Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bug-Out Bags

My husband has spent a great deal of time and effort assembling a critical piece of survival equipment: our Bug-Out Bags. Here's what he has written on the subject. (I've kept all photos at high resolution, so feel free to click and get a larger view.)

Bug-Out Bag, GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bag, 72 Hour Kit, Go Bag, Battle Box… These are all names for roughly the same thing. A Bug-Out Bag is a densely-packed portable container purchased or created to provide individual mobile support in case of emergency. In a SHTF event, a Bug-Out Bag might well be the difference between life and death.

But there are couple of important things to remember concerning a Bug-Out Bag. First and foremost, it's only meant for three days. I know this seems obvious, but it is the most important thing to remember when assembling your own Bug-Out Bag. (I'll explain in a bit.)

There are a lot of descriptions available on-line for Bug-Out Bag. I know because I've read at least forty of them. But whether you decide to make one of your own, or decide to purchase a pre-made bag, you need to keep in mind it must be applicable to YOUR unique circumstances.

Will you be staying put while using your Bug-Out Bag? If your home is on fire or you’ve experienced an earthquake, you’re not likely to be taking a fifty-mile hike to find help. You'll want to stay close to where you are until help arrives. Alternately, are you escaping a home invasion or a fast-moving wildfire? If so, how far do you think you’ll need to travel in order to be safe?

Is your Bug-Out Bag suitable for your environment? If you live in an arid climate, your bag will be quite different from someone living in the wet Pacific Northwest or the frigid Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

How physically fit are you? Our Bug-Out Bags average about thirty pounds. This may not seem too heavy, but I assure you that if you are unaccustomed to carrying thirty extra pounds over any kind of distance, you’ll be in for a rude awaking.

Here's a little test. Take four empty gallon-sized milk jugs and fill them with water. Each of these jugs will weigh about 8.3 pounds. Pick up two jugs in each hand. You are now holding about 34 pounds. Heavy, isn't it? Now walk about a football field length (100 yards) and back again. You'll get the point. Naturally, having this weight on your back rather than in your hands will help a lot. The weight is distributed across your shoulders and back. But that doesn’t change the physical fact that you are now 34 pounds heavier. Now imagine hauling that extra weight for miles and miles, possible over fallen trees, up and down slick and steep gullies or through deep snow or soft sand. I've gone a long way around to explain this simple sentence. Weight is paramount in your Bug-Out Bags.

As you put together your bags, feel free to mentally add anything you want to your kit. Chain saw? Great! Portable DVD player? Good for the kids. Hey, this is a mental exercise – enjoy yourself! But before you put it down on paper, always say to yourself: “Seventy-two hours. That’s all.” You've got to carry those items. Maybe you'll be scared, injured, stressed. Maybe you'll also be carrying a firearm or a larger medical bag. Think about weight...and survival.

This kit is not meant to keep you in luxury. This isn't a fun camping trip. The ultimate purpose of a Bug-Out Bag is to keep you alive for 72 hours, and to give you those three days to reach safety or to have the time for someone to reach you.

Once you've got your bag or pack together, practice. Make sure each kit is fitted to its user. Take a family hike. Set up a camp. This way you'll see what works and what doesn't while you have time to fix them. And remember: Like a thief in the night, a disaster can occur without warning. Practice getting everyone together quickly. Boots? Coats? Guns? Pets? How fast can you get it all together and out your door?

Since everything needs to be as light and compact as possible, consider what items can have multiple uses.  For example, many of our smaller items are inside Ziplock bags for added water-proofing.  Ziplock bags by themselves can have multiple uses.

There are a lot of variations available for a Bug-Out Bag depending on your circumstances. Thank God, my family has no unusual medical needs. But maybe yours does. And everyone has their own ideas on what is or isn't important. I'm always glad to hear suggestions. But before you make them… please, think seventy-two hours.

Here's what our Bug-Out Bags contain (click to enlarge photo):

1. Sleeping bag.
2. Standard military hard foam pad. Good for a dry spot in wet conditions and as a fairly good "door" in an improvised shelter. Marginal for actually sleeping on, but hey, better than nothing.
3. 8 x 10 nylon camo tarp. A waterproof wrap for the sleeping bag/ground cloth/improvised tent or a camo cover. Has grommets but can be "up-graded” with item #18.
4. Ziplock bag containing copies of birth certificates, plasticized maps, immunization records, insurance records, title insurances, contact info for friends and relatives, etc. Each pack contains a complete set for the entire family.
5. New Testament. We will all need support in trying times.
6. Wash cloth/utility cloth.
7. Two bandanas (earth-tone). Nothing is more useful than a bandana. It can be used as a tourniquet, pot holder, sun block, sling, sweat band, extra pocket, gun swab, head cover, dust mask, and of course blowing one’s nose. The list is huge. Ask a cowboy.
8. Duct tape. As the saying goes, duct tape is like The Force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it binds the universe together. With duct tape and two bandanas, the world is your oyster.
9. Mosquito netting. Good for bugs, filtration, camo (make sure to get an earth-tone color).
10. Gloves leather or synthetic working gloves with Thinsulite lining.
11. Light shoes (in this case, moccasins with rubberized soles). Wet feet suck. You can wear these while your boots are drying.
12. Medium ALICE pack with frame.
13. Knit watch cap (preferably with knit face mask)
14. Poncho Good also as a quick tent/shelter. Don't pack a rain coat. You want something that can easily cover the pack on your back.
15. 100 feet of paracord. Make sure you get the kind with either a five or seven strand interior. The strands can be separated and used for hundreds of things. (One time, while part of a group of pretty savvy survival types, I was asked to name the one thing I would have with me if dropped in the middle of nowhere. My answer was rope. Think about it.)
16. Spare ALICE pouch for things that should be close at hand.
17. Two canteens and ALICE attach-covers. Don't forget to fill (and change often) these with water the moment you have your kit done. It won't do you a bit of good to run out of the burning house with empty canteens.
18. Plastic snap together grommets. Excellent and easy ways to re-enforce a tarp, fabric, or blanket. Not as strong as metal grommets to be sure, but a lot easier to install in troubled times.
19. Food. Since food is usually one of the bulkiest items in a backpack, we purchased a 3600 calorie ration bar with a five-year shelf life. Supposedly this is a three day supply. Perhaps not, but it’s better than nothing and only weighs two pounds. You'll still be alive after three days but probably pretty hungry. (This ain't Lembas, folks.)
20. Toilet paper. (Hey, I’ve got three females in the family.)
21. Dental floss. This has many uses and is very tough.
22. Cash. This will also include some coinage. Might still be working phone booths somewhere.
23. First aid kit. The best compact first-aid kit I could find was $14 from the Red Cross. I upgraded it with Tylenol, Imodium, and Benadryl.  A more extensive kit will travel with me.
24. Space blanket bag. This is like your standard space blanket, but formed into a bag suitable as a bivvy sack for outside your sleeping bag (a big multiplier for heat retention as long as you recognize its limitations).
25. Bar soap. Good for washing everything as well as finding water leaks in pipes, unsticking zippers, and lubricating saw blades and screws.
26. Two space blankets. Good for signaling, ground clothes, heat retention, etc. These can be duct-taped together for a tent, grommeted, used as a sun-shade, game-wrap, or (of course) a blanket.
27. Sewing kit.
28. Flashlight. This is an LED flood and single-point light with a strong rare-earth magnet and a hanging hook. (Spare batteries are not shown but we have them packed.)
29. Four ratchet type tarp holders. These make great clamps and tie-downs.
30. Clothing. One shirt, pants, two pairs of underwear, three pair of socks. The outerwear is in dark earth-tones or camo.
31. Matches, match cases, and a Bic lighter.
32. Florescent plastic survey tape. Each family member gets a different color.
33. Comb
34. Sun-block SPF 50
35. Sharpie, two pens and pad of paper.
36. A Leatherman-style tool: pliers, knife, awl, etc. with case.
37. Toothbrush and toothpaste. Sure you can make it three days without brushing. But why? I can tell you that a good tooth brushing will make you feel better no matter how bad a night you've had.

(Not shown: small mirror, compass, AM/FM radio, long johns, water treatment pills and hexamine fire starters.)

So there you are. Patrice's and my packs are somewhat heavier, although not much. I know my limitations.

I welcome your comments, suggestions, or criticisms. Because a Bug-Out Bag seems to be similar to choices in weapons, cars, sporting teams or spousal types (meaning, men especially can argue forever about these things), I expect a lively debate about what should be included. But before you recommend a small solar panel, communication devices, alternate food types, etc., remember three things. (1) Your situation is probably quite different than ours; (2) This does not cover any self-protection requirements (we have other systems for that); and (3)Remember: weight and 72 hours.


