Bug Out Bag Checklist (Part 4)

20 May

There’s one item we haven’t covered: The bag itself. How are we going to carry all this crap?

When it comes to packing you’ll have two issues. Weight and bulk. Keep the weight as close to your back as possible and below shoulder height. Keep the load evenly balanced. Bulk can be carried anywhere. It looks oppressive, but a huge sleeping pad rolled up can sit at the top or strapped to the back of the pack. Heavier bulky items, tent, should be lower or closer to your body.

You’ll look like a beast of burden, but you can strap a duffel bag to the back of your pack as long as it contains relatively light weight clothing. You won’t be shimmying between rocks in a cave and you could get blown off a real mountain with such a contraption. On a typical road, you’ll be fine.

I recommend owning a good quality backpack. If you have cold weather survival clothing, I recommend you keep it in a large duffel bag. If forced to flee your home, you can grab your pack and your duffel and change into your best clothing at some point. Boots can be in your duffel, if you want.

As I recommend in the book, you can assemble another duffel bag with heavy-duty camping gear. You’d never carry this on your back, but if you bug out by vehicle and it is a the-world-is-totally-ending-and-I’m-out-of-here-and-never-coming-back scenario, you’d have a collection of some of the best equipment in the world to survive in the wild. Carry it as far as you can by vehicle, stash it, and hope you can recover it later. If you have a BOL with shelter, you’d keep this stuff there.

Some stuff to consider for this end-of-the-world duffel/BOL:

Heavy Cooking Grill
Dutch Oven
Heavy Duty Cook Set
Snare Wire
Fishing Gear
Bow Saw & Blades
Rifle & Extra Ammo

In another duffel, you could keep a larger tent. Alaskatent.com. You could live in it until you were able to build a better home. Not carried on your back.

I violate a rule of BOBs that says everything must be packed at ready to go. I keep sleeping bags hanging in a closet. I think they keep loft better this way than being all munched up. I’d need to grab the right ones for the right season on my way out the door and pack them quickly. Yes, if my home burned down before I got to them I’d be SOL.

The best backpacks today are internal framed expedition packs. They have solid belts to secure the pack about the hip. An external framed pack can work too. Some preppers like to stick with surplus military gear. The only downside to expedition packs is the expense.

Three good places to search for packs & sleeping bags and other stuff:


You can order packs over the Internet but it’s much better if you have a local store to try them on. You want one that fits and is comfortable for you.

The trend today is to carry water in hydration bladders. They provide the lightest weight container for the most water. I don’t like and trust bladders. A cheap and workable alternative is two 2 Liter bottles to supplement your regular water bottle. Used Pepsi bottles work fine. They seal tightly and won’t leak.

Most bug outs won’t last forever. The final class of items to add are your important records and papers. Information identifying who you are, your insurance information, checkbook, important records.

Learning More:

For learning more about outdoor survival, two books I like are How To Stay Alive In The Woods By Bradford Angier and Survival With Style by Angier. I’d guess there are better books today but I’m not familiar with them. I’d suggest you get some books about backpacking. They can provide you with a ton of information. Get out and go hiking!

Charlie Palmer -author The Prepper Next Door

What Are Your Top 3 Prepping Items?

My answer: 1) Water; 2) Food; 3) Gun & Ammo; 4) Good Warm Clothing
Outdoor answer: 1) Knife; 2) Cook kit; 3) Good Warm Clothing; 4) Fire starter

Can you live without a refrigerator?  (My answer: No! Little known fact: Even cavemen had fridges …without refrigeration we all die immediately!)

I like the point about looking to RVers and self-sufficient sailors. They have great information.

One tip: Cold air sinks. Most fridges open and the cold air pours out. Small boats have boxes which open at the top. The cold air stays in when it’s opened.

Refrigeration is a pain because of how much energy it takes.

