By April 15, 2012 Read More →

What is in your Survival/Camping Bag?

Wewoka Woods in Oklahoma

This is Wewoka Woods in Oklahoma. A great place to camp and explore the outdoors.

In my last article, we talked about short time (72 hour) bug out bags, aka BOB’s.  As promised, in this article, I am going to focus more on a *long term* survival bag.  This bag would have everything you need in it to survive in the woods for longer than 72 hours.  People often don’t think about surviving if they get lost, they assume just because they have their car or cellphone they can get out of anywhere.  This isn’t always the case.

Survival situations are not only “end of the world” theories.  While an EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse) is a very real possibility, there are many, many other things to consider happening that could lead you into dangerous survival situations where having a pack ready could save your life.  Knowing how to survive is important as well, not just having a pack full of gear.  Using your Internet and buying books to help you learn survival are some very good ways to learn, but will never be good enough.  Practicing and using your skills is key.  Be cautious of the books and information you read, as some of them may not work for you.  Look at comments and reviews.  Many manuals have wrong or incomplete information on survival.  I prefer  the army survival manual as it covers just about everything.  This is a PDF form of the US ARMY manual that you can read/print right from home. Survival Manual.pdf   Another great book is Bush-craft- Out door skills and wilderness survival.  Bushcraft-Outdoor-Skills-Wilderness-Survival

Just like with your 72 hour bag, considering your families needs are important as to what goes in your pack.  However, there are some very basic things that could mean the difference between life and death.

There are 3 important things that you must have in order to survive the elements:

Water, Shelter, and Fire  

History has shown that a person can go 3 days without water, but can survive 3 weeks without food.  If you can secure your water, shelter and fire, then you can find food.  Not having these 3 things to protect you from the elements can kill you a lot faster than a growling belly.  Before I continue, I am going to list some of the things *we* keep in our survival bags.  These may not be the same things you would keep.  I have two children, if you do not have any then you may not need some of the things I have so you would not add them.

Bug out bag

  • A good sturdy backpack/bag.  A bag with wide padded straps are preferable and a padded waist strap to help distribute the weight.  You do not want a bag with thin straps that will cut into your shoulders.  Expect your pack to weigh at least 20 pounds, but aim for less. (Any advice to make the pack weigh less will be welcome in the comments section.)  Many people use military style bags and those are good as well, but can also add extra weight that you may not want to carry.  I have been advised to look into a lighter weight, but sturdy back pack, however the choice is yours and it is what your comfortable carrying.  Testing your gear is one way to find out what suits you. (Gossamer Gear back pack was recommended to me recently.) A new friend of mine who is very experienced told me that “The more experience you have, the less you need to carry.” I took that to heart and will definitely begin making my pack lighter.



  • A good flint/magnesium stick for starting fires.  We also have waterproof matches and BIC lighters.  (Always have at least three ways to start a fire.)
  • A Sterno/Coghlan’s  folding pocket stove with fuel tabs.  However, you can use small bits of wood for this as well if your out of fuel tabs.  Tinder- Quick is also excellent.  It lights even if its wet.
  • Mess kit
  • Large medicine bottle with fishing gear in it:  2 small bobbers, hooks, a thread spool with fishing line on it, a few lures and some weights.  It all fits compactly in the medicine bottle.
  • Edible/poisonous  plant cards.  Knot tying cards. (Because I am not a pro yet, if you use your skills regularly, then you wouldn’t need these cards which means less weight.)
  • Snare wire: This is one way to catch food, however let me let you in on a secret..if you do not train/practice using these then they will be useless to you when you need them.  Like with anything else, you need to have the knowledge and understanding of this before you can be successful with it.  You can not just place a snare wire somewhere and expect to catch something.  Learning to spot tracks, and pathways that certain animals take is key to placement of your snares.  Understanding the different sizes needed to catch different size animals is also an important factor.  Obviously you wouldn’t use a wire made for rabbits to try and snare a hog.  I have learned a lot about snares watching others who do it on a regular basis on you tube and taking their advice. :)


  • Tarp Tent: These are ultra lite at about 3-4 pounds. If your in extreme cold you might opt for something else.  If you have a very good sleep system though this should work.  I prefer using this but its a little pricy.
  • Ponchos to protect from rain.  Instead of a heavy duty one, use the lightweight cheaper ones, they are much lighter and easily replaceable if torn. They are also easy to fix with a little piece of duct tape if torn. The lighter the better!
  • Duct tape: Not a whole roll, just a small amount to fix minor things that may need fixing. (a rip in a tarp or poncho)
  • Tent (Optional, we only use this when camping, it is not part of our bug out bag in the car. In my honest opinion they are to heavy to make part of a bug out bag.)

