Emergency preparedness from a Counterintelligence Agent

How I built my ultimate 25 pound bug out bag

Here's how I built my ultimate bug out bag, with a list of what I carry in it and why. Under 25 pounds dry weight and has everything I need.. Sign image original design by http://32cherry.deviantart.com/Is your bug out bag full of gear you really need or a bunch of things you have just in case? I decided to completely re-think my bug out bag gear and learned a LOT in the process. I can help you put together the best bug out bag for you.

This will be a first here on Graywolf Survival. I’ve never written a post before on my personal bug out bag gear, or list it out because I honestly never really thought it through from top to bottom before now. It’s completely changed now. For one thing, I carry this pack now instead.

I have written about my go bag before, which is kind of a mini bug out bag but it’s not really what I’d bug out with if I had to leave for an extended period. I used it for short trips and as an addition to my EDC kit. You may be interested in reading those as well.

A great resource

Keep in mind this is my personal bug out bag list. I say it’s the ultimate bag because it’s better than anything I can come up with for my circumstances, that takes into consideration my budget, my skills (and lack thereof in some cases), my geographic area, my 25-pound dry weight limit I imposed, and what my most likely scenarios for using it are. There is no perfect or ultimate bug out bag that will work for everyone. Also, some of this stuff I chose because I already had it and some of it I paid more than most people are willing to spend.

First, I’ll list all my gear. Then I’ll list why I chose what gear I did. Then I’ll tell you a bit of where I’m coming from with this list. Then some next actions.

Overall Bug Out Bag Kit

I’ve ordered these all by weight. I’ve linked as many of these things as I could  find so you can see the exact model, reviews, price, etc and don’t have to search google for them. There were a couple that I either couldn’t find an exact match to what I have or I just replaced so I tried to mention those below.

The first box is the overall pack. The bags with ‘*’ will be broken down in boxes below that.

Oh, if you’re on a cell phone, turn it sideways because some phones clip the info off the right side of the lists.

Here’s the backpack along with the individual bags, cookset, sleeping bag, and tent:

Bug Out Bag Backpack Bags Sleeping Bag and Tent

Here are all the things that are in the backpack that are not shown in the pic above (except my cup and maps. Oh, and I was apparently wearing my sandals so they’re not in the shot either – just a few inches below):

Bug Out Kit Layed Out Without Bags

List Item




Pack, Osprey Atmos 65, Large – Graphite Grey 1716.00 3.78 60.53
Bag, Survival-Tools* 1174.00 2.60 41.62
Bag, Electronic* 1110.00 2.45 39.15
Mtn Hardwear Sleeping BagCompression Dry Sack, XS 870.00 1.92 30.69
Bag, Clothing* 828.00 1.83 29.21
Hatchet, Fiskars/Sheath 706.00 1.56 24.90
Cook Set* 682.00 1.50 24.06
Bag, Hygiene-Toiletries* 446.00 0.98 15.73
Bag, Medical* 436.00 0.96 15.38
Rain Jacket/Wind Breaker, lightweight, summer 360.00 0.79 12.70
Knife, SOG Pup with sheath, stone, Doan’s ferro/magn 350.00 0.77 12.35
Emergency Blanket, Large 336.00 0.74 11.85
Sandals, Airwalk 290.00 0.64 10.23
Radio, Ham, Yaesu VX-6R/Clip 254.00 0.56 8.96
Multitool, Gerber 232.00 0.51 8.18
Fuel, Alcohol, Heet, Yellow, 8oz in squeeze container 208.00 0.46 7.34
Slingshot and rounds 152.00 0.34 5.36
Lantern, Solar, Luci inflatable 102.00 0.22 3.60
Cup, titanium, Snow Peak H450 101.00 0.22 3.56
Gloves, white leather 92.00 0.20 3.25
Towel, microfiber, McNett, Medium 92.00 0.20 3.25
Bowls, Fozzils, pair 80.00 0.18 2.82
Flashlight, Fenix LD12 and AA battery 80.00 0.18 2.82
Hat, Boonie Cap 72.00 0.16 2.54
Rope, 750 cord, 25′ 64.00 0.14 2.26
Flashlight, Zebra Light, SC52w L2 and AA battery 62.00 0.14 2.19
Trowel, Orange 52.00 0.11 1.83
Compass, Suunto 46.00 0.10 1.62
Sawyer Mini and straw 44.00 0.10 1.55
Antenna, ham radio, SRH77CA 40.00 0.09 1.41
Goggles, Swimming 40.00 0.09 1.41
Handkerchief, Green, Harley Davidson 32.00 0.07 1.13
Condor Multi-wrap Neck Gaiter 32.00 0.07 1.13
Sunscreen, 1 oz 32.00 0.07 1.13
Spoon, Titanium, long 22.00 0.05 0.78
Earplugs with Case 22.00 0.05 0.78
Spatula, Folding 20.00 0.04 0.71
Finem Tea Steeper 16.00 0.04 0.56
Light, Keychain 12.00 0.03 0.42
Light, Keychain 12.00 0.03 0.42
Fresnel Lens 1.00 0.00 0.04

Total Weight




Survival/Tools Bag


Survival-Tools Kit Layed Out

List Item

Grams Pounds Ounces
Chainsaw, Hand in Altoids-type Tin Box 180.00 0.40 6.35
Olive Oil and small container 108.00 0.24 3.81
Wrench, Adjustable 100.00 0.22 3.53
Emergency Blanket, Mylar, Pair 86.00 0.19 3.03
Lighter/light, Brunton 78.00 0.17 2.75
Knife, Boker Subcom F 66.00 0.15 2.33
Signal Mirror/pouch 62.00 0.14 2.19
Sawyer Mini and straw 54.00 0.12 1.90
Headlamp, Petzl and case with spare battery 48.00 0.11 1.69
Case, Misc Fishing 42.00 0.09 1.48
Firestarter, Doans Ferro/Magnesium Bar 40.00 0.09 1.41
Bic Lighter, Wrapped in Gorilla Tape 38.00 0.08 1.34
Container, matches, candles, firestarter 38.00 0.08 1.34
Tape Measure, 6′ 36.00 0.08 1.27
Sawyer Mini plunger from kit 30.00 0.07 1.06
Sack, Eagle Creek, Large 28.00 0.06 0.99
Bicycle Inner Tube, 12″ for making Ranger Bands 28.00 0.06 0.99
Rope Tightener, paracord, Nite Ize, Pair 26.00 0.06 0.92
Sawyer Mini Pouch from kit 20.00 0.04 0.71
Scissors, Folding with case 16.00 0.04 0.56
Whistle, Emergency, Wind Storm 14.00 0.03 0.49
Light, Keychain 12.00 0.03 0.42
Clips, S, Group of three 10.00 0.02 0.35
Misc 10.00 0.02 0.35
Pencil Sharpener, Magnesium 8.00 0.02 0.28
Velcro Roll, Double-Sided, Small 6.00 0.01 0.21

Electronics Bag

Electronics Gear in REI Mesh Bag


Electronics Kit Layed Out

List Item

Grams Pounds Ounces
Battery, USB, Anker 13000mAh 294.00 0.65 10.37
Cable, AC to 12v female 78.00 0.17 2.75
Charger, AA Battery, Goal Zero and 4 AA Batteries 158.00 0.35 5.57
Charger, Yaesu Ham Radio, DC 90.00 0.20 3.17
Misc Connector Kit and Lumitask USB Light 42.00 0.09 1.48
Filter, red, 1″, flashlight 1.00 0.00 0.04
Light, USB, tiny, Lumitask 1.00 0.00 0.04
Sack, REI, Red 64.00 0.14 2.26
Solar Panel, EnerPlex Kickr IV 302.00 0.67 10.65
USB Cable, Charging, iPhone and USB, slim 32.00 0.07 1.13
USB Charger, Apple, AC 22.00 0.05 0.78
USB Charger, 12v DC 14.00 0.03 0.49
USB Encrypted Thumb Drive 8.00 0.02 0.28

