Seems like there are two different types of survival people talk about. One is emergency wilderness type of survival and one is surviving and living without modern conveniences like learning how to make medicine on your own. I got hooked on the first type of survival but realized there’s a whole world of people dedicated to the long-term survival too and I’m really starting to get into that now. Really fun.

As a wilderness survival guide, I often am called upon to differentiate wilderness survival from primitive living. Often times these two are lumped together as one, but in fact they are distinct. Wilderness survival refers to the actual experience of survival in the wilderness, which may or may not be a "primitive" experience depending on the gear you have access to. Wilderness survival is usually a short term experience. Primitive Living is usually a long term experience, and refers to the experience of living in a primitive setting, practicing primitive skills for an extended period of time.
Just as you might imagine a company called “Ultimate Arms” would produce a bug out bag heavy on weaponry so to you’d be safe in assuming a company called “Food Insurance” would produce a bug out bag tripped out with food rations. This bug out bag eschews the notion that you’ll need to hack your way through starving, blood crazed, fellow survivors and instead assumes you’ll need to eat in order to keep your strength and spirits up should you be dislocated due to natural or man-made disaster. As such there’s ample food for a couple to keep themselves fed for a week or a single person for 2 weeks and still lots of room in the backpack for other things like Uzis, pepper spray and concussion grenades should you feel the need to bring them along.
Hi, I must say this is a really impressive post. Quite long yet on point and never bored me. Something to look back over and over again for reference. You laid new creative ways to prepping. I was just amazed how you could possibly cut logs using a replacement chainsaw. And I would really appreciate it to see it done in a video. 🙂 Thanks for the new ideas! Keep it going!
or, I’ll give you a very serious and concrete example, I live in a highly seismic area, if the reason I’m fleeing is the earthquake, I will have to take my backpack really running, but I would hate to run down some unsafe stairs, with a heavy backpack that contains an ax, a bow and a rifle, on that occasion quite useless, but if for another reason I am running away from my house to never go back, or to take a long journey, then maybe even the carpenter’s scrap metal must be taken rushed.

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!
Separating the plants you can eat from those that will kill you is a matter of study and memorization. Buy a book to familiarize yourself with plants in different environments. And don’t take any chances if you’re uncertain (remember how Chris McCandles died in the end of Into the Wild). A few common edible plants include cattail, lambsquarter (also called wild spinach), and dandelions. Find these and eat up.

It’s now all in one kit – and not counting food and water, it’s all under 25 pounds. That may not sound like that much of a big deal but when you consider that includes two stoves, a hatchet, a sleeping bag, a slingshot/ammo, and still have room in my pack, it was quite difficult to accomplish. To be as accurate as I could, I got a postal scale and weighed everything individually myself because manufacturer’s weights aren’t always accurate and I’ve modified some things on a couple pieces – and will modify things further later.
Analysts are starting to warm up to Uber as a market sentiment turnaround story in 2020, and on Friday it was Doug Anmuth at JPMorgan waxing bullish on the world's leading ridesharing platform. He sees Uber's leadership in both personal mobility and food delivery worldwide resulting in roughly $65 billion in gross bookings last year. Uber's bottom line has been a mess in the past, but he feels that rationalization in the stateside ride-hailing market and stability overseas will win out in the future. He's initiating coverage of Uber with an "overweight" rating. His $51 price target translates into 39% of upside off of Thursday's close, even after this young year's already heady run.
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.
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.

One of the best bang-for-your-buck items to stay warm when it starts to get chilly out is a neck gaiter. I have a thicker one that I’ll also put in the bag when it gets cold. I keep a lightweight one wrapped around my swimming goggles so they don’t get scratched and because I grab both of those if I get caught up in a sandstorm. Full-size goggles are just too big for me to carry around all the time for as little as I’ve worn them. Plus, they’re not as sexy.

GPS is great but what happens when your battery dies, and you don’t have a portable battery handy? The compass is the one piece of survival gear that will never let you down. Sure, it can’t tell you if there’s a town nearby but it can prevent you from wandering aimlessly in circles. The Eyesky compass is designed specifically to help extricate you from emergency situations. It features conversion charts to measure distances, a rotating bezel ring to determine your heading and adjustable sight lines to plot your course. It’s also built to last. It will take you all of an afternoon to learn how to use the Eyesky compass and it may turn out to be the most valuable afternoon you ever spent.


