Most everyone loves fire. Fire is essential in a wilderness survival situation for a few reasons. One, it provides warmth which keeps body temperature up. Two, it provides heat used to purify water. It also provides light, heat to cook food, and serves as a center to draw people in. Earth based wisdom teaches us that fire is a spirit unto itself, and encourages us to have a good relationship with fire. I know that despite my passion for it, I didn't truly appreciate fire until it took me four days to get it with a fully primitive bow and drill fire making kit on my first wilderness survival solo.
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.

I have what may be a silly question, but here goes anyway. The one thing I rarely, if ever see is mention of a watch. I’d dearly love to have my old wind-ups back, but all I can find are outrageously expensive Solar Watches, so- called Automatics, and old but pricey wind-ups. Has anyone else given thought to this item…or did we decide it wasn’t a necessity? Next question is how does one deal with the fairly large number of items that need button type batteries? Is there a way to recharge them? I was thinking of the Petzl mini-headlamp because we both have it, but there are other things as well. I’ve tried to keep those type of battery needs low, but there’s no escaping the need for at least a few. Any suggestions and thoughts on this? Has anyone come up with brilliant solutions for these things? Would truly like to hear from everyone who’s come up with brilliant fixes.
All of our hunter–gatherer ancestors had classification systems for living organisms, knew their names, understood their uses, recognized how they inter-related to each other, and were aware of exactly how to utilize those resources in a sustainable fashion. This knowledge was at the foundation of their ability to thrive within the natural environment.
That’s true, we do. It’s clear that we can’t carry everything to survive for a year or more on our backs and we count on our stash at point B. If it’s not there, we do the best we can, go to a FEMA camp or die. What are our alternatives? I think that most people will go to point B if they see the problem before it arrives (hurricane) but a surprise nuclear attack on Houston (in my case) would necessitate a quick exit along with everyone else still alive. As to ‘bring it’, I certainly would if a. I had an operational vehicle and b. the roads were clear enough to get around minor obstacles – I don’t and won’t have a two ton or half track at my disposal. If not of if my vehicle becomes untenable along the way, I’ll put on my boots and my BOB and do the best I can. As you say, there are many scenarios.
I know this is an old post, but I was wondering about some advice for a bug out firearm. I am new to shooting, and purchased a sig 229 9mm because if felt good to me- but it’s heavy and kind of bulky. I have modified my pack to allow a handgun to be concealed in the hollow of my back where that nice airflow webbing is in the suspension system. It’s a comfortable spot to carry, and easily reachable, but my sig is a little big, so I was curious about your thoughts on a good weapon choice for concealability, reliability, and stopping power. Keep in mind I’m a lady with smallish hands and even my 9 mm slaps me around a little. I am no gun snob, but I will pay for what works. Thanks in advance for your consideration, and for all the effort you’ve put into sharing your knowledge! I especially like that you are combining ultralight hiking theory with bugging out- exactly where I’ve been heading myself!
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.

Tenacious Tape is not the kind of survival gear you won’t use every time out but when that rogue branch falls on your camping tent and rips your fly you’ll be thanking your lucky stars you have it in your bag. It can prevent a difficult situation from turning into a life threatening one. Tenacious Tape is completely weatherproof and won’t ever wash out. It doesn’t leave any tacky residue and is also machine washable. It’s the kind of quiet innovation that elevates the outdoor experience for everyone without making a lot of noise and is essential survival gear for any outdoor aficionado. Available in 3” or 20” rolls and a variety of colors.

Sorry to those who don’t know what I am describing. It is similar to a swedish log candle. But you would drill from the top down half way. And a hole through the side to meet the hole through the top. You would then put your kindling in the top and use the side hole to light the kindling (it would also serve as a means of oxygen intake) the stove then becomes self sustaining when lit.