  1. Good work.

    The three multiple-use items I'd add would be a good Swiss Army knife with tweezers and a magnifying glass. You can use the glass to start a fire and the tweezers can be a crucial tool for many reasons.

    Second would be a steel 'fire stick' fire starter, in case the unimaginable happens. They can also be used for signal devices, as well, and like the swiss army knife, can be carried in a pocket.

    Third would be a good army surplus machete with a scabbard. It can be carried on your belt, hands free and it uses are many.

    Thanks for this useful post Don and Patrice, and I pray we never need to use our GOOD stuff.


    All three would be vitally needed if things dragged on for more than the planned 72 hours...or worse yet became an ongoing situation.

  2. Don, thanks for this very useful topic. As someone who has seen the aftermath of many disasters through my former career, I can attest to the value of having all this gear at the ready.

    I'd add a pair of safety glasses. As you said, a bandana will work as a facemask. So throw in a pair of safety glasses or goggles to keep the debris out of your eyes. Remember 9/11? Those folks could have used some safety glasses. Most disasters create dust/ash - prepare for it.

    Instead of a washcloth, I would use a bandana for washing. But what I've added to my own BOB is a small package of 8"x9" sanitary wipes. They are large enough to cleanse my entire body (quite a large task, to be sure, but definitely feasible with these things) without the need for water. Also, they can be used to clean out a scrape. And once done with it, I can add it to my fire building materials.

    In my first aid kit, I've added a small tube of Vaseline. I use it for chapped lips, firestarter, and hand lotion. It's one of those small things that has many uses.

    Also, I have a telescoping-long-handle trowel in my gear. I use it for trenching around the tarp, digging a "cat hole," and as a walking stick when fully extended. It would also make a good baton, if needed.

    Don, you've inspired me to reevaluate my BOB. I think I can get the weight down a little more if I work at it.

    Every six months, I take all the gear out and update where needed. Also, I use the gear in all types of weather and in various terrain so that I can see what works, what I need, and what I don't need.

    I'd love to see more of your survival suggestions whenever you have the time.

    Thanks again.

    Anonymous Patriot

  3. Darn, forgot to mention this before. I took the duct tape off the center core and wrapped it around an old credit card or an old library card (anything that is small, rigid, and nonstick). By doing so, I have freed up some space in my BOB and if I wanted, I can easily carry a lot of tape in my pocket by doing so. This is not my idea, this was gleened from some survival videos on YouTube. Also, a paracord bracelet is a great way to carry some extra paracord on one's person at all times, even in emergency situations.

    EDC = Every Day Carry, stuff that is with you whenever you are wearing clothes. EDC is becoming increasingly popular with survivalists. I have also become a supporter of EDC. I have a Swiss Army knife, small flashlight, small pill tube, a whistle, and a tiny lighter on a keychain and that keychain goes with me whenever I leave the house. It's my EDC, and functions as a micro-BOB.

    Anonymous Patriot

  4. Well...let's see if I can sign off in the right place...didn't meant to leave a p.s. above...just simple operator failure. lol

    AP I'd love to sit by the fire and hear the stories I know you must have to tell.

    I've been the 'survival type' since long before the term was invented. lol If I carry a ladies 'handbag' it's typically one that can be also strapped around my waist leaving my hands free. I might empty it and use a bowl or other container slipped into it leaving my hands free to pick berries and fruit. When I'm out on foot I carry water and binoculars and so forth.

    Ready is as ready does, I reckon. lol


  5. Add a firearm. Small pistol or rifle that breaks down. (Henry survival rifle or Marlin Papoose). And ammo.

    You might not need it, and yer not gonna fight a war, but having it may make a difference. And the weight penalty is small.

    If surface water will be available, I also suggest a water filter. Katadyn hiker or equivalent.

    for a look at my BOB, go to:


  6. Most BOB lists I have seen have one thing in common. They assume you will have no shelter available other than what you are carrying on your back. I wonder how realistic that is for most people and common emergencies? It does skew what goes in your BOB because the weight and size of shelter items will cause you to not carry other items.

    As you mention everyone's situation is different. In our situation we plan to bug-in (in part because we do not have any remote location to bug-out to), with only a few hopefully rare situations that might cause us to need to bug-out. If there was a fire, or a tornado, or a nearby HazMat incident we might have to bug out.

    In almost all bug-out type situations my wife and I will be in our cars. I sometimes call my car my "steel raincoat" as it is a great shelter as well as a means of transportation. I can lean back a seat, and while it would not be as comfortable as my bed at home, it would be far superior to any way of sleeping in a bed-roll and shelter that I carried on my back. Other places to shelter include (short term) the local Walmart, and longer term the homes of family, friends, and co-workers.

    Just another way to consider. Maybe this way of looking at things will help someone else in their planning.

    I love zip lock bags, and in particular the freezer grade heavy duty versions. You can never have too many of these (or plastic wire ties).

    Thanks for all you do!

  7. Think about adding a stainless steel canteen cup. Need something to boil water in. Adding a few bouillon cubes can make an emergency situation a lot more tolerable. So can a few pieces of hard candy.

  8. I'd add a straw-style water filter. There are lots of lakes in my AO, and I believe there are streams/springs in yours. I don't want to carry 3 days of water for 4 people (our kids are too small to carry more than 10# and 15#, respectively, so our BOBs have to be 10#, 15#, 30# and 40#). The little filters don't weigh much, esp in comparision to water.

    Xa Lynn

  9. Xa Lynn, can you provide a link for those straw-type water filters? I don't believe I'm familiar with them. They sound like an excellent addition to BOB's.

    - Patrice

    1. not sure on the spelling but scyhelle makes a nice one for around 20 bucks



    4. PH Life makes a straw filter good for 25 gallons, & a water bottle good for 100 gallons.

    5. PH Life makes a straw filter good for 25 gallons, & a water bottle good for 100 gallons.

    6. AS a C.E.R.T. disaster preparedness trainer I've looked at many a water filter. I am definitely not a fan of the water purifying tablets in a bottle. Once you open it, and moisture gets in, they will go bad. My favorite for on the go is the Sawyer Mini - packs a punch, small, and you can back flush it to keep it in good working order.

    7. Taharmayim-Israeli Water Purification Tablets work great and are individually sealed. I always bring along for back up.

  10. thanks..I also carry a small mirror, wrap-a-round sunglasses and multi use piece of equipment that is all-in-one consisting of compass, whistle, thermometer, & magnifying glass--very light & useful. also, a GOOD set of 8x21 binoculars. peace, jim

  11. Save the Canning JarsDecember 3, 2010 at 8:03 AM

    There is a straw that has caught my attention. It is called Water Is Life. It has a string to hang around your neck and filters for about one year if I remember correctly. They are handed out in other countries where disaster has happened. People can donate (as with Haiti).

    But when I looked into purchasing some straws for bug-out, I read that they only sell to organizations (probably RELIEF organizations).

    Should I try to convince them that
    America may be the next 3rd world country (just read WND article about how it is thought the missile shot off the coast of San Fransisco was thought to be a warning message from China to America. The missile came from an underwater Chinese submarine and our detection system failed.)

    If anyone has any ideas about how regular folks can acquire water filtration straws, please share.

    1. Amazon has many different ones.

    2. Look up their newer site by googling Lifestraw and you can buy one for $20 that will easily filter enough water for one person for an entire year! I tried mine in a very yucky mud puddle and can honestly say the water tasted fine... just warm. Hope this helps and stay safe!

  12. There are several small, portable water filtration "straws" available. You can find them on Amazon, as well as several survival-related retail websites.

    Here's an example of what Amazon offers - I hope the link works for you. (copy & paste)

    You can use a search like "water filtration straw" and get many results. Some are inexpensive, some are not. In the field of clean water, I'd probably get something in the mid-price range for myself.

    To address Anonymous 10:46 - re: shelter.
    One of the definitions of "disaster" is the loss, even if only temporarily, of shelter. Like you, my vehicle could be my home away from home in a disaster. Mine has a GOOD bag and other gear always stashed in it. This is over and above my BOB. I would rather be prepared and never need the stuff, than to be needing the stuff and not have it. But, to each his own. Certainly, this is a personal choice and yours to make.

