The Perfect Bug-Out Bag

Dan and Sheila Gendron, Contributors
Activist Post

For some of you this is going to be critical – those of you who are JIC’s (“just in case-ers”) or those of you who plan on bugging-out at the last moment rather than living permanently in your survival location.

I know some of you will be reading this expecting to see things like how to use a condom as a canteen and what to do with a magnifying glass and mirror if you find yourself in the desert. Those are good things to have if you have nothing else, but – the survivalist lifestyle is one of being prepared, not playing catch up with substandard tools or equipment.

A bug-out pack is not something you should plan on living from for an extended period of time. It should be relied upon to help you through the time it takes you to get from your “in-the-world” situation to your survival location.

Many survivalist writers like the U.S. Army “Alice pack” type backpack. It is large enough to carry an entrenching tool, a gas mask, a sleeping bag, a medical kit, 200 rounds of ammo, a poncho (sometimes called a “shelter half” – great for using as a shelter), a rifle cleaning kit, a compass, food, two canteens, web gear and much more.

Fully loaded it can weigh as much as 60 to 70 lbs. All good things to have, but unless you are or plan to become a rough-and-ready infantryman, 60 to 70 lbs is a lot to carry on your back.

That is why I prefer the NATO backpack. It is much smaller, and when traveling to your bug-out location it has ample room for necessary items, which we consider to be:

  • One roll of toilet paper 
  • Dried foods – jerky, fruit, nuts, etc. 
  • Flashlight 
  • Matches 
  • Compass 
  • Blanket/Sleeping Bag 
  • Poncho 
  • First Aid Kit 
  • Two Canteens filled with Water and Colloidal Silver 
  • Hunting Knife 
  • Swiss Army Knife 
  • Leatherman Multi-Tool
  • Gun with Ammo

Most of this list is self explanatory – TP, dried foods, etc. – but when it comes to things like a first aid kit and a gun, a little explanation is in order.

Your choice of gun and ammo are are important. I know that many of you already have your choices of weapons in your gear. This is for those who have not made those choices.

Your weapon should be able to be carried in the pack along with the ammo.

This may limit your choices of weapon to a pistol, but the Ruger 10/22 is a good possibility. It is a very reliable 22 caliber carbine semi-automatic rifle.

It has a short foot-print, less than 37 inches long, and can be made much shorter by use of a legal (in most places in the USA) black plastic stock that is only 18 inches long.

Butler Creek offers a 25 round clip for a 10-22 that is very inexpensive and reliable that we can recommend as well.

If this is the first gun you have ever owned, please, please, please put out of your mind what you may have learned about guns from movies and TV! Movies and TV are fantasy not reality.

The only thing you can learn from movies and TV about guns is how to get yourself killed.


Only use a gun to defend yourself, and for hunting. Any other reason, especially if you were to point a gun at a criminal or military personnel or police, is all the excuse they will need to shoot you. They do not draw their weapon to threaten anyone – they pull their weapons out to use them and for no other reason. Please, use a gun only for self-defense and hunting.

In most cases just knowing that we are armed is enough to cause anyone wanting to cause us harm to choose easier pickin’s.

So the intention is to have enough of a gun to drive away trouble makers and protect yourself from large critters, but not enough fire power to take on the 101st Infantry.

For most people all they will ever need is a Ruger 10/22 with 500 rounds of ammo, and/or a Mossberg 500 series 12 gauge shotgun with 50 rounds of ammo. If you prepare for war with the world you send a message to the universe that you expect war and the universe will bring you what you expect. If your intentions are for hunting and self defense then that will become your reality.

Now for the first aid kit. You should have lots of items waiting for you at your survival location, but as for what you should carry in your backpack, we suggest the following:

  • Gauze and first aid tape
  • Tube of antibiotic cream or gel
  • Band Aids
  • Aspirin or Ibuprofen
  • Hard sugar candy for quick energy
  • A supply of medications and/or supplements that you take daily.

The problem with Bug-Out Bags is far too many people consider BOB’s to be all they need. The truth is that your BOB is what you need to get to your survival retreat, it is NOT your survival retreat.

25 Additional Items to Have on Your Bug-IN List

Read other articles by Dan and Sheila HERE.

Dan & Sheila are the authors of Surviving Survivalism – How to Avoid Survivalism Culture Shock, and hosts of the free podcast, Still Surviving with Dan & Sheila. For questions about space in their Intentional Survivalist Community or other survivalist issues, they can be reached at

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