I have one of the REAL emergency blankets folded into an inner back pocket of the backpack. It’s orange on one side and silver on the other. It can be used as a tarp above (with a reflective cover that puts heat back to you if you need it or away if you don’t) or as a pad below to keep you insulated from the ground. Because it’s orange, you can use it to signal. I originally carried a VS-17 signal panel but it was way not big enough to be used for much other than signaling. I do have a couple of the cheap emergency blankets but those are crap. They’re ok for reflecting heat from the ceiling of a tent or behind you with a fire but don’t think you’re actually going to use them as a blanket for any extended time.
When I was at the Prepper Expo here in Phoenix recently, I picked up a great little Lumitask USB light that’s SUPER bright for how tiny it is. I can plug that into the AA charger or the USB battery and it’s so small it’s pretty much zero weight and zero space (about the size/weight of a paper clip. Unfortunately they’re apparently not for sale yet and the company hasn’t answered my emails asking about them. If you’re reading this Lumitask – Holla!
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 can’t thank you enough for this post. I found the link on another site & was just checking. I didn’t know I’d find a gem of a site. Thank you for being soooooo thorough in what you shared. It’s been a great help finding exactly the item to which you were referring. I have a lot of the things in our “Go Bag”, but am now readjusting as you suggested. Thank you again. This post is one of the best I’ve found in almost 10 years of searching. Please do NOT post my email address. Thank you.
I also have a Petzl E+LITE Ultra-compact emergency headlamp that comes with a little plastic case. I keep a spare battery inside with it since I can’t recharge that size. Sometimes it’s just a lot easier to do stuff with a headlamp so you can keep both hands free. I’m still debating on whether I want to drop this from my kit or my secondary flashlight since I really don’t need both. I hate sucking on a flashlight while I try to get things done though.
Seems like there are two different types of survival people talk about. One is emergency wilderness type of survival and one is surviving and living without modern conveniences like learning how to make medicine on your own. I got hooked on the first type of survival but realized there’s a whole world of people dedicated to the long-term survival too and I’m really starting to get into that now. Really fun.
Great information. But, please don’t tell people that pepper spray will drop someone in seconds. I was a chemical agent instructor for a medium size police department. I’ve been sprayed by a lot of stuff. Not all of it works on every person. I’ve seen people just sit there and look at you when they were hit full in the face with very good, very reliable chemical agents. We only taught that it was a distraction technique. Use the chemical agent to distract the person so you can hit them next, take them down, flee, whatever your plan is. But, it is only a distraction technique.

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.
“It’s your number one, go-to rescue knot,” Stewart, who uses a mnemonic for every knot, says. It’s foolproof for fastening rope to an object via a loop, particularly when the rope will be loaded with weight: the harder you pull, the tighter the knot gets. Stewart’s mnemonic for tying the bowline from any angle is “the rabbit comes out of the hole, around the tree, and back in the hole.” Use this mnemonic, says Stewart, and “it doesn’t matter if you tie it spinning on your head. It’s going to come out right.”
Many people who are forced into survival situations often get into serious trouble because of direct exposure to the elements. Most people in survival situations die of hypothermia, which can be easily avoided with basic survival skills. Being able to build a shelter is of paramount importance in a survival situation. It is extremely important to prevent or minimize heat loss, or if in a desert environment, to minimize water loss. Here are some things to think about when planning to build a shelter:
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.
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!

What does a standard first aid kit give you? Although kits vary by size from individual to family, all cover the following supplies: instruments for addressing an injury or applying an ointment; various antiseptic items for cleaning a wound; medicines; bandages of all sizes; dressing; ointments such as iodine; and an instruction manual for properly attending to various common injuries.
Find Polaris, or the North Star, which is the end of the Little Dipper’s handle. If you can find the Big Dipper, draw a line between the two stars at the outer edge of the constellation’s dipper portion. Extend this line toward the Little Dipper, and it will line up with Polaris. Face Polaris, and you’re facing true north. If there is a crescent moon in the sky, connect the horns of the crescent with an imaginary line. Extend this line to the horizon to indicate a southerly bearing. Once you determine your direction, pick a landmark nearby or in the distance to follow by daylight.
“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.
What to Put in a Bug Out Bag? – If your pre-made bug out bag focuses on tactical and survival gear you’ll need to finish it by purchasing dehydrated meals and other foodstuffs with long shelf lives. If the bag focuses on food you’ll need to supply survival gear such as a flashlight or two, emergency blankets, first aid kit, paracord, EDC knife and other things. If you’re making your own bug out bag read the answer to the next question.

