Speaking of toilet paper, hygiene is important in the field. Proper hygiene will mean less medical problems as well as better morale. I bring a camp towel and liquid soap, compact toothbrush, two travel-sized tubes of toothpaste, eye drops, chap stick, and dental floss. Chap stick and dental floss are key because floss can be used for other things such as tying things together (see #11 on my list of Top 10 bug out bag survival tips).
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Even if you’re not religious, if you’re ever in the situation to help your community out during a time of need and crisis by providing food and other supplies, you should seriously consider it. No man is an island, and religious or not, kindness and generosity is what brings communities together, especially when times are hard. If you’ve stocked up on some of the best survival food items we’ve mentioned here today, then you’re well prepared for any eventuality. Others around you may not be, and a little generosity could save lives.
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People ask if I was in the military. Yeah, but it was 80 lbs and 40 years ago. Special Forces “A TEAM” medic in fact. But I forgot a lot of that. I carried 120 lb rut when we moved out, but about 40 lbs of ammo and grenades on patrol. I have 2 dozen ruts now, from patrol size to major moveout size. I put 80 lbs of cat litter (we have a cat rescue) to practice the other day … and I had a very hard time to get up with it. So I dropped that to 40 and hit the treadmill 3 miles and 3 mph. I will need to do that for awhile before increasing the weight. I’m 220 wanting 180 but at 66 yrs it’s becoming harder to do things. Hips, knees, shoulders, knuckles .. they are all stiff and ache. So I may have to cut back. But to tell someone just bring 12 rounds of ammo …… that’s crazy. Get an AR in 22 cal, the Ruger Takedown fits well in our ruts. 300 rnds of 22lr is light. I have a Glock M22 40 can with a 22 conversion that works great, same for 1911 45 / 22. In reality, it all comes down as to what the threat is perceived to be. CPAP: my new one is 10 oz, and 6 days of rechargeable batteries are 4 lbs. Solar panel or 110 to recharge the batteries. Forget the CPAP = loud snoring and dog tired wakeup.
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.
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.
How to Make a Bug Out Bag? – If you decide to make your own bug out bag you’ll want to start with a good-sized, water-resistant backpack and then fill it with a combination of food and practical implements that will allow you to transcend any difficulties you’re likely to encounter. You’ll want to include purified water as well as a water filter (in case the emergency has fouled the local water supply), plenty of freeze dried food along with power bars (but no perishables) and things you can use to protect yourself from the wind, cold and any precipitation that may be falling. Which means you’ll want emergency blankets, dry clothes and rain ponchos. You’ll also want to include other practical implements like a compass, tactical flashlight, walkie talkies, multi tool and more.
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.
Size – Everyone overestimates how much they’re carrying when they go backpacking (if everyone who claimed to carry a 100 pound pack actually did we’d have thousands of hiker deaths every year in the US alone). But a survival situation is one time when you need to be cold-light-of-day honest about how much you can carry and what that load should be comprised of to give you the best possible chance of survival. As a general rule you shouldn’t carry more than 15 or 20% of your body weight, which for most people will be between 20 and 40 pounds. With this in mind you’ll want to take into consideration the weight of the pack itself (which must be deducted from the total load) and its volume so that you wind up with a bug out backpack that can carry the appropriate amount of supplies.
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).
We live in NW Oregon where a 9.2 quake is expected “any time now”. If it occurs, and if we are able to get out of the house or other buildings alive, we will have about 15 minutes to run to high ground which is almost a mile away. We are in our 60s and only moderately fit. We could easily fast-walk that distance in daylight with the ground not moving. Otherwise, doing that with a survival bag, possibly at night with falling trees and torn up, heaving streets will be challenging. So I’d like to keep the bag as light as possible.
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.

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
Have you ever tried to quit drinking coffee, after years of counting on it to get you up in the morning and through the day? If not you, someone in your party is likely to consider coffee (or simply caffeine) an essential, and may be tired, lethargic, and have headaches without the stuff. Coffee doesn’t have to be a top priority, but being able to grab it will be something more than one person in your party is likely to be thankful for. It’s a quick mood booster and good for morale. And it’s also something that could be traded like a commodity during a crises situation.
Size – Everyone overestimates how much they’re carrying when they go backpacking (if everyone who claimed to carry a 100 pound pack actually did we’d have thousands of hiker deaths every year in the US alone). But a survival situation is one time when you need to be cold-light-of-day honest about how much you can carry and what that load should be comprised of to give you the best possible chance of survival. As a general rule you shouldn’t carry more than 15 or 20% of your body weight, which for most people will be between 20 and 40 pounds. With this in mind you’ll want to take into consideration the weight of the pack itself (which must be deducted from the total load) and its volume so that you wind up with a bug out backpack that can carry the appropriate amount of supplies.

Cell Phones: While cell phones are still not 100 percent reliable in the backcountry, service coverage and the usefulness of smartphones has increased dramatically in the last seven years. While cell phones are still questionably reliable in the backcountry, many adventurers will carry them anyway as they also serve as light cameras and can help with GPS and electronic compass navigation. Today, most of them also work as a flashlight. Regardless, they are worthless if the battery is dead, so plan accordingly.


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.

