• Comments (60)

    • 5

      Being female, I add a Pitch and Trek Female Urination Device (FDA approved) to my BOB bags. I want to keep bare butt-squatting to a minimum in an evac scenario.

      • 1

        Nice, good add

    • 3

      Hey all!

      Really enjoying these articles. Thank you all so much for the effort you are putting in!

      • 1

        So glad it’s helpful!

    • 1
      [comment deleted]
    • 2

      I absolutely love both this and the ifak list. You folks are making things so much easier for someone like me who’s only recently started prepping. I trust you and I know I can start with your lists, and not having to worry if I’m doing the right thing. Thank you!!

    • 2

      Any chance you have this as a PDF???  Great material worth sharing and including in files folder on facebook.

      • 1

        Thanks for asking Lee, but since our info is frequently updated, please share the link to this page, not a copy.

    • 2

      Really like your site – I waded through lots and lots of confusing and generally low-quality information before I found yours.  Many thanks!

      I am struggling with the decision to put the belt, chapstick, and firearm in the L2 bag when these are items I keep on my person on a daily basis. (In addition to lighter, folding knife, flashlight, and pepper spray).  Should I consider those still to be part of the L2 bag in addition to what I already have on me, or move them to L1 for myself?

      • 2

        Thanks for saying so 🙂 We felt the same about what’s out there, which is why we started this project. Still a lot to do though!

        Great question, and a perfect example of personalization. You might decide that since you everyday carry those items anyway, you don’t need to duplicate them in your BOB, or you may put them further down the prioritization list (so you only end up with two of those things in a fully-loaded kit.)

        Or you might decide that the EDC stuff and BOB stuff are separate, since you may have to bug out quickly in the middle of the night and wouldn’t already have your EDC stuff on your person. (This happened recently to people in wildfire areas who had to sprint out of the house at 3am.)

        Personally, I’m at the point where I duplicate / consider EDC and BOB to be separate concerns.

        What do you think you’ll do?

      • 3

        Thanks, that makes sense.

        I think I will duplicate my EDC items in the L1 bag as the more likely scenario is needing to grab that in the middle of the night for some reason.  Plus the things in my EDC are so useful, lightweight, and indispensable to me that I wouldn’t mind having two of them.

    • 3

      Not that the Jetboil linked to on the BOB “Kit” page wouldn’t be great, but I was wondering if there was any consideration of solid fuel stoves, like the Esbit pocket stove. Or rather, is there a particular drawback to solid fuel stoves that kept them out of contention? Personally, I’m packing a small (7.8oz weight) pot, with an Esbit and a dozen or so fuel tabs stowed inside it, which I think will give me everything I need, with less weight and space than the Jetboil, unless I’m overlooking something important.

      • 2

        If you already have a solid fuel, are comfortable with it, and understand the overall context/tradeoffs of it, then it’s fine. We just haven’t done a full guide yet to portable stoves, but linked the Jetboil because we’ve used a bunch of those products and know they’re one of the best in the market. Especially for muggles with no bush experience.

      • 2

        Fair enough. Thanks for the reply.

    • 3

      Ladies will need sanitary items. Tampax are also good tinder. Thank you for such a fab site! It makes me feel good about doing this and not crazy xx

      • 2

        Yeah, that’s under “customize” in the medical and hygiene section.

    • 3

      I really enjoy these. It gives me a reason to buy yet another bag! Much to my wife’s dislike…Do you and your experts have any recommendations for packing all this gear in a bag? I am sure much of it is personal preference but a general guideline would be helpful. Thank you for the work that you put in and the information that you put out. If you need any novice testers I am happy to volunteer my wife and I.

      • 3

        Thanks! Love the username. We do plan on putting a packing guide together sooner than later, but TBH this coronavirus stuff has totally swamped us and pushed everything back.