Clothing Bag

Clothing Inside Dry Sack


Clothing Layed Out

List Item

Grams Pounds Ounces
Shirt, Polypro, Longsleeve 178.00 0.39 6.28
Pants, Polypro 156.00 0.34 5.50
Socks, White, 2 pair 126.00 0.28 4.44
Sack, SOC, 13’x22″x7.5″ black 116.00 0.26 4.09
Underwear, Boxers 108.00 0.24 3.81
Underwear, Sports 80.00 0.18 2.82
Cap, Watchcap, Black 68.00 0.15 2.40

Cook Set

Cook Kit Inside Reflectix Pot Cozy and Lid


Cook Kit Layed Out

List Item

Grams Pounds Ounces
Solo Stove Wood Burning Backpacking Stove 240.00 0.53 8.47
Sea to Summit Pot/Lid, Titanium 900mL 160.00 0.35 5.64
Stove, Alcohol, Trangia 112.00 0.25 3.95
Seasoning, Salt and aluminum case 44.00 0.10 1.55
Cozy, Pot, Reflectix, Homemade (see below) 42.00 0.09 1.48
Seasoning, Sugar and aluminum case 40.00 0.09 1.41
Seasoning, Blend and aluminum case 34.00 0.07 1.20
Sponge, Scrubbing 10.00 0.02 0.35

Medical Kit


List Item

Grams Pounds Ounces
Misc Medical Items 160.00 0.35 5.64
Bandage, Muslin in bag 56.00 0.12 1.98
Tourniquet, Tourni-Kwik 4 (TK4) 44.00 0.10 1.55
Sunscreen, 1 oz 30.00 0.07 1.06
Clotrimazole, 30g 30.00 0.07 1.06
Moleskin 26.00 0.06 0.92
QuikClot Combat Gauze 22.00 0.05 0.78
Sack, Eagle Creek, Medium 18.00 0.04 0.63
Bandages, Compress, 3″x3″,Pair 16.00 0.04 0.56
Neosporine, 0.3oz 16.00 0.04 0.56
Bandage, Gauze, 2″x3.5yds 10.00 0.02 0.35
Mask, N95, flat packing 8.00 0.02 0.28

Hygiene-Toiletries Bag

Hygiene Toiletries Bag


Hygiene Kit Layed Out

List Item

Grams Pounds Ounces
Aloe Vera, 2oz 79.00 0.17 2.79
Soap, Liquid, Irish Spring, 2.5oz 79.00 0.17 2.79
Hand Sanitizer 64.00 0.14 2.26
Antacid in dispenser 34.00 0.07 1.20
Toilet Paper, Charmin Basic To Go, 210″x4.5″ 30.00 0.07 1.06
Powder, Body, Gold Bond, 1oz 26.00 0.06 0.92
Toothpaste, 0.8oz 26.00 0.06 0.92
Fingernail Clippers 20.00 0.04 0.71
Toilet Paper from MRE (4x) 20.00 0.04 0.71
Chapstick, Pair 18.00 0.04 0.63
Sack, Eagle Creek, Small 14.00 0.03 0.49
Clotrimazole 12.00 0.03 0.42
Dental Floss, 50m 12.00 0.03 0.42
Toothbrush with travel case, cut short 10.00 0.02 0.35
Earplugs, disposable in bag 2.00 0.00 0.07


Why I chose the gear I have

So. Let’s break this down somewhat so I can explain some of the thinking of why I chose what I chose. To make it make sense, I’ll break them down all by usage.

Cargo-carrying gear

Cargo is really where I cut down most of my weight without sacrificing effectiveness. I found a great bag that’s big enough to carry everything I need, with even some extra room left over. With my original bag, attachments to hold what wouldn’t fit, and internal bags to keep things organized, my cargo weight was well over 8 pounds! Essentially, cargo is all the stuff that holds your stuff that isn’t stuff you need to survive. I cut that down by half, saving me four pounds that I could devote to other gear and I actually have more room than I did before. I can now fit everything inside the bag – including the tent – and I still have some room. The tent adds 4.82 pounds but still keeps everything under 30 pounds plus food/water.

I’m using an Osprey Atmos 65 backpack in large, which gives me actually 68 Liters of space. I chose this particular bag because I already have an idea about how much space I need from using my Camelbak BFM for so many years. I originally got a 5.11 Rush 72 backpack to replace it, after MANY people suggested it and read some really great reviews on it. After thinking it all through, it wasn’t going to work. In order to carry the amount of items I wanted, I’d have to add cargo space to the bag and it already weighed quite a bit. Plus, it’s a very military-looking bag, which I’d rather avoid if I could. It also seals up at the top and has a built-in cover for the rain.

I also switched out all my internal bags for ultralight ones. For organization, I got a set of Eagle Creek packing cubes and an REI expandable packing cube. If I didn’t already have the REI bag, I would have gotten another set of the Eagle Creek cubes instead and separated things even more – and the whole set weighs about the same as the one REI bag does.

Cutting tools

One of the most important things to have in a survival kit is a fixed-blade knife. I used to carry a SOG Seal Elite, and I even carried it in Iraq and Afghanistan, but for a bug out bag here at home, I wanted to see if I could cut down the weight and still have a very effective knife. After a LOT of research, I pretty much came back to the same thing but got the SOG Seal Pup instead.

My original SOG Seal was 12.3″ in overall length and weighed 10.3 ounces. The pup weighs 5.4 ounces and is 9.5″ overall. When you consider the smaller sheath size, that saved me almost a quarter pound right there – and it’s a great little knife.

Batoning a knife to build a shelter is a LOT of work so I wanted to get a really good hatchet. It came down to the Estwing E24A Portsman’s Hatchet vs the Fiskars X7 14-inch Hatchet. I went back and forth with this one for a long time. I ended up with the Fiskars because it was over a quarter pound lighter (from what I could find on the web and assuming the sheath weight) and had even more 5-star reviews. I REALLY like the looks of the Estwing but cutting weight is a priority over aesthetics. Barely.

As a backup knife, I have the Gerber Multitool that the Army gave me that I keep in one of the front belt pockets of the backpack and a small Boker Subcom F in my Survival-Tools bag.

Because cutting medium-sized logs is a LOT of work with a hatchet and even more work with a knife and stick, I got a basic replacement chain saw, cut it so it was one length instead of a loop, and put a couple of strong key rings on the ends. I can use it for a very effective hand saw by either sticking a short branch in each end to make handles or tying a length of the 750 cord on each end. If you then tie some fishing line and some kind of weight, you could throw it up and over a branch up in a tree and cut it down without having to climb up. I keep the chain rolled up in a small Altoids-type of tin.

Hand Saw Inside Tin


Hand Saw with Tin

Making fire

I think fire is one of the most important elements of survival so I have a lot of redundancy here.

Slid into the back of my backpack is a sheet-sized Fresnel Lens. It weighs so little that it didn’t come up on my scale and since there’s a flat spot that it fits into nicely, it effectively takes up no weight. It’s a no-brainer to get one of these. Here’s a quick video I did showing how easy it is to start a fire with one of these if you have a sunny day and some dry stuff laying around:

I have an old Brunton lighter that I threw in there because it’s not only a storm-proof lighter, it has an LED light built-in. No idea which model it is.

I have two Doan Magnesium/Ferrocerium Firestarters. Don’t get the cheap stuff, get the Doan one. The Chinese knockoffs just don’t work as well and they’re about the same price. I keep one in my Survival-Tools Bag and one in the sharpening stone pocket of my SOG Seal Pup knife.

I have a very small plastic container that has a couple of tea light candles, a couple of packs of matches, and some Tinder-Quik Fire Tabs that I’ve sealed inside short lengths of a large straw to keep them dry. I didn’t really need this but I threw it in anyway.

