Survival resources can vary considerably in their ability to help you react, adapt, and overcome adversity during an emergency situation.
With this in mind, we’ve put together the essential survival resources you need in one place to help you get straight to the information that matters most.
If you know exactly what you’re looking for, then start here and get straight to the section you need without the background reading.
If you’re less sure about where to go first and want to find out more about the essential survival resources you should look to get to grips with now – including guides on equipment, supplies, and practical tips for almost any disaster or emergency survival situation – then read on.
Essential Survival Resources
Whether you’re looking to prepare for every eventuality, or have a specific preparedness situation plan in mind, getting the essential information is the key to success, saving you time, money, and stress.
The thing is, getting to the most relevant information quickly can be difficult at best and sometimes, virtually impossible if you want to avoid trawling countless sources of questionable information.
How do we know this? Because we’ve been there in the past, looking for these kinds of resources.
Many of the emergency preparedness and survival resources out there are often far from useful, relying more on fear and unhelpful personal and political viewpoints to try and communicate what would otherwise be invaluable information.
In fact it was because of this that Survivalist Prep first came into existence – a clear, no BS approach to finding the best, most useful (and easy to understand), and most importantly, relevant information for successful emergency preparedness planning.
Preparing for the worst case scenario isn’t a fearful or difficult task, you just need to get to the best information quickly and efficiently to allow you to get a contingency plan in place.
The goal of this survival resources page is to help you make that happen.
The Foundations of Survival
When it comes to the most essential survival resources you need to cover first, the primary objective is understanding the things that every human needs to ensure to survive in the wild.
If you find yourself in the wilderness, away from home, or in any emergency situation where the usual prerequisites for normal life simply aren’t present, then the following areas become the foundation pillars for survival.
Shelter and Warmth
The simple fact of the matter is that all other things being equal, exposure is going to pose the most immediate threat to life in an emergency situation.
Assuming that you’re not in clear and present danger from any external natural or man made threats (and similarly, don’t have any injuries that require immediate triage or treatment), protecting yourself from the elements is the first priority in any survival situation.
Whether we’re talking about heat, cold, rain, sun, wind, or snow, nature is an unrelenting and emotionless force that won’t hesitate to kill if not respected and adapted to accordingly.
Nature can be worked with but never worked against – many have foolishly assumed the latter and this is always to their detriment in one way or another.
With the importance of seeking shelter set as the paramount priority, you have a couple of choices and without a shadow of a doubt, the very best choice is to make sure that you have a portable shelter such as a survival or expedition tent on hand to provide cover when needed.
A high quality survival tent provides a portable, ready to go shelter that can be quickly assembled when needed and that will ensure you’re protected from some of the worst conditions that mother nature can throw at you when the weather begins to turn.
When it comes to finding a lightweight survival tent to keep you warm and dry, the main criteria to look for in a survival tent includes finding a shelter that combines the following:
- 3-4 season rating for protection in a wide range of conditions
- Lightweight and compact when packed
- Durable with high quality construction, materials, and waterproofing
- Quick and easy to assemble in potentially challenging conditions
The main goal of a survival tent is to provide an effective protective shelter from exposure as quickly and reliably as possible.
Many of the best survival tents will go far beyond these foundation requirements of course, offering extended protection and durability that takes them above and beyond standard tents designed for weekend hiking and camping trips.
Keeping a survival tent in a bug out bag is one of the very best ways to ensure that if things start to go south, the ability to call on a shelter will never be compromised.
– Check Out Our Guide to the Best Survival Tents to Find Out More About Performance Survival Shelters and Tents –
Mountaineering, Expedition, and Cold Weather Tents
There are of course, situations that warrant a form of shelter that goes beyond providing the essential level of protection from the elements.
In situations where the climate and weather conditions in the winter months or at higher altitudes mean a high probability of severe cold, snow, and ice, then the requirement for a survival shelter escalates to another level.
These conditions require a tent that is built to withstand greater extremes of weather such as strong wind resistance, snow cover protection, higher waterproof ratings, and greater insulating properties.
Cold weather tents and those designed for specialized use in mountaineering and expedition situations (think Everest and Antarctica) allow a level of engineered, all-season protection which simply isn’t practical for lighter weight survival tents.
The best cold weather tents are, as a result of this increased performance and durability, always going to come in higher on the weight and price scale, but what you get in exchange for this trade is a survival shelter that is quite literally built for the very worst conditions.
If you live in a northern latitude, an area prone to severe winter conditions, or at a higher altitude, then ensuring provision of a portable shelter to keep you protected outdoors will, almost by necessity, require you to look for a cold weather tent capable of taking severe weather in it’s stride.
An evacuation preparedness strategy that sees you calling on a bug out vehicle in times of crisis is going to be well suited to allowing you to carry a heavy duty, cold weather tent in your inventory, meaning even if you live in a temperate or warmer climate, if you need to travel to colder areas, your shelter still has you covered.
