SHTF is an acronym that stands for sh*t hits the fan. This means that something drastic has happened, like a natural disaster, financial crisis, or a war has started. This term is generally used for when things go south quickly. The other acronym that is commonly used to signal it is time to pull out your bug out bag is ‘TEOTWAWKI’. This stands for ‘the end of the world as we know it’.
Size – Everyone overestimates how much they’re carrying when they go backpacking (if everyone who claimed to carry a 100 pound pack actually did we’d have thousands of hiker deaths every year in the US alone). But a survival situation is one time when you need to be cold-light-of-day honest about how much you can carry and what that load should be comprised of to give you the best possible chance of survival. As a general rule you shouldn’t carry more than 15 or 20% of your body weight, which for most people will be between 20 and 40 pounds. With this in mind you’ll want to take into consideration the weight of the pack itself (which must be deducted from the total load) and its volume so that you wind up with a bug out backpack that can carry the appropriate amount of supplies.
An excellent resource regarding bug out bags is a new book by Max Cooper called, “Realistic Bug Out Bag, 2nd Edition: Prepared to Survive.” This is a monster book at over 600+ pages. It has scenarios, drills, and is full of useful and insightful information. I like that the author stresses planning and has a section devoted to bug out plans and how to practice & train your plan. He is also a huge advocate of designing a BOB that fits your needs based on factors that pertain to your situation. I highly recommend this book.
Cold Steel shovel, Crunch multitool with saw blades, lockaid “gun”, 2 qts of water, (depending upon the area) 1 plastic canteen, one plastic canteen, water filter, water treatment pills/fluids, 2 canteen cups, medical kit (to include tape and condoms) firekit, heavy-duty trekking poles, Kindle reader with survival info, “shaker” AA light with Campmor headband to hold it, keychain led light, 2 lbs of rations (almond butter, Tang, instant oatmeal, powdered Gatorade, spices, Day pack, OD green socks, underwear, sleeping/shelter gear (5 lbs) about 5 lbs of clothing/boots(beyond what you’d wear to the office) NVD goggles, about 25 lbs. 3 lbs of soft armor, 2 lbs of pistol and ammo, and possibly another 12 lbs of autorifle, silencer, scope and ammo.

There’s always going to be the debate of Bugging In v. Bugging Out, and that is really our job as readers and posters to decide which is best for us and determine the situations/scenarios we may be faced with. What degree of societal collapse do we need to see, before we get the heck out of town? Obviously, the more rural your location is, the higher the probability of staying in place will be. One’s health, general level of physical conditioning and age are all factors we need to consider. It’s easy to say “Get into shape,” but the reality is that may not be possible for some of us with long standing health problems. For those of us incapable of increasing our strength or endurance, Bugging Out may be our last option.

We should clarify that this reduced water recommendation is strictly for limiting the weight of your 72-hour kit if you need to evacuate. In many emergency situations, you will not have to evacuate your home and may simply be without power or running water. We recommend storing the maximum amount of drinking water—at least one gallon per person for three days—in your home food storage. Only for emergencies where you need to evacuate do we recommend reducing water weight.
Cold weather gloves: A sturdy pair of gloves will provide you with better grip, protect your hands from cuts and splinters, offer warmth in low temperatures, and keeps your hands clean to reduce the risk of infection. In the aftermath of a disaster, you may be tasked with moving fallen branches, gathering firewood, or making your way through broken glass, and high-quality gloves will give you the dexterity to accomplish these tasks.

I may have been a bit dramatic in my response in cases, but mainly to show you the absurdity of the way you dramatically declare most of that useful kit should be discarded, as if you know best, as if you’ve been there done it, survived, worn the t-shirt, as if you think you’re come special forces commando that has survived behind enemy lines in every environment/climate the globe has to offer, totally ignoring the idiosyncrasies of each location around the world, for example you say knife .22 and “dump the rest”, because people living in an area with limited game but masses of water and fish to ditch their fishing line, hooks, weights etc for a .22… OK yea, I know who not to join up with in a disaster, the man carrying a f*cking sword to a gun fight
A good read and a very good list to ‘pick and chose’ from – I try to carry ‘multi-person items as much as possible – cuts down on the weight – as a ‘senior citizen’ the packs I carried years ago I can’t carry now so I have to make changes that match my physical ability – Also a good idea on up-dating – at least every three months or seasonal (which also changes pack size and contents) Lastly, don’t just put a bag together – take a weekend and use it occasionally – carry it distances in different terrain – make sure you have the physical stamina to bear the load – it’s useless if you can’t ‘take it with you’..

