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.
Batteries and steel wool. Steel wool is actually a bunch of tiny wires. By rubbing it against a 9v battery, you complete the circuit and the current is enough to burn out the wires. If you are carrying any electronics that require 9v batteries, make sure you bring along steel wool as a tiny addition to your packs. You can use other sizes of batteries but keep in mind that typical ones are only 1.5v so they don’t push nearly the current so you may need several in series for it to work.
These come in many flavors but most of them will do the jobs of a hatchet (obviously), pry tool, shovel, and wrench. We should look for any opportunity to remove high weight to volume ratio items such as steel tools to build the best survival kit, so being able to leave behind any of these is a good step. For more info check out our in depth reviews of the BEST survival tomahawks here.
It is easy to improvise most things on this list but some can’t be improvised so easy on the go, thing is if you are bugging out to a safe area you can possibly keep things minimalist, and if you are lucky enough to legally obtain firearms then a reliable compact pistol such as a Walther P22 or Springfield XD 40 can be teamed up with either take down .22lr rifle (AR7-1022tdr) or .40S&W carbine so you can have close in capabilities and also reach beyond the typical shotgun toting highway raider.
Fire piston. I don’t have one of these fire pistons yet but they look pretty awesome. You basically put a tiny amount of something to burn in it, such as char cloth (link to how I make char cloth), and push down hard. The air pressure increase catches the cloth on fire. I wouldn’t use one of these for a primary or even secondary item on my bug out bag list but they are a pretty cool utilization of basic physics. These fire pistons are pretty cool but I think there are easier ways.
A popular item selling in health foods stores today are the sea vegetables that come in powdered form, or pill. In a time of catastrophic disaster, most communities are going to be hurting for fresh produce. Sea vegetables are a super food, packed with vitamins and nutrients and health benefits that help boost immunity, provide tissue repair and wound healing, and can even have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. They can also be dried and turn into a powder (hence ‘powdered super greens’). What this means is that sea vegetables like kelp and chlorella and others are super foods. Though I list sea vegetables as number ten, they should probably be the number 1 survival food on this top ten list. The reason again is that fresh produce is likely to be in short supply or disappear completely in several areas, in a widespread emergency.
The Wise bug out bag comes equipped with most of the things you’ll need to keep yourself and your loved ones well fed and comfortable during a crisis although you’d do well to take the claim of 32 meals with a grain of salt, since they’re counting a 12 serving whey package as 12 meals. As such you’ll want to use some of the extra space in the bag for additional food which you can pick up at any store that sells mountaineering equipment. As for the rest of the items there’s a well-appointed first aid kit, 5 function emergency whistle, an LED flashlight, dust masks and even a deck of playing cards to keep everyone occupied during those long hours in the storm shelter. The nylon bag is water resistant though not waterproof so keep that in mind, but it’s comfortable and well made. If you’re looking for an affordable, well stocked bug out bag you’d be wise to have the Wise Food bug out bag ready and waiting in the closet.
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.
That’s true, we do. It’s clear that we can’t carry everything to survive for a year or more on our backs and we count on our stash at point B. If it’s not there, we do the best we can, go to a FEMA camp or die. What are our alternatives? I think that most people will go to point B if they see the problem before it arrives (hurricane) but a surprise nuclear attack on Houston (in my case) would necessitate a quick exit along with everyone else still alive. As to ‘bring it’, I certainly would if a. I had an operational vehicle and b. the roads were clear enough to get around minor obstacles – I don’t and won’t have a two ton or half track at my disposal. If not of if my vehicle becomes untenable along the way, I’ll put on my boots and my BOB and do the best I can. As you say, there are many scenarios.
Every bug out bag should be 100% unique. Sure, there are some basic items that every bug out bag should have (food, lighter, water filter, flashlight, etc.), but you should customize your bag based on where you live, what type of disaster is most likely to occur in your area, and how much weight you can carry over a long distance. Many preppers forget about that last point.
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In the longer term for fresher tasting foods, you will need to consider either growing your own food in a garden and/or obtaining necessary protein through subsistence hunting and fishing. Accordingly, you should properly store an appropriate variety of seeds for your area as well as have on hand fishing equipment and hunting firearms, which can also double for self-defense of your home if necessary.
On point number 9. It is best to try and reduce the carry weight but having utensils can drag you down. One solution that I have used is to take a frisbee instead of a plate. Its lightweight, easily cleaned, can be a water dish for any pets, they can be brightly colored for signaling and it has the added bonus of being a toy. A little stress relief can go a long way when times are rough.