– See Our Guide to the Very Best Cold Weather Tents to Find Out More About the Ultimate Expedition Tents and Shelters –
The ability to generate heat through the creation of fire is an important skill to learn to master in a survival situation, allowing you to cook food, boil water, sterilize tools, produce light, and of course, to keep warm.
While not strictly a form of shelter, ensuring access to a variety of skills and tools for creating a fire in almost any situation should be considered within this category given the importance of this task to survival when the temperature drops or darkness falls.
It goes without saying that utilizing a tool such as a lighter, waterproof matches, or even a fire starting device like a striking steel are by far the easiest and most effective methods of getting a fire underway, and at the top of the list (alongside provision of adequate physical shelter) should sit multiple levels of fire starting redundancies for igniting a quick and easy flame when needed.
Beyond these tools though, you should give some time to learning the essential ‘knowledge and nature’ based skills for starting a fire to serve as the ultimate contingency in case your primary fire starting methods aren’t available. While difficult to master, these natural skills served our ancient ancestors well and can be picked up with regular practice, at which point you’ll be armed with invaluable skills that have zero weight cost if you find yourself needing to leave home in a hurry.
– Find Out How to Master the Essential Survival Skills For Building a Fire in our Beginners Guide to Starting a Fire From Scratch –
Water and Hydration
In a survival situation or emergency, maintaining a continual and reliable access to clean and safe drinking water is crucial.
While the human body can last for weeks without food, go without water and you’re going to find yourself in serious trouble long before that.
Maintaining a healthy water balance is absolutely critical to avoiding the symptoms of dehydration that can come about due to a lack of fluids.
The rate by which we lose water naturally varies based upon a whole lot of factors ranging from local climate and temperature, to level of exertion and the subsequent loss of water due to sweating.
Ensuring that you have sufficient water on hand is one thing, but how do you guarantee this in a survival situation where supplies may run dry and sources of water may be questionable and potentially deadly if consumed?
The key piece of equipment in these situations is undoubtedly a survival water filter or filtration system which is specifically designed to remove impurities and threats from direct water sources.
As you’d probably expect, survival water filters range in size from portable filtration devices which can be stored in a pocket or slipped into a backpack, to larger home-based water filter systems featuring a much higher capacity and designed for use by multiple people over longer periods of time.
In either case and regardless of the size, a water filter ultimately works in much the same way, taking an unclean source of water, removing the impurities (such as particulate, viruses, and waterborne threats), and making the water safe to drink.
There are a number of methods which the most common water filters utilize to clean water and you’re likely to see one of the following:
Gravity Fed Water Filtration Systems
As the name suggests, these water filters use the power of gravity to ‘feed’ the water from a higher level, through a filter (or number of filter stages) and into a lower chamber or pouch from which the clean filtered water can then be accessed for drinking – either directly or for storing in a flask, hydration bladder or canteen for later user.
These kinds of filter are usually the primary style of design for larger systems such as home water filters or systems designed to be set up as part of a camp. In both instances, the obvious advantage of this kind of filtering system is that once the main section is filled, you can simply ‘set and forget’ rather than other, more portable systems which require active filtration of some form.
Suction Water Filters and Filtration Straws
The suction method of water filtration works by ‘pulling’ the unclean water directly from a questionable source, through the filtration element(s) and allowing you to drink the resultant filtered water there and the then.
Made famous by the excellent Lifestraw portable water filter system, straw filtering systems have a clear advantage over larger alternatives when it comes to portability, if you’re looking to prepare a go bag for use in case of evacuation, the ability to slip a lightweight, unpowered water filter into your kit is always going to be highly appealing.
Beyond the traditional straw or tube design, suction filters can also take the form of bottle attachments or additions to hydration bladder systems, in both cases allowing you to fill the bottle or bladder with water from the source, before sucking through the filter and drinking the filtered water.
The major drawback to this kind of water filter is of course, the physical action required to actually filter your water. With that being said, the option to have this kind of ‘grab and go’ filter as a part of your kit is a no-brainer, particularly if you’re thinking of pairing it up as a secondary source of filtration in your home or portable preparedness supplies.
Pump Water Filters
Another excellent choice if you’re looking for a portable water filtration system is a pump based device. While still requiring physical effort to filter the water (pumping some kind of crank or handle), portable pump water filters offer one clear advantage over suction based systems – they provide the ability to store the clean and purified water in another container such as a flask, bladder, or bottle once the raw water has been extracted from source and has passed through the filter.
Pump filters tend to come in slightly higher on the price scale than suction filters, but the advantage of allowing you to carry considerably more purified water once filtered is a benefit that is more than worth the additional cost if you want a solution that allows you to make and break camp without issues of water safety along the way.
