Radio transceiver, standard VHF marine when operating near inland shore, 121.5 MHz AM VHF guard channel capable aircraft band transceiver to contact rescuers and high overflying commercial and military aircraft visible by contrails, an optional amateur radio if a licensed radio amateur, (see Ham Radio) or an AM/FM/Weather/Shortwave radio receiver to receive precise time for celestial navigation as well as weather information
An excellent resource regarding bug out bags is a new book by Max Cooper called, “Realistic Bug Out Bag, 2nd Edition: Prepared to Survive.” This is a monster book at over 600+ pages. It has scenarios, drills, and is full of useful and insightful information. I like that the author stresses planning and has a section devoted to bug out plans and how to practice & train your plan. He is also a huge advocate of designing a BOB that fits your needs based on factors that pertain to your situation. I highly recommend this book.
I may have been a bit dramatic in my response in cases, but mainly to show you the absurdity of the way you dramatically declare most of that useful kit should be discarded, as if you know best, as if you’ve been there done it, survived, worn the t-shirt, as if you think you’re come special forces commando that has survived behind enemy lines in every environment/climate the globe has to offer, totally ignoring the idiosyncrasies of each location around the world, for example you say knife .22 and “dump the rest”, because people living in an area with limited game but masses of water and fish to ditch their fishing line, hooks, weights etc for a .22… OK yea, I know who not to join up with in a disaster, the man carrying a f*cking sword to a gun fight
To run all these flashlights, and other things, you’ll need batteries. One of the best ways to go about this is to get all your items to run on the same size battery. That way you only have to stock one size so you can cut down on the number of spares you’ll have to carry. If you can get a solar charger and rechargeable batteries, you’ll be even better off. I use CR123’s for as many things as I can find but there’s a good argument for using AA batteries due to how easy they are to find. I may end up switching over to all rechargeable AA at some point but I’ll have to replace a lot of flashlights to do that. I’ve switched to AA battery lights so I don’t have to carry as many batteries and I can charge them all with the solar panel, USB battery, wall power, or computer USB. Check out my Almost unlimited power for your camping or bug out bag electronics article if you want to see how I did it..
In a time of extended disaster, trust me — having a bag of M&Ms;, smoked beef jerky, or even a soda from time to time can be a big boost to morale, especially if you have children. With that said, do not overlook the value in having bulk freeze dried food stocked up in your pantry, especially if you would like to help neighbors and other family members who have failed to prepare. Leading producers like Wise Company (with its Entry Variety Pack) and Mountain House (with its Classic Bucket) factor in food fatigue and include variety deliberately, and as such they come with many flavorful choices for you and your family.
A bug out bag is critical but what do you put in it? When considering disaster preparedness, keep in mind that what survival gear and emergency supplies you add to your bug out bag and then pack for your survival kit can mean the difference between life and death, or at least affect your level of comfort if SHTF and you had to get outta dodge. Read this article to find out what you should consider putting in your bug out bag.
As mentioned, there are many ways to organize what goes into your survival gear bags or boxes. Each pack should have things from each category represented. Remember: Two is One and One is None. You should overlap different categories so that you’re covered whether you can only grab one survival bag or can get to all of them. Here is how I break down the checklist into different categories of essential survival gear to have in your bob bag:
The nice thing about Creek’s bug out bag list is that he gives you a list of categories and then goes through examples for each. What goes in your survival kit shouldn’t be chosen from a list of items you read from a prepper website – even this one. You should look at these bug out bag lists as examples so you get the idea of what you need and can generate some ideas. What you need is a list of essential bug out bag categories to choose from and then some examples from each to get your mind flowing.
You should consider more than just bringing along your cash and credit cards when trying to figure out what to put in your bugout bag but make sure you keep small bills and change in your survival kits. If you don’t, that $10 item you need badly may end up costing you the $100 bill you thoughtfully packed away because they don’t have change. To protect yourself from a short or long term economic collapse, you may consider gold or silver (see what I think about that here).
Solar. Bring along a small magnifying lens to start a fire. It’s easy to fit into a small pouch but the smaller ones aren’t too effective in real life. Keep in mind that reflecting a concave surface such as the polished bottom end of a soda or shaping ice into a lens will do the same thing. I found an absolutely fantastic backup way to start a fire by using a cheap fresnel page magnifier that’s about the size of a piece of paper. I did a whole review with video on my here.
