SHTF prep bag gun gear
Devastation from Hurricane Michael (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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There’s a lot to be said for having the gear necessary to keep yourself alive in a SHTF scenario. Fire, flood, hurricane, civil unrest…you simply never know what might happen and how long it could take to restore order and civil services. Having basic survival gear on hand and at the ready could be the difference between living and dying.

And what are you gonna do, brother, when these 24-inch pyth…nevermind.

A lot of people like to talk about “survival guns” because it’s fun. We’ll get into that, but let’s dive a little deeper. Guns are tools and the movies have given people the impression that your guns will be used a lot more than they actually would in a survival situation.

We’ll cover that, of course, but for now, let’s go over what sort of basic SHTF gear you’ll need.

Hiking backpack, suitable for long treks afoot. Image: SeppVei [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
First is a bug-out bag. You need a good pack, period. If there is anything I would be unafraid to spend on, it’s a quality backpack (along with boots; you get what you pay for most of the time). You need a bag that’s capable of hauling the gear and supplies you’ll need to get to shelter or a safe place, which may require a few days in the field or trekking through an urban environment.

It has to be durable (shoulder straps and zippers are the main failure points) and should be adjustable to fit your torso length, with an adjustable waist belt because you need to put the weight of the pack on the hips rather than the shoulders. I would suggest no smaller than a 50-liter pack, about standard for two to four days on the march, with a hydration reservoir. You can select bags that are tactical gear – MOLLE and all that – or a more conventional hiking or hunting pack.

Personally, I’m a fan of Kelty external frame packs. They’re tough, they work incredibly well (the external frame lends itself to strapping extra stuff on) and your back doesn’t turn into a swamp like with internal frame packs. If they’d only make one in OD green or Realtree…but I digress.

You may only have to go a few miles, or you may have to cover dozens. Therefore, make sure to pick a bag that can handle a longer trek.

Speaking of hydration, you should have multiple containers in your bug out bag. In a SHTF situation, the most essential survival gear is hydration, because you’ll die without it after a day or two. A hydration reservoir in your pack is a great idea. You’ll also need at least one water bottle (and you should have more. If you have no reservoir, pack no fewer than two water bottles, with at least one readily accessible.

Hydration bladder. Image: Bucklesman at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
There are a number of good ones to choose from. Steel bottles are excellent as they are incredibly durable, but they get a little heavy. Nalgene bottles are lighter and cheaper, but can get a bit of a funky smell after a few days. Your bottles should be no less than 32 ounces.

Nalgene bottles, in use during mountain warfare training with the US Marines. Image: Sgt. Anthony Ortiz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Bear in mind that two full 32 oz bottles hold a half-gallon of water for drinking or cooking, which is not sufficient for more than a day or two for one person. That plus a Camelbak or other reservoir (1.5L or larger) is more like it.

You’ll also want a water filter and purification system. Iodine are easy to pack, but give water and food a funky taste. In a survival situation, though, who cares? Have some as a backup.

Boiling requires at least 10 minutes to kill bacteria, which consumes a lot of fuel and time, so it’s unwise to rely on that method alone. Other filtration systems are also available, such as the straw type (LifeStraw) and pump-actuated water filtration systems. Katadyn has a pretty good system, which attaches to a Nalgene bottle.

Image: Airman 1st Class Tara A. Williamson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Fire, of course, is also essential. Bic lighters are cheap, work well, and don’t drink fuel like Zippos. (And aren’t nearly as finicky.) A lot of people swear by them as essential survival items. However, they fail at times, so you’ll also want a flint fire starter as a backup. Both are light and easily pack. Flint in the pack and at least one lighter in your pocket is a good way to go.

Some tactical gear, such as waterproof clothing and good boots, are also a good idea to have in your bug out bag and/our survival gear. It should be lightweight, waterproof and packable. Rain gear is a must. If you live in an area that gets cold, you also want base layers and mid layers, as well as gloves. It’s also a good idea to have a suitable hat in your survival gear, ideally one for cold weather and one for warm weather.

A headscarf also comes in handy for all kinds of uses. You know you’re totally tactical once you’ve ordered a shemagh from Amazon. It can keep your face warm and doubles as a face mask.

emergency first aid kit
Courtesy Amazon

A comprehensive first aid kit is also a must. Yours should have all the basics including bandaging, disinfectants, a tourniquet and a small supply of OTC medications. Those should include painkillers/anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and a few other assorted common medications including antidiarrheal (diarrhea is merely annoying for modern Americans; it’s deadly elsewhere) and other OTC meds.

MREs. Image: US Army [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
What will you eat?. The best survival food is freeze-dried. You should pick food which has the longest possible shelf-life so you can keep it stowed in your bug out bag and not worry about spoilage.

It’s a good idea to have at least a three-day supply, if not more, along with some good energy-dense snacks (nuts, seeds, beef jerky, dried fruit, energy bars) for supplementation.

Canned food is heavy, but cans double as a cooking vessel. However, freeze-dried and evaporated foods (Mountain House, for instance) and/or military MREs are a better solution. You can pack more food more easily, but remember that freeze dried food requires a cooking vessel. So therefore, you’ll need a backpacking mess kit to go with it.

