Bug Out Bags: Basic Gear You Need to Have

Dave

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#1
This thread will serve as a place to share basic gear that you swear by, along with how you carry it aka your "go bag”, 72 hour kit, emergency kit, whatever you call it.

What do you always carry or keep in your kit for a rainy day? What does your gear list look like?

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Here are the basics of Bug Out Bags and Survival Kits

First, pick a good bag with strong, comfortable straps that you can easily carry, you will probably be on foot! Keep it in your rig if you are on a trip - it's no good if it's not with you!

Then, you'll need the following ingredients:

1. Water:

One liter per day, per person is really the bare minimum while one gallon per person per day is ideal, so your 3 day Bug Out Bag/72 hour kit should have at least 3 liters of water. To expand your capability or to survive longer than a couple of days you will need a water purification system. This can be as simple as boiling water, or a serious water filter (Katadyn, MSR etc).

For water purification tablets, use chlorine dioxide type like Katadyn MicroPur MP1. It destroys viruses and bacteria in 15 min., Giardia in 30 min. and Cryptosporidium in 4 hrs (a microorganism that is the most common cause of upset stomach/diarrhea in untreated water in the US). Unlike iodine, chlorine dioxide does not discolor water, nor does it give water an unpleasant taste. It also doesn’t leave behind any by-products in treated water, unlike other purification agents like bleach or iodine.

How you carry your water is equally important. I prefer one liter clear Nalgene type bottles in addition to a hydration bladder (Camelbak, the Source, etc). If boiling water for purification is indicated, see #6 Basic Gear, Cooking, below.

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2. Food:

For a 3 Day Bug Out Bag, backpacker type meals and energy bars can be sufficient. Back pack meals are freeze dried meals that you just add boiling water to. They are light weight and the ones by Backpacker's Pantry and Mountain House taste great. They also last a very long time, but they need water. Military surplus Meals, ready to Eat (MRE’s) are great too and require no water, but they are much heavier. Canned goods work, but again they are heavy to carry

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3. Clothing:

Your Bug Out Bag clothes should be similar to what you would pack for a weekend backpacking trip. Do not opt for cotton clothing, it holds zero heat when wet and takes forever to dry, modern materials or even old school wool is your friend in the woods. Wool is desirable as wool insulates even when wet.
  • A pair of sturdy boots or shoes
  • 2 pairs of gloves (work type and warm type)
  • A pair of long pants (preferably not cotton blue jeans)
  • 2 Pairs of socks (preferably wool)
  • 2 Shirts (Maybe 1 long sleeve and 1 short sleeve for layering)
  • A Jacket that is both warm and protection from rain and wind
  • Warm long underwear of some kind
  • A hat (boonie cover and a beanie)
  • A Shemagh/Bandana (many uses)
  • Sunglasses
4. Shelter:

If you are going to survive for 3 days or more you are going to need protection from the elements and a warm, dry place to sleep. You need at least:
  1. Some type of tent or tarp.
  2. Cordage: 550 cord or some good rope and plenty of it. Heavy duty fishing line is multipurpose.
  3. A ground tarp for underneath your shelter to stay dry and/or a sleeping pad for insulation from the ground (Do not underestimate heat loss via conduction on cold ground).
  4. Some type of bedroll or "Ranger Roll", but preferably a good sleeping bag. Just remember, you have to carry it so I practice the "pack light, freeze at night" minimalist approach.
5. First Aid Kit

Trying to cover everything you need in your Bug Out Bag First Aid Kit is nearly impossible here as contents may vary due to geographic location, environmental risk factors, individual health and personal needs.

I recommend spending the money on a good made in USA first aid kit. Suppliers to SOCOM like North American Rescue and Chinook Medical provide the best off the shelf solution and are worth every penny.

If you are on a budget I recommend that you build your own first aid kit instead of buying one of those cheap, prepackaged first aid kits that claim to have 1001 things for any emergency. My experience is that these types of kits are usually filled with fluff that makes for nice marketing, and not enough of what you really need for wilderness type trauma.

If you possess higher level medical skills and training, building your own "mission specific" kit is the norm.

