We’ve thought about doing a bug out bag guide so many times before it’d be impossible to count, but somehow in 4 years, still haven’t actually published one.
The why comes down to the fact that, unlike comprehensive lists – like of all the survival gear you might or might not want to have, or of all the first aid supplies you might entertain stashing in your at-home stockpile, bug out bags are a delicate balance and you really can have too much. It’s actually probably easier to have too much than too little, considering your goal with creating a B.O.B. is to be as prepared as possible, and thus the practicality of not having a lightweight enough pack may not set in until it’s essentially too late, and you end up in an emergency situation where you need to lug a heavy pack around as planned.
Hazard 4 Officer Tactical Molle Backpack – Amazon / eBay
So I’m, oddly enough, going to ask you guys first what you have in your bug out bag before we even publish a bug out bag article of our own. Oddly because, well we’re a survival blog that doesn’t have a fleshed out article on bug out bags yet, 4 years in – yes, super weird, I know.
I’m going to be making an article compiling your responses in one way or another, because I loved the resulting compilation posts I made recently, putting your discussion topic responses together into something that’s a lot faster to skim through than the comments.
So far only three exist: 1. A compilation of what knives you guys currently carry, 2. A list of your prepper gear recommendations, 3. A list of high-value knives you guys recommend. Though they’re not at all the easiest posts to create (I have to figure out the best way to format the post, read through all the comments, make sure I didn’t leave any amazing information you guys left me out, then live with the guilt of potentially having left out something really fascinating in the final resulting post!), I do love re-reading these posts and I think they’re some of the most fascinating articles on this blog. I’ve always thought it was interesting to read through overviews of what other people are thinking, doing, and (let’s be honest in this case) carrying and using. It gives me great ideas for what I should be changing about my own set up to optimize, and the diversity makes me feel like my own little bubble of bias is cool, but there are obviously plenty of other ways to fry the same fish. Also, as is obviously the case, two heads are better than one, and this is like having 20-50 heads on the job. Our collective community’s opinions make for some amazing advice – the likes of which I could never have come up with on my own.
Enough of a pre-amble, though! You get the picture. I want your bug out bag item lists, tips, and advice because I’d love to put together in some way or another a compilation of your comments – and benefit from learning from what you have to say myself.
Bug Out Bag Chat
- Where do you live (country/state?); what kind of environment do you have to prep for?
- What specific items are in your bug out bag (copy and paste a list if you have one).
- Which items do you think are most important to have in a bug out bag?
- Do you find your bug out bag to be well optimized for weight?
- Is there anything you think should never be in a but out bag (because of weight, because it can be replaced with other, better items, etc.). Why?
And of course, anything else you can think of!
Let’s take this conversation to the comments if you’re willing to share!
mankind has lived for 1000’s of years in both heat and cold, with very little gear and not all that much knowledge or freedom of movement. WE know that we can get under 5 ft of dirt and be at 50F degrees, year round. WE know that we can bicycle a few days/weeks north or south and get out of heat, bugs, cold, snow, ice. We have solid rubber bike tires, and lots and lots of pretty level, paved roads, making it very easy to bike with 100 lbs or so of gear on and towed behind the bike. We can walk alongside a bike to climb mountain roads, or go off road in the same manner. On the bike, we can have a 20 lb inflatable boat, which will carry us, the bike and the gear. We know how to navigate by the stars and the sun. We know about hygine, germ theory, insulation, smoke hazards, all sorts of stuff that nobody know a few hundred years ago. We know about crop rotation, transplantation, grafting of trees, care for our teeth, etc. We know about TONS of stuff that used to kill people every day and we know to avoid it.
James Martin says
Bug Out Box/es, for most people in urban situations. Staying in situe is probably best if safe. German govt. advise 2 weeks of food and water. Also have Candles, lighting implements, Trangia with meths, tin opener or two. Blackout blinds so can’t see if you are in even at night. Teeth cleaning is important… Bars of soap… I have the original Lofty Wiseman SAS Survival Handbook, I think it is better, if not upto date – just seems more comprehensive and better illustrations. Beyond 2 weeks… let’s work together so we don’t get to needing BOBs. Maybe this is when a decentralised future can happen, crypto currencies are hinting a challenge to legacy state sovereignty… watch this space. When a usable crypto emerges, which recycles dead wallets, is safe, immutable, and can do instantaneous transactions – a reset fork could be done by the UN, with 90%, premined and distributed evenly to all individuals – poverty would be irradiated at this point. Before this we could have sovereignty of our data and get micro payments if used by anyone there is so much that companies are using for free. Keynes maybe was wrong that we could be working 15 hour weeks. Maybe we can all live off the use of our data as a decent minimum wage? I’m optimistic, if cognitive bias free decisions become the norm – a big if…
you’re off in la-la land. The productive will not settle for making the same money as the non-productive, not even close. The wealthy will not just let you take their stuff. Nobody owes anyone anything, just because that person happened to get born. At least 3/4 of people’s parents were total assholes for ever having them in the first place, since they knew damned well that they could not give their kids a proper upbringing.