It goes without saying, but a backpacking stove is also a good idea. The Jetboil or other stove that can also charge your cell phone or other communication device(s) is also a good piece of gear, as you may be able to get to somewhere with a signal and call for help.

If you have anyone in tow with you, such as a spouse and children, they should each have a bag of their own with an amount of essential gear and food that they can carry.

Sleeping bag in stuff-sack. Image: James086derivative work: Itai [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
You should also have a sleeping bag and sleeping pad, along with an easily packable tent or two (if traveling as a family of four, let’s say) in your survival gear. Again, you don’t know how long you’ll be on foot. A folding blanket or tarp is also a good idea as a backup.

Gerber Multi Tool. Image: PeteVerdon at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Some survival tools that you’ll want include a good multitool, an entrenching tool or other type of folding shovel, and a camp saw of some sort. A hatchet and/or an axe is also a must, along with a sharpening stone.

A Lansky puck would be best as they are easily packable and can get an axe or hatchet sharp in short order. We all love the idea of an old-growth hickory handled $5,000 hatchet, but the truth is a hatchet and light axe from the hardware store will work IF properly sharpened.

These tools let you gather firewood and help setting up a shelter if traveling in the backcountry. Getting through the urban environment makes them a little less necessary, but they are vitally important in the out of doors. If you anticipate that survival for you will dictate time spent there, you should have them.

It goes without saying that you’ll need a few knives. A small knife for small tasks and a larger one for larger tasks. Gas station knives are insufficient; you need good blades that can take and hold an edge. Pack a portable sharpener; Sharps and other companies make decent ones.

Other SHTF gear that’s good to have are for food gathering.

For starters, you should have a bit of fishing tackle (hooks, fishing line and so on) in case you’re in a marine environment or find yourself by a river. A collapsible pole doesn’t work as well as your favorite Shakespeare, Fenwick or Orvis rod (I’m partial to Ugly Stiks; the comments section probably thinks I was beaten with one) but works in a pinch. A bit of Powerbait is also a decent thing to pack if fishing is going to be a possibility.

SHTF rifle prepper
Savage B22 FV-SR .22LR rifle (Chris Heuss for TTAG)

For small game, a .22 LR is always a good choice. A .22 rifle is most preferable; if you’ll be traveling in a group, make sure someone is packing that Ruger, Henry, Marlin or Mossberg .22 plinker. (Or Nylon 66, if you have one.) You’ll get far more meat on the table by shooting squirrels, rabbits, grouse and other small game.

Ruger mark IV shtf
Ruger Mark IV pistol Dan Z for TTAG

For self protection, we all know the guns that work. A .22LR pistol like the Ruger Mark IV or simliar pistol is ultra versatile. For those willing to pack more size and weight a 9mm pistol is good for dealing with two-legged threats, with a quality self-defense load.

Pepper spray is a good non-lethal alternative for humans, and bear spray IS proven to be effective…though just like a TASER, it’s effective until it isn’t, and you need to be ready to switch to a different means of self-protection.

Henry Big Boy Steel SHTF
Henry Big Boy Steel rifle JWT for TTAG

A pistol-caliber carbine is arguably the best long gun for SHTF scenarios. You can defend yourself against humans, animals and hunt in the bargain; this is why lawmen and folks out on the range often had a rifle and pistol chambered for the same round. It just sort of speaks for itself.

You can also use a carbine conversion upper or carry a carbine in the same caliber as your pistol. In this role, 10mm is exceptional. This class of long guns are effective up to 200 yards, depending on the chambering and load.

Some folks prefer an AR. The AR-15 is fantastic for self-defense, but .223 is poor for hunting. An AR-10 has more wallop for game and on the shoulder, but is equally suited to these roles as is a scout rifle. Toting magazines will be a pain, but it works in the urban and rural environment and for both roles.

Shotguns are excellent for defense at close range, but longer ranges require a rifled barrel and slugs which are not convenient to change at a moment’s notice. Carrying defense and hunting ammunition adds weight and complicates matters, so there’s that to contend with, and you don’t want to hunt small game with buckshot. If you don’t anticipate hunting or long-range shooting, buckshot and a tight choke (full or turkey) will get you up to about 50 yards.

It sounds like a lot, but it’s kind of like backpacking. You have to be able to survive for several days (or longer) on your own and potentially on foot in an urban, suburban, rural or wilderness environment, and these are the things you need to keep yourself alive in those environments.

If there’s anything you think I missed, sound off in the comments! If you want to tell us what’s in your emergency kit of bug out bag, sound off in the comments! If you have finally accepted that pineapple actually does belong on pizza, sound off in the comments!

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    • Plus that!

      A knife is the single most important tool And saying a cheap hardware store axe and/or hatched will do just fine is a flat out lie. Not only do they suck, but if you believe that, you should not be carrying, let alone swinging, a dime store blade.

      Duct Tape?

      This list is more than actual survival. But hey, those that follow it will just leave more for me.

        • Without a flashlight, *you* will be scared of the dark very quickly. Without a solar battery charger, it will take only a moment in time before you have no flashlight.

      • How many guns are you gonna carry? This packing list is ridiculous weight and needless redundancy. People who make these lists often don’t test them out nor are they in shape to hump 70 lbs more then a few miles.

