Building a Better Bug-Out Bag: You’re NOT Going on a Fun-Filled Camping Trip

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Author of The Blackout Book and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted

Based on the things I’ve learned from folks who have actually lived through survival situations and bugged out, I think that we need to revisit what bugging out really means and why you might use a bug out bag. If we understand the concept better, it’s easier to pack a bug out bag that will work for each of us personally.

3 kinds of bug-outs

There are at least three different kinds of bugging out:

  • You’re never coming home again: This bug-out means you’re leaving and you don’t expect to be returning. It could be due to a rapidly approaching natural disaster that is likely to demolish everything in its path, like a wildfire, or it could be due to terrorism or genocide. It could happen at the last moment or you might have time to pack – it really depends on the situation. If it’s a last-minute thing, you might only have the things you can grab in your bug out bag.  Sometimes you don’t even have time to grab that – it could be a situation in which a few seconds are the difference between life and death. When I visited a museum about the genocide in Bosnia, one woman told of leaving the house with her child wrapped in nothing but a hastily grabbed towel because the little girl had been in the bathtub when the family was hauled away.
  • Bug Out with Warning: This bug-out happens during natural disasters and often (but not always) you’ll have a few days of warning. Some examples might be a nearby wildfire or an approaching hurricane. You can load up your vehicle with sentimental items and bring more than you’d ordinarily bring. The focus for this type of bug-out is often on the things you can never replace.
  • Last Minute Bug Out: This bug-out occurs when you are fleeing danger that was unexpected (or at least unexpected at that moment. )This is generally considered the purpose of the bug out bags and get-home bags that most folks make. Often you’ll be making at least some of your journey on foot and you will want to avoid other people during the scenario that causes you to be out there. If you are feeling desperate enough to leave with only your bug out bag, they’ll be desperate too. And if they’re unprepared, your bag might look like a goldmine to them.

The focus of a bug-out bag isn’t to allow you to live in the wilderness forever. It’s a bag that will help you survive for a few days while you travel from where you are (danger) to where you want to be (safety).

Common mistakes people make with their bug-out bags

The most common mistake that I see with bug out bags is that people load them too heavy with stuff they won’t actually need. As I mentioned above, bugging out should not be running off to live in a hut that you’ll build in the forest. It should be a means of meeting your most basic needs while getting to a safer location. That being the case, you’re not going to have to pack everything you need for weeks in the wilderness.

If you overpack, you’re probably going to end up chucking your things on the side of the road once you realize that 50 pounds or 90 pounds or whatever your miscellaneous stuff weighs is far too heavy for you to carry for a long distance. As well, a bag that’s almost as big as you are will draw a lot of attention at a time when your goal is to be discreet.

You’re not going on a fun camping trip. This is one of the most common misconceptions I see in articles about bug-out bags.

After doing some mock bug-out training with at a survival course with Selco and Toby, we all realized we had prepped too much for “comfort” and not enough for survival. If you are in a bug-out situation during which you’re on foot, it’s likely you’ll strive to avoid interacting with other people. So forget the big tent, the air mattresses, and the tools to make a hearty dinner.

The reality of bugging out is this:

You’ll be on the move and sleep will be grabbing a quick nap. You will want a simple shelter and the ability to stay warm and dry. You’re probably going to be eating on the go, not sitting down around a roaring campfire for a full meal with your family. You’re not going on a fun-filled camping trip. You’re likely to be fleeing for your life.

You want things that are quiet, discreet, and simple. You’ll want the basic essentials, not all the bells and whistles.

People get too fancy with their gear. When I took Selco’s urban survival course in Croatia, my classmates and I discovered that a lot of the gear we brought with us was, quite simply, garbage. It isn’t that the designs were inherently terrible. It was more a case of, “This isn’t going to work how I need it to when I’m stealthily creeping around hoping to avoid the notice of people with bad intentions.” Here’s an article about the gear that worked and the gear that didn’t.

Most of us ended up off-loading a significant amount of gear during the course because it was unnecessary.

Most bags are far too heavy. The heavier your bag, the slower you’ll go and the more difficult it will be. It’s essential that you keep your bag as light as possible. Noting the mistakes listed here can help you to lighten your load. Items that multitask can help, and learning to use things you find in your environment can reduce what you carry in your pack even more. For example, if you have the means and sources to purify water, you don’t need to carry as much water. If you can cobble together a “stove” from rubble or stones, you don’t need a camp stove.

Folks use bright and colorful clothing and gear. If you hope to remain unnoticed, that cute, cheerful backpack is not going to help in your endeavor. Black, gray, navy, brown, and dark green can all be colors that make you harder to see. Also, consider things like reflective stripes and metallic fasteners – they can catch the eye even if the rest of your clothing and shoes blend in.

Think about the terrain you’ll be crossing when making a decision about what clothing and gear options will be best. You’ll choose differently for an urban environment than you would for a forested or desert environment.

People don’t consider how noisy their clothing is. Is your clothing noisy? If you want to creep around and not be noticed, then think about how noisy your clothing is. Things like rain pants and certain water-resistant jacket materials can make a lot of racket in an otherwise quiet environment. Test out your clothing ahead of time so that you know whether or not it will draw unwanted attention.

Tips for building a better bug-out bag

My bug out bag is a 40L Wayfinder by Eagle Creek, although the one on Amazon is not specifically for women. (Read on for the link to women’s bags.)

I use it regularly as an everyday carry bag too. I chose the 40L instead of the 30L because the 40 had waist and sternum straps, and because my 17-inch laptop fits in it. Obviously, the laptop fitting is just a bonus when I’m using it as an EDC. It weighs less than 3 pounds, has multiple pockets, and nothing too flashy to draw the eye. It isn’t “tactical” in appearance. It just looks like an ordinary backpack. This is the bag I use when traveling, too. I pick up my groceries, a bottle of wine, and a jug of water in it and walk home with my purchases far more easily than if I carried things in shopping bags. My bag has been in daily use for nearly a year and looks brand new still.

If you’re female, be sure to get the bag made for women – the comfort difference is very notable. You can find those on the Eagle Creek website. Whatever brand you choose, I recommend a bag with a waist strap and a sternum strap to help distribute the weight more evenly.

Think about the following things when deciding what to put in your bag:

What kind of weather will I be facing?

You’ll pack your bag differently in the heat of the summer than you would in the dead of winter. Be sure to make the appropriate seasonal changes. Sunscreen, cooling cloths, and electrolyte powders are good additions to a summer bag, A winter bag might include a hat, gloves, extra socks, a heavy-duty sleeping bag, and other gear to help keep you warm and dry.

