4 Tips to Choosing the Right Pack for Your Bug Out Bag

We all have a bug out bag. If you don’t, you need to get one. Not all backpacks are created equal and not all backpacks will make good bug out bags. Buying the cheapest backpack at Wal-Mart is not a good use of your money. You can certainly buy used, but you need a quality pack that is going to hold up. Quality counts.

There are some key traits your bug out bag should have.

*Durable. You don’t want flimsy material that will shred with the first snag of a tree limb. While many backpacks are made with some kind of nylon material. Check reviews online to see what others have said about the pack—believe them and not the sales copy.

*Affordable—more expensive does not always mean better. Decide what you can afford and then start looking for packs that fit into your price range. You can buy a used pack for half the price and it will still have plenty of life left.

*Size matters. Decide what you will be carrying. Are you going to be carrying enough gear for the whole family or just yourself? Are you planning on using the bag to live out of for a day or a week? If you need to pack a lot of gear, consider getting an internal frame pack.

*Comfort—if possible, try the packs on before buying. You want it to sit comfortably on your hips and not rest in the small of your back. Spring for the hip belts and extra padding in the shoulders. A breathable material on the back side is another perk that can make warm weather bug outs a little more comfortable.

No matter what you decide, make sure the pack suits you and your needs. Everyone has their own idea about what they need to carry. If you are someone who wants lots of pockets, make sure that is a quality you keep in mind when shopping around. The pack is for you and it is all about what you like and what you don’t.

An Emergency Blanket is More than Just a Blanket

wilderness survival kitEvery bug out checklist you find or stockpile checklist you come across will have a survival blanket or what are sometimes referred to as emergency blankets or Mylar blankets on the list. If you have ever gotten your hands on one of these and opened up the tiny, wallet-size packages, you may be wondering what all the fuss is. Like, how is that thin, fragile piece of shiny material going to save your life.

It really can. Despite it’s relatively fragile condition, it is extremely useful and effective at keeping you warm. Keep in mind; not all emergency blankets are created equal. There are some that are incredibly thin and they will shred with just the slightest tug. Because these are such a vital part of your bug out bag and survival, it is worth it to spend a couple extra bucks and buy the good ones rather than to go cheap. Have at least one quality blanket in your bag and a few of the lesser-quality ones to use for purposes other than covering your body.

What other purposes? Well, there are many, many ways you can use those blankets in a survival situation.bug out bag

1. Place a blanket behind a fire so the heat reflects back on you or into your shelter.
2. Use a blanket to signal for help.
3. Use the blanket to make a lean-to.
4. Use a blanket to put over the top of your A-frame shelter.
5. As a poncho to help keep you dry.
6. Make a sling for an injured arm.
7. Cover a window with a blanket to stop drafts.
8. Use a blanket as a barrier between you and the cold ground.
9. Braid strips of a blanket together to form cordage.
10. Tear shreds of a blanket to mark trails if you have to go out hunting or foraging.

There are plenty of more uses for the blankets. You may not even know you can use it for something until you are in the moment. Buy the blankets in bulk. Once you have opened them, you are never going to get them back down to the size of a credit card. They are flimsy and they will tear. Have several in your pack just to be on the safe side.

What Will You Wear for the Apocalypse?

birch-569341_960_720It may seem like a silly question, but what do you plan on wearing for the apocalypse? Your clothing will be your first line of defense against the weather. Heading out in a snowstorm wearing sweats and flip flops would be a serious mistake. Your bug out bag is important, but you also need to put together the outfit that will protect you and aid you in your goal to survive whatever has come your way. There are some key components to look for when you are putting together your survival outfit.

Waterproof

Getting wet could kill you in a cold weather situation. You want to stay as dry as possible. Even though it may seem like a good idea to get wet in a hot weather situation, you would be very uncomfortable and your skin would chafe. Duck canvas pants are a good option. Gortex is nice, but it will tear with just the slightest brush of a branch or rubbing against a jagged rock.

Durablewalker-1208261_960_720

Again, the duck canvas is a nice choice for pants at least. It is very durable and isn’t going to shred while you walk and climb over rough terrain. It is actually fairly comfortable as well and will get more comfy once you break in the gear.

Warm

Even in warm weather, nights can be very chilly. A jacket is going to be a nice addition. The jacket should have a wool or fleece lining to keep you warm. An outer shell made with a breathable material will keep you from sweating. Many of the hiking jackets you will find have several layers that you can remove or add as needed.

