Do you have seasonal clothes in your Bug Out Bag?

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A few weeks ago friend and I went on a midnight food run to the 24 hour cafe as guys who have had a few beers like to do (don’t worry, We had a DD). On the way there I was freezing. I had a big coat on but otherwise only a t-shirt.

We passed a church where homeless people sleep on the steps and I got to thinking about how painfully cold it was going to be for those people tonight. (It was in the teens and dropping).  I started thinking about how that would affect me in a survival situation and if I would be prepared for it.

No One Covers Clothes

Reading forums and other websites you always hear people describing what is in their Bug Out Bag in very specific terms.  I have a Parry Blade Survival Knife, a Springfield XD 9mm, Monkey Fist, and 150 feet of paracord etc etc. What you also usually hear halfway down the list is “some clothes” or “3 days worth of clothing.”

On that freezing ride to the cafe I wondered how many people keep their Bug Out Bag up to date with the appropriate clothing for the season, and how many people just stuff some good clothes in and never worry about them again.

Plan for the Season

I am not suggesting that you change your Bug Out Bag every week with the weather, but that you should plan for the weather in your area accordingly.

Polypropylene ClothesThe next morning I immediately starting looking for small light weight but very warm clothes that I could put in my bug out bag. Polypropylene thermal wear is what we always used in Scouts and I can’t think of anything better now. It folds down to nothing, weighs very little, keeps you warm even when wet, and it is cheap. Amazon has a good selection.

Polypropylene or other thermal underwear is likely one of the Top 100 Items that will Disappear First.

Do You Update Your Bag?

How do you keep your but out bag prepared for the weather conditions?

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Oh Shoot February 15, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Mags:
- You should mention Butler Creek Steel Lip mags. In general, as reliable as TI's, especially if you give 'em a shot of silicone lube every thousand rounds or so.
- You should also mention the TriMag bracket that hold three factory mags together. Ruger has now taken this product on and it's a great item at only ten bucks

Extended Mag release: All new 10/22 models have a factory extended mag release now, started couple years ago or so.

Scope: Consider see through rings to mount scope, so can immediately use iron sights should scope get broken, or for when close target sighting may be quite different from what you've zeroed on (usually 50 yards).

Good stuff, enjoying your site.

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Survivor_ 1997 March 5, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I go through my BOB every daylight savings begin/end and update my clothing for size and for season. Its probably not a bad idea to wash or at least air out your clothing every other month or so to keep them from getting musty.

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Lucas_SurvCache March 5, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Survivor_1997,

Great idea about the day light saving time. That is a good mental reminder and a specific time so you won't just keep putting if off a few more days or weeks and accidentally get stuck.

Airing out your clothes is also a good idea, I should probably mention that in the article.

I keep my clothes in ziplock bags in my Bug Out Bag so that idea is probably even more important.

Thanks for the tips,

Lucas

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aj52 June 20, 2010 at 5:56 am

Consider a decent quality pair of the zip off leg pants witn drawstrings at the ankle. Pockets galore and the zip off leg can be secured w/ the drawstring and you have 2 improvised bags.

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Lucas_SurvCache June 21, 2010 at 8:45 pm

I like the bags out of the legs idea.

I would prefer to have gaiters rather than drawstrings on the ankles though. I need to do an article about those.

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warthawg June 27, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Certain essentials always stay in my BOB when it comes to clothes. I live in a 4 season clime and socks are the most important. I keep lightweight wool, heavy wool, acrylic pairs, midweight thermal top and bottoms, fleece jacket, watch cap, work gloves and polypro liners, and a balaclava. These items are suitable for all season wear. During the Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer the contents change.

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Lucas_SurvCache June 29, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Sounds like you are pretty well prepared in that department.

You bring up a good point too. Take care of the extremities: It's amazing how much cold you can withstand if your feet, hands, and head are protected.

