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Bug Out Bags

In a follow up, Insty notes this survival kit by S&W. Personally, for a bug out bag set up, I’m more of a carbine sort of guy. Sure, I’ll have a handgun too (who says you can’t take both) but the carbine is more utilitarian and accurate.

Meanwhile, in comments, Guav asks:

Iím in the process of putting together a large preparedness pack in the event of of some natural disaster or terrorists attack that results in the breakdown of law here in the NYC metropolitan area.

Iím going to order gas masks for my wife and I, some vegetarian MREís (Iíd eat a deer if I had to, but right now I have the luxury of remaining vegetarian :), water, first aid supplies, etc.

Iím trying to figure out what else I should include, as well as trying to figure out if I am allowed to keep any sort of firearm in my Jersey City apartment. All my guns are upstate at my friendís house in NY.

I doubt my supplies would remain in our possession for very long without a means to defend them.

Well, my first preference in such a situation would be to stay at home. My family and I could live quite comfortably for weeks at my home even if power were cut off. We have plenty of grub, beverages, blankets, and such around the house. We even have a nice, clean creek running through our property for water. For those without creeks, make sure you fill all your pots, pans, and tubs with water just in case.

That said, at times, staying home might not be an option. So, what’s in your bag? I have a large plastic tub filled with our camping gear (gas stoves, knives, axes, fishing gear). But what else?

Personally, I’d grab Mr. Blasty and the Glock 30. I have a bout 10 loaded mags for the former and five for the latter. I’d probably also go ahead and grab El Nino for the Mrs. And I’d grab the bore snakes and some oil. And that’s it for guns. Though having a good 22 rifle is also a thought.

Other stuff includes:


toilet paper

flashlights: lots of them. My two favorites are my Surefire G2 Nitrolon (for lighting up the world) and my Streamlight TwinTask (which can light up the world and switch to LED mode for many hours of use)

tool box

extra batteries for everything (Seriously, I have the Sam’s Club monster pack of AAs)

First aid kit


Blankets and bedding

Kids meds


Knives and cutlery


Metal pots

Sanitizers (soaps and such)

Printed copy of the US Army Survival Manual (you can buy one, but it’s free here)


Propane for my stove

And other stuff I’m sure I’m forgetting. What’s in your bag?

Update: Perusing my archives, I found these items:

Kim du Toit’s items

Les Jones on the issue.

Counter on the issue.

Good stuff. I suppose I should revisit this issue every once in a while and keep my supplies updated.

25 Responses to “Bug Out Bags”

  1. Greg Morris Says:

    My backpacking gear + my firearms.

    I have everything I need in my frame pack for extended backpacking trips including: a water purifier, basic dry food stuffs, first aid gear, various survival gear, everything I need to prepare a camp-gourmet meal, shelter, extra clothes, etc… basically everything I need for being out in the woods for a few weeks (for fun) or a few months (for survival.)
    Aside from my backpacking gear, I’d just tuck my pistol, and grab a rifle and my ammo pouches. I’d hand the shotgun to my wife (she’d complain about carrying anything else anyway.)

  2. Blounttruth Says:

    Several years ago you posted your Rubbermaid grab and go kit with pictures. Is that not in the archive? as it was laid out perfectly, and as I recall that was the basis of how me and the Mrs. put our kit together. Just a thought if you can dig it up. I also have been meaning to tell you all week (since Monday) that the had the 50 round clips for the Ruger 10/22 for $20, and a new drum clip for the Ruger and a 1911 in the 40 and 50 round version, saw it Monday and thought it was a kewl

  3. SayUncle Says:

    I think I must have linked to someone else’s.

  4. Standard Mischief Says:

    let’s see, how about 10 gallons of treated (preserved) gas, tightly sealed in two military jerry cans? You would need to keep this in a shed or something.

    How about a grab and go kit for your pet? I’ll bet this is far easier for dogs, rather than cats.

  5. Madrocketscientist Says:

    One item I include in my kit is my PDA and charging gear. Why you ask? I have a number of SD Memory cards loaded with digital maps and survival manuals, and a GPS receiver. While I acknowledge the possibility of my PDA going on the fritz, it is a hell of a lot lighter than the dead tree versions of maps and manuals (I have the paper versions of said manuals, but the PDA keeps me from having to carry them in my pack).

  6. Madman Says:

    One thing most people always overlook, but I believe is essential, is rope. Something light and strong. It has so many uses you definitely don’t want to forget it.

  7. Greg Morris Says:

    Oh, and if I’m not already wearing them, good boots. You always need good boots.

  8. BadIdeaGuy Says:

    Your referenced “Mr Blasty” post contains a gem of a quote: “The beauty of being a free man is I donít have to justify a fucking thing to you”.

