The Art Of The Bug-Out Bag

bug out bag

By Giordano Bruno
Neithercorp Press

The bug out bag is probably the most clichéd emergency preparation in the history of survivaldom. Some people focus so much on compiling their BOB that they lose track of much more important survival matters, while others are so biased against the ‘bug out’ concept that they refuse to even consider putting one together. In the world of survival research, preppers sometimes position themselves on the far ends of the opinion spectrum. To be sure, some strategies simply do not work and will never work, and to be uncompromising in those instances is reasonable, especially when you are dealing with such extremes as economic collapse. However, in my endless war against ‘assumption’, I would point out that rigidity in thinking often leads to tragedy for those in the midst of a social breakdown. Adaptability is the key to survival, and because of this, we cannot discount certain options out of hand.

The bug-out-bag should not be a primary concern of the survivalist, but it should be somewhere on their list. First and foremost, those who wish to prepare for a collapse event or other disaster should focus on survival location (where will you be safest? At home, or at a retreat?), food storage (a year’s worth for each person in your family or group is really the bare minimum, though some retreatists have the skill to get by on less), water allocation (if the tap stops running, how will you maintain a water supply? Remember, the average person can die after three days without water), and self defense (how are you going to defend the supplies you have from those wandering looters who did not prepare? How many people do you know that you can actually count on to stand their ground when the situation grows truly frightening?) If you haven’t already addressed these important issues, having a BOB will do you no good.

Have you ever watched a boxing or martial arts match and known immediately which guy was going to lose? That’s how I feel about those people who are obsessed with the bug-out strategy. They have lost before the fight has even begun.

On the other hand, there are those preppers who believe they are so safe in their survival location that they can’t be bothered with secondary retreats or even a bug-out-bag. This is equally foolish. As intuitive and as well researched as survivalists are, we still have no way of knowing what would really happen in the event of a total meltdown. Could your homestead be the future site of a refugee highway? Could your retreat and your independence be considered a threat by “authorities” intent on restoring their brand of order? Could a poorly maintained campfire on one side of your county set a forest fire that sweeps through to the other side, right through your home where you have staked all your survival hopes? There are an infinite number of reasons why you may one day have to leave your primary retreat location, possibly without warning. No one is invincible, and sometimes it’s better to walk away and live to fight another day. This is where the BOB comes in…

The bug-out-bag offers you a CHANCE at survival when all else seems lost. This is its purpose. The more ingenuity invested in the design of your BOB, the better your chance will be. Finding items and tools that streamline efficiency, space, weight, or serve two or more functions at once is crucial in organizing a high performance pack. In this way, building a BOB becomes a sort of art form. In this article, we will go over some great methods for taking your bug-out-bag to the next level.

Survival Kit Contents

Bug Out Bag Essentials

Most people who frequent survival sites are well aware of BOB basics. For the sake of those who are new to the concept, I’ll rehash most of these items (we all started somewhere). It’s possible I will forget to include some gear that people find essential. Hey, there’s a lot to remember! By all means, please leave a comment listing the items you believe should be included, but don’t send me emails admonishing me for my negligence (I once left out ‘toilet paper’ in a survival gear article and received dozens of finger-wagging letters in my mailbox).

The items below should adequately cover the Big Four; food, water, shelter, and self defense, as well as the special tools used in their acquisition, and those items required for personal health.

Bug-Out Backpack: A lot of people forget to include research on the ‘bag’ part of the “bug-out-bag”. Your choice of pack is probably the most important of all, and will affect your comfort and efficiency throughout any survival situation. Things to consider include size, durability, as well as how much you can honestly carry over long distances.

Most hiking packs are categorized by size, which measures their carrying capacity in liters. Smaller packs, or ‘daypacks’ are usually between 15 and 35 liters, multi-day packs range between 40 to 75 liters. For your purposes, a multi-day pack is the best choice.

Some packs are set on a frame which helps your body in supporting the weight of your gear over long distances. I have found though that a frame is not absolutely necessary and tends to be a matter of preference. Military ‘molle’ wear also offers the ability to easily strap compatible pouches onto your existing bag

There seems to be quite an ongoing debate among survivalists as to the “appearance” of the BOB pack. On one side, people hold that military grade bags in camo should be standard. On the other, people scoff at the idea of hiking across the countryside in military gear, possibly scaring the bejeezus out of everyone you come across. My personal take; go for the military style gear, or at least look for very subdued and earthy colors. I find that the anti-military gear argument is rather faulty. In a collapse scenario that is so disastrous it calls for a survivalist to “bug out”, it seems rather unlikely that the average person you run into will be in a position to care about what you are wearing, let alone be able to do anything about it. If a prepper was to run around in combat duds and a camo combat pack today, I would call him crazy. In a social breakdown tomorrow, I would call him smart.

Camo makes you less visible. I’m not sure what the problem is here. Unless you enjoy being chased relentlessly by thugs and maniacs, I suggest choosing a military surplus pack over that nifty new bright red JanSport.

Bug-Out Food: Food acquisition is probably the most difficult obstacle in a bug-out scenario. Weight and space are at a premium. You could load up enough food in your pack to last you a week or more, but that would leave little space for anything else. This is where you have to apply the art of efficiency.

