Astronauts are provided with survival kits due to the difficulty of predicting where a spacecraft will land on its return to earth, especially in the case of an equipment failure. In early US space flights, the kit was optimised for survival at sea; the one provided for John Glenn on the first American space flight in Friendship 7 contained "a life raft, pocket knife, signaling mirror, shark repellent, seawater desalting tablets, sunscreen, soap, first aid kit, and other items". A survival kit was provided for the Apollo program which was "...designed to provide a 48-hour postlanding (water or land) survival capability for three crewmen between 40 degrees North and South latitudes". It contained "a survival radio, a survival light assembly, desalter kits, a machete, sunglasses, water cans, sun lotion, a blanket, a pocket knife, netting and foam pads".
Shop for deluxe bags stocked with rations that meet QSS standards for calories and protein intake, like the Emergency Essentials Deluxe 72-Hour Food, Water & Gear Pack. Take note that the emergency food supply inside of the included backpack is just shakes—but it packs a whopping 2,080 calories per day, along with 99 grams of protein per day. This kit will fill you up and is a good choice if you think you’ll need to take your emergency food supply on the go.
Speaking of your car, this 90-piece roadside emergency kit will keep you in the game whether you have a bad accident or just break-down in the middle of nowhere. It comes with tools to get your car going again – jumper cables, a tire repair kit, an air compressor – and a first-aid kit in case things get really messed up. Basically, it’s got you covered no matter what you need.
The biggest misconception about bug out bags is the idea that the contents in and of themselves will be enough to keep you alive. The truth is that the contents of your bug out bag are only as good as the individual using them. If you don’t know how to make the most of the contents of your bug out bag or ration them appropriately, they won’t help you survive any more than a firearm without any ammunition. You should always take the time to familiarize yourself with the contents of your bug out bag and feel comfortable using everything so that you’re best prepared when TEOTWAWKI does occur.
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.
The bag can be loaded and then cinched down with compression straps to keep your gear from shifting. The bag has 11 different exterior pouches allowing for good organization. The bag comes loaded with PALS webbing which allows any MOLLE webbing accessory to be added. The price point is good since the quality is high and the pack is so large. The carrying capacity of the bag is 173 liters and comes with a Lifetime Warranty.
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.
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.
These come in many flavors but most of them will do the jobs of a hatchet (obviously), pry tool, shovel, and wrench. We should look for any opportunity to remove high weight to volume ratio items such as steel tools to build the best survival kit, so being able to leave behind any of these is a good step. For more info check out our in depth reviews of the BEST survival tomahawks here.
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.