Starting My Bug Out Bag

I am starting my first Bug Out Bag. I’ve packed for a bunch of backpacking and camping trips in my life but I have never had a Bug Out Bag.  I am going to write update articles here on Survival Cache when I add stuff to my BOB so new survivalists can follow along and I can ask questions and get ideas from the more experienced preppers out there.

Obviously a good place to start with your Bug Out Bag is the bag itself. I am going with a military surplus ALICE Pack for a couple of reasons. The main one being that it’s what I already have.  Sure there are lots of better bags out there but I really can’t afford to drop $100-200 bucks on a new pack right now and emergencies don’t wait for you to have all your gear ready. Something is better than nothing.

Karambit Knife

I’ve got a couple of other backpacks but I chose the ALICE because its heavy duty, durable, and I won’t miss it from my regular outdoor gear.

I have backpacked with this pack before, both with and without the frame. I haven’t decided if I am going to leave the frame on for my Bug Out Bag or not.

I would like to hear from others with a survivalist perspective on whether you think its better with frame or without?

If you are just getting started with your Bug Out Bag you should read: The 7 Types of Gear You Must Have in your Bug Out Bag

Stuff in My Buy Out Bag so far:

I added most of my fire starting materials: Do you have 5 Ways to Make Fire?

Warm Clothes: Do you have seasonal clothes in your Bug Out Bag?

A Survival Flash Drive

5 Dollar Preps: Fishing Gear and First Aid

For Poisonous Snake Bites: The Sawyer Extractor

More 5 Dollar Preps: Sewing and Gun Cleaning

A Collapsible Backpacking Bucket and for drinking water backup a Collapsible Water Bottle.

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196 thoughts on “Starting My Bug Out Bag”

  1. Matt,

    Thanks for the comment, that's a really good idea. I'm going to try that soon.

    I assume you use paraffin wax? I can see how that would make a great weather coating against wind and water.

    I would think most people have a newer fire steel these days instead of flint and steel anyway.

    Reply
    • Compass with magnifier lens (Fire source)
      Small Bass Pro first aid (I have a Johnson and Johnson 150 piece kit as well not packed though.)
      Two rolls of TP
      About 200 feet of Para cord (either braded or knotted for compression or loose)
      Three different survival books (Yeah it adds a little bit of weight but in case of my demise I want my city mouse wife to have something that will help her.)
      Two flash lights one crank style (8 double A Batteries, 8 triple a batts, energizer battery charger.
      Sewing Kit
      Lighter, Matches, flint striker, Brilo pad and a cell phone, and small fire starter logs.)
      Glow Sticks
      Bungee cords
      Pocket Saw
      Four 9×12 Husky 2 mil drop clothes, one 10×20 1 mil husky drop.

      More below:

      Reply
      • Now for what is not necessarily attached but included in one way or another:
        Sleeping bag
        Mossberg 500 Persuader (About 30 rounds of 00 Buck, and about 40 rnds of Bird shot)
        Unknown manufacturer 30-06 with about 30 rnds
        Bersa 380 with about 75 rnds
        Two thick walking sticks built for action

        FYI – I am bugging out four people one of which is a 16 month old so its obvious I will have to equip our party with another ALICE pack.

        Please provide comments and suggestions.

        Reply
  2. An "ALICE Pack, Medium" will really hurt your back if you do not use a frame and have any real weight in it.

    That said, you will want to adjust and use the kidney pack with the wiast straps as designed, too. I am a fan of adding sternum straps as well – we used to have about 60-80 pounds regularly in our rucks and barely felt it on our backs – the FEET were the ones requiring much more care and attention.

    The frame gives you a lot of carry flexibility as well – I would invest in the shelf attachment, too – you can carry 5-gal jugs lashed to the pack frame all day long without killing your hands.

    The nice thing about the ALICE system is that they're so versatile and mod-friendly.

    Reply
    • I have found that with a forty pound weight the medium frame digs quite uncomfortably into my upper back, although I do like the advantages the pack frame gives you.

      Reply
    • dustin 2 good things to add to your pack is medicated foot powder and oregano oil . this oil kills athletes foot fungus on contact !

      Reply
    • Just started my own BOB and GHB as i live in a 'downtown metropolis' type area. In a SHTF or a WTF TEOTWAWKI situation, I've realized that getting the F* outta dodge (with the wife) is going to be top priority. Knowing the traffic situation and geogrpahy of the area, it takes an hour to get anywhere on a GOOD DAY!__The items I've chosen for my BOB & GHB are intended to get me to a larger stash of supplies outside the city. As such, I have to be able to travel 10-15miles as fast as possible, and this can't include any major road ways.

      Reply
    • For my pack itself I've chosen a Camelpack like this http://www.joesarmynavyonline.com/servlet/Detail?…
      The included bladder holds 2-liters.
      Adding supplies to the pack, I've used several ziploc baggies for various items. 1 bag for vitamins/pills etc, 1 bag for matches/lighters, 1 bag for a selection of batteries as so on. beside keeping all my various gear dry and clean. Ziploc baggys are useful for just carrying water, or even for emergency medical dressings.
      With 1-liter in the bladder i still have plenty of room for supplies. Not knowing how long it will take me to get to said stash (it shouldnt take more than 1-2hours but things happens and plans are made to be broken) my BOB also functions as a 72hour kit.

      Reply
    • Something I did for my kits; I sometimes drink a '5hour energy' for work. I've kept several of these bottles which are pretty sturdy 2oz. plastic bottles. I've found these bottles useful for rationing/distributing Iso alcohol, Hydrogen Peroxide etc.
      Remembering the basics of survival first: Fire/Food/Water/Shelter I should be able to last longer than 72hours without anything else. Each item listed is in both mine and the wife's pack. So if for some reason we lose a pack, we wont lose ALL of a single type of supply. Total wieght per pack is less than 10pounds.
      #1 — Multiple ways of makng FIRE: Magnesium starter, several boxes of waterproof matches, a few cheap cigarette lighters. and small rolled up wads of toilet paper for normal use or fire-tender.
      #2 — Food: 1200calorie food bars, a selection of daily Vitamins/ personal medications lasting a few days, tylenol. Ibuprofen. Allegy pills, TUMS –> CANNED TUNA, 1can = 20% daily protein.
      #3 — Water: 2-liter bladder in pack, water purification tablets and 'water presserver' drops.
      #4 — 1 10'x10' camo tarp & 100' para cord.

      Reply
    • Also included in each pack: I also got a 'BG Gerber' Machette (just one)
      1 wire-cutter, at least sturdy enough to easily cut through chain-link fence
      1 'Red Head' 8" hunting knife w/ camo sheath. High-quality steel, comes razor sharp and can be resharpened to a new razor edge. For only $25ea at Bassproshops, I considered them a good buy. http://www.basspro.com/RedHead-Camo-Gut-Hook-Fixe
      5 pair HotHands handwarmers , 1 Multi-tool knife , toothbrush, 2 Emergency blankets
      4 medical gauze, small assortment of bandaids, 2 2oz. bottles hydrogen peroxide, 2 2oz. bottles Iso. Alcohol., 1 small tube of burn cream, 1tube cream anti-biotic, 2 MRE chemical heaters, 1 pack Toilet chemical, 1 ROLL DUCT TAPE (do i need to explain why?) AND 1 GLOCK 9mm

      Reply
  3. Dustin,

    Thanks for the comment. I think you make a good point about the frame.

    I hadn't thought about adding a sternum strap but that's a good idea, most other quality packs have them.

    And yes footcare is priority number 1 on any distance hike. Learned that the hard way more than once.

    I'm going to look into that carry attachment.

    I'm happy with the pack overall, but in the future I might look into something a little nicer. I really like some of the 5.11 packs. But it's always best to have something now.

    Reply
    • The ALICE pack is an awesome pack. I used one WITH the frame as an Infantry Machine gunner in the Corps…trust me, it saves your back from painful hikes! The kidney pad is also a must!. I was issued a camelbak motherload in my current job and it will be serving as my bug out bag. Lots of space, padded straps, kidney pad included, and includes the sternum strap. Plus water is immediately available. See you out there…be safe!

      Reply
    • A good pack to look into would be the Condor 3-day pack. I recently purchased two of them at $75 each, one for work and the other for a B.O.B., and they easily contain a 3-day supply with a good organization system. The packs are set up to carry a good amount of water in hydration bladders (I use the MSR Dromedary bladder and SweetWater filter, handy interconnectivity).

      Reply
  4. Dustin,

    Thanks for the comment. I think you make a good point about the frame.

    I hadn't thought about adding a sternum strap but that's a good idea, most other quality packs have them.

    And yes footcare is priority number 1 on any distance hike. Learned that the hard way more than once.

    I'm going to look into that carry attachment.

    I'm happy with the pack overall, but in the future I might look into something a little nicer. I really like some of the 5.11 packs. But it's always best to have something now.

    Reply
    • The sternum strap is a must with the pack! I have a large ALICE pack which will carry up to 70 pounds. The MARINE MOLLY pack just as good. My ax, and shovel all clip on the pack with ALICE clips. The frame is a great feature as well for carrying weight. I carry a tent on the bottom of of the frame.

