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!
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.

Great read & outstanding list of items. Extremely helpful & very much appreciated. While I’ve found over the decades that there are usually several ways to accomplish most things, focusing on the core items/goal while adapting to the situations & environment an individual(s) find themselves in is crucial. You can have everything known to man & still have limited skills/experience leaving you vulnerable. You can have all the skills but arrogance & overconfidence can do you in. Applicable intelligence, balance in actions/approach to problem solving on the fly & practice with skills/preps can make the difference in most cases. So one has a 35 year supply of beans and rice, great to have no doubt, but who wouldn’t trade some of it for a coke and some M&Ms for normalcy occasionally? That may be just enough encouragement to get the companions/family through to safety. Again, it’s all a wag for the most part…do what preps you can, develop usable skills…plan, persevere & prevail. Fantastic prep checklist & ideas…thanks! Proverbs 27-17…As iron sharpens iron, so on man sharpens another!
So despite the impression many people got from my “50 Items” article, I don’t think you should pack your bug out bag with as many items as possible. In fact, I think you should check your bag for any non-essential items with a large weight-to-space ratio and remove them. To that end, here’s a list of survival items I’ve seen in various lists online that, in my opinion, you don’t really need in your bug out bag.
I agree with Mike in his statement that United Cutlery is a very substandard company. Also, the ONLY decent quality hollow handle survival knife that I’ve seen is made by Randall and costs several hundred dollars. I would never choose a hollow, storage handle knife for main line survival purposes. You are definitely best off purchasing a quality carbon steel blade by Ontario, Camillus, Becker, Cold Steel, etc. Also, while some stainless steel alloys are excellent for knife blades, generally speaking they are subpar when compared to carbon steel. Rust is not an issue to those who know how to maintain a blade and good carbon steel has far superior edge holding ability.
So despite the impression many people got from my “50 Items” article, I don’t think you should pack your bug out bag with as many items as possible. In fact, I think you should check your bag for any non-essential items with a large weight-to-space ratio and remove them. To that end, here’s a list of survival items I’ve seen in various lists online that, in my opinion, you don’t really need in your bug out bag.

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).
Note, many non-perishable foods such as several listed here don’t have a long shelf life, usually just several months. You’ll want to have a system in place in order to “cycle” your non-perishable food before it expires: When non-perishable food nears it’s expiration date, either eat it or even donate it to a local food bank (food banks usually give food away within a short time of receiving a donation). Then, once again purchase fresh non-perishable food and add it to your emergency food stores. With a system like this in place, you’ll have a continual supply of fresh non-perishable foods. That way, if a catastrophic disaster strikes, you’ll have a variety of non-perishable foods for at least the first few months following the disaster and you or your family won’t have to rely solely on freeze dried food, as so many people are stocking up on today.
I found an absolutely screaming deal for a ridiculously bright and cheap AA flashlight that uses a CREE bulb. I liked it so much that I did a complete review on it and I now have several of them all over the house and one in each vehicle. It also happens to be the best selling flashlight on Amazon and is #4 in the entire Tools & Hardware category. I like it so much in fact that I keep buying more. They’re less than $5 and ridiculously bright. I keep one in every vehicle and bag and will be handing them out whenever I forget to buy a gift for someone.
Having enough stored food and water during an emergency can literally mean the difference between survival and not. In the short term, you can prepare for the unexpected by purchasing and storing nonperishable food items, properly preserving perishable food, and using empty beverage containers to store water in your garage or basement. Stock your emergency food supply to feed your family and perhaps a little extra as "trade goods".
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.
But regardless of the actual situation, it’s a very good idea to equip yourself just in case. Better safe than sorry and all that. And you definitely won’t be sorry if you arm yourself with these essential survival tools, which include everything from pocket knives to Leatherman tools to hand-crank radios. Everything on this list will keep you alive even when nature wants to kill you.

So the first thing you need to do is get a bag. Why on Earth would you do this first? I’ve seen lots of people pick what they need first, and then get a bag to fit it all. This, unfortunately, means picking a bag that suits your contents and not your back. You should get an idea of what kind of bag you’re looking for (everything from your every day carry bag do your SHTF / TEOTWAWKI survival pack) and then fill it with whatever essential items will fit, being careful to leave some room for things you find along the way or other things you decide to pack later on.
One thing that the article doesn’t reference is “How many people will there be in your Bug Out party?” The point being, that although there are some items that need to be in everyones B.O.B, there are others that don’t require duplication. Figuring out which items can be used by all the members of your party can reduce duplicating these items in each bag. For example, does everyone in your party need to carry a 1 quart backpacking pot, or will 1 or 2 suffice for your whole group? Those types of items can then be parceled out to the members of the group, and cut the weight down.
For example, relatively near me recently there was a village evacuated from their homes for about a week due to a large damn above the village that was looking likely to burst as the damn wall started crumbling the torrential rain had the water at dangerous levels as it was. People who were home were given minutes to get their sh*t and leave while others were in work away from the danger zone and had zero chance to grab anything. For situations like these a mobile phone, charger, radio, batteries for headtorch etc are a completely rational and extremely likely to be heavily used while you get housed in a local community hall, leisure centre or school etc.
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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.
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.

For someone new to being a Survivalist building your first Bug Out Bag can seem like a big task. Everybody you read about has been tweaking theirs for months or even years and has a pile of gear built up. It’s hard to know where to start, but if you cover all of the basics in a survival situation you will still be much better off that 99% of the people.
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
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