One term that always comes up (and is debated) among survivalists is the “Bug Out Bag”. This is essentially a bag that contains enough supplies to survive for a 72-hour period in case of any sort of disaster, natural or otherwise. The bag is designed to be picked up, put on and put to use. You want something that is light enough to carry and versatile enough to withstand the elements. The contents of the bag can be debated endlessly but there are a few items that I believe are universal and essential to every bag. It is imperative that you do your own research and evaluate your own needs, which include your local terrain, weather conditions, shelter options, etc. and determine which items are the most essential for your bag.
Food: Maintain enough nonperishable food for each person for at least 72 hours. Pro Tip: Many survivalists advocate Cliff bars. They are packed with nutrients, easy to carry and give the user a jolt of energy.
Water: Store enough so each person has a gallon a day for 72 hours, preferably for one week. Store in airtight containers and replace it every six months. Store disinfectants such as iodine tablets or chlorine bleach, eight drops per gallon, to purify water if necessary. Pro Tip: Datrex Water Packets are a smart use of space and convenience. They take up less room and have a 5 year shelf life.
First aid kit: Make sure it is well stocked, especially with bandages and disinfectants.
Rain Gear: Two ways to stay dry- Poncho or jacket in addition to tent or shelter.
Fire: You need not one, but multiple ways to start a fire. Matches, lighter/firestarter, firesteel and scraper.
Flashlights: Always with extra batteries. I like the Protac Tactical Streamlight, which has a variety of settings in a compact package.
Cooking: A small pot to boil water. The Stainless Space Saver Cup from Survival Resources is a good option that doesn’t take up a lot of room.
Knife: This is one of the most important items and we could go on for days on the topic. Ultimately it might be wise to carry multiple knives for multiple purposes. However, here’s a couple options survivalists can all agree on:
Cold Steel SRK - Survival/Rescue operations demand a versatile knife able to withstand the most extreme abuse. The SRK® (Survival Rescue Knife) was designed specifically with this in mind. The blade is finished with a rich Teflon® coat which helps to protect the AUS 8A Stainless steel from the elements. It features a tremendously strong clip point that’s fine enough for delicate work, yet possesses enough belly for efficient cutting, slashing and skinning strokes as well. At 3/16 of an inch thick, the Survival Rescue Knife® offers the sturdiest possible point and edge configuration, without sacrificing sharpness. The SRK’s® handle sports a single quillon finger guard and a deeply checkered Kraton® grip.
KA-BAR Becker Survival Knife - The Becker Companion by KA-BAR knives really lives up to its name: bring this bad boy along with you on your next hunting or camping trip, and you’ll be calling it your BFF in no time. Its well-balanced Grivory handle maintains your grip stability as you put this knife to work skinning wild game, slicing meat, and chopping down small trees. Like a reliable camping buddy, this knife doesn’t need a whole lot of maintenance: it’s rust-proof and needs minimal sharpening and touch-ups. Includes a custom glass-filled nylon sheath.
(Cold Steel SRK)
Clothing: Pack extra underwear, socks even even boots if there’s room in case what you’re wearing needs a change.
Weapon: Again, another topic worthy of endless discussion and debate. To cut to the chase, many like the Glock 19 for its versatility and resistance to torture. It’s also a great concealed carry weapon.
Bag: Now you just need something to put everything in. There’s obviously a ton of different options here and it all depends on the user. For the purist, perhaps a more traditional military styled bag from Sandpiper of California. The Black Bug out Bag is a flagship product with over 1 million units sold.
For those with a more considered, sartorial approach, might I suggest the Lanvin Nylon and Leather Bag. Designed in a streamlined shape, topped with a buckle-fastening flap and reinforced with sleek leather trims, this attractively made carryall is framed by adjustable webbing straps that allow you to compress or expand it as needed. It’s an especially smart choice if you cycle or walk to work, as the slick fabrication is well-suited to withstand bad weather.
(Sandpiper Bug out Bag)
(Lanvin Nylon and Leather Bag)
Remember, these are just basic guidelines and the items listed here are only my opinions, which I have developed through extensive independent research. Every bag will probably be different and you are encouraged to take the time to conduct your own evaluations while preparing your bag.