      Reply
  5. A bandana was one of the first things I got for backpacking and it goes with me every time no matter how light I'm packing.

    My preference is a thin 100% cotton cowboy bandana, at least 34" x 34" in a light/neutral/dirt color/pattern. Unless you really can't find/make something similar, don't bother with those crappy little poly blend ones you can buy at 'sports' stores, urban outfitters, convenience stores or truck stops. A fallback and good for some of the mentioned uses in the article would also be one of those Arab scars – variously known as keffiyeh, kafiyah, (ya)shmagh, ghutrah, mashadah, shemagh, or hijab.

    My uses:

    1. drape a wet one loosely around your neck for evaporative cooling when hot – very effective
    2. knot/fold into a hat/head and neck shade for protection from sun, wind or cold
    3. draped loosely over the head and shading the eyes to keep gnats or no-see-ums out of your face and eyes
    4. general sweat/dirt wipe
    5. folded up as a butt pad for sitting on rough/damp surfaces

    You could use one as a field dressing too, but I'd really hate to have to use one as a butt wipe – too useful for other things.

    Reply
    • Heey,

      Well i am not a real prepper, but it's got my intrest though.. better safe then sorry.. in my humble opinion you've got way too much in the tent/tarp department, you have four ways to make a shelter, i would bring that down by 50% a tent for luxury and a tarp for cooking and so on.. when you have a good ponch it can double as a tarp also.. 😉 and you have a bivy.. five ways, when i suddenly have to go, i would only bring a bivy and a tarp.. you have more stuff in your bob then i take with me when i'm cycling for sereval months.. that also could be the rason why i'm always wanna travel as light as possible.. 😉

      greeting from holland 😉

      Reply
    • another thing you can do, instead of the tarp/tent/poncho combo use emergency space blankets, they're large strong and in emergencies can be used for all three, I keep 4 in my pack, and bring spare underwear just in case you have an accident, if you run into a grizzly, as Bill Cosby would say "first you say it then you do it!!!"

      Reply
  6. Dustin,

    I hadn't looked at the reviews of the shamwow and I've never owned any of the actual shamwow brand, but you're right the reviews look terrible.

    All I can tell you is from personal experience. I've used synthetic chamois from walmart for camp towels many times and they have always worked great for me. I honestly didn't know there could be such a big difference in them.

    Another thing you should consider is don't just buy the infomercial. Like anything else know what you are getting. Of course I don't think it does everything on the commercial, but I do know its a lightweight synthetic that dries a lot faster than cotton and will soak up a lot more.

    Reply
  7. Betty,

    Thanks for the compliments.

    Good idea on the vet supply store. I'm not sure if there is one in my city, but I've definitely going to check into that.

    Reply
  8. Timmy,

    I'm glad that worked out for you. I'm definitely a novice gun smith to say the least but I might try this one.

    Reply
    • Sorry, I forgot to add food. Did not see you mention food supplies, but a family of four, especially with little ones, will go through a good bit of food. For weight/space concerns you may want to consider freeze-dried. As a "backup" I have ordered Mainstay food rations, they supposedly taste like lemon pound cake (I haven't tried them yet) and there is 3600kc per pack broken into 400kc bars. Here is the link to a web site that will give you more info on the Mainstay product. http://www.survivorind.com/foodr.html

      Reply
      • Like lemon pound cake that has been in your back pocket fir a week…
        it's quite dense, but tasty. I've eaten mine when they got cose to expiration. They're fine to eat.
        I recommend "ER" brand bars as they are the only ones with no tropical/palm oils and no trans-fat.
        Maybe being healthy isn't top of the list when you're forced to eat these, but consider allergies and other no-fun near-term side effects of trans-fats.
        They also make dog and cat food versions (for animals, not made with).
        quakekare.com or homelandpreparedness.com

        Reply
  9. Lucas

    another thing to keep in mind is how many compartments there are you will want to have a list of where things are. On mine I have the top flap map case in that i keep a map of all the places i go and have Caches along with a small notepad(one of the wather proof ones that you can write on in rain or snow). That is where i keep my inventory list and location I broke mine down by compartment and laminated it so I know it will not get distroyed by water.

    I have been an avid outdoorsmen most of my life I like to keep things lite. On my test week I take only the essentials a knife, sleeping bag, and a few potatos i go for a week and see what other new stuff i can learn while out there. depending on the location is how i decide on weather or not to bring my side arm.

    Another thing to keep in mind is web gear the H harnes is a good choice you can wear the web gear and the alice pack at the same time they are made that way and if you have to ditch your main pack for some odd reason like fast get away then you still have the equivelint of a three day pack on your person.

    keep your powder dry,
    Chuck

    Reply
  10. Chuck,

    Thanks for commenting.

    I hadn't thought of actually cataloging everything in my gear and keeping this list handy but that is a good idea. I definitely like your map and paper set up, that is something everyone should have.

    You "test weeks" sound pretty intense, but its great that you get that much good practice. What type of terrain are you usually in?

    I haven't tried an H harness, I've actually been shopping around for some tac vests lately. I really like the 5.11 lite one right now. It's relatively cheap, but supposed to be good. I should look into some of the H harnesses.

    Reply
  11. I go just about every where Maine is great for my types of testing. the new tac vests are great but I am not sure they would work well with A.L.I.C.E pack. The H harness you can find at any military supply store get the older canvas ones they make less sound when you need to do some sneacking around. Another thing to look into is the military ponchos they make good emergency shelters. or you can just build one like I do.

    I also test my map and compass skills by marking a spot where i leave my main pack. then just wandering off for a while then try to get back so my map and compass skills stay sharp. It is kind of a lost art for the younger generations. lol I say that for a guy that has spent most of my adult life just picking a weekend and leaving, another thing is to find a good size lake that has an island in the middle and snorkling to it for a weekend. it is a real test of your skills to do that cause you end up nice and wet to start out your training.

    keep your powder dry guys and gals,
    Chuck

    Reply
    • You're right in a Bug Out Scenario a fully loaded tac vest and a pack might not work too well together. But I'll have to test it out and see.

      Military ponchos are on my list of things to get. They are so versatile.

      I think orienteering skills are one of the least practiced but most needed skills by all preppers and survivalists.

      I haven't practiced in a while, but I did my fair share in scouts. I feel like it's like riding a bike. I used to be good at it and with some practice I would be fine. I should really take some time to brush up though.

      Reply
      • hey Lucas

        you are so right, I think that making your gear work for yourself is the right thing to do I forgot that lesson from a former ranger. If you are comfortable with your gear then you have no issues. Remember that you can reduce your weight by looking at gear that can do multiple jobs(like a suvival saw can also make a good snare kind of idea).
        I would also like to mention that a good magazine for the money impaired like my self to read and keep on hand is the backwoodsman it can show you survival gardening techniques and how to track the way that the old mountain men used to as well as some other good stuff. I personally like some of the cooking recipes in the back of it.
        Thanks for reading my posts i feel like I am actually getting heard by some people and not just some back woods country hick that people think is a little nuts for all the survival training I have done. Its nice to see others like myself are still out there.

        Keep your powder dry and your knife sharp,
        Chuck

        Reply
        • Some of the handiest and simplest tips on "roughing it" or living w/o modern conveniences that I have seen are found in "The Backwoodsman". Good Reference!!! Another book series that I've found personally useful is the Foxfire series.
          Brand-noob to this site, just found it. Reading through these articles just shows me how many ways there are to survive. Seems like the most important point to survival is mentality, sheer nerve and will to exist. All the ideas on this site and others like it are useless if your head isn't in the right place. Thanks for the input all, and keep up the good work.

          Reply
  12. Caine,

    I take a little while to respond from time to time, but always enjoy comments from readers.

    I'm glad you are enjoying the site. I really want to make Survival Cache a community and resource for all survivalists and preppers.

    The way things are getting, survivalist, (or more often "prepper") is becoming more and more mainstream as people are seeing the value of preparing.

    I haven't read Backwoodsman magazine but I will definitely take a look at it next time I'm in Barnes and Noble.

    Reply
  13. Lucas,

    Its all good I like sharing my experiences with what works for me and what does not as far as gear is concerned. I try to make it simple and light weight. I am really glade that we have a site where all of us of like mind can talk and share what we have learned.

    if you search on line for the backwoodsman magazine you will aee the home page and what they are all about. I have all the issues from 2008 on i love it that much i read it front to back at least five times.

    thanks for your site and keep you powder dry,
    Chuck

    Reply
  14. Hey Lucas,

    Out of curiosity, do you have a concealed carry permit and do you carry when you are allowed to? Due to my job, I am in the somewhat unique position of being able to carry my duty weapon(s) just about anywhere I go. The only real exceptions to that rule are military bases and airports/ports. For me, that means my BOB will be about 10 lbs lighter, since I usually carry my duty weapon +2 extra magazines on me at all times. My primary vehicle and work vehicle have extra magazines in them as well, as I spend a substantial amount of time in a car. Therefore, if I need to include more water, first aide supplies, etc I have more room.

