I like your list. I wish I could keep my pack as light as you keep yours year round. Wisconsin winters are cold, and I like having a full extra set of clothing as I will have to cross a few rivers if I bug out on foot. Even though I have ultralight synthetic fibers long underwear packed for winter, my kit is a bit heavier than yours when equipped for that season. Brr, I just got cold thinking about 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.

Instead of charging things directly, I charge them indirectly using an 13000mAh Anker USB battery. This means that I can charge something at night if I want to and if I’m charging something like my iPhone, it won’t stop charging when  cloud comes along (iPhones don’t like to kick back onto charge mode when that happens so it’s really not feasible without a battery with your solar panel).


I have to admit it, I LOVE wilderness survival. I first began learning wilderness survival out of a deep, primal need to feel in my bones that I could provide for my most basic human needs directly from nature. It seemed crazy to me that my life was totally dependent on a complex system of grocery stores, polluted highways, telecommunication systems, electric grids, modern structures, water treatment plants, and more. I mean, shouldn't we all be able to be in direct relationship with our most primary needs? Perhaps idealistic, but that is what inspired me to begin my journey to become a wilderness survival guide over a decade ago.
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.
The LifeStraw filter meets EPA standards and has been shown to remove more than 99.9% of waterborne parasites and bacteria. Humanitarian relief workers in all corners of the globe use the LifeStraw to help bring safe water to threatened communities and refugee camps. The “straw” itself weighs a scant 0.1 pounds and measures 9” in length and 1” in diameter. Few things are worse than being lost and being besieged by waterborne illness. Bring this essential piece of survival gear with you whenever you venture into the wild and make sure water problems are not on the menu.
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.
Tent: In many emergency situations, shelter may be hard to find. While packing a traditional tent may not be a viable option, a good bug out bag should always include a waterproof survival tent. The best survival tents are made of Mylar, which can retain heat and repel water. Pro-tip: Be sure to stack leaves, grass or anything else from around the campsite against the tent for added protection from the elements.
The wise outdoorsman always has a multitool with his survival gear just in case. They’re light, affordable, and in the case of the Leatherman OHT they’ll put the venerable Swiss Army Knife to shame. The OHT features needlenose pliers, spring action wire cutters, a high carbon blade, a serrated edge, a can opener, Phillips screwdriver, bottle opener and myriad other attachments.
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).
That is a big statement. That is also what I see so many people searching for, especially in contrast with the superficial values of our degenerative, consumeristic, capitalistic, western society. Perhaps more than anything else, wilderness survival served as the doorway to a deep and profound experience of connection, belonging, and meaning to my life. I've discovered along the way that my passion and purpose is to mentor others into that same profound sense of connection, belonging, and meaning that comes through wilderness survival and deep nature connection, ultimately guiding them to their deepest calling.

SHTF is an acronym that stands for sh*t hits the fan. This means that something drastic has happened, like a natural disaster, financial crisis, or a war has started. This term is generally used for when things go south quickly. The other acronym that is commonly used to signal it is time to pull out your bug out bag is ‘TEOTWAWKI’. This stands for ‘the end of the world as we know it’.

Popular modern methods for purifying/treating water include filtering pumps and chemical treatments, such as iodine. These can be efficient and effective solutions if you have access to these items in a survival situation. An herbal treatment is another method in which water may be purified from viruses and bacteria. Grapefruit seed extract is sold as a water purifier, although there is some debate on whether or not it is one hundred percent effective. The most widely used and proven method for safely purifying water is boiling. Bringing water to a boil and allowing it to continue to boil for 2-3 minutes will kill bacteria and viruses.
Culinary root tubers, fruit, edible mushrooms, edible nuts, edible beans, edible cereals or edible leaves, edible moss, edible cacti and algae can be gathered and, if needed, prepared (mostly by boiling). With the exception of leaves, these foods are relatively high in calories, providing some energy to the body. Plants are some of the easiest food sources to find in the jungle, forest or desert because they are stationary and can thus be had without exerting much effort.[12] Skills and equipment (such as bows, snares and nets) are necessary to gather animal food in the wild include animal trapping, hunting, and fishing.
Cargo is really where I cut down most of my weight without sacrificing effectiveness. I found a great bag that’s big enough to carry everything I need, with even some extra room left over. With my original bag, attachments to hold what wouldn’t fit, and internal bags to keep things organized, my cargo weight was well over 8 pounds! Essentially, cargo is all the stuff that holds your stuff that isn’t stuff you need to survive. I cut that down by half, saving me four pounds that I could devote to other gear and I actually have more room than I did before. I can now fit everything inside the bag – including the tent – and I still have some room. The tent adds 4.82 pounds but still keeps everything under 30 pounds plus food/water.
Earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes can cause you to leave your home or even be trapped there. Roads could be blocked due to fallen trees, power lines, or even damaged earth from the natural disaster. Rescue crews can not be in all places at once. You may have to wait it out for quite a while before its over. You won't be able to go to the store or to the corner market.
That is a big statement. That is also what I see so many people searching for, especially in contrast with the superficial values of our degenerative, consumeristic, capitalistic, western society. Perhaps more than anything else, wilderness survival served as the doorway to a deep and profound experience of connection, belonging, and meaning to my life. I've discovered along the way that my passion and purpose is to mentor others into that same profound sense of connection, belonging, and meaning that comes through wilderness survival and deep nature connection, ultimately guiding them to their deepest calling.

