Recommended Gear for Your Kits
It would be a good idea for you to check back here periodically. The reason that I say this is simply that preparedness is a journey. It is a journey me the same as it is for everyone else.
As my experience level goes up, and the more products I get to try, this list of gear will change.
I made most of this list with a BUDGET in mind, so I chose high value, low cost items for these lists. If you have the money for the extreme high-dollar items, then maybe you should be hiring a consultant first, so you get the BEST items, not the most-expensive.
Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that I will never have EVERYTHING that you will EVER need on this list. There is way too many areas of survival such as wilderness, military, or modern day survival.
Basic Every Day Carry (EDC)
There ARE better things that you can get than what I have listed, but the EDC that I have outlined is supposed to give you some resiliency quickly and cheaply.
Every day you will go through a gallon of water. Your EDC is not based on any long term survival and must be small, but I would recommend having a couple water treatment tablets (Not the whole bottle) in your EDC. Having a small piece of Aluminum Foil could make an expedient cup. If the size is not a concern, go with having a Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System
For size we will not keep a full sized meal or a large all-inclusive fishing kit. Fish is a great food, so keeping some dental floss or small amount of fishing line on a small floss bobbin and a few fish hooks (which could be wrapped in aluminum foil) are a good way to go. Be sure to consider how sharp they are and cover the hook. You could also keep a small can opener in your EDC.
Fires are a huge advantage when you are in a survival situation. The first no-nonsense solution to this is to have a BIC disposable lighter, which is super cheap and reliable. You won’t add a lot of bulk if you decide to wrap a strip of duct tape around it for utilitarian purposes. An Everstryke Match would also be a decent option, as well as a small Ferro rod. If you choose any of these, I wouldn’t fault you.
You can’t keep a tent, tarp, or hammock in your EDC. This is to keep it small, so we can add a couple mylar space blankets to your EDC. These aren’t very durable, so once you use them, you will probably want to get new ones.
I know a lot of other people that will tell you not to join in the hype, but I am still a huge proponent of paracord. It is too versatile not to have. I do NOT like the typical paracord braided bracelets, because of how difficult they are to unwind, but if that is what it takes for you to keep it on you, then get it. If you want backup cordage, then, once again, fishing line on a sewing or dental floss bobbin.
If you have a digital watch, switch it over to an analog watch, so you can use it for navigation.
This one could get expensive. The cheaper thing to get is a basic pocket knife. There are many different knives that are pretty decent under $20. The S&W CK105H Extreme Ops Knife is usually less. If it wouldn’t bother you to carry something bigger, a good Gerber or Leatherman Multitool would be better.
Next, you need to consider a sidearm if it is legal in your state (and if it isn’t, then move to another state.) My personal preference is a 9mm or .40 cal. Good ones would be the Glock 19, S&W M&P, S&W M&PC, or Ruger LC9.
Keep a Handcuff Key, just in case. This one has a light as well and will take place of your keychain light.
I like to keep a pen for notes, or to leave notifications of my location when venturing out. Why not have one that is a pen, whistle, and weapon combination?
Health and Sanitation
For large wounds, I like to keep a tourniquet in my Trauma Kit, and this is what I recommend due to the small size.
I would recommend keeping a few antihistamines in your EDC. Once again, not bottles, but a few pills. I also think keeping some pain killer tablets would help with aches and pains.
Lights Out Kits (LOK) or Blackout Kit
Although I had a list for your EDC based on categories of survival needs, this is because you could get stranded with nothing but that. Your Lights Out Kit (or LOK) is something that will be at home, so It will be geared more toward spending a night or two without lights. I have more extensive resiliency lists throughout my blog for more advanced preps, but let’s keep this list simple.
First thing that you will notice is that the lights go out, so lets look at what you need for lighting. Beyond what is in your Tote or container, I would have a central place in every room of your house that has small LED flashlights. This is the only thing that I recommend having outside of the tote because it is safer to have a flashlight or headlamp close at hand no matter where you are.
Container or Tote:
You need a central place to put all your supplies so you know where to get everything. You may have everything you need, but where is it. Keep it here.
In your centralized tote, you should have the following items, so you can conveniently get to everything you will need:
2 Lanterns (battery operated): Hard to pack away Kerosene lamps, isn’t it.
1 Small LED Flashlight per family member: I prefer to turn this into a headlamp. It may be a little more expensive, but works so much better.
