15 Things Cowboys Carried With Them In The Wild West To Survive

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15 Things Cowboys Carried With Them In The Wild West To Survive

Those of us who are fascinated with life in the “Wild West,” beyond what Hollywood shows us, realize that our pioneering forefathers had it hard. True history, not the kind shown on Netflix, isn’t filled with gunfighters and stick-up artists, but rather hard-working men and women who faced deadly situations on a regular basis. While some succumbed to the dangers of the West, many more survived.

We can honestly say that each and every person who took part in settling the West was a survivalist — especially those who chose to live outside the city. Whether they were farmers, ranchers, prospectors or shepherds, their first job was to survive. So everything they did and pretty much every item they owned was centered around that need.

The average rancher had few permanent employees. A few hands to check the herds and ride the range to look for dangers that might hurt or kill the cattle were all he needed. Many would try to pick terrain to settle on, which would naturally mitigate against the cattle wandering. One of the best things for this was water.

Cattle, of course, need water, and few will wander beyond a day’s walk from that water, unless being driven by men or predators. In much of the West, where water is scarce, laying claim to land with a spring or creek on it gave ranchers access not only to much-needed hydration, but an easy way of keeping their cattle home where they belonged. That reduced the labor they needed to hire — an important factor in a land where cash money was hard to come by.

But there were times when cattle operations needed more hands than the few semi-permanent staff. That was at roundup time and for a cattle drive. For these all-important events, ranchers would hire some of the many “drifters” who roamed the West, moving from ranch to ranch, often riding the “grub line” until they could find a job.

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This made the cowboy’s life one of survival. He literally lived out of his bug-out-bag. Of course, they didn’t call it that back then. Rather, they called it their “bed roll.” His bed roll, his saddle bags (which served as his survival kit) and his saddle were about all the worldly goods that most cowboys owned. Many didn’t even own their own horses, but rather rode those that belonged to the ranches they worked.

So, if the cowboy’s blanket roll and saddlebags were respectively his bug-out-bag and survival kit, what sorts of things did he carry in them?

1. A good knife

The first thing that any cowboy had was a good knife. They didn’t have hatchets, machetes, wire saws and multi-tools like we carry in our bug-out bags today. Their only tool was a knife. So it was important to have a good one. This would usually be a mid-sized sheath knife, which was used for everything from cutting wood to skinning game.

Few had a honing stone, but the cowboys would often sharpen their knives on whatever stones they could find. A good chunk of granite or a piece of sandstone — it didn’t matter. Either one became a honing stone in turn.

2. Guns and ammo

15 Things Cowboys Carried With Them In The Wild West To SurviveFew cowboys roamed the West without a firearm. While they weren’t all laden down with guns, as we see in the movies, they pretty much all had something. It might be a pistol, but in most cases it was a rifle. The pistol was more convenient, but the rifle was better for hunting game or fighting Indians.

Many of the cowboys had been soldiers in the Civil War. When they were discharged, they were allowed to take their guns with them. This meant that most had long guns, even if they didn’t have a pistol.

Rarely did the cowboy carry his gun on him, unless he was on the trail. It was too cumbersome and got in the way of handling cattle. But when on a trail drive, they pretty much always went armed. In the case of a stampede, that gun might be the only thing to save your life.

3. Fire-starting

A tinder box was an essential piece of every cowboy’s kit. In it, he would store bits of tinder that he gathered along the trail, always ensuring that he had some with him. He’d also keep a piece of flint in it, often sewn into a leather cover, thus improving his grip on it. If he had matches, they’d be in the tinder box, as well.

4. Canteen of water

The canteen was an essential piece of equipment, especially in terrain where water was scarce. The typical canteen was about 2-1/2 quarts. It would be covered with layers of scrap fabric, usually hand-sewn by the owner. By soaking that fabric in water, when he filled his canteen, the cowboy could keep his water cool.

The first thing that a cowboy did when he stopped at water was to fill his canteen, even before drinking. That way, if he had to leave in a hurry, he had a full canteen to take with him. It didn’t matter if he was only going to town, he’d stop at the water trough and fill his canteen, often dumping out the old water to replace it with fresh water.

5. Cookware

A cowboy’s cook set was pretty minimal, but he usually had one. This would consist of a small pot, a coffee pot, a tin plate and a cup. That was enough for him to cook anything he needed to, out on the trail. Coffee was prized, and having a coffee pot to make coffee was important to men who spent 14 or more hours per day in the saddle, in all kinds of weather.