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Brian June 29, 2010 at 1:26 pm

I have a fleece pullover, neoprene over socks, a over sized bandanna, and a fleece hood/hat in a Space Saver bag. Once you squeeze out all the air it all takes up very little space and is water-proof. I put that and a fleece blanket (in a water proof compression bag) in a yard waste trash bag in the bottom of my pack. A rain jacket, and a pair of neoprene gloves go in a top pocket of my bag.

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Lucas_SurvCache June 29, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Brian,

sounds like a good system. What do you use for your waterproof bags and such?

For clothes I usually just use heavy duty 1 or 2 gallon zip lock bags because it's a cheap way to go.

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Brian July 4, 2010 at 3:06 pm

I use Space Bags. They're not cheap ($15 buck for three.) You need to get the dual use models if you are planning to re-seal them after you open them. But they're heavy duty and water-proof until you open the bag.

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Lucas_SurvCache July 9, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Cool thanks for the heads up, I will look into those.

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aj52 June 30, 2010 at 2:22 pm

They're not cheap but the Space Saver bags that you vacuum the air from really compress a large amount of clothes. Should protect against some critters.

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Lucas_SurvCache July 9, 2010 at 3:31 pm

You mean like the ones you use for sealing food?

That sounds like a good idea, but can only be used one, and it's a pretty expensive way to go.

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KitKat July 12, 2010 at 8:57 pm

If you get the kind of Space Saver bag, "travel" I think is the term, that you can 'roll' the air out, it is reusable without having to use a vacuum cleaner. It's not the same as the ones used to seal food. You can get them anywhere (Big Lots, Walmart, etc.).

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shadow July 20, 2010 at 7:44 pm

when it comes to cold weather ive always had a hard time keeping my feet and fingers warm but not any more . muckboots for my feet , fleece lined poly gloves let me dig in the snow without getting cold. i also heard that solders in the korean war wrapped heavy wool blankets around their kidneys to keep their core temp high . they said their feet staid warm after that.

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Enzo September 28, 2010 at 1:42 pm

From all the posting I see on this site, the size of your recommended bug out bag is about the size of the back of a pick up truck. You cannot fit shoes, 2 shirts, pants, socks, knives, 3 liters of water, food, etc. into a backpack. Get real. Make a real bug out bag list and leave off the bullshit.

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Lawdawg243 November 19, 2010 at 1:50 pm

This is perhaps one of the most important topics for me as it gets fairly cold where I live . I keep an extensive BOB and my ECW gear (including UnderArmor thermal underwear)I keep in a seperate bag but can transfer to my BOB in times of need. It is quite elaborate as well to include snow shoes and other miscellaneous items. One thing I also keep with it is "Hothands" hand warmers for those real nippy nights. There great to shove inside our gloves.

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Pepe December 31, 2010 at 3:07 am

Hot hands… Never used them. Do they really work? Are they one time use? For my car emergency/earthquake kit I have a reflective dashboard shade. The ones that go up in the windshield. It works as a great insulator/sleeping pad. Plastic poncho,rain suit, rubber gloves for chains and wet stuff, and some of the other stuff mentioned above.

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aj52 January 1, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I would add a set of crampons in the event of snow and ice conditions.

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Thompsolonian February 23, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Another great thermal wear, although a little pricey, is the Hot Chili's, they come in a Cardboard can with metal lids. Meant for outdoor winter underwear, they keep you pretty toasty, but wick away sweat in case you get warm.

I have had a lot of wear with them while perforating Honor Guard duties up her in Minnesota with below zero temps, and they really do the job of keeping me warm and not shivering, you don't want your firing party shivering while TAPS is played.

