Survival Bug Out Gear

There are many many things to know and consider when buying or putting together survival bug out gear. Perhaps the single most important issue to realize is:

There is no such thing as a one size fits all.”

If you perform due diligence and investigate say … 10 of the best survival websites pertaining to building a bug out bag, with strongly recommended survival bug out gear, you’ll end up with a bug out bag that will weigh between 150 to 225 pounds. What is also somewhat remarkable is you still won’t have everything you need for addressing every anticipated situation. To me this is totally unacceptable. I haven’t carried a pack that heavy since VietNam and could hardly do it then. (Just as a note: a Pack’s weight should equal 15% of your body weight and no more than 20%. After that it becomes extremely difficult to manage)

Instead of putting a survival pack together I suggest we put a list together first in order to organize and classify the individual elements into weight and need. Another thing you must remember is “if the pack is too heavy it’ll either slow you down, injury yourself, or have you discarding elements as you go.” None of which is desirable.

Let’s get started with a plan on assembling Survival Bug Out Gear, keeping in mind, this does not have to be difficult or nerve rattling.

Obviously the first thing we need to decide is what type of bug out bag are we going to buy? We immediately run into two trains of thought both that will argue till the cows come home their position is correct.

  1. Buy all the items first, then buy the bag to fit the load

  2. Buy the bag first, then proceed to fill it.

Personally I’m entrenched in the buy the bag first, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m right.

  1. Don’t buy a bug out bag by price. Most likely you’ll want to stay within budget but don’t think expensive equals better, as that’s not always true

  2. Buy for comfort. Comfort of Straps are extremely important

  3. Go to a reputable sporting goods store, not Walmart. The sales people are knowledgeable and you’ll probably be shocked at how many varieties there are available.

  4. Once you’re happy with your bug out bag, let’s begin to fill it with survival bug out gear.

    Classify the needed items: I’m not going to recommend specific items you’ll need. Instead I want to classify them into certain needs and requirements, suggestions and allow you to fulfill or ignore the segment.

Water/Hydration: People tend to argue about anything and everything these days, but arguing the importance of water is not one of them. Without water, within 72 hours the body will shut down and you will die. Compare that to 3 weeks without food before death and … enough said. It’s recommended 1 liter of water minimum (¼ gallon) per day, per person.

Suggestions to fulfill this requirement:

  • Collapsible Water Bottle to obtain and hold water

  • Hard Water Bottle

  • Canteen

  • Water Filters / Purification System

  • Water Purification Tablets

I highly recommend to carry at least two (more is better) Lifestraws. These water filtration devises remove 99.9% of the bacteria and other deadly microbes from the water without boiling or additional treatment. A lightweight life saver.


Food & Food Preparation: You’ve addressed the single most important survival issue, water. (Although that is not always true) Let’s rephrase that to Normal survival issue. Now we must address the issue of food, and since most food will require cooking, preparation items. We won’t address hunting or foraging yet as that’s another whole ballgame. Let’s concentrate on bringing enough food to maintain us for 3 days.

Suggestions for take along food sources:

  • Protein/ Energy Bars (at least 6)

  • MREs / Dehydrated Meals (3)

Cooking Utensils:

  • Spork

  • P-38 Can Opener (little, lightweight, excellent for opening metal cans)

  • Metal Cooking Pot (Hard to cook anything over an open flame in a plastic or paper container)

  • Metal Cup (also handy if you must boil water to safely drink)

  • Fuel tablets (8 to 10)

Clothing: The type of clothing you have available can save your life. Style is out the window in this requirement. Some people may not take the importance of this requirement near seriously enough. Don’t be one of them!

  1. Choosing bug out clothing is somewhat similar to regular shopping. That is, choose the type of clothing that fits your body type, fitness level and tolerances.

  2. First rule of clothing … layer. Take off if hot .. put back on if cold.

  3. The type of clothes will depend on your environment and climate. You don’t want cold weather clothing in the desert. However, remember the desert becomes frigid at nightfall. Re-evaluate every six months as conditions may change.

  4. You must have at least 2 changes of clothes. The last thing you need is to be wet and unable to change into dry clothes, causing not only discomfort, but hypothermia. Don’t count on being able to start a fire and dry the wet linen. 99% of the won’t happen for some reason or the other.

Suggestions for clothing:

  • Lightweight long sleeve shirt (mosquitoes can drive you insane)

  • Durable pants (zip-off pants are ideal)

  • Underwear (chafing can disable you)

  • Wool hiking socks / 3 pair (wool wicks moisture)

  • Medium weight fleece coats (2 for layering)

  • Working gloves (to protect hands from cold, blistering and firm gripping)

  • Rain gear (poncho or rain suit)

  • Wear a hot, wide brim if possible (think cowboys wore wide brim hats for style?)

