You should take into consideration on what type of events you might be trying to survive from. You should tailor your kit to match your specific goals and needs. If you have an emergency kit or basic survival kit in position you will already be better prepared than most people when catastrophe takes place.
A bag is needed to carry your survival stuff. Having your essentials in a bag will is the best choice when you are ready to relocate asap.
You will have advantages like ease of moving if you find yourself traveling around by foot but waiting around to put your kit together until you acquire the best backpack is not a smart idea. Getting all of your items together in some type of bag that can be grabbed and carried around quickly is more important.
Having clean water will keep you alive. It is known that you should be carrying 1 gallon per person a day. If you will be carrying a portable survival kit, you should consider to pack three 1 liter bottles of water. You should then take into consideration on how to purify your water. Purification can be as straightforward as boiling the water on the fire you made and using iodine tablets, or can get more in-depth using filters. You should boil water for 5 minutes minimum but 20 minutes is a better time to aim for. There are ways to boil water without a pot or kettle but I suggest you buy a small camping pot with a lid to put in your survival kit. This will become useful for more than just boiling water. When storing the pot or kettle in your kit, take advantage of the space inside the pot to keep spices or other small things.
There are a lot of backpack meals and high calorie energy bars you can keep in your survival kit. If you pack food you should pack only foods which have long shelf life. Backpack meals are usually freeze-dried and only require boiling water to enjoy. MRE’s or “Meals Ready To Eat” are an all in one meal contained in individual packages. This will come down to personal preference. Don’t forget some utensils. You can splurge on a camping spork for 7 dollars, or your local dollar store should have utensils that will do the trick. You might consider covering each utensil in something to prevent them from clanging together. This will help ensure you don’t rouse Sasquatch if you find yourself walking past his den.
You should pack enough clothes to get you through a few accidents like falling in to a river or sliding down a muddy embankment. You may not be a klutz but stuff happens. You might find yourself walking a whole lot more than you want to, so your survival kit should have a comfortable but durable pair of boots. A few pairs of wool socks and long underwear will go a long way in keeping you warm. You should also pack a pair of comfortable pants. You should pack a two or three long sleeve shirts. You should also bring a light rain resistant jacket which can help keep the wetness out if needed. Always have a hat. No survival kit is complete without a hat. Any hat will do.
You should have some sort of shelter materials in your emergency kit. The 5 person tent with the extra room probably isn’t sensible. You can go with a small 1 person tent, or a tarp and some sturdy cord or parachute cord. If your survival bag still has a good deal of room you can add a bedroll or “space blanket”. If you choose a tarp, make sure the tarp is nylon or polyester and has reinforced grommet holes to make it less complicated to build a shelter with.
First Aid Kit
You can buy many different kinds of first aid kits. You probably don’t need the deluxe home surgeon first aid kit. A basic first aid kit should do the trick. Having all the tools without knowing how to use them would be bad. Remember, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Look for something small like an army first aid field manual.
This next section isn’t a comprehensive be-all and end-all list. It is solely listed as a starting point. You should tailor your survival kit to fit circumstances that you will most likely find yourself in, based on your geography. You cannot forget your survival knife. You will need waterproof matches, a few lighters and a flint rod. You should have a few flashlights. These can be battery-powered or hand crank models but if they are battery-powered don’t forget to have extra batteries. A small sewing kit with a heavy-duty sewing needle can be quite helpful. A few flares to use for signaling. A few candles for warmth or light should be included. You should definitely pack a small survival fishing kit. A compass can be handy but make sure you know how to use one before you actually have the need to. A few plastic garbage bags can serve many purposes. Some sort of multi-tool should be readily available as well and of course a survival manual of some sort. You should also think about having a small sum of money in your survival bag.
Bug out bags have always had a lot of attention. Always looking for ways to assemble the best quality kit by yourself is something a lot of people go and do. Its important you always keep a lightweight backpack stored somewhere in your office or car with enough gear which will help you survive a short term emergency, let’s say around 3 days. The lighter it is, the more easily it is to carry it with you. Sometimes you might have to walk over 40 miles to get out of danger. This 72 hour bail out kit will play a major role to your survival. Make sure you have the basics for shelter, water, medical, food and self-protection.
There are various backpacks you can use. One is very cool. Its called Voodoo Tactical as it’s rugged, spacious and comes with a 2.5 liter water bladder. Word of advice, avoid the orange packs with “Survival Gear” stamped on it unless you want those less prepared to know that you are a stocked biped survival store.
Fishing and camera vests turned into decent survival vests that carry a full a compliment of gear but this should be to augment an existing pack. The idea here is to create a survival kit that will sustain you for 3 days as you run from the disaster stricken area.