What you are looking for are food items that cover a wide range of health requirements, contain a high amount of calories, and take up very little space. I have found that protein and energy bars, trail mixes, chocolates, and jerky, are all perfect for the BOB. Peanuts and other legumes are very high in calories (some trail mixes contain over 1000 calories in a single cup). Protein bars usually hold around 250 to 300 calories in a very small package, not to mention, they are a good source of necessary vitamins and minerals. Jerky is not very high in calories, but it does give you protein and that satisfying feeling of “fullness”, which is sometimes just as important. Chocolate is high in calories, fats, and sugars. In our regular environment where active people are rare, we are taught to avoid these things, but in a survival situation, you want as much calories, sugar, and fat as you can get!

Despite these space saving foods, your supplies will run out quickly, likely far faster than you had hoped. Prepare for this eventuality carefully. Memorize the wild edible plants common to your region of the country, and carry a small edible plant guide for good measure (never forget, dandelions are your friend). Be sure to carry snare wire for catching small game, and a small fishing kit with extra hooks, sinkers, and strong line.

Survival fishing is not a leisure activity. You will not need a rod and you will not be sitting around waiting for a bite. Staking a line across a river with several baited hooks for the day is your best chance of catching at least one if not several fish, all while your out making better use of your time. Gill Nets are also an option, though illegal for sport fishing in most states today, it is doubtful you will care much during a collapse.

Hunting will be difficult. Carrying more than one standard firearm when bugging out is not recommended, and if you have to choose only one, take your primary defense weapon. There are options, though. A combat rifle in .308 can also be loaded with hunting ammo for large game, serving two purposes at once. Another option, for smaller game, is the Henry AR-7 .22 rifle, which weighs less than a full canteen, collapses down into its waterproof floating stock, and is acceptably accurate out to 50 yards:

Rifle Parts

While perhaps a little too bulky to fit inside your pack, it could still be easily strapped to the side of your pack and the extra weight is negligible. 200 rounds of .22 LR ammo weighs virtually nothing and can be nestled into your BOB without trouble.

Bug-Out Water: Water is a weight killer. Don’t expect to carry much. Plan your bug-out route to intersect natural water sources, and carry at least one thick plastic sheet, garbage bag, or poncho for rain collection in conjunction with your canteen. Water purifying tablets are great in the short term, but a portable water filtration unit is a must for longer term situations, especially when dealing with very dirty water sources. The Katadyn Hiker Pro is one of the most common units used today and the filters are widely available in sporting goods stores:

Katadyn Water Filter

There are many other brands available, but I would stress using filters that are common, mainly because you are more likely to find replacement filters for trade in a post-collapse environment. Be sure to stock at least one extra filter cartridge to avoid having to make this trade too soon.

Bug-Out Shelter: Hopefully, if you have to bug out, you already have a pre-planned destination. There is nothing more dangerous than wandering around aimlessly during a collapse hoping to stumble across a good situation. As you travel, you will need temporary shelters to get you to that designated primary shelter.

Hiking anywhere takes a lot of energy, and you will probably need to set camp at some point along the way. In a group, you can sleep in shifts while others stand watch. If you are alone, the safety hazards are considerable. Sleeping at all will take effort due to the pressing uncertainty in the back of your mind, especially when a single moment of unconsciousness could leave you vulnerable.

Carrying a tent, even a top of the line lightweight all-season tent, is not realistic during a bug-out trek. The extra weight could be used for more important items, such as food, and one can easily build a makeshift shelter from available materials. 550 paracord is extremely useful in shelter construction. Plastic zip ties also work well. Dead wood from the forest floor supplies the rest. Choosing the right location is the number one priority. On high ground, in treacherous terrain, away from water sources, is actually ideal. The harder it is for you to get to your temporary shelter, the harder it will be for other people to get there as well. Terrain alone can deter most would be attackers. Generally, looters and other undesirables look for easy prey on easy ground.

Survival Shelter

Using existing rock formations, fallen trees, caves, etc. helps to obscure your presence, and covering your shelter with live mosses and fauna blends its shape in with the surroundings. A heavy duty thermal blanket can be used to insulate your shelter during cold nights. Light and fire discipline cannot be overstated, which is another reason why eating foods that require no preparation is important, at least a majority of the time. The goal is to avoid altercation, to go as unnoticed as possible until you reach your primary retreat.

Bug-Out Health: Without your health, you aren’t worth much to anyone, especially yourself. A bug-out event favors those who are energetic, athletic, and immune system conscious. Before an event even occurs, you should already be focusing on improving the mechanics of your body to the utmost precision. You should be a fine tuned and flexible machine (or at least as close as you can get). This includes the old guys out there who are grumbling at me as they read this. I’m not old, but I’m not so young anymore either. If you are serious about survival preparation, exercise a little everyday, and I mean EVERYDAY, especially jogging for endurance.

Get off the garbage prepackaged foods filled with poisonous chemicals and preservatives. Go organic if you can afford it. Quit smoking, quit drinking (at least cut down. No one can resist a good beer every once in a while, not even me), quit heavy drug use (this includes illegal and legal psychotropic substances), and get in shape for heaven’s sake! I know, it sounds like I’m telling you to have no fun. I’m not. I’m telling you to have a little less fun for the sake of your own survival. It’s worth it, trust me.