Pockets

Pockets are awesome. Cargo pants are worn by the military for a reason. They can pack around a great deal of gear on their person. It is much easier to get to something in a pocket than it is in a backpack. Tactical vests, pants and jackets should definitely be included in your survival wear.

Base Layer

This is the layer of clothing that you would wear under your shirt or pants. There are a lot of choices in this area. The weather you are preparing to bug out in will play a huge role in deciding what to pack. Make sure you update your outfit with the season. Merino wool tends to be a favorite for cold weather situations. Silk is incredibly soft and adds a nice layer of protection for the skin in cold or warm weather situations.

Glow Sticks: 10 Reasons You Want Them in Your Bug Out Bag

When you are putting together your bug out bag, there is a long list of gear you will want to add. Things like a knife, water purification tablets and a flashlight are all at the top of the list of essential gear. As you get to packing your bag, you will likely discover you have a little extra room. You can always squeeze in a little extra something that gives you an edge in a survival situation. One of the things you should add are glow sticks.

Glow sticks are fairly inexpensive and can be purchased in bulk for even more cost savings. Some people will assume they don’t need the glow sticks because they already have a flashlight and a way to start a fire. However, there are some other reasons you should add the glow sticks to your bug out bag or stash a pack or two in your emergency supplies.

1-Glow sticks are perfect for adding just enough light to a camp spot without being overly bright. They make perfect night lights for those nights you won’t have a fire.

2-Glow sticks can be used to mark a trail or set near something like an outhouse or the car to act as a beacon.

3-The sticks are waterproof and will stay lit, even in the rain and snow.

4-They can be used to indicate your location if you are trying to be rescued.

5-Kids or members of your group can wear a stick on their shirt or around their wrist so you can see them in the dark.

6-Glow sticks can be left at your camp while you go off looking for firewood, food or water without fear they will start a fire.wilderness survival kit

7-They can be easily hidden should you need to hide in the darkness.

8-The sticks can amuse children for hours.

9-The sticks are much safer to use than a candle and do not require any batteries.

10-You can use a glow stick at any time, even if you suspect there may be flammable gas in the area. If you are in the house after an earthquake and natural gas is present, a glow stick will not ignite.

The glow sticks are inexpensive and most will last for about 12 hours. You can pick up smaller glow sticks at the dollar store or order the larger sticks that are meant to be used in a survival situation online.

Why Duct Tape is a Necessity for Preppers

tape-589079_960_720Preppers all have that one thing that they absolutely do not want to be without when it hits the fan. If you have ever played out those what-if scenarios in your head, you probably have one thing that you must have should you find yourself stranded on a deserted island or the equivalent. Maybe you have watched those survival shows where the person was dropped off in the middle of nowhere with just a couple pieces of gear. What is your dream gear?

For many preppers, it is duct tape. Duct tape is the dream gear that many preppers want to have in their bug out bag or emergency survival kit. Why? There are many reasons. We will cover a handful. You can probably come up with another 50 right now and in a true survival situation, you could double that number when you are forced to improvise.

1-Duct tape can be used to fashion a sling. Fold it in on itself to keep it from sticking to your neck.

2-Use it to hang plastic over windows and doors. If you don’t have plastic, garbage bags will do.hiking-566087_960_720

3-Duct tape can hold branches together to make a shelter in the wild.

4-Cover your shoes with duct tape to make them a little more waterproof.

5-Use it as a fly/mosquito catcher in your tent.

6-Cover a wound with a cloth and then wrap it with duct tape to keep it dry.

7-Make butterfly stitches with a couple strips of duct tape.

8-Use it to hold your pants up.

9-Fold it in on itself to make a rope for hanging your food from trees or dragging gear.

10-Fix a hole in water bottle, tarp or your sleeping bag.

11-Tape your knife to a long branch to make a spear for hunting.

You get the idea. There are so many different ways you could make duct tape work for you in a survival situation. This is true of things like a hunting knife, garbage bags and paracord. You truly only need a few versatile pieces of equipment to help you survive in the wilderness. Check your bug out bag again. Do you really need everything in there or can you lighten your load a bit by choosing gear that can be used in many different ways.