– Find Out More About the Best Survival Water Filtration Systems in Our Guide to Portable and Home Water Filters –
Food and Nutrition
While the importance of food is outweighed in the short term by ensuring sufficient access to clean drinking water, without adequate nutrition, things will begin to deteriorate quickly when it comes to your ability to think, react, and perform at maximum efficiency during a survival situation or emergency.
If disaster strikes, making sure that you’re able to call on enough food for energy and overall nutrition will not only mean you’re able to think quickly and perform under periods of intense challenges for longer, but will also reduce the likelihood of illness setting in due to dietary deficiency or weakened bodily processes.
Beyond mere caloric value, retaining a secure access to the widest range of adequate nutrition will mean that you’re quite literally fighting fit, reducing negative effects on the immune, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal systems as well as optimizing neurological performance meaning you make the right judgement calls without hesitation when needed.
Emergency Meal Kits and Survival Food
Probably the biggest challenges when it comes to provision of nutrition during an emergency or disaster are focused around the storage, preparation, and portability (in the case of evacuating an area by foot or in a vehicle).
Not only does the food you have to hand in a survival situation need to provide adequate sustenance and nutrition, but it needs to be relied upon when all of the usual rules of broken down.
An emergency situation is likely to include some or all of the following which make regular provision and preparation of food difficult if not impossible:
- No power to cook or prepare food
- No power to refrigerate food and keep it from spoiling
- The need to evacuate your home, limiting the amount of ‘regular’ food that can be carried
In all of these instances, one of the very best actions that can be taken ahead of time is to invest in a pre-prepared set of emergency meal pouches or survival food kits.
These kinds of meal kit are pr-prepared, packaged in a low profile pouch for easy storage and packing, provide an excellent variety of rounded meal choices, with minimal (if any) prep required, and high nutritional value.
Beyond this though, the major advantage of these kinds of meal kits is that they provide an incredible shelf life of anywhere from 5 to 30 years!
What this means in practice of course, is a storable emergency food solution that can be called on in times of crisis without the worry of expiration dates and the kinds of ‘rotation’ usually required by traditional canned goods stored at home.
And if you need to get out of dodge quickly, the low-profile design of emergency meal pouches means they can be grabbed and thrown into a bug out bag or vehicle without a second thought.
– Check Out Our Pick of the Best Emergency Meal Kits and Survival Food Systems for Home Preparedness Nutrition Planning –
Staying Put or Bugging Out – Survival Resources for Home and Evacuation Preparedness
In the event of a disaster situation or crisis unfolding, assuming you’re at home when it happens, you ultimately have two choices:
Hunker down, or evacuate to an area of safety.
There are of course occasions when this decision will be made for you, for example an imminent threat to your property and your safety within it will necessitate getting out of your home as soon as possible.
Also however, there are those situations where things may not be so clear cut and you need to decide on the best course of action for you and yours – stay or go?
Either way, having a comprehensive plan and a completed preparedness strategy in place beforehand will mean that you’re equipped (both mentally and physically) to react if the worst should come to pass.
The best preparedness approach sees a full-spectrum strategy which builds both the ability to bug out and to bug in should the need arise.
With a dual plan in place that covers every eventuality you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your prepared on the home front but equally able to quickly and effortlessly evacuate by vehicle or on foot if required.
Home Preparedness Survival Resources
The ability to ride out any metaphorical or literal storm in your own home relies on the implementation of a home preparedness strategy ahead of time.
In this instance, the same key principles of survival form the basis of a well considered preparedness strategy – namely ensuring personal safety and the provision of shelter, water, and food.
Beyond this however, the advantage of operating on your own property means there are a number of additional activities, supplies, and equipment that can be incorporated into your plans without the usual considerations associated and drawbacks with being away from home (mainly around size and weight).
A home preparedness strategy that’s put into action ahead of an emergency means that everything from creating an emergency food storage solution, to building power redundancies, and even planting a survival garden can be considered to help you deal with the situation if disaster strikes.
In this section of our guide to essential survival resources, we’ve taken a look at some of the essential ways you can look to build resilience into a home preparedness strategy from the ground up.
Whether you’re snowed in for a week, without power for a month, or need to hole up for a longer period of time until a serious crisis passes, the survival resources here will help you get ready today.
Home Preparedness Resources – Nutrition and Hydration
Depending on the situation, the chances are that in the event of an emergency, you could be looking at a prolonged period of time spent in your home during a crisis.
While shorter term events such as a winter or tropical storm could see you needing to dig in for a week or two, more serious situations or incidents could easily see this period of time increasing, potentially even for months on end.
With this in mind, resilience and self reliance become the cornerstones of any home preparedness strategy and at the center of these principles is ensuring continued access to safe food and drinking water.
Preparing an Emergency Survival Food Pantry
There is a single advantage that outweighs almost all others when it comes to bugging in at home – you’re not constrained by the issues of space and weight that affect those evacuating by vehicle or on foot.
Nowhere is this advantage more noticeable than when it comes to the provision of emergency food where the option to call on a pre-prepared stockpile of emergency food at home, allows you to increase the resilience of your strategy by months if required.
