Prepping 101: NO BS Bugout Bag Basics & Essentials

This is the Molle II Large Rucksack, which is current military issue.  The main pack is 5000 cubic inches, which is the equivalent of 80 liter commercial packs, which I consider inferior. Though they sell online in good condition for upwards of $200 in many places, I just bought 2 of them, with the extra side sustainment pounches on Ebay for under $75 each including shipping.

This is the Molle II Large Rucksack, which is current military issue. The main pack is 5000 cubic inches, which is the equivalent of 80 liter commercial packs, which I consider inferior. Though they sell online in good condition for upwards of $200 in many places, I just bought 2 of them, with the extra side sustainment pounches on Ebay for under $75 each including shipping.

I have avoided the subject of “bugging out” in this series until now, and it was intentional. Most bugout articles are absolute garbage. I even saw one in a large format news stand magazine that compared **children’s backpacks** because in the same issue were several advertising spreads from Columbia. Bugging out is a great topic if you want clicks and magazine purchases, but few people address what it means to actually bug out, and the different scenarios that may force you to leave a secure location. Think about it. Are the roads jammed? Am I going to be on foot at some point? I can’t hide that I am carrying resources, and at some point I may have to deal with “the authorities” who are going to make sure that I am unarmed. How do I maximize the money that I can spend right now, to perhaps survive at some point out on the road to somewhere.

First lets talk about why you would bug out to begin with. Because if you have been following some of the advice in this column, most likely you already have some resources stocked up, and those resources are not going to be easily transported. For instance, in my very early article on food, I suggested #10 cans of freeze dried food from Honeyville. I just did another order with them recently (and no, we have never gotten a discount or anything free). I also suggested filling 6 gallon plastic buckets with commonly available survival supplies. These don’t travel well for anything like bugging out.

In my initial water article, we covered the individual filtration unit called the LifeStraw, which you for sure would put in a bugout bag, but we also covered a water storage system that fits in your bathtub, and even a 250 gallon water storage unit made to fit through apartment doorways. In one closet you could keep enough resources to survive several months, for less than $1,000. People will be killing each other in the streets. The best advice is to accumulate as much as you can where you are when a “situation” hits, then hunker down and avoid all human contact. Why would you bug out?

Make sure that your pack is sufficient size to carry what you can physically carry, and don't discount using extra space to hold other bags, like duffel bags, in case you need them down the road.  Make sure you get a frame pack, even if you don't get this specific one.  Older ALICE packs are really cheap, and they are huge.

Make sure that your pack is sufficient size to carry what you can physically carry, and don’t discount using extra space to hold other bags, like duffel bags, in case you need them down the road. Make sure you get a frame pack, even if you don’t get this specific one. Older ALICE packs are really cheap, and they are huge.


There is also the issue of being able to get out. Unless you get some kind of early warning, everyone else is going to be trying to get out too. If you are in the city and you know that no matter what you have to get out, have a plan now. In advance you should build an evacuation plan, and ideally have a place to go. I reviewed the book “Strategic Relocation” a while ago, and it gives you good escape routes off the beaten path for most major cities. Don’t think you are going to go to public government land and wing it, please. The writers who suggest that are going to die in the first wave as they rush to the same place everyone else is going, only to die fighting over the one wild hog that hasn’t been killed yet when they get there. Get a closet water container and hunker down until those idiots all kill each other.

When You Have to Leave RIGHT NOW

This is where the whole subject of bugging out gets interesting. If you are close to one of the coasts, earthquakes all over the world have been showing up in the strangest places. There are cases where you absolutely have to leave, because you will die if you stay.

Do you have to leave **right now** because a tzunami just wiped out your neighborhood, and it is either get on the rescue boat or take your chances with staying on the roof? Did your geiger counter just spike to 5 rads an hour because your local nuke plant is melting down after that pretty light from space turned out to be an EMP attack? Have you exhausted your food and water at your current location and now have to forage? Those are all very different scenarios that will require different pack essentials.

Are you in a vehicle or on foot? Are you going to try a vehicle, from which you may have to exit quickly and abandon? From the outset, I would delineate what goes in the packs and what goes in the car. From the outset I would delineate what stays and what goes. Having a plan now is going to make a huge difference if the rubber ever actually meets the road.

My original article on survival food suggested Honeyville.com. I still feel that they are the best. This pack of 6 #10 cans of prepared recipes is $157, and 6 packs of veggies and cheese products are much less. Shipping is always $4.99, and no, they don't pay us to say that.

My original article on survival food suggested Honeyville.com. I still feel that they are the best. This pack of 6 #10 cans of prepared recipes is $157, and 6 packs of veggies and cheese products are much less. Shipping is always $4.99, and no, they don’t pay us to say that.

Food

Obviously, the majority of your pack supplies should be food. If you have read my original article on survival food, you know that I am not a strong proponent of sole reliance on freeze dried food sold for survival purposes. Lots of regular supermarket food has a long shelf life, and with your own oxygen absorbers, you can store things like rice, beans, flour, pasta and nonfat dried milk for just as long as freeze dried food.

For your bugout bag, I don’t think it is as cut and dried, but some foods, like flour, don’t travel well, or they will require too much preparation. I think your bugout bag should have about 1/3rd or less prepared food, so if you can’t stop to cook, you have some food that you can eat on the move. This could be foil pack tuna, non-refrigerated meat products, and some canned food if your back can handle the weight. The rest should be freeze dried survival food, and/or dry beans, rice, and grains, as well as nonfat dried milk, which I consider an absolute must staple.

Ultimately it comes down weight, and whether you carry your water as food, meaning wet food, or if you carry dry food and plan to hydrate it with carried or found water. I prefer to carry water as water as much as possible, and hope that I’ll find water on the road to hydrate the food. I tell people to steer away from military MREs. They are expensive, and they are meant for a system that has “supply lines,” people dropping or delivering food, which you won’t have. If you have to carry the food, you are much better with dried food that you can, then hydrate.

If you read my original article, you will see that I suggest you buy bulk rice, beans, pasta, tuna and dried milk from Walmart. This is my latest find. 4 bucks a pound for actual meat, and the stated shelf life is over 6 months, though I suspect it will be much more.

If you read my original article, you will see that I suggest you buy bulk rice, beans, pasta, tuna and dried milk from Walmart. This is my latest find. 4 bucks a pound for actual meat, and the stated shelf life is over 6 months, though I suspect it will be much more.


Then you have to ask the question, where do I get the freeze dried food? I still suggest that you buy #10 cans from Honeyville explained in the previous article. I looked around a lot back then, and have since, and they are the source that the serious preppers use. I have noticed that since I wrote the first article the prices have come up 20-30%, but in bulk I would say that they are still the choice. Just beware that as a rule there is almost no actual meat in any of the freeze dried meat products. Read ingredients.

If you want to go with individual packages of recipe foods, what I would call the gourmet route, we recently got some review product in from Valley Food Storage, and they seem to be very high quality. When they first contacted us to review their products I compared their quantities and prices vs. other more common brands like Wise, and they seem to stack up with more actual value. I don’t suggest that you forgo the 4 pound packages of pasta and dried milk at Walmart that I suggested before, as well as large amounts of beans and rice, before you buy the gourmet food. A good backpack has about 5000 cubic inches, or 80 litres of space, which is the equivalent of more than 3 of the 5 or 6 gallon buckets. But if you have the means, and you want easy to cook, tasty meals, I think Valley is a good option. They also have a pretty cool subscription program where you get food mailed on a budget every month.

Most canned food has an indefinite shelf life, but any food that hasn't had the water removed from it is heavy, and you can carry less of it.

Most canned food has an indefinite shelf life, but any food that hasn’t had the water removed from it is heavy, and you can carry less of it.


I do not, however, suggest that you buy a prepared “survival” backpack from them or anyone else. You are better to choose what goes into your pack, and use every available cubic inch, even if it means carrying empty water containers. Also keep in mind that when you are dealing with designer recipe long term storage foods, you have to store them at ideal temperatures. I have stored the Valley Food samples for a few months in a South Florida not well air conditioned side room and the “Cheesy Mac” has expanded the bag like a balloon. It may say 15-25 year shelf life, but freeze dried recipe foods are extremely sensitive to temperatures. On examination, the Cheesy Mac seemed fine, but something chemically is going on in there, so they are not long for this world. I have not experienced that with #10 cans of powdered cheese from Honeyville stored in the same room, and my guess is that Valley uses the same supplier for their cheese powders. The people who make these recipes test for taste, but they don’t have a complete understanding of what ingredients may react with others over time.
Valley food storage sent us a pack of sample food a few months back.  They seem like a great source for smaller, more transportable packages of recipe foods in freeze dried.

Valley food storage sent us a pack of sample food a few months back. They seem like a great source for smaller, more transportable packages of recipe foods in freeze dried.


To cook your freeze dried food I would plan to bring some Mealspec heaters. I reviewed these products early in this column and they work great, but they are of course only one use each. I am testing a DIY rocket stove this week that is a bit heavy, but there are other backpack style rocket stoves that I haven’t gotten in yet to try.

Canned food may be all that you have in the house to take with you, and that’s fine if you have the backs to carry it. Hopefully you’ll find some support down the road, and the cans will get you through to the next phase of your survival journey. Take everything you can, and bring empty packs with you if you can’t fill them when you leave. You never know what the road will bring. Take a can opener or two!

Carrying Water vs. Filtering Water

As we all know, you can’t go very long without drinking clean water. And as I explained in my original article on water, you really should have a plan for long term water acquisition where you live. But what if you have to leave? I think that the LifeStraw is a good, lightweight tool that we can all carry for like $20, but I also think that you need to carry water with you. I don’t suggest that you purchase packaged water, or that you rely on supermarket water bottles. From my research, the cheapest and most efficient way for a person to carry a good deal of water is in surplus military canteens. There is a one quart that you can find on Ebay really cheap, like $4 with shipping, and there is a 2 quart that sells around $10-$15 each with shipping.

The only issue we have seen with the Valley food has been in storing it at 80 or so degrees. the Cheesy Mac bag expanded due to some kind of reaction. It seems fine, but that isn't a good sign. I'm cooking it next week to try a small rocket stove. Similar cheese powders from Honeyville in #10 cans with oxy absorbers have not reacted in the same room.

The only issue we have seen with the Valley food has been in storing it at 80 or so degrees. the Cheesy Mac bag expanded due to some kind of reaction. It seems fine, but that isn’t a good sign. Similar cheese powders from Honeyville in #10 cans with oxy absorbers have not reacted in the same room.


If you are a fan of water bladder systems that are built into backpacks, like the Camelbak brand, they definitely have their merits, but I have found the few I have used over the years to be leaky and prone to unscrewing. The backpacks are usually completely useless as well, because they are meant for day hikers and bicyclists. For the money, I prefer the US Military 2 quart canteen.

The major difference between the 2 quart and the older, oval shaped 1 quart, besides the obvious double size and availability of shoulder slings, is that the new canteen usually comes with a “chem cap,” which fits the drink tube of most gas masks. Any military canteen case will also have Molle clips to attach to your pack, which is a huge plus for saving space. Water is heavy and bulky.