The Wise bug out bag comes equipped with most of the things you’ll need to keep yourself and your loved ones well fed and comfortable during a crisis although you’d do well to take the claim of 32 meals with a grain of salt, since they’re counting a 12 serving whey package as 12 meals. As such you’ll want to use some of the extra space in the bag for additional food which you can pick up at any store that sells mountaineering equipment. As for the rest of the items there’s a well-appointed first aid kit, 5 function emergency whistle, an LED flashlight, dust masks and even a deck of playing cards to keep everyone occupied during those long hours in the storm shelter. The nylon bag is water resistant though not waterproof so keep that in mind, but it’s comfortable and well made. If you’re looking for an affordable, well stocked bug out bag you’d be wise to have the Wise Food bug out bag ready and waiting in the closet.

Many people who are forced into survival situations often get into serious trouble because of direct exposure to the elements. Most people in survival situations die of hypothermia, which can be easily avoided with basic survival skills. Being able to build a shelter is of paramount importance in a survival situation. It is extremely important to prevent or minimize heat loss, or if in a desert environment, to minimize water loss. Here are some things to think about when planning to build a shelter:
A small size generic spray bottle (or two) with a good spray head (that does not leak) and fits on standard size plastic bottle threads can also be handy to direct fluids exactly where you want and reduce usage. Flushing wounds with water or alcohol, squirting metho through a small flame to put fire on something or someone, cleaning stuff you dropped (phone, torch, glasses), flushing eyes, mouth and teeth, ears, nose and other tricky holes, tracking the ration of your water supply one squirt at a time or just misting some water on your face to cool off … if you can spare it 😉
Could you recommend what winter jacket to wear? I have thought of 3 in 1 winter jackets but the are not rated to -20. I have read that parkas are good if you are not active, but my family ages 8-58 would have a possible 4 day walk if things got bad. I have heard that you want to have a windproof and waterproof jacket but again how do you release the heat from the travel? Do you know of a brand of winter jackets that will keep you warm but hold up to below zero temperatures without you sweating yourself into a freezing death? I would GREATLY appreciate some help.
A good read and a very good list to ‘pick and chose’ from – I try to carry ‘multi-person items as much as possible – cuts down on the weight – as a ‘senior citizen’ the packs I carried years ago I can’t carry now so I have to make changes that match my physical ability – Also a good idea on up-dating – at least every three months or seasonal (which also changes pack size and contents) Lastly, don’t just put a bag together – take a weekend and use it occasionally – carry it distances in different terrain – make sure you have the physical stamina to bear the load – it’s useless if you can’t ‘take it with you’..
Not surprisingly, hypothermia is the number one outdoor killer in cold weather. That means a well-insulated shelter should be your top priority in a prolonged survival situation. To make a simple lean-to, find a downed tree resting at an angle, or set a large branch securely against a standing tree, and stack smaller branches close together on one side. Layer debris, like leaves and moss, across the angled wall. Lastly, insulate yourself from the cold ground–which will draw heat from your warm body–by layering four to six inches of debris to lie on.
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.
A lack of water causes dehydration, which may result in lethargy, headaches, dizziness, confusion, and eventually death. Even mild dehydration reduces endurance and impairs concentration, which is dangerous in a survival situation where clear thinking is essential. Dark yellow or brown urine is a diagnostic indicator of dehydration. To avoid dehydration, a high priority is typically assigned to locating a supply of drinking water and making provision to render that water as safe as possible.
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.
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