Manliness 101 – The Bug out Bag

Credit to Darryn Dauth for writing this piece of manliness wisdom

Preparing for the worst, by having the best…

So we have all watched movies that depict the coming to an end. A movie that say, starts with post-apocalyptic themed music, into a dark, archaic world. Movies like Independence Day, Terminator and more recently Mad Max: Fury Road.


Americans in general seem to be the ones that started this mass hysteria, and hypothesis that the world is about to end at any second. Even games like the Fallout series, are big into the idea of picking up the pieces, and surviving in baron wastelands fighting nuclear-mutated creatures you’d probably find in Chernobyl. (Apparently there are real mutated creatures there… go google it!)

So Americans have decided to rather prepare for the impending doom, by building off-the-grid cabins or bomb-shelters in their basements, equipped with canned food, crossbows, AR15’s and military surplus Colt 45.’s. If this sort of ‘lifestyle’ tickles your fancy, you can go look at the copious amounts of websites and youtube channels available.

But for the entry-level SHTF (Sh*t-hits-the-fan) enthusiast or “prepper” as they are more commonly referred to, a Bug-Out bag is ESSENTIAL. The purpose? Simple… It is supposed to contain all the things you’d ever need to survive the cruel cruel world out there. Zombies?


‘Nuff bout ‘Murica.

Enter the beautiful South Africa… where the closest thing we have to a wasteland, is the heart of Hillbrow. The closest we have to the Mojave, is a couple of dry stretches in the Karoo.

So why would a boytjie from Benoni need to pack one of these kind of bags in his boot? Well, perhaps we first need to clarify that ‘buggin out’ here in SA, means accepting a job in New Zealand or England and relocating.

No, we don’t need a traditional bug-out bag. But what is wrong with having a rucksack that can cater for a few unexpected emergency situations? Let me throw a few down a few random scenarios right now:

  • Car Breakdown on the N2 in Cape Town, between Somerset West and CPT CBD (AKA Hell2)
  • Car Broken down in Isando Industrial Area JHB
  • Family Road Trip JHB-CPT
  • Office Party (yes, office party)
  • Night out at the local dive
  • At a braai by the dam (no one smokes, and no shops closeby)

A wide array of situations indeed. But what could I put in one bag that could possibly be relevant in these situations? Well, the most common one… First aid. That could be vital in an office party gone wrong, where Margery from accounts decides to have too much Tequila, and dances herself into the glass display unit. Or a night out where, let’s face it… your friend decides it’s a great idea to flirt with the biggest guy in the bar’s girlfriend.

With a broken down car, the first reaction should be to call for backup… always have a backup Nokia voetsek handy. BUT if you happen to find a stray passer-by car willing to help, a good towing rope wouldn’t hurt. Except for the fact that you lent it to your neighbour last week… and now what? Good thing you have a thick 30mm Nylon rope in your Go-To bag (yes, let’s go with that one).

You’re passing through a quiet part just before Tweebuffelsmeteenskootmorsdoodgeskietfontein, cellphone reception being as reliable as the IEC, and your car breaks down. Inbetween your Toilet stops, you forgot the actual reason for stopping at the garage… refuel. You know you can push or wait for a bakkie to pass, but until then… the kids and the wife are hungry, thirsty and things are starting to look grim. Good thing I have a ready-to-eat meal and water as a reserve in my Go-To bag! Enough goodness and calories to keep everyone going for 2 days! Score! Dad wins, and you just win the coolest-story-at-the-watercooler award.

Go-To Bag Review

So we set about getting a few basics for our Go-To bag, to see how much it would cost, and exactly what sort of kit we would need to put together to cover some of the scenarios you might find yourself in. We decided to go for the most basic version of our bag, to allow you to add to it to suit your own needs best.

Presenting, our Audaciously yet basic Go-To Bag!


Bag Contents:


See below the list of items we included. In some of the pictures you will see a can of spray… this just helps gauge the size of the item…

  1. Trustworthy Knife – Enlan Goshawk
  2. 5

Notes: Beautiful knife… good quality blade… value for money. Hugely recommended!


