Survival Bag

Updated September 3, 2014

survival kit items
Here is a list of essentials that you should keep ready to go in case of earthquake, hurricane, tornado, zombie apocalypse, or other doomsday event. This list is in constant development so check back often.

The items in the pictures are provided as examples only and are not necessarily the perfect product for your survival bag. This list is also not meant to be a complete list of everything you need. In many cases there are items on this list that you don't need in your survival bag. You should do your own research when deciding what you want in your own survival bag.

Backpack

I recommend a backpack because if you are in a situation where you have to walk a long distance, it will be much easier to carry. I have seen several prepackaged survival bags that are in a duffle bag, or even a 5-gallon bucket. I don't think this is something that I would want to carry around with me for three days. A backpack I can just throw on my back and go. Portability might be an important factor in your survival. You never know. I have also seen many bags that are red or another bright color. I would select a bright color if you were trying to be spotted, and a black or cammo style bag if you are trying to stay hidden. Another option is to find something casual looking if you want maintain a low profile. I would personally opt for a backpack that is not a bright color. If you want to get someones attention use a flashlight or something. Also, make sure the backpack is large enough and tough enough to survive.


Food

The idea here is to have at least three days worth of food per person. Some people feel that it is important to have something like an MRE (meal ready to eat), freeze dried meal packet (requires hot water) or something similar. If you are on a budget, there are cheaper alternatives such as energy bars. it doesn't matter what it is really, you need calories to survive. If you don't have food, you will get weak and this could lower your chances for survival. At this time, I am leaning towards freeze dried foods because of their shelf life, but remember that they need hot water to cook them.


Water

This is even more important than food. I recommend getting water in some kind of a container and some kind of a purification system to compliment each other. The worst thing about carrying water is that it is heavy. Hopefully you will be able to find a source for some water that you can purify and filter along the way from a river or some sort of reservoir. In the mean time you will need containers filled with water. They sell water pouches, water boxes, but I think water in bottles is fine. I am not really worried much about the shelf life of water, but I will be rotating my water bottles every so often because I usually drink bottled water anyways. In addition to your containers filled with water, you should have something to put water in that you find along the way like a canteen or something like this. A collapsible water bag is a good idea because it takes very little space in your bag. Filtration and purification are necessary when taking water from a stream or similar water source. Simple filtration could be a clean sock or a coffee filter to get out dirt and bugs and things. Purification is to get out the bacteria that can get you sick. You can use bleach or water purification tablets, as well as boil the water. All will work. Make sure you are familiar with how to purify water with whatever process you use.


survival blanket photo: Emergency Blanket emergency-blanket.jpg

Mylar Blanket

These are also known as space blankets. These things work well, so I have been told by many people. They trap your body heat and keep you nice and warm and they take very little space in your bag. They also have mylar sleeping bags which also take very little space and also you won't have to worry about your feet sticking out from under a blanket.


Survival Knife

This can take several forms. I prefer the knife that can do pretty much everything, but you should consider what you need wisely. You can do well with a Swiss Army Knife, a knife that has the fishing lure and matches and all that, or just a hunting knife if you prefer. You need to consider what you like and what you think you will need. There is really no right or wrong answer here. A knife may have lots of tools and such included, but there is no way of knowing everything that you will actually need. Do remember that you get what you pay for. Read reviews and such because a broken knife is not going to do you much good.


Hand Crank Radio

A hand crank radio is an excellent edition to your survival bag because you will never have to worry about batteries. This will provide an excellent information about world events in a doomsday or temporary doomsday situation. Many of these have the ability to keep your cell phone or other device charged as well, although it would take some time to keep your iPhone charged and I would imagine that your arms would become quite large by the time you were no longer in need of this. Others have solar panels on them as well, but they are said to be quite weak so I wouldn't really rely on these for much power either but they will help you with charging your phone on a nice sunny day. The main purpose of this will be for the radio. Most of these emergency radios have access to the NOAA stations so you can keep up on current conditions as well. Many also have a flashlight feature which will save you one thing in you bag.