      • The list is ridiculous for an urban situation. Carry a rifle down the street in LA? Ha ha. You’re going to make a campfire? With a flint? Wield an ax? Then sharpen the ax? Hell, even a mid-sized backpack would attract unwanted attention. Food- you really think you’re going to starve to death in a couple of days? Fishing tackle- if you have time to fish, you’re not in trouble.

        Instead: Whatever handgun, knife, is your EDC, all of it concealed. A few power bars. Water bottle. Minimal first aid- your regular Rx’s (if any), a TQ, Israeli bandage, and some bandaids. Extra magazine or two. Charging brick for your phone. Several hundred dollars in 20s. Jacket or coat, hat.

        • I realize that the people in California aren’t the smartest in the world, but are you on DOPE or DOG $H!+?

        • Map, flashlight, money, water. food, boots, spare socks.
          I carry a few packets of Emergency in my BUG bag. Flavors nasty tasting water

        • Let’s count how many of the basic five needs he did cover.
          1. Combustion? Nope, I see nothing about fire. No accelerators, no lighters, no ferro rod, not even a match! Well, maybe he figures on making a bow drill set in the rain.
          2. Cover? I don’t see any. Not even a tarp or a garbage bag. Well, maybe it doesn’t rain wherever this author lives.
          3. Containers? For carrying water? Well, if it doesn’t rain, seems like more than one plastic water bottle would be important, but maybe he knows something I don’t.
          4. Cutting? Nope, I don’t see anything about knives. Well, maybe the little folder in the Gerber will suffice. But I’d rather have a good full tang sheath knife too.
          5. Cordage? I didn’t see it mentioned. Well one can always make it from tree bark. At about a foot an hour……..

    • You could never carry enough ammo. A bow or crossbow would be better. You can reuse your arrows and bolts.

  1. The fact is that you are far more likely to need to “bug out” for other reasons than the END OF THE WORLD

    Want to know the #1 thing in your bug out bag? A rugged, encrypted flash drive with copies of you bank accounts, driver licences, insurance, passport, professional certifications and so forth.

    • I don’t know any place that will accept ‘copies’ of an ID in lieu of an actual ID. People walk into where I work all the time, “I lost my ID, but here is a photo copy of it.” Cool story bro. Bye.

      You’d be better off ordering a US Passport and Passport Card. The card isn’t good for international travel, but it is a good form of ID and allows you to cross into Canada and Mexico.

      Having a backup of your important documents is fine but they are worth the paper they are printed on….or stored on.

    • Want to know just how helpless and dumb the current young generation is? The last major hurricane I lived through (in a major city before I moved back to the country), I went for a short walk around outside as night began to fall, about an hour so after the hurricane had left.

      You know what I noticed?

      There were hundreds of people, most of them young, all sitting in their cars, with them running.

      You see, the power had been out for mere hours.. and they all just HAD to recharge their phones and iPads.

      They were all wasting the valuable gas in their vehicles, their only means of escape, to post shit on Fucking face book and text.

      Just think about that for a few minuets.

      • I was a patient in a Hospital a couple of years ago, and my Nurse asked me what kind of Smartphone was appropriate for a 9 year old child. I looked at her as though she had lost her mind. A 9 YO with a Smartphone…

      • Yeah, I believe that. They haven’t realized yet what a boon those usb powerbank’s can be. Charge your phone 3+ times before you need to charge it again. I recommend 20,000+ mah in case of a SHTF scenario. It will last my smartphone about a week now, maybe 3 solid days if I am on the net constantly. If your smart with energy consumption, it will do till you get safe. The are those now designed to power tablets & laptops in a pinch too.
        But my best advice is to always think ahead – if packing for a week, what will you need?

        • Say what you will about the younger Generations not being prepared for emergencies, being hopelessly addicted to smartphones, but hey, that’s what they grew up with. They’ve never known a time where we didn’t have every kind of Technology at our fingertips. And if they’ve never experienced an emergency, how are they to know? And who’s supposed to teach them this stuff anyway? Their parents! Their teachers! People like you who are instead complaining and shitting all over current Generations. You think you’re so smart? And yet, you couldn’t even bother to fix climate change before it destroyed the world? And now there are a bunch of teenagers who aren’t sure if they have a future at all. Thanks a lot, assholes. If any generation wants to shit on any other generation, I should think it would be the younger ones who have no future because a bunch of old greedy assholes stole it away from them with their constant need for money money money money money. So suck on it. We will survive just fine thank you very much.

        • Climate change huh…. the climate has been changing for millennia and we are still here. what we are seeing is just part of the normal cycles and our pollution of the air is but a mere fraction of what the earth itself puts out….. less than a single active volcano of which there are usually at least half a dozen active in some part of the world at any one time.

          As for the rest of what you said, yep your parents should have been more proactive in teaching you instead of handing you over to modern tech baby sitters (computers, tv etc)

        • “destroyed the world…” Damn it am I always the last one to know…I must a missed the party cause I’m still here.

        • Mixed Up, You forgot “/sarc”, need to be careful about that or people will think you are a moron! Because your post is internally inconsistent in ways an 8th grader could avoid. Like, the world has been destroyed but you’ll be just fine?