6. Basic Gear

Basic Gear sounds repetitive but it is the category for the things you absolutely cannot live without but that don’t really fit well into another category: Things like a multi-tool, sewing kit, fish line & hooks, lures, snare wire, zip ties, trash bags, duct tape, binos, 12 hr candle, sunscreen, chapstick etc.

a. Rain Gear Have 2 ways to stay dry in the rain. Poncho and Coat are good coupled with your shelter. Also blocks wind.

b. Fire – A bare minimum of 3 different ways to make fire. Fire steel/fire piston/lighter etc. With that you can get a flame but you will have to actually build the fire up too: do you have tinder? You can use cotton balls soaked in vaseline as tinder or you can buy their WetFire brand tinder that floats, and lights, in water. You’re also going to need something to cut your firewood. A high quality folding saw is priceless.

c. Cooking – Bare minimum here is a small titanium pot/large cup to boil water in for both drinking/purifying water and cooking. A small backpacking stove like a Jetboil or MSR Reactor provide a top shelf, ready made solution.

d. Light – A high quality LED flashlight and a headlamp and a backup set of batteries for each.

e. Survival Knife – The most often used and most versatile tool in your bag will be your survival knife. A quality, heavy duty American made blade is priceless. Also doubles as a weapon.

f. Comfort items, money, etc Small things like TP, baby wipes, a half bar of soap (to save weight), some gum or hard candy can be a huge morale booster. It's also a good idea to have some money stashed in that bag.

g. Navigation A waterproof paper map of your area, compass, GPS device, and a personal locator beacon (Spot, EPIRB, ResQLink, inReach etc) are all desirable. Have more than one way to determine your location and your destination, and ensure that you do NOT rely solely on GPS or electronic aids. The paper map and compass will always be the gold standard - know how to use them.

h. Communication Knowing what is going on during a storm or emergency is critical. A compact, hand crank/solar type NOAA weather radio is worth considering. Consider a hand held HAM radio for two way communication.
*Have a way to recharge your devices. I prefer a small solar panel in this role.
*Cell signal is never guaranteed so plan to NOT depend on your cell phone!


i. Emergency Signalling Have a whistle and a signal mirror. Consider a lightweight orange air panel for high visibility.

j. Respiratory protection Protecting your body is important. Hazards like viral infections, forest fire smoke or volcanic ash could be an issue. Add a NIOSH-approved N95 mask to your kit.

7. Personal Defense

Being prepared to defend yourself is part of the survival mindset. Obviously a firearm of some sort is best for this. Why? Because 2 and 4 legged animals don’t like guns. A .45 is good but a .44 magnum is better against apex predators, and .454 Casull settles all doubts.

Pick what works for you, and get training. In an emergency situation you will rely on that training and your muscle memory to prevail.

8. Other Considerations

No list or reference is perfect because every family is different, with specific geographic and environmental considerations. Maine is as different from Mississippi as Arizona is to Alaska. Do you have small children, elderly parents or pets? If so, their needs may vary greatly and require their own special "bug out bag".

9. Waterproof Your Gear

Once you have everything, it's time to pack it up. Using dry bags or even a heavy trash bag to ensure the contents stay clean and dry in any environment is key. A properly waterproofed pack can double as a flotation device when needed.

10. Make a Gear List

Once your bag is complete, you're likely going to forget what all is in there, or the expiration dates on any rations or medications. Having a gear list with the bag provides a quick reference and eliminates the hassle of needing to dump the whole thing out on the ground, yard sale style, to validate what you have or don't have onboard.

Here is a free printable gear list for your use, see attached PDF!
 

Attachments

Dave

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#2
Fire Starter

Again, you should have 3 ways to make fire. My favorite is the Blast Match or any other "fire piston" type device. You can use cotton balls soaked in vaseline as tinder or you can buy their WetFire brand tinder that floats, and lights, in water.

BlastMatch.jpg

This thing makes a LOT of sparks and is bone-head easy to use - strike the piston and Grog make fire NOW!

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I always like Made in USA :cool:

BLASTMATCH FIRESTEEL.jpg
 

Dave

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Founder
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Editor
#3
Water Filter/Purifier

This is something that you should not skimp on. The old maxim "buy once, cry once" applies here. Filtering water in a dire situation will be life or death. There are several "mickey mouse" options out there that I would not trust. A brand I do trust is Katadyn. I like their Endurance series for it's ability to filter "extremely turbid" i.e. muddy water.

Survival situations rarely present clean water it seems so the ability to filter "worst case scenario" water is key. I particularly like their "Pocket" filter as a good compromise between size, weight (20 oz) and capability.