1 Glowstick per family member: Train your children to only crack this in an emergency. Otherwise use their flashlights.
4 Jar Candles: I prefer these over stick or pillar candles because they are safer. Candles present a fire hazard, but that hazard is lessened by having a glass container.
Pack of 24 Tea lights: The only reason these are on here is because they are so cheap and work. You can place one of these in a jar to make a lamp.
Pack of BIC lighters: These are CHEAP and reliable. Great addition.
2 Butane Lighters: Higher temperature flame makes it easier to light stuff. It is also nice that the lighter is more wind resistant.
4 Boxes of Matches: Backup, Backup, Backup!
OPTIONAL: Power Inverter so you can run electric blankets, a box fan, or charge phones from an extension cord running out to your vehicle.
72 Hour Kit, Bug Out Bag, Get Home Bag, Get Out of Dodge Bag, or Whatever Else You Want to Call It
This is just a 72 Hour bag based on getting you from your location to your destination. You have to carry this on your person while trekking, so size, weight, and components are a priority.
The Bug Out Bag
I choose back packs over duffles because packs are much easier to carry. You can go hands-free.
What should be in the pack?
Food / Water
Keep foods you normally eat. I recommend, based on your needs, a mix of the following:
- Granola and Energy Bars
- Trail Mix
- Dried Soup Packets
- Vacuum sealed rice
- Water (1 gallon per person per day)
- Water purification tablets and/or sawyer straw filters
You will need a full set of clothing. Both short and long sleeve. Have several pairs of socks to keep feet dry.. Get a Poncho, or rain jacket and pants for adverse weather and a hat to keep the sun off
Shelter / Bedding
Shelter is a big deal during a bug out. It can be your separation from weather, insects, or critters. Bedding performs a couple functions. It acts as a miniature shelter, and as insulation.
For your bedding the following is a good list:
- Space blankets, wool blankets (packing space is concern)
- Bedsheet takes very little space but will make a space blanket more comfortable
- Hammock or hammock net. Both can be used as a hammock, but the military hammock nets can be used for fishing and trapping. I have the Grand Trunk Hybrid Hammock and my children have the Grand Trunk Ultralight Hammock.
For your shelter, consider these items:
- You can make A-frameshelters and lean-to shelters with it. Collecting water, waterproofing pack.
- Small hiking or dome tent. I prefer 2 person tents. I actually have the Alps or Alpine Engineering Mystique 2.
Light and Fire-starting
You need lighting. It can get dark fast when no lights are around. I recommend LED Flashlights. I prefer battery with hand crank or shake backup. I keep headlamps because they are great hands-freelighting. If there is one thing that is a common thread is that I want headlamps.
Next, you want to be able to have fire. Signal Flares provide a rescue beacon as well as a single use fire starter. Tea light candles can make a fairly long lasting flame that has much utility. You need Lighters (BIC is a favorite of mine) and waterproof matches in your bag for firestarting. I would also keep a Ferro rod and a few kindling items as a backup.
Add the following items to your bug out bag:
- Survivalknife: I have the Colt tactical survival knife: The tool that will build almost all of your other tools. Keep one on you and one in your bag.
- Good Mulitool: I have 3 Gerbers, but Leatherman is great also.
- Compact Shovel or E-tool
- Pen and paper for your own memory and to leave notes to rescuers
- AM-FM weather radio with batteryand crank option
- LOTS of paracord. Extremely versatile.
- Map of the areas that you are in, compass, and training.
- Aluminum foil and tin foil for makeshift cooking, eating, and drinking. Also great for leaving prints behind.
- Duct tape
- Pepper Spray
- Prepaid phone and phone card. The SpareOne phone is a cool option.
- List of important phone numbers
- Extra credit or debit card
- Extra cash
- GPS is awesome when charged.
- First Aid Kit
- Stash of volatile maintenance medicines (asthma, heart, epi, etc.)
Personal Items and Sanitary Items
- Toilet paper
- Feminine hygiene products
- Toothbrush with broken handle
- Diapers and Baby wipes for the children
- Vacuum Sealing is great for space saving.
Other Items to Consider
(To Be Updated)