  2. A bit of paracord, a spare pair of glasses, and cash. I always have at least $200 bucks on me.
    And I agree with Greg above. A good fixed blade knife.

  3. As a backpacker, I can state that a single-wall (not insulated), steel water bottle functions great as a boil pot, if needed. And, a 50 liter pack is too big. Get what is sized right for the stuff you need, otherwise, people tend to take what they don’t, just because they have the space. Choose gear wisely and 35-40 liters ought to be plenty -including dehydrated/freeze dried food. Keep in mind, moving quickly may be important in this scenario, and taking too much isn’t going to be conducive to that, especially for smaller framed folks.

    • I second that. 50+ liter packs are probably on of the most common newbie mistake. Generally the more experience you have the smaller your pack gets. I am fairly new myself but started at 34l (25l for my wife) and find they have ample space and keep the weight you are carrying closer to your center.

      • Your definitely on the right path. Also exercising your equipment, if you don’t know what 40 lbs + on your back for over 6 miles feels like their is no time like the present to find out.

    • Totally agree. My early backpack was too big, I filled it with stuff I wanted, and my knees, ankles, and back paid a price.

      Get the gear you want, buy the bag that will hold it with A LITTLE extra space. Otherwise it’s not a B.O.B., its a sea anchor.

  4. Axes and hatchets are good for a multitude of purposes…but, for firewood collection it is hard to beat a folding Sven saw or even one of the 10″ folding saws from a Box Store…much more efficient use of your energy.

      • The reality is after moving all day your going to want to conserve your energy, their have been times on hikes were I went to far/hard and decided to forgo a fire altogether. In fact in the military rarely do you stop to make a fire, it’s too big of a signature.

      • YMMV…six to seven months of the year in my area the downed branches are under a couple of feet (or more) of snow….could be a month longer at higher altitudes. Far less energy intensive to break or cut the squaw wood.

        As far as a firestarter…my cheapest, most reliable source is cotton balls soaked in Vaseline stored in old film canisters (6 – 8 balls per canister)…take one out and the merest spark from a flint and steel ignites a 2 minute fire that is great for starting kindling….the Vaseline also is good for chapped skin or dressing minor burns you might suffer.

        • True. Magnesium works well…and it is one more specialty, single-purpose item to carry. I prefer that my supplies be more multi-functional. Back-country / survival supplies are like firearms…find what works for you and practice with it to know its capabilities and limitations.

          For the last ten or so years my overnight camping shelter has been mostly a hammock and tarp…really light and adaptive to terrain and conditions. A lightweight sleep bag from MEC that has two different fill weights…one to a side for differing temperature ranges. I suggest reaching out to local SAR teams and back-country Rangers (Fish and Game, Parkies, etc) for ideas on durable, cost-conscious equipment .

        • I already do that! The CrewBoss M-Pac Modular Pack, is standard issue to US Forest Fire Crews as a General Purpose Backpack. CrewBoss also make excellent High Wear clothing for the Backwoods too…

        • WTF is a “film canister”? Are you talking about the container for a Hollywood movie, 70 mm x 18 inches or more? A 35mm camera film canister (1″ x 1.5″)? What are you talking about? Now that I think of it, how do you “soak” a cotton ball in Vaseline? And wouldn’t it be a better idea to carry cotton balls and a container of Vaseline, to be combined or not, as necessary?

        • He means those little black plastic containers the size of pills bottles which is what I use(pill bottle) I don’t know if you can find those film containers very easily anymore

        • Sorry Larry, my bad. I’m an old-school photographer with lots of the really old aluminum screw on top 35mm film canisters (AGFA brand containers). The more recent Kodak snap lid plastic canisters work also. If you live in or near a larger town or city then there is probably still a wet-film processor that has the containers laying around for free or cheap.

          EDIT: Just read what DZR said above. Yup, a pill bottle would work too.

        • Take a pretty good sized dollop of Vaseline in your fingers and work it into the cotton ball (real cotton not the rayon imitation stuff) until it is saturated. If your cotton gets wet prior to your saturating it then it is pretty much shot until it dries…the saturated cotton sheds water and is usable in the rain. I combine the two at home and carry the prepared cotton with me…if you want to carry dry cotton and separate Vaseline container that’s your call (saturating the cotton is a bit messy, I find it more convenient to wash up at home where there is hot running water and towels).

        • you dont even need a whole cotton ball. a tiny bit of the Vaseline impregnated cotton wool stuffed into an inch piece of plastic straw with the ends sealed will do for at least one fire if not 3.
          A piece of magnesium rod does not take up much space, is far lighter than a decent ferocium rod and will get you out of trouble getting a fire going if the wood is really wet such as the only wood you have available has been under water.
          A good quality heavy bladed knife is crucial as is a smaller one. Axes i would not skimp on the quality of as the cheap ones are prone to ending up with chips out of the blade and then you need a grinder to clean them up to use again. They also dont sharpen as well and a blunt axe is more dangerous than a sharp one as they glance off easier and dont bite in as well. They also take a hell of a lot more energy to do the same work.
          There are packs that have a compartment to take a rifle such as an AR15 or a little lever action. This keeps it out of sight if you have to go through an urban area.
          Paracord while great is not essential. It is easy enough to make your own cordage out of the inner bark of green trees.
          Learn navigation skills that will allow you to operate without map or compass. These also help improve overall situational awareness so they are very good skills to have on more ways than one. Yes it is good to have a compass and topographic maps of the area you are in but they are not vital if you have those other skills.
          Learning to track game is also a good skill to have and like navigation without map or compass also helps build situational awareness.

