By the author of The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications and The Cartoon Ham Exam Handbook: A Complete Ham Radio Technician License Study Guide
Bugging out today is much different than the bug-out bag that Anne Frank would have had (and yes, she does write in her diary that her entire family had bug-out bags at the ready).
Whereas the Franks would have had matches, wool, and canned food, we have different options available to us today, and one of those things is electronics.
You likely have a Baofeng UV-5R, a solar panel, a crank charger, and maybe even a tablet stowed away in your bug-out bag.
But if you’re going to carry electronics with you, then you also have to make sure that you have the cords to keep them charged and functional. Just throwing all of those cords into your BOB results in a terrible mess that not only leads to slower access, but also leads to things being hooked and pulled out of your BOB when you go to retrieve a cord.
Imagine being in a rocky area, and when you go to pull out the cord for your solar charger, it hooks onto your spare fire striker and causes it to drop deep into a recess between a few boulders. Then, you have no means of accessing it.
Perhaps you think that’s far out. Ha, perhaps you have better luck than I do. I’m the guy that can be standing atop a mountain and have a magical gust of wind knock me over and send my trekking poles bouncing toward a cliff edge (I caught them!).
So, to prevent all of this, today I wanted to show you how I keep all of my cords to my electronic devices situated within my bug-out bag.
I use a little squishy, soft mesh case I picked up who-knows-where. I prefer the soft case for this purpose rather than a hard case because I think a hard case only takes up valuable space that it doesn’t have to – at least for this purpose. I think a hard case is good if you have some type of medication that requires syringes that you need on a daily basis or for something like that. Otherwise, whether it’s a tablet, solar charger, or whatnot, I’m personally a fan of soft cases.
Cords don’t really take up a lot of space at all, and it’s okay if they get tossed around a bit. A soft case should work perfectly for keeping them protected as a result.
The next thing I did was pick up a few cord labels at the store. You can find these just about anywhere. They’re even on Amazon, they’re super cheap, and they’re incredibly convenient.
I probably could have done a color coordination scheme (red is radio, yellow is solar, etc.) but I didn’t think that hard when I did this. So I have a motley assortment of colors for no other reason than that when I did this, I thought, “OooOOOoohh! A RED one! That would be cool! OoOOOOOoooh! A grEEEEn one!”
That’s something of a look inside my brain.
I did use a Sharpie pen to write down exactly what each cord goes to, however. This step alone has saved me a LOT of time fiddling around with the ends of cords to see that, nope, this cord doesn’t go to this radio either. I highly recommend taking this step. Even if you have two devices that use the same cord endpoint attachments, I would still include both of them (that cord is doubly important, after all) with the corresponding name on each cord label.
I also make sure that each cord is wrapped in a semi-organized manner before I toss it back into the bag. I try to minimize their all getting tangled up with each other as much as possible. If you’re really a stickler for organization, there are special reusable tie-downs that you can use explicitly for this purpose. If you’re a cheapskate, you can get by with a twisty tie from a bag of bread.
The other thing that I do here is trying to keep all charging cords on one side of the bag and all “functional” cords on the other side. So, if a forest fire in northern California has you evacuating your home in a hurry, and you need to contact your elderly, ham radio buff dad but cell phone reception is out, then you can hook up your tablet to your radio use JS8 Call to send him a message.
But these are just my thoughts and how I do things.
What are your thoughts on this subject? Are there other, better ways to organize cords within a bug-out bag that you’re aware of? Let us know what you’re thinking and some of the tools that you use to assist you in this endeavor in the comment section below.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper, An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.