11 Items You Shouldn’t Have in your Bug-Out Bag

Ryan Dotson
By Ryan Dotson April 6, 2018 21:23

11 Items You Shouldn’t Have in your Bug-Out Bag

Whether we’re experienced survivalists or just starting out in preparedness, we constantly talk about the top items to include in a bug-out bag, get-home bag, or everyday-carry kit. However, with so much focus on what items to bring, you can easily end up with too much gear.  The point of these packs is to bring only the items you absolutely need to survive the SHTF scenario.  Anything more than that is simply weighing you down.  In this article, we will cover the top items to avoid in your bug-out bag to ensure you have the best chance of success.

#1. A Premade Bug-Out Bag

In my opinion the worst mistake a survivalist can make is trying to take the easy way out.  A prime example of this is buying a bug-out bag already stocked with gear.  This scenario has two big problems.  The first is that it allows the vendor to pack the bag with cheap products that will likely break the first time they are used.  They get to jack up their profit margin while the buyer does not know the difference.  However, the main problem is that this encourages people to trust that the bag itself will save them.  Most people that buy one of these bags will never open it up to learn about the items inside.  If you really want to be prepared for a survival scenario, take the time to buy your bug-out essentials one piece at a time.  Then learn how to use them properly.

Related: 11 Smart Tips to Make Your Bug-Out Bag Lighter and Smaller

#2. Too Much Water

Having water for survival is great.  However, having a way to purify water is better.  Water is heavy – really heavy. Enough water for just one day of survival weighs about 8 ½ pounds.  However, a filter or iodine tablets can purify hundreds of gallons of water and only weighs a few ounces.  If you are smart, you can almost always find a water source for purification.

#3. Too Much Food

Again, having food is great.  However, having dozens of cans in your pack does not make much sense.  In addition, a human can survive three weeks without food if needed.  Packs of MREs are expensive and heavy as well. It is much better to have the tools you need to gather food.  This can includes supplies to build snares and construct spears, or a field guide to help you gather wild edible plants.

Related: 10 Awesome Food Ideas for Your Bug Out Bag

#4. Alcohol

While it may be tempting to drown your sorrows with a stiff drink, it is not a smart move.  Alcohol will dehydrate you and make you less coordinated. The bottle can break, it is bulky, it is heavy, and it is one of the first things people will try to steal.  The only reason to bring any alcohol is potentially for bartering.

#5. Tobacco

This is similar to bringing alcohol.  While it is not nearly as heavy, tobacco will only slow you down.  You are best to kick the habit before you hit the trail.  You may want to bring a bit for bartering, but that is it.

#6. A Large Tent

While a small camp tent might be functional, a tarp or emergency blanket would be more functional.  Once you know how to use these items, they will take up less space.  Also, ditching the tent poles will help you save some weight.

#7. Large/Heavy Weapons or Fishing Equipment

I do love having a gun or bow with me when I need to survive.  They are great for getting meat and defending yourself.  However, some are just not practical.  I prefer to carry a handgun, a breakdown .22 rifle, or a small crossbow instead of a deer rifle or a compound bow.  A full sized fishing rod falls into the same category.  You can reduce the weight and bulk you’re carrying by going with a breakdown rod, a gill net, or a simple fishing kit.

#8. Heavy Bedding/Clothing

While there are exceptions to every rule, I rarely strap a huge sleeping bag or blanket on my pack.  In most cases, you can survive just fine with dry clothes and an emergency blanket or bivy sack.  You can easily add 20 lbs. of weight to your pack if you go all out on bedding or other fabric.

#9. Large Electronic Items

While small items such as an emergency radio or a single cell phone make some sense, you can take it too far.  Bringing tablets, laptops, DVD players, or large radios will just add too much weight and bulk to your pack.  You are better off bringing a couple books, magazines, or maybe a handheld radio.

#10.  Large/Heavy Tools with Single Purpose

Quality tools are the backbone of any good bug-out bag.  However, you absolutely must take measures to conserve space and weight.  This means that an item like a multi-tool is perfect.  Instead of bringing a wrench, a knife, a socket set, and two screwdrivers, you can bring one multi-tool. Instead of bringing an ax, a saw, and a hammer you can bring a tool that has all three built in.

Related: Tools You Will Need When SHTF

#11. Climbing Rope

You may think that climbing rope is a good item for your pack.  While cordage is a quality item to bring, climbing rope is expensive and heavy.  You can easily fill up 2/3 of your pack with 100 feet of climbing rope.  A good alternative is 550 paracord. It can hold 550 lbs. of weight, and can easily be split open to use the seven interior strands.  If you are simply needing to keep your balance while you climb up or down an obstacle, paracord can do just fine.  In most cases, you can work your way around a sheer obstacle to find a more suitable path.

