Bug Out Bags on a Budget

 Bug Out Bags on a Budget

by Kumbha : What is in a bug out bag?

I first discovered the concept of survival preparedness in a newspaper article a couple of years ago. I had always prided myself on being “prepared”: I carried a mini first aid kit in my purse and my car was outfitted with jumper cables, a gas can, a blanket, and even an empty jug for water. However, when I read about people who were doing everything from stockpiling food to building underground survival bunkers, my first thought was, “Those crazy survival nuts.”  Over the past couple of years–with the natural world, the US economy, and human society in general on a downward spiral–the idea of being prepared for anything (man-made or natural) makes more and more sense.

I first began by reading.  There are a multitude of survival blogs and books out there, and I spent several days researching the best place to begin. I decided the most logical would be to build Bug Out Bags (BOBs). These packs of survival gear would give me easy access to the most basic needs, ready to go at any time, while I then built up other reserves. However, I have never been an outdoorsy person. Was never into camping, hiking, hunting, or even fishing. I hadn’t accumulated those odds and ends that many people do.  So, when I discovered the very real need for preparedness, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, especially because I am on a very limited budget. I was not going to be able to run out to the local REI and pick up everything I needed.

After perusing several online lists of necessary supplies, I then checked out websites that offered complete BOBs ready to purchase. The amount of information out there can be overwhelming!  I began to make a list and realized that most websites and books contained the same basic categories: water, food, fire, shelter, signalling, and first aid. Using the information online as a guide, I compiled my own list of what I considered necessities in addition to the most basic of survival needs.

My list categories consisted of: water, food, fire, shelter, first aid, weapons, tools, clothing/hygiene, and cats (I will be taking my animals with me if at all possible!). Under each heading, I began to list several items. For example, in the “fire” category, I wrote matches, lighter, tinder, flint and steel, and protective cases. It’s recommended to have more than one way to start a fire in your pack in case one item fails, to be prepared for differing weather conditions, etc. I did this with each category, taking into consideration budgetary limits, weight of the packs, and the area in which we live. I soon had three notebook pages filled with necessities…several hundred dollars worth of merchandise, according to the online stores I checked.

My next step was to see what I already had around the house.  For my “fire” category, I already had lighters and wooden strike anywhere matches, cotton balls, petroleum jelly, and dryer lint for tinder and plenty of ziplock baggies to keep everything dry. Now all I would need to purchase would be waterproof matches and flint and steel. My expenditure in that category was already cut way down.

I did this with each heading on my list, piling everything on the bed as I went through the house. I had two cheap backpacks made of windbreaker material in the closet. No, they may not last very long if I have to go out traipsing through the tundra, but they’ll do as a starter pack, keeping the gear in one place and ready to go until such time as I can afford to buy a more sturdy pack. For those who may not have a backpack on hand, a tote bag or even a canvas grocery bag could work temporarily until a better pack could be found. The important thing is to have your gear ready to grab and go.

As I looked around the house, I found useful items. Flashlights from the junk drawer, duct tape from the tool box, bandages from the medicine cabinet…  surprisingly, a large majority of my list was already on hand–everything from prepackaged foodstuffs and first aid supplies to toiletries and clothing. I even made simple bedrolls from extra blankets (to be swapped out for good quality sleeping bags in the near future). Cost for the bedroll: $1 for some sturdy nylon rope to tie them up. In a pinch, even duct tape could be wrapped around the bedroll.

Although my list was not complete, in one afternoon I was able to assemble, organize, and get the packs set up. At least for now, if SHTF, I was somewhat prepared, which is way better than not being prepared at all.

Something I didn’t have on hand was a good knife. I had a cheap pocketknife that I had always carried around in my purse for self-defense, but once I took a good look at it I realized it wouldn’t help out in the woods.  The edge was so dull it wouldn’t even cut paper. So, I bought a knife sharpener ($2 from the local department store’s camping section) and spent a couple of hours honing a fine edge. Now I have a useful tool that will get me by until I can afford to get a better quality item.

The next step was to check out local dollar stores. I am lucky enough to have two different “buck or less” stores in my area, so off with my list I went. Although I wouldn’t recommend everything at a dollar store, there are always useful and good quality items to be found. Things like first aid gear, sunglasses, and mini personal hygiene items are always at these stores–and when you’re on a budget, the less you spend per item the more items you can buy.

Although I wasn’t able to purchase everything off my list at once, even at the dollar stores, I did set an amount to spend every week. I prioritized purchase order by need; for example, bandages were more important than deodorant, batteries more important than wet wipes.

The best thing about dollar stores is their stock is always rotating, and you never know what you might find. One afternoon I found a rack of pin-on compasses. While they weren’t high quality, they were as reliable as the more costly one I carried in my purse (I compared several to make sure). Now we have an extra compass in each pack and backups in our home stock.

Am important factor was foodstuffs. If you check around, you can find MREs (meals ready to eat, or military rations), freeze-dried portions, food bars with a 5 year shelf life, and other prepackaged camping/survival meals. These, while nice to have, are not necessary. I packed ramen noodles, individual packs of macaroni and cheese, mini bags of trail mix, peanut butter crackers, and granola bars, all found for a couple of bucks in most grocery stores. For those who eat meat, bags of beef jerky and foil packs of tuna are inexpensive and valuable sources of protein. These are all easily portable, easy to fix with nothing more than boiling water, and as long as you remember to check the “use by” date and replace them with fresh as needed, you can fulfill your emergency food requirements very easily.

The next step was to make a list of what couldn’t be found at dollar stores. Obviously one will not find a tent, sleeping bags, or camp cookware at the dollar store. The next logical place is to check thrift stores, and then department stores and online. The last place on my list to purchase from is a specialty store; they tend to have the highest prices. I carry my list with me at all times and I have a set amount that I can spend every week as well as a small amount for saving for those big-ticket items that are on the list. I will eventually get that Bear Grylls Ultimate Multi Tool (this is not an endorsement, merely my own personal want)!

I’ve been working on my BOBs for a few months now.  So far, I have about 70% of what I need. Some items will eventually be swapped out for better quality gear and some items may wind up being discarded altogether as I learn more about prepping and survival. While I may not have every last item I need (or want) for my packs, I am much more prepared than I was and, so far, have spent less than $50. I now have a sense of security that if worse comes to worse, I have what I need to survive.

My complete BOB list is below. I would recommend that everyone stock up on the basics but personalize their own BOBs as well.  For example, I have several daily prescription meds and glasses, so I’ve made sure to pack accordingly. I still don’t have everything on the list but I’m getting close!

Water:

  • Stainless steel water bottle, water purification straw
  • Water purification tabs, coffee filters
  • I also keep a 6 pack of bottled water next to the BOB, to stuff in the bag when SHTF

Food:

  • Energy Bars (granola bars and protein bars)
  • Packaged food (ramen noodles, precooked rice, mac & cheese, peanut butter crackers, bouillon cubes, sugar, salt…enough for about 3 days)
  • Drink mixes (tea bags, powdered Gatorade)
  • Mess Kit (aluminum), can opener, spork

Fire:

  • Matches (both wooden strike anywhere and waterproof)
  • Flint & steel
  • Tinder (petroleum jelly and cotton balls, dryer lint)
  • Lighters
  • Shelter:
  • Space Blanket
  • Rain poncho
  • Plastic tarp
  • Small tent
  • Sleeping bag/Bedroll

First Aid:

  • Bandages (assorted sizes, waterproof)
  • Gauze roll, waterproof tape
  • Alcohol wipes, antibacterial ointment, burn gel
  • Latex gloves, scissors, tweezers, needle
  • Ace bandage, cold pack
  • Acetaminophen, anti diarrhea, antacid, antihistamine
  • 1 weeks worth of my prescription meds

Weapons:

  • Survival knife
  • Sharpener
  • Sidearm, extra ammo
  • Pepper spray

Tools:

  • Multitool, swiss army knife
  • Folding saw, folding shovel
  • Mini fishing kit (I’m vegetarian, so this would be a last-ditch emergency)
  • Binoculars, candles, a mesh bag (for mosquito netting, fishing net, carrying sack)
  • Signal mirror, compass, whistle (all basic signalling/travelling gear)
  • Flashlight (led, battery-powered)–I keep two along with extra batteries
  • Crank flashlight/radio combo
  • Duct tape, paracord (50 ft), WD-40
  • Sewing kit, waterproof paper and pencil
  • Emergency stove and fuel tabs
  • Ziplock baggies of varying sizes, 10 ft of aluminum foil (folded small)
  • Padlock (on backpack strap) and key (pinned inside)
  • Some emergency cash in small bills
  • Clothing/Hygiene: (this is assuming I already have one travelling outfit on)
  • Camo pants, shirt, jacket (camo is not necessary, but I prefer it for stealth)
  • Long johns, 3 pr socks, 3 pr undies, 1 bra
  • Hiking boots (kept next to the BOB, not in it, in preparation for quick changing)
  • Wool hat, mechanix gloves, warm gloves
  • 2 bandannas
  • Toilet paper, Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap
  • Wet wipes, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant (unscented)
  • Hand sanitizer, sunblock, bug spray, lip balm
  • Handwarmer emergency pak (2)
  • Old, non activated cellphone and charger (hopefully 911 satellites will still be working)
  • Old spare glasses, hard carrying case, extra clip on sunglasses
  • Two small microfiber towels
  • Map of the area, first aid/survival manual
  • Mini photo album, deck of cards (to give motivation, stave off boredom)

Cats:

  • Halters, leashes (my cats are trained on these)
  • Freeze packed dry food (1 lb), 4 pkgs of wet food
  • 2 collapsible pet bowls

And hopefully I’ll also have time to grab my purse (which has additional toiletries, first aid, & meds) and my cell phone and charger. My husband also has a similar BOB. They are kept together within easy reach on the floor of the closet. The idea is that if only one of us can get there, the packs are light enough for one person to grab and tote for a short while.