        Quick tips:

        • Use ultralight organizational bags and/or MOLLE bags, both internally and externally where it makes sense to, to keep related items together. eg. When it’s dark you can grab the red bag with your fire stuff.
        • Consider what should be quick / frequent access. You don’t need your stove often, and when you do, you’re stationary. But you might want to grab your multitool 30 times a day.
        • Heavy items go closest to the spine, either at the middle or bottom of the pack.
        • Shelter gear, like a sleeping pad, can go on the outside (and often need to).
    • 3

      Hi! Great blog, I am glad I found it. Could you share the type of pistol and holster pictured in this bug out bag? I would like a starting point for self defense, and really like the size and look seen in this article. Thanks!

      • 2

        It’s a Glock, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s a G43X with an aftermarket light, laser, or light/laser mounted on it, and a set of aftermarket sights. If you’re new to firearms, I would strongly suggest that before you jump into buying your first pistol you do two things:

        1. Take a basic pistol class at a local range.
        2. Try shooting a bunch of different pistols to see what you like, and what works well for you. Many ranges also rent guns.

        FWIW, I wouldn’t recommend a subcompact like the G43X as a first gun. All else being equal, smaller guns are generally harder to shoot well, and can be quite uncomfortable to shoot. IMHO you’d be better off training and learning good fundamentals on a larger gun (like even a G19 for example), before investing in a tiny gun for concealed carry.

      • 3

        FOTP is correct, it’s a Glock 43X with a Streamlight TLR-6. It’s specifically meant for concealed carry / daily wear, and if you’re brand new to firearms, it may be a little too small. (Small pistols are harder to learn with than big ones.)

    • 6

      If sleeping bags are stored long term packed tight, they lose loft and become less effective. I store mine in a large shopping bag next to my BOB. I can easily carry both for a short/medium distance. It takes less than a minute to cram it in at the top of my BOB. If I can’t grab it, I still have an emergency bivvy that can get me by.

      Also, hair ties are a fairly versatile fastener and easy to forget, even when you use one every day.

    • 2

      John and staff at TP,

      Thank you all for your time and wisdom putting this together. I was a medic in the OK ARNG. I have personally been deployed overseas 3 times and to 3 natural disasters and helped in 3 additional disasters with Team Rubicon. Those include the 2013 Moore, Joplin tornado, and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

      I am into the 20%, but never felt validated with my equipment or strategy. Since beginning to read your site in January, I have been able to confirm suspicions, relieve stress, and tighten my kits. Thank you for consolidating knowledge for “sane prepping.”

      For all those who are new to prepping, use the hell outta this site. It’s great succinct info that is 80% unarguable 😉

      • 2

        Personally, I do highly disagree with the strategies outlined to have one unaltering, dedicated, not heavy bugout bag. My experiences have shown that may lead to glaring deficiencies for those who actually need specialty equipment. Not keeping it in their bugout bag because of weight is potentially more dangerous than needing to take the few seconds to remove excess, unneeded specialized equipment. For example, having smoke evacuation masks in California would be an ideal prep for a bugout bag, but add 3-5lbs per person. Per your list, it would be one of the first to items to be culled for weight restrictions, but that could lead to disaster at 3 am struggling to find where it was saved.

        My wife and I each have 30-35 lb bags in our car and a 70 lb family bugout bag. Each weighs far to much for their given purpose, however they have a light weight base kit, advanced general category items, specialty items and a universal (edc type) item kit. It is packed in reverse order. This means the specialty items would be easily accessible to be culled before leaving and taking the kit into a situation.  This strategy would be like keeping your level 3 items in a separate compartment of your bugout bag for culling, if necessary. It’s worked for myself in tornado alley and for my friends.

        I do look forward to future articles and even some competing narratives to help guide myself and others to understand what they must consider for their own circumstances. Keep up the good work.

      • 5

        Thank you for the thoughtful comments and very kind words!

        With this guide we tried to make it easy for newbies and those who just wanted a direct answer, while still building a scaffolding that people can use to customize, if they want to.

        Sounds like you’ve customized to fit your needs well, especially since you kept the core concepts in mind (eg: what’s most important, weight, what would you ditch, etc).