Think of it this way, if a high capacity bug out or tactical backpack allows you to carry 3-7 days worth of food, and a vehicle has the capacity to bring 2-4 weeks of nutrition (alongside other equipment), how much more survival food could you store at home and how much longer could you therefore hold out during a crisis?
This is the concept at the center of preparing an emergency food pantry in your home, allowing you to call on a literal stockpile of survival ingredients, emergency meal kits, and shelf-stable food, no matter what’s going on in the world around you.
Depending on the size of your home, the area you dedicate to building an emergency food pantry can vary from a spare kitchen cabinet or two, to an area of a basement or garage, or even a dedicated room.
Either way, this area of storage will allow you to begin assembling a store of food that can be called on in times of turmoil and will allow significantly more room (literally) for increasing the choices and numbers of your emergency nutrition options.
While canned food is traditionally viewed by many as a staple for a home emergency food supply, there are significant advantages in going for a dedicated survival food solution or emergency meal ingredient kit given the superior shelf-life (often 20-30 years), the ease of preparation, and the practical storage considerations offered by these choices.
Generally speaking, the more varied your emergency nutrition strategy, the more resilience you’ll be building into your home preparedness planning, so opt for variety over monotony and look to include a wide range of foods you actually enjoy eating regularly as opposed to cans or pouches of food that you don’t like the sound of – sorry spam.
– The Definitive Guide to the Best Emergency Food Supplies and Ingredients for Creating a Home Survival Pantry –
Survival Pantry and Emergency Food Storage
No matter how much food you have on hand, bad organization will quickly lead to chaos when it comes to monitoring and accessing your supplies, potentially undoing a lot of the gains of stockpiling an emergency food pantry in the first place.
As one of the most important aspects of building and maintaining a home food supply revolves around monitoring shelf life, implementing a well thought out and durable shelving or racking system should be a top priority if you’re creating a pantry.
The best storage solutions for home survival food supplies range from simple, rust-resistant racks for canned food, to more advanced ‘first in, first out’ racking systems that automatically arrange your supplies with the shortest shelf life items at the front of the line for first use when needed.
Whichever solution you go for though, you’re going to benefit from a definite advantage when it comes to categorizing and checking your stocks as well as keeping your food supplies off the ground.
– Read More About Getting Started With Food Storage Solutions and Can Storage Racking Systems Here –
Planting a Survival Food Garden
If you have access to a yard or area of outdoor space adjacent to your property, the option to convert the use of this into productive growing land should be a serious consideration if you’re looking to increase your overall level of self-sufficiency in the event of a long term crisis or a collapse of society.
Ensuring you’ve built a resilient stockpile of food inside your home is an excellent first step to dealing with a prolonged period of adversity, but the next level is being able to call on a perpetually renewing source of nutrition, working directly with nature to supplement and if needs be, replace, you’re primary food stores.
Planning and planting a survival garden looks to achieve this using a variety of strategic growing of heirloom or survival seeds that can be resown and will grow true year after year.
The obvious advantage of planting a survival food garden is that you’re going to be able to bring a whole variety of fresh produce to your emergency meal planning, introducing essential natural nutrients in the form of vitamins and minerals to your diet during hard times.
As proven by countless generations that relied on home grown food before the advent of refrigeration and the proliferation of grocery stores, in times of serious crisis, being able to sleep easy knowing you’ve got a garden full of fruits and vegetables offers peace of mind that money can’t buy in an emergency.
– Get Started Creating a Survival Garden with our Guide to the Best Survival and Heirloom Seed Kits Here –
Drinking Water Supply and Home Emergency Water Filtration Systems
If you turn the faucet and nothing happens, a contingency drinking water strategy isn’t a nice to have, it’s a necessity.
There are any number of situations that can see the availability, reliability, safety, or all three compromised and in preparation for this, it’s imperative that you secure multiple levels of drinking water redundancy in your home preparedness plan.
While it may feel like retaining access to safe drinking water is only a concern in the wilderness or an outdoor survival scenario, if an emergency situation unfolds on the home front, the rules of the game remain exactly the same.
Just because your home has power, sanitation, heat, and clean drinking water on tap when times are good, you simply can’t rely on this being the case when they’re not.
The first level of your survival drinking water strategy at home should revolve around keeping above and beyond the daily requirement of bottled water in your stockpile for every member of your household. Look to keep enough clean, bottled drinking water in your stockpile to see everyone through at least two weeks, and ideally aim to hold enough water for a month or more if possible.
Crucial to any preparedness planning is the ability to build contingency into every level whenever you’re able to and with this in mind, the next layer of your home hydration strategy should focus on water filtration and purification.
Investing in a high performance emergency water filter such as the semi-legendary Big Berkey or equivalent counter-top system, will ensure that if it comes to the crunch, you’ll be able to safely filter a raw water source into one that’s drinkable with minimal disruption to your everyday life and workflow in the home.
