In Eastern California (near the Nevada border) lies some of the most unforgiving terrain on the planet, known as Death Valley National Park.
During the summer months, temperatures in Death Valley can be some of the hottest on earth.
On July 10th, 1913, the hottest temperature ever recorded occurred in Furnace Creek, Death Valley, when it reached a temperature of 134 degrees.
The thing people often forget is that during the winter months, Death Valley can receive significant snowfall, which many park visitors are unprepared for.
Last winter, a woman from New York was traveling in the backcountry of Death Valley in her rented vehicle when she encountered heavy snow on Hunter Mountain Road.
Immediately, the woman tried to turn the vehicle around, however, she became completely stuck in the snow on a remote gravel road. With no cell service, the stranded woman decided she would spend the night in her vehicle.
Luckily, this woman prepared for her trip and inside her vehicle she had a bug out bag that contained extra food, water, camping gear and warm clothing.
The next morning, she decided she would hike to the top of the nearest mountain to attempt to receive service on her cell phone so she could call for help.
After a few hours of hiking, the woman was able to do just that and called for help from her phone. Unfortunately, with the snow in the area being up to three feet deep, Park Rangers were unable to reach her by vehicle.
The woman waited until a California Highway Patrol Helicopter was able to respond and land in the area. The woman was flown out of the snow filled region unharmed.
The truth is, this person was able to survive based on many different smart choices she made. First, she didn’t panic when she became stuck and she knew she had the gear to survive until she was found.
Spending the first night in her vehicle was a good decision, since walking around in the dark with colder temperatures would have likely been fatal.
The best thing this woman did was she went into the backcountry prepared with a bug out bag for this exact scenario.
This gear helped her to survive and kept her from making a rash decision since she knew she had plenty of time to be found.
Since a bug out bag is literally one of the most critical pieces of our survival gear, I want to share with you a few things to keep in mind when purchasing your next bag for all of your gear. (If you’re like me, you can never have too many bags.)
Comfort. Any type of backpack you purchase for survival must be comfortable since you need to be prepared to have this on your back for days on end.
If possible, try it on before purchasing it and test it to make sure the padding, buckles, and straps are all comfortable to your body frame.
If you can’t try it on first, make sure the company has a generous return policy if the bag doesn’t work for you.
Capacity. The amount of stuff you can carry clearly depends on your size. When it comes to picking a bag, I would pick one with one big main compartment and multiple smaller compartments.
The main one will obviously be your biggest compartment that will carry the most gear. As for how much weight each person should carry, it should be about 20% of his or her body weight.
In other words, a person who weights 200 lbs should carry no more than 40 lbs.
If you stick to this rule you should be able to move at a steady pace without overdoing yourself too quickly. Personally, I try to keep my bug out bag at no more than 30 pounds.
Accessible/ durable. With any bug out bag there are certain items you’ll want to be able to access quickly, while still moving, including water, a compass, knife, or any weapon.
These items should be stored in the front compartment of the bag and the less used items should be kept in the main compartment. There’s no question that your bug out bag could take a beating while you are using it during an emergency.
For this reason, you want to purchase a quality bag so this isn’t something I would go cheap on. The last thing you want to deal with is a cheap zipper that doesn’t work or a strap that easily breaks.
The good news is, in the day and age we live in, there are dozens upon dozens of different bags you can choose from.
Just make sure that as soon as you choose your bag, you load it up with gear and keep bags at home, work and in every car you own.