Monday, April 18, 2011

Building The Right Bug Out Bag for You

In previous articles I have presented some suggestions for how you can build your own Bug Out Bag (BOB) and what kind of items that you can use for bag. I have presented a maximalist approach in the article Bug Out Guide and Checklist and a minimalist approach in the article Light Weight Bug Out Bags. These Guides are intended to provide some inspiration and suggestions for what type of equipment that you can use, but building a Bug Out Bag that will truly work for you is more complicated than just following a checklist. This article will discuss some of the factors that will affect what type of setup that is most appropriate for you and the process of building it.

Factors When Building a Bug Out Bag
Factor 1: You
As I see it the most important aspect of making it through a Survival Situation is You. It’s your effort, your Skills, your Knowledge, your Experience and your Will to Survive that will ultimately make biggest difference if you make it or not. The Bug Out Bag is important, but this is only a tool that will help you get the job done. It’s still you that will have to get the job done. It’s easy to discuss equipment, what items to store and other physical aspect of crisis preparedness and survivalism. But it’s important to not lose track of your prioritize and to continue to work on yourself as much as you work on your gear. Your Physical Fitness and Health are also crucial factors that will determine how much you can carry and how long distances you can carry it.

Factor 2: Going At It Alone Or As A Group?

The next important factor is if you are creating a kit just for you or for a group or family. This will affect your setup in many ways. I suggest that you build your setup so that you can cover your own basic needs if you would be unable to meet up with your group or get separated from them. For more advice on this subject check out the article Bugging Out As a Group.

Factor 3: Climate and Terrain
Your climate and terrain will affect the choice for Shelter, Clothing, how much water you have to carry, what food that is most appropriate and what type of source for light you should bring. Some people may have to travel through different types of terrains so solution for clothing and shelter must work for all this types of terrains.

Factor 4: Season
In many parts of the world the temperature, rain and wind vary over the seasons and the setup must be adjusted depending if it’s spring, summer, autumn or winter. This can affect factors like:
• Clothing and Footwear
• Shelter
• What type of Stove and Food you should bring
• The Access to Water

Factor 5: Your Every Day Carry and Pocket Survival Kit
Most Survivalists will most likely have some form of Every Day Carry or even a Pocket Survival Kit that they carry on an Every Day Basis. You should build your Bug Out Bag so that it complements your EDC and Pocket Survival Kit. Examples can be:
• Trying to find products that use the same type of batteries for Flashlight, Headlamps, Radios, GPS units and other electronics.
• Use different types of Equipment to Build a Fire in your Bug Out Bag, Pocket Survival Kit and in your Every Day Carry.

Factor 6: Do You Use Your Bug Out Bag For Other Activities?
Building a fully equipped Bug Out Bag can be a very costly process especially if high quality equipment is preferred. The equipment in your Bug Out Bag can also be used for a number of other activities like hiking, camping, hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. If you engage in this type of activities I suggest that you try to find solutions and equipment that will the same functions both during this type of activities and during an evacuation. Using the same gear for different activities also give you the chance to get familiar with your equipment, learn how to use properly and see what works well and not. But most importantly it gives you the opportunity to enjoy the investment that you have made.

Factor 7: What Kind Of Scenarios Do You Prepare For?
What types of situations that you are trying to prepare for is also a critical aspect for what type of Bug Out Bag that you should put together. There is big difference if you are putting together a kit to assist for hurricane evacuation or to function as tool during a total breakdown of modern society. I suggest that you make a comprehensive Risk Assessment before you make up your mind about what type of situations that you base your BOB upon.

Factor 8: Budget
For most people the economical aspect will also limit what kind of setup that they can build. If one has an almost unlimited budget this is of little concern but for most people this will be a factor when deciding what setup they will build. I recommend that you try to prioritize the items that you will use often and try to build a basic well functioning setup that you can upgrade as you go. For the budget it can also be important that you get the right equipment the first time, it’s even more expensive to have to buy a completely new solution if you get a cheap piece of equipment that does not work.

The Process of Building a Bug Out Bag

Step1: Decide what you want the Bug Out Bag to Perform for You
After you have taken these factors into consideration you will face the process of putting the Bug Out Bag together. Taking a look at the different factors presented above can give you a basic idea of what you want the bag to do for you and what functions you want it to have.

Step 2: Research
From this perspective you will first have to make some research in order to find items that can allow you to perform these tasks. Picking the tools that can provide you with shelter, water and water purification, help you to build a fire, light, food and ability to prepare food, hygiene, first aid, navigation, a survival knife and other tools can be quite a long process. Here you also have to take factors like price, weight, quality and function into consideration. You should also consider how the different items that you have complement the other items that you choose and how they can help to reinforce your skills. I suggest that you try to check out equipment like clothing, tents, knives and other gear in a physical store before you purchase them, or check out what equipment, friends, family or professionals that work in your area use.

Step 3: Acquire the Equipment
After you decided what items you want to get you still have process of finding the items and buying them. You might already have some of the equipment needed in your possession or you might have to buy the equipment. Make sure that you check with your family, friends, at E-Bay and the second hand market and multiple sources before you buy a piece of equipment, you can often save allot of money by doing some research.

Step 4: Test the Bug Out Bag
After you have put the kit together you still have to test the kit so that you actually know if it performs as intended. Taking the Bag for a longer hike in your local terrain can give you the chance to practice skills but also to see what items that you really need and what items that you don’t need.

Step 5: Adjust the Setup
After you have tested the Bug Out Bag you normally make adjustments to the setup and question comes back again: What do you want your Bag to perform?

One Size Does Not Fit All
This article is written to give you some ideas of what factors that you have to take into consideration when building a Bug Out Bag. There can of course be more factors that have to be taken into consideration than the ones that have been mentioned above, every person has specific consideration that must govern what a specific setup should contain. The important aspect is that your BOB will reflect what you need and be designed for your particular situation. One Size does not fit all; this is something that applies to all kinds of crisis preparedness and survival situations. Others can often provide good suggestions and feedback but in the end you have to make the decisions for yourself.


  1. Thank you for the valuable information that you provide. I find myself coming back to your guide often and I'm sure others do as well. We appreciate your efforts.
    Take care


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  4. i have been studying bug out info for a few years now and this info is one of the best

  5. I agree that information presented here is one of the best ones out there. Many thanks. And to Merbert from the Philippines, have you been to JEST in Subic Bay for some indeginous survival training. Lots of fun and information. I know I'll be back there for some weeklong training.

  6. Nice Post..Thank You for sharing...From Indonesia