Pack wool socks. If you damage your feet due to cold, and lose your mobility, you will not survive. Frostbite is a notorious problem in survival situations.

Include a ‘snivel kit’ in your pack for minor illness and injury, with bandages, aspirin, pepto chewables, etc. I hate to say it, but diarrhea will probably be a more formidable enemy than any looters you might come across in a bug-out scenario. Normally, it’s just a minor irritation, but during a collapse, it could easily dehydrate and kill you. Packing preventative medications and choosing your water sources carefully could save you from a most excruciating experience.

Use herbal supplements or teas, like Echinacea and Elderberry, to maintain a resilient immune system. I have not used any antibiotics or vaccinations in a decade and I am rarely ill. Your immune system can handle almost anything if you take care of it properly.

Pack a camper towel and biodegradable liquid camper soap. Stay clean as often as possible. Take good care of your teeth! Imagine a tooth problem during a bug-out! Carry non-fluoride baking soda toothpaste and a brush. Use a dab of peroxide to kill germs. Not only does this save you from tooth loss, it also keeps your smile pretty, which seems irrelevant, but during a collapse, you need every advantage. Flash a rotted gnarly grin at someone who could help you, and they will instinctively want to walk the other way, no matter how nice you act. That’s just how people are. Keeping teeth white during a collapse? Try eating wild strawberries or strawberries from a garden if you can. Strawberries are filled with malic acid, which removes plaque.

Rest when you are sick, even if it takes a few days. Do not try to push on until you have battled your cold or flu back. Otherwise, it will stick with you for weeks, and even cause serious damage.

Bug Out Bag Tools

Bug-Out Tools: Here is a broad list of items every bug-out-bag should have, in no particular order…

This seems like an incredible amount of items to carry around on your back, but all of it should fit quite easily into your BOB if you use the space wisely, and the weight should not be an issue. Pack contents will also vary depending on personal survival strategies, but most of these tools should be present in your bag regardless of conditions.

Advanced Bug-Out Gear

So now that you have all your essentials organized, and have found that you actually still have room in your pack for more goodies, you’re wondering what items could give you that extra edge, that advantage that tips the odds in your favor. Let’s go over a few special pieces of gear that could make bugging out much easier.

Combat Rifle: When defending a retreat, you have the option of a battery of firearms if you wish. Assault rifles, pistols, and shotguns for short range, scoped bolt actions and semi automatics for long range. However, in a bug-out event, you may only be able to carry one weapon, so it had better cover as many areas of defense as possible.

The temptation here is to grab a pistol and a few boxes of ammo and enjoy the reduced weight. I recommend against this. I also recommend against AK’s, AR-15’s, Shotguns, and other weapons that lure us with their light weight, but reduce our range considerably. Long range calibers can still be used for short range combat, and they do something smaller calibers can’t; keep opponents at bay for hundreds of yards. I’m sure there are plenty of survivalists who will turn their noses up at this article now and go back to cleaning their AK, but remember, we are talking about a bug-out. I’m not giving the thumbs down to your precious AK or AR-15, I’m only saying they are not optimal for a bug-out situation. Here are some rifles I believe are…

Springfield M1A Rifle

Springfield M1A: The .308 is a heavy bullet which diminishes the number of rounds you can carry comfortably in your pack, but its range and penetration abilities easily make up for this. The M1A is a precision weapon which utilizes the .308 round masterfully. Hitting center mass out to 300 yards with only iron sights is very do-able, and a thousand yards is feasible with a decent scope. You’ll notice that every rifle I have chosen on this list is semi automatic. Some might argue that bolt actions offer greater accuracy, but this is debatable, especially where the M1A is concerned. You want a weapon that is versatile. Having the option of putting more rounds down range faster is part of this.

AR10 Rifle

AR-10: Although I am not a fan of the AR format, especially with the reports coming from the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq of rampant weapon failures, I believe my concern lay far more with the .223 round, and less with the weapon that fires it. The AR-10 fires the .308 while at the same time having the reduced recoil advantages of the AR-15. The AR is also easily modified, something that the M1A cannot boast. Extra care should be taken in keeping any AR clean and well oiled, but this weapon is a high performer if you do so.

FNAR Rifle

FNAR: An excellent semi-auto rifle platform with considerable range and accuracy. Must be scoped however (which adds weight, and scope maintenance) and does not come with iron sights. Very durable and very few reports of malfunction.


CETME: This is the super saver of the bunch, usually costing about half as much as the other three rifles. Fires .308, but not quite as accurate as the M1A. Also does not have the recoil reduction of the AR-10, so it will tenderize your shoulder pretty good. A lot of practice at the range will get you used to that, though, and its affordability certainly leaves more cash for you to purchase other items.

Ammo supply for a BOB is really dependent on how much weight you can handle. Carrying as much as possible without having to remove other important items is suggested. A minimum of four magazines for your weapon should also be stowed, along with supplemental parts (like firing pins) if you can find them.

