Packing a bug out bag can seem overwhelming as the task of not forgetting something important can be daunting. There are many checklists out there that will tell you the essential items you should always keep in your bug out bag. You can buy an already packed Bug out Bag, like this one here- Urban Survival Bug Out Bag, which contains essentials items like food, water, and a first aid kit. You can also check out our Bug Out Bag Checklist and personalize your bag yourself.
As important as the size of the pack you choose is the comfort of the pack. Many of the packs that we reviewed have compression straps, extra padding, and other features to ensure that your body is healthy and able to carry what you need. In general, comfort is largely a balance between enough padding and a lighter weight so that the bag doesn’t hinder your ability to move efficiently. When you’re considering the comfort of a given bug out bag, you’ll also want to pay extra attention to how the pack’s hip belt is constructed.
To me, the best option is to store emergency food. How much? If you have none, store enough for a few days. If you have enough for a few days, get enough for a week. How much you store depends on what time frame you think you're at risk for having to be completely independent. The early settlers of the southwest liked to store enough food for a whole year and still do to this day!
Say you're at work and a terrorist attack occurs. Roads are closed to any and all traffic but you only want to get home - even if that means walking. You may not want to grab your full on family pack in the car or you may not even be able to get to it. But you just want a light kit to get you through. How far is it to get home from wherever you may be? This get home kit should provide for 1-3 nights of traveling on foot till you make it home.
Which foods can you grab the most of, and get the most out of? It’s important to consider calorie count, ease of use / preparation, shelf-life, and even “weight” factored in. Why is weight a factor? What if you and your family have to evacuate an area on foot, and with nothing but survival backpacks and or suitcases? You’ll regret having stocked up on so much canned food when you realize just how much those cans weigh. The best survival food balances weight against nutritional and caloric value. This is something you should pay particular attention to if you also plan on having survival gear with you.
“Natural” brands of beef, turkey, etc. jerky do not contain any or as much of the harmful added ingredients seen in many commercial jerky brands. What is jerky? Jerky is a tasty form of dried meat. Dried meat, if you remember, is a long time proven survival food used by Native Americans and American pioneers alike, and also used by primitive tribes around the world. While these primitive tribes use smoking and sun drying methods to create “jerky”, today commercial methods of drying meat do this on a much larger scale. You have two choices: One is to buy the smaller serving packages, or to purchase your dried meat in bulk and have it shipped to you directly.
So our personal survival tip is to share your food as God would lead you (once you’ve put your faith in Christ and have made the decision to live according to God’s Word), and trust that even if you’ve given your last bite to eat that He already has the next day written and plans to bring provision perhaps greater than the stores you just gave away.
The GR1 is a USA made backpack made to Armed Forces specs but with a civilian friendly design. The pack is a favorite among travelers, military personnel, law enforcement, hikers, emergency preppers, students, and of course GORUCK Challenge participants. This pack was specifically built for the Special Forces and has been used in Baghdad and New York City.(2)
If your bag is so heavy that you can’t carry it more than a few miles, you’ll have to ditch some of the items, anyway. And what’s going to happen if you have to run from attackers, jump walls, and climb fences? Having a bag that’s too heavy could get you killed. Ideally, a bug out bag should weigh about 15% of your body weight, assuming you’re in decent shape. 20% of your body weight should be the absolute maximum.
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!
Design – The best bug out bag is one with plenty of pockets. This allows you to compartmentalize your bug out bag essentials so that you know exactly where everything is and you don’t have to dig through mountains of other stuff to find what you need. Put all your fire and light things together such as tactical flashlight, candles, headlamp, fire starting kit and storm proof matches. Put maps, GPS devices, compass and other navigation related items in their own pocket and so on. The more you can separate things the easier it will be to transcend your difficulties.
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).
"Mini survival kits" or "Altoids tin" survival kits are small kits that contain a few basic survival tools. These kits often include a small compass, waterproof matches, minimum fishing tackle, large plastic bag, small candle, jigsaw blade, craft knife or scalpel blade, and/or a safety pin/s. Pre-packaged survival kits may also include instructions in survival techniques, including fire-starting or first aid methods. In addition, parachute cord can be wrapped around the tin. The parachute cord can be used for setting up an emergency shelter or snaring small animals. They are designed to fit within a container roughly the size of a mint tin.
I think you’re both correct, although you are addressing separate threat levels and emergencies (civil disobedience vs. natural disaster). I keep a basic bag, plus a small box with optionals that can be quickly loaded, depending on the threat. I realize this may take precious seconds, so this is time dependent. I live in the Chicago area, so civil unrest is a greater concern, and my firearms choice reflects this probable eventuality.
Cold weather gloves: A sturdy pair of gloves will provide you with better grip, protect your hands from cuts and splinters, offer warmth in low temperatures, and keeps your hands clean to reduce the risk of infection. In the aftermath of a disaster, you may be tasked with moving fallen branches, gathering firewood, or making your way through broken glass, and high-quality gloves will give you the dexterity to accomplish these tasks.
When loaded and put on properly, your hips should carry the bulk of your pack’s weight. Because of this, extra padding in the hip belt can make a lot of difference. However, you should also make sure the hip belt isn’t so bulky that it ends up rubbing your hip bones or ribs uncomfortably. In an ideal world, your bug out bag’s hip belt should fit comfortably between the top of your hip bones and the bottom of your lowest ribs.
Canned food is heavy and not portable – which means that if push comes to shove, it will be difficult to travel with a large amount of it. Canned food should be a part of your survival food plan though — it can be the food that helps you get by the first few weeks, as long as you don’t have to evacuate or travel (particularly on foot). If you have canned food, you should also have a survival multi tool with you (rather than a can opener). A can opener is a single use tool – and generally you want to avoid those.
We covered Survival Knives generally in our Bug Out Bag Essentials post but they are so useful it is worth re-hashing here. Generally you are better off getting a solid, full tang knife from a trusted knifemaker such as Ontario, Camillus, Becker, or Gerber. Stay away from hollow handled survival knives if at all possible. The small amount of storage space will not make up for the overall inferior build quality. For more information on choosing a good knife for any outdoors situation, check out our comprehensive guide by CLICKING HERE.
Valley Food Storage is aimed at equipping you for short or long-term emergencies with a variety of food kits to suit your situation. The company offers what it describes as Basic and Premium emergency food supplies. Basic buckets of emergency food are intended to deliver about 800 calories per day, while Premium food buckets will sustain you with about 1,800 calories per day. If you plan to shelter in place, the 800 calorie rations may be enough to sustain you, while other preppers advise you to ensure that you have plenty of calories to fuel whatever activity you may need to engage in during a disaster.
Denier is the term that is most often used to suggest the strength of the threads in the fabric used to create the pack. And when it comes to the quality of the seams, look for a pack that advertises double-stitched seams if you want a pack that will last longer and holds up against the environmental factors it could be exposed to in the event of an emergency. Ultimately, your pack is an investment in your survival and the contents of the BOB don’t do any good if your pack fails and you can’t carry everything.
Natural disasters and their occurrences are never known to anyone prior to the event. But, people must know about the threat in areas that are more prone to natural disasters. People also need to take personal responsibility for their own safety. Knowledge and planning is the key to survival in any emergency. Bug-out-bags, survival food supply, quality water filter, and basic survival gear are just part of not becoming a victim.
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.