Tent

There is a good chance that you may need some kind of shelter at night to keep critters and weather off you when you are asleep. Some people like to get the tube tents because they collapse so small, but my thinking is that these are pretty much useless. I would much rather get a small tent that zips shut and keeps the weather out and doesn't blow away with the first breeze. The problem with the regular small tents is that they are still quite large and may not fit very well in your bag. It is up to you how you want to do this. I am looking for smaller tents and larger bags myself. Even the small tents are quite large to put in a bag.


poncho photo: poncho poncho_519.jpg

Poncho

A flimsy poncho is probably good enough for most weather. It is a good idea to try to stay dry. A good downpour can keep you soaked for days especially if you are forced to wear the same clothes for a few days. A poncho is a great way to keep most of the water off you.


Clothes

It is probably a good idea to have some clothes that you can change into if your clothes do get wet or otherwise damaged unless you really like to be one with nature. It would be good to have a jacket or something in here too.


First Aid Kit

This is always tricky because you never really know exactly what you will need. At the minimum bring some band-aids, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and a small knife. A soft case first aid kit that you get at the store should have a lot of what you need. I like the soft kits because they are easier to cram into your bag. As a bonus, get one that is waterproof so your kit contents don't get ruined.


Flashlight

If you want to see in the dark, you need a flashlight. Enough said. Sometimes the survival radio combos have flashlights too. I would consider having a few light sources of different styles. The little keychain flashlights are not a bad thing to have as well since you likely have your keys with you most of the time anyways.


Potassium Iodide Tablets

If you are worried about a radiation incident, you need some of these. 130mg Potassium Iodide Tablets are recommended for blocking radioactive iodine from entering the thyroid by saturating it with nonradioactive iodine. You need to have enough to take one per day as they come out of your system in 24 hours. Child doses are smaller.


Multifunction Tool

While this won't replace your roll around toolbox, it will help you get out of a variety of binds. Since you never know what you will need or run into, a multifunction tool like a Leatherman or a Swiss Army knife will help you solve some of these problems.


Rope

Rope is an item that has very many uses. Alternately, you can use 550 paracord which is much smaller and lighter.


firesteel photo: Firesteel firesteel.jpg

Fire Starter

Fire is a precious thing. You use it to stay warm, cook food, and to get attention. Flint and steel are not the only ways to start fires, but it is a good way that you don't have to worry about getting wet or anything like that as you would with matches. Matches are a good simple way, or weathproof matches, but they are a bit more expensive. Carrying a few different ways to start a fire is probably the best because fire is important and fire starters don't take up much space.







If you have any comments, ideas or suggestions to make this list better, please comment below.

Thank you.

56 comments:

  1. If you're running from something or somebody, wouldn't a tent be obvious? Maybe you be better off sleeping on the ground, under leaves? Or in a tree?

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    1. A tent would be ideal for protection from the elements, but if you are worried about someone or something chasing you, make sure you set up your tent in an in-obvious place and cover it with mud and or leaves. They also sell camouflage pattern tents. It also helps to have a buddy to alternate sleeping/watching with.

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    2. If you are worrying about running with a tent, wouldn't tarp and rope be better than nothing?

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  2. It's hard to find tents with camouflaged design here in our area.

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    1. Buy some spray paint and paint your own camo!

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    2. Amazon has camo tents for a good price, they come in the fleck pattern which was used by the German Army

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  3. I would love to have a bag like this one you have up top. Its so hard to save and buy when you have little money to use. But I try my best and love that your giveaways help people like me that dream of a bag or bags like this but cant just buy them thank you

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    1. There are lots of places that sell kit survival bags, but often they have things that you don't need, are low quality, or whatever. If you get one of these, I suggest taking it apart and taking out what you don't need and adding things that you will need.

      Keep in mind, weight can be an issue with these bags too. Many people have made bags that are so full of stuff that they can't even carry them for long.

      Another thing to think about is the quality of the backpack. Having a cheap backpack that cuts into your shoulders will not be helpful either.

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    2. I went to walmart at the start of our school year and bought a good black backpack, around 18 bucks I think. Then I bought a camoflauged one from the sporting goods dept, that one was around 30. They both are big with a lot of pockets to hold stuff.

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  4. I've got mine packed and ready to go. The only thing that I suggest that you add to the bag is some rope. It is surprisingly useful for a variety of building situations.