6. Food

A cowboy never left the bunkhouse without taking some food with him. He never knew what the day would bring or even whether he’d make it back to the bunkhouse that night. So, he kept a little bit of food in his saddlebags at all time. This could include:

  • Bacon — a favorite staple in the West.
  • Biscuits or hard tack.
  • Coffee & sugar.
  • Dried fruit (if they could get it).

Range eating usually wasn’t all that good. The food that the cowboy carried was intended to keep him going if he couldn’t make it back. Beans and bread were common fare, along with just about any type of meat imaginable. But they rarely carried that with them. Those were things kept in the chuck wagon or back at the ranch.

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It was common for cowboys to hunt their meat in order to avoid eating the cattle they were raising. It’s not that cowboys had anything against beef, but rather that those cattle were worth money. If they killed one, it was highly unlikely that they could preserve the meat, so much of it would be lost.

7. Fishing line & hook

15 Things Cowboys Carried With Them In The Wild West To SurviveMany cowboys carried some line and a hook, so that they could catch fish when they camped by the water. This wasn’t a given, but it wasn’t uncommon, either. They’d dig up worms to use as bait, or find grubs, crickets and other insects.

8. Piggin strings

Piggin strings are thin strips of leather or rawhide, like leather boot laces. Their main purpose was for tying the feet of the cattle when thrown for branding or castration. However, they became the cowboy’s equivalent of paracord, using it wherever they needed cordage. A typical cowboy kept a few pieces of piggin string in their pockets, along with a ball in their saddlebags.

9. Rain slicker

Storms could come up suddenly in the West, especially for those who were in the mountains. Those could be dangerous for cowboys, drenching them and causing hypothermia. They’d keep their rain slicker tied behind their saddle, either in a small blanket roll or alone, where it was ready at hand. That way, they could put it on, without having to dismount.

10. Blankets

An actual blanket roll was much bigger than what we are used to seeing in the movies. It could be as much as a foot in diameter. That was too big to carry while riding the range. On the trail, the cowboys would leave their blanket rolls in the chuck wagon, retrieving them at night. In the morning, they’d roll up their blankets once again, with their other possessions inside. At the home ranch, those possessions were in the bunkhouse.

But no matter what, a cowboy would have a couple of blankets tied behind their saddle. Call it the predecessor to the sleeping bag. Few would only want one blanket, as that wasn’t enough to deal with the fall and winter chill.

11. Coat

Just as today, coats were seasonal things. But you’d never find a cowboy leaving the home ranch, without a coat, if there was any chance of it getting cold. If they didn’t wear it, they’d tie it behind their saddle, along with their blankets and rain slicker.

Those that could get them would have gloves, or more likely mittens. A slit would be cut in the mittens, allowing the index finger to slide out when they needed to do something that required some dexterity. But mittens were safer than gloves, as they would allow the fingers to share heat, lowering the chance of frostbite.

Few cowboys could afford work gloves. Rather, their hands became as tough as leather from the work that they did. It’s not that they wouldn’t have used the work gloves, if they had them; but a cowboy’s wage wasn’t enough to afford many luxuries.

12. Bandana

The bandana was a useful part of any cowboy’s kit. More than anything, it was used as a dust filter over the nose and mouth. This was especially important when “riding drag” behind a herd. But the bandana served many other purposes, as well, including protecting the neck from the sun, being a handy washcloth and serving as an emergency bandage.

13. Tobacco

cowboys-1-cm-russellEven cowboys who didn’t smoke tended to carry tobacco. At that time, tobacco was the ultimate trade good. Offering someone a smoke was often the start of many a conversation, especially out on the trail.

14. Books

Surprisingly, many cowboys carried books with them. A large number were much more highly educated than you’d expect, having come from the East and being products of eastern schools, even universities. They were drawn to the West for a variety of reasons, and many gave up a life of wealth and position for the opportunity to travel.

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Reading material was highly prized in the West. Cowboys would carry books along with them, trading them with each other as the opportunity arose. In this way, they were able to experience a wide variety of reading material while not having to carry much with them.

15. Extra clothes

Cowboys didn’t change their clothes and bathe every day, like we do today. Nevertheless, having a bath and getting cleaned up was one of the joys of coming off the trail. While they didn’t have an extensive wardrobe, most had a couple of changes of clothes, including one nice suit. They’d keep that in their blanket roll, taking it out for church and other important events.

A Final Word

When you compare this list to our modern bug-out-bag, there seems to be a lot missing. But the cowboys of the past could stay alive with the things in this list. Few carried more, as their horses would tire too quickly if they were overloaded. And few cowboys could afford a pack horse, in addition to the one they were riding. So, they were limited in what they could carry by their lifestyle.