        For now we still think having one primary bag (combined with a waterfall of #2, #3, etc. bags/kits) is the best model for most people since it keeps things focused and practical — which is important given most people end up on the wrong side of that line.

        In case you missed it: https://theprepared.com/bug-out-bags/guides/bob-vs-inch/

    • 7

      Great site! Very informative. I’m retired U.S. Army, spent two decades with the 10th Mountain Div. out of Ft. Drum. I had some pretty extensive training in the area of mountain and cold weather survival and I learn something new every time I visit. One thing I’d like to ad on this topic, if I may, is don’t just pack up your gear and toss your pack in the closet and think you’re all set. One thing I can’t stress enough is to actually go out and use that gear! Plan 3-4 day get-aways and hit the boonies for a camping trip, using nothing but what you have in your B.O.B. Use your ferro rod to start fires. Set up a couple snares and try to catch yourself a rabbit or squirrel – prep it, cook it and eat it. I assure you, it will be one of the tastiest meals you’ve ever had. Build yourself a shelter. Filter your water from a creek, stream or pond. Do it right! It’s these exercises that will give you what no website can – experience, hands-on know-how,  and confidence. I try to go twice a month… rain or shine, winter, summer spring or fall. I can’t stress enough how important this exercises can be….  and gosh darn it, it’s a lot of fun!!

    • 4

      Thanks for this good advise. Just had to use my BOB for the first time. A family relative had stepped into a gardening tool and was bleeding quite heavily. The BOB did a great job: cleaning the wound from soil, desinfection and patching up the entry area. Despite the common advice I still had a candy bar in my bag. This is useful if you have small children or like in my case a 35 year old… With the current virus situation this saved us one trip to the hospital. Lets hope it does not get infected. Stay safe guys and keep up the good work.

    • 3

      I stumbled across this site and I’m loving it. With all the information you have here I may have missed it, but do you have any information on traveling with children ie what they should carry or could carry depending on age and size? I couldn’t imagine bugging out without my granddaughters. Any info would help. Even what size bag they should carry if any. Thank you for any information you can provide.

      • 2

        We will make a dedicated guide about children, but in general:

        1. Remember not to spread core needs around multiple bags. Every adult bag should be able to stand on its own in case people are separated. Don’t put food in one and water in another, for example.
        2. Decide if you’re treating them as a “child” or as a “young adult.”
        3. If child: their bag isn’t going to be what you and your family survive on. It’s more of a nice-to-have if they don’t happen to lose it along the way. You could pack their clothes, a favorite toy or book, shelf-stable snacks they like, and whatever else could keep them from being a nightmare in a shelter etc etc. Some parents also put in extras of core lightweight stuff, like a water filter, as a third (or more) backup within the family.
        4. Also for child: Include kid-appropriate documents, like a printed picture of their house, a printout of where it is on a google map, and so on. That way they can get help from an adult (like a shelter worker) if separated.
        5. If young adult: You decide how “adult” to treat them, eg. do you include knives. Then build up through the Levels above depending on how much weight to give them (don’t overdo it!)
    • 3

      Wanting to provoke objective thought, and not incite a left/right gun debate, I want to start with the disclosure that I am a US gun owner with a strong distaste for modern US gun culture.  Now that you know where I’m coming from, here is my comment:

      I think it is a really bad idea to keep a loaded, non-secured gun in a go bag.  I also think it is a really bad idea to promote that practice on a site that preaches reason.  Universally supported data on this is as rare as the western jackalope, but there is significant evidence that loaded, unlocked firearms are involved in thousands of deaths each year in the US alone.  With countless natural disasters in the past 20-30 years, I’m hard pressed to find a reliable account of anyone whose health or life was extended because they were carrying a firearm that they didn’t have time to get out of a safe.