Many people who are forced into survival situations often get into serious trouble because of direct exposure to the elements. Most people in survival situations die of hypothermia, which can be easily avoided with basic survival skills. Being able to build a shelter is of paramount importance in a survival situation. It is extremely important to prevent or minimize heat loss, or if in a desert environment, to minimize water loss. Here are some things to think about when planning to build a shelter:

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.
Thank you. Real nice job here and I appreciate all the experience and thought that went into it, plus the fact you acknowledge it’s continual work in progress. I’m a former Army Sgt and I’ve done a long extended hike and well as other hiking, additionally I hunt. I’d call this a must read for any prepper. Pack weight, pack weight, pack weight! With all the gadgets, experts, and marketing out there, I cringe at how much this really gets overlooked, or even ignored. For those of you just starting on a BOB, I’d recommend your think more like a hiker– and this article is definitely a great start for you.
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.
That’s like me saying you are wrong to recommend a .22 because it would eventually succumb to the end of the world and become useless as pellets dry up, don’t bother wasting your time packing a finite resource, a knife will do everything for you, it will rebuild society!! But as you unwittingly acknowledged, you pack the .22 knowing it will be useful at first and will eventually become nothing more than an ornament you could discard or stash somewhere safely in case you ever come across more ammunition.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking this one through. Don’t give me that crap about having electronics being a stupid idea because I hear THAT stupid idea from someone every time the topic is brought up. The fact is that 99.9999999% of anything you’d ever use your bug out bag for will allow you to use your electronics so not reaping the benefit of what this stuff can do for you is just plain stupid. If somehow an EMP/CME does wipe out EVERYTHING I have, then I just drop the bag – simple solution. In the meantime, I carry this stuff.

You might be surprised to see food so low on the basic survival skills priorities list, though we can survive for much longer without it as compared with shelter and water. Remember "The Rule of Threes": humans can survive without food for roughly 3 weeks (though I'm sure you would not want to go that long without food!). Thankfully, most natural environments are filled with a variety of items that can meet our nutritional needs. Wild plants often provide the most readily available foods, though insects and small wild game can also support our dietary needs in a survival situation.
Hi, I must say this is a really impressive post. Quite long yet on point and never bored me. Something to look back over and over again for reference. You laid new creative ways to prepping. I was just amazed how you could possibly cut logs using a replacement chainsaw. And I would really appreciate it to see it done in a video. 🙂 Thanks for the new ideas! Keep it going!
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 may have been a bit dramatic in my response in cases, but mainly to show you the absurdity of the way you dramatically declare most of that useful kit should be discarded, as if you know best, as if you’ve been there done it, survived, worn the t-shirt, as if you think you’re come special forces commando that has survived behind enemy lines in every environment/climate the globe has to offer, totally ignoring the idiosyncrasies of each location around the world, for example you say knife .22 and “dump the rest”, because people living in an area with limited game but masses of water and fish to ditch their fishing line, hooks, weights etc for a .22… OK yea, I know who not to join up with in a disaster, the man carrying a f*cking sword to a gun fight
Hello i see your thinking it out on the right track . Be careful you might end up like me going almost entirely with true ultralight backpacking gear and in the end you will end up with things like cuben fiber stuff sack tents ect. Using expensive had made 900 fill down sleeping quilts, your already on your way with the stove setup . But you will find you rethink everything and test it over and see if something else lighter smaller can do the same job needed . Good to see ppl starting to get tye real idia less is more.
First off good write up! Secondly for those that live in places with woody (haha) surroundings, a hand drill with a somewhat lengthy , thick drill bit (roughly 3/4 inch-ish) would would most certainly come in handy. It will also take place and save some room vs the stove. Cosidering if you already have a means to cut wood you could also make a stove out of a small log. Its an easy to contain/maintain and less conspicuous way of boiling water or heating food. It is aslo very easy to extinguish if the need arises.