In my Survival-Tools bag, I also have a small two-hole magnesium pencil sharpener. It’s great for shaving tinder from twigs and only weighs a quarter ounce. I’m not sure if the magnesium it’s made out of is pure enough to be used to help build a fire but it might.

I carry a roll of toilet paper and a few small packs that came with some MREs I ate in Afghanistan. This stuff is great for starting fires. Also great if you happen to bring a girl camping. You’re like a rockstar if you bring toilet paper. Chicks dig toilet paper.

Filtering/purifiying water

My go-to water filter system right now is the Sawyer Mini. It filters a LOT more water than pretty much everything out there, but to do that, you need to use the plunger it comes with. It can also be adapted to run inline with a Camelbak and it comes with a roll-up water bottle. I keep one Sawyer Mini in one of the front belt pouches and one in the Survival-Tools bag along with a plunger and a roll-up bottle.

I have my cook set detailed below so I won’t go into it here but it can obviously be used to boil water.

I have a Harley handkerchief that they gave me at the local shop on Veteran’s Day last year. It can be used to filter out all the big stuff and to soak up small puddles. You can also brush it on tall dew-covered grass and plants as you walk through and wring it out into your mouth, although that won’t taste too good. Much better than using your socks though.

Shelter/clothing gear

The first thing you’ll probably notice is that I carry a tent, which brings my overall weight to almost 30 pounds plus water/food. I currently have a discontinued Köppen tent but I’m looking at replacing it because it’s not self-standing. Finding something to dig in with tent stakes in the desert isn’t always all that easy.

Here’s my post on the best ultralight bug out bag/backpacking tents. The Hilleberg Nallo GT2 tent is at the top of that list for me. It’s a pound and a half heavier than one I have right now but MUCH better. If I lose the large vestibule and go with the Nallo 2, I’m at about the same weight as I am now. Just not sure exactly which way I wanna go with it.

Why not just a hammock? By the time you get a hammock and tarp, you’re pushing into the weight territory of some of these tents (and over it in some cases), and there aren’t a lot of trees around here to tie up to anyway. Regardless, I can’t sleep in a hammock. I have delicate features.

I have one of the REAL emergency blankets folded into an inner back pocket of the backpack. It’s orange on one side and silver on the other. It can be used as a tarp above (with a reflective cover that puts heat back to you if you need it or away if you don’t) or as a pad below to keep you insulated from the ground. Because it’s orange, you can use it to signal. I originally carried a VS-17 signal panel but it was way not big enough to be used for much other than signaling. I do have a couple of the cheap emergency blankets but those are crap. They’re ok for reflecting heat from the ceiling of a tent or behind you with a fire but don’t think you’re actually going to use them as a blanket for any extended time.

I originally had a SOL Breathable Emergency Bivvy but I absolutely cannot sleep in it. It’s WAY too restricting if you’re broad-shouldered. You could try one and see if it works but if it does, you need to hit the gym bro. I almost packed it regardless because it would have been ok to bring along as a pad I could fill in with leaves etc but that put me over my 25 pounds so I dropped it from the list.

I always carry a Mountain Hardwear Lumina 45 sleeping bag wherever I go. To keep it dry and small, I use an XS Sea to Summit compression dry sack. I’ve had this bag and water-resistant compression sack with me through several deployments and camping trips. It’s very lightweight and packs to about the size of a football. Definitely a nice thing to have.

Sleeping Bag in Compression Dry Sack

To hold all my clothes, I currently have a large Sandpiper of California Top Stuff sack. It’s big enough that I can throw a couple other bags in it if I had to go through a river and will hold out water for a short time but it’s not technically waterproof. I’ll be replacing it at some point with a compression dry sack like I use with my sleeping bag. This bag is a fairly heavy addition but I figure it’s worth it to make sure I can keep things dry.

Since I live in the desert so I don’t need a lot of cold-weather gear but it does get pretty nippy at night and can easily get below freezing. As you can see in the Clothing Bag above, I have just some basic Army-issue polypros as a backup. I also carry a lightweight rain jacket because not only will it keep the rain off me, it’s a good wind breaker. Once it gets colder, I’ll throw a fleece or something in there. Just make sure you layer your clothes. Sweating in cold weather makes your clothes wet so even after you cool down to the point where you stop sweating, your clothes continue to sweat for you, and you get hypothermia.

One of the best bang-for-your-buck items to stay warm when it starts to get chilly out is a neck gaiter. I have a thicker one that I’ll also put in the bag when it gets cold. I keep a lightweight one wrapped around my swimming goggles so they don’t get scratched and because I grab both of those if I get caught up in a sandstorm. Full-size goggles are just too big for me to carry around all the time for as little as I’ve worn them. Plus, they’re not as sexy.

Make sure you have a couple pairs of extra socks. That’s important.

I keep a spare pair of underwear (yes Mom, they’re clean) but also a pair of the sports ones that help if your inner thighs start chafing. I thought about swapping my boxers for a thong to save weight and maybe double as a replacement slingshot stretchy thing but I didn’t want to scare away the animals.

I have a lightweight boonie cap to keep the sun off the back of my neck. Definitely important to have if you’re out in the sun all day. No idea where I got the one I have but it has mesh around it. Great for the desert. Not so great for the rain.

The watch cap is definitely nice to keep your ears warm at night and keep in your body heat while you’re sleeping in your sleeping bag.

Sandals are really handy to have if you’re living out of a tent. You can put them on in the middle of the night instead of hassling with boots if you need to go “see a man about a horse” and also for when you’re getting around in the morning with your fire etc before you pack up and head out. Get some strong, lightweight ones though. Some of them won’t hold up very well. The ones I have have been worn through many miles of large gravel walking out to the shower/latrines on FOBs and are still holding up well – and I wear them most days around Phoenix.

I cut a 6′ section of that same Reflectix that I used for the pot cozy/lid, and sealed the edges with aluminum tape. It makes for a great lightweight sleeping pad. I take it camping but it’s not in my bug out kit normally because it’s 11 ounces and I’m trying to stay under 25 pounds. I may end up just keeping it in there anyway at some point but I’m trying to cut down another 10 ounces before I put it in if I can. This is it all folded up nicely n such.

Reflectix Sleeping Mat

Food preparation gear

The centerpiece of my food prep is a Solo Stove Wood burning Backpacking Stove in addition to a Trangia Alcohol Stove. The Solo Stove will burn sticks, Esbit fuel tablets (providing you lay them on a piece of aluminum foil or metal so they don’t fall through the grate), pine needles, pine cones, and lots of other things. It would be very difficult to run out of fuel with it. Here’s a good video on the combination:

The Trangia Alcohol Stove is a great addition to it because the Solo Stove makes it more efficient. The nice thing about the Trangia is that it has a screw-on lid so you can put the flame out and carry it with fuel in it so you don’t have to guess exactly how much fuel you’ll need each time. It burns alchohol so I carry 8 ounces of yellow HEET (which is methanol), carried in one of those cheap squirt bottles you find in the travel size section at the grocery store. Don’t get the red HEET (isopropyl), it’s not nearly as good. There are many fuels you can use with it though. Of note is Everclear, which can be used inside without worrying too much about the fumes, and you can drink it *shudder*.

To cook in, I have a Snow Peak Trek 900 Titanium Cook Set that comes with a 900mL pot and a frying pad that kind of works as a half-assed lid. Because it’s titanium, it’s super light and super strong – and it transfers heat extremely well, making it boil water faster. The drawbacks are that it’ll burn your food if you’re not careful and it’s a tad expensive.

Because it transfers heat well, your food/drink will get cold very quickly. To keep this from happening, and to keep from adding a lot of weight to solve it, I made a custom pot cozy top and bottom out of Reflectix. I’ll probably do a post on how these are made at some point but it’s pretty easy.

The cozy and lid only add an ounce and a half to the kit but it will keep your food warm (and actually keep it cooking slowly after you pull it off the heat in case you want to conserve fuel or put your grub down in a pile of snow while you sip on your coffee). It also keeps the stupid haf-assed lid/pan on the pot while it’s in my backpack.