To run all these flashlights, and other things, you’ll need batteries. One of the best ways to go about this is to get all your items to run on the same size battery. That way you only have to stock one size so you can cut down on the number of spares you’ll have to carry. If you can get a solar charger and rechargeable batteries, you’ll be even better off. I use CR123’s for as many things as I can find but there’s a good argument for using AA batteries due to how easy they are to find. I may end up switching over to all rechargeable AA at some point but I’ll have to replace a lot of flashlights to do that. I’ve switched to AA battery lights so I don’t have to carry as many batteries and I can charge them all with the solar panel, USB battery, wall power, or computer USB. Check out my Almost unlimited power for your camping or bug out bag electronics article if you want to see how I did it..
A 72 hour bag is a larger version of the bob bag and theoretically holds everything you need to survive for three days. This is highly subjective though, and dependent upon what kind of survival situation you’re in. Your carried water supply should be thought of as separate because it’s one of the most varied survival items based on your situation. A lot of your 72 hours of survival is based on how much water you have. This 5.11 Tactical Rush 72 is a great choice for that, and I’m planning on switching my current pack over to it.
A backpacking tent is a great thing to carry in your bob bag, but what do you do if you can’t get to or carry a bug out bag large enough to carry one? If you really don’t have any room, consider a tiny space blanket as one of the smallest shelters, but understand they’re  only good for like one use. I keep one in pretty much every survival kit I have. They are only if you have no other choice though because they tear so easily. For medium kits, consider a survival tarp, which can be used to make a field-expedient tent or as a rain-sheltered area outside of your packed tent.

This could be a bag, box or container and it’s usually placed at a location outside of your home somewhere. It’s designed to hold survival equipment (weapons, money, a bug out bag) so you can get it if you’re out. Some people put them at strategic locations outside of town or even at a friend’s house. One good idea is to have one (or them) located on the way to your bug out shelter where you’re going if SHTF. I’ve written an extensive post on how to plan your cache locations here.


Cell Phones: While cell phones are still not 100 percent reliable in the backcountry, service coverage and the usefulness of smartphones has increased dramatically in the last seven years. While cell phones are still questionably reliable in the backcountry, many adventurers will carry them anyway as they also serve as light cameras and can help with GPS and electronic compass navigation. Today, most of them also work as a flashlight. Regardless, they are worthless if the battery is dead, so plan accordingly.

Design – The best bug out bag is one with plenty of pockets. This allows you to compartmentalize your bug out bag essentials so that you know exactly where everything is and you don’t have to dig through mountains of other stuff to find what you need. Put all your fire and light things together such as tactical flashlight, candles, headlamp, fire starting kit and storm proof matches. Put maps, GPS devices, compass and other navigation related items in their own pocket and so on. The more you can separate things the easier it will be to transcend your difficulties.


In addition, the kits may contain typical individual "survival kit" items, such as nylon tarps, extra clothes and coats, blankets, sleeping bags, matches or other fire starting equipment, a compass and maps, flashlights, toilet paper, soap, a pocket knife and bowie knife, a fishing kit, a portable camping stove, a power inverter, backpack, paper and pencil, a signaling mirror, whistle, cable saw, bleach, insect repellent, magnifying glass, rope and nylon cord, pulleys, and a pistol and ammunition.
Before “it all hits the fan”, take a close look at moving and relocation beforehand. And don’t just look at rural states or regions with farming and good water, subjects which are commonly brought up among preppers when discussing possible relocation. Consider coastal areas such as the north Puget Sound for a possible home, including a remote island (170 islands total) in or near the San Juan Island chain (U.S.) and on up the coast of British Columbia, Canada and even Alaska (if you’re capable of life in harsh Alaska conditions during the winter months).
Your car bag should always have essentials for car repair and first aid but you should keep a survival kit in it as well in case you’re caught out without your main bug out bag or if you break down with another person in the car who has to survive with you. My Harley has enough survival and medical equipment on it for me to survive even if I get caught out broken down in the middle of the desert for a couple of days.