Sleeping System:  This information may seem a little different than what your use to hearing, but after speaking with many different experienced professional hikers this seems to be what most agree upon, so please open you mind.  I try to bring my readers the best information I can find through experience and research.

Despite what we may have learned in the past, there are better (warmer) and lighter sleeping systems than a sleeping bag.  Don’t get me wrong, a sleeping bag can be useful in the outdoors, but isn’t always efficient.  Warmth comes from insulation or being up off the direct ground so carrying the bottom portion of a sleeping bag is essentially carrying dead weight.  Sleeping bags also trap moisture, both inside the bag from the camper and outside the bag from the elements.  If the bag gets wet then the warmth is greatly degraded defeating the purpose of the sleeping bag.  A sleeping bag is an option, just not always the best one depending on the outside elements.  Backpackers and hikers seem to lean toward backpacking quilts.  According to Light and Ultralight Backpacking, insulation choices range from down to synthetic with synthetic winning out in wetter climates and down tending to be warmer and lighter over all.  L&U had this information to offer it’s readers;

Several manufacturers make very good quilts which are also very lightweight. These include Nunatak (, Jacks R Better (, Backpacking Light (, Feathered Friends ( and others. If you really like the bundling effect of a sleeping bag, try the Sleeplight offered by Gossamer Gear ( which is essentially a sleeping bag without insulation on the bottom. Being a person much taller and wider than others, I decided to go with the Caribou sleeping bag from Western Mountaineering ( which is just slightly bigger than the other quilt options listed above, but in some cases, it is lighter.  The zipper was removed, saving some ounces, and two elastic straps were sewn on to cinch it to my sleeping pad. It functions extremely well in cold weather as I intended – as a quilt.  I should mention some people use a 3/4 length bag or quilt especially if they have warm upper layers as it further reduces unnecessary pack weight.

The second part of a good sleeping system is a ground pad.  The purpose of this is to insulate you from the cold ground.  A lot of people think you need to have expensive inflatable pads when the cold hard truth is that the foam pads offer a higher thermal resistance than the others.  They are also lightweight and easier to carry.

The Third and final part to your sleeping system is a liner for the inside of your system and a bivvy for the outside of it to protect it from the elements.  My personal favorite and a favorite of many many campers/hikers, The Sea to Summit reactor extreme Thermalite liner for your sleeping sack.


  • A good survival knife and a skinning knife.  Small sharpening stone.  This is a good guide to follow when choosing a knife.
  • A folding saw and shovel. (The shovel is kept in the bag mainly to help if we get stuck and need to dig our vehicle out but is also used to bury waste when we are camping.)
  • Lightweight hatchet
  • Wind-up (crank) flashlight/am-fm radio.
  • Compass
  • Emergency Whistle
  • Binoculars
  • Signal Mirror
  • Gun/Ammo (Carried on me, not in my bag.)
  • 6-8 hour hand/foot warmers (The kind that heat when they touch air, you can buy them anywhere)
  • Maps in Zip lock bags.  Our maps have marked meeting points and 3 ways to get there for where ever we go.
  • Army survival manual


  • Toothpaste/toothbrush/bar of soap and a washrag (usually only one because you can wash and ring it out and re-use)
  • Lets not forget deodorant.  Many people do, and trust me, I don’t wanna be with ya if you smell like B.O.  Just kidding!  I know if its a worst case scenario, that is the last thing on your mind, but you’ll be grateful you have it and so will anyone with you. Deodorant is also good to prevent chafing in areas that rub together.  The one I have is the little travel size ones you can buy at wal mart.
  • Solar shower (You don’t have to have this, it is pure luxury, but it is nice to have a hot shower for camping trips etc..)

