Ok so what are you going to put in your bug out bag?
It will need to hold all that you need to get you to your safe haven and sustain you on the way.
As an absolute minimum, your kit will need to provide you with:
Shelter, Water, Food, Fire.
You already know that three hours exposed in adverse weather is possibly going to seriously screw you, so you will need a temporary shelter.
We are assuming you are not sitting put in a survival situation here but moving to safety. Building a debris shelter is great if you haven’t got any alternative. Here you have!
So something lightweight and easily put up will protect you from the worse of the weather.
Along with decent clothing you will be able to maintain your core temperature and remain focused on your plan rather than on staying put, warm and dry.
Water – Unless you are Arnold, you will not be able to carry enough water to sustain you through 3 days of forced hiking, especially in hot climates where you are likely to need up to a couple of gallons.
You can get by on less in temperate climates but you’ll go downhill if you don’t remain hydrated.
Remember you are not staying put and conserving energy here, you probably need to be keeping on the move, so drink.
A water bladder is the easiest thing to carry clean water in as it contours to fit in your pack, but you will also need to have the means to collect and purify water as you move.
Life straws and tablets are ideal as they are small and can easily fit in your pack.
Food – Most of us can do without food for a few days and can actually survive for a lot longer without food if necessary.
However, you will want to maintain optimum bugging out ability and this means taking in enough calories to keep alert and functioning at full power.
Fire – Fire provides warmth and the means to be able to heat water and food. Both are huge psychological upsides.
Boiling water is one of the best methods of killing the nasties in found water and the comfort of a hot drink and meal can be a huge moral boost just when you need it.
Weight – We are limited by what we can carry here so weight is going to be one of the most important factors to consider here.
Everything weighs, so do whatever you can to reduce every ounce. Lightweight gear and clothing, dehydrated food, all these help to reduce weight.
Consider practicing overnight trips with minimal gear and removing anything you don’t use.
You don’t need a large camp cooker and the extra weight of fuel when a compact version will do.
You are not on an “I need every comfort” camping trip here so get rid of anything that will ad extra weight that you don’t need.
Redundancy – If you only have one means of purifying water or making a fire and you lose or can’t use them, you’re screwed.
So take more than one method of these and other critical items.
Multi Seasonal – Unless you have a bag for winter and one for summer you will need to make your bug out bag useable at any time of the year.
Not in any particular order of importance
Bedroll – A sleeping bag or blanket along with a groundsheet or small tarp to keep you off the wet ground. Be prepared to improvise by using insulation from forest debris, grass and leaves.
Canteen with metal cup – A metal cup can be used for boiling water and cooking.
Cash – No good relying on a credit card if the grid is down and you will need some cash when you get to your safe haven assuming civilization has not gone completely to shit.
Small denomination bills are easier to use and expect to pay more than you ought for basics, if they are available that is.
Clothing – Layer up with stout outdoor clothing. If you go to work in a suit and have to bug out, make sure you have a set of outdoor gear with your pack so you can change as soon as you can.
Make sure you have a waterproof jacket, as well as a hat and gloves. Keep it all as lightweight as possible.
You may find yourself out of your normal area so make sure you have the right sort of clothing for the area.
Compass – Make sure you can read a compass and be able to navigate across country. GPS is great but not much good if your device gets broken, lost or the grid is down.
Fire Starters – Its really cool if you can make fire out of rubbing two sticks together.
Spending an hour doing this when you haven’t done it before in the rain is even more challenging!
Make your primary flame device a lighter of some sort, add some waterproof matches in a film can and a survival striker and you’ll have at least three methods of making a fire. (Redundancy, right?)
Some kindling made of dryer fluff and paraffin won’t take up a lot of space and can save a lot of time searching around for suitable stuff when you most need it.
First Aid Kit – Combat troops carry a basic first aid kit and so should you. It needs to have a few dressings, antiseptic and alcohol wipes and adhesive strips.
A small bottle of povidine is a useful medical disinfectant/antiseptic for cleaning wounds.
For more serious stuff, a trauma bandage and some quick-clot don’t take up much room.
Food – Cans of food, whilst being easy to eat take up far too much weight. Surplus MRE’s weigh too much also.
Better to have dehydrated food like the stuff sold in outdoor stores. You can also carry snack food to eat on the go like beef jerky, dried fruit and the like.
Remember this is not like a survival situation here – you need food to keep you going and get back to your family or your base as quickly as possible. In a real survival situation, you'll last a few weeks without food, and it won't be your top priority either!
Boots – Bugging out wearing sneakers or dress shoes is a sure way of ending up with injuries to your feet or ankles. Make sure you have a good quality pair of hiking boots with your bug out gear. Have some decent hiking socks too as these will be the best guard against blisters and other foot related problems.
You will need to spend a lot of time on your feet, so look after them.
Knife And Honing Stone – A good knife designed for survival is a must. It’s the most impotent tool you can carry so make some time to get the best you can afford.
I did a post about survival knives here so this may help you decide what you need to get.
Maps – You never know when or if you are going to have to divert from your planned or intended route, so having a decent map of the area is a must.
Don’t rely on just GPS. Whilst it’s a great tool to have and it should work in most situations, they do break, run out of power or stop working.
Meds – If you take meds regularly, you will need to take a supply for a couple of weeks at least. You don’t know if you will have access to your planned safe haven and you may need to improvise for a while.
You can’t guarantee what you need being available where you may end up so make sure you have more than you would normally carry.
Toilet Paper – Some of you may just have some need to use leaves or grass when truly roughing it. Personally there are a few things I’d rather not do without until I really have to and for the sake of a bit of space in my pack, toilet paper is one of them.
Rope and Cord – to my mind rope is pretty bulky but if you can find the space, a fifty-foot length may be useful especially in rough and mountainous terrain.
Para cord is a must as its not bulky and has pretty good strength. There’s more than a few uses in survival and bug out situations for Para cord!
Flashlight – unless you are blessed with cat’s eyes you are going to be at a serious disadvantage when it’s dark. Walking along rough terrain in the dark without light is a sure way of falling and injuring yourself.
A headlight is compact and light rather than a heavy torch needing large batteries is a good option. Modern LED lights use less power and give out more light than older style flashlights.
Better to make camp and move off in the light of day than risk injury.
Water – You’ll not be able to carry enough water from the start to sustain you for a few days so you will need to carry as much as you can and hopefully replenish at every opportunity.
If you come across water, drink from your supply and purify a stock up as much as you can.
If you are in hot country, you may have to thin out your gear and prioritize the water at the expense of some of your other gear.
Make sure you have a couple of methods of purifying water as picking up a bug can lay you down with the shits and dehydrate you like nothing else.
Don’t risk drinking contaminated water – It’s not worth it.
Weapons – If you are trying to survive there will be desperate people about not as prepared as you, trying to survive as well. If they see you walking about with all your gear, they may see what you have as an answer to their lack of planning.
I’m not a weapons expert so you will need to decide what sort of artillery you may want to carry and be prepared to use.
An assault rifle might not be the best weapon here but a pistol may be.
If you are going to weaponize – train with it so you can use it quickly if you are faced with a lethal situation.
Part three of this article – What’s Nice To Have And When To Bug Out – Can be Found Here
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Evolution Of The Handgun – Infographic
Hypothermia – What It Is And What You Can Do To Prevent It.
Felling Trees – How To Cut Down Trees Safely
How Would You Survive An Earthquake? (Infographic)
Keeping An Edge – Tips for Maintaining A Sharp Blade
Got Yourself Lost? How To Find Your Way Using The Stars
Wilderness Plants That Can Help Heal
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