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

Comments

  1. Snickerflix says:

    Thanks for the info, you thought of things I hadn’t thought about. It seems like every time I read an article about bug out bags, they have all this fancy stuff that I’d like to have but can’t afford. You’ve put it into better perspective for me, I have some of the things you mentioned. I guess I’d better get started on mine.

  2. Cool. This has got to be the most discussed topic in the survival suite which is a testament to its importance.

    I have two young kids at home (one is a newborn baby!), and I recently had my BOB turned on its head when my wife got unexpectedly ill and had to go to an ER. At this point, I needed diapers, formula, extra clothing, and pillows and blankets (both kids were asleep in the middle of the night) a lot more than water purifiers, matches, and ammunition. Honestly, I wasn’t adequately prepared for something so likely, and my family suffered as a result. Not proud.

    Point is that emergency and disaster can be relative, and “bugging out” is scalable. I define it as anytime I have to leave my homebase quickly and without notice and do not know when I’ll be back.

    This is always a good topic to revisit and master. It’s good to see another perspective. I don’t have any pets, but I do have kids and often have visitors which poses totally different sets of problems.

    Good luck everybody!

    • Anonymous says:

      When my daughter was little – we had diaper bags packed for multiple things – normal everyday, hospital, long trip. Color code the bags and make your stroller into a transport helper. If you have the little one, use it for light trips have the heavy duty one ready in the trunk.

      Its helped me lots of times ,
      just sayin….

    • Mike Undercofler says:

      Bingo.

      A BoB and a SHTF bag are different. Our BoBs are close to hand, and have what we need for a couple days. Our SHTF packs are where we can get at them AFTER we bug out. Our main camping gear is in the shed, so if it gets that bad, once the dust settles, we could go back, load up, and ruck out to the hills… in theory. That, or the invaders get an old refrigerator, a few cases of empty, returnable, beer bottles, a few odds and ends of personal stuff, trip over some old plastic toys, and eventually find our gear.

  3. I love how you combine simplicity with detail in this article and I never tire of BOB posts. Thanks!

    In regards to tools, I went with a small and affordable hammer/hatchet/prybar combo tool which is about 9″ long and costs about $4. It’s a lightweight, compact, sturdy, and functional tool which is perfect for a BOB. Not only could it be useful as a weapon but it can also help drive tent stakes, collect firewood, clear brush, remove soil, etc.

    I like to use a vacuum sealer to pack certain things which have gone into my BOB. Vacuum-sealed clothing, for example, becomes so much more compact and that leaves more room in my BOB for other things. My purpose for doing this is not only to conserve space, but to protect the contents until the time I need to use it. Inside a vacuum-sealed bag clothing remains as new as the day I bought it. If I do need to use the BOB during flood or rain then I can be assured my clothing will remain dry as well. Vacuum sealing loose or like items helps keep them organized too (e.g. toiletries, loose ammo). Because a vacuum-sealer is kind of expensive and sealed bags cannot be resealed in the field I think your zip lock bag idea is a great alternative.

    Lastly, shelter was a big issue for me as I wanted something more than an emergency shelter yet a quality tent is fairly heavy and takes up too much space in a BOB. I finally found a high-quality lightweight (3 lbs) camo bivy tent which is designed for one person plus room at their feet to store their BOB. It packs tightly into an 81mm waterproof mortar container (available in many military surplus stores) which is strapped to the outside of my BOB (a backpack). When empty, the container makes a great half-gallon bucket for water collection.

    • Great multi-tasking on the mortar container – but I am dubious of the hatchet/pry/hammer being sturdy enough, but if you have found one for that price that is, please share brand, model, price w/ us. My experience is that most of those type simply don;t hold up in the field and during an emergency is the worst time to find out which is why my #1 rule for BOB contents is to test them HARD. Thanks for sharing. Oh, info on tent as well, please.

      • Your concern about the hammer/hatchet combo is perfectly valid. I’ll include a link below for it, but I should say that I consider a BOB to be a temporary measure which helps me get me from point A to point B. As such, this steel tool works well, but I don’t expect it to stand up to years of abuse.

        I’ll include links for the tent and mortar container too.

        13″ version of the hammer/hatchet combo tool:
        http://www.majorsurplus.com/Survival-Hatchet-2-Pack-P14412.aspx

        Be aware some camo bivy tents weigh 6 pounds (too heavy) but this one is the lightweight version:
        http://www.directpb.com/B001CW9IVW/M/B001CW9IVW.htm

        81mm Mortar Tube:
        http://jandadiscountmilitarysurplus.com/cart/us-military-81mm-mortar-storage-tube-excellent-condition-p-315.html
        Tent

        • MR – you hit the nail on the head – THAT is the difference. I am in the country so plan to ‘bug in’ for a SHTF situation, but have a three day GOOD bag in each car if forced from home due to wildfires, chem spills, weather that can be grabbed if forced out on foot. If I leave in my vehicle I have two weeks foods, two cases water, Moss 500, M1 carbine, Ruger 22/45, AR7 and M92 (w/ ammo for all) as well as full camping supplies (all tried and true over time) including sleeping bags, tent, tarps, stove, axe, saw, water filter, etc. Do not feel safe carring fuel for stove in trunk so got the Coleman Dual fuel that will run on unleaded gas in a pinch (and with extreme caution). Overkill? Maybe, but I got stranded on the side of the road in a blizzard back in my hippie days and stayed there for three days and ever since have been prepared for any contengecies. I lose some gas milage, some trunk space, and get a few strange looks when changing a flat, but the peace of mind if mah-velous!

    • Anonymous says:

      Here is something I learned after many deployments. A good waterproof tarp over the tent with two long lengths of paracord to tie to trees or stakes gives a area that covers protects and makes teardown in the morning alot easier. Its the first thing to go up and last to pack up. Other then stong winds, this is a great thing.

      just sayin…

    • Space bags are a decent investment, moreso if you don’t have a pet that likes to rip things. The larger ones are easier with a vacuum cleaner, but my husband was able to use a wine saver hand pump. The smaller bags rely on your ability to squish them.

  4. Digital_Angel_316 says:

    Well written article and very useful for the uninitiated and the neophyte. I would like to see, and recommend this [sort of] article for publication in the print media (e.g. your local pennysaver, CERT publications, ‘home and garden’ type magazines, scouting newsletters, local paper special sections, even perhaps the PTA newsletters).

    There is a great need to interest and educate the masses on awareness and preparedness in order to mitigate disruptions during short term emergency situations, and this sort of article and insight helps.

    While not everyone agrees on each and every article desired or required in a prep-bag, most agree a prep-bag is a good idea and a good start. This forum has several good articles and lists on B.O.B.s and this article is a valuable contribution for its intended audience. With every B.O.B. article I would add, even if just a sentence or two, the idea of:

    * a prep-plan(s) prioritized for probability of occurrence in your area ,
    * bug-out locations and alternative routes and,
    * prep research/education, and practice/drills

  5. Excellent article, thank you. Exactly the type of thing a ‘newbie’ would need to get started.

    I thought I had an exceptional BOB (what I call a 72 hour bag to my family – I made them all one to keep in their cars) but your article pointed out a few things I overlooked.

  6. Good article. Sounds like you are well on your way. Since you have very little or no outdoor experience, I would suggest you and hubby take some courses (local college). You need to get out into the woods, camp, hike, and practice the skills you will need for survival such as gathering fuel. If you are going to maintain a fire for any sustained period, you will probably find you need a collapsible wood saw. A fire not only boils water, cooks food, keeps you warm, but raises spirits and calms you. You are way ahead of the masses.

    • Good idea, HandAxePro – in fact greenhorns can learn a lot simply by ‘camping out’ in the back yard. Ptiching tent/shelter, fire building (if possible), cooking on wood fire/stove/debries stove/sterno/alcohol, learning how to get comfortable/warm sleeping on the ground, just how much ‘usable’ light you lantern/flashlight/headlight actually puts out. It is also a great way to put an element of ‘adventure’ into it if you have children.

      • Mactex,
        I agree that camping out in the back yard (even in the burbs) is a great and safe way to learn camping. You can do it in the heat of summer, the cold of winter, and during rainy periods, knowing that if things go all to crap, you can head back into the house and regroup.

  7. robert in mid michigan says:

    a great start, a great article ill give you this you have done your homework. just started working on this idea as i plan on sheltering in place but fire or tornado could easily change those plans so i started working on that. only question i have is that you have the cell phones and such even have the chargers but you do not have a way to power them up, would advise looking into one of those travel solar panels for chatging said items might even be able to swing it so that you can charge flashlight batteries.

    would like to add a couple items to your already complete list
    1. ruger 10/22 great for small game and moderate protection
    2. small printed out guide to locally available edible plants
    3. i know you can cook in a mess kit but it is really hard on them youmay want to look into a small cheap camp pot.

    as i said great article got me thinking in other directions, great get to spend more money lol. thx

    god bless
    stay safe

    • Robert in MI – many of the ‘wind up’ light/radio combos now come with adaptors to charge cell phones. I have not used so do not know how practical it is. Anyone have any input on how well these work?

      • axelsteve says:

        Good Idea if the cord matches your cell phone. I would make sure before you buy. Kinda funny how Eli whitney came up with the concept of the assembely line and interchangable parts in the 18 somethings. The hi tech clowns had to have the gubmint make there phonecarger cords interchangable.

        • Radio shack has a display that has adaptors for most phones (appox $9) and many of the wind radio/lights claim to contain most commmon adaptors with set – but yes, that would be a rather imporant part to cover. Most companies are more motivated by the $$ than convience for the customer unless forced as we all know,

  8. JeffintheWest says:

    Good article. It’s always great to see someone who is doing this on a shoestring, proving that you don’t need all those “big ticket” items that Joe’s Fly-by-Night Survival Gear on-line wants to sell you! Thanks for sharing.

