Bailout bags: Man purses for emergencies

Help us out here. Yesterday we introduced County Comm’s Bail Out Bag (Generation 5!) without stopping to explain what a “bailout bag” might be.

Many of our readers may already know what a bailout bag is, but we have a strong suspicion that not all of you would be able to agree on a single definition.

For most, a bailout bag is a satchel full of survival gear, prepared in advance for use in case of natural disaster, terrorist attack, off-the-grid survivalist trek, or Rapture — whichever comes first. Of course, you don’t actually have to wait for such an adventure; a bailout bag can simply put you in the spirit of one of them. Club Kayak attempts a definition:

Unfamiliar with bailout bags? No doubt you’ve heard of safety kits or survival bags. Those small waterproof sacks stuffed full of all manner of safety and comfort equipment.

We’d say it like this: A bag full of stuff you’d want to have with you if things really started to get messed up. If you had to bail out of an airplane, for example: What would you jump with?

Neat idea, huh? Obviously, the folks at thought so. There you can buy a readymade Basic Bailout Bag, pre-loaded with everything you need for a ten-day disaster party, including a custom-sized North Face sleeping bag, Wyoming packsaw, collapsible washbasin, and N95 particulate respirator . . . all for only $1,995.95. But that’s just the basics. The Super Bailout Bag ups the ante with a heavier-duty sleeping bag and tent, a mattress instead of just a sleeping pad, and rations for five extra days. Yep, it costs just $3,995.95. logo

We know what you’re thinking: “But what about my dog?” Don’t worry . . . the Poochie Bailout Bag includes a “waterproof contact and photo holder” (we’ll presume that’s a fancy dog tag, not a container for your dog’s corrective eyewear), a solar blanket, dog food, a leash, and some “treats.” The cost? $299.30. (We love the logo: it shows a backpack-wielding grasshopper leaping from a dreary city toward both green and snowcapped mountains.)

As we suggested, though, not everyone approaches the concept of a bailout in the same way. The Blue Water White Sand Travel Gear website offers a Colorado Boatman’s Wet-Dry “Bail Out” Duffle that’s clearly meant for watersports equipment, though we also wonder if they’re suggesting the duffle can be used to bail out a leaky boat in an emergency.

And firefighter-equipment supplier Golfire sells a Baldwinsville Bail Out Bag, which appears to be a safety item for firefighters who want to be able to bail out of a dangerous situation.

Which brings us back to County Comm’s Bail Out Bag: The company markets it to law enforcement. And we picture one of their customers grabbing his Bail Out Bag as he announces “I’m going in” — to some high-stakes, SWAT-worthy standoff. Or maybe the bag is working for the other side: full of cash and toted to the station, to help the accused make bail.

All the contexts are different, but there’s a common theme: Something in this bag is going to save you. Does that make Jack Bauer’s man purse a bailout bag?

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