The Bug Out Bag

by A-Poc

bug out bag

Some people ask me, “Why a 72 hour bug out bag?  Why not a week, or just a few hours?”  Well, the reason is this:  In a disaster scenario, like a flood, tornado, hurricane, or earthquake, first responders are likely going to be completely overloaded with large fires, collapses, etc. of large commercial buildings or heavy traffic downtown areas.  It is highly possible you will have to fend for yourself for a minimum of 3 days.  So the idea is to have enough stuff to keep yourself alive for 3 days and give you the necessary time and possibly tools to get what you need to survive longer if need be.  It would be pretty cumbersome to have to carry around enough stuff to survive for a week or more when all you really need to do is survive long enough to find more water or food.  Remember, in a disaster, you are going to have to rely on yourself and your family to stay alive, you can’t just wait around for emergency personnel to come do it for you…you may be dead before they can get there.

When we first conceived, we figured one of the first things we would do is build a bug out bag and then put up a page on how we did it.  Holy smokes did that turn out to be a big ordeal!  As you can probably tell, most of the site has been about guns & ammo, and knives.  Well, that is because building a survival bag has turned out to be a lot more in depth than we thought it was.  The amount of research that has gone into it is kinda staggering considering we have pesky full-time jobs that get in the way of our preparations!  That being said, I am going to write this article now to share what research we have already done so that you don’t have to go through the same pains we did!  Hopefully you will find this information useful, but remember…this is NOT a blueprint!  Everyone’s situations are different and your bag will most definitely be different than the next guy’s, so keep that in mind.  Also, I will talk about a lot of different options so don’t expect to fill your bag with everything I mention here.  It would probably take a truck anyway!

So in this article I am going to try and give you a good idea on where to start and how to get a bug out bag together.  But again, there is not a “one size fits all” survival bag.  It really needs to be tailored to you or your family’s particular needs.  You should also consider your surroundings as well.  I am in the country so if I need to leave without a vehicle, I may need to take poison ivy into account.  If you are in the city, poison ivy may not be as important.  That is just an example, but you get my meaning.

The most important things to plan for when building a bug out bag, is food, water, shelter, fire, first-aid, and getting rescued.  I will delve into these first and then give you some other ideas you may want to consider if you still have room in your pack.

Maxpedition Vulture IIBefore you start buying stuff to stock a pack, though, you need a pack! I personally have the Maxpedition Vulture II. It is extremely durable, is really versatile as far as fitting, and has numerous MOLLE attachment points. I highly recommend this bag as a durable, yet affordable bug out bag.

To jump to a particular section click on one of the links below.

First Aid
Other Tools & Necessities


Food is pretty easy to plan for and there are many options out there.  The average adult will need about 2000 calories per day to sustain a moderate level of activity.  mainstay barsOne option for this is Mainstay rations.  They come in 3600 calorie “bricks” that are segmented out into 9 400 calorie bars.  There are some pros and cons to these like the fact that they can withstand extreme temperatures (i.e. leaving your BoB in your car), meet or exceed daily vitamin and mineral requirements, and are generally not really expensive.  They claim they taste kind of like a lemon cookie, and they don’t make you thirsty.  They may not make you thirsty, but good luck getting these things down without some water on hand.  Also, if you pack these, you may want to break up the monotony a little and pack some other type of energy bar or something as the taste of these can wear on you pretty quick.  We are talking about survival, though, not a 4 star meal.

datrex barsAnother option is Datrex bars.  They are similar to Mainstay except that they tend to taste more like coconut.  Lots of people like these better than Mainstay, but I am not a fan of coconut by any means and prefer the lemony taste of Mainstay better.  They are similar in size, calorie count, and temperature tolerance however, and are great for storing in the car.

MREsThose are probably the most popular “bar” type rations that you can pack, but there are also more “meal” type rations if you prefer.  For example, you can always pick up a few MREs.  These are commonly used by the military and stand for Meals Ready to Eat.  The drawback is that they take up more room in your pack, and you will likely need at least two MRE’s per day per average adult to stay active, but they aren’t bad to eat and they make up 100% of your daily nutritional intake according to the FDA.  They usually come with an entrée, a side, snack, drink, desert, and condiments.  There are many different kinds of MRE’s to choose from, however, so you can change it up a bit which can go a long way towards trying to be as comfortable as possible.