    A.McSp - I'd like nothing more than to sit beside the fire and swap stories. Maybe this spring we can meet in the middle somewhere and do just that? Or we can tent in Don & Patrice's back 40 and have a Rural Revolution convention. (Oooh, hope they don't read this.) LOL

    Anonymous Patriot

  13. Howdy,

    I just recently got back from the annual Texas EMS conference. One of the topics was trauma and the use of tourniquets. The recommendation was to use one quickly and use one at least an inch to an inch and a half wide. Commercial ones like those used by the military were far superior to a cravat. The C-A-T Combat Application Tourniquet the SOF Tactical Tourniquet being the best. These are used by our troops in combat. They are saving lives and FUNCTION! Next get a couple of Quickclot or Celox pads for the real serious bleeding. NOTHING stops arterial bleeding quicker. They showed a film where surgeons cut the femoral artery on a 200 lb pig and stopped the bleeding IN SECONDS. Falling among sharp rocks could do this real easily and it will be up to you to save your own life.


    1. Not to be a killjoy, but I would recommend watching that video again. If you watch closely the pig stops bleeding because it runs out of blood... quickclot is cool, but that video is irresponsibly misleading IMHO. Review it and let me know what you think. I wholeheartedly agree with the CAT Tourniquets. One handed, bloody, failsafe operation. Just remember a properly applied tourniquet HURTS!


  14. Make the poncho a German one and buy two. They can be hooked together and made into a tent. I keep a STERI LIGHT too. The UV light can sterilize water in seconds. I know that it need batteries, but this is a 72 hour bag. Filter the water with the pre-filter, use the light for 15-20 sec and keep going.


  15. That would be faaaaantastic!


  16. Another water filter system is an item called a steri pen. There are several styles available. They use UV light to purify water. These may be a bit pricer than straw filters, but it is another option that is out there.

  17. oops...Ken beat me to it.

  18. one person mention a tin cup for boiling water.
    That is great, but for you coffee drinkers and
    others like me who are trying to get the old
    fashion coffee tin cans do it. And keep the
    plastic lids. But about a quater inch or less
    punch two holes in one side. One above the other. Do it on the oppisetd side. And then run
    wire over the top of the tin can.You can use
    the tin can for boiling alot of water, lets say for mountain house, if you are out in the
    woods. Keep the plastic lid,so you can put camp
    soap in the tin can when you are not using it alone with maybe a dish towel or two.Again very
    light weight. Also put some camp soap on the outside of the tin can, before you put it on the fire.When you wash the tin can off, the black stuff from the fire will wash right off.
    And you can carry the tin can on the outside of a pack.The plastic lid keep somethings dry or somewhat clean.My husband and daughter went
    on a 60 mile one week hike and that is all the
    cooking pot that they every used.
    Blessing Debby

    1. Excellent idea! Thanks.

    2. Outstanding point Debby, and I'd like to add to that. Take the lid of the coffee can that you removed, and fold it in half. Mind the edges, as they can be sharp. Keep this item with your fire kit, as it can make char cloth. Look up this material and it's uses for making a fire.

      To do so, place cotton, such as from a shirt or bandanna in the folded lid, and put that into a fire. The cotton will not incinerate, and the resulting material will help you start a fire in an emergency situation. Consider a way to transport it, because it is not a durable material.

  19. Great listing ! Appears to be quite usable!

    I would put the TP in a quart freezer bag, remove the cardboard core, and have a dry, feed from the middle compressed package.

    Also add a large trash bag or two - can be used for tarp/poncho/leaf bag(insulation)/tent/clothing/etc.

    These 2 alternatives add a few ounces, and give additional flexibility.

    I also have a walking stick with my BOB/GHB for reasons that include walking...

    Came from survivalblog - stayed for the great info !
    thank you, rick in North Georgia

  20. Hey Ken,

    That German engineered poncho sounds like a great idea. Do you have a link or a name brand for that?

  21. I'd love to reprint this terrific post on my blog ( Can you drop me a note at Thanks!

  22. Good tips. Ultralight hiker resources can also give good advice. I rarely see bug-out-bag writers acknowledge this, but it's a perfect match.

  23. And by the way, replace that horrid closed-cell pad with a warm, comfy, self-inflatable mat. Therm-a-Rest offers *very* lightweight sleepers.

    Though you get what you pay for; years ago I bought a self-inflatable from WalMart. Horrid. Impossible to sleep on. Therm-a-Rest bonds the skin to the foam, which is wayyyy more comfortable.

    Get a patch kit as well.

  24. Great post, great comments! I also carry zip-ties and my duct tape is rewound on a prescription pill bottle[the bottle is good for keeping small items handy. Large paper coffee filters for 'pre-filtering your water, and a digital pedometer for keeping track of your mileage on foot. Also a tube of X-strength 'baby teething gel' it's safe enough to go in a baby's mouth-then it's safe enough anywhere on/in your body. I use this for; burns, cuts, blisters, etc.
    ''you get the point.''

  25. Good post,for what its worth we put a jet boil in our might think its a little bulky, but you can have a almost boiling water in 90 seconds. hot soup,coffee or coco does a lot for the spirt.Several backpacking trips under our belt, even a warm wash cloth on your face and neck helps out. Be Prepared,Always.

    1. As far as fire starters go,nothing beats steel wool(SOS pad) and a 9 vault battery. Keep them out of reach of each other until you need them. all you have to do is put the steel wool pad on top of the battery and buddy you have a fire on your hands,quick fast and in a hurry.

  26. Thanks for your post on BOB
    One thing that is in all of my bags, and other outdoor gear is a roll of braided [ not twisted], mason twine..It really makes life alot easier when setting up any kind of camp..multiple strands can make a very strong rope
    I always have some wrapped around one of those orange match holders, that is filled with cotton balls swiped in petroleum jelly...any kind of spark will start the cotton balls burning, and they burn for a long time

    1. While twine is great, if all you want is strong rope, you might think about acryllic yarn. It is very, very strong, very lightweight (much more so than twine), and very cheap. Just an idea.

    2. That's what the paracord is for you don't need rope with a hundred feet of paracord

  27. regarding the space blanket....these things work extremely well for what they're designed for. However, usually they are not vapor-permeable (IE steam).

    That means that putting it on the outside of your sleeping bag will mean that your sleeping bag will end up wet after a night of sleeping in it. If your sleeping bag is insulated with down, that means it's pretty much useless. Even if it's not, your bag will gain a significant amount of weight, especially in freezing weather.

    I'd recommend using the space blanket/bag INSIDE of your sleeping bag, where it will act as a vapor barrier. By raising the humidity next to your skin to 100%, it will drastically slow down your perspiration rate, and thereby the rate of heat loss. It will also mean that the vapor does not hit the cold insulation in your sleeping bag and condense (and then freeze, in cold weather), making the sleeping bag work better and stay fresh longer. Dirty, oily, and wet insulation tends to clump (especially down), which reduces its effectiveness.

    Just a tip from a longtime backpacker who has spent many nights sleeping in the snow :)

  28. CONSIDER CHIA SEED (posted in two parts)

    I strongly suggest that any bug out bag or survival kit should contain at least one pound of chia seed. Consider these edited excerpts from the book, “The Magic of Chia” by James f. Scheer.

    A few years ago when Ciraldo Chacarito, a fifty-two-year-old Tarahumara Indian from the Copper Canyon region of Mexico, was among the top finishers in a 200-mile race. Could the secret to Ciraldo's success have been something known for more than eight hundred years by his people: chia seeds eaten before and during the race? Teams of Tarahumara Indians are now training on chia seed, including Ciraldo, who won this race in 1998.

    Doyle remembered a common sight: tribesmen filling pouches with chia seeds (often the only food taken, along with a gourd with water), strapping on a backpack, and running for days, covering 300 rugged miles along the Mojave Trail from Needles through the Cajon Pass to the California coast. There they traded blue and green stones (malachite copper and turquoise), chips of flint or obsidian lava, arrowheads, and sometimes ochre paint.

    Adolph Bulla was a hard-rock desert miner in his seventies who was legendary for his physical stamina. Some years ago he was the subject of a feature story in the Los Angeles Times. After reading it, Harrison Doyle drove out to Randsburg, California, to interview Bulla.

    "It was indeed astonishing to find a hard-rock miner at that age drilling, blasting, mucking, and hauling for six sunup-to-sundown days a week," he told Bob Andersen. "Crediting his remarkable physical stamina to chia seed, which grew up and down hills near his home, Bulla generously presented me with some, explaining that he mixes a teaspoonful into hot-cake batter—sometimes a little more for an especially hard day—and this fortifies him for work without another meal."