      Likewise, if this site is going to encourage (yes, encourage) gun ownership, it should include a discussion of the risks of gun ownership, including theft, homicide, suicide and other misuse, and how to minimize them.  Encouraging gun safety training is a respectable start, but it’s only a start.

      • 2

        As a fellow US gun owner with a similar strong distaste for “mainstream” gun culture, I strongly agree with you about unsecured guns. Which is why it’s my plan to keep a sturdy lockbox secured(*) in the trunk of my car, into which my pistol will go when I leave home in the morning, and from which I will retrieve it when I return.

        (*) By secured I mean fastened to the car itself in a way that makes it impossible for the average thief to remove it.

        P.S. If you’re like me, you might appreciate a site called pewpewtactical.com. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and have tons of great info on shooting, guns, gear, etc., but without all the posturing, macho, rah-rah B.S.

    • 2

      The hard part for me is finding survival food that won’t trigger migraines. One thing I’ve found helpful is toddler/preschooler formula that you add water to.That said I haven’t found MRE type meals without a bunch of chemicals I can’t pronounce and I know those will probably trigger migraine. I would appreciate any suggestions about more natural options.

      No, joke: the best survival flashlight is a playskool 3 color flashlight now only available on places like EBay. Reasons: it’s completely plastic meaning that it can be dropped on cement and still work. It has a feature where the light switches off if you are not holding it ( great battery saver). It’s not LED which means that you can change the bulb. It has a red light which I know is useful for keeping a low profile. The other color is green which might be useful. Also, I think if someone were stealing gear they might overlook it since it says playskool on the side. I recommend the year 2000 remake because it has a handle that is a better size for adults. I think they did it with nostalgic adults in mind.

      Last year, the power was out for 4 days in a row. I have 2 of these as well as several other flashlights. These were the only 2 that lasted throughout on one set of Duracell batteries. The only thing they aren’t suitable for is water. I added a piece of glow in the dark tape to make them easier to find.

       

      • 2

        I pack PROBAR “wholeberry blast” bars. Non-GMO, gluten free, organic, plant-based. 16g protein, 50g carbs, 370 calories per bar. Available on Amazon.

      • 2

        I saw a cookbook once for backpackers who wanted to prepare their own pre-cooked, dehydrated meals. I think that kind of approach would be your safest bet, but would require the purchase of a food dehydrator and a vacuum sealer. Meals stored this way won’t be nearly as shelf stable as commercial versions, but adding an oxygen absorber to each pouch and storing them in the freezer should keep them in good shape for at least a few years.

    • 1

      I’m a bit confused. So, let’s say someone builds all 3 levels. How do they figure out which to grab when the fire department comes and says they have half and hour to get stuff together? Or do they just Molle all three together.

      For mental health I suggest:1 Water games. They are like very low tech handheld games with water inside. Plus side if you really had to you could drain them and filter the water and drink it. Might be a way to hide water in plain sight too if the guys next to you in the fema camp go through your gear while you’re in the shower.

      2. Choose your own adventure trade paperbacks. Hundreds of stories in one book.

      3 . McDonald’s made tiny handheld games for happy meals so year ago. They run on a watch battery that almost lasts for ever. You can still get them on EBay.

      4 for children the most comforting stuffers are ones that they are already attached to. You might consider getting them a teddy bear that has a personal alarm or Gps tracking app attachment or at the very least an empty cavity that you can hide money in, ahead of a disaster. If you go to a build a plushie toy shop and get one with a sound chip, it will have a pocket with a zipper. The sound thing can be removed and money can be hidden in it instead. Another multi use plushie would be to get a recordable sound chip and record the child’s phone number. That way if they are separated from you they have something with your voice and they only have to squeeze the bears paw to tell someone how to contact you if they are too upset to remember your number.