OTiS Tactical Cleaning System

OTiS Tactical Cleaning System: This thing is fantastic! If you get excited about tools that streamline efficiency and space like I do, the OTiS gun cleaning set will drop your jaw. The entire kit, including the flexible fiber cleaning rod, fits into a tiny package about the size of a small cheeseburger. No joke. And, it holds brushes for every firearm imaginable, including the shotgun, as well as a tube of cleaning/oiling solution. I recommend packing a little extra oil and cleaning patches, but otherwise, I can’t think of a single bad thing to say about OTiS. Incredible space saver for your BOB.

Brunton 26 Folding Solar Panels

Brunton 26 Folding Solar Panels: The Brunton 26 is just the right size for your bug-out-bag; not too big, but not so small that it has trouble charging your electronic items. I have this system myself and have no complaints. A small intermediary battery pack may be necessary though when connecting to such items as 15 minute battery chargers, so that current is properly regulated. I can think of numerous electronics that are useful during a collapse, and these durable solar panels ensure they will always be operational.

Two Way Radios: If you travel by yourself, these aren’t very practical to carry, but if you are working in a group, they are a must. There are many models to choose from, but finding a set with security and private channel options is a priority, ensuring that other people will not be listening in on your conversations. They often advertise a range of 15 miles or more, but their real range when not in perfectly flat terrain usually ends up being around 2-3 miles, which should still be adequate for your purposes.

Two Way Radios

Night Vision, IR Flashlight: I’ve written quite a bit about night vision for the survivalist, and I think the advantages are obvious. I suggest buying a decent but cheaper model, and then finding a powerful IR Flashlight. Night vision uses IR rays like an invisible spotlight, and adding another IR flashlight could increase your range greatly.

Mini-Digital Video Camera: This serves several purposes. It can be used for surveillance and for mapping dangerous areas. Instead of sitting in a hazardous place drawing a site picture, you can walk up, take a minute of video, and then walk away for later viewing. Another use; video diary. If you are alone in a survival situation, you might find yourself losing your mental composure. Talking to the camera and recording your thoughts might take the edge off the tension and help you get through alive. Finally, you never know what you might see on your trek. Perhaps things no one would believe if you told them. Video evidence might be important, even during a collapse.

Shotgun Signal Alarm: A cheap trip wire device that sets off a blank 12 gauge shell, or sometimes a flare. Gives you a heads up and a head start on anyone moving towards your camp. Also can deter those who now know that you know that they are coming.

Smoke Grenade: These are perfectly legal to own and not too difficult to find on the web for purchase. Especially useful during an ambush in which you are at a severe disadvantage. Gives you an opportunity to make a clean getaway, or at least buys you time to find a better tactical position.

NukAlert Key Chain

NukAlert Key Chain: You never know what you might run into during a collapse, especially if international tensions are involved. A meter which is always running and alerts you when approaching dangerous radioactivity could save your life. Though most highly volatile gamma radiation falls to safe levels after two weeks of initial exposure, you should still be concerned about consumption of affected substances. Irradiated water sources, for instance, are undetectable to the eye, and without a device like the NukAlert, you would never know what you were drinking. The device is very small, and is also designed to be immune against an Electromagnetic Pulse.

The Most Important Bug-Out Tool Of All

I could probably go on for another several pages about gear options and items, but that would be overlooking the most important tools of all; your brain, and your spirit.

Smart survivalists, with a solid knowledge base and a powerful intuition, are the most likely to succeed under the worst of conditions. Intelligent, logical, and precise action can turn a catastrophe into any other day, and this is no exaggeration. Most catastrophes befall those who are unprepared, those who lack knowledge. For the smart survivalist, a catastrophe is simply an obstacle he has already trained to remove, and nothing to be overly frightened of.

The spirited survivalist draws on an inexhaustible well of determination. He is like a human avalanche, bursting through any barrier no matter how impassable it might seem. He never stops. He never gives up. He knows there is ALWAYS a way, an answer to any problem. He understands that most people who die in survival situations die on the inside first. They give in to the elements psychologically, and the rest follows from there.

A bug-out event is definitely one of the worst scenarios I can think of, mainly because it involves so many unknowns. But, with a well planned BOB, a level head, and a defiant heart, nothing is impossible. You can live through it. Never forget it. It can be done!

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About The Author

Survival Spot is dedicated to helping everyone learn philosophy and fundamentals of preparedness and survival.

48 Responses

  1. The Urbivalist

    Awesome rundown on the old trusty!

  2. Sol

    I'm sorry but I guess I'm in the bug out bag critic category. I workout daily, lift and run and the thought of having to hump a rucksack like I did in the Marine Corps during a disaster situation is chilling.

    When I look at the list of items in this article it sends even bigger shivers down my spine. Its basically the same load out for a grunt on a three to 5 day mission without chance of resupply. Its a pure dee ball buster of a load. Ask anyone who is in or who has served.

    I agree with the need to be prepared to bug out though but I really think that you'll be able to do it in your automobile. With that in mind I'm trying to develop a bug out trailer. Or more precisely, footlockers that can be loaded into my trailer at a moments notice and hooked up to my Bronco and driven to alternate locations.