How far will I need to travel?

Remember, your goal is not to blindly run away from the danger. You want to be headed toward someplace that is safer. So think about how far you’ll need to go and prepare accordingly. If you’re going very far, you may want to set up a cache (or even more than one) along your route. Go here for more information about caches.

If you’re traveling for more than a day or two, you’ll need significantly more food.

What can I eat on the go?

I see lots of folks loading down their packs with dehydrated meals. While initially, that might seem ideal, especially when you’re traveling with your family, there are some things you need to think about.

These meals will require a lot of water and 20 minutes of cooking time to prepare. Not only that, but most of those dehydrated meals only provide a couple hundred calories per serving and you’re going to need more caloric intake than that to keep you going.

You’re far better off with things you can eat that require no preparation, like granola bars, GORP, high-calorie ration bars, pemmican, commercial trail mix, or even peanut M&Ms. Remember, you want higher calories, plenty of carbs, some fat to satiate you, and something you can eat while walking.

What can I drink?

You should always, always have a method of water purification when bugging out. Good choices are the Sawyer Mini or the Lifestraw. If you’re in an urban area, the Lifestraw water bottle won’t draw any additional attention and has the same kind of purification qualities as the regular Lifestraw. I use the water bottle every day when traveling in foreign countries where I’m not sure if the water will agree with me and have never had an issue.

Of course, you have to find water to filter it. It’s a great idea to walk your route and see if there is water along the way that you can purify. In more arid locations, there may not be. If that is the case, then you’ll want to carry more water with you, even though it’s heavy.

What kinds of areas will I be traveling through?

Will you be darting around back alleys in the city? Will you be hoofing it through the forest? Will you be crossing a desert? All of these things require a different approach to your bag. You may be dealing with more than one type of area, and if so, you’ll need to take that into account. Here are some examples.

  • If you’re in the city, you’re far more likely to meet up with someone due to a higher population density. You don’t want to look overly tactical – this will make others think your bag is loaded to the hilt with high-quality gear and goodies. You’ll want to look like everyone else to avoid undue attention.
  • If you’re in a wooded area, you may need to blend into the look of the forest. This will change seasonally. You want to be able to move quietly and almost invisibly through the woods.
  • If you are walking through the desert, you’ll want to protect yourself from creepy crawlies with sturdy boots and you’ll want to carry more water, as opposed to just water-purification devices. You’ll want to lean toward browns and beiges instead of black and navy.

Think about what you can acquire in your location. For example, in a city, it’s easy to find rubble or debris to set up a makeshift stove but it might be harder to find fuel for your fire. In a damp forest, finding dry wood could be a problem, so you’ll need an accelerant to catch the flame. In many areas, water is easy to find as long as you can purify it. In other areas, you’ll need to carry more water.

These examples are what I mean about each bag needing to be unique to your circumstances. There’s no one-size-fits-all for bug-out bags.

Some things to always carry in your bug out bag

You’ll 100% of the time want to have the following items in your bag:

  • Shelter (this can be a tarp or extra-large rain poncho. I carry this one.) Don’t go too cheap on this – it will keep you warm and dry when your life depends on it.
  • Weapon and ammo (if you live in a place where this is allowed)
  • Knife (I carry a smaller one on my person and a bigger one in my bag)
  • Water and water filtration device
  • A way to communicate or learn more about what’s going on – your cell phone (with a solar charger), a hand crank NOAA radio, or another device
  • A way to signal – a mirror, a whistle
  • Something to eat
  • A way to boil water (don’t forget the vessel)
  • A way to light fires (matches, lighter, flint, etc.) – one reviewer suggests this fire starting supply
  • Hand sanitizer and baby wipes
  • Feminine hygiene supplies if needed
  • TP – take out the cardboard tube and smash the roll flat, placing it in a quart-sized ziplock bag
  • Bandaids or Moleskins to stop those blisters before they get out of hand
  • Basic first aid gear like an Israeli bandage, a tourniquet, a triple antibiotic cream, alcohol wipes, etc. (Get more info on first aid kits here)
  • Fasteners like zip ties and duct tape
  • Essential medications like heart pills, epi-pens, psychiatric drugs, and diabetes meds
  • OTC meds like calamine lotion, ibuprofen, and heartburn medication
  • Some extra layers of clothing
  • Don’t forget a map!
  • A small flashlight
  • Seasonal items: cold-weather gear, sunscreen, bug-spray, etc.

These are the basic items you’ll want to have with you. Only you can decide precisely which ones meet your needs.

One thing I want to talk a little bit more about is pain relief. If you aren’t accustomed to walking long distances or carrying a backpack of whatever weight yours is, taking some ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen can really help you keep going. Your muscles are going to be sore, your back may hurt, and you may suffer from various aches and pains. These pain relievers would be worth their weight in gold when you need to push through.

Make it personal

What you choose to fill your bag with is deeply personal and therefore, those checklists just don’t really work that well.  I’ve written a detailed article about what I carried for my bug-out bag in Europe and the bag I have here in the US only has a few differences. (Namely a gun and ammo) Not including water or guns/ammo, it weighs less than ten pounds. But just because that kit works for me doesn’t mean that it would be ideal for you. I’m a minimalist. You’ll notice I don’t even have an emergency stove in my kit – that’s because, in almost any setting, I can create a makeshift stove from the things I find around me.

When creating your kit, what you need to think about is a) covering the basic needs such as fire, food, water, shelter, etc., and b) where and how you’ll be using the contents. Don’t let other people’s checklists make you feel like you’ve stocked your bag inadequately – you are the one who has to carry it!

There’s a lot more to discuss when talking about bug-out bags. Check out the following articles.

What do you keep in your bug-out bag?

Are you a minimalist or a maximalist when it comes to bug-out bags? How heavy is your bag? What are some things you keep in it that might be a bit unusual? Let’s discuss bug out bags in the comments.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and runs a small digital publishing company. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

Picture of Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • I am a backpacker for over 50 years. To add to Ms Luther’s piece:

    Women’s packs. I am a man, but those for women more comfortable for me.

    Weigh your pack. find that 35 lbs is my practical limit, 30 is better.

    Do a shake down. Go once for a full day and again for overnight.

    Park car and hike in at least 2 hours

  • Another great article Daisy from a WOMAN who has a real working knowledge on the topic. 🙂
    Apart from boots, you didn’t mention clothes but as a woman, I keep mine very un-feminine – brown jeans, black t-shirt, plaid men’s overshirt, gloves and a men’s ball cap one size too big to hide my hair – and I change them out seasonally, rotating food items, batteries and meds as I go.
    I also carry a black contractor bag which has many uses like as a poncho, ground pad, backpack cover if it rains, to gather things along the way or collect water.
    Again, great article. Thanks.