When you are assembling your bug-out bag, get-home bag, or everyday-carry kit, you need to ask yourself two primary questions: “Do I really need this?” and “Is there an item that would be smaller or weigh less?”  I like to go through my packs a few times each year to re-evaluate the contents.  I check the condition of each item, check expiration dates, and look for new items that have come to market.  This way I know that I will always be ready to use every item in my pack to its fullest.

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Ryan Dotson
By Ryan Dotson April 6, 2018 21:23
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  1. Hoosier Homesteader April 6, 13:46

    A thought. After your list of items is made, brain storm each item. Make it your goal to find the smallest, or lightest, or most efficient for each item. For example, a hook and some fishing line can replace a fishing rod.
    Think about your shelter. Work it over in your mind. Tent, or tarp? Maybe your environment requires a tent. Perhaps a tarp will work. Give each item the careful consideration it deserves. Because, after all, you’ll be depending on this gear to save your life.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Rass April 6, 15:10

    Great ideas everyone has visions of grandeur how they have the best and latest and no idea how to use it. I to hate to camp like a hot shower comfy bed..but having been in the woods all my life know it won’t be a mad Max movie..it will suck..and be hard . If you didn’t know all this already and you have to bug out may I suggest caches along the way to refuel and replace or rearm..and be nice lone wolfing won’t work maybe that person you meet can use something in your cache…

    Reply to this comment
  3. left coast chuck April 6, 15:16

    I second Hoosier’s comment. Spend more time thinking about your route and destination. How far it is and a realistic estimation of how long it will take you to reach it, keeping in mind 120 30-inch steps a minute will move you 3.5 miles an hour if you don’t stop.

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis April 13, 18:12

      Unless you’re on a flat, firm surface, 120 30-inch steps a minute will tire you out pretty quickly – especially if you’re carrying any sort of load. Moving cross-country I’d say two miles an hour is a more realistic pace, but it is one that can be sustained for a good long time without having to take long breaks.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck December 26, 20:44

        Claude, that pace happens to be the military march pace and was designed to move troops rapidly across country but not tire them out so much that when they arrived they were too tired to engage in combat.

        Having said that, I posted that in order to get people thinking about how long it actually takes to march anywhere. I have read “prepper” material that suggests that one can cover 50 miles a day and should be able to reach a bug out location 150 miles away in three days. That is totally misleading and utterly wrong in my estimation.

        Of course, the military march pace is for young men in good physical condition and presupposes that all the heavy gear will be moving by some kind of transport. If you are lugging all your water needs and all your food needs and have to stop to prepare/eat them, your mileage will vary considerably. If you have to stop to filter and boil water, ditto. If you have to detour to avoid confrontation or obstacles, ditto.

        Reply to this comment
        • Rydaartist December 27, 03:13

          I agree with the hard experience of a Calif. Hunter that had to hunt on public land, it’s never flat, nor polite. Oh and not carrying much water…Where Are You? SW & Calif., either know for a fact that you have a source of water to perhaps die. I carried Contractor Black Plastic Bags cut in to 15″ squares so that at night Icould gather dew. Hey every Tablespoon counts. Now the other thingI have not seen is Foot Wear, Socks. Want to drop to a crawl get blisters.

          Reply to this comment
  4. Hacksaw April 6, 15:20

    Alcohol I keep a small metal flask filled with grain alcohol in my bag. It makes a good disinfectant for cleaning wounds or cleaning tools used for field surgery. It is also an accelerant that can help when building fires in inclement conditions- rain , snow, high wind. Can be used as fuel for a stove or small engines. And if necessary it can be ingested if diluted with water.

    Reply to this comment
    • Frank April 6, 17:17

      The alcohol is a good idea as it’s one of those terrific multi-purpose items like duct tape, a metal pot or even a good knife. One item that does a lot means 10 things we can leave out. Your really only limited by your knowledge, but we can pack a few things and have as much knowledge as we want because it it weights nothing.

      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck April 6, 18:08

      In order to be a disinfectant, the grain alcohol must be more than 120 proof or 60% alcohol. Commercial isopropyl alcohol commonly used to cleanse wounds comes in three strengths, 60%, 70% and 90%. Sixty percent is usually used as a skin astringent or alcohol bath to reduce fever, etc. Seventy percent is used to disinfect wounds and 90% is used to disinfect instruments. If it is available in your state, Everclear is a brand of alcoholic drink that has high proof numbers. Vodka and other clear types of grain alcohol without a lot of coloring are best. Unfortunately for me Everclear is not available in the PDRK (have to protect the serfs, you know) and I had to settle for clear 160 proof rum.

      Your suggestion is good. Straight grain alcohol is a multi-tool worth carrying.

      Reply to this comment
    • Sweet Pea September 14, 11:39

      Which grain alcohol do you consider for this application? Vodka?