– Check Out our Choice of the Top Home and Emergency Water Filter Systems for Survival Water Purification –
Home Preparedness Resources – Power and Light
We all take for granted, the ability to flick a switch and have access to light and the almost countless other applications and devices which run on the power grid.
But when the grid goes down, things suddenly aren’t so straight forward.
If you’ve ever been in a power outage or blackout at home, you’ll already have a pretty good idea of how it feels to be without electricity – an inconvenience at first, developing into a much bigger deal over longer periods.
From cooking and lighting to communications and refrigeration, having backup systems and strategies in place will mean that if you become cut off from the main grid power supply, you won’t have to go without these essentials of modern living.
Illumination and Lighting
If the lights go out, the first thing you’re going to need to do is find a reliable replacement to help you find your way through the darkness so you can begin implementing the rest of your preparedness response plan.
A flashlight is the obvious tool for the job here and making sure you’ve got access to a high quality, durable tactical flashlight is going to get you through any number of situations with a source of lighting that’s totally reliable.
But what makes a tactical flashlight superior to a run of the mill traditional alternative?
The best tactical flashlights are designed for use in the most extreme environments and adverse conditions, combining impact and water resistance with multiple operation modes and a lightweight construction.
Look to store a number of high performance flashlights at strategic points around your home and make sure everyone in your household knows where to find them.
This means keeping devices in the bedroom, in the kitchen, and even in the bathroom.
If the lights go out, don’t get caught short.
Make sure that you also invest in multiple compatible batteries and keep these in your home preparedness supplies to ensure you’re covered for prolonged periods of time.
Most of the best tactical flashlights will also incorporate a rechargeable battery power system and in these cases, having a recharging solution that doesn’t depend on the mains electricity supply becomes an invaluable addition to your home preparedness plans.
– Find the Best Tactical Flashlight Solution for Your Power Outage Preparedness Planning Here –
Backup Power Generation
If you suddenly find your home disconnected from the grid, owning a backup generator system will mean that you’ll have a ready-to-go, portable power source that can be called upon to keep the lights on, the devices charged, and even ensure that larger household appliances such as the refrigerator will continue to run.
Emergency generator systems come in two main variants, either in the form of a traditional gas powered generator, or those which utilize solar power to charge a battery system which can hook up to your electrical devices when needed.
Conventional gas powered generator systems are a good choice if you’re less concerned about noise when running and want a system which delivers a high output of power capable of running larger, more energy hungry devices during an emergency but the thing to keep in mind here is that these kinds of generators will require a plentiful supply of fuel if running over a longer period, and will need to be run in a well ventilated area, almost certainly outdoors.
In contrast to this, solar generators (which is really the term for the combined system of solar panels and a power storage solution) produce a lower output of energy, but run silent and are definitely a solid choice if you’re looking for a discrete and low-profile solution for generating electricity during an emergency.
The major consideration with a solar generator system of course, is the requirement for continued sunlight if you’re looking to run the system over a prolonged period of time. With this in mind, the ability to charge up a bank of long-life, high capacity batteries ahead of time will allow you to access a pre-charged power source in the immediate aftermath of a disaster or emergency situation that sees you without electricity.
– See Our Guide to the Best Solar Generator Systems and Portable Emergency Solar Panels to Find Out More –
Evacuation and Bug Out Survival Resources
There are situations where remaining in your home simply isn’t an option anymore.
Whether a disaster or crisis poses a direct threat to your home itself, or the situation on the ground deteriorates to a point where you can no longer be sure of continued safety, having the ability to quickly and safely evacuate to another location is a crucial requirement when it comes to survival planning and emergency preparedness.
Bugging out is the term given to getting away from home (and any iminent threat or danger posed) with enough supplies and equipment to see you through for a set period of time.
The concept behind bugging out is much the same as any emergency preparedness planning in that you need to ensure you’ve covered the essentials of survival and continuity for the widest range of eventualities.
The major difference with preparing a bug out preparedness strategy of course, is the need to make sure this can all be achieved in a way that means you can take all of these supplies with you, either on foot, or in a pre-packed bug out vehicle.
Evacuating your home with all of the essentials for survival requires you to have a clear idea of the length of time you’re looking to cover with the items you’ve packed.
Whether you’re preparing a bag for bugging out on foot, or are packing up the car to get out of town before the roads become impassable, the amount of supplies and gear you bring along for the journey will determine how long you’re going to be covered on the road or trail.
Keeping a fully stocked bug out bag or grab bag is considered by many to be one of the fundamental pillars of a true emergency preparedness strategy, providing a literal ‘grab and go’ survival solution if you need to get out of the area fast.
A bug out vehicle takes this preparedness mentality a step further, allowing you to carry considerably more gear – so long as you’re able to implement a vehicle evacuation of the area before everyone else gets the same idea.