        • Old Guy, I see now. 6-8 cotton balls in one of those? I think they were steel, by the way, but I don’t have any that aren’t plastic any more, probably 100 of those. Some good ideas there! And I can see that if you wait until point of use to saturate, if it’s raining at that point you’re screwed.

    • Right on.

      Nothing beats a Silky arborist saw. Tons of models of all sizes. Axes and hatchets are great ways to sustain a serious bleed-out injury if you’re not experienced in using them – especially these idiot hatchets with the spike on the opposite side of the blade.

      Also carry a “chopper” knife – either a machete or a kukri. Better than an axe or hatchet because the blade surface is longer than an axe or hatchet head and you’re less likely to miss a stroke and whack your femoral artery.

      Saws are more human-energy-efficient than axes and hatchets as well.

      Some “experts” claim you need a machete for the southern woods with softer wood trees and axes for the northern woods. Wrong. You’re not building a log cabin. At most you’re chopping 1-4″ thick saplings. An axe is way overkill for that. Anything bigger, say, for a large log long-burning fire, can be handled by the Silky saw. The Youtube channel Survival Russia has videos showing how this can be done.

      Fishing kits are another waste of time, as are any snares or traps. You’re not going to be out there for weeks or months because you aren’t trained for those food-gathering methods and without that experience you will fail. Also, when on the move you don’t have time for waiting around for fish to bite or animals to wander into a snare. Either carry the necessary food or have it cached along your route to your destination.

      And HAVE a destination! Just wandering into the woods is a non-starter all around.

      • Although this discussion is focused on what you are going to be carrying I find that a 15″ hand saw with 9 teeth per inch is the one pioneering tool in the back of my vehicle that gets used the most. Downed trees tend to come down when the soil is saturated. I had to remove one blocking a lane last week at night on an embankment with sloppy wet poor footing and would not wanted to be swinging an axe there.

        • quite agree. most of the time a saw is better than an axe. make sure you have several of the right sort of files to sharpen it.

      • You are correct about Esse Junglas. Got mine last week. Trying to destroy edge. Batoning like crazy. Chopped up soda cans. Edge still sharp. Fits in your hand perfectly and well balanced. Just ordered another one to keep in car.

  5. ALICE pack, packed up and ready to go, pup tent and sleeping bag. I camp out quite a bit and that should work for a bug out. Meals Rejected by Ethiopians.

  6. CrewBoss M-Pac Modular Pack has ~1,600 Cubic Inches of carrying capacity, along with a ScottVest 42 Pocket Vest to augment the Packs carrying capacity. And a DPx HEFT 12 CHOP 12.5″ Drop Point Blade which easily doubles as a Machete or even a Makeshift Axe…

  7. You forgot to include the Bradley AFV to pack all that gear you and your buddies will be carrying.

    But seriously, as a Red Cross disaster volunteer I recommend sheltering in place if that is an option. You don’t want be out in the anarchy and do not want to end up in some form of shelter.

    The only time you can really rely on premade rations is if you are going to be out for a short period of time so you are going to have to hunt/fish/trap for food. You are spot on with the choice of 22lr. In a SHTF scenario medical care will be in short supply and getting shot with caliber is going to fatal. For the skeptics take a 50 round box of 223 and fill it with 22lr and the count the rounds. Space and weight is the critical parameter. I would just go with a lifestraw and iodine pills as backup. Water is way to heavy to carry an adequate supply.

    The one thing missing in the kit is an entrenching tool. You need to deal with waste especially if you are in a fixed site. You can get a NATO standard spade for about $40.

    The truth is most of aren’t going to do that well in the wild more than a week or so.

    • IMO you are truly screwed if you have to walk away from your home for anything more than a very short period, unless you are at the Horace Kephart (when he was alive of course;-)/mountain man level of skill. If you believe that some sort of serious disruption is coming you are taking a big risk living in an urban or suburban area. I suspect it is not very likely you’ll make it to your bug out home once it is clear things are falling apart. Probably won’t survive very long no matter where you are and what you have with out civilization providing for and protecting us.

      • …”Probably won’t survive very long no matter where you are and what you have with out civilization providing for and protecting us….”

        One of the .gov studies I read concerning loss of power grids puts the survival rate at 1 in 10 surviving after one year.

        Anybody on maint. meds is going to have a hard time and that includes alot of our population, me too.

        • I partially agree with the fact that if you require meds you may eventually have a problem when they run out that I don’t have an answer for however other than that let me be clear you don’t need anything from government to survive, you don’t need an electrical grid, your cell phone,internet ,paved roads or a Senator to survive. If your email goes down you can still survive

        • Loss of the grid would turn the big cities into 24/7 killing & eating zones. Thence huge mortuaries. If you have to be near that, better to have a large secret room with several months of stores/water and toilet plumbing. You may outlast the worst carnage.