      Reply to this comment
  5. Jerry D Young April 6, 15:38

    While I tend to agree in a rather general way with both the concept of the article, reducing weight and volume; and a few of the items, I have to say that overall, the specifics of the list are not really suitable advice for very many locations.

    I am in Nevada. If I followed most of the advice I would be very dead, very quickly, unless I had to bug-out during the random, occasional, day where it was not over 90 degrees or under 50 degrees, with high wind and the almost constant chance for the weather to turn bad.

    There are remarks in the article that everyone’s needs will be different, which does address my concerns, but this is a very influential site, and with all the new people coming to understand they need to prep, I am not sure the advice is doing them a good service.

    I am sorry. I almost never post negative comments, but this article really bothered me.

    Just my opinion.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck April 6, 18:12

      Don’t apologize, Jerry, your comments are quite valid. It is hard to write a general article to cover all the myriad conditions 330 million people will face in all the weather conditions we face across this large country. People forced to “bug out” in January in the Pacific Northwest will face different conditions from those bugging out in Arizona at the same time versus those in North Dakota in January.

      Reply to this comment
    • SoJ_51 April 6, 18:43

      Jerry! Great to see you here (Fellow ‘SB’er.. 🙂 As-there, your advice is Well-seasoned, and I likewise agree this is a pretty academic article… Hopefully, tho, it will at least spark readers to dig deeper and get into some more ‘meat’ / real-world specificity (..like we do over at SB..) rather than just settle for surface-level discussion. I at least can second the ‘Don’t fall for the ‘McBOB’ advice.. Way too many people with thier ‘Free AAA 72 Hr BOB’ think they’re all set, and such thinking is likely nothing more than a ‘time delay fuse’ on thier mortality. Anyhoo, haven’t had much time for SB, lately, but good to see you here.. Claude does offer some great advice, elsewhere… ‘Listen to All, Bow to None, Worship only One’.. 🙂 Cya on SB at some point..

      Reply to this comment
      • Armin April 6, 19:51

        Hi, Sol. I’ve never heard it said so well. It really resonated with me. Love it. Listen to all. Bow to none. Worship only one. To me very humble. Very wise. May I borrow that saying?

        Reply to this comment
        • SoJ_51 April 16, 18:59

          Hello Armin, I’d be disappointed if you didn’t.. 🙂 Share away, ‘Iron sharpens Iron’… Cheers.. Oh, PS, it’s SoJ (as-in ‘State of Jefferson’..) Need to ‘rescue’ / preserve what’s left of those who’ve not yet lost their minds to liberalism, out here in Kommiefornia.. Truly, ‘Land of the Lost’..

          Reply to this comment
  6. TonyRay April 6, 15:40

    Not everyone bugs out to the woods. More common are evacuations due to natural disasters (flood, fire, etc) in which locating to a safe area or evac shelter would be the order of the day. Preps are very individual and many times your bug out vehicle is part of your gear. Too many variables for generalized “rules”.

    Reply to this comment
    • Hoosier Homesteader April 7, 00:08

      You’re absolutely right, TonyRay. This is a BIG country with a big variety of environments. The pacific northwest, or southwest, are completely different. Texas, the gulf coast, south Florida, Maine, the Blueridge Mountains, the Michigan U P, the Dakotas, and then there’s the Huge cities everywhere. Each, is different, and is precisely why everyone should make a study of what they want to have in their BOB. If you’re a city dweller, your gear will be different from mine. My stomping ground is the Hoosier National Forest where there are more deer than people!!!
      I can’t stress it enough. Look at where you are. Determine what you’ll need. Then painstakingly select what goes into YOUR bag. Don’t skimp, use quality gear if you can afford it. And, if you’re on the fence about a piece of gear, go ahead and pack it. It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. It can always be ditched. My opinion is to have two bags. One for the field, and one for the road. When the time comes, you can take what you need and hopefully what you’ve got will serve you well and get you through the crisis whatever it may be.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Frank April 6, 16:53

    The merits of certain gear and supplies can create a discussion that lasts for hours if not days. I understand the point and the logic to go light and minimal.That being said, I don’t think for some people that a blanket or backpacker’s tent is a bad thing. Everybody knows what they want, like prefer or can use best. That heavy wool blanket from the closet might be perfect for an overnight layover with proper clothing and a foam pad. Someone else might do better with a pop up tent in lieu of tarps and rope (less gear) and it’s easier to setup.

    When it comes to firearms and higher priced items, sometimes we have to make a choice and work with what we have and/or can afford. If all I had was a shotgun for example, I’d try to keep it simple and light and go easy on the ammo. Besides, since the idea is not to live off your bug out bag for several days (ideally not even one night) then one can go easy on the amounts of gear and supplies as mentioned in the article.
    Some people may have a long way to get home that might leave them sleeping outdoors as opposed to someone who sees buildings all the way from work to home and can visit stores along the way.
    Following the principle of multi-use items is one that promotes less gear. Knowing different ways to secure a tent line for example means knowing how to do it with less gear, different gear or possibly with almost no gear at all such as using rocks or field expedient tent stakes made with a knife.
    There are many variables and conditions to consider.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Mad Fiddler April 6, 16:53

    And don’t forget Quarters for all the Vending machines and pay phones, right?

