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.
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.
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.
No, it’s not going to last very long on the South Col of Everest but if you’ve become lost or separated with your hunting knife or camping expedition this incredibly light and convenient emergency tent is crucial survival gear that can provide enough shelter to get you through the night and then some. It can be fully deployed in just minutes and is capable of retaining up to 90% of your body heat while providing an effective windbreak and precipitation shield. At 8’ x 5’ it can also easily accommodate 2 adults. Cheap, effective, practical survival kit for all types of outdoor adventurers.
Another concern when you’re lost in the wild is where to procure potable water. Sometimes there will be bubbling streams of crystal clear water rolling down wooded hillsides to fill your water bottle and sometimes you’ll have little more than a stagnant pool standing between you and dehydration. The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is survival gear that can turn that stagnant pool into a lifesaver.
The Trangia Alcohol Stove is a great addition to it because the Solo Stove makes it more efficient. The nice thing about the Trangia is that it has a screw-on lid so you can put the flame out and carry it with fuel in it so you don’t have to guess exactly how much fuel you’ll need each time. It burns alchohol so I carry 8 ounces of yellow HEET (which is methanol), carried in one of those cheap squirt bottles you find in the travel size section at the grocery store. Don’t get the red HEET (isopropyl), it’s not nearly as good. There are many fuels you can use with it though. Of note is Everclear, which can be used inside without worrying too much about the fumes, and you can drink it *shudder*.
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.
If you ever find yourself without a GPS tool (or a simple map and compass) you can still use the sky to find your way. The most obvious method to get a general bearing by day is to look at the sun, which rises approximately in the east and sets approximately in the west anywhere in the world. But you can also use an analog watch to find the north-south line. Just hold the watch horizontally and point the hour hand at the sun. Imagine a line running exactly midway between the hour hand and 12 o’clock. This is the north-south line. On daylight savings? Draw the line between the hour hand and one o’clock.
A typical person will lose minimally two to maximally four liters of water per day under ordinary conditions, and more in hot, dry, or cold weather. Four to six liters of water or other liquids are generally required each day in the wilderness to avoid dehydration and to keep the body functioning properly.[5] The U.S. Army survival manual does not recommend drinking water only when thirsty, as this leads to underhydrating. Instead, water should be drunk at regular intervals.[6][7] Other groups recommend rationing water through "water discipline".[8]
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.

Focusing on survival until rescued by presumed searchers, the Boy Scouts of America, or BSA, especially discourages foraging for wild foods on the grounds that the knowledge and skills needed are unlikely to be possessed by those finding themselves in a wilderness survival situation, making the risks (including use of energy) outweigh the benefits.[13]


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.
Remember that this pack should be prepared and stored somewhere easily accessible and rodent proof. It is also a good idea to review the contents of your pack every 6 months to ensure you have appropriate clothes packed for the season and that your gear and rations are in order. This will help you feel confident that your Bug Out Bag is ready to go at a moment’s notice!
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.
The centerpiece of my food prep is a Solo Stove Wood burning Backpacking Stove in addition to a Trangia Alcohol Stove. The Solo Stove will burn sticks, Esbit fuel tablets (providing you lay them on a piece of aluminum foil or metal so they don’t fall through the grate), pine needles, pine cones, and lots of other things. It would be very difficult to run out of fuel with it. Here’s a good video on the combination:
One thing about Eberlestock packs is that they are built with high quality and they are tough. The packs are expensive but you won’t need to buy another pack again. Made with top-notch materials in the United States. Users have given it fantastic reviews and we agree, this is a high quality pack that can be used to carry a small load or a huge load. The pack is very versatile which makes it an attractive choice for a 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.
My go-to water filter system right now is the Sawyer Mini. It filters a LOT more water than pretty much everything out there, but to do that, you need to use the plunger it comes with. It can also be adapted to run inline with a Camelbak and it comes with a roll-up water bottle. I keep one Sawyer Mini in one of the front belt pouches and one in the Survival-Tools bag along with a plunger and a roll-up bottle.
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.
The mind and its processes are critical to survival. The will to live in a life-and-death situation often separates those that live and those that do not. Stories of heroic feats of survival by regular people with little or no training but a strong will to live are not uncommon. Among them is Juliane Koepcke, who was the sole survivor among the 93 passengers when her plane crashed in the jungle of Peru. Situations can be stressful to the level that even trained experts may be mentally affected. One should be mentally and physically tough during a disaster.
Thank you for sharing your experience, I like the GORP i used to make mine and would eat it for snacking. I don’t know if it would last very long, but that would be a little discipline. I would like to suggest looking at Spider line instead of the 40 pound fishing line. It’s stronger and doesn’t stretch like regular fishing line. I also for electrolytes I have the nuun brand. This works for me especially when I get cramps from hiking: which I do and I’ve about everything and these work for me.
It’s an impressive lineup – did we mention the 2 person tents? – that, like many of its competing bug out bags, is light on food. Although there’s plenty of room in the heavy duty nylon backpack for all the food you’ll need to survive several days in the wild. The company advertises their bag as being ‘discreet’, which is their way of saying others won’t recognize that it’s full of high quality survival gear and try to steal it from you. That may very well be but if Hurricane Harvey is bearing down on your location you have bigger things to worry about. The 2 person tent we mentioned is minimalist in nature but will provide welcome shelter if you can find a dry place to set it up and the waterproof backpack cover that comes with the bug out kit is a major plus this bug out bag has over some of the competition. The Stealth Tactical bug out bag costs a little more but it’s ready for whatever comes.
I have to agree with Steve: I have a bug out bag ready in case the SHTF. That doesn’t mean that there’s going to be a lot of “safe places” to run to. If we get together with like minded people, we can make a long term plan. The only reason for a “three day bag” is if “they” are coming for you specifically and you can go to another sane location. I personally have packed a .22 revolver and 200 rds., carry a .38 Special and pack 100 rds., and shoulder a Saiga .223 carbine with 200 rds. of “penetrators”, FMJ, and some soft point if I need to take a little larger animal. And, another thing, if you pack “pills” in a baggie and happen to get stopped along the way, you can bet on a trip to the station!
It is easy to improvise most things on this list but some can’t be improvised so easy on the go, thing is if you are bugging out to a safe area you can possibly keep things minimalist, and if you are lucky enough to legally obtain firearms then a reliable compact pistol such as a Walther P22 or Springfield XD 40 can be teamed up with either take down .22lr rifle (AR7-1022tdr) or .40S&W carbine so you can have close in capabilities and also reach beyond the typical shotgun toting highway raider.
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.
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.