We covered most water storage systems in the original article on water in this series, but for the road you should invest in these 2 quart military canteens available cheap on Ebay.

We covered most water storage systems in the original article on water in this series, but for the road you should invest in these 2 quart military canteens available cheap on Ebay.


I would also make sure that you have a good supply of empty water containers, even old water or soda bottles, to fill dead space in your pack. After your food is eaten or stored, you will need to transport water to your location, and the fewer trips out the better. Collapsible 5 gallon containers are great, but they are too bug to squeeze into small spaces to expand your pack to its biggest. Small bottles will maximize your space and weight.

I would also carry some pool shock and iodine for purifying stream and lake water. They won’t remove chemicals, but they will take out pathogens from animals dying upstream, dirty people bathing in the lake, and Giardia.

Do I Need a Gas Mask?

I am actually working on a lengthy gas mask overview right now (like literally right now in another window) and I hope to have it out within a few weeks. There is a ton of disinformation out there on the gas masks that are available in the market today. As a general rule, some mask is better than no mask. And because you have no idea what the threat you face is right now, I think that everyone should have a good “NBC” mask, which means Nuclear, Biological and Chemical, just in case. If you have a lot of people to protect and you just can’t afford even the basic Russian GP-5 civilian mask, at just under $20 each with filter, a regular N95 mask will protect you against sneezed viral infections in a mass evacuation. I think an N95 is a little too easy to grab off of your face, but they are at least a level of protection above a surgical mask. One up from there is the dual filter NIOSH masks, but if you are going to spend the money on those, just go for a full face gas mask. There are also some good and cheap options for children, which I’ll get to in the article. The Russian GP-5 and PDF masks for children saved a lot of lives after Chernobyl, and they are available now for cheap, and no, they don’t have asbestos in the filters.

The new canteen have what is called the "chem cap" on them, which connects to drinking systems on gas masks, including Israeli and some Russian civilian masks.

The new canteen have what is called the “chem cap” on them, which connects to drinking systems on gas masks, including Israeli and some Russian civilian masks.


I personally don’t think that biological and chemical threats are worth the weight and bulk of a gas mask, but that’s just me. A gas mask filter is only good for 6 to 8 ours under the best conditions, and they are really difficult to function in. If you are part of a large refugee group running from a biological outbreak, if you are the only one in the crowd with a full face mask, you are going to have it taken by the mob at some point.

Chemical weapons are also a lost cause when it comes to gas masks. Most inexpensive civilian masks will melt from exposure to things like Mustard Gas, and you really need a full chem suit if you expect to fight in a chemical weapons theatre. The good news is that chemical weapons have to be hand spread, or exploded in a small circumference in rockets. so they are therefore extremely localized. If you are just bugging out after an event, if you already survived the event, most likely you don’t have to worry about chemical warfare chemicals right now.

That of course begs the question, "do you really think I need a gas mask?"  If you consider nuclear threats to be serious, and I do, having to move outside during a nuclear crisis will require an NBC "gas mask" and filter. This is the cheapest option, the Russian GP-5, usually under $20 including shipping from Russia.

That of course begs the question, “do you really think I need a gas mask?” If you consider nuclear threats to be serious, and I do, having to move outside during a nuclear crisis will require an NBC “gas mask” and filter. This is the cheapest option, the Russian GP-5, usually under $20 including shipping from Russia.


The biggest reason that you would need a gas mask is in the case of nuclear war, or a nuke plant meltdown, which masks gas masks highly conditional when it comes to your bug out pack. You either need one or you don’t. And as I explained in my most recent article on radiation detectors, if you need one, you need one. Nuclear particulates are extremely dangerous to long term health, even if they don’t kill you right away. But the good thing about both Alpha and Beta particles is that they are heavy, and they generally fall straight down once they are released from clouds. So if you are indoors, even without room filtration you probably won’t have much exposure to particles. Having to go outside, however, is a problem.

If you know that you are more than 7 -10 miles from ground zero of a radiation source and your survey meter is still showing high levels, most likely there are particles falling in the air around your location, which means you don’t want to be outside and breathing the air. If you have to move though, you have to move, and that is where an NBC gas mask is going to be a life or death item. Have one for each person on hand, preferably with a few extra filters. If the eventual collapse doesn’t involve radiation, I would leave it behind.

For children, a container of Russian PDF masks were brought into the country in the 90s, and they are available in "Evirstar" packages today on Ebay for cheap, in brand new condition. Don't be scared away by false claims that the Russian filters have asbestos. I have an article coming on masks in the future, but go look at Youtube for a video of a guy who took a filter apart.

For children, a container of Russian PDF masks were brought into the country in the 90s, and they are available in “Evirstar” packages today on Ebay for cheap, in brand new condition. Don’t be scared away by false claims that the Russian filters have asbestos. I have an article coming on masks in the future, but go look at Youtube for a video of a guy who took a filter apart.


If you do need a mask to travel, don’t worry about long term, because of course you can’t wear a gas mask for the rest of your life. Radioactive isotopes degrade very quickly, even the ones with long half lives like Cesium-137. As a rule, unless you are near the core of a nuke plant meltdown, overall radiation degrades by 10x every 7 hours. So two days after a nuclear event, the radiation exposure danger is one hundredth times as great. So if one hour after an event the rate is 400 R/hr.

  • After 7 Hours – 1/10th – 40 R/hr
  • After 49 Hours – 1/100th – .4 R/hr

Other Conditionals

To me nuclear is the biggest conditional that there is, and this applies to all nuclear threats. Whether nuclear bombs are exploding or nuke plants are melting down because the grid went down, your preparation now is going to make a huge difference in your chance of survival. This also applies to your bug out bag. You may have to leave because of an evacuation, but nothing has happened yet. It will, and there is a pretty good chance that one way or the other, the future of America includes nuclear contamination. So while nuclear preparations for your pack are conditional, I would not take them lightly.

I am not going to include pictures of things that are in the library of articles in this series already, but this is a new find. Cloth diapers and adjustable diaper holders from China, for cheap. If you have a baby, great option for survival, and even bugging out.

I am not going to include pictures of things that are in the library of articles in this series already, but this is a new find. Cloth diapers and adjustable diaper holders from China, for cheap. If you have a baby, great option for survival, and even bugging out.


If you haven’t bought Potassium Iodide pills yet (KI), do so. They sell the pills on Ebay, Amazon, and all over the web. KI is absolutely crucial because of the way your thyroid gland works in your body. With all other radioactive isotopes, your whole body absorbs whatever you absorb, so your whole body can help itself recover over the long term, and the human body is extremely resilient. But Iodine-131, which is spewed by both bombs and core explosions, gets all grabbed up by your thyroid gland and concentrated. If you take KI just as the event occurs, your thyroid gets saturated with the iodine and won’t absorb the radioactive isotope. It cycles back to your liver, which sends it to your kidneys for excretion. Yay right! But you have to buy the KI now, and make sure that it is part of your bugout supplies. The half life of Iodine-131 is 8 days, so your two week supply of KI, for each person, will protect you through the life cycle of the isotope.
Duffel bags up to 45,000 cubic inches are available on Ebay for like $35. If you think you might have to bug out in a vehicle, it would be a good idea to have these on hand, even for food, because you will be able to fit a lot more food in bags than in cases, cans or buckets.

Duffel bags up to 45,000 cubic inches are available on Ebay for like $35. If you think you might have to bug out in a vehicle, it would be a good idea to have these on hand, even for food, because you will be able to fit a lot more food in bags than in cases, cans or buckets.


I would also add to conditionals a lot of stuff that applies to children. If you are already carrying all of your available food and all of your portable water storage, ammunition and other essentials, by all means, having a children’s backpack with books and reading material is a great idea. I personally have giant duffel bags in my children’s dressers to grab up all of their clothes quickly and get out. They cost about $35 each. Obviously if you have a baby, you are going to need diapers, but I strongly advice you to buy cloth diapers now, and make them part of your survival plan. You can get waterproof pants and cloth diapers from China really cheap right now, and they are adjustable.

The other thing I would say is highly conditional, but which you really need to buy now, is some kind of solar charger for your electronics. Just beware, I have tested the battery pack and solar charger combos on Ebay and they are junk. My newest experiment is a solar charger backpack, but they are pricey. It seems that the chargers are in the 6-7 watt range, and that they either come in backpacks with a hydration bladder or in a full sized school backpack version. Or upwards of $100, I would opt for the latter.

If you have teenagers in your party who can't carry a full sized backpack, check out this charger backpack. Electronics may be a luxury, but if you have kids they can solve a lot of problems, and they may help you also.

If you have teenagers in your party who can’t carry a full sized backpack, check out this charger backpack. Electronics may be a luxury, but if you have kids they can solve a lot of problems, and they may help you also.


If you look through the back issues of this column, you will find that I found a network free GPS application with built in maps for Android, and recently a radiation detector that works off of the headphone jack. Obviously when it comes to keeping kids busy a tablet is a huge plus, so don’t discount that part of your bugout plan should be the ability to keep them charged. Apple devices are far less useful than Android, because they don’t even have removable memory. You can keep 100s of movies and 1000s of books on micro-SD cards for Android. Survival is boring.

Shelter

I consider a tent of some kind in the same class as matches when it comes to a survival bag or kit. Well of course you would plan to carry some kind of portable shelter, and if possible bed rolls or sleeping bags for each person, depending on the weather.

The one suggestion I would make is that you buy a tent specifically for bugging out, ie, camo. There are camo 4 season tents on Ebay for as little as $30 for a 4 man tent. You don’t want a bright red tent when everyone is going to be clamoring for resources. It is always preferable to use the resources you have, and most of us have a tent, but in this case, I would buy a camo tent with the sole intent of using it in case of a bug out.

You have to assume that there is a good chance that you will be on foot at some point, and you should have some shelter with you. This 4 man tent is $30 on Ebay with free shipping.

You have to assume that there is a good chance that you will be on foot at some point, and you should have some shelter with you. This 4 man tent is $30 on Ebay with free shipping.

Survival Radios

I’m sure the first thing that came to mind on my suggestion of a mobile charger was WTF! Do you really thing cell phones will work? No, they will not, and they could be one of the first things to come down if this is an engineered event coming as I suspect. In the week after 911 the cell phone networks went down, probably to contribute to the fear porn factor.

That doesn’t mean that communications will not be possible. As I explained in my first article on survival communications, you can get very inexpensive Baofeng hand radios on Ebay which will communicate on all of the hand held Ham radio frequencies. Technically you need a license for these radios, but in a survival situation that won’t matter. Those radios in normal use can extend their range using civilian repeaters located on cell towers, and many of those towers even have solar backups. I also broke out the basics of a Ham radio backpack that can reach all over the globe in the hands of an experienced Ham operator in a second article. Communications should be a part of your preparations, in some way that your budget can swing.

At the very least you should have a hand crank and solar powered multi-band radio, but please read the radio articles here to understand the basics of cheap, $25 Ham radios as well.

At the very least you should have a hand crank and solar powered multi-band radio, but please read the radio articles here to understand the basics of cheap, $25 Ham radios as well.