      I have a lion plushie attached to my bug out bag by a puppy collar and carabiner. It has extra gear hidden in it. I used to go to summer camp and every year some of pretty much everyone’s stuff would go missing as a “ prank”. So yeah you know those bare-basics altiode tin kits? One is hidden in my stuffed toy. It’s in a plastic bag I thought the tin would feel too obvious

      • 2

        The levels are a way of prioritizing what should go into your BOB, they don’t represent separate bags. A level 3 BOB would contain all of the level 1 and 2 items, plus the level 3 items, which is why the summary calls for a larger backpack at each higher level. So in your scenario, if you’ve assembled a level 3 BOB, that’s the first bag you’d grab. If you had time, and you’d assembled additional bags with other stuff (take a look at the article on using a priority-based bag system), you might grab one or more of those too.

      • 2

        Thanks for the reply. I recently bought the Xbob 5 phase Molle bug out bag. How do I decide which level to use when packing it. I’m still in college so money is an issue. The backpack was my birthday gift from my whole non-prepper family. I think they are probably fairly convinced I have completely lost my my mind.

        I am also a wheelchair user which can be somewhat of an advantage because I won’t be carrying the bag the way most people have to.  I was actually quite impressed with the marketing video. The designer put the survival priorities in the correct order. Too many times companies play off fear and say that food is top priority. Also, the list it came with included Escape and Evasion items. They are the only company I have seen that includes that category.

        The next big purpose will be bulletproof inserts for it and to replace the board under the seat cushion for my wheelchair. The seat is a gel cushion in a fabric cover. Also inside the cover is a piece of wood that is meant to protect the cushion. I figure I might as well replace it with something a bit more functional.

        The bag came with a camel bag that holds a liter of water and an in-line filter. It also came with wholesale food discounts. Other than that I am on my way to buy everything. I recently discovered that flex seal tape is very difficult for me to cut. I’m wondering if it might work to get sticker backing paper and precut some pieces ( have someone help me ahead of time)

      • 2

        Which level to use when packing it? Do you mean how to decide whether you want to build your BOB all the way out to level 3, or whether to stop somewhere short of that? That’s really a question only you can answer, though obviously the further up the levels you go, the better prepared you’ll be.

        If, on the other hand, you’re asking what you should concentrate on buying first, given limited financial resources, the easy answer (as described in this article) is to concentrate on level 1 items first, since they’re the highest priority, then level 2 items, etc. I think almost all of us are in the same boat in that respect. I know I don’t have the money to shell out to buy everything all at once.

        The strategy I’ve used for buying BOB and IFAK items over time is to put together a shopping list on Amazon for each level, which makes it easier for me to keep track of which items I’m planning to buy, and what’s still left to get on the list. Then, since the price of items on Amazon can vary greatly over time, I use a free site called camelcamelcamel.com to set price alerts on the more expensive items, so I get notified by email when an item’s price drops to an amount I’m willing to pay. The camelcamelcamel site also has a browser plug-in that makes it very easy to see the price history of an item and create alerts while you’re looking at that item on Amazon, which is extremely convenient. To give you an example, the price of one of the portable power banks recommended on this site normally hovers between $50 and $60, but occasionally drops lower. I set an alert at $40, and managed to snag one on the cheap when it dropped to $32 for just a few days.

        As far as getting a bulletproof insert for your backpack… Not for nothing, but I would prioritize just about any other prepping supplies/equipment above body armor. Maybe I’m naive, but IMHO getting shot at is the least likely survival scenario any of us are going to face. That said, I own firearms, and they’re a part of my prepping, but I still won’t be buying body armor any time soon.

        Any particular reason for Flex Seal tape, instead of ordinary duct tape? If not, perhaps duct tape would be easier for you to deal with. I’m just uncomfortable with the idea of pre-cutting tape, when I have no way of knowing what size pieces I might actually need. But hey, that’s just me.

