The Get Home Bag and its Contents

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  A. Choosing Your Bag Type
    1. Backpack
    2. Messenger Bag
    3. Hydration Pack
    4. Lumbar Pack
  B. Get Home Bag vs EDC Kit vs Bug Out Bag

  C. Get Home Bag Contents
  D. Managing Your Get Home Bag
    1. When is a GHB Necessary?
    2. Storage
    3. Organizing
    4. Customizing

get home bag contentsYou’re driving home from work one day, and BANG, it goes down. The Shiz has hit the fan. Your car is out of commission and like most commuters, you’ve got a good distance to go to make it home. You quickly check your Get Home Bag, strap it on and start moving!

What separates you from everyone else stuck on that stretch of road? The contents of your GHB (Get Home Bag) and a few items from your Automobile EDC Supplies is what separates you from them!

The Get Home Bag and its Contents

First let’s figure out what constitutes a Get Home Bag.

I like to think of a Get Home Bag as a backpack, filled with enough tools and supplies to get me home. We may not have to hike a thousand miles, but some of us might end up on foot for more than 40 miles.

A. Choosing the Type of Bag:

1) Backpack:

You don’t have to use a backpack, but I want something I can strap on and go! You’ll probably want to avoid anything expensive,  fancy or tactical. I used an old computer backpack. You’ll want a backpack that looks very similar to what the other commuters would carry.

You don’t want the other stranded motorists to think that you may have anything that they don’t. People get real sketchy in life or death situations. See our Post: Covert Prepper Backpack

Backpacks are staples because they offer hands-free carrying and hefty storage space. In situations where you’ll need to sneak, run or climb, backpacks won’t slow you down or give you trouble. One notable downside is that backpacks aren’t easily accessible if you’re mobile. Plus, a large backpack is more noticeable as compared to the other bags on this list.

2) Messenger Bag:
Messenger bags are great for retrieving stuff from your bag while you’re on the go. It also works as a discreet get home bag if you’re more on stealth than brute storage space. One disadvantage is that you’ll have to position the messenger bag so it won’t get in your way while you’re running. It becomes more cumbersome the farther the distance and weight distribution becomes more noticeable over time. 
3) Hydration Pack:
Hydration packs are for those who’d like to exercise minimalism in their get home bags. It stores an adequate amount of water and can easily be carried over large distances. The waist and shoulder straps add a nice touch in terms of efficient weight distribution. One downside is that you can only hold water and very little else.
4) Lumbar/Mountaineering/Hiking Pack:
Lumbar packs are designed to put the weight on your hips. It’s compact and the pack’s contents can easily be accessed if needed. One downside is that you can’t fit in additional items and you’d need to rely on the external straps to do so, which sacrifices a bit of mobility.
Here’s what you can do to determine which one works best in your situation. Assemble everything you’d need and spread it out. This will give you an idea of how large you’ll need your get home bag to fit them all in. 
A bug out bag and a get home bag primarily works in the same way. If your get home bag and bug out bag are roughly the same size, then you may want to re-prioritize what you’ll really need in order to get home safely. The only exception is that if it takes you more than an hour to get to work.
 B. Get Home Bag vs. Every Day Carry Kit vs. Bug Out Bag
You’ll need all three of these survival bags in order to be prepared for anything. The Every Day Carry Kit will contain the necessary tools, items and survival materials you’ll be using daily. If you’re at a loss to what that is, think about the most common tools you wish you’d have when you’re faced with a problem, i.e., a flashlight, scissors, extra batteries, etc
The Get Home Bag will contain the necessary tools, food and other elements that give you a greater chance to make it home safely and in one piece. It doesn’t matter whether you’re commuting or driving your own car.
In cases of civil unrest, natural disasters and minor inconveniences such as experiencing a car breakdown and road closure, you’ll want to be equipped with things that will tide you over the course of roughly 24 to 48 hours. Keep it as compact as possible while still being versatile.
The Bug Out Bag will contain items that you’ll need to survive for a few days. Everything you need should fit in and it should still be light enough for you to carry. Bug Out Bags are stored in a convenient part of the house and should be ready within a moment’s notice.

C. Get Home Bag Contents:

The contents of your Get Home Bag should contain these types of items:

  • Extra Medications / Fever reducers
  • Flashlight or Headlamp – You’ll need a sturdy, water-proof headlamp or flashlight. It should have a stable hands-free feature and has several light modes including strobe signals, dimming and flash. Be sure to have extra batteries.   
  • Sensible Walking or Hiking Shoes – If you wear heels or dress shoes to work, keep a comfortable pair of sneakers or walking shoes in your car.
  • Extra Socks – Traveling long distances won’t be so great for your feet. You’ll need extra socks to keep comfortable and in instances where you need to ward off sores and blisters. Pack in wool socks if you know that you’re going to travel long distances.
  • Knife. We’re talking about a survival knife. One that can baton wood, cut cord, skin game, and do all the things a good, rugged, outdoorsy knife can do. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be decent. This is exactly why I have a Cold Steel Bushman knife. $15 for a pretty tough knife. We did a couple posts on knives: Budget survival Knife: Cold Steel Bushman knifeBecker BK2 Companion Survival Knife, and the recent Bushcraft Buyers Guide.
  • FireFiresteel, waterproof matches or a bunch of Bic Lighters, just have some way to make fire. It’s best to pack in several means to start a fire because this element can mean the difference between life and death. One firestarting product to consider is a compact and waterproof/ windproof lighter that starts reliably in rough conditions.
  • Military Rain poncho – This can act as your rain gear and your shelter tarp, or in a pinch you add a poncho liner or jungle blanket and you’ve got a weather-resistant sleep system. That’s right multi-use gear, 3 birds with one stone (I know I just blew your mind). If you can’t envision how a poncho becomes a shelter here are a few links to help you out: 9 Military Poncho Survival Shelter Configurations and Poncho and Tarp Shelters

  • Rope / Cordage – pick up at least 100 feet of 550 paracord. You’ll need it to rig your poncho into a shelter and you’ll probably need it for a bunch of other things.
  • Duct Tape – I just take an old plastic card (library, shoppers rewards, etc) and wrap a decent amount of duct tape around it. I don’t want to carry a huge 8 inch thick roll of duct tape, but I want some, so I make sure to have about 1/2 inch thick roll of ductape, conveniently off the roll and around the flat card. This will fit easily in our GHB.
  • Multitool – Like most of the items in your get home bag your multi tool should be high-quality and carefully considered. It should have at least wire cutters, cross point and flat drivers, pliers, a saw blade and a solid knife blade. This will be your go-to item for cutting rope, small pieces of wood, building a tent and more. If you’re handy and well-trained with a knife, you can opt for a fixed blade or a machete depending on the perceived situation.
  • Backpack first aid kit – You can buy one or make your own. Basic first aid items such as medical tape, moleskin, gauze pads, splint, tweezers and bandages should be included. You’ll also need medications that provide relief from common aches and pains such as antacids, aspirin, Tylenol, etc. If you wear eyeglasses it will be wise to pack in a backup just in case.
  • Bandana or Shemagh – Head covering, sling, sediment water filter (will not purify water) and a trillion other uses. Trust me, these are awesome to have.
  • Hat – Keep sun off head, if winter have a stocking cap (WOOL).
  • Compass (or GPS) and MAPS! – Get the Delorme atlas for your state and keep one in your car.  You should assume that the main roads are congested in times of emergency. A map that will show you detours and alternative routes will come in very handy. If you have the time, you can scout in advance for possible routes to take.
  • Sun Screen
  • Insect Repellent
  • Food and Snacks – Simple is best when it comes to emergency food rations. You’ll need around 3 to 6 energy bars to get started. Trail mixes and high calorie bars should do well. You won’t need to heat them up and they can be eaten while you’re on the go. The nutrition you get from these bars should power you up physically and mentally.
  • Water / Water purification tabs or Water filter – You wouldn’t want to risk getting sick from drinking local water sources.
  • Stainless Steel water bottle – This can save you from buying the $4 bottled water on road trips and can be used to carry and boil water if you find yourself stranded far from home! If you don’t go stainless steel, you still need a way to carry water so consider a Nalgene bottle or a Collapsible water bottle, if space is tight.
  • Toilet Paper – Walking a long distance sucks, and you will have nature call.
  • SunglassesSunglasses – to protect eyes from sun and debris (goggles might even be good).
  • Work or utility gloves – You’ll be working with your hands most of the time outdoors, so it’s best to protect it. Pick the best one in the current season. Get thick ones and gloves that will protect you against scrapes, scratches, cuts and burns.