You also should absolutely have a multi-band emergency radio with its own solar panel and hand crank. If you are on a budget, you can get them these days on Ebay for under $20, up to $100, depending on how many bands they can get. Sometimes the simplest tool is the best.

GPS & Maps

If you are willing to carry some kind of way to charge it, I would strongly suggest taking a GPS of some sort, especially if you already have one in your car. They generally charge on the same 5v cord that you connect to a USB port, and most of them have a battery. An electronic GPS will get you back to the nearest road if you are lost in the woods, and point you in the right direction if you get disoriented. A hiking GPS will also give you trails and terrain.

Life without a GPS will be quite a shock to most of us. Buying a low tech solution today is about $15.

Life without a GPS will be quite a shock to most of us. Buying a low tech solution today is about $15.


I also strongly suggest that everyone own at least one national printed map, and one state map, or several states if you are on borders. Finding your way around obstacles will be a big part of long term survival for all of us, if we are required to move. If you don’t know your area well, and you are in a rural area, I discovered a way to have your own maps printed with topographical information, with your house as the center of the map. You really need to get your printed maps now, before the writing is on the wall and everyone is worried about surviving and the possibility of bugging out.

Plastic Weapons – Knives, Knuckles & Pepper Spray

You will note that I didn’t include a section on firearms in this article, because of course if you can carry a gun and ammunition, as a GunsAmerica subscriber, you of course will. What you carry for many people is what you can carry, and everyone has their preference. I do suggest a backup as well, something easily concealed.

But what if you get herded through a metal detector by the FEMA SS brownshirts? The gun is going to be left behind, but your backpack may be able to go with you. Non-metal hand to hand weapons in these situations will be absolutely critical, and again, buy them now.

It is a forgone conclusion that GunsAmerica subscribers will be carrying guns and ammo on the road, but don't discount including some weapons that won't be stopped in a metal detector. Shelters will be dangerous places if you have food of your own.

It is a forgone conclusion that GunsAmerica subscribers will be carrying guns and ammo on the road, but don’t discount including some weapons that won’t be stopped in a metal detector. Shelters will be dangerous places if you have food of your own.


At your local flea market you may be able to get plastic “brass knuckles” for about $10. You can also order both brass and plastic knuckles online in many places, though they were banned from Ebay and Amazon. You can also get a plastic hairbrush that comes apart into a stabbing spike, and all kinds of saps and knuckles from BudK. Pepper spray is something they may be looking for, but you can get pepper spray in a pen as well. There are also plastic “letter opener” knives and spikes on Ebay that are deadly, and that will help you protect your stuff if you are stuck in a refugee camp. Get yourself thinking about your options.

Toilet Paper, Soap, Maxi-Pads, Matches, etc.

If you are bugging out with a lot of people, you have a lot of backs to carry supplies. The most common causes of death in a survival situation are direct results of being dirty. A bar of soap and a couple rolls of toilet paper go a long way, and if you are planning for survival packs, it is really important to plan to carry these things. If you have menstruating women in your group, for sure you also need tampons or maxi-pads for at least a few months. If it isn’t happening right now, these could be easily forgotten in a rush. Also bring a couple wash cloths.

Matches, eating utensils, sewing thread, rope and other standard bug out bag essentials are not the purpose of this article. I will mention it here, because I assume you have common sense, and that if you are going to actually go build a bugout bag, you will include these things, and more as your situation dictates. If I had the choice to carry one more pound roll of that Walmart meat or a roll of rope, which do you think I’ll pick though? I guess you can tie the rope to the outside of the pack lol.

Choosing a Pack

This pack is $37.95 on Ebay right now with free shipping. There are no Molle stitched loops, but if it is what you can afford, it is what you can afford.  There are all kinds of deals on military packs though, so make an offer before you get the Chinese packs.

This pack is $37.95 on Ebay right now with free shipping. There are no Molle stitched loops, but if it is what you can afford, it is what you can afford. There are all kinds of deals on military packs though, so make an offer before you get the Chinese packs.


I saved this for last because well duh, do you really need help choosing a backpack? I have thought a lot about backpacks because I don’t plan to bug out on foot, but if I have to, with children, I would prefer to carry more and go slower than carry less and go quicker. I also think that you are better buying surplus military packs than relying on camping and hiking packs, which are often much more expensive anyway. The pack I have shown here is the Molle II Large Rucksack, which is current military issue. It is 5000 cubic inches, plus it usually comes with side “sustainment pouches” for more space. A standard frame commercial pack is 80 liters, which is about the same if you do the math.

I am a strong proponent of using a current issue pack for more than one reason. If you think about it, call me silly, but wouldn’t a current issue digicam backpack make you look more military so that people will be more wary of messing with you? Also, if you end up having to be herded into camps, you might get more professional courtesy from the traitor brownshirts if they think that you used to be one of them. Who knows? But I can say that the military packs, even going back to the old Alice packs, which you can still get new with frame for under $50, are way more tolerant to abuse, regardless, so why spend more money on a commercial pack?

Right now a large MOLLE II Rucksack in ACU camo is selling from $75-$150 with shipping on Ebay, depending on the extras. I just found two of them that I put $40 offers in to the sellers and they agreed, plus $25 shipping. If you look are on a really tight budget, dig right in and find the deals. They are out there. I found a camo ALICE pack for under $30 just now, and the guy has 3 of them (though probably gone by the time you read this).

Just beware that there are commercial replica military packs on Ebay as well, from about $50 in the comparable 80 liter/5000 cubic inch size. From what I have seen, the Chinese made commercial packs don’t have the Molle attachment stitching, and I am sure they don’t have the durability. Obviously figure it out for yourself. You will want at least one big pack with a frame for each adult and older kid. The military packs can carry up to 200 lbs., not that I could lol.

This image was taken from one of the hundreds of articles out there on "bugout bags."  My #1 suggestion is DON'T BUG OUT! ...unless you absolutely have to.  And hopefully this gave you some brainfood about what your real issues will be if you do.

This image was taken from one of the hundreds of articles out there on “bugout bags.” My #1 suggestion is DON’T BUG OUT! …unless you absolutely have to. And hopefully this gave you some brainfood about what your real issues will be if you do.


The hardest thing when you bug out is going to be leaving things behind. If you have the packs and the backs to put them on, assuming you can’t carry anymore food and water, of course you would bring medical supplies, extra clothes and even cookware. Certainly if you bought some Schedule H antibiotics from India, or you got some pet antibiotics (explained in my survival medicine article), you’d want to take them along because they are light. A few compressed trauma bandages wouldn’t hurt either, because likewise, they are light. But big white buckets full of rice and beans are going to have to stay behind if you are on foot, no matter how much you hate to leave them. Figuring out in advance what you can reasonably take, both in a car and on foot in packs, is absolutely crucial. Have some extra duffel bags on hand just in case you can start your journey with a ride of some kind. A horse or a 4 wheeler can carry a lot of packs. And if you are moving just to get away from a radiation hot zone, if you don’t go too far there is good chance you can come back for more of your stuff at some point. You just never know. Survival is part guessing game and part statistics. I hope to not be a statistic. If you the packs, you have the packs. I found duffel bags on Ebay for under $40 that are 45,000 cubic inches, 50″ x 30″ x 30″. That is a lot of nonfat dried milk.

Nobody wants to think about practical survival. It is easier to just stock the pantry and figure that you have enough resources to weather most storms. But that is where most of us are falling victim to a “normalcy bias.” Normalcy bias is the name for the little voice in your head that tells you that “it can’t happen here,” and who knows, it very well may not. But if you dig into what is really going on out there, everywhere, America is in for a fall, and the longer it gets put off the harder that fall is going to be. Bugging out is the worst of the worst case scenario, but it seems like that is what everyone feels is their best option. I disagree. This article turned from a short overview into yet another convoluted discussion of options, because bugging out just isn’t that simple, and preparing for it adequately just isn’t so cheap either. The richest of the rich have built bunkers under their homes. The governments have built bunkers and stocked them for themselves. Even if you can’t build a bunker, I think all of our focus should be on staying home, and staying put. Bugging out is a fools game, for fools. I was talking to a guy in a gunshop the other day and he was dishing about how he wants the collapse to come so he can go out and finally shoot people. Do you really want to be on the road with that guy? Stay home, unless you have to leave. And if you have to leave, make sure you have the packs to take lots of supplies with you.

{ 81 comments… add one }
  • Richard July 27, 2017, 12:08 pm

    Nice and informative article. This article helps me. Keep doing this.

  • Canislatrans July 14, 2016, 11:41 am

    Make sure that your pack is sufficient size to carry what you can physically carry, and don’t discount using extra space to hold other bags, like duffel bags, in case you need them down the road. Make sure you get a frame pack, even if you don’t get this specific one. Older ALICE packs are really cheap, and they are huge.

  • Trek Warrior July 7, 2016, 6:39 pm

    Wow, this is a great thorough read on building a bug out bag! I like your logic and thought analysis of sorting out what is important and what is not. Nice work!

  • Dick April 1, 2016, 10:41 am

    Is lifestraw really a good option for water filtration? I cannot, nor has any vendor I have contacted, find test results for lifestraw current independent proof the straws have been tested and the results meet health standards. Like 6 9’s for some of the bad bugs in water. It does one no good to filter the water and get sick and cannot move or become debilitated. I have sent Lifestraw numerous messages only to have most returned as non-deliverable using their website address. If you as the writer state lifestraw is a good option, please provide the independent proof that they meet health standards for water purification and filtration. Many other suppliers have independent test results showing the standards they meet, that allow the consumer the option to choose the one they think meets their needs.

    • Paul Helinski April 1, 2016, 11:34 am

      You can get the military lifestraws on ebay right now for 10 bucks. Because they were a military thing they were obviously tested and work. It’s just a .5 micron filter, not rocket science.

  • Vic March 30, 2016, 12:41 pm

    Those who point out the impracticality of “humping hills” are right.. It is something that can be done in ones youth.. Strong and Fit.. A limited period of time for all..

    Nonetheless a Bug Out Bag should be in everyone’s close possession at all times and places.. One may need but travel a few miles to walk out of a danger area..

    Contents Broken in Leather 1/2 boots (hang them outside), Gloves, Appropriate outdoor work used Clothing again in a roll outside, A particulate mask (They make one with a face shield that Sticks on for less than $10,, Gallon of Water.. A way to make safe to drink. more.. Buy it in liter bottles . Basic first aid kit, spare glasses or safety glasses and rations for 3 days at 5k calories a day .. Multi-tool, Weapon and ammunition.

    35lbs or less is a good rule of thumb.. more than that will begin to negatively effect your mobility… you can do with less junk but not with less water…

    Go for a stroll and see how far you can comfortably get.

    Walking the dog.. etc.. bring your ruck.. move it from the vehicle to the house and back.. change the water once a month the food every 6 months to a year.. Waste nothing..

    V

    There are many things that may require you to evacuate for 3 days..

    “Be prepared” Not just for Boys with Short Pants, Long Socks and a funny hat.

    Vic

    I have carried up to 3 gallons of water and drank it in a day..