For someone new to being a Survivalist building your first Bug Out Bag can seem like a big task. Everybody you read about has been tweaking theirs for months or even years and has a pile of gear built up. It’s hard to know where to start, but if you cover all of the basics in a survival situation you will still be much better off that 99% of the people.
Nice list. Its uncanny that I myself have most of the same exact gear. Even so I would like to give all my gear a cold weather weigh in as I live up north. I have warm and cold weather kits and the cold weather kits get heavy quick since the sleep systems are so darn heavy. Havent done a weigh in for a while, made me think. I cant carry what I used too a decade ago.
I have a 5500 version of that bag. I’m 6’0″ 185 and in pretty fair shape. I’m doing everything I can to get weight down on mine. Full at relatively loose packing density the 7000 is gonna be heavy. Without knowing how strong and aerobic you are it’s impossible to say if it’s too much, but I can say it’ll definitely slow you down pretty good. I think that 7000 is more of an INCH size bag. IMHO a BOB should be built for speed and essentials, so you can get where you’re going and regroup. My INCH is a shade under 60, and decreasing, but my BOB is 35 or less, with 2qts of water included. What really helped me was leaving out seasonal clothes and just keeping a beanie hat, neck gaiter, mechanix gloves, windbreaker, and extra socks. It’s there if I need it, but not in the bag.
Not all automobile needs and breakdown situations are the same, and Survival Supply keeps this in mind. To cover all possible instances, we offer AAA-approved, DOT, and winter roadside emergency kits; survival tools for opening a car door or breaking through a window; separate safety items, such as fire extinguishers and triangles; and additional road safety supplies for first aid and emergency preparedness.

GPS is great but what happens when your battery dies, and you don’t have a portable battery handy? The compass is the one piece of survival gear that will never let you down. Sure, it can’t tell you if there’s a town nearby but it can prevent you from wandering aimlessly in circles. The Eyesky compass is designed specifically to help extricate you from emergency situations. It features conversion charts to measure distances, a rotating bezel ring to determine your heading and adjustable sight lines to plot your course. It’s also built to last. It will take you all of an afternoon to learn how to use the Eyesky compass and it may turn out to be the most valuable afternoon you ever spent.
Electronics are a definite combat multiplier and make things much simpler and more accurate, which is why we used pluggers instead of looking up map coordinates to call in and a GPS during surveillance (except in the schoolhouse). Still have to be able to function without them but having a cell phone for emergency contact and to hold survival pdf’s can be a HUGE lifesaver – if it works.
Don’t forget spices and nutritional supplements. Yes, you can plan a well-balanced diet with prepared foods, but not everyone has the same taste. Spices and herbs allow you to change up the flavor of the same basic ingredients for variety and interest. Vitamins and supplements are an important addition to your emergency supply stash. Choose nutrition bars, protein powder, or multivitamin capsules that support nutrition and boost natural immunity.
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.
SOG made their shovel practical survival gear by cutting back its length to a manageable 18 ¼” and its weight to an equally manageable 24 ½ ounces. It folds up to a mere 1 foot long and can be easily strapped to the exterior of any decent sized backpack. The SOG shovel also boasts a row of thick rugged teeth along the side for hacking and cutting underbrush or harvesting wood for your fire. The blade can also be rotated and used as a pick or a hoe to do more precise clearing. All in all this is a piece of survival gear you won’t want to do without.

According to the Bug Out Bag Academy, the origins of bug out bags can be traced to the bags that many aviators in the military put together before missions. These were first referred to as ‘bail-out bags’ and they held items that would be critical for survival if a plane was shot down or experienced critical engine failure. Many WWII aviators actually carried gold or silver bullions in their bug out bags, as these were (and still largely are) considered the ‘universal currency’.

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. ♡
All of our hunter–gatherer ancestors had classification systems for living organisms, knew their names, understood their uses, recognized how they inter-related to each other, and were aware of exactly how to utilize those resources in a sustainable fashion. This knowledge was at the foundation of their ability to thrive within the natural environment.
This tactical flashlight fits neatly into the palm of your hand so there’s no excuse for not making it part of your survival gear. It produces 300 lumens of intense, focused light, has 3 operational modes – high, low and strobe (particularly handy in emergencies) – and is tough as nails so you don’t have to worry about damaging it. It’s the kind of rugged, dependable companion you want with you if you’re lost or injured and it will greatly increase your chances of enjoying a successful resolution to your situation.
At Cabela's, there¿s no such thing as being too careful. Cabela's offers a variety of safety and survival gear to ensure that you're prepared at all times. Shop survival tools and kits, water purifiers, camping and backpacking food, fire starters and lighters, maps, compasses, first aid kits, emergency blankets, hand and foot warmers, bear sprays, mace, pepper spray, bug repellent, sun protection products, emergency radios and emergency food. Shop brands that know survival such as Cabela's, Adventure Medical, TacMed, Coghlan's, Mountain House and more at Cabela's.
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