    One thing about the camo gear. You need to check out your camo gear against your environment. Woodland pattern in an urban environment is really not so good. Likewise, the British style NATO woodland pattern really works much better in Europe than it does in North America (different types of flora). As a suggestion to offset this problem, invest in some fish net (not stockings, real fish net ;-) ) that you can use to throw over yourself when you are in a hiding position. You can usually find it (or something similar) cheap in rolls at hardware stores. It helps to break up your outline (which is what you really need to do most of the time). Something that simple will improve the efficiency of your basic camo pattern by about 50 to 100% depending on where you’ve chosen to hide. (It’s a basic idea taught in the USAF SERE/SAR school and really does work!)

    • Jeff in the west…that fish net idea is great, even though I have army camo netting, it is very heavy – and I have it squashed into a pillowslip with a zipper. So thank you for that great suggestion.

    • JeffintheWest,
      Anyone who wants to try the fishnetting should Google Ghillie Suit to get some ideas on minimal things you can do with the net and items from your local environment to make the camo even better.

  9. Chuck McMillian says:

    Very good!! I too have been looking around the house for the stuff I have already.

    As for food, I think the MRE’s are nice but, you can buy the things at the store to cover you until the you can afford the fancy stuff. I have always had 2 or 3 Hormel Compleats in the back of the truck or trunk of the car. Check the dates and get the ones with 2 years or so, the dollar stored have them and the store takes coupons!

    I live in NM and we can have a snow storm and be stuck somewhere without cell service. My BOB is now about 60% of the way there, I am also doing one fo Wife and 21 yo son.

    Thanks for your posting….we don’t need to spend a lot to get ready!!

    ChuckABQNM@comcast.net

    • Kumbha – Our packs are almost identical – even down to the cats (don;t know how realistic that is tho’, unless they heel), thought as a male i obviously don’t need some of the feminine items. Althought we may differ on some items and designs I can tell that we share one main problem, and that is the reality of being able to carry this BOB any distance if needed. While flight might begin in a vehicle there is a great posibility that at some point, sooner or later, we will have to abandon it and proceed on foot. Even those of us in excellent shape will be hard pressed to carry the above described BOB for any distance. I am further limited due to RA which in the 17 years I have fought it has reduced my staminia altho I work out regularly. The solution I ultimately came up with was – after much research of them – to get one of the carts that hunters use to remove game from the woods/fields. They will generally carry between 250 – 500 lbs, collapse to fit into the truck/backseat of a car and will, for the most part, fit thru anywhere you can walk with a pack. If you look carefully you can find them with ‘no flat’ tires and solid wheels instead of wire spokes. They can be as narrow as 26 inches and are well balanced and in an emergency can be used to transport an injuried comrade. Since I will most likely be traveling in a group of 3/4 this allows two people taking turns push/pulling the cart while the other members keep alert and at ready for defense if need be. In a pinch it can be used as the center ‘post’ for a makeshift shelter with tarps/ponchos spread out in all directions. If you keep you eyes out for sales, you can get them for under $50 but can spend much more. The one I settled one was well made but the hardware provided for the ‘quick take down’ proved to be flimsy and impractical, but were easily replaced at Lowes and now are sturdy yet easily removed (always carry a couple spares). I know that the first objections will be fact that it will slow you down, but if it comes to a foot race my party and I are already in trouble. I would rather proceed with caution, moving slowly, but surely, to my destination with the things I will need to survive that to rush there and find that what I have is inadequate. In the event that there is no avoiding rapid flight, each of our packs have a small ‘Mini BOB ‘ attached to the outside of our packs for quick retreival containing the absolute necessities – poncho, canteen/cup, food bars, fire, tube filter, basic first aid – that along with what we carry on our persons will make survival possible if not comfortable. With a little creativity, you can disquise you cart to appear that you are transporting firewood or other less valuable items so that you will not draw unwanted attention from possible predators, and there is always the option of caching the bulk of you items until you reach a locale that is resonably safe/defenseable and return for them. I have tested this several times on weekend campouts in the woods of the state and national parks and find them well suited for this prupose. Even if a point is reached where it is impassable for the cart, you simply unload, collapse cart and transport in relays until you reach an area where you can reassemble and continue.
      Is this as good a way to Bug Out as being 25 years old, a triathalon competetor in the best shape of your life? No, but if approached with common sense, patience and diligence it will get you to where you are going. The cart also proves to be invaluable around the campsite/retreat as it can be utilized for any number of things from hauling firewood or water to being adapted to other uses. Once company has even come out with an attachment that allows you to pull it behind a ATV or bicycle. I hope this has been helpful to those of you, who like myself find themselves limited in the physical prowress area but still have a strong motivation to survive and thrive. Good luck and God bless!

      • MacTex,

        I wonder how feasible it would be to engineer the rig so it can be pulled by a large dog. (I have a GSD.)

        • Excellent idea ! Dogs have been utilized as beasts of burden since first domesticed. I had thought of bicycles, but large dog had totally slipped by my radar. Hmmm..? Wonder if I put my four cats in harness and hung catnip out front…

          • Hunker-Down says:

            You need a catwhip, and drive them from behind. Also, whistle like a goldfish.

            • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

              Actually, you need a dog to drive the cats forward and a llama to drive the dog along.

              I have RA, too, so I’ve been trying to lighten my BOB and include more medications to stave off the pain, stiffness, and fatigue that Rheumatoid Arthritis causes. Going to stay home for as long as possible, then I’m heading to a hollow redwood tree I know – that will be my temporary housing.

        • Gayle,
          The North American native population (prior to introduction of the horse in the 1500’s) used a travois to allow their dogs to carry gear. They managed without horses or the wheel for centuries. I suspect that with a couple of wheels, a large dog could manage quite a load.

        • Gayle, I don’t know how much of a factor this might be, but I seem to recall that German Shepards are particularly prone to hip dysplasia–you might want to look into that when determining what size load to let him pull.

    • Chuck, my experience is that when foods are stored in the trunk and exposed to extreme temp ranges, they can go bad before the stated ‘use by’ date. I live in Tx and am subject to similar temps as you encounter in NM and the longest I ever let them go is eight months. I tested items over several years and while some would be good longer than that, it is risky and I would hate to pull out a spoiled product when i needed it worst. Even MREs are greatly affected by exteremes in temps – while some nutritional values will remain you have to be able to get them down, and history is full of instances where people have had food, but have starved to death because they wouldn’t/couldn’t eat it. Freeze dried, although expensive, seem to stand the heat best. Good luck!

  10. Pineslayer says:

    Sounds like you have done your homework and are off to a great start. Upgrading is a lifelong pursuit so be prepared to become obsessed with gear.

    Weight is always key, so with that in mind, stoves and cook sets can be bulky, heavy(fuel), and noisy(clunking around in the pack). I like the Trangia alcohol burner or the Volcano stove. Both cheap and light. Cheaper than Dirt has the Volcano for $10, it does rattle around so I put a piece of Sham Wow in the gap to silence it.

    Military surplus packs are indestructible and plentiful, a little heavy sometimes. As the draw down in the Sandbox continues the prices should come down also.

    Binoculars are a great Opsec item, but think about Monoculars also. Half the weight and compact. Hope your hubbie doesn’t get jealous easily as BOB has entered your life for good :)

  11. Awesome! Thank you for sharing, this will be a valuable tool for folks to put in their prepping notebooks.
    Isn’t prepping fun? We made our kids take their lists and go on a treasure hunt for the items they needed. Even the hubby got into it. Our family will most likely be bugging out on foot at least part of our journey so we watch the weight of our bags closely. Have you checked to see if you can carry/or pull yours if you need to leave your car?
    Only one more thing I would add. A password protected flash drive containing scanned copies of your valuable documents such as birth certificates, drivers licenses, property deeds, even sacred photos. In case (God forbid) your house is gone if and when you get back. Or your safety deposit box is inaccessable.

  12. I agree with every thing you planned for except 1 thing ( I know it will offend some sorry ) The cat’s are on their own, Not that I hate cat’s but they are too much of a liability that bring nothing to the table.
    I own a German Shepard that will go because of what he bring’s to the table.
    The ability to hunt, protection, detection, and loyality.
    My dog would die to protect me and my family.
    Again this is not a Dog vs Cat thing I have them both but I need everything I carry to serve multiple purposes and most dog’s do that.
    Other than my 2 cent’s great post.

    • Oh, Wayne, just admit it; you hate cats. It’s okay; M.D. hates cats too.

      http://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/17-random-things-you-probably-didnt/

      Has anyone herd from Linty, the puddy tat?

      • Gayle backs away slowly after stirring the pot. :)

        • All,
          Move to the country, have some out buildings and some livestock, and you will find cats to be indispensible. Even in a rural home, mice and other critters like to try and take up residence in the cold months, and both our indoor kitties and our outdoor herd, are very useful in keeping down the rodents,

        • I beg to differ on cats bringing nothing to the table, they will share thier kills quite readily. After much effort, and understanding my cat was able to train me to walk with him and help with the hunting. Though my marksmenship lacks much on the cat sized mice and lizard snacks, I make up for it with birds and wrabbit.

      • Gayle,

        It seems like everytime I touch one of the darned things, I pull back a bloody scratched up hand and arm.

        • Repair Mama says:

          Start with a hand with tuna or meat in it. Make nice and the kitty may not try to eat you!!! lol hahahah
          (i used to feed a stray here at home. a tom. he would scratch at me even when I was trying to feed him. ungratefull little sh**)

          • I think you all are not focusing on the real survival value of the cats. Kitty BBQ just might be what gets you thru the last big hurdle to get where you want to be, a lot easier to catch than rabbits or squirrels and I hear the fur makes nifty socks!!!

