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.
SOG made their shovel practical survival gear by cutting back its length to a manageable 18 ¼” and its weight to an equally manageable 24 ½ ounces. It folds up to a mere 1 foot long and can be easily strapped to the exterior of any decent sized backpack. The SOG shovel also boasts a row of thick rugged teeth along the side for hacking and cutting underbrush or harvesting wood for your fire. The blade can also be rotated and used as a pick or a hoe to do more precise clearing. All in all this is a piece of survival gear you won’t want to do without.
Another concern when you’re lost in the wild is where to procure potable water. Sometimes there will be bubbling streams of crystal clear water rolling down wooded hillsides to fill your water bottle and sometimes you’ll have little more than a stagnant pool standing between you and dehydration. The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is survival gear that can turn that stagnant pool into a lifesaver.
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.
The second is a mirror signal. A flash from signal mirror—even at night, by moonlight—can be seen for miles, much farther than any flashlight. You don’t need a store-bought signal mirror to be effective. Improvise with any reflective surface you’ve got, from rearview mirrors or headlights to a cell phone screen. Aiming the reflection is the key, and it’s simple. Hold out a peace sign and place your target–be it plane or boat–between your fingers. Then flash the reflection back and forth across your fingers.

On point number 9. It is best to try and reduce the carry weight but having utensils can drag you down. One solution that I have used is to take a frisbee instead of a plate. Its lightweight, easily cleaned, can be a water dish for any pets, they can be brightly colored for signaling and it has the added bonus of being a toy. A little stress relief can go a long way when times are rough.

There are many types of shelters to consider including natural shelters such as caves, hollow stumps and logs, as well as building shelters such as a debris hut, lean-to, debris tipi, scout pit or snow shelter. Of the shelters listed, the debris hut is often the most practical to construct in almost any environment. Learn how to construct a debris hut.
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.
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!
Don’t forget spices and nutritional supplements. Yes, you can plan a well-balanced diet with prepared foods, but not everyone has the same taste. Spices and herbs allow you to change up the flavor of the same basic ingredients for variety and interest. Vitamins and supplements are an important addition to your emergency supply stash. Choose nutrition bars, protein powder, or multivitamin capsules that support nutrition and boost natural immunity.
There’s always going to be the debate of Bugging In v. Bugging Out, and that is really our job as readers and posters to decide which is best for us and determine the situations/scenarios we may be faced with. What degree of societal collapse do we need to see, before we get the heck out of town? Obviously, the more rural your location is, the higher the probability of staying in place will be. One’s health, general level of physical conditioning and age are all factors we need to consider. It’s easy to say “Get into shape,” but the reality is that may not be possible for some of us with long standing health problems. For those of us incapable of increasing our strength or endurance, Bugging Out may be our last option.

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.
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I don’t really want to eat out of the pot I cook in because I may want to heat water while I’m eating or make a second dish or whatever, so I wanted to have a bowl and a cup. I ended up with two Fozzil bowls to solve the bowl conundrum because they pack flat and weigh less than an ounce and a half each. I was going to have just one but I figured I could afford the extra weight and almost zero space in case I was going to share a meal with someone or wanted to have a second bowl for food or to catch water in during rain. They also come in handy if the two of you want to go out picking berries or whatnot.

I originally had a SOL Breathable Emergency Bivvy but I absolutely cannot sleep in it. It’s WAY too restricting if you’re broad-shouldered. You could try one and see if it works but if it does, you need to hit the gym bro. I almost packed it regardless because it would have been ok to bring along as a pad I could fill in with leaves etc but that put me over my 25 pounds so I dropped it from the list.
I cut a 6′ section of that same Reflectix that I used for the pot cozy/lid, and sealed the edges with aluminum tape. It makes for a great lightweight sleeping pad. I take it camping but it’s not in my bug out kit normally because it’s 11 ounces and I’m trying to stay under 25 pounds. I may end up just keeping it in there anyway at some point but I’m trying to cut down another 10 ounces before I put it in if I can. This is it all folded up nicely n such.

Ideally, when traveling in the wilderness, it is best to carry multiple fire-starting tools, such as a lighter, matches, flint and steel, etc… Even with these implements starting a fire can be challenging in inclement weather. We highly recommend practicing fire starting in different weather conditions within different habitats. Good fire-making skills are invaluable. If you were to find yourself in a situation without a modern fire-making implement, fire by friction is the most effective primitive technique. Popular friction fire-making methods include bow drill, hand drill, fire plow, and fire saw.
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