To make sure my food doesn’t burn, I have a lightweight folding spatula. I wish it fit in the cook set but whatever.

To keep as much of the cooking stuff together, I put the Trangia Stove inside the Solo Stove, which then fits inside the pot and lid. I put all that inside the Reflectix cozy/lid. Because that leaves some room (and bangs around inside as you walk), I put the salt, seasoning blend, and sugar (each in a different colored UST 1.0 Aluminum B.A.S.E. Case) on top of the stove and a scrubbing sponge on top of that. It all fits quite nicely. You can see it all in the pic above in the bug out gear list section.

I don’t really want to eat out of the pot I cook in because I may want to heat water while I’m eating or make a second dish or whatever, so I wanted to have a bowl and a cup. I ended up with two Fozzil bowls to solve the bowl conundrum because they pack flat and weigh less than an ounce and a half each. I was going to have just one but I figured I could afford the extra weight and almost zero space in case I was going to share a meal with someone or wanted to have a second bowl for food or to catch water in during rain. They also come in handy if the two of you want to go out picking berries or whatnot.

Fozzils Bowls

For a cup, I originally got a Kupilka Cup to carry along. It’s a very good cup, and one that a lot of ultralight campers use. It’s made out of a composite wood/plastic so it’s very sturdy and insulates well. It was just too small for what I wanted, even though it’s only 3 ounces. Instead, I oped for a Snow Peak Titanium H450, double-walled cup. The double walls make it so your drink doesn’t get cold right away but also means you can’t cook with it. A much more popular option is the Snow Peak HotLips Titanium Mug, which you CAN cook in, but it loses heat quickly and you need the little rubber things on it so you don’t burn your lips. Also, the one I got doesn’t have a handle on it (because it doesn’t need one), so it saves a little space. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the new cup in these pics. The cup FINALLY came in. It does work great though. Even though it’s titanium, it doesn’t burn your lips when you’re drinking something hot like a single-walled cup would. Here’s a pic:

Snow Peak Titanium Double Wall Cup H450

After going back to a spoon, I really hate sporks. They suck at being a spoon and suck even more at being a fork. Instead, I got a TOAKS Titanium Long Handle Spoon with Polished Bowl. It has a long-enough handle to be able to stir with and eat out of MRE bags without getting stuff all over my hands. It only weighs 3/4 of an ounce.

Being able to make tea is really useful. To do this easily, I carry a medium Finum Brewing Basket inside the H450 cup. It comes with a lid but I don’t carry it. It adds 0.6 ounces of weight but is a real comfort item, plus you can make some healthy teas with it.

Food acquisition

For food acquisition, I have several yards of 40-lb test fishing line. Normally you don’t want it to be so thick but this way I can use it for building a shelter, making a snare trap, or repairing clothing if I need to. I’ve also added some fishing hooks, a couple of bobbers, and a couple of weights in a little case. The disposable ear plugs can also be used as floats. I also have some dental floss that can be used for the same things.

The 750 paracord can also be used to make snares or a fishing net. It’s much stronger (and slightly heavier) than 550 cord. I only have about 25 feet of it but I might double that to another 25-foot section.

I picked up a nice little lightweight slingshot that holds the shot inside the handle. With the ammo, it only weighs 5.36 ounces so I think it was worth taking. I can use small rocks if I need to. I’m gonna have to practice with this one.

In a lot of cases, I’ll just throw in a bag of my own homemade GORP. You can’t beat the calories and protein per pound with that stuff and it tastes great. Much healthier and tastier than most emergency food.

Signal/communications equipment

The most notable item here is the Yaesu VX-6R handheld ham radio and an upgraded antenna. It’s a fantastic little radio and doesn’t care if it gets wet. I’ve had it for several years now so I’ll probably be stepping up to the Yaesu VX-8DR soon because it has some features that the 6R doesn’t.

My emergency blanket has a bright orange side to it, which helps signal rescue craft to your location. The crappy ones could be used as flags so you have movement to attract attention.

I carry a Military Glass Signal Mirror inside a soft bag that came with an old set of earphones. The glass one is MUCH better than a plastic one because it’s sturdier and the reflective coating doesn’t rub off very easily. The cheapo ones don’t work so well after being carried around a while.

I also have a Wind Storm emergency whistle that’s super loud. If you’re trying to let someone know where you are, it’s a LOT more effective to blow a whistle than it is to yell, especially after a few hours.

Lighting gear

I have an awful lot of lights available but most of them weigh almost nothing or they’re built into other things. I could stand to drop some of this weight but it wouldn’t really drop all that much so I’m keeping it for now.

Because flashlights suck for general lighting inside a tent or your camp area, I added the Luci Inflatable Light they sent me to do a review. I wasn’t expecting much but it’s a fantastic little thing. It charges off solar, weighs only 3.6 ounces, and inflates with your mouth.

For my primary light, I carry a Zebra Light ASC52w L2. It’s fantastic. I got the neutral white color (the ‘w’ part of the model). It’s a bit different looking at things at night in true light but I really like it. It’s a touch less bright than the white light but doesn’t distort the colors of what you’re looking at like most flashlights do. It’s still HELLA bright for a AA flashlight.

For a secondary light, I carry a Fenix LD10  that I’ve had for a while – now replaced by a Fenix LD12. It also takes AA.

I also have a Petzl E+LITE Ultra-compact emergency headlamp that comes with a little plastic case. I keep a spare battery inside with it since I can’t recharge that size. Sometimes it’s just a lot easier to do stuff with a headlamp so you can keep both hands free. I’m still debating on whether I want to drop this from my kit or my secondary flashlight since I really don’t need both. I hate sucking on a flashlight while I try to get things done though.

As I mentioned before, my old Brunton lighter has an LED light that unscrews from the bottom of it.

In my Power Bag, I have a AA charger from Goal Zero. When it has AA batteries in it, it can be used as a little LED flashlight.

When I was at the Prepper Expo here in Phoenix recently, I picked up a great little Lumitask USB light that’s SUPER bright for how tiny it is. I can plug that into the AA charger or the USB battery and it’s so small it’s pretty much zero weight and zero space (about the size/weight of a paper clip. Unfortunately they’re apparently not for sale yet and the company hasn’t answered my emails asking about them. If you’re reading this Lumitask – Holla!

I have three little Keychain lights that I got in care packages when I was in Afghanistan. They weigh pretty much nothing and are convenient to have in certain areas. I keep one clipped to the inside top of my backpack so I can see inside it to find things without having to get my flashlight, one clipped to the front chest strap, and one inside my Survival-Tools Bag.

I got a Surefire 1″ slip-on red filter a long time ago that fits on the end of most handheld flashlights (like the ones I carry). It doesn’t really weigh anything so I included it in my kit. It’s good for not destroying your night vision or for rooting around your stuff at night in a tent with other people trying to sleep.

The USB battery I  have in my Electronics Bag also has a little LED flashlight built-in.

Medical and hygiene-toiletries

I don’t have anything special in these two bags. Just basic stuff. I do have a medium-sized McNett Microfiber Towel in the backpack though. I’ve tried several brands but this one is the only one I’ve ever tried that actually works. I should have gotten the small though, but with this size I guess I could use it as a a sarong if I needed to.


I keep all my firearms-related stuff in a separate bag so I don’t have those listed here.

The Fiskars Hatchet would make a pretty devastating weapon if I had to fight close-quarters but I’m more comfortable with knife-fighting since I’ve at least been trained in it, which makes my SOG knife my go-to weapon. I suppose I could use my slingshot if I had to but I can’t really think of many instances where that would be realistic. Maybe I should just rethink the thong thing. That would probably work.