Clothing: The general rule of thumb here is to keep your bag prepared for the season.  If its summer you won’t need thermal underwear. Dressing in layers.

  • 2 pairs of socks.  One pair of our socks is a thermal type that will keep your feet warm in up to zero degree weather.  It all depends on where you live and where you will be traveling.  Cotton socks tend to hold moisture so you might not want cotton.
  • A good pair of warm gloves.
  • A pair of good boots or hiking shoes
  • A pair of long pants.
  • One pair thermal underwear/pants and shirt.
  • 2 shirts (lightweight)
  • 3 bandanas each (I have been asked why 3?  The main reason I choose to have 3 is to cut them into strips to mark my way should I go off path to explore while camping. It might seem crazy, but it is the way I prefer to do it.)
  • A hat/sunglasses to protect my eyes from the sun.
  • Mosquito net to cover face and neck.  Again, go for something lightweight, noting fancy, just some basic netting will do.
  • Underwear

Medical: We build out own first aid kits.  Many of the kits you buy pre-made have a bunch of things you wouldn’t really need and not enough of the things you do need the most of.  We each have one kit per bag with these items in case we get separated.  Note: these are the main items I could think of in our first aid kits, I may have left out a few things but again, build your kit to meet your needs. (When speaking of pills and medication, it is not an entire bottle but around 10 each.)

  • Poisonous snake bite extractor.
  • Allergy medicine
  • Prescription medicine
  • Band-Aids (waterproof basic band aids)
  • Alcohol pads
  • Benadryl Itch Relief stick (2 dollars at walmart)
  • epipen (prescription only)
  • Sling
  • Instant cold compress
  • First aid guide
  • Neosporin
  • burn cream
  • tweezers
  • Antibiotics
  • K-103 tabs

These next items are not something you HAVE to have, but we do:

  • Gatorade packets for energy and electrolytes.
  • Vacuum sealed Ramon noodles with beef TVP (Texture vegetable protein, is a high-fiber, high-protein meat substitute.  Doesn’t need to be refrigerated, sort of like Bacos) Just need water to cook.
  • Vacuum sealed powdered soup.  Just need water to cook.
  • Vacuum sealed variety of nuts
  • Those small sealed bags of tuna/chicken (much lighter than a can) Make sure and rotate these out, you wouldn’t want bad tuna in a survival situation.
  • My kids packs are not as heavy with gear, so in their packs we add a few cans of Vienna Sausage since they will eat those and several cans of spam.
  • Deck of cards
  • We each have a small zip lock baggie filled with dog food because we have dogs.
  • Spool of thread and a needle.
  • Extra copies of each persons Id’s, social security cards, medical cards and records.
  • Extra cash


campfire        When it comes to making your fires, it is always best to have (and to learn) 3 different ways to start a fire and most importantly, do not store all of your fire starting supplies in one place.  Should you lose your pack, guess what?  You would be without fire. We usually carry a fanny pack or messenger style bag. In our fanny/messenger packs, we carry our ammo, ways to start a fire, and a small knife.  We also carry a small match container on a lanyard along with our compass.  Me personally, as a woman, I also stick a lighter in the upper area of my bra, like many women do with cell phones.  Right by the shoulder strap.  Whatever works for you is the best.

As I stated before, these bug out bags can be used for emergency survival or to go camping.  You may not need all of that gear for a camping trip though :)  Having all these supplies and not knowing how to use them is pointless,  so practice practice practice!!  Once your BOB is completed, start walking daily and carry it with you so you are use to the way it feels.  Take weekend trips where you DON’T bring a grill and a chest full of meat to grill out.  Bring your basics and see how well you make it.  Challenge yourself.  These trips are also great to teach your kids the basics in survival should they ever get lost in the woods.   They would have a better chance at making it and you would have the comfort knowing that their chances of survival have increased should they ever be in that situation.  Lets face the facts here as parents, a lot of our kids go to summer camp or on trips with girl/boy scouts and you never know what might happen out there.  We aren’t always there and kids are kids, they don’t always make the best of choices.