without some caches of food and gear, guys who bug out are in for an extremely rude awakening. even if you are able to take a deer or whatever, what to do with the 50 lbs of meat? 30 lbs of jerky, hmm? If you’re already lugging around 40 lbs of stuff, (and you’ll need to be). how will you carry another 30 lbs and if you could, so what? it will only feed you for a couple of weeks. Then what? The dog packs and people are going to devour everything in a month or so. Yes, maybe you can eat dog, for a month or so, then what? It’s going to be a horror show. Grim beyond belief. Those who try to “bug-in” are just going to get shot, burned-out, etc. You’re going to have to get thru 6 months or rmore before you can have hidden plots of sprouts, plant root veggies, etc. you’ve at least gotta have some buried drums and buckets, empty, in which to put your dried meat and fish. getting those drums and buckets buried is a huge pita. So it’s very little more work or cost to have food in those drums and seriously reduce the risks you have to run in order to store up food for shtf.. The problem, as I see it, is bears. I’ve seen a bear overturn a big steel dumpters with a flip of one paw. Protecting your cache from a bear is going to require a massive amount of concrete cap atop of the drum. So splitting the difference is the best strategy, in my opinion. Have some of the drums empty (no concrete cap) and others should be full of food, but have the concrete atop them. You can set up where you’ll have the water, sand and gravel. That means you only have to bring in the fiberglass matting and the bags of cement. Walking alongside of a bicycle, with a couple of such bags on it, is feasible. IF you’re serious about being prepped.
eat and drink all you can before you bugout, guys. That should be 2 lbs each of food and water, at the minimum and some people can manage twice that much, with a bit of time devoted to it. You might be pursued, by a dog pack or men, to the extent that you dont have time to take a leak, much less grab a snack or take a drink. you’re nuts to try to bugout in daylight, unless it’s just a local evac, due to fire, flood or chemical spill.
break the kit up into sub-categories. Defense, water, food, LBE, load bearing equipment, water trreatment water carrying gear, cooking gear (if you bother with any.). fire kit, med-kit, light-kit, shelter/sleep gear, miscellaneous. I carry a canteen cup, in case I need to heat water for warmth in side of my shelter, or need a hot meal/drink to sustain me thru a cold night. This is to be done with a 1/4 lb. UCO lantern and beeswax candle, inside of the mylar bag, no light to show outside. My fire and light kit totals under 3/4 lb. My trekking poles are 3/4 lb, the med kit 1/4 lb. Miscellaneious is 1 lb. Shelter sleep gear and spare clothing totals 6 lbs.
I suggest that you guys pick some wooded hills, steep ones, after a rain, nice and slippery/muddy, like Murphy will ensure it is for shtf, and spend a weekend walking around with what you THINK you can carry for a BOB. I bet you cut it in half. and that you dont cover more than 15 miles in those two days.
You’d better keep the BOB under 40 lbs, or it’s going to mess up your legs, make you fall, jam up your back, arm, etc. Even a “mere” 40 lbs can hurt you badly on snow, mud, ice, steep hills, flooded areas. the stuff you hear about 80+ lbs is not about being able to run and gun. It’s just foot slogging along, with their head up their asses, with lots of support in the way of Humvees, trucks, choppers, etc. you’ve got 15-20 lbs needed for guns, ammo, armor and night vision. You’ve got 10 lbs needed for food and water ,for just a very few day. The packs are going to be 2-3 lbs, in and of themselves. The armor is going to be 3+ lbs, and so is the night vision. The only way to hold the gun stuff under 13 lbs is to use a .22lr autorifle as your longarm. You can save 5 lbs that way. If you hurt your arm or leg, it’ll be all over but the crying. Get over this boy scout and military bs fantasy about how you’re going to carry the kitchen sink. It can’t be done. You’ve got to cut the other stuff to 10 lbs or so. and shelter/sleep gear and extra clothing (beyond office wear) is going to be 6 lbs at the very least.
ALL gunowners should leave CA to rot. Stop paying taxes to our enemies!
shtf is going to be COMBAT and if you dont have a dugout shelter and a LOT of food cached in the area, it’s going to be the death of you. Even with the hideout and the food, it’s going to be hell on earth. LOTS of combat, lots of disease, lots of dog packs, dead humans laying everywhere, cannibalism, fires burning lots of towns, cities, and forests. Best have night vision, night sights, avoid daylight, have concealable armor, a silenced autoloading rifle, a subsonic ammo option. You’re not going to want to be making any noise, or having any fires during daylight hours. you can’t have food or fire near your dugout, either. Both have scent that will draw dogs, which will draw people.
a BOB is just for a week or so. You can’t carry enough stuff or food for much more than that. You have to have caches of food and gear, at the BOL and along the route to the BOL, (if you can’t get there in a very few days) The gear, minus guns, night vision, pack, food and water, needs to be held to 10-15 lbs, depending upon what guns and how much ammo you’ll be lugging around. When I was 50, I had been backpacking sandbags, up to 60 lbs, usually 40-50 lbs, several times a week, and I tried to jump a little stream, one-legged, as I’d do without the pack. I pulled a calf muscle so badly that I had to offload the sand bags, hobble the one mile home, return with the car and retreive the sandbags. If you’re not packing 70 lbs of gear around, all the time, you CANT carry 50 lbs, and reasonably expect to not get hurt. When it’s mud, wet grass or leaves, snow, up and down steep terrain lose rocks, ice, etc, having a heavy pack is VERY dangerous. I tried packing 60 lbs around town, after the sun had glazed over packed down snow. I fell 3x and had I not turned my head fast enough, the last one would have broken my nose. That extra weight on your back REALLY slams you into the ground and hitting a rock with elbow or knee can easily leave you ruined. Might as well suicide at that point. you’ve simply GOT to get the BOB weight down to 40 lbs,, guys. Most people can’t really handle 30 lbs, actually. A silenced .22lr autorifle is enough, at night, when you have night vision and know what to do, as long as you’ve also got a 9mm pocket pistol. People who can’t see you are very little threat. If there’s much moonlight, you cannot be walking across open areas, especially if there’s snow on the ground. Under such conditions, you’ll have to conduct yourself in the same way as if it were daylight. A low powered scope can see you just FINE on snow, with a full moon.