    And despite constant exposure to the burning, skin-aging desert sun, Bulla "looked and acted a good twenty years younger than his actual age," according to Doyle.

    Bragg related the absorbing story of how he had been introduced to this fabulous seed.

    "Early in this century, two friends and I decided to climb the rugged and uncharted San Jacinto mountain that towered 10,831 feet above the then small southern California desert community of Palm Springs.

    "This is one of the world's most spectacular mountains, inasmuch as it is situated in flat desert country and goes straight up. In our packsacks was food for three days. Starting at dawn, we struggled up to the top just as the sun was setting on the western horizon.

    "Too tired to do anything else, we ate our evening meal and then crawled into our sleeping bags. Early next morning, a tremendous thunderstorm broke over the mountains. It was
    like being pounded by a waterfall. Drenched, we quickly ran under an overhang of rocks.

    "When the cloudburst subsided, we were upset to find that our packsacks of food had been washed down the mountainside—along with our trail maps and guiding compass. Our situation was desperate. It is not easy to go down a
    mountain—miles and miles of wilderness—with thick underbrush and sheer dropoffs.

    "Afraid of starving to death, we started downward on the wet, slippery, and rocky terrain. Of course, the trail was
    washed out. Just when we thought we were making progress, we came to a cliff with a dropoff of several thousand feet and had to start all over again.

    "A long day of hiking through the underbrush and stumbling over rocks exhausted us, especially because we hadn't eaten a morsel of food. We were thankful we had canteens of
    water. We slept under a big Ponderosa pine that night.

    "Our next day was almost a duplicate of the previous one. So were the following three days. Discouraged, apprehensive, and exhausted on the morning of the sixth day without food, we found that we were back where we had started on the first day.

    end first part

  29. second part, chia seed

    "While we tried to figure out what to do, an Indian of the Agua Caliente tribe appeared out of nowhere. He had a remarkable body—tall, lean, symmetrical—and he moved with such power that I was amazed. He carried a rifle, and there
    was a leather pack on his back. His bronze skin almost glowed. I judged him to be middle-aged.

    "He spoke excellent English, telling us he had been on a nine-day hunting trip looking for a mountain goat. I wondered how he had fed himself during that period. He showed us. His leather pack contained seeds which he called chia. He had lived on several teaspoonsful daily. Seeing that we were lost and famished, he shared some with us.

    "Within a short time, the three of us us felt a supercharge of energy. Never in my life had I experienced such a sharp change.

    "That was my introduction to chia seed and to its remarkable powers to invigorate a person. Equally remarkable was the fact that this Indian, a powerful specimen of manhood
    was seventy-nine years old and lived mainly on chia seed.

    I remembered something from the Bible, a quotation from the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians: 'Prove all things."

    That was what Paul Bragg did. The test came about almost by accident. In a chat with a group of young men and women athletes at his athletic club, he checked each person to find
    out which foods gave them the most energy, vitality, and endurance for winning performances.

    Responses ranged from wheat germ, wheat germ oil, brewer's yeast, desiccated liver, blackstrap molasses, royal jelly and
    soy foods, to individual supplements such as vitamin C, vitamin B-complex, magnesium, and mineral complexes.

    "Then my turn came," said Bragg. "I quickly told the group I seemed to get my greatest go power from chia seed, which has been my old standby for energy for years—just as it has
    been for various American Indian tribes. Inasmuch as I was considered more or less a guru of the group, one of the young men said, 'Paul, why don't we test chia seed on some weekend?"

    There was almost unanimous agreement, and Paul Bragg structured the experiment, actually a competition—a grueling test of endurance, a thirty-six-hour hike to the top of Mount
    Wilson and into its wilderness back country. He divided the volunteers into two groups. "Members of one group were to
    eat only chia seed during the climb, and the others were to eat whatever foods they wished."

    "I took the chia-seed-eating young people—eight men and four women—and another fellow led the eat-as-you-wish group. On a sunny yet nippy morning we started out. We in the chia-eating group took in several teaspoons of chia seed
    in water as soon as we arose. During the entire outing, we chewed on chia seeds or took them in water.

    "For the first few hours, there seemed to be no difference in our ability to climb. However, as the terrain got rougher and the slopes steeper, things changed. Our chia-eating group started to pull ahead of the others.

    "Initially, we were ahead by a quarter of a mile, then a half mile, and soon there was more than a mile between our group and the other. As we munched on the chia seeds, we negotiated the rough upgrade almost effortlessly. No one felt tired or recommended that we rest. Actually, we appeared to gain momentum as we covered the miles."

    Soon Bragg's group was on the home stretch toward the agreed-upon goal. At the end, everyone in his group appeared recharged and even ready to go farther. Out of the other
    group of twelve, only five finished—three men and two women—and they dragged in four hours and twenty-seven minutes after Paul Bragg's chia-eating group.

    All of them were exhausted, their faces drawn and their feet dragging. They were almost too played out even to talk. None of them needed to be convinced that chia spelled the difference between winning and losing the Mount Wilson competition.

    posted by:

  30. Hi - Looks like you have put of thought into this bag....Have you tested your bag and contents out? Did all the gear work for you the way you thought it would?

  31. Further explanation re my chia posts:

    As many others suggest, traveling LIGHT can make ALL the difference whether we ever safely reach our destination, or evade armed pursuers, or otherwise collapse from accumulated weakness and starvation. An ideal light "survival pack" might include: all-weather undergarments (and other items) from, a Katydyn Pocket Microfilter, backed up (since water is VITAL) with a SteriPen Solar model, a Surefire Saint headlamp (uses the same solar-rechargable batteries as SteriPen) a good full-tang knife, multitool, cordage, uv glasses, garbage bags, small binocular, quality backpack with other misc "necessaries" PLUS 10 pounds of chia which will see you through not just three days, but ONE FULL YEAR of full-energy survival!! (If consumed via the typical one tablespoon per day.) Naturally one might want to supplement via foraging if desired, try to carry more etc, but since the idea of a bug out bag is just to LIVE until such time as normal comforts become feasible again, then you cannot beat the proven utility of this minimalist approach. I've purchased more than 100 lbs from this source:

    Buying in quantity (50 lbs for $225) would feed a person for 5 years, or a family of 5 for one year. Works out to a mere $40 per year to feel strong and energetic under any circumstance, amen!

    1. One ounce (about 2 tablespoons) of Chia seed contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber, plus vitamins and minerals. This is not enough calories per day to survive on. Do the research. It seems it would be a great additive to another staple to increase calories, protein and fiber, but is certainly not enough to live off of alone, especially in the quantities stated above.

    2. Actually, Chia seeds do contain enough nutrients to survive per day, plus their "caffeine-like" natural energy sustains you really well, without the "crash-effect", even in hectic conditions. I wouldn't recommend trying to live off of them completely, but for a 3-5 day situation, they're more than sufficient alone in those quantities.

  32. Sheesh, Rich Loomis, do you happen to work for the "Chia Pet" Company?

    Anonymous Patriot

  33. Hi Patriot

    Nope, no connection or financial interest in the matter whatsoever. However . . three decades of careful attention to survival equipment and strategies suggests that no better plan exists than this, and is obviously DIRT CHEAP such that anyone can afford to kactually feel secure with their bug out bag.

    Otherwise, it's back to the "maybe" three days supply via energy bars, granola, etc. Why shouldn't a bit of enthusiasm accompany this plan? Beats the pants off all others I've read about . .


  34. Sorry rl, but when one of the first things on that site is a libido enhancing herb, all I think is HOAX!

    1. Not a hoax. Check other sources. Chia seeds are an excellent nutritional food source if you have to pack really lightly.

    2. They are also a great supplement to add to the diet of chickens. My cousin swears it's why her 'girls' are such prolific layers. My husband also uses it in his smoothies in the mornings and swears by it.

  35. Great post & comments!

    I like to carry items which can be used for many improvised purposes. A few feet of fencing wire is an example. It is easily shaped however you want and stays in that shape. It has hundreds of uses and doesn't weigh much.