I got a really good laugh out of several comments here- thanks. Ditto on the nearly 30 years of military service ( and thank YOU!) I have most of the same things, with Smartwool layers added since I live in the mountains. Someone mentioned boots–best I’ve found are Ariat ATS which are waterproof, lightweight, VERY comfy and have a Thinsulate lining. Nothing else I’ve found even comes close. Pricey, but worth every dime as they Really hold up well. But oh God- that thong thing!!!lol


In this review guide we’re going to shine a light on 21 essential pieces of survival gear everyone should seriously consider having in their survival pack. We’re going to concentrate on survival gear aimed at aiding those engaged in outdoor activities and not those forced from their home by natural disaster, although some of these products will also be useful in those types of situations. We’ll start by highlighting 3 pieces of must-have survival gear; those things we would not venture into the wilderness without, and then move on to other valuable survival aids you’ll want to think about packing.
I took all my “kit” electronics ie solar panels etc, a duplicate luci lamp (how fun is this!), and some spare LED flashlight bulbs and wrapped them in overlapping wax paper with a dessicant pack, then foil, then wax paper, then a specific 3M dri-shield mylar anti-static bag which I closed with HVAC metal tape (like they use to patch a/c ducting). The tape and bags make for some sharp corners and I’m still pondering how to solve that. You can write directly on the bags with a sharpie or use masking tape to make a label. Every couple of months I open it all up to see if it’s working and/or corroded. It’s a total pain in the patootie to seal it up again but I sure sleep better. Didn’t really add any weight and I didn’t wrap everything just the backup/spare stuff. If there was some weird solar or other event, then I would dump the more EDC stuff if it stopped working. Hubby thinks I’m nuts but I sleep better at night.

One thing that the article doesn’t reference is “How many people will there be in your Bug Out party?” The point being, that although there are some items that need to be in everyones B.O.B, there are others that don’t require duplication. Figuring out which items can be used by all the members of your party can reduce duplicating these items in each bag. For example, does everyone in your party need to carry a 1 quart backpacking pot, or will 1 or 2 suffice for your whole group? Those types of items can then be parceled out to the members of the group, and cut the weight down.

Look for a pack that has multiple compartments, with pockets and organizers built in to help keep track of the small items, and try to pack your BOB strategically with items grouped that you’ll use together. Remember to pack clothes and bulky items on the bottom and heavier items at the top for better weight distribution and to ease the strain on your body.  

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.”
If your bag is so heavy that you can’t carry it more than a few miles, you’ll have to ditch some of the items, anyway. And what’s going to happen if you have to run from attackers, jump walls, and climb fences? Having a bag that’s too heavy could get you killed. Ideally, a bug out bag should weigh about 15% of your body weight, assuming you’re in decent shape. 20% of your body weight should be the absolute maximum.

The 5-in-1 paracord bracelet slips on with ease and stays fashionably in the background until or unless the situation on the ground takes a turn for the worse. That’s when they spring into action. Should you need to get a fire going in a hurry there’s the fire starter kit comprised of flint and scraper. While you’re warming up by the fire take the lay of the land with the mini compass. There’s also what must be the world’s most compact emergency knife and should you need it a powerful emergency whistle that will project up to 100 decibels of life saving sound. Essential survival gear especially if you have the kids with you.


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.
A: There’s a lot of overlap between the above question and this one but basically once you have your survival gear separated into different categories you’ll want to distribute it in the exterior pockets of the backpack where it can be easily accessed in an emergency. The MOLLE survival gear system devised by the armed forces for combat troops takes a modular approach to organization that’s also extremely flexible and allows you to configure your supply load in a way that makes the most sense for you. Rows of nylon webbing are distributed across a vest that’s worn under the backpack. You’re then able to attach various MOLLE compatible accessories and pouches – in this case containing your survival gear – to the vest. Additional pouches can be attached to webbing on the exterior of the backpack as well.

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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