My go-to water filter system right now is the Sawyer Mini. It filters a LOT more water than pretty much everything out there, but to do that, you need to use the plunger it comes with. It can also be adapted to run inline with a Camelbak and it comes with a roll-up water bottle. I keep one Sawyer Mini in one of the front belt pouches and one in the Survival-Tools bag along with a plunger and a roll-up bottle.

With goTenna you use a simple smartphone messaging app as a platform for sending SOS messages along with your handheld hunting GPS coordinates should you need emergency help. You can also use it to chat with emergency services so they know your exact condition and can prepare accordingly. It’s off-grid survival gear at its best and could be the difference between life and death.


The mind and its processes are critical to survival. The will to live in a life-and-death situation often separates those that live and those that do not. Stories of heroic feats of survival by regular people with little or no training but a strong will to live are not uncommon. Among them is Juliane Koepcke, who was the sole survivor among the 93 passengers when her plane crashed in the jungle of Peru. Situations can be stressful to the level that even trained experts may be mentally affected. One should be mentally and physically tough during a disaster.
This tactical flashlight fits neatly into the palm of your hand so there’s no excuse for not making it part of your survival gear. It produces 300 lumens of intense, focused light, has 3 operational modes – high, low and strobe (particularly handy in emergencies) – and is tough as nails so you don’t have to worry about damaging it. It’s the kind of rugged, dependable companion you want with you if you’re lost or injured and it will greatly increase your chances of enjoying a successful resolution to your situation.
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.
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.
Electronics are a definite combat multiplier and make things much simpler and more accurate, which is why we used pluggers instead of looking up map coordinates to call in and a GPS during surveillance (except in the schoolhouse). Still have to be able to function without them but having a cell phone for emergency contact and to hold survival pdf’s can be a HUGE lifesaver – if it works.
Batoning a knife to build a shelter is a LOT of work so I wanted to get a really good hatchet. It came down to the Estwing E24A Portsman’s Hatchet vs the Fiskars X7 14-inch Hatchet. I went back and forth with this one for a long time. I ended up with the Fiskars because it was over a quarter pound lighter (from what I could find on the web and assuming the sheath weight) and had even more 5-star reviews. I REALLY like the looks of the Estwing but cutting weight is a priority over aesthetics. Barely.
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.
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.
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 😉
Sometimes there just isn’t the material available to create an emergency shelter. In that case if you have the Survival Shack Emergency Survival Tent in your survival pack you’re ready. With all the heat retention ability of the Mylar emergency blanket and the ability to provide real shelter in just minutes the Survival Shack Emergency Tent is genuine survival gear.
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.
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.
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.
“It’s your number one, go-to rescue knot,” Stewart, who uses a mnemonic for every knot, says. It’s foolproof for fastening rope to an object via a loop, particularly when the rope will be loaded with weight: the harder you pull, the tighter the knot gets. Stewart’s mnemonic for tying the bowline from any angle is “the rabbit comes out of the hole, around the tree, and back in the hole.” Use this mnemonic, says Stewart, and “it doesn’t matter if you tie it spinning on your head. It’s going to come out right.”
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!
I’d love to know what all that crap weighs you really don’t need half of it… dump all the water purification crap and boil water. You don’t need a bowl because you have a canteen cup to heat over a fire. Forget the MRE’s it’s heavier than freeze dried. Bring one large solid tang knife you can hit and dump the rest you don’t need saws and hatchets. Bring a .22 some ammo. Dump all that electronic crap & batterys. Forget the carabiners you can’t carry all that crap anyway, face paint, walking sticks, you name it. Take only what you need, bring a bic and learn how to make a fire bow with some 550 cord
Paracord is one of the most versatile pieces of survival gear you can carry. It has applications as diverse as helping you set up a makeshift tent to creating a clothesline for drying wet clothes to establishing a perimeter around your campsite that will warn you of the approach of curious or hungry mammals. On top of that you can use it to transcend physical obstacles like small cliffs you might encounter as you attempt to reach civilization. It’s essential survival gear for the person that likes to be prepared for any eventuality.
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