By choosing the right bug out bag, or set of bug out bags, you can make sure you can carry the thing for longer distances with greater comfort. It doesn’t do any good to pack 80 pounds of emergency gear into a bag and then bug out into the wilderness, only to have to drop 40 pounds of survival gear because you can’t carry it all. You need to practice wearing your gear in whatever terrain you might need it in. What you can put in it will be based on how much you can carry. Don’t forget that you also need to carry water in it. Here are some thoughts on how much water you should carry.
Prepping is kinda associated with people who prep for stupidly over the top unlikely SHTF scenarios were if the world as we know it has gone then yes maybe a lot of electronics will be useless, but not all, the longer you keep your mobile alive the longer you could have access to what is basically an e-reader which could house millions of survival books and associated materials like mechanics, first aid etc etc, I’d rather carry my tiny phone and a few batteries and a small solar charger than the weight of a stack of books, because in reality you’d need much more knowledge to survive than the significant majority of people possess in their heads, knowledge is power.
GW, I have one exception to your list (well two really but the second is not that serious) first and foremost, You made an error, common to most people who are use to carrying, and living where carrying is an option. That is putting weapons too far down the list in priority. This is a common mistake that WE make when we live with weapons 24/7. We all need to remember that for many people this isn’t the case. For them we need to point out the need of defensive weapons early on in their kits, and that they need to be kept readily available. In true disaster situations, people lose all civilized manners and turn into thugs real quick. looking back to Hurricane Katrina should emphasize this point.

The second point I wish to make is on the motorcycle battery. I’ve been doing the ham radio field day thing for more years than I care to count. A WET Cell battery such as a motorsports battery is fine for a fixed location but not a wise choice for a bob. even the sealed batteries are a risk as they can crack and leak, and leave sulfuric acid all over your gear as well as your skin. There are many choices of other classes of batteries, gell cells and similar that will do the job, granted with shorter life spans and higher cost, but without the safety issue the liquid electrolyte of the motorcycle battery. We can go on and on and on about the choices and what to look for, but that’s for another time, just being aware of the risk of the acid containment is the big issue on this one.
Build Quality – The last thing you want is to be trudging through the windswept landscape trying to escape the oncoming storm surge and have your pack split open and spill your survival gear all over the place. The bug out bag should be made of durable, water resistant nylon and have high quality zippers (waterproof if possible) and double stitching all around. The shoulder straps should be firmly affixed to the bag and be well padded to help absorb the load you’re carrying. And if there’s a waist strap it too should be well-padded and preferably adjustable to accommodate people of different heights.
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List of contents. You should actually have several lists for your items and one master list to call them out. I use an Excel Spreadsheet with a tab for every bug out bag I own and then laminate a minimized printed copy of each. This can be a huge asset if you need to find a specific item, especially medical kit equipment (which you should have in a designated area anyway). This way you don’t have to dig through all your stuff to get to something.
Just as you might imagine a company called “Ultimate Arms” would produce a bug out bag heavy on weaponry so to you’d be safe in assuming a company called “Food Insurance” would produce a bug out bag tripped out with food rations. This bug out bag eschews the notion that you’ll need to hack your way through starving, blood crazed, fellow survivors and instead assumes you’ll need to eat in order to keep your strength and spirits up should you be dislocated due to natural or man-made disaster. As such there’s ample food for a couple to keep themselves fed for a week or a single person for 2 weeks and still lots of room in the backpack for other things like Uzis, pepper spray and concussion grenades should you feel the need to bring them along.
My philosophy on a bob is substantially different. I go by the precept that everything should be modular, and part of the next generation up the scale the bob should be the lowest level. To the military mindset, it would be the escape and evasion kit, a Pilots survival kit of the class that was once mounted to the bottom of the ejection seat on a fighter jet, not the small pocket sized survival kit we see in the forums. A 72 hour kit should add to this with necessary food rations. Since 72 hours is only 3 days, clothing is rarely a necessity other than in specialized cases such as infants and specific weather conditions. Weather should be covered by what you are wearing on your person, and special needs is something that has to be judged accordingly, including the ladies sanitary needs. the next level would be too heavy to carry and would require vehicular transport, or distribution among other people. and the more gear you add, the less food and supplies you will have room for, so this all comes down to no single universal setup, which beings me back to my belief that the bob should be the basic E&E kit and the rest is an adjunct to it, for example a man would not carry feminine sanitary supplies in his but a woman would… it is the most basic of needs.
