Often times when we think of bugging out we consider a number of tangible things: Vehicle to use, equipment, food, water, and defensive weaponry to have readily available for a quick move out are just some of the things to consider.The bug out bag itself is the center piece of much of the conversation in regards to prepping and survival. When planning on bugging out, there are a wide range of scenarios you need to consider. Is this a short-term trip to avoid a oncoming natural hazard, and you plan to return home eventually? Or is it a total societal breakdown? Or any of the hundreds of possible scenarios in between?
Many people who prepare to evacuate their home in any number of scenarios often fail to seriously consider one of the undeniable truths about bugging out depending on the severity of the crisis. You may not ever be able to go back to your home. And if you are able to eventually return, it is probable that all of your possessions will be gone, the home possibly destroyed, or even someone else now living there. So the next issue to consider is the distinct possibility of having to start your life completely over either at your old home or elsewhere. This is going to require important documents on your part. Lets take a look at the two ways to carry documentation, paper and digital, and the types of documents you may want to consider. Remember, you are prepping for any number of situations, not just TEOTWAWKI. You should carry copies of important documents with you even when you go on vacation. You should also have a set in a bank safe deposit box. Remember redundancy? What happens if your house burns down when you are gone?
Paper documents have the primary advantage of being readily accessible should you need them. Unless you are carrying a computer and printer in your bug out kit, you should have paper copies of your most important documents. And you need to keep them in a waterproof container of some sort. Keep in mind that paper can get heavy. You should limit your paper documents to just the bare essentials. But here are some recommendations of what you will probably need hard copy of:
- Two forms of I.D. for each adult in the family. Preferably picture I.D.
- Passport will work as one of the above. If you do not have one, get one. Even if you do not plan to travel.
- Social Security cards.
- Birth certificates (certified) for each family member.
- Copies of all insurance policies( auto, life, guns, etc.)
- Marriage Certificates( certified)
- All property deeds.
- Immunization records, if not complete medical records for each member of the family.
- Vehicle registration documents, and title if they are clear.
- Any unique documents that effect your identity: DD-214, adoption papers etc.
- Bank records with all account numbers.
- Prescriptions, both medical and eye glass.
As well as the hard copies above, you should have digital copies of them and any other documentation you may want to re construct ( family fotos, business records., etc.). You can place them on an encryption disk. Granted, you won’t be able to use them until you have access to a computer, but they are small, light, can hold much more information than you want to carry hard copy, and be safely encrypted. You can get this ScanDisk Cruiser Fit with built-in software very inexpensively.
Another digital answer is a small tablet such as the Kindle Paperwhite. The advantage of this system is that not only can you store readable versions of your documents, but you can also store a large number of digital reference books such as survival books, weapons manuals, etc.
Every individual and family has a different situation and different needs. But to determine what documentation you should take with you in an emergency evacuation, short or long-term, ask yourself this question:
“If all I have is the rucksack on my back, what documentation would I need to reconstruct my life?”