All of this gear is in addition to what the survival items already stowed in my vehicle. The latter provides another layer of preparation. If you commute to work, have an office kit which will provide an essential 3rd layer in case you are ever stranded away from home.
~ MSP-3 Voodoo Tactical Hydration Pack w/2.5 liter water bladder
~ Black Diamond LED headlamp w/extra batteries
~ 32 oz collapsible Nalgene water container
~ 3 Firestarters: 1 Bic lighter, REI Stormproof Matches & 1 spark rod
~ SOS Rations (3600 calories)
~ 12 Nuun Electrolyte tablets
~ 1 Bottle Potable Aqua water purification tablets
~ 2 dust masks
~ Wet Wipes
~ Helly Hansen Rain jacket
~ Garmin 60 CSx GPS
~ Arizona state map and Forest Service maps for my region
~ Important phone contacts of family members
~ Photos of my kids (hundreds of kids were lost and alone after Katrina)
~ 2 spare (prescription) glasses
~ Adventure Medical Kits 1st-aid kit (see kit description that follows)
~ Grundig handheld AM/FM/Shortwave Radio
~ 12 oz enamel cup
~ 6 Esbit fuel tabs
~ Swedish Mora Knife with 3-7/8″ blade
~ Leatherman Wave
~ $100 Cash- small bills of $5, 10s, & 20s along with $10 in quarters & change
~ Sunscreen stick
~ Mini roll of duct tape
~ AMK Heatsheet
~ 50′ of paracord
~ Leather gloves
~ Pepper spray and 2 spare Glock mags
The weight of the pack should not be over 20 pounds. Keep in mind where you live will affect how you prepare. If someone who lives somewhere where its really hot, then you should focus on different items like more water, electrolytes, sunscreen.
For the Business Traveller
If you are a business traveler and you find yourself flying around the country or world, then you should make sure you prepare a stripped down version of the Bail-Out Kit in case you ever have to survive in a disaster-riddled city. Such a kit should be light and should contain: cash, passport, relevant maps, small first-aid kit, 6-8 protein bars, LED flashlight, cell phone and charger, Iodine water purification tablets, 32-ounce collapsible water bottle and spare clothes. You should add an innocuous multi-tool like a Swiss-Tech 9-in-1 which lacks a blade but has many useful features. This gear can fit in a small daypack but remember to check airline regulations as they are constantly changing.
Grid-Down Medical Kit
Where there is disaster there is also trauma and maybe injury. Best choice is to purchase one of the better First-Aid kits from Adventure Medical Kits. This will be your first line of defense for handling illness and injury. These kits are far superior to the generic medical kits stuffed with colorful band-aids found at your local pharmacy. To further refine my kit, I’ve added the following items:
First-Aid Kit kit
~ ACE Wrap- hard to find stretchy fabric when you need it.
~ PriMed Gauze- simply the best gauze material on the market for dealing with intense bleeding.
~ Triangular bandage- myriad uses for tourniquets, slings, headwraps, straining water.
~ Benadryl- critical for bug bites & anaphylactic shock. Get the Fast-Melt kids version found at Target.
~ Steri Strips- for closing wounds until you can get stitched up by a doctor.
~ Irrigation syringe- a must have item for first-aid kits. Great for blasting the nasty germs out of wounds.
~ Immodium- for diarrhea.
~ Temparin Dental Kit
~ Tweezers- get a quality pair with thin, flat-nosed tips for removing splinters.
~ Duct tape- for instant band-aids, covering blisters, fixing gear, and a hundred other uses.
~ Wet Wipes to aid with hygiene.
~ Personal Prescription Medications- a 2-week supply of extras as your pharmacy may be shut down.
It should be enough for you to cover any basic injuries that may occur.
Keep your Documents Safe!
Do not overlook your critical documents that are an essential part of re-establishing yourself after you’ve survived bugging out. These documents are so important to the event you lose everything else in your home during a disaster. Make sure you pack these items somewhere safe, like a cd, flashdrive, whatever you can think of.
~ Birth certificates
~ Tax returns
~ Marriage license
~ Social Security cards
~ Children’s immunization records
~ Bank statements & passwords
~ Property deeds
~ Medical insurance
~ Drug prescriptions
~ Pet & vet records
~ Insurance policies
~ Military discharge papers
~ Firearm serial numbers
~ Pertinent computer CDs or Flashdrives
Copies of the above documents can be stored in a small Tupperware container and located next to your Home Bail-Out Kit or in a safe.
Another tip is to upload all of your critical documents (passport, birth cert, etc…) in PDF form to your webmail account. Then you will have access to it when traveling, especially important if your items get stolen or confiscated when traveling internationally.
For information on quality ready-to-go Bail-Out Kits, visit the Voodoo Tactical for tactical gear.