The key philosophy underlying both approaches is the same however, and the best preparedness planning will look to implement an emergency home preparedness strategy ,alongside either a ready to go bug out bag or bug out vehicle (ideally both).
Adopting a full coverage approach to your planning will allow you to fall back on different layers of contingency if the situation gets worse or changes quickly on the ground at any stage during an emergency or disaster:
Home Preparedness Strategy
Avoid danger at home
If safety becomes compromised
Bug Out Vehicle Strategy
Avoid danger by vehicle
If safety becomes compromised
Bug Out Bag Strategy
Avoid danger on foot
From natural disasters to acts of man, in the event of an emergency situation or crisis developing, providing yourself with the ability to be mobile and ensure your safety wherever you end up should form the backbone of your planning.
Think of a bug out bag or vehicle loadout as a life vest on a boat or a parachute on a plane, you hope you’ll never need to use them, but you’ll be glad they’re there if you ever do.
Bugging Out by Foot
If you’re looking to start preparing for an uncertain future right now and don’t already have one, build a bug out bag.
Taking this one step will put you in a position that’s ahead of the vast majority of other people in the event of an emergency unfolding.
Perhaps above all other preparedness planning activities, the assembly of a well considered grab bag provides the greatest scope of coverage for the widest range of potential disasters that could strike, offering you a portable supply of the essentials for survival that can be called upon whether you’re escaping an approaching wildfire or evacuating ahead of a hurricane.
But what exactly is a bug out bag and what should it include?
Simply put, a bug out bag (also known as a go bag or grab bag) is a dedicated backpack or similar tactical or expedition style bag that contains the essential elements of survival for a set period of time – a survival insurance policy that can be called in when needed.
Generally speaking the amount of time you want to look to cover in your packed supplies (known as the bag’s ‘range’) should provide a minimum of 3 days/72 hours of provision for shelter, water, food, and other essential supplies for safety and comfort.
With that being said, the best bug out bags allow for a significant extension of this range, with a larger backpack providing vital additional space to carry gear for a week and sometimes longer.
The specific items that make it into your bag will vary based on your personal requirements and considerations as well as the climate conditions where you live, however the core of every bag will revolve around a pretty standard list of survival resources and essential equipment that should make up the basis of every bug out bag.
It’s likely that if you own a car or truck, then this vehicle is likely going to be your first choice of getting out of town at the first sign of trouble and we’ll cover how (and why) to prepare a bug out vehicle in the next part of this guide. Even in this case however, including a bug out bag inside the vehicle – sometimes called a ‘bail out bag’ in this case – will provide an extra layer of redundancy should something happen to your wheels when you’re on the road.
– If You’re Creating a Bug Out Bag From Scratch, Our Guide to Building a Bug Out Bag for Every Budget Will Get You Started –
Finding the Best Bag for the Job
Building a bug out bag means being able to ensure a solution that can be packed, grabbed, and carried easily so when you need it most, it won’t let you down.
At the heart of this philosophy, the backpack or bag you choose becomes the linchpin of how effective your bug out bag strategy will be when put into action.
First and foremost, a bug out backpack for use as a practical go bag needs to provide adequate capacity to carry everything you’re going to potentially need for at least three days away from home.
With this in mind, most backpacks well suited for this task are going to not only be spacious, but will also be simple to pack (and unpack) and will offer a decent level of internal separation and organization provision.
A bug out backpack also needs to be comfortable to carry for prolonged periods of time, no matter how much gear you’ve packed inside, meaning support, padding, and overall structural integrity are a big deal here.
If you ever need to call on your bug out bag, it won’t be because you’re going to the beach for a picnic – the conditions are likely to be ranging anywhere from unfavorable to extremely challenging.
The backpack you choose for this role is potentially going to be having to deal with anything from extremes of temperature (think blizzard conditions or wildfire scenarios), through to heavy exposure to water during storms and flooding events which you may encounter.
It therefore goes without saying that you want a backpack which is durable, resilient, and delivers a build quality that can take a beating. There’s no room for flimsy features and unnecessary additions in an emergency situation – hard wearing parts and solid construction are the order of the day here. Water resistance and waterproofing are also an advantage that should be included in the bag you choose if possible.
Some of the best bug out backpacks and bags are unsurprisingly designed as tactical backpack solutions for military use, where durability, practicality, and carrying comfort are priority requirements.
– For the Definitive Guide to Picking the Best Bag for the Job, Our Guide to the Best Bug Out Backpacks Will Get You Started –
Evacuating by Vehicle
If you’re able to beat the crowds or road closures, it almost goes without saying that getting away from danger by vehicle will allow you to cover the most distance, with the least amount of effort, in the minimum period of time.
It’s with this simple fact in mind, that preparing a bug out vehicle for an emergency situation should be a primary goal in any evacuation preparedness planning strategy.
