Stewart views fire building in terms of four key ingredients: tinder bundle of dry, fibrous material (cotton balls covered in Vaseline or lip balm are an excellent choice, if you’ve got them) and wood in three sizes—toothpick, Q-tip, and pencil. Use a forearm-sized log as a base and windscreen for your tinder. When the tinder is lit, stack the smaller kindling against the larger log, like a lean-to, to allow oxygen to pass through and feed the flames. Add larger kindling as the flame grows, until the fire is hot enough for bigger logs.
I got a really good laugh out of several comments here- thanks. Ditto on the nearly 30 years of military service ( and thank YOU!) I have most of the same things, with Smartwool layers added since I live in the mountains. Someone mentioned boots–best I’ve found are Ariat ATS which are waterproof, lightweight, VERY comfy and have a Thinsulate lining. Nothing else I’ve found even comes close. Pricey, but worth every dime as they Really hold up well. But oh God- that thong thing!!!lol
There’s the compass. There’s the compass and map. And then there’s survival gear like this Garmin High Sensitivity GPS tool with its GLONASS receiver, 100K topographical maps, BirdsEye Satellite imagery subscription and triple axis compass. The screen is easily readable in the brightest sunlight or deepest night and the 8GB of memory mean you’ll always have the information you need now at your fingertips. If you’re serious about staying out of trouble when you venture into the unknown bring the Garmin High Sensitivity GPS tool with you and rest easy.
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. 
Hunting, fishing, and trapping are also significant endeavors, ones that take much time and practice. These are also skills that are often times unnecessary in a short term survival situation. However if you are in a wilderness survival situation for any length of time, you'll want these skills. Throwing sticks, bow and arrow, primitive fishing, spear fishing, and primitive trapping are all important to learn.

I always carry a Mountain Hardwear Lumina 45 sleeping bag wherever I go. To keep it dry and small, I use an XS Sea to Summit compression dry sack. I’ve had this bag and water-resistant compression sack with me through several deployments and camping trips. It’s very lightweight and packs to about the size of a football. Definitely a nice thing to have.
Gigging (hunting with a multi-pronged spear) is the simplest way to catch anything from snakes to fish. Cut down a sapling of about an inch in diameter, and then split the fat end with a knife (or sharp rock) into four equal sections ten inches down. Push a stick between the tines to spread them apart, then sharpen the points. You’ve got an easy-to-use four-pronged spear. Much easier for catching critters than a single sharp point.

There are many choices of packs out there that would make a good Bug Out Bag. In the end, the important thing to keep in mind is your personal preference. Bigger doesn’t always mean better when it comes to selecting the right bug out bag. Remember that a Bug Out Bag is recommended to store 3 days worth of rations, water, and gear in a survival situation.


If I could ask a stupid question… I’m planning on immigrating from the US to the UK where some laws are different for preppers. Things that I have here, such as my machete and combat/survival knives are illegal there. As are most firearms without extensive registering and licensing and I’m sure those few with real firearms are on a list there. And likely new immigrants are prohibited from owning firearms and most weapons in general. I also have a future wife and two children there to consider. I’m ex military and martial artist but they aren’t and I want them to be able to get prepared asap. Any suggestions? Thank you immensely for this information and for educating beginner preppers. Contrary to some posts here, many of these items, while perhaps not necessary, can make the difference between life and death or worse the deaths of loved ones. Vaseline, duct and electricical tape, socks, gloves, cotton, fishing gear, strong paracord, and much more have a wide myriad of uses. Also I would suggest getting at least basic military field medical training to treat cuts, infections, GSWs (gunshot wounds), etc. One strong suggestion, I personally would add various sized plastic Ziploc type bags and at least a couple of contractor trash bags. These are indispensable. They can help with distilling water with a solar still in even a post nuke environment, with Vaseline can patch a sucking chest wound, can keep your documents, phone and other paper or electronic equipment dry, etc… In addition, know your surroundings, what’s available, and LEARN TO IMPROVISE. Learn to make a firebow, what wood types in your environment are best, how to make your own fishhooks or fishing spear from wood or bone or scrap metal, etc. A small saw is indispensable. I also have a leatherman tool and a couple of different sized pliers as well as wire cutters and a small coil of wire…which also has a myriad of uses from securing any blade to a handle or shaft to making fish hooks, to even crafting various boobytraps and snares. Be vigilant, know your surroundings and common things and locations you see daily. Make mental note. Learn to braid paracord. Or martial arts. Your most valuable resources you can ever have are your mind and body, keep them honed and healthy and continue to learn and perfect your craft. One last note: nearly anything is possible with the right knowledge. Best wishes to all reading this. ♡

A bug out bag or a tactical backpack,  is a large, accessible, strong, and convenient backpack that you can personalize the contents for your situation. This is a bag that you want to have ready so that you can grab it at a moment’s notice. The pack should always be packed and stored in an accessible place. You never know when you might be forced to leave your home and have to survive on only what is on your back. Not only will you need a pack you will need good quality boots as well.   To help you find the best bug out bag, we have listed out some things to consider when buying.