Good article about what goes through your mind if your home is in the path of a raging fire.
“I arrived at our house, the evacuation order was already in place, and I had about an hour to pack up the essentials. ”


8 Responses to “Bug Out Bag Checklist (Part 4)”

  1. thoughtfullyprepping May 20, 2014 at 4:58 am #

    My $0.02 worth?
    BOB and INCH load outs are totally unrealistic in most cases (thanks to the experts) and too much weight let alone bulk for most people.
    Put it all into a car? Cars WILL RUN OUT OF GAS.
    What then? Easy! You leave all that expensive junk ready for when I pass.

    Then I get to use your junk and walk away not having to worry about the washing up.
    Just think, all those lovely abandoned INCH bags and me!
    Wow, thanks in advance for your prudence and equipping so well..

    Why are you carrying heavy grills, stoves, and cast iron pots anyway?
    Cooking a meal doesn’t need quality, it only takes a frying pan with a lid.
    A BBQ grill? Stock fence cut down and laid over a fire pit. Or is that too hard?

    Sometimes you just have to become inventive and realistic and the physically limited tend to use their heads, not their brawn. Load lugging is a touchy subject in the TP household. Despite keeping our individual loads to under 12 kg, we both have problems carrying that much weight for a protracted time AS WILL A LOT OF PEOPLE.

    Living in the UK countryside you might think that we need to load lug. Not so. Someone invented roads, foot paths, farm tracks, and (happily for us) managed rivers and streams by putting bridges over them. My point? Welcome to the other use of a slightly modified, run flat, pneumatic tire, golf bag trolley. Sure all the gear is packed in a rucksack for convenience BUT we don’t sweat, the trolley does.

    We still don’t carry absolutely everything though as we know there will be so much just lying round with no owner attached. Our major survival philosophy is built round that. Seek and you shall find. We’ll take what we need, use what we can, and move on leaving whatever for the next time we pass. We think light, the minimum we need, and scavenging all the time.

    A dangerous philosophy? So is dealing with a broken back, knackered knees, and exhausted ripped leg muscles without a medic at hand.

    Besides, under attack, what’s the first thing you drop? Your PACK!
    We just cut out the middle man and step away from it free to hit the ground, roll, and (hopefully using our scavenged weapons) start shooting.

    Our tiny island is only 600 miles long and 300 miles wide and 70 million live here.
    If you can’t find what you need in a tiny area like that there is something serious wrong with you.
    Only 10% of the UK is urban and 80% of the folk live there,
    70% is “rural” but that doesn’t not mean empty as funny enough people live and work there. Most aren’t preppers either and will probably die off anyway leaving me one mountain of free stuff to use.

    As for the townies and city folk thinking of doing the same thing we are?
    Away from their supermarkets and color TV’s. I give them a week to 10 days tops.

    • preppernextdoor May 22, 2014 at 5:03 am #

      Great comments. The items I list are for going to a more isolated northern environment and trying to live there. In the ideal case, I’d want to be far enough away from others that I wouldn’t be competing for scavanged resources. You’re right though. You can’t carry all the stuff you really want on your back! Not in one trip anyway.

      Only if many, many people died, like in Omega Man or something, would we have a free run of scavanging supplies. It would be hard enough to protect what we have, let alone go out and get more.

      • thoughtfullyprepping May 22, 2014 at 6:55 am #

        Sometimes I get the idea that preppers and survivalists think that because a huge event happens, it’s going to make EVERYTHING useful on the planet is just going to instantly disappear. It won’t. We live in a world swamped by material things. (Heck, I’m in the process of packing up a home and stuff is appearing that we had forgotten existed. It’s amazing! )

        IF a big die off happens, for many years to come, until nature reclaims it’s own, there will be unattended deserted dwellings, shops, and whatever full of goodies.
        For example, if an epic plague happened in say London, England and killed off 98% of the population of 8 million, that leaves 160,000 in an area of 607 sq. miles. Most of them will leave anyway thus the chances of you even coming across another (with you practicing “looking after your own skin” procedures anyway) is poor to slight.