    (You do know I’m joking, don’tcha. They all take credit cards now!)

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck April 7, 23:21

      Actually I was planning on taking a tomahawk rather than a roll of quarters. With the electricity out the machines will not take quarters nor anything else. So one must resort to more primitive means of retrieving the items contained.

      Reply to this comment
  9. Frank April 6, 17:14

    I like your thinking, make do with less and do without extra items, but still pack what is necessary.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Wannabe April 6, 17:28

    That picture is hilarious! Looks like they need to unload abouteighty items. Lol

    Reply to this comment
  11. Frank April 6, 17:30

    Your mention of travel time and the route one would take is also critical. That’s what I was trying to touch upon in my commentary below. The terrain, weather, amount of open space, woods, jungle, camp friendly spots, number of people, buildings, places to hide, places to avoid, supplies and resources, etc., should all be taken into consideration. The whole point is to move fast, move without violent encounters, and get safely to one’s destination. I have few problems compared to some unless I am far from home, then it’s a different story, but usually I am within 5 miles of home.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Wannabe April 6, 17:36

    Get a couple yo yo reels. Also some trot line a couple hooks and some weights and you can fish with virtually no weight. Set the line and yo yo reels walk away and check them every couple hours. Go do something else like gather wood for fire or set up camp or set a trap or two for squirrel or rabbit. Fishing and hunting does not ha e to take a lot of effort or energy, just planning and a little inginuity

    Reply to this comment
    • Armin April 6, 20:31

      Hi, Wannabe. That’s why I love this site so much. Learn something new every day. I’d never heard of yo yo reels before this and had to go to the internet to see what they are. What a great idea! Went to youtube to see how they work and there was another video that suggested you can also improvise these to work as a snare. Would never have thought of it but once I saw it made perfect sense. Thanks for your great suggestion!

      Reply to this comment
    • teabag09 October 15, 20:52

      I bought 10 yo yo reels. They weigh almost nothing and pack very easily. That’s good advice. Mike

      Reply to this comment
    • Run Forest, run! October 16, 09:51

      People make a lot of assumptions when considering such things. First, what caused the particular need to bug out? A war on our soil? An EMP? A nationwide civil war? Where is everyone headed with their little yo yo reels and whose pond are they planning to camp near to have that fishing opportunity? Who’s gonna just let a million people running to and fro squat on their land and set up their bug out space blanket tent and hobo fire? What landowner is going to say “sure son, these here are my 7 acres… shoot all the squirrels you want”? And where the heII are all these millions of hobos going? Do they have a piece of land set aside somewhere within hiking distance that is ripe with fruits, vegetables, game, thyroid and high blood pressure medicine? And whose land are ‘they’ trekking across to get there? To be sure these now homeless hobos will not take the beaten path.

      It surely will be an interesting time as so many swap locations. : /

      Reply to this comment
  13. Old Vet April 6, 18:57

    Pretty good advice. Multiple uses, go light, you can/will accumulate additional assets from the fallen along the way. Aim is to move, to avoid, to survive while others do not. Weapons, additional gear will accrue to you. I limit my initial pack to 20 lbs and feel assured it will suffice.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Wannabe April 6, 19:15

    Good call on the prepacked bug out bag. Never was a fan of buying one someone else put together. Too expensive and for the reasons mentioned in its heading.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Bob Boskey April 6, 19:37

    My son lived in Valdez, AK for several years and his friends that hunted said that they could go out for days and see nothing. Don’t figure meat will be there just because you take your rifle into the woods, even in Alaska.


    I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa in the late 60’s and the bush where I lived had been hunted out for decades. Only the occasional small ground animals were caught for fresh meat.

    More food for thought.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck April 7, 23:34

      That certainly is a valid comment, Bob. Urban areas vary widely regarding available game. On the eastern seaboard several states are overrun with deer in suburban areas and game would be relatively easy to obtain. Conversely, on the left coast, the urban areas in SoCal don’t contain a large number of game animals. There are some, but the protection of mountain lions and rules making the hunting of bears extremely difficult plus the impact of urbanization have had significant impact on the game population. Unless some game animal just happened to stumble into me, I wouldn’t spend a lot of time hunting or fishing. I think my time would be better spent breaking into vending machines in company lunch rooms than hunting deer in the San Bernardino National Forest along with 250,000+ other wannabe hunters banging away at any rustling sound in the bushes.

      Reply to this comment
    • vocalpatriot April 9, 03:11

      yeah, excellent points…except for where I live..white tails walk right up to us, and the turkeys are everywhere…now if only there were a good fishin’ hole nearby…guess I’ll have to stock my own pond..

