Friday, November 18, 2011

First Things You should Have Before Anything Else to Survive

Through the years I have read many, many checklists and articles about Bug-out-Bags [BoBs] and Bug in Bags [BiB]. All suggest food, clothes, guns…etc, and yes those things are important to have, but not many talk about basic kits. What’s the difference in a BOB and a BiB, and why would I need both? Well in reality you don’t. They are basically the same items, so you should only need one bag.

The idea of the BoB-BiB is that you have the basic tools of survival to handle any disaster or emergency that comes up and insures you are able to move quickly if need be with those Items. The concept of a BoB started with our military and the packs they carry. But what the modern day survivalist tends to miss is that the military is set up for procurement. They carry more defensive gear in their packs then they do survival gear. They travel fast and hard, they are able to fight at a moment’s notice. Yes, they do carry MREs – but are taught in a survival situation to procure food and water on their own, and conserve the food they carry with them. Taking a page from their book - your BoB should be geared more towards surviving. A 1000 rounds of ammo, smoke grenades, grenades, and a pork roast (you get the point) etc, are entirely unnecessary. We need to survive, and surviving means food, water, shelter, fire and protection - and if we do have to bug out… doing it as fast as we can. Moving fast = light and quick.

Military survival packs contain items that are relatively easy to acquire, items that assist in procurement, emergency medicine and basic survival needs. If you are in a strictly survival situation, you can strip your pack down and carry only the survival portion with you. No one needs 60 pounds of gear to survive – no one.

The First Things You should Have Before Anything Else:

  • A good solid Multi-Tool – This should cost $30 and up for a decent one.
  • Fixed Blade Survival Knife – ( I prefer the rubber handle ones with a eyelet or glass breaker, so I can tie paracord on it and wrap that around my wrist – this helps ensure I don’t lose my knife and the paracord is handy to have for other things)
  • Knife Sharpener - Learn to use it and always keep your blades sharp

Note: A Good Knife will feed you, protect you, help shelter you and help you start a fire – It will help you in every aspect of a survival situation. This is where you can’t compromise on cost. Buy a good knife and multi tool, you won’t ever regret it.

Creating Your BoB/BiB:

The area where you live will determine the items that you will need in your bag, depending on climate (hot vs cold) and environment (urban vs suburban vs rural).

Note: How much you put in your BoBBiB depends on what you will use to carry it. Think backpack vs. messenger bag. Also, consider whether or not this kit will be for your car or person. Remember in an emergency, you will have to carry this bag. It will become the second most important item to you (the first is your knife!).

  1. Always think about layering your kit, keeping the most important items easily accessible (either on top or strappedsecured to the outside), so you can get to them quickly and easily.
  2. I recommend you do not put anything in your kit that does not have a multiple use. Having single use items is a waste of energy, time and money.
  3. Remember: Your BoB/BiB doesn’t have to be elaborate or have the latest and hottest gear to be functional. In an emergency situation no one cares that you have the latest electronic snare tool with speakers and GPS … keep it simple, durable and functional.

Your Bag should Be:

  • Water proof or water repellent
  • Easy to carry, with areas you can attach items easily to the outside
  • Big enough to carry various size items and have room to carry addition stuff… {Food you scavange, etc}
  • Made of durable fabric, with solid, tight stitching

Categories of Items to Consider When Creating Your BoB/BiB:

  1. Fire Starting Items
  2. Matches, Wooden Strike anywhere in sealed bag
  3. Magnifying glass
  4. Flint and steel. You can buy the Swiss fire starters for about 8 bucks, in any store that sells outdoor gear. I personally have 3 of the Swiss strikers and a couple of manganese starters.
  5. Pre-packed tinder – Sta-Lit Tinder Start or petroleum jelly and cotton balls work well.

  1. Water Procurement items:

Water disinfection:

  • Iodine tablets,
  • Betadine Tablets
  • Iodine Solution
  • Bleach [A few oz’s]

Note: These items have multiple purposes and should also be staples in your first aid kit.

2 birds - 1 stone...we like that!