      • axelsteve says:

        I love cats! they are quite tasty.Ever been to a chineese resteraunt? Never see asny stray cats around them.I will shoot anyone who hurts my dogs.

      • Hi Gayle, one of the best things on this blog is how people look out for one another. Noticed Lint not posting – hopefully getting some medical advice/treatment for ankle.

    • Cats will keep the mice away

    • SurvivorDan says:

      I have a use for my 90 lb red nose pit but I will try to take my 6 and 10 lb yap dogs. Besides they are more alert and keep watch better than the big mutley. I lost a little dog recently and felt more grief thanI have for many people who passed so I understand the bond between people and their pets.
      My little dogs would go with me even if they weren’t a great early warning system. Besides, like your cats they don’t eat much. ( my pit is a chow hound) And on like all my dogs who couldn’t catch a cold the cats could probably do some hunting on their own. ;)

      • SurvivorDan,
        M deepest sympathies on the loss of your little dog.

        My Angel, Milo had to be put to sleep last week. He was dying of kidney failure and had (even with subcutanous fluids, anti-nausea, antacids and pain meds) gotten to the stage where he was getting open, bleeding sores in his mouth. Next was going to be convulsions, and I couldn’t put him through that, no matter how selfishly I wanted his company. He was best friend and even husband (in most respects), and my only companion for 12 of his 15 years. The grief and loneliness are almost unbearable, even though I have 3 cats and 2 German Shephard puppies.

        While I won’t say I know exactly how you feel, I think I do understand the feeling of loss.

        Hugs to you.

        • Hugs to you, Michele, and to SD on the loss of your precious pups–it’s clear you both gave them the kind of loving home that every dog dreams of.

        • Hugs to you, Michele, for you loss. The cycle of life goes on and Milo is no doubt spreading love to others right now. When love is so strong, loss is so, so difficult. Take solace in knowing that he knew how much you loved him.

        • Michele And Survior Dan,
          I’m so sorry for the loss of your furry companion. I have lost pets in the past that I considered my children, and it hurts like hell. One black lab, I grieved over for at least a year and it still hurts, 10 years later. Pets are a source of such comfort and friendship. I have 6 dogs (all rescues) and they will bug out with us if we have to leave our home. If they can’t go, I’m not either.
          Two of them are incredible squirrel hunters, so I feel they would well earn their place in our escape.

      • axelsteve says:

        I love my pitmix and great Dane. unfortunately they do have very thin coats and get cold easily.Our chocolate lab is only 7 months old and still training him. Our springer is our senior dog will no be around much longer.I have hopes for the lab though.

  13. axelsteve says:

    I love the dollar store for preps. You can get earplugs and aa batteries. I get carb cleaner there for my motorbike.I get food items and they sell coffee in 7.5 ounce bags there(it goes fast so get it when you see it). They sell candles and all kinds of things that are useful in your bag.I also hit the thrift stores and yard sales. The sporting good section of walmart is pretty good also. At least the one in my town. Unfortunatly we can`t buy guns there being in n calif.

  14. Pineslayer says:

    Multi-purpose items. A bug-outers best friend.

    Umbrella; Spend enough time walking in the sun and you will understand.
    helps to wear less clothing, need less water, and keep your
    energy level up. Rain, well self explanatory. Those little
    ones are light and compact too. Golf suppliers have big light
    ones with no metal (lightning rod)

    Goretex Bivy sack; shelter, rain poncho, and pack cover( Covers are important, if you have to walk through the city and you own military grade equipment, you stick out and become a target, get a dark blue or gray one. Also helps to keep what you are carrying away from prying eyes. If you have outdoorsy gear, get a camo cover for when you get out of town and into the woods)

    Poncho; military grade, provides shelter, pack cover and all kinds of other uses. Gather water from rain, stretcher with a couple of sticks, the list is long.

    • I have delayed getting a bivy sack because I have read in many places that you get just as cold due to the accumulated mositure in the bag over night(because they are waterproof they don;t ‘breathe’). Can anyone shed any light on this? Other than that one point they seem perfect.

      • Pineslayer says:

        True, they can get condensation problems, like many tents. You don’t have to close them up completely either. The military ones have some velcro closures around the head that leave plenty of open space, some other types have a pole that goes over the head with a screened piece. Using one in Florida is different than the desert, but they can still be effective. Goretex is waterproof, but still breathes a little. I have some great high dollar tents that still need to be aired out before rolling them up, I think that it part of the game.

      • mactex….

        If your “bivy” didn’t breath…you didn’t have a real bivy. A good bivy DOES breath, just like GoreTex. If you just want to keep the rain off, get a sheet of plastic from Ace Hardware. Sorry to disappoint.

      • During a distracted moment, I came across http://homelessadventures.com/2011/12/07/winter-necessity/ that recommends getting silk or bamboo for a sleep-sack. I have yet to make a new shirt out of http://www.dharmatrading.com/fabric/silk/rawsilk.html but it feels much like my old shirt and that was warm. They also carry bamboo-based cloth.

    • I used to always carry an umbrella camping/hiking back when I lived out west. First off, they are instant shade (summer in Utah tends to be awfully sunny), two, they’re an instant windbreak if you’re trying to start a fire, and if it’s raining cats and dogs (sorry, had to mention that), it gives you a little dry spot to get the durn thing going. When I was fitter, not fatter, the compact ones worked great, but now that I walk with a cane a regular one can serve double-duty as a walking aid. In a pinch, when you’re too tuckered-out to set up a tent, you can make do for bit with one serving as an impromptu shelter (draping an old army poncho over it provides near-complete coverage).

  15. SrvivlSally says:

    Kumbha,
    All in all, you have done a fantastic job in putting your bag(s) together. Don’t forget to take them out into the survival environment and give things a regular mock practice as that will make it easier when it comes time to use them. Leave the pets at home until you have at least six months experience under your belt because you need to have your mind truly “in tune” with what you are doing. Also, switch out the Ramen and p.b. crackers, anything that has natural or man-made oils in them for things which are not going to go rancid so fast. The crackers have the tendency to deteriorate quickly in warm weather as well as the Ramen and such. If you have to bug out during warmer days, you could wind up miserably hungry. Instant white rice is extremely light weight and will keep much longer when sealed and stored properly until bug out time has arrived. Add in a few dehydrated peas, a sprinkling of powdered cheese (for flavor), and seasonings and your stomach will likely be happy.

    • SrvivlSally says:

      I forgot to tell you…Keep the powdered cheese in the pouches it comes in from the boxes until ready to use as it tastes awful when it goes bad. Yuck! Don’t trust the cheese! That stuff has a mind of it’s own!

  16. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us! Although I can imagine a SHTF event might happen I somehow hesitated to prepare a BOB. Now you made me realise it is not that hard and you and comments show that a SHTF event doesn’t need to happen on a global scale. I’ll start preparing soon :)
    Thanks again!

  17. This list looks very complete to me. I recommend that you include some gum and hard candy–not expensive but will be much appreciated in an emergency situation.

    I included a couple N-95 face masks in my BOB. I got a machete for Christmas and that’s going in my BOB as well. For water purification, I ordered the water bottle with filter from the LDS online store, plus I have a couple boxes of water.

    I need to replenish my food supplies in my BOB. The jerky tends to get eat real fast around here. I am also going include some single serve drink powders–Gatoraid, if I can find it.

    • I believe the face masks are a must have! Even if there is no specific disease threat, general conditions will be rife with all the bacterias that has plagued mankinds since time began, not to mention inhalation of ‘smog’ type pollution created by fires from cooking or uncontrolled building fires (no active fire departments), as well as the odors that will be created when the public level of hygene brteaks down. Good point!

    • That Seychelle bottle from the LDS store is a great tool to have in the BOB. We have several.

      • What is Seychelle bottle?

      • Ohio Prepper,

        I don’t know if you can answer this question (if anyone can, please chirp in). How does the filter in the Seychelle bottle compare to a Berkey filter?

        • Gayle,
          Seychelle makes 2 different filters and the one you ordered from LDS (and the ones I have) are as good as or better than the Berkey. The Standard filter is good to 4 Log (99.99%) and the Advanced filter is good to 6 Log (99.9999%) including removal of bacteria and viruses. The deal from the LDS store is amazing, since the bottle and a single filter direct from Seychelle is $30 and the additional Advanced filter is $21, and LDS has the combination for $22. For more detail on price and technical information you can look here: http://store.seychelle.com/Std._Filtration_Bottles-28oz_Flip_Top_Filter_Bottle_Standard.html
          Each filter is good for a nominal 100 gallons of water, assuming that the water is relatively clear. Using muddy water will still work but will more reasily clog the filter and you may not get the entire 100 gallons through it.

        • I have two of the Black Berkey filters (I bought just the filters – it is sooo cheap to make you own two chamber water filter and add one or two filters yourself) and they cost $107 . each is silver inpregnated to stop bacterial growth and can filter 3,000 gallons of water with periodic cleanings. They work on gravity so are more thourough than pumps or pressure. They even have a new video demonstation where they remove food coloring from the water although I bought my after much research and recommendations from freinds that use them. ( Ck bigberkeywaterfilters.com) As far as the Seychelle bottle i only know what I just read on the site Gayle provided – they look much more practical for a BOB due to size and weight, and although the cost per ounce of filtered water is higher, it is more practical in a 1 – 14 day emergency. Each comes with 2 filters which allows you to filter appox 200 gallons. There are no specs that I could find so not sure of size of pores in filter, but should work along with chemical purification. Also very competitively priced as well.