After many trials, and wasting a lot of money on things we wouldn’t need, I have found this to be the ideal BOB for our family.  Some might say its to much, some might say its perfect or not enough. In the end, its your bag, you will be carrying it, so make it how you want it to be.  I hope that this article will give you a great start to building you first bug out bag.  If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please feel free to add those to our comment section at the bottom of the page.  I always welcome and look forward to hearing what everyone thinks and you all’s opinions to make things better.  Good luck and remember to have fun!!

Keep It Spicy,

Jalapeño Gal 

Please Visit My Store: Jalapeño Gal’s Survival Surplus

More articles on preparedness

Posted in: Uncategorized

About the Author:

Cari is an editor and author for American Preppers Network. Her family currently live in Georgia. Cari spends her free time gardening, canning, testing products for review, helping others prepare and going to the gym. She believes preparedness is about love and taking care of your family. Cari also has her own website where she shares all of her preparedness articles and her recipes for canning, dehydrating, juicing, basic cooking. To have a look and hopefully follow her: Click Here! Please Join My New Blog!

51 Comments on "What is in your Survival/Camping Bag?"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Tony says:

    I just read your bug out bag and I am just getting started I think you covered everthing very well, thanks for the list I am certainly going to use it as a guide

  2. In addition to letting others know your plans and intended routes, I would think prudent forethought goes a long way to ensuring a scenario like this doesn’t happen. For instance, always keeping at least a half tank of gasoline, travelling when the weather is best, including a car phone charger in the vehicle, and even keeping a fully charged pre-paid phone are all prudent actions to keep this problem from happening in the first place. Otherwise, very solid advice for long term bug out preps.

  3. Thanks for the advice millennium :) You are very correct.

  4. Estar says:

    Great job on this list. Obviously a product of practical experience. The only thing I would do different is ditch the bra and bring a wool blanket.

  5. lol easy for some not so easy for others. I did forget to put wool blanket on there though lol

  6. mamahen says:

    Very informative article, thanks.
    I couldn’t agree more about the hygiene. Not only do you want to
    stay clean for the sake of those around you, but for your health.
    Two things I can also recommend, 1 filling a quart sized zip bag ( one for each person) with hotel sized shampoo, bars of soap, mouthwash, body lotion and even mending kits. My husband travels a lot, so we have enough of these to keep a small army hygienic for weeks. 2 my favorite, a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s magic soap. It’s used for body washing, hair, to brush your teeth with, to wash your clothes, your pets, veggies. Great stuff, very concentrated.

  7. andy says:

    i can’t find vegan gluten free storable food anywher?

  8. Thank MamaHen. We sort of shy away from carrying anything liquid except water because liquid tends to add a lot of weight. We do have a bottle each of a different type of Dr.Bronner’s magic soap. Its hospital grade stuff. It is a wash used for the body, hair etc. I am going to look into the Dr. Brooner’s though it seems to do a lot more than what we have, thanks!!

  9. Andy, Try here:

    This web site seems to have everything :)

  10. mamahen says:

    Good point about liquid adding extra weight. I find that Trader Joe’s has the most reasonable price for Dr. Bronners, but they don’t always carry the small travel size. I found the travel size at most outdoors/hiking type stores.

  11. Could you please guide us to which soap to use of Dr. Bonners. I am on the web site now and there are so many to choose from.

  12. Estar says:

    My favorite Dr. Bronner products are the liquid castille peppermint and almond. I have used them both for the same things: bathing, teeth brushing, vegetable washing, scrubbing scum out of enamel containers, and easily cleaning the stubborn carbon film from the inside of kerosene lantern chimneys. The peppermint is minty refreshing, and nice in summer. I prefer the almond in winter.

