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21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been giving this alot of thought on a BOB, not survival. I've been into survival for almost a year now and I would like to make a BOB for when it'd be helpful. I have alot of stuff already for survival, I just need help on figuring out whats best to put in my bag, which is just a basic backpack. I want it to be light as possible, since I'll be carrying at least 2 guns plus the bag.

I'm not worried about food right now, so I just need help with the basics. Thanks.

117 Posts
First off, you need to decide what the purpose of the BOB might be and how you want to use it in that regard.

My BOB is a three to four day "Go Home Bag". What I see a LOT of people doing with the BOB is turning it into a run far away bag and weighing themselves down with crap that they do not need! Extra batteries, back up GPS systems, the cell phone charger the LED lighting that would make Edison proud-- you see what I'm getting at. I have a friend who has a BOB that weighs in at over 50 pounds! He's since decided that he needs to downsize after a two mile "shakedown" hike.

Anyway, my, I go with basics--food I don't have to cook in the form of MRE's and power bars, first aid kit, something to start fires with, and backups of these, a simple shelter in the form of a tube tent, a few personal hygiene products like tooth brush and paste, hand sanitizer (which can double as fire starter) two changes of socks, a pair of Seal Skins, a fleece shirt and basic cook gear, spork, canteen base and a canteen in addition to the water bottle already with me. I don't go many places with out water. I don't worry much about filtering water, living in Ohio we have a ****ton of water around and most of it can be drank for the short period of time I'm going to be moving. Basic treatment with bleach will get me through all that.

I have in the BOB a 9-shot .22 revolver with ammo, a Big Ass Knife that can double to chop stuff and that's about it for the BOB. The whole thing weighs in at 25 pounds. In addition to what I carry daily, I believe I can get home with what I carry. It helps to have basic survival skills and practice them. Last year I took a three day survival class that involved sheltering, rope making fire starting and traps and snares.

Like I said before, you have to decide what the BOB's function is before you can start to build it. Once you build it it becomes an evolving beastie, and you're never really finished with it.

21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Basically, I want like a 3 day pack. First aid kit, fire starting stuff etc. I want stuff as you stated. Just the basics..not some 50lb pack. It'll be for any SHTF or natural disaster.

Your post helped alot. Thanks.

YourAdministrator, eh?
8,000 Posts
The best way to plan out a 3 day BOB (Bug Out Bag) is to use it. Every long weekend grab your BOB and head for the hills. If you survive using only the BOB, you are set. If you find that you need to head back to civilization for anything before those three days are up, you know that you will need to update the BOB. IF you find that you have too much stuff in it that you have never used - consider tossing that stuff into a back-up pack that stays in the vehicle instead.

21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The best way to plan out a 3 day BOB (Bug Out Bag) is to use it. Every long weekend grab your BOB and head for the hills. If you survive using only the BOB, you are set. If you find that you need to head back to civilization for anything before those three days are up, you know that you will need to update the BOB. IF you find that you have too much stuff in it that you have never used - consider tossing that stuff into a back-up pack that stays in the vehicle instead.
I'll definitely do it this summer.
Thanks for the advice.

1,922 Posts
I would recomend a compass, they are just as helpful to navigate around a city as well as out in the country.

Function over Form
524 Posts
First line gear should be on your person. Gear you absolutely must have. Knife, light, firearm, canteen/filter, poncho, etc. Whatever floats your boat, but light enough to evade or not drown.

Second line is stuff you need but can leave behind if you were somehow, someway separated from it.

There are myriad BoB lists out there. I'll post a few when I get back home.

1,922 Posts
I think you have to decide whether you will use your BOB to get home or get out to your safe space. Decide what you will need to get there and how long it will take. Build your BOB around that. I have one for on foot, one for the bicycle and one for the car. My current plan is to get to my office building as I feel it is safer than my neighborhood, looters would show up there first. The office building is in the neighborhood where they would come from. I am looking for small piece of land that would be secure for my family if we had to leave the city completely. Then I will be adjusting my BOB's to get us there. Also I change out my clothing for the varying seasons. Incase of a natural disaster or power failure my house is set up as a temporary also with off the grid heat and power. There is also a supply of food and water there.

117 Posts
BOB's are to get you to someplace safe. Too many people make the BOB out to be an INCH bag or something similar.