      Reply to this comment
      • Enigma April 14, 11:17

        When they begin getting hunted, surviving animals (urban, suburban, or rural) generally learn to make themselves scarce. Herd and schooling animals like bison and some fish may stay around stupidly, but wild turkeys get real smart quickly.

        Places/zones which have roads tend to get hunted out rapidly. Folk who plan for a sustainable life via hunting must go far -really far- ‘off the grid’. To places along animal migration routes.

        In remote and largely-isolated tropical zones a hunter-gatherer existence may be possible, but humanity migrated to animal husbandry and agriculture for good reasons.

        In those controlled and monitored Survivor, Naked, and Wild Frontier TV series, participants lose weight, muscle mass, and other faculties quite rapidly. In a true survival situation, likely there won’t be any helicopter ambulances.

        In wild places, nigh every task is more difficult and takes longer. Survivors learn to pace themselves, and don’t move quickly except due extreme need. There won’t be many rapid marches with 30″ strides, but instead slower movements from cover to cover, with long pauses to look and listen.

        In the wild, speed indeed may kill. Rapid movements, making noises, and inattentiveness may attract all sorts of predators. Unwary leopards and unlucky cheetahs lose many a kill to hyenas, jackals, and wild dog packs.

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  16. Labienus April 6, 23:03

    At my bug out locations, I keep extra tools, ammunition and other supplies that won’t go bad. I go out once a week to keep them and my site maintained. I carry only my knife, some food and water, medicine, fire tools and a flashlight. I’ll carry my gun on my shoulder. That’s it. All together, it weighs about 10lbs and my location is only about 4 miles away. No problem.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Smokies Hiker April 6, 23:09

    Whatever “tools” you decide to carry, always carry tools that can serve more than one purpose. A pound on the back is 5 pounds on the feet!

    Reply to this comment
  18. Shijiazhuang April 7, 01:13

    The 2nd item on the list made me smile, about 50 years ago, I and others were hiking in the Australian Alps, our destination was estimated to take a week to 10 days, and I took all the water I could carry, 5 liters (1.5 gallons) and not much food because we had rifles and hunting was meant to be good in the area, well 2 days into it, and at the bottom of every hill was a babbling brook of crystal clean water, and the sound of 5 guys stomping through the scrubby terrain scared all mobile meat supplies away. Wisdom is learning from others mistakes, not your own.

    Reply to this comment
  19. Rydaartist April 7, 02:30

    I live in a semi to arid state. It’s called California. So for me Water is an imperative. Be it winter or summer. Dehydration is dangerious in any season.

    However I agree with most, choose your tools, your food, requirements according to your area. If you are not a specialists in your own area…why are you reading these articles?

    Third and last I see little about self protection. Why?

    Reply to this comment
    • Prelusive September 16, 09:17

      Well “RydaArtist”, living in California. it seems to me your S has already HTF. You might want to initiate your bugout plan soon. Just saying…

      Reply to this comment
  20. Ken April 7, 02:34

    I have not seen very many comments on this page of ACTUAL people who have have lived “in the wilderness”. Most of us live in or near large cities,and my several squirrels will not feed us for very long… Even shooting them is not that easy… There is much more to this story to be discussed and I appreciate all who have sent in their ideas. Maybe moving makes sense, if you have a place to go, but if not, and you only have to get back to your “camp”, then your bag might have different things in it. Think about a gas mask, or a has-mat suit if you live in a more populated city. Water, water, water. Do what ever you can to preserve, protect and conserve this vital resource.

    Reply to this comment
  21. Andyandersonusa April 7, 02:56

    Tobacco avoidance is good. InVietnam, smoke could reliably travel one quarter, and up to one half mile through jungle air currents. This meant our troops could be mortared or ambushed with regular ease.

    Reply to this comment
  22. DBAtwill April 7, 05:29

    I agree with everything on the list except the rope.
    I pack 100 feet of rappelling rope in a small bag or in a coil around my backpack.
    A good rope can come in handy for rescues or for lowering heavy items.
    Rope is too important to me to leave it at home.

    Reply to this comment
  23. osharp April 7, 08:20

    One of your commenters said something about how you should evaluate what goes into you bug out bag. My guys, whether seal, SF, ranger, or boy scout, had to empty their pack and give me your things you could do with it besides what it was made for. If you could not do that, you did not get to bring it. I was not going to carry you and your gear, and your worthless heavy and bulky stuff that should never have made the trip.

    Reply to this comment
    • osharp April 7, 08:26

      Should read:
      Empty their pack and give me four things you could do with it besides what it was made for.

      Spell checker auto corrected, and I didn’t proof it.