      • 1

        I have both duct tape and flex tape. The “list” ( 20 page or so booklet) that came with my bag recommends gaffer tape, duct tape, rescue tape and flex tape. Since I don’t know enough about each of them to exclude any of the 4 I was planning to get all of them but I might replace the flex tape with the spray can version. Gaffer tape comes in glow in the dark which is brilliant for adding to flashlights to make them easier to find. I have trouble cutting duct tape too but it tears easily at an angle. I took a class on escaping from kidnappers some years ago and they taught us that about duct tape.

        since I am already disabled, I figured the last thing I would need during a SHTF scenario is a gunshot wound on top of the issue I was born with. There’s been several incidents where some nut pulled a gun at a large public event such as a concert not too long ago. Also it would be harder for me to get to cover. Since my bag is probably going to just replace the backpack that lives on my chair right now I thought it might be worth adding my own cover to it. Thanks for the reply. It’s nice to be engaging with someone.

        the bag I got came with a huge list and video lessons and 12 Molle modular packs. Do most bug out bags come with video lessons about packing and bugging out? That was part of how I was able to convince my family to get it for me. Although they were like what kind of lessons could anyone need to pack a bag? I don’t have firearm. I don’t have a crossbow and the list recommends a certain type of air pistol for quietly hunting small game. I currently know where a colony of wild cats live near my house. If food were ever a huge problem, I would try setting a live trap ( for legal reasons) and either take my crossbow or the air pistol and dispatch any cat the trap caught. I’m in the suburbs and kill traps are illegal because they worry about people getting injured. I do leave food for the cat colony occasionally so hopefully they would trust me somewhat which would make it easier to use this insurance plan. The crossbow came with steel arrows so definitely enough to stop anyone who is trying to make off with my water supply unless they have firearms of course. One advantage to using a wheelchair is that I think most people would assume that they would not meet resistance and therefore feel less of a need to bring arms to try to raid my stuff.

        Also, I think people are less likely to think that I have preps to take in the first place. People do assume that if your legs don’t work it means you only have a preschool education. My bag is blue so it looks recreational and there’s a stuffie lion attached to the outside. So, hopefully it looks like I had no idea what to pack if I ever need up at an evac shelter.

      • 1

        Hi Angela,

        I’d be happy to talk to you more, but maybe we should take our conversation off of this site. If you’d like, you can email me at chris at urbanjaguar dot org.

        Later,

        Chris

    • 2

      Would be possible to see (pics / vids) the load out of the backpack with all the stuff?

    • 2

      I live in the mountains and do a fair amount of fly fishing, backpacking, and winter camping.

      I second the FUD recommended by A2. There are several types – definitely worth finding the one that works for you. I also carry a designated pee bandana that I keep on the outside of my pack. If you are packing for women, definitely add an extra bandana for pee or to serve as a pad (in a pinch).

      I know camping towels are a questionable item for some, but I carry one extremely small (4″ square)  towel for muffling clanking gear, washing dishes, and a second for washing myself and/or to cut up for washable menstrual pads. I have a lightweight mesh bag that can be used to wash and store such things.

      Although duct tape serves in the moment, I really love Tenacious Tape for making gear repairs. Unlike duct tape, it can be a permanent repair to down sleeping bags, tents, jackets, stuff sacks, etc. After 24 hours, it is washable so it not only keeps the feathers from coming out that day, but it also keeps them in for the next several years. The amount of weight it adds is negligible and this keeps the duct tape for it’s other thousand uses.

    • 4

      Hello, have you looked into the best female hygiene products to keep in a BOB before or the best way to tackle the blood and pain without taking up too much space in the bag? Thanks! Your website is amazing! It would be nice to see items for women added as well, reading through the comments and seeing other women’s suggestions have been helpful, but if I didn’t happen upon the comment then I may not have though of their tips otherwise.

      • 3

        Here’s my $0.02 on periods—Motrin and tampons. Pads take up a bunch of room and this is about being able to travel fast and light, if possible. Tampons can be stuck inside other things, under other things, in all sorts of nooks and crannies. Also pack some plastic baggies for disposal (or bury?). Tampons also make good tinder. On the other hand, pads can be used for wounds, in a pinch…but I still wouldn’t carry them *unless* heavy flow demands their use. Same with Motrin…it may not be enough to cover really dire cramps, and if there’s an emergency that demands a lot of hiking, I’d opt for some codeine. Not a lot, but enough to keep me mobile.

