There is plenty of information out on the internet for what you should and should not have in your bug out bag and there are many variations on the gear depending on who you ask. In many cases these recommendations are coming from people who have made short trips with gear, maybe on a weekend or week long excursion or maybe even simply from people who have just read a bunch of stuff on the internet and made up their own suggestions based solely off of what they have read. I am not one to judge, especially since one’s gear choice is simply their own, you bring what YOU need, not what someone else says you need. I wanted to just point out a resource which many people never even think of looking to for gear recommendations when they think of “bugging out”, Appalachian Trail (AT) Thru-Hikers.
Last fall I did a couple sections on the AT and ran across Jessica aka Dixie, and since running into her, I followed along her thru-hike journey via her blog. Recently she put together a gear list along with a video describing her gear choices for her thru-hike on the AT. This got me thinking that the AT thru-hikers are probably one of the best resources to provide real advice on gear to pack since they have actually traveled 2200 miles on foot from Georgia to Maine (or reverse) and have had to rely on heavily on their gear through-out the 2200 miles.
Hiking the AT is certainly not exactly the same as making a thru-hike on the AT, but in many ways it is, assuming you have a well supplied location you are trying to get to which may be hundreds of miles away. One category of gear which is certainly lacking in any AT hiker’s gear compared to that of someone preparing in case of a bug out need is personal defense so keep this in mind, especially since these types of items are certainly going to be your heaviest in many cases. Additionally AT hikers usually carry AT maps, but the AT is pretty well marked along the way, you might not have this luxury if faced with bugging out, so be sure you have proper navigation covered.
Take a look over Dixie’s list of gear and have a look at her video to hear a bit more detail about the gear and the wear and tear it took over her fantastic 2200 mile trip from Georgia to Maine on foot. One thing you can be confident of in reviewing her post is that this gear can and will get you on a several hundred mile trip on foot, provided you are mentally and physically prepared for it (more on that another time).