    The clarity of those words reminded me that you need clean water: I keep a few gallons’ worth of water purifying tabs (and the nifty matching ones that eliminate the iodine taste from the newly purified H2O).

    Not that you can’t do it with a stove, it’s just quicker.. and they’re pretty cheap and small.

  9. GunMonkey Says:

    I’d have to say add a lightweight hammock to that list, as well as a mosquito net, both can be used for multiple things.

  10. JKB Says:

    A couple of things I learned in Katrina

    cooler – barring total social breakdown they’ll be distributing ice, you’ll need something to keep it in.

    plain unscented chlorine bleach – good for purifying water, sanitizing, killing mold(spray bottle), even sanitizing cuts and scrapes if out of better items.

    tarp(s) – something to keep you out of the sun and rain.

    petroleum jelly – wound treatment, fire starting

    bug spray –

    something waterproof for storing your kit in – hurricanes, floods and tornados can wash or blow your kit away, you need something that can survive the house falling down. cooler can be one container?

    out of area contact – who should family members call (out of the area) if separated. Especially important for school age kids, school might evac them before you can get to them.

    cashy green money – plastic doesn’t work in a disaster, takes several days or weeks for them to get ATMs up. Cash doesn’t come into the area easily due to the breakdown of the security, i.e., police busy with disaster recovery.

    parachute cord – can’t have enough of it.

    chairs – unless your under 14 sitting on the ground gets old real quick.

    something to keep the kids busy – need something, toy, game, etc. to occupy the kids and keep their minds off the situation. The latch onto that one toy they have left for dear life, I suppose for stability.

  11. Standard Mischief Says:

    # Greg Morris Says:

    Oh, and if Iím not already wearing them, good boots. You always need good boots.

    Good point. When your boots get to the end of their lifecycle, but before you have worn holes in them, set them aside. Pack them in a cardboard box with some wool socks and a set of worn, yet still useful clothes. Pack the box in your trunk.

    Once I got stuck at work by a bad snowstorm wearing nothing but office type clothing and shoes that were crap in the snow. teh sux.

  12. Matt Fulghum Says:

    Second the cash recommendation. it never hurts to have currency on hand.

    RE flashlights, you’ve got two very defensible choices, lights I in fact also own, but no longer carry in a bugout bag. Instead, I’m currently carring a LumaPower LM 301; it’s a Seoul Semiconductor LED emitter on a 1xAA body. On high, you get 70 minutes of runtime on a NiMH rechargable (60 minutes for an alkaline or 80 minutes for a lithium) at 80 lumens of output; on low, the runtimes go up by a factor of ten, and it still produces a very usable amount of light. I got mine at – very happy with their customer service, BTW. they’ve got some other really interesting stuff as well.

  13. Joe Says:

    JKB – petroleum jelly – wound treatment, fire starting

    That’s a new one, how does one start a fire with petroleum jelly?

  14. John Davies Says:

    In preparation, I took ham radio classes and got my license. There is no better way to get local information and it works when other communication methods work.

    One thing I don’t see here that I have in my go kit is caffeine tablets. I don’t need a caffeine headache muddling my mind in a disaster.

    I also have a CO detector in my radio go kit. It just seems prudent to have where I am depending on a generator for power.

  15. Curly Smith Says:

    I suggest the addition of a solar oven to cook food and pasteurize water. For a prolonged emergency it will stretch your gasoline, propane or firewood supplies.

    You can buy a portable one here for $50:

    Or, get all the info you need to build several different versions, both portable and not so portable, here: You can build one from cardboard and aluminum foil for $5-$10. Click “The Solar Cooking Archive” button at the top of the web page for more info.

  16. Bill G Says:

    I think some of you might also consider including the fencing tool that most ranchers carry in their pickups. It is a hammer, pliers, wire cutter, pry bar and other handy tools, and it doesn’t take much space. Not to mention it can come in handy in personal combat., as a suggestion, there are many many other models.

  17. Michael F Says:

    Thatís a new one, how does one start a fire with petroleum jelly?

    Cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly work wonders for starting a campfire.

    Take along a ziplock bag for storage/containment. (If Ziplock’s aren’t already there, take several in several sizes)

  18. Matt Maynard Says: is a blog dedicated to the topic. I’ve found lots of good info there.

  19. jdkchem Says:

    Does Beretta still manufacture/sell their carbine and pistol combo? The pistol and carbine shared the same magazines and 9mm ammo.

  20. SayUncle Says:

    Beretta still sells the storm that takes the 92 mags.

  21. jdkchem Says:

    Answered my own question!

