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!

On another note, the only thing I had trouble with was #1. Yes, sleeping bags are big and fat and are a pain to carry, but they will make up for it in heat. You need that heat, at least here in the Pacific Northwest where I live. You use a space blanket or bivvy, you get either a miserable night (lucky), or hypothermia (normal). I wouldn’t mind packing a bivvy instead if I lived in a warmer climate, but seriously, don’t skimp on the sleeping bag.

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.
Guess what? Your best survival tool is always going to be your mind. Stop making that wanking motion and listen, okay? This book of 100 survival skills was compiled by a Navy SEAL based on experiences in the goddamn killing fields, so I think it can probably help you survive a week or two camping. But really, it doesn’t matter what tools you have if you don’t understand how to use them, or how to use the environment around you. This book carries you longer than any single tool could.

We have researched long and hard and compiled a list of the best multi purpose survival tools below. For most categories, there are a great many options of items to consider while building your best survival kit. We have made a recommendation of the best we could find where applicable for those who do not have the time or inclination to search on their own based on utility, size, and weight. However as always, you need to choose the best items for YOUR survival scenario.


Kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, lima beans, pinto beans, and others are all high in calories, contain a fair amount of protein per serving, and also several essential vitamins and minerals. Dried beans come in packages larger than canned beans but for the amount you get weigh quite a bit less. The key difference is that you have to add water and let most beans soak for several hours before eating. Split peas, for example, have a much shorter soak time. Split peas are part of the dried bean family with many of the same vitamins and minerals. Finally, dried beans have a long shelf life. Dried beans will stay good in the back of your car, your office survival kit, and of course your pantry of survival foods at your home or cabin.
I’d love to know what all that crap weighs you really don’t need half of it… dump all the water purification crap and boil water. You don’t need a bowl because you have a canteen cup to heat over a fire. Forget the MRE’s it’s heavier than freeze dried. Bring one large solid tang knife you can hit and dump the rest you don’t need saws and hatchets. Bring a .22 some ammo. Dump all that electronic crap & batterys. Forget the carabiners you can’t carry all that crap anyway, face paint, walking sticks, you name it. Take only what you need, bring a bic and learn how to make a fire bow with some 550 cord