Mountain House MealAnother “meal” type ration is the Mountain House Meal.  These are what I prefer.  I have eaten these and so far I have been really impressed.  You could easily serve these to your family one night without them knowing it and they would think you made a great home-cooked dinner.  As far as calorie count is concerned, the 16 oz chili mac I have in my bug out bag says it is 500 calories so that is probably about average for the 16 oz packs, but it will vary a little.  I have a few of these Mountain House meals in my BoB but not enough for 3 days as I intend to offset it with Mainstay and Datrex bars.  The big drawback to Mountain House meals is that they require water to prepare.  The meals are freeze-dried, so you boil about a cup of water and pour it into the package to re-hydrate.  Not exactly a quick on-the-go meal and can eat into your water supply, but to me it is well worth it for when you settle into a location for the day.

Those are some of the more popular options for food for your bug out bag.  I personally recommend a mixture of ration bars, and meals.  It just makes more sense to me.  The meals are good for when you reach wherever you are going to set up camp for the day and give you something to look forward to, while the bars are good for on-the-go and you just need to take a break and eat before continuing on.


There are two things to keep in mind when thinking about water.  What to keep it in, and how to get it.  Now sure, you can and will pack water with you, but if you run out, you are going to have to get more and that may require some way to treat it for consumption.  Not to mention, water is heavy at about 8 pounds per gallon.

32 oz. Nalgene BottleFirst let’s look at containers.  Canteens are cool, but I prefer Nalgene Bottles.  They are virtually indestructible and they do not retain tastes or smells.  Recently, my brother made a nice stiff rum and coke in a Nalgene bottle (not full, of course, that could have gotten ugly!), and when he was done with it, I cleaned it out and drank water from it.  I could not smell or taste the rum or coke at all.  It was pretty impressive, so I highly recommend them.  Plus, they have measurements on the side so they are good for measuring out liquids.  They can also withstand freezing and boiling temperatures.  That does NOT mean you can boil water in them, it just means you can pour boiling water into them if you so desire.  (Well, you could boil water in them, but you better know what you are doing and do not set the bottle directly over the fire!)  You can really get hooked on Nalgene bottles with all the things you can get for them and use them for.  You can even get a coffee press for a Nalgene bottle!

Another thing to consider is if your survival bag is specifically designed for a water bladder.  If it is, I say get one and put it in it!  Water is the most important commodity you are going to need so the more storage the better.  You aren’t going to want to carry around a 5 gallon bucket of water, of course, but a 100 oz water bladder for your bug out bag that is designed for it is a no-brainer.  What I mean is, the bag is designed to allow you to situate the weight of the water as efficiently as possible, so it is probably your best means of water conveyance.  100 oz. Camelbak Water BladderI am personally looking at a Camelbak Water Bladder for my main bug out bag.  I have a smaller knock-off hydration pack that I have used but I haven’t yet outfitted my bug out bag with one yet.  Survival bags can be an on-going build if you really get into it!  But from all the research I have done on them, the Camelbak water bladders seem to be the most durable and best option.  Plus, they have a large opening for allowing you to clean it out easier.

Now we turn to water purification.  This is extremely important if you have to obtain water on the go.  That stream may look crystal clear, but there is most likely all kinds of bacteria and other nasties in it.  Katadyn Hiker ProOne of the most common filters that I see going into bug out bags is the Katadyn Hiker PRO.  The output is about a quart a minute and is good for about 200 gallons depending on the water you are filtering.  There are also attachments for Nalgene bottles so that makes this real easy to use and fill up your water bottle.  This has been one of the more popular ways of filtering your water.  Potable Aqua TabletsIt doesn’t hurt to use the water purification tablets like Potable Aqua or something similar, but even if you use the extra tablets to remove the iodine taste, it still kinda tastes bad.  But in the short term, they do work.

To kill the bacteria and protozoa that gets through a filter, you might want to look at a SteriPEN Adventurer.  Previously, I would recommend a Miox Purifier but the new SteriPen Adventurer seems to be beating out the Miox in how fast it works and its ease of use.  SteriPen AdventurerYou can get one with rechargeable batteries and a solar charging case, but I would just pack extra batteries instead of spending all that money on a charging case.  I haven’t used one of these yet, but I am leaning towards getting one for my Bug Out Bag. You will, however, have to filter out any large particulates in the water, so you will probably want a cloth or coffee filter for that.  In a pinch, a bandana is pretty useful.


Fire is definitely essential.  You need it for staying warm, cooking, boiling water, or even signaling.  Not to mention, if you have to sleep outside, a fire can be very comforting in a stressful situation as it tends to keep animals and bugs away and give you light.  In fact, fire making is so important that I recommend you have at least 2 different ways to make fire in your bug out bag.  One would be the obvious cigarette lighter.  But you would also want a low tech way of making fire as well.  FiresteelA Swedish Firesteel is an excellent option for a bug out bag, but please PRACTICE USING IT!  Having one is great, but if you don’t know what to do with it you might as well have not bought it!  I keep thinking back to watching Survivor.  I don’t remember which one it was, but the teams were given a magnesium/flint fire starter to make fire.  The problem was, nobody knew how to use it!  I guess they just assumed the magnesium part of it was just a handle, so they just kept whacking at the flint until the flint was all gone and they never made a fire.  It was kind of funny, but it just goes to show you…learn how to use your tools!