My BOB is right at 25 pounds, three days of food, first aide kit, fire starters, other crap including a .22 pistol, about 200 rounds of ammo, and water. They are an evolving beast, BOB's.

190 Posts
Items of importance are going to cover your essential needs first. I build off the rule of threes. You can live three minutes without oxygen and bloodflow, three hours without adequate shelter in harsh conditions, three days without water, three weeks without food. None of that is very comfortable, but it gives you somewhere to start in your planning on what is most important.

The only thing I do about the oxygen thing is I have a smoke hood in my office along with a 150' rappel rope and harness at work (I work on the 4th floor). Yep, the rope is overkill, but the hood is essential.

Bloodflow should remind you of the need to keep your volume inside, so carry a good first aid kit, even if it's minimalist. A compression dressing and a fast clotting pad are a must, but go beyond that to cover the comfort items like tweezers, bandaids, lip balm, and other bandages while you're at it. A decent kit can still be small.

Shelter is really the big one for me. Good shelter is bulky. That might mean a sleeping bag and tent, it might mean an 8x10' tarp and wool blanket, but it should be something that will keep you warm and dry on the coldest nights where ever you live. Don't rely solely on space blankets and space bags. While they will aid in extending the value of a sleeping bag (used as a liner, not on the outside) by 10-20 degrees, used alone, they provide only some degree of radiant reflectivity, NOT any insulative value. If you use one, know it's limitations.

Add to this appropriate foul weather clothing. Rain gear is a must, but so is a sweatshirt or fleece jacket, gloves, hat (sun protection and insulative), and non-cotton clothing. My gloves are insulated work gloves, so they serve a dual purpose. I also keep extra footware in my car, but generally wear pretty sensible stuff day to day.

I'll add lighting and fire starting items here, as they can help with warmth and morale. Again, with fire, use the rule of threes. You want three independent means for starting a fire. That can be a backpacking stove with a book of matches as one, but also have a magnesium fire starter and a bic, too. For flashlights, LEDs are the only way to go. I carry a keychain Photon II, but I also have an LED headlamp, and a mini-mag, too.

Water needs to be physically carried with additional capacity and the ability to purify more. I only keep four quarts in my kit due to weight considerations, but I also have the capacity to carry an additional five quarts in a bladder. I carry both purification tablets and a backpacking filter, but I'm also experimenting with a new Steri-pen for purification.

For food, I carry three custom made MREs that include breakfast, snacks and dinner entrees (1900-2400 calories each + supplemental snacks). They're heavier than freezedried foods, but the stoveless preparation and temperature tolerance of MREs is outstanding.

Beyond this, a GPS that is capable of both turn by turn directions and off road navigation is a serious tool worth considering. Have 1:250k topos and an atlas just in case, too. We all have favorite items we carry, but be practical. Toiletries are important, as is cash. I'd consider $300 a bare minimum. Ideally some precious metals, but it all depends on what you foresee. Some folks think cash is a waste, but if you end up having to evacuate because of a wildland fire and get to the hotel who's credit card machine is down due to damaged phone lines, you'll wish you had some.

Function over Form
524 Posts
Sorry for the delay, I forgot to post the B.O.B. list I have been working on for some time. I don't carry all of this, but I tried to make it more universal so others can build their own. Please comment if you find some more useful items.

Stout belt; for first line gear, suspender system highly recommended; Wilderness Instructor's belt, rigger's belt, military web belt
Multi-tool; used for repair, small tasks, cutting through 8' wire game fence, etc.; I prefer closed exterior handle for comfort, Gerber 400 or Leatherman Crunch
Field knife; KA-BAR, Gerber LMF, etc.; Texas legal max blade length is 5.5"
Sidearm/holster; consider concealed carry holster, protection from weather/debris
Spare sidearm magazine(s)
Water purification
Lightweight food (see suggestions below)
First aid; essential medications, basic kit, blowout kit
Survival kit; small, compact
Eyewear; spare eyeglasses, sunglasses (snow), etc.
Navigation tools; map, compass, GPS, pace beads, aerial photo
Dump pouch; Maxpedition Rollypoly

Cold weather sleeping bag; US MSS or Wiggy's
Ground sheet/pad; vapor barrier minimum or pad if there's room
Tent pegs; as durable or lightweight as you want
Tent/hammock; military half-shelter, poncho, etc. with grommets or clips already installed; commercial lightweight products such as ParaHootch, Siltarp, Hennessy Hammock, TrekLight, etc.
Poncho liner or wool blanket
Emergency blanket
Mosquito net (double as fish/bait net?)