These bags are ergonomically designed and comfortable to carry. All the included items are good quality. You find most of the things you would need in a bug out bag in this kit. Its a big winner amongst its owners and for this reason we highly recommend it. We like the subtlety of the black bags. Since this kit doesn’t come with full meals and only with food bars, we recommend using this kit in conjunction with separate food rations that we list at the end of this report.

Steel four in one tool which features a shovel, saw, pick, and bottle opener. 11 in 1 credit card survival tool. Machete, wire saw, camping tube tent, camouflage bag, compass, 8 inch blade, magnesium alloy fire starter, axe, 18 fortified food bars, first aid kit, 12 pouches of drinking water, military style poncho with hood and pull cord which features grommets that can be used to anchor it for rain protection or as tent as well as other purposes like as a wind shelter. US Army Survival Field Manual. Glow sticks, whistle, polar shield blanket. Three in one belt buckle (whistle, flint fire starter), weatherproof matches, ceramic knife sharpener. Lifestraw (advanced chemical free water filter which can filter up to 1000 litres of water).
What to Put in a Bug Out Bag? – If your pre-made bug out bag focuses on tactical and survival gear you’ll need to finish it by purchasing dehydrated meals and other foodstuffs with long shelf lives. If the bag focuses on food you’ll need to supply survival gear such as a flashlight or two, emergency blankets, first aid kit, paracord, EDC knife and other things. If you’re making your own bug out bag read the answer to the next question.
Below is a list of necessary items to include in your 72-hour kit in the event of an emergency situation. Be sure to store them in an easily accessible spot (we keep ours in the car along with our emergency car kit). The preparedness mindset is “one is none” (meaning you have no backup) and “two is one” (meaning once you use your extra, you only have that one left). The idea behind this kit is that you have what you need to get through a short-term crisis before you can return home or until you can find shelter and/or help. You don’t need to take your kitchen sink, but where you can, have a backup or a plan if something fails or gets lost.
So despite the impression many people got from my “50 Items” article, I don’t think you should pack your bug out bag with as many items as possible. In fact, I think you should check your bag for any non-essential items with a large weight-to-space ratio and remove them. To that end, here’s a list of survival items I’ve seen in various lists online that, in my opinion, you don’t really need in your bug out bag.
What I will do is recommend that you build your own First Aid Kit instead of buying one of those prepackaged first aid kits that claim to have 1001 things to get you through any emergency. While some are ok, in my experience these types of kits are usually filled with a lot of stuff you are unlikely to need and not enough of the things you will probably need a lot of.
A good read and a very good list to ‘pick and chose’ from – I try to carry ‘multi-person items as much as possible – cuts down on the weight – as a ‘senior citizen’ the packs I carried years ago I can’t carry now so I have to make changes that match my physical ability – Also a good idea on up-dating – at least every three months or seasonal (which also changes pack size and contents) Lastly, don’t just put a bag together – take a weekend and use it occasionally – carry it distances in different terrain – make sure you have the physical stamina to bear the load – it’s useless if you can’t ‘take it with you’..
I think you’re both correct, although you are addressing separate threat levels and emergencies (civil disobedience vs. natural disaster). I keep a basic bag, plus a small box with optionals that can be quickly loaded, depending on the threat. I realize this may take precious seconds, so this is time dependent. I live in the Chicago area, so civil unrest is a greater concern, and my firearms choice reflects this probable eventuality.
These bags are ergonomically designed and comfortable to carry. All the included items are good quality. You find most of the things you would need in a bug out bag in this kit. Its a big winner amongst its owners and for this reason we highly recommend it. We like the subtlety of the black bags. Since this kit doesn’t come with full meals and only with food bars, we recommend using this kit in conjunction with separate food rations that we list at the end of this report.