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Regulator5 April 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Something I would recommend is the miltary combat suspenders for your pants (not the LBE suspenders). I have the SpecOps brand, about $30 but worth their weight in gold. If you are like me and carry quite a bit of stuff in your cargo pockets or even if just strapping a holster to your belt, I know my pants want to slide down thru movement. These are comfy to wear all day, made of an elastic type material, about 2 inches wide and secure with pinch and release buckles. I actually attached the sheath for my "Ranger" knife to mine for concealed carry, allows the knife to hang down my body flat with the thumb relase right at the bottom edge of my ACU jacket. You could, altho I haven't YET, sew small pouches onto the webbing for carrying some other gear that you wouldn't want to be without and not even look like you have a vest on. They also have the small pouches designed to be dropped into cargo pockets to keep gear organized.
<Just my 2 cents>

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JonM1911 April 9, 2011 at 9:27 am

TAD Gear makes a lot of good gear, they're expensive, but its quality gear. I have 2 of their Ranger Hoodies, I've worn them outside in 30 degree weather with nothing but a light shirt underneath and was very warm. They also have a good range of other jackets and hoodies, as well as pants, long sleeve shirts, etc. http://www.tripleaughtdesign.com/

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nightslayer78 May 27, 2011 at 8:26 pm

i'm looking for a long sleeve military style jacket that doesn't scream "military". something that is light enough for the hot weather but still durable.

can anyone suggest one?

btw survival cache needs to open up some forums.

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Colt July 7, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Pretty simple. I have a plastic bag with all my winter specific gear. Insulated stuff such as hat, gloves, shoe insoles, etc as well as white camo covers and stuff. It's right next to my BOB and I simply grab the extra gear and either put it on or toss it in the bag as I go. I also have bundles of winter, summer, and work clothes folded over wrapped with the shirt and then ducktaped into a tight, compact bundle. These are kept in my trunk. It's all very modular. Every fall my trunk gets a bunch of extra gear including a snow shovel as well. This way I have all the extra hot or cold weather gear neatly and conveniently packed and ready right where I know to get it but I don't have it weighing me down when I don't need it.

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bob July 21, 2011 at 8:39 pm

you cant go wrong with longjohns and fleece ..happy hunting

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Boys Underwear July 31, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Information is great and certainly understandable. Please carry on writing more on this subject.

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Boys Underwear July 31, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Information is great and certainly understandable. Please carry on writing more on this subject.

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James August 15, 2011 at 10:38 pm

I plan on having a few dry sacks with carabiner beside my BOB with seasonal clothes in them. If the need arises all I have to do is clip and go

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wantalongername September 9, 2011 at 8:44 am

I only saw compression packs mentioned once……check out law enforcement/military thermal underware usually a lot of them say if they compress well.

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Steven1381 October 24, 2011 at 8:31 pm

I almost hate to say it, but UnderArmour is great. They make gear for all seasons, it is extreamly light weight and compresses to almost nothing. I live around the Houston area so season are really not much of a problem (people around here think that 70 degrees in October is a cold front) it does get cold in the winter though but nothing that a layer of UnderArmour cold weather gear can't cover, also the warm or hot weather gear is great to keep sweat off of you during the hot summers. Just in case it does get real cold on me I do have 100% wool socks and a 75% wool blanket to go with my arctic mummy bag. For my hands I use the Gloves that the Coast Guard uses for Alaskan rescue teams, three layer system that keeps your hands warm and dry and has the tactical finger cutout. I have simple moisture wicking gloves with knuckle protection for warm weather.

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Steven1381 October 24, 2011 at 8:31 pm

My boots are the military superboot 2 they are water proof up to 8" and have a thinsulate liner, they are about 130 a pair but last forever (mine are over three years old and show almost no signs of wearing) and have a steel toe and steel shank for protection, there is nothing worse then having to operate with a broken toe. I have converse tactical boots with a composite toe for the warmer weather, they are extreamly light weight but only last about a year of constant wear (had the same problem with the 5.11 boots) I am going to try Oakley's new tactical boot next, I'll let you know how that goes. Don't neglect your eyes or ears during the seasons either, different lenses should be worn in different lighting, but at least to me my Oakley's with interchangable lenses are not something that I would ever be caught without in any season.