you’ll need bug netting for warm weather, both to hike in and to sleep. Smoke and fire light will attract enemies, so dont count upon using smoke to keep bugs away. Diseases will be horrific post shtf. so even ONE tick or or skeeter bite will be very bad news. A 3×8 ft bag of netting is just 1/4 lb and can be worn like a poncho. If it’s cold, you can wrap each bag around a leg, securing it with a heavy duty “safety pins” sort of thing. Like $1 each. I forget the source, have to research that. Sometimes Ace hardware has them, but I got mine from a net source, probably Amazon. I use a gillnet hammock, which can be wrapped around my torso when it’s cold. You dont want to be up in a hammock when it’s cold, unless you’ve arrranged for a lot more “heavy duty” shelter than I’m willing to carry. The only realistic answer for cold weather, long term is to gtfo of cold country. You can bicycle south, on back roads, 100 miles per night and in 2 weeks, go from Maine to Florida, from Montana to Arizona. 3/4 of the US drains into Louisiana, guys. So you can float an inflatable boat out of cold country, at night, in a month or 2, 30 miles per night. Dont go all the way to N Orlean swamps! :-) Just get where it rarely freezes and always thaws out during the day.
people either have BOBs’ that are way too heavy, or they really limit themselves as to shelter/sleep gear and clothing. The weather and bugs can REALLY mess you up, guys, and there’s no way to avoid either. you CAN have a 3 lb system that handles all weather, as long as you’ve also got about 3 lbs more clothing (than office wear) The US military says that hostilities nearly cease at 10F. so you need a system that can handle 10F, without a fire, and for colder temps, you either keep moving, or have a fire. A Korchanski supershelter, IF the sun is bright, WILL be 30F degrees warmer by noon than it was at dawn and might even be 40F warmer. So, you can use the one way projected heat of a Siberian fire lay to warm you all night, then move before dawn, so that anyone who located you by the fire light wont be anything like as likely to find you the next day. Set up the shelter again, using hot rocks from right before you moved, to warm you until the sun can do so. I add a UCO lantern and a couple of beeswax candles, cause it lights easily, serves as a way to dry out tinder, is a back up light to the flashlight, and will warm your shelter-bag about 10F degrees. It takes like half an hour, but the UCO WILL heat up a quart of water enough to make that water useful for warming you, for a couple of hours. So, let’s say that dawn is 7 am on a winter day. About 5 am, you pack up, heating some rocks as you do so, and then put out the fire. You hike 1-2 miles, set up the shelter, and the rocks are still warm until 8 am. You’ve been in the shelter since 6-30, and your UCO has heated 4 qts of water. Put one under your neck, anoher between your feet, another at each kidney. So they get you thru until 930 or so. and you also have the UCO’s direct heat. At that point in time, you can either heat the water again, or it will be warm enough, due to the greenhouse effect, that you can sleep.
dunno if Campmor still offers them, but you could get a headband that lets you wear any AA light as a head lamp. I prefer my “shaker” flashlight and I want to be able to hold the light alongside of my gun, for instant on-off use, not having it highlight my head as a target for my enemy! :-) I carry a pair of water sandals, for crossing muddy areas, and for use around camp, while I”m drying out my regular footgear. I use nylon socks inside of Russian foot wraps for hiking. the wraps let you use a clean, dry spot on your feet, for many days and then are much easier to wash out and dry than socks. As soon as it’s cold again (tomorrow) I want to try another SOL bivvy( double layer of the 1/4 lb, $20 mylar (to see if that helps vs high winds, and another $5, 1/2 lb bag made of the TP-like absorbent drop cloth, to see if that helps lower the working-temp of the bags. A
with a bit of tape securing the ties or clips, you need not worry about losing stuff that’s strapped onto your pack. Space inside of the pack has to be reserved for the taken down rifle. Nobody can know what they might need to do, what shtf might look like. It’s bound to be different in different spots. So being seen with a longarm might be real trouble, just like it is now, in many areas.
chopping makes a lot of noise and is quite dangerous, especially at night, or when exhausted, starving, sick, injured. The saw is what you want. The shovel can do what chopping needs to be done during a bugout (almost none) REAL tools should be part of your caches, guys, not just food,
No belt knife is deserving of being in my kit. Jordan, on season 6 of Alone, proved this, butchering and skinning a 900 lb moose with a multitool. I dont agree with most of the tools that are in most multi-tools, but they can be replaced with real deal stuff. I favor the Leatherman crunch, with a carbon steel regular knife blade, not a SS serrated one. I altered mine to be able to take it apart with my bare hands, and replaced the half assed file blade and the phillips driver blade with a pair of file blades, which I made from Nicholson files. I cut the pivot hole of a couple of Silky saw blades, to allow me to clamp the blade with the visegrip of the Crunch. If modified to be taken apart with bare hands, one side ground to chop, the other to slice the Cold Steel shovel is a great tool, far more useful than any ax, machete, kukri, or hatchet. I beefed up the screws and ferrule on mine, by welding nuts onto the female side of the ferrule, having drilled and tapped it for larger OD screws, and welded on “t” heads to the screws. Being able to make other handles for it is key to massively increasing its utility. Make a 2.5 ft long handle for it and it’s a pretty good axe. Make a right angled, forked sapling handle for it and its an adze, hoe, rake, pick. Make a 4 ft long handle for it and you can stand up with it and move a lot of material with little effort, instead of being on your knees killing yourself.