Nevertheless, the cowboy had the essentials. Of course, they were a much hardier breed than we are today. For them, hardship was a daily occurrence, and danger was their constant companion. They were better suited for survival than we are today. Maybe if we lived our lives on the back of a horse, instead of sitting in front of a computer, we’d be, too.

What would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:

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12 Unbelievable Survival Uses For Pantyhose (No. 8 Sounds Crazy — But We Found A Video Of It)

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12 Unbelievable Survival Uses For Pantyhose (No. 8 Sounds Crazy -- But We Found A Video Of It)

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Resourcefulness is one trait we in the off-grid community easily develop. We learn to improvise and make do with the barest essentials, refusing to dispose things that can serve functions other than their intended use.

One ordinary item that can provide a surprising variety of uses is the pantyhose. The cheap, lightweight nylon legwear, usually discarded by women after just several uses, shouldn’t be thrown away so quickly. They serve a multitude of uses in an emergency situation, and won’t take up much space in your survival cache.

The pantyhose – as well as their knee-high and thigh-high cousins, the stockings – have the elasticity, durability and quick-drying features no other fabrics possess.

There are several ways you can use them in off-grid situations: in the wild, in your garden, or even just at home, if you’re going to be every bit resourceful:

1. Leg warmer and protection. Pantyhose not only provide thermal protection for legs and arms, but they also protect feet from blisters. Wear them underneath your socks during long hikes – yes, even if you’re a man. They’ll keep your feet warm, safe from trench foot and frostbite. They’ll also keep ants, ticks, chiggers, spiders and other creepy-crawlies at bay. When out swimming in the sea or wading through a pond or swamp, they protect you from jellyfish and leeches.

2. Cordage. Can’t find rope or bungee cord? Use pantyhose to tie things together, strap gear on the bike or car rack, or hang supplies to your bug-out bag. Twist the nylon tight and turn it into a belt to hang small tools around your waist. When building shelter, use it to tie tree branches together to make a cross joint.

3. First aid. Use pantyhose as a tourniquet or to hold in place a splint or bandage pad, or to secure a hot or cold pack.

4. Food storage and all-purpose pouch. Hanging fresh produce in nylons will aerate them and help keep away from flies. It also makes onions and garlic stay fresh longer, especially if you separate them in sections by tying knots between each one. Stockings can be turned into a carry-all pouch when you’re out foraging for nuts and berries. At home or when camping, they can serve as containers for small objects like coins, pill boxes, safety pins, nuts and bolts.

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Put some rice in the toe end, tie it up and it’ll function as a desiccant in your rifle bag. Place fragrant dried flowers or cotton balls dipped in your favorite essential oil, and it becomes a potpourri sachet for your drawers.

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5. Water and air filter. Use pantyhose to filter debris from your rain barrels, or add it as another layer to your emergency rock-sand-and-charcoal filtration system. Anytime you encounter a sandstorm, strong winds or heavy dust or ash, use hosiery to protect your eyes, nose and mouth. Alternatively, you can screen crevices in the doors and windows of your home with them or add them as another layer to your car’s air filter.

6. Fish net. Stretch a stocking over a forked stick or a looped vine, and you have an improvised skimmer to catch small fish, frogs and crawdads with. If you want crabs, place a bait and a small stone in the toe and dangle it in shallow water. Crabs will try to go after the bait and get tangled in the mesh.

7. Hunting tool. Good at aiming and throwing? Place a heavy stone or two at the end of a hose, tie it up, and fling it like a bola to catch small animals and wild fowl.

8. All-around rubber band. The nylon’s waistband is a strong elastic, and can be used to hold or secure anything a garter or rubber band would: a ponytail, a bundle of kindling, a sling shot. It’s been said to have worked as a temporary fan belt! It may not last long, but it can probably hold up until you make it to the nearest garage.

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9. Dryer and strainer. Hang herbs, spices and tea leaves in stockings to dry out in the sun. (When camping, it’s also a good way to dry tinder.) Use it as tea bag to steep those same tea leaves in.

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Preparing fruit jams and tomato sauce at home? Nylons should make a good seed strainer. Just make sure you use new or well-laundered ones, though.

10. Soap saver. Hanging soap in pantyhose will keep it clean, dry and allow you to get the most out of every mushy remaining bit. It’ll keep bigger chunks from quickly melting off, too. Tie up the loose end, cut off the excess nylon and turn the bundle into a bath sponge or scrubber.

11. Glare deflector. Block reflective glare off of your binoculars, rifle scope or camera with a stretch of nylon on the lenses. It would keep you from giving away your location when out hunting, doing wildlife photography, or just keeping a stealth position in the wild.