RAT Fire KitWhile writing this, I came across a fire making kit by RAT Cutlery that looks promising.  It apparently makes little molten balls of metal that act as an ember long enough to get your fire going.  This would work a little better than just flint or even flint and magnesium.

So this is pretty straight forward…just pack a couple of options for making fire.  The most important thing here is practice.  Making a fire even with a cigarette lighter can be difficult if you don’t know what you are doing.  The term “build a fire” isn’t just a collection of words.  “Build” is the operative word.  If you are unsure how to do it, Google it and practice.  It also doesn’t hurt to prep some things to aid you in starting a fire.  One thing that I have found is great for starting a fire is dryer lint.  Everybody seems to have tons of dryer lint that you trash on a regular basis.  Stuff a bunch into an empty medicine bottle and you’ve got a great starter for building a fire.  Another good aid is cotton balls covered in petroleum jelly.  They burn for a pretty good amount of time…usually enough to get your kindling going.  There are tons of ideas for this, but these are just a couple to get you thinking.


Shelter is another important thing you need to think about when stocking your bug out bag.  This is where a good survival knife can come in handy.  Whether you are in the country or the city, you may have to build some kind of lean-to or something to stay dry or warm or both.  A good poncho can be invaluable to keep you dry while hiking, and with a few hacked up branches can make a decent cover for a shelter.  Of course, you could always opt for a tent as well, but this could take quite a bit of research on your part.  A tent can be rather large depending on how many people it is for.  Not to mention, they can get a little pricey.  I am keeping an open mind and an eye out for options for a tent for my bug out bag. Eureka Pinnacle Pass 2XTAOne tent that has caught my eye is the Eureka! Mountain Pass 2 XT. It is big enough for 2 people and some gear. I have two children that are still small enough that they could probably fit in there with mom and I, so at least for a little while this would be pretty good, but I am still looking. If you do opt for a tent, remember that it is going to take up valuable space on/in your bug out bag, so it will definitely be a major consideration as far as bag real estate goes.


So let’s say you have managed to survive for 3 days with your bug out bag, and now you are starting to see firemen, or cops, or someone coming with the means for rescue.  This is pretty straight forward too…you basically need to get their attention.  Here you will need to plan for both a daylight and a night rescue, because you won’t know when they are coming.

Some ideas for a day rescue are making a fire so that someone can see the smoke.  Or if time is of the essence, a signaling mirror.  A bright orange poncho can serve other purposes besides shelter or keeping the rain off of you.  It will really make you stand out in almost any environment.

NRS Storm WhistleA whistle is a must have for your bug out bag as well.  If you happen to be in a situation where you can’t get close enough to your rescuers for them to see you, you are probably going to be doing a lot of yelling.  This will sap a LOT of your energy and possibly make you lose your voice.  A whistle will be much louder and take less effort on your part, so be sure and pack it!

At night it will be all about lights and sound.  The whistle will be very effective here, but you will need a light for rescuers to home in on as well.  Flashlights are great and I even have a mini MagLite that has a setting for flashing S.O.S. in morse code over and over again.  Chemical Light SticksBut one of my favorite things to pack for a rescue is a chemical light stick.  Tie a length of paracord to it and spin it in a large circle and you greatly increase your visibility to rescuers.

One word of advice when dealing with rescue is to take a few moments to make sure the people you see coming your way look like they have good intentions.  If you see starving people that look desperate, you may not want to give away your location unless you have the means to help them instead.  In a perfect world, you would have nothing to worry about, but this isn’t a perfect world and you are far from perfect circumstances, so just use some common sense here.

This may seem like a no brainer, but how about a cell phone?  Well, you probably have one and will most likely have it with you but did you know that that old cell phone rattling around in your junk drawer can still be used as well?  Any cell phone that can be turned on and receive a signal must be able to dial 911 according to federal law.  That means you could pack it in your bug out bag and in the unlikely event that you are in a hurry to get out the door and can’t find your cell phone, you have a back-up.

RadioAnother thing you will want in your bag is a good radio receiver.  If there is a major disaster, you are going to need to be able to hear any news that may be broadcast about locations of medical assistance, assembly locations, or possibly locations to avoid.

First Aid

Now we dive into the topic of First Aid.  This can get as simple or as elaborate as you care to take it.  You may just pack a few band-aids and some medicine, or you may go with a complete trauma kit.