I’m in OK, not much game here, other than deer. The BOB has to be kept under 40 lbs, so that you can “run and gun’ with it. No sensible person will be out and about in dayligh, once shtf, cause they’ll be bound to get shot, sooner or later. So I picked my EDC pocket 9mm and the silenced, 6″ barrel Marlin Papoose .22lr autorifle. Luminous iron sights, see thru mount, 7/8” 2×7 variable scope retractable stock. The short barrel keeps normal .22lr ammo subsonic. Hold the bolt shut and it’s BB gun quiet. I keep 100 gr corbon jhp’s in the pocket 9, and dont bother to carry many of them, cause if the pistol is needed much, you wont make it, when everyone else has a longarm. 8 lbs of guns, ammo, accessories, with more cached at the BOL.
I favor having two packs, a buttpack with all the mission essential gear and the day pack, with the food, most of the water, extra clothing, etc. Packs total 2 lbs, The tools are a modified Crunch from leathermam, with a couple of Silky saw blades, 1/2 lb total, sheathed in cardboard and duct tape, along with a 1.5 lb Cold steel shovel. 7 lbs of night vision, solar charge, concealed armor,
passive IR scanner.
3/4 lb of trekking poles, 3 lbs of extra clothing(beyond office wear) 3 lbs of sleep/shelter gear, 1/4 lb of fire kit, 1/2 lb of medical kit. A lb of water carrying/treatment gear. normally, 6 lbs of water (ie, 3 qts) but more if it’s dry and I dont know the area, less if i’m walking alongside of a stream or lake.
Stay out of sight during daylight, have the ability to see at night, and you’ll be at least 10x better off than everyone else. Have a bicycle that you can walk alongside of, letting it carry the weight of most of the gear, the inflatable boat, the food. ( ie buckets full of corn oil and molasses) some tang, powdered gatorade, jerky, drief fruit, your favorite nut butter, instant oatmeal. Just cache the 35 gallon drum of pinto beans. About a lb of of non hybrid seeds. another lb of spices, a lb of gold and silver US coins., 1/4 lb of vitamin and mineral tablets. Walk the gear to where the other inflatable boat and the beans are buried, and get out on the creek, then the river, Move out of cold country, You’ll have to have a nearly year round growing season, or you’ll starve to death. No fires during the day, no noise, no tracks in snow or mud, no fire at night unless it’s down in a Dakota pit. 3/4 of the Lower 48 states drain into Louisiana.
Thomas Xavier says
It took me an embarrassing amount of time to work out that OK meant Oklahoma haha. It sounds like you have your shit together Bill, good job!
Has taken me over 2 years and more research than I care to admit, but I have gotten my dry bag weight (no food/water) down to 24 lbs. and have hiked/camped w/ this same set-up in all seasons and all types of weather. This way, I don’t have to worry about remembering to make seasonal changes.
I use a Camelbak BFM and it holds all my gear, including 2x 1 L water bottles and a sack containing food, coffee, cream, sugar and Gatorade pouches.
Not a fan of bags that make noise or attract attention. The bag has molle, but I am against using molle for 3 reasons :
1. Makes the bag look even more military.
2. Easier to lose items if they snag on branches or a strap fails.
3. The molle straps are all on the back of my pack, which would put any added weight even further from my back instead of closer in.
I have 3 things attached to the outside of my pack. Fallkniven A1 knife in a Kydex sheath on 1 shoulder strap, a Streamlight Protac 1L mini flashlight on the other shoulder strap and a Kifaru Doobie (double woobie) in a compression sack attached underneath. Gives me immediate access to light and my knife while keeping everything else secure and hidden.
I have not been given any gear or paid to sponsor any, but wish to mention certain gear by brand as these items have proven themselves time and again :
-Dream Hammock Raven
-HG Incubator UQ
-Fallkniven A1 Knife
-ApocalypseGear kydex sheath
-Heavy Cover titanium canteen kit
-Victorinox Swisstool Spirit
-Surefire Minimus headlamp
-UA 2.0 Baselayer
-OR Helium 2 rainjacket
-Vortex 10×25 monocular
The bag is ACU camo which is great for the woods and the Camelbak reversible rain cover can obscure it in urban areas.
Other items carried :
-Plain black polarized sunglasses. Keep glare down, protect your eyes, look at anyone/anything and avoid eye contact.
-12’x8′ sil nylon tarp
-8 titanium stakes
-fleece beanie which covers my ears
-heavy duty zip ties
-large roll of quilted T.P. squeezed into a 1 qt. ziploc…tube removed
-charged phone charger good for 4 full charges
-ranger roll : wool socks, long sleeve tshirt, underwear
-cigarettes…so light. I’m a smoker anyways and if you happen upon others, they are a top tier barter item. Addictions, gotta love ’em.
