hi again Graywolf, you have not discussed your weapons (and I can understand why), but wondered if you had any opinions to share on laser sights? I ran into two decent deals at the PX recently ( one red, one green) and wondered if you thought they were worth having with the extra weight, etc. ? Next is the infinite variety of hi-tec cords and ropes that are available lately…very strong, light, and small- worthwhile or not? While I’m here I’d like to highly recommend a housekeeping book written in 1881 ( I think). It has ” how to do” pretty much everything most of us have forgotten and can be downloaded for free on several prepper websites. I can vouch for a great deal of the instructions, as I grew up learning it from my granny!
Since I live in the desert so I don’t need a lot of cold-weather gear but it does get pretty nippy at night and can easily get below freezing. As you can see in the Clothing Bag above, I have just some basic Army-issue polypros as a backup. I also carry a lightweight rain jacket because not only will it keep the rain off me, it’s a good wind breaker. Once it gets colder, I’ll throw a fleece or something in there. Just make sure you layer your clothes. Sweating in cold weather makes your clothes wet so even after you cool down to the point where you stop sweating, your clothes continue to sweat for you, and you get hypothermia.
Even the smartest smartphone hasn’t been able to compensate for having no signal; until now. goTenna leverages a simple messaging app to allow you to communicate with the outside world should you be in need of help. You can share your GPS coordinates and condition, access offline maps or broadcast your situation to any other goTenna user in the vicinity. You also get confirmation your messages were delivered successfully so you can rest assured help is on the way. Finally, a way to get more from your phone when you’re off-grid. A smart, affordable piece of survival gear.
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.
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.
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.
GPS is great but what happens when your battery dies, and you don’t have a portable battery handy? The compass is the one piece of survival gear that will never let you down. Sure, it can’t tell you if there’s a town nearby but it can prevent you from wandering aimlessly in circles. The Eyesky compass is designed specifically to help extricate you from emergency situations. It features conversion charts to measure distances, a rotating bezel ring to determine your heading and adjustable sight lines to plot your course. It’s also built to last. It will take you all of an afternoon to learn how to use the Eyesky compass and it may turn out to be the most valuable afternoon you ever spent.
So despite the impression many people got from my “50 Items” article, I don’t think you should pack your bug out bag with as many items as possible. In fact, I think you should check your bag for any non-essential items with a large weight-to-space ratio and remove them. To that end, here’s a list of survival items I’ve seen in various lists online that, in my opinion, you don’t really need in your bug out bag.
Sandals are really handy to have if you’re living out of a tent. You can put them on in the middle of the night instead of hassling with boots if you need to go “see a man about a horse” and also for when you’re getting around in the morning with your fire etc before you pack up and head out. Get some strong, lightweight ones though. Some of them won’t hold up very well. The ones I have have been worn through many miles of large gravel walking out to the shower/latrines on FOBs and are still holding up well – and I wear them most days around Phoenix.
Some will think the omission of foodstuffs from this bug out bag to be a bit odd but it’s not if you think about it. It might be years before you have to use the bag so it makes sense that you’ll want to procure your own emergency rations and review their condition a couple of times a year, replacing anything that might look dodgy. That said this bug out bag does emergency kit right with the aforementioned items as well as a dozen pouches of purified water, rain ponchos, quality toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving razor, comb, emergency whistle, emergency blankets, survival handbook, duct tape (!), paracord and more. There’s also the obligatory deck of cards for when you finally settle into the emergency shelter. Toss in some dry clothes for everyone involved, charger cords for your smartphone in case you run into a power source and a good book or two and you’ll be ready to wait out events in good shape.
Keep in mind, a well-designed bug out bag should weigh no more than 25% of your body weight, assuming you are in average physical condition and are not overweight. Any heavier than that can make carrying the bag highly strenuous and limit your ability to remain mobile and travel long distances on foot during an evacuation. Limit your packing list to the essentials that will help you survive.
On another note, the only thing I had trouble with was #1. Yes, sleeping bags are big and fat and are a pain to carry, but they will make up for it in heat. You need that heat, at least here in the Pacific Northwest where I live. You use a space blanket or bivvy, you get either a miserable night (lucky), or hypothermia (normal). I wouldn’t mind packing a bivvy instead if I lived in a warmer climate, but seriously, don’t skimp on the sleeping bag.