  36. This is one of the most useful posts regarding Bug Out Bags that I've seen lately. I compiled a list of bug out bag resources and you're actually at the top. Thanks for the helpful info.
    Take care

  37. Total weight in kilo grams ?

  38. My bag is similar, however, there are a few of other things I have in my BOB: Flashlights, light LED type that can be attached to your hat or head for hands free use, a baklava instead of a knit cap, I take the duct tape and wrap it around a pill bottle which I have filled with cotton balls which I soaked in molten petroleum jelly (will burn for thirty minuets), a silk bandana (Coffee filter in a pinch as well as many other things), a deck of playing cards, a stainless steel canteen cup on my canteen, walking stick, water filter, a small sewing kit, Gold Bond powder (green bottle), snake/bug bite kit (regional item), a small diamond stone, and if there is any chance of being in the back country I add a good machete (not made in China), and self inflating Therm-a-rest mattress, and a hammock (with straps). I covered nearly 50 miles on the Appalachian Trail with my BOB plus food and a Whisper mini stove four days three nights. As stated by others light weight hiking is an excellent source for ideas and light weight gear. My bag weighs in at 40 lbs witout water. I believe weekend scouting trips are good practice for bugging out.
    Old Scout Master

  39. Guys, I dont know how much training you all have had but a a former Green Beret, you are all taking to much stuff. Your object is to get from point A to point B as soon as you can. You need to dress for the weather, if it cold take a few more cloths, but if it is in the summer you dont need to take extra cloths. You dont need toilet kits, or sewing kits machetes, duct tape, shove, ground pad, a 5 peice mess kit (just a canteen cup), comb, extra knives, extra blankets. Forget it all. Take food, socks things to put water in, poncho liner, poncho, small first aid kit (go heavey on the mole skin), a weapon, a knife. The only thing Im have a backup is a second compass. If the emergancy is an EMP most things like radios and GPS's wont work so thats just more weight. I have lived for a long time with even less than this. Dont over think the think. If you bugout you have a mission and chances are it is to get back with your family if you are gone. Im going to do that the fastest way I can and taking alot of worthesss gear wont get that done.

  40. there should be a saw or machette big knife something of that nature no matter where your at in the world.The more you know the less you carry always be prepared. I.P.D.E identifie predict decide exacute.Thank you ROOSTER EAGLE SCOUT

  41. ROSTER EAGLE SCOUT, before becoming a Green Beret and an Army Ranger, I was an Eagle Scout. The outdoor skills I learned helped me so much and were very valuble. You are right, the more you know the less you carry. I understand your coment about the big knife and machette. If you want to take them thats fine. I had a machette attached to my rucksack for years in the army and never really used it. I have many large fix blade knives, but the knife I always used and kept with me was the Swiss Army Hunter. It has a larger lock blade, saw, gut hook and other little things Swiss Army knives have. My thought is IF YOU WONDERING IF YOU SHOULD CARRY A PIECE OF EQUIPMENT YOU PROBABLY DONT NEED IT. I do alot of traveling, usually 50 to 100 miles away from my home. I live in northern Alabama where the weather is not that bad and there are plenty of streams for water (I have done my own assessment of the area and where I will go). I have 8 days light weight food. My bugout bag is designed to get me home to my family and that will take me more than 72 hours. I keep extra cloths in my truck so I can react to weather or conditions. In my situation I realize Im going to be walking more than 72 hours so I have to take enough food and take care of my feet. If you are an Eagle Scout you are heads and shoulders above many. Im not trying to be arrogant or a know it all, but I have done this stuff for real. Good conversation. Let me know your thoughts or ideas.

  42. To the Host or Hostess of the site, I have looked at the packing list of your husbands and I would respectfully make the following comments. They are just suggestions, so take them at that.
    1. Sleeping bag. If it is winter good but keep it light. If it is summer use a military poncho liner or no bag at all.
    2. Sleeping matt. Again, if it is winter, OK if it is summer I would not take it.
    4. If you think you need to take the paperwork OK, but if your intent is to start from your house, where would you be going.
    5 and 6. You wont need wash cloths or two bandanas. Just take one bandana and use it for everything.
    8. Duct tape. If you take a couple of strips with you fine but no more.
    10. Gloves. Only in the winter, other than that, no.
    11. Extra Shoes. I understand your point about wet feet but I would not take them.
    14. Poncho. I would take it and not a tarp. Use the poncho as a tarp. I disagree with not taking a rain jacket, take one will keep you warm if the weather is cool at night and it illiminates extra clothes being taken.
    15. 100 feet of cord. I cut mine up in 5' sections and seared the ends. You only need about 6X 5' sections to build your tarp hooch.
    18. Grommets. Leave them home.
    21. Dental Floss. Leave it home.
    24/26. Extra Space blankets. They are for a one time use and though they are light you dont need them.
    25. Soap. Leave it at home, who cares if you smell a little bit.
    27. Sewing Kit. Should be only a needle and a small roll of thread if you take one at all.
    28. Flashlight. take a small light one.
    29 Four Ratchet Type Tarp Holders. Leave it home you dont need them to make a shelter with your tarp and cord.
    30. Clothes. Only take extra clothes when it is cold to keep warm not just to have extra clothes, if it is summer leave them all behind, thats why you have a rain jacket.
    33. Comb. Leave it at home.
    37. Toothbrush and paste. Leave it at home.
    As far as tarps and stuff. I have a military nylon poncho that I tie the hood up and use it as a tarp. I have a old thermal blanket, the kind with a shiny side and the other is OD green. I use a poncho liner up until it gets real cold outside. Think Light. Remember every new idea adds weight. 100 lbs of light weight equipment is still 100 lbs. I hope this helps, they are just my thoughts. Good Luck

    1. Dental floss and a leather sewing needle let you mend rips tears do stitches if necessary dental floss can also be used as a friction saw head lamp is more useful being able to walk in the dark and if need be get over things I always bring closer to 4-5 bandana's they're light and i'm small enough i can use them to act as a wrap for rolled ankles sprained wrists and just about everything else i'd add chlorine tablets in-case you can't get a fire started they make almost instantly safe drinking water saftey goggles or shooters glasses and a couple of light sticks and god bless the MRE i have 3 for my 72 hour bag.

  43. Guys, take a look at Army FM 21-76, Survival, Evasion and Escape, and SH 21-76, The Ranger Handbook. Both are great sources for basic skills. It doesnt matter which version or date they are all good.

  44. For shelter consider a Hennessy Hammock. It's small, light, and you don't need a sleeping bag, tarp or ground cloth. Only helpful if you have trees around or some other kind of anchor 4+ feet off the ground. I've owned one for years and they are very comfortable and you can put them up in the rain. They can get chilly at night and in the winter probably wouldn't be the best option because you are up off the ground. I slept quite comfortably in one with just a standard sleeping bag when it was about 38 degrees outside.

  45. My experience is that hammocks have their place like in swamps or jungles where you need to get off the ground. I have slept in one several times and it was not pretty and my back was very sore in the morning. In my opinion, unless you are traveling through a swamp or jungle when things get bad, you dont need the weight in your bugout bag.

  46. Song Ben Hai Ma ( MA : Ghost)July 10, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    For me the idea of a BOB is both short and long term. Everyone in my famly has at least one BOB, adults two. Adults have one at home and on in thier truck or car. Of the long term items is Firesteels such as the
    Swedish Army Firesteel. while matches and lighters are great...a good Firesteel will latst years...and years ! Each or our packs has atleast four !
    I simply can not speak too highly of a good firesteel, nor good tender...both man-made and natural. I really suggest what I call Cotton-V-Balls,
    cotton balls treated with vasoline...
    Well Thats my two cents...There is a lot of good suggestions/advice at this and many other survival web Sites...Read...Think...learn...and Practice! with
    whatever gear you choose.
    Best Regards To All,
    Old Soldier
    RVN, ARVN 02 APR, 60 - 20 OCT, 1970

  47. Very good information, thanks for sharing with us and hope that you always provide me such type of information.

  48. i would add a zipo light becuse you can add any fuel type to it

  49. Our BOB has many similarities but here are a few items not mentioned in the main article or comments, that we consider very helpful:

    1.) One water bottle in each bag has the "sport's" squirt top on it so it can double as a wound irrigation bottle. (The rest of our 3 day supply is in regular bottles) Irrigating a wound of debris is a super important first aid step, and the pressure is sometimes necessary for proper cleansing.

    2.) Steri-strips. They are cheap and weigh basically nothing, but oh so helpful in closing wounds.

    Our problem, when thinking of what to put in this kit, was it's exact application. Would we be fleeing a natural disaster or a roving gang? Would we be out on our own or herded into a FEMA camp? Would we be running for our lives and therefore begrudge our heavy packs or would it be a steady pace where we'd treasure each item? Since all of the above are a possibility, we tried to pack inclusive of each scenario. This is not a perfect system we realize, but what can you do. We've at least stashed a lot of our water on the outsides of the packs, in case we need to jettison items in a hurry to favor speed.

    May we all never need our BOBs!

