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.

It is an extremely important list in my opinion but dances between the motive. Sometimes it’s hiking, sometimes it’s nuclear bombing and sometimes a fugitive (I even felt Zombie Apocalypse). I think you should set specific scenarios and then try creating a list. For example, a person leaving his home to find a job in a new city or a person who is on a constant move. So you can think about what exactly matters and what does not. We are easily confused homo sapiens, we don’t need a big list of items that may come to our use, we need a list of items we may have forgotten but are very important to us. So, having a scenario-specific list is better. But I do like the list, it made me add a few more items to my almost perfect list.
What happens when a disaster hits while you are on the road? Survival Supply has you covered in this area, as well. For preparing your any type of auto disaster, from a breakdown to a whiteout, go with a thorough roadside kit from our store. Each of our auto emergency kits has just the right supplies for handling standard car problems, increasing your visibility in the dark, and signaling for help.
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.
This was a great article but I have to say that as far as fire arms go I wouldn’t suggest a .22LR. Yes the ammunition is light and yes you can carry more but in a self defense situaton a .22 isn’t an ideal round. I would suggest if it’s a rifle your looking for go with a .556 NATO or .223 because they are still light weight rounds and they would be more beneficial they are great for defense and hunting larger game. As far as hand guns go a revolver is reliable but the rounds are heavy and most of them are quite bulky a 9mm Luger would be your best bet because they are reliable and the ammunition is one of the common and available round there is so even if you run out obtaining them won’t be that difficult. Plus most full size double stack mags carry around 10-17 rounds which means more rounds before you have to reload.
Regardless of whether everything is going swimmingly or you’re lost in a whiteout above tree line your boots are one of the most important pieces of survival gear you have. You need them to stand up to the elements and keep your feet dry and comfortable. Irish Setter Men’s Waterproof Hunting Boot is a fine example of the state of the bootmaker’s art.
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.
I’ve had several times in just daily life that I’ve needed a wrench. Can’t hurt to have one if you’re out trying to survive and come across something that needs to be disassembled. Measuring tapes are useful to make sure you can fit something to something else and don’t have both of them together. I have a fiskars hatchet but it’s a different tool. Chopping a 9″ log is a lot of work but sawing it is pretty easy.
I agree less is more. Use two contractor refuse bags sandwiched together with leaves and moss in between the layers will make a good sleeping bag, floats for river crossings.water storage etc. Not so detectable on ir, properly camouflaged. Thermal a whole different story. The Oath Keepers site has instructions for a thermal evasion cloak. With a little bit of tweaking it will make a very warm and snug sleeping bag. So if evasion from thermal is a concern this might be a solution. It can be used as poncho, lean to, and rain fly. For survival needs I carry .22 with subsonic 1000 fps thereabouts and a silencer. The sound signature is that of a click of the firing pin. For motion detection $ 9.99 motion detector from Harbor Freight, they come in white, mask and and paint black avoiding the white detector cover.
The compass will get you moving in the right direction but when night descends you’ll need a strong dependable light source and the J5 Tactical flashlight is that and more. The J5 produces an incredibly intense beam from a single AA battery. It’s essential survival gear that can be seen from miles away so even if you can’t see anyone else there’s a good chance someone else will see you.
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!
If you’re ordeal is an extended one you can lash the Ultimate Pro Knife to a small branch to create a spear for catching fish or small mammals. The pommel at the butt end can be used to hammer tent stakes and that little thing hanging from the lanyard cord is a powerful emergency whistle that can take over emergency signaling duties from the tactical flashlight or your long range walkie talkies when the sun comes up. A top-notch knife like this is essential survival gear.
The GR1 is a USA made backpack made to Armed Forces specs but with a civilian friendly design. The pack is a favorite among travelers, military personnel, law enforcement, hikers, emergency preppers, students, and of course GORUCK Challenge participants. This pack was specifically built for the Special Forces and has been used in Baghdad and New York City.(2)
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 was a fisherman after I decided to not be a pilot and when you are out on the boat things can get messy. I have ran out of water on the boat, I was left with no other option but to drink my own urine. My crew called me pissy, not because I liked to drink alcohol (which i do I’m a self confessed alcoholic) but because I often drank my own piss when I ran out of water. Oh well, it hasn’t killed me yet.

