Multi Purpose Survival Tools

Top 10 Multi Purpose Survival Tools for Your Bug Out Bag

Multi Purpose Survival Tools

Here at The Bug Out Bag Guide we strive to build the best survival kit using a philosophy of practicality and efficiency. An excellent way of practicing this mindset is to utilize multi purpose survival gear to meet the needs of our Bug Out Plan. Multi purpose survival gear items improve our survival kit in multiple ways:

  1. Save Space – Why bring 3 items when you can use 1 do do the same jobs? Consolidating items to save space will free up room in your Bug Out Bag to carry other useful survival tools or more food and water.
  2. Save Weight – We have covered at length the perils of weighing yourself down with everything plus the kitchen sink, and have even built a tool for you to check your own Bug Out Bag’s weight. Reducing the number of items you carry will pay increasing dividends the longer you have to travel.
  3. Increase Simplicity / Reduce Clutter – The more items you pack the harder it will be to find what you need. Stick to the essentials – Pack less and improvise more for an efficient survival kit.
Multi Purpose Survival Tools
The Original Multi Purpose Survival Tool

Our Picks for Multi Purpose Survival Tools

We have researched long and hard and compiled a list of the best multi purpose survival tools below. For most categories, there are a great many options of items to consider while building your best survival kit. We have made a recommendation of the best we could find where applicable for those who do not have the time or inclination to search on their own based on utility, size, and weight. However as always, you need to choose the best items for YOUR survival scenario.

Survival Hatchet

These come in many flavors but most of them will do the jobs of a hatchet (obviously), pry tool, shovel, and wrench. We should look for any opportunity to remove high weight to volume ratio items such as steel tools to build the best survival kit, so being able to leave behind any of these is a good step. For more info check out our in depth reviews of the BEST survival tomahawks here.

Survival Whistle

These are generally quite cheap and are cover a lot of the basics. Most survival whistles combine a compass, dry container with the whistle and some even have a fire starting flint within.

Multitool

Anything with both the words “multi” and “tool” in it is worth having a look at. There are a great many options for multitools – focus on weight and practicality when looking. Are you going to really NEED the one with the allen key and corkscrew? Stick to the basics of a straight blade, saw, and can opener (like this one here) and add what few other options you see fit. Some bonus items that are rarely thought about are a magnifying glass and USB stick. These come on some multitools and can be used to start fires and store important family records, respectively. If you want to learn more about choosing the right multitool for survival, you can check out our article here.

Tarp

There is so much you can do with a tarp, it is a multitool all in itself. Besides the obvious of keeping gear dry and being used as a shelter, they can also be used for signaling and be easily turned into a stretcher to carry injured party members.

Plastic Bags

It is good to have a few of these as they have many, many uses and are very light and small. Plastic bags can be used to carry water, keep clothes and fire starting kits dry, store food, and organize small items.

Survival Knife

We covered Survival Knives generally in our Bug Out Bag Essentials post but they are so useful it is worth re-hashing here. Generally you are better off getting a solid, full tang knife from a trusted knifemaker such as Ontario, Camillus, Becker, or Gerber. Stay away from hollow handled survival knives if at all possible. The small amount of storage space will not make up for the overall inferior build quality. For more information on choosing a good knife for any outdoors situation, check out our comprehensive guide by CLICKING HERE.

Duct Tape

Good old duct tape, where would the world be without it? Duct Tape can be used as an emergency bandage, to secure a splint, to reinforce or repair waterproofing, as a rope replacement for shelter building, and taped over sore spots to prevent blisters.

Bandana

A bandana can be moistened and tied around the neck to help keep you cool, be used to filter water, will protect you from the sun, be used as a bandage, be utilized to tie on a splint, or be a replacement for rope in tasks such as shelter building.

Paracord

This is a small, strong cord that can be used in shelter building, ascending or descending inclines, as a clothes line, to fasten a splint, or to build a snare. Read out article about paracord uses and storage here.

