One of the key categories that people miss in packing their bugout bag is documents because they have the mindset that they are going to be stuck out in the middle of the woods somewhere. This may be the case, but hopefully at some point, you’ll make it back to civilization. Even if it’s The End Of The World As We Know It civilization is going to have to start somewhere and having identification and documents from the past may come in handy. Either way, don’t screw yourself by choosing not to carry these essential items. I would suggest laminating everything or at least putting them in waterproof containers somehow.
A favorite of hikers, trail mix has a variety of ingredients, raisins, peanuts and other nuts, and often pieces of chocolate, and sometimes dried fruit and berries. The simple sugars in the raisins, chocolate and dried fruits can be a quick mood booster and source of short term energy. Trail mix is a way to include dried fruits in your survival diet plan.
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.
The undisputed experts when it comes to key survival gear? The rangers who save hikers who go astray. Jeff Webb, a search-and-rescue ranger at Yosemite National Park, has worked on more than 200 rescue missions. He's also seen action in Big Bend, Yellowstone, Canyonlands, Joshua Tree, and Rocky Mountain National Parks. With his advice, our editors put together this ultimate survival kit for hikers.
I keep spare ammo and a cleaning kit in my bug out bags. You should start with an off-the-shelf cleaning kit to begin with but then add things to suit your needs. One of the first things I added to mine was a dental cleaning kit. Start with a larger dental cleaning kit and pull out the ones you need. For your smaller bags, you may want to consider using a hacksaw and cutting them down to size.
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.
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.
My general system for power is a small solar panel, a Goal Zero AA battery charger, and a USB battery, each of which have USB outputs. The solar charger is powerful enough that it will charge my iPad or iPhone directly even if it’s not 100% sunny out. I’ve developed a whole battery and small electronics power kit that allows me to basically have unlimited power.
In tropical areas, a survival kit may have mosquito head netting, additional insect repellent, anti-fungal cream, a machete, water purification tablets, foot powder, matches, a flint strike, a compass, a wire saw, a space blanket, medical equipment (gauze pads, elastic gauze bandage, antiseptic creams, anti-malaria tablets, anti-infection tablets, bandages, etc.), salt tablets, a fishing kit, snare wire, extra socks, a candle, a signal mirror, flares, a sewing kit, safety pins, tinder, tape, a whistle, and rations.
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.
Plan your bag with a defined time period in mind. 72 hours is a good starting point as this is approximately how long a person can survive without water. Once you start planning for weeks out you will have added too many complications to your list of Bug Out Bag essentials. Have a look at our post on Making a Bug Out Plan to see what you need to consider as a part of your survival preparedness.
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.
Tools may include cutting tools such as saws, axes and hatchets; mechanical advantage aids such as a pry bar or wrecking bar, ropes, pulleys, or a 'come-a-long" hand-operated winch; construction tools such as pliers, chisels, a hammer, screwdrivers, a hand-operated twist drill, vise grip pliers, glue, nails, nuts, bolts, and screws; mechanical repair tools such as an arc welder, an oxy-acetylene torch, a propane torch with a spark lighter, a solder iron and flux, wrench set, a nut driver, a tap and die set, a socket set, and a fire extinguisher. As well, some survivalists bring barterable items such as fishing line, liquid soap, insect repellent, light bulbs, can openers, extra fuels, motor oil, and ammunition.
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.
A bit off topic here, but if you’re new to prepping, survival foods is only the first step to a thorough plan for surviving a catastrophic disaster, with the greatest risk being to those who live in or near major cities. If there is ever a disruption in the food supply, major cities will suffer the hardest and first due to the insanely high number of people who need food and water (into the millions in certain cities).
A supply of nonperishable food and water are a core necessity for every survival kit. Amazon.com offers several varieties of survival kits with emergency food for different situations. For the boat, car, or RV, high caloric density food bars are a compact and affordable way to stay safe. You’ll also find dehydrated meals in large quantities prepackaged compact bins for convenient storage. Waterproof survival kits are perfect for the basement, and contain up to three months of food for four adults.