If you own a car, truck, or other road vehicle (even a motorbike), then you already have access to a portable, fast, and efficient way of getting you and yours out of harm’s way in the event of a disaster or crisis situation unfolding.
Providing the option to carry vastly more equipment, gear, and supplies than you could in a bag, an average car is a ready to go method for moving you rapidly away from a dangerous situation, with enough supplies to see you through for anywhere up to a month or more (depending on the size of the vehicle).
There is however one critical condition that affects the success or failure of any bug out vehicle plan – how early you’re able to implement it and actually get on the road.
The unfortunate truth is that if a disaster or emergency is hours away, a lot of other people with vehicles are going to have a very similar idea when it comes to evacuating the area by road.
What this looks like in practice of course, is gridlock, closed roads, and a potentially deadly situation where immobility on the highway can actually put you in more danger than bugging out by foot.
The key to success with any preparedness strategy – but particularly so with an evacuation vehicle plan – is acting early.
Get out as far ahead of the crowds as possible and you’ll be glad you did as you begin to put a lot of road miles between you and the distant danger in the rear-view mirror.
– Equip Your Car With the Essentials for Evacuating by Road in Our Guide to Preparing the Ultimate Bug Out Vehicle –
Preparing for Disaster – The Best Survival Resources for Any Emergency Situation
Disaster can come in many forms, from the regular and expected, to events which strike out of the blue.
In every case though, failing to prepare appropriately ahead of a disaster or emergency situation has the same outcome, with the results ranging from inconvenience and disruption, to potentially much more serious consequences.
We’ve put together the essential survival resources to help you plan, prepare for, and react to some of the most serious natural and man made disasters and emergency situations to enable you to build a level of solid resilience into your contingency preparedness strategy.
Natural Disaster Preparedness
Some of the most serious threats to both life and property come in the form of natural disasters which have wreaked havoc upon the planet since the beginning of time.
With the full remit of nature’s fury ranging from climatic shifts and severe weather, to geological threats and those from beyond the earth, the need to prepare for the worst should be considered essential practice for anyone living on the planet.
Weather and Climate Disaster Preparedness
Extreme weather events represent one of the greatest continual threats to regular life and safety causing death, disruption, and chaos in their wake.
While climatic changes seem to be increasing the frequency and severity of some natural weather related disasters, these kinds of emergencies can be anticipated and planned for based on your particular situation and geographical considerations.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and this mantra is as relevant when it comes to natural disaster contingency planning as it is with a ton of other preparedness activities.
Tropical storms, monsoons, typhoons, and hurricanes are the blight of coastal areas around the world to communities afflicted by them.
Beyond the damage and destruction caused by intense winds and flying debris, the serious effects of flooding can bring about serious property damage and even life threatening conditions to those affected by rising water levels.
Putting together a storm preparedness plan should be the first step in your strategy if you’re living in an area at risk from hurricane activity and should be supplemented with a rigorous flood preparedness plan if your property is also close to coastal areas, rivers, or large bodies of water.
– Be Prepared for Tropical Storm and Hurricane Season with Our Complete Hurricane Survival Resources Page –
Tectonic and Geological Disaster Preparedness
The geological picture of the planet we live on is and has always been one in constant and continual movement.
To those living on or close to the fault lines of this reality, the sheer power of the Earth can cause untold levels of devastation when this awesome energy manifests on the surface.
Volcanic activity is a deadly outlet of the story being played out underground and those living in the vicinity of known active volcanoes should always practice key principles of evacuation planning over home preparedness as well as being fully versed in the essentials of preparing for a wildfire situation should the need to leave home ever arise.
This means keeping fully stocked evacuation supplies for every member of your household as well as a vehicle which can be quickly loaded up and is ready to move at a moment’s notice.
In the case of planning an evacuation by vehicle, know your routes away from danger, practice them regularly, and build multiple alternatives should a route become impassable. When the first rumbles begin, don’t take any chances – the early bird does more than just catch the worm when it comes to evacuating by road during a natural disaster.
One of the most common geological disasters that ravages the planet are earthquakes.
When the ground begins to shake, the severity of a quake may or may not be immediately obvious depending how far you are from the epicenter.
In many ways, the very nature of a seismic event makes it almost impossible to flee from ahead of time and with this in mind, the priority for preparedness revolves around contingency and response planning before the event.
While you may not know a quake is coming, based on where you live, you’ll be able to get a pretty good idea if you’re local area has a history of seismic activity or quake events in the past.
If you do live in an at-risk area, start by ensuring that your home is as ‘quake-proof’ as is possible.
It may not be possible to alter the physical structure of your property but you can do a lot to minimize any damage caused within.
Secure all loose items and valuables wherever possible, aim to not keep heavy objects above head level (particularly above beds and seating areas), and if possible, fix tall items of furniture such as bookcases to the wall to prevent them falling during a quake.
The next thing to do is to make sure you’re ready to move quickly and without hesitation in the event of a seismic disaster.
