very debatable subject amongst people as a whole, and even more so within the prepper community. I recommend a full tang knife for the added strength.
In case you aren’t aware, according to Turley Knives, “A full tang is a knife that has a visible tang (the steel under the handle) when viewed from the top or bottom, and the handles are made up of two pieces of material, one on each side.”
For length, I prefer a six or seven-inch knife, which I find to be just right for defensive situations or fieldcraft. With knives, you get what you pay for. However, even prepper on a tight budget can still find a good quality knife from a reputable manufacturer.
I recommend avoiding daggers as they tend to break very easily. A sawtooth blade is, in my opinion also a waste of money. If you think otherwise, try cutting a branch with one and see what you think. I always find that you can chop through a branch a hell of a lot faster than you can saw through one.
The reality is those saw teeth were initially put on knives for aircrews to cut their way out of a crashed aircraft. I say, leave the saw teeth for the action films and focus on what is efficient, reliable and adds to your capabilities. In the end, choosing a knife is a very personal choice. So, do your research on what suits your unique needs and budget best.
Escape and Evasion Bag (E&E Bag) Firearm
As with knives, guns are continually the cause for debate within the preparedness world. Because of that debate, I’ll keep it simple; choose a weapon that is, first and foremost, reliable.
While some people might feel they want a specific caliber or style of gun, what is most important is their ability to handle it safely and correctly. As with knives, a firearm is a very personal choice that is unique to each person. It’s good to remember that a gun does not need to be expensive to be reliable. So, make sure you do your research before investing your hard-earned money into a new gun.
For those of you who live in less than firearms friendly areas, you may want to consider alternative choices for your defensive needs. However, before you do, make sure that you check your local laws so that you don’t end up on the wrong side of law enforcement.
Next, regardless of which handgun I carry, I do so with one or two extra magazines. In the end, the firearm you choose to carry is a personal choice unique to you.
One aspect of firearms that is not unique to each person is our responsibility to know how to safely and properly use firearms if we choose to carry them. So, don’t just go out and purchase a gun without learning how to use it.
Escape and Evasion Bag Miscellaneous Items
These various final items round out the essentials for my escape and evasion bag. I keep one Mylar blanket in my vehicle and my desk at work. They are cheap, so I buy extra ones to keep on hand for emergencies.
Next, I believe that everyone needs a compass. I like the military type, but the truth is that any compass is better than nothing at all. While Smart Phones and GPS units are great, only a fool would bet their life on one during an emergency.
Another item I carry is a torch style lighter, which is what I prefer to make a fire with when it’s needed. Following the “two is one, one is none” mindset, I also keep a few extra disposable lighters in my bag so that I am not caught without a source of fire and heat.
Lastly, I make sure to pack a windbreaker. They’re great, and I like them because they don’t take up much room and, depending upon the brand, are a very versatile addition to your E&E bag.
Final Thoughts on Escape and Evasion Bags
It’s good to remember what I mentioned earlier when setting up your escape and evasion bag. Before doing so, make sure that you take the time to research and tailor your E&E bag for your needs and geographic area.
Remember the E&E bag is meant to get you home. It’s not intended for long-term survival situations.
While it may seem like a daunting task to put one together, especially for the first time, it’s not. The reality is that putting together your E&E bag is straightforward, affordable and may even save your life.
Never forget, you’re just one prep away.
If you have any other thoughts or questions about Escape and Evasion Bag (E&E Bag), please leave a comment below.
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