Thursday, June 5, 2014

Building a Better Bug Out Bag on a Budget

The Author's homemade "Every Day Carry"
kit and knife pouch
When I first began building my better bug out bag, one of the most difficult things to get past was the potential cost of assembling everything I would need. The fact is, building a better bug out bag does NOT have to be expensive. Here are some down and dirty tricks for building your better bug out bag on a budget:

1. Set a budget – You would be amazed at what just $10 a payday can get you, as you’ll see below. Start by committing to spend just $10, or whatever amount you feel comfortable with, and stick to it.

2. Buy goods out of season – Spring time is not the best time to purchase most camping/outdoor type items, because everyone is gearing up for the season, and the stores know this. Instead, look for clearance and sale items towards the end of the season. The best time to purchase outdoor/camping/BOB stuff is in the fall, and closer to winter, when the stores are liquidating the items most likely to sit over the coming winter months.

3. Shop at the local dollar store – I’ve purchased many items for my BOB at my local dollar store. This is a wonderful resource for many items you might find in a BOB. For example, most dollar stores now have an amazing selection of first aid items, from simple bandages to sports wrap, finger splints and more. An entire first aid kit for your BOB can be had for a few dollars. In fact, I’ve managed to put together 2 bigger first aid kits, and 4 smaller, pocket sized kits, using just one payday’s $10 budget.

One of my first BOB's, bought at a yard sale
for $3 - this bag lasted 2 seasons
4. Shop yard sales and swap meets – Yard sales and swap meets are another wonderful resource available to the better bug out bag builder. Looking for a bag to start building with? I’ve purchased a number of packs at local yard sales and swap meets for $2 – $5 dollars, including the ALICE pack at the beginning of this article, which I paid just $5 for and even came with extra shoulder straps and suspenders for the equipment belt. Likewise, used camping/outdoor gear can generally be had for pennies on the dollar when compared to purchasing new gear.

5. Make it yourself/DIY – When I needed a solution for an every day carry (EDC) pouch, I found that I could spend $30 online for a cloth type pouch, or I could spend about $15 and make my own. That is what led to my handmade leather pouches, also shown previously. A bag of scrap leather can be had from your local hobby shop for about $10 ($6 if you can find a coupon!), and needles, string and clasps can be purchased there or at your local Wal Mart for a few more dollars. The nice part? I’ve found I can make 3-4 pouches from just one bag of leather. In fact, quite a few people who have noticed mine and inquired about it ended up purchasing one from me. I can sell one of these pouches for about $20, and the buyer is getting a quality, handmade leather item as opposed to a foreign made cloth pouch. Even better, I’ve used the cash from selling these pouches to add to my own BOB and ended up GETTING PAID to build my better bug out bag!

As you can see, building a better bug out bag does not have to be cost prohibitive. If finances are something that has kept you from starting your BOB, follow the steps above and you’ll find yourself way ahead of the game.

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