  • Wet Wipes / Baby Wipes
  • Cash – Cash is always useful to have, especially in emergency situations. Don’t carry large bills- instead, a bundle of 20’s should do the trick quite well. It’s wise to spread your money out in different places so you won’t reveal all of your money at once.
  • PrePaid Calling Card (in case you need to use a payphone)
  • Prepaid Credit Card
  • Rope or Cordage – It’s light and serves a thousand outdoor uses. It would be foolish not to put one in your get home bag!
  • Wet Wipes – A pack of wet napkins provide handy and convenience for when you need quick spit baths. Hand sanitizers are small enough so don’t forget to put one or two for good measure.
  • Paper and Pencil– Use this for recording information and leaving a note. With it, you can map landmarks or write down coordinates of places that could be useful later.
  • Weather Appropriate Clothing –  One of the first things you’ll need is a change of clothes for practical reasons. Don’t forget to include a comfortable hat and a tough pair of gloves. Extra clothing should be rotated constantly depending on the season. You’ll certainly need dry clothes in wet and cold conditions or else you won’t survive the trip home. Layering up is essential to keep body warmth intact as you travel outdoors.
  • N95 Face Mask –  You’ll be needing an N95 Mask to keep away that dust, dirt, sand, bacteria and viruses floating about. A t-shirt won’t be as effective.
  • Emergency Radio –  The best one to pick is a hand-cranked dynamo that’s small and compact. Check and see if the radio gets NOAA Hazard and Weather Alerts. If the city or state goes into a blackout, you can rely on your emergency radio for useful information. If possible, get a unit that also has a charging port for your smart phone or mobile device. You may not realize it now but having timely information regarding weather and emergency alerts will prove to be useful in catastrophic events.
  • Firearm and Extra Ammo –  Get this type of self-defense if you live in a state that allows it. Pack a few extra magazines or rounds into the get home bag in times when you need stopping power.
  • Walking Stick – There’s a very good chance that you’ll be walking most of the time. Collapsible walking sticks are convenient and provide support for your knees while on extended travel. This item can also double as emergency shelter when coupled with a poncho.
  • Glowsticks –  Get the ones that give you 12 hours of light. It’s useful as it could be attached in shelters or when you need to light the trail in unfamiliar terrain.

Bonus Items

  • Personal Defense items (legal in your area) – Mace, Pepper Spray, etc. People panic and are often irrational in large-scale emergency situations. It’s a breeding ground of confrontation and desperation. You should keep this in mind and think about self-defense as part of surviving the ordeal. Avoid hand-to-hand combat; it’s wise to pack in a strong pepper spray, a firing taser or a compact handgun to show hostile forces that you shouldn’t be taken lightly.
  • Solar charger for phone (and GPS)
  • Small Binoculars – You’ll want to be able to check for obstacles and “situations” before you get to them. These don’t have to be pricey. I’ve linked to a small Coleman 10×25 pair for about $17.
  • Emergency Signal – Pack in a small mirror or a flare for when you need long-distance signaling items. A whistle can also come in handy. 


 D. Get Home Bag Care & Management

1) Is a Get Home Bag Even Necessary?
The short answer is yes. One of the best things you can do is to prepare for the unexpected. There are a number of unforeseen circumstances that can happen anytime- earthquakes, riots, flooding, plagues, hurricanes, fierce storms, terrorist attacks and nuclear war.
A get home bag serves to increase the chances of you making it home and planning the next step. Even if these calamities didn’t happen, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re ready at any given time. At the very least a get home bag can make you more comfortable in non-calamities such as extreme traffic, road closures and forced overnight stays.

2) Storing Your Get Home Bag
A get home bag can get you home even amidst huge calamities and disasters, but it only works if you have it with you most of the time. Stashing it in the trunk of your car is not recommended as your vehicle may prove to be inaccessible in certain situations, i.e., riots, earthquakes, etc. Good storage places include your office, a nearby public locker or a PO Box. The key here is that it should be accessible most of the time.
If your line of work requires you to travel by car, then it will be acceptable to keep it stored in your trunk. This is because most of the time you’ll be inside the vehicle as compared to being far away from it.
3) Organizing Your Get Home Bag 
Your get home bag will consist of roughly 3 levels. Every level will have items you’ll need to survive for a specific time period. The bottom items are more of the long-term variety while the ones on top are the ones that you’ll be sure to need right away.
Level 1 
The first level should be the most accessible of the three. This level will ensure that you get home safely within a 3-hour period. The items here will prove to be very useful but aren’t helpful when it comes to overnight stays.
Level 2
The second level should have items that will tide you over after a length of time has passed, i.e., 8 hours or more. Consider putting items that you’ll need for a 12-hour journey here.
Level 3
The third level should contain essential sleeping gear and anything that will be of value for long-term travel. Pack in items that you’ll need for an overnight trip.
4) Customizing Your Get Home Bag
Each individual can have special needs. How you customize your get home bag will depend on your personal circumstances or situation. You’ll need to think about the season, your region and the type of commute that’s available to you. For example, an urban environment may have require more specific items as compared to the rural routes.
Your job, office location and career may change how you prepare your get home bag. Plus, you’ll need to think about possible emergencies and the geographical location to see if there’s anything else you’ll need.
Think about your commute from home to work, then work to home. Do you know of any alternate routes or paths that could prove to be useful? A detour through the park, a trail or unused alleys are just a few examples.
Think about what you’ll need so you can travel without compromising your health or safety.  Get a bird’s eye view of all the possible scenarios. Answer the following questions- will you be walking through the woods or around bodies of water? What are the quickest routes to take? Which ones take the longest? What are the ones that get you the most exposed to the public?
All of us naturally think of getting home as soon as possible when disasters strike. For this reason you’ll need to have a get home bag prepared. Increasing the chances of making it to your home base gives you the confidence and motivation to survive.
A get home bag is absolutely essential if you have loved ones or family members who will rely on you to get them home safely. Remember to take the “When” and not the “If” approach when considering the items you’ll need. You will be glad you did!

Make sure to grab your EDC Survival Kit and some extra gear from your Automobile EDC SuppliesMake sure to grab that Automobile Sun Shade from your car before you head out. This can act as a makeshift sleeping pad, and to reflect heat back to your body when it starts to get cool or cold. You should probably make a list of these items and put it on your GHB so you don’t forget to grab them from the Car supplies.

Make sure to add any other item that makes sense for the season, your region, commute or personal needs!

Download the printable Get Home Bag Checklist in pdf format.

Last but not least, take your brain. There will be a lot of lost, scared and predatory people. Use your wits. Watch out for traps. Gangs use “helpless” damsels in distress to lure in people all the time. I’m not saying don’t be a good Samaritan and don’t be chivalrous and charitable, but use your binoculars to observe for a while to make sure you don’t become the victim.

No matter what happens, you want to get home. What separates you from everyone else stuck on that stretch of road? Your Get Home Bag and your planning is what separates you from them!

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The Best Bug Out Bag Backpack – Finding the Optimal Tools for SHTF

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The Best Bug Out Bag Backpack – Finding the Optimal Tools for SHTF There are plenty of backpack options for your bug out bag out there. Just like the gear in your bug out bag, the backpack you go with varies for each person. Still, there is a wide range of quality out there and …

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How to Pick The Perfect Bug Out Gun

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When selecting a bug out gun, there are a whole host of qualities to consider–some more important than others. Still, because survival often depends on the most minute of details, you cannot leave anything to chance. That is why we have devised a list of the top 10 considerations when picking the perfect bug out gun for you.

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  1. Choosing Your Gun Type
  2. Caliber
  3. Gun Size
  4. Weight of Gun
  5. Level of Recoil
  6. Durability
  7. Ease of Assembly
  8. Range
  9. Feel
  10. Extras

One word of note, we are not including accuracy in our discussion for the most part for a couple reasons. First, it is painfully obvious and should simply be expected. Second, assuming it is precise, even a firearm with subpar accuracy can be used effectively in well-practiced hands. As such, we expect that you will ensure you can fire your bug out gun accurately through plenty of practice.

Selection Criteria:

1) Choosing Your Gun Type

This is easily the most important and obvious choice you must first make. Generally, there are three types of firearms you must select from: handguns, shotguns, and rifles. That said, the rifle can be further divided into the standard rifle type and the assault rifle, though both have considerable overlap in a number of areas. We are of course omitting the machine gun category–both heavy and sub–since those are not as likely to be a strictly legal option.


When considering the type of the gun, the primary factor to take into account will be its intended purpose. Each of those four firearms has a distinct setting in which they are the preferred firearm. Granted, you can–and likely will–use one or more of a single type of firearm for purposes that might be otherwise better suited for an alternate type. That is the nature of efficiency. For example, when trying to hunt large game while on the move, a rifle will often provide the best shot. The accuracy combined with the long-range makes this an ideal firearm for the task.

That said, if you opt to carry an assault rifle for its anti-personnel capabilities, you may not have the weight capacity to also carry a long range rifle–especially if you are the only member of your party capable of carrying either weapon for long distances.

In this case, you must adapt and find a way to use the assault rifle for hunting–likely moving in a bit closer to the target. This principle applies to all firearms. Shotguns are better suited for close-quarters defense and fowl hunting but can bring down large game in the hands of a capable hunter. Likewise, a traditional rifle is less than ideal for close-quarters defenseclose-quarters defense but can serve admirably if you know how to use it that way.

2) Caliber

Despite what it may seem, the choice of which caliber to use has far less to do with stopping power than it does what might otherwise be considered “ancillary” factors when choosing a firearm. Granted, you will want to make sure that the caliber of the round provides adequate stopping power for your purposes, but even the humble .22can be unerringly lethal in the hands of an excellent marksman.