  13. I was looking at both of those but didn’t see where it said for brushing teeth lol. That’s the part that threw me off lol. I am going to try some. Also, you can buy your own travel size shampoo bottles and fill them yourself. :)

  14. mamahen says:

    Peppermint and almond are my favorite too. Right now though we are using the unscented baby-mild because my 3 year old can’t tolerate smells of any kind when it comes to soaps. Poor little monkey gags terribly! You’re right about buying travel sized bottles. I have done that in the past,
    just wasn’t thinking. Thanks

  15. Wow, i was just on amazon looking at different soaps. (laundry) They have one called Pink Zote. You can not only use it for washing clothes but as catfish bait. It has a citronella scent that catfish like. That would be worth adding to a bag in my opinion. :)

  16. mamahen says:

    LOL! talk about multitasking, you could be washing your family’s laundry in the stream and catching dinner at the same time!

  17. Doug says:

    You are missing an important element in the shelter category – a sleeping pad. Even in warmer weather the ground will suck enough heat out of you to make you uncomfortable. In cold weather it can be deadly. After years of trying different types – Thermarest, Z-Rest, generic closed-cell, my favorite for weight (1 pound), comfort (4 inches of air), and packed size (soda can) is the Big Agnes Air Core. You do need additional insulation between you and it below 20 F.

    A major rule you skirted but didn’t mention in the clothing department. NO COTTON, in any season. Except for the bandanas. When wet it sucks the heat out of you, which is great for a bandana but nothing else. No jeans (you did mention that), no cotton socks, no cotton shirts. Nylon quick-dry pants and shirt, nylon gold-toe liner socks with merino wool socks outside of that (year round). Silk long underwear liner AND mid-weight merino wool long underwear – always think layers, which is another major rule you need to mention.

    For water, get Aqua Mira (very small and lightweight), and pre-filter with your bandana. Aqua Mira kills almost everything including Giardia, will help clarify tannins in still water, and removes odors (including no bleach or iodine aftertaste unlike bleach and iodine). The chemical reaction it uses is used by many municipal water systems. Leave the water filter at home.

    • What do you think about the Us army foam grade sleep pads? I am looking to buy a pad now at your recommendation but they are all rather pricy. Not knowing to much about them I was wondering what the diff in the military ones and the others you suggested.

    • Hey Doug, I just wanted to let you know my husband and I finally got the sleeping pad you suggested and man o man what a difference!!! Thank you so much for the info!!


  18. You mad some very good points, thank you :) GREAT advice. For water filters we use Katadyn as they filter out Giardia, Bacteria, protozoa, cysts, algae, silt, fungi, but i will look up yours, it may be more cost efficient.

  19. Maskerade says:

    I have a small emergency kit that goes everywhere with me. The contents are:
    Firesteel, water baldder, water purification tabs, hand mirror, bivvy bag, 100m fishing line, 4 fish hooks, 30m snare wire, swiss army knife, bandages, gauze, sticking plasters, sterile needle and thread, emergency seweing kit, surgical tape, a whistle and a compass, all of which fits inside two stacking highlander mess tins.

    For the rest of my kit which does not necessarily go everywhere, I
    include various axes and saws, some freeeze-dried food, more water bladders, a pack of cards, a wind up radio and a wind-up torch, a couple of scarves, toilet paper, a lot of paracord (mostly 550), a small tarp, binoculars, various knives, a machete, tea bags and a tin for them (brit, can’t help it), and some spare clothing.

    I can survive on my basic kit if need be, but the expanded kit really keeps me on top of any situation at all. If you live in an area that allows guns, a 12ga pump shotgun and/or a .22 rifle would be good choices too, as would a handgun in .45, .40, .357 or 9mm, though 9mm is a backup, you want a fairly powerful handgun for personal defence. Hollowpoints if possible.
    Just my £0.02

    • Thanks for sharing Maskerade and I Love your name!! I like your choice in weapons, we have the same taste lol.I to carry a smaller kit that goes with me everywhere, its a great idea. I have to ask though, what is sticking plasters? I haven’t heard of that before.


      • Maskerade says:

        Thanks for the compliments.

        As to your question about sticking plasters, think band-aids. They’re so small that a few will fit inside a tin without being a major space-occupier, and they’re great for when you’ve only got a smalll cut or scratch, which isn’t large enough to justify using bandages and gauze on it.Yo
        u could also use hydrocolloid plasters, which are more useful (in my eyes) than standard sticking plasters.

