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International Escape and Evasion (E&E) Bag – Bugging out Abroad

If you had to leave an area in a hurry due to a natural or man-made disaster, do you know what you would need to make it happen? If not, join us as we discuss the contents of our international escape and evasion bag.
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In our previous article over International E&E, we discussed the reasons for escape and what the U.S. Government can and can’t do to help you. In this article, we are going to start diving into the gear or stuff that may assist you in if you have to make a hasty departure.

Going Gear Supply

This gear will be housed in your escape and evasion bag and should be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Is this for everyone? No. However, for some, it can be a critical item in being able to get you to safety while abroad.

In an effort to make this article a little more coherent, I will try to bring things down by category. We will start with the bag, which is the foundation of this kit. Then we will start filling it up. This is where we will probably have some dissension within the ranks…and that’s okay.

While this bag may have some similarities to a get-home-bag or bugout bag, it’s not the same. This bag is built around the premise you are in a foreign country, which adds varying degrees of difficulty and restrictions. These items are also in addition to what you are carrying as part of your normal EDC. Anyways, let’s get going.

Bag

We have previously discussed what to look for when choosing a Grayman Backpack. Things like appearance, capacity, organization, weight, fit, etc., all come into play. This is especially true when abroad.

My advice, especially while abroad for an extended amount of time, it to take a look at what the locals are carrying. Do they carry regular looking backpacks, messenger bags, drawstring packs, or nothing at all? What is typical? If you don’t have the time to get eyes on in advance, consider using Google Streetview as part of your pre-trip planning.

google streeview to identify local baseline
Image pulled from Google Streetview to determine the baseline for bags being carried by locals.

Medical

IFAK

The contents below are in addition to the med gear I carry to handle the major stuff. If you want to call it an individual first aid kit (IFAK) or something else, the concept is the same. We are talking about essential life-saving gear, which typically consists of an assortment of things like tourniquets, chest seals, pressure dressings, bandages, hemostatic gauze or other hemostatic, etc. These items should be built around your training level and experience.

Meds and other items

I usually carry an over-the-counter first aid/boo-boo kit and then supplement it with additional items. I really like using something like the Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight .7. It’s compact, lightweight, and waterproof, which is a nice bonus.

This particular kit contains the following:

Contents

  • Bandages
    • 5 – Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, 1″ x 3″
    • 3 – Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, Knuckle
    • 3 – Bandage, Butterfly Closure
    • 1 – Bandage, Conforming Gauze, 2″
    • 2 – Dressing, Gauze, Sterile, 2″ x 2″, Pkg./2
    • 2 – Dressing, Gauze, Sterile, 3″ x 3″, Pkg./2
    • 2 – Dressing, Non-Adherent, Sterile, 3″ x 4″
  • PPE
    • 1 – Gloves, Nitrile (Pair), Hand Wipe
  • Blister/Burn
    • 1 – Moleskin, Pre-Cut & Shaped (11 pieces)
  • Tape
    • 1 – Duct Tape, 2″ x 26″
  • Fracture/Sprain
    • 1 – Bandage, Elastic with Velcro, 2″
  • Instrument
    • 3 – Safety Pins
    • 1 – Splinter Picker/Tick Remover Forceps
  • Medication
    • 2 – After Bite Wipe
    • 2 – Antihistamine (Diphenhydramine 25 mg)
    • 2 – Aspirin (325 mg), Pkg./2
    • 2 – Ibuprofen (200 mg), Pkg./2
    • 2 – Acetaminophen (500 mg), Pkg./2
  • Wound Care
    • 6 – Antiseptic Wipe
    • 3 – Alcohol Swab
    • 1 – Tape, 1″ x 10 Yards
    • 1 – Skin Tac™ Topical Adhesive, Wipe
    • 3 – Triple Antibiotic Ointment, Single-Use

For example, in addition to the items above, you should add things relevant to where you are going and what you will be doing. Consider things like:

  • Consider picking up a strong antibiotic like Cipro, which is available over the counter in a lot of countries, to help fight bacteria in a worst-case scenario. I’m not a doctor and I’m not recommending you take anything like this without medical advice. However, it’s a good item to have just in case.
  • I strongly recommend carrying something like the Adventure Medical Kits Suture Syringe Medic. It’s a necessity for any trips to locations where sterile supplies may not be available.
  • Also, consider liquid anti-diarrhea (trust me on this one) and fast-acting powdered headache medicine.