Function over Form
524 Posts
Fire starters; strikers/lighters/blast matches
Tinder; lint, cotton/vaseline, WetFire, etc.
Water storage; canteen, water bladder, Platy Bottle, etc.
Water purification; water filter, iodine tablets, bleach
Food (see suggestions below)
Seasonings; salt, pepper, etc.
Sodium bicarbonate/sodium chloride tablets or equivalent sports drink mixes
Aluminum foil
Trioxane tabs
Food prep/utensils; dedicated aluminum or titanium cookware, metal canteen cup, spork, P-51 can opener

Compasses; two is one, one is none
GPS (if system still active)
Maps; road maps, USGS 24k topo, USFS maps, flight VFR maps, aerial photo; nothing denoting home or exact cache location
Receivers; AM/FM/SW; GP-4L, wind-up/freeplay radio
Two-way; cell phone, GMRS/FRS, amateur radio HT or HF QRP rig, satellite phone, batteries, simple antennas, etc.
Night vision; batteries
Signal mirror/whistle (mirror doubles as first aid self exam tool, etc.)
Binocs or monocular (detachable rifle scope works well for dual use)
Signal panel
Smoke grenades
Primary light; LED lights very efficient, dual output available
LED micro lights; several cheap ones are as compact as a chem. light and “disposable”
Chem light
Head lamp
Red filter(s)
Spray paint
Strobe light

Function over Form
524 Posts
Pack system or Load Bearing Vest
Watch with alarm, illuminated face and/or compass
Knives; gutting/skinning knife or spare field knife
Hacksaw blade
Fishing; hooks/sinkers/line; gill net
Rope/para cord
Snare wire
Weapon cleaning gear
Firearms; long gun and support items (ammo, magazines, batteries, etc.)
Sewing kit
Machete/axe/saw; Woodsman’s Pal, Sven-Saw, hand chain saw, etc.
Duct tape, flat pack
Seam tape
Surveyor's tape
Garbage bags; heavy duty/contractor grade
Zip-loc bags
Pen/paper; Rite in Rain worth a look
Zip ties
Bailing wire or coat hanger
Handcuff key
Survival info cards/manuals

Dental care
Toilet paper
Soap/hand gel; Campsuds, Germ X, etc.
Feminine needs
Incontinence needs
Eye/optics care
Foot powder
Baby wipes; unscented, in sealed foil pack or secure carrier so they don’t dry out

Function over Form
524 Posts
Appropriate for season, appropriate for getting you home if you're stranded in dress clothes, etc.
Footwear; running shoes, hiking boots, snow boots, snowshoes, waders, etc.
Trousers/shirts; durable, longsleeve for brush, etc.
Cold weather; lightweight, effective clothing layers such as military ECWCS
Rain gear; ponchos, rain cover for pack
Head gear; watch cap, boonie hat, ushanka, etc.
Large handkerchiefs or shemagh; function as head gear, face camo, sling, tourniquet, wash cloth, etc.
Snake leggings
Mosquito head net and compatible hat
Joint braces
Camouflage; summer/winter, personal and pack coverage

Exam gloves; butyl nitrate
Alcohol prep pads (works as tinder, too)
Antiseptic towelettes
Gauze/sterile pads/Kerlix
Triangular bandage/cravat
Emergency Trauma Dressing (aka Israeli bandage)
Ace bandages
Blister prevention/treatment
Would closure; suture stapler, suture stitching, superglue, VetBond, etc.
EMT shears
Scalpel/razor blade
Prescription meds
OTC meds; stimulants, anti-diarrhea, antacid, pain relievers, cough drops, laxative, anaphylactic shock meds, anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, antibiotic, allergy relief (including stings, poison ivy, etc.), KI tablets
Tourniquets; C.A.T., NATO, cravat/handkerchief, etc.
Occlusive dressing; Asherman chest seal
Lip balm; in leakproof tube/jar, preferably with sunscreen
Hemostatic agent; Celox, QuikClot; gauze or granules preferable to powder that can blow in your eyes