I’ve spent a lot of time thinking this one through. Don’t give me that crap about having electronics being a stupid idea because I hear THAT stupid idea from someone every time the topic is brought up. The fact is that 99.9999999% of anything you’d ever use your bug out bag for will allow you to use your electronics so not reaping the benefit of what this stuff can do for you is just plain stupid. If somehow an EMP/CME does wipe out EVERYTHING I have, then I just drop the bag – simple solution. In the meantime, I carry this stuff.

The centerpiece of this system is my Enerplex Kickr IV solar panel. This thing works really well and is very durable. It has loops on it so I can hook it to my bag as I walk around in addition to just laying it out. If it just put out 12v as well as 5v, it’d be perfect.

Instead of charging things directly, I charge them indirectly using an 13000mAh Anker USB battery. This means that I can charge something at night if I want to and if I’m charging something like my iPhone, it won’t stop charging when  cloud comes along (iPhones don’t like to kick back onto charge mode when that happens so it’s really not feasible without a battery with your solar panel).

To run my flashlights, I use rechargeable AA batteries. I charge them with a Goal Zero battery charger, which can double as a small USB battery to run USB things.

I can also charge my USB battery or the AA battery charger with my included 12v power outlet cable that has battery clips on the other end if I plug in my DC USB charger into it. Obviously that means I can charge through a 12v receptacle too. The one I’m using came off an old solar panel but this one is pretty close.

If I have AC available, I have the portable AC-USB charger that came with my iPhone. That lets me charge the USB battery or AA battery charger with AC (as well as charge my iPhone directly).

I have a 12v DC power charger for the ham radio, which can be used with the 12v/cigarette lighter clips. This was a necessary item because I couldn’t recharge the radio with the solar panel or USB battery. The a/c charger was too heavy to add on since i really don’t need it.

I keep an encrypted thumb drive with important documents backed up. I currently have a different model that I’ve put my own encryption on but I’ve ordered the model I linked to. It has 256 bit military encryption.

A bit of background on my system

I’ve lived primarily out of a backpack on missions in Africa, Iraq, Thailand, Afghanistan, Central America, and now live in Phoenix, AZ where I take my backpack camping so I’m quite familiar with what items I’ve used over the years and what I haven’t. I still learn things every time I do this.

After spending hundreds of hours over months of rethinking this, and researching several ultralight backpacking/camping/thru-hiking sources, I’ve actually completely redone my entire system and don’t use my go bag any longer in addition to my bug out bag.

It’s now all in one kit – and not counting food and water, it’s all under 25 pounds. That may not sound like that much of a big deal but when you consider that includes two stoves, a hatchet, a sleeping bag, a slingshot/ammo, and still have room in my pack, it was quite difficult to accomplish. To be as accurate as I could, I got a postal scale and weighed everything individually myself because manufacturer’s weights aren’t always accurate and I’ve modified some things on a couple pieces – and will modify things further later.

My bag isn’t a 72-hour bag. It’s not something that I’ve designed just to get me home if I break down on the road. It’s designed so that I can have some decent quality of living if I had to stay out in the wilderness for an extended period of time but doesn’t weigh so much that hiking around with it over hills and rough terrain would be difficult.

I carried over 100 pounds in Afghanistan including body armor, ammo, etc and it was not very fun. I wanted this bag to be the minimum I could carry and have 80% of what I’d need in almost any scenario within reach. For a full load-out, I’d be adding food, water, weapon, ammo, and maybe even my concealable body armor if it warranted it. That will all certainly push up the total weight but nothing close to deployment load.

There are a lot of ways to measure the weight of your kit. Some people do like I’ve done here and just counted the basic gear minus food and water, because food and water are very mission-dependent. Some people count everything that goes in or on their pack at full capacity, under worst conditions. Some people go “skin-out” and weigh their clothing, EDC Kit, and everything that they’ll carry under worst conditions. There were WAY too many variables with most of these methods, so I chose to go with the simplest: dry weight (what I’m calling it), without food/water, what I’m wearing, etc.

What’s next?

For you:

  1. Start with a weight goal limit.
  2. Lay out all the stuff you have in your bug out gear.
  3. Organize everything by its use. Some things will have multiple uses.
  4. List everything in a spreadsheet that you can put a mark on different uses, along with each item’s weight. The categories will depend on exactly what you have and how you want to organize it. Here’s one way to do it:
    • Cargo
    • Cutting
    • Fire
    • Water
    • Shelter/Clothing
    • Food Prep
    • Food Acquisition
    • Signal/Communication
    • Light
    • Medical
    • Navigation
    • Tools/Construction
    • Hygiene
    • Power
    • Offense/Defense
  5. Fill in the missing pieces that you need to make sure you have adequate backups.
  6. Weigh each and every thing you have in your pack.
  7. Look at how far off you are with your weight goal and start removing items.
  8. Go back to #2 above; rinse and repeat.

Having a weight goal really helps you focus on what you really need and what you don’t.

What I don’t have shown is a list of emergency numbers, frequencies addresses, account numbers, etc., because that’s now in my wallet. If you don’t have that on you, you should have that in your pack. I also didn’t show a map because I don’t have one for the area around here. If I were going somewhere, I’d get a map first and put it in something waterproof.

Websites and books you should check out:

For me:

I have to set up a few camping trips to see how all this new setup all shakes out. After that, I’ll take it all out, spread it around my bedroom again, and rethink each piece. Back to step 2. I’m constantly figuring out and improving what goes in my bug out bag gear.

Stay updated with my newsletter!

About graywolfsurvival.com

I am a former federal agent and military veteran who has deployed to combat theaters in Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan and have almost three decades of military and military contracting experience.

My goal is to help families to understand how to intelligently protect their family and their way of life against real threats, without all the end-of-the-world doomsday crap.


  1. I really, really appreciate the interest this page has generated. Please post any comments or questions you have about building something for yourself. This was a personal project of mine so it won’t work for everyone as-is but between me and other reader comments to help out, we can get you started.

    • Very well done and thought out. Thanks for the info

    • THE SUG says:

      Wow! This is fantastic! I started out blindly trying to put together an emergency “bug out” bag and I found this well written breakdown extremely helpful. So much so that I’ve actually purchased many of the recommended items. A somewhat costly endeavor considering that I made two identical bags, one for my wifes vehicle and one for mine. We live in a earthquake prone region and the talk of the “big one” is always in terms of “when” rather than “if”. It gives me considerable peace of mind to know that no matter where my family is we have the means to survive as long as we can get to our car.

      My biggest problem is weight. I have two small children so for each vehicle bag I pack as if it is for four people, two kids and two adults. The reality is that it woukd most likely end up being either one adult with two kids or one adult on his/her own. With the children being only 2 & 4 they cannot be expected to carry much. I’d estimate that right now the packs are at 60lbs including food & water. My wife and I are fit and strong so it seems reasonable when wearing them in our living room but in a real situation with two kids in tow I think it’s too heavy. I just can’t figure out where to cut weight. Every time I want to remove something I imagine my wife and kids without it and can’t bring myselr to do it. It’s a real dilemma for me.

      • Has greywolf replied to you or mentioned anything because Im in the same situation and have friends with alot of questions.

        • Sandy Patterson says:

          I don’t know how much you guys weigh, but ideally the total load you’re carrying should clock in under 1/3rd your body weight. Add to that the fact that you might have to carry the kids for a bit, and you may want to shoot for 1/4 body weight. Since you do have kids I imagine you have a some type of stroller or wagon or some such. Might not be a bad idea to put extra water and consumables in there and tow it instead of carry it. It’ll save you calories, help to keep you from having to carry the kids when little legs get tired, and allow you you to pack a little extra. Shoot for something like a baby jogger though, so it’s at least equal to the same terrain as your kids are.

          • I’d have to say 1/3 is quite high unless you’ve been consistently practicing with it on longer hikes. At 200 pounds, that would be 60 pounds for me. Had I not been hiking and running, 60 pounds is a lot heavier than it sounds after the first few miles.

    • Some ok information. Not sure where you have gained your experienced. Integrity is questionable. You lose total credibility when you list things that are not in the photos. You do not have a Yaesu in the photo. It is a Baofeng.