  50. Thankyou to all who have posted here and to the owner of the blog.

    I'm Canadian and my wife and I have been putting together a BOB and because of the climates we live in it has become an intersting task. Warm & extreme cold scenarios face us depending on what time of year it is.

    I believe that if you don't got it you cant put it on. Same could be said for not having it. Small items such as floss or duct tape maybe "useless" to some but you pack alot stuff inside of the role of duct tape and pack away easily.

    One thing I have come across that I think would be indispensible in certain events is a bunch of nylon ties. They are extremly strong and can hold things together very tightly. They also pack away easily and weigh very little.

    There is no mention of entertainment or candles. Maybe it's a Canadian thing but a single long burn candle can warm a vehicle for hours as well as provide light.

    Thank you all for your opinions I have used alot of this information presented here in completing my list of equipment for our BOB.

    Lets just hope we never have to use it.....

  51. I'm really surprised to see no water filtration/purification system in your bag? I have one I made, and feel that right after fire, its the second most important thing to have in my pack!

    1. you are right leann most people just have tabs. they are ok but they dont treat everything and one to two tabs to a quart depending on the water. we have two Katadyn Varios they are the best on the market. and over 2000 quarts per filter. i just add 2 drops of bleach to each canteen to be safe.

  52. The Green Beret does make a valid point about lightness = speed. The faster you move, the fewer supplies you will need (and you will beat the crowd if trying to get out of an urban area). Anonymous makes a similarly good point that "if you don't got it you cant put it on." These opinions may seem to be on opposite ends of the bug-out strategy spectrum, with one favoring light packing and speed, and the other favoring 'be prepared' stockpiling and a slow-and-steady pace. But instead of trying to choose one of the dichotomous paradigms, consider a compromise; pack heavy and shed as you go. You can always re-evaluate your situation and needs as you go. In fact, this is prudent protocol for any survival scenario.
    As soon as you are ready to leave your house/car/office, grab your bag and just get the hell out of there. If you find you need to travel quickly and with intent, then you may be overpacked, in which case you can easily dispose of items as you go. If you're truly in a life-or-death scenario, leaving a couple hundred bucks worth of gear behind will be no difficult decision if it improves the chances of you safely and quickly reaching your destination.
    On the other hand, if you find you are in more of a 'bug-out and survive in the wild' situation than a 'get home' scenario, you will likely treasure all of the items you have brought with you from civilization and into the wild. Of course, for whatever preparedness paradigm you adopt, you should regularly rotate out near-expiration, food, water, fuel, medicine, and seasonal clothes/supplies to be appropriate for the seasonal conditions and current events.

  53. The Green Beret does make a valid point about lightness = speed. The faster you move, the fewer supplies you will need (and you will beat the crowd if trying to get out of an urban area). Anonymous makes a similarly good point that "if you don't got it you cant put it on." These opinions may seem to be on opposite ends of the bug-out strategy spectrum, with one favoring light packing and speed, and the other favoring 'be prepared' stockpiling and a slow-and-steady pace. But instead of trying to choose one of the dichotomous paradigms, consider a compromise; pack heavy and shed as you go. You can always re-evaluate your situation and needs as you go. In fact, this is prudent protocol for any survival scenario.
    As soon as you are ready to leave your house/car/office, grab your bag and just get the hell out of there. If you find you need to travel quickly and with intent, then you may be overpacked, in which case you can easily dispose of items as you go. If you're truly in a life-or-death scenario, leaving a couple hundred bucks worth of gear behind will be no difficult decision if it improves the chances of you safely and quickly reaching your destination.
    On the other hand, if you find you are in more of a 'bug-out and survive in the wild' situation than a 'get home' scenario, you will likely treasure all of the items you have brought with you from civilization and into the wild. Of course, for whatever preparedness paradigm you adopt, you should regularly rotate out near-expiration, food, water, fuel, medicine, and seasonal clothes/supplies to be appropriate for the seasonal conditions and current events.

  54. u should also have a knife listed

  55. A "BOB" and the whole idea of "survival" needs is fairly new to me. My friend has been guiding me somewhat as to what I need. But your list by far is the most frank, easy, doable list that I have seen in my research. Im going to print this out and work on it ASAP. Thank you for sharing. I really appreciate this information!

  56. To Nicholas Johnson, this is the Green Beret responding to your post. I understand about what you are saying about starting out heavy and dump stuff as you go. The purpose of a bugout bag is to get where you are going where those heavy things are. Go light and get to your stuff. Learn your skills will make your pack lighter and quickly get to where the heavy things are.

  57. We are in a unique situation in that we live on a Caribbean island! Earthquake? Tsunami? Utility explosion? Now, THAT really changes your BOB perspective! Still have all of the basics mentioned in this post & others. For, us, I'd expect to be evacuated to another island or mainland by boat within several days to a "tent city" in a foreign country! -Not expecting the best! Our BOBs reflect this. Drool if you want, but, we have no place to run to!

  58. A suggestion instead of moccasins is to buy a nice pair of scuba diving boots. They are heavy duty, have sturdy rubber or kevlar soles, and are able to be rolled up and compressed into a tight pack. They are also very lightweight!

  59. i am a 57 yr old woman w an 80 yr old very healthy, very opinionated mama to take care of in a time of emergency as as well as 2 toddlers (1 in diapers who rashes extremely easily) & a strong capable daughter-in-love & son who can handle anything life throws at them. We have done survival camping, & have what we used to call "Ebags"-emergency bags packed as a matter of course. We are as prepared for flight as we can be, but this is the reality for most of us: running hard is probably not an option. We know there might be an incident where flight would occur when the man is at work in the city, at least 45 minutes away by truck, & it would just be us girls. We live in the swamplands of southern Georgia & know that it is as necessary to be aware of deadly snakes, spiders, gators, sink-holes, bogs, quicksand, frog-strangling gully-washers, etc, as well as of 2-or-4-legged or mechanical pursuers. We would have to carry little ones on our backs as well as supplies for them and for us. None of the dynamics listed above addresses these issues. We have camped w babies, but have never had to flee w them. We drill & talk about it, but realize that if the time for flight comes, it may be something entirely different than anything we could have imagined. Basically down here, it's a few spare zip-locked e-rations in the pockets, strap-on water bottles for the kids, LED headlamps, a couple of combination tarp/hammock/tent/pack-covers for the back(s) of whoever is not toting a child at the moment, small back packs on the kids w baby wipes, a couple of diapers (they do come in handy as emergency water filters if they are clean) a water-filter bottle, billy can w lid packed w first aid supplies; individual Swiss army knives, sling-shot, gun, small 3-5 lb. Ebag for each, a folding swamp tool (saw, spade, spear combo--the ones i know are all home-made from a small folding spade), personal papers. Everything is in double or triple heavy-duty ziplock bags bcz of the moisture/humidity situation down here. We pack mainly for the kids & expect to kill to eat if we have the time, & harvest edible plants along the way--there are myriads. A good flint is a necessity of life. Now if there was aerial toxic spraying, we'd all be in trouble, bcz if we dig here, to try to hide underground, we'll hit water in a few inches on dry land. In the swamp we do not sleep on the ground. Hammocks are the rule, & they are not critter-proof, but they drip water rather than soak it. Boats would just slow us down if we are on the run, bcz of portage. We would just hope we weren't being chased by local ppl & dogs or swamp-stompers from elsewhere or machines. For us, it's not the living out of doors that is the problem for survival, people can live forever in the swamp--it has everything U need; it's the pursuers. They are the ones we would have to avoid/outsmart. That is always harder with a multi-age group. If we were rounded up & taken elsewhere, we would just hope & pray we weren't separated & were allowed to keep our papers & Ebags. The stuck-in-town plan is completely different, too. We could make it (basically avoiding roving bands), but it'd be safer & easier out in the swamp--known territory vs uncomfortable territory.

  60. What aboot a stone or other sharpening device for your knife? I always carry one, it's amazing how much cutting one can do while outside - and a sharp blade makes everything easier!