  • gunny March 4, 2016, 5:08 pm

    I understand with the current political climate, ISIS, a dem in the white house, that the thought of running for your life may be a reality for some. Me personally I will stay home and fight it out. I have all the food I need, have well water and a whole house generator. Most importantly a full gun safe and ample ammo to go along with it.

    • Hindsight September 2, 2017, 12:38 pm

      A dem in the White House had you worried??
      You do realize republicans are the party of war and corporate fascism, right? They dumb down the population, divide, empower the wealthy, and keep us at war.
      You just need to read actual history and stop watching fox news to realize this.

      How’d that 30 day Isis plan go for trump? Feeling safer about NK?
      Didn’t Obama take all yer guns?
      Political climate? Isis? Be worried about earth climate, nuclear war, schizophrenics with AR’s or brainwashed rednecks attempting to revive the confederacy…

  • Sgt. Pop March 4, 2016, 11:18 am

    Paul’s last paragraph should be noted well. Teaching (military/civil) survival related techniques in the late 1960’s & 70’s, and being younger, not really dumber, but not as experienced as I became, I made references on the civilian side to “bug out bags”, heading and surviving in the wilderness, caches, etc…. However, born and raised on the Alabama coast, dozen years in Alaska and coming back to the coast, I have lived through and worked with/for various agencies (ACOE, ALNG, FEMA) in every major hurricane along the coast here. I have built within my small farm the ability to stick out most natural disasters except possibly a direct tornado hit on major structures (have alternatives though) and have no intention of leaving due to “serious” civil unrest. Leave? where to? As we only have 3 practical directions to go, and one of them ain’t south, unless you have good self contained vessel (another good article) and plan on joining 10’s of thousands of other “panicked” travelers on the way to???, you stay put! At age 70, I don’t run much, have no intention of braving 100’s of miles of highways, interstate and secondary, to go where everybody else is going. You know where, it’s that magical place in the mountains that you don’t think anybody else knows about including the locals. Good Luck. I have a wife that can’t move fast, children, grandchildren and lifelong friends and neighbors to stick it out with, and have in the past. You may have older parents that can’t move well, invalided family members, have you even thought about them? I live on land I was born on, know every square yard for miles as I hunted, trapped and fished its waters. Know where and what to forage when stocks run low, should be plenty because the rest you you folks are “bugging” out. Have you ever thought about the local forage opportunities you have locally versus where you are bugging out too? Don’t forget “dumps”. As for defense, I’ll just have to take my chances, should be better than a sitting duck trapped on the highway. I keep “tuned up” shooting GSSF, SASS, and treating my sons every year (actually their Christmas every year) to various weapons training at a excellent facility and instructor in north Alabama. No, no bugging out for me these days, just digging in keeping informed, and being prepared. Pop

    • JackNMeovslo March 12, 2016, 5:19 pm

      What he said … along with don’t plan on your GPS device being of any use …

    • Andy West April 16, 2016, 10:24 am

      We are in the same age/health bracket. Hiking and rucksacks are not an option. Being prepared and sheltering in-place has got to be the plan for us and a growing segment of our population.

  • mejerk March 3, 2016, 12:57 pm

    This article is just wrong on so many levels. Bug out bag and CANNED FOOD do not belong in the same article. Period. Not to mention the amount of weight being carried is potentially ridiculous. I got to the gas mask and I just couldn’t read on any further. Lets also no forget that buying a $30 bag on Amazon is an awful idea when we are discussing a life changing scenario. Most bags should be 25% of your body weight or less. These bags should be filled with the highest quality items. Go look up graywolf survival 25lb bag if you want an idea of what a real bug out bag should be.

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude March 4, 2016, 9:55 am

      Mej, good points. You can always tell an amateur backpacker who’s never humped in an infantry unit by how much useless heavy shit they don’t need is in their ruck. But i agree with Paul on the preponderance of misinformation out there on BOBs AND what to carry, The pragmatic reality answer is pretty simple, however, and based mainly on the plan dynamics of bugging out.

      I’ve written some articles referencing this subject for various magazines and blogs in the past and the main thing that people are not getting is that your BOB has to fit the mission. Too many people are imagining something like a weekend camping trip, instead of a ‘Run for your Life scenario. So the first big mistake is they pack their bag in the ‘happy camper’ mode, instead of the bare necessities to facilitate the fastest trip to your BOL (Bug Out Location).

      But The entire Bug Out Plan is what sets the BOB contents. Taking into consideration things like whether or not you already have a secure and resourced BOL retreat, or not, and the worse case contingency of how far away your location is and what you would need to make it without stopping except to rest, if you had to go the distance on foot and in freezing weather.

      And, of course, the other greatly misunderstood idea of whether to Bug In, or Bug Out, which is the most critically important decision one might be compelled to make in a SHTF scenario, must be approached in the same manner as you would describe what kind of underwear a 90 year old person might be wearing…?

  • DaveP326 February 5, 2016, 11:25 am

    Now with all the stuff this writer says are “must haves”, I would need a deuce and a half truck to carry it all – and THAT is probably not big (or secure) enough.

  • Todd February 3, 2016, 11:18 pm

    There are some great comments here but also a lot of misleading ideas. Bugging out is something most of us are clearly unfamiliar with. As humans we are gatherers of everything that we feel is important to us and this is our genetic flaw.
    Personally, food is most important but there should be efforts to forage and eat what nature provides – get familiar with edible plants in your area, you would be surprised at what you can eat – bugs and larvae can get you far. Water is undoubtably important, life straws or the like are critical to have, but how long can you haul water in your bag? Be realistic, don’t lie to yourself.
    Weapons are a no brainer (we are on guns america) but tools are life altering, you must pack a few. A hatchet and Swiss Army champ, fire starter and sewing thread & para cord are all you need. Medicine for any conditions and antibiotics plus first aid essentials.
    Shoes must be durable and proven in the field – don’t skimp here, get orthotic inserts – replace the factory ones. They are nowhere near the quality of a quality orthotic. Socks, lots of high quality moisture wicking socks. Clothing should be proven for field use. You’re going to be wearing it for a long time so it must be durable.
    Flashlight that is lithium ion rechargeable. It doesn’t need to light up for 1/2 mile like some of those that are out there. You need something to navigate with. Consider lenses of different color or stash some colored cellophane somewhere – you never know when it can be handy. solar charging device. There are a lot out there and the quality is improving with each season. Tool Maps that are coated and durable.
    Pack a small personal tent like a pup style military tent or consider learning how to build a shelter from surrounding materials. When you add this stuff up you’ll find that you have a lot of weight in your pack but it is truly the bare essentials, but this is my personal opinion but I will tell you, who brings toilet paper and SD cards and 100’s of movies because bugging out is boring. Well, if you have time to sit you are most likely so exhausted that you will want to sleep because people who are bugging out are on a mission to get somewhere not nomads wandering the vast terrain. What? You left your home in a hurry and didn’t have time to plan where you were going? False, you planned your gear, right? You MUST have a end game and a final destination is nonnegotiable!

    • Paul Helinski February 4, 2016, 7:15 am

      There is an article here on edible plants, but feel free to congratulate yourself for your novel ideas.

  • David C. Telliho January 30, 2016, 9:36 pm

    Thieves&such other predators ; Our small town recently had our annual picnic. Surprising to me, it was the wives who brought up a survival situation. They were so aware,I was impressed. They started telling one another what resources they each had, what we could do for survival. Our little town will survive and it`s the women who will organize and make it happen. Civilization can only survive if we co-operate with one another. Anarchy, predators,human or other wise, can be dealt with. Our early settlers survived by helping one another when needed. I will share with any civilized people. Of course, on alert for trouble. Always.

  • Crag January 27, 2016, 11:38 am

    Relying on some little straw filter to supply water is dangerous and not goods common sense. SF org throughout the world use the Katadyn Pocket Water Filter. http://www.amazon.com/Katadyn-8013618-Pocket-Water-Microfilter/dp/B0007U00YE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1453912609&sr=8-1&keywords=katadyn+pocket+water I bought mine in 1990 prior to deployment for the Gulf.

  • James L January 17, 2016, 11:31 am

    I really recommend a medical kit designed by WE CAN OIL IT, TEXAS LLC. Don’t expect to see it on their website it is only word of mouth and custom made as you order it.
    Basically, high purity essential oils for medical use when you can’t carry a pharmacy around. There are many old school remedies using oils including wound dressing and bleed stop capable oils.. Pain remedies stomach problems, astringents, and so many more. A book on other home remedies is included but sometimes items like suffer and Epson salts can be hard to carry.High Quality Essential Oils, for example, have tremendous purity and are as small as 5 to 15 ml. One 15ml bottle of lemon oil has 28 lemons in it!!!!!

    The packs also have camouflage bandages and triage supplies, stainless tools like a scalpel and scissors, hemostats, and etc.

    Want staples and stapler for closing wounds? Just say the word and it will be part of your miniature medical and homeopathic kits.

    I ran across a proto-type version of this and was amazed at the capabilities and thought that went into it and how small but vast and light it was. I am in process of having three made for my needs. They explained it can take a while but they are in finishing stages of having existing product made to their design and some companies that can help with producing items for your personal requests. Expect several versions in the future and your own custom kit combination capability along with the faster to get kits.

    James
    Southlake, Texas

  • Leonard January 8, 2016, 8:36 am

    I think this article and most of the “experts”on survival miss the obvious: Weight is a liability. don’t carry water, carry a decent light weight water filter. I learned this hunting above 8,000′ for extended periods in Colorado. Skip the MRE’s and the food listed above. Carry dry dog food. Granted it doesn’t have four star taste, but consider this: it doesn’t spoil, it’s light weight for the claroies, and contains all the food value you need. This is about survival, not tasty eating. It doesn’t require a give-away fire or prepration. Plus your dog can ean eat it as well, and a good dog is good security asset. When others are raiding the grocery store, you go for the pet store. Carry olive oil. it is a good leather lubricant, decent gun lubricant, very high calory as a food. Arctic exploresrs use it as a conentrated food on North Pole treks. Decent small but well supplied first aid kit that has at least one hemostat. Most kits don’t have hemostats, but the local bong shop will carry them. Don’t use a stupid pack, but learn how to make a Yukon bergan from your CANVAS shelter and paracord. Forget motorized vehicles. Gas is the first thing to go and will be fought over. Trail bicycle is the best option, although it is slower but you will be travelling off road in any event. Better still note where the nearest riding stable is and how many horses are available. When the shit hits the fan a horse for packing out is the best option, it doesn’t use gas, can go where vehicles and bikes can’t. In an extreme pinch you can bleed it for nourishment as the Mongols did. I could write a book on this, but it’s not a good idea to give away ALL the secrets to my potential competitors, right? But one last point: watch films about Kalahari Busmen, Australian Aboriginies, and Amazon Indians and note what they carry for extended treks, Not very much, and for good reason. Ever see one of these guys with an REI bacpack?

  • Ray December 14, 2015, 12:20 am

    What about using water that you get from a dehumidifier? Would that work if the container was clean and you stored the water in plastic jugs to use at last resort?