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 you’re cold and wet and in desperate need of warming up you need a dependable way to get a fire started. The Gerber Bear Grylls firestarter is simplicity itself with one end providing a ferro rod to create a spark and the other a metal striker. There’s a lanyard running through both ends so you don’t lose track of anything and a powerful emergency whistle on that same lanyard that will allow you to signal for help. The whole thing tucks away neatly into a waterproof storage unit that measures a modest 4 ¾” in length. Mastery of fire is what separates us from wildlife. This piece of fire-related survival gear can ensure you walk out of the woods at the end of your ordeal.
I have to agree with Steve: I have a bug out bag ready in case the SHTF. That doesn’t mean that there’s going to be a lot of “safe places” to run to. If we get together with like minded people, we can make a long term plan. The only reason for a “three day bag” is if “they” are coming for you specifically and you can go to another sane location. I personally have packed a .22 revolver and 200 rds., carry a .38 Special and pack 100 rds., and shoulder a Saiga .223 carbine with 200 rds. of “penetrators”, FMJ, and some soft point if I need to take a little larger animal. And, another thing, if you pack “pills” in a baggie and happen to get stopped along the way, you can bet on a trip to the station!
I like your addition of a bug net. One thing I noticed is that the author correctly says to save space and weight to just pack a tarp. However, where I live, from late May to late September if you don’t pack bug netting, a tent with screens or plenty of bug spray you are going to be itchy, sore and tired from no sleep because you are up all night swatting mosquitoes

Some survival books promote the "Universal Edibility Test".[18] Allegedly, it is possible to distinguish edible foods from toxic ones by a series of progressive exposures to skin and mouth prior to ingestion, with waiting periods and checks for symptoms. However, many experts including Ray Mears and John Kallas[19] reject this method, stating that even a small amount of some "potential foods" can cause physical discomfort, illness, or death.
If I could ask a stupid question… I’m planning on immigrating from the US to the UK where some laws are different for preppers. Things that I have here, such as my machete and combat/survival knives are illegal there. As are most firearms without extensive registering and licensing and I’m sure those few with real firearms are on a list there. And likely new immigrants are prohibited from owning firearms and most weapons in general. I also have a future wife and two children there to consider. I’m ex military and martial artist but they aren’t and I want them to be able to get prepared asap. Any suggestions? Thank you immensely for this information and for educating beginner preppers. Contrary to some posts here, many of these items, while perhaps not necessary, can make the difference between life and death or worse the deaths of loved ones. Vaseline, duct and electricical tape, socks, gloves, cotton, fishing gear, strong paracord, and much more have a wide myriad of uses. Also I would suggest getting at least basic military field medical training to treat cuts, infections, GSWs (gunshot wounds), etc. One strong suggestion, I personally would add various sized plastic Ziploc type bags and at least a couple of contractor trash bags. These are indispensable. They can help with distilling water with a solar still in even a post nuke environment, with Vaseline can patch a sucking chest wound, can keep your documents, phone and other paper or electronic equipment dry, etc… In addition, know your surroundings, what’s available, and LEARN TO IMPROVISE. Learn to make a firebow, what wood types in your environment are best, how to make your own fishhooks or fishing spear from wood or bone or scrap metal, etc. A small saw is indispensable. I also have a leatherman tool and a couple of different sized pliers as well as wire cutters and a small coil of wire…which also has a myriad of uses from securing any blade to a handle or shaft to making fish hooks, to even crafting various boobytraps and snares. Be vigilant, know your surroundings and common things and locations you see daily. Make mental note. Learn to braid paracord. Or martial arts. Your most valuable resources you can ever have are your mind and body, keep them honed and healthy and continue to learn and perfect your craft. One last note: nearly anything is possible with the right knowledge. Best wishes to all reading this. ♡
Not surprisingly, hypothermia is the number one outdoor killer in cold weather. That means a well-insulated shelter should be your top priority in a prolonged survival situation. To make a simple lean-to, find a downed tree resting at an angle, or set a large branch securely against a standing tree, and stack smaller branches close together on one side. Layer debris, like leaves and moss, across the angled wall. Lastly, insulate yourself from the cold ground–which will draw heat from your warm body–by layering four to six inches of debris to lie on.
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.
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.
The Ready America bug out bag features a 107 piece first aid kit, survival blankets, emergency whistle and more, including 4 ‘food bars’. Since those food bars won’t get you very far the company, like many others, is counting on you to provide your own rations and that’s fine. There are plenty of places to purchase ready to eat, vacuum sealed meals as well as dehydrated food that you can stuff in the generously proportioned backpack. The backpack itself is well built, water resistant and easy on the shoulders. It can also be carried at your side using the convenient top handle. If you live in an area prone to hurricane strikes, tornadoes or flooding you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to invest in a bug out bag like this and keep it at the ready. It’s 100 bucks very well spent.
Thank you for sharing your experience, I like the GORP i used to make mine and would eat it for snacking. I don’t know if it would last very long, but that would be a little discipline. I would like to suggest looking at Spider line instead of the 40 pound fishing line. It’s stronger and doesn’t stretch like regular fishing line. I also for electrolytes I have the nuun brand. This works for me especially when I get cramps from hiking: which I do and I’ve about everything and these work for me.
Sorry to those who don’t know what I am describing. It is similar to a swedish log candle. But you would drill from the top down half way. And a hole through the side to meet the hole through the top. You would then put your kindling in the top and use the side hole to light the kindling (it would also serve as a means of oxygen intake) the stove then becomes self sustaining when lit.
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