The first is a signal fire—and the first rule is to put it out in the open for visibility. That means hilltops or clearings in a forest where nothing, like a cliff face or trees, will disperse the smoke. Create a platform to raise the base of the fire off the ground so moisture doesn’t saturate the wood. Save your absolute best combustible material for your signal fire to guarantee a quick light. Once the fire is lit, pile on green branches, like pine boughs in winter, to produce thick smoke. “It’s not about warmth, it’s about 15 seconds of smoke,” Stewart notes. “That’s about all you’ve got when you hear a plane before it’s out of sight.”
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.
The best way to learn and develop wilderness survival skills is to get wilderness survival training from a live wilderness survival guide or school. Twin Eagles Wilderness School offers a variety of wilderness survival training classes, including our transformational, nine month long Twin Eagles Wilderness Immersion Program - the ultimate wilderness survival training.
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.
My big ticket items for weight are my cargo items. I currently use an ALICE pack with improved straps. That’ll be the first to go once I can afford a new pack, but I just bought a new rifle so the wife isn’t keen on me dropping a bunch more money for a new pack. I use a Snugpak jungle blanket and Stasha for shelter, I’m looking into getting a proper tent if I leave NC, for now I can string up the tarp as a tent, and bugs don’t like me so I’m okay there. I just swapped my MSR alpine pot for a kettle which dropped about half a pound off my weight. I tried your GORP recipe a while back and it was excellent, so any time I go on a trip I make sure to pack a bag of that. Once I replace my pack I’m sure I’ll be re-visiting this list to see where else I can shave weight, I’m currently sitting at about 42# for a fully loaded pack, I want the whole thing to weigh less than 35# when I’m done.
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.
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.
The Stealth Tactical bug out bag assumes that you have not been able to make it to a shelter and will need to fend for yourself in the outdoors. As such there’s plenty of tactical gear to keep you moving, keep you dry, keep you hydrated and keep you safe. That includes a dozen packets of purified water, rain ponchos, emergency sleeping bags, a fire starting kit, survival knife, foldable saw, emergency whistle, first aid kit, paracord, multi tool, candles and even a stethoscope so you can monitor your health.
“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.”

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!

The biggest misconception about bug out bags is the idea that the contents in and of themselves will be enough to keep you alive. The truth is that the contents of your bug out bag are only as good as the individual using them. If you don’t know how to make the most of the contents of your bug out bag or ration them appropriately, they won’t help you survive any more than a firearm without any ammunition. You should always take the time to familiarize yourself with the contents of your bug out bag and feel comfortable using everything so that you’re best prepared when TEOTWAWKI does occur.
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.

I think you’re both correct, although you are addressing separate threat levels and emergencies (civil disobedience vs. natural disaster). I keep a basic bag, plus a small box with optionals that can be quickly loaded, depending on the threat. I realize this may take precious seconds, so this is time dependent. I live in the Chicago area, so civil unrest is a greater concern, and my firearms choice reflects this probable eventuality.

Here’s my post on the best ultralight bug out bag/backpacking tents. The Hilleberg Nallo GT2 tent is at the top of that list for me. It’s a pound and a half heavier than one I have right now but MUCH better. If I lose the large vestibule and go with the Nallo 2, I’m at about the same weight as I am now. Just not sure exactly which way I wanna go with it.
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.
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.
Double stitching, ventilated, breathable mesh and durable cord pulls are the order day with the Reebow Gear backpack. It’s all about utility which makes it an ideal piece of wilderness survival kit. Most everything that’s been included in this survival gear list will fit easily into or onto this survival backpack and still leave plenty of room for essentials like food, extra clothing and first aid materials. It shouldn’t be confused with a heavy duty mountaineering backpack. But it is perfect for those long weekends in the backcountry tracking elk or cross-country skiing. Best of all you can have it for a virtual song. Essential survival gear at an affordable price.
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.
I carry electronics also, but use a 1L dry sack ( http://pin.it/TST5oS- ) should Murphy’s Law define the moment. A larger dry sack is the ideal container for carrying my spare underwear (hot or cold season), and another dry sack is carried for bandanas, bandages, and gauze. A 35L dry sack is used as a liner for my Snugpak Sleeka Force 35 pack and doubles as a floatation device when sealed for hasty stream / river crossings.

The Fiskars Hatchet would make a pretty devastating weapon if I had to fight close-quarters but I’m more comfortable with knife-fighting since I’ve at least been trained in it, which makes my SOG knife my go-to weapon. I suppose I could use my slingshot if I had to but I can’t really think of many instances where that would be realistic. Maybe I should just rethink the thong thing. That would probably work.
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.
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