Function over Form
524 Posts
Camouflage; face, body; paint, garment, materials
Insect repellant
Sewing kit
Bicycle; fold-up/saddlebags
Extra shoe laces
Eyewear retention; Croakies, etc.
Edible plant reference
Gas mask/P100 mask (disease, chemical particles, large wildfires, dust storms, pollen, etc.)
Extra set car/house/lock keys
Few hundred dollars cash in $10 and smaller denominations; pay phone change
Prepaid phone card
Essential documents in waterproof pouch/USB drive; will, insurance policies, contracts, vehicle title, deeds, mortgage, stocks and bonds, marriage/death certificates, passports, social security cards, immunization records, coded savings and checking account numbers, credit card account numbers and companies, inventory of valuable household goods, latest W2 tax form, bills with home address, recent family photos (disaster family ID), phone numbers
Disaster plan (rally points, commo times, etc.), no code/duress words written down
Safety pins
Ear protection
Hand/foot warmers
English/Spanish or other language phrasebook
Epoxy; JB Weld, etc.
Large sports-logo’d duffle to conceal bag while it’s stored


Carrying all of this equipment would be unrealistic and impractical. You will need to customize your actual load out for your specific needs. Terrain, climate, urban/suburb/rural, predators, distances, group plans, individual physical capability, etc. Lighter is better, and this is a Bug-Out Bag, not an I’m-Never-Coming-Home bag.

“Store everything, grab what you need” strategy. Make a pack with the bare minimum. Make a pile of important tools/supplies you may/may not need. Put both inside a duffle, with the minimum pack on top. At the moment of truth, you can grab the whole duffle and choose what you need from a safe place, or simply grab your minimal pack and scram. If you are like me, you travel out of town several times a year, and it's not always in/through suburbia.

Fly under the radar. Look like a civilian, act like a civilian, but carry camouflage clothing/pack covers if needed. If at all possible, disengage threats before wasting time/safety, stay out of sight, and stay out of others’ property.

Make plans. Plan your route and alternate routes; this is extremely important in urban areas and some suburban areas, as you and your pack will be conspicuous. Plan for protecting yourself from domestic and feral animals such as dogs, snakes, bears, etc. If traveling in pairs, plan for evasion separation and reunion. Plan for communication schedules.

Try out your gear, in ALL types of seasons and weather in your area. Example: My issued raincoat reaches just below my knees. While directing traffic several hours in on/off rain slanting rain, I found rain drained into my boots. So much for GORE-TEX “waterproof” boots!

Secure your critical items. There’s a reason so many items come with a lanyard loop. Knives, compass, multi-tool, survival kit, etc.

Compact, lightweight, versatile gear. Download MREs, wrap items around others (cordage, poncho), store items inside of others, carry single items that perform multiple tasks. Examples; two ultra light ponchos that also act as shelter halves and pack cover, para cord as shoelaces, fish hooks/line/floss as emergency sewing kit, etc.

Training and practice. Injuries are one of the most neglected areas of real-world bug-out preparations. Know how to care for and mobilize injured persons. Know how to help yourself or them mentally push through to improvise, adapt and overcome.
Also, misuse of tools can cause serious injuries or loss of use of the tool. Lack of familiarity with plans and terrain makes inevitable small problems turn into big problems with a lot of stress.

Function over Form
524 Posts
What you pack should reflect the time, concerns and resources available. Time needed to prepare, water availability, smoke or food smell attracting unwanted guests, etc. Some of the creature comforts such as hot chocolate can do wonders for your psyche! Check expiration dates.
MRE meals (may be stripped down for size/weight)
Food bars; granola bars, breakfast bars, cereal bars
Emergency food bars, aka "lifeboat rations"; Datrex, Mainstay, etc.
"Tropical" chocolate (high melting point)
Meat in foil packs; tuna, SPAM, etc.
Lightweight canned meat
Freeze dried meals; Mountain Home, etc.
Noodle Meals
Rice Meals
Oatmeal packets
Hot sauce packets/bottle
Hot chocolate packets
Hard candy or honey packets
Granola/cereal bars
Dried fruit
Peanut butter packets
Jelly packets
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