Sanitation

For sanitation, keep it simple and easy. Not to mean it should be ignored. Sanitation is very important abroad, it just doesn’t need to be overcomplicated.

  • Alcohol wipes
  • Eye Drops
  • Compact tissues
  • Wet wipes (Again, trust me on this)
  • Personal hygiene items like soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, etc.
  • Change of clothes (or at least underwear)

Water/Food

polluted water and water bottle

I always carry energy bars as a quick way to get some calories while on the move. How many you carry is up to you, just be mindful of weight. I usually try to carry around 6-8 and my favorite are Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif Bar. Whatever you choose, make sure it tastes good enough you can actually eat them for a day or two.

Keep the following items as compact and organized as you can. You probably won’t be accessing them much, or not at all, so they need to be out of the way.

Nalgene bottles (wide-mouth) are always a good option and I use them frequently. However, lately, I have been using the GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier Bottle. I like that it can store/carry water and purify it all one package. Each purifier cartridge lasts for approximately 40-gallons, which is more than enough.

A bandana works well for filtering large debris and sediment out of dirty water prior to purifying. Not to mention, a bandana can be used for a number of other things.

As a backup, consider carrying water purification tablets like Aquatabs as well as something quick and easy like a Lifestraw. These items take up little weight and space and offer peace of mind. But, the likelihood of you needing to use these items is low (which is a good thing).

Documentation

US passport

As I discussed in the article on International Travel Tips, you have to be able to prove who you are. Be sure to make paper and digital copies of your passport and identification documents. These should be carried separately from the originals so you will have redundancy built into your system. You should also email yourself copies as an additional level of security. Copies can be stored in your E&E Bag.

Your passport and identification are your lifelines when traveling abroad. You can’t be too careful in this regard.

Communication

Communication will more than likely be compromised in an emergency of any magnitude. Damage to infrastructure, overloaded networks, and more, will be adding to the confusion and chaos.

I discussed planning for emergency communication in detail previously, so please check it out if you haven’t. Spend some time on your communication plan and make sure everything is squared away. Make sure you know what your options are and make you know how to utilize them!

Tools

Nothing fancy here, just basic things like a cheap knife that can be tossed if needed, a AA flashlight, a headlamp, paracord, N95 mask, etc. You need to put the relevant items together based on your experience. Remember, weight is your enemy, so keep that in mind.

Cash

cash

As I have said time and time again, cash is king. The almighty dollar has a lot of influence pretty much anywhere you go and is one of the most important things you can carry. The big question is how much should you carry? This is a dicey one. I guess the more pressing questions are how much do you have and how comfortable are you carrying it?

When determining how much to carry, consider things like the strength of the dollar, the economy in the area where you are, etc. You should be thinking 1,000’s not 100’s. This should be planned out ahead of time. You will only be able to withdraw small daily limits from ATM’s, even if they are functioning and accessible.

When carrying a large amount of money, especially in a potentially hostile environment, you should be layering it to aid in minimizing loss due to whatever. Check out this article if are interested in where and how to hide cash.

Self-defense

I will leave this up to you as well. Just remember, a firearm is more than likely a no go (even though not all the time), so consider things like pepper spray or other choices more readily available in a non-permissive environment. They also draw less scrutiny. This comes with the warning that if you are caught doing something you shouldn’t be, you will have to face the consequences. There is a risk/reward to everything.

Conclusion

This kit is not about surviving in the traditional sense and is primarily geared towards expats or those on extended leave overseas. However, it can apply to anyone.

Its intent is not for you to hit the jungle and bug out until things smooth over. The whole purpose is to give you what you need to get from Point A to Point B as fast as possible. You are escaping a bad situation, not filming an action flick.

The goal is to avoid trouble at all costs and escape as quickly as possible. The faster to identify a potential situation and remove yourself from it, the better. As things escalate, your options for escape are going to get fewer.

Be thinking about what you will do if you can’t get this bag. We will be talking about those options in an upcoming article.

What items would you recommend for a kit like this? Let me know!

Going Gear Supply
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