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  5. Is there a specific Leatherman or Swiss model you would recommend? I have a swiss explorer at the minute (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Victorinox-Explorer-Army-Knife-Red/dp/B0001GS19K/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1353430460&sr=8-14) but it lacks a saw or file. Thanks

    Peter

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    Replies
    1. I haven't seen anything that does everything, but I am leaning towards getting the (Wenger 16320 Swiss Army RangerGrip 78 Knife, Red and Black) for my next tool based on reviews, size, and features.

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    2. Thanks for the advice. I must check it out and see if I can wrangle a relative into getting me one for christmas. Much appreciated.

      Peter

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  6. Wow some great tips...I didn't even think of the rope! I am slowly building up my little bag but still missing a multifunction tool and the rope!

    Love your blog
    Laura

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  7. This is a great check list to start preparing a survival bag. We have a hurricane kit - we should have this too!

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  8. You might want to add a way to make fire like matches, lighters, or magnesium fire starters. It might not be summer when you need to survive and you can use fire to make water safe to drink and make a signal fire.

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    Replies
    1. You are absolutely right. An oversight on my part. Done.

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  9. Thanks for the tips :) were always adding this to our bag(s), this has given me a few more ideas.

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  10. This is a great list! J. Bullivant Urban Survival Gear offers a few of the items listed as well as a few other useful tools in an emergency including a water purification bottle, solar power backpack and more.

    Check it out www.jbullivant.com/christinecastaldo

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  11. Sweet, a dude who likes gear! To reduce payload, I'd take a bushcrafting knife like the SOG NW Ranger or Kershaw Bear Hunter II. Survival + utility all in one at 5-6 oz. What do you think?

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    1. I haven't used either of those. I would recommend trying one out that someone you know has, or reading reviews from people online who have purchased them. Check and see if what they liked or disliked are things that are important to you. Lately I am leaning toward having a knife and a multitool separate unless I was limited on space like in a bug-out bag. The knives you mentioned do have good reviews on Amazon.

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  12. How about a metal match? Using your knife just one spark into dried cattail head or crushed out dry grass makes a quick fire.

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    Replies
    1. It is a great idea, but you need to be sure you know how to use it before you really need it.

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  13. Tents are truly over rated if you are on the move. I would spend a little time educating myself on wilderness survival. Knowledge of these skills is a much greater asset then any tent. Now a tent is a wonderful thing at a base camp, but as the gentleman said they can be easily concealed.

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  14. I like your suggestions for a survival bag, but did not see any fire making items, like waterproof/storm proof matches, or flint.

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    Replies
    1. You are correct. An item I overlooked. It is now on the list.

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  15. I would like to suggest something for outside the bag, like a walking stick. They have many uses, balance,poking for snakes, or other critters, and as weapons.

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    1. Good Idea. Just keep it near your Bug Out Bag so you can grab it at the same time.

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  16. I would like to suggest something for outside the bag, like a walking stick. They have many uses, balance,poking for snakes, or other critters, and as weapons.

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  17. your survival bag is pretty good i would advised having some good old fashion know how some time gear doesn't cut it, also add a compass and a E-tool, E-tools are pretty versatile and can cut back on weight and space, and in my opinion a tarp and hammock or a collapsible cot work better for shelter, tarps can keep the elements at bay while wrapped up in a Mylar blanket near a fire keeps you warm,hammocks are easy to use, cheap, light weight,easy on space,and can be used as a net, and keep you up off the ground away from the critters,a collapsible cot is for those who live in less forested areas, a PVC pipe capped at both ends one end with a bolt for grip can easily be turned in to a fishing spear or pole depending on area and type of fish, also keeping strong fishing line with you can be use for small game traps not just for fishing its harder to spot then 550 paracord, char cloth would be a good thing to add as well for fire starting and having the means to make it doesn't take any real space and can pay off in the long run, metal water containers made of aluminum are almost just as light as plastic but you can use fire to purify what ever water you find, a water bladder is also a good thing to have little space when empty and easy to access if needed, as for flashlights head light with a red filter,it doesn't take much space and the red filter doesn't mesh up your night vision, the axe multi tool is a good one and pretty cheap for its worth, i also suggest going to this link http://www.instructables.com/id/Better-Sterno-Alternative/#step1 it is an altoid sterno tin which ive used and has save me plenty of time when i fell in a river and needed fire.

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    1. My name is Sean Macbride and i left this forgot to say that it was a long post

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    2. Excellent suggestions. I appreciate the input. I will be adding some of these to this page soon.

