Best Bug Out Gear for Survival
If an emergency were to strike your community today, how long would it take you to pack survival equipment and flee your home to a safe location?
If you don’t have a bug out bag already packed for each member of your family, it would take you far too long, and you would probably forget most of the things you need to survive…
When you’re ready to fix that problem (which should be pronto!), find a roomy backpack with strong shoulder straps and follow this guide to fill it up with survival gear that may one day save your life.
Start with the Essentials
The first items to make it into your bag are things that you cannot live without. This should be obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many vital elements people forget…
This includes medication that you take for any serious medical condition. You may not have the opportunity to visit a pharmacy and pick up a refill if a true emergency does strike your area, but advance planning will ensure that you at least have enough to get you through a short-term crisis.
You also want to add cash, lightweight valuables and other items that may allow you to barter for supplies not in your bug out bag.
The amount you pack will depend on your current financial situation, but you can add to your savings over time. Stick with small bills because asking for change in a life-or-death scenario isn’t reasonable.
Some other essentials that should go into your bug out bag include:
- Survival knife: Look for a strong steel blade and a full tang. The tang connects the blade to the handle and will break if it’s too narrow. Many experts recommend a fixed blade, but some people prefer a folding knife. The quality of the steel matters, so take the time to find a strong, sharp knife that isn’t too difficult to sharpen in the wild. You may also pack a multi-tool, but you still need a good standalone knife.
- Hatchet: This will add some weight to your bug out bag, but it will also ensure you can split wood to make a fire. You’ll find many other uses for a hatchet in the wild, including using it as a weapon.
- Paracord: You can add packs of cordage or learn to make survival bracelets, monkey balls and other items that unravel when cord is needed. Monkey balls can help you carry heavy bags and other supplies, and you can use them as weapons when needed.
- Flashlights: Large, heavy flashlights may add weight to your bag, but they provide substantial light and serve as clubs when you need a weapon. Small LED lights are lightweight additions that work well at a campsite. Many experts recommend packing a battery-operated flashlight and a hand-crank flashlight.
- Garbage bags: There are hundreds of life-saving tricks that involve garbage bags, but large kitchen or leaf bags can also serve as a makeshift tent. While they aren’t the most comfortable form of shelter, they will block rain and wind so that you don’t freeze.
- First aid kit: It’s worth the money to buy a kit that goes beyond basic Band-Aids because this one item can save a life during an emergency. Add your personal medication to this first aid kit.
- Tarps: This is one step up from trash bags in terms of shelter, but you can also use them to keep belongings from the wet ground or as an organizational tool at your bug-out campsite.
- Gloves: Select thick, durable gloves that will hold up to intense work. You may also add hand warmers found in the hunting gear section of stores. They’re often on the clearance rack at the end of hunting season.
- Flint fire starter: This is one of the easiest ways to get a fire started, and fire is essential if you want clean water and life-saving heat. There are many other tools that you may add to ensure you can start a fire in all situations, but a flint fire starter is essential.
- Clothing: Make sure to include several pair of thick socks because wet feet are dangerous. A complete change of clothing is recommended.
- Food: The type and amount of food you pack will depend on what type of situation you’re preparing to survive. Many experts have long-term and short-term bug out bags designed to accommodate different situations. The only essential guideline is that you pack foods that don’t require cooking and that have long shelf lives.
- Toiletries pack: Include toilet paper, disinfecting soap and moist towelettes. You may consider a toothbrush and toothpaste worth the weight it adds.
- Water filter or Water Bottle with Built-in Filter: You can find personal filters or water bottles with built-in filters that are compact and lightweight, so they don’t add much weight to the bag. Use this to clean any water you consume when boiling isn’t possible.
Added Items to Consider
If you have everything on that essentials list in your bug out bag, you have everything you need to survive an emergency situation that forces you from your home.
If you want your bag to make a bug-out situation easier to handle, there are some added items that you may want to include:
- Walkie talkies: Put one in each of your loved-ones bug out bags so that you can communicate while traveling to your meeting point or if you ever need to split up to hunt food. Pack extra batteries, or you can buy solar walkie talkies. A minimum range of 50 km is recommended.
- Radio: This will allow you to tune into any radio frequencies reporting information, but they add weight to your bag and often require batteries. Find a compact, lightweight unit, or find a hand-crank system to eliminate the need for batteries.
- Tent: This is the most comfortable form of shelter, but it also adds more weight than tarps or trash bags. Keep in mind that you can fit more people in a tent than is advertised on the packaging, since most are marketed for fun camping events rather than emergency situations where body heat works in your favor.
- Sleeping bag: This ranks up there with the tent in terms of ideal comfort, but it’s another item that will quickly weigh down your bug out bag. Many experts recommend tying a bed roll or lightweight blanket around the exterior of your bug out bag as an alternative.
Your Bag Is Complete — What Next?
If you follow this guide closely, you’ll have a well-stocked bug out bag ready to travel whenever the need arises…
Pick up that bag and determine whether you can physically carry it while walking for an extended period of time. You may want to put it on your back and walk around the block a few times to test it out.
You can always train your body so that the bag is easier to handle, but you can also go over the list of everything you packed and find ways to lighten the load. For instance, you may take out some of the optional items you added or allow the strongest person in the family to carry those items. Packing only freeze-dried food will make a substantial difference as well.
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