There are 3 small kits I carry which I’ll detail…
1st aid :
-6? Israeli Bandage
-Celox blood-clotting sponge
-dental repair kit
-various zip ties
-heavy gauge needles
-2 plastic buckles
-2 plastic buttons
-NATO storm proof matches in an Exotac XL holder which contains a striker and is waterproof
-2 mini bic lighters
-small pill bottle containing cotton balls and vaseline.
Items I did NOT opt for which seem to be common in many bags…
Ham radio…I am not gonna get an operator’s license or have 1 more piece of gear needing batteries. Short of an EMP, my phone and backup battery are fine. A ham radio would need to be in a Faraday Cage anyways.
Hatchet…the A1 can chop, baton, make fire sticks and is pretty intimidating if wielded for self-defense. Also, I choose to carry a shelter vs making one.
Sleeping bag…the UQ, Doobie, base layer, wool socks and fleece beanie have let me sleep comfortably below 20° F and although the doobie is a tad heavy, it’s worth every ounce.
Chem lights…drawing attention to yourself is bad.
Whistle…you have no idea who is going to hear it and show up, but you can bet emergency personnel will have their hands full elsewhere. I’ll manage, always have, w/out drawing attention.
Sharpening Stone…cheap sharpeners are garbage and I’m not putting the equivalent of a rock in my pack. The A1 holds an edge far longer than I’ll need it to, even under extreme use.
Gun cleaning kit…i keep my Glock pristine and it will easily put far more ammo downrange than I carry before needing a cleaning.
Hunting gear…if I am bugging out, I am omw to my BOL so I am moving or sleeping. Or, God forbid ! I end up in a shelter…Either way, I won’t be casually fishing, crafting snare traps or stalking large game. Sure it sounds cool, but it’s not realistic. That’s INCH bag stuff.
Glock 32 (.357 compact) is my daily carry. I live in Az where we can do that. The weight isn’t factored in as it would be on my hip under a shirt or jacket. I’m a Gulf War vet and prefer assault packs. I ditched the hip belt on the BFM since i prefer it to ride higher on my back and at only 24 lbs. dry weight, it’s light on my shoulders and I’m used to carrying it.
Think weight and gray man. The guy with molle pouches everywhere, rattling like the ghost of Jacob Marley with things hanging all over and a rifle that he can’t hope to conceal will draw unwanted attention and is far more likely to be relieved of his possessions by those that feel they need them more than he does.
Thomas Xavier says
Good points about being a gray man, definitely my approach too. I have begun to give some serious thought to having a “repair” kit/stash. Just makes sense for a sustainability perspective. Thanks for the good recommendations mate- I like the practical aspect of carrying vices like cigs for barter (and personal consumption). As someone who loves nicotine (but doesn’t smoke), I have a long love affair with the odd cigar and I do think in a really shitty situation, I would prize one higher than many other items.
the scent of a cigar is likely to get you killed. Such weaknesses have no part of a BOB. Barter is going to be a really bad idea for a year, even if you CAN manage to properly store the cigars, it’s something to be cached. Why would anyone trade with you, when they can just kill you and take everything that you have. ? you can be shot, booby trapped, poisoned. or just catch a disease from people Avoid them as much as possible and then barter will have to be done by dead drop and message “flags”.
Thomas Xavier says
I hear you and whilst over analyzing all situations to mitigate risk is viable and arguably the optimal option, at the end of the day my soul needs nourishment too. If I can’t enjoy a cigar once in a while (a superficial example of my definitions of living life as I please) then frankly I am happy to tap out of humanity. I try to be prepared but I won’t make myself miserable in the process. I understand your point of view though.
since you’ll be a fool to be out and about in daylight if shtf, it doesn’t matter what your gear looks like. Nobody should be seeing you at ALL. If they do, you’re highly likely to get shot.
Bob Ocean says
New Zealand. Semi Retired. 2x Bug out/ Bail out bags. 1x on board Boat, 1x in my Lock up (Shipping Container). Not going into items in bags as others are doing well with good ideas.
However, on the outside of each bag, I have a piece of White Vinyl (or PVC) fabric about 12 inches square. Written on this in Black Permanent marker is written the stuff I need to grab that is not in the Bags, Water, firearms, boots etc. This is easily read in low light conditions and is instant reminder of stuff to grab if under stress. (you will be !)
i.e. stuff that you may well be using or are in another place or simply stuff I cannot afford to have 2 or 3 of just lying around.
This is a real asset as I see it often and am reminded to keep items handy and serviced/rotated.
Thomas Xavier says
Good tip mate, definitely worth thinking about creating a system that can “force” a reminder or reinforce habits.
I live in a southern state and travel extensively for work. In my truck I keep an extensive get home it as I may have 600 miles home. In addition to the list I keep my mountain bike and a trailer in my truck along with 5 gallons of water. Hope the list helps someone.