    Just my two cents.

    • Marv

      You're right about the difficulty of managing the back pack, and I would love to accompany you with my own foot lockers in a small trailer, BUT you're car is going nowhere if you don't but out in time in the event of an EMP producing nuclear weapon. I would suggest that you have one of your foot lockers prepared with the BOB backpack gear so you could still head for the hills. Hope you're not close to a nuc target area.
      Good luck.

    • 03Grunt51

      I dunno Im kind of the opposite thought process. Being a Grunt in the Marine Corps myself, I think the first things to clog and shut down in a disaster situation will be the road ways, think of everyone trying to get out of dodge at the exact same time with emergency services down or otherwise preoccupied, 5 broken down cars out of 100,000 at the right places can bring movement to 0… Then your in a bug out situation from your vehicle surrounded by other people. I will always trust my feet every time. But Im used to 18 hour combat patrols with full combat load and an assault pack.

  3. Sol

    I'm sorry but I guess I'm in the bug out bag critic category. I workout daily, lift and run and the thought of having to hump a rucksack like I did in the Marine Corps during a disaster situation is chilling.

    When I look at the list of items in this article it sends even bigger shivers down my spine. Its basically the same load out for a grunt on a three to 5 day mission without chance of resupply. Its a pure dee ball buster of a load. Ask anyone who is in or who has served.

    I agree with the need to be prepared to bug out though but I really think that you'll be able to do it in your automobile. With that in mind I'm trying to develop a bug out trailer. Or more precisely, footlockers that can be loaded into my trailer at a moments notice and hooked up to my Bronco and driven to alternate locations.

    Just my two cents.

  4. Clint C

    A brilliant write based on the importance of common sense and diligence. I'll keep a copy of this one and completely revisit how I really stand with my survival plan…for a family of 6.

  5. Spook45

    Nothing wrong with a good BOB. I think the anti BOB ideas came because people see it as "unsustainable". Bugging out with no where to go is sort of pointless to most people. I consider two issues. One is threat assessment. The idea of bugging out, is to escape, evade or avoid some type of threat. The question is where too, most people cant live off the land so to speak, so they feel if they have no place to bug out too, its a bad idea. The argument is sound, at least until a genuine threat is kicking down your front door and you hvae NO CHOICE but to BUGOUT! I have two bags. One fully equipped field pack and one BOB that is geared lighter and more toward getting from where ever I am to home. I encourage people to lean more toward training and knowledge and away from being a gear head. Gear is cool and it makes life easier, but its also weight and without the knowledge, the gear will only take you so far. Basics are where its at and good sound knowledge of how to use what you have and how to improvise.

  6. Ray

    We agree with the author 100% when he says, "The bug-out-bag offers you a CHANCE at survival when all else seems lost. " And he is absolutely right about "finding items and tools that streamline efficiency, space, weight, or serve two or more functions at once is crucial in organizing a high performance pack." That is why at ( ) we offer a custom Build a Bug Out Kit option which allows you to pick and choose the contents you want in your Bug Out Bag. We understand that different people have different needs so we decided to help them out with our Build a Bug Out Kit option. "Prepare today, survive tomorrow."

  7. Ray

    We agree with the author 100% when he says, "The bug-out-bag offers you a CHANCE at survival when all else seems lost. " And he is absolutely right about "finding items and tools that streamline efficiency, space, weight, or serve two or more functions at once is crucial in organizing a high performance pack." That is why at ( ) we offer a custom Build a Bug Out Kit option which allows you to pick and choose the contents you want in your Bug Out Bag. We understand that different people have different needs so we decided to help them out with our Build a Bug Out Kit option. "Prepare today, survive tomorrow."

  8. witwct

    One thing I don't see covered in most aricles about bugging out is a means of self-defense. I know we don't like to think about it but if a bug out bag is needed there may also be a need to defend yourself against crime or attack here is a link to a good article addressing this:

  9. witwct

    One thing I don't see covered in most aricles about bugging out is a means of self-defense. I know we don't like to think about it but if a bug out bag is needed there may also be a need to defend yourself against crime or attack here is a link to a good article addressing this:

  10. The Bear

    I would also add a snake bite kit or snake handling kit, being bitten by a very dangerous snake is no fun and certainly avoiding them in the first place is the key, but ifs lots of people are tramping around in the bush, then its only a matter of time before you come across a snake, in Australia we have 16 of the worlds most dangerous snakes, in the US , there a lot of snakes also.

    for example at the moment their is large scale flooding across 3 states because of heavy torrential rain and of course many, many poisonous snakes have been flushed out from underneath logs, abandoned rabbit warrens etc and are pretty angry about losing their home.

    They are finding residence in peoples homes, barns, clothes,and farm machinery, I can assure you coming across a very aggressive King Brown snake chasing you over water is a sobering experience, even more so in grid down/survival situ.

  11. Joe M.

    I added a small airgun to my bag, the crosman 1377 great gun easy to do mods on it, easily takes down small game, thus saving powder rounds. I also just purchased a water microfilter too, but a different model then the one shown, water is top on my list, this is the one I now have.