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.
These days news carries quicker via modern tech such as mobile phones and social media networks, this modern equipment maybe the only way you can get news early into any disaster, news that could be vital to your survival by giving you the information needed to decide how to proceed in the safest fashion, such as government advice what to do based on the information they have but you do not.
The centerpiece of my food prep is a Solo Stove Wood burning Backpacking Stove in addition to a Trangia Alcohol Stove. The Solo Stove will burn sticks, Esbit fuel tablets (providing you lay them on a piece of aluminum foil or metal so they don’t fall through the grate), pine needles, pine cones, and lots of other things. It would be very difficult to run out of fuel with it. Here’s a good video on the combination:

Disaster preparedness doesn't need to be complicated, but you’ll find that shopping and collecting gear for a DIY bug out bag can prove to be difficult. In many cases, the DIY approach may prove more expensive than necessary, leaving you with items you don’t really need—and shouldn’t waste your money on. Instead of forcing useless items into a bag that won’t hold up, opt for a pre-packed, top-rated bug out bag. 
Wow! This is fantastic! I started out blindly trying to put together an emergency “bug out” bag and I found this well written breakdown extremely helpful. So much so that I’ve actually purchased many of the recommended items. A somewhat costly endeavor considering that I made two identical bags, one for my wifes vehicle and one for mine. We live in a earthquake prone region and the talk of the “big one” is always in terms of “when” rather than “if”. It gives me considerable peace of mind to know that no matter where my family is we have the means to survive as long as we can get to our car.
Design – The best bug out bag is one with plenty of pockets. This allows you to compartmentalize your bug out bag essentials so that you know exactly where everything is and you don’t have to dig through mountains of other stuff to find what you need. Put all your fire and light things together such as tactical flashlight, candles, headlamp, fire starting kit and storm proof matches. Put maps, GPS devices, compass and other navigation related items in their own pocket and so on. The more you can separate things the easier it will be to transcend your difficulties.
Everyone’s needs when they Bug Out are different. So your Bug Out Bag should suit your needs. Your size/strength, number in party, where you plan to go and for how long will determine what goes in the bag. Bigger groups can share load weights. The only way to determine which bag works for you is to research and try the different sized and designed back packs. In the end, the weight you’ll be carrying may determine whether an external frame or internal frame will be best.
The Fiskars Hatchet would make a pretty devastating weapon if I had to fight close-quarters but I’m more comfortable with knife-fighting since I’ve at least been trained in it, which makes my SOG knife my go-to weapon. I suppose I could use my slingshot if I had to but I can’t really think of many instances where that would be realistic. Maybe I should just rethink the thong thing. That would probably work.
Okay, I’m now very confused. I’ve commented twice and had it disappear both times. I wanted to say thanks to you for a great list, very well thought out and planned. But I really wanted to tell Rory and anyone else looking for a great lightweight hiking boot to check out the Ariat ATS. Waterproof, Thinsulate lined and wonderfully comfortable. Ten years of use and mine are still going strong! They manage to keep my feet from sweating too–amazing!

Build Quality – The last thing you want is to be trudging through the windswept landscape trying to escape the oncoming storm surge and have your pack split open and spill your survival gear all over the place. The bug out bag should be made of durable, water resistant nylon and have high quality zippers (waterproof if possible) and double stitching all around. The shoulder straps should be firmly affixed to the bag and be well padded to help absorb the load you’re carrying. And if there’s a waist strap it too should be well-padded and preferably adjustable to accommodate people of different heights.

Regardless of what it looks like, a wilderness survival shelter should embrace these essential principles. It should provide insulation and protection from all elements. It should include a heart source, whether that is a fire, the sun, or trapping body heat. It should be placed in a good location - think high and dry. And lastly, it should offer comfort and sanctuary. After all, this will be your new home.

Even the smartest smartphone hasn’t been able to compensate for having no signal; until now. goTenna leverages a simple messaging app to allow you to communicate with the outside world should you be in need of help. You can share your GPS coordinates and condition, access offline maps or broadcast your situation to any other goTenna user in the vicinity. You also get confirmation your messages were delivered successfully so you can rest assured help is on the way. Finally, a way to get more from your phone when you’re off-grid. A smart, affordable piece of survival gear.