  • I’m speaking from ignorance here, but I think a good addition would be several paper references such as a first aid manual, local maps, and maybe an appropriate survival book. The expectation is that a cellphone will be unusable in the scenarios described.

    Downside is that books are heavy, but I decided they’re valuable.

      • One map I found that helps in my area is from the county that shows the high lines. If you can follow highlines as a terrain feature and orient yourself in direction then it’s real simple.

    • Map and a compass with declination adjustment.

      One thing I have add recently: A ProTech watch. Runs off solar charged battery, has a barometer, temp, altimeter, and a compass with declination adjustment.
      Standard other features too.

  • Personally the basic premise is wrong.
    If you need to bug out, it should be an INCH bag.
    If you are fleeing a natural disaster, then you may not have a home to come back to, so you need an INCH bag.
    The last Minute bug out bag concept, just shows how unprepared you are and how unrealistic your survival plan is.
    If you have to go home, to meet up or get your INCH bag, then you are taking a big risk and losing precious time in getting out away from danger.

    Then comes the idea that you are fleeing to safety. If you are fleeing do not expect to be “safe”, for a long time. Until society is back to normal.
    The survivors of Hurricane Katrina thought they were “safe” when they made it to the stadium , but look how that turned out.
    Safety is a relative term. What passes for safe during SHTF will be a whole lot different from what is “safe”, now.
    If you plan for an INCH situation, you are well prepared for any thing.

    Now I suggest it is better to be over prepared than under prepared. So I vote for a heaver bag to start out with. But also a well organized one, so that you can easily discard the “if and maybe I will need this items”, that don’t apply to this scenario.
    One mistake with a smaller bag, is that once you are settled some where, a bigger bag can be repurposed to help collect and carry fire wood, tinder, carry food, water jugs, etc.
    Light and small might be great for an economic collapse, while bugging in, in an urban environment, but that is about it. Much better to just have EDC stuff with you at all times, but don’t consider it a bug out bag, it isn’t.

    Now lets talk about bag size from another perspective.
    As leader of a small group, I would take in a well stocked and prepared person ( bigger bag), but a minimalist( fanny pack, small bag) would be a drag on our resources and thus not a welcomed addition. So consider that in you choices.
    Better to be with a group and if you get separated from your group or family, this is a major consideration, until you find them again.

    Now as far as what you put in the bag, avoid bulky items, (except clothing). If you are never coming home again, less is not better!
    Cover the basics:
    Shelter ( clothing and rain gear and or a tarp).
    Food (include some kind of cooking pot ( for boiling water for purification, if nothing else)),
    Water (Purification and a container for transporting it).
    Defense ( knives, Gun and ammo, etc)
    Fire ( I suggest a lighter and flint and steel combo with some kindling, char cloth, etc)

    Survival and Breaking and Entering Tools. (wire saw, screw drivers, small pry bar, lock picks, etc.)
    At some point you will need to scavenge for supplies, so you better be prepared for that.

    In a True SHTF, you can expect that there will be no one coming to supply aid or stability, ever!
    To achieve that, we might have to do it all on our own.
    That would take a long time, possibly decades.
    So be prepared for the long haul, not just a short term disaster.

  • Not bad but a couple of things I would like to point out. If you look tactical with your brown pack you will attract attention. Maybe red pack when walking around people then use a surplus pack cover when you don’t want to be seen? Also no blanket or sleeping bag? No Spare batteries or back up light? I don’t mean a 4 season sleep system but a space sleeping bag with a poncho liner has you set for most weather, and yes they do work in freezing temps.

    • Everyone here has tactical packs and clothing. It’s no big deal cause we see it on a daily basis.

    • Pre-COVID19, it was not uncommon to see people with tactical packs in airports.
      Mostly military.
      But some were clearly not military types.

      When I was in Chicago, I saw a number of packs in the colors Daisy describes. Some could of been tactical. Some maybe not.

      Around where I live, packs in MossyOak, or RealTreer, or HighGrass are not uncommon. Same goes for muck boots, Carhart, or winter jackets.
      A college like JanSport pack will more likely stick out around here.

      Dress accordingly.

  • Excellent article as always Daisy. I think about ‘layers’ with bugging out. It’s nice to think you can pack everything in one handy dandy bag and always have it with you, but all sorts of things can occur to separate you from that bag, especially in situations of urban unrest. Having absolutely everything in there could be fatal. When I travel (not bugging out, just regular travel), I have tended to favour places where it is not always the brightest idea for a white woman to be traveling alone. Ranging from spots where pickpocketing is rampant, to countries where thieves won’t bother to mug you for that expensive Rolex – they’ll just come up behind you and slice your hand off to grab it! I generally keep just enough cash in my bag to pacify muggers or pickpockets. Most of my money, and all ID and credit cards, is sequestered in hidden spots under my clothing – my international travel wardrobe includes a 15 pocket travel vest, trousers and shirts with hidden pockets, socks with hidden pockets, and even undies with a zippered pocket large enough to conceal a passport! (When I was robbed and beaten up so badly that I couldn’t crawl off the dirt road and left for dead in the jungle in Indonesia, this strategy meant that I still had my passport and credit card to get back home.) I use a similar system with emergency equipment. One of those 15 pocket travel vests (I own 4) is ready packed with my ‘first layer’ of survival equipment – this is the stuff that, even if I lost everything else, I would still have what I need to survive. Other survival essentials are incorporated into clothing – fire laces on my hiking boots, mini flashlights on the zipper pull of every single jacket I own, at all times, etc. In addition to a well fitted backpack of survival essentials, I have a mini survival kit in a fanny pack (worn around front), a canteen pouch with shoulder strap with a cook kit and additional food and beverage choices (easy enough to discard if necessary), and at all times in the trunk of my car I keep a Mountain House Classic bucket with a cook/mess kit inside – easy enough to grab if conditions warrant, and lightweight. The car also contains enough food, water, and other survival equipment to stay alive and even marginally comfortable for a month, should I have the luxury of being able to bug out with my vehicle. Tents and sleeping bags add a lot of weight if bugging out on foot – my go to combination is an emergency bivvy (fits in your hand, about half the size of a small folding umbralla and virtually weightless) and a mylar ‘tube tent’, which likewise takes up very little space and weight and keeps the elements at bay.