        Other items I pack: a long hooded rain poncho that can also provide privacy while peeing or changing tampons. A pee funnel so I can pee standing, if necessary. Big Otter compressed tablet towels. A sports bra or other wide-strapped bra is more comfortable under a backpack’s straps (or a bandeau for smaller busts). Hair tie backs (light, fit anywhere, useful for other things).

        And yes, I agree that it’s sometimes fairly male-centric ‘round these parts. 😉

      • 2

        My wife and I have figured that out for her while hiking. Everything is spot on with what A2 said. My wife has really enjoyed having toilet seat covers, for sketchy bathrooms, and, we carry a couple of RV toilet chem packets to help keep down odors  and break down poop when camping remote at the same spot while hunting in the backcountry. Just be careful not to carry too many as they can add weight quickly.

        I would primarily suggest that, if you have a partner,  have a plan for contraception, other than condoms. Condoms can become heavy if carrying supplies for any significant period of time. I know many women who carry a thermometer for this purpose, and that is important because a thermometer is not part of the first aid kit on this site.

      • 4

        Thanks, doc! Glad to hear that my preps work for your partner, too 🙂

        Re: contraception—most methods are dangerous for women, or not highly effective, unless one/both get tubes tied 🙁

      • 2

        Love the input on customization for women! A good sports bra is absolutely one of the adjustments I made to the core list. Imagine the scenarios where you a) have to bug out in the middle of the night, possibly not wearing one already, or b) being stuck with nothing but an uncomfortable underwire. Either is my nightmare. Guys – if you’re the one assembling the bags in your household, add it. I’m also considering adding a small stick of anti-chafing gel, similar to what long distance runners use. It’s lightweight and in a hot, humid climate like mine I could see it being a godsend in a “we’re walking a bit” situation.

      • 2

        I agree 100% with the bra problem. I have a “yoga bra” in my bag because it is comfortable for long periods of time and very washable. It’s not as supportive as my very good sports bras but it is more comfortable on the second day. I was planning on using my petroleum jelly for chafing but a small stick of the runners stuff, which is less sticky, may be better. Someone will be thankful for it for sure. I’m thinking of carrying a very small bottle of that well known yellow body powder for chafing and problems with dampness as well.

        Definitely women need to pack what they need for personal items because we make different choices for our needs. For example, I choose reusable pads over tampons even though I hate pads normally.

      • 2

        Honestly, I don’t wear a bra when I’m hiking. I’m small enough that it’s a lot more comfortable and less sweaty to just skip the dang thing. Runner’s anti-chaffing stick sounds like a good add at only a couple of ounces. I go with tampons because there’s less mess and mass and heat and I can use them for tinder.

    • 2

      I know it might seem counter-intuitive, but if you’re on a budget one place to not scrimp is the actual bag. A good bag that distributes weight properly (onto your hips and off your shoulders) will allow you to carry more weight with less fatigue. If you can go to a place (like REI) that helps you get a proper fit, all the better. I learned the hard way when I began hiking/backpacking that 20 lbs quickly feels like 40 when it’s been hanging off your shoulders for a few hours. And for the women – sometimes a women’s model has fit and features that help – like the clasp across your chest to hold the straps   sitting higher on your chest. Personally, I went with the Mystery Ranch Scree 32. I have to be thoughtful about space since it’s on the smaller side, but it 1) doesn’t look anything like a tactical bag (dead giveaway), 2) has a women’s model, and 3) almost all the weight sits on my hips.

      • 2

        Totally – I have a Granite Gear Crown 60 – a pack I would not have picked online but it fits me great.

        People should also take into consideration the weather conditions that are common for their region. When I lived in NC, I needed rain gear and an extra tarp. Living in Northern Mountains, I need bulky Winter gear 9 months of the year. This means two sleeping pads (in the summer, I don’t carry one at all), a sleeping bag with liner, winter bivy, parka, hardshell pants, etc – a larger pack was required just to hold the bulk.