  1. Dependable and Bright Torch – Mini Maglite Pro


Notes: With a 104m beam at a whopping 272 Lumens, this guy will light any dark area superbly.

Tried. Tested. Loved

  1. Medical Kit – Basic Individual First Aid Kit


Notes: This item is one worth spending money on. Make sure you tailor it to suit your needs! Ie. If your packing a bag for a family… cater for that. Make sure you include medication based on your known environment, allergies and other possible factors.

  1. Water Filtration – Compact Water Filter


Notes: Seriously… You are NOTHING without clean water out there. This is a must have. Even those filtration straws could work. Always make sure your water is covered. Even if you have BPA free bottled water. WATER!!!! WATER!!! You need water!

  1. Bug/Environmental Protection – Vital Protection AM2 220ml


Notes: You need to be protected from all bad elements. Sometimes we forget how demoralising flies, mossies and other insects can be. That being said, ensure you have protection that can work with sunblock as well… just like this crucial item.

  1. Name Tag – DIY Nametag

Notes: There is a space on this bag for a business-card size item. I would go ahead and add basic information, along with key information like blood type, medical aid, insurance and also emergency contact details.

  1. Sturdy and comfortable Backpack – Tactical Backpack, Khaki


Notes: This is also another item that really determines the overall quality of your go-to-bag. Make sure you find one that fits like a glove… something that you can haul a ton of bricks with and still smile. Also ensure that it has sufficient packing space and a few compartments (too many compartments can take away from your overall modularity)

Other items inside the bag:

7.1 Chopping Tool – Husqvarna Camping Axe 37.5cm


Notes: An outstanding quality axe… A must have for this bag. Decent weight to it, fantastic finishing and just an overall must-have!

  • Tyre Repair – Tyre Fix


Notes: If you are serious about being able to have a bag that carries you through tough times… carry this item. In our concrete jungle, this is gold. A very temporary fix that should get you to the nearest garage, if you pick up a small puncture.

  • Ropes, Adhesives – Sheltering or “Spoeg and plak”


Notes: Sometimes an oke just needs to make a plan (n boer maak n plan). With strong rope, duct tape and raw materials… you can do things that could even make MacGyver proud. Essential items for any situation. Got to give Americans credit for creating and celebrating Duct Tape. It IS that cool.

  • Glow Sticks/Signalling – Glo


Notes: Dual Purpose. To signal with, or mark an area with light. Avici or Colplay rock up… you are now sir… sorted. This puppy lasts up to 12 hours, and you can squeeze more out of it with a last couple of shakes. It is the ol snap’n’shake model.

Final thoughts…

Our final thoughts on this bag is that everyone needs to customise their bag to suit their own needs. The bag above contains a fraction of what I have in mind (bearing weight in mind also). These items are:

  1. MRE’s (Meals ready-to-eat)
  2. Emergency Kits (Basic sewing, lighting, writing stuff)
  3. Spare Clothes (Underwear, socks, shirt and pants/shorts)
  4. Space Blanket
  5. Toiletries (Always bear morale in mind- You need to stay as ‘human’ as possible)
  6. Enough pocket tissues
  7. Spare Batteries
  8. Camelback (Water system that can keep you going without cluttering your main bag)
  9. Small FM Radio
  10. Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman
  11. Foam Mat (Optional)
  12. Tent (Optional)
  13. Surplus Water Bottles
  14. Satellite Phone (The MOTHERLOAD- If you are some rich Sandton kid, or mid-lifer needing to blow cash… then this is the big one to have. Blows all other go-to-bags right out of the water)
  15. Energy Bars/Sweets/Biscuits (To carry you through the REAL desperate times).


Have I missed something? Something you have in your bag that is absolutely critical not listed here? Let us know!

We’d like to wholeheartedly thank our Go-To guy, Craig Gadd for our gear!

If you fancy the manly gear reviewed above and more, feel free to contact Tactical Quartermaster at 011-477-7031 or visit their page (soon to be revamped) at http://www.tacticalquartermaster.co.za/.

Their service is personalised, quick, and tracking your parcel super easy.