  • When people tell you they hate you, you should listen. HRC’s infamous “Deplorables” speech and reference to “fun camps” was a warning. Obama’s “Bitter Clingers” speech about the patriot middle class clinging to their “guns and Bibles” was a threat. If you have memories of a Norman Rockwell America you are truly blessed…if you believe that the America depicted still exists you are delusional. We have been invaded and sold out by elected traitors who are owned by our Corporate masters.

    I have been preparing for this day for many years but I’m aging and my plans have changed. I will pass my preps to my son to insure his survival…I have made my peace with this beautiful Earth and will quietly wait for the forces of darkness to come for me so that I may deliver a few of them to their gods. No bugout! Faith in God, no running, no fear!

  • You talk about bug-out bags and walking, but not everyone has those options.

    I know a guy, though he is fairly fit and thinks nothing of walking 20+ miles a day while carrying a pack, he is responsible for a nonagenarian woman (his mother) who has a bad back and can’t walk beyond a mile without carrying a pack. In that situation, bugging out on foot is pretty much out of the question. Unless bugging out is in a car.

    Another thought is if we are in a SHTF situation, after the initial event that forces us out of our residences, what then? How will we survive? The bug-out bag is good only for a short-term event, you need to think for the long term. Do you have knowledge and tools that can produce things that others want? The guy I mentioned above, the car he has available for his use is a SUV, so he plans to include in his bug-out vehicle a commercial sewing machine that can be converted to hand-crank use, plus several large pieces of heavy duty cloth. As long as bugging-out on foot is out of the question, why not prepare for the long haul?

    I see we should prepare ourselves, at least mentally, for several stages of survival:

    • If possible, bug-in at your present dwelling. There you have all your supplies and tools for a long-term event.

    • If must bug-out, go by car if possible. You’ll be able to take the largest amount of tools and supplies than any other way of bugging-out. Pre-plan to take back roads and not main highways, as back roads will less likely have road blocks. Make sure you have enough fuel to get to where you want to go.

    • If roads are blocked, take a motorcycle, preferably one with a trailer. These can go down foot paths if necessary, not limited to roads. Like the car above, it’s limited by fuel.

    • bicycle, preferably one with a trailer. These can carry almost as much as a motorcycle, but are not limited by fuel, though slower and require fitness.

    • only as a last resort, by foot. Yes, this one also should be planned for, as it may be the only option available when bugging out is needed.

    It seems if many people are considering on foot as the first resort. I think it should be the last resort, as it presents the fewest options for long-term survival.

    Any thoughts?

    • The vehicles will always be first. I’d drive my riding mower pulling a trailer before walking if possible.
      The bags though have merit. Let’s say you have a 7-8 earthquake. You ain’t driving nothing nowhere far. Your walking.
      Truth is your buddies mom is in trouble in a real SHTF. So is my wife with lupus. We’ve discussed it. You gotta be real in who’s gonna make it or not. He might be in great shape but if he stays with her he might die too.
      This is why the article is bout getting the mascara and Hershey syrup outta the bag and using it successfully.
      This is the sucky part we hate to talk about. Folks are gonna die for a lot of reasons. Staying too long with a handicapped loved one is one of them. Make your peace with the choices now.

    • Wheels — pushable ones. Extra large three wheeled stroller. Jerry-rigged if you have to. How large is this lady? Maybe a wheelchair. She doesn’t have to ride the whole way if there’s a rough patch for the wheels. May be slowed down a bit there. But I see no reason to leave the handicapped behind. Get it going now so the neighbors are used to seeing her pushed around by her athletic son. There are some pretty amazing wheeling devices out there for the handicapped. Might be expensive but could be critical. What better “resistance” training?

    • An interesting tool to have would be a deer game cart. It will support up to 500 lbs. and it’s on two large wheels. So, it’s a way to move someone or somethings over rough terrain. It was originally designed to cart deer out of the forest, so it’s durable and versatile.

  • Some good and interesting comments.
    Some, not so much.
    Others, I wonder if they even bothered to read the article and went off the headline and just the main topics listed.

    What assumptions are we making?
    You are at work, it is in the middle of JAN, you live in the Rockies, or UP Michigan, Upstate NY and suddenly all the power goes out, all the vehicles on the road at the time suddenly quit working. Multi-vehicle accidents, many with injuries or even fatalities. Roads are at a stand still as nothing can get by. And it is snowing, heavily. Temps in the mid 20s.
    Home is 15 miles away with a 1,500ft elevation change.
    Or similar EMP situation, but you live in a rural area, but work in a urban one. Home is 50miles away. And it is a arid climate, in the 90s. Water sources outside the urban area are scarce.

    Had a co-worker who insisted on only having a Lifestraw in is vehicle BOB, and in no way would he carry water.
    Then we had a drought. The kind of drought where water sources dried up. Lakes were down by more than several feet. Shoreline changes a lot when the water levels drop that much.
    How far could he range before needing water again? Or would he opt for picking up a discarded water bottle on the side of the road and suck water from the water source through his Lifestraw and spit into the bottle?

    Daisy’s bag is a 40L bag. That translates into about 2,400 cubic inches of space. That is no small bag. I have one that is 40L too. If I max load it for winter, including water, it will weight about 40lbs. During the non-winter months, I have rucked with it. If you are in reasonable physical fitness, it is easily doable. Lighter is better.

    Not eveyone’s situation is the same. Many are different with their own challenges that have to be taken into account.
    I recall a report about how the wind changed in one of the CA wildfires. What was a wildfire 30miles away, became one at that persons door. A firefighter was beating on their door, they had less than 4 minutes to get out.
    Another report about a woman, who decided the fire could wait while she got some of her personal affects together. She died.

    Point is, we all have our “ideal,” but rarely does our ideal match reality.

    • Yup
      A lot of folks want to tell you you’ve got comfort but they do not take into account the conditions, the mission nor the person. I agree you don’t “need” deodorant but do not tell me a sleeping bag isn’t needed when it’s 20 degrees and 50mph winds and I’ve got 2 more days hiking to go to make it home. Thats not “comfort” thats smart. I don’t need to prove I’m tough to anyone.
      We have folks die in weather related events every year due to not being prepared, bad decisions or just bad luck.