  20. Jalapeno Gal says:

    I’d like to make a correction in my article. I said The important things to have when out in the woods is water, shelter, fire in that order, when that order isn;t always correct. It should be Shelter, fire, water. Depending on the outside elements, you would need shelter to protect you against the weather first and foremost. A friend of mine on face book, Robert Equip to endure made a very valid point to me. Often times a person can only last 3 hours when exposed to certain elements in which case, shelter would come first. Thanks Robert!

  21. Jesse Banke says:

    My idealism on the bugout bag is a step further. My bugout bag was specifically made for a 72 hour camping trip with emergency rations and all, as many websites have instructed to do for a B.o.B.. I also have 2 rubbermaid containers and a tent that I’ve added to my essential Bug out Gear. 1 is full of 6+months of non parishables if used with fish/meat & any edible plants… and 1 container filled with supplies that would make an extended stay in the woods more comfortable (tools, mini torch, bottles of fuel, batteries, extra’s of everything hygeine/safety, and a water proof portfolio with all my paperwork). Also a nice Tent with a shoulder slingstrap.

    • Thats awesome for a 72 hour pack. :) I urge you to keep copies of your important extra cash in small bills for things like a motel/gas in case of evacuation. Also medications :) Could you provide a link to the tent with a shoulder sling starp. I am definitely interested. :)


  22. Jesse Banke says:

    My idealism on the bugout bag is a step further. My bugout bag was specifically made for a 72 hour camping trip with emergency rations and all, as many websites have instructed to do for a B.o.B.. I also have 2 rubbermaid containers and a tent that I’ve added to my essential Bug out Gear. 1 is full of 6+months of non parishables if used with fish/meat & any edible plants… and 1 container filled with supplies that would make an extended stay in the woods more comfortable (tools, mini torch, bottles of fuel, batteries, extra’s of everything hygeine/safety, and a water proof portfolio with all my paperwork). Also a nice Tent with a shoulder slingstrap. Then also a “get home bag” in the truck with some light weight preps good for walking.

  23. Doug Little says:

    Josh Barnhart Sr. JasonandKelly Edwards

  24. Joe says:

    I have to laugh when I read these stories of bug out bags. While the information is accurate, it isn’t true. If I packed all that gear, I would be so laden down, I couldn’t go anywhere. It is fine to pack a bug out bag, but it’s not a bug out bag if you can’t carry it. Half the stuff in this article I would throw out. It isn’t necessary. And other things that are necessary are not included. This is no criticism of the author, but unless you have extensive experience in real life bug out situations, you cannot know what I am talking about. I suggest everyone spend some time actually camping to get a feel as to what I mean. When you’ve actually hiked with all this equipment, you’ll know what I am talking about. Even our military does not carry all this junk, and they are young men in excellent fitness. If you carried all this junk, you would not even get ten miles. Unless you live in the city, you won’t have to bug out. Therefore, you should not think of it as a bug out bag, but rather gear needed for a survival situation. If by some chance you did need a bug out bag–this ain’t it. And if you have children, shame on you for even considering the idea of bugging out. You need to find safe havens for the children way before you need to bug out. Preplanning on some place safe to leave your family is far more important than a bug out bag. If you properly preplan, the odds are 99% you won’t need a bug out bag. And if there is a disaster, the last thing you’ll be worrying about is deoderent and firearms. And snare wire??? For what?

    Let’s get one thing straight–75% of you could carry all this stuff and never really know what to do with it. Putting a bug out bag together is not like writing a shopping list. It’s about getting into the field and finding out what to leave behind and what to take. The biggest problem most people have is taking too much. If you want to know what to take, start googling long range backpackers hitting the Appalacian Trail or the Pacific Coast Trails. These are people that traverse 1,000 miles during a season–they are the experts on bug out bags. They know exactly what to take and what to leave behind. I can assure you from personal experience that not one would agree this is what should be taken. This is a well written article and I cannot fault the author for regurgitating silly nonsense that others have spouted. The reality is that long term survival and bug out bags have–like everything else become metrosexualized. We certainly can and must do better.

  25. My BOB can filter water for years and help get food for same amount of time as well as the 72 hr kit of food and shelter.