Look to build a specialized set of evacuation supplies in the form of an earthquake kit to ensure that you can grab and go, escaping any imminent danger in your home or workplace if a quake strikes.
– Learn How to Prepare Yourself Ahead of a Seismic Event in Our Definitive Guide to Earthquake Preparedness –
As the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami proved, when seismic events take place off the coast, the resulting devastation can be almost unbelievable.
The fact of the matter is that the ocean is about as powerful a force as you can hope to reckon with.
If a tsunami warning is in effect and a wall of water is going to strike near where you live, you will have to evacuate the area.
You’re simply not going to be able to remain stationary if a tsunami threatens your home, meaning a ready to go bug out strategy is essential if you live in a coastal area prone to seismic activity.
On top of this, familiarize yourself with the essentials of flood preparedness – this will allow you to minimize damage to your property in your absence if you’re in the direct path of a tsunami.
Solar and Cosmic Disaster Preparedness
Many survival resources begin and end at the risks posed from here on Earth, but those from beyond our atmosphere warrant just as much attention as these often seem (literally) the furthest away from ever actually effecting us.
This is unsuprising considering how we’ve not had much cause to worry about asteroid impacts or blackouts caused by solar storm activity during the incredibly short period of modernity we currently live in.
When you begin running the numbers however, you soon realize that it isn’t a matter of if we’ll get effected by one of these extra terrestrial events again, it’s a matter of when the next one will be – and we’re well overdue.
Solar Storm Preparedness
Coronal mass ejections (also known as solar flares) are violent expulsions from the Sun that have the potential to cause chaos to energy and communications grids when the particles from these violent events reach the Earth.
A serious solar storm is believed by experts to strike somewhere in the region of once every 100 years.
The resultant electromagnetic pulse that such an event would potentially fire our way could possibly turn off all of the lights here on Earth, sending us into a period of complete disconnection along with all of the knock-on effects that this would have on systems we take for granted.
We’re the last such event took place in 2012 but luckily missed us. Had it occurred a week or so earlier, the situation would have been quite different – as Daniel Baker, a physicist at the University of Colorado puts it; “Given our current state of readiness, we’d still be picking up the pieces”.
Preparing a plan for an EMP event is one of the best ways to protect yourself ahead of a solar storm event occurring and paired with a solid home and evacuation prepping strategy will provide a good level of resilience should the worst happen.
Man Made Event and Incident Preparedness
While there are a number of threats posed by nature, those created by humans are just as important for consideration in a comprehensive preparedness planning strategy with the effects ultimately being just as devastating to the unprepared.
Preparing for a nuclear event usually falls into one of two categories; an incident at a nuclear plant such as a meltdown, or a nuclear attack by a hostile nation or terrorist element.
While the longer term considerations of these events are relatively similar, initial reactions to each should be considered as being significantly different with the immediate impacts of a nuclear attack producing a vastly different set of challenges in the immediate aftermath to a slower chain of events resulting from an emergency at a nuclear power site.
Government survival resources on do exist, but tend to be slightly lacking when it comes to the subject of nuclear preparedness and so preparing yourself with the essential steps for reacting to and surviving a nuclear attack should be considered more of a personal responsibility to you and yours.
– Get to Grips With the Essential Elements for Preparing a Nuclear Preparedness Strategy in Our Guide to Preparing for a Nuclear Attack –
Economic Emergency Preparedness
Survival resources don’t often cover much in the way of planning for the fallout from a major financial crisis, recession, or collapse in the economic framework on which our systems hinge.
This reality means that most people simply don’t spend much time thinking through the very real possibility of the devastating effect that a wide-scale financial disaster can have at the micro level.
The last 10 years have provided us all with a very clear picture of just how dark things can go when the economy takes a downturn and given the fact that some economists tend to view the cyclical nature of these events occurring roughly every 10 years, there’s a very real chance that we’re a matter of years away from the next big one.
While the national and global result of an economic crash is obvious early on, the effects on us as individuals can take longer to manifest and with this in mind, adopting a preparedness mentality at home ahead of time, is one of the very best insurance policies you can look to take against a major financial downturn.
As well as following a standard protocol of good home preparedness hygiene, make it a priority to build up a resilient survival food pantry with enough canned goods and long-life food ingredients to cover you for as long as storage space and budget allows.
Investing in your home and building contingency plans today, ahead of economic uncertainty tomorrow will ensure that you’re able to effortlessly respond to changes in the economic climate without skipping a beat if needed.
The Last Word
With all of our reviews and guides, we look to refer to as many expert sources, and real world user reviews as possible so we’re able to provide the most relevant survival resources for the widest range of emergency situations.
The survival resources and guides we’ve featured here are based on our own opinions and advice on how we would look to prepare and respond to a number of preparedness situations and emergency scenarios however, it’s always important to carry out your own due diligence to find the best solution for you when choosing the best survival resources to meet the needs of your specific situation and requirements.