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.
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.
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.
I’ve seen that 1/3 of your body weight number getting tossed around a lot. Any idea where that comes from? In Afghanistan I tried to keep my pack around 35 lbs so I was never over 75 or so with my weapon, ammo and body armor. Even then, walking all day with that much weight is brutal when you’re not used to it. I’d hope most people would shoot for around 35lbs total in a bugout bag. Add in a weapon and some ammo and you have another 8-10 lbs if you take a rifle. It adds up quick.
To me, the best option is to store emergency food. How much? If you have none, store enough for a few days. If you have enough for a few days, get enough for a week. How much you store depends on what time frame you think you're at risk for having to be completely independent. The early settlers of the southwest liked to store enough food for a whole year and still do to this day!
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. 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.
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.
People ask if I was in the military. Yeah, but it was 80 lbs and 40 years ago. Special Forces “A TEAM” medic in fact. But I forgot a lot of that. I carried 120 lb rut when we moved out, but about 40 lbs of ammo and grenades on patrol. I have 2 dozen ruts now, from patrol size to major moveout size. I put 80 lbs of cat litter (we have a cat rescue) to practice the other day … and I had a very hard time to get up with it. So I dropped that to 40 and hit the treadmill 3 miles and 3 mph. I will need to do that for awhile before increasing the weight. I’m 220 wanting 180 but at 66 yrs it’s becoming harder to do things. Hips, knees, shoulders, knuckles .. they are all stiff and ache. So I may have to cut back. But to tell someone just bring 12 rounds of ammo …… that’s crazy. Get an AR in 22 cal, the Ruger Takedown fits well in our ruts. 300 rnds of 22lr is light. I have a Glock M22 40 can with a 22 conversion that works great, same for 1911 45 / 22. In reality, it all comes down as to what the threat is perceived to be. CPAP: my new one is 10 oz, and 6 days of rechargeable batteries are 4 lbs. Solar panel or 110 to recharge the batteries. Forget the CPAP = loud snoring and dog tired wakeup.
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.
The Garmin High Sensitivity GPS tool is a potentially game changing piece of survival gear that employs a quad-helix antenna and GLONASS receiver to provide actionable GPS data even when you’re in the gnarliest locales. With its comprehensive selection of pre-loaded US topographical reference maps you’ll be able to plot an effective escape route from even the direst situations.
That’s true, we do. It’s clear that we can’t carry everything to survive for a year or more on our backs and we count on our stash at point B. If it’s not there, we do the best we can, go to a FEMA camp or die. What are our alternatives? I think that most people will go to point B if they see the problem before it arrives (hurricane) but a surprise nuclear attack on Houston (in my case) would necessitate a quick exit along with everyone else still alive. As to ‘bring it’, I certainly would if a. I had an operational vehicle and b. the roads were clear enough to get around minor obstacles – I don’t and won’t have a two ton or half track at my disposal. If not of if my vehicle becomes untenable along the way, I’ll put on my boots and my BOB and do the best I can. As you say, there are many scenarios.
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.
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)

The Trangia Alcohol Stove is a great addition to it because the Solo Stove makes it more efficient. The nice thing about the Trangia is that it has a screw-on lid so you can put the flame out and carry it with fuel in it so you don’t have to guess exactly how much fuel you’ll need each time. It burns alchohol so I carry 8 ounces of yellow HEET (which is methanol), carried in one of those cheap squirt bottles you find in the travel size section at the grocery store. Don’t get the red HEET (isopropyl), it’s not nearly as good. There are many fuels you can use with it though. Of note is Everclear, which can be used inside without worrying too much about the fumes, and you can drink it *shudder*.
The best way to learn and develop wilderness survival skills is to get wilderness survival training from a live wilderness survival guide or school. Twin Eagles Wilderness School offers a variety of wilderness survival training classes, including our transformational, nine month long Twin Eagles Wilderness Immersion Program - the ultimate wilderness survival training.
Learn how to use it – What good is a compass if you don’t know how to use it? Not much. How about your Tenacious Tape? Or your GPS locator, or multitool? It’s great to head out into the wilderness with all the appropriate survival gear but if you don’t know how to use it when the time comes it will be as useless as the “g” in “lasagna”. Once you’ve decided what you need and have purchased everything take the time to familiarize yourself with what you have and how it works. Take the GPS locator out into your local state park and practice with it. Practice starting a fire with your emergency fire starter. Buy some extra Tenacious Tape and a cheap raincoat and practice cutting it up and making repairs. Take your survival knife out on a short hike and see what its practical limitations are when it comes to cutting wood etc. You might need a larger one or one with a longer serrated edge. The bottom line is this: make sure you know how to use the survival gear you have before you leave civilization behind and head into the woods.
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