In fact, because you should strive to improve your accuracy to the best of your abilities, the stopping power of the firearm only matters for party members who are otherwise not practiced shooters. Instead, the more relevant factors when considering the caliber of your firearm will follow the same principles that use when making a bug out plan in the first place: efficiency and availability.

45 ACP Rounds

45 ACP Rounds

For instance, a .45 ACP offers a significant advantage in stopping power when compared to a 9mm round, but how will these rounds compare in a bug out plan? Since the 9mm is lighter and smaller, this is clearly a better option for packing and carrying. Since the 9mm round still provides ample stopping power–even in a reasonably accurate shooter’s hands–the extra oomph from the .45 ACP becomes less important.

Using the same two rounds before, the next question of availability matters both before SHTF and after. Before you need to bug out, 9mm rounds are often less expensive and sold in larger amounts. However, once SHTF, the sheer market prevalence of the 9mm round will make it a better option than the less plentiful .45 ACP–even though the .45 ACP is not exactly uncommon.


3) Gun Size

While some of this consideration will be determined by the type of the gun you choose, even the same type can differ drastically from one manufacturer or model to the next. The sheer wealth of options available when selecting a firearm means that you can find a gun that is the perfect size for you while still providing the performance that you require.

A good example of this can be found with shotguns. A 12 gauge shotgun12 gauge shotgun made by a single manufacturer may come in a multitude of sizes. This size can be altered both at the stock and the barrel. In fact, the same manufacturer can offer different sizes of a single model by simply defining them as a specialized version of a “standard” firearm within their lineup.

This factor is important for primarily two reasons. The first consideration will have to do with the makeup of your party. While you may be more than capable of handling a firearm with a barrel that is thirty inches long, a smaller child will likely struggle with a weapon that size. Even if they are capable of using a large weapon in ideal conditions, there is no guarantee that holds should self-defense come into play.

The second reason size matters relates to response time. Remember, we are assuming you have practiced to the point that you are accurate. While a longer barrel can help increase accuracy, it will require more time to ready the firearm and will be far more difficult to maneuver in a situation that calls for rapid response.


4) Weight of Gun

Similar to size, weight is another consideration revolving around the physical dimensions of a firearm that will impact whether it is right for you or a party member. In fact, many of the same factors that will influence whether or not a weapon is properly sized for you will also be used to determine whether it is properly weighted for you.
However, this consideration does offer a bit more wiggle room than size in that you can find a bevy of firearms that make use of lighter materials for the express purpose of cutting down weight.

Depending on the material used and the method of construction, this may even lighten your load without carrying any unintended consequences.
Arguably the most important consideration when it comes to a firearm’s weight will follow some of the same logic used when determining its caliber.

Essentially, how much total weight does the firearm add to your traveling gear? If choosing a firearm for your bug out shelter, this is obviously less important. Still, when figuring out which gun to take from your starting location, this is a major decision.

The other important factor when it comes to weight will follow similarly to size in regards to the time it takes to ready the firearm, how it affects maneuverability, and the other members of your party. Children and the elderly may have more difficulty wielding heavier firearms, and everyone will suffer from slower response time and decreased maneuverability.


5) Level of Recoil

While we have been for the most part ignoring the effects of accuracy when selecting your firearm–operating under the assumption that you will ensure you are accurate regardless the gun you choose–this consideration does deserve a special note. This is because the recoil of a firearm can be mitigated by a whole host of design choices, and almost any way to reduce recoil is desired.

The main issue with recoil is that it will ultimately affect how much higher your shot lands than is sighted. Granted, this is not a universal rule for all firearms and proper shooting technique can definitely play an important part in decreasing the effects of recoil on your accuracy, but the fact still remains that more recoil will translate to a less accurate shot.

Some of the other factors already discussed in this list will also combine to impact the degree of recoil your firearm suffers. For instance, the higher caliber weapon you use, the more recoil you will have to deal with. That is because the more power the round generates, the more it will throw off your aim. Like many instances, this will affect children and some elderly party members more than healthy adults.

Another consideration when determining the recoil is the weight of the firearm. Even though we have already extolled the virtues of using a lighter firearm, you may want to strike a balance between the gun’s weight and the effect it has on recoil. In the hands of a shooter using proper technique, a heavier firearm will produce less disruptive recoil.


6) Durability

While durability plays an important role when making any purchase, it ends up playing an outsized role when considering which firearms to use while bugging out. Keep in mind, if something happens to your firearm when the SHTF, it will be incumbent upon you to be able to get the gun in proper working order again. There will either be no time or opportunity to run down to the local sporting goods store to pick up another one.

One of the primary durability concerns should be how it handles inclement circumstances. There are plenty of firearms available to provide exceedingly impressive performance, but many of those guns will not necessarily be able to handle the travel of bugging out. Whether it is moisture, dust, or simply being carried for days at a time, many of the most precise firearms are also the most delicate.

One overlooked factor when considering the durability of your firearm involves replacement components. If society collapses, your firearm will eventually fail. There is no amount of cleaning and maintenance that you can do which will ensure a firearm never needs to have its firing pin replaced at some point in time. As such, selecting a durable firearm that is also popular provides more opportunities to obtain replacement parts.

Dismantled AR-15

Dismantled AR-15


7) Ease of Assembly

Following the durability consideration, the assembly of the weapon follows in a complementary vein. Basically, if you ever have to repair your firearm, you will need to disassemble it–partly at least. Depending on the manufacturer, this can be a fairly easy and straightforward process or it can be a frustrating and time-consuming one. Moreover, some of the same factors that influence a firearm’s durability will also coincidentally play into its assembly.

Firearms with exceptional performance will quite often be engineered in less common ways. While this is not much of an issue if the engineering focuses on the architecture of the component, it can just as easily be an effect of the firearm’s construction. This is especially relevant when it comes to firing mechanisms, loading processes, and specialized recoil dampening systems.

Ruger SR 1911 Unassembled

Of course, regardless of the firearm’s performance, it will still need to be cleaned. This adage holds true more when you are on the road and bugging out than if you only use the firearm occasionally. As such, the ease with which the firearm can be disassembled and assembled will not only influence how quickly you can clean the gun but how quickly you can make use of it once again.

The M16 is famous for its ability to be disassembled and assembled in under a minute. If you find yourself cleaning your firearm, your ability to reassemble it to deal with potential threats at a moment’s notice becomes less of a convenience and more of a necessity.

Ruger 10-22 Suppressed

8) Range (Reach Out and “Touch-ness”)

While the type, size, and caliber of the firearm will combine to play an important role in determining its range, you will still need to weigh the factors against one another to find the gun that provides you the qualities that you need most. Keep in mind, depending on where you live and where your bug out location is located, range may not be that important.

Shotgun, Rifle, Handgun Projectile Ranges

Shotgun, Rifle, and Handgun Projectile Ranges

For instance, if your bug out location and the various routes to get there all have you tracking through heavily wooded areas, you are unlikely to even be able to make use of a firearm that can shoot accurately beyond 300 yards. Conversely, if your bug out location and the routes to get there place you in a variety of more open terrain, the ability to deal with threats or hunt prey at longer distances becomes more important.

In this regard, it is likely a good idea to ensure that you have at least one firearm that is capable of shooting accurately at medium to medium-long ranges. Notice the operative word in that sentence is not the distances but the word “accurately.” You may train with a pistol, but if you are using a 9mm round, you will have to account for its drop far more than if you are using a pistol that fires .357 magnums.

Pala Reservation Range Distances

Of course, that round is heavy and less common, so it is not advised for a bug out firearm. In this instance, we return once again to the assault rifle which can often reliably shoot at both medium and medium-long distances depending on your caliber and the type of round it fires. Ideally, you will want a firearm that is manageable at close ranges with the ability to remain accurate up to 300 yards.


9) Feel

This factor is a bit tricky considering it is a completely subjective determination. That being said, there are some quantifiable measurements that can often provide insight into how the gun will feel in your hands, but ultimately it will come down to your personal preference. Much like the way few people throw a ball with perfect, professional technique, few people will hold a firearm exactly as specified.

Much of this has to do with the fact that people are far too different–even on the minor scale of hand shape–for a single mold to provide a universally ideal fit. Moreover, if you learned how to do a task a certain way, chances are that you inevitably attempt to accomplish that task the original way regardless the “proper technique”–including holding a firearm.

Shrunken M16A Model

Shrunken M16A Model

Most of the quantifiable measures that will play into how the gun feels in your hand relate to how far apart the different functions are or how much pressure is required to activate a function. For instance, keeping your firearm’s safety on until you are in a situation requiring its use is a necessity. That said, being able to switch from safe to live mode with the flick of thumb is just as important.

This principle follows similarly when you consider the hammer, upper receiver, and magazine as well. The ability to disengage the magazine lock to quickly reload is just as vital as the ability to pull back the upper receiver and chamber the first shot. If the gun uses a hammer action, how much additional pressure is required to simply fire from the trigger? All of these factors affect the feel of the gun.