Tent: In many emergency situations, shelter may be hard to find. While packing a traditional tent may not be a viable option, a good bug out bag should always include a waterproof survival tent. The best survival tents are made of Mylar, which can retain heat and repel water. Pro-tip: Be sure to stack leaves, grass or anything else from around the campsite against the tent for added protection from the elements.
Bug-out bags are standard kit for most any survival-minded American. These handy lifesaving devices are typically unobtrusive and compact while containing the critical gear you might need to survive a disaster. For those whose circumstances might mandate a more protracted adventure, however, two companies provide the equipment to take this concept to a whole new level.
We should clarify that this reduced water recommendation is strictly for limiting the weight of your 72-hour kit if you need to evacuate. In many emergency situations, you will not have to evacuate your home and may simply be without power or running water. We recommend storing the maximum amount of drinking water—at least one gallon per person for three days—in your home food storage. Only for emergencies where you need to evacuate do we recommend reducing water weight.
Emergencies can create a variety of hazards for workers in the impacted area. Preparing before an emergency incident plays a vital role in ensuring that employers and workers have the necessary equipment, know where to go, and know how to keep themselves safe when an emergency occurs. These Emergency Preparedness and Response pages provide information on how to prepare and train for emergencies and the hazards to be aware of when an emergency occurs. The pages provide information for employers and workers across industries, and for workers who will be responding to the emergency.
I am in the process of finishing up the first book in a new survival fiction series that I think readers of this blog and my other novels will relate to. Set in America in the near future, this series of stories will deal with a collapse scenario caused by coordinated terror attacks, riots and widespread civil unrest. Considering the situation that is unfolding in Europe now and potentially spreading, I think this type of SHTF scenario is more likely than the solar EMP collapse I have written about in my previous novels.
The most important factor that will determine the right size bug out bag is your torso size. You can measure your torso by having a friend or casual acquaintance measure the distance from the top of your Iliac Crest (hip bones) up to the bony prominence at the base of your neck (the last cervical vertebrae). Knowing the length of your torso will help you choose a bug out bag that fits comfortably.
A good read and a very good list to ‘pick and chose’ from – I try to carry ‘multi-person items as much as possible – cuts down on the weight – as a ‘senior citizen’ the packs I carried years ago I can’t carry now so I have to make changes that match my physical ability – Also a good idea on up-dating – at least every three months or seasonal (which also changes pack size and contents) Lastly, don’t just put a bag together – take a weekend and use it occasionally – carry it distances in different terrain – make sure you have the physical stamina to bear the load – it’s useless if you can’t ‘take it with you’..
In the near future, a nation is in peril as anarchy spreads in the wake of coordinated attacks by foreign and domestic terrorists. The growing civil unrest and insurrection in the aftermath forces those in power to enact harsh countermeasures in an effort to maintain order and security. Battles between dissident factions rage in the streets from coast-to-coast as many cities and towns become war zones. Travel and communications are severely restricted, food and fuel supplies disappear, and the economy teeters on the brink of collapse...
Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and strong enough to remove 99.999% of waterborne parasites and bacteria, including E. Coli and Salmonella, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter works for everything from camping to traveling. The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter not only removes waterborne parasites and bacteria, but it also removes microplastics (down to 1 micron) and turbidity (down to 0.2 microns). LifeStraw is put through rigorous testing, with one Personal Water Filter durable enough to provide 1,000 gallons of clean drinking water. Pros: The filter acts as a giant straw, with users able to drink directly from natural water resources like lakes and rivers. We also like that for every LifeStraw product sold, a school child receives clean drinking water for one year. Cons: Because the LifeStraw is a personal water filter, it’s not ideal for using to gather large quantities of water for a group. Some customers noted that the LifeStraw does require quite a bit of suction, which can make users who are hiking at high altitudes dizzy. Image courtesy of Amazon  

Each family member will need a rain poncho so you’re always prepared for poor weather. You’ll also want to store extra batteries – especially if you have young children with you. This is also great for a cell phone as you might not have access to electricity to charge it. Alternatively, pre-paid phone cards are a great way to make sure you’re able to use your cell phone during a disaster.