12. Gardening help. When potting plants, lay a piece of mesh at the base of the planter. It will drain out excess water but keep the soil in the pot intact. For sprouting seeds, put the desired amount in a hose, hang it and wet twice a day or as needed.

Stockings also can be used to stake plants that need support: tomatoes, peas, cucumbers and other vines, as well as bind ones with heavy fruit, like gourds and squash, to a trellis.

Are deer, rabbits and rodents stalking your garden? Put hair clippings in a few old pantyhose and hang them around the perimeter of your garden. The scent of human hair will ward them off, as would cat or dog hair.

Finally, stockings also can be used to repel insects from your fruit trees. Unlike plastic or paper wrappers, nylon allows rain, air and sunshine to penetrate the fabric while keeping insects and worms from nesting and burrowing on your ripening fruits.

Do you know of other survival uses for pantyhose? Do you have any advice on the uses listed above? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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9 Multi-Purpose, Do-Everything Items That Better Be In Your Bug-out Bag

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9 Multi-Purpose, Do-Everything Items That Better Be In Your Bug-out Bag

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We all know that survival kits and bug-out bags need to be as lightweight as possible. Unless you’re comfortable carrying 40 or 50 pounds on your back, you don’t know how long you’ll last with one on your back. This is why adding survival items that serve more than one purpose is a fantastic idea.

Let me share a few of them below…

1. An emergency radio

Well, not just any radio. There are plenty of emergency radios on Amazon that, in addition to their AM/FM functions, also have the emergency band, an incorporated flashlight, solar panels for easy charging and even a hand crank. What more could you ask?

2. A multi-tool

This one is obvious. Since you can’t take all your tools with you, you need something compact, lightweight and durable. Leatherman makes pretty good multi-tools, and the Wingman is my personal favorite.

3. A tarp

Tarps are not only lightweight, but serve a variety of purposes. From gathering wood to making a lean-to shelter to butchering an animal to collecting rainwater, you’ll find it extremely versatile for a variety of outdoor tasks.

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Just make sure you choose the right one from the start, to avoid fixing your mistake by buying a second one.

4. Aluminum foil

Use it to cook on coals (such as potatoes), to reflect heat, to protect your campfire from wind or even to make a solar cooker from cardboard, aluminum foil and a piece of glass. You also can use it to wrap things that you want to be kept waterproof, or even to wrap leftover campfire food that you don’t want to get cold.

5. Your survival knife, of course

Another obvious item with an infinite number of uses. Use it to cut things, defend yourself and even to dig dirt. For the tasks that could damage your knife, I would use a back-up. If you’re looking for something cheap, the Morakniv Companion is a fantastic choice.

6. Toilet paper

9 Multi-Purpose, Do-Everything Items That Better Be In Your Bug-out Bag

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TP is great for wiping your hands, insulating holes in your shelter and, of course, as tinder to quickly start a fire. Of course, you don’t HAVE to have toilet paper in your kit or bag, as it might be too bulky for some people’s taste, and there are always alternatives for when nature calls when you’re outdoors, as well as to do the other tasks I just mentioned.

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The only thing to remember when you pack it is to make sure you keep it dry, preferably in a zipper bag. Speaking of which …

7. Zipper bags

Zipper or Ziploc bags are great not just for waterproofing your items, but also for foraging, icing an injury or gathering water. If need be, you can also use them as socks to keep your feet dry, though you will need paracord or duct tape to tie them.

8. Cash!

Though some people think money will be worthless if society collapses, I happen to think it will be extremely important the first few days after it hits. You will need money to pay for a variety of things in the initial stages of a disaster, from transportation to get home or evacuate, or even to get rioters to leave you alone. It doesn’t hurt to have a few hundred bucks on hand.

9. Paracord

Last but definitely not least, mil-spec paracord is indispensable when bugging out. From securing a lean-to shelter to tying anything you can think of, there are probably hundreds of uses for it. Let me give you a few more: use it as a string to dry your laundry, use the inner threads as floss, use it as a belt to keep your pants up, use it as a lasso to rescue someone from a body of water, and use it to climb a tree, as a tourniquet and even to tie someone up.

Can you think of even more multi-purpose items to use? Have any of them saved your life at some point? Share in a comment below.

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How Will You Get Home Post-Collapse?

