Bug out bag discussions are everywhere and we all know what they are, but where does an INCH bag come in? The INCH bag is probably one of the less common survival kits out there, and it’s also a survival kit that doesn’t have strong support across the board from the preparedness community.
INCH stands for I’m Never Coming Home Again. An INCH bag is a bug out bag that’s packed with gear that will allow you to go off into the wilderness and have all of the tools that you need to survive off the land indefinitely.
Do you have what it takes to go into the wilderness with just a bunch of gear and survive forever?
If you’ve been around the preparedness community for any length of time, then you’ve probably read about bug out bags. Everyone writes about them, does videos about them and tries to sell you one with pop-ups and e-mail lists, but where does the INCH bag work into the grand scheme of survival kits?
The INCH bag is an I’m Never Coming Home kit designed to let you go into the wilderness and survive without anything else. That sounds great, it honestly does, but is that really possible?
If you just look at bug out bags and INCH bags side by side you’re going to see a lot of similarities between them. They both provide you with the means to survive when you decide things have become so bad that you need to bug out, but they do it in very different ways.
As an example, a bug out bag may have a bunch of MREs in it so you have something to eat, where an INCH bag will probably have traps or snares and a bow or rifle in it to allow you to catch food. It’s two different ways to accomplish the same thing.
The real difference, which drives what goes into both kits, is the philosophy behind each kit.
A bug out bag is designed to get safely get you from your home to your bug out location. Then when you’re at your bug out location, you have shelter, food, water, and a means to keep yourself going.
An INCH bag is designed to get you from your home and into the wilderness so you can survive off the land indefinitely using the tools in the bag and the skills that you possess.
If your plan is to walk into the woods and disappear forever if anything bad happens, then an INCH bag is for you. Keep in mind that you probably won’t be able to do this alone, so hopefully, you’re bringing your family with you or at least have some like-minded friends.
Having a group is pretty much a necessity in all parts of preparedness, but it’s especially true if you want to stay safe and stay alive in the wilderness.
Can one kit fit everything that you need to live indefinitely? Do you have the skills to keep yourself alive even if you have every piece of gear you need to make it happen? Do you live near a place that can provide you with food, water, and shelter forever? Even if you can answer yes to all of these questions, I still don’t think that an INCH bag makes sense for almost anyone.
My idea of surviving disasters and survival situations is to prepare and plan ahead of time so I can get through whatever is going on and get back to a semi-normal life as quickly as possible. A well thought out bug out plan and a bug out location with everything you need to start over is the way to get back to normal.
Bugging out into the wilderness with a bag full of tools is just planning to force yourself into a survival situation for the foreseeable future, and then VERY slowly working your way back to some sort of normalcy. I guess you could plan to just drink when you can and eat what you can while living wherever you can but that’s barely living in my mind.
I wouldn’t recommend trying to rely on an INCH bag under normal circumstances. If you already live in the middle of nowhere and you absolutely can’t have a bug out location then it may make sense to have an INCH bag. I would still argue that if you can survive indefinitely in the wilderness then you’re even better prepared to set up a bug out location and be able to relocate if you’re forced out of your home.
So do you need an INCH bag? Only if you CANNOT have a bug out location of some kind. I can’t think of a reason why you couldn’t have some kind of bug out location that you could use, but I also don’t know everyone’s situation so I’m not going to rule it out.
This isn’t an INCH bag packing list. This is just an overview of the types of gear that you’d need in an INCH bag.
Everything that goes into an INCH bag is made for long term survival. This means that you’re going to want tough, reliable tools that are going to last you for as long as possible. In most cases, you’re not going to be able to easily replace a broken tool, so pack accordingly!
When you first head into the wild making sure that you have drinkable water is going to be one of your first priorities. Long term water is more about where you decide to live rather than anything else.
As long as you set up camp near a water supply and brought steel containers that you can boil water in, you’ll be good to go from a water standpoint.
Food production is going to take up a lot of your time. I would plan to have as many ways to passively grow and collect food as possible.
The less time you need to spend finding food, the more time you’ll have for other things. This is especially important for individuals and very small groups.
Make sure that you know how to smoke and dry food to preserve it!
Trapping and snaring is a great way to passively catch food while you do other things. Just make sure that you bring enough snare wire because you usually only get to use them once.
If you’re near water you can also set up lines to catch fish for you. This trotline article does a great job of explaining how to get one set up.
Take seeds with you so you can start a garden right away if the weather is good. I’d get as much land planted and growing food as fast as I could.
Having a good hatchet and saw are going to make shelter building the easiest for you and should be considered required items in an INCH bag. There are a bunch of shelters that you can build with just a saw and a hatchet.
Fire goes without saying…you need fire to keep you warm, boil water and cook food. Ferro rods are a good long term option to get fires going but you’re eventually going to have to rely on something like a hand drill, bow-drill or flint and steel.
Long term first aid is one of the most difficult things that you’ll encounter with an INCH bag. You can only pack so much first aid gear in your kit and no matter how much you bring, you’re eventually going to run out.
I’d suggest packing things that are difficult to find or make in the wild. Things like antibiotic ointment, sterile gauze and dressings, etc. should probably make up a lot of your loadout if you really plan on staying out for a long time. A minor infection can quickly turn life-threatening if you don’t have antibiotics and modern medicine.
If you brought any kind of electronic devices, you’re going to need some way to power them out in the middle of nowhere. This most likely means solar power and rechargeable batteries either in the device itself or in a separate battery charger.
An INCH bag is designed to allow you to go into the wilderness and survive for an extended period of time. This means that you have to take everything that you can’t make yourself and the tools that you’ll need to make those things that you can. It also requires a TON of knowledge and skill.
Overall, I don’t think building an INCH bag is important and I certainly don’t recommend that you decide to just head off into the woods following a disaster. Have a well-developed bug out plan and a fully supplied bug out location to go to and you’ll be much better off.