      Reply to this comment
      • Hoosier Homesteader April 7, 13:11

        I think you may have referred to my comments. I agree making each piece of gear have multiple purposes is a good way to make you think about what you’re going to carry. It can sharpen your focus, which should improve your choices.

        Reply to this comment
  24. Mic Roland April 7, 13:32

    Being a designer, I tend to evaluate features vs. design intent. How well does X or Y achieve the goal?

    Someone packing their bag needs to tailor it to what they expect to be doing. Bugging Out to get somewhere, like a BOL is mostly travel. Things intended for prolonged stays don’t help that goal. No need for hunting and fishing gear. The goal is quick mobility.

    But, if the design intent is to Bug Out to some woods to live (an iffy plan, at best), then long-term camp gear makes more sense. Just don’t expect to get there (wherever that is) very quickly.

    For me, the goal is mobility to get to my BOL (rural home, actually) Being in the northeast, wild water is fairly common, so I don’t carry much water (but do some). I don’t carry fishing gear or snares, as I don’t intend to be in one place long enough to use them. I carry only a little food, as I expect to be at the BOL in several days. If all goes according to plan, I don’t even need that food. It’s a contingency in case I’m delayed. Still, the design intent is to keep moving, not set down roots.

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  25. Homesteader April 8, 06:49

    In our very early days of prepping, we bought a couple of those pre-made bags. At that time, we had no real knowledge about bugging out, had no one to rely on for information, and prepping websites were non-existent. Most of the items in the bags were nearly useless. Don’t remember many of the specific items beyond a small first aid kit, a food bar, a couple of water packs, a radio, and a whistle, but the pack was about half full of items with enough room left in the bag for a piece or two of clothing or whathaveyou. As our knowledge grew, the items were replaced with better ones. The bag grew from the original school-size backpack to a tactical-type pack. Now, instead of a bug-out bag, it’s a get-home bag (GHB). Our home is our BOL and hopefully, we’ll never have to use our GHB to get there. Would I recommend one of those pre-made packs today? No. But back then, it was a starting point.

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis April 15, 05:33

      That’s a fair comment. A pre-made bag is never going to be the best option, but it can be a starting point to something better just like you’re saying. It’s also a lot better than nothing. I wouldn’t buy one myself, but if you have one don’t waste time regretting your purchase – just take a look through it, see what’s missing and replace anything that could be improved.

      Reply to this comment
  26. Prelusive April 9, 14:30

    I’m sure many of you have a plan for “bugging out” to some wooded hideaway … that is, running to and fro, grabbing a handful of nuts and berries and a squirrel along the way. But MOST of you better keep your soft azzes home where you know your neighbors, have real shelter, and you’ll have a much greater likelihood of surviving when the s__t starts flying. If you DO get gung-ho and want to do something truly worthwhile for your family, home, and country; try standing your ground and fight for it like an American. Not running from it, abandoning your home, and fleeing like a lowlife muslim or mexican trying to run from the problem. STAND AND FIGHT D*MN IT.

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    • Enigma April 14, 11:46

      Some of your ‘lowlife’ West Asians and Central Americans are fleeing for a very good reason – death from the skies. An AK-47 with much ammo still can’t down a helicopter which drops 55-gallon barrels filled with war gases. Doesn’t measure up to warbirds and tanks either.

      Most Central American regimes are run by the worst sort of mafias. (Visiting Americans and Europeans may not get molested because that suddenly and rapidly cuts off tourism.)

      But ordinary local folk in CA and SA are entirely disarmed; it’s a crime to go about armed in Mexico unless you’re rich. Which means only heavily-armed drug and kidnap gangs and bodyguards for the rich have firearms.

      Crazed groups such as Daesh before motored about in ‘technicals’ (pickup or other truck with a 12.7mm automatic rifle m ounted on its open bed. After the Obama bug-out, tons of USA and alliy real war materiel left behind, and unguarded by the Iraqi Shi’a regime. (It was too busy brutalizing and murdering urban and suburban Sunnis.).

      There are of course ‘economic refugees’ who should stay home to help home folks struggle on. However, if you look at the modern history of migrations, it’s single capable persons who go first. They then send remittances to the home folks, and if they keep making good reports, then younger family and clan members follow.

      That became a pattern beginning with Southern Europeans (ie., Italians & Greeks). Prior migrations were in the mode of Northern Europeans and Irish, where entire family groups went to North America, Argentina, Australia, etc.

      Aforetime, many Asian family migrants in northwestern parts of South America. (Partly behind the Chilean economic boom.) Chinese and Asian females before 1950 had extreme difficulty migrating to USA. Asian war brides led to that ban easing some, but USA really needs a merit-based immigration policy.

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    • Recon December 26, 07:34

      Bugging in and defending what you have makes more sense than heading for the hills. Especially if you are older and/or less physically able. My pantry is at home, my firearms and reloading equipment are there also. My nice soft bed and recliner are there also. Served over a year in Vietnam so putting up a fight for what I already have makes more sense than leaving it behind for someone else to utilize.