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Jason November 1, 2011 at 11:06 pm

idk how many people here have experience with homeless people or ever have been homeless before. but something i learned. from fire fighting. air pockets in cloths is what keeps you warm and cool. fire gear is made of multiple thermal layers to trap air to keep you kool. homeless people in the winter will stuff their different layers of cloths with crumbled up news paper. the air pockets trap air and the air temperature keeping your body and safe levels!!!!!!

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Air Cargo Services November 4, 2011 at 5:24 am

Your blog provides beautiful collection of seasonal clothes. I really like a collection of your warm clothes.

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jb December 9, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Polypropelene clothing is nice when washed after a long days use. The best possible clothing to use for mid layer and base layer is Made From MARINO WOOL. SMARTWOOL. OR ICEBREAKER. IT IS NATURES GREATEST FIBER. Synthetics work to an extent. But are very likely to house bacteria. Think about merino sheep. They live in mountains up to 7000ft. With out the insulation they would die in winter at sub zero temps. And in the summer the coat is breathable at 90 – 100 degree temps. Nature is a great designer. I would have nothing else

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Ohio Emt December 30, 2011 at 11:10 pm

I change the clothing in my bag twice a year. Oct 31 I remove the lighter weight clothing, and I replace it with heavier clothes. I also purchase two new sets of thermal poly underwear sets for myself, my boys and my special lady. The older ones are used for everyday wear, and the new ones are kept for the bags. Also when talking about clothing, I find that camo vs coleman colors is a fairly moot point, due to the huge portion of the population who wear nothing but mossy oak or BDUs as their primary attire. Most of my gear is older alice, (quite a bit of it is from my time as a grunt over twenty years ago in the Big Red One. (Follow me). Most camping gear is styled in dark green or brown anyway. Wear the gear you are comfortable in and never mind the color. But, that is just my opinion. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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Red_bearded March 17, 2012 at 9:46 am

The author mentioned he likes Polypro layers. The problem I have with polypro products is… have you ever accidentally put a flame to them?

This excerpt is from wikipedia. If you want a better source for your info, I'm sure you can find it elsewhere:

Although polypropylene clothes are not easily flammable, they can melt, which may result in severe burns if the service member is involved in an explosion or fire of any kind.[19] Polypropylene undergarments are known for retaining body odors which are then difficult to remove. The current generation of polyester does not have this disadvantage.

This is why I will be wearing wool. The brand "Smartwool," while being made in some unfortunate places, and is expensive, it is made in different weights, is comfortable, isn't itchy (to me), and does the job really well.

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Red_bearded March 17, 2012 at 10:07 am

as for my kit:

I have a surplus military flight suit, wool socks, wool long underwear, an empty camouflage camelback, military flight gloves, a set of two-layer gloves (leather outer, wool insert), all stuffed into a vacuum bag. It's not that heavy, not that big compared to a decent sized pack (I can fit all of this inside a big camelback alpine pack (it's old, but works really well)).

The military flight suit and gloves are used despite the weather conditions because you can zipper them up or down, are comfortable, and are fire resistant due to the NOMEX properties. Also, they're usually in some sort of camouflage colour.

I also have a shemaugh that I haven't added to my kit. I have one of these kits in each of my cars, including one set I keep at home for my wife. The kit has lots of uses, including if you need to do any sort of maintenance on a vehicle and don't want to get your clothes dirty (like change a tire on the side of the road)

Because it's all either military, or wool, nothing shines or glints, which assists with concealment. It won't make you invisible, and you'll still have to work at not being seen, just not as much as someone with a big orange poncho on.

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jamesbtowle April 9, 2012 at 8:33 am

Can someone tell me what's wrong with a pair of blue jeans in the BOB?

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TeTe April 12, 2012 at 6:38 pm

The answer to your question is that denim is cotton, which is quite absorbant, and stays wet longer. It also loses its insulating qualities when it's wet. In wilderness survival situations – cotton is rotton!.