    • John January 6, 2016, 1:00 am

      I’m with ya’ on most of this great post, but gotta take issue with your “$4 per pound” meat find. See, when we think of meat we are thinking of protein. For the most part, even in our dehydrated or freeze dried survival sustenance, we are going to get enough fat to balance everything out. In fact, unless we are working hard or really humping it overland for hours everyday, we don’t actually need that fat. Which brings me to the aforementioned meat find. I’ll think you’ll find that if you look at the breakdown you’ll see that AT LEAST 70% and in many cases MORE of the calorie content is from FAT! Not what I’d call a good source of protein. I actually swore I’d never eat that stuff again once I’d read the label. Lean protein, complex carbs, maybe 25-30% fat at most is what I aim for. These big sausages are what I refer to as “death logs”, and the BI-I-I-IG label on the front proclaiming it to be “beef” is seriously misleading.

  • steve December 13, 2015, 3:55 am

    Good article for the info, thanks.
    Having been at school when riots broke out after King was assassinated gave me a taste of the hazards of getting home. The bus that I rode home was pummeled with bricks at several places along the bus route.
    Bug out in place is a concept that each person must think through thoroughly. Keeping a BOB under lock and key at work is real important. Getting a weapon into your job site isn’t as easy as it used to be, so a keeping a disposable gun and ammo at work -once you smuggle it in- is really important. You cannot rely on getting to your vehicle and the situation may demand that you be ready at the job site. My disposable is a P22 with 500 rounds; better than nothing. My locker isn’t big enough for a takedown 10/22 or I’d have that too. With security card access in the company offices, it’s difficult to explore for secure hiding places, but I’m always checking out the nooks and crannies when I get the chance.

    My bet is that an educated guess that it is getting too dangerous to leave home for work avoids the first big danger of when the SHTF.

    Hopefully all this prepping proves to be just mental gymnastics.

  • SmokeHillFarm November 29, 2015, 5:07 am

    Completely off-topic for bugout bags — sorry. But it’s something that occurred to me only this week, and I want to pass it on while it’s fresh.

    Back when we had a lot of chickens & turkeys, we had problems with foxes & other varmints tunneling in and killing the birds, so we bought one of those live traps — like the Have-A-Heart traps, though a different brand. It was easier to just trap the critters & kill them rather than spending hours & hours waiting for them to show up. We haven’t used it in years, but it occurred to me that these traps would be great in a survival mode if you could stand eating possum, or raccon, or similar game. Not my preference at all, but when you get hungry … who knows? This seems to make a lot more sense for most people, as opposed to setting snares and home-made traps, and one or two sizes would cover anything you’d be likely to eat. Seems like a good thing to have in any SHTF situation, though mine would more likely be used for eliminating critters — like rabbits — that would otherwise be eating our vegetable garden.

    Sorry for the off-topic, but I wanted to pass it along while it’s fresh.

  • URODOC November 28, 2015, 10:30 am

    GREAT stuff in these recommendations. we are seriously looking through them and incorporating your suggestions into our preparations if we need them.
    Any suggestions as to where I can find a reliable durable water filter or siphon light weight, but reasonable filter capacity, i don’t want to waste all day filtering 12 ounces of water .
    Thanks and Good Luck.
    U

    • SmokeHillFarm November 29, 2015, 4:48 am

      See my answer above to Dr. Arciola, covering filters and other methods of purifying water (HTH chemical, primarily)

  • ANTHONY ARCIOLA,MD November 28, 2015, 10:23 am

    Brand new at this, eye opening article. Thank you all for your ideas and thoughts…all helpful.
    We purchased several years worth of freeze dried meals this year, and have them stored. We have purchased and are practicing with 2 concealable weapons and also have a 3030 henry and a ruger 243, and a shotgun….should be enough, and stocking up on ammo. We live in a small community in central Florida. once immediately out of our area you are in farmland or hammocks or wetlands. We live right next to a State Park, that is large and not populated often.
    there are 2 of us and my wife has limited carrying ability, i can carry a house. we likely can be in that group that can “hunker down”, we have so many people around us that are like minded. i dint believe our community would go wild…but who can predict in these scenarios. I was interested and appreciate all the info on the tips about carrying,your supplies in a back pack…very helpful. Who can give me and idea on a good website to get a very good lightweight water purifier?
    Thanks , God bless us all and good luck.
    A

    • SmokeHillFarm November 29, 2015, 4:47 am

      There are a lot of filters available, and you should start Googling around to examine each one. Lifestraw and Katadyn seem popular, and Berkey. I am seriously looking at the Sawyer water filters because unlike the rest they can be back-flushed when the filter reaches capacity (with a syringe-type device they include), giving you 100,000 gallons before it’s simply worn out. Nice for very long-term SHTF situations. It filters down to 0.1 microns, which will catch almost anything except viruses. There are some filters that go down farther, but they have replaceable filters and of course won’t last nearly as long. You should look over everything available and decide which works best for your situation. The Sawyers are very inexpensive, which is also a big plus for me.

      When you’re in a safe, maybe permanent, place, you should look into using HTH — a swimming pool chemical — to purify water in larger quantities. Common bleach has a VERY short shelf life (6 months max), but HTH is a powder and is basically “forever.” A shoebox-sized quantity should last a family almost forever. It’s the chemical used by local waste treatment plants. The mixing can be a bit confusing unless you do some research, since there are several different types and strengths sold. . I solved that by buying a brand where someone had already figured out the math for me. Also, when I got the box (containing plastic bags of HTH), I carefully copied the mixing instructions onto the box with permanent Magic Marker, so it’s ready to use when I pull it out of my storage closet.

      Two helpful websites on the subject:
      http://www.emergencyhomepreparation.org/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=97
      http://www.instructables.com/id/Pool-Shock-for-water-Purification/

      Apparently just one little granule of this stuff (straight, not mixed) will purify about 1 liter or 32 oz of water, though it’s undoubtedly better to mix up the basic solution instead of opening the granule container several times a day. The basic hypochlorite is said to be very corrosive & dangerous. It’s probably also a good idea to buy an inexpensive pool-testing kit to check your mix occasionally. All in all, the HTH chemical is by far the cheapest and best way to purify a water supply indefinitely, though perhaps a bit tricky when you’re on the move bugging out.

      So far, in my prepping research, this seems to be the best-kept secret I’ve found, right up there with the Bic lighters and the old military P-38 can openers. Don’t leave home without them.

      • RobertTwoFeathers March 15, 2016, 6:40 pm

        Excellent tip on water purification.
        Thanks. :-))
        Where did you purchase your HTH?

        Also, thanks to GA for this article, even though we know we already know it all, and everybody else is stupider than us. God save us all!

    • Gem Gram December 4, 2015, 9:33 am

      If you have those like minded neighbors you have the makings of what is really needed to survive anything that the doomsday throws at you. The purpose of “bug out bag” is to get somewhere safe. It sounds like that IS where you are. Make sure you meet your neighbors and try to establish who are the natural leaders of your community. Old Daniel Boone worked out what it takes to live long term in a very hostile environment. It takes about twenty families with fighting men. Anything else always failed for him. The same is true today. People have to be able to guard, sleep, and work. People also get sick. With that community you have what it takes to survive and raise kids and keep them safe. But you do have to prepare and the most important “Prep” is establishing the relationships and community that will offer mutual protection and a quality life. One or two or five people cannot carry enough to provide that. They can only hope to get to somewhere where they can join other good people.

      By the way for long term survival make sure you keep a bunch of seeds. The kind you plant. They are light and may possibly allow you to eat next year. Seeds and the lightest .22 you can accurately hit a rabbit with at 50 yards. Having grown up hungry on a sharecropper farm I can tell you that the old .22 was what kept the family feed during the winter time and the spring before the garden and field work came along. A .22 will kill anything you need for food, rabbits, squirel, ducks, geese, deer, hogs, dogs, cats and of course the occasional threat that runs into a 10 year old kid. That old .22 provided several hundred times what the single barrel shotgun provided. Of course an old country boy knows how to easily make traps to save even that .22 shell for when you really need it. And any creek, river, lake or big pond when combined with a chicken wire basket will provide all the fish you need without any effort – A “poor” country boy can survive. 🙂 Remember those heirloom seeds and that .22 and make good friends with the community. All three are “light loads” to carry! 🙂 That is real survival advice.

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude February 19, 2016, 6:55 pm

      Sell the antique Henry, the ruger, and all the rest of the bullshit. And get a couple AR-15 Carbines and a few dozen
      magazines and as much ammo as you can afford. Maybe a Glock 17 after that and a few extended 30 round mags for a holster carry.

  • SmokeHillFarm November 28, 2015, 3:32 am

    I thoroughly agree that bugging out right away, for most of us, is probably not the best idea. In my case, because of age and inability to walk very far, my wife and I are stuck here, period. Fortunately, it’s a small farm in a semi-rural area, and we have our own pond with enough fish to probably keep us fed indefinitely. I detest fish, but when hungry you eat what’s there …. and watch for those deer that come to drink from the pond.

    Even if I lived in an urban environment and was still young & fit, I’d still hunker down for a while, if possible, to let Darwin work his magic and kill off a lot of the unprepared and the dangerous ones. It seems safer to bug out after things have stabilized a bit and the herd has been thinned. At that point, you’ll probably also be able to make a better decision as to what to take with you, and what to leave behind if you decide that bugging out is necessary.

    • Gregg February 6, 2016, 9:13 pm

      i also have 10 acres and plan to bug in. water is my biggest problem, but storing and every 3 month empty and replace it. Other problem is i work all over the usa so i hope there is some sort of warning so i can get home.Things just arent getting any better and i fear the worst will happen, Take care Gregg

      • Vic March 30, 2016, 1:10 pm

        Dear Greg.

        10 acres nice…

        You need to do some research.. determine the annual rain fall.. now calculate it out in Acre feet.. from there you can extrapolate the area you must cover to collect sufficient rain to cover your needs.. Buy a sufficient amount of tin roof or wall material (used is fine).. Build yourself what we call a “Trick Tank”. Tin is at a sleight angle, rains flow into a trough which flows into your pond filling it. We do this in the Southwest a lot.. it’s not rocket surgery..

        Cheapest Storage solution is to dig a “decorative pond” a number of times lets say 7 times larger (your call) in capacity than your total annual water consumption.. Deeper is better .. The greater the surface area the faster evaporation takes place… Make sure if someone falls in they can get out.. A pond not a Pit right?

        Get some ducks.. a good number of Ducks.. Now Ducks poop (who would have guessed right?) However they poop something special… nice greasy sticky nasty duck poop.. Turns out when it drops to the bottom of your pond.. makes a great pond liner a natural flexible biodegradable pond line…. . Who would have thought God was so
        detail oriented LOL Mosquito fish at minimum to keep down vectors..(Bugs). (Oh those ducks do a great job of that as well trust me and if you feed them some healthy organic duck food.. they make good eating as well.. )

        Now unless your living in the GOBI or Death Valley.. your problem is pretty much solved at this point

        Rains come.. water flows into the pond.. some evaporates (A little more research about your areas to do a rough calculation with that regards.. Surface area, Average Temp, Wind, etc..(dont go crazy about it) .. you use some….. you have some excess which you must also make arrangements to dispose of in some manner depending upon circumstances.. Keep in mind to start you could lay some very heavy plastic sheeting down (like shingles) and fill your pond first rainy season saving money then lay your tin out based on more accurate calculations..Or lay it out seasonally if your so inclined.