      • Ummm. Take a closer look. A Baofeng uv-5r has 4 rows of numbers and a Yaesu vx-6r has three (I have both). The photo shows three. Obviously, it’s a yaesu. As far as where I gained my experience, I guess you’d have to actually look around the page to either the top right or near the bottom to find it, or look on the about page, which is also linked.

        Now go fuck yourself.

    • lawrence agnew says:

      hey graywolf, as far as toilet paper, I suggest yz wipes you can get at big 5. add a few drops of water they expand, they are small round in a package of 50ct. also their wz wipes you can order on amazon 100ct,500ct. I think much better than them small toilet.

    • Sandy Patterson says:

      I appreciate the philosophy, and the focus on quality, thoughtfulness, and multiple usage tools more than anything. If that was my gear (and I know it ain’t) the only thing I’d change is a small pair of channel locks instead of the wrench. They’re handier for taking pots off the fire than needle nose, still do about 90% of the things a little c-wrench will, and give a good grip on things when you need it.

    • Thanks for the information and links. It was exactly what I was looking for – a KISS method of preparation.

    • I’ve learned to bring a Hair Comb when hiking in the AZ desert. Jumping Cholla snagged the lady in shorts. Use a hair comb to help detach it from your skin.

    • Jessica says:

      hi. im a mother of a 3 year old son and i am wondering how you woould prepare for a child.

    • Hi, Thanks for all the effort and time spent on this article. Your list is the most comprehensive and lightest I have seen. I want to repeat it as much as possible. Do you have this in an excel or simple word format so I can check off each item as I obtain it. I tried to copy paste article but it jumbles everything. Thanks!

    • Hi, Thanks for all the effort and time spent on this article. Your list is the most comprehensive and lightest I have seen. I want to repeat it as much as possible. Do you have this in an excel or simple word format so I can check off each item as I obtain it. I tried to copy paste article but it jumbles everything. Thanks!

  2. TacticoolNinja says:

    Well done, thanks for sharing!

  3. Awesome site, very informative. Here is a suggestion for getting the total weight of your BOB. Have the BOB ready. Step on a scale. Put your bag on. Step on the scale again. Subtract the two. Eliminates rounding error. However, it is good to have individual item weights like you have when looking to reduce.

  4. Milissa says:

    Wow, this is wonderful. Thank you so much for taking the time to document all of this. We are beginning Preppers, so this is beyond helpful.

  5. Woodenhead says:

    Very Informative since this is my first attempt at putting together a kit.
    Much appreciated, one of my advices to new people would be “Listen to people who have been there and done that.” You have saved a lot of people a lot of trial and error.
    Thank you for your service. Respect.

  6. Appx. what did it cost for the entire set up in the BOB.

  7. Whuttameye says:

    Thank you. Real nice job here and I appreciate all the experience and thought that went into it, plus the fact you acknowledge it’s continual work in progress. I’m a former Army Sgt and I’ve done a long extended hike and well as other hiking, additionally I hunt. I’d call this a must read for any prepper. Pack weight, pack weight, pack weight! With all the gadgets, experts, and marketing out there, I cringe at how much this really gets overlooked, or even ignored. For those of you just starting on a BOB, I’d recommend your think more like a hiker– and this article is definitely a great start for you.

    I’m not traditionally one that would carry an “electronics” kit, but as I gravitate there, this will be my source to start to build it. Thanks again.

    • Electronics are a definite combat multiplier and make things much simpler and more accurate, which is why we used pluggers instead of looking up map coordinates to call in and a GPS during surveillance (except in the schoolhouse). Still have to be able to function without them but having a cell phone for emergency contact and to hold survival pdf’s can be a HUGE lifesaver – if it works.

  8. Antonia says:

    Hi there! I have a suggestion for you that I recently read and thought was one of the most brilliant things for a bug out bag. I also live in the desert and where I live is incredibly windy. I’m talking 80 to 100+ mph winds. You mentioned candles in your list, but I would also consider adding those trick birthday candles that re light when you blow them out. They won’t last that long since they are birthday candles, but they will certainly help build a fire on the off chance you’re having treacherous winds like me. Thanks for the list.

  9. James Long says:

    Hey boss! You broke Amazon, lol. Commonly sold with the Fozzilz bowls is a long handled titanium spoon and a bottle of Heet. Now, call me crazy, but I’m picturing a DEA agent sitting somewhere trying to figure out WTH people are doing with those three items, lol.

    • They’ll have a field day with me then. I’m thinking about buying a mirror, a spatula, a tub of butter, and a John Tesh CD. That’ll get them thinking.

      • I got a really good laugh out of several comments here- thanks. Ditto on the nearly 30 years of military service ( and thank YOU!) I have most of the same things, with Smartwool layers added since I live in the mountains. Someone mentioned boots–best I’ve found are Ariat ATS which are waterproof, lightweight, VERY comfy and have a Thinsulate lining. Nothing else I’ve found even comes close. Pricey, but worth every dime as they Really hold up well. But oh God- that thong thing!!!lol

  10. Bret Britton says:

    Great list, very helpful…… The only thing I didn’t like is the after image left in my mind of you in a thong. But then, I can’t even imagine myself in one of those…… Talk about SCARY…… lol

  11. I like your list. I wish I could keep my pack as light as you keep yours year round. Wisconsin winters are cold, and I like having a full extra set of clothing as I will have to cross a few rivers if I bug out on foot. Even though I have ultralight synthetic fibers long underwear packed for winter, my kit is a bit heavier than yours when equipped for that season. Brr, I just got cold thinking about it.

  12. Hey just wanted to give you a heads up on your electronics bag. If you were to pack all of your items in a 3m Electrostatic bag that weigh nearly nothing it will protect against a Emp or a Solar flare there have been studies done on them.

    • Patty Cakes says:

      Re the electronics kit and 3Mbags-
      I took all my “kit” electronics ie solar panels etc, a duplicate luci lamp (how fun is this!), and some spare LED flashlight bulbs and wrapped them in overlapping wax paper with a dessicant pack, then foil, then wax paper, then a specific 3M dri-shield mylar anti-static bag which I closed with HVAC metal tape (like they use to patch a/c ducting). The tape and bags make for some sharp corners and I’m still pondering how to solve that. You can write directly on the bags with a sharpie or use masking tape to make a label. Every couple of months I open it all up to see if it’s working and/or corroded. It’s a total pain in the patootie to seal it up again but I sure sleep better. Didn’t really add any weight and I didn’t wrap everything just the backup/spare stuff. If there was some weird solar or other event, then I would dump the more EDC stuff if it stopped working. Hubby thinks I’m nuts but I sleep better at night.

  13. Mark Renaud says:

    You are the man Wolf! The planning, experience you have is price less, very well put together information.

  14. Can you recommend any waterproof, lightweight hiking boots?

    Also; your opinion on a “survival bow” or a crossbow pistol for survival? read so many pros/cons on this I’d like your opinion.


    • Personally I’d fore go the crossbows. A standard bow makes for easier loading and reloading (if required). Its also easier to carry and has less working parts. But it will also require the most practice.

  15. Hi

    Great thought and care gone into your list, thanks for taking the time and sharing your experience.

    Im realy asking a similar question to ‘Rory’, Im from the UK and firearms are a smidge illegal, considering what can be legally purchased etc would a cross bow be a viable addition as it would cover light hunting and self defence at a pinch. Also if your experience goes that far what type would be preferable?

    Thanks for any help and your service. 🙂

    • For hunting, one consideration may be one of those slingshots that have a biscuit attached so it can shoot arrows. I’ve never tried one but they look like a great solution. They may be as effective as a crossbow for defense I guess since they may not be as accurate or have as much pull but you could load them much faster and carry them easier.

  16. Don’t shoot the messenger~
    The math is good, but there’s a hiccup in your weights. It doesn’t list the 7+ pounds for the sleeping bag….