“AARRGGHHH!!! What do I do?!  You never know what may happen and I should be prepared for everything, so I need SAM Splints, and sutures, and chest seals, and…….”  Easy there, Catfish!  Here is a good rule of thumb for packing your first aid kit;  Don’t bother packing anything you aren’t prepared or know how to use.  If you don’t know how to treat a sucking chest wound and don’t plan on learning, then don’t bother packing for it.  Let’s be realistic, if you aren’t a doctor or don’t play one on T.V., then don’t plan to act like one.  You could do more harm than good.

So with that being said, what kind of stuff should you plan for?  Well, you may possibly be on foot, so plan for injuries or ailments that may occur that way.  Sprained ankles, a possible broken limb, scratches and abrasions, etc.  Your diet may change in this new event so it may be in your best interest to plan for…shall we say….digestive issues?  If you have any prescriptions that you need regularly, be sure and pack those as well.  Are you allergic to bee stings?  If so, you’d better make sure you have an EpiPen in there.

You really should join our email list and get a free copy of The Everyman’s First Aid Kit.  In it, I list out everything you need for a decently packed first-aid kit.  Obviously it is just a guide as your kit should be tailored for you and your family, but it will get you off the ground and running.

It is imperative that you know or learn how to use everything in your first-aid kit correctly.  If you want to pack something and don’t know how to use it, then get a book and learn, or better yet, take a class.  The things you can learn about first-aid will stay with you the rest of your life.

Maxpedition F.I.G.H.T.My first-aid kit on my bug out bag is a Maxpedition F.I.G.H.T
pack that is attached via MOLLE attachments, but depending on the size of your kit, it can be packed into the bag as well.  I like the way the F.I.G.H.T. works because it attaches to the pack securely, but can quickly be removed if necessary and taken right to where it is needed.


Well, it’s no secret that we like guns and knives here at!  I mostly think about handguns for a survival bag, but you will see many people attaching their AR-15 to their bag and there are many good reasons for this.

AR-15First of all, let me tell you about the AR-15 so that you can get rid of any misconceptions you may have about it right away.  Just because it is a black gun does not mean it is sinister!  The AR-15 platform is revolutionary in the way it is designed.  It has many interchangeable parts and you can custom fit it to whatever you are comfortable with.  When it boils down to it, it is just a rifle.  With the pull of two spring loaded pins, you can swap out the upper half of it for several different calibers.  Heck, I just saw in Guns & Ammo that you can even get a crossbow upper for it! But if you are new to bows then I recommend these good compound bows for beginners.  The point is, it is a very versatile platform for a rifle and if you wanted, you could have one upper for small game hunting and a separate upper for large game hunting.  I am in the country, if I had to bug out on foot, I would like to have an AR-15 if for nothing else than to have protection from wild animals.  I am in the process of building an AR-15 now, but they aren’t free and money can be tight at times.  But at some point in the future, there will be a spot on/in my bug out bag for it.

Ruger P94 9mmNow back to handguns.  I am a firm believer in the right to carry a handgun, but I don’t believe anyone should carry one without knowing how to use it and keeping their skills up at the range.  For a bug out bag, it really doesn’t matter much if your handgun is a compact or a full framed pistol, but if you intend to carry it on your body you may want to take that into account.  Get one that fits your hand and you are comfortable enough in how it works, is the right caliber for you, and then practice…practice…practice.  As far as bug out bag application goes, buy extra magazines for it and stock them in your bag.  Just remember, ammo does have weight to it, so the more you plan to carry, the heavier it is going to get.

When it comes to knives, I love ‘em all!  Well, most of ‘em anyway.  Some stand out above the crowd a little more than others though.  The Gerber LMF II is a prime example.  This is a great all around survival knife.  It can handle just about any job you throw at it and some you wouldn’t even think about!  I also like the Gerber Game Pro and have it too.  I haven’t skinned any small game with it yet which is what this knife is designed for, but I have it in my bug out bag in case I need to.  I am pretty sure that Gerber has stopped production on the Game Pro so it may be hard to come by. There are other great knives that I really want to get hold of and try out, like the RAT Cutlery knives.  They have some awesome looking knives that get great reviews in real world use, but that is just going to have to stay on the wish list for now.

Kimber Pepper SpraySome people don’t feel comfortable with a firearm and don’t wish to carry one and that’s okay because there are alternatives to that as well.  Pepper spray is probably the next best thing and is non-lethal.  Kimber even makes one that looks and handles like a handgun.  I haven’t tried it, but it is the same Kimber that makes the 1911 style .45 caliber handguns and I have one of those and love it.  They are top of the line in my book, so I can only assume their pepper spray meets up to the same standards.

