You might be surprised to see food so low on the basic survival skills priorities list, though we can survive for much longer without it as compared with shelter and water. Remember "The Rule of Threes": humans can survive without food for roughly 3 weeks (though I'm sure you would not want to go that long without food!). Thankfully, most natural environments are filled with a variety of items that can meet our nutritional needs. Wild plants often provide the most readily available foods, though insects and small wild game can also support our dietary needs in a survival situation.
Great information, I was getting ready to buy a 5.11 Rush tactical bag, but you made a great argument against, will look at the Osprey instead, plus this will allow me to use my gear during normal conditions without looking like I’m going on a tactical outing. Also added a bunch of stuff to my wish list from your list of items. Thanks for your article, it was very helpful.
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.
The 5-in-1 paracord bracelet slips on with ease and stays fashionably in the background until or unless the situation on the ground takes a turn for the worse. That’s when they spring into action. Should you need to get a fire going in a hurry there’s the fire starter kit comprised of flint and scraper. While you’re warming up by the fire take the lay of the land with the mini compass. There’s also what must be the world’s most compact emergency knife and should you need it a powerful emergency whistle that will project up to 100 decibels of life saving sound. Essential survival gear especially if you have the kids with you.
The Sundome opens to a full 7 x 5 feet and will comfortably fit 2 adults. It’s light, has a polyethylene base that keeps ground moisture out and a 75 denier fly to protect you from rain and snow. The Sundome is survival gear that goes up in a hurry for those times when there’s no time to waste. It can easily be assembled by one person even when the wind has kicked up. That’s because it utilizes only 2 instead of the normal 3 or 4 tent poles. You’ll never be victimized by the elements as long as you’re toting the portable and affordable Coleman Sundome with you.

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.

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.
A properly packed backpack is requisite to your comfort and safety. Incorrect weight distribution leads to muscle aches and unnecessary strain on your spine. Place heavy items – water, food, and cooking gear – in the middle of your pack, close to your body. Use medium weight items – clothing, tarps, and rain gear – to cushion the heavier items, securing them, so the weight does not shift while you are hiking. Pack your sleeping bag in the bottom of your backpack or tie to the bottom. Store items that you are likely to need more frequently in the side and outer pockets – compass and map, sunglasses, toilet tissue and trowel, sunscreen, bug repellent, pocketknife, flashlight, snacks, and a small towel.
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.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking this one through. Don’t give me that crap about having electronics being a stupid idea because I hear THAT stupid idea from someone every time the topic is brought up. The fact is that 99.9999999% of anything you’d ever use your bug out bag for will allow you to use your electronics so not reaping the benefit of what this stuff can do for you is just plain stupid. If somehow an EMP/CME does wipe out EVERYTHING I have, then I just drop the bag – simple solution. In the meantime, I carry this stuff.
Many mainstream survival experts have recommended the act of drinking urine in times of dehydration and malnutrition.[citation needed] However, the United States Air Force Survival Manual (AF 64-4) instructs that this technique is a myth and should never be applied.[citation needed] Several reasons for not drinking urine include the high salt content of urine, potential contaminants, and sometimes bacteria growth, despite urine's being generally "sterile".

Rain, snow, and dew are reliable sources of clean water you can collect with surprising ease, and they don’t need to be purified. With a couple of bandanas, Stewart has collected two gallons of water in an hour by soaking up dew and ringing out the bandanas. You can also squeeze water from vines, thistles, and certain cacti. Are there any maple trees around? Cut a hole in the bark and let the watery syrup flow—nature’s energy drink.
On average, we humans can go about three weeks without food, so this tends to be last on the wilderness survival priority list in most situations. As a wilderness survival guide, I encourage my students to connect with their hunter-gatherer ancestors. The reality is that the majority of our time on Earth, we humans have lived as hunter-gatherers. It is deep in our DNA.
My biggest problem is weight. I have two small children so for each vehicle bag I pack as if it is for four people, two kids and two adults. The reality is that it woukd most likely end up being either one adult with two kids or one adult on his/her own. With the children being only 2 & 4 they cannot be expected to carry much. I’d estimate that right now the packs are at 60lbs including food & water. My wife and I are fit and strong so it seems reasonable when wearing them in our living room but in a real situation with two kids in tow I think it’s too heavy. I just can’t figure out where to cut weight. Every time I want to remove something I imagine my wife and kids without it and can’t bring myselr to do it. It’s a real dilemma for me.

