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.
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 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.

I always carry a Mountain Hardwear Lumina 45 sleeping bag wherever I go. To keep it dry and small, I use an XS Sea to Summit compression dry sack. I’ve had this bag and water-resistant compression sack with me through several deployments and camping trips. It’s very lightweight and packs to about the size of a football. Definitely a nice thing to have.

In the beginning, you might decide to buy food a bit at a time when you make your weekly trip to the grocery store. If you think your budget is just too tight to spend extra money building your reserves, consider this: Skipping the morning latte or the on-the-go-breakfast at the drive-thru can save you $100 a month if you're only spending $5 a day, five days a week. That's about $1,200 a year—plenty to get your emergency supply built up and invest in essential equipment and gear.
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.
The Wise Food 5-Day bug out bag has an interior space of 10 x 10 x 16 inches, more than enough to store the 5 days of food stuffs, emergency kit, purified water and more that comes with this bug out bag. Add your own change of clothes, rain coat, boots or whatever else you want to take with you and you’ll be the best possible position to transcend the difficulties you face. The bug out kit includes a small but effective stove and all the food is factory sealed and dated including the 5 water pouches.

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’.
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.
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I appreciate the philosophy, and the focus on quality, thoughtfulness, and multiple usage tools more than anything. If that was my gear (and I know it ain’t) the only thing I’d change is a small pair of channel locks instead of the wrench. They’re handier for taking pots off the fire than needle nose, still do about 90% of the things a little c-wrench will, and give a good grip on things when you need it.
In our current economic environment, prices continue to rise. The best time to start investing in your family’s health and safety is now. By making a list of necessities and gradually stocking your survival storage pantry now, you can take advantage of discounts and special pricing. Be proactive. Minimize rotation expenses by choosing supplies with a longer shelf life.

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.
The more you know about nature, the better you will be able to survive in the outdoors. To be great at wilderness survival, beyond the basic survival skills, requires an in-depth understanding of a variety of nature skills. For example, wildlife tracking skills allow one to effectively locate wild game for food, and knowledge of herbal medicine allows one to heal illnesses with wild plants. Especially for the situation where you may choose to purposefully practice survival living for a lengthened period of time, naturalist knowledge is absolutely invaluable.
Browse through our selection of emergency gear to find everything you need to supplement your existing emergency preparedness packs or choose from one of our Emergency Essentials ® survival kits, already assembled and ready for use. We offer kits for individuals and families, filled with the basic tools and emergency gear to survive for up to 72 hours during any emergency situation.
With goTenna you use a simple smartphone messaging app as a platform for sending SOS messages along with your handheld hunting GPS coordinates should you need emergency help. You can also use it to chat with emergency services so they know your exact condition and can prepare accordingly. It’s off-grid survival gear at its best and could be the difference between life and death.
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!
If you have a proper survival knife with you when the weather closes in you can make an emergency shelter; if there’s the material available to do so. But it’s better just to make sure that whenever you venture into the woods for any length of time that you have the right survival gear with you and the Sundome 2 Person backpacking tent from Coleman is that survival gear.
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.
I may have been a bit dramatic in my response in cases, but mainly to show you the absurdity of the way you dramatically declare most of that useful kit should be discarded, as if you know best, as if you’ve been there done it, survived, worn the t-shirt, as if you think you’re come special forces commando that has survived behind enemy lines in every environment/climate the globe has to offer, totally ignoring the idiosyncrasies of each location around the world, for example you say knife .22 and “dump the rest”, because people living in an area with limited game but masses of water and fish to ditch their fishing line, hooks, weights etc for a .22… OK yea, I know who not to join up with in a disaster, the man carrying a f*cking sword to a gun fight
When calamity strikes you’ll still need to eat and if there are no shelters in the vicinity stocked with emergency supplies what are you supposed to do? The answer is the Food Insurance bug out bag that provides you with copious amounts of prepared food sealed in vacuum pouches and ready to be eaten. Every Food Insurance meal has a shelf life of more than a decade and requires only a bit of water to prepare. Everything from lasagna to omelets to rice and beans are here along with the stove to cook them. Add some of your own survival gear like a tactical flashlight, survival knife, emergency blankets and water filter and you’re ready for whatever comes down the pike.
Some additional items that you should look for in a quality bug out bag include a hydration tube and bladder compatibility (although you’ll usually have to buy these separately), hip belt pockets (where you can store items you want quick access to), and at least one large compartment (where you can fit bulkier items like a tarp, sleeping bag, or large clothing).
Ok I have done a few bug out bags before and have learned/ suffered with my choices. But what I can’t seem to find is a good Bag! I have tried the framed hikers bag , just a backpack and a military grade backpack. All of them had good and bad set ups. I just want to know what are your thoughts and what should I stay away from before I dump money into (what every one says) good one.
One of the best bang-for-your-buck items to stay warm when it starts to get chilly out is a neck gaiter. I have a thicker one that I’ll also put in the bag when it gets cold. I keep a lightweight one wrapped around my swimming goggles so they don’t get scratched and because I grab both of those if I get caught up in a sandstorm. Full-size goggles are just too big for me to carry around all the time for as little as I’ve worn them. Plus, they’re not as sexy.
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.

If you find yourself in a survival situation you’re go ing to need rope to help devise shelter or extricate yourself from tight spots. Better yet you’ll need some incredibly tough paracord from Titan. Whether you need to string your food sack from a tree to keep it out of the reach of bears or remove your car from a ditch during rough winter weather Titan MIL-spec paracord is survival gear that can help.
This has helped me so much with building my own unique B.O.B. I’m at 21.0 # now with room for three or four more key items to complete my set-up! Without this guide I think I would have bought way to much stuff and came in over 30.0 # before food and water. Another thing I discovered is that you really have to get out and hike; go for walks with your dog; whatever, with this weight on your back! I started out with just 10.0 # inside the pack and quickly realized that I was out of shape. Now I can climb hills easily with minimal rest periods to recover. I’m working up to an overnight so I can try out some of my stuff in a realistic scenerio. I’ve even become a better packer for just about any kind of travel or trip. Thanks for all you do!
Every bug out bag should be 100% unique. Sure, there are some basic items that every bug out bag should have (food, lighter, water filter, flashlight, etc.), but you should customize your bag based on where you live, what type of disaster is most likely to occur in your area, and how much weight you can carry over a long distance. Many preppers forget about that last point.
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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