        Now think about all them warehouses, shops, houses, veg plots, etc. and little old you! Nirvana as far as I’m concerned.

        So not taking it to that extreme, say everyone is evacuated. Apart from the occasional “I’m not leaving” type (aka you and me) and law enforcement (always an annoyance) that too is a scavengers dream (provided you don’t get caught and shot for looting).

        No, I’m not worried if I have to live by scavenging. After all I did that when homeless and am still here to tell the tale.

    • equippedcat May 25, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

      I believe in “modularity” for survival kits. There are some things which should be carried “every day” to not only make your everyday life a bit more convenient, but also as basics for an unexpected experience. Next up would be a “pocket kit” focused on emergencies which could be carried when there is an increased chance of a survival situation. Then a “belt kit” when you know you are heading “out of town”. A car kit, of course, for when driving. And finally the BOB for major disasters/when you need to avoid other people.

      For storage, these can “nest”. For instance, my pocket kit resides in the front pocket of my shoulder bag kit, my belt kit fits into a pocket of my backpack kit (not a BOB yet, but it will be the basis of it). The backpack kit is part of the car kit. If the smaller kit is appropriate, I remove it. If the bigger kit is appropriate, then I take out the smaller kit and put it in my pocket or on my belt.

      My everyday carry stuff might be a bit more extensive than most due to my fondness for the the ultra-pocketed Scottevest.

      • thoughtfullyprepping May 25, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

        The modular approach is familiar yet duplication or even triplication is always a danger of that approach. That and accumulated weight and bulk.

        EDC, GTB, BOB, GOOD, INCH or whatever are usually all great for individual task.

        Only problem I’ve got is when you “stack” them and total up all the items weight and look at the bulk.

        It’s too easy to exceed your personal CARRY TO STATURE RATIO which for me (and curiously for SWMBO) is only 12 kg including water.

        We only ever carry individual Edc’s and Bob’s.
        The EDC fitting in the side pocket of the Bob ( a tobacco tin slipping inside a 15 liter day sack).

        Part of our simplistic KISS approach.

  2. equippedcat May 20, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    Top 3 things lists have 4 items?

    In both cases listed, I question them. Keep in mind the “Rule of Threes”. Lack of shelter (particularly cold and wet) can kill you in 3 hours, so warm clothing would seem to be number 1, followed closely by fire starting equipment. Lack of water can kill you in 3 days, so water and/or water collection/purification equipment might be third. Many other items, including a knife, and gun with ammo, would be before food. And stocking food has challenges, including size, weight, temperature restrictions and expiration dates. Any survival food strategy should pay a good amount of attention to “resupply”. That is, hunting/fishing/snaring/scavenging short term and agriculture long term.

    • preppernextdoor May 22, 2014 at 4:57 am #

      I figured somebody would call me out on the four items! Excellent points following the rule of 3. For general preppping, I consider water, food, and defensive firearms to be my top “prepping items.” These are the supplies that are “out of the ordinary” of what most people keep and have stockpiled. Took clothing for granted. A secure home could be #1 by this criteria. Reliable car could be on list.

      I agree completely with you about resupply. We didn’t say how much food and water! I’m a moderate prepper. If something happens I expect things to return to normal after a short period. In an urban setting I’m in, resupply from hunting, fishing, foraging, gardening won’t do much. Can’t keep most animals. Looked into urban bees and it’s a mess. You need to register hives, get special approval, pay extra fees, are liable if they sting somebody and on and on. Solution: Buy more honey!

      • thoughtfullyprepping May 22, 2014 at 7:08 am #

        Me again. Scavenger Inc.
        I didn’t mind your 4 item list yet my survival strategy is “different” to most. My rural kit is however HEAVY on trapping materials and fishing gear (which some people seem to forget can also catch furry and feathered prey too). However you dropped the firearm for rural. That I contest. WROL you need protection if not from dogs, from people.

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