I’m not sure if it has been stated, but thank you for your service! I am so happy I happened upon your page! I immediately was impressed by all the information you have on here. It is almost like sitting across from you having coffee and you are giving us your best info, and I truly appreciate it, I don’t feel so out there in the dark! I will continue to explore your site to glean. Thank you again, and I mean it this time!
First you'll need to find water. Water flows downhill, encourages vegetation, and collects in natural caches, be they ponds, lakes, rivers, springs, rock depressions, or even leaves. Unfortunately, most fresh water sources are not pure enough to drink from (as they used to be), so you'll need to know how to purify water under most situations. Use any of these methods to collect clean, purified water:
Untold numbers of people wind up suffering frostbite, shock or hypothermia every year because they didn’t have adequate survival gear when the weather on their wilderness adventure took a rapid turn for the worse. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The Titan 2-sided Mylar Survival Blanket is light as a feather and yet capable of retaining up to 90% of your body heat.
Hi there! I have a suggestion for you that I recently read and thought was one of the most brilliant things for a bug out bag. I also live in the desert and where I live is incredibly windy. I’m talking 80 to 100+ mph winds. You mentioned candles in your list, but I would also consider adding those trick birthday candles that re light when you blow them out. They won’t last that long since they are birthday candles, but they will certainly help build a fire on the off chance you’re having treacherous winds like me. Thanks for the list.
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!
You sir are an inspiration. My EDC is decent and moving on to build my BOB. Your list is comprehensive and explained very well. To those wanting GW to build their bag… move on. You need to do the work yourself because he isn’t going to be there to hold your hand when SHTF! Plus, I find a lot of my “additions” at thrift stores/garage sales. “Oh, I can add this to my bag!” always is in the back of my mind. Prepping doesn’t happen overnight… it’s a mind set.
We are going to Need Long Term Gear because we will be at WAR. A Civil war, as a matter of fact. This is not going to be like Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, etc., etc. So, when it comes to the ESSENTIALS, there shouldn’t even be a Thought of “Games”, “Bipods”, “Frisbees”, or any such ‘stuff’ should not be a consideration. Simply put, unless you plan on joining up with a Group where there are enough people so that you can afford to actually have time to “Play” -when you [will] NEED time to eat, clean yourself, and then sleep: not to mention those Unknown Factors, such as Wood gathering, Repairs to equipment (Tents, Clothes, Weapons, Boots, Etc.), Catching/Cleaning/Cooking food (Then the clean up of it all) we are not going to have the Luxury of all this ‘stuff’. Seriously!

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking this one through. Don’t give me that crap about having electronics being a stupid idea because I hear THAT stupid idea from someone every time the topic is brought up. The fact is that 99.9999999% of anything you’d ever use your bug out bag for will allow you to use your electronics so not reaping the benefit of what this stuff can do for you is just plain stupid. If somehow an EMP/CME does wipe out EVERYTHING I have, then I just drop the bag – simple solution. In the meantime, I carry this stuff.
I was a fisherman after I decided to not be a pilot and when you are out on the boat things can get messy. I have ran out of water on the boat, I was left with no other option but to drink my own urine. My crew called me pissy, not because I liked to drink alcohol (which i do I’m a self confessed alcoholic) but because I often drank my own piss when I ran out of water. Oh well, it hasn’t killed me yet.
A Bug Out Bag, also called a BOB, I.N.C.H Bag (I’m Never Coming Home Bag),Get Out of Dodge Bag (GOOD Bag), or 72 Hour Bag is usually designed to get you out of an emergency situation and allow you to survive self-contained for up to 3 days. A lot of people plan their Bug Out Bag to sustain them for much longer than that, but there is always a limit to what you can carry on your back and a 3 day target is a good place to start.
I know this is an old post but Injust found it. I’m just starting this journey and found this site. Thanks for the info and I also live in Phoenix. But plan on relocating soon to a more rural area soon. Thanks, looking to learn all I can before I start collecting gear. Figure fill the space between my ears first then the storage rooms.Any recommendations on training in the Local area I’ve seen a few schools out and about but most seem to be geared towards the Johnny Rambo wannabes. Doesn’t quite fit in with the grey man. Oh well to each there own I guess.
To hold all my clothes, I currently have a large Sandpiper of California Top Stuff sack. It’s big enough that I can throw a couple other bags in it if I had to go through a river and will hold out water for a short time but it’s not technically waterproof. I’ll be replacing it at some point with a compression dry sack like I use with my sleeping bag. This bag is a fairly heavy addition but I figure it’s worth it to make sure I can keep things dry.
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
Survival skills are techniques that a person may use in order to sustain life in any type of natural environment or built environment. These techniques are meant to provide basic necessities for human life which include water, food, and shelter. The skills also support proper knowledge and interactions with animals and plants to promote the sustaining of life over a period of time. Survival skills are often associated with the need to survive in a disaster situation.[1] Survival skills are often basic ideas and abilities that ancients invented and used themselves for thousands of years.[2] Outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, fishing, and hunting all require basic wilderness survival skills, especially in handling emergency situations. Bushcraft and primitive living are most often self-implemented, but require many of the same skills.

