Hello, my friend and welcome back! I often get emails from new Preppers asking what they should have in their Bug Out Bags, at a minimum. I always say to start with the basics and build from there. The question then becomes “What makes up the minimum?’ While this is actually one of my older post, I think it does a good job of spelling out just what the “Minimum” is. Grab a cup coffee my friend and pull up a chair while we visit.
A minimalist survival bag. When it comes to putting together a short-term survival bag (1-2 days), you need to think “Minimalist”. There is no point in carrying any more than you absolutely have to, when on the move or run in an emergency situation. In today’s post we will look at the basics needed to create such a bag and other items that you may want to consider adding to it, if you feel you need them.
Now please remember that we are not talking about a Bug Out Bag or even a Get Home Bag, but rather a quick survival pack for surviving up to 24 hours in place. This could be the result of an earthquake, where you are trapped and just need to survive until help arrives. You could become lost while out for a day hike or stuck in the snow on the side of a road with no traffic. There are lots of reasons why you would need one and it is always best to be prepared for whatever comes. There is no need for these to be very large and in fact, they can usually be worn as a fanny pack or something similar. It needs to be small enough that you can always take it with you, while still leaving your hands free to do other things. If it is too big or bulky, then you will tend not to want to always carry it with you, and then when you really need it you won’t have it. You need to try to keep it as small and lightweight as possible to overcome this.
So exactly what should you have in it? Well, here are a few suggestions that I have and it is what I keep mine in. I find that a fanny pack is great for this type of bag. When I go someplace, I simply attach it around my waist and I am off. Here is the bag that I use and you can get it from Amazon and other Sporting Goods stores. Here is the list of the items I have in mine, and what you choose to put in yours is completely up to you. Just be sure to think it through and be sure that you have the basics that you might need to cover just about any situation. Here is my list:
- LifeStraw – For me, this is a must as it will let me get water from just about anywhere I can find it in liquid form. Such as a stream or a ditch or any place else. Just remember that while it will filter out dirt and bacteria, it will not filter out chemicals and pollutants so use a little common sense when selecting a water source to use.
- A plastic foldable water container – These are to use as a canteen if a source of water such as a faucet can be found. This way you have something to store it in for later use if the source should stop working later. These are small, cheap and extremely lightweight, and something that I strongly recommend that you add to your survival pack.
- SOS Food bars – These usually come in a pack that can provide you with enough calories to last for 70 hours. They are small, lightweight and very convent; they even taste pretty good as well. Another option that some people choose to use instead is Power Bars and if you prefer them, then they are a good substitute. You just need to have something to keep you going and help fight the hunger pains in case you are cut off from other sources of food.
- A good folding knife or Multi-Tool– This is one of those items that when you need it, you really need it. Should you need to cut a piece of string or wire, you will be glad that you have it with you. It is also handy for breaking glass and prying small items loose if needed. Just be careful and not cut yourself with it. I carry one that is a multi-tool and can be used for multiple things. I like having a screwdriver and pliers with me, as well as a knife blade when I need it.
- A cheap cigarette lighter or a good Ferro cerium bar– These are great for starting fires should the need arise. If it is cold or you need to build a signal fire, then you will need them. Just remember that if you are in an enclosed space please be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning risks and use as much ventilation as possible.
- Flashlight or Chemical lights – A small flashlight is a must, but if you are forced to walk in the dark, and chemical lights are a necessity if there is a chance of a gas leak. I keep one of both of these in my bag and suggest that you do the same. They weigh almost nothing and cost very little to purchase. Don’t get caught in the dark with nothing to help you see.
- Thermal Blanket – I would suggest having a couple of these in your bag for emergencies and to help keep you warm on a cold day or night. The cost hardly nothing and take up very little room in your bag. These are also great to have with you, should you happen upon an accident, and can actually help save someone’s life.
- Disposable rain Poncho – These are very small and can help keep you dry in the rain or snow. They are also great for helping keeping you warm, especially when used on the outside of a solar blanket. I learned this lesson the hard way and now always have one in my bag, all it takes is to be forced to walk in a cold rain once and you will immediately see the value in having them.
- A Bandanna – These things have so many uses that it only make sense to keep on in your bag. They can be used as a dust mask, a water filter, or even a bandage if the need arises. All of this plus a head covering as well. Like I said, they have hundreds of uses especially in a survival situation. Always keep one or two in your bag.
- A small first aid kit – This one is a no-brainer to me. If you are going to have a survival bag, then it only makes sense to have a first aid kit in it. It doesn’t need to be big, just a few basic items such as Band-Aids, Triple antibiotic ointment and some gauze. If it were me, I would throw in a few packs of Tylenol in it as well. This could help keep a bad time from turning into a really bad time!
- A loud whistle – If you are trapped under rubble or if you are lost in the woods, then this could absolutely save your life! A signal whistle is a must for your survival bag.
To me, these are the basics and as I mentioned in the beginning, here are a few optional items you might want to add as well:
- Crank AM/FM radio – if you are trapped in a building or some other type of emergency, you will want to know what is going on and just how wide-spread it is. Understanding what and where things are happening can make the difference between life and death in some situations. This is optional because you may have limited space in your bag. If you do have the space, then by all means, add it.
- Cotton Balls with Vaseline on them – I keep a small Ziploc bag in mine with a few cotton balls that I have rubbed Vaseline on to use as fire kindling. These are easy to light and burn for several minutes to help you start a fire. There might not always be dry kindling available for starting a fire so I carry my own.
- Dry socks – I know some people who will not leave home without a dry pair of socks somewhere in their car or on them. I guess it is just one of those personal choices that we all make. I can definitely see the advantage of having these in case your feet were to get wet and you had to walk for a long distance. I chose to forego this item myself, as I simply do not have the room to carry an extra pair of size 13 socks in my bag.
While I am sure that there are many other items that one could choose to add to their survival bag, these are the items that I have in mine. I just wanted to share them with you because I believe that everyone needs to have a survival bag of some type with them at all times. You never know where or when the need will arise and we need to always be ready to survive whatever may come our way, even when we least expect it!
Well, that does it for today’s post and I hope you have found it interesting and maybe I have given you something new to think about. Thanks for stopping by and until next time, stay safe, stay strong and stay prepared. God Bless America!