          • Mactex,
            The Seychelle filter needs no chemical purification and water can be used directly from a pool, hot tub, pond, lake, or stream. The advanced filter that comes with the LDS supplied bottle removed 6 Log (99.9999%) of contaminents including bacteria and viruses. For filter cartridge specs, look here: http://store.seychelle.com/Replacement_Filters-Flip_Top_Replacement_Filter_Advanced.html

            • OhioPrepper –
              Many thanks! I have ben looking at different types/brands/styles of filters for a long time and had some how missed the Seychelle system. Although for a long term situation it still appears that the Berkey filter is hard to beat, the Seychelle filter (either standard or advanced) apprears to be the way to go for BOBs. The 100 gallon capacity – evidently w/o the need of any further treatment – provides a light weight, low cost answer to the question of what to use for BOBs or even short term bug in situaations. Have you had any first had experince with them?

            • Mactex,
              I have some of the less expensive Monolithic cartridge filters from Cheaper than Dirt. ( CAMP-352) and have a pair of the Black Berkey filters on the medium acquisition list. The monolithic are similar to the Berkey, but only 0.5 micron and not as efficient overall. I don’t really worry too much about water since we have an excellent shallow well and a creek on the property.
              As for the Seychelle bottles, I have them in our BOB’s and have successfully used them. I used to use Katadyn, but these are less expensive. I was first introduced to the Seychelle on the Outdoor Channel shows “Best Defense – Survival” and when I saw the LDS Store prices I figured I couldn’t go wrong. The plan here is to use the well as long as we can get water from it either by electric pump (and genset) or hand pump. In a real pinch we can draw water from the creek, and use either the monolithic (or eventually the Berkey) filters or the Seychelle bottles. I carry both a 40 oz stainless steel bottle (for boiling) and a Seychelle bottle in my BOB, and survival/bushcraft kits. For a little more insight on the Seychelle, here’s a little article about the founder: http://www.watertechonline.com/filtration/article/emwater-technology-emandreg-talks-with-and8230-carl-palmer

  18. Kumbha,

    I forgot to say thanks for the great article.

  19. Sorry I just thought of something else. I am thinking there may need to be another category called “foot care.” I have included two pairs of socks per day. Wet and/or dirty socks is not fun, especially if you have blisters. Mole skin is good. Maybe some powder as well. There is a product called Miracle Foot Lotion that works great. (I got a travel size bottle in my stocking for Christmas.)

    If you think you might be doing a lot of walking, plan for foot care.

    • Pineslayer says:

      Great point about foot care. Any backpacker or infantryman will tell you, take care of your feet, without them you are screwed. Blisters can make life miserable. On that note, boots are the one area that saving money should be secondary. Buying high quality boots can be painful to the wallet. Go to surplus stores and high end stores, try on the boots and decide which make and model work for you, then look for the deals. You can find great hardly used boots on ebay and other places, once you know what you want. I love my USA made Danners, they fit me well and are as durable as any and are repairable. Some boots are made to be thrown away, as TK said in the last post. I recommend 8″ boots to support those ankles. Like Gayle said, take care of those feet.

      • SaratogaPrepper says:

        Boots will make or break you. My first job in the power company I work for was “Meter Reader”. I walked/ran 20+ miles everyday in that job. I don’t care how tough you are if you get a blister or two on your feet, you are finished. My steel-toed Red Wings became my best friend.

        • Second on the Redwings. My steel-toed are still wearable, but the soft-toed were more comfortable for long-distance hikes. Anyone want to join me in a letter-writing campaign to get the company to make soft-toed boots again?

    • Gschnauzer says:

      I would suggest mole skin for blisters, air cast or ace bandage in case of emergency.

    • Hunker-Down says:

      Back when Fred Flintstone, Barney and I were playing football, the coach would make us paint the bottoms and sides of our feet with tincture of benzine before spending any time wearing new football spiked shoes. It was cold, it stank and turned anything it touched black. After 2-3 applications the bottoms of our feet felt as if the skin had thickened and almost no one had issues with blisters, including the kids that spent the summer on their butt watching TV. We used it again in the army, I think they called it ‘Toughskin”.

      If I had more than 3 miles to walk to get home I would like to have some of it in my GHB (I don’t). If I had to walk 10 miles, I would reapply it every 45 minutes.

      • Great Hunker, I had forgotten! Is toughskin pretty close to the old stuff (never did know what they called it – too scared of coach to ask!)?

        • Knee high nylons, about 0.33 a pair. Best foot care per pound or dollar you can get. Blisters come from chafing, thin tight socks [nylons] under heavy cushion sole wicking socks prevent that. Well transfer it so that instead of chafing skin the friction is between the socks. Plus washing out kneeshighs is much easier than your heavy socks and they will keep the outer sock cleaner. IMHO FWIW YMMV ETC

          • Another good reason for nylons is you can douse ‘em with bug juice and keep the little nasties at bay. When I was in Uncle Sugar’s Camping & Hunting Club (aka the U.S. Army), we swore by them when we went downrange to keep the ticks from eating our legs and ankles. :)

  20. Other items that I pick up at the dollar stores include playing cards, dice, reading glasses, solar powered fire starters(aka magnifying glass), stainless water bottles, knit caps and gloves, etc. I have purchased many things for my bob and EDC bag for there and thrift/2nd ha.d stores. Garage sales are also great for picking up used camping and hunting equipment.

  21. I love this. I did a post on BOBs a couple weeks ago but my family is so big into hunting and camping that we had almost everything in multiples right at our house. It didn’t dawn on me that some people don’t have most of these items and it can in fact get pretty spendy. Your list is great and I think the more ideas we get out there on these emergency kits the better. I am always adding and exchanging items in mine. You can check out mine here
    http://hillbillymom08.blogspot.com/search/label/Survival

    Please let me know what I am missing or need to add. Again great post and will put a link on my site to reference this list as well. Thank you for the info.

  22. Repair Mama says:

    I have been going through the house for things to use in BOB. I have stuff stashed in the behind the seat storage on my truck so I did not really think I needed another bag. This article got me to thinking that maybe I do.
    I have a large stash of little things I have horded over the last few years.
    little hand sanitizers, lotion, shampoo, lotions, toothpaste, girl hygene things, little packs of wet wipes, and ect.
    Most of these would work as well as little cans of food, potted meats, vienna sausages, little cans of fruit, hormel completes for MRE’s, along with compact dry foods. Those little single serving drink mixes are a great idea too. I even have little coffee’s too. Tea bags too.
    I will get all of these things out with another small first aid kit and other things and get the bag together in the next few days. I was wondering if a pack of dental floss (unwaxed) would be a good idea for tying things. It is small and light weight too.

    Thanks for getting the brain to working. One thing that I will add is this:
    Pack things inside other things to make compact bag. it may help the noise factor too if done properly. The ziplock bags can be rolled to remove the air before they are sealed like a space bag. makes things smaller and can be reused if no holes are punched in them.

    • Dental floss is excellent – it ain’t paracord, but is strong, lightwieght and compact and does well for binding branches together for shelters. 50 or 100 yards goes a long way and there are a multitude of uses – from shoelaces to fishing line.

      • SaratogaPrepper says:

        I used to work with a guy that would sew buttons back on to a shirt that had lost one with dental floss. He always swore by it.

        • Recently we just bought Oral B dental floss from Costco, so we have about 8 packs of them to go through. Not all dental floss is created equally I guess. This brand breaks if you are getting even a little aggressive while flossing….needless to say, I will be looking for some different kind of floss to add to our bags. I wish I could find the old school kind that was so similar to fishing line.
          If you know of really great strong brands please share, I don’t want to waste money on stinkin floss anymore.

          • Hard to say, the only floss I’ve tried that doesn’t completely shred upon contact with my teeth is Glide. I wish I could remember where I got the coin-sized tin.

          • Hunker-Down says:

            I have an Oral B battery operated flosser. About 6 months ago they changed the replacement floss heads. They went from an unscented white floss string to a very weak peppermint flavored string, and doubled the price. The old floss heads lasted a month and the new only 3-4 times. I refuse to remain a customer with that kind of treatment; I use something different now.

          • I have found that the Walgreens brand of Dental Tape is super, super tough. I keep a 50 yard container in all my emergency containers. Note TAPE, not floss. It may not make a difference, but I always get the mint flavored and have not tried the regular or the 100 yard conatiner. It is almost TOO strong for use in flossing if you have crowns, but you can tie up anything with it!

        • axelsteve says:

          A convict escaped from prison a few years ago by saving up his floss and used it as a rope to climb over the fence. He weighed about 135 and the prison changed policies about dental floss.

      • Dental floss, unwaxed, also makes good sutures for larger wounds. Need to pack a needle in the first aid kit along with the dental floss.

      • mactex,
        Amen on the dental floss. I carry two 300 yards spools of it in my EDC, which I consider my BOB Layer 1 kit. Along with some paracord, which can also be disassembled for the 7+ smaller nylon cords in it, you have a versatile set of cordage that can help perform many tasks.

      • Checked out Dental TAPE at Walgreens today – curretnly have two 50 yard containers on sale for $2 (normally 2 for $3, but, Hey, a bucks a buck!)

  23. Good article. I just got a pocket sized block of magnesium with imbedded striker for $2.50 at Harbor Freight. Shave some Mg from the block, and put small wood on top.. No need for tinder. It will blaze very hot when ignited.

  24. templar knight says:

    OK, I have to admit that I fell on the floor laughing when I saw you had a leash for your cat. There is a guy in our little town a few miles away who has a cat on a leash, and he is at the grocery store every time I go there it seems. It’s just one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Sorry, I just can’t help myself.

    As for your article, it is excellent. How you got the most of this for under $50 is a testament to your ability as a prepper. I’ll admit I have more food in my BOB, and a water filter, but your BOB is quite adequate.

    • T.K.,

      I have a cat that love to play fetch. He is obsessed with napkins. He stares at my napkin all through dinner. He sits on the chair and will put his chin on the dinner table when my dh isn’t looking. When I am done eating, I wad up the napkin and throw it. That cat will bring it back. I can throw it in the air and he will jump up and catch it. He actually brings it back to me to throw again. My cat plays fetch better than my dog.

    • I have seen rabbits on a leash so a ca isnt that far of a stretch. LOL.