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Have you noticed a trend in the prepping community? It’s not new, yet it could mean the end of many folks who might not make it in the coming collapse. I’m talking, of course, about the tendency to buy tools and gear and ignore survival skills and think about disaster scenarios. Today I want to […]

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8 Life-Saving Items Every Woman Should Have In Her Purse

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8 Life-Saving Items Every Woman Should Have In Her Purse

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Ladies, this is for you. When it comes to carrying survival items with you wherever you go, you’re extremely fortunate. You have an entire purse at your disposal to stash as many survival items as you want. In what follows I’m going to show you how to cleverly turn your purse into a solid everyday carry (EDC) kit which might even act as a get-home bag (GHB) due to the size.

Speaking of which, the first thing you need to have is…

A Bigger Purse

I won’t go into too much detail on what to get, but suffice to say that bigger is better, more are better and if you can get one with exterior pockets, you can keep a self-defense weapon there for quick access.

1. A mini first-aid kit

I’m sure you already have some sort of medicine inside your purse (for headaches, for instance). There are plenty of mini first-aid kits on the market but, if you want to save some money plus the joy of doing it yourself, even better. Band-Aids, ibuprofen, alcohol wipes, finger splints, antibiotic ointment, burn and trauma dressings – put all of these in a Ziploc bag to keep them waterproof and then inside an airtight plastic container to keep everything puncture-proof.

2. Keyring items

There’re quite a few mini-survival items you can have on your keychain and, as a lady, this is a lot easier because you can keep the whole thing inside your purse and not show. We men, the more items we add, the harder it is to conceal everything inside our pockets.

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Some of the items to consider for your EDC keychain: mini-flashlight, mini-multitool, a USB drive, a whistle, a lighter or even a striker.

The only downside is, you’re gonna have to pick all of these items up whenever you’re using your keys.

3. Self-defense weapons

Now I don’t know whether you like to conceal carry in your purse, so I’ll leave it up to you on what to add: a 9mm, a folding knife, pepper spray, a stun gun or a tactical pen. I would suggest you have at least a couple, just in case your attacker disarms you the first time.

4. Your cell phone

Everyone’s buying iPhones and Samsung Galaxies but have you ever heard about “rugged phones”? Some of the best such phones out there are the Galaxy Active, the Casio G’zOne Commando and the Sonim XP1520 BOLT SL Ultra Rugged IP-68.

And if you’d rather stick with your iPhone, that’s OK, too, provided you get a shock-absorbing case.

5. A multi-tool

8 Life-Saving Items Every Woman Should Have In Her Purse

Image source: Pixabay.com

A good multi-tool can help you in numerous situations, including getting home or even bugging out if going home to get your bug-out bag isn’t an option.

You don’t need something as big as the Leatherman Wingman. The company famous for its multi-tools has smaller options such as the Micra Multi-tool or even the Squirt PS4 which you can attach to your keychain.

6. Shelter

Obviously, packing a tent or a tarp inside your purse is impossible but there are two good options out there. One is to get a smaller tarp, one that’s 5 feet x 7 feet, for instance. The other is to have a space blanket. Emergency blankets, though you can only use them once, are smaller and lighter.

7. Water purifier

Throw in a Paratroopers Water Purifier, a few water purification tablets and you’re good to go. Now, you could add a small bottle of water but then you’d have to carry it with you everywhere you go. Up to you.

8. Food

Energy bars, raisins, hard candy – those are all light and jam-packed with calories.

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You should also keep some cash on hand in case you need to get some food from vending machines.

Anything Else?

Sure. How about adding the following to your purse:

  • a few hair pins.
  • manicure scissors.
  • a pack of salt (use it as a self-defense weapon by throwing it into your attacker’s face).
  • chewing gum (can help relieve stress) when everything around you is falling apart.
  • a credit card knife (so you have a back-up self-defense weapon inside your wallet).
  • tinder (which needs to be kept inside a waterproof container)
  • an extra phone battery.
  • extra phone charger.
  • a whistle.
  • a bandana.
  • waterproof matches.
  • spare AA or AAA batteries (provided you have gadgets that use them).
  • Chapstick.
  • pen and paper.

So, can your purse make a good bug-out bag? I would say “no,” but that doesn’t mean you’ll be unable to bug out from your office directly to your bug-out location if needed. Maybe your home is in a restricted or inaccessible area or maybe it’s already down to the ground. Bugging out using only your EDC and get-home bag is a scenario I highly recommend you think about. Provided you won’t have to travel for days on foot, the items we talked about above are a good start.

And if you use your car every day to get to work, you can just keep adding stuff to your trunk instead of cramming them inside your purse. On the other hand, if you walk to work, reaching your bug-out location without going home first to get your bug-out bag is something you need to put some thought into.