  17. So whats the olive oil for?

  18. I’m amazed with your packing abilities and if you don’t mind me asking the dumb questions, I’m just baffled that you’re able to pack a full sized sleeping bag to the size of a football. Could you possibly explain how you did so and also would that work with a 0 degree rated bag(somewhat bulkier than normal)?

    • It packs smaller since it’s old now but still packs pretty small new. The compression sack is the key. You just can’t store it in the compression sack like I did with this one or it shrinks and loses some of its warmth.

  19. Fujifactor says:

    Appreciate all the thought that went into this. Question though does not look like you included weight of tent in total weight. How much does that weigh. One thing i always bring are ziploc bags.

  20. Okay, I’m now very confused. I’ve commented twice and had it disappear both times. I wanted to say thanks to you for a great list, very well thought out and planned. But I really wanted to tell Rory and anyone else looking for a great lightweight hiking boot to check out the Ariat ATS. Waterproof, Thinsulate lined and wonderfully comfortable. Ten years of use and mine are still going strong! They manage to keep my feet from sweating too–amazing!

    • Your comments didn’t disappear. Both of them were earlier today and both of them went immediately to spam by the software for some reason due to the content in them (I have no idea what triggered that). I don’t check my comments everyday, however, so you won’t usually see your comments appear the same day you post them or sometimes even the same week. They’ll show up when I get around to checking them.

      • That is strange, and I can’t imagine what triggered it either. Just happy that the thanks, and the boot info went through. generally I don’t comment at all, but thought it would be good to help out with the hiking boots info. We use them for riding as well as hiking, which should be a pretty good indicator as to how well they do hold up. Mine look pretty new considering what I’ve put them through. Much of my stuff is the same as yours. I’d spent a lot of time and effort on the choices made. One major ” ouch” price-wise was my choice of Western Mountaineering’s Ultra Lite Sleeping bag. Rated to 10 deg. F, it was a good choice for the high altitude area I live in. I really had to think long and hard before coughing up the cash, but I think it was worth it. Still do!
        Thanks for letting me know what happened, promise not to send multiples again, and I’ve pretty much said my piece anyway.

        • Thank you for commenting.

          • hello again Graywolf and co.,
            I have what may be a silly question, but here goes anyway. The one thing I rarely, if ever see is mention of a watch. I’d dearly love to have my old wind-ups back, but all I can find are outrageously expensive Solar Watches, so- called Automatics, and old but pricey wind-ups. Has anyone else given thought to this item…or did we decide it wasn’t a necessity? Next question is how does one deal with the fairly large number of items that need button type batteries? Is there a way to recharge them? I was thinking of the Petzl mini-headlamp because we both have it, but there are other things as well. I’ve tried to keep those type of battery needs low, but there’s no escaping the need for at least a few. Any suggestions and thoughts on this? Has anyone come up with brilliant solutions for these things? Would truly like to hear from everyone who’s come up with brilliant fixes.

          • Very good questions. I do have planned to talk about watches because they can not only coordinate action without comms, they can help you with direction, etc. Not sure about button-type batteries but that’s a very good question. I know there are a few AA chargers that claim they’ll charge regular batteries but I haven’t tested them yet.

  21. Bladerunner says:

    If a rifle was an option, would a S.A. Socom 16 be a good choice? Small, heavy-hitting round, better for CQB than an AR-15. Ammo is heaver but I’m not going to be hiking 20 miles a day. Would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.

  22. Andrew bortz says:

    Check out the Kline pro tradesman backpacks. Polymer bottom, water proof And 39 pockets. Pluss electrical device storage pouch,

  23. How much to replicate your BOBand would you make one for me for a fee?

    • Don’t know how much it would be to redo it but you could just add up each piece. I had several of the pieces already.

      No way I can really build a kit for someone without knowing their skills and particular situation, and I definitely don’t want to be getting into something like that.

  24. hi again Graywolf, you have not discussed your weapons (and I can understand why), but wondered if you had any opinions to share on laser sights? I ran into two decent deals at the PX recently ( one red, one green) and wondered if you thought they were worth having with the extra weight, etc. ? Next is the infinite variety of hi-tec cords and ropes that are available lately…very strong, light, and small- worthwhile or not? While I’m here I’d like to highly recommend a housekeeping book written in 1881 ( I think). It has ” how to do” pretty much everything most of us have forgotten and can be downloaded for free on several prepper websites. I can vouch for a great deal of the instructions, as I grew up learning it from my granny!

  25. Hello. I was wondering if you have written any reviews on clothing you suggest or own for bugging out? I was thinking pants shirts footwear and outerwear. Thanks

  26. I’m glad you spoke about the size of the SOL Breathable Emergency Bivvy.

    I have this Bivvy and I wear a size 52 jacket… I’d like to avoid looking like a big guy in a blaze orange sausage casing.

    I like your idea of using a lighter sleeping bag with a good compression sack.

    Love your advice!

  27. Lake Lander says:

    Nice list. Its uncanny that I myself have most of the same exact gear. Even so I would like to give all my gear a cold weather weigh in as I live up north. I have warm and cold weather kits and the cold weather kits get heavy quick since the sleep systems are so darn heavy. Havent done a weigh in for a while, made me think. I cant carry what I used too a decade ago.

    Thanks for taking the time to sort all that out in detail. Admittedly a few items I have missed.

    Like you mentioned, kits are location taylored, or should be.

  28. Thanks, Most of the bug out bag sites I went to left so much of this information out. They looked like the were trying to help you set up a bag, but in the end the held back information and then tried to sell you something.. I’m not against a guy making a profit at all. but this bag can save your life, and the info they hold back can cost you your life… Your one cool cat..

  29. Question – I have an EMS 7000 is that too big to be a BOB?

    • Sandy Patterson says:

      I have a 5500 version of that bag. I’m 6’0″ 185 and in pretty fair shape. I’m doing everything I can to get weight down on mine. Full at relatively loose packing density the 7000 is gonna be heavy. Without knowing how strong and aerobic you are it’s impossible to say if it’s too much, but I can say it’ll definitely slow you down pretty good. I think that 7000 is more of an INCH size bag. IMHO a BOB should be built for speed and essentials, so you can get where you’re going and regroup. My INCH is a shade under 60, and decreasing, but my BOB is 35 or less, with 2qts of water included. What really helped me was leaving out seasonal clothes and just keeping a beanie hat, neck gaiter, mechanix gloves, windbreaker, and extra socks. It’s there if I need it, but not in the bag.

  30. Stephie Lee says:

    I’m not sure if it has been stated, but thank you for your service! I am so happy I happened upon your page! I immediately was impressed by all the information you have on here. It is almost like sitting across from you having coffee and you are giving us your best info, and I truly appreciate it, I don’t feel so out there in the dark! I will continue to explore your site to glean. Thank you again, and I mean it this time!

  31. Thank you so much for the detailed info! That battery charger/light/usb charger is very impressive! I can understand why you opted for that vs anything dynamo, but I’m wondering if even with this kit, is there any room for dynamo? For example, a radio or radio/flashlight combo. Also, some people recommend a tactical vest with utmost essentials in case you’re separated from your bag. Would dynamo be best in that case?

  32. One needs to think of situations why one would need to bug out. More than likely, something is or went wrong. Therefore, we’re reduced to down and dirty survival. If you need to bug out, possibly so do others. So many concentrate on the “drop in the middle of nowhere with no one around” scenario. Sorry, but if the stuff hits the fan, you ain’t camping in the woods with a fire eating bullion because there’s a bad guy out there just waiting for you to walk by so he can take your stuff. And he’s got a gun. As a matter of fact, who doesn’t? Best plan. Pack a pack to keep warm and dry and have some food. Drive the beater as far away from the incident as possible. Ditch the beater. Take money…lots. Buy a ride to even further away. Make some friends or hide for a while. Bug out…really means get out of dodge fast – as far away as possible. You don’t need a lot of this extended stay camping stuff….so……go camping…figure out what you need to move, stay dry, and eat for several days…..test it …try it….(this is your practice, even with a family). Home is scenario one; car is scenario two; on foot is scenario three. One and two is disposable. The goal is to move away as fast as possible and watch the crap from a distance. Check out the middle east if you needs examples. Good day.