    The concealed carry weapons (CCW) laws in NC restrict you from carrying in a lot of locations people are likely to go on their daily basis. Any mall, gas station, movie theater, or restaurant that serves alcoholic beverages are off-limits for civillians exercising their CCW rights. There are other locations on this as well.

    Reply
    • OfficerOtto,

      Thanks for commenting. To answer your question yes I do have my carry permit and yes I carry as much as possible. I am fortunate to live in a state that has excellent carry laws.

      Your setup sounds pretty good. Incidentally, do you do anything to keep the springs in your magazines from getting worn out when they are sitting around loaded in your vehicles and other places for long periods of time?

      I try to keep mine only 90% full when they are sitting for a long time to keep the spring from getting worn out.

      Reply
      • Just rotate mags quarterly. Although honestly I dont think its much of a concern with modern tech and metallurgy. Youll find that quality modern springs dont take a set. Also, I always keep mags topped off. A broken in mag is far more dependable than one that hasnt seen much action or held full cap.

        Reply
  15. hey Lucas,

    not to sound like i am bragging but i just found in a yard sale another full set. ALICE pack with an LBE for 20 bucks it also had in the pack an entrenching tool and two first aid kits score one for me on that one lol. I just happend to stop because i saw ammo cans the military .50 cal cans I love those for storage unit caching they are great. just wanted to let you know it is yardsale time and you can find great deals if you just look.

    keep up the good work,
    Chuck

    Reply
    • haha very nice.

      Yea those ammo cans are about the best storage in the world.

      I really hate going to yard sales. Something about getting up at 6 am on a saturday to go dig through other peoples junk just doesn't appeal to me. But I'm going to keep an eye on craigslist.

      Reply
  16. Think about a few tools to disassemble your Alice pack frame. I say this because if you are somewhere for a while the tubing could come in very handy and you could always bug out without the frame.

    Reply
  17. My BOB is a cheap $20.00 pack from Walmart. I have one in each vehicle. I'm not a hiker and don't intend on trekking across the USA. Each bag is set up for 2 people for 3 days. They're for emergency situations only. So my take on the Alice pack is no frame.

    Reply
  18. Lucas,

    I also use a med. ALICE pack as a BOB that I started recently. I keep mine on the frame, mostly so that I have something to lash things onto while out in the woods, such as firewood or food. Its a lot easier to remove the pack and lash on a large load of firewood to bring back to your camp, or an animal that has been skinned and field dressed for food.

    Reply
  19. Just found this site today and have enjoyed looking around.
    Some of you may scoff at this idea, but a rolling backpack (like a rolling suitcase with shoulder straps) or even a rolling suitcase might be a good choice for some folks.
    Not everyone can put a heavy, or medium p-heavy pack on their back. Or if they can they may not be able to get very far with it for a number of reasons.
    Even if you could, there will be times when you'll wish you could get that pack off and be able to keep moving and save your energy.
    Effectiveness would be limited to paved surfaces, but if you're in Urban (like me), there isn't much else for MILES.
    I think the rolling backpack is better becauwe you can put it on when you need to (obstacles, shortcuts, crowds, etc).
    Also, if you have kids, you could carry one while wheeling along.
    Speaking of kids, until yours are old/strong enough to walk unassisted for a couple miles, keep a small/cheapie umbrella stroller around (or one for each adult if you're blessed with 2 or more children). They're not too big or heavy and will alow you to keep moving with your kids when they get too tired or are too slow. Beats having to carry them with that Alice pack on your back. Also the stroller itself can be used to carry stuff and provide a sort of base-of-operations when you stop to rest.
    These ideas are probably not too viable in the wilderness, but as an urban dweller, I'm more concerned with getting outta here than what I'll do when I get there.

    Reply
  20. You're right. Homeless people have a big head start on the rest of us.
    Gotta get one with good wheels, though. The ones they have at Costco (at least around me), really suck.

    Reply
  21. Thanks guys for all the info on BOBs and things… I started building an Apocalypse box and there is a military surplus store nearby so an ALICE pack from there is my best bet, I guess…

    Thanks, guys.

    Reply
    • There are other options to the ALICE pack, I use a Special Forces Patrol Pack. It's lighter, looks like a cammo book bag and holds almost as much as the Med. ALICE. I also have several MOLLE "re-supply packs" that I can secure to it if I need to increase the amount that I can carry. There are also civilian options, I have an old Jansport external frame "backpacking" pack that is my secondary bag, for a more long distance bug out.

      The biggest thing to consider is what you need to carry in the pack and what pack is comfortable to you. My patrol pack cost about $35, so it's a little more expensive than the average ALICE pack but it is MUCH more comfortable for me. There are also civilian external and internal frame options you could consider, that may be more comfortable.

      Reply
  22. When I was in basic training in the army we had 2 main bags we used, one being the med ALICE with the web gear, the other is smaller similar to those gym bags you see people use to throw a towel and such in with strings for straps. The smaler bag was used on a daily basiis to carry our canteens, gloves and anything else we might need for the day.

    The ALICE pack was used whenever we had serious marches to do and we never got our frames and they did make our backs and shoulders hurt but our feet always seemed to hurt more. (Army boots are made by the cheapest bidder after all.)

    Reply
    • I'm trying to pick out a good pack for my BOB right now and I had been seriously considering a mamoth sized bag from Blackhawk but 2 things made me reconsider that, 1) the price almost $250 and 2) the weight. I got to thinking if I had to grab my BOB and move in a hurry well you can't just grab a 75lb bag by the straps with 1 arm and haul butt outta there. besisdes I'd like 1 with a built in hydration baldder. that way I can carry up to 200ozs of water and it'll be out of the way. food for thought, I plan to fill my water bladder with Smartwater. It tastes like regular water but has the bennifit of electrolytes to help with energy and hydration.

      Reply
      • A used alice pack is good with a frame. It is made to carry the needs of any infantry soldier durin the late 1990

        Reply
  23. love the alice . know alot of people who use them and they are great. also something to remember about the bob .if you take meds it might be good to get a stock pile of your prescriptions that will last for the bag . i also have a swiss officers bag .it looks like a purse but holds a butload and can be treated with waterproofing so it also works for documents very well. and, i have a sig p226 in 40 , a remington 12 gauge and a rra ar 15 so anyone who makes fun of my purse on d day will be dealt with accordingly.

    Reply
  24. Im a bit new to the Survivalism movement, but i do strongly support the survivalist mindset.
    i want to know one thing, i have most of the gear needed to last at least 4 days in an emergency scenario, but i need one thing, what pack should i get? .ALICE bags are nice. but i see "hiking" bags that seem nice too. some have hydration packs/compartments which i think is nice(but i do own a few canteens). i need something durable but obviously light weight. something that will get the job done.
    any recommendations?

    [EDIT] Adam, your observations of the MOLLE pack are very nice and have gotten me to check them out. the price is a bit high, but i ask this, food and water are important, but why not learn skills to trap, hunt, fish, and purify water?if you do that, you already cut down most of the gear in the pack concerning canteens and MREs and food.
    also, i come more from an urban/sub-urban survival training, knowing how to find food and scout in urban/sub-urban areas. so a lot of gear hurts more than helps. but i am open to learning more. please teach me.

    Reply
    • Squirrels are very wiley animals, but they are greedy as well. They need to be watched beforehand… they have navigational habits. Unlike rats and mice, they do not prefer to have 2 solid planes of contact to feel secure – their movements on open ground are more like rabbits, and they usually do not actually go to the true bases of trees, but launch onto and off of the trunk about 1-2 feet up.
      Once they're in a tree, they are truly in their element – projectiles are the best way to hunt them then, but they may not be worth the energy expended.
      In a suburban or built-up environment, you can put a rat trap right near a well stocked bird feeder and you'll be lunching on squirrel before too long! 🙂

      BTW – don't forget to tether your traps – regardless of what you use – otherwise you may lose your trap as well as your quarry.

      Reply
    • Don’t know if anyone addressed this but, in a BO situation the operative word is OUT. The idea is clear the area then you can go to ground and start living off the land. Japan has showed us that sometimes the very products of the land are spoiled/contaminated. That is why everyone is talking about what and how much food to carry out with you.

      JMHO, Ben228

      Reply
  25. I have a number of packs that I use for bug out bags. Have been doing this for a number of years, since 1985, and have tried a great deal of equipment. I have used many surplus Swiss, German, and Swedish packs as well as the WW2 US canvas pack, the light weight jungle ruck, alice packs, and the current assualt packs. For the money I think that the best bang for the buck is the Alice Medium with the frame. If you want an excellent upgrade get the Blackhawk shoulder straps for it. As I get time I will review and photograph a number of different surplus packs that are on the market at a good price right now.

    Reply
  26. Recently read your post about the Alice pack as a BOB and was looking at sportsmansguide web site just now and remembered the article. In case anyone is looking for an Alice pack they have them used without frame for $ 17.97 plus shipping. In case anyone is interested.

    Reply
    • Mills Fleet Farm Stores sell alot of surplus alice packs molle packs Lbv's reasonable prices Lrg Alice w frame about $40.

      Reply
  27. A man after my own heart. All the great gear in the world does no good if you lose it to the first thug whose emergency preparation plan was to take what he needs from the sheep.

