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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Running Out of Water

My intent when I created this blog was to provide as much information as possible to help people live safer, and more enjoyable lives thru being prepared to handle crisis situations, man-made and Nature made. I feel its also my obligation to forewarn readers of potential dangers that may lurk ahead that don’t get much advertising, shall we say. The subject of running out of water is one such subject.

When we hear someone say they are running out of water, we immediately think their bottle of designer spring fed water supply is nearly exhausted or their canteen is running low, an inconvenience maybe, but rarely life threatening. That’s how spoiled we have become in industrialized, perhaps especially in the USA, countries. The issue of running out of water, something we will all die within 4 days max without, is treated as an inconvenience.

Hopefully changing our warning to “our global supply of water is in danger of running out,” will lend more weight to the issue. Unfortunately, we still have world leaders, specifically the moron who holds the US presidency, who don’t believe in climate change. So holding hope of taking this problem seriously will most likely be dashed. However, we must try.


Where’s the Water?

Let’s look at a few facts in order to set the stage.

A small child can look at an atlas and derive the fact the earth is mainly covered in water. So what’s the water shortage? For the non-believers and those who wish to just be argumentative, allow me to clarify. When I say we’re running out of water, I mean we are running out of drinkable fresh water. Of all the water on earth, freshwater makes up just 3% and less than 1% is actually freely available. The rest of the water is tied up in icebergs, glaciers, ice and snow-caps.

This means that all the water that makes up all the rivers, streams, lakes and groundwater that nearly 7 Billion people (and rising) count on for life is less than 1% of the total water on earth.

You can further break down the pending crisis another step. For some people in certain parts of the world, the issue isn’t so much lack of water, but lack of clean water. In Africa, especially, millions of people die each year from diseases that are totally preventable if they had access to clean water. Although there may be adequate water available from the nearby river, it is so contaminated with animal feces, human waste and industrial organisms from the city located 300 miles away, it’s literally a slow death sentence to drink it. What choice do they have?


Melting Iceberg

There are many factors that effect the reducing amount of potable water, but one reason stands above all others. The ever increasing global population boom. As populations grow so does the demand on water, not only for drinking but for agriculture and livestock. In industrializing countries industry requirements demand more water, for instance nuclear power plants demand huge amounts of water for operation. In other words water is essential for maintaining life, the basis of economies and the maintaining of society.

Historical records show the last massive war fought over water was in Mesopotamia 4500 years ago. Based on that information you may assume that a war over water is unlikely. Is that so?

2003 Darfur Sudan, a diminishing water supply provoked an armed conflict that resulted in 400,000 Africans being killed. Depends on who you’re talking to, but I’d call that a war.

Can’t happen to us. Why not? The Darfur conflict began as a local issue but quickly grew to encompass an entire region in war. I may or may not go to war with you if you have a vast deposit of gold in your country and I have none. But … the huge difference with water is it knows no geographic boundaries. The lake or river can be located or flow through several countries. Who owns it? As supplies of water diminish these water sources that caused no problems for centuries, all of a sudden results in severe animosity or hatred. Especially if one country perceives the other country is consuming more than their fair share.


Unlivable Terrain 

Can’t Happen Here.

If anything the last 2 years of political upheaval and trashing of American norms should teach us is we are not immune to terrible things happening to us just because we are Americans.

In October 2007, a 20 year old water dispute, nick named the Water War, broke out into near open hostilities between the states of Alabama, Florida and Georgia. A severe drought in the region created the possibility of Atlanta and its 4.5 million residents, could run out of water. The state’s National Guards were placed on alert, but fortunately only fiery rhetoric and not bullets were exchanged between the parties.


Learn to Protect the Family

In 2007 the town of Orme’s, Tennessee water supply dried up leaving its 145 residents without potable water for drinking or bathing. The nearby town of New Hope, Alabama not only allowed Orme to bring trucks to take water back to resupply their water system, but allowed them to run a 2 mile pipe line in order to tap into New Hope’s water system. What would have happened to Orme had New Hope refused to offer help? Would Orme simply collapse becoming a ghost town? Would armed conflict breakout between the 2 towns? Would each state take up arms to protect their citizens. Sometimes things can quickly spin out of control.

This is not an uncommon issue. The states of California, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado have experienced economic pressures due to shared water that resulted in a formal water sharing agreement between the states. Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois are disputing water usage of the Great Lakes. I’m not insinuating a pending war or anything like that over water. I’m just trying to demonstrate this is a problem that effects all Americans.

Water is inequitably dispersed on a global level both by supply and the ability to retrieve the water. Developing nations scramble to provide their populations with water and usually end up paying more for it because they must pay for infrastructure to gain access and treat the water.