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  27. Prepper Dawg April 11, 14:43

    No one has ever mentioned the usability of a small pull behind contraption such as the native americans used with two long poles and horses I have been trying to innovate things in my barn to quickly piece together in a shtf situation things such as bike tires and farm stakes,a little wood or tarp and rope could make a nice pull behind for two people and carry supplies and/or small children Even something one or two feet wide could be of use and quicken the journey as most will need to move in the night time anyway No use to bug out if everyone sees your location

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    • Nickname April 11, 22:37

      SMH…….. So many people so filled with fear.

      But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

      Jeremiah 30:6 (KJV) Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?

      In the “end times” men will be so afraid, their guts will ache from the fear like a woman about to give birth. And men will “run to and fro”. But to where? To their “hide out”? How ridiculous (to me) that MILLIONS of Americans are supposed to run . . . . scatter to where? Where can so many hundreds of thousands or even millions run to?

      You need to run to the Lord NOW and repent. And if you’re not caught away in the rapture, stand and fight and be a man about it.

      The coward dies many deaths. The brave die but once.

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      • Enigma April 14, 12:05

        Actually, if you fly low across North America away from the cities and main highways, you’ll soon see that the continent has hollowed out population-wise. I’ve seen much former farmland abandoned to scrub growth, or being farmed as rented property by elderly neighbors. (Who are themselves dying out and not being replaced.) Rural villages and small towns are filled with boarded-up houses and shops, and with increasing numbers of denuded foundations and lonely chimneys.

        Thus there are many places to ‘scatter to’, but nigh nobody in the coastal and massive cities wants to live a agricultural life. Not even a mechanized one.

        Digital communications are difficult in the NA hinterland. Urban and suburban folk are accustomed to WiFi nodes everywhere, and 5GB or better ‘pipes’ to their abodes, but hinterland and rural folk must still make do using dial-up modems.

        Doing much beyond email and some online shopping (text-heavy pages, fewer graphics; rarely any streaming video) is very difficult for many central-state Americans.

        Canadians tend to subsist in clumped-up cities near their southern border. They potentially are in greater danger during some catastrophes than Americans.

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    • left coast chuck April 11, 22:51

      Prepper Dawg: You are talking about a travois and one of my alternative plans is to use my 24′ extension ladder to fashion a travois. It is aluminum and its load capacity as a ladder is 250 pounds. That means it could easily haul 300 pounds of static load. The rungs are hollow so I don’t even have to drill holes in order to use the bottom rung as an axle carrier for wheels to go on the ladder. Packs and bags can be bungeed to the ladder all along its length. The Indians hauled their whole village on travois. Before they got horses the women, children and dogs pulled the travois while the men stood guard and hunted. A travois could even be mounted to a bicycle with a little ingenuity.

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      • SoJ_51 April 16, 19:21

        @ LCChuck.. Brilliant! Similar concept to the ‘rickshaw’ used in India / many SE Asia citles, etc.. Seems the key to ‘leveraging the weight’ are the Large diameter wheels.. Now that I Know, that Yes, we are Definitely bringing our Extension Ladder to the BOL (I’d been kind of like ‘Meh..’, but Now, for Sure, it’s coming.. 🙂 will have to search out some large ‘fat-tires’ like used for Beach / Mountain bikes.. Will be best for rough-terrain.. Thanks for the ‘spark’! 🙂 Cheers..

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        • Shijiazhuang April 17, 00:01

          Sol, it should read ‘rickshaw’ once used in India / many SE Asia cities, I have been living in China for almost 10 years and the only ‘rickshaw’ I have ever seen was in a museum, and no I don’t wear a pointed bamboo hat or work knee deep in water planting rice.

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        • geoweb December 11, 20:40

          Do a search for kayak carts and you will find some great setups, some with balloon wheels for soft ground, and others have large wheels for rough terrain. Canoes are great for transporting gear if you use one of these carts.

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  28. Enigma April 14, 12:14

    Likely best to have multiple pre-selected and self-packaged ‘bug-out’ or ‘bug-to-home’ kits. Then at need such kits may be dropped into ‘bug-out’ bags.

    For convenience and spares, good to have multiples of smaller and lighter items, such as iodine-tablet packets and knives. Heavier and bulkier, and more-expensive items likely fewer, and live each in/on/next a bag.

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  29. Enigma April 14, 12:22

    Something few folk seem to reckon with are the ‘ordinary’ natural disasters, e.g., tornadoes, hurricanes and wildfires. Catastrophes come in differing sizes, personally have gone through some hurricanes without massive incident.

    Irreplaceable or hard-to-replace items, such as family pictures and documents, and medications, should be kept packaged for rapid take-up and transport.