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KansasScout April 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Your best bet for year round clothing in your bug-out bag is to pack light to medium weight long sleeved shirts, long sleeved tee-shirts, and something like temperate tactical pants or work pants. Dressing in layers is better than dressing in a single insulated layer. I live in the great plains so mountaineering gear to some degree may be needed, but not as much as in say Colorado or one of the Appalachian states. Most of our heights out here can be climbed without much in the way of climbing gear. Now for clothing I suggest as above, not only for layering in cold weather, but long sleeved shirts can be rolled up on hot days. You can't make short sleeved shirts longer, but you can roll or fold up long sleeves to vent heat. Another thing long sleeves can do is to give you some sun screen on your arms. Long legs of tactical pants and even work pants give you protection to your legs above your boot tops. Even in Kansas I come across thickets that can cut your legs.

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a$$whole April 28, 2012 at 10:54 pm

i'm not going to pack anything. i'm going to go straight to the fema camps and beg for a living. as an added bonus i'll get to watch all of the human suffering around me and revel in the misfortune of others!

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KansasScout May 5, 2012 at 11:41 pm

even if you can't afford the Under Armor or other brands of polyprople under shirts and long johns at least have some long johns and thermal shirts of somekind in your kit. Also I favor long sleeved shirts for year round instead of long from fall, winter, and spring and short for summer. My main reason is if it is too hot you can always roll up your long sleeves, but if it's too cool or cold you can't make your short sleeves longer.

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KansasScout May 5, 2012 at 11:43 pm

another use of the long sleeve shirt is to protect your arms from sun damage. unlike sunscreen a long sleeve doesn't wash off when you sweat.

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Methane Creator September 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Best to join a Prepper group and sponge from the knowledge everyone has to offer. Trade and Barter for your items and you can spend money on the other needs. Prep Bags are never finished and you need to continously evaluate the threat and what you will need to survive. Don't prepare for Hurricanes if you need in Kansas. Social Chaos and a corrupted economy will be much worse than trying to survive a flood or wildfire.

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KansasScout October 9, 2012 at 8:49 am

Should ice gear be adjusted for the state or region you live in if you include it? I mean not all of us live in mountainous regions of this continent and nation.

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Thimbelinda December 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Does anyone know of reversible outerwear with one side orange for being spotted by potential rescuers during a SHTF scenario and the other side black to blend in during TEOFTWAWKI?

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Colt July 7, 2011 at 9:56 pm

You probably don't realize that the bags we're talking about for serious long term BOBs are 60 and 75 liter framed backpacks people use for walking the Appalachian trail and stuff. When you hear people talking about GHBs that's when we're referring to bags the size you would see on someone at school.

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Steven1381 October 24, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I can pack upto 70 pounds worth of gear and ammo into a single frame pack with a platform attached to bottom to hold things more steady. I have personally hiked over five miles to a camp sight in the "devil's backbone" a remote camping site in west central Texas, and stayed over a four day weekend with just what I brought with me, and I could have stayed for at least three more days without having to go hunting for my food. I carried in six military issue canteens of water with me and used a campers filter to continuously keep water on hand. So yes all that stuff can easily fit in a well balanced well prepared pack.

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Lonewolff67 March 26, 2012 at 10:43 am

I too live in a 4 season climate. One thing that helps me prepare for packing my BOB is I think of versatility in "everything". I would ditch the watch cap unless you have plenty of room and stick with the Balaclava. You can roll that up or down depending on how cold you are and not have to duplicate an item. I also like, along with my 2 sets of BDU's, the idea of zip off pants from say REI.com. then you can wear shorts on a hot sunny day and not duplicate. I originally had 1 pair of shorts on my list till I saw the zip off idea. Remember folks, you only need 2 sets of everything. In the Army, we were taught to wear one,wash one and alternate that way.

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Alex July 3, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Alternatively you can keep your pack under 25 pounds in your pack, you'll need less water and food. Focus on skills over gear, you're lighter and faster.

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