All survival situations are very simply based on the circumstances surrounding your particular scenario and as much as we would hope to, you can never plan for every single detail that might happen. My biggest concern would be finding myself in a situation that I would have to “bug out” so that is what I planned for first. This post is set forth to get the wheels turning and start you off in the right direction always trying to pay attention to every tiny detail as you go and grow. I have always been an extremist with everything I do and one of my pet peeves is gear. I NEVER buy junk or anything used, I seek out the best I can find that will serve me because I want to be able to trust and depend on that gear in any situation. Again there are many opinions as to what you should have; for example in my last column I listed some cooking appliances that will get you through any situation due to the fact that you don’t need to stockpile any fuel to use them. That is critical in a scenario where things have gone to hell and you are left with what you have stocked, what you will be able to find and produce from that point on but some things will not work if you are on the move due to size and weight. Let’s look at the most important items in a survival situation, what makes it happen? First of all in any situation you need to secure a supply of water. If you are in a setting where you are able to stay for a long period of time then it is fairly easy to have that on hand if you prepared properly but even a good water supply will eventually run out so my first item on the list and one of the first things to disappear will be good water purifiers/filters. Again we can live without food for weeks but without water depending on the conditions we will be gone in days. My suggestion is a filter that is portable, durable as well as one that can purify thousands of gallons of water before needing a change. I see so many “survival experts” telling you to stock up on bottled water or they put together a BOB with some water pouches, but what if things change and you are out for more than three days? I do start with one gallon of water for my hydration pack but remember bottled is NOT treated and has a very short shelf life so your “stock” will run out very quickly. If you choose to buy water pouches that have a longer shelf life you will spend what you could have to buy a good water filter and not obtain enough water to survive for very long. All scenarios can change in a heartbeat so we should be prepared for anything at this point so I chose my bug-out tools carefully starting with:
1) Eberlestock G4 Operator Pack: For me it all starts with the pack that carries all you need, if you can’t comfortably and securely carry what you need you won’t last long. This is a military rated sniper pack that is field ready, there are different models but I have seen none better.
2) Katadyn Pocket Micro-Filter: Filters up to 13,000 gallons and I believe to be the best mobile filter you can have in a “BOB” and don’t forget to pack some coffee filters as they will greatly extend the life of your filter over time.
3) Kelly Kettle Trekker (Larger unit if you can carry the weight, never needs fuel)
4) Combustion-4-way for me is waterproof matches, Fire-steel & a magnesium starter along with a full wind proof lighter/torch and of course an REI safety whistle.
5) My survival knife choice is the Gerber LHR Tactical Fixed Blade SS, it has a safety sheath so the knife can only be drawn by the user and not be taken away from you.
6) Paracord: I no longer carry rope but have made a few lengths of Paracord 1-100’ and 1-150’ that hide easily in my pack. The outer sheath is braided from 32 nylon strands and is rated for 200 lbs. The inner strands add 50 lbs each, resulting in a total minimum breaking strength of 550 lbs, so what does this mean? You can use this to repel down a mountain side as long as you do not weigh more than 550lbs for one thing. Keeping that in mind I carry a few mini light sticks so if this happens at night I can place one at my tie-off point enabling me to shoot through and retrieve my Paracord. I also made clip belts from Paracord for pack attachments. Thousands of people use Paracord for crafting. A simple Paracord bracelet, key-fob, belt, etc can contain yards of cord that can be quickly unraveled for use in a survival situation.
7) Multi Tool: I carry the Leatherman Wave
Short term food supply: If I am bugging out I need to hit the ground running so I want the quickest most nutritious meals I can “lightly pack”. Mountain House is my choice along with some high energy meal bars. You Bar will actually let you build your own bars to cover your nutritional needs. I have also added some jerky and my VIA.
9) Along with my GPS I have USFS maps and a great map Compass, my Silva Ranger also works as my signal mirror:
10) My tactical pack light is again the best multi-use I have ever seen, the Streamlight Sidewinder C4 LED
11) Yoyo automatic fishing survival reels: A must for every “BOB” I also made up a small tackle kit complete with lures, hooks, line and bait. That one gallon water jug I started off with will make these fishing monsters, even if you have never fished before.