      • You’re absolutely right about a sleeping bag in n those conditions. I probably wasn’t clear enough when I mentioned seasonal additions. Things that are luxuries in one season are necessities in another. Thanks for adding this comment

  • The pack is a growing and shrinking object with the weather and mission. I’ve used it to support myself during tornado recovery efforts. I’ve used it in conjunction with work in law enforcement and I hunt with the bag as well (real hunting not a stand you drove an ATV to for the 9am feeder). If I roll up on a car wreck I grab “The Bag” cause it has stuff I need in there. I don’t have 14 bags for 14 missions. I have things I take out and put in depending on needs. The same thing we did in the Army.
    By doing this you know where stuff is even in the dark and under stress.
    Are there “comfort” items in there? Some. Can I drop them in SHTF and never look back? Yup BUT reality has shown me that it is used more for real life. By using it in real life I know what works and what doesn’t. I’m not a prepper who buys stuff and hopes for the best. I can be a gear junkie that has “good ideas” every dang year and then when I use the bag I find out I’m an idiot who spends too much money on “good ideas” LOL Point is you won’t know till you KNOW.

  • Daisy, you are so good to keep us thinking as well as those commenters. Several things. Yes, bring a map but make sure you know how to use one. So many rely on Google to get them places nowadays they don’t even know how to follow simple directions. Thank you for the idea of powdered electrolyte packages. Something I had not thought about. I avoid that stuff due to the sugar but in this situation, it would be warranted. My bugging out will be temporary as I have NO place to go but the campground up the road and you know it will be inundated with others. I am ready for God to take me home when HE chooses. Until then I will do what I can with what I have. In my everyday carry bag, I have fencing plyers. I work in environments that insist that 6-foot wire fences will keep us safe so may need to cut my way out as over the top is asking for pain as an after effect. Thank you for all the information and keep it coming.

  • Janis Milford Edmonton Canada

    Many of your suggestions are excellent and I will take them to heart, we live on the edge of our city with plenty of woodlands around us. My only comment regards the use of the Lifestraw product. I used to work in water and wastewater treatment. These products remove bacteria but DO NOT remove viruses. During certain times of the year primarily the spring and fall the natural waterways have higher levels of viral loads in the water. The viruses are shed by wildlife, it doesn’t hurt them but can make us sick. This is part of the reason why treatment plants have to increase the amount of chlorine they use in the spring and fall seasons, the other is the increased organic loads from leaves etc. A common virus we have all heard of is cholera also known as Montezuma’s revenge when you go to Mexico – no one would want to catch a diarrhea disease and be out in the woods. To clear your water of viruses you need to boil the water, treat it with chlorine, or use an ultrafilter rather than a nano filter ( an even smaller diameter filter).

    • It’s true that the Lifestraw doesn’t remove viruses. However, cholera is not a virus, nor is it the same thing as Montezuma’s Revenge. That is generally caused by E. Coli or Campylobacter, both of which are bacterium. If you’re someplace that waterborne viruses are common, you can add a water purification tablet to it and still use the Lifestraw.

  • YOU GUYS WILL HATE THIS,but theres a fly in the ointment when your bugging out..THE US MILITARY WILL BE YOUR BIGGEST ENEMY,they will be searching the forests for you,and THEY DO INTEND TO KILL YOU if they find you,and thats not the only problem,THE US ARMY has created LAB GROWN HYBRED ANIMALS,that will be turned loose by the thousands,in EVERY FORESTED AREA,they will be hungry and you will be their dinner if they find you,one group of these animals will be HUNTING CHILDREN,they are bred to eat children,and will be able to smell them a MILE AWAY,and come straight to where ever they are to eat them,AND IT WILL TAKE A LARGE CAL.RIFLE OR HAND GUN TO KILL THEM,their not little..THEN you have the HUNTER KILLER DRONES,if they pick you up on their infered they will lock onto you and OPEN FIRE with a mini gun,spraying the spot your in,BUGGING OUT will have its dangers..and the MILITARY will not be your friends,remember you were warned who these devils are…

    • Wow, Arizona.
      Lab grown hybrid animals, bred to eat children.
      Hunter drones with mini-guns.

      I think you have out done yourself with that one.

    • Your right I don’t like it. Not because you make the Army out to be bad but because your being silly.
      Turn off the Sci-Fi channel and maybe try something more realistic like Cartoon Network.
      When you get to where you can shave talk to a recruiter so you can get some real life experiences.
      After you start getting your first real check buy a few weapons and learn the capabilities.
      In the meantime those in the real military or those like me who pulled their 20 will stay focused on real threats.

      • I dunno Matt in OK, in all your time in the military, do you recall any mention of us being required to run around the USA, in the forests, with the intent to kill US civies?

        Not I.

        • Yes I was issued a murder drone piloted by a saber toothed polar bunny with orders to murder anything under 4’11” cause as the song says “short people got no reason to live”. It wasn’t required though it was strictly voluntary but fighting normal terrorist and other countries professional soldiers got boring and I hated helping my own people in floods, tornados and ice storms. I can’t wait for Space Force to bring me back from retirement to squash some bugs.

          • Matt in OK said,
            ” . . . I was issued a murder drone piloted by a saber toothed polar bunny . . .”
            Man! You Army guys get all the cool toys!

            I just had a antlered, spiked tailed gerbil, with bad breath and a .50 cal mounted 1/10 scale gas truck.

  • Comments on gadgetry, supplies and choices

    1. From the tests I’ve read, dark blue wins out in low light “invisibility” tests over black, brown, green, khaki, etc.

    2. Newbies likely might not know that military signal mirrors have a small center hole in the mirror silvering so that from the back side of the double-sided mirror, the user can use the image of the sun’s spot of light on the user’s face to precisely aim the sunlight at a distant target — whether aircraft, vehicle, rescuer group on ground, etc. My old Boy Scout stainless steel mirror didn’t have a hole in the center, so I just drilled one — about an 1/8“ in diameter. Most civilian mirrors are not going to have that center hole and likely won’t be double-sided.

    3. In a fire starter kit, I like to include an electric spark gap light. It takes up only about the space of two ballpoint pens, is rechargeable, and each charge lasts a long time.

    4. I’m seeing mixed reviews on hand sanitizer. Some are saying that hand washing with soap is just as effective, and doesn’t have the medical downsides of frequent use of hand sanitizer. While it does make an effective fire starter, there are multi-purpose alternatives. Coconut oil can be not only a useful fire starter, but also can be a good cooking oil, a good butter substitute that doesn’t need refrigeration, a good shaving oil (to keep up civilized appearances), and a source of useful medical benefits.

    5. About ultra-light sleeping bags (bivvys). The last one I tested crackled loudly with my breathing, both in and out. Trying to get to sleep with that would be maddening. So test before needing to depend on such.

    6. Toilet paper tablets are far more compact than classic toilet paper, and just as vital.

    7. flashlights — I suggest at least one with solar and wall-power charging options. It can recharge during the day while on the move if mounted on top of a backpack — or in the window of a vehicle.