  25. Great article! One that will inspire others to go ahead and start their preparations, and that’s what’s important.

  26. Thanks for a really good article. I like how you looked in your home for what you could use BEFORE purchasing items. Yes the things listed on the internet, especially prepackaged bug-out bags can make it seem a little overwhelming.

    I recently started using my college backpack as part of my buyout gear because finances don’t allow a new one at this time. I actually hesitated using it because it was my “dream” BOB went but it really does fit the need for now.

    I 2nd the motion on having a hatchet/pry bar combo if u can. Whenever I am camping, etc. I find it indespensible. Also consider a stainless steel thermos. Can be painted with high temp grill paint for camp and to cook with plus it.can then be strapped to the outside of your BOB until you need it. You can have hot food stored in it too. Just some thoughts.

    Re

  27. One of the first things people were looking for after the tornado was…. their pets. Nice to see the stuff for your CATS on the list!

  28. SurvivorDan says:

    Great start. I too love to pick things up at the dollar stores. Liked your list and I realize you are doing it on a budget….just a few suggestions. A survival guide and a 1st aid book. I am considered reasonably expert in wilderness survival and am 1st aid trained but I have both books and a tiny bible in my bag.
    Have purification tablets and filtration bottles but just added 6 oz bottle of bleach. Six oz of bleach will treat a lot of water (fire’s best of course) – up to thousands of gallons. I live in the desert so I have an extra 15 lb of canned foods as I may not want to spare precious water for cooking but that’s just my circumstances. I have many fire makers but include a magnifying glass and if you have one of those little plastic ones, try making a fire with it before you rely on it. Tested my survival whistle’s built in plastic magnifying glass and could not start a fire at high noon in the desert! I like my 3″ glass one. Nice walking stick for stability and makes an exigent circumstances weapon. I have several tiny sewing kits to fix stuff and some waxed cotton thread to make sutures. mr mentioned what I call a fencing tool. Great for any purpose including building a more permanent shelter if you stay put somewhere. I also keep some nails in my gear for slapping a structure together. I reckon you have cord or twine and forgot to list it. I have 200 feet of paracord (granted not available at dollar stores.) in my bag. You can build a lean-to, hang clothing to dry, hang a pot over a fire, pull it apart for fishing line, make a tourniquet, use it for a rescue rope, hang your food bag up a tree , make primitive traps…….and a million other uses.
    Just a few suggestions but I am very impressed at what you have done on your own just by researching and on a budget! Great job! And nice informative article. S.D.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      I forgot! You gots to have a small (flattened) roll of duct tape!
      You can do most anything with duct tape. Hold a strap to a pack, make a strap for a load, seal a bleeder or sucking chest wound, make/fix a tool handle, make fletching for arrows, build a shelter, patch a leaking water container, temp-patch a radiator hose, on and on …ad infinitum. It’s indispensable stuff. ;)

      • Pineslayer says:

        I like to roll some duct tape around other usable things, like a pencil or piece of ball point pen tube ( trach tube) or use your imagination. I found some tape that might be even tougher, heresy you say? There is some tape that is used to repair wrestling mats, tough frickin’ stuff and sticks to plastics better than duct tape. Hard to find, but keep your eyes open. Talk to your local wrestling coach to obtain a”sample”.

        SurvivorDan you left out one important use for duct tape… detaining looters or that pesky in-law.

        • SurvivorDan says:

          Pineslayer: Indeed. As ex-LE I have three sets of metal cuffs and lots of plastic restraints but duct tape does work for that too. Lol. Will check out that mat tape. Thanks.
          I recently had to seal a leak underwater on a vinyl pool and no ordinary duct tape would stick. Except Gorilla tape. $10 bucks a roll but the ability to seal something underwater was impressive. This enabled me to stop the leak long enough to apply a vinyl patch externally.

    • Survivor Dan – I am sure you know this but for those who don’t liquid bleach has a useable shelf life of one year AT BEST. Even if unopened and kept in absolute dark, it degrades rapidly. I had several gallons of bleach set back for water purification before I went to the Clorex web site and heard what they had to say. I am sorry but cannot tell you what the site is, but they say that they actually make the bleach stronger so that it WILL last due to time spent in warehouses. The only really safe way to keep and utilize chlorine is to get it in powder or tablet form.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        I do have a 45 lb bucket of tablets but I was not aware the liquid bleach had such a limited shelf life. Thanks for the heads up Mactex! Will rotate my liquid bleach reserve. Gotta kill the weeds anyway.

        • Most people (including myself) were/are surprised. For years I kept 10 gallons to purify water in emergencies and then discovered they had reverted to water. If you look around on line there are a number of formulas to use and the best you can get is the pool shok, BUT you want to be careful to get one that has a minimum of 78% chlorine content and make sure that no ingridents (like anti fungals) have been added that would be harmful to consume. One pound of the right kind will treat up to 10,000 gallons. No typo – TEN THOUSAND. This would make an excellent barter items. What you do is basically make up your own batch of 1 – 2 gallons of bleach from the powder (the tablets will work, but more difficult becuase of compression and content) and then treat suspect water with that just like regualr bleach. Can make stouter batch for hardcore cleaning also. Found one lb pool shok for less than $4 plus shipping, but in larger city in summer can surely find at pool chemical store. Had no luck at either Walmart, Lowes or Home Depot – only had 48% w/ added ingridents presenting problems as well. CAUTION: Must be very careful storing this stuff. If it get with mositure can be explosive and will eat up anything metal in nothing flat. Store in plasitc or glass, with plastic top. I sealed my – still in bag – in all plastic water bottle, sealed with Gorilla tape and labeled DANGER and POISON, but along with my Berkley ceramic filters, pool shok and my lake feel pretty secure on the H2O Issue. Sorry I don’t have the website to refer – am new online and just copied formula. Type in calcium hypochlorite / water purification and you will be able to find the info. I went with Poolife Turboshock, 78% based on everything I read. I honestly think this misunderstanding about liquid bleach will get more people in trouble than anything else in an emergency situation if that is all they depend on for water purification.

    • SurvivorDan,
      For a magnifier you might look at one of the pocket size Fresnel lenses. They come in sizes from that of a credit card to the size of a sheet of notebook paper. They are lightweight and inexpensive. On the not so lightweight side of things you mentioned a fencing tool which I use all of the time, but never thought about including in my BOB. Might have to try it and see how much weight it adds. Good idea.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        The fencing tool is heavy but I acquired a lightweight hatchet to replace my old heavy one and cumulatively only gained an extra lb or so. I was up to 80 lb in my Go-bag at one point! Now I try to hold it at 55lb as I will have another 20lb of tactical vest and weapons and I ain’t getting any younger or stronger!
        Will try one of them fresnel lenses as I only have one good magnifyng glass and one is none, huh? Thanks buddy.

  29. MtWoman (N Texas) says:

    Ok people…I can’t believe NO-ONE has mentioned BANDANAS!!! :) Cheap, light-weight and SO useful. Maybe I should do a whole essay on them so y’all remember them!

    Great article Kumbha…thanks. I don’t think there can BE too many essays about a B.O.B…they are so important for everything. I started mine over a year ago because of weather threats, and have been refining it monthly ever since, as new reasons to have different elements in it have emerged.

    • MtWoman,
      A bandana is very versatile, and is one of the things Dave Canterbury recommends in the 10 piece survival kit used by the pathfinder system. This kit is not really a BOB per. se. but is a great starting point for anyone who may need to head into the woods, instead of a shelter or friends home.

  30. Mike Undercofler says:

    Well written, and solid information. Do what you can, as you can.

  31. Worrisome says:

    Great list! Now, when do you choose to bug out???? I live in California, please look at the link following. These folks kind of have it good, except for the people. They have land, water, room to grow stuff….what they don’t have is security. Scary! http://www.thedailycrux.com/content/9553/California/eml

  32. Pineslayer says:

    I for one understand you bringing your cats with you. I had a cat, my first, that went camping and hiking with us. He lived with a Rottie and a Chow and had to hold his own, which he did with gusto. I shared my house for 17 years with him and miss him. He is the standard by which all others are compared. He was scared of nothing except, one morning while camping he would not come out of the back of the truck. He caught a glimpse of a deer in our camp and was paranoid for hours, probably the biggest dog that he had ever seen. Good times.

    • How odd you mention that – Cats have adopted me since I was very young but it was only in the last 10 years that I noticed the strange reaction that felines (at least house cats) have to deer. In my campground, 20 acres in rural area, we have deer that come down to eat/drink every night/early morning, particularly during the recent dought. The main Tom Cat who feared no living thing happened upon them around pump house one morn and grew wings – didn’t come out from under porch (where he had driven many a smaller cat) till late that night. I have seen the same reaction for EVERY cat I have ever seen that encounter, smell, or see a single deer/herd. It does not matter what the gender of the deer OR the cat is: every hair on their body stands out, there legs spin like Sylvester the cat on Saaturday morning and they will climb Italian marble to get away. I have figured it might be the ‘wild’ smell, but many animals come to/thru the campground – from Foxes to Beavers – and only deer illict this response. Has anyone have a clue on what the deal is? Before anyone scolds me, I know I am off topic, but have never heard anyone else mention this cat/deer relation.
      I blame it on post holiday insanity, so please forgive me. ;{)

  33. Kumbha, excellent progress. You are a natural to this prepping life.

    It seemed to take me ages to get organized.

    Even though I have a swag that is completely sealed with mosquito netting etc, it is too big and not practical for bugging out on foot…so, the self-inflating mattresses are much better – still a lot to carry, but I can’t sleep on the bare ground with just a sleeping bag – just have not been able to get any sleep.

    Some things I had to take into account was the fact that I could not carry all the stuff I wanted in my BOB – back then I just kept stuffing items in.

    As the time has passed, and have tested items, and kept only the items I cannot be without, have been able to lighten my pack.

