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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:
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!
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.
Thanks, Most of the bug out bag sites I went to left so much of this information out. They looked like the were trying to help you set up a bag, but in the end the held back information and then tried to sell you something.. I’m not against a guy making a profit at all. but this bag can save your life, and the info they hold back can cost you your life… Your one cool cat..
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.
There are many choices of packs out there that would make a good Bug Out Bag. In the end, the important thing to keep in mind is your personal preference. Bigger doesn’t always mean better when it comes to selecting the right bug out bag. Remember that a Bug Out Bag is recommended to store 3 days worth of rations, water, and gear in a survival situation.

An excellent resource regarding bug out bags is a new book by Max Cooper called, “Realistic Bug Out Bag, 2nd Edition: Prepared to Survive.” This is a monster book at over 600+ pages. It has scenarios, drills, and is full of useful and insightful information. I like that the author stresses planning and has a section devoted to bug out plans and how to practice & train your plan. The section on self-defense is great. The chapter on trauma has very valuable information. He is also a huge advocate of designing a BOB that fits your needs based on factors that pertain to your situation. I highly recommend this book.
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.

Astronauts participating in tropical survival training at an Air Force Base near the Panama Canal, 1963. From left to right are an unidentified trainer, Neil Armstrong, John H. Glenn Jr., L. Gordon Cooper, and Pete Conrad. Survival training is important for astronauts, as a launch abort or misguided reentry could potentially land them in a remote wilderness area.
I also switched out all my internal bags for ultralight ones. For organization, I got a set of Eagle Creek packing cubes and an REI expandable packing cube. If I didn’t already have the REI bag, I would have gotten another set of the Eagle Creek cubes instead and separated things even more – and the whole set weighs about the same as the one REI bag does.
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.
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.
Regardless of what it looks like, a wilderness survival shelter should embrace these essential principles. It should provide insulation and protection from all elements. It should include a heart source, whether that is a fire, the sun, or trapping body heat. It should be placed in a good location - think high and dry. And lastly, it should offer comfort and sanctuary. After all, this will be your new home.
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.
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.
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.
Stewart views fire building in terms of four key ingredients: tinder bundle of dry, fibrous material (cotton balls covered in Vaseline or lip balm are an excellent choice, if you’ve got them) and wood in three sizes—toothpick, Q-tip, and pencil. Use a forearm-sized log as a base and windscreen for your tinder. When the tinder is lit, stack the smaller kindling against the larger log, like a lean-to, to allow oxygen to pass through and feed the flames. Add larger kindling as the flame grows, until the fire is hot enough for bigger logs.
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