        Hope this helps..
        Good luck

        V

  • slfree November 27, 2015, 3:38 pm

    Why should I runn-oft to the hills to starve in a tent. When I can stay home in my easy chair and munch my freeze dried chow

  • Leigh August 15, 2015, 8:42 pm

    Excellent, thoughtful article, thank you. I spent a year (and budgeted for it at nearly a third of my salary each month) getting food and water, fuel and lighting, backup power, medical supplies, etc., etc., etc., in place many years ago, with the idea of hunkering down in the case of an emergency. This included hardening exterior doors, setting lines of fire, ammo, reloading supplies and weapons, the means to transfer (uh, “borrow”) fuel, and anything/everything else I could think of.

    For a BOB though, right now I only have a decent small pack and frame (spec-ops THE PACK) that is a nice setup, but not as big as this ALICE pack shown, so has limitations there. Have the 2 quart canteens covered, but this article is showing me where some of the holes in my traveling preparations are. I can see the value of the potassium tablets, and have those in my medical supplies, and will get more, but don’t have the resources to to go with a mask for a nuclear event; I have to pick and choose these days, and to me food, water, fuel and ammo and the means to move them and my family is more important at present.

    Unlike many of the “camo commandos” responding :-), the only advice / endorsement I can give is for the Katadyn pocket water filter; it’s super portable of course, will filter up to 13,000 gallons of the nastiest stuff you can find, and is very well made, although pricy. I don’t see carrying a Big Berkey water filter around with you, although they are great for in place. As a backup filter I got the Katadyn combo filter with charcoal prefilter.

    Good info on the tent as well, thanks. I have a decent 2-person tent, but this 4-person job is very reasonable and looks ideal.

    Thanks again for a good thought-provoking article.

    • SmokeHillFarm November 29, 2015, 4:10 am

      Another filter you might consider is the Sawyer models, since for all practical purposes they seem to be almost “permanent” — you can backflush the filters occasionally and basically start over. I think they claim about 100,000 gallons before it really craps out. It doesn’t seem quite as quick or handy as some others, and it doesn’t quite filter down to the virus level, only to about 0.1 microns. But that’s still pretty good. Seems like at least a good backup system (and relatively cheap), if SHTF lasts for a long, long time. I’m considering a couple of these, probably along with a replaceable-filter model for initial use, since I don’t trust the water in my farm pond, and with a 300-foot well, pulling water out of there is going to be a real problem, if not a full-time job. I now curse the previous owner, who filled in and buried an old 75-foot well instead of keeping it “alive” for emergencies.

      My two nearest neighbors have 50 & 75-foot wells, but until they die off, or get killed by roving mutants from the city, I may not be able to tap into those with a rope & bucket.

      • jman53705 December 4, 2015, 8:08 am

        Might be worth it to see if you can run a new well down and hit that source at 50 to 75 feet. Don’t forget to test the water if you do tap in to the aquifer. Might have contaminants that prompted the previous owner to go deeper in the first place. Even then the trade off to purify that water might be cheaper or easier than pumping pure water from 3 to 6 times deeper

  • Perry July 18, 2015, 3:48 am

    Excellent Articles and common sense replies. Thought on Eemergency bag in vehicle . To and From work? How to get home? Storage pts enroute?

  • Arthur Raynolds July 9, 2015, 11:56 pm

    Regarding water purification, what is the differance between bromidinating tablets and the pool shock you mentioned in “101 Bug-out bag basics”? I read on the Clorox web site that beyond 6 month storage, Clorox loses its potency. As a result, I switched over to the bromide tablets. If the bromide tabs are equivilent, then what is the delution rate for the tablets?

    • MPT July 30, 2015, 3:56 pm

      Regular Clorox is unstable and should only be used for immediate purposes.
      The other bleach they sell is stabilized bleach it doesn’t break down as easily. Can’t help you with the dilution factor. but stabilized versus not is still 8 drops per gallon or 16 if you need to purify it.

  • Olaf Berg July 4, 2015, 1:59 pm

    Good article, agree do not BO unless you must in order to survive. As far as Maps are concerned, I have used an earlier version of this program and would recommend it.Works with your GPS and allows you to print your own topos. If you want a large map, go to a vendor that has a large format printer, and have them print it for you. http://www.delorme.com/library/software/TopoUSA8/Product_Information/T8_Fact_Sheet.pdf

  • Tom Horn July 3, 2015, 2:12 am

    Funny, I was just updating my B.O. bag this week. Good article. I think the advice on hunkering down is spot on. Best use of bug-out bag is to be kept in your auto for when SHTF, and you are away from home. But remember the Survival protocol: Oxygen, Safety (security/shelter/warmth), Water, Food. I’m for leaving some freeze dried food behind, for another box of ammo, and an extra tear gas canister. My nephew worked and backpacked Yellowstone for many years. He would go on week long trips with mostly candy bars, I kid you not.

    I agree with Tom. Having backpacked Isle Royale with a 90lb pack, I can testify, Go light and fast. I find peanut butter to be a good food for buggin. You may not be able to have the luxury of fire or stove. Your object will be to get home to loved ones, or get the hell away from the “zombie horde” as quick as possible. You can’t do that with a heavy pack.

    I found a Kelty Red Wing 50 Liter pack (3000 c.i.), in the color “Forest Night” that is inconspicuous, yet would blend in forest, or urban environment. It will hold more than I want to carry. Kelty makes great products that will hold up to years of use.

    Now, if your leaving your home for good, on foot…?

  • Tom June 30, 2015, 1:28 am

    How much does all that weigh? over 20 lbs?
    I have actually done my share of hiking
    Weight kills, lighter is better, keep it simple, multi-use items
    Pack it all up and do a week on the Appalachian trail report back to us….
    How far did you get? 10 miles a day 70 miles total?
    I will bet you left most of the items you started with behind.
    Hey its fun to sit at home and write this stuff up

    • Administrator June 30, 2015, 7:07 am

      The article clearly says to carry mostly food. These moronish comments serve no purpose but to inflate the ego of the supposed expert giving the advice. All of these articles are really just discussions about the issues. You are just going to die with the rest of the sheep in two weeks because you were too busy giving advice to actually prepare yourself without thoughtful use of the resources you have.

      • Orrin M. KNutson June 30, 2015, 1:18 pm

        AMEN! It never surprises me when the “wannabe’s” whose only experience is obviously in cyberspace, playing idiotic war, zombie and Mad Max like survival games. I bet a dollar to a doughnut that most of them vote with the liberals who give them an existence … if they get off the couch and vote at all.

      • Calvin Grimalkin February 1, 2016, 11:36 am

        My wife and I are getting pretty old, will be 70 this year, and due to some arthritis problems I doubt that my wife could walk very far at all. I would have to think that some sort of well made cart would be an appropriate item to consider for those who are not as fit as Ranger or SEAL. It would need to be light weight, but rugged enough to possibly carry an invalid person and a reasonable supply of “stuff”.

        Back in the old days, Mormons making the trek out west developed 2 wheeled carts that could carry quite a bit of gear, I would think that with light weight materials something similar could be devised.

        • Paul Helinski February 1, 2016, 11:52 am

          Look in the cowboy action shooting website. There are great two wheeled carts that hold rifles and some stuff. People make them out of golf club carts as well. Home Depot has a fat tire hand truck that can work also. There is always a way, just doing it is the issue.

  • PF Flyer June 30, 2015, 1:05 am

    I agree with all that is said. BUTT. Put all that stuff together and what size pack will you need? Then add the number of people in your scenario and again look at what all is needed. Do your homework!

  • Mick Dodge June 29, 2015, 5:35 pm

    If I had to bug out with all that stuff id have to use reindeer, otherwise known as caribou, or in the northern climes delicious.
    They can carry a load, pull a sled (with runners, or wheels, or as the Indians do, drag poles ). Then as your packs shrink from consumption you can eat the critters.

  • DDA June 29, 2015, 2:20 pm

    Take it from an old backpacker use a Steripen to purify water.

  • BRASS June 29, 2015, 11:20 am

    I agree, especially with ‘don’t bug out’ unless you have to. While younger urban folks and urban or even some suburban folks without families may find bug out a solution, for many suburban, rural and older folks, bugging in is more realistic in all but the most dire and severe scenarios.
    Granted everyone needs to evaluate their own situation and likely variables, mine is not the solution for everyone. At our stage in life, hardening our home to intruders, establishing and maintaining an independent source of water, food, medical, energy and other essentials suits us better and I believe offers a better chance of survival than risking exposure with minimal support systems and sustainment in our cars or on our backs.

  • Reaper June 29, 2015, 11:16 am

    I have always wondered about the people that say they are going to bug out the instant SHTF. Why? I know my area, my neighbors, routs, locations of stashes, weapons, food, support, so much that it makes no since to just hit the road unless it is absolutely necessary. And so few people agree with it? I love the idea of letting the “real” crazies, not us ordinary crazies, kill each other off. 1) Less traffic out and about after that happens. And 2) All the stuff they will have left laying around trying to all get out of town at the same time is now an asset for me.
    Always appreciate others hours of research. At which time I’d like to say, “Thank you for the hours you spent typing and scrolling away, that gives my wore out fingers a bit of a break.”
    A couple of new ideas you have giving me is the Hillshire Farms meat logs. Never crossed my mind until I saw it here on your page. Get that stuff by the truck load every Christmas, it seems. End up giving a lot away, just because we get tired of it by Thanksgiving. And having the room in a couple of spare refrigerators in the garage, the life span of those meat logs could probably be extended for a few years when unopened. Don’t know why that never crossed my mind until I saw that picture in you article.
    Another thing is the up to date digicam pattern backpack. Wouldn’t even cost all that much to resell when the new pattern comes out and get the new pattern as your new pack. Makes since that it could, like you stated, draw some favor. Also, in a mass sorting by the, SS Brown coats, to quote you there, no one is going to have the time to properly check everything, with a good quality picture printer you can make passable “ID’s” when there is no time to look at them very closely. And I state this last one with the utmost respect and honor to all that have served or are still serving. I would never in a non SHTF big time, senerio try to or indeed steal any Valor. However, in an everyone for themselves, i’m not getting put in a cage by the brown coats, it is very easy to have an in use uniform/bdu’s with all the correct patches. ID’s and good enough, if no one has the time to look to closely, paper work is simple to find online and have at the ready. Wouldn’t even have to be military. Uniform stores and online catalogs offer all you need to become a cop, sheriff, EMT, whatever. And in the evacuation if you are “from a few towns/counties” that way, everyone else is going to be tired, too, and still will not look to closely. Then again, what wouldn’t you do to protect you and your family? That can become a scary discussion when everyone is hard up, worn out, and you have hungry children.