“You want to stay high and dry,” Stewart says. Avoid valleys and paths where water may flow toward you (flash floods get their name for a reason—they can deluge a low-lying area in minutes). Choose a campsite free from natural dangers like insect nests and widow-makers—dead branches that may crash down in the middle of the night—as well as falling rocks. Ideally, you want to be close to resources like running water, dry wood (from which you can assemble your shelter and build a fire) and rocky walls or formations that can shield you from the elements.


Thank you so much for the detailed info! That battery charger/light/usb charger is very impressive! I can understand why you opted for that vs anything dynamo, but I’m wondering if even with this kit, is there any room for dynamo? For example, a radio or radio/flashlight combo. Also, some people recommend a tactical vest with utmost essentials in case you’re separated from your bag. Would dynamo be best in that case?
There’s always going to be the debate of Bugging In v. Bugging Out, and that is really our job as readers and posters to decide which is best for us and determine the situations/scenarios we may be faced with. What degree of societal collapse do we need to see, before we get the heck out of town? Obviously, the more rural your location is, the higher the probability of staying in place will be. One’s health, general level of physical conditioning and age are all factors we need to consider. It’s easy to say “Get into shape,” but the reality is that may not be possible for some of us with long standing health problems. For those of us incapable of increasing our strength or endurance, Bugging Out may be our last option.
With a calm center, over half the struggle is over. As I mentioned earlier, the most common physical reason that people die in wilderness survival situations is exposure to the elements. A person can die from exposure in as little as three hours. You must learn how to stay warm when it is cold, how to stay cool when it is hot, and how to stay dry when it is wet. Enter the wilderness survival shelter. It can take many forms, with a classic one being the debris hut. The debris hut is a small, one person shelter that is basically a simple structure that cocoons a person in leaves, grasses, boughs, or other natural debris to keep them insulated. It is built to shed water. Just imagine a primitive tent and sleeping bag all in one.
To cook in, I have a Snow Peak Trek 900 Titanium Cook Set that comes with a 900mL pot and a frying pad that kind of works as a half-assed lid. Because it’s titanium, it’s super light and super strong – and it transfers heat extremely well, making it boil water faster. The drawbacks are that it’ll burn your food if you’re not careful and it’s a tad expensive.
Browse through our selection of emergency gear to find everything you need to supplement your existing emergency preparedness packs or choose from one of our Emergency Essentials ® survival kits, already assembled and ready for use. We offer kits for individuals and families, filled with the basic tools and emergency gear to survive for up to 72 hours during any emergency situation.
Using this site as a guide I just finished my own BOB. I purchased many of the same items with some slight variations based on my local geography. Since I was starting from scratch I didn’t have many of these items yet so most were recently purchased. Right off, the tent, sleeping bag, ham radio and titanium stuff are about 800$ after getting all of the other items I am right about 1500$. However, some of the items I got there were cheaper options but I chose better quality to ensure the equipment lasted a very long time.

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.
You don’t need a huge space to store emergency supplies if you plan wisely. Use every inch of your storage space for efficiency and necessity. When buying emergency supplies, look for stackable items with minimal packaging or that serve multiple purposes (multi-function items are great because you get the benefits of multiple tools without using up all that storage space). For example, MREs don’t take as much space as individual ingredients. Buying freeze-dried food instead of ready-to-eat foods lets you store even more in a smaller area.
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.

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.

To cook in, I have a Snow Peak Trek 900 Titanium Cook Set that comes with a 900mL pot and a frying pad that kind of works as a half-assed lid. Because it’s titanium, it’s super light and super strong – and it transfers heat extremely well, making it boil water faster. The drawbacks are that it’ll burn your food if you’re not careful and it’s a tad expensive.