The Many Uses of Duct Tape in Survival

tape-589079_640Survivalists and preppers are always looking for ways to maximize everything around them. If you are forced to head out into the wilderness, you can only take what you can carry. You can’t afford to waste space in your bug out bag by packing items that are basically one-hit-wonders. You need tools that serve many purposes. There is no room for lazy tools that can only be used to do one thing and one thing only.

One of the tools that many preppers are rarely ever without is duct tape. Duct tape has a solid reputation as being the go-to for anything and everything that is broken. If you can’t fix it, duct it. We are going to talk about some of the ways you can use duct tape in a survival situation.

1-Use the tape to create butterfly stitches to hold a wound closed.

2-Wrap shoes with duct tape to give you waterproof protection.

3-Use duct tape to create a shelter with plastic sheeting, a tarp or even hold branches together.

kodiak-85921_6404-Repair a tent, tarp or sleeping bag by sticking on a piece of duct tape.

5-Use duct tape to fasten a knife to a long branch to create a spear for fishing or hunting.

6-Broken water bottles can be taped together so you can still hold water.

7-Use the tape to make a sling if you injure your arm or wrist. Wrap your arm with cloth or toilet paper and wrap it with duct tape.

8-Make an ankle brace or knee brace with duct tape.

9-Hem pants with a strip of duct tape around the bottom.

10-Cover your shoes and bottom half of your legs with garbage bags and duct tape them on if you are in the snow or rain.

11-Make a rope with duct tape to drag supplies or hang food off the ground.

12-Use duct tape to secure a prisoner if you have to.

13-Repair a broken knife handle, broken tent pole or broken fishing pole with tape.

These are just some of the things you can do with duct tape. When you are in survival and duct tape is on of the few tools you have, you won’t be let down. Open your mind and get creative. You are sure to find a way to use duct tape that isn’t listed here.

Can You Start a Fire in Survival Mode?

mountain-man-205306_640One of the basics in survival is starting a fire. Most people have this image in their head that if they ever find themselves lost in the woods or stranded for whatever reason, the first thing they are going to do is start a fire. A fire will make everything better. Well, it probably will, but how do you plan on starting that fire? Have you ever practiced starting a fire in the wild without a stack of newspaper, lighter fluid or even a lighter? If you haven’t, you have some work to do.

A fire is one of the very basic tools of survival. It should be something you learn in the very beginning and practice often. Starting a fire is not as easy as you would think. If you remember that Tom Hanks movie, “Castaway,” you remember the sheer torture the man went through to get a fire and then the extreme joy he felt when he finally got a spark. You don’t want to rub your hands raw to the point they are bleeding. You are smart enough to prepare for anything and therefore, you are going to store several different fire starting methods so you don’t ever have to make a hand drill. While the hand drill, sometimes called a bow drill, will get a fire going, it is an absolutely brutal way to go about it. It is absolutely taxing and frustrating and you are more likely to give up before you ever see the tiniest little spark.

Prepare yourself to survive by carrying various fire starting tools with you in your car, in your locker, in your bug out bag and in your pocket if you are heading out for a walk into the woods. The following items are extremely handy for getting the first leg of the fire starting triangle—ignition. match-268526_640

Lighter
Matches—waterproof or matches in waterproof container are best
Ferro rod/Firesteel
Magnesium stick

Those are four things that are extremely inexpensive and lightweight. Buy a lot so you are never without! Before you go traipsing off into the forest, spend some time learning how to make the ferro rods or magnesium stick work. While the method is fairly basic, it does take some practice. The firesteel will come with a handy rod to slide down the steel to create a spark. However, you have to know how much pressure to apply, how fast to slide the rod and how close you need to hold it to your tinder bundle to catch the spark. The same applies to the magnesium stick.

Never assume you can start a fire in the wild unless you have practiced it. Practice gathering tinder bundle material in wet and dry conditions and then practice lighting the fire. This is a skill that is too valuable not to practice. Don’t forget to teach the rest of the family as well.

Building a Go Bag

You never know when you and your family might need to get out of town, quick. That’s why each member of the family should have a Go Bag. You may have also heard of this as a Bug Out Bag (BOB) or a 72 Hour Bag. Whatever you want to call it, you should be sure you have one.

Each bag should be assembled to help the members of your family survive for at least 72 hours, or 3 days. If you can fit enough in your bag to sustain you longer, that’s great, too.

Here is what you need: Continue reading