    I have a small folding suitcase trolley, the type that has the bottom area able to be folded in, for when I get tired walking with the pack on my back.

    When I tried to keep pushing my body, I had pain in my knees – just was not used to carrying the extra weight on my back for so long.

    I just strap the pack to the trolley with the bungee cords attached and continue walking. When I come to rough ground, I put pack back on, and hook the collapsed trolley to the pack and walk until I get to where I can have pack back on trolley. I can walk for longer by just alternating the weight.

    And need boots that include and support your ankles, at the very least. Joggers will just not cut in when walking long distances with increased weight on your back – your ankles will start hurting.

    And some boots are just too high for me for long-distance walking – thank goodness I was able to buy cheaply, and try out many different types of boots by buying them at thrift shoes and garage sales.

    One time I purchased a moving case full of boots from the Air-Force Cadets for $3 a pair – between my DD and myself we now have plenty of good quality boots that were in as-new condition.

    Re-usable zip ties. Excellent lightweight item, and ensures my duct tape is available for other things.

    Even though I live in the tropics I keep a BOB dedicated to winter clothing/conditions and it stays in my car for winter’s duration.

    The summer pack is in my car permanently and contents used regularly. Keep a duffel bag filled with vac sealed and dehydrated food items that I normally eat anyway.

    Have a duffel bag with5 packs of army rations – these are incredibly heavy…yet these 5 packs are enough food for 14 days.

    Initially had energy bars in my pack – don’t like them, waste of space – ended up leaving them out for the birds.

    My topographical maps are all laminated – when you spend a lot of time outdoors and exposed to the elements 24/7 – things start to perish quickly.

    I found that a small tarp (I have 2 military hootchies) and having a pair of pliers handy allows for a quick set up when the rain clouds come over quickly with a big rush of wind before the rain pelts down. (Hammer and pliers is much better than hammer and hands when using tent pegs).

    When you can, get the best shelter items you can afford. Cheap tarps will not stand up to the outdoors for long…just one night of high winds and grommets are ripped out etc..but better than nothing in the interim.

    Setting up camp in a new place each time, takes more time and energy than one thinks.

    Stop before you start stumbling around. The ground is not as level as your kitchen floor. Have had to hand out band aids and elastoplast strips to other campers at other sites, that just stumble into and over things…and it is the adults more often than the kids.

    For my first day I have a thermos of hot water and tupperware container of cooked food ready just to re-heat as am just too tired after setting up camp.

    Am shocked at how many campers will waste valuable daylight hours, then, after it has gotten dark, they are trying to feed hungry kids.

    Anyway…I always wear a little bumbag when I step out of the car when I arrive at my camp site – it only comes off when swimming/showering/sleeping. I have 2 of these bumbags – and as I use things up, transfer things to the smaller pack. Because when I get back home, won’t get to topping items up right away.

    Has some leather cord, 5 lighters, more lighters in a waterproof clear plastic container, attached to a lanyard with small pair of stainless steel scissors and flashlight that converts to a lantern.

    Another 2 flashlights with 24 batteries, 20 metres nylon rope, 20 metres paracord, 20 metres of heavy cord, 1 metre lamp wick, one bath/sink plug (I use this pack all the time, and sometimes I call into a camp ground – and of course there is no plug, so I have my own, and can get a lot of housekeeping done).

    a small waterproof container with large needle and fishing line for repairs, a scalpel and a stitch cutter, some cotton and needles.

    another small berocca jar with another lighter in it.

    a pocket saw – still never used, as I use my sharks-teeth saws and machete when necessary – I also have a cane-knife to cut downed branches into a good size.
    a directional compass,
    an AITIA Brama knife in its leather sheath, with paracord through the end of its handle… and sharpening stone in its sheath also.
    candle and metal metal file
    face camo compact
    plastic screw top container with 20 lighters.
    fish hooks and lead sinkers etc. and safety pins attached to the bag.
    military signal mirror
    2 glow sticks
    first aid kit

    in side of my car door is more stuff, eg, mutlitool, firesteel, bug repellant etc. 2 diving knives in their sheaths for strapping to my legs.

    When cooking outdoors, wind changes everything.

    A very important item is to have a plastic screw top bottle with cotton wool balls impregnated with petroleum jelly – this is the number one easiest way to get a fire started and continuing.

    I have assorted cotton bandanas and silk scarves that I wear around my neck when outdoors, and a mosquito net hat is important for my area.
    Have 2 collapsible water buckets – so handy – 1 for washing up pots and other for washing body/clothes etc. and saves on trips down to the creek etc.

    I practice at every opportunity, it is hard work to be outdoors for long stretches, always at the mercy of the sun, rain, wind.

    Starting a fire is not easy outdoors if have not practiced. (I still carry way too many lighters now, even though can start a fire easily now with firesteel, lighters, matches, battery/fine steel wool – because when I first started practicing – was shocked at how many attempts and time it took me to get a fire started – and then to actually keep it alive long enough to build it up enough to actually be able to cook food or to simply heat water).

    Always carry many ways to start a fire – boil that water, wash dishes/pots in boiled water that has cooled down enough.

    Wash your body with cooled down boiled water.

    And boil shower cloth in fresh bucket load of water for a few minutes, let cool then hang out to dry in sun.

    Take no chances. Dirty water (ingested) can kill a person as sure as a well placed bullet to the head.

    Always carry more food than you think you will need, if possible. The streams can be found, but food is too difficult (for me) to find, and I experience cravings for sweet items, even though don’t normally eat sweets.

    I hope you have fun practicing and finding out how your strengths and weaknesses will come into play.

    Iron these things out now, and you will then know that when the time comes and you do have to bug out, your pack really will be a life-saver.

    Also, gathering firewood takes a lot of time too – and need to keep replenishing your stack – and will be surprised at how much water you will use just to cook your food/drink and stay clean.

    And, with tent flapping in high winds, never know if a branch is going to snap off in the middle of the night – I set up camp well away from any tress.

    Also, wildlife noises are normal to hear continuously throughout the night, however, sometimes I have noticed that all noise stops, completely – for reason only the wildlife knows. I am now used to this, but it still takes a long time for me to settle back down again when it happens.

    Be aware of normal wind direction, morning and evenings – after spending time in the outdoors, you will be aware of the changed wind direction – for me that means rain and afternoon thunderstorms.

    I have not had 2 days outdoors that were the same – there is no routine – have to always be aware of the weather, and how quickly it can change.

    Even though I studied my book on weather and cloud formations, when you are outdoors all day, and smelling of wood smoke, you will really notice the sky and clouds coming over…will smell the rain in the air hours before it arrives at your camp-site.

    And now that you have started, can only continue forward with more progress.

    And it is not about being ahead or more prepared than others, it is about knowing that you are taking responsibility for your own continued safety, and gaining in skills and abilities. These take up no room in your BOB.

    Be familiar with your weather patterns. One time I was the only person left at a packed campground, as it just started raining, and kept on raining for days, and with each new rainy day, people just packed up and left…when I was finally on my own, it was wonderful – even though everything was wet, and had to throw my mattress in the back of my car so I could sleep somewhere dry.

    It was wonderful, I had the whole place to myself. I did eventually run out of clean dry clothes to wear. Just no way my towels and clothes could dry – so packed up – but I had a wonderful time camping in the warm rain.

    Here’s to many wonderful days of camping and testing out your BOB.

    • Diver Gal (South Fla) says:

      I love that you use/have diving knives… Mine are really sharp and I even have one strapped to my rollerblades for when the dog and I are at the park.

      DG

      • Diver Gal, when I first started snorkeling (almost 40 years ago now) – and my swim bag is always in my car…sales person showed me assorted knives as part of my equipment – I was initially looking for just mask and flippers – and loved the idea of having a knife available when swimming about amongst the coral etc. Now, even when I’m camping well inland – love my knives being handy.

        I would time the tides, start out and climb around the rocks as the tide would go out…until I got to where the oysters were, and as the tide went out I just kept prying open the oysters and ate until the tide started to come back in again..and had to head back or would be cut off…

        that first knife was so handy, that I still buy them – don’t even feel the straps around my calves.

        I have a big ‘mother’ of a diving knife on my right – and my little Tusa on my left (which I always reach for (left handed) – and always want a back-up. they are so sturdy – however I did break the metal head off my very first knife – used it like a cold chisel and the hammer broke it off…still have it…use it for odd jobs where don’t want to risk my good knives.

        and also our knife laws are strict – but when am on the coast – at the beach/islands, having diving knifes on as I walk about the campsite in my swimmers and sarong has not caused any problems.

        I can’t roller blade – too scared to have a go in case I fall and crack the pavement (and my bones).

    • Chloe – I use one of the small two wheeled, fold up carts you speak of all the time. They are great at gun shows if you buy ammo or have something to sell you can place a box (plastic milk crate works great) on the bottom lip that folds out and bungee it in place, then set the long gun up with the butt in the crate and bungee it in place with ‘4 sale’ sign – keeps your hands free (except when towing – they stand up by themselves when stopped) and displays item for sale to interested parties. If trying to sell a handgun, you can stick a small 5 foot pole up with ‘sale’ and type of weapon in large letters – it works great! the crate can be used to put anything – purchases, gimme’s, literature in and EZ to keep up with. Also use it for moving ice chests for picnics, etc. Mine rated for 150 lb.s, got it at Sam’s for 19.95 on sale. Transported two 1,000 rd cases of .45 with no problem and had to cross never ending, dirt, grass, trash-filled, parking lot. They collapse to nothing in the trunk of car. The Tires are small, appox 8 inches, solid and fold flat – would be great for transporting firewood, water containers, packs over virutally any kind of terrian except swamp/mud. Same theory as deer cart (previous post, this thread) but smaller, less weight. So far (used for over 18 months) an surprised how well it has held up.