        • @Bob Jones

          …and in related news…I read today that the State of Washington is taking the first step towards Soylent Green by allowing human dead to be composted rather than buried or cremated…only a short step from compost to compote.

        • Grids aren’t going to go down for a year unless 1) an EMP, or 2) nuclear war.

          And an EMP isn’t going to happen by anyone unless followed up by nuclear war.

          And if you’re in nuclear war, the last thing you’re going to worry about is your iPod not working.

          Nuclear war is a valid risk. EMPs are just nonsense hype produced by people like Newt Gingrich and those who want to start a war with North Korea (which has no demonstrated EMP capability.)

        • Honda produces a Home Power and Climate Control System called the “Vaillant” ecoPower 1.0. Which produces ~1.0 kW of Electrical Energy and ~2.5 kW of Thermal Energy. Also surplus Reciprocating Piston Diesel APU, that uses a “Hatz” Diesel Engine and is capable of producing ~10 kW of electrical power. It’s also Thermal Neutral from distances exceeding 50 meters and is capable of burning JP8, DF-1, DF-2 & DF-A (i.e. NATO F-76) fuels. Entire APU measures 53.5″ x 24″ x 12.5″ and weighs ~420 pounds, fuel consuption is ~0.96 US Gallons/Hour…

      • I worry much more about having to walk TO my home. It’s 25 miles of solid city from office to the house. And, I can see MacDill AFB from my office window.

        • Yeah in your case if you don’t have to go home like to get to family you might want to consider an alternative location that wouldn’t take you that far thru the city depending on what SHTF

    • I’ll double up on the good old fashioned spade advice. I found one with a small saw in the handle and folds into a neat little package.

      One thing I’d advise against is MREs. While I’m one of those mutants that actually LIKES MREs, they are not exactly the most compact or energy dense emergency food supply. That makes them less than optimal for having to move. I prefer lifeboat survival rations that, while not as tasty (most of them taste like shit flavored chalk), they do a better job of keeping your ass alive for 72 hours and pack a lot neater than the grab bag of shit you get in an MRE.

        • WWII ex german ones are better and have a pick as well and are quite solid and will stand up to abuse….. if you can find them. Australian soldiers used to pick them up sharpen the sides of the shovel and put a spike on the end of the handle and use them as a CQB weapon as well as a trenching tool

        • Russian “Spetsnaz GRU” Unit are specially trained with the “MPL-50” as a Close Quarters Combat Weapon. It can also be used as an alternative throwing Tomahawk, and has been known to be able to penetrate curtain kinds of Body Armor…

        • Yeah i could bet they are. Those guys are trained to use anything as a serious weapon and it would be a good weapon. Part of why i like the WWII german one is like many modern ones it is folding however it is sturdy and will take almost as much punishment as a well made shovel (not talking the cheap hardware store ones you see these days) and it also as i said has a pick as well.

        • Yeah so long as the steel in the head of it is good quality it could be a very good tool. with many of the cheap axes these days that is the major problem…. the steel in them is crap and they either wont harden and temper or they are brittle. as with many things metallurgy is somewhat of an art form

        • so it should be fairly reasonable. have never seen one of those style axes here in australia but there is a lot of stuff you guys can get that is just not available here. In saying that though i can get ideas from the net and then make it myself

        • ok thankyou. I used to be a volunteer bush fire fighter about 25 years ago now and had never seen them though we were a very small brigade with just a landcruiser 4WD with a tank and pump on the back and a water trailer also kitted out there were maybe a dozen of us all landholders

      • Urban Prepper on his Youtube channel tested all the main lifeboat ration bars, eating one bar every day for three days. Check his results – the only one that actually didn’t make him sick or weak was the liquid bottle version.

        If you’re relying on those, also have plenty of constipation medicine because they will lock you up tight (as well MRE’s or any “dense” food.) A lot of “experts” recommend diarrhea medicine, but forget the constipation medicine. Constipation will drop your immune system which will make you susceptible to colds and infections and you don’t need that in an emergency situation.

    • Thanx, tdi, I agree completely. My bugout bag is a Toyota Avalon, since I don’t intend to go anywhere except maybe to the top of the hill if a dam breaks. My deer buddies, constantly getting in the way when going in or out of the area, would be in the smoker pretty quick, and all the water I need is right down the hill, in the lake, along with a pile of fish. I will not be trying to escape my neighbors, whether I try to help them or shoot them will be up to them. I don’t know about all of them, but Mountain House freeze dried food is fine right out of the pack, no cookstove required, although my gas grill does have a separate burner for such uses, as well as frying eggs and bacon. If your bugout plan includes staying home, you (I) might want to obtain some chickens! I keep enough gas around to operate the grill/stove for several years (not that much). Main things I can see that I need, long term, are as I mentioned earlier, several good rechargeable flashlights and a solar charger or 3. 20 years later that is what you would worship. My guns would still work, and I would still have ammo for most of them, but the magic would be in a flashlight.

      • “If your bugout plan includes staying home, you (I) might want to obtain some chickens!”

