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.
So make sure you do a thorough bugout plan before you decide to make a checklist for your bugout bag. Don’t forget to get your go bags or containers first, based on comfort and utility and then pack them as necessary, leaving some room for future items. Your bugout plan should tell you what bags you’ll need where. Then go through the list of what categories to pack for in your emergency kit and ensure you overlap your supplies.
Here’s another bug out bag that’s designed to help you survive in the out of doors for several days following a natural or man-made calamity. As you might expect from a company call “Ultimate Arms” this particular bug out bag is heavy on the armaments including an EDC knife, a large survival knife, a tomahawk and a full sized machete. Oh yeah, there’s also a pick axe and plenty of bandages in case you really get into it with hordes of the undead.
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There are a lot of purists out there who scream out whenever you mention bringing any comfort items, saying it’s a survival situation and not a camping trip. Most of these people have never spent more than a drunk weekend at a camping lodge. I’ve spent over a year in the jungles of Africa and in Central America. When you’re gone for months at a time, comfort becomes a priority. You can only carry so much but a few things like toilet paper, pictures of family, and a paperback book to read can sometimes be worth their weight in gold. Or feathers, if that’s a better analogy.
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.
In my experience maglites, mini and otherwise, are pretty lousy for durability and power to weight. Even the LED conversions aren’t realistically useful. For us mortals who don’t need a 1500 lumen weapon light with IR strobe, Princeton Tec makes good waterproof lights that are rated for use in hazardous environments (firefighter spec basically). The “Attitude” is pretty cheap, small, rugged, common battery type, nice pocket clip, lanyard hole, clear body so you can visually inspect the batteries for leaks, and you don’t have to open it up to check if it’s AA or AAA. Plus it’s not an “indicator”. If after the SHTF you pull out a specialized weapon light with pic rail attachment and red filter in order to show the Nat’l Guardsman your documents they might take a much closer look at the rest of your gear.
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.
Canned Alaskan Wild Salmon is rich in protein and healthy fats like omega 3s. Look for “Alaskan Wild Salmon” and you’re likely to get salmon with minimal or no environmental contaminants that can sometimes show up in other canned fish from other parts of the world. Salmon may not be your thing today but realize the Inuit people (native people of Alaska and northern Canada) on a traditional diet are known for low rates of heart attack and stroke, which is attributed to their long term, continuous diet of fish. Like tuna fish, you can eat canned Alaskan wild salmon right out of the can, without cooking — though, if you have leftovers, it will have to be refrigerated where it will then keep for the next 3 – 4 days. If refrigeration isn’t an option, plan to share one can of salmon with 2-3 other people at a time, so nothing goes to waste. Thanks to it’s long shelf life and great protein content, it’s on the top of our list when it comes to the best survival foods. It tastes good too!
The Ready America Deluxe Emergency Kit is a bug out bag with serious survival in mind. As such it’s heavy on practical, tactical gear such as dust masks, duct tape, a multi tool, rain ponchos, protective goggles, a well-equipped first aid kit and maybe most impressive of all, a 4 function emergency power station that requires no batteries or power cord and acts as a flashlight, radio, emergency siren and cell phone charger. Just crank it for 1 minute to get 30 minutes of power for the various functions. Clever and essential survival kit.
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.
I agree with all except this one, “you should carry a water filter instead.” That water filter does NOT filter viruses which can incapacitate or kill just as quickly as can the bacteria it does eliminate. Carry purification tablets & a couple gallon sized double-ziplock baggies or an aluminum/titanium pot (multiple uses) or learn about SODIS instead. Why plan to fail?
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:
Sealed water proof polly buckets of rice, beans, powdered milk, grains, cereals, sugar and seeds can have a long shelf life and can be purchased commercially or prepared at home. For more perishable foods and as another option, traditional food preservation techniques such as home canning, smoking, dehydrating, freezing and pickling should be considered for intermediate term food storage.
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.
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.
Great information. But, please don’t tell people that pepper spray will drop someone in seconds. I was a chemical agent instructor for a medium size police department. I’ve been sprayed by a lot of stuff. Not all of it works on every person. I’ve seen people just sit there and look at you when they were hit full in the face with very good, very reliable chemical agents. We only taught that it was a distraction technique. Use the chemical agent to distract the person so you can hit them next, take them down, flee, whatever your plan is. But, it is only a distraction technique.
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..
Keep it SIMPLE – you are not trying to build a mobile home that you will carry around. Many sites list dozens and dozens of items to buy and bring, adding cost and weight. Remember that electronics need power and are prone to breaking. Pack simple, reliable, things to cover your basic needs. Check out our Free Bug Out Bag Planning Tool to plan what you want to include and see how your items will affect the overall weight of your pack.
Civilians such as forestry workers, surveyors, or bush pilots, who work in remote locations or in regions with extreme climate conditions may also be equipped with survival kits. Disaster supplies are also kept on hand by those who live in areas prone to earthquakes or other natural disasters. For the average citizen to practice disaster preparedness, some towns will have survival stores to keep survival supplies in stock.