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.
If you want to get a headstart on building up your stockpile, there are some excellent survival food kits out there that can help you do that. None of us know when disaster will strike, and you’ll be kicking yourself if you had plans to build a stockpile but started too late. That’s where these food kits come in. Most of them have 25-30 years of shelf life and include a pretty good variety of flavors. Now, granted – with these emergency food kits, you’ll be paying more per calorie/per meal than if you build your own stockpile. But if you’re looking to get a headstart because you feel like something catastrophic could happen at any time, then it might be a good idea to pick up one of these food kits ASAP so at least you have the beginnings of a longer term stockpile of survival food.
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!

A note about grain storage: Storing brown rice, and other grains, in a cool, dry place in large airtight containers is important to maintain freshness. Store bought brands of brown rice and brown rice cereal may only have a shelf life of 3 – 6 months however. So, you will want a plan in place to cycle your brown rice cereal every 3 months so that it’s eaten in your home (makes an easy, healthy breakfast and is an alternative to sugar packed cereals).


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.
It is best to make your own disaster kit / emergency kit that you can make to meet your biggest area threats. You would never need a life vest if living high in the mountains. So, designing an emergency kit for your needs is very important. Many things always remain the same like your survival food supply. You can use Mountain House freeze dried food, MRE’s, Survival Cave freeze dried food, Wise freeze dried foods or any other long term storage foods. The key is planning and having your food supply before the emergency. Once something happens, the stores empty within hours. Preparing your emergency kit& survival food kits can actually save you and your family from even the worst disaster.
It is really important to know what all you actually need to prepare yourself and your family for an emergency. The first and foremost thing is the first aid kit. It is really important to store your firstaid supplies in a sturdy box or nylon case. But the point to remember is that, the case should be easy to carry and water proof. It is better to keep all the important medicines in your case and also make sure they are not expired.
An exceptional article. Although the one item you missed, which I think you know I am into; is a powerful slingshot, and heavyish lead ammo, which can be substituted for rocks if one has a very light digital scale. This can not only be used for very effective hunting, after one practices for exact shot placement. But also silent defense/offence. Acknowledge not everyone will likely ever have my skill of almost pinpoint accuracy to 50 meters; but realistic hunting provided one can stalk to around 15 meters, is fairly simple. Cheers Allan Leigh
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.

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.
Before building your emergency food supply kit, start keeping a record of what everyone in your family eats in a day. In addition to emergency survival food staples like rice, beans and canned or powdered milk, you'll find a wide variety of emergency foods, including freeze-dried survival foods, that will let you approximate your family's normal diet. For breakfast, you'll find scrambled egg mix, pancake mix, oatmeal and other hot cereals and more. You'll also find a wide variety of soups, chilis, fruits and vegetables, as well as pasta, rice and meat dishes in a wide range of flavors. Including a few treats, like hot cocoa and Pudding, can help your family maintain morale when times are tough.
There are many names for bug out bags, and actually different types of bags, as well as many definitions and schools of thought for each bag. One of the key things that I try to preach is that your bug out bags shouldn’t look tactical or military. A huge camouflage bug out bag with lots of equipment hanging off of it, worn by a guy in 5.11’s and a khaki shirt screams prepper (amateur one at that) and that guy’ll be a prime target for people with more training than sympathy. Watch your OPSEC when deciding what to wear.
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.
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!

A BOB is the minimum equipment you need (depending on your skill set) to get from point A to point B. It is not meant to last a month or a year or ten years. If you don’t have long term gear at point B and you can’t stay at point A, you’re better off in a FEMA camp. Point B can be anything from a motel to a relative’s house to a cabin deep in the woods someplace but you have to get there when the going gets tough. That’s why a BOB is important. What I think people fail to understand is that what takes 72 hours in good times might take two weeks or more in tough times and that BOB needs to get you through. Hunting, fishing, trapping and foraging are required skills in that case; you can’t rely solely on what you can carry on your back.
It is really important to know what all you actually need to prepare yourself and your family for an emergency. The first and foremost thing is the first aid kit. It is really important to store your firstaid supplies in a sturdy box or nylon case. But the point to remember is that, the case should be easy to carry and water proof. It is better to keep all the important medicines in your case and also make sure they are not expired.
sorry Paul…if you get a Lifesaver bottle, it does filter bacteria…in fact it filters everything. And its good for 1000s of litres. http://www.iconlifesaver.eu/ Theres lots in the article I agree with, and lots I don’t. Get an SAS style hammock with shelter for over top and at least be comfortable. An ultra light sleeping bag weights less that 12 ozs and is a whole lot more comfortable than an emergency blanket. There are so many LED lights out there that you can pack a small crank or solar rechargeable light. Fire might bring the baddies. Better to be safe and unseen than seen an unsafe.
For personnel who are flying over large bodies of water, in additional to wearing a survival suit over cold water, a survival kit may have additional items such as a small self inflating raft to get the aircrewman out of cold or predator infested waters, flotation vests, sea anchor, fishing nets, fishing equipment, fluorescent sea marking dye, pyrotechnical signals, a survival radio and/or radio-beacon, formerly a distress marker light replaced by a flashing strobe, formerly a seawater still[4] or chemical desalinator kit now replaced by a hand pumped reverse osmosis desalinator (MROD) for desalinating seawater, a raft repair kit, a paddle, a bailer and sponge, sunscreen, medical equipment, a whistle, a compass, and a sun shade hat.
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