Burglary Tools in the Bug Out Bag?

Something I occasionally see suggested for the bug out bag is a small pry bar. In fact, I’ve made that same recommendation from time to time. I carry one in mine, in fact. To my way of thinking, a pry bar falls into the category of, “better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.”

It isn’t something I carry on my person all the time. It just sits in the bug out bag, waiting for the day it might be needed.

However, in many states a pry bar could be viewed as a burglary tool.

I am fairly confident though that being the pry bar is in the same bag as things like emergency blankets, water purification tabs, and other items that are obviously emergency gear the pry bar won’t immediately lead to arrest if I were to be stopped and searched for some reason.

I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, of course it could. But given the prevalence of prepping and survival kits in the mainstream media and such, I think I could make a pretty good argument against the presence of a mere pry bar being indicative of criminal intent.

Of course, it might not be the worst idea in the world to put the pry bar in a tool box with wrenches, screwdrivers, and such rather than in the bug out bag. Give some thought to doing that instead.

Related to this is the suggestion some make to have a set of lock picks in the bug out bag. First, this is truly a dumb idea unless you first learn how to use the tools properly. Picking a lock is as much art as it is science and takes a fair amount of practice. Second, unless you are a licensed locksmith, odds are it might be illegal for you to possess a set of picks, regardless of whether they are in your bug out bag or your toolbox. If you are considering purchasing a set of these tools, I highly suggest you look into the applicable laws for your area, just to be safe.

Common sense would seem to dictate that if you found yourself stranded on the road somewhere and decided to hoof it, strapping your bug out bag on your back, if the lock pick set were found by a member of law enforcement, you’d likely have some explaining to do.

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Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for SurvivalWeekly.com. He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

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