I like your addition of a bug net. One thing I noticed is that the author correctly says to save space and weight to just pack a tarp. However, where I live, from late May to late September if you don’t pack bug netting, a tent with screens or plenty of bug spray you are going to be itchy, sore and tired from no sleep because you are up all night swatting mosquitoes
I may have been a bit dramatic in my response in cases, but mainly to show you the absurdity of the way you dramatically declare most of that useful kit should be discarded, as if you know best, as if you’ve been there done it, survived, worn the t-shirt, as if you think you’re come special forces commando that has survived behind enemy lines in every environment/climate the globe has to offer, totally ignoring the idiosyncrasies of each location around the world, for example you say knife .22 and “dump the rest”, because people living in an area with limited game but masses of water and fish to ditch their fishing line, hooks, weights etc for a .22… OK yea, I know who not to join up with in a disaster, the man carrying a f*cking sword to a gun fight

A new coronavirus—similar but not identical to the viruses that cause Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome—has emerged from China, and is causing human cases of pneumonia-like illnesses in several countries. Without sustained human-to-human transmission, most American workers are not at significant risk of infection. However, workers involved in airline operations (including cabin crewmembers), healthcare (including clinical laboratory personnel), and border protection may have exposure to travelers infected with the virus in China or other affected areas. OSHA's 2019 novel coronavirus webpage provides information for workers and employers about the evolving outbreak and ways to protect workers on the job.
The LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottles are an easy way to take clean water on the go, with the two-stage filtration system suitable for up to 1,000 gallons. Sold in a two-pack, the Go Water Filter Bottles remove bacteria, protozoa, and reduces traces of chlorine while also helping to eliminate its bad taste. The BPA-free water bottles have a two-stage filter and we like that the bottles work both as water filtration devices and as regular water bottles. Pros: Unlike the Personal Water Filter, the LifeStraw Go Water Filter allows users to store water to take with them, ideal for times when you’re not remaining near a water source. The filters are replaceable and each bottle includes an attached carabiner for easy carrying. Cons: Like the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, the Go Water Filter Bottles also require a lot of suction when drinking. Some customers noted that if the bottle isn’t used regularly, the filter stops working. Image courtesy of Amazon
A good read and a very good list to ‘pick and chose’ from – I try to carry ‘multi-person items as much as possible – cuts down on the weight – as a ‘senior citizen’ the packs I carried years ago I can’t carry now so I have to make changes that match my physical ability – Also a good idea on up-dating – at least every three months or seasonal (which also changes pack size and contents) Lastly, don’t just put a bag together – take a weekend and use it occasionally – carry it distances in different terrain – make sure you have the physical stamina to bear the load – it’s useless if you can’t ‘take it with you’..
Now, imagine you’re back in your house. You crawl out from under your dining room table, shaken and surrounded by what’s left of your now shattered chandelier. Emergency notifications are blowing up your phone and in the distance sirens signal that rescue and recovery efforts are underway. But as you look over the jagged, chalky sheetrock that was once your living room wall, you realize you’ve got a long road ahead. You grab your 72-hour kit and begin searching for a safe place to wait it out until help arrives.
Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.
Below is a list of necessary items to include in your 72-hour kit in the event of an emergency situation. Be sure to store them in an easily accessible spot (we keep ours in the car along with our emergency car kit). The preparedness mindset is “one is none” (meaning you have no backup) and “two is one” (meaning once you use your extra, you only have that one left). The idea behind this kit is that you have what you need to get through a short-term crisis before you can return home or until you can find shelter and/or help. You don’t need to take your kitchen sink, but where you can, have a backup or a plan if something fails or gets lost.
Now, imagine you’re back in your house. You crawl out from under your dining room table, shaken and surrounded by what’s left of your now shattered chandelier. Emergency notifications are blowing up your phone and in the distance sirens signal that rescue and recovery efforts are underway. But as you look over the jagged, chalky sheetrock that was once your living room wall, you realize you’ve got a long road ahead. You grab your 72-hour kit and begin searching for a safe place to wait it out until help arrives.

Packing a bug out bag can seem overwhelming as the task of not forgetting something important can be daunting. There are many checklists out there that will tell you the essential items you should always keep in your bug out bag. You can buy an already packed Bug out Bag, like this one here- Urban Survival Bug Out Bag, which contains essentials items like food, water, and a first aid kit. You can also check out our Bug Out Bag Checklist and personalize your bag yourself.