Remington 870 Grip

Remington 870 Grip


10) Extras

The term “extras” might be a bit of a misnomer depending on the other specifications of your firearm. For instance, a reflex sight might be ideal for a medium range assault rifle but will likely not be as much of a necessity on most handguns–especially larger caliber handguns. Still, different manufacturers will produce a wide variety of additional options depending on the gun’s type, popularity, and market lifespan.

For instance, the Ruger 10/22 is one of the most popular small caliber rifles on the market. Consequently, it has also been around for a while. Both of the factors combine to produce a broad and deep market of additional modifications that can be made to the firearm to either improve its capabilities in some respect or simply provide customization.
Another factor to consider with extras is their cost.

Ruger 10-22 Model Variants

Ruger 10-22 Model Variants

A quality firearm will cost hundreds to thousands of dollars on its own. This investment can easily double if the manufacturer also makes sure that their firearm uses proprietary add-ons which require you to purchase only their brand. Ideally, you will look for a firearm that can use a multitude of different brands and types when it comes to extras.

In fact, there are many brands for both firearms and modifications which specialize in providing a maximum amount of versatility for fit. While these brands may not always strictly provide the maximum performance found within their class or category, there are usually plenty which offers a quality performance with maximum utility. In this regard, the potential for long-term use and even having to change modifications on the fly make this a better option.



Based on the criteria we have laid out for you, it should be fairly clear that there is no single firearm that is simply the best bug out gun for everyone. While we personally think that an assault rifle provides the best mix of utility, even within that category, there is no gun which will be perfect for every person.

Moreover, many of the factors that will help you select the best bug out gun for you involve factors that do not even relate to the firearm itself. To learn more about the various factors that can and should influence your bug out gun choice, check out my comprehensive bug out guide.

Maxpedition Bug Out Bag

Maxpedition Bug Out Bag

About Conrad:
Conrad Novak is a proud father of two children. His journey as a prepper began when Hurricane Katrina hit and he lost his job due to the 2008 economic crisis. That made him realize that everything can change for the worst in a very short time. This experience was the detonator for him to pursue learning and becoming better prepared to face the kind of unexpected disasters that may occur at any point in our lives. You can read more of his content at

The post How to Pick The Perfect Bug Out Gun appeared first on Geek Prepper.

Smart Survival Strategies for Kids: Forbidden Items at School

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what to do if your kid forgets and takes a forbidden item in school

If your kid forgot a pocketknife and accidentally took it to school, what would they do?

It may not be every parent’s very worst nightmare, but it certainly ranks up there if your kids are in public school. What if your kid has a forbidden item in school? It could be an accident, or something they found that wasn’t originally theirs, especially for older kids who find something in their car or truck.

What should they do if they reach in a pocket and realize that a shell casing (garbage, to anyone who knows anything about firearms) is still there from their last hunting trip? What if, God forbid, they have a pocket knife in their backpack after a camping trip?

Medical and First Aid Supplies

One of the more popular articles on the blog recently was this one, Backpack First Aid Kit for Kids. The author listed a number of tiny, handy items that could all be contained in a small plastic container. When this was posted on The Survival Mom Facebook page, the results were shocking:

In schools around here, this would get the kid an out of school suspension. Over the counter medication of any kind has to be accompanied by a doctor’s note etc.”

Can’t do this any more. It would be taken from your child and you would go to jail for pushing drugs. We have become a stupid society.

You might be able to sneak a Band-Aid into the backpack, but nothing else. Our school district here in north Texas wouldn’t allow any of that stuff.

“It’s a great idea but it would be taken from my girls first thing. Our school doesn’t even allow the kids to bring in cough drops.

Harmless items, such as eye drops and Neosporin, may be considered illegal contraband in public schools these days, apparently! So what if your child does have one of these in a pocket, purse, or backpack, innocently and unintentionally? I’ve been known to tuck a couple of ibuprofen in a pocket, just in case.

The news is full of incidents in which kids have been suspended or expelled just for something this simple.

How should they handle this?

So, what would be a smart strategy if this happens with one of your kids?

One high school kid realized that he had left a pocket knife in his pocket after a Scout camping trip. The panicked kid faked sickness and went to the nurse saying he had to go home. His mom picked him up and took him home early and the problem was solved.

In another incident, a high school student grabbed what he thought was a can of soda on his way out the door. When he got to school, he realized it was beer and immediately turned it over to his teacher. The teacher turned him in to the principal, and the boy was suspended for 3 days and had to attend an “alternative” school for 3 months. His mother claimed he was just being honest and was punished in return.

If your child finds himself or herself in a situation like this, what would you advise them to do? Do they know how to handle it?

My Views On Carrying Modern Gadgets.

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Something I posted on a UK survival forum recently after receiving so much negative feed back & comments. 
My Views On Carrying Modern Gadgets.

Okay, this is my take on the carry situation, or your Bug Out bag contents for long term wilderness/country living.

People are for ever saying that they will rely of modern gear because it is easier to use & when it is used up or broken they will simply discard it. Many state that they carry multiple items for making fire. Maybe they do the same with other gear as well, I don’t know.

Personally I have gone to a lot of research & experimentation to arrive at the best kit I can possibly carry that will last me a lifetime in the wilderness. This equipment is backed up with the skills needed to use this gear.

Now if I were to take advice from many people who advocate the carrying of modern gear & extras for insurance, then some of the items I already have in my pack would have to be taken out to (a) make room, & (b) lighten the load.

Putting it another way, when one has to discard a modern gadget, there is nothing to replace it unless you can make a primitive item to replace it. You were carrying this gadget at the expense of carrying something more suitable. You have compromised your safety & security by leaving important items out of your pack to make room for your gadgets. Does this make any sense to you?

Okay so you do know how to use a flint, steel & tinderbox & you carry one with you. You know all about plant & fungi tinders & where to find dry kindling in the pouring rain & snow. But you still want to carry a cigarette lighter, a ferocerium rod & magnesium block because? I can probably make fire faster with a tinderbox than many people can with a lighter, so why would I want to carry a lighter? I would sooner carry that extra weight & bulk in gunpowder, water, food, modern medical supplies. These items are far more important than carrying battery operated torches, magnesium blocks, ferocerium rods, cigarette lighters, plastic or tin plates, fold away solar panels, eating utensils, fuel stove, multi-tool, or the myriad of other modern gadgets that are on the market today.

A ferocerium rod is NOT a good substitute for a tinderbox. So why have one? Why are you not practicing with a real flint steel & tinderbox? If this is just a hobby for you, just a game or something you like to do when camping out, fine, I am not saying that is NOT a legitimate thing to do, but do NOT try to convince me or anyone else that this is what you should do if you seriously want to survive should it all hit the fan.

I have been doing this stuff since before it became known as prepping, I have been doing this for most of my life in all weathers. I have survived attacks from people & wild animals, I survived cyclone Tracey in 74. I have lived off grid in the bush for most of my life. I try to pass on my findings, my knowledge & my experience because I am an old man & the things that I know are rarely practiced these days. And yet I am for ever finding people getting upset by what I say & am immediately put on someone’s hit list. Is it jealousy? Is it because these people were used to being top dog on the forum until I came along & upset their ratings? Or is it because I no longer live in the UK & therefore can’t be considered a reliable source of information?

Yes I am out of touch with matters in the UK, I would imagine things are far worse there now than they were when I was living there. I saw my old forest & field haunts being cut down, leveled & built on. I was running out of room to “play”. So I got out, came here & bought myself a forest that no one can destroy. But that does not mean that you can’t take what is of use to you & discard the rest. Basic survival needs are still the same no matter where you are in the world. Even some of the plants here are the same as in the UK & other countries. Before climate change took a hold it was the same weather conditions here in New England NSW as it was in parts of the UK.

There is different equipment to suit the individual, & there is the WRONG equipment to carry. No matter how big & strong you are, no matter that you can carry a child plus your backpack, it still comes down to carrying the right gear & NOT compromising your safety. There will already be a need for some compromise when packing for a trip between two principles : minimum weight & maximum self-reliance.

Bugging Out From School: Build a Kit and Make a Plan That Won’t Get Your Kids Expelled

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With back-to-school time approaching, have you ever thought about whether bugging out from school was something that your kids should know how to do?

A few years ago, I posed … Read the rest

The post Bugging Out From School: Build a Kit and Make a Plan That Won’t Get Your Kids Expelled appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

A Canoe That Can Fit Inside a Backpack

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A Canoe That Can Fit Inside a Backpack Ori Levin designed a full sized canoe that’s completely collapsible and can be stored in a bag that’s only 5 x 9 x 28 inches big. Basically, you can have a boat in your backpack. This amazing product Called the Adhoc Canoe, only weighs 9 pounds and …

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Tactical Life, Part 1: Boots, Gloves, and Packs

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Tactical Life, Part 1: Boots, Gloves, and Packs What you wear and the gear you use can be much more than just a preference on how you look. Using quality gear has been a hallmark of the military and law enforcement for a long time. It is easy to see why, since gear reliability can be …

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The Essentials of a Well-Made Daypack & GIVEAWAY!