I have to agree with Steve: I have a bug out bag ready in case the SHTF. That doesn’t mean that there’s going to be a lot of “safe places” to run to. If we get together with like minded people, we can make a long term plan. The only reason for a “three day bag” is if “they” are coming for you specifically and you can go to another sane location. I personally have packed a .22 revolver and 200 rds., carry a .38 Special and pack 100 rds., and shoulder a Saiga .223 carbine with 200 rds. of “penetrators”, FMJ, and some soft point if I need to take a little larger animal. And, another thing, if you pack “pills” in a baggie and happen to get stopped along the way, you can bet on a trip to the station!
Viral pathogens most often found in water are typically Hepatitis A, Norwalk and Rotovirus, all of which are smaller than most filters are incapable of trapping. They’re species specific which means human to human transmission, and all 3 are associated most often with fecal contamination, thus the further you get from population centers, the lower the risk becomes. For viral coverage, water purification is needed to kill the virus. Chlorine base chemicals are the best treatment next to boiling. UV pens and filter add-ons work good, but are not as effective as heat/chemical treatment. If you know the area you’re heading to, has a previous reputation of human traffic (like campgrounds), then avoid the UV treatment. If the area you’re in is not a high traffic area, UV is alright for use, but personally, I’d rather heat or chemically treat to be sure, and just bypass the expense and extra weight of a UV purifier.
A Bug Out Bag, also called a BOB, I.N.C.H Bag (I’m Never Coming Home Bag),Get Out of Dodge Bag (GOOD Bag), or 72 Hour Bag is usually designed to get you out of an emergency situation and allow you to survive self-contained for up to 3 days. A lot of people plan their Bug Out Bag to sustain them for much longer than that, but there is always a limit to what you can carry on your back and a 3 day target is a good place to start.
Thx Kristy. At some point I’ll be putting together a whole bugout plan, which will include some INCH bag ideas and all the others. I’ve been kind of hamstrung with just an iPad for a while and then just my iPhone for the past couple of weeks so it’s a bit difficult to make thorough posts but I’m on my last flight home from Afghanistan (bought some gogo inflight time) so I should be able to do a bit more with a real computer and real internet.
Since I have a ham radio license, I have a communications bag just for a portable ham radio that I bring with me whenever possible. I’ll definitely be putting together a post about how to do one of these because I think they’re essential for any prepper’s survival plan. I carry a Yaesu FT-857D portable radio as well as a Yaesu VX-6R handheld ham radio, along with a small motorcycle battery, Solar Battery Charger, and homemade rollup antenna. BTW, these Baofeng UV5RA Ham Two Way Radios are pretty awesome. They work on ham frequencies as well as FRS/GMRS and are under $40. They’re kinda complicated though so look through youtube for videos on them. There are some pretty thorough ones there.
Food Storage. Many years ago the Farmer's Almanac advised it's readers to keep a years supply of food on hand in case of emergencies. It was good advise back then and it's good advise today and easier to accomplish. Freeze dried food in vacuum sealed packaging is readily available from a wide variety of excellant companies and they have a very long shelf life. Properly dry-packed foods can have a very long shelf life according to the Mormon church's Provident Living website. For example, dry packed white rice, pinto beans, and sugar under the best conditions can be safely stored for 30+ years. Commercial dry packing for long term storage is usually done in #10 long term food storage cans or by do it yourselfers in sealed mylar bags with oxygen absorbers inside of polly buckets.
A note about grain storage: Storing brown rice, and other grains, in a cool, dry place in large airtight containers is important to maintain freshness. Store bought brands of brown rice and brown rice cereal may only have a shelf life of 3 – 6 months however. So, you will want a plan in place to cycle your brown rice cereal every 3 months so that it’s eaten in your home (makes an easy, healthy breakfast and is an alternative to sugar packed cereals).

Cold weather gloves: A sturdy pair of gloves will provide you with better grip, protect your hands from cuts and splinters, offer warmth in low temperatures, and keeps your hands clean to reduce the risk of infection. In the aftermath of a disaster, you may be tasked with moving fallen branches, gathering firewood, or making your way through broken glass, and high-quality gloves will give you the dexterity to accomplish these tasks.
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