    8. I saw no mention of multi-function shovels. Several years ago the Chinese military released film demonstrations of an incredible range of uses for their shovel. Since then, such shovels have become available just about everywhere.


  • One thing/things that should be in a BOB or even just in a pocket is something to keep you rooted, specifically photographs. Not many, but ones that are important to you, or if you are bugging with family, current pictures of them (clear and identifiable) in a misfortunate case of separation and you are trying to find them. I keep a few up to date 2x4s of my girlfriend and son double bagged in a small ankle pocket of my SHTF BDUs.

    Now, i have a just over 1yo to consider when prepping my bag, and the girlfriends. I have a lowpro plate carrier, a slim chestrig stocked with many useful items, and a pistol belt from G-code (very comfortable and worth the money) also filled with useful items (and a roll up dump pouch for a little extra room if needed). I could drop the PC once I felt safe enough to do so (i’m in small town New England, woods are 2 hours away or less on foot with toddler in tow). The girlfriend has a lightweight PC with lightweight pistol plates in it, a couple of useful but not bulky pouches, and a pistol belt with yet more useful items. Having a lot of gear on our first (belt) and second (PC/chestrig) line rigs frees up a lot of space in our backpacks. I have a 40L, dedicated to bulkier and heavier items (food, small cast iron pan, ammo, bivy tent, tarp, combat tomahawk, spare adult clothing, folding camp saw, other not immediately needed items). Her bag is roughly 24L (she is much smaller than I, and would be carrying the boy), and it is dedicated solely to him. In it we have spare clothes, a few small toys that don’t make noise, various types of age appropriate food, a couple binkies on lanyards with clips, childrens’ Tylenol, a handful of disposable diapers (in 3 different sizes), half a dozen cloth diapers and a few packs of baby wipes. We each have a small sling pack with a canteen, Sawyer water filter (mine is 1 person, hers is the larger family unit), collapsible water bags, iodine tablets, salt tablets, spare lighter, emergency blanket, poncho, medical/blood type cards and a small folding knife. All in all my load out is 80 pounds, plus/minus a couple, depending on the season (my PC is 17 of that, and can be ditched quickly, and 14 days of food for 2 adults). Her loadout, with baby, no rifle, is 38 pounds, but getting heavier every day. We are, by the way, both fairly physically fit.

    Some items you should definitely have:
    -Mylar emergency blanket
    -high quality multi tool
    -paracord (laces break)
    -fixed blade drop point knife
    -blood type indicator
    -shatter resistant sunglasses
    -hand sanitizer
    -condoms (more uses than you think)
    -WOOL SOCKS! Smart preferably
    -compass and local map
    -a handful of small, color images of local edible plants
    -and lastly, A PLAN! Make friends, discuss things, trade ideas, stock food and ammo in their houses.

  • My backpack, as well as my dog’s harness (she’s a GSD/hybrid) is of the military grade molle system, which allows me to add/velcro smaller packs to my backpack and my dog’s harness. I also have the belt with the same system and can attach various things with velcro as well as hidden compartments within the belt. Opted for the 40lbs backpack, since I can add smaller outside bags to it, with items that I would use more often or, need to be able to reach if in a hurry. My dog carries everything she needs such as some of her food, some basic first aid that she might need, “booties/shoes” if I need to protect her paws, a collapsible water/food bowl that also doubles as a bowl to use to scoop up water from wherever and pour into my water bottle, that is similar to that of my Berkey water purifier system, in that it filters out both bacteria, virus, gunk etc… It has it’s own carry pouch that attaches to my belt with velcro. It holds about one liter, (1 quart? been in Canada to long… lol) since it’s for both me and my dog. Have 2 extra empty clean plastic water bottles so I can fill them if needed or, have other uses for them. They are tied to the back outside of my backpack. Solar charger attached to the top of my BP. Hand cranked but also solar radio with USB connections and a flashlight.

    My list is pretty much like yours with the addition of a military compass, a small hatchet, which is also attached to my belt. 6 metal tent stakes. My large hunting knife is in my backpack when I’d be in a town setting (same with the hatchet) but strapped to my leg when in a rural or wooded area. Smaller pocketknife in my pocket and one pocket knife and multi tool in one of my dogs pouches. I have a sturdy walking stick that I can attach my bigger knife to one end if needed… Regular leather gloves and finger less leather gloves, which one of them has a small canister of pepper spray, so that it’s always in my hand if I would need to use it. I have it in my non dominant hand. A baton stun gun that also has a flashlight in my BP that is easy to reach. A lightweight hammock with bug net that I can if possible string up between trees and also a small tarp of good quality and a silver foil “blanket” for warmth, can’t remember the name of it. A small plastic/bubble collapsible solar light that I can charge during the day and use when safe when it’s dark. Also have a small sheet of thin see through red plastic that I can put over the light when using it so the light isn’t that visible from afar. Similar to what I have that I can attach to my flashlights. 50 ft Paracord, various size carbine hooks, if I need to fasten something with the paracord, extend the ropes on my hammock, tarp/whatever. Duct tape, (A MUST and the first thing I originally put in my bag… ) a small container with fish hooks, fishing line, sinkers/bobber. I have both flint, whistle and an extra cheapo compass on my paracord bracelet. But also a more heavy duty flint as well as a couple of wind prof lighters, one in my pocket and 2 in my BP. A small container of cotton soaked in vaseline for fire starter, if conditions aren’t good. A small sharpening stone. My medication as well as smaller bottles of OTC pain meds, ant-inflammatory, Benadryl, rubbing alcohol, tweezers, sharp small scissors, razor blades, medical grade scalpel and sutures/needles. (fishing line can also double as stitches) a small container with a couple of crazy glue tubes. Good both for medical situation as well as patching a tarp/whatever rubber/medial gloves. A bandana that can double as a sling or filtering out the most gunk from standing water. A change of clothes, a couple of extra pairs of socks, one pair is wool.

    Believe it or not after having lived off grid mid BC for 4+ yrs. I still don’t and never have owned bear spray but, have been considering buying a canister as well as one of these small compressed air horns… So far, the bears I’ve met out here, run when I’ve done my crazy woman dance, jumping up and down, hooping and hollering and acting totally crazy… LOL Well, my dog does her bit too… 😛
    I’ve got other things as well but, this is what I remember off the top of my head, without digging everything out. 😉 My bag weighs shy of 20lbs when fully loaded but not overfull and my dog’s weighs a bit less than 3lbs.