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  30. Bad Bil December 25, 18:48

    Like PRELUSIVE’s advise: I’m staying in my “castle” and defending it with a very few select neighbors. I live between 2 different slums ( 1 black,1 brown). I plane on putting a sign out saying ” TRESPASSERS WILL BE EATEN”. I Have WAY too much ammo & weapons to go anywhere. Lots of supplies. 365 days food & water for 4 select friends ( inc. fertile fem for EOW scenario). Don’t stop by to say “hi”. BB

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  31. Jerry D Young April 25, 02:02

    I do not believe that a 24′ aluminum ladder will support anywhere near 300 pounds. A ladder’s strength and weight support is in the sides, when standing on end at a 75.5° angle.

    When laid out near the horizontal, the side frames do not have much strength. I would suggest checking out the details. Perhaps by supporting the ladder at a slight angle with one end on the ground and the other on a sawhorse. Put some measured weights on the center of the ladder, starting with perhaps five pounds. Add five pounds at a time until you see the ladder sides even start to distort or twist.

    Keep everything out from underneath, as the ladder could collapse suddenly, without any early indications. You will be risking your ladder testing this way, so be aware. I take no responsibility for any damage or injury. I would not want anyone hurt, but I also do not want someone to do something in an emergency and find out then that the system will not work.

    Just please be careful. If possible, talk to a ladder expert to see what they say. Other than the standard ‘do not use a ladder as a scaffold plank under any circumstances.’

    For the manufacturer it is a liability issue if they do not say that, but there is validity in the statement, too.

    Just my opinion.

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  32. Effortless May 2, 21:22

    Well that’s cool “Efforts” but why are you telling us that?

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  33. Prelusive September 16, 11:38

    Imagine this: The S hits the F. You are well armed and comfortably situated in your home out of the city limits. You have a well stocked pantry, a back-up pantry, well thought out perimeter, rain barrels in place, water filtration set up, chickens and pigs in the pen, a year-round stream that you’ve used for 6 years to provide hydroelectric power to your refrigerator and yard lights, and you and your wife have a 3 year old boy and a 11 month old baby girl. The crap then hits the fan. You’re not bugging out anywhere.

    Imagine this: A half dozen marauders show up on your front lawn and demand you either come out “or we’re setting fire to the place”. You go as far as a window you’ve barricaded but with eye portal and gun slit in the wood. You tell them to back off and leave but they laugh and show you the fire. You know your home is vulnerable and your survival is immediately threatened because they will truly burn your house down.

    The one with the fire reaches back with his fire in hand, now definitely about to throw it onto your porch. You shoot him. He’s dead. One of his buddies makes a quick move and suddenly you have shot two men. One is dead. The other is dying. You tell the other 4 to take them and get the heII off your property and never come back.

    They do come back. With the sheriff. You tell the sheriff your story and he tells you, “you’ll have to come down-town with me son. We need to investigate this.” So you’re going to leave your wife, son, and infant child alone during this time of turmoil? They will be other “marauders”. Some will say, you better know your neighbors. And they better be willing and able to step up while you’re in jail or being “detained”. Remember, you just killed a man and the only witnesses were those who are not going to go to your defense.

    Here’s a point. No matter what your situation…. no matter how much you have prepared… no matter what the thing you have prepared for; there really is always a chance you are going to have to pack up and get out of Dodge if the S hits the Fan. And speaking for myself, I am definitely not the man who intends to leave his ‘stores’ and home to marauders. But once you shoot one or two; you may just have to leave. . . . in a hurry. So you better have somewhere to go and a plan for getting there. And it better be your place you’re going to because squatters probably won’t be welcome on another persons tract.

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  34. Spooook October 14, 19:47

    On my wife’s elk hunt we had to spend the night out in the woods because of overestimating our abilities to pack out meat. The most important item in my pack was fire starting items. We used trioxane. The most worthless item was the flimsy space blankets that tore easily and kept blowing off in the slightest wind. I immediately replaced them with the heavier quilted kind. Worth every bit the slight extra weight.

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    • Prelusive October 14, 21:24

      I wonder if you were using the “flimsy space blankets” as back-drops to reflect heat, shelter tops for the same purpose, or as literal blankets to try to wrap up with? And what brand “heavier quilted kind” did you find more worthwhile? Thanks in advance for your answer.

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      • Spooook October 14, 22:49

        What we used were the very thin mylar type. Fortunately I have not had to use one since then and don’t have brand names for the ones I now have because I repackage everything in vacuum seal bags. It appears that Walmart and Sp. Gd. carry one that looks similar to what I now have, UST Brands Survival Blanket 2.0. It should fit in a sandwich bag. We used ours as a blanket but still had to take turns being close to the fire. My wife called it our free Marriage Encounter. 🙂

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  35. JustinNo February 16, 00:36

    If you smoke, bring tobacco. I know its hip and cool to “kick the habit” but its also moronic during a disaster.

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