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. Sorry, I needed to correct and add some stuff to my comment. I love your list, because it covers the basics. I would add in some toilet paper, you can take the cardboard roll out and then compress the roll to make it smaller for packing. I would also add sunscreen and bug repellant for obvious reasons. Instead of a tent, you could add a tarp to use for shelter. I would also add electrolyte tablets and some gatorade packets, to keep your electrolytes balanced and keep you hydrated. The last thing you need in a survival situation is to have sun stroke/

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    1. There are many things to consider for your Bug-Out Bag. Everyone should consider their own needs and level of experience and knowledge in working with these things.

      I have tried to keep this list simple and not overwealming for people who don't even have a bag.

      I find people keep making very valid points on several items on this list as well as items that should be added. I am considering reviewing and possibly redoing this page.

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  20. thought i might give a few ideas for those who already have b.o.bs, if you use a glow stick, a mouse trap, and some fishing line one can make a perimeter alarm, simply tie the glow stick to the mousetrap and tie it to a tree and set it while tying fishing line to the trigger at a height that animal such a bobcat can set it off, the trap will go off if done right, the snapping sound on a quiet night will be loud and the glow stick will tell you what direction you should defending from.

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  21. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such great information being shared freely out there.


    testing

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  22. this is a simple rehydration drink powder i learned from some good old military docs 1/2 teaspoon salt (promotes improved water retention and proper pH balance).
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda (balances pH levels and regulates water absorption).
    3 tablespoons sugar (provides a source of glucose, energizes the body and helps it retain moisture).
    1 quart room temperature water (provides hydration and a vessel for the other components). ive used and it does the trick,i just having this in your bug out bag for emergencies

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  23. This is a great starting point. It needs to be adjusted like you said to fit everyone's own needs but beginners need a place to start and this is as good as I've seen.

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  24. Fantastic article, great tips. I would add a small garden trowel/does not weigh a lot nor take up a lot of room/can be clipped outside the pack. Keep up with the good tips.

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  25. Fantastic article, great tips. I would add a small garden trowel/does not weigh a lot nor take up a lot of room/can be clipped outside the pack. Keep up with the good tips.

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  26. Thanks for the list and the tips! I'm putting a pack together right now. I do have different kinds of fire starters. I put my wooden matches in an empty plastic fish food container with a screw on lid. It's small, light, and it keeps them dry.

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  27. i also pack a whistle with me

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  28. Good list for a beginner. I gave up on the tent thing a long time ago when I discovered camping hammocks. They are smaller, lighter, easier to set up, plus you're off the ground and much easier to carry and conceal. I do a lot of "stealth camping" and a nice camo camping hammock is definitely the way to go.

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    1. Good idea, I hadn't thought of that - thanks for the suggestion.

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  29. To start with, you can find lots of things at the Dollar Store that could later be replaced with higher quality items. Also, if you make it a point to buy 1 or 2 things every week or every payday, you'll soon have a good bag put together. Also, now is back to school sales, and a good time to look for a backpack (which can also be replaced later for better quality).

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  30. Don't forget the original Duct Tape! It can be used for so many things.

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  31. The mylar blankets are a great suggestion - you can get them small enough to fit in a pocket and they'll double as a makeshift shelter along with rope and a couple of black binder clips in a pinch.

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  32. Hey me again a came across something i wanted to share we everyone its instructions on how to make your own MREs http://crisissurvivortips.com/make-your-own-mres/ this link will get you there i hope it helps

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  33. Many of the things you have got around the house without delay will act as survival gear too. It would be an honest plan to buy some further, maybe if you are in an exceedingly pinch and don't have access to gear, you may conjointly use some thread for some fishing line, thread and a fishing hook might even work as suture and a threat. If it comes all the way down to it. It's not ideal, however, survival is regarding creating the simplest of true you are in and also the gear that you just have. Here are many different ways in which to utilize some common things. http://survivaloutfitter.co/u/66/100-things-that-run-out-first

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  34. During emergency conditions ham radio will still have its place using low lower quality to pass via Morse packet or code radio. The marine radio band contains channels numbered 1 through 88.

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  35. Here's a useful link that I thought I'd share on an article that lists 100 things you'd need in case of an emergency.... there's several on there that I din't even think of until reading it http://survivaloutfitter.co/u/66/100-things-that-run-out-first

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