Viral pathogens most often found in water are typically Hepatitis A, Norwalk and Rotovirus, all of which are smaller than most filters are incapable of trapping. They’re species specific which means human to human transmission, and all 3 are associated most often with fecal contamination, thus the further you get from population centers, the lower the risk becomes. For viral coverage, water purification is needed to kill the virus. Chlorine base chemicals are the best treatment next to boiling. UV pens and filter add-ons work good, but are not as effective as heat/chemical treatment. If you know the area you’re heading to, has a previous reputation of human traffic (like campgrounds), then avoid the UV treatment. If the area you’re in is not a high traffic area, UV is alright for use, but personally, I’d rather heat or chemically treat to be sure, and just bypass the expense and extra weight of a UV purifier.
Denier is the term that is most often used to suggest the strength of the threads in the fabric used to create the pack. And when it comes to the quality of the seams, look for a pack that advertises double-stitched seams if you want a pack that will last longer and holds up against the environmental factors it could be exposed to in the event of an emergency. Ultimately, your pack is an investment in your survival and the contents of the BOB don’t do any good if your pack fails and you can’t carry everything.

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.

With a calm center, over half the struggle is over. As I mentioned earlier, the most common physical reason that people die in wilderness survival situations is exposure to the elements. A person can die from exposure in as little as three hours. You must learn how to stay warm when it is cold, how to stay cool when it is hot, and how to stay dry when it is wet. Enter the wilderness survival shelter. It can take many forms, with a classic one being the debris hut. The debris hut is a small, one person shelter that is basically a simple structure that cocoons a person in leaves, grasses, boughs, or other natural debris to keep them insulated. It is built to shed water. Just imagine a primitive tent and sleeping bag all in one.

These days news carries quicker via modern tech such as mobile phones and social media networks, this modern equipment maybe the only way you can get news early into any disaster, news that could be vital to your survival by giving you the information needed to decide how to proceed in the safest fashion, such as government advice what to do based on the information they have but you do not.
Untold numbers of people wind up suffering frostbite, shock or hypothermia every year because they didn’t have adequate survival gear when the weather on their wilderness adventure took a rapid turn for the worse. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The Titan 2-sided Mylar Survival Blanket is light as a feather and yet capable of retaining up to 90% of your body heat.
With a calm center, over half the struggle is over. As I mentioned earlier, the most common physical reason that people die in wilderness survival situations is exposure to the elements. A person can die from exposure in as little as three hours. You must learn how to stay warm when it is cold, how to stay cool when it is hot, and how to stay dry when it is wet. Enter the wilderness survival shelter. It can take many forms, with a classic one being the debris hut. The debris hut is a small, one person shelter that is basically a simple structure that cocoons a person in leaves, grasses, boughs, or other natural debris to keep them insulated. It is built to shed water. Just imagine a primitive tent and sleeping bag all in one.
Thank you so much for the detailed info! That battery charger/light/usb charger is very impressive! I can understand why you opted for that vs anything dynamo, but I’m wondering if even with this kit, is there any room for dynamo? For example, a radio or radio/flashlight combo. Also, some people recommend a tactical vest with utmost essentials in case you’re separated from your bag. Would dynamo be best in that case?
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 😉

I don’t know how much you guys weigh, but ideally the total load you’re carrying should clock in under 1/3rd your body weight. Add to that the fact that you might have to carry the kids for a bit, and you may want to shoot for 1/4 body weight. Since you do have kids I imagine you have a some type of stroller or wagon or some such. Might not be a bad idea to put extra water and consumables in there and tow it instead of carry it. It’ll save you calories, help to keep you from having to carry the kids when little legs get tired, and allow you you to pack a little extra. Shoot for something like a baby jogger though, so it’s at least equal to the same terrain as your kids are.

I have a Harley handkerchief that they gave me at the local shop on Veteran’s Day last year. It can be used to filter out all the big stuff and to soak up small puddles. You can also brush it on tall dew-covered grass and plants as you walk through and wring it out into your mouth, although that won’t taste too good. Much better than using your socks though.
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved. All content on this site is subject to copyright law and cannot be reproduced in part or in its entirety without express permission from the original author. In almost all cases, this will be me, Graywolf. Contact me at [email protected] for permission. If you would like to include a short snapshot of my article (the preview paragraph) by way of RSS feed with a link to the rest of the article, please feel free to do so, and I thank you if you do. Disclosure: This is a professional review site that sometimes receives free merchandise from the companies whose products we review and recommend. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

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
A bug out bag is critical but what do you put in it? When considering disaster preparedness, keep in mind that what survival gear and emergency supplies you add to your bug out bag and then pack for your survival kit can mean the difference between life and death, or at least affect your level of comfort if SHTF and you had to get outta dodge. Read this article to find out what you should consider putting in your bug out bag.

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.


Never be without a first aid kit. While this sentiment doesn't mean a kit needs to be on you at all times, have it in the vicinity: in your workplace, in your home, in your car, or in your pack when you go camping or hiking. You never know when a bandage or ointment is needed, so why risk the spread of infection? By having a first aid kit readily available, you'll get the right materials when you need them.
×