Shelter & Bedding: This is one of those ahhh subjects. Most survivalist rely on their own experience and skills to provide these items and scoff at store bought items. They’ll fill a trash bag with leaves for a mattress or pillow. However, companies are becoming more attune at making items designed for packs. At least explore the options.

  • Tent

  • Tarp

  • Sleeping Bag

  • Ground Bag

Heat Source: No matter where you are located or what time of year … you need a fire for heat and a 100 other reasons. If you think you’ll start a fire by rubbing 2 sticks together … I’ll notify your next of kin. You MUST have at least 3 sources of making fire. Always remember the motto … “Where there are two there is one. Where there is one, there is none.” I have no idea who thought of that but it’s kinda brilliant. Murphy’s law applied. You got 2 matches, figure one won’t light. Got 1 match, same as none as it probably won’t light.


Mylar Tent

Suggested items for Survival Bug Out Gear:

  • Stick matches dipped in wax (waterproof)

  • Fire Stick

  • Steel & Flint

  • Tinder

  • Lighters

  • Research it as new products are always becoming available

First Aid & Hygiene: I group these two because they can overlap, plus try to buy items that could serve 2 purposes. For instance disinfectant for a cut can be used to sanitize your hands.

Suggested Items:

  • Small First Aid Kit

  • Insect Repellent (very important) with deet

  • Mylar Survival Blanket

  • Hand Sanitize

  • Travel tooth brush & paste

  • All-Purpose Soap

  • Compact Mirror

Tools: The following items are very nice to have, but you must be extremely selective in what you want to carry. Unless you hire equipment bearers like in the Tarzan movies, I wouldn’t get carried away with these items, but I feel it helpful to list them for your knowledge.

Suggested Items for Survival Bug Out Gear:

  • Survival Knife

  • Multi tool

  • machete

  • 550 Parachute Cord (50’+)

  • Duct Tape

  • 55 Gallon Contractor Garbage Bag (2+)

  • Resealable Plastic Bags (5)

  • Sewing Kit

  • Latex Tubing

  • Fishing Kit

  • Ax

  • Sunglasses

  • Binoculars

Crisis Situation: Lets switch gears for a moment. We have tended to lean towards a short survival situation or hike that may go wrong. But let’s look at a few items we will require if we are actually looking at a SHTF situation.

kit2   Amazing What You Can Carry

Crisis Bug Out Bag:


  • $400 to $500 cash in small denominations – buy and barter

  • Quarters (8 to 12) vending machines

  • Precious metals (gold / silver)

  • Compass (It’d be nice if you knew how to read one)

  • Note Pad & Pencil

  • Emergency Whistle

  • Cell Phone

  • Emergency Radio with Hand Crank

  • Pepper Spray

  • Handgun

  • Ammunition (50 to 100 rounds)

  • Rifle or shotgun (preferably both as they serve different purposes)

  • Candles

  • Flashlights & batteries

21dayflatbelly Fantastic Program

Some people get the idea that the Prepping / Survivalist agenda are set in concrete. There’s a right way and a wrong way only. I’m going to take this opportunity to briefly play devil’s advocate and show you how some items considered essential by some experts are a total waste of time, money and energy to others. Let’s begin.

  1. Sleeping Bags can be a total waste depending on where you are. Why carry a heavy sleeping bag when a couple of bivvies are adequate?

  2. Tents are a waste. Simply carry a lightweight tarp and some cordage to build a shelter. That will save @ 5 lbs.

  3. Camping Tripods are stupid. Why carry 6 lbs of iron around when you can quickly and easily construct a tripod for cooking out of available tree limbs.

  4. Camping Lantern. Why? Build a larger fire or use a flashlight.

  5. Flare Gun. Why? Build a signal fire or use a mirror to reflect sunlight as a distress signal.

  6. Plates & Utensils. Pack a spork and eat directly from the can or package.

  7. Medications. Some medications are essential, as are some pain relievers, etc. It’s doubtful you’ll use an entire bottle of these items. Dump them out and combine and adequate amount of each and put into one bottle or plastic Ziploc bag.

  8. Survival Books: If you’re bugging out it’s too late to begin reading. Grab a SAS Survival Guide, 7 ounces, as it will contain all you’ll need to know.

I think you get the idea. There is no one way to pack or do things. There may be better ways, but not only one way. When you are considering what Survival Bug Out Gear to pack it’s important to think. Do I really need this? Can I lighten this? Will another tool work just as well and on other things? Survival is a game of critical thinking.

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