    • 3

      Excellent information. Having worked on my bags for years, I concur with pretty much everything here. Except for food.

      Your lists, and also the bug out bag sizes you recommend, are based on food for just one to two days. That may be fine for level 1 or 2, but in an SHTF scenario, if I have to run, chances are that a safe area will not be around the corner. Worst case I’m looking at a week-long hike, likely through woods and hills, and associated hardship.

      The last thing I want is to burn 3000 cal a day and not having anything to eat, with the prospect that shelves will be empty even when I get to relative safety. I plan on carrying food for a week (for a range of about 100 miles), and in its most compact form that means 8 lbs and 6 l of storage on top of everything you have listed.

      I’ve done extended hikes with 40 lbs and aim to keep overall level 3 weight below 50, which is 30% of my body weight. I’ve also done 3 day strenuous hikes without food. It can be done, but then we go from prepping to survival.

    • 2

      Curious about the authors thoughts on alcohol stoves like Trangia?  They need a stand anyway and can be coupled with a hobo stove like Bush box or emberlit would give ultimate flexibility for not much weight.  Could burn tabs, alcohol, heet, organic matter etc.  I also really like the multiple uses for things in my bag and everclear could be used as disinfectant, for trade, or fuel….plus it doesn’t expire like other stove fuels so it can sit forever and hopefully never get used.

    • 4

      I love the lists, including the notes on customization.  I see that you have included a sewing kit as a possible add-on.  I would suggest a minimal repair kit as standard at the L1 or L2 level – basically a few feet of duct tape (wrap a few turns around a water bottle or even your pen), 2 heavy sewing needles, waxed dental floss (to use instead of thread), and a handful of safety pins in various sizes (link the holes of the smaller ones through the biggest one for tidy storage).  This is enough to fix most clothing, pin or stitch up broken zippers and pack straps, cover a tear in your tarp, and replace zipper pulls.

      • 2

        Yes the needle is the only thing missing in the list compared to ten c:s. 

    • 3

      Clothing: I live in the Pacific Northwest, where 6 months of the year it’s raining and just above freezing. Clothing *must* be of the warm-when-wet type, meaning polyester (fleece, wicking-type long underwear, both absorb less than 1% of their weight in water) or wool (absorbs 30% of its weight in water) and avoid cotton for other than a t-shirt (2500%). Also, raingear is mandatory.

      Backpack: larger than a 25 liter daypack, must have a hip belt and internal frame. The hip belt carries almost 100% of the load. Make sure you buy a size that will fit when wearing all your layers.

      Make sure you carry Moleskin or many good-quality band-aids, and stop immediately to deal with “hot spots” on your feet, which will turn into blisters.

      • 4

        I live in the PNW, too. My clothing choices from skin out: TOP—poly zip-neck turtle, fleece zippered jacket, down jacket, Gatewood rain poncho/tent. (When I can afford it, I’ll be replacing the down jacket with an Oros jacket. Synthetic, NASA-inspired tech, less bulk, hyper-warm. I chose a poncho over a jacket because it works as poncho, pack cover, privacy, a way to defecate without getting my ass wet, tent, water collection). BOTTOM—fleece-lined leggings, rain pants (I may add snow pants for a mid-winter pack. My summer pack has convertible pants, but still includes fleece and rain gear.) HEAD—knit cap, poly neck gaiter, balaclava, bandana, depending on season. FEET—Darn Tough wool socks, hiking boots, plus a pair of lightweight Moerdeng water shoes/aqua socks for water crossings. I also have a pair of telescoping walking poles for water crossings, too.

    • 3

      Has anyone used the jetboil cylindar directly over a campfire? If you take the sleeve off, it should expose a totally metal “pot” that could theoretically be put directly into flames or coals to boil or sanitize water. It seems like it would be great alternative if you run out of fuel or simply want to save it for later.