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The classic. This robust water filter made of heavy duty materials is ideal for long lasting continuous use even under extreme circumstances. The silver impregnated ceramic element is effective against bacteria and protozoa. The Katadyn Pocket is the only water filter with a 20 year warranty. Includes: Prefilter, bottle clip and carry bag
http://www.katadyn.com/en/katadyn-p...tadyn-wasserfilter-endurance-series-produkte/

A good unbiased review:


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augie

Adventurist
#6
A Shemagh/Bandana (many uses)
Interesting idea, I've pretty much always wear a hat, have a towel folded and stowed behind the truck seat, and have a camo bandana tied to the shifter. Not so sure how one of those things would go over in the mountains of WVA...LOL
 

Dave

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#7
A High Quality Flashlight

Having a high quality flashlight is another no brainer. But, you'd be surprised how many folks have an old "D" cell flashlight from Sears that they think works. Murphy's Law states that they will need it, and it will be missing or inoperable. Every time.

Get yourself a decent light (or two!) and keep it where you can find it in your gear, even in the dark. There are a myriad of Chinese and "other" LED type lights on the market. Some are VERY good for the price, others are complete junk that will fail you. A recent trip to Costco netted a nice pack of 3 decent quality LED lights for $20 - at that price I could afford to have one in each vehicle and in my bag.

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That said, all lights are not created equal. You can spend as much money as you want to on the "perfect" light. Also, keep in mind the battery requirements and potential logistics needed to keep them working. Not all people like the "color" of LED lighting and prefer old school bulbs too. I prefer LED lights that can signal Mars.

Rather than go down this very deep rabbit hole here of best brand vs biggest output vs home build or store bought, I simply suggest that you equip yourself with a quality light that fits your needs and that will work when you really need it. Some brands that I like are Surefire, Fenix, Maglight and Streamlight just to name a few.


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ntsqd

Adventurist
Founding Member
#8
I always carry the 11 Essentials. I keep them in my "Boy Scout Bag" that moves from vehicle to vehicle as use dictates. 10 of the Essentials are listed here, the 11th is TP.
 

Scott

Adventurist
#9
One thing I always keep with me is firestarter. My version of preferred fire starter is a toilet paper roll stuffed with dryer lint. Works every time. I have a ton of these stored in my truck, as well as my BOB. They can be compacted and still work, and they are basically free, since it's just stuff you'd throw away normally.

Dave,
Thanks for starting this up. Once I get home I will put together a list of some things I carry. I am taking all of these ideas and adding them all to my amazon wish list! :)
 

jismay

Adventurist
Founding Member
#10
I cannot emphasize how good the Katadyn Pocket filter is. I have my father's which he purchased new in the late 80's (probably 88 give or take). It is still on the original filter element, and with proper maintenance should last basically forever.

This is something that you should not skimp on. The old maxim "buy once, cry once" applies here. Filtering water in a dire situation will be life or death. There are several "mickey mouse" options out there that I would not trust. A brand I do trust is Katadyn. I like their Endurance series for it's ability to filter "extremely turbid" i.e. muddy water.

Survival situations rarely present clean water it seems so the ability to filter "worst case scenario" water is key. I particularly like their "Pocket" filter as a good compromise between size, weight (20 oz) and capability.
 
#11
Better than just about any filter is the Steripen, a UV light device, never gets clogged up. Some models even use a hand crank so no batteries necessary!

And of course in a survival situation drink whatever water you can find even if it's not filtered or decontaminated. You might get sick in a few days but will be alive to tell about it....
 
#12
A quality pocket knife is definitely on the list. With that said, you don't need a $300 knife...that's nuts! However, a good knife is definitely something you should have.
 

augie

Adventurist
#13
A picket knife is an everyday thing on me just my wallet. Before I walk out the door every morning....wallet, check, keys, check, phone, check, and knife, check. Good to go out the door.
 

TangoBlue

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Senior Staff
Founding Member
#14
A picket knife is an everyday thing on me just my wallet. Before I walk out the door every morning....wallet, check, keys, check, phone, check, and knife, check. Good to go out the door.
I tried looking for a picket knife but couldn't find one. Is it smaller than a pocket knife but only for picking at things? That sounds more like a pin; like a "pinket knife," but only for picking at things, which would be useless for personal defense but I imagine it would be really annoying. That and boring, because just picking at something would take a lot of time until you were able to reach a vulnerable location of the anatomy to actually cause some sort of debilitating injury. But then the person being attacked could fight back and then you would regret having that picket knife. On second thought, you should really leave that at home before you really annoy someone and they whip out a pocket knife with a seriously sharp blade on it and they use it to defend themselves against your annoying picking attack.

That's a lot of checks. Do you keep them in a book or a checkbook; something to keep them all together? Just wondering. I guess you could clip them together with a binder clip - those are very stiff and could hold a lot of checks. They make them pretty small which would be really nice if you only needed to carry a few checks, but if you really needed a lot of checks you could get a really big binder clip. I was in the Navy and we had really big binder clips. I never really carry a checkbook - the wife usually has it. I usually use the credit card, debit card, or cash. Rarely do I ever go out my door with checks... but I probably go out the door even less with binder clips.