  12. lledslinger

    I look at the BOB this way. Its my back up! If I can't get out in my truck and supplies I will use my motorcycle with a small trailer. If that won't work my bicycle and BOB will bug out and if that won't do it my pack and my feet will get it done. It may be that my Bug Out Bag Content is a little heavy but it will get lighter the closer you come to death, and you can get rid of some of it if needed.

  13. blah blah

    During a crisis situation, the #1 most important tool you can have … is more people. I think folks are getting so caught up in taking off and handling things on their own, they’re neglecting the fact that larger groups survive better than smaller groups or solo’s. So, you joking about staying clean and a nice smile…it’s true. Work on your social skills. Work on your leadership skills. People may scoff at all these survivalists, but if a collapse situation happens, they will be turning to them for help and answers. A survivalist that can act as a leader, guide folks along, show them what to do, get them to work as a team, relax their fears, etc, is worth far more than some materialistic stuff. In an immediate situation, sure, there will be people that will panic and perhaps try to loot. But if you can catch them with your rifle, hold them at bay, and then reason with them…explain to them how you’re going to make it while they won’t…they will realize you are prepared and will be willing to join you and support your group. I would much rather have along a couple more folks than more equipment during a survival situation. And I would much rather have good social skills that can persuade people than be the most awesome survivalist / mountain-man. Just my 2 cents on looking at the big picture. Like you said, some folks worry way too much about the bag…the immediacy of a collapse situation…rather than the long-term.

  14. ChancesDream

    In case of an EMP horseback is the way to go. That way you don´t have to carry the whole load yourself and you can bring alt more with you too and get around a lot faster.

  15. sandw44mag

    The gear you carry can save your life, that being said, what works for me may not work for my wife or my brother or you! The basic gear you need to survive is different for everyone, while the basic things that will kill you is the same for everyone. I am new to the prepping/survival community but have been practicing for years. There are a couple things missing from most of the websites and articles I have been looking at: the two main things are history and community.

  16. sandw44mag

    Everywhere on earth people live, other people have lived before. I suggest studying the history and lifestyle of the people that lived in your corner of the globe, then comparing that to your lifestyle now. What are the differences/similarities? What small changes to your daily grind could you make to get your lifestyle that much closer to that of indigenous people in your region? The second thing missing is Community. In a Shit Hits The Fan situation I don't recommend heading out solo, Rambo style with nothing but muscles and a knife. Even if this is your plan, it will be harder to accomplish than you think.

    • brearbear

      one thing i discovered years ago…
      those of us whom are "survivalists, or "preppers", or whatever you call your self…
      we, are but a very small percentage of the population…
      All members of my family, and most of my friends do not want to hear about it.
      As much as i agree with you about community, v.s. lone wolf…and my values to help my fellow man,
      i have decided that the only way for me is the lone wolf path, with, hopefully, SOME of my family, my wife, and
      my FEW buddies meeting up with me a.s.a.p., hopefully i can somehow end up at a later date with other like minded individuals…re-building, a positive healthy community someday?

  17. sandw44mag

    Other people will be looking for the same things in the same places you are. I think it is safe to say that if you have internet access you also have neighbors. They may be in an apartment next door or a mile down the road, but they are your neighbors, your community so to speak. Did they send a basket of food when your baby was born, or take up a collection when you wrecked your car and couldn't go to work for a month? These people are your friends and family, your allies. They bring to the table different opinions and skill sets, you may be able to grow the hell out of an organic garden but your neigbor can rebuild a small block chevy blindfolded. Aside from the different skills they offer, they can help carry your solar panels and all the other crap you're planning on toting out into the wilderness. Finally, in case of an EMP producing nuclear blast, there will be no shelter building material or fish to catch or small game to snare, or people to to any of those things. Hope for the best, plan for the worst!

  18. MoreBugOutPlans

    A great idea in finding exactly what you want to have IN your bug out bag is to to go on a two day hiking/ camping trip. You will discover for real, what you want to make sure is in that bag., It is amazing how many things we take for granted until we are out in the wilderness somewhere, miles away from everything!

  19. [email protected]

    This is very useful information for me as I seek to find exactly what to put together for my whole family. I have to make wise decisions because you definitely don't want to have small children with 20lbs packs on their back. I need to find information on what families do when they need to bug out.

    • brearbear

      i suggest..TRAVEL LIGHT!
      and even more so with young children,
      Stock up best you can for the home and vehicle. Stocking up the home is hard enough for parents!
      but also have a cache and expedient fallout shelter system in the works, now,
      for your home and at your site.
      Creston Kearney "Nuclear War survival Skills" free e-book, will help you with planning/preparing and building expedient fallout shelters

      IF you have to leave your home, travel light, caches along the way, go the long route to your site, being absolutely cautious, so not followed, when "there', have a plan B, a plan c.
      travel at night, maybe take your kids on a night hike…get them, and you used to night hiking and navigation.
      used to keeping quiet, make it a game, a challenge, maybe have a reward?
      get your children used to walking…carrying a light pack with comfort toys and stuff..
      a child should not carry much…
      dont take your best gear, have it at yure site…if you have to leave it all…travell light!
      one more thing, if possible, have toys/books/ and future learning things set up at site for kids, not just for the age they are now, but for future…school books are cheap at thrift shops…bury them.

      your site must be well established, well hidden, and keep it basic. Start working on it now!

      map things out, it ALL MUST BE hidden! cache mastery! hope this helps?!