There are other options for weapons that are a little less conventional, but please, for the love up Pete…don’t get a katana! (Sorry, just a little joke from survival forums…I couldn’t resist!)

Other Tools and


There are many other things you may want to consider putting in your bug out bag that may not fall into any of these categories.  Binoculars come to mind, as do toiletries.  How about extra batteries for flashlights, radios, etc.  Cooking utensils of some kind could come in real handy.

I like to carry a change of clothes in my bug out bag.  Clean socks, underwear, pants and a t-shirt can go a long way to making you feel better about your situation a couple of days into it!  You are probably going to have a lot of down time as well, so a deck of cards can keep the boredom level to minimum.

Mil Spec 550 ParacordI would also put a couple of bandanas in your bug out bag.  You would be amazed at how many uses you can find for bandanas.  Also throw in about 100 feet of paracord.  That is another thing that has a million and one uses.

Just Get One Going!

Well, that is all I have for now.  I will update this page as I find more and/or better ideas for a bug out bag but this should get you well on your way to getting one going.

Let me leave you with this, though.  If nothing else, grab that Wal-Mart bag out of the cabinet, throw a couple bottles of water in it, a flashlight, and maybe a tube of crackers and start with that!  If an 8.0 earthquake hit your area right now and you had to get out fast, you can at least grab that bag and have a small meal and some light to get you through the next few hours.  They may seem like nothing now, but if that quake hit, they would be the best damned crackers and water you ever had, and boy weren’t you smart for packing that flashlight?

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

MRE Meals January 17, 2010 at 3:16 pm

the thing about MRE meals though is that there’s a variety of types of items (sweet, salty, carbs, etc) in each pack which will help you feel fuller and generally more satisfied than a single food item.

and you could use the self-heating element that many of them have for other uses too.

Sandy February 13, 2010 at 8:32 am

I prefer to carry a variety of dehydrated foods to save on the weight of MRE’s. A backpackers sampler can be found that contains a large variety of foods to use for cooking interesting meals if you include a small bottle of olive oil and seasonings. In my home survival gear, I included large gallon sized and smaller pint sized containers of the same foods. To keep everything fresh we rotate one or two meals a week from the survival gear. And of course we backpack a lot to stay in practice. For longer term survival we include sprouting seeds to provide fresh foods because living foods are always better for you.

Other items in the home larder include dehydrated powders of soy milk, milk, egg, peanut butter, cheese, and bouillon. We also keep a large stock of brown rice, beans, quinoa, chia seed, and other more traditional foods in the spring house. Once again, the trick to making all this work is to eat survival meals a couple of times a week to rotate your stock and find out what works best.

Dustin February 16, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Military MREs are, IMHO, preferable to dehydrated rations in a high-risk bug out.

In the event that you cannot source more water immediately, or have the risk of only having the water you can carry for 72 hours, they are already hydrated. They weigh more, as a result, of course. If you have limited water supply, using some to soak your dehydrated backpacking meal may not be the best choice.

Jim May 23, 2010 at 9:20 pm

MREs have a very short shelflife if stored at temps above 70 degrees, not good for storing in your car.

Bob May 30, 2010 at 10:20 am

Also when outfitting the bob, if you have a vacuum sealer, use this for things that moisture or insects could get in and ruin. It might be rainy when you bug out.

Kevin June 22, 2010 at 1:43 am

Some things to remember about MRE’s are: their calorie count is down around 1,000 cals; when they first came out, they were around 2,000 cals per meal. now they are not; bulky unless you strip them from the additional packaging; very expensive, close to the $10 per meal price range.

I will still continue to make my “home-made mre’s” as it is alot less money then today’s military meals. Don’t get me wrong. I love my MRE’s seeing I had my first one during Basic Training in June of 85, but they are getting mega expensive for me.

James Cannon August 30, 2010 at 9:44 pm

I dropped a Gerber “survival” knife when I was 20 feet up in a tree. The knife hit a rock and the blade snapped off at the hilt. Gerber steel is to hard! Stay with K-Bar,Rat or Cold Steel knives for servival, their blades will bend before they break.

Sam September 16, 2010 at 3:29 am

Good post. I think it’s important to get people thinking and talking about these things. The more of us our prepared, the easier things will be for all of us in the event of an emergency. Thanks for the good info.

Lou September 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Navigation might be a concern, depending on where you wind up in an emergency. An accurate to-scale local map in a ziplock bag should probably be sufficient. If you know how to use them, get a compass, protractor and UTM Topo map. And/or a small GPS.