12) Traps: Depending on how long you are out trapping food might be quite necessary, while trapping is illegal in Colorado I will do what I have to do when it comes to survival. My pack is set up with a “Trap-Kit” as follows, a few pre made snares, a spool of snare wire and 2 simple large rat traps. Keep in mind that using a snare is no simple task; if you are very good or very lucky one out of ten will produce game for you. On your “rat traps” you will want to drill a hole in them to attach a safety wire as the last thing you want is a larger predator running off with your food and your trap. Just FYI the first thing I will do after securing my shelter close to a good water supply and prepping my fire set up is deploying my traps. I do not want to burn through my pack supplies unless I absolutely have to. Food gathering will be easiest while my strength is near its peak:
13) Nomad Guide 10 Plus: all of my support tools, GPS, Tact-light, portable radios, etc run off of AA batteries so along with a few extra batteries I carry this ultra-light solar charger with back-up power. This will charge my GPS, cell phone, 2 way communication, etc.
14) A good repair kit is always a great Idea:
15) Collapsible Bucket: There are so many great uses this is an invaluable tool when you “on the go” such as laundry, bathing, dishes, hauling water, campfire control, etc.
16) Anti-microbial Camping Towel: Something that is quick drying and light weight will carry you a long way.
17) Small pack of general hardware, eyehooks nails, etc. This will be huge to help set up a clothes line or other things that may come up.
18) Camp/Back pack saw: some kind of emergency saw is something you might not be able to do without, this is what I carry and cuts like a hot knife through butter:
19)First Aid: I carry a simple kit that after I was Red Cross Certified I modified it to my needs with a blood clot kit, freeze kit, epipen, Sawyer extractor kit etc. I also carry a CPR mask.
20) My Shelter: one all season tent as I never know what time of year I may have to bug-out. What I do know is this tent will get me through any conditions in any season.
21) Last is my sleeping bag and that is changing for me again due to weight and the new bug-out areas I have chosen for a better tactical coverage/vantage point along with better hunting/fishing. As soon as I purchase it I will post it and show you. Again I have reassessed so many things like weaponry, ammo, potential of the long haul by foot, new supply cache locations and all of the routes that gave me the greatest vantage point in any given situation I could possibly imagine.
I have shared with you what I feel are the very essentials for survival in no certain order and always remember you can get by with so much less that what I have listed. There are a few other Items I carry that I didn’t mention simply because I am familiar with my pack and what I and able to do with it that most people can’t do. I carry of course certain weapons, universal cleaning kit, rain gear, hiking poles with a duct tape wrap, emergency blanket, personal hygiene items, a few changes of specialty clothes, Hunting camo-kit for going stealth, several packets of my vitamin/energy drink mix, a pack rod with a fly and spinning reel, an emergency candle, emergency crank radio, etc. Again this is me and what I feel is important, what I know how to use based upon the weight I can and want to carry. There is also a great read I recommend everyone should have and memorize called the SAS Survival Handbook, many agree this is the one.
The one last thing I won’t get into detail with you about is evasion. I was trained by some awesome military friends who showed me things that I feel are not wise to share publicly as many unscrupulous would use this information to maliciously harm innocent people. I personally would never break the law, but that being said I would in all situations defend myself and my family or any innocent person whose life is in danger. There are simple techniques that I believe you should learn that could save you and or your family in a dire situation such as having a 1,000,000 candle power spotlight to slow and even stop someone from following you. It becomes extremely difficult to follow someone when you are “seeing spots” after being blinded by that much light. How about the combination of duct tape and roofing nails? Remember some of this information is free on the internet; you never need to pay anyone for it, and anything you do have to pay for on a training level is better learned legally in a class one on one with a Certified Instructor, not some military looking wannabe-fool in camo-drag with a constipated look on his face. Plan your routes well and have more than one exit plan to leave your area. The more traveled roads will most likely be a parking lot that you could find yourself stuck in the middle if you are not careful or if you wait too long. Always be mentally prepared, put yourself in the “survival mind-frame” understanding this is one scenario you HAVE prepared for. Things won’t be easy and there will most likely be many surprises along the way but be confident in you and your preparation skills and as in any plan there is so much detail to pay attention to. No “makeshift expert” knows your situation better than you and you must be the master of your domain wherever that may be. You have been created with the skills to survive anything you put your heart and mind to.
Always enjoy the vast treasure we have before us, but do it responsibly and cautiously and with all due respect to the kings of the forests that live there.
Remember to be safe, always pack the right gear and never ever go into ANY domain unprepared, not even for a minute. Until the next time if you ever come across a trail jumping flesh-eating creek-vaulting gun-toting knife wielding stick swinging Metal Chef-ing banjo pickin’ guitar playin’ scam bustin’ disaster surviving zombie evading owner of a face you’ll never forget and one only his mother could love scarier than your mama could ever warn you about spooky dude who might just cook and eat you, NEVER, EVER, use the term bushwhacking in his un-holy presence……..This is THE GREAT WHITE.