Some will think the omission of foodstuffs from this bug out bag to be a bit odd but it’s not if you think about it. It might be years before you have to use the bag so it makes sense that you’ll want to procure your own emergency rations and review their condition a couple of times a year, replacing anything that might look dodgy. That said this bug out bag does emergency kit right with the aforementioned items as well as a dozen pouches of purified water, rain ponchos, quality toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving razor, comb, emergency whistle, emergency blankets, survival handbook, duct tape (!), paracord and more. There’s also the obligatory deck of cards for when you finally settle into the emergency shelter. Toss in some dry clothes for everyone involved, charger cords for your smartphone in case you run into a power source and a good book or two and you’ll be ready to wait out events in good shape.
These days news carries quicker via modern tech such as mobile phones and social media networks, this modern equipment maybe the only way you can get news early into any disaster, news that could be vital to your survival by giving you the information needed to decide how to proceed in the safest fashion, such as government advice what to do based on the information they have but you do not.
If you’re into the great outdoors and survivalism then you will find our cool survival gear category. We have hand selected all the coolest survival bracelets, camping gadgets, fishing tools and hunting gears and featured them all on this page. So sit back, relax and take your time while you make your ultimate survival gear list to take on the great outdoors!
Light is a necessity to consider for bugging out. LED flashlights are usually the way to go because of how long they last. Their power has increased immensely in the last few years. I always keep a flashlight in my pocket, one in each bag (except my EDC because technically my EDC is a system, not a bag so my pockets count, and at least one spare somewhere else. My car always has at least two and I have a few in my house too.

Personal Locator Beacons: These are smaller, affordable, reliable, and offer many new features. Companies like SPOT and DeLorme now offer products that post almost real-time tracks of adventurers far off the grid. The SPOT Gen3, for example, sells for as low as $150 and enables users to send simple, pre-programmed messages (all ok, send help, etc.) to friends and family or initiate rescue through a first-responder network.
Lightweight survival kits are generally seen as a backup means of survival; however, these can kits can be extensive, and have come to include tools that are generally found in larger kits as survival technology advances. Some examples of these tools are high power flashlights, rapid use saws, signal devices such as mini signal mirrors, and water purification methods.
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:
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Note: For long term reliable food supplies you should of course plan for a garden and growing your own. It is important to know that storage of seeds from many hybrids and other cultivated plant varieties sold in stores is not a good idea as their second generation seeds can't be repropaged in subsequent years. If they do produce viable seed, the resulting plants are usually inferior to the parent plant. Accordingly, we recomment purchasing open-pollinated, non-hybridized seeds or heirloom seeds for storage.
Recent Examples on the Web In return, the friars lobbied the Venezuelan government to declare the Perijá Mountains an Indigenous reservation, protecting the Bari’s remaining lands and helping ensure their survival. — Anatoly Kurmanaev, New York Times, "Do-gooder or ‘Devil’? A Friar’s Work Divides a Venezuelan Village," 3 Jan. 2020 Cook Children's said hospital officials had been talking to Tinslee's family for months about concerns for her long-term survival. — CBS News, "Baby can be removed from life support at hospital, Texas judge rules," 2 Jan. 2020 Cook Children’s said hospital officials had been talking to Tinslee’s family for months about concerns for her long-term survival. — Time, "Texas Judge Says Hospital Can Remove 11-Month-Old From Life Support," 2 Jan. 2020 In the waning weeks of summer, word of his survival would turn that scared mother into an activist. — Souad Mekhennet, Washington Post, "Disarmed but not defused," 27 Dec. 2019 As early humans, our survival relied on our ability to either ward off danger or to run from it. — Lauren Jarvis-gibson, Teen Vogue, "Physical Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder That You Might Not Recognize," 27 Dec. 2019 Fighting for his political survival, Netanyahu left nothing to chance in the Likud primary contest. — BostonGlobe.com, "JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel easily brushed off a challenge for the leadership of the conservative Likud party early Friday, a crucial victory for Israel’s longest-serving leader but one that may only harden the country’s yearlong political standoff.," 27 Dec. 2019 Which would seem to suggest that the isolation had something to do with their survival. — John Jeremiah Sullivan, The New Yorker, "Mother Nut," 23 Dec. 2019 There was no other option for a president so self-absorbed and obsessed with his own survival. — Dahleen Glanton, Twin Cities, "Dahleen Glanton: Republicans are right. Democrats wanted to impeach Donald Trump from the start.," 18 Dec. 2019
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