Mason Parker December 1, 2010 at 10:46 am

some energy bars are just too sweet for my own taste. is there a sugar free energy bar? ‘`-

A-Poc December 1, 2010 at 11:16 am

Hmm…I kind of doubt it. Sugar is a big source of energy so you can probably expect it in just about any energy bar. I will say that the Datrex bars seem to be less sweet than the Mainstay bars, in my opinion, though.

DesertVet December 4, 2010 at 5:49 am

Whats wrong with Bic lighters??? Why does every BOB list have magnesium strikers. I pack a half dozen Bics in my pack. They make sparks AND flames all in one package, amazing technology.

A-Poc December 9, 2010 at 10:46 am

As I say in the post, you should have 2 ways of making fire. One is the obvious cigarette lighter, the other should be a low-tech way. I do want to do some field testing with Bics though, and see what kind of conditions they can withstand.

Survival Gear January 26, 2011 at 2:35 am

One of the most important things that you should have in your bob is cash. If the lights go out when tshtf then you won’t be able to use those precious credit/debit cards.

pops February 9, 2011 at 5:30 am

SOS food bars claim to provide a balanced minimum daily diet when you have limited drinking water & come in 2400 and 3600 calorie bars like mainstay & datrex.(a-poc) (coconut)we have tried all three,and they seem the same to me. I like the new millennium food bars & 10 flavors,only 400 calories,5 year shelflife,$1.20ea.,but we keep some sos too.Food in lets say my 72hr. bob is 3 to 6 mre entrees i or 2 sos bars, hard candy and different vitamins.and just in case 1 mountian house pro-pack.very bob is a golite team pack & yes we are backpackers too.(keep a a get home bag in the car too) May 18, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Great article. I agree 100%. Something important I have learned is that no matter who you are being able to survive in the wilderness or the end of the world is a must. I recomend to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. Keep up the great work and god bless – DC

Ron Davis May 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I joined the e mail but never got the Everyman’s first aid Kit list

A-Poc May 21, 2011 at 10:00 am

Yikes! That’s not good. I will send one to you manually.

Josef Coons July 17, 2011 at 10:55 am

Great post. Found the info very useful thanks. Found your site through yahoo Good luck

Don August 1, 2011 at 6:50 pm

I have a suggestion that may,help people out with water and your b.o.b. bag.

Amazon has on its site these things called bag mates , also baglers. You can carry several nylon bags with one of these tools.
Fill the bags with bottled water ,attach them to your bagler. Keep it next to your b.o.b.bag, And if, or when the SHTF ,you can crab and go. Fill the canteen or water bladder later .

just a thought iam sure someone has posted this info early.

ashes follow August 2, 2011 at 8:26 am

In the photo of the B.O.B., there is the three little kit bags two of black and skull and then the tan one. I was curious where you got those, I would like to buy some

A-Poc August 3, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I picked up a few of them in the dollar section at Target. I can’t remember what time of year it was and I know Target changes that section pretty frequently, but that is where.

ashes follow August 5, 2011 at 4:28 am

Ok I have a few ideads on the general B.O.B. concept. One Camelbak makes what is called the Squadbak, it carries 6.6 gallons (25L) of water in a backpack platform, two instead of carrying everything in a backpack, with some carefull planning you could do it in a Molle vest, I use the Camelbak Delta 5, have for years for my line of work, you could attach just about anything to it and theres a bladder storage sewn into the back of it, so my rig covers everything and then some to include my weapons and I still have ample space in my backpack, just a thought outside the box.

ashes follow August 5, 2011 at 4:31 am

Also another way to condense gear, Jetboil makes a nice little field cook kit, completely containd flame system and they make options for more then just one person, all farily cheap as well.

Carol Combs November 7, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Great! Just great.

Bets' November 12, 2011 at 10:52 pm

In my small bob, I have a pair of rawhide gloves. I also keep a 9 volt battery and a baggie of steel wool. Touch the posts to the wool and the wool will burn instantly. Test try it, it’s amazing!

Ian November 20, 2011 at 4:26 am

A comment on the post about BIC lighters and field testing them. I can’t say I have field tested them however, I can offer a tidbit about them. I scuba dive for a hobby, one of my favorite dives is a local river that thousands of people tube on every year. One it is a lazy dive no kicking just go with the flow two you can find lots of treasures dropped by tubers. A common thing I find is BIC lighters. I push the button under the water if bubbles come out it goes in my treasure bag, if no bubbles it goes into my trash bag. The ones with bubbles after giving them a few days to dry out have a 95% I would say success rate of fire. These lighters are generally covered in rust but they still work.