    Reply
    • only the unwilling are the sheep but when the chips are down even the most unprepared man will fight for what others have so shoot first and let death sort them out.

      Reply
  28. I have carried both Camelbaks and canteens in the field, and both have their merits. Camelbaks fit nicely into all the new high-speed packs, like the Molle. You don't have to stop to un-holster a Camelbak while hiking. They definitely win the coolness factor. In the Marines I trained with ALICE and Y-Harness, and canteens. When Iraq kicked off, we got all the new MOLLE packs and Camelbaks. Plastic pack frames broke. Camelbaks leaked. I have never been able to break an ALICE pack or frame, nor seen a GI canteen tear or pop. I do prefer the newer LBE over the old Y-harness, as a point of personal preference. For my money, I have an ALICE mountain ruck(the big one) I can make it smaller by pulling the straps, but I can't make a small one bigger if I need to. And have you ever tried cleaning a Camelbak that got funky-tasting? KISS. I vote old school.

    Reply
    • derek i have to agree that a camelbak is cool and hard to clean when they get that funky taste but they do serve as a good start for some people that want to carry the water and not have to stop and retreve the canteen as in they have to move and move now

      Reply
    • I have an "anti-microbial" camelback bladder that my dad picked up for me. I left water in it from my last hiking trip this past summer, just found it a week ago and it doesn't have the smell you mentioned. I have had the basic bladders "go funky" on me, they can be a pain to clean but it can be done with a little bleach, and then run through some baking soda mixed with water and let it dry out, repeat if necessary. I have A LOT of gear here (my father and I both "collect" military surplus gear), I do prefer the camelback to the old 1 quart canteen, or the 2 quart "arctic" canteens. I like it because it fits nicely under my Special Forces Patrol Pack (which MOLLE and ALICE accessories can be fitted to) and keeps my hands free for whatever I need to be doing.

      I do however agree, KISS is the best way to go for the majority of gear!

      Reply
  29. one of the things I would concider is finding Caching locations near where you are going even if it is just some of the non perishables like TP and freeze dryed food somthing that if it is found by people by accident it will not mean the end of your group a couple of mine have been stumbled on and used but the people were nice and came back and replaced what they used I know they were greatly realived to find my cache and we are now good friends he was lost while hiking and he and i think that he would have died without those things so it was a good thing and now he is a big member in my team.

    try to reduce what you are carrying on the initial bug out i have a survival trailer that is almost always ready to go unless i am doing some upgrades to it all i need to do is drop it on the ball on my jeep and go it is a good way to have a bug out system.

    Reply
  30. one thing that needs to be remebered is that we are talking about the guys that are working on a budget money in this day and age is tight for most of us and i for one think about how much i am spending and if i really need it that is why the ALICE packs are good the molle bags are a little more pricey

    Reply
  31. Current us soldier, serving in Kuwait. read all your comments everything sounds good . Alot of what you need is personal preference and dictated by where you live or where you are when you have to bug. the best ccomment I heard was KISS( Keep it simple stupid) there are so many different scenario's that you could talk about for months even years. For example(Y2K) turned out to be nothing. All the gear I bought most of it never got used. Made excellent trading fodder and yard sale goods, so wasn't total loss. Always remember Knowledge is Power!

    Reply
    • wizardholloway- THANK YOU for your service, and your comment!

      You bring up a good point with the trade/yard sale idea. I am lucky enough to have been in the great outdoors most of my life, and twice as lucky to have a Ret. US Army Lt. Col. for a father, so gear is in NO shortage here! However, for those that aren't as lucky I have been this can be a way to get better gear down the line. If you buy the "bag you can afford", save up a little, then sell/trade the bag or other gear you want to upgrade and get "the bag you want"! It works, I have done it to get my Savage 300 win-mag rifle. You just have to be patient, and figure out what works for you, or how you get to the gear that will work best for you and live with/learn to adapt the bag/gear you have in the mean time!

      Thanks again! There are still some of us here at home that appreciate what your doing over there!

      Reply
      • Thanks for the vote of confidence. It always amazes me at how resilent the American public is. Even after ten years of these major conflicts, the majority of people still have positive comments. I guess part of it is they don't want this to be like Vietnam, where so many of our veterans, who were doing there jobs were treated so badly. I salute you and all the people like you. We couldn't do what we do without your support. So Mote It Be!

        Reply
        • My family was stationed in Panama in 1989, I have seen first hand what folks like you guys over there do for us everyday! If it wasn't for the men and women of our armed forces, me and my family would not be here today. Keep safe, and hopefully you guys will be home soon, for good!

          Reply
  32. I always figured if SHTF I would be solely accountable for getting myself and my partner out in one piece, I bought 2 ex British army pattern 58 webbing sets from http://www.cheaperthandirt.com for about $30 for the set and added US ALICE pouches which fit on the old British set snug and safely.For a backpack I bought a civilian pack which had the padded back support.
    This set up allows me to carry tent,shelter,1st aid,food,water,ammo and any tools I might need easily and without turning me into a pack mule (The 58 pattern ammo pouches are designed for old L1A1 mags which are same size as the M14 mag so they can carry AR mags easily too.As for defensive weaponry I've always been biased and preferred 9mm,.45,7.62 NATO,5.56 and 12 guage as if everything goes to hell these calibres would be the easiest to find or reload given that most goverment all western military and many civilian shooters use them.
    The one rule I"ve always kept in mind that if SHTF the only person looking out for your well being is going to be you and the equipment mentioned above might be old and long out of service but it does work

    Reply
  33. Actuly witwct hit the nail right on the head that is the one topic you'll notice that is always absent from goverment "make a plan make a kit" adverts on TV.
    Directly after Katrina looting and street crime were rampant and in any town or city if TSHTF law enforcement and even national guard will have their hands full and as such you can expect looting,house breaking,assault,rape,murder to skyrocket until things can be brought back to some degree of normality.
    A good friend of mine recently bought a folding Kel Tech rifle in 5.56 mm it apparantly folds in half to about 19 inches long and accepts STANAG M16/AR15 mags,He however holds to the idea of a 4 gun battery 1 rifle a 12g coach gun and a pair of handguns but obviously available funds and prior commitments dictate what can and cannot be afforded.
    It is pretty much agreed to defend yourself at close range either on the move or in a house a shotgun pretty much takes care of things with a pre bought supply of 2.75 inch 00 buck shot and deer slugs with a few boxes of either 4,5,6 bird shot will bring in a good supply of small game too as well as dealing with any 2 legged predators that come around

    Reply
  34. Actuly witwct hit the nail right on the head that is the one topic you'll notice that is always absent from goverment "make a plan make a kit" adverts on TV.
    Directly after Katrina looting and street crime were rampant and in any town or city if TSHTF law enforcement and even national guard will have their hands full and as such you can expect looting,house breaking,assault,rape,murder to skyrocket until things can be brought back to some degree of normality.
    A good friend of mine recently bought a folding Kel Tech rifle in 5.56 mm it apparantly folds in half to about 19 inches long and accepts STANAG M16/AR15 mags,He however holds to the idea of a 4 gun battery 1 rifle a 12g coach gun and a pair of handguns but obviously available funds and prior commitments dictate what can and cannot be afforded.
    It is pretty much agreed to defend yourself at close range either on the move or in a house a shotgun pretty much takes care of things with a pre bought supply of 2.75 inch 00 buck shot and deer slugs with a few boxes of either 4,5,6 bird shot will bring in a good supply of small game too as well as dealing with any 2 legged predators that come around

    Reply
  35. Actuly witwct hit the nail right on the head that is the one topic you'll notice that is always absent from goverment "make a plan make a kit" adverts on TV.
    Directly after Katrina looting and street crime were rampant and in any town or city if TSHTF law enforcement and even national guard will have their hands full and as such you can expect looting,house breaking,assault,rape,murder to skyrocket until things can be brought back to some degree of normality.
    A good friend of mine recently bought a folding Kel Tech rifle in 5.56 mm it apparantly folds in half to about 19 inches long and accepts STANAG M16/AR15 mags,He however holds to the idea of a 4 gun battery 1 rifle a 12g coach gun and a pair of handguns but obviously available funds and prior commitments dictate what can and cannot be afforded.
    It is pretty much agreed to defend yourself at close range either on the move or in a house a shotgun pretty much takes care of things with a pre bought supply of 2.5 inch 00 buck shot and deer slugs with a few boxes of either 4,5,6 bird shot will bring in a good supply of small game too as well as dealing with any 2 legged predators that come around

    Reply
  36. a nice set of skate board trucks will work, i have used them to attached to a standard 2×6 to move huge pieces of furnature around in my house, because i live alone. they weigh damn near nothing and could easy fit into one pack.

    Reply
    • One important thing to consider with a modified shopping cart or wagon- Unless you have your supplies covered, everyone and their brother can see what you have. This could make you a target if you have anything they want! Also, the shopping cart can be REALLY noisy! This can also draw unwanted attention to you if you are in an urban/population dense area. The shopping cart/wagon also means you will have difficulty negotiating rougher terrain (debris in the streets) and could make it easier for someone to set up a "choke point", where they can easily ambush you. I am not attempting to argue the value of a wagon or cart (I have a John Deer "garden cart" with bigger, wider tires with fairly deep tread I might use in a BO situation), just some "food for thought" about how to effectively utilize them and be safe! Remember whatever you do security is important, and didn't those covered wagons back-in-the-day get attacked CONSTANTLY?!