  • Reaper June 29, 2015, 11:15 am

    I have always wondered about the people that say they are going to bug out the instant SHTF. Why? I know my area, my neighbors, routs, locations of stashes, weapons, food, support, so much that it makes no since to just hit the road unless it is absolutely necessary. And so few people agree with it? I love the idea of letting the “real” crazies, not us ordinary crazies, kill each other off. 1) Less traffic out and about after that happens. And 2) All the stuff they will have left laying around trying to all get out of town at the same time is now an asset for me.
    Always appreciate others hours of research. At which time I’d like to say, “Thank you for the hours you spent typing and scrolling away, that gives my wore out fingers a bit of a break.”
    A couple of new ideas you have giving me is the Hillshire Farms meat logs. Never crossed my mind until I saw it here on your page. Get that stuff by the truck load every Christmas, it seems. End up giving a lot away, just because we get tired of it by Thanksgiving. And having the room in a couple of spare refrigerators in the garage, the life span of those meat logs could probably be extended for a few years when unopened. Don’t know why that never crossed my mind until I saw that picture in you article.
    Another thing is the up to date digicam pattern backpack. Wouldn’t even cost all that much to resell when the new pattern comes out and get the new pattern as your new pack. Makes since that it could, like you stated, draw some favor. Also, in a mass sorting by the, SS Brown coats, to quote you there, no one is going to have the time to properly check everything, with a good quality picture printer you can make passable “ID’s” when there is no time to look at them very closely. And I state this last one with the utmost respect and honor to all that have served or are still serving. I would never in a non SHTF big time, senerio try to or indeed steal any Valor. However, in an everyone for themselves, i’m not getting put in a cage by the brown coats, it is very easy to have an in use uniform/bdu’s with all the correct patches. ID’s and good enough, if no one has the time to look to closely, paper work is simple to find online and have at the ready. Wouldn’t even have to be military. Uniform stores and online catalogs offer all you need to become a cop, sheriff, EMT, whatever. And in the evacuation if you are “from a few towns/counties” that way, everyone else is going to be tired, too, and still will not look to closely. Then again, what wouldn’t you do to protect you and your family? That can become a scary discussion when everyone is hard up, worn out, and you have hungry children.

  • Orrin M. Knutson June 29, 2015, 11:06 am

    Dear Paul,

    Excellent article!!! Well done and thank you.

    Having a BOB (Bug-Out-Bag) for every member of the family, including pets, is smart for all of us. Unfortunately, most people suffer with the, “It will never happen to me!” syndrome and are hard to convince that they are at risk and can be thrown into survival mode in the blink of an eye and when least expected.

    When I wrote my book, SURVIVAL 101 – HOW TO BUG OUT AND SURVIVE THE FIRST 72 HOURS, the publisher renamed it. Our original intended title was “Building a BOB for Greenhorns.”

    We were actually writing to the 150,000 + vacationing “Greenhorns” who get lost or stranded from overnight to several days before being rescued. It explains options for building a personalized BOB, why to carry certain items and how to use them. We also share a lot of basic primitive skills instruction regarding the critical five; Shelter, Fire, Water, Food and Security.

    The information is also applicable to helping gear up the tens of thousands of urban Americans who find themselves slammed by natural disasters and driven from their homes each year!

    I left out all the para-military topics required for hardcore preppers anticipating the Zombie Apocalypse, EMP’s, WW III, etc. There are more than enough people focused on the “What If’s” and provide mountains of information and products for Preppers. My effort was dedicated to sharing the everyday practical stuff to deal with our old pal “Murphy’s Law” that jumps up and bits us all sooner or later.

    God Save America and may He Bless and Protect Our Troops,
    Orrin M. Knutson
    Retired Peace Officer and Search/Rescue Volunteer
    Author

  • Kurt June 29, 2015, 10:19 am

    Well written article, my bobs tend to have thyroid conditions, they gain weight just setting around.
    I used the military surplus molle 2 when I was traveling to and from the oil fields on Amtrac but being realistic I’m not sure how far I could have carried it on foot.I also had a AR 15 in 300 blackout and extra mags and couple of hand guns
    The trouble with a large pack you tend to fill it up and most of us reading this article are not 20 year old’s
    My suggestion is to make up your bob and then carry it for a couple of miles then take a hard look if you really need everything that you pack in there because you had the space.
    Kurt

    • Mo November 26, 2015, 7:12 pm

      Well put Kurt. Having gone on just a few trips hiking on the AT (Appalachian Trail), It gets old very quick when you start to add up the weight and carry it 10, 12, 15+ miles a day. If you are with someone who complains all the time, it is that much worse. I now constantly weigh my packs before I go on a trip and try to keep my starting weight under 35-40Lbs. The more you can do without the better you are. Practice, and keep your mind sharp, and the weight in your packs low. Multitude of things people do not think of things like falling, tripping and turning an ankle because you are carrying too much, foot issues like blisters people do not think of that will stop some people in their tracks. I never consider moving too fast to avoid injury but at the same time I can move faster without trying when I am lighter. Peace, Mo

    • Capt Ed McCourt USMC (ret) November 29, 2015, 1:02 am

      Kurt:
      Your reply is one of the best , in my opinion, especially about NOT being 20 yrs old and carrying weapons extra ammo etc H2’o
      is the must important item. I say plan your move and move in your plan stage Money, Arms and equipment and travel much less traveled roads. in a 4×4 if you can afford it. I’m approaching 80 yrs old, and I once was a Stud Reconnaissance Marine and an Instructor at the Marine Corps mountain Warfare training center . I shoot three times a week and I haven’t forgotten much of the things I taught. However, One must also know his / her Capabilities and Limitations before spending money on something you can NOT physically handle well. and I mean very WELL! “I personally do NOT move as well as I once did”!
      City Residents have the biggest problem, which is why I say stage what you need in an area you can set up good surveillance from and stay immobile , Mobile is GGGRRRR888! However, again you must be able to S— and Git! with ease.
      Semper Fi
      Ed

      • Gem Gram December 4, 2015, 7:54 am

        Great points Ed. There is a difference between being mobile and “bugging out”. As any old “Recon” guy knows. Really hvy backpacks are simply carrying something a short distance. And everyone should have that capability, BUT it is not “bugging out” and a two wheel cart will take you anywhere you can go with a 60 to 90 lb heavy ruck. You are not on a C-130 and jumping out of a plane with everything you will need. You are either walking or riding. So a bug out bag should be that, an emergency run and gun bag. What we called a “combat pack”almost fifty years ago. With the essentials, some meds, essential survival gear, and most important – ammo. So if you want that big bag make sure you have the one that is easily detached when you have to run; and remember the most important thing you need to carry is sometimes just your ass and a means to protect it. That is what “bugging out” is all about. I am sure as a “Recon” guy, Ed taught that basic principle, or is it just my old memory making it up. 🙂

        All the material in this article is great, but it is NOT “bugging out”, it is transferring valuable merchandise to a new location. If you can not jog or walk real fast for an extended time with what you are carrying it is NOT a “Bugout Bag”. For a really eye opening experiance try living as a homeless person for a couple of weeks with your bug out bag. That is probably the very best training you will ever get for the real world. And there are real world experts in that. They are the crazy homeless people (many are old vets) who actually do it successfully every day. Stop and talk to some and listen to what they have to say about tactics and what you really need to “Bug Out”.

      • Gem Gram December 4, 2015, 7:54 am

        Great points Ed. There is a difference between being mobile and “bugging out”. As any old “Recon” guy knows. Really hvy backpacks are simply carrying something a short distance. And everyone should have that capability, BUT it is not “bugging out” and a two wheel cart will take you anywhere you can go with a 60 to 90 lb heavy ruck. You are not on a C-130 and jumping out of a plane with everything you will need. You are either walking or riding. So a bug out bag should be that, an emergency run and gun bag. What we called a “combat pack”almost fifty years ago. With the essentials, some meds, essential survival gear, and most important – ammo. So if you want that big bag make sure you have the one that is easily detached when you have to run; and remember the most important thing you need to carry is sometimes just your ass and a means to protect it. That is what “bugging out” is all about. I am sure as a “Recon” guy, Ed taught that basic principle, or is it just my old memory making it up. 🙂

        All the material in this article is great, but it is NOT “bugging out”, it is transferring valuable merchandise to a new location. If you can not jog or walk real fast for an extended time with what you are carrying it is NOT a “Bugout Bag”. For a really eye opening experiance try living as a homeless person for a couple of weeks with your bug out bag. That is probably the very best training you will ever get for the real world. And there are real world experts in that. They are the crazy homeless people (many are old vets) who actually do it successfully every day. Stop and talk to some and listen to what they have to say about tactics and what you really need to “Bug Out”.

  • stravo lukos June 29, 2015, 9:34 am

    Nice article. I stick to tried in the field military gear nearly all the time. Problem is whether we stay or bug out, we’re screwed. The govt puppets & their corporate masters have been working diligently on their behalf to find ways to control or obliterate non-conformists for decades. Before you sneeze me off, just give me a moment to explain, then decide.

    Over six decades ago, Project MK Ultra was born. It was a true masterpiece of weirdness. You can get an overview here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKUltra

    One of the spin-offs during this period was a ship loaded w/ a weak flu virus which was released in San Francisco Harbor. The idea was to see how far this flu would spread and where. The national meteorological tables were consulted and the prevailing winds did their job quite effectively. The CIA/NSA have since launched a thorough investigation of prevailing winds right down to locally-caused winds due to topography, temperatures, and man-made topography like buildings. Now for some reasonable hearsay that I cannot prove– I doubt anyone but the perps can prove it. We know there are several military installations including labs all across the country. I’ve seen scores w/ my own four eyes while driving this great land. Many are abandoned. HEARSAY tells of quietly situated labs throughout those installations that are empty, maintained well, & guarded. HEARSAY tells us these labs are strategically located to take advantage of regional & local prevailing winds. If & when the economy implodes, it is widely assumed that chaos will follow. On what scale, I cannot predict. But the powers that be know all about bug out plans & self-defense tactics. Those powers have a plethora of hi-tek weaponry at their disposal including thermal imaging, sniffers, silent drones etc. The most insidious weapon, however, is designer disease.

    From a central lab, say CDC, tiny dots of germs (e.g. viruses, bacteria, fungi) would be sent to various labs, now staffed, throughout the country. HEARSAY tells us that these dots would be cultured & incubated to make the necessary batch-load for dispersal over a given area for a given time period. Nearby FEMA installations would have known antidotes & “safety” or “quarantine” camps waiting for the influx of sick buggers? bug-outters? Anyway, the victims would have a choice: Be infected & die or be severely debilitated, OR go to the advertised govt center for “treatment.” No matter what you do to stop the infection, you would be exposed. Some might be immune to one or two of the dispersals, but not all. Nothing short of a clean lab would spare people from the infection. Make your choice, says HEARSAY. In the cities, the process of quarantining would be carried out via conventional urban tactics. Anyone who knows combat knows that urban combat is the most vicious & costly. Sound, shock, gas, & microwaves are in place w/ God only knows what other weird science. Remember, just because the court says not to do something doesn’t mean it won’t be done in a crisis (i.e. martial law) circumstance.