        50 lb. bags of chicken feed makes a crude survival ration. Grind it and boil…

    • “In a SHTF scenario medical care will be in short supply and getting shot with caliber is going to fatal…”

      This may be true but it is irrelevant. If you are defending yourself from a predator on 2 or 4 legs it doesn’t matter if it suffers a fatal wound (due to lack of medical care), it matters how fast it stops killing you. Similarly when you are hunting that animal may go a very long distance if it suffers what will only be an eventual fatal wound.

      • The two legged predators aren’t likely to press an attack home as long as there are easier targets out there. You don’t have to be Rambo. All you do is have raise the risk level. They will act like four legged predators who encounter resistance and move on to greener pastures.

  8. Getting in shape is one of the most important preparations one can make for SHTF. Half the people with all the guns and bug out gear wouldn’t even make it on a 5 mile ruck march.

  9. Lifestraw has a product with a plastic bottle and straw filter. Fill the bottle from nearly any source and purify thru filtration. Anything with multiple uses is a plus. In an urban setting I’d prefer handgun to a rifle for concealment. Blood clotting agent seems a nice addition. Including high density energy (chocolate) can be a HUGE benefit to both provide quick calories and a psychological boost.

  10. I know this isn’t exactly what you mean, but I think the most important thing to bring is havtdone it meaning if you bring a flint and steel to start fires you need to have used and practiced with it, if you use water purification methods have tried and used them before, my point is bringing the right items is extremely important but know how to use them, practice practice practice, don’t find yourself in the shit with untested equipment

    • “Paper Straws and Magnesium Shavings”! A company called “Massdrop” offers Magnesium Shavings in One Ounce Bags, fill Paper Straws with Shavings and Crimp the ends. Makes Pre-measured Emergency Firestarting easy and a must…

        • Thermite in a cinderblock on the hood of a vehicle makes a dandy immobilizing device.

          So I’ve heard… *cough* 😉

        • Just use a clay flower pot. The hole in the bottom is perfect for the thermite jet. Allegedly.

  11. Fishing pole. Hahahaha. Good luck if you end up in a survival situation. You’ll be better off using the line for snare traps for small game and dropping out a modified trout line. If you’re fishing with a pole you’re doing it for pleasure.

    • Exactly. If it comes down to it, I’d take a cast net over a rod any day. I’m just fine with grilled mullet

    • In a real SHTF situation, expect the woods to be *empty* of game in short order. And the sky clear of birds shortly after…

      • Geoff – I always hear the large game will be hunted to extinction (or nearly so) after a SHTF scenario. I kind of doubt that. You and I would do some damage but think of all the young people you know (maybe not so much for where you live but think of Tampa or Orlando for instance). And the urbanites. Do you really think they will suddenly develop the skills to become successful hunters? I don’t. They don’t have the skills nor the guns, bows, boots and other things that are near necessities for hunting. Starting down the survival hunting path after the SHTF is a losing proposition. And really, many “hunters” today are weekend warriors who once or twice a year pay someone to go to their land and climb into a stand over a bean field and shoot a deer that happens to walk by. Those people will be out of luck as well. Also, try as we might right now, we can’t hunt wild pigs to extinction. Deer and turkey populations may take a hit, but the piggies will be around long after we’re gone. I’m just not so sure we’ll see the average Joe stomping through Green Swamp or Walk-In-The-Water after the apocalypse.

        • Yeah I have to agree with you brother, most guys 25 and under with a few exceptions won’t make past their smartphone not working

        • All game would be quickly wiped out in the attempt to feed 7 billion people. Any SHTF scenario which would need massive consumption of game would also see a world of less than 2 billion people within 6 months.

        • …and the world population goals of Agenda 21 would be (almost) achieved. Net gain for the UN…not so good for the 5 – 6 billion dead. Speaking of good news: the State of Washington is approving the composting of human remains…so there will be lots of “organic” fertilizer for the survivors to use in building AOC’s vision of Panem.

  12. Re: 223 poor for hunting.

    I suggest it’s the bullet, not the cartridge. 70+gr bullets at decent velocity tear up hogs, deer, and could likely take larger game if you were able to get decently close. You’re bugging out, not going on a guided elk hunt. If you can kill the animal then you get the meat—ethical shots on game take a backseat to feeding the family.

    If I had to hump enough gear for myself and the kiddos, an AR or anything heavier wouldn’t be with me anyway. At best it would be a 10mm handgun and maybe a small/lightweight braced 10/22 Charger. And if food, water or other essentials added up too quickly, I’d slim down to just the 10mm and accept whatever small game or very close shots on hogs/deer I could take.

  13. Gonna tell you right now that you will never be prepared. I thought I was. Then the fire took out Paradise, CA. When seconds count you WILL screw up. I had a go bag. I had important stuff ready to grab. And you know what? I screwed up. Grabbed the wrong hard drive (there goes all my photos). Grabbed the wrong tote (there goes the last of my child hood). Grabbed some guns but left others. The “oh it can’t happen here” mentality is real and even I had it to an extent. We evacuated multiple times and learned from each but this one… it’s been 5 months and I’m still not done learning. Best advice I can ever give is to double check your insurance and plan. Plan to run in 30 seconds. 5 minutes. 30 minutes. And stick to that plan. I second guessed myself that day and still do. I consider my actions a partial failure, however I did manage to get my wife out of the inferno alive. I call that a win.