      Reply
  37. OfficerOtto- You make a very good point about CCW, I am in VA where if you have not been charged with violent a misdemeanor or a felony you can "open carry" in most locations without a permit. As you stated nowhere that serves alcohol, government buildings, airports, ports, place of worship and any private location that has a "sign" saying that they do not allow firearms (sometimes as small as a 2" sticker on a obscure spot such as a bottom corner of a door or an odd window) are off limits. It's very important to know your local laws. CCW here in VA does allow you to carry in more locations than "open carry", such as a restaurant that serves alcohol, however you can not drink while carrying. Having a CCW permit also means your vehicle is subject to search at any time without a reason though, I have heard of people fighting this but have not heard of any successful attempts and from what I understand it is rare for officers to do this (there are usually "underlying" reasons for the search). An officer is also allowed to "inspect" your firearm whenever you are carrying, all they have to do is say they want to, you are required to comply.

    Lucas- As RudeBoy stated, GOOD quality mags these days should be fine to leave fully loaded for long periods. I have a RIA M1911 which takes "novak" style mags, I buy Mec-Gar, Armsicor, and Chip McCormick mags. I have left them fully loaded for over a year and have had no issues with any of them. However with cheap no-name mags, I have had one where the spring would not return to its original size after only a few weeks of sitting fully loaded. I have also had problems with the pair of "cheapo's" feeding in my pistol. Lesson learned, a few bucks extra on a magazine is well worth the investment if it will work when I need it to

    Reply
  38. I agree that anybody who tries to give me trouble in a SHTF situation is asking for a whole lot more than they REALLY want to mess with. Just make sure you handle the situation appropriately, not all threats need to be addressed with lethal force, that being said… don't take chances either, protect you and yours!

    Reply
  39. The "bicycle BOB" is a good idea. Your right that they can get you further faster than someone on foot. Most folks don't realize that many armies had "bicycle divisions" up until Vietnam. Germany used bicycles for many tasks, including running supplies. The Japanese used bicycles extensively as well. At one point an Calvary officer in the US Army (can't remember his name, believe it was during WWI) said that the bicycle might surpass the horse and be used in Calvary charges! Probably a stretch, but it does show that when properly implemented a simple bicycle has some serious potential.

    Reply
  40. The "bicycle BOB" is a good idea. Your right that they can get you further faster than someone on foot. Most folks don't realize that many armies had "bicycle divisions" up until Vietnam. Germany used bicycles for many tasks, including running supplies. The Japanese used bicycles extensively as well. At one point an Calvary officer in the US Army (can't remember his name, believe it was during WWI) said that the bicycle might surpass the horse and be used in Calvary charges! Probably a stretch, but it does show that when properly implemented a simple bicycle has some serious potential.

    Reply
  41. The "bicycle BOB" is a good idea. Your right that they can get you further faster than someone on foot. Most folks don't realize that many armies had "bicycle divisions" up until Vietnam. Germany used bicycles for many tasks, including running supplies. The Japanese used bicycles extensively as well. At one point an Calvary officer in the US Army (can't remember his name, believe it was during WWI) said that the bicycle might surpass the horse and be used in Calvary charges! Probably a stretch, but it does show that when properly implemented a simple bicycle has some serious potential.

    Reply
    • Forgot to say that the Viet Cong used bicycles to transport supplies down the Ho Chi Minh trail. They were pretty effective, and a much harder target to see/hit before the "Spooky's" got IR cameras and sights.

      Reply
  42. I am not a big fan of military packs as they are way too basic for my needs , not to mention just damn uncomfortable long distance . I decided to get a civil pack , After looking at many , I chose one of the Badlands brand hunting packs . Why ? 1. All of them are insanely tough ! 2. they are designed to pack out more than you packed in . 3. they are comfortable with heavy loads . 4 they have rifle and bow quick- access scabbards built in , designed for to use without taking off the pack .. I would stay away from civil hiking and backpacking packs and go with the hunting packs as the mentality and what they are designed to do is very different . Hunting packs are designed for use in rough and untamed terrain whereas the others are for people that dont go off the trail . . Hunting packs are ALWAYS camo . Its a very personal choice but this worked extremely well for me . Yes you are going to pay around $260.00 or more for the pack , but it is well designed , carries a butt load of gear comfortably , has many realistic on the move features and in the end I feel that my life is worth much more than what I payed for it to have a well thought out , well designed , dependable piece of equipment on my back . Alice is fine on a budget but like with a lot of GI stuff , its mass produced by a defense contractor that got the lowest bid …..and very basic , not designed for comfort ( which if everything around you is going to be miserable after the SHTF ) every small comfort will help . My philosophy is : if you have to jerry rig your gear for it to fit your needs . with pads , etc. …. you bought the wrong gear .

    Reply
    • those are nice but in my group we are looking at the 5.11 tactical gear i am doing a review on their push bag which is like a shoulder bag for my guys right now.

      Reply
  43. Just arrived on the survival scene and excited to be a part of it!!!! I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of the info here, I find this topic to be dominating my every thought… Anyway, just wanted to say hey to everybody and let you all know that I really appreciate all of the valuable info and look forward to all future installments! Thanks again…

    Reply
  44. <a href="http://www.opsgear.com” target=”_blank”>www.opsgear.com has a good selection of tac vests and MOLLE equipment at affordable prices. They also have a "vest builder" application that will allow you to configure a vest with pouches and attachments, 360 views, so you can see how you will have the vest set up to your specifications, but being MOLLE, it can be changed rapidly if the need arises. They also sell packs and other gear.
    I also recommend buying aftermarket straps and a kidney pad for anyone using the ALICE system. They make humping that ruck more comfortable over the long haul.
    Brigade Quartermaster had the pack shelves on clearance for the ALICE LC2 frames not long ago. I think they were $5 each but unsure if they have any left. They were in the "bargain bunker".
    I like the "SAW" ammo pouch, as they will accomodate a full MRE in them. I also use a drop leg platform with pouches attached there as as well. SpecOps Brand and OpsGear have several items on their sites that be viewed to see what type of equipment is out there. Most military pouches are available in plain earth tones to not draw additional scrutiny.
    Also look into using tump lines for long treks. Canoers use these alot for portages for heavy weights.

    Reply
  45. Have had BOB & INCH bags now for nearly 20 years. In the beginning used old Medium ALICE pack. Carried INCH pack for backpacking trips just imagining SHTF scenarios that would make it a reality. Over last decade, went to BlackHawk & SnugPak packs, both were Awesome. Last Month, found two Large Alice Packs in Excellent Condition on E-bay for 69.99, both had straps replaced with newer, wider, padded straps and sternum straps. Bought them just to have reserve pack or trade item. Also, LA Police Gear & US Cavalry ran sales on boots last month and got great closeout Bates & Altama boots for less than half price! Search and Recover..Love this site!

    Reply
    • I just bought a close-out pack bag from them for 30 bucks. Checked it out, tried it out and just ordered another. Both in tan color. Great site to watch for sales.

      Reply
  46. Original directions on the site for assembling a BOB indicate clothes, and says "not blue jeans." Why not? Cotton? They're tough, and you would blend in with most people as compared to camo BDU. More practical. What are thoughts by others? I would prefer cargo pockets, and tougher materials, but wonder about standing out,or being mistaken for military. What would be best?

    Reply
    • Glidemann, raevynskyye has a good point, khaki is a subtle color that blends well in most environments. I chose "Dickie" cargo work pants in their Khaki/ tan color. They are lighter than jeans, very tough, the 60/ 40 poly/cotton blend dries quickly and very quiet after a couple washings. The biggest selling point for me is you can get them at Wally world, for about 20 bucks a pair. Yes, I have other pants, 5.11, columbia, etc, but the inexpensive Dickies seem to find their way on every backwoods adventure.

      Reply
    • Biggest problem with jeans is that they don't dry fast. Imagine walking all day in wet jeans with the inevitable chafing that would occur. There's better options out there for the same/or less than you'd pay for a pair of Levis.