    So please tell me, where does one go to escape such indecencies? It’d have to be a wilderness so huge, so far away, & so unpopulated that the powers would not be concerned if a few hundreds or even thousands escaped– for the time being. Meanwhile, in such a scenario, the obscenely rich & powerful have their secured estates guarded by private armies (e.g. BlackWater) & well supplied w/ whatever antidotes are needed. I’m feeling a bit insignificant at this point.

  • Jackpine June 29, 2015, 6:57 am

    Food option: polar (sic) brand Kipper Snacks. Shelf life measures in eons. Light as a feather. I’ve seen them for sale in some states but not all. Qty. 18 case on Amazon around $42 delivered.

  • Eric X Equis June 29, 2015, 5:20 am

    Should add a note of caution here… CANNED CHICKEN. It doesn’t have the shelf-life of other canned meats (SPAM, chili, beef, ravioli, etc.). The manufacturers say 3-years which translates into 6 if you keep your cans in a stable, cool and dry environment. I opened and ate a can of chunked chicken this week I had in my pantry for 7-years or so (rotating stock at this point)… it was OK but I would still use caution. Watch for bulging in the can (first indication of botulism) or any funky smells. Remember, keep your cans in a cool, dry place and they will be OK for at least 3X the expiration date on the can.
    BTW, not sure on fish… tuna I know is good for 10y in stable environment, salmon, not sure about (don’t eat salmon).
    My advice on “SHTF food” is this… half freeze-dried “camping” food (Mountain House, Wise, etc), half canned (soup, chili, pasta, etc). Leave the freeze-dried shit in it’s container unless you plan a camping trip… replace canned from time to time as you use it. For a few extra bucks a week, I’ve managed to get a full year’s worth of canned and freeze dried (plus other stuff like pasta, beans, dried potatoes, etc). Over the past 6+ years it’s only been $20 or $30 bucks a trip (2x a month) to the store. It’s easy… and the sooner you start, the better prepared you will be.

  • Eric X Equis June 29, 2015, 5:20 am

    Should add a note of caution here… CANNED CHICKEN. It doesn’t have the shelf-life of other canned meats (SPAM, chili, beef, ravioli, etc.). The manufacturers say 3-years which translates into 6 if you keep your cans in a stable, cool and dry environment. I opened and ate a can of chunked chicken this week I had in my pantry for 7-years or so (rotating stock at this point)… it was OK but I would still use caution. Watch for bulging in the can (first indication of botulism) or any funky smells. Remember, keep your cans in a cool, dry place and they will be OK for at least 3X the expiration date on the can.
    BTW, not sure on fish… tuna I know is good for 10y in stable environment, salmon, not sure about (don’t eat salmon).
    My advice on “SHTF food” is this… half freeze-dried “camping” food (Mountian Hous, Wise, etc), half canned (soup, chili, pasta, etc). Leave the freeze-dried shit in it’s container unless you plan a camping trip… replace canned from time to time as you use it. For a few extra bucks a week, I’ve managed to get a full year’s worth of canned and freeze dried (plus other stuff like pasta, beans, dried potatoes, etc). Over the past 6+ years it’s only been $20 or $30 bucks a trip (2x a month) to the store. It’s easy… and the sooner you start, the better prepared you will be.

    • Administrator June 29, 2015, 6:13 am

      Canned chicken will deteriorate some but is safe to eat indefinitely.

  • WLF June 29, 2015, 4:32 am

    Great deal of info Paul. Thanks! I found the Molle II Large Rucksack on Amazon, new for $146.00. Are the one’s you found for $75. new or used? Lots more equipment available at Amazon. Does anyone have any sources they could mention? Appreciate it.

    • Administrator June 29, 2015, 6:15 am

      There is no such thing as new if it is actual military surplus it is by definition used. The military pays a lot more than $150 each for them. Most that you see on Ebay are in VG-exc condition, but they do vary in price a good deal.

      • misfit June 29, 2015, 10:36 am

        There is in fact “new” military surplus. It’s new equipment that was never issued and has been deemed excess. There are also contract overruns but generally aren’t sold as “surplus.

  • Will Drider June 28, 2015, 2:50 pm

    Use large dogs as pack animals. You need harnesses, packs, muzzles (run silent), training. They must not be gun shy. They also provide heat, security, early warning, can catch/retrieve game and offense/defense. You do have to feed and water them but you can also eat them. Spare gun/ammo on dog so it can resupply you.
    Build a axel/wheel system for your pack. Use less energy pulling then carrying. Carry more. Allows quicker response to threat situations. Dog can pull more then carry too.
    Pre stage a 30 day stash (including tent, sleeping bags, bulk ammo, stove/fuel tools, ect) within a few hours walk from your primary stronghold. This is your fall back area to get you through the initial catastrophe. Make no smoke minimize scent. Walk in only, well off roads and hunted areas. Check and add to it every 30 days. Make/leave no trail. If its easy for you to access it will be east for others. Water/marsh is a good barrier as is very steep terrain and dense vegetation. Duplicate items from your bugout pack will always provide benfits.
    Don’t bugout unless circumstance will over run your position.

    • Erich June 29, 2015, 11:19 am

      I would be wary of using mil-spec or paramilitary looking packs as they would advertise to people that 1) You may be more prepared than most people, 2) You may be carrying vital items worth fighting or killing over. I prefer a more low-key approach. Like the saying goes, “fly low and avoid the radar”. Thanks for the article.

      • bmaverick June 29, 2015, 12:47 pm

        I agree too. Trying to look too stealthy and being found out may have a great disadvantage. Now, a basic dull black backpack with no marking could be the ticket.

        Also, staying to the less traveled roads could get you shot at since most backwoods and country folk in the hills don’t often see people just walking the back roads. Your valuables and money would make you a target for them. Thus, know where you are going and how safe it is to really travel there on foot or other means.

    • Richard June 29, 2015, 1:53 pm

      Its unrealistic to think you large dog is going to be carrying any resupply items for you. Dogs cant eat what a person eats besides catching wild game, and even then you will have to deal with the issues of the sudden diet change, i.e. the SH#@s. I take my dog backpacking and his food for 4 days takes up all the space in his packs and they are large packs. I may be able to stuff in a couple of spare magazines but that’s it. If your trek is longer you will end up with dog food spred thru your group to even the load. You also have to consider that your dog, unless trained, will be lapping up water from every nasty pond pool and stream on your route. Dogs are just as susceptible to bad water as a person is so expect to be treating extra water for your dog as well. As far a pulling a cart, keep in mind that it can be no more than 2/5ths the dogs total weight in order for the dog to keep up with you ( that’s including the weight of the cart) also he will consume more food and water

      • Administrator June 29, 2015, 1:59 pm

        Humans generally shouldnt eat dog food because it usually contains carrion which dogs can handle but we cant. Cat food is fine.

    • Larry June 29, 2015, 7:54 pm

      Remind me not to hang with you in a crisis, I wouldn’t eat my companion ever! They are protecting you. I would rather starve to death( I wouldn’t because I have skills) than eat my partner.

      • Randall June 29, 2015, 9:08 pm

        I completely agree. My dog is a person in my eyes.

    • SmokeHillFarm November 28, 2015, 3:14 am

      Using wheels to transport your bugout supplies is an excellent idea, but when putting this rig together, keep in mind that the larger the wheel, the better. Since most of us will be putting our own “cart” together, consider using a pair of bicycle wheels to roll with. One of those commercial “garden carts” with bicycle-sized wheels might be a good starting point. Larger wheels can go over rough terrain or even up stairs without bogging down or turning your “cart” into something you have to lift up each step. Another cheapie alternative, though with smaller-than-ideal wheels, is a used golf bag carrier — the ones caddies used to pull around before everyone started using motorized golf carts. At yard sales, these old bag carriers go for five bucks or thereabouts. I bought a few just to make it easier to hump lots of dog food bags from the truck down to the kennel. They’ll usually carry about 100 lb if they’re in good shape, but watch for quality and condition since the thin metal parts can get damaged. Another good starting point is one of those wheeled firewood carriers. I bought one (to move my firewood into the house every day) about ten years ago and it still works fine. It cost about $80 back then, I think from Plow & Hearth catalog, undoubtedly near $100 by now. They are extremely tough and reliable, though the canvas or vinyl liner gets worn out in about two years of humping firewood daily (about six cords a year). Should be good to carry a couple of hundred pounds of gear over rough terrain, though.

      • SmokeHillFarm December 4, 2015, 6:23 am

        I should have emphasized more the possibility of building your own personalized wheeled cart by using old bicycle wheels. You can get used bikes (not the fancy ones, just ordinary kids’ bikes) for as low as $5 at yard sales, Rust & broken parts aren’t important, just the condition of those two wheels.

        Personally I’d rather have wheels WITHOUT inner tubes, since you may be traveling over rough terrain, but I don’t know enough about bikes to know if solid rubber wheels are available (like on mountain bikes?).

        Though those big-wheeled garden carts are very handy & easy to move, if you’re going through brushy or forested terrain, their width might be a problem. For that reason I’d lean toward building my own cart, somewhat thinner (to fit between trees), perhaps pointed on the front end (for heavy grass or brush), and maybe with more ground clearance. I’d also probably line the cart with a couple of large heavy-duty trash bags to waterproof the contents in case I had to ford some creeks.

        Might also consider making the wheels removable, and replaceable with a pair of used snow skis, in case you had to bug out in snowy weather. Skis also go pretty cheap at summer yard & moving sales. I made a sled out of a set of childs’ skis, to have my dogs drag dog food bags from our driveway down to the kennel. Hauling two forty-pound bags on it was easy for a 75-lb retriever, who thought it was great fun. With a wheeled cart, I suspect a medium-sized dog could haul a LOT of weight over moderate terrain, which would give you a break. A 40-lb bag of dry dog food (good stuff like Purina, not the cheap crap) will basically feed a retriever-sized dog for a month, more if he lives inside.

        One thing, if you have a dog haul a cart or a sled: go buy a REAL hauling harness; don’t try to rig up something with rope or paracord, or some leash-type harness for walking the dog. The good ones are padded, and designed to spread the pressure out so the dog doesn’t get worn out early, or get painful sores that can easily get infected. A dog can do a lot of work and definitely earn his keep, IF you go about it properly. It’s actually easier for a dog to pull a 100-lb sled in the snow than it is for a human, since he’s lower to the ground and is pulling directly, and he has four good feet with claws for traction, not a couple of slippery boots.

        But don’t save the training until the SHTF. Start with light loads, turn it into a fun game where he gets treats & a lot of praise & attention, and he’ll look forward to it. When the zombies are everywhere is NOT the time you want to start training your dog outside. My retriever got so excited when he got to pull a dog food sled that we had to strap the bags onto the sled, since otherwise he’d pull so fast and hard that a 40-lb bag or two would slide off the back and I’d have to go back for them.

        Needless to say, a Yorkie or a miniature poodle isn’t much use, but a normal-size dog can be a big asset if you have to haul firewood, or a deer.

        • Archangel January 25, 2016, 10:54 am

          A Yorkie or a miniature poodle does have a use as an alarm.

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