  33. Very impressive setup. As a bush pilot I need to carry an emergency kit that will last for a couple days-weeks if my plane goes down and the ELT is trashed. Add some sos meals, bear repellant, and an Henry ar-7 and that’s an awesome kit that’s super light/compact for limited cargo space.

  34. Thanks for your info. Would you be able to show or explain how you pack your 25 lb bag using the pockets and main bag? I am not an experienced packer and would appreciate your pro advice.

  35. Great stuff. Thanks for taking the time to share your expertise. I am looking for and preparing a plan for my whole family. Me, my wife, and little girl. Ideally I would like each of us to have our own bag…. If you could ballpark estimate, what is the overall cost of your bag? I don’t want to cut any corners….


  36. Hey Grey Wolf, I’ve read pros and cons on your Fiskars hatchet. Can you tell me how it’s holding up? Any chips, dull/hard to sharpen? Splitting firewood?
    (and thanks for your service)

    • It works really well and I keep seeing several others who like it but I don’t use it every day by any means. For how cheap it is, it’s hard to beat but it’s only for small stuff. You’ll need a larger axe for bigger wood.

    • Brandon says:

      I have 2 of the Fiskers X7s. My two brothers and I built a 14x12x7 covered shelter from 4-10″ diameter standing but dead trees using only these hatchets and they are still sharp as ever.
      We did have one chip in its first trip out when it hit a rock while chopping a felled tree. Fiskers sent us a replacement.

  37. Could you recommend what winter jacket to wear? I have thought of 3 in 1 winter jackets but the are not rated to -20. I have read that parkas are good if you are not active, but my family ages 8-58 would have a possible 4 day walk if things got bad. I have heard that you want to have a windproof and waterproof jacket but again how do you release the heat from the travel? Do you know of a brand of winter jackets that will keep you warm but hold up to below zero temperatures without you sweating yourself into a freezing death? I would GREATLY appreciate some help.

    • I recommend CB brand. I have a ski jacket that has lasted a long time and is super warm. Vented side panes, adjustable hood and super warm.

  38. Johhny Walker says:

    Great information, I was getting ready to buy a 5.11 Rush tactical bag, but you made a great argument against, will look at the Osprey instead, plus this will allow me to use my gear during normal conditions without looking like I’m going on a tactical outing. Also added a bunch of stuff to my wish list from your list of items. Thanks for your article, it was very helpful.

  39. First off good write up! Secondly for those that live in places with woody (haha) surroundings, a hand drill with a somewhat lengthy , thick drill bit (roughly 3/4 inch-ish) would would most certainly come in handy. It will also take place and save some room vs the stove. Cosidering if you already have a means to cut wood you could also make a stove out of a small log. Its an easy to contain/maintain and less conspicuous way of boiling water or heating food. It is aslo very easy to extinguish if the need arises.

    • Sorry to those who don’t know what I am describing. It is similar to a swedish log candle. But you would drill from the top down half way. And a hole through the side to meet the hole through the top. You would then put your kindling in the top and use the side hole to light the kindling (it would also serve as a means of oxygen intake) the stove then becomes self sustaining when lit.

  40. Awesome write up! I’m building a BOB right now, you have added some items to my list! I’m looking to get into Ham Radio ASAP as well! Gonna buy a book etc and take a test as soon as I can! Thanks a lot!

  41. Good Lord Man!

    This is one of the most extensive and well written posts of this type I’ve seen!

    Nicely done!


  42. This has helped me so much with building my own unique B.O.B. I’m at 21.0 # now with room for three or four more key items to complete my set-up! Without this guide I think I would have bought way to much stuff and came in over 30.0 # before food and water. Another thing I discovered is that you really have to get out and hike; go for walks with your dog; whatever, with this weight on your back! I started out with just 10.0 # inside the pack and quickly realized that I was out of shape. Now I can climb hills easily with minimal rest periods to recover. I’m working up to an overnight so I can try out some of my stuff in a realistic scenerio. I’ve even become a better packer for just about any kind of travel or trip. Thanks for all you do!

  43. If you are looking for a good flashlight instead of carrying several, I highly recommend the Pelican 2370. Lightweight, waterproof, aircraft aluminum. 4 LED modes. White high, white low and a twisting bezel that changes to either a blue or red LED. Saves on having multiple flashlights and lenses. Also it takes AAs.

    I’ve been using mine on a continous basis down in TRADOC for the past 4 years and I don’t recall ever having to change the batteries yet.

  44. Reading your list was fun compared to other sites. The one thing I took from it was the chainsaw idea. Lightweight, durable and easy to maintain its effectiveness.

    As a former non-combat veteran I appreciate the need to have a few “useful things” around just in case. Growing up in the Northern Wisconsin as a kid I was always fascinated with and appreciative of the outdoors.

    I think people need yo test themselves occasionally to appreciate what they do have and to build some self confidence. We’d experience less fear and greed perhaps.

    Thanks Graywolf!

  45. You sir are an inspiration. My EDC is decent and moving on to build my BOB. Your list is comprehensive and explained very well. To those wanting GW to build their bag… move on. You need to do the work yourself because he isn’t going to be there to hold your hand when SHTF! Plus, I find a lot of my “additions” at thrift stores/garage sales. “Oh, I can add this to my bag!” always is in the back of my mind. Prepping doesn’t happen overnight… it’s a mind set.

    • Thank you kmaxx. I’d really love to be able to do that but #1 I can’t know all the variables to know what someone needs and #2 I don’t really have the bandwidth to do that for everyone. Wish I did.

  46. Really good stuff here.
    Thanks for taking the time. It’s very refreshing to have
    This information presented this way.
    Cheers from the north

  47. Graywolf,
    You have a lot of great information. I’m new to realizing I’ve been “prepping” for the last 6 years subconsciously. I’m just now getting to where I’m branching out and trying to gain some more information from different points of view. Just wanted to say thanks for what you do, and I’ll be taking a lot of info you have shared into account.
    OEF 9-10/ 11-12

  48. I am wondering, why did you choose the Tangria Stove over the Solo Stove Alcohol Burner (or other alcohol stoves)?

    • I really like the solo stove but you could carry probably 10 trangia stoves for that amount of weight and space. This project was to cut down weight and space, not necessarily for most optimal pieces if you could carry anything you wanted.

  49. clint21anne says:

    I noticed the weight of the tent was not included in you itemized listing. Did I miss it? There was another question regarding the tent weight missing, but I did not see an answer. By my research, the tent you have listed in your discussion of why you picked each piece, weighs somewhere close to 5 lbs.

  50. One thing I NEVER see listed on these list is about 6-8 tampons. First off, in a Bug out situation my wife (and son) will most likely be with me. We cannot predict what part of her cycle she’ll be in during a time when we’d have to use a B.O.B. They’re also usefull for stopping bleeding for deep puncture or God forbid a gunshot wound.

    As for the poster with 2 kids, our solution is to actually have TWO bags packed and ready to go. Each bag has a combination of things for 1.5 people for roughly 72 hours.

    • I’d also like to suggest a menstrual cup: cleanable, reusable, only need one, not a limited number to use and dispose of. I use one in general, but it’s also super useful in an emergency/disaster/bug out situation. Although they won’t be much use in stopping bleeding on a deep wound like a tampon would.

  51. sorry if i missed a post about this but have you ever found a need for paracord in your experiences?

  52. Adam Smith says:

    So, also being in PHX, my biggest issue is how fast the water adds weight. What do you bring and what is your plan around water?

  53. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise! I’m an old fart at 57; I need to lighten the load of my BOB.

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