I like your addition of a bug net. One thing I noticed is that the author correctly says to save space and weight to just pack a tarp. However, where I live, from late May to late September if you don’t pack bug netting, a tent with screens or plenty of bug spray you are going to be itchy, sore and tired from no sleep because you are up all night swatting mosquitoes
Disaster preparedness doesn't need to be complicated, but you’ll find that shopping and collecting gear for a DIY bug out bag can prove to be difficult. In many cases, the DIY approach may prove more expensive than necessary, leaving you with items you don’t really need—and shouldn’t waste your money on. Instead of forcing useless items into a bag that won’t hold up, opt for a pre-packed, top-rated bug out bag. 
A cache doesn’t have to be outside of your house though. Some people hide survival equipment, money, weapons, or whatever inside their home. The difference here is that this stash isn’t usually easily accessible and it’s usually hidden. What would you do if SHTF and you had to temporarily bug out of your home, or came home and all of your stuff was stolen by looters or thieves? By keeping a bug-in cache plastered behind a wall or in a secret compartment, you ensure that you’ll have essential items when you return. Keeping your preps secret is very important and is part of a good OPSEC Plan.
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.
Canned food is heavy and not portable – which means that if push comes to shove, it will be difficult to travel with a large amount of it. Canned food should be a part of your survival food plan though — it can be the food that helps you get by the first few weeks, as long as you don’t have to evacuate or travel (particularly on foot). If you have canned food, you should also have a survival multi tool with you (rather than a can opener). A can opener is a single use tool – and generally you want to avoid those.
If the electricity fails to your community, a blackout lasting several weeks or more, as these cuts of meat thaw, have a system in place (right in your own backyard), where you can salt and smoke each cut of meat. Build yourself a backyard smoker. This is how early Native Americans commonly prepared meat for long term storage. So, consider this a “Plan B” for your frozen meat in the event of a power outage, where the power is down for good.
A good military style entrenching shovel can be the difference between life and death when you’re out there all alone, and this foldable beauty can be hauled with you everywhere you go. Made from tough carbon steel, it will dig through whatever ground you need it to, while the pickaxe that comes with it ensures that you’ll be able to break through those extra-tough complications along the way.
I like your addition of a bug net. One thing I noticed is that the author correctly says to save space and weight to just pack a tarp. However, where I live, from late May to late September if you don’t pack bug netting, a tent with screens or plenty of bug spray you are going to be itchy, sore and tired from no sleep because you are up all night swatting mosquitoes
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.
Now this is not the kind of situation that many of you have talked about. Such a quake will knock the entire west coast from northern CA to northern Vancouver Island and 100 or more miles inland back to the stone age. But where we are talking about, survival will not be about fighting amongst ourselves. It will be about keeping warm and dry, having something to eat, possible first aid for ourselves or others, a flashlight and somehow communicating with rescuers. Any suggestions on the type and contents of a bag for this situation that would weigh in under about 12 pounds? Anything heavier will slow us down and we won’t live to use the contents.
Okay, okay, so the “grenade” is really just a cool gimmick, but still, pretty cool, right? Inside is where you’ll find the goods, though. 48 of them, in fact. 48 tools that will help you survive whatever crazy mess you got yourself into this time. I won’t list all the tools, but needless to say it’s a ridiculous amount of survival goodies in one kickass package. Take it with you wherever you go, and when the shit gets real, just pull the pin and baby, you’re winning the game.
The Wise Food 5-Day bug out bag has an interior space of 10 x 10 x 16 inches, more than enough to store the 5 days of food stuffs, emergency kit, purified water and more that comes with this bug out bag. Add your own change of clothes, rain coat, boots or whatever else you want to take with you and you’ll be the best possible position to transcend the difficulties you face. The bug out kit includes a small but effective stove and all the food is factory sealed and dated including the 5 water pouches.
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).
Yet another fantastic, incredibly well thought out article. You’re fast becoming my favorite lunch time reading, so I’m afraid you’re going to have to write faster (without sacrificing quality of course). 😉 Request: I would love to see an article about preparing an INCH bag. I feel like I’ve got the BOB / 72-hr thing pretty much down, but when I think about what I would need if I were never coming back, let alone how I could possibly get that in a BAG (or whatever), my brain just sort of shuts down. I get as far as seeds, water purification, and underwear, then I panic. Thanks so much!
Natural disasters and their occurrences are never known to anyone prior to the event. But, people must know about the threat in areas that are more prone to natural disasters. People also need to take personal responsibility for their own safety. Knowledge and planning is the key to survival in any emergency. Bug-out-bags, survival food supply, quality water filter, and basic survival gear are just part of not becoming a victim.
Canned food is heavy and not portable – which means that if push comes to shove, it will be difficult to travel with a large amount of it. Canned food should be a part of your survival food plan though — it can be the food that helps you get by the first few weeks, as long as you don’t have to evacuate or travel (particularly on foot). If you have canned food, you should also have a survival multi tool with you (rather than a can opener). A can opener is a single use tool – and generally you want to avoid those.
If I could ask a stupid question… I’m planning on immigrating from the US to the UK where some laws are different for preppers. Things that I have here, such as my machete and combat/survival knives are illegal there. As are most firearms without extensive registering and licensing and I’m sure those few with real firearms are on a list there. And likely new immigrants are prohibited from owning firearms and most weapons in general. I also have a future wife and two children there to consider. I’m ex military and martial artist but they aren’t and I want them to be able to get prepared asap. Any suggestions? Thank you immensely for this information and for educating beginner preppers. Contrary to some posts here, many of these items, while perhaps not necessary, can make the difference between life and death or worse the deaths of loved ones. Vaseline, duct and electricical tape, socks, gloves, cotton, fishing gear, strong paracord, and much more have a wide myriad of uses. Also I would suggest getting at least basic military field medical training to treat cuts, infections, GSWs (gunshot wounds), etc. One strong suggestion, I personally would add various sized plastic Ziploc type bags and at least a couple of contractor trash bags. These are indispensable. They can help with distilling water with a solar still in even a post nuke environment, with Vaseline can patch a sucking chest wound, can keep your documents, phone and other paper or electronic equipment dry, etc… In addition, know your surroundings, what’s available, and LEARN TO IMPROVISE. Learn to make a firebow, what wood types in your environment are best, how to make your own fishhooks or fishing spear from wood or bone or scrap metal, etc. A small saw is indispensable. I also have a leatherman tool and a couple of different sized pliers as well as wire cutters and a small coil of wire…which also has a myriad of uses from securing any blade to a handle or shaft to making fish hooks, to even crafting various boobytraps and snares. Be vigilant, know your surroundings and common things and locations you see daily. Make mental note. Learn to braid paracord. Or martial arts. Your most valuable resources you can ever have are your mind and body, keep them honed and healthy and continue to learn and perfect your craft. One last note: nearly anything is possible with the right knowledge. Best wishes to all reading this. ♡

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
×