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well made daypackIt seems like the daypack, in one form or another, has become ubiquitous in the United States as well as in other parts of the world. However, the daypack in its early form was an elementary affair. Mostly used by settlers and colonialists, Native Americans, trappers, and mountain men when the United States was young.  John Hart, author of Walking Softly in the Wilderness: The Sierra Club Guide to Backpacking, writes,

The traditional daypack is simple. A tough fabric bag, a couple of wide shoulder straps, and you’ve about got it.

At its core, not much has changed; the basics of what constitutes a daypack remain the same. However, through the years – particularly the last 25 – it has morphed into designs which serve us in some very new ways.

Whatever your profession, trade, sport, or activity, there is a daypack made with you in mind. There is, in fact, a dazzling array of shapes, sizes, colors, constructions, and configurations to choose from and of course, quality and price point too. This article focuses only on the core elements, the basics of what constitutes a well-made daypack; form, fit, and function. Beyond that, only you know what the specific needs are for you and your family. Moving beyond the old canvas satchel and weaved basket with two leather straps that my grandfather used on his trapline as a boy, here are some important things to consider before purchasing a daypack, today:

Form — The Body of the Daypack

In this instance, when you think form, think materials and construction. Specifically fabrics, straps, buckles, webbing, padding, sewing, and general, over-all  construction. These are key to the design and manufacture of a well-made daypack.

Materials: There are many fabrics to choose from depending on the type of daypack you are looking for. You want the body of the daypack to be made from synthetic materials, not cotton or blended fabrics. A quality rip-stop nylon , nylon oxford, or cordura are all great choices. Another important consideration is the thread count or denier of the fabric you choose. Make sure the fabric is sturdy enough to withstand the usage you have in mind. Lastly, for most daypacks, you will want the fabric to have a waterproof coating, either polyurethane or silicon based.

A daypack made of quality material doesn’t have to be expensive, as this example shows.

Straps: The shoulder straps are an all-important consideration. The majority of the load is transferred to your shoulders there. (Do you remember the feeling of your overloaded daypack or bookbag shoulder straps digging into your shoulders while you walked to and from school?) Straps should be made of a thick closed cell foam material covered in an abrasion resistant fabric like a dense nylon material that is tough but won’t easily chafe you. The padded shoulder straps should have strong flat nylon webbing tails attached to the bottom with box-x stitching, which is inserted into a strong buckle and tab attached to the bottom of the daypack. Make sure there is lots of adjustability for your body type. The top of the straps should be secured to the body of the daypack using bar-tack stitching as well as being integrated into the top seam.

Padding: The padding I’m referring to is more than just what is found in the shoulder straps. Depending on design and use, a daypack may have a padded bottom in the main compartment, a padded sleeve in the inner compartment to park a laptop, other electronics, or even a hydration bladder in some. The back may have extra padding and mesh to add support, cushion, and ventilation. If your’s is a slightly larger daypack, it may have a padded waist belt as well. Theses should all be made using dense closed cell foam material.

Here’s another example of an inexpensive, but high quality daypack with comfortable padded straps, made with high qualaity material.

Sewing: Throughout the daypack, heavy duty thread should be used. Seams should be double stitched and key stress points should be bar-tacked or box-x stitched. As much as possible, bias binding should be used on material edges. You should see raw edges heat sealed (hot-cut) and finished with a zigzag stitching. In cheaply made packs, the material is cut using a stat-cutter, not heat sealed and rarely zigzag stitched. Under heavy use, this leads to fabric fraying and seam separations. Not really what you want when toting your $500 laptop around. Take a few minutes to inspect the stitching.

General overall construction: Other considerations are closures, loops, D-rings, handles, and buckles. Most daypacks will have some kind of zippers, velcro, snaps, or shock cord. All should be made of tough durable materials (Are the zippers YKK on the pack you are considering?) and securely attached to the main body of the daypack using reinforced stitching. Buckles should be made of high-impact plastic with some give at closure points. D-rings and loops should be ergonomically placed and bar-tacked in place. The fabric for the main body and pockets of the pack should be coated to provide a measure of waterproofing.

This Swissgear daypack is an example of one that combines multiple features, making it an extremely versatile and budget-friendly choice.

Fit (size and ergonomics)

Whether you are buying a $9.99 back-to-school special from a big-box store for you kids to tote their books back and forth from school, an every day carry (EDC) or get-home bag to keep in your vehicle, or contemplating a rugged mountaineering daypack for your trek in Nepal, if it doesn’t fit right, the pack can be miserable to use and in some instances unsafe. Things to consider:

  1. Is the pack the right size for your intended use? Do you really need a $200 military-grade rucksack-style daypack for your college books? (Yes, I know it looks cool.)
  2. Are the buckles, webbing, D-rings, and zippers  on your daypack designed for ease of use and security in mind?
  3. Does the daypack fit your frame well? No two bodies are the same, and no two daypacks are either. There is one that will fit you well and meet your needs. Be picky, it will pay off in the long run.

Function of the daypack

What are you getting this daypack for anyway? Begin with the end in mind and think about what you really need versus what you want. Are you looking for a general-duty daypack or one specifically designed for your get-home bag? One specifically tailored to a woman’s build or one for your preschooler? Are you a climber, hunter, hiker, or runner? Participants and practitioners of each activity have their special requirements to consider when finding the daypack that will work best.

The Daypack Test Drive – Don’t be Nice!

When you have finally found the daypack you are considering, don’t hesitate to take it for a test drive at the store and don’t be easy on it. Turn the daypack inside out and check the coating on the material, the stitching, seams, and bar-tacking. Bring things that you will carry in the pack and load it up and walk around! How do your shoulders feel carrying weight and your hips, if you have a waist belt to help distribute the load? Do all the buckles lock and unlock smoothly? How easily do the zippers work around corners and can you close them one-handed? Are the pockets and exterior strapping configured the way you need them? The hit list goes on… You get the idea.

A daypack may be a relatively small purchase, but it fills a big need for many activities you and your family do. Don’t settle for less than what fits you and your particular requirements.

There are many other things to consider when choosing a daypack. Most have to do with the specific requirements you have or activities you do. If you want to delve more deeply into the finer nuances of daypacks check out the articles and videos below.

Additional Resources


Daypacks: How to Choose – REI

YouTube Reviews

Preschool Daypacks

Laptop Daypacks

Hiking Daypacks

Travel Daypacks

Hydration Daypacks

Running Daypacks


This giveaway is really something special. From our friends at Flying Circle, the Brazos Backpack could be a daypack, but it is also suitable for a whole lot more. Made of military grade materials, it’s the high quality pack you’ve been wanting, with multiple pockets everywhere, including a small pocket on the strap, a handy place to stash a small flashlight, cash, or keys. It also features padded compartments for a laptop or tablet, and even a hidden “pass through” compartment, perfect for carrying a concealed handgun.

You can read more about its many features here.

Flying Circle will send this extra special pack to one lucky winner! Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway begins on December 29, and ends at midnight on January 7.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In praise of the humble Hammock

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Suspended in trees, surrounded by nothing but nature. Pure bliss (hammock listed below)

Suspended in trees, surrounded by nothing but nature. Pure bliss (hammock listed below)

Yes, those things your grandma used to relax in in her garden with a nice book are the way forward when camping.

Hammocks can keep you warm and dry these days – off the big- infested floor and with waterproof covers.

Floor’s damp from rain? Not a problem. Suspended between two trees, you don’t have to worry about creepy crawlies getting into your sleeping bag or resting your head on an uncomfortable surface. Camping hammocks use taut, technical fabrics and are very stable so you’re unlikely to flip out of them. Not the best at setting things up? Not a problem, most of them are easy peasy, much less of a head scratcher than tents.

To keep the autumn chill off your back as you sleep, you can attach one of the fitted “underquilts” that most companies offer—an insulated sling that sits under the hammock. And of course, your sleeping bag and standard sleeping pad will provide extra structure and warmth.

To suspend your hammock, simply wrap “tree straps” around two appropriately spaced trunks. Because this flat webbing is wider than rope, it won’t damage the bark. And tempting though it may be, don’t hang your hammock more than a few feet off the ground. It will be easier to climb in and out if the hammock is lower, and in the unlikely event of a suspension failure, you won’t have as far to fall.

We have listed a few of our faves below for you to take a little peek at:

Eagles Nest Outfitters Single Nest Hammock
Price: $59.95
This one comes in 21 different colors, making it easy to coordinate with your personal style and mix match with the family. It is high strength and can hold up to 400lb, features 70D high tenacity breathable nylon taffeta and triple interlocking stitching. The hammock itself weighs just 1 pound and can be bunched up into a softball-size bundle. ENO attempts to reduce potential waste by using every bit of fabric available in production so it’s eco-friendly, yay!

You can find it/alternatives here if you’re in the UK and here if you’re in Canada.