      • Mactex, thank you…all preppers must think alike – we are so apart geographically, but when something works, it just does – no matter where we are…the trolley is good for collecting firewood, I just spread a tarp out over the trolley – cover the tarp with f/wood, then roll up the tarp, secure it and pull the trolley loaded with firewood back to camp. cheers.

      • Mactex, I loved reading your post re guns and stuff in the trolley…and if I tried that here…Aussie…with our gun laws…game over for me…

        you definately got a good buy with your trolley – I love reading about everyone’s bargains and good purchases, and it is a bonus when things are just so practical. cheers.

    • Chloe you’re right again. One of the biggest mistakes new campers make is not stopping early enough to select, set up and prepare camp/shelter for the night. I would say a disportionate number of injuries occur in that short time just after dark when people are exhausted from a long day traveling but have not finished shelter/water/food tasks for the night. Due to the weariness more mistakes are made and injuries result. Good point.

      • Mactex, thank you again…as all the work of unloading car, setting up camp is done by me alone – love going camping on my own – have to be careful. As soon as the sun is down, we only have about 30 minutes maximum before it is dark…

        I practice most of the year…any chance I get to take time out – but December to February is way too hot to sleep in a tent, and our rainy season if anywhere from January to March – major flooding in some parts, for weeks at a time…but come May through to October – glorious weather.

        Before it is dark I have already had dinner, cleaned up and put stuff away, and get settled into my camp chair, just passing the time until ready for bed…and I just see some dangerous things – like kids chasing each other in circles around a camp fire, with a bunch of firewood just thrown near the fire in a pile, with folding chairs just thrown down anywhere, ready to be tripped over…yikes…I know you know what I mean…cheers…

  34. Gee Chloe….

    Your “BOB” must stand for Bug Out Buggy (Trailer)? All that stuff sounds more like a “Luxury Cruise”! Not to say that there isn’t anything there that you couldn’t possibly use but my poor old back isn’t up to it anymore, I guess. I always viewed the “BOB” as an EMERGENCY three day bag, not a substitute for daily living in a bag. Just an opinion. Prep on….if you’re happy, I’m happy.

    • Hawkeye, you are so funny, still laughing –

      I know, will probably not make it after my packed food runs out, and you are right – I’m just living out of my bag in the bush…right beside lovely streams and rivers.

      About 3 years ago had to carry my backpack around with me during each day – for 5 weeks – went on vacation with DD (who opted for a wheeled trolley suitcase, whereas I just went with a backpack, like I was so used to, in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s) that is when I painfully found out that I needed the right height boots to support my ankles.

      I have a strong back and have always been physically active and into martial arts/sports – but it is not the same now that I am older…my back can handle the weight, but my unsupported ankles can’t…hence the little trolley.

      Knees and ankles just could not take the weight all day in quality joggers.

      Also, my car is parked reasonably close to where I camp – and am always able to go back home…will be screwed when I can’t.

      And I practice diligently – when I go camping see lots of families – very rare to see someone my age (almost 60) sleeping in a tent…cooking over an open fire, no esky etc.

      most campers my age are in RV’s and caravans, or camper trailers, with all mod cons and do not venture too far off the beaten track.

      the one concession I do make though is that if I am in a campsite with an amenities block, I do like being set up close by.

      Even though am joking about it now…I know that I will bug out promptly, that I can stay outdoors exposed to the elements for an extended time as have conditioned my body and mind as best I can for the experience …unlike so many of my neighbours who will just continue to stay in their homes waiting for who-knows-what to happen…

      If you know the type of trolley I have…the type that we all used to put our suitcases on when walking about the airport departure lounges – the bottom wings fold out to allow for suitcase to be balanced etc, and then the whole thing folds down flat to less that 12″ – and is held closed with bungee cords – extremely strong set up and yet lightweight.

      Give it a try and let me know if it helps you too.

      Thank you Hawkeye, I am happy – we are both happy, and I love the fact that I can do this physically demanding camping (daily living in a bag).

      It is so easy to just stay at home, do the usual routine – lay in bed and read a book all day – boil the jug for hot coffee, open the fridge for chilled water or juice etc, fresh meat straight from the fridge to the pan, select condiments from the pantry, mix a fresh salad, and then throw the dishes in the sink and run hot water into the bowl (don’t have a dishwasher -never have, and had one taken out of a house I purchased and told service technician he could do what he wanted with it)…and just throw my dirty clothes in a washing machine – and all done… but when the crunch comes, I will be like a stunned mullet and not able to react fast enough…won’t know where to go, what to grab or where to head off to for the interim period.

      Take care of your back Hawkeye – a trolley may be an easier option for you. Some of my old nursing friends had bad backs – plagues them still. Can not imagine their pain.

      The fact that you are on this post shows you (and others) are not going to just lay down and let the s**t fall all over you – bad back or not – you will find a way to bug out.

      It is a real bummer when our bodies just cannot physically keep going all day – but I am trying to keep it going for as long as I can – and as strong as I can keep it…prep on…

      • Chloe…..

        You do whatever works for you. Glad to see you are aware and doing something…..few are!

        I was only half kidding about a trailer being a BOB (Bug Out Buggy). In my area, old pickup beds on the rear axel are commonly used as trailers. A bed from a compact size pickup would be great…modified to include a lid comprised of my 45watt Harbor Freight solar collector. And, of course, the trailer would allow me to throw in several cases of #10 cans of Mountain House and, etc, etc, etc. I could even leave it packed about half of the year (summers in AZ would ruin large portions of what I would prefer to equip it with).

        Anyway, it’s all fun and certainly worthwhile. Good luck!!

        • By The Way Chloe…..

          The only thing wrong with my back is that it’s attached to my legs and they are 72 years old!

          • Hawkeye, I screamed laughing when I read the ‘by the way…’ comment.

            I don’t have any of the luxuries you described…just bare bones camping – don’t want to be a sitting duck when/if there is a knock at the door at 6am by uniformed goons.

            I am going kicking and fighting into my 60’s.

            I often say to my DD in a joking manner ‘if I had known before how hard it was going to be (growing old), I would have had someone shoot me at 50 (years old).

            And this conversation usually happens after I have been riding my little DT 175 trail bike for 3 hours, in rough bush, with my SIL in the lead (making the trail), me in the middle and my DD behind me on her 125 Suzuki motocross bike.

            I am completely worn out when we get back. It is not like riding on bitumen. It is hard work concentrating and standing on the pegs when I’m going over the odd rocks, and I have to put a lot of my weight on my wrists and still keep the bike upright – constantly having to shift my weight to maintain balance. I can barely put my bike away and chain it back up – and more times than not, my SIL puts it away for me.

            Then, the next day, I can barely hold a book up my wrists and hands are so sore. The constant gear changes, hand brake – just takes their toll…

            but if I don’t maintain this type of exercise – won’t be able to do it when most needed…and I have noticed that as I get older, if I stop doing an activity – it is very hard to take it back up again…the body wants to stop, even though I focus on keeping on going.

            Don’t know how long can keep it all going … 72 yrs … that is going to be hard – so, have to keep doing all the physical and mental training I can.

            Hawkeye, I only need to use my BOB if I can’t get to my other safe place by car in a SHTF situation. But, O’toole (friend of Murphy’s Law) says Murphy was an optimist…so, have to keeping practicing – prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

            And you are right – majority of people are not prepared – yet if they had a look around their homes they could get some of their outdoor stuff together, a little stove, tarp or two, sturdy clothes, boots, and get the family out of the house on the weekend -and just get physically active.

            With each weekend outing they will get better equipped and be aware how each family member reacts to the lack of amenities that we take for granted in our homes.

            Keep on prepping…

  35. Richard H says:

    please do not buy that multi tool, and let me explain why. This past christmas I bought a gerber multi tool. It is the exact same tool down to the nylon sheath. Exactly the same (and VERY good) the difference was that since this one was without all the bear grylls logos and endorsements it only cost $26. GREAT PRICE.

  36. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Two items I’d want in my kit – 1) Cold Steel Spetnatz shovel, pretty light, very tough and multi-purpose – a small shovel is very handy. And 2) – a hammock. Down where I’m at, too many bugs and creepy crawlies on floor, plus very humid. Sleeping for me requires some cooling breeze. Hammocks are multi-purpose items too.

    One way to describe useful items – divide the weight by the number of uses you can get from it. The more uses – the lower the number.

    Hope this helps – some great suggestions above, I have some work to do too!

    • Gschnauzer says:

      I have one of those shovels in my car for emergencies. They are great for garden work, and could also be used as a weapon if need be. Do intend to buy a few more for the house and other car…

    • SaratogaPrepper says:

      I have a shovel similar to that. The Glock Entrenching tool, it also has a saw blade that stores in the handle. A little more pricey, but using your weight/use formula with price/use, I figured it was worth it.

  37. Gschnauzer says:

    Great article. I would like to suggest Jungle Juice a bug repellent for the B.O.B. Used it in the tropics and did not get any bug bites, until I forgot to use it after showering one night. My husband used an all natural product as an experiment, and was rewarded with many red spots over his body (bites).

  38. let’s try this again… this will be the third time I’ve tried to reply.

    Anyway… thank you, all, for the comments and suggestions!!

  39. one note on cammo clothing is only a bonus in the woods. Going to your BOL you may want to stick to Joe average clothing as cammo is an eye catcher to LEO’s in an urban setting.

    Personally I don’t use aluminum mess kits because they are hard to cook with whithout burning your food, I use stainless bowls and a vice grip for a handle.

  40. I laugh every time I see a store bought First Aid Kit or the list of supplies preppers have in theirs. My EDC kit is a Quickclot bandage and SWAT-T Tourniquet, I have an M3 that I stocked myself and a First out bag that is better than a small Emergency Room. In 23 years of Emergency Medicine, I have not found an injury or illness I couldn’t treat with one of my kits. The kits are no good without the proper training.