    Food for me, I have mainly my own pemmican. It’s not the “low calorie” version, it’s the 50% lard 50% beef/venison. I need the extra calorie’s but not only that, it works great as soup stock when adding whatever I can find along the way to add to the pot. I also have a bag of hard candy. I need these and the extra fat since I have the opposite to diabetes and get extreme sugar drops, if I’ve forgotten to eat or worked hard without eating regular snacks and need to get my sugar levels up fast when that happens so…

    I also have my big old diesel truck and fifth wheel, if possible I’d bug out in that but if not… my dog and I will make due with what we can carry in our bags/harness and whatever else we’ll find along the way.

    I’m currently off grid in mid BC Canada but due to things beyond my control, I have to head south across the border this fall, before winter sets in, I WILL be adding a few “security” items, once I’m home Stateside again… Don’t know where I’ll go but, I guess we’ll see what things are like once I’m there and where “things” seem safest. No plans to get near any major cities or larger towns. Been a off grid prepper for MANY years and intend to stay that way as long as possible. Got my pressure cooker with me… (will travel) LOL as well as, as much of my canned and dried goods I’m allowed to bring with me cross the border. Will be filling those jars up again when needed.

    Any suggestions on a relatively safe area in the mid US/south east would be greatly appreciated. Have skills if there are any “community” options.

  • Given the many variables of “bugging out” mine is to get to one of several pre-placed caches in case my home is not available. INCH bags in 40 gallon twist top barrels.

    I keep a folding bicycle in my vehicle as if I am far away from home it’s by my car and if it’s not useable well… I am looking for a trailer for it. The vast majority of my driving recently I could peddle homeward towards the caches via several routes including cross country atv tails and get there with in 6+ hours.

    Yes I have test rode a few of these routes.

    Light bag, contents depend on the season.

  • Lots of good suggestions, I totally agree the pack must be seasonal, I change up my pack as we come into every bushfire season. Wondering what are some suggestions with bugging out with children? Do you recommend one larger pack to meet our needs or three smaller ones not to attract attention ? Just basic black backpacks with Camo covers that can be added. They are also waterproof and the kids have used them to catch rain water before for our dog. Trying to keep it light is a hard task with kids. I don’t think walking is an option for us, I have my ute, if I can’t take that , I have a bike, with attached bike tag along for the kids and basket for the dog. It is heavy going to pull them and the bags . Other than that I’ve got a double pram that holds 50kgs , with the dog and I walking. I’ve done a 20km walk with that setup (not ideal)

    • @Izzy,
      This is what I recall from when I was young (a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . .).
      I had a youth sized pack (was adjustable to fit me as I grew). I had to carry my own sleeping bag and self-inflating air mattress. I carried water, some food (mostly snacks), additional clothing (cooler weather as we usually camped out in the fall), and my favorite toy.
      These trips were only one over night stay, in a state park. But the parents did the best to keep it fun and like an adventure.
      Instant camp food was cool. Eating scrambled eggs out of a bag was neat.
      A multi-day trip, SHTF situation with kids, that could be different.

  • This was seriously helpful to me! I am worried about carrying a heavy bag. I am downsizing immediately to a workable size and now I know where to start. JR

    • @ JR,
      If I may make a recommendation, read books on hiking the Appalachian Trail.
      One of the books noted how much stuff people find not far from the South Trail Head as people ditched stuff they thought they needed (a SCUBA mask and a fishing pool stood out to me).
      I know a guy who thru-hiked it. Lighter was better, but also having seasonal appropriate gear can be not only the difference between being comfortable but a life saver.
      He also noted how small things, GORP, really good jerky, even a good sponge bath could brighten ones out look. Good mental health is just as important as physical health.
      Good luck!

  • So an 80 yr old couple living north of St Louis is going to survive on foot w/ a bug out bag in minus 10 degree temperatures? Really? Como’n man!!! Lets get serious. Even if they had all…..ALL these supplies – what are they going to do? They would need to buy & transport them at a cost of $20 Grand & would not have the physical ability to survive or protect themselves from enemies OR the elements. OK – preach to those who live in Florida or Costa Rica. This is insane talk and YOU KNOW IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Give us all a freakin break!!!
    Try administering Dialysis at minus 10 degrees to an old lady & going w/o ANY medication for a year ……………………………..shut the Hell up!!! Morons.
    This article is intended for those between the age of 18 to 30 without the means nor income of combat training & experience to survive those conditions to survival in southern habitats. It’s insane………..INSANE & ridiculous. Morons! The rest of us R DEAD!!!!!! PERIOD!!!!!!

    • Mappy, dude…chill out, amigo.

      I’m 46. I had to bug out from one country to another, so to speak. And I’m going perfectly fine with a cheap chinese water filter,a one gallon plastic bottle which perfectly fits it in its mouth. A cheap stainless diving knife and a plastic army canteen. A sharpener. I have a mattress and sleep on the floor. I got myself a canvas wardrobe that can be disassembled and folded. Landlord lend me a couple of plastic chairs. I bought a cheap plastic table. After living with the standards I was used to…I’m now a hobo.
      One needs much less at the end of the day.

      Keep it nice. Insults say much more about you than what you would believe. If you wanted to be taken seriously, now you won’t, and all you’ll have done is make people laugh at you and portrait yourself as an old, andropausic unhappy and frustrated little man.

    • Mappy I alluded in commentary above to the hard decisions and choices that need to be made now which is as important as the items that go in the bags themselves. None of us really knows what “IT” will be when we bugout which is what makes it so difficult. The variables are in extremes as well. There will be a lot of death in these circumstances most likely.
      Even the ones who get everything right still will face perils.
      As far as the age meh I’m mid 50s and train the kids coming in and I’m not impressed. I wouldn’t count me out based on it cause I smoke or equal most of them. In our modern world the way folks live age isn’t as much of a factor as it used to be because the young are soft and health is better in the long run. I’m under no disillusion and know that it will get me but my hope is to last long enough to establish something for the kids and grand-kids to make it before I die in that event.
      I’ve been deployed in numerous places and you’d be surprised who is still alive and kicking sometimes in the worst of conditions.

    • @Mappy,
      Yes, you are correct.
      It is the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about: What are people going to do with the very young or the very old?
      There have been a few comments posted about some with young children with good ideas. How would that pan out in a real SHTF situation is anyone’s guess.
      Same for the elderly. That is a discussion for everyone to have with their family.

      I am closer to 50 than I am 30, but I can still strap on a pack and hump it a good ways in a day. Maybe not as far as when I was in the USMC, but likely better than the average American.

      Good luck.

    • Hi, Mappy. I’m sorry this made you feel hopeless – as this was not my intention. I’m 51 and hauled this pack all over Europe for a great deal of the past year. I’m not super-buff but I do walk a lot in my day to day life.