Category Item Quantity Cost
Communication Eton solar/crank radio 1 $60.00
Communication Ear buds 1 $5.00
Cordage 550 cord – 100 feet 1 $10.00
Cordage Bankline 1 $15.00
Cordage Gorilla Duct tape 1 $5.00
Cutting Benchmade bushcrafter 1 $180.00
Cutting Bahco 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw, 9-Inch Blade 1 $40.00
Cutting Gerber multi-tool 1 $25.00
Cutting Fiskars X17 Splitting Axe, 23.5-Inch 1 $40.00
Cutting Benchmade griptilian 1 $100.00
Cutting Blade sharpener 1 $10.00
Cutting E-tool 1 $20.00
Fire Ferroceium Rod 2 $5.00
Fire Bic lighter 2 $2.00
Fire Cotton balls 15 $1.00
Fire Chapstick 1 $1.00
Fire Altods can 1 $2.00
Fire Zippo 1 $10.00
Fire Lighter fluid 1 $10.00
Food Can opener P-51 2 $3.00
Food Small pot/pan 1 $20.00
Food MRE 10 $10.00
Food Fishing Tackle Kit Assorted Sinker Kit 24 Kinds Over 100 Pieces 1 $10.00
Food Monofilament Line, 60-Pound 1 $5.00
Light Cree LED flashlight + batteries 2 $5.00
Light Petzl headlamp + batteries 1 $25.00
Medical Shemagh 1-2 $12.00
Medical Israeli Bandage 2 $10.00
Medical IFAK – first aid 1 $30.00
Medical Military Issue Combat Application Tourniquet 1 $30.00
Navigation Compass 1 $20.00
Navigation US map 1 $12.00
Navigation Star map 1 $15.00
Optics Yukon nightvision monocular 1 $175.00
Optics Bushnell Binoculars 10×32 1 $25.00
Pack ILBE Main Pack USMC Generation 2 1 $80.00
Pack Gen-2 ILBE, Assault pack 1 $40.00
Shelter Emergency reflective shelter 1 $8.00
Shelter Reflective blanket/tarp 1 $15.00
Shelter 8×10 camo tarp 1 $15.00
Shelter Military poncho 1 $40.00
Shelter Military 4 pc sleep system 1 $100.00
Shelter Grand Trunk Hammock with Mosquito net 1 $80.00
Shelter Mylar blankets 4 $2.00
Water Stainless steel water bottle 1-2 $40.00
Water Water bladder 1 $15.00
Water Purifican tabs 2 $7.00
Water Water filter Sawyer 1 $20.00
Water SteriPEN 1 $70.00
Water/cooking Stainless steel nesting cup 1 $20.00
Weapon Bushmaster AR 1 $1,000
Weapon Eotech 512 1 $500
Weapon Ruger 10/22 1 $500
Weapon Glock 23 1 $900
Weapon AR mags 10 $120
Weapon Ruger 10/22 mags 3 $25
Weapon Green tip 5.56 300 $250
Weapon .22 hollow point 300 $50
Weapon Glock 22 mag 6 $320
Weapon Glock 23 mag 1 $30
Weapon .40 cal hydroshock 143 $150
Weapon Cleaning kit 1 $25
Thomas Xavier says
Nice list Bob! How do you store your 5 gallons of water?
how about how much each item weighs? what about the cost of the pack mule that you’ll need to carry it all.? best cache at least 3/4 of all that at the BOL. cause you sure as hell wont need it for the bugout. you’re looking at WELL over 100 lbs and you dont include enough of a shelter element for anywhere but Hawaii. You’ve got tons of un-needed stuff.
John Z. says
I am a transplant to the SE US where getting out of town is a real possibility during hurricane season. My wife and I keep a duffle bag of gear handy at all time and a GHB in our cars. The duffle bags have three changes of clothes, hygiene gear, fleece sleeping bags, some freeze dried food, fairly comprehensive first aid kits with our prescriptions in them (enough for a week) and money. Our GHBs consist mostly of gear to keep us warm, dry and charged while trying to get to our stuff. Lots of the same stuff, but on a much smaller scale- a days worth it so. Also we have our concealed weapons with us plus a box of ammo for each…just in case. We both carry a couple of knives and/or multitools as well as flashlights with us at all times.
Ben Leucking says
Congratulations for taking on a very complex subject. In my view, there is no single list that can satisfy every individual need, geography, climate or circumstance. I’ve seen a lot of BOB lists at various prepper/survivalist web sites and they invariably contain one or numerous items that are absolutely useless to survival.
Location: I live in the high desert of south-central Arizona, which means that I must plan for temperatures that can range from 118+ in the summer to the mid-teens at night in the winter. That is (at minimum) a 100 degree spread, which means that my bug out bag requires seasonal adjustments.
Bugging Out necessarily means that you have a specific destination. In my case, that destination is my home. On a daily basis I am typically up to 75 miles away, due to work requirements. So, my bug out bag is the functional equivalent of a ‘Get Home’ bag for other folks. In an urban ‘Get Home’ environment the contents would be significantly fewer, but a potential multi-day 75 mile trek in high temperatures requires a substantially different approach. I actually keep multiple backpacks in my vehicle, plus a Rubbermaid ‘Action Packer’ tub filled with various items that fit the immediate circumstances.
Bag List: I will forego a specific list, but suffice it to say that the most likely routes to my destination involve cross country, open desert hiking. The contents of my bag are tailored to this environment.
Most Important Items:
Number 1 is a Life Straw water filter. I know the location of water sources and assume that all of them require purification. Also, a steel 32 oz. water container.
Second, I carry a supply of Mainstay survival rations that is adequate for a four day trek to maintain energy.
Third is 550 cord, a camo tarp and heavy duty camo poncho.
Fourth, but by no means least, I carry a 12″ machete and a 9mm semi-auto with three extra magazines.