One of the most important things to have in a survival kit is a fixed-blade knife. I used to carry a SOG Seal Elite, and I even carried it in Iraq and Afghanistan, but for a bug out bag here at home, I wanted to see if I could cut down the weight and still have a very effective knife. After a LOT of research, I pretty much came back to the same thing but got the SOG Seal Pup instead.
On average, we humans can go about three weeks without food, so this tends to be last on the wilderness survival priority list in most situations. As a wilderness survival guide, I encourage my students to connect with their hunter-gatherer ancestors. The reality is that the majority of our time on Earth, we humans have lived as hunter-gatherers. It is deep in our DNA.
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.
Keep in mind this is my personal bug out bag list. I say it’s the ultimate bag because it’s better than anything I can come up with for my circumstances, that takes into consideration my budget, my skills (and lack thereof in some cases), my geographic area, my 25-pound dry weight limit I imposed, and what my most likely scenarios for using it are. There is no perfect or ultimate bug out bag that will work for everyone. Also, some of this stuff I chose because I already had it and some of it I paid more than most people are willing to spend.

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.
It’s bad enough being injured or lost in the wild but things really get bad when the weather closes in and you can’t get a fire started to stay warm and prepare food and hot drinks. That’s where Ultimate Survival Technologies’ Wetfire Tinder comes in. Developed specifically to help you get a fire going in the pouring rain if necessary it’s without a doubt essential survival gear.

First you'll need to find water. Water flows downhill, encourages vegetation, and collects in natural caches, be they ponds, lakes, rivers, springs, rock depressions, or even leaves. Unfortunately, most fresh water sources are not pure enough to drink from (as they used to be), so you'll need to know how to purify water under most situations. Use any of these methods to collect clean, purified water:
A properly packed backpack is requisite to your comfort and safety. Incorrect weight distribution leads to muscle aches and unnecessary strain on your spine. Place heavy items – water, food, and cooking gear – in the middle of your pack, close to your body. Use medium weight items – clothing, tarps, and rain gear – to cushion the heavier items, securing them, so the weight does not shift while you are hiking. Pack your sleeping bag in the bottom of your backpack or tie to the bottom. Store items that you are likely to need more frequently in the side and outer pockets – compass and map, sunglasses, toilet tissue and trowel, sunscreen, bug repellent, pocketknife, flashlight, snacks, and a small towel.
We are going to Need Long Term Gear because we will be at WAR. A Civil war, as a matter of fact. This is not going to be like Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, etc., etc. So, when it comes to the ESSENTIALS, there shouldn’t even be a Thought of “Games”, “Bipods”, “Frisbees”, or any such ‘stuff’ should not be a consideration. Simply put, unless you plan on joining up with a Group where there are enough people so that you can afford to actually have time to “Play” -when you [will] NEED time to eat, clean yourself, and then sleep: not to mention those Unknown Factors, such as Wood gathering, Repairs to equipment (Tents, Clothes, Weapons, Boots, Etc.), Catching/Cleaning/Cooking food (Then the clean up of it all) we are not going to have the Luxury of all this ‘stuff’. Seriously!
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.
Because cutting medium-sized logs is a LOT of work with a hatchet and even more work with a knife and stick, I got a basic replacement chain saw, cut it so it was one length instead of a loop, and put a couple of strong key rings on the ends. I can use it for a very effective hand saw by either sticking a short branch in each end to make handles or tying a length of the 750 cord on each end. If you then tie some fishing line and some kind of weight, you could throw it up and over a branch up in a tree and cut it down without having to climb up. I keep the chain rolled up in a small Altoids-type of tin.
Although most people have enough room to designate a corner of the pantry or an area in the basement for their emergency supplies, there are other options. Assemble or buy a 72-hour survival kit for each member of the family and each pet. Store these items where each family member can grab his or her own in an emergency. Conveniently place these kits in a bedroom closet, on a shelf in the mudroom, or in the trunk of the car. Make sure everyone knows where you have stored the kits, and designate someone to grab kits for pets and young children.
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