      As much as I wish that I could find solutions for every single person in each of my articles, that’s not always possible. But, I still want to publish the information to help the folks I CAN assist. And also, it’s good to get your wheels turning and think about how you might modify some of these suggestions.

      As others have mentioned, it’s an unfortunate fact that in situations that REQUIRE a bug out on foot, some folks won’t make it.

      But I think we can all better our chances. We can do that by improving our fitness as we can – maybe a bit more walking, some low-impact exercise (water aerobics and water strength training are great for older joints), and also weight-bearing exercise. I’m not suggesting that you prepare for a marathon. Just increase the distance you are comfortable walking bit by bit. A lot of what you’ll need depends upon your climate and the season. Adapting your bag to your climate and season will help a lot.

      I hope that you can find some creative solutions for dire circumstances. Either way, I wish you the very best.

  • Yes, Mappy. Last night, I was all ready to chime in with some thoughts until I read yours. Made me think. I can understand those feelings of fretfulness over the more dire challenges to surviving that some may face. As soon as we step out our door to leave our home because it is no longer safe to be there, our health will decline dramatically. The panic, the stress, the labor will be intense. That’s why we talk, plan and connect with people who can help us if they can. But in such cases, unfortunately, it will be every person for themselves and their loves. If we can’t move, we can’t move. Making peace with that ahead of time will help you accept it when the time comes.

    Seriously, this really is a discussion per household. I do appreciate the permission to take NSAIDs for the aching and paining that hoofing it will bring me. Don’t take those as a general rule. But now adding it to my BOB and EDC. It’s really true, the BOB needs to be highly specialized per person. Had to find special hiking boots to be good to my poor bunions.

    Like most people on a budget, I decided to get some backpacks for airtravel that can be ready to go as BOBs and simply emptied for trips. Sick of dragging that flippin’ wheely thing around the airport. EBags had a neato one with all kinds of good pockets and a sternum strap. It’s a dull navy with dark gray straps.

    I loaded it up with “kits” for ease when I get into it. I don’t have to pull out the undies while looking for food. I have shed about 10 unnecessary pounds off it in the last year. It’s now a little under 20#.

    First though, I had to change my mind about my goal. My goal is to get there (about 20 miles) as quickly as I can. Being in SoCal, I won’t get too cold without a warm meal. So, just quick food to eat out of hand got rid of a lot of gear and weight. This allows for more GORP which is the preferred weight anyway. Jerky is in there. It can get pretty cold at night though, so a soft wool long sleeved t-shirt for night time. Very thin and light weight. Smart wool socks and a thin fleece pullover should keep me warm in the bivvy sack. Got one of those bivvy tents and poncho in case of rain. Also, a metal cup and some tea bags if I really do need a hot cuppa and can risk a small fire.

    At 65, I’m slowing way down. So 20 miles (uphill) will probably take the whole three days planned for — maybe more.

    I’m planning on bugging in but prepared to leave if circumstances force me. If a vehicle can’t get me there for some reason, then walk it is.

    The whole game will change for everyone if we are forced to leave our homes for any reason of safety. This is nothing new in history. If we have at least a small plan, it’s impact on our bodies and psyches should not be so profound.

  • Only comment is seasonal clothing.
    I keep what I need in the car separate from my main bag.
    Easier to switch clothing out if it’s not packed tight with everything else,
    A second bag, everything in it is expendable with extra light,food,footwear,knife,clothing.

    • Horse I agree.
      I keep an old NBC MOPP gear bag with my waterproof coveralls, heavy gloves, hand warmers, stocking cap, winter face mask etc.
      I also keep an extra orange vest in there in case I want to be seen and/or not be shot. If it’s a blizzard I wanna be seen. If I’m hurt or lost I wanna be seen. If it’s me walking in to the homestead post SHTF I don’t want my anxious wife blasting me as I approach the gate.
      The bag clips in to the top of my pack pretty easy.
      Seasonal clothes are usually never a comfort only thing. Heatstroke and Hypothermia are killers here.

  • Three bags that I made/prepared were now being used by those that were left behind. Every three months, for 5 years, I will reexamine/replace their contents. That’s when I was living in that four seasons country with quite extreme summer of about 40*C and just freezing point of winter.

    Told them that they need to restock whatever they took out, only it fell on deaf ears…
    Oh.. well. Who would’ve think that masks and hand sanitizer will be worth it’s pieces like gold now eh?
    Seeds like spinach etc (popeye swear by it I think), fire starters like cheap lighters and the spark producer, salt, coffee mixes, green and black tea, single walled stainless steel water bottle and a small aluminum pot, jerkies and Chinese mres (they’re OK, I could say) water filter and purifying tabs, wool blanket with eyelets (modified purposely), ponchos that can be turned to a tent with paracord of great length, socks and bandanas, eye protection and squeezable earplugs, ladies monthly supply (not for me), a pack of fishing equipment with nets, waterproof playing cards, some cheap but proved effective multitool (tested through numerous fishing trips, household chores and tinkering) and a machete in one of them bags.

    A pink bag, a dual color of orange and dark blue bag and a black bag which was the biggest. All didn’t weigh more than 20lbs individually.

    Also, I make a point of preparing a pair of walking shoes right under their beds and a change of clothes ready by the side.

    Now, the coffee, salt, jerkies and masks are finished and they wouldn’t mind. Sigh…
    Gave them the fish already… But when they didn’t want to learn how to fish, I can’t help.

  • First, I enjoyed reading your article regarding what gear worked and what gear didn’t when you took the Selco class. Just goes to show that the KISS concept outperforms the “gee wiz” gadgets that maybe is marketed more to catch the eye of the buyer than actually perform.

    I’m not a ‘bug out’ fan. I’m more of a GHB (Get Home Bag) guy should I be caught out away from home. I keep a bag in each of my vehicles. I’m in my truck most often and keep a Kelty ‘Redwing’ stowed there. Its more of what people would call a “three-day pack”. Its not as large as your 40L pack I don’t think, but maybe close. Packed its probably around #20 as is the other. I do have small stoves in both. After reading your previous article I’m thinking about removing them since I also have lightweight grills that can be set on rocks over an open fire.

    I’m always re-evaluating the load and often change it around according to season. Your suggestion regarding rations makes sense since having to hydrate foods takes a while where rations not requiring even to be heated AND having a high caloric load are much more convenient… at least in the short-term. At some point I would have to have something more satisfying… like a rib-eye… rare. *laugh*

  • I have two roller suitcases, small and large. I pack them with different things for different dangers.

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