  26. jedi1111 says:

    What makes you assume they are bugging out on foot?  They would probably be in a car, especially if they had kids.  On foot they would be attacked by a roaming mob for their supplies. of course they probably won’t get very far in a car because of lack of gas and freeways being jammed.  I could never understand why people took the highways and not the back roads.  They know the highways will be a parking lot in a bug out type of situation. I would try to stay put unless there was something like wildfires or a gas cloud or nuclear disaster, where you absolutely couldn’t stay in a place because your location was deadly.  This idea of just leaving to find a better place is ridiculous.  You are never going to get very far and then you will be stranded without shelter on the side of the road in an unfamiliar place where you are subject to attack. This myth of a better place is just that, a myth.  Do you think the people who live in the place you are heading are going to let you in to take their limited resources? Fat chance. Even if you are armed there may be a group of ten sadistic guys who are also armed and they will take you out before you get them all. I say take everything you can in your bug out bag and have a smaller, empty pack that you can use to make a more scaled down version from your big pack if you do have to leave on foot in a really desperate situation. Unless you are going to burn to death or breathe toxic air, I say stay put.

    • Big C says:

      Two is one, one is none. If you’re in one vehicle, never assume that you won’t be humping. Pull chock in a vehicle if one is available, but when it comes down to it, you MUST be ready to dismount. If you’re not prepared to do so, what happens when your vehicle deadlines and you have to pop smoke? What, stand around for two hours deciding what to ditch and what to take? And then another hour repacking?

  27. Hawkeyes_WA says:

    The first picture in this article is less than three miles from where I lived. Three generations of us hunted, fished, and camped along that creek all year long. Didn’t have/own more than three or four of the items in your article. But, that was back when you could drink the water right out of the creek, find food everywhere, and not have to worry about tomorrow.

    The days of Barking Water are gone. A nice place to visit, but the waters are not clear any more.


    • i know it, i miss those days to. This place is beautiful and i miss it so much since we moved to Georgia. We lived over in Seminole for about 4 years and before that we were in Okemah :)


  28. Jeff says:

    For shelter, I’d consider the Eureka Spitfire 2 – a real 2 person tent, only 4 pounds, and less than half the cost of the TarpTent.
    As for TP, we prefer wet wipes – excellent hygiene and easy to pack.

  29. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for the input!!

    I have never used the Spitfire but it seems nice. There is actually only an $11.00 difference between the first tarp tent I recommended. IT is also a three person tarp tent verses 2 and weighs about a pound less. However the one we like to use is rater pricey but only weighs 40 ounces. (approx 2 pounds) I firmly believe that when it comes to certain gear that we carry cheap is not always the best way to go because when the time comes, you don’t want that gear to fall apart. As stated, my current goal is to make my pack as light as possible. I have to admit, since I’ve wrote this article I have learned a lot and need to update it to the current supplies we use to make our pack lighter. :)


    • Jeff says:

      I was actually comparing the Spitfire 2 to the TarpTent StratoSpire 2 you had linked to. The Spitfire is less then half the cost of the StratoSpire and has 7 more square foot of interior floor space (but the StratoSpire does have vestibules) in virtually the same packed size, at 4# of weight (the StratoSpire at 40 oz is exactly 2.5 pounds so you’ve got me there). Eureka has an excellent reputation for quality tents, so I’m not worried about it falling apart. You prefer to save the 1.5#, and I can really respect that. I look at it that I use the Eureka on a regular basis and the 1.5# of added weight could also indicate heavier constuction and greater longevity. I think they are both great options; it’s just that you wrote that a 3-4 pound tarp tent was ultralight and that tents were too heavy for a bugout bag, and I simply wanted to let you know there are options out there.

  30. steve says:

    Hi there.

    In the above article Cari notes a previous aticle on a 72 hour BOB. Does anyone have alink to that article by any chance?



  31. Fox Toyota says:

    Just came across this site and I love it! I would have to say long term camping / survival bag would need include something like matches, a knife and a way to cook food. Those all pretty essential in the long run I believe. But I’m just getting into this stuff so I have a lot more to learn.