Chris November 29, 2011 at 7:36 am

A good little invention for immediate, light, and temporary shelter is a Bivvy Bag (or a Bivvy Bag / Sleeping Bag combination). This term is commonly used by British and Australian Military Forces. It is essentially a goretex or similar sleeping bag, it will provide protection from Wind a sliding scale of Water protection, depending on the manufacturer and model. They generally will add 5 degrees celcius to the rating of your sleeping bag, and are extremely light and compact. Snugpak and Platatac are good sources.

Another option is “Hutchie” (it can be spelled different ways). This is essentially a tarp, or waterproof sheet with the ability to have ropes tied through the ends to it. You can make various basic shelters with this, and again, they are light and have loads of other uses tactically and practically.

Another potential option is some form of entrenching tool (ET) or folding shovel. You can do your own research for your own needs, but a good ET can substitute or become makeshift (other) tools, like hammers, picks, axes, and potentially a weapon.

Whilst I understand that having a Bug Out Bag has the underlying goal of rescue in sight, do not underestimate the value of concealment. Keep in mind that the disaster in question may escalate criminal, terrorist or gang activities.

Keep in mind that Water is not only used for drinking. People, especially Women, need to conduct hygiene activities requiring water every couple of days. Water is also needed for first aid. Carrying hydration salts/packs are highly recommended by myself. Take note of the amount of water you are carrying, and how you will use it effectively if there is literally no ability to resupply.

My last point, is that you should prioritise and practice your pack. What I mean by that is, store the items you will use first or frequently in places where you can access them in that order. At any one time, you should only have the bare minimum outside of your pack, so if something bad happens, you are able to grab your kit and be mobile in seconds, without having to leave resources behind.

A-Poc December 20, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Great points, Chris!

gonzo March 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm

One thing that I believe no one mentioned is the fact that you should have is a good pair of boots. When you have to bug out and are going to be doing things like traversing thru unknown terrain or mud, sand and water , your feet are going to be effected if you don’t have the right kind of shoes. Yes sneakers or crocks are nice to have but if you live in a climate that is( rain one day dry the next then the following week snow ) you’ll be happy that you have a pair . And don’t wait till you bug out to break them in , do it as soon as you get them that way your feet can get used to them and you can find out if they are going to fit you right or you need to return them and please wear good socks because they make a difference how your feet are going to feel inside them.
Make sure you have boots that are * inches tall …. they can help keep your ankles safe from animals and bugs and support your legs and ankles from injuries and last but not least keep extra socks in your bag.

A-Poc March 20, 2012 at 7:34 am

Great points, Gonzo. I was actually thinking about this a couple days ago. I have a pair of Redwing boots right next to my b.o.b. for that very reason. But I was also thinking about my get home bag as well and was considering a good broken in pair of tennis shoes. If I had to get home from work by foot, it would likely take two days depending on time of day at the outset, and I am wondering if tennies would be better.

Either way, like the man said, make sure you break them in first. If you were to buy a brand new pair of Redwings and not break them in, I can promise you you wouldn’t make it a mile.

Michael April 20, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Two bits of kit I always take while hiking, camping etc. Inside my pack I have a Dry Bag as an extra precaution agaonst stuff getting wet. In an emegency you can always fill it with water. The other thing I have is a GME brand MT410G PLB. Personal Locator Beacon with GPS location. This thing will transmit you position. It is light, waterproof and has a strobe. Here in Australia it is registered with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority as a land based beacon. Similar organisations exist in other countries. Four Hudnred bucks for the unit and worth every penny IMHO.

David Nash June 17, 2012 at 8:25 am

Nice BOB, and great article. Mine is very similar, except I use an old bookbag as a container. It is very good quality, and designed for hiking, but it looks beat up on the outside and is a dark blue so it does not scream – this guy has tactical junk – lets try to take it…

Aran August 19, 2012 at 8:04 am

i thank you for the help as i am just starting a kit for my wife and myself . i have learned a great deal of things but feel i might add a few things. The biggest thing is BABY WIPES they saved me Afghanistan and cuts the need of water for hygiene. Second i might add the clothing you pack should be jeans and long-sleeved shirts this will help with sunburns scraps and irritations.

Blake August 20, 2012 at 9:24 pm

I am not sure if it was mentioned here, but I also pack a spool of fishing line, several hooks and a couple of lures. The fishing line has two uses, it fishing (obviously, but you can also attach something loud to it and use it as a trip line to alert you if someone or something ventures too close.

James and Tina Hale November 19, 2012 at 1:37 am

AWESOME information! Thanks!
Tina and James Hale

Chris November 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm

” DesertVet December 4, 2010 at 5:49 am
Whats wrong with Bic lighters??? Why does every BOB list have magnesium strikers. I pack a half dozen Bics in my pack. They make sparks AND flames all in one package, amazing technology.”