      Reply
  47. in regards to the ALICE pack, here's my experience: get rid of the frame, it's heavy, bulky and not very comfortable. Without the metal frame the pack is way more comfortable and can be worn with a set of webbing. Don't pack it too heavy, keep it under 30lbs. Put your sleeping bag in the main compartment plus some extra clothes and rations. Don't put heavy stuff in the external pouches it'll pull the weight back and down (pack heavy objects near your back and towards the top). Without the frame you can't carry 75 lbs. but then when you're bugging out, you don't want 75 lbs. of crap on your back. Combining the pack with web gear lightens the pack and makes more gear easily accessible on the webbing. Good luck soulja…

    Reply
  48. First let me say, I understand you get what you pay for. I also understand something is better than nothing! With the economy the way it is, a cheap emergency kit beats nothing. Even if its only to fill the possible need until a better quality option can be afforded. Anyone on this site knows that an emergency kit or well stocked B.O.B. can be expensive! On with my story…. While performing my manly duty of bag-holder as my lady shops, I got a little bored. To entertain myself I decided to play a little game in the Dollar Tree (a local chain $1 store). I would brows the isles and see how many things I could spot that would come in handy in an emergency kit. I WAS AMAZED at what items could be purchased for a dollar or less at these places. It would behove any survivalist to really give this place a good once-over! If you don't take a $20 bill and head to one of these, you are really missing out! here is just a SHORT list of the things I spotted:
    15yd roll of duct tape
    stainless steel swiss army knife (knock-off version)
    pack of large zip-ties
    candles
    3-pack of lighters
    lighter fluid
    8-inch round cake pan (better than a $15 camping plate/bowl cooking set)
    work gloves
    multi-bit screwdriver
    flashlights
    steel wool
    batteries
    battery tester
    mini-AM/FM radio
    sewing kit
    dental floss
    28oz aluminum sports bottle (think kleen canteen for $25)
    single egg frying pan
    16oz boiler
    sterno
    2-pack aluminum cooling rack (think light weight campfire grate)
    10-pack of strike on the box matches
    10-pack of the single serve drink mixes for bottled water.
    dried soups
    foil packed tuna
    spices
    salt/pepper pre-filled shaker set
    5-pack of bamboo cooking utensils
    large bag of cotton balls
    petroleum jelly
    3-pack of lip balm
    jerky
    ponchos
    2-pack of bandanas
    3-pack of large box cutters (the break-away-blade type)

    Reply
    • With all due respect, during my journey in life I've learned a few lessons one of which is Murphy's Law i.e., if it can go wrong it will. Getting what you pay for has been another expensive lesson. I would much prefer to shop (for example) at REI , Maxpedition, or other heavily product tested retailer and pay for a knife blade that didn't break when I really needed it, flashlights where the switch didn't fail or break, toilet paper that didn't disintegrate before using it, etc. etc. Everything I 'collect' now is tried and tested by someplace I trust i.e., Nutinfancy, climbers, hikers, experienced prepper's, or equal. I've tried inexpensive mosquito repellent for example & have it attract more than repel, or burn a cheap candle where the wick refused to stay lit or wax wasn't good enough to burn….stuff like that. It's miserable enough to be cold or hot or wet and have gear that's no good too. JMHO.

      Reply
  49. Here's a suggestion on clothing for your BOB. Dickies work wear, has some really stout 65% poly 35% cotton work pants at most Big Box stores incl WALLY WORLD. They can be had for under 20 bucks and are tought as nails, generously cut for movement, light and dry quickly.

    Reply
  50. I love the ALICE pack for storing gear and moving from one location to another. (As long as the ALICE pack is on my back for an hour or less)!

    Reply
  51. I'll start by saying this is a great site- lots of great info and ideas. Also good to read others' input without reading online bickering. To get to the point, I've been pretty happy with the blackhawk cyclone bag. Plenty of storage, the molle attachments allow lots of other gear to be thrown on (med-packs, gas mask bag, mag pouches, etc), and the hydration bladder is also very key. I've taken the pack on a 5 mile hike up a local mountain (pretty steep in places) and was happy with the comfort level. Also, it's not ridiculously overpriced. Would love to hear any feedback from others.

    Reply
  52. I started my first BOB about a month ago. Lucky for me I had a great frame pack from when I was in Scouts. It was about $180 12 yrs ago and barely got used. It's light as a feather and very strong. Cleaned it up and got started. Trying to keep it 40lb or less. At about half that now. I love this site, it seems to have a lot of professional/military/old-wizard-like contributions and opinions. I like what I briefly skimmed over about having something ready even if it's not an overpriced frame pack from yrs ago or a military pack. Just have something ready, and when/if you have the cash get a nice little gift for yourself.

    Reply
  53. Great site, and I like reading peoples comments on their individual choices. Lot of Ideas.
    My pack is more of an "Apocalypse Bag", meaning if I have to bust it out, the metaphorical shit has hit the fan. In my pack I have matches, a lighter and a magnesium fire starter. I personally think fire is one of the most important things you can have in a situation on your own. So I packed accordingly, besides, it's like half a pound.
    I have a tarp and two rolls of duck tape. A hand saw, E-tool,rope, water purification kit, first aid, changes of clothes, dried food and a small tent, Along with a few other things. One of the things I have chosen, that I believe is over- looked, is a pellet rifle. I have a small pellet rifle and it straps right on the side of my pack. Pellets are cheap, effective (1000 fps) and would be priceless when it comes to getting food. I do have personel defense weapons as well, so feel free to reply if your curious.

    Reply
    • Just curious why you went with a pellet rifle over a .22LR? A Ruger 10/22 with a black composite stock for example. Ammo is cheap, plentiful, and light compared to larger calibers. I'm not saying you're wrong or that it's a bad choice. Just looking to learn.

      Reply
      • Noise for one. Sometimes you want a whisper. The 10/22 has to use the .22 LR round. It won't chamber the .22 short or CB rounds. I got the single six .22/.22 mag for those poppers, and very accurate I may add but still may be a little loud for some instances. I've toyed with getting a pellet rifle for just those instances where urban surrounding dictate discretion.

        Reply
  54. Something I think is important to have in a BOB and seems to be looked over is an adjustable wrench and a pair of visegrips. While adding weight they may be crucial to repairing or hindering something so others cannot use it against you.

    Reply
  55. Another shelter idea is a pop up hunting blind. They are light weight, cheap, fast to set up, water resistant, blend in, and come in storage bag that can easily be strapped to your BOB. Water proof canoeing bags are great BOB liners, always important to keep things dry.

    Reply
  56. my BOB is also in an alice frame/bag and when i tried it without the frame i couldnt make it down my stairs without having to readjust for comfort which means that it would drive me BONKERS in the wild and possibly be the one thing that causes me to slack and die in a survival situation so i ALWAYS use the frame. another plus to the frame is the modular capibility, once you have setup and secured your base camp you can stowe the bag safely and wear just the frame with various things lashed to it for a small recon or SAR. thats my 2 cents, dont spend it all in one place

    Reply
  57. I question the need for a snake bite kit. Except for small children and pets, snake bite is almost always your fault. Further, medical experts have told me that an amature cutting into flesh can do more damage than the venom. I'm not an expert, but I trust those who are.

    Reply
  58. I carried an ALICE for a number of years and they are the low tech carrying system of the Viet Nam era. With the frame offers a small amount of waist load bearing while increasing the air flow between body and gear. This was seen as too small by some which lead to the large mountain rucksac being invented… Also a primitive back pack. If it’s all you can afford use the frame but save up for a good new carrying system that you can use for long periods of time without killing your back and shoulders. NorthFace has one of the best suspension systems available.

    Reply
  59. Use the frame, the weight distribution will be better and carrying more wieght for a longer time will be much easier. I own a WW2 army pack with a full metal frame, not the most confortable to carry with but easier than some other packs.

    Reply
  60. New to the BOB world and looking for a decent pack. Anyone have/used/know about the Falcon-II or Condor-II pack from Maxpedition? A bit on the expensive side I'm sure but looking at other packs I'd hate to have them fail when needed the most. I suppose I could/should look around at some local surplus stores as well.

    Reply
  61. The trick to the frame or no frame on the alice pack is 1 extra set of shoulder straps and you can use this system together or as individual packs also a few high quality tie down straps are quite useful.

    Reply
    • Mike, I have a Medium with no frame. I also have issue y suspenders, belt, pouches ammo, first aid, compass canteens. I have the fighting load with the pistol belt set up according to the "care of individual equipment book. But there is not information on how to wear the Medium Alice W/O frame with the web gear and keep the pack in place. I have looked around and all of the infomation is on the packs with the frame. I there some place I can find illustrations and info on what was called the "sustainment load' which included the pack w/o frame and web gear with ammo, canteens etc. What ever help you can provide I would appreciate.

      Reply
  62. I like these posts and this website for the simple fact to help out those that are just starting out and need some direction and guidance. Although I used the Alice pack when I was in the Army, I didn't think it was large enough for my needs for a Gobag. I understand there are those that either, like you said, did not want to drop a bill or two, or could afford to. However, I read and researched every website I could on literally every possible bag, that civilians could use. I found the CFP-90. I had more positive reviews about that as well. Now, it IS big with lots of versatility and can carry a lot of weight. One thing to keep in mind I learned in the Army as an operator in the special operations group, you can put an enormous amount of weight in your pack and as long as you have it tweaked or set for your back and hips, it relieves the weight and makes it more possible to complete your mission with a heavy load. Utilize all the options on whichever pack you use like the chest straps, frames and make sure you compress the outside down tight so it won't sway when moving thus making it feel heavy. For those setting up their Gobags, keep one cardinal rule in everything you choose to put together and that is to look for equipment that provides versatility, not duplicity… meaning try to get something you can have multiple uses for. Someone earlier had also posted that you show an inventory for whats in your bag. That's a good idea but I want to add you might draw a schematic of your pack and show "where" the items are in case they may need to get into your pack if you can't. One last thing, if you have multiple others in your group and more than just you have the same pack, do the inventory,schematic drawing and everyone pack the items in the same place in your packs. Scenario: you all are getting your supplies attacked by some rogue force. someone gets hurt and you need to get to your gobag but maybe pinned down or it is too far away but your buddy's pack is closer. You can get to that pack and have the same items in the same place and use it without having to rummage through and look for things. Just what we utilized in my unit in the army. Same gear, same place packed.