Hennessy Ultralight Backpacker Classic
Price: $239.95
This light favourite was designed with utility in mind and was eve based on the design of World War II Army hammocks. If this one tickles your fancy, you can look forward to enjoying the following features: A mosquito net sewn right in; a sleeve to hold your sleeping pad in place; a Velcro-sealed doorway allows for easy entry; and an asymmetrical shape allows you to lie across the centerline for a flatter position.

You can find it/alternatives here if you’re in the UK and here if you’re in Canada.

Kammok Roo
Price: $99.00
Lightweight but massive (about 10 feet long by 5½ feet wide), this hammock is an all-enveloping cocoon of strong ripstop fabric. Although it’s intended to accommodate two people, keep it all to yourself. It’s wide enough to allow solo sleepers to lie fairly flat and slightly across the centerline. Its sturdy construction made it feel very stable, even if you’re moving around.

You can find it/alternatives here if you’re in the UK and here if you’re in Canada.

Tensile Trillium Hammock
Price: $250.00
This one is really unique and the perfect hammock for stacking for a multi-level outdoor living environment if you’re camping in a big group. Insulation layers will keep you toasty at night and it can hold a maximum of 800lbs. Set up time is only 8 minutes too!

You can find it here if you’re in the UK and here if you’re in Canada.

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Duct Tape Backpacking Pack

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DIY Duct Tape Backpacking Pack Duct tape can save your ass in an emergency, this is a great example how you can make a strong reliable backpack to bug out if SHTF. If you find your self in a SHTF situation without a bug out bag or maybe you find your self in a situation …

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Packs Selection!

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Packs Selection! Josh “The 7P’s of Survival” On this program we discuss pack selection for a variety of carry options from every day carry to bug out bag to long term self-reliance kit to hunting pack. I have been fortunate enough to utilize most of the options below; some with great success and other now merely … Continue reading Packs Selection!

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How to Prep Your Kids For Emergencies: Supplies

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Prepping Your Kids for emergenciesBeing a parent means that your kids are the very first things you worry about. Doubly so when it comes to prepping your kids for emergency situations. Our first thoughts in any emergency are for our children; we want them to be healthy, safe, and not scared. That seems like it could be a tall order in the face of a scary emergency.

READ MORE: “Are Your Kids Equipped to Handle These 7 Scary Scenarios?

The truth is, having a child can seriously complicate one’s plans for emergency preparedness. Everything is always a lot simpler when you only have to worry about yourself and your spouse, without short people getting under foot. Sometimes, even a trip to the grocery store with kids is a major event. I am sure anyone who has ever had children knows what I’m talking about: “I want that! But WHY can’t we get cookies? Can we get this? I want a treat! But I WANT it! I have to go potty!” And then the four-year-old wanders off and the baby’s diaper leaks.

Well, if you have to evacuate or bug out with a young family, multiply that by about thirty times – not because the children are more high-strung, but because YOU, the parent, are so focused on trying to navigate the freeway in traffic that if the kids don’t shut up RIGHT NOW, you’re in danger of running the minivan off the road.

This is why it’s so important to make sure everyone in your family is prepared, not just the parents. Involving your children in your plans will make your evacuation a calm (or, at least calmer) and orderly affair. There’s no yelling or screaming, everyone knows what they have to do, the kids have all their stuff (including blankies), and they know how to use everything in their 72 hour kits. In this scenario, children become active participants in the evacuation instead of additional objects to be buckled into the car.

In order to accomplish this, children need three things:

1. Supplies
2. Information
3. Practice

First let’s talk about the supplies. What does a kid need? What should you pack? What kind of container/backpack should you use?

Prepping Your Kids: Finding the Right Bag

The choices for a bug-out-bag are many and varied. For most people, the backpack is the container of choice, although it may also be good to consider other, non-traditional options. When it comes to prepping your kids, however, I would definitely stick with a backpack. The premise here is that everyone must be able to handle their own bag, and a backpack fits the bill: The weight is carried on the child’s back instead of his or her arms, leaving arms free for balance or for carrying a comfort item.

The ideal backpack will be roomy enough to hold a lot of necessary items, but not so big as to be unwieldy. Many backpacks for children are designed to also be clipped around the waist; this is perfect because it transfers some of the weight onto the child’s hips. If you have the right backpack, even a 2-year-old can be responsible for his or her own kit.

Emergency Evacuations book

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What to Put In It

When it comes time to pack your child’s 72-hour kit, DO make your child help you. The goal here is for your child to know exactly what is in his bag, what everything is for, and how to use it. Most lists of stuff to pack includes both heavy and light things. If your child is particularly young, pack their bag with only light things, and put the heavy things in a parent’s bag. For example, a little kid could carry a large amount of ramen noodles, but pack the cooking gear in with Mom’s or Dad’s stuff.

A list of some basic 72-hour kit items can be found here. To customize your child’s kit to be more kid-friendly, consider adding the following:

For Recreation

This category is especially important for children. Having ways to occupy themselves can help reduce stress and create a sense of normalcy. Happy, non-stressed children means less stress for Mom and Dad.

  • A small coloring book. Dover has an extensive line of small activity and coloring books. These measure about 3″ x 4″, perfect for stowing in a bag.
  • Crayons
  • A small notebook for free drawing or playing games like tic-tac-toe or Pictionary
  • A balloon (not blown up, of course), for when you arrive at your destination and have some down time. I have yet to meet a child under the age of nine who has failed to be entertained by a simple balloon. Blow it up, let it loose, watch it race around the room, repeat.
  • A small story book. If you have an electronic e-reader, load it with books for your child. Project Gutenburg has a huge collection of children’s classics for free download.
  • One pair of dice, for playing a number of dice games
  • Lovies/comfort objects/blankies. These often can’t be put in 72-hour kits because they are necessary for every day use. I include them because at my house, they are more precious than gold. If your kid has an emotional attachment to a stuffed animal or blanket, leave it behind at your own peril.

For Safety

  • A family photo, with your contact information (mom’s cellphone number, etc) written on the back. If you become separated from your child, the photo will serve as identification, showing that your child belongs with you.

For Hygiene

  • Diapers/pull-ups. Even if your child is potty trained, very young children can regress during times of upheaval. This is a case where it is better to be safe than sorry. If you think a child may be offended by the tacit accusation this represents, pack them anyway. Put them in your own bag if you have to.
  • Extra(!) wipes.

Involving Your Child

As you put together your child’s bug out bag, make it a priority to involve your child in the process. Tell him or her, “This is for your bag and you’re going to be in charge of it.” Give the child some ownership by allowing input when choices must be made, e.g. in the color of the backpack or the flavor of granola bars.

When the time comes to rotate and update items in the kits, make it a family activity. Go over each item and make sure your child knows what it is for and where it is stored in the backpack. “Granola bars are in this pocket, crackers are in this one. This is your flashlight and this is how you turn it on.” Have your child wear the backpack to check for the fit on their shoulders, and adjust the straps as needed – much better to do this at your leisure now instead of when you have fifteen minutes to leave your home.

Resist the temptation to over-pack a backpack intended for a child. A child younger than 6 can’t be expected to carry very much, probably just a change of clothes, some crayons, and a few snacks.

Hopefully this will give you a starting point for putting together a child-specific 72-hour kit. Part Two of this series will focus on empowering children with necessary information.

More Resources

For more on prepping your kids, check out these printable lists of kits your kids can use:

Survival Kid’s Kit

Wilderness Survival Kit for Every Kid

Prepping Your Kids for emergencies

Must Have Items for Your INCH Bag

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inch bag essential itemsIn case you were wondering, INCH = I’m Never Coming Home.

The traditional definition of an INCH bag is that it’s an “over-sized bug out bag”. INCH bags are supposed to keep us safe in the wilderness so we need to pack more, right.

INCH bags aren’t just about packing more. In addition to adding more food, water, clothes and gear, you’re also going to need a few things that, more often than not, have no place in a bug out bag. These things will make a difference if you’re forced to spend week or even months in the wilderness.

Here’s my list of items you should consider in your backpack, not before you keep in mind your unique situation (number of family members, skills, fitness, climate and so on).

A Two or Three-Person Tent

If you’re gonna be out there for a while, you’re gonna need the best shelter you can have. I know a lot of people associate bugging out in the wilderness with making shelter from natural materials but a tent will provide some much needed comfort plus protection from the elements.


Marmot Limelight 2

Alps Mountaineering Meramac 2

Wenzel Alpine 3-Person Tent

A Lantern

Lanterns are great for campsites. Many of them are a little larger in size but you can also find smaller, inflatable ones that have solar panels on top.


MPOWERD Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern

Rayovac SE3DLNACOM Sportsman

Snare Wire

Though you will add more food to an INCH bag, it still won’t last you too much. IF you don’t eat too much, that is. Having the means to build a trap for small game is mandatory if you want to keep your kids busy and your bellies full.

For more info on how to use a snare wire, you can check this video out:

A Gun Cleaning Kit

You’re going to hunt, you’re going to fend off attackers. Your guns needs to be in top shape.

Modularize Your Bag

With such a large bag, if you don’t organize things, it’s gonna take you forever to find your things. You don’t have 10 minutes to waste every time you’re looking for your ferro rod, so why not keep everything in modules or kits?