Fifth, a multiband 2-way radio that includes emergency broadcast frequencies.
Weight Optimization: Generally speaking, yes. Winter conditions require a sleeping bag (already in my vehicle), which is easily attached to the BOB.
Useless Items: I have seen many BOB lists that include
– Fishing gear of various types. I’m my case, that is entirely pointless. Even if there was a lake or stream along my route, my objective is to get home as quickly as possible; not to go fishing.
– Map, compass, GPS unit are unnecessary for me. I use those items for other purposes, but they are not needed in my BOB to reach home. I can navigate in daylight and at night without these devices.
-Cell phone. I will have it with me, but my expectation is that cell towers will not be in operation.
The general conditions that I anticipate would cause me to bug out also equate to a strategy of avoiding detection. The last thing I want to deal with is other people along my route. Tactical gear and camo are my friend.
Mr. Gray says
I live in the southeast US. My BOB is actually a GHB – because I travel so much.
In any given week I am up to 375 miles from home. Some years back I began to realize that I might one day have to walk home, if gas was no longer available or if we were hit by an EMP.
So I began to put together gear that would let me walk, eat, drink, camp and defend myself for maybe six weeks.
– My number one item, above all others: my Glock 21 (.45) and extra mags/ammo
– 20 silver ounces, $100 cash
– Nikon binoculars
– Buck 124 knife (large fixed-blade, full tang)
– Leatherman Supertool
– Swiss Army Knife “Tinker”
– Gerber machete with sawtooth back
– United Cutlery tomahawk
– A couple of pocket knives I always have with me
– 10’x16’ camo tarp
– Bed roll: 0-degree sleeping bag, foam pad, self-inflating pad
– 2 Mini Maglite Pros, 1 headlamp, batteries
– 3 fire making kits: each is a small plastic jar filled with Vaseline-soaked cotton balls with a Bic lighter rubber-banded around it
– 2 LifeStraws, 1 Katadyn pump water filter, a water container
– I currently have enough freeze-dried meals (Mountain House) and other food packets for about three weeks
– Fishing gear
– Stainless mess kit
– 75 ft of paracord, various fasteners: clips, bungee cords, twist ties etc
– Small First Aid kit
– Heavy duty poncho
– Extra walking shoes, thick socks
– 2 camo caps with LED lights in the bill
– Gloves (full and fingerless)
– Walking stick
Of course I always have my traveling goods with me: clothes, shaving/hygiene kit, tools etc. I’m on no medications.
Many of the items I carry are duplicates which I will use either for survival or barter.
This is obviously a lot of gear, so I also have a two-wheeled cart to help me carry it all.
I grew up in the southeast US and I know the land and people well. It is partly wooded and partly open meadow with many creeks, rivers, lakes and ponds.
If I must attempt such a hike I intend to avoid cities at all costs, travel back roads and camp well off the roadways.
I intend to beg shelter from churches as much as possible and trade/barter silver and equipment for food when I can.
I’m going to share about my current bug out bag, which is actually a day bag for any kind of city stranded environment. I’m in Thailand and every day I have no clue where I’m going to end up – could be a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, could be a small town hostel.
I currently always carry:
– 1 SteriPen – microUSB powered
– 1 Nalgene water bottle, wide mouth (to fit steripen)
– 5 packets of herbal tea (you can re-use these multiple times if needed)
– 1 pencil wrapped with duct tape
– 1 writing pen
– 1 nail clippers
– 1 small folding knife
– 1 multi tool
– as many paper towel / toilet paper / napkins as I can take/stuff in without feeling like I’m abusing the free ones food places give out
– 5000 baht ~= $150 USD
– 1 pair sunglasses
– 1 30000 mAh lithium battery pack with microUSB charging cable
– 1 wall outlet 2 prong USB adapter
– 1 smartphone with Google Maps and local SIM card with data package
– 1 small (encrypted) USB stick with photographs of ID and Passport
– 1 durable but small rain poncho
– 1 small face cloth
– wallet: two visas, one bank card, drivers license
– passport (needed for all purchases usually)
– 1 Cliff bar
– 1 package of dried fruit
– 1 pair chopsticks
– 2 Canada flag pins (for pride’s sake)
There are three things I haven’t used yet, but they’re pretty much carried in case of an emergency so it’s kind of good they’ve not been used yet:
– pencil with duct tape on it
– folding knife
The weight of this stuff is no problem for me. It’s when I start adding a the actual water, my camera, some notebooks, etc. that it starts to get heavy. If weight wasn’t a thing, I’d also add:
– 1 pouch of baking soda
– multi vitamins
– watch (though I’m usually wearing it)
– small bottle of oil or oregano
– gorilla-pod tripod
Andrew Glass says
Kudos, Ned! Yours is a comprehensive BOB for sure! I would argue that a firearm is necessary, but it depends on your own needs. You also may want to consider antibiotics such as Amoxicillin. Well done!
Andrew, thanks for the suggestions. I’m definitely not a firearm toting man (especially in the city), but I’d love to carry a larger knife. As for the antibiotics, oil of oregano and baking soda are both great, more or less natural ways do the same thing as amoxicillin does. I will concede that there may be some dire situations where one might want to be a little bit more aggressive with antibiotics, but the more I learn about them, the more I avoid them like the plague (is this a pun?). I firmly believe that baking soda is the one thing everybody in the world should learn more about. As far as health goes, it’s the absolute first thing I make sure I have.
