Do you have seasonal clothes in your Bug Out Bag?

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?

Written by Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here. Read more of Joel's articles.

48 thoughts on “Do you have seasonal clothes in your Bug Out Bag?”

  1. 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.

    • 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,


  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

      • 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.).

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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>

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

    • 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!.

  22. 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.

  23. 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!

  24. 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.

    • 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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?

  28. I like a surfers wet suit thin neoprene will hold heat well and absorbs heat from a fire it can be worn under clothing
    with a hood as your head expells heat very quickly also when it is wet you can still maintain body core heat.
    you can use it for a pad if it is hot or a pillow, also as a floatation device.
    I used to keep one on the boat getting stuck on the river or lake in a storm the temp drops fast and if your bilge pump takes a dump you may have to take a swim and water sucks body heat like a vacuum so all the life vests
    are not going to keep your core temp up,
    I keep my winter clothing with my BOB or GHB in my vehicle as I may have to help on a road accident
    a blanket or shade until the EMT arrive the clothes are in a plastic bag clean pressed and wrapped tight
    all of my stuff is used or good surplus except socks I am not Mr money bags.
    I am going to get a bucket of Wise meals to keep in the vehicle if I have to bail or a weekend fishing on the cuff
    I want to have enough to make my life easy.
    I have one og those pocket fisherman rods good for what you can catch here up to 10 pounds or so if I get the urge I can spend the night fishing even if the world is not coming to an end, water food fire and light of course bait
    but I have a tackle box with jigs rubber worms and some lures etc.
    I figure my BOB/ GHB has to be a self contained camping system clothing blanket and such are just in case
    Here no one would think what I have is out of place for extended camping fishing or hunting trip.

    parkas are great and ski pants I cruise all the resale shops and garage sales you can find all this for pennies on the dollar cold is dependant on what your used to 30 degrees make sthe difference of comfort and misery or death.

    I lke BUD's and lots of pockets a size larger boots and a second set of sandles or kung fu shoes light and airy
    you need to air out each day if possible and let your clothes dry and rest or else they rot real fast.
    jungle rot is real as well as heat rash or friction burn or rubbing and blisters and crotch rot changing even if back to old dirty as long as they are dry and aired out but like all your gear it needs to be maintained and repaied
    thin shorts that can be used in place of under wear and T shirts so you really have a number of changes and
    that will cover you for all seasons and extend the life of your clothing X how many changes you have.
    I don't know about everyone else but in good weather I like shrts and tee shirts and light shoes if bugs and areea allows.
    if I have shelter and a fire it's skivee time.


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