Sanitary Pads/Tampons

These are often overlooked but are highly versatile. In addition to its intended use, a sanitary pad can be used as a bandage, it can be shredded and used as tinder, and it can be used to filter sediment from water.

BONUS: Your Brain

I know this is a list of the Top 10 Multi Purpose Survival Tools but this is really worth mentioning. Your own brain is the most valuable multi purpose survival tool that you have. Your mind contains the willpower to persevere in a dire survival scenario, and as importantly, the ability to improvise and modify your Bug Out Plan to overcome unforeseen problems. Rely on your own thinking before any of these other tools we mentioned, it will get you out of most sticky situation.

Top 10 Multi Purpose Survival Tools

We have build the table below to help you consider multi purpose survival tools when planning your bug out bag list. You will see in there Our Picks for the best items that meet our basic survival needs. If you click on the image for any of these, you will open up a window to Amazon.com where you can conduct further research on this item or others like it to see what best meets your needs.

 Multi Use ItemOur PickItems it can replaceUses
1Survival HatchetOntario SP16 Spax Tool
Hatchet, Pry bar, ShovelCut, Pry, Break glass, Punch holes, Open/close fire hydrants and gas mains, Open manholes, Self defense
25 in 1 whistleSE - Whistle - 5-in-1
Fierstarter, compass, waterproof container, matches, lighter, signal mirrorSignalling, navigation, firestarting, dry container
3MultitoolLeatherman Sidekick Multi Tool

knife, saw, can openerCut Wood, Clean animals, Harvest plants, Slice rope, Shelter building, Self devense
4Plastic BagsWhatever is in your kitchen pantryDry Bag, Fire starting kit containerBackup water container, Dry bag, Store food, Organize small bits of gear
5Survival KnifeGerber LMF II Infantry Knife

Camp saw, hatchet, can be used for nearly any bushcraft task.Food gathering, First aid, Shelter Building, Navigation, Fire starting, Self defense
6Duct Tape3M Utility Duct Tape
Rope, BandagesEmergency bandage, Repair waterproofing, Shelter building, Prevent blisters
7BandanaHead for Survival Triangular Bandana
Triangle Bandage, HatEmergency Rope, Wet it and tie around your neck to keep cool, Sun Protection, Arm sling, Compression bandage, Filter sediment from water
8ParacordArmy Universe Nylon Military Paracord

Rope, some first aid itemsShelter building, Climbing/descending, grapelling hook, Tie on a splint, Build a snare
9TarpHeavy Duty Tarp
Emergency Shelter, Signal MirrorKeep items dry, Keep you off the ground when sleeping, Made into a stretcher, Used as shelter, Used for signaling
10Sanitary Pads/TamponsWhatever is already in your hygiene kitBandages, TinderFirst Aid for bleeding, Start fires, Emergency water filter, Femenine hygiene

Conclusion

There are many multi purpose survival tools that can be utilized to save space and weight in your Bug Out Bag. Carefully consider the pluses and minuses of each when building your Bug Out Plan and Bug Out Bag Contents List in order to build the best survival kit for YOUR survival scenario.

Your Thoughts

If you thought this post was helpful, please Like, +1, or Share it using the social media buttons at the top of the page! What do you think of these multi purpose survival tools? Is there an additional use for any of them that you know of? Is there any other survival gear that you would recommend? Please let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

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basic survival skills

5 Basic Survival Skills You Need When Bugging Out

As we mentioned in our How to Make a Bug Out Plan post, the more skills you have, the more self reliant you are and the higher your chances for survival become.  Here we are going to discuss some basic survival skills and teach you how to best utilize them to protect yourself and your loved ones when disaster strikes.

basic survival skills

Basic Survival Skills

When you are out on your own without the support net of a healthy society, these are the traits and basic survival skills you need to master in order to succeed.

1.  Positive Mental Attitude

This is actually more important than any of the other basic survival skills because when you are relying on your ability to wring survival from your surroundings, once you give up hope you are done.  There