First aid kits, fire starting kits, cooking kits – if you organize them this way you’ll always know where to find something. If you can wrap them in transparent packaging, it’ll be even easier to see what’s inside without opening it or having to label each container. For instance, you can put everything in waterproof Ziploc bags and then put those bags in transparent plastic bags that are also puncture proof.

Survival Kits inside Survival Kits

Speaking of modules, consider the scenario where you have to leave your INCH bag behind. Maybe you’re being followed or even chased. The bag is going to be really heavy and the only way to put some distance between you and your attackers is to lighten your load.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a smaller, lightweight emergency survival kit that you can just take out of your INCH bag and continue with it (until you’re able to come bag for your main bag)?

This mini-bug out bag should have, as you’d expect, some of the most important essentials needed to survive a few hours up to a day: a folding knife, a mini-first aid kit, a couple of lighters and so on. As far as the pouch is concerned, I recommend one that has two important things: MOLLE compatibility as well as straps for you to wear it as you’re running away from danger.

Work Gloves

Chopping wood, making shelter, carving primitive tools, climbing trees, keeping thorny bushes away as you’re moving through the woods… there’re so many uses for work gloves that adding them into your survival bag is a no-brainer.

lensatic compassA Good Compass

For bushcraft purposes, not any compass will do. You can find lensatic compasses for 10 bucks on Amazon, don’t rely on the one that came with your watch. Two is one, one is none.

A Fishing Kit

Fish hooks and line have numerous alternative uses. Regardless, fishing might be your only option when bugging out in the wilderness for months on end.

A Tarp

Even if you have a tent, a tarp is also mandatory for a prolonged bug out. (For bug out bags, here’s a small article on the pros and cons to figure out whether you need a tent or a tarp.) Use it to insulate the floor of your tent, to butcher the animals you hunt, to provide shade and on and on.

An External Hard-Drive

I’m not sure how much space you need for your files but some people have hundreds of gigabytes to store. Hard drives aren’t necessarily heavy but keep in mind that by adding dozens of items to your INCH bag, it is going to be pretty heavy at the end.

chest rigA Chest Rig

This may not go inside the INCH bag but a tactical chest rig has a whole bunch of useful pockets.

A Gas Mask

Yes, another item that will add considerable weight to your bag, but you know best the survival scenarios you prep for. Gas masks can protect you from a variety of scenarios including tear gas, a volcanic eruption and a nuclear meltdown.

Upgrade Your Personal Water Filter

Few people know that the Sawyer Mini can purify 100 times more water than the LifeStraw. Both are good but the Mini will last you a lot, lot longer.

Besides there, there will always be little items that make a lot of sense for INCH bags. For example:

  • toothpaste and a toothbrush
  • multi-vitamins
  • a portable water filter (besides the personal one you should already have)
  • googles (for swimming and snow storms)

An Alternative Weapon… Or Two

What happens if you run out of ammo? Unless you’re willing to carve some sort of primitive weapon using items you have in your bag, I suggest you pack a professional one such as a crossbow, a compound bow or a sling-shot.extra weapon bow

…and so on. At the end of the day, the best way to figure out what to add is to think about the problems you might encounter and the ways you could solve them. All those lists of essentials to pack in your survival bags out there should be taken lightly. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up with an INCH bag you’ll barely be able to carry.

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Small Space Prepper Must Haves

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Small Space prepperMany of us either live in a small space, or have run out of room in a larger space. These small space prepper must haves each help you fit more into the space you have and improve your preparedness. While none of these will break the bank, they were chosen for quality, not based on which one was cheapest. Cost was, of course, considered, but it was tertiary after quality and size. Any of these should last, and last, and last.

Of course these also make great gifts for any occasion from birthday to graduation, wedding, and more. (But you should probably ask before giving one as an anniversary gift.)

Small Antenna for HAM Radio – Getting reception can be tricky. If you need better reception for your HAM Radio hobby but don’t have a lot of space, this may be just the ticket for you.

Gossamar Gear Backpack – These ultra-light backpacking backpacks are in the same price range as regular backpacks, but take far – FAR – less space to store, and they weigh less. Double win!

Multiport USB Charger – Technically, this may not be a prepper item, but the reality is that most of us have a lot of items that can be charged via a USB port that we won’t want to be without. This reduces the number of charging cubes needed for that.

Chemex Coffee Maker and bleached filters – Chemex coffee makers don’t use any electricity and make really good coffee, once you know how to use it. They are particularly good for cold-brew coffee. (The bleached filters are better than the brown ones in this particular case because the brown ones can leave behind a bit of a brown-paper-bag taste, or so I’m told.) The Chemex actually takes a bit less space than most coffee makers because it is really just the specially designed borosilicate pot.

Compass – Different compasses are useful in different areas. This style is really good to use with paper maps and in areas without a lot of long-distance visibility to keep track of a single landmark, like the woods or a city.

SWLing Blog or Baofeng HAM Radio – This is not a hobby that needs to take a lot of space, and the uses of HAM for preppers are many, varied, and impossible to deny. Either of these is a great choice.

External Hard Drive – This is a great way to save all your favorite movies and music in a small space. Copy them all onto here, then store, sell, or otherwise dispose of your collection, which is now easy to pick up and carry with you.

Kindle Paperwhite – I own and use a standard Kindle. My husband has a paperwhite. Only one is easily usable when there is no light, and it’s not mine. Kindles are, hands-down, the best way to store large amounts of reading and visual reference materials in one place. (In case you wondered, I am recommending the regular Kindle over the Fire simply because the battery life is so very long on a Kindle.)

Tesla Coil Lighter – This is a windproof, USB rechargeable, arc lighter. No need to keep extra lighter fluid on hand or as many methods for lighting a fire if you have this lighter.

Mixing tools: Pastry Blender, Whisk, and (possibly) Dutch-Style Dough Mixer – Stand mixers are great, but they can take up a lot of space. I have found that a pastry blender and whisk can do almost everything most people use a stand mixer for in a fraction of the space – and with no electricity required. For anyone who makes a lot of bread or other very heavy doughs, a Dutch-style dough mixer is another hand-powered device that would be a great addition.

Stovehinge: The Collapsible Rocket Stove – This small stove is extremely small, and very heavy. It is most decidedly not a backpacking stove! If you remove it from the case it ships in, you may be able to store it in an even smaller space.

Small Drawer Safe – This model is designed for hand guns but can, of course, be used for any valuables. Because of its small size and weight, it’s easy to bolt into a piece of furniture, such as a dresser drawer, or even into a closet shelf or other part of your home.

Collapsible Solar Oven – The solar oven I have is great, but it definitely takes a lot of space to store. This version is completely collapsible and can store easily behind a piece of furniture.

Sweeper – Instead of a large vacuum cleaner, many small spaces (especially those without plush carpet) can get by with a small sweeper similar to the ones used in restaurants.

Thumb Drive – Everyone should have a reliable thumb drive with copies of their important documents. This particular model includes security, password protection, and a back-up to the Cloud.

Vertical Wall Garden – It is really just like it sounds. This is a way to plant a garden so it will grow along a wall (vertically) instead of on the ground, making it much easier to grow some of your own food even in a small space, like a balcony.

Clothes Washer – This reminds me a lot of a toilet plunger, but it is specifically designed for washing clothing. This is far smaller than most other off-grid options and has great reviews

Sawyer Mini Personal Water Filter – If you only need a water filter for one person, this is a solid choice and takes very little space. (The LifeStraw is another great choice.)

LifeStraw Mission Water Purifier – This is a great choice for small spaces because most of it is flexible. There is a section about the size of a foot long hot dog made of hard plastic, tubing, and a bag to hold the water being purified. All of this fits inside a storage bag and takes about the space of Sunday paper. While this is much larger than some other purifiers, it can provide an average family of five with clean water for up to three years of daily use!

Small Space prepper

Ready to Update Your Bug-Out Bag?

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Ready to Update Your Bug-Out Bag?

Bug-Out Bag -150x150Every once in a while you need to fine-tune your preps. Nobody gets it right the first time and we all end up with less than ideal gear because, as beginners, we often buy things out of impulse, falling prey to seductive advertising. Since our bug out bags are at the core of our survival plan, let’s start with those. What are some of the things we can improve?

Before we talk about all the essential items to add, remove or replace (full list here), we need to talk about the backpack. If it’s already full to the brim with supplies, you may need to consider getting a bigger one. Not to worry, you don’t have to throw this one away, you can repurpose it as a get home bag or as a Bug-Out Bag for your kids.

Keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better. If your bug out location isn’t far away or if you can’t carry that much weight, you should probably stick to a bag that’s easier to carry. Still, if you need a new hiking backpack, make sure it has a strong internal frame, padded shoulder straps and padded hip belts.

OK, moving on to the essentials we mentioned earlier…

To keep the process straightforward, you need to do two things. Number one, you need a laptop because you’re gonna make a list of all the things to add or replace and then research them online. Second, you need to take everything out of the Bug-Out Bag so you can put them back one by one (the ones that are still worth it, at least).