In every bag, every room in the house, also in the glove box in the car: flashlight, emergency radio, reading glasses!
Where do you live (country/state?); what kind of environment do you have to prep for?
I live in a smallish Missouri city surrounded by agricultural land, small towns, and a whole lot of nothing. The environment is hilly and rocky with hot, humid summers and winters that are rarely extremely cold and more prone to ice than snow.
What specific items are in your bug out bag (copy and paste a list if you have one).
The bag itself: a 40 liter waterproof backpack
1 pair broken-in hiking shoes
2 pairs wool socks
Insulating base layers
1 change of clothes (good quality outdoor stuff but also not overly tactical-looking so that it won’t stand out in an urban environment)
Jacket, hat, gloves, poncho
Basic travel size toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, brush/mirror combo, deodorant, camping tp, biodegradable wipes, diva cup, campsuds, sunscreen, bug spray, chap stick)
Lightweight first aid kit
Homemade MRE packs for 3-4 days, small cook set, energy bars, instant coffee
3 liter H20 reservoir, 32 oz water bottle, lifestraw, iodide tablets
Various fire starters, matches, and lighters
Lightweight sleeping bag and pad, emergency blanket
My trusty Mora, multitool, folding knife, hand chain saw, 9mm subcompact and spare mags/ammo
Crank radio/flashlight, spare phone and chargers, notebook and pen
Map and compass
Copies of my passport, drivers license, and cash
There may be some things I missed, but that’s most of it.
Which items do you think are most important to have in a bug out bag?
It’s hard to know what items are most important because each situation is different. I think the more important thing is to have things you’re familiar and competent with. Experience and pragmatism will serve you better than a bag full of top-of-the-line items you don’t know how to use.
Do you find your bug out bag to be well optimized for weight?
Yes. It’s around 25 pounds, which is doable for me as a fairly small woman. The water is the single heaviest part, so my life is a whole lot easier if I have a reliable stream or river to use instead of lugging around 10 pounds of water.
Is there anything you think should never be in a but out bag (because of weight, because it can be replaced with other, better items, etc.). Why?
Again, this depends on locality, situation, and the person/people the bag is supplying. Overall I would just stress not getting premade kits. Get things you know will work for you. Go on camping trips to test out your stuff. That’s the only thing that can really teach you what you do and don’t need.
I live in South Central Pennsylvania. Environment is urban/rural, living 1 mile outside small city limit. (pop:.20,000) Two major cities within 50 miles. Single family homes in housing development. I have a GHB an additional US Army issue sustainment bag with 5 days freeze dried food, 7 gallons water, and an additional BOB in the car. Primary plan is to bug in. Two generic brand mollie strap bug out bags in closet near front door for easy access. Basic survival items for food, water, fire, shelter. Bags at present are to heavy for long term carry with just basics being packed. Instead of a 72 hour bag it’s more of a 5 day-7 day bag. Any BOB list is problematic as if you follow all recommendations, bags become to heavy. May be okay for 20-30 something in great shape but for two 65+ older adults, weight is an issue. Both bags weigh in around 20 pounds each without water, extra seasonal clothes and extra shoes. Add additional 10 pounds with water, extra clothes. Family car will be main form of BO transport/Supply base. If required to travel on foot, cashes would need to be made for extra supplies.
Retired for ten years.
No “bugout” bag. No plans to leave my current area. Currently considering “going to ground” aka survival-in-place as the animals do in life-and-death scenarios.
I’m considering several short-term shelter options. One is well-disguised underground facilities with no tracks leading to them. Two, the above-ground tree trunk, fallen log, or man-made illusion (which I won’t describe for obvious reasons). There are ways of getting around the environmental considerations (air to breath, food and water stores, critters and bugs, heat and cold) during seasonal changes.
No one is going to know my retreat area as well as I know it. I won’t be proudly posting pictures nor seeking permits from local authorities. For safety sake, I won’t confine myself to any single device/option/opportunity/terrain feature. I’ve learned over time from many sources including my old enemy, the Viet Cong.
I’m getting too old to compete for food in the jungle out there. I’ll probably die on my acreage defending my turf and supplies. And that’s okay. Bugging out is for young folks anyways and my back hurts just thinking about carrying a backpack. Food is everywhere, not just in grocery stores, if you can recognize edible plants native to your own area.
Foresight and planning are critical to any survival, whether it’s bugging out or staying put.
Martin Stacey says
Smart logic Really-Old-Guy ;-) I’m an ex UK Army Combat Engineer and I’ve just hit 60 years old.
Your story really resonates, out of all I’ve read (and over many years)
Location. Metro area, CA. Occupation – retired. Driving – about 300 miles a month. Skills levels – Very high. Medical conditions – none. Avocation – accomplished dancer.
No “bugout bag”. Many pounds of equipment secured in car for option of going to ground in place. Arid area – 7 gallons of water in car. Clothing varied, but sneakers.
Travel “bug out”. Go over seas. 1. flashlight/folder/leatherman tool in each suitcase. When going to Red China, a purification unit.
Avocation -dance shoe bags. 1. flashlight/folder/leatherman/metal container of water
College – class. Briefcase – folder/falshlight/container of water.
Andrew Glass says
Hahahahaha! Too funny! I used to live in similar occupied Commiefornia, but I defect. Stay frosty! :-D