    • As for data, cloud, cloud and cloud. When I comes to data centers, they don’t play games. IF you can’t get your photos back, then they are the least of your problems.

      • Unless they go out of business…or get hacked…

        Best data protection – external SSD or hard drive stored in a bank safe deposit box. Short of a nuke (or bankruptcy, not too likely for a big bank – the government won’t allow it, as we’ve seen), it ain’t going anywhere.

        • Hacking is a possibility, but Amazon or Microsoft are not going out of business in the foreseeable future.

      • I had been to war and back before I had ANY capability to safeguard “important papers” or whatever silliness we are discussing. My wife and I knew full well who we were married to, did not need any paperwork to consult. Likewise which car we owned, and later who our kids were. The cloud is an easy way for our masters to keep track of us and control us. When you can buy several terrabytes of storage for $100, there is absolutely no justification for submitting the first kilobyte of your personal data to be available to just anyone, which the cloud certainly is! Store movies in the cloud, fine. Personal photos? How stupid can you be?

        • yep and in a real SHTF situation there will be no need of “documents” or “licenses” (nothing more than a means to steal a right and sell it back to you at a cost) possibly in your lifetime and maybe not even in your kids lifetime. Our forfather’s never needed them so why do we? Yeah might come in handy if it is just a cyclone, tornado, hurricane, flooding, fire or earthquake but if it is a major one that is going to turn the clock back more than 80 years technology wise then all that will be useless for quite some time

  14. To get funk out of any water container I always carry a few foil wrapped denture cleaning tablets. If you toss a half tablet into the container after you’ve wiped out any cooked particulate matter it will fizz up and clean the inside of the container better than anything else. You can re-use this water for anything except drinking or cooking. -30-

  15. I’m getting too old to carry this stuff on my back. I’ll fill up my granny cart and waddle down the highway …

  16. LOTS of great suggestions! And for even more SootchOO has a SensiblePrepper channel on YouTube. Stuff you may never have heard of too…

  17. As Eric O. stated in a comment above, the pack and the amount of stuff that the author stated is too much.

    Keep to the absolute bare essentials.

    hatchet or saw (optional)
    duct tape
    rain coat/pants
    water bottle/s
    small metal pot for boiling water
    water filtration/purification
    fire starting (including starting sticks)
    a small amount of high-calorie food
    extra (and extra thick) socks
    space blanket (reflective mylar)
    and one additional lightweight blanket

    All of the above items weigh basically nothing except for some high calorie food and the optional hatchet/saw. That allows you to carry extra water (which weighs 8 pounds per gallon) and maximizes your mobility.

    Finally, of course, some sort of firearm and ammunition. Because speed and mobility is important, I recommend a short rifle with 16-inch barrel chambered in .22 LR (with 100 rounds of ammunition) and a handgun chambered in 9mm Luger with two full magazines (one in the pistol and one on your belt) plus enough spare ammunition to reload those two magazines.

    Unless you routinely go on 10 mile hikes with 40 pounds of gear to maintain top physical conditioning, you will be glad that you kept to bare essentials.

    • Try the Henry AR 7. Collapsible 22LR. Fits into the stock of the rifle including three eight round magazines. Fits into backpack. I think weight is under for pounds. Assemblies in about 1 minute. Deadly accurate at 35-50 yards right out of box with these 77 year old eyes. Oh, it also floats.

  18. I think what the author fails to mention that your pack needs to be tailored to YOUR environment. Also, the most important thing that needs to be said is…. DONT BUG OUT…. you are far better off staying put, especially if you have family. Elderly parents, children and pets don’t travel well.

    • Yeah, KMA with the “elderly parents” crap. One child lives here, if SHTF I would expect the other to arrive by the end of the day. And neither will need a bugout pack. We “elderly” would be the destination. As would be many others.

      • You got that right. If the SHTF, my 2 oldest and my son-in-law would make a beeline for crazy old dad’s house with all the guns and ammo, medical supplies, food and all the other shit I spend a week or two every year working on.

        • Funny you guys say that I’m in my 40’s reasonably armed and supplied and I’m headed straight to my Dad’s if SHTF, he’s got 4 ARs multiple shotguns and handguns, he’s a Costco Dad so he’s got 3 weeks or more just in can foods, HELL YA HEADED STRAIGHT TO MY 70 YR OLD DADS AS FAST AS I CAN

    • I think what he was saying was a 22cal pistol is decent for hunting but an AR is too much for small game as it would tear it up too much, pretty sure he’s just referring to squirrel, rabbit and grouse. Again I could be wrong

      • Subsistence hunting on the go. You’re much more likely to get a shot at a rabbit, squirrel or other such small critters than you are to get a shot at a deer. And a rimfire will kill a deer.

    • What the dickens FOR? Your car’s heater will still work, and you should continue south until gloves are unnecessary. If you remain where you need gloves, you are going to die.

      • You’re assuming your heaters working or your car for that matter and just heading south till it gets warm is completely a crazy risk if you are starting in let’s Montana

  19. I would imange in a SHTF situation, thr first thing the government would do is to confiscate everyone’s weapons like a repeat of Katrina. They don’t need much of an excuse to do so anymore.