Quickly drying out

Developed countries can afford infrastructure that can deliver water cheaply and effectively to residents thus creating the illusion water is not that valuable. Digest this: it takes about 12 gallons per day to sustain a human (this takes into account all uses for water, like drinking, sanitation and food production), the average American uses about 158 gallons. Why? What do we waste that much water on?

Can Technology Save the Day?

Hopefully technology will play a huge part in addressing the Running Out of Water crisis. Agriculture uses 70% of the water consumed by people, but 42% of all that water is lost because of bad and inefficient irrigation techniques. Advances in computer and satellite technologies have helped farmers to increase production by not over watering certain areas of crops, plus water savings. Drip-irrigation is also becoming more popular and will increase as costs drop.

Desalinization plants have proved capable of removing salt from seawater making it potable and are currently in use world wide. However, the facilities are very expensive to currently operate, but with anticipated reductions of costs thru technology it could have a huge impact on water supply.

Running Out of Water has created essentially two views of the current water crisis: optimism and pessimism. As water supplies diminish, conflicts may emerge, illness and death may take place. But while some may fight, the struggle to maintain or create a viable water supply has also encouraged cooperation and innovation between governments. From water crisis also springs hope.

There is another option than the two views and unfortunately requires mentioning. That of being an idiot.

  1. You don’t solve the world over-population problem by wiping out a few billion people through a nuclear war or even a conventional war. Besides, you may be one of the billion they decide must die for the greater good. Change your mind?
  2. No, global warming and the melting of glaciers and ice shelves will not solve the running out of water issue. In ice form the water remains potable, but once it melts into the sea it becomes seawater and can’t be consumed.



Want to Look Like This?


I suppose probably everyone has had a canteen sometime in their life, whether it be a required piece of equipment while camping with the Boy Scouts in the woods, or an overnight bivouac in the back yard. Without thinking about it you automatically realized your need to have water and what better way to take care of yourself than a personal canteen. As you grew older you graduated to a thermos bottle, either for your school lunch box or for having coffee on the job. Technology has given us “cool cups” and “hot” cups which keep fluids hot or cold for days.

Now that you finished a stroll down memory lane, let’s focus on the immediate issue. What type of canteen is best for me in a survival situation? Ever hear the most aggravating answer in the world … “Depends”? Well, it does.

Go to a major sporting goods store, Gander Mountain, Pro Bass, Dicks or Amazon and check out their stock of canteens. Chances are you will be astonished at the types, sizes, shapes, and types of material their made of. The once simple task of dashing into the store and picking up a canteen for your camping trip, because you couldn’t find your old one in the pile of family camping gear in the basement, are long gone. It now takes a day of research to feel confident you’ve chosen the right one for your needs.

Let’s go through a checklist of things to consider when buying a canteen.

Material: The first thing to consider is what material is it made out of. In my opinion the best choice is metal, like titanium or stainless steel. They are rugged and will withstand just about any kind of abuse while simply sustaining a dent. Plastic is a no-no. Too prone to self destruct under minimum abuse.

Non-Insulated: Your first instinct may be to buy an insulated canteen in order to keep your water cold, or coffee hot, whichever… but that’s a mistake. Insulated canteens are double walled in order to put a layer of dead air between the two walls, good for keeping the original liquid the desired temperature, but that’s it.

You’ll eventually run out of that canteen full of water, which is no problem because there’s a stream near camp with plenty of fresh water. Of course there’s all sorts of little critters in the stream water that if you don’t kill, will quite likely make you very sick.

Again, no problem … just boil the water, which makes it perfectly safe to drink. But … now there’s a problem! The insulated canteen will not allow the water to get hot enough to kill the parasites, no matter how long you keep it over the fire or how hot the fire. You’ve just run out of safe drinking water with no way to replace it.

Compact and lightweight: Water is heavy, @ 18 lbs. a gallon. You need something lightweight as to not add any further unnecessary weight to your already maxed out bug out bag. The canteen should also be compact as to not take up too much room in your backpack, or too cumbersome to carry on your hip attached by a harness or belt.

High Resistance: You never know what conditions you may encounter in a survival situation, therefore your canteen must be reliable. It must be able to resist failure if dropped, even at a great height onto rocky or otherwise hard terrain. A quality metal canteen will not leak, rust or allow toxic chemicals to leach into your water like a plastic canteen is prone to do.

Taste: Granted if you are thirsty enough you’ll drink any water regardless of a bad taste, but if you’re not to that point yet, water that taste bad is a real moral killer. You know it’s safe to drink, but your mind will create little squiggly things swimming around in it. Plastic is prone to leave a telltale taste if the water has been stored in it for quite some time. Metal will never do this.