  61. Thanks for the post and all of the comments. We have sleeping bags with our camp gear, but not in our 72-hr BOBs. We use military ponchos and liners instead with plastic zip ties for tie downs. We each have a camel back + water purifying tabs and two complete MRe bags with heaters. We each have a water-proof, wind breaker jacket, extra socks and underwear, but no other clothing unless it's cold. We have travel sized toothbrushes, toothpaste, & dental floss (floss is primarily for a slow-down, thinking tool-can help prevent panic in a crisis situation if you're not in immediate danger- we have a 13 yr old). We each carry small first aid kit (we designed, not store-bought) and a military tourniquet that can be applied easily if you're by yourself. We have a small plastic bag with vaseline soaked cotton balls for fire starter, a pill bottle with 10 weather-proof matches, a sewing needle and thread. We each have a Swiss Army knife and a pistol with a small amount of extra ammo and a lighter-sized fire torch. We each have a lensatic compass, sunglasses (extra vision glasses for me), a different color of engineering tape in case we get separated, a small amount of duct tape, and 2-50ft sections of paracord. I've also opted for 5 gummy multivitamin packs for each for the extra nutrients, hard candy, & honey packets from KFC (husband is pre-diabetic, and we've recently tested and proven that cinnamon capsules control his blood sugar better than the prescription med, so I'll be adding those to his pack as well). My son's pack only weighs between 20-25lbs, mine is 30-35 lbs, and my husbands is 45-50 lbs. I forgot to mention we each have a headlamp also for hands-free light source. Plus, my husband and I each carry a few additional items we just like to have for emergencies- hence the weight differences. Bren

  62. This comment has been removed by the author.

  63. lot of unnecessary things and not enough necessary items. i spent 22 years in the marine corps and i see these things all the time. when IT happens dont think you will be home in three days prepare for the worst. i have my family ready to live in the wild for as long as it takes. remember you dont have to have a lot of food. there is lots of game out there. this is what i have ready plus not on here is a .22 rifle with 1500 rounds of ammo. they are quiet so get food with. you can kill pretty much anything you want with a shot to the head with a .22 i live in the north so i have things here you wouldnt need in the south
    i would recomend using everything military for cloths and gear it is the best made you will find
    1. i use a Marine I.L.B.E. for my bag. it is big and holds about everything you need and is rated to 120 lbs of gear
    2. sleeping bag and rollout sleeping matt
    3. waterproof-windproof tent, i have a military tub bottom pup tent
    4. one change of B.D.U.'S
    5. 3 shirts and 4 pair of socks
    6. good sturdy pair of boots. i use waterproof military combat boots
    7. M-65 field jacket with liner, military mittens/liners and B.D.U pants liners for cold weather.
    8. well equipped medical kit with a field surgical kit and sutures (you won't be going to the doctor)
    9. solar and crank powered radio with am,fm and sort wave
    10. L.E.D. 2AA maglite with extra batteries, and a few solar powered L.E.D ketchain lights
    11. 5 M.R.E. meals or survival waffles. there is always food in the wild, use the meals as a just in case
    12. water purifier, get one down to two microns, one filter should be good to filter 1000 one quart canteens. plus carry a few ounces of bleach and iodine to make sure.
    13. two one quart canteens
    14. 5 military issue wire saws
    15. at least 3 ways to make a fire. several lighters, matches, and a magnifying glass
    16. a good knife i use an Ontario SP1-94 Marine combat knife
    17. night vision capability, best to have one with infrared to see in total darkness
    18. a small cook pot
    19. collapsible fishing rod with tackle
    20. at least 300 feet of 500lbs paracord military grade
    21. one a day vitamins, cold and cough pills, B12, and C vitamins, toothpaste with brush, razor, shampoo mini bottles
    22. some say carry cash??? i carry things to barter coffee packs, sugar packs, salt, and jewelry. during a collapse money will be useless
    23. topo maps (make them waterproof)
    24. a good military compass i have a 3H
    25. hatchet and a military folding shovel
    26. military survival guide and a guide to edible plants
    27. 50 yards 1.5 inch nylon webbing. this is very light weight and has tons of uses from rappelling to making a new belt, or an extra heavy snare trap for big game
    28. gas mask
    29. handgun with a couple hundred rounds of ammo. i would choose one of the three top ones easiest to find ammo for if you had to search for it. the 9mm, the .380, or the .40 the most popular others would be carrying
    30. rifle AR-15 or AK-47 style weapons in .223 or the 7.62 with high cap. mags and a few hundred rounds. the ammo is heavy but you have to have it. if there is no law it is kill or be killed and there are people that will kill for the fun of it.
    this is for a personal B.O.B. having a family adds a lot. I have all the kids set up close to the same way everyone carrys different things. with the kids i added 2 10X12 camo/tan tarps and 2 dozen aluminum military stakes with 100 yards of 1inch nylon webbing
    this is not for the 72 hour bag most people talk about. think about it when SHTF do you really think you can go back to normal life in 3 days--------right you won't. it will be months if not years. you will have to survive in the bush with what you have, think long term.

    1. i like your set up you have listed. how much do your packs weigh, your and your kids, and what about small item you have. you covered the big things

  64. Great article and comments. With nuclear power plants and a lot of fracking going on, you know that eventually there will be "accidents." Does anyone have any information about how to be prepared to survive these situations with contaminated water, contaminated air and/or contaminated food supply? PY

    1. if you have contaminated water and food supply you need to get out of there, not much you can do. as for the air have your masks with extra filters. my family we all have bio,chemical,nuke filters. with mild contamination we would have three days to get out of an area like that. heavy contaminated air one day. get the masks so you can get away. i live 100 miles to the east of a powerplant so that was on my mind too. good luck-live free

  65. Pack heavy. You can always ditch gear if needed.

    1. you are right pack heavy for the worst. my post is two above you with the 30 items. my pack is 87 pounds. heavy for most but i know i can carry 100 lbs 15 to 20 miles in a day. on my pack i have a small pack, as so do my kids. it has all the least needed to survive. we drop them and it is 10 lbs less for them and 18 for me. good luck-live free

  66. add swiss army knife, small axe with flat hammer side, and a small fire arm w/ammo and its a done kit

  67. People tell me I'm paranoid for putting one of these together. To them I say, I hope none of us ever needs a survival bag (that's what I call mine)... but if you do need one one day, and you never bothered to put one together, I wish you the best of luck... because you'll probably need it. To me, a survival bag is no different than carrying a jack, lug wrench and spare tire in your trunk... you may go your entire life and never have a flat, but if it ever does happen, you'll be prepared.

  68. Just starting to put together my family BOB's, Hubby thinks I'm paranoid. Thanks for all the great advice! A little overwhelming for a beginner and it gives me a lot to think about. I want my family to be safe and have everything we need in an emergency. I also hope I never have to use it. Where is the best place to keep your BOB's after you have assembled it? which exit? maybe the garage? as you walk out the door?

  69. One thing I have added to my BOB is a pack of Femenine Napkins great to use to help bandage large wounds or as someone posted they have 3 females in the house.

    1. about time! wondered if anyone thought of this

    2. They also make great fire starters. If necessary just pull one apart.


  70. Zippo lighter w/ extra tin of fluid. Can hold lit much longer wind/water proof and the extra fluid can be handh as well

  71. Ditch the New Testament: it's just extra weight which can be better used for something useful

  72. If you are looking for more information, please check out I have found useful and thought provoking information there. There have been some great ideas tossed out, but, please remember what works for you, may not necessarily work for others as everyone's circumstances are different.

    I really like your articles and have found I am captivated by the comments posted. Please keep up the good work, Patrice.

  73. I like the KISS theory but understand we all pack our kits based on our own perceived needs and personal psychology; I would like some feedback on the following from the medical and military guys if you would be so kind.

    The idea of most of these kits is to get you from point A to point B alive over about 72 hours. Given clothing to survive your local weather isn't the human body made to go about 72 hours without food and water? In fact can't you last a very long time without food, and its water that is key to staying functional? So in theory a good kit would be based around practical clothing, a good poncho for rain/snow (I love Snugpak but also have an old school one) and maybe a liner for extra warmth along with water. Everything on top of that starts giving you extra energy and comfort. I pack nothing but good old fashioned gorp for food (that's peanuts (unsalted), M&Ms and raisins for those of you who call it something else) it fills your belly and gives lots of calories for light weight and costs a fraction of those MRE's and requires no prep- just eat a handful and your belly is happy and its all snack food I enjoy so its no real cost to me to cycle the stuff in my kit.

    My other question for the real pro's - if the world falls apart good luck to all but I expect civilization to outlive me by a country mile. I live in NYC, my challenge is to find a bridge or ferry to get me off the island I am stuck on if we have another super-storm or terrorist event and my place is no longer viable to hunker down in. Is 72 hours reasonable or is a 7 day light pack better? Gorp is nothing to carry but water is heavy stuff - how much water do the military guys think is essential and what water kit would you pack to resupply with on the go back to grandmother's house? I am looking to move fast on two feet or two wheels in a localized SHTF event but I expect point B to have TV and pizza when I get there ;)

    Thanks for all the ideas here and I hope none of you ever need to use them!