I got a really good laugh out of several comments here- thanks. Ditto on the nearly 30 years of military service ( and thank YOU!) I have most of the same things, with Smartwool layers added since I live in the mountains. Someone mentioned boots–best I’ve found are Ariat ATS which are waterproof, lightweight, VERY comfy and have a Thinsulate lining. Nothing else I’ve found even comes close. Pricey, but worth every dime as they Really hold up well. But oh God- that thong thing!!!lol

Uber and smaller rival Lyft (NASDAQ:LYFT) had rough debutante balls last year, but the two broken IPOs are the ones thumping the market in 2020. Investors are gravitating to the stocks, even as the two companies begin to pull back in some areas. Uber unloaded its problematic food-delivery platform in India earlier this month. Lyft announced a restructuring on Wednesday that included laying off a little less than 2% of its workforce.
The Garmin High Sensitivity GPS tool is a potentially game changing piece of survival gear that employs a quad-helix antenna and GLONASS receiver to provide actionable GPS data even when you’re in the gnarliest locales. With its comprehensive selection of pre-loaded US topographical reference maps you’ll be able to plot an effective escape route from even the direst situations.

Slid into the back of my backpack is a sheet-sized Fresnel Lens. It weighs so little that it didn’t come up on my scale and since there’s a flat spot that it fits into nicely, it effectively takes up no weight. It’s a no-brainer to get one of these. Here’s a quick video I did showing how easy it is to start a fire with one of these if you have a sunny day and some dry stuff laying around:
Learn how to use it – What good is a compass if you don’t know how to use it? Not much. How about your Tenacious Tape? Or your GPS locator, or multitool? It’s great to head out into the wilderness with all the appropriate survival gear but if you don’t know how to use it when the time comes it will be as useless as the “g” in “lasagna”. Once you’ve decided what you need and have purchased everything take the time to familiarize yourself with what you have and how it works. Take the GPS locator out into your local state park and practice with it. Practice starting a fire with your emergency fire starter. Buy some extra Tenacious Tape and a cheap raincoat and practice cutting it up and making repairs. Take your survival knife out on a short hike and see what its practical limitations are when it comes to cutting wood etc. You might need a larger one or one with a longer serrated edge. The bottom line is this: make sure you know how to use the survival gear you have before you leave civilization behind and head into the woods.

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.
This has helped me so much with building my own unique B.O.B. I’m at 21.0 # now with room for three or four more key items to complete my set-up! Without this guide I think I would have bought way to much stuff and came in over 30.0 # before food and water. Another thing I discovered is that you really have to get out and hike; go for walks with your dog; whatever, with this weight on your back! I started out with just 10.0 # inside the pack and quickly realized that I was out of shape. Now I can climb hills easily with minimal rest periods to recover. I’m working up to an overnight so I can try out some of my stuff in a realistic scenerio. I’ve even become a better packer for just about any kind of travel or trip. Thanks for all you do!

Yes, this is something that often goes overlooked. I wouldn’t COUNT on everyone being there for a bug out situation, as by nature you never know where everyone might be at the moment and if they will all be there with you, but spreading the weight across several people can make a huge difference. Suddenly an unfathomable 50 pound carry load becomes more than reasonable with a family of 5.

A while ago I wrote an article called 100 Survival Items You Forgot To Put In Your Bug Out Bag. Several readers complained, saying things like, “How the hell am I supposed to fit all this stuff in my bug out bag?” Well, you’re not. The point of the article is to tell people about any items they would have included but either forgot about or hadn’t considered yet.

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.
Some survival books promote the "Universal Edibility Test".[18] Allegedly, it is possible to distinguish edible foods from toxic ones by a series of progressive exposures to skin and mouth prior to ingestion, with waiting periods and checks for symptoms. However, many experts including Ray Mears and John Kallas[19] reject this method, stating that even a small amount of some "potential foods" can cause physical discomfort, illness, or death.

The LifeStraw filter meets EPA standards and has been shown to remove more than 99.9% of waterborne parasites and bacteria. Humanitarian relief workers in all corners of the globe use the LifeStraw to help bring safe water to threatened communities and refugee camps. The “straw” itself weighs a scant 0.1 pounds and measures 9” in length and 1” in diameter. Few things are worse than being lost and being besieged by waterborne illness. Bring this essential piece of survival gear with you whenever you venture into the wild and make sure water problems are not on the menu.
No one thinks they’re going to be trapped by whiteout conditions or separated from their group as night falls but it happens with alarming regularity. Don’t make things worse by being unprepared. These advanced Mylar emergency blankets cost less than 4 bucks each and weigh virtually nothing and yet can and do save lives. They’re waterproof, tear-resistant survival gear that comes in a pack of 5. As such there’s no excuse for not having them tucked away in your backpack or daypack when you set out. The very definition of essential survival gear for outdoorsmen of all stripes.
What happens when a disaster hits while you are on the road? Survival Supply has you covered in this area, as well. For preparing your any type of auto disaster, from a breakdown to a whiteout, go with a thorough roadside kit from our store. Each of our auto emergency kits has just the right supplies for handling standard car problems, increasing your visibility in the dark, and signaling for help.
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