    Beretta’s Cx4 Storm redefines the pistol-caliber carbine, with racy and radical lines from the masters of industrial design at Giugiaro. Form follows function in a symphony of smooth, sweeping curves made possible by the use of modern high-strength techno polymers. Beretta’s use of cutting-edge materials also keeps weight down to just 53/4 lbs., making the Cx4 a pleasure to carry, whether in the field or on duty. Five different models accept full-size Beretta magazines from the 92/96 and Cougar series pistols in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 Auto, including large-capacity restricted and pre-ban styles. The cold hammer-forged 16.6-inch barrel is chrome-lined for long life and corrosion resistance with any ammo.

  22. Bill Owen Says:

    For many years I taught newly assigned people to make up a car survival kit for extreme cold wx (ND). A really good one can be put into a three-pound coffee can, starting with a couple of trash bags, and going on from there. Of course, blankets and candles and all the trimmings for staying in a stalled or stuck vehicle went with the stuff in the can: high cal food bars, meds (if any), flashlight, cell phone charger, and so on.

    Great idea, but your first thought – staying at home – is probably best. Several real disasters of late have shown that traffic and cell phone become limiting factors.

  23. Darkmage Says:

    My bag is really about three bags, all together in a central location. I picked up a huge duffel bag and stuffed it with the major items: food for three days, stove, water purifier, matches, rope, mirror, toiletries, etc. Basically a mini camping kit. Inside the duffel is small waist pack that contains all the medications, aspirin, laxatives, ibuprofen, first aid kit, thermal blankets, etc. This way if we need something medical, we don’t have to hunt around in a huge bag for a tiny pill bottle. A seperate bag contains ammunition & cleaning kit. The third piece is a tent and a couple sleeping bags. Depending on the nature of the emergency, we grab two or three pieces, load the car and git.

    I came up with what I thought was a pretty neat tip regarding medications (well, neat to me…): Aside from your meds to keep whatever illness you have in check, I picked up a five-day pill box from the drug store. One type of med goes in each box (aspirin, ibuprofen, ex-lax, tums, etc.) filled to the brim. I used a label machine to put the name of the medication on the outside lid of each box, and the expiration date for the med on the inside of the lid. The whole thing can’t be much longer than 8 inches and only two inches wide.

  24. John Says:

    Guy’s, he’s in Jersey-f’n-city. He’s not buggin’ out too anywhere. And he lives in NYC, so for all practical purposes, he “can’t” have a gun. For any period between the breakdown of society and the restoration of law and order, he will be defending in place. So he needs to store LOTS of Water, and LOTS of food. He need’s a solution for personal waste, since he and those closest too him will be pooping a bucket for the duration. No one ever wants to talk about poop, but it’s a much more pressing issue than shooting it out with zombies like your in some damn movie.
    Speaking of which, he should definatley not go to his friends house upstate, get one of his guns, bring it to the city, and hide it in his apartment. And not f’n tell anyone. Because that would be illegal. Maybe like a nice $150 pump 12ga from the sporting goods store. And some #4 buck. And some slugs. Maybe $250 all in. Oil it up. Stash it.
    Leave the GPS and the topo maps for the guys in the suburbs. Who also won’t be going anywhere except to the rv in thier driveway to get more propane. Maybe get a real tree balaclava and some goggles if you wanna feel tactical.

  25. Fuz Says:

    Heavyduty aluminum foil, a small roll. Can be improvised for solar oven, etc. If you want heavyHEAVYduty, then a small roll of aluminum rollflashing instead. That can also be used for splinting broken bones, or fashioning a campstove. It’s generic Improvisable Material.

    Small bundle, various sizes of tiewraps.

    duct tape. A can of expanding foam. Work gloves and nitrile gloves—you may be in wreckage or (ugh) sewage.

    Gas masks? For the very fit specialist. If there’s any “gas” that you need a GI NBC mask to protect you from, you are very much in the WRONG PLACE and you’ll need a full MOPP suit, and mask filters made less than 3 years ago as well, to get you out of it. And you won’t know you’re out of it without some other specialized gear you can’t afford.
    Terrorist NBC would likely be so small a quantity that fleeing in panic will kill more people than the agent will.
    GI masks also scream “Bad Guy” (or “Fetish”) and might draw fire.

    Go for the innocuous 3M paper dust masks instead, good for concrete dust, smoke, decay, contagion, and very cheap. GI dust goggles and yellow hard hat go with. These make you look like a rescue worker, not a Blue Helmet from a Black Helicopter.

    City dwellers: keep some OTC sterile normal saline handy (Ocean nasal spray or contact lens solution). 9/11 saw lots of people with concrete burns in eyes and nostrils, saline can wash it out.

    At least one set of clothes per person that do not mark you as SURVIVALISTS.

    QuikClot is coming within financial reach of the bugout bagger.

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