  20. Smart Survival

    Great overview on the ''Art' of the Bug Out Bag. Unlike most survivalists I put more emphasis on shelter and water with less focus on tools. Here are 2 ideas for others to consider:

    1. Carry Adequate, Comfortable Shelter
    Many hardcore survivalists could last weeks with only a garbage bag and some parachord for shelter. Unfortunately, most 'survival enthusiasts' cannot. Take a lightweight tent that you are familiar with.

    2. Bring Extra Water
    Water filtration systems are great, but in a Bug Out situation who knows when or where you will find water. Always bring extra bottled water. Spread the weight among your group members.

    Good luck. Stay Prepared.

  21. TeufelH

    Another jarhead here. Good article, although on the weapons side of the house I believe you may need a little more out of the box thinking from your current plan. Overall before I put in my two cents, most of this is great, you put a lot of time into a thoughtful outline of why you need a backup plan/bob. The gear list is good but heavy. If you are suggesting the need for firearms, you are packed to full. In shtf scenarios without a big team, you can NOT double back to pick up your gear.

    Ok first off on guns, the chances you need one vs a full size shovel is very low in any likely disaster scenario in the US. Shootings during Katrina, CA earthquakes, etc put the murder rate lower than it normally is for walking down the streeet in those areas. I will lawfully carry, but only because I've been dropped in the middle of this shit before and understand what happens. Take a look at the news, start searching photos on the east coast from the hurricane. Try to find someone with a bug out bag and an M1 who did not either get hassled or arrested.

    On your point about .308, I think a challenge is in order. I can hit targets at 1000 with my dpms lr308. That is with some serious math, a windless day, and a hell of an arc. I can still hit dog targets at 600 with my ar15 with iron sights (and glasses). My point is that I shoot well and I know I'm rare. Telling someone they can hit a target at 1000 yards with a .308 is silly.

    Next on .308, front line troops always want what they don't have. When they have your heavy M1A, they want more bullets and lighter gear. When they have .223 they want bigger bullets and longer range. .223 sucking is a myth. Most of us are artists with the thing, the crappy shots/excuse needing tools whine about needing a .50 to do the job of a .223. We deal with our tools just fine on the front line. There are more advantages to the AR platform or mossberg 500/rem870. Ammo is plentiful, replacement parts are plentiful, practice is cheap. If you need to hunt deer, you can harvest any animal in north america with a .223. (or .22) It may be illegal, but you are suggesting a lack of DOW to care. I would submit the idea that if you do not have the experience to know why carrying an M1A is a bad idea, you would be much better off with a modern AR platform.

    Last, well personally my BOB is for natural disasters. I know where I live and my chances of survival with a nuke attack. They are 0 at work and 0 at home until I am rich enough for an underground playhouse in the back yard. I think the people who think EMP is coming along don't understand how it works or the energy required. You have a better chance being shot by a laser cannon on the front end of an F16. I would say if you are going to spend the time on preparedness, practice for the low hanging fruit. I'm in CO so blizzard, earthquake and riots seem to be about it. I have more of a chance to put out a fire on the highway with the extinguisher in my trunk or do CPR to save a life than I do to worry about if my graphite ar15 was the right choice for my house bag, my ar10 in the garden cart in the garage or the 870 in my trunk. I have used the first aid kit in my trunk. I have not pulled out the shotgun.

    Just saying, if everyone prepared for the higher percent chances, we would all be better off in a disaster instead of prepping to kill everyone.

  22. brearbear

    i am preparing now, learning all i can about gold prospecting and mules…
    i just moved to Northern B.C.
    i figure next spring …and def the year after that.
    part of my plan is to use pack mules…
    a mule can carry several hundred pounds of gear.
    i would suggest looking into the plus and minus aspects of horses v.s. pack mules.
    from my research, mules are superior.

  23. BG mail

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  24. John Davis

    Your #1 job in a #10 disaster is to get you and yours to a place where a reliable source of clean water exists as quickly as possible. The BOB is to get you from point "A" where you happen to be, to point "B" where the water is. This place should be fairly remote. A natural spring or artesian well is best. Find a place you can walk too in three to five days. Plan on using backroads to get there.
    You are going to have to keep moving, forget about camp stoves and cooking and snares and fishing. Have a cache of that stuff waiting for you at point B. You need a lot less stuff in your BOB than you think you do.
    I suggest a military style poncho, a heavy duty space blanket, a dust mask, a large camo bandana,a thin wool blanket, several wool watchcaps, gloves, trail food for three days and a water filter. a tube of chapstick.
    a small radio and flashligfht that use the same size batteries, a map and compass.
    several pair of wool socks, light hiking boots, set of long underwear, six ft square of moskitto netting.

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    In order to know the benefits associated with an emergency survival kit, it is important to know and understand the purpose and intent of survival kits. A good survival kit will contain all the essentials you'll need if you're on the run or moving to a safer location: food, water or water filter, heat source, first aid kit, flashlight, etc. You have at least basic survival kits with food, water filtration tablets, heat source, first aid kit, cooking tin and utensils, flashlight, waterproof matches, all-in-one tool, radio and dust mask.