Did you do it? Great! All you have to do now is take each item one by one and ask yourself a few questions.

The first one is:

Do I really need it?

Keeping in mind a Bug-Out Bag’s purpose ends once the bug out itself ends, there’s no need to fill it with items you already have at your bug out retreat. For example, one of the things I blindly threw inside my Bug-Out Bag in the beginning that was considerably heavy was a printed copy of the SAS Survival Guide. Nope, it wasn’t the pocket edition. Now that book sits nicely on the shelf and my Bug-Out Bag is one pound lighter.

Sure, it’s always nice to have things that cover every possible scenario but let’s say you live in the burbs and your BOL is 20 miles away. Do you really need fishing hooks? Can you see yourself camping in the forest or fishing? In some cases, it’s better to keep your supplies split between your home and your bug out location to cover both scenarios (bugging in and bugging out, that is).

The second question you need to ask yourself is:

Do I know how to use this thing?

In case of pre-packed Bug-Out Bag or pre-packed first-aid kits, the buyers rarely know how to actually use the things they bought. They have this feeling of safety after the purchase simply because now they own the thing. But in a real emergency, they’re likely to look at that tourniquet or that multi-tool and scratch their heads because they don’t know how to use it.

Though learning new skills isn’t exactly on topic, since your bag items are already spread across the floor, why not make a list with the ones you need to learn how to use?

OK, moving on. After you decided you need to keep an item, the next questions to ask yourself are:

Is this a high-quality item?


Can I get a lighter/smaller version of it?

You see what we’re doing here, right? On the one hand, we need to make sure these items won’t let us down when we need them most; that could obviously cost us our lives. If you bought one particular item in the beginning, when you didn’t know much about prepping, it’s time to re-evaluate your choice and the way you do that is through research. There’re 2 small steps to take.

Step #1: Write in Google best [item]. For example, best survival knife or best multi-tool.

Step #2: Also write in Google: best [item] This instructs Google to only return results from the most popular survival forum.

Step 1 will get you Amazon reviews, blog posts and articles about your chosen item. Step 2 will show you forum discussions by advanced preppers. Thus, you’ll make sure that you’re informed and make the best choice.

Do this for every item and you’ll surely find the best survival items for the best price. For instance, even though there are survival knives out there that cost hundreds of dollars, my “weapon of choice” is a Morakniv Companion with a carbon steel blade that’s only 15 bucks on Amazon.

Ok, back to our second question: can you find items that are lighter than the ones you have? Just because you found the best AM/FM radio, this doesn’t mean you need to get it. You might find something lighter that’s also considered pretty good, the main benefit being that if you do this for every item, you’ll end up with a BOB that’s easy to carry. (Graywolf has an excellent article on the topic of Bug-Out Bag weight, by the way)

The last thing you want to ask yourself while carefully examining each item is:

Is it working the way it should?

For example, are all your lighters working? Try them all one by one. Is your survival knife sharpened? If not, that’s going to be a huge problem. Is your spare cell-phone battery fully loaded and functional? Test it to find out.

Well this is it. I think it’s obvious that inspecting your Bug-Out Bag isn’t as hard as it seemed in the beginning of this article. You can always improve it and adapt it to your changing needs, just make sure you continue to educate yourself on the topic and periodically inspecting it every 6 months to a year.

The post Ready to Update Your Bug-Out Bag? appeared first on The Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Long-Term Survival: Good Items for Bad Times

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Long-Term Survival You should already have your Get Out Of Dodge (GOOD) plan in place, but you may be struggling on what to bring with you when you bug out. Whether you plan to shelter-in-place or you are evacuating to a predetermined location, here is a list of items you should consider keeping on hand. […]

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How to Turn Any Handbag Into an Emergency Kit

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How to Turn Any Handbag Into an Emergency Kit via The Survival Mom
Believe it or not, friends, getting prepared for everyday disasters doesn’t require a bunker, expensive equipment, or tons of space…in fact, all you really need to get started with emergency readiness is a purse (handbag, man-purse, whatever).

My name is Liv, and I am the Survival Mom’s daughter. I’ve written for my mom before (check out my review of Red Cross’s babysitting course here), and now I have the privilege of writing my own post on how to turn any handbag into an emergency kit.

Down to business

How to Turn Any Handbag Into an Emergency Kit via The Survival Mom

Getting caught off-guard is not fun.

If you’re anything like me (and my mom) you like to have a few emergency back-up items on you, just in case you need them. Now, call it what you will, prepping, planning ahead, or common sense, it’s not that hard to be ready when any type of emergency strikes, and creating an emergency kit is as easy as one, two, three, and you don’t need any special equipment at all.

What is an emergency kit?

An emergency kit is a small bag/purse/backpack that you keep handy in the event of an emergency (duh), and it can contain food, water, clothes, fire-starting kits, important documents, or whatever you may need if you have to get out quick and don’t have time to pack.

Now, I have a big emergency kit in my closet, put together by yours truly, and it’s all ready for when I have to run. It has all sorts of little prepper goodies inside, and I’m quite proud of it. You can check it out at this link.

However, it’s quite heavy, I don’t have a car to store this in if I’m out-and-about when disaster strikes, and it would be no fun to lug that thing into the library or grocery store. My solution? The mini-kit.

How to Turn Any Handbag Into an Emergency Kit via The Survival Mom


Let me make this clear: There is no definite outline of what goes into a mini-kit.

It just holds whatever you might need for a small emergency, or a short-notice one, and it keeps you going until you can get to your other supplies. There’s no specific size or packing list, because it differs from person to person. I’m just going to give a quick description of mine, and then you can go and put one together of your own.

I keep my mini-kit in my Baggallini Cinch Backpack, which has several nice, deep pockets inside which are good for holding my emergency supplies. My mom and I favor Baggallini bags because they are made of nylon, are durable, and machine washable. She owns three of them in different styles and colors. Once, when she was between purses, she carried her bright orange Baggallini backpack everywhere. It got to be embarrassing after a while. (This, but in shocking orange. She even carried it to church every Sunday.)

Now, since I stay at home most days and don’t do much dangerous stuff, my kit is pretty simple:

  • ID card
  • Swiss Fire Knife
  • Several Band-Aids
  • About 10 matchsticks
  • Small flashlight
  • Smith’s Pocket Pal – a small, handy knife sharpener
  • Extra set of batteries
  • Small plastic bags in case I need to waterproof something
  • Pocket Bible (Reading material, in the event I have to wait in one place for a while and get bored. Also a good stress-reliever.)

How to Turn Any Handbag Into an Emergency Kit via The Survival Mom

I managed to squeeze these things into an inside pocket of my backpack.

The knife clips nicely to the side of my bag. See? Easy-peasy. So, you just have to think, what emergency is most likely to happen, and how can I do some small-scale prepping for it?

For me, thunderstorms are frequent where I live, therefore a lot of power outages, which is why most of my mini-kit contains light sources. Also, sometimes I run to the grocery store or library by myself (I’m so grown-up), which is why I have the knife–something to defend myself if I feel threatened. Someone who lives in a drier climate might want to carry a pouch or bottle of water, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Someone else who lives where it’s cold might want to add a pair of gloves, wool socks, or hand warmers.

Depending on the design of your handbag, designate specific pockets for specific items, and make sure those items are returned to their assigned space each and every time. In an emergency, when your nerves are frayed already, that’s no time to be digging through one pocked or another trying to find the one item you’re in desperate need of.

How to Turn any Handbag Into an Emergency Kit via The Survival Mom

You can turn any bag into an emergency kit.

Feel free to make it as heavy-duty and long-term as you please. The point is that you don’t need one of those army-grade rucksacks with a zillion little compartments in order to prepare yourself for a disaster. Use a designer purse. Louis Vuitton, even. Any handbag can be transformed into your very own emergency kit!


How to Turn Any Handbag into an Emergency Kit via The Survival Mom

What’s In My Bag?

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what's in my bugout bagIf there is one question I get asked a lot, it’s “What’s in my bag?”.

What’s In My Bag?

The last thing the world needs is another bug out bag post, but I am constantly asked “What’s in your bag, Geek?”.

I figured the best way to deal with this was to just tackle it head on and have a post that covers my gear. This post gets updated when that gear changes.

My bag is an ever-evolving collection of gear. It contains the the stuff that has proven itself, up to this point, to be best in breed, for my needs. When I find something better, develop new techniques, or if something reveals itself to be lacking, then I’ll update this post for the world to see.

My Bag

My current bug out bag (I camp with this also, it’s so much more than just an idle bag) is a High Sierra 75 liter, internal frame backpack. This bag won’t be for everybody, and I understand that. Use the bag that works for you, this one just happens to work for a big guy like me.

My Bag’s Contents

My bag may be a bit beefier than some of yours, as I have 3 daughters. Even though they have their own bug out gear and bags, that can subsist independently, I prefer to carry some extra gear to make our bug out a bit more comfortable and effective.

In My Bag:

Strapped under my bag:

Strapped to bag:


Daughter’s Bags Contents

In their bags:

Strapped to bag:



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