  74. I have bought small first aid kits pretty cheap at outlet store. Occasionaly some other camping survival gear.

    Adding electrolyte powder to your drinking water helps out immensely and can disguise flavor of water purification tablets. Good trade off for the minor weight.

  75. Hey, The New Testament I would never bring. That won't help you either. It's extra dead weight. You should be able to comfort yourself from your own spirit, jeez. A book!? Get real.

    1. My Bible is packed and ready. I'd rather Just have that than anything else. Comfort yourself from your own spirit, jeez. Get real.

  76. I love this idea! Thank you so much for sharing. In my area this BOB would have to be turned into 2 different BOBs due to the extreme weather, mostly cold. I would have to add some form of pan to heat ice or snow in for water in the winter time. We would have to put a tent in the pack and sleeping bags for upwards of -50* temps. For the summer we have to have Epi pens at the ready, and as long as it isn't raining we can sleep outside without much shelter.

    Also in the winter time we have to have a small kit similar to this in our cars or trucks just to be safe driving back and forth to work.

    As you said conditions vary from place to place. I personally believe that where I live has some of the more extreme living conditions and weather changes on a daily basis.

    Thank you again for sharing!!

  77. I'm a novice and I love this thanks. But may I add with clothing something bright colored (red or yellow), a scarf, shirt, hat. For when you actually need to be seen or get lost, etc. Maybe even some florescent tape. Just my opinion

  78. These sound great and we are yet to make our bags but we are both in our sixties and not capable of carrying 30 pounds. I have yet to figure out a way to make a bag with essentials that will be light enough. Wonder if those on wheels would be practical but doesn't seem like it. We also have back problems and just the thought of carrying this much weight makes us hurt even more. Any suggestions for making a lighter weight bag

    1. What about a jogging stroller with large tires?

  79. I've found that keeping one of those little plastic pencil sharpeners are awesome when you have damp twigs and need tinder. also, a handful of ice-cream sticks, great kindling

  80. I've found keeping a small plastic pencil sharpener is great when you have wet twigs and need dry tinder. also, a handful of ice-cream sticks make great kindling

  81. I love how thorough you are. I have problems getting all of my family on board with preparation. In fact, one family member teases me in front of others that I am afraid of an apocalypse. It would be nice to have understanding that anything can happen from fire, earthquake, riots, train derailments, you understand. I just keep preparing anyway.
    On my way outside to practice starting a fire while it is windy and rainy. Practice makes perfect!

  82. I am new to all of this, but for several several weeks, I've felt like I should be preparing such a bag. I have a few questions. I am in the process of creating a bag, but it seems expensive to stock it all at once, so what are the first 5 things I need put in my emergency kit?
    Do I need multiple kits? Home, work, car? Are they all the same or different? I only work a mile from my house if that makes a difference...
    What general suggestions or advice would you give to a single, fifty-something. not very physically fit woman both in terms of preparing this kit and preparing both physically and emotionally for a disaster?

    1. first thing where do you live, in the north, south, west? it is hard to tell a person what to get when you know nothing about them. if you live in a big city or way out in the sticks it makes a huge difference. I live outside of a small town just 3000 people with hundreds of acres of woods right out back so I don't have to hurry to get out. that is one reason we are packed heavy for long term. this has a lot to do with being prepared. if I lived in a city I would make a rapid response pack too, like I have in my truck. nothing more than my compass, a topo map, BDU'S, 2 1q canteens, raincoat, and extra ammo. I always carry my sidearm on me. I would have my regular pack either at a GOOD friends house out of the city or I would bury it. yes it is expensive, more and more people are prepping so costs or going up. I spent 22 years in the Corps with 106 months in combat, I say buy military clothing and gear. you WILL NOT find anything in any store that holds up to the demands like it. I put my BOB on here on March 8th. since you live close to work I would make one to keep the cost down. go to an army surplus store and start with an a.l.i.c.e pack, a good pair of combat boots, and a set of BDU'S. being a woman and if your not armed I wouldn't want to make myself seen. walmart has a fairly good camping supply where you can get some of the things you need cheap. fire starter, rain gear, first aid and freeze dried foods. spend the money (about $100) on a good water purifier. lots of people talk about water purification tablets. they are good for short term but you cant use them for a long time, you may as well just drink bleach. for preparing physically and mentally start walking with weights on your legs and get deep inside of what is going on in this once great country the more you read and understand what may/will happen that will help you emotionally so when it does you wont be in shock. that is what I do with my kids they know the dangers of what is coming and how we may have to live. the ex don't like it but I tell her if we just pretend everything is fine and it does happen they will be so messed up emotionally from having dinner every night and playing video game to living in a tent they will not be able to function properly from the shock. also, see if you know anyone else that is prepping most of us don't go around bragging about it so others don't know. you may know someone doing the same thing. hook up with them if it happens. I found out two women I know wanted to get ready and were in your position. I confronted them helped them out and will be coming with us. good luck and live free---FORCON1

  83. I've really become attached to the Modular Sleep System made by Tennier for the military. It takes a sleeping bag and makes it a total shelter system. Thanks for the great post.

  84. All good advice. I have added a telescoping fishing pole and accessories to my bag. Also a sturdy camping knife and a set of camping utensils

  85. I added a telescoping fishing pole with accessories, a set of camping utensils, a sturdy camping/hunting knife, and empty bread bags. The bags can be used to line a pair of boots to help keep your feet warm and dry.

  86. Tiny nail clippers. A ragged nail will drive you nuts and snag on everything.

  87. The best bug out book that I have found is called, "Realistic Bug Out Bag" by Max Cooper. It blows away all of the other books on the topic.

    It is on at:

  88. I like vise grips and cranking cell phone charger..

  89. Forgot to add cig lighter and small jar vaseline for chap lips.. generic vaseline of course

  90. These are all great ideas, and hey if the man wants to carry a new treatman let for his comfit. But we are forget one thing i havent heard about much on here. The most imporant thing and it dont weight a thing. Make sure your family has the knowlegde to use all this. As head of household. to may be hurt or dead, than who will take and keep things moving on. Im not afraid to put my name here.
    Im Tim u.s. paratrooper 1/509th and in the 82nd.

  91. A: First Aid-tweezers, al. pad, bandages, small band, wp tape, adh. Bandage, Ricola, gauze, needles, tea, ES Exedrin.,WP med cont., pain reliever, Tums, cinnamon, Pet Jelly, antibiotic cream, Pepto., toothpick, steel tweezers, scissors. 10’ coated braided cable w/snaps, JB Weld, butane-1.48oz, toothbrush/paste small
    B: Tin with lint and wp matches, notebook, pen, New Test, soap, twisty, 3 zipties, 3 rubber bands, 2 toenail clippers, 6 eyeglass screwdrivers.
    C: SS folding shovel, 2-org hd ties, 50’ paracord, spoon-knife tool, 5 tine frog spear w screw, splitshots, swivels, #10 hooks, fish line, .22 shells some CB, small folding pliers, 5 led flashlight(4-LR44), green garden wire, mini-Stanley cutter, bu-lighter, 2-superglues, ziplock bags, wax, LR 44 batteries, paracord handle, DEET, compass, dental floss
    OUTSIDE BAG-2 fixed knives, Leatherman/scissor, pliers in cases, fillet knife in case, mini-mag, parachute cord bracelet, 2-carbiner clips, med container tubes, mini-carbiner style clips, mini folding knife.
    Sleeping Bag
    Sleeping Mat
    Bug bivy
    Plastic water flask
    Work gloves
    Plastic snap grommets
    IN BAG-water bladder, filter, IF not worn LCR-22

    I use three wateroof clear containers for A-B-C listed above for the three Alice pockets...a 4th holds my stainless cooking cup, fill every crevice and always update the bag...think about weight too, like how many waterproof matches = the weight of one 9 volt battery? Then actually go overnight to discover what you wish you had and if you need everything you are carrying. I am a woodsman and live quite remote in a chalet.

  92. i'm very glad to find this post it's useful, here i found a good article about thirty four bug out bag essentials for women

  93. Incredibly informative as I have just recently started to contemplate and prepare the contents of an effective and practical BOB. The ideas and suggestions from the author, as well as the comments from contributors, have provided me with a solid, mindful foundation from which to start and continue forward. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.

  94. It's the best time to make some plans for tthe future and it's time to be happy.
    I've learn this publish and if I could I wznt to
    suggest you some fascinating things or suggestions.
    Maybe you can write next articles relating to this article.
    I want to read even more issues approximately it!