So, in summary I rarely go out the door with picket knives (which I Googled and can find nothing), checks, or binder clips. Oh, and I like pie, especially rhubarb pie. Beth makes really good rhubarb pie. Her crust is awesome... sometimes I think the crust is better than the pie filling. Light and flaky with a nice feel on the tooth - she's got crust making nailed. She's my buddy.

Hey, I finally contributed to this thread!
 
#15
you really can't beat a BIC lighter... the only downside is it might leak out if the button is pressed in your pocket. unlike other lighters, BIC can be dried by rapidly rolling the igniter on a pant leg or table. ( l learned that because I once spilled some... water... on one)
I also carry a "diggit tool" (submarine term) I swear by the Swiss Tool by Victorinox, its all stainless construction, blades etc can be opened without opening pliers, has a really tough file, serrated and straight blade, cutters that actually work, its not flimsy (leatherman, or SOG) I have used and abused mine for everything from prying up deckplates to using the pliers as a spanner wrench. it is still going strong after 4 years of HARD use. If you meet me camping sometime ask to see one of them (i have one for work and one for play) you will see what I mean with quality. They also have a lifetime warranty.
I also tend to carry ~10 feet of 550 cord. I use it a lot at work for tying cables and things out of the way while I am working. its applications are endless.
Knife, i carry a folding Ka-bar, it was cheap and heavy, it works for what i need it for.
Last but not least my flashlight, I have a LED lenser $30?, fairly cheap but VERY bright, it uses normal inexpensive batteries 3 AAA. I have a surefire but the dang batteries are too expensive and its made of plastic.
I don't carry this stuff all the time, usually when in my work uniform or fun uniform, I get teased and compared to batman, since when is he bad guy?
In the vehicle I ALWAYS have a roll of heavy duct tape and BIG zip ties... I don't know how i got in the habit of that but they are always in there and get used from time to time.
 

augie

Adventurist
#16
I tried looking for a picket knife but couldn't find one. Is it smaller than a pocket knife but only for picking at things? That sounds more like a pin; like a "pinket knife," but only for picking at things, which would be useless for personal defense but I imagine it would be really annoying. That and boring, because just picking at something would take a lot of time until you were able to reach a vulnerable location of the anatomy to actually cause some sort of debilitating injury. But then the person being attacked could fight back and then you would regret having that picket knife. On second thought, you should really leave that at home before you really annoy someone and they whip out a pocket knife with a seriously sharp blade on it and they use it to defend themselves against your annoying picking attack.

That's a lot of checks. Do you keep them in a book or a checkbook; something to keep them all together? Just wondering. I guess you could clip them together with a binder clip - those are very stiff and could hold a lot of checks. They make them pretty small which would be really nice if you only needed to carry a few checks, but if you really needed a lot of checks you could get a really big binder clip. I was in the Navy and we had really big binder clips. I never really carry a checkbook - the wife usually has it. I usually use the credit card, debit card, or cash. Rarely do I ever go out my door with checks... but I probably go out the door even less with binder clips.

So, in summary I rarely go out the door with picket knives (which I Googled and can find nothing), checks, or binder clips. Oh, and I like pie, especially rhubarb pie. Beth makes really good rhubarb pie. Her crust is awesome... sometimes I think the crust is better than the pie filling. Light and flaky with a nice feel on the tooth - she's got crust making nailed. She's my buddy.

Hey, I finally contributed to this thread!
So, I was typing on my smart phone and not on the computer....I misspelled POCKET KNIFE...Whoops. And no I do not carry that many checks, just mental check off in my head. I try not to walk out of the house without a pocket knife and was trying to relay I carry one just as I carry my keys, wallet and phone....LOL Doesn't everyone ?
 

TangoBlue

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
#17
So, I was typing on my smart phone and not on the computer....I misspelled POCKET KNIFE...Whoops. And no I do not carry that many checks, just mental check off in my head. I try not to walk out of the house without a pocket knife and was trying to relay I carry one just as I carry my keys, wallet and phone....LOL Doesn't everyone ?
Oh, okay... never mind then. :D
 

Grumps

Adventurist
Founding Member
#20
Gotta have a campfire poker....

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My new one. I wonder if Terri will notice the bird feeder hanger is missing off the deck.:cool:
Also useful for prodding trolls and taunting orcs.

-Andy
 
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