I noticed that a reliable light weight firearm was on the list. While many may think it uselss, a good high powered barrel break pellet rifle can do almost as much as a 22 rifle. A hundred dollars will get you one at Walmart that you can switch from .177 caliber to 22 caliber. The rifle breaks down and is easily carried inside of a decent back pack. The weight of the ammo is significantly lighter as well. This can be used to take down most birds, squirls, rabbits, small pigs and even foxes as well as racoons, armadillo’s. And snakes. All sources of protein.
What if you forgot to add a change of clothes? Or you find out that the recommended pocket-knife actually sucks? Testing your kit gives you an opportunity to find what you’ve missed and make tweaks that will improve its usefulness. If you packed for an infant but now have a toddler, your needs are going to change. Also, take this chance to check battery life, switch out expired food items, and update your 72-hour kit, as needed.
The most popular option is the backpack. For adults, it should be of good quality and an ergonomic pack. It’s not so important for children because they will not be carrying their full packs. Look at a military surplus store or at a sporting goods store for a hiking pack. This will help prevent back injuries and increased durability. If your child can carry a backpack with most of what they need in it, this is the best option.
A “Bug out bag” (sometimes called a “bail out bag” or “survival bag”) is loosely defined as a backpack-style bag that a person keeps at the ready in case they need to evacuate in a hurry (bug out) due to natural disaster, civil unrest, fire, war or any other similar type of calamity. A bug out bag won’t be much good should a comet the size of Dallas hit the earth but for the type of events listed above it can make the difference between thriving and barely surviving.

I agree with all except this one, “you should carry a water filter instead.” That water filter does NOT filter viruses which can incapacitate or kill just as quickly as can the bacteria it does eliminate. Carry purification tablets & a couple gallon sized double-ziplock baggies or an aluminum/titanium pot (multiple uses) or learn about SODIS instead. Why plan to fail?
At 70 years young I have survived many natural disasters. These include tornadoes, wild fires, earthquakes and many hurricanes. In each case the “government” did NOT show up within 72 hours! That is why I never recommend a 72 hour BOB. My personal BOB is packed with enough light weight food to last two weeks. To accompany these provisions I always carry snare wire and a light weight fishing kit. I also carry at least two books, a wild edible foods guide and a book on medicinal wild plants and how to prepare them. All of these should be used from day ONE. Reserve the food you carry in your BOB for those unlucky days when you can find nothing else to eat. You WILL last a lot longer if you do and you will not starve to death.
It is an extremely important list in my opinion but dances between the motive. Sometimes it’s hiking, sometimes it’s nuclear bombing and sometimes a fugitive (I even felt Zombie Apocalypse). I think you should set specific scenarios and then try creating a list. For example, a person leaving his home to find a job in a new city or a person who is on a constant move. So you can think about what exactly matters and what does not. We are easily confused homo sapiens, we don’t need a big list of items that may come to our use, we need a list of items we may have forgotten but are very important to us. So, having a scenario-specific list is better. But I do like the list, it made me add a few more items to my almost perfect list.
Customize this list to what you need for the particulars of your family. There are many other things that you can add to the list that you may find helpful depending on the vehicle you may be able to evacuate in or the modes of transportation you may use, where your planned final stop might be, or whether you have extra bodies to help carry. Use this as a starting point for what you need to do for the basics and expand it as your family needs and as circumstances dictate.

Below is a list of necessary items to include in your 72-hour kit in the event of an emergency situation. Be sure to store them in an easily accessible spot (we keep ours in the car along with our emergency car kit). The preparedness mindset is “one is none” (meaning you have no backup) and “two is one” (meaning once you use your extra, you only have that one left). The idea behind this kit is that you have what you need to get through a short-term crisis before you can return home or until you can find shelter and/or help. You don’t need to take your kitchen sink, but where you can, have a backup or a plan if something fails or gets lost.
The most popular option is the backpack. For adults, it should be of good quality and an ergonomic pack. It’s not so important for children because they will not be carrying their full packs. Look at a military surplus store or at a sporting goods store for a hiking pack. This will help prevent back injuries and increased durability. If your child can carry a backpack with most of what they need in it, this is the best option.
These days news carries quicker via modern tech such as mobile phones and social media networks, this modern equipment maybe the only way you can get news early into any disaster, news that could be vital to your survival by giving you the information needed to decide how to proceed in the safest fashion, such as government advice what to do based on the information they have but you do not.
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