A lighter is good to have, but it has moving parts, and therefore can fail pretty easily. A swedish firesteel and magnesium bar has no moving parts, and will work even when wet. Even if you have 10 lighters, if they get wet theres a good chance they wont work anymore. I think it would be smart to have a firesteel, stormproof matches, and a lighter as a backup.

John January 31, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Things to possibly add:

– Tongue depressors, or popsicle sticks. Nice kindling if you need it. Small & light weight.
– Chapstick. Fixes your lips and can help start a fire.
– Q-tips. Cotton on a paper stick. Add a little Chapstick and you have a very good fire starter.
– Trash bags, a couple, the thicker variety. Poke a couple of sticks through the open end maybe 6 inches from the top at either 1/3-1/3 the opening size or 1/4-1/4, secure to tree branches and you have a rain collector.
– Something to NOT DO. Anything that has/uses batteries. Do not leave the batteries in whatever it is that uses them. Have you ever left the batteries in something and not use it? They WILL CORRODE (leach electrolyte) and reduce most metal (tin) that is used in making the contacts for the batteries, to a white powder. Put all batteries in a zip-lock bag, in a side-by-side configuration. Do not let the electrical contacts of one battery touch another one.
– Zip ties. A dozen or so total. Six inch to 24 inch.
-Three to four feet of 12AWG copper wire. Strip out some house-type wiring, 12-3 type, remove the outer sheath, roll the wire into a circle that will fit just inside the outer walls your back pack. Great stuff for making a hang-from a tree branch hook, or just tying something up.

Enough for now. All this stuff ought to fit in your BOB without having to remove anything. And make things a little easier when the stupidity takes over. I’ll drop back by later and add a few more things to fill the vacancies in your pack.

A-Poc February 27, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Great tips, John!

Beau March 16, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I signed up for the first aid kit list with my email. I got the link and confirmed it but I still haven’t recieved anything yet. It has been about a week. Please someone forward me one so I can get his going. Please advise if there is anything more I need to do.

A-Poc March 16, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Thanks, Beau. I emailed you about it and sent the ebook as well. Hope you got it this time.


Corrine March 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm

loved you site. just got a bob and it w0uld not hurt to take a boy schout handbook with you. tried and true, saved a lot of young men in vietnam who were in scouts

Solar Energy Facts March 22, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Bonus tip: tampons. They can absorb an absolutely incredible amount of blood in an triage situation. Got a pack stashed in every one of my first aid kits just in case. Not kidding here!

THOMAS Mc KENNA April 3, 2013 at 11:33 pm


A-Poc April 4, 2013 at 8:04 am

Hey Thomas,

Not sure on the laws in Canada about buying ammo, but the online sources I have there are pretty much sold out of 7.62 x 39 brass. I see a couple that don’t look sold out of steel cased, but that is about it.

7.62 x 39 is sold out just about everywhere right now it seems, thanks to all the talk about gun control. The good news is, it seems to be picking back up though, and stores seem to be getting more in stock slowly but surely. 7.62 x 39 is really popular, however, so it may take just a little more time to come back than other calibers.


greg April 9, 2013 at 1:51 am

i don’t know where to begin:
take an empty pill bottle, add 1 lighter, 8 tampons (out of their package). i also took a part a book of matches and added them. the tampons are made of cotton so can be used as fire starters (when opened up and flattened), small wound dressings, opened up and put on blisters, or worst comes to worst hole plugs if you get shot (not to mention what the were made for). add some sanitary napkins (mother nature strikes at any time), also good for wounds. i also have a folding saw in my pack. tin foil comes in handy too. to many things to list in such a small place and time.

greg April 9, 2013 at 1:56 am

it’s VERY important that every one in your house have his/hers own 72 hour bag. dad is “NOT” a pack mule!!! the more he has to carry the slower you will go!!!

greg April 9, 2013 at 2:03 am

i forgot have at least 2 space blankets per pack to help you stay warm.
add a roll of duck tape and cloth tape.
water and wind proof matches come in handy too. you can keep them as well as lighters in old pill bottles to keep them dry till ready to use.

Jack C. Ivy April 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I also carry several Bic lighters. After 27 years in Alaska I have learned that in winter you must carry the lighters inside your cold weather gear. If you leave them in your pack or your vehicle the liquid will freeze in subzero temperatures. This also makes having more than one way to start a fire a necessity.

greg April 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm

here are 2 web pages that i have been getting my gear from: and these have reasonable prices.
here is another spot for gear
also look and see if you have any army surplus stores in or near your area for supply’s.

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