If you’re ordeal is an extended one you can lash the Ultimate Pro Knife to a small branch to create a spear for catching fish or small mammals. The pommel at the butt end can be used to hammer tent stakes and that little thing hanging from the lanyard cord is a powerful emergency whistle that can take over emergency signaling duties from the tactical flashlight or your long range walkie talkies when the sun comes up. A top-notch knife like this is essential survival gear.

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.
Wow! This is fantastic! I started out blindly trying to put together an emergency “bug out” bag and I found this well written breakdown extremely helpful. So much so that I’ve actually purchased many of the recommended items. A somewhat costly endeavor considering that I made two identical bags, one for my wifes vehicle and one for mine. We live in a earthquake prone region and the talk of the “big one” is always in terms of “when” rather than “if”. It gives me considerable peace of mind to know that no matter where my family is we have the means to survive as long as we can get to our car.

Ideally, when traveling in the wilderness, it is best to carry multiple fire-starting tools, such as a lighter, matches, flint and steel, etc… Even with these implements starting a fire can be challenging in inclement weather. We highly recommend practicing fire starting in different weather conditions within different habitats. Good fire-making skills are invaluable. If you were to find yourself in a situation without a modern fire-making implement, fire by friction is the most effective primitive technique. Popular friction fire-making methods include bow drill, hand drill, fire plow, and fire saw.
The centerpiece of my food prep is a Solo Stove Wood burning Backpacking Stove in addition to a Trangia Alcohol Stove. The Solo Stove will burn sticks, Esbit fuel tablets (providing you lay them on a piece of aluminum foil or metal so they don’t fall through the grate), pine needles, pine cones, and lots of other things. It would be very difficult to run out of fuel with it. Here’s a good video on the combination:
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.

Instead of charging things directly, I charge them indirectly using an 13000mAh Anker USB battery. This means that I can charge something at night if I want to and if I’m charging something like my iPhone, it won’t stop charging when  cloud comes along (iPhones don’t like to kick back onto charge mode when that happens so it’s really not feasible without a battery with your solar panel).


Great read & outstanding list of items. Extremely helpful & very much appreciated. While I’ve found over the decades that there are usually several ways to accomplish most things, focusing on the core items/goal while adapting to the situations & environment an individual(s) find themselves in is crucial. You can have everything known to man & still have limited skills/experience leaving you vulnerable. You can have all the skills but arrogance & overconfidence can do you in. Applicable intelligence, balance in actions/approach to problem solving on the fly & practice with skills/preps can make the difference in most cases. So one has a 35 year supply of beans and rice, great to have no doubt, but who wouldn’t trade some of it for a coke and some M&Ms for normalcy occasionally? That may be just enough encouragement to get the companions/family through to safety. Again, it’s all a wag for the most part…do what preps you can, develop usable skills…plan, persevere & prevail. Fantastic prep checklist & ideas…thanks! Proverbs 27-17…As iron sharpens iron, so on man sharpens another!