    Reply
    • lonewolff,

      reading that yu were Army I was wondering if you had any experience at all with the medium ALICE w/o the frame but with the web gear like pistolbelt suspenders canteen etc.
      Looking at the book issued by the army in th late 70s it show a soldier with the pack and no frame and with his web gear BUT it dosen't explain how the pack and the web gear,
      (fighting load) to sustainment load works when you use the pack. I have the pack no frame and the web gear from 1975 that was issued then but cannot figure how the chest strap for instance is placed. plus how you keep the pack in place. Does the shoulder pad strap just go under the arms and thats it? If you have any info or know where I can see some information on that I would sure be thankful.

      Reply
  63. Ok I've elected to build my pack using my privately owned gear from when I was in the Kansas Army National Guard and the gear I got while I was in a WW-2 re-enactment group. Most of my modern military gear was bought while I was in the service from the Clothing Sales stores on Fort Riley and Fort Sill. Now my WW-2 gear is a mixed collection of vintage and modern made reproduction gear. The main two components are from World War Two Impressions (an American company in California that makes most of the gear they sell.) These are an M1928 Haversack with a Meat Can pouch and an M1923 Cartridge Belt. Now many of you have M4 or AK type rifles, me I have an M1 Garand and an M59/ 66A1 Yugo SKS. The cartridge belt has ten pockets that each hold one M1 Garand clip or small items (I use them to hold clips.)

    Reply
    • I use an LC-2 buttpack to give me another pouch and it's attached to the rear of the cartridge belt. In the haversack I have three day's change of underclothing including socks, a towel and washcloth, and a coil of rope (7/16" x 100'). In the buttpack I have three days' worth of food (mostly Bumble Bee tuna salad and chicken salad snack kits and some ramen soup packets.) In the meat can pouch I have my mess kit, a 1 qt. Ziploc bag with a couple handfuls of green tea tea-bags, my eating utensils (knife, fork, & spoon), and some Keebler granola-fudge bars.

      Reply
      • On the cartridge belt I have a Ka-Bar USMC combat knife, an M1910 canteen carrier with a vintage (1945) stainless canteen and cup, an USMC wrap around canteen carrier with another vintage (1944) canteen and cup (the cups can be used to cook in), an M1942 first aid dressing pouch with a Carlisle bandage, and an M1936 .45 magazine pocket (I keep two Government M1911 7 round magazines in this.)

        On the straps of the Haversack I have an LC-1 M16 ammo pouch (I keep six 10 round SKS stripper clips in this) and an M56 .45 magazine pocket (I keep two surplus KSHP 7 round M1911 magazines in this.) I can attach my two position JBP leather M1911 holster on the left shoulder strap just above the leftside of the cartridge belt. I use the loops on the hoster for carrying it in the small of my back when I carry it this way.

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        • In addition to the items I've spoke about so far I have a vintage Lightweight Gas Mask Bag (in WW-2 was used to carry the M-4 Gas Mask.) This item like the G.I. of my grandfather's day I use as a carry-all (the G.I.s used to "lose" the gas mask.) I keep some of my extra gear in here like a cleaning kit for my firearms, a spare multiplier, a fire-starter kit, my first aid kit, and some spare ammo. You'd be surprised what you can carry in this bag and At the Front Militaria make here in the US a couple of reproductions of this unit. I also have a tri-fold map case I keep in here.

          Reply
          • As for shetler and sleeping I've made a bedroll of a vintage Vietnam War era rubberized poncho and a 1980s era poncho liner. This I've wrapped up some changes of outer clothing like pants and shirts in as well. Now after reading some other articles I intend to get at least one other poncho and liner (so I can have a better bedroll and a ground cloth as well as a secondary rain cover.) This bedroll is attached to the bottom straps of the LC-2 buttpack.

            Now for additional water carriage I am looking for two plastic G.I. 1 qt. canteens, their cups, and their LC-2 carriers. Once I find which box these are in they will be attached using their ALICE clips to the left and right sides of the exterior of the buttpack.

    • For carrying extra loaded ammo for the Garand I have two bandoliers each with six pockets. Each pocket holds one 8 round enblock clip for the M1. If you do the math that would be 22 clips times 8 rounds or 176 rounds. (I'm looking to get some Marine Corps bedroll tie down straps and one or two Rigger small rifle clip pouches from World War Two Impressions. The plan is to strap one or both Rigger pouches to the stock of the Garand. A Rigger pouch can carry five 8 round Garand clips according to Juan Gonzales the owner of WWII Impressions.)

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  64. I know that they will be some of you that will disagree but I would not use a ALICE pack or any camo you want to stay over the radar in a SHTF but for some to get you home if car down I still would be very careful…My BOB. is a External fram backpack and I still working on it…But good luck with your BOB

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  65. Consider a few dual-purpose items:
    1. hot water bottle (the red rubber things) with the enema tube. Boil up some water at night to drink the next day, then take it to bed with you to keep warm. It has a built-in funnel, and the enema tube can double as a hydration tube, so you don’t have to dig out water bottles. Easily modified to mate with filters, etc.

    2. Liquid-crystal iodine for water purification and wound cleaning. If you hate the taste as much as I do, carry some vitamin C. Crush one into the water AFTER it has been sanitized fully and the iodine bubbles out (or use a few fresh pine or spruce needles instead).

    3. A coleman stainless steel french press- there’s lots of nutrition available in “tea” form almost anywhere. Can also be used as a mug, pot or mouse-proof storage contained.

    4. Cheap japanese-style pull saw from lowes, home depot, sears, etc. Not really dual-purpose, but cheap, light and surprisingly effective and precise.

    5. Card lenses- great for fire starting or finding splinters. Light, compact, cheap.

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  66. After some experiments with the system I was checking out it seems to me that an ALICE will work better than the M1928 Haversack. I had hoped that using the haversack to replace the suspenders on my LBE would cut down on the shoulder strain, but it was just worse. So I'm going to return to using either the H-strap suspenders like the M56s or the Y-strap suspenders like the ALICE type. My other ideas worked pretty good. Since the ALICE will take LC-2, LC-1, and M56 pouches I can put them on the pack to provide more carry capability. I don't have a pack shelf, but I do have a sleeping bag carrier for the ALICE, only my civilian sleeping bag won't compress small enough to fit. I also found the same was true of the Army's newer modular sleeping bag. Does anyone have a suggestion for a bag that runs as little as $50 and not much more that $200?

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  67. Gentlemen, reading your comments here about the Medium ALICE pack gives me some hope of finding out how it is supposed to be adjusted and where all the straps go when trying to use the pack with the web gear loaded with canteens, ammo pouches, first aid and compass pouch.
    I have a individual equipment belt with a "Y" suspender. I also have a old canvas
    Butt pack that I figured out how to attach properly to the suspenders and belt. But I cannot figure how the medium pack With Out frame is used with that equipment and how it is secured to stay on your back. Any info would really be appreciated. I know the Army had what they called a "Sustainnment Load" that incorperated the Medium Pack w/o frame with the "fighting load" that was the pistolbelt, suspenders pouches etc. But their book on the care of individual equipment is quite vague about where everything is supposed to be and how.

    Reply
    • just fit things in so that you can easily find what you need when you want it or need it. I'd keep your clothing, rations, toiletries, etc. in the main compartment and the smaller one inside. Now wet weather gear like your poncho and if you have them should go into the three pouches on the outside. Note you can also get LC-2 or M56 ammo pouches and attach them to the webbing on the exterior to carry your first aid kit, fire starting kit and a small tool kit. Also the older e-tools and their carriers can attach to this webbing too. The M1910 T-handle and carrier and the M1943 folding and carrier can hook on to the webbing using the eyelets in the webbing. The M56 w/ carrier and the U.S. issue tri-fold using either the M67 carrier or the foliage green plastic carrier will attach using their ALICE clips to the webbing. I usually put that up high on the left, but you can put it down low on either side. You can also attach the WW-2 style machet with scabbard into the webbing using the eyelets. I know this because the M1 Bayonet used similar hooks and I have one attached behind the right pocket of my ALICE.

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  68. Did an experiment with an M1945 Pack, Field, Canvas, Combat I found is some old military gear of my late Uncle's. The pack's straps like those of the M1928 Haversack worked as a substitute for suspenders for LBE, but the pack itself was only a little larger than the haversack. Still going with the Medium ALICE I own. The trouble with it is that its frame was messed up and I had to strip it of the frame until I can afford either a decent pack with an internal frame or a new frame for the ALICE. From the basic list for what to put in your BOB I think that I can work with this arrangment for now. When I finally get reemployed I can work on spending some of my earnings on improving what I have and changing out some of the gear or items I've packed for better ones.