Water Bottles:

I want to take a moment to talk about water bottles. The plastic Camel Bak bottles are awesome, but in a survival situation they really are only good for carrying water. In a situation that demands the need for water procurement, a sturdy metal water bottle is the best to carry. Yes, a Camel Bak bladder water unit in your backpack is great…but if you can’t disinfect or clean your water then even those are useless, except to carry dirty water.

Metal Kleen Kans are lead and petroleum free. They can be used to boil water, can be cooled in a stream for use as an ice pack, used to boil food etc. An old fashioned metal water canteen with a canteen cup is also a great investment for under $15.00.

Water procurement is your most important item…you can survive weeks without food, but try going without water for even one day and your ability to survive will start to decline dramatically.

If your budget will allow, I recommend you get a water filter (hand pump). If you can’t manage it (and these days, many can’t!), then make sure you have the items to disinfect andor boil your water.

  • Canteen Cup- Metal
  • Kleen Kan
  • Any suitable cans that contain no lead or petroleum products (in a pinch, even empty vegetable cans can be used to boil water).

Water Carrying Items:

  • Camel Bak Bladder
  • Plastic Bag – Larger Freezer bags
  • Metal or glass containers (remember nothing that contained lead or petroleum products)

  1. Food Procurement Items:


  • Various Sized Hooks, paperclips also make good hooks
  • Various size SinkersWeights…rocks and pebbles can also work
  • Fishing Line At least 12lbs weight – you can buy a 1000 feet for 8 bucks or less


  • Snares - guitar strings work great, you can buy a string for under a buck… You want wound, low E to D
  • Bait – cheese or cheese spread, peanut butter, energy bars, some of that yummy MRE (a note of sarcasm? Possibly!)… Really animals will eat almost anything
  • 550 Paracord – for net and trap constructions
  • Sling Shot… I got a couple at Bass Pro Shop for under 20.00

Plants: If you don’t have a good field guide that describes edible plants in your region, now is the time to invest in one. Try to find one that has actual pictures of the plants, not just drawings.

Note: There are many videos on YouTube that show you how to prep wild game, please take some time and watch a few. It really isn’t that hard, but is important to know.

  1. Signaling Items:

  • Mirror
  • Whistle
  • Flashlight {Solar or hand cranked are best, so you don’t have to worry about batteries.}
  • Candle(s) – tea candles are small, light and give you a minimum of 2 hours of light each.
  • Lighter

  1. First aid kit:

Basic Items:

  • Band-Aids - various sizes
  • SteriStrips
  • Adhesive Tape
  • Non-stick pads various sizes
  • Gauze
  • Duct Tape – a Survivalist Miracle Tool
  • Super Glue – Yes, to close wounds
  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • PaperClips – Can be used to seal wounds in a pinch, should already be in your kit for fishing hooks…
  • Straight Blades
  • Pain Meds - as much as you can get, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin etc
  • Tweezers
  • Nail Clippers
  • Small Scissors
  • Eye Wash
  • Female Products - Guys…this is not only for girls - tampons are designed to absorb blood and fit nicely into a bullet or stab wound)
  • Cotton balls


  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Triple Antibiotic
  • Sunscreen
  • Aloe Gel

  1. Shelter Items

  • 550 Paracord
  • Plastic Tie Downs
  • Sewing kit with various size needles (Fishing line = suture, sewing thread = suture)
  • Poncho
  • Large Garbage bags (can also be used as a Poncho)
  • Space Blanket
  • Small Green Tarp (any color of course, but the darker the better) 6x6, 6x4
  • Various size bungee cords

  1. Important Misc Items:

  • Compass
  • Map of your area
  • Notebook with pencil [The shavings should be saved for Tinder)
  • Pepper Spray
  • Copies of all your ID’s and important papers in a water proof bag
  • Lots of quality carbiners
  • Lots of velcro tie strips
  • Plastic tie wraps
  • Extra batteries
  • Extra plastic sandwich and Freezer bags, various sizes
  • Bandanas, several

With all this gear in your BoB-BiB, the items in your pack should now weigh about 5 pounds or less …and you have all the survival tools you need to procure your food, clean your water and provide basic first aid.

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