Mylar emergency blankets are great survival gear but sometimes you need more than that. The Coleman North Rim Extreme Weather Bag will keep you cozy warm when the air temperature is 0 degrees Fahrenheit. In temperatures like that you can lapse into hypothermia quickly especially if you’ve been slogging through the woods all day and are sweaty. Just crawl in the North Rim bag and pull the drawstring to lock in the warmth. The cover is durable rip-stop nylon so you can lay it on the ground if need be and there are snag free dual zippers so you can get in and out quickly and easily. Must have survival gear for winter adventurers.
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.
It’s now all in one kit – and not counting food and water, it’s all under 25 pounds. That may not sound like that much of a big deal but when you consider that includes two stoves, a hatchet, a sleeping bag, a slingshot/ammo, and still have room in my pack, it was quite difficult to accomplish. To be as accurate as I could, I got a postal scale and weighed everything individually myself because manufacturer’s weights aren’t always accurate and I’ve modified some things on a couple pieces – and will modify things further later.
With a calm center, over half the struggle is over. As I mentioned earlier, the most common physical reason that people die in wilderness survival situations is exposure to the elements. A person can die from exposure in as little as three hours. You must learn how to stay warm when it is cold, how to stay cool when it is hot, and how to stay dry when it is wet. Enter the wilderness survival shelter. It can take many forms, with a classic one being the debris hut. The debris hut is a small, one person shelter that is basically a simple structure that cocoons a person in leaves, grasses, boughs, or other natural debris to keep them insulated. It is built to shed water. Just imagine a primitive tent and sleeping bag all in one.
I noticed that a reliable light weight firearm was on the list. While many may think it uselss, a good high powered barrel break pellet rifle can do almost as much as a 22 rifle. A hundred dollars will get you one at Walmart that you can switch from .177 caliber to 22 caliber. The rifle breaks down and is easily carried inside of a decent back pack. The weight of the ammo is significantly lighter as well. This can be used to take down most birds, squirls, rabbits, small pigs and even foxes as well as racoons, armadillo’s. And snakes. All sources of protein.
To cook in, I have a Snow Peak Trek 900 Titanium Cook Set that comes with a 900mL pot and a frying pad that kind of works as a half-assed lid. Because it’s titanium, it’s super light and super strong – and it transfers heat extremely well, making it boil water faster. The drawbacks are that it’ll burn your food if you’re not careful and it’s a tad expensive.
Remember that this pack should be prepared and stored somewhere easily accessible and rodent proof. It is also a good idea to review the contents of your pack every 6 months to ensure you have appropriate clothes packed for the season and that your gear and rations are in order. This will help you feel confident that your Bug Out Bag is ready to go at a moment’s notice!
Prepping is kinda associated with people who prep for stupidly over the top unlikely SHTF scenarios were if the world as we know it has gone then yes maybe a lot of electronics will be useless, but not all, the longer you keep your mobile alive the longer you could have access to what is basically an e-reader which could house millions of survival books and associated materials like mechanics, first aid etc etc, I’d rather carry my tiny phone and a few batteries and a small solar charger than the weight of a stack of books, because in reality you’d need much more knowledge to survive than the significant majority of people possess in their heads, knowledge is power.
“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.”
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.
Ummm. Take a closer look. A Baofeng uv-5r has 4 rows of numbers and a Yaesu vx-6r has three (I have both). The photo shows three. Obviously, it’s a yaesu. As far as where I gained my experience, I guess you’d have to actually look around the page to either the top right or near the bottom to find it, or look on the about page, which is also linked.
Find Polaris, or the North Star, which is the end of the Little Dipper’s handle. If you can find the Big Dipper, draw a line between the two stars at the outer edge of the constellation’s dipper portion. Extend this line toward the Little Dipper, and it will line up with Polaris. Face Polaris, and you’re facing true north. If there is a crescent moon in the sky, connect the horns of the crescent with an imaginary line. Extend this line to the horizon to indicate a southerly bearing. Once you determine your direction, pick a landmark nearby or in the distance to follow by daylight.
I may have been a bit dramatic in my response in cases, but mainly to show you the absurdity of the way you dramatically declare most of that useful kit should be discarded, as if you know best, as if you’ve been there done it, survived, worn the t-shirt, as if you think you’re come special forces commando that has survived behind enemy lines in every environment/climate the globe has to offer, totally ignoring the idiosyncrasies of each location around the world, for example you say knife .22 and “dump the rest”, because people living in an area with limited game but masses of water and fish to ditch their fishing line, hooks, weights etc for a .22… OK yea, I know who not to join up with in a disaster, the man carrying a f*cking sword to a gun fight
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.
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