One thing that the article doesn’t reference is “How many people will there be in your Bug Out party?” The point being, that although there are some items that need to be in everyones B.O.B, there are others that don’t require duplication. Figuring out which items can be used by all the members of your party can reduce duplicating these items in each bag. For example, does everyone in your party need to carry a 1 quart backpacking pot, or will 1 or 2 suffice for your whole group? Those types of items can then be parceled out to the members of the group, and cut the weight down.
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.
First off good write up! Secondly for those that live in places with woody (haha) surroundings, a hand drill with a somewhat lengthy , thick drill bit (roughly 3/4 inch-ish) would would most certainly come in handy. It will also take place and save some room vs the stove. Cosidering if you already have a means to cut wood you could also make a stove out of a small log. Its an easy to contain/maintain and less conspicuous way of boiling water or heating food. It is aslo very easy to extinguish if the need arises.
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.
As a wilderness survival guide, I often am called upon to differentiate wilderness survival from primitive living. Often times these two are lumped together as one, but in fact they are distinct. Wilderness survival refers to the actual experience of survival in the wilderness, which may or may not be a "primitive" experience depending on the gear you have access to. Wilderness survival is usually a short term experience. Primitive Living is usually a long term experience, and refers to the experience of living in a primitive setting, practicing primitive skills for an extended period of time.
One thing about Eberlestock packs is that they are built with high quality and they are tough. The packs are expensive but you won’t need to buy another pack again. Made with top-notch materials in the United States. Users have given it fantastic reviews and we agree, this is a high quality pack that can be used to carry a small load or a huge load. The pack is very versatile which makes it an attractive choice for a bug out bag.
Many classic cowboy movies, classic survival books and even some school textbooks suggest that sucking the venom out of a snake bite by mouth is an appropriate treatment and/or also for the bitten person to drink their urine after the poisonous animal bite or poisonous insect bite as a mean for the body to provide natural anti-venom. However, venom can not be sucked out and it may be dangerous for a rescuer to attempt to do so. Modern snakebite treatment involves pressure bandages and prompt medical treatment.[20]

I noticed that a reliable light weight firearm was on the list. While many may think it uselss, a good high powered barrel break pellet rifle can do almost as much as a 22 rifle. A hundred dollars will get you one at Walmart that you can switch from .177 caliber to 22 caliber. The rifle breaks down and is easily carried inside of a decent back pack. The weight of the ammo is significantly lighter as well. This can be used to take down most birds, squirls, rabbits, small pigs and even foxes as well as racoons, armadillo’s. And snakes. All sources of protein.

Napoleon was fond of saying that an army moves on its stomach. Well that’s also true for hunters, mountain climbers, backpackers and campers as well. If you find yourself in an emergency situation proper sustenance is even more crucial. The MalloMe 10-piece mess kit is survival gear that allows you to prepare the kind of meals you need to stay in the game. Everything is here from a 1 liter non-stick pot with cover to 2 bowls, stainless steel spork, wooden spatula, drawstring nylon carrying sack and more. Don’t let events get the best of you. Stay well-fed with the MalloMe survival gear mess kit.


The Trangia Alcohol Stove is a great addition to it because the Solo Stove makes it more efficient. The nice thing about the Trangia is that it has a screw-on lid so you can put the flame out and carry it with fuel in it so you don’t have to guess exactly how much fuel you’ll need each time. It burns alchohol so I carry 8 ounces of yellow HEET (which is methanol), carried in one of those cheap squirt bottles you find in the travel size section at the grocery store. Don’t get the red HEET (isopropyl), it’s not nearly as good. There are many fuels you can use with it though. Of note is Everclear, which can be used inside without worrying too much about the fumes, and you can drink it *shudder*.
Now, one of the ways to preserve food for the long term is to start canning it. The only problem is, you need to follow every canning recipe TO THE LETTER, unless you want to compromise your cans and get everyone sick with botulism. This is why having a reference canning book. Canning and Preserving for Beginners: The Essential Canning Recipes and Canning Supplies Guide is one of the best ones you could have on your phone, tablet or laptop.
When faced with unexpected emergencies like a fire, flood, or survival situation, being prepared with the right emergency gear not only ensures you’ll survive, it also means you can do so comfortably. Having the right emergency gear means the difference between having shelter, water, food, first-aid, and warmth during tough times and having nothing to rely on. Our selection of supplies are also the perfect choice for outdoor enthusiasts.
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