  26. Cordell

    Great list! There is a good website to purchase most of the items on that list. Its Check it out if you need to get a pack and don't want to waste the time finding all the components

  27. K.c.

    I like the article and think it is quite comprehensive, but the assertion "one can easily build a makeshift shelter from available materials " might be a little off…

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    I suggest a military style poncho, a heavy duty space blanket, a dust mask, a large camo bandana,a thin wool blanket, several wool watchcaps, gloves, trail food for three days and a water filter. a tube of chapstick.

  29. The Prepper

    Great detailed write up of what should be included in a bug out bag!

    I notice, though, that people who are new to prepping get intimidated by a list like this.

    I wrote up a post about the bug out bag BASICS at <a href ="">Preppers Planet. Check it out!

  30. Jimmy T

    Truckers CB say's this is some great information keep up the good work.

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  32. Bill G.

    Relatively good article – you make some good points and offer some good suggestions. My problem with BOBs (and the people who swear by them) is that they are often unrealistic (3 guns, 5 knives, 9 flashlights), nobody actually tests it in the field (they just make videos of all their pristine gear), and no one ever seems to know WHERE they plan to bug out TO or why it would be better to stay put.

    As far as CAMOUFLAGE – If you're trying to blend in with your surroundings great. However in a SHTF situation "blending in" will mean looking like the thousands of other ill-prepared. If there are a 100 refugees wearing whatever they could find and carrying garbage bags of belongings and one guy in fatigues, webbing, and a Maxpedition tactical bag – guess who gets whacked? I would rather look like a bum, with nothing of value – and if I do get hassled they won't be expecting my response.

  33. radnar

    what he said. Plus my towel! Cept depending on where your at should decide the drag some inner city folks get aways may call for a shopping cart n an old suit. Sorry, people like myself, handicapped have it worse than some, better than others. I have needs nowhere as bad as some others. I am on oxygen as a result of ,old s**t Working for the man border mesothelioma tell me how in f**k do you get fifteen O2 tanks in one of y'alls BOB. I ain't on no pity pot here. I'll watch your back, while y'all bugs out. The man'll never know you was here, or where you went, when or how, which way you went! Or if you even went my sister in drag might scare them into believing your leaving in a minute but boy you sure got butt ugly Bubba. Keep the rubber dwn this flight ur on sounds squirrely! I say stand your ground these colors don't run.

  34. SurvivalDAD

    Hello all,
    Not sure if this is the proper format for this question. I am prepping a BOB for myself and my immediate family as a last ditch resort in case our home became compromised. The problem that I am having is finding proper clothing for my 6 and 12 year old children. I am thinking something along the lines of cover-alls that would help conceal them and allow them to regulate temprature via layering. Can anyone give me any helpful suggestions as to where I can find these?

  35. Mattio41

    Greetings, I am fairly new to this, and have just started planning a BOB. I have read multiple peoples ideas of what you should have. And I started thinking about my circumstances. I live in Coastal New Jersey. I am more concerned about a weather event or civil unrest in my area. God forbid something nuclear happened, It wouldn't matter much for me, being between New York, and Philadelphia in addition to a naval base. There probably wouldn't be much left. My question for this particular comment would be ore towards weapons. I own several handguns. I had inherited a Stevens Savage .22-.410, that breaks down into 3 components. Which can be stored in a bag, and assembled later for small game hunting.

    I am currently looking to purchase a shotgun for not only home defense, but also as part of my strategy. I had noticed a few comments in regards to more rifles then shotguns. And wanted to know if anybody else had an opinion. My reasoning is, I will be able to use my Shotgun within side of my home for protection, but if I had to get up and go, it would still be a useful tool. Anybody else share these thoughts?

  36. Knighthawk

    Hi Mattio41, For inhome protection I would use a handgun with a lazer aiming system in Auto. 9mm or 40 S&W types (most women can control these) with at least one backup clip. The lazer light will give off enoff light to see every thing down the halls or in your rooms and where the red light dot is is where the bullet hits.. As for a shotgun, use a Auto. in 12ga. and don't put the plug in the tube. Most people that do'nt use a pump shotgun often, will eather forget to pump the gun after the first shot (seen this happen hunting birds in the field by guys that hunt with a pump gun. Think it wont happen when you and your family is under stress…) or will, what is called, "Short stroke it", in other words will only pull the forward action part way back and not put another round in the chamber of the shotgun and you do'nt realise it untill you pull the trigger and it gos click not bang. The .22 / 410 is a big plus for small game use and with 410 slugs and you can put down deer with it with no problem. Just my thoughts and seen stuff under high stress myself more than once. For Hi-Power go with .223 you can carry more rounds.

  37. gest

    i would disagree about your choice of weapons, i have no problem engaging targets out to 300+ yards with iron sights on my M-4 and with an ACOG 550 is easily attainable. regardless of the bullet characteristics without proper training all the weapons mentioned are next to useless for long range engagements

  38. Rambo

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  39. survival backpack

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