    Reply
    • going to do a test run here soon with just the ALICE and some items in it to see about weight distribution and such. I am also using an M56 butt pack on my webbed belt with the M56 H-strap suspenders. I've made a shachel from an ALICE/ LC-2 butt pack and a field phone carry strap to carry some of the other gear that may come in handy. Since I don't have a frame in good repair I am looking at distributing my gear into various packages so that if god forbid lose some of it I won't be entirely compromised.

      Reply
  69. I have a family of five and i was wondering if in terms of bugging out I should put one 1 man tent in each of my family members bag or two 3 man tents in two of my family members bag?

    Reply
    • I would lean towards the two 3-man tent option. I think in a SHTF situation, the psychological boost of having family in the same tent would be good.

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  70. I've used both the large alice pack and the medium and i prefer the medium over the large for several reasons. The large will hold so much it is tempting to over fill it and you get too much stuff you don't need adding un-needed weight. If you don't fill a large, it becomes floppy, too much loose material and becomes a snagging hazard. a large will take up a lot of vehicle or shelter space. I spent a lot of time in armored and mechanized units,the large rucks always ended up hanging on the outside of vehicles,soaking up dust,rain,snow,chemicals.. mediums did'nt always end up outside and were more easily accessed and stayed drier,and cleaner.

    Reply
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  72. I would like to mention something i have not seen added to the BOB…

    I good set of sharpening stones…a knife isnt worth much when its dull…

    Also a couple inexpensive trash bags…good for water collection as well as acting a poncho’s….a small fishing kit (hooks..boober..sinkers…dry flies)..also as comical as it may seem even for the “manliest” BOB a few tampons..

    I also carry a 25′ section of 1/2 rope…

    As far as firearms goes when STHF i have a Ruger 9 mm and a Savage .223…

    I would say these 2 calibers even though the ammo will be in high demand will most likely be found if that makes sense….

    Also i think a fine firearm to have would be my .22 mag…where i live (Indiana) it is adequate enough to take any animal….because if the chips are down i wont be trophy hunting..

    But probably the most important thing to carry is “Knowledge” to use what you have…because i know people who couldnt and cant start a fire with a flame thrower or find the a** with both hands.

    Thanks for allowing my opinion

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  73. Working on a second BOB using a more modern MOLLE style pack. It works so far, but I may need to figure out where to find some water bottle carriers if I don't get a Camelback or similar hydration system.

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    • The reason for finding MOLLE type water bottle/ canteen carriers is that I've recently learned that PALS straps and ALICE clips don't mix all that well for long periods of time.

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  74. I'm a newbie here but after reading everything, one thing that I thought was important to have in your BOB/GHB is a set of spare keys to houses, storerooms, safes, cars, generators, locks, etc. No use in having a bug out location/safehouse if you leave the keys in your house in a chaotic city…getting out of a city is one thing, getting back in is usually a whole different animal.

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  75. When I go to the field, something that is always on my rucks are bungee cords. You can loop them around the frame of your ruck and use them for just about anything. I mostly use them when setting up my poncho. Quick to set up and take down without having to cut or mess with knots of 550 cord.

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  76. We have a closet full of wheeled luggage. I am going to pack a 3 day BOB into one of them. Not ideal, but just using what I have.

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  77. Maybe I am soft but I hate to have cold hands, feet or water. I pack those lovely little chemical hand Warmers. They are cheap and light. I haven't tried it but I wonder if it would help keep your hydration pack warmer on those very cold days? Or even a water bottle in your pack.

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  78. A lot of these posts seem to be well intended, but not really practical in a real bug-out situation; I have had the misfortune to have to leave my comfy confines a few times due to weather, terrorist attacks and even an overnight coup that left an unfavorable government in control.

    Screw all the EOTWAWKI Book of Eli Zombies… think about what you *really* need to get through three days and what you would do to get by with no infrastructure in place. Why would you carry three day worth of food? You can live for a week without food easy and the weight and space of that food can be used for MUCH better things… what about money? Bartering material? Medical supplies? What if the evacuation team won't even let you take your 45 pound back-back with you?

    The real SHTFBBQ is not as sexy as The Walking Dead and I have seen a lot of people carry a lot of shit that is just useless…

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  79. Another thing I used to carry on my ALICE frame was to wrap bungee cords or a 50' length of type 3 nylon cord ("550 cord" just above the kidney pad and below where the shoulder pads make contact. It's a greatly underutilzed and ignored space. I also carried a nice folded up sheet of cardboard and later half an old poly-pad in that space to use to sit or kneel on for shoret periods of time.

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  80. I am curious as to what size/type of pack I should purchased? I have looked at several online but am not as savvy as many of you so it becomes overwhelming.
    I am 5'2 at 120lbs and nearing 50 yrs old. I am not very athletic nor hiking adept but did grow up in the woods of NH. I would most likely be cutting out alone with my dog. I did purchase a 1995 jeep Cherokee 4×4 a few years ago and equipped her with a large roof rack, lights, heavy duty metal bumpers, mudder tires and a winch just in case I needed to hit the mountains or dry river beds.

    I DO plan on stocking up the jeep with water, tent gear, etc…but in case I had to hump out and leave the vehicle behind I'd like a pack that a small woman can carry but be roomy enough for basic essentials.

    Suggestions?

    Thanks

    Reply
  81. Hey Lucas, looks like you got a pretty awesome BOB going there! If you have any questions about first aid gear, email or tweet me! The Sawyer extractor is a smart thing to have. I am an EMT professionally and I am working on my own BOB. I love to help out other people with first aid related questions! ~ Lewis
    [email protected]

    Reply
  82. Hello everyone,

    I am 41, and live with my parents. My dad who is 83 and my mom who is 69. they are both retired and live on a fixed income. I have been unemployed for over 10 years due to health reasons and I have just recently begun to get them corrected! I had Weight Loss Surgery on September 30, 2013 and have lost 52 lbs since the surgery! I have lost a total of 116 lbs overall, since May/June of 2010 when I was at my heaviest of 379 lbs! I am now down to 263 lbs! I will have to have back surgery to repair a bulging disc and a couple of other issues in my lower back. Hopefully that will happen in the next couple months.

    I have been talking to them about Prepping and having at the bare minimum a Bug Out Bag. They finally said that was a good Idea to have a "Bug Out Bag". I said that I thought that 2 or 3 bags, 1 for each of us or at least with the 2 bags we would have enough supplies to last a few days.

    I have been searching for information online for a while now, for what would make a good "Bug Out Bag", what to include a "Bug out Bag", and How to pack the "Bug out Bag" so everyone in the family can find anything in each "BoB" without having to take everything out to search for it! I have gotten some good ideas so far, But need information and ideas.

    We have some stuff already, but it is mostly used for when we go hunting. However I do have a small camp/survival stove that I won in a contest. It is a "Kelly Kettle" : http://www.kellykettleusa.com/aluminum-large-kell… I also have a small first aid kit that as a survival blanket, Poncho. compass, whistle, and other items.

    As for what I was thinking for the "Bug Out Bags", I was thinking of getting the Medium Alice Packs with their frames. I am not sure yet if I will get the Load Bearing Vest or not for myself.

    I look forward to reading more articles and your responses.

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  83. May I suggest that instead of wheeled luggage which have very small wheels (not good except for even flat surfaces), you invest in a garden cart with at least ten inch wheels. Many can carry 200-300 pounds easily, and can be much easier on your body than a heavy backpack. Pull it with a game harness so you are hands-free if needed and you can alternate pulling walking forward and backward. I wear a survival vest with this in case I need to abandon the cart for speed or stealth reasons, then I still have the basics on me at all times! Putting a handbrake on the cart will allow you to maintain better control especially on steep slopes. The main disadvantage of a cart is trying to go through heavy vegetation can be tough! I use a large ALICE pack with extra-long, add-on pouches on both sides for long-term camping/survival; and I think a tent is always worth carrying to create your own personal micro-climate (maybe with a friend), a barrier to the elements, rain, shine, wind, bugs, etc. A folding sleeping pad carried between the pack and your back will make it more comfortable and of course, you can sleep on it! Finally, since nature doesn't always co-operate with your best-laid-plans, carry a pack of playing cards (maybe ones that have edible plant pictures/info or survival info on them) or maybe a small checkers/chess board to fill the empty hours, assuming your survival needs, i.e. water, fire wood, etc. have already been met! Must ex- or current military personnel will tell you that hurry-up-and-wait is very common in the field, especially in foul weather!

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  84. First off Im going to say no disrespec butt This person says to start with the bag itself. However This is something you DON’T want to do you should only think about getting a bag AFTER you have ALL of the initial items in your bag. If you buy the bag first and then buy the items you’ll most likely leave some things out of your bag because they all won’t fit. You want to get ALL the items 1st. Then the bag itself This is a must

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  85. You can upgrade the ALICE frame with MOLLE straps and waist belt – a big improvement from the standard ALICE pack. Do a search on the HELLCAT ALICE mod to find out how to do this.

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  86. You should have the farm but you should also have a camel back to store water and with that iodine tablets to purify during your hike.

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