What else would you put in a purse? Share your tips in the section below:

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How to Plan for Wilderness & Urban Survival

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Preppers will tell you, above all else, wildness and urban survival  comes down to four basic resources — food, water, shelter, and communication. These are easy enough to prepare and gather for the worst possible scenarios, but what and how you prepare varies depending on where you live and how you plan to survive. Prepping […]

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8 Lightweight Survival Items Your Bugout Bag Is Missing

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8 Life-Saving Lightweight Items Your Bugout Bag Is Missing

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Most survival kits or bugout bags are just too heavy, and so the owners begin removing items.

But in an effort to keep everything ultra-light, many items are being completely missed.

Let’s look at things from a different perspective and talk about some of the most overlooked lightweight items that you can purchase today (for pennies on the dollar, I promise). Once you know what they are, you might also think about adding them to your get-home bag, your car’s bug-out bag and some of them even to your everyday carry kit.

Sounds tempting enough? Great, let’s get on with the list!

1. Gloves

You should, in fact, have two pairs: a wool pair to keep you warm in case you’re bugging out during the winter and a pair of work gloves for various activities, including:

  • getting tree branches and other plants out of the way as you’re moving through the forest.
  • carrying heavy objects.
  • working with sharp or rough materials.
  • working with oils and other chemicals.
  • climbing a rope (much easier when you’re wearing them).

2. A baseball cap

If you’ll be out under the hot sun for days on end, a baseball cap will not just protect your head from the heat but also will guard your eyes. This is one thing a bandana can’t do. Another thing you can do is wear sunglasses + the bandana.

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Still, don’t completely disregard the baseball cap as it has many alternative survival uses. From filtering water to keeping various items such as the berries you forage, there are plenty of ways in which it can assist you if you have one in your kit.

3. Blast matches

There are many ways to start a fire in the wild, such as using the bow drill method, waterproof matches or using a magnesium fire-starter. However, the blast match tops them all because you can use it with only one hand.

You see, they were specifically designed this way to be used by soldiers who’ve been hurt and, guess what: that could be you. No one wants to conceive they could get shot or break an arm but these are the sorts of things that could happen when you’re out there, running for your life.

4. Wool socks

8 Life-Saving Lightweight Items Your Bugout Bag Is Missing

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If you’ll be wearing hiking boots, you absolutely need a pair of thick socks. Wear a thinner pair and you’ll quickly develop blisters. I also suggest you keep a second one inside your backpack, preferably in a Ziploc bag to keep it dry.

5. Baby wipes

Baby wipes can be a great replacement for toilet paper. Not only are they smaller but you can also use them to clean various things, including giving yourself a shower or cleaning your glasses.

6. Copies of personal documents

Of course, in a real disaster scenario, you’ll want to grab the originals but what if you don’t have time? Much better to have a few copies inside a Ziploc bag that you can use.

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Keeping the originals inside your bag may be impractical because you’ll keep getting them out and then putting them back in.

7. Moleskin

Even during the shortest bugout, you can expect blisters to cripple you down. If you didn’t break into your new boots or if you have to walk very long distances, you WILL get blisters. This is where a roll of moleskin helps.

8. Ziploc bags

You need more than the ones in which you’re storing items. Why? One, Ziplocs aren’t puncture proof, meaning they’re all going to become useless at some point.

Second, if you want to cross a river, you can fill the extra ones with air and put them inside your bag to help keep you afloat. Do the same if you’re stranded somewhere in the middle of a flash flood and you have less than a minute before the water sweeps you away.

Can you think of other items people forget to add to their bugout bags? Write them in a comment below.

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How To Guarantee Your Survival Even If You Can’t Get Your Bug-Out Bag

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How To Guarantee Your Survival Even If Your Bug-Out Bag Is Destroyed

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The need for making sure you have the necessary equipment and supplies for survival can’t be overstated. While it is theoretically possible to survive off of what you simply find, the reality is that the less you start out with, the worse your chances are of survival. That’s why people store items in survival kits.

But what if you can’t get to your survival kit, bug-out bag, everyday carry bag or get-home bag? What then? While we like to think that we keep ourselves equipped and supplied at all times, the reality is that there are always times when we’re not. What do we do in those times? Or what do we do if our home is destroyed and we can’t get back in to pick up our bug-out bag?

A lot would depend on the disaster that was happening and how much warning you’d have. But there are some cases that would make it impossible. Maybe they’re not very likely, but they do exist.

Take a nuclear war, for example. Granted, we’re not living in the Cold War anymore and the chances of a nuclear confrontation have been reduced drastically. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. Both Russia and the United States still have large stockpiles of nuclear weapons, with other countries having considerably less. Rogue countries would like nothing more than to detonate such a bomb in America.

But there are many other things that could make it impossible to get back home, such as an earthquake, a chemical spill, a major storm or certain acts of terrorism. In any of these instances, you might suddenly find yourself without your bug-out bag or the ability to go home and get it.

This Crazy New Device Can Start A Fire Even In The Worst Conditions

That’s why you need at least one spare bag or kit, hidden in an alternate location. This set of gear might not be quite as good as your main bug-out bag, but it should still cover all of the bases, giving you enough to live off of. It should also have the necessary food and other supplies that you’ll need to stay alive. Ideally, it would be a mirror image or your bug-out bag, but the reality of cost will probably force you to go with some lesser expensive options.

For that matter, why stop at one? If an extra set of gear is a good idea, why not have two or three of them, secreted in different locations? Not only will that help ensure that you have access to them, but that you have access no matter where you are.

How To Guarantee Your Survival Even If Your Home Is Destroyed

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Your spare kits should also include at least one good sturdy set of outdoor clothing, a jacket and a good pair of walking shoes. Odds are that when you are away from home, you won’t be dressed for heading out into the wilderness, so you’d better make sure you have what you will need. Bugging out into the wild in a shirt and tie or a short dress just doesn’t work out all that good.

The other thing to consider hiding with your spare kits is weapons. If you have a concealed carry license and are carrying every day, then that might not be much of an issue; but if you don’t, then any weapon you stash with your backup kit would be the only one you’ll have.

Find a Good Place to Stash It

Stashing your backup kit too close to home totally negates its purpose. On the other hand, you don’t want to stash it so far from home that you can’t get to it within a day, even if you’re on foot. So, you need to pick the location or locations carefully, making sure that they are someplace you’ll be able to get to.

If you own a business that’s a ways away from your home, that might be an excellent place to make a stash. For that matter, you might want to do more than just stash a bug-out bag there, splitting up your stockpile and keeping part of it at your business. That gives you a secondary bug-in location, if you can’t use your home.

Another option is at someone else’s house if you have a like-minded friend who lives in an appropriate area to leave your stash. That could even be a reciprocal agreement, where you keep a kit at their house and they keep one at yours. Doing it that way will motivate them to say yes and probably to leave your kit alone, so that it’s ready when you need it.

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How To Guarantee Your Survival Even If Your Home Is Destroyed

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A third possibility is a storage rental. These are available all over the place and some of them are quite inexpensive, especially if you’re just renting a small one. Like your business, this would provide you with a place where you have room to store more than just a bug-out bag, for a small monthly fee. While most of these places say that they’re only open during the day, if you can get over the fence during an emergency, you can pick your stuff up at night, too.

Finally, you can always consider burying your spare kit in the middle of nowhere. There are a number of ways of waterproofing equipment that you want to bury underground, such as using PVC pipe or a five-gallon bucket. Burying it will make it hard for others to find so that it hopefully won’t be bothered. Just make sure that nobody sees what you are doing so that it won’t be stolen. (Recommended: How To Build A Waterproof Underground Cache On A Budget.)

There are two problems with burying a stash. The first one is making sure that you have good landmarks to find it once again. Remember that some landmarks may disappear, such as trees that die. So have more than one set of landmarks that you can use. Secondly, you’ll need something to dig it up with. That can be a problem if the soil has a lot of clay in it or is difficult to dig in for some other reason.

Don’t Stop There

Having a spare set of gear is probably the most important reason to set up a survival stash. But let me give you one more. That’s to stash extra food. A typical bug-out bag has only three days worth of food in it. That’s not enough, as far as I’m concerned. So you might want to create some stashes which are just food.

These stashes will be easier and cheaper to set up, because you don’t have the cost of all the equipment. You can easily stash five days worth of food in a five gallon bucket and bury it somewhere, giving you accessible food when disaster strikes.

Do you have secondary caches? What advice would you add? Share your suggestions in the section below:

Could You ‘Live Off The Land’ With Your Gun If Necessary? Read More Here.

Car Emergency Kit

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Planning You Car Emergency Kit You already have your bug out bag packed and ready to go. You likely already have an evacuation plan set, too. Still, you may not be as ready as you think. Most American families own more than one car and each vehicle needs to be ready to get you through […]

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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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Survival Gear

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If you are not content with sheltering in place during an emergency, then you need to think about what you will take with you when you leave — specifically, the weight of the gear you plan to grab and the length of time your gear will enable you to survive. Choose correctly, and you will […]

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Creating Emergency Preparedness Kits

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Several of the most frequently asked questions in emergency preparedness have to do with kits: “Check out my kit–What am I missing?” for example, or “Help! My bugout bag is too heavy!” When I put together emergency preparedness kits, I go through three mental checklists. These checklists are flexible enough that they are useful whether I am building an EDC, an Altoids tin kit, a Nalgene bottle kit, a get-home bag, a bugout bag, or a 72-hour kit. All I need to do is adapt the requirements for the space and weight constraints I’m facing.

pskThe Rule of Threes

One can survive for:

For air, I might consider such items as a gas mask, an N95-rated particulate respirator mask, and first-aid treatments for bleeding. For shelter, I think in terms of starting a fire, keeping warm, keeping dry, and replacing electrolytes. For water I consider what containers I might want and how to disinfect and filter water for drinking. Because food is something I can go without for weeks, I not only pack food as space permits, but I also think about getting food–purchasing (so cash), fishing, or hunting, etc.–and also I think about what happens when eliminating bodily waste at this point.

Second, I run through David Canterbury’s 10 C’s of Survival.

David Canterbury’s 10 C’s of Survival

The 5 “must have’s:”

  1. Cutting tool (knives, saws, razors, etc.)
  2. Combustion (ignition, tinder, fuel)
  3. Cover (tents, raincoats, ponchos, blankets, garbage bags, survival blankets)
  4. Container (canisters, bladders, pouches, etc. for water and cooking)
  5. Cordage (rope, 550 paracord, thread)

The 5 “should have’s:”

  1. Candle (illumination)
  2. Cotton
  3. Compass (compass, maps, GPS)
  4. Cargo tape (duct tape)
  5. Canvass Needle (AKA sail needle)

I like to add another 5 “nice to have’s:”

  1. Conflict (firearms, pepper spray, batons, etc.)
  2. Communication (radio, whistle, marking tape, Sharpie pen, paper, signal mirror, etc.)
  3. Constitution (first aid, medicine, wellness)
  4. Connectors (sewing kit, superglue, safety pins)
  5. Cells (batteries, solar power)

Third, I make sure I can document what Shane Steinkamp calls my IESSEP. This can be documented on paper or some sort of flash memory.


  • Identity
  • Education
  • Skill Set
  • Earning Potential

I travel quite a bit, and having an electronic copy of my passport, drivers license, birth certificate, etc. could come in handy if the original documents are stolen or not available. In the case that I can’t go home again, it makes great economic sense to be able to document my degrees, certifications, skills, etc. and to be able to produce a résumé. I generally include a collection of precious family photos on any flash drive as well.

In terms of quality, I find myself going two ways. On the one hand, many of my kits are only meant to get me through a few days or so. Combine that with the fact that like many preppers I have many kits (OK, maybe I have too many kits), and it’s no wonder the gear in my kits is not necessarily top quality; it doesn’t have to last me for the rest of my life, just for those few days. On the other hand, if I am going to be trusting my life to the gear in my kits, I want the quality to be high enough that I can rely on it if needed.

What am I missing?

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Bugout Bag = Get Home Bag

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As a self-proclaimed minimalist when it comes to all things prepared I wanted to give my 2 cents on the Bugout Bag and the Get Home Bag.

These two items seems to have quite the debate on what the contents should be and the more pushy types on the forums tend to be of the mind that if you don’t use the same designer bag as them that you are woefully under-prepared.

Let’s squash that here, who gives a shit what brand bag you have, the things that matter in regards to the bag are:
  •  Durability
  • Volume of storage
  •  Comfort
  • Ease of concealment

I could add a few more but after the big 4 it really is just a matter of opinion, these four characteristics should be the end all and be all when shopping for the actual bag. I prefer a simple Alice Pack with no frame or a plain high school book bag if keeping a low profile.

Guru left his Warrior Mindset at Taco Bell
I feel the Bugout Bag and Get Home Bagare one in the same; the only difference is a get home bag is typically on you or in your vehicle and the bugout is in your home. They serve the same exact purpose; each bag is to only carry the minimal amount of supplies to get you from an unsafe location to a safer location.

This is the point where the forum guru tells me “What if the sky was pink and I was an elephant, you would need a full pack with months worth of food!” If you would like to carry a pack that weighs 30lbs or more be my guest. 

Keep in mind that you have this bag because it will have the supplies you need to get home or lead you to your bugout location. Chances are, if you need to use a bugout bag or get home bag that you will be running and running far. Keep It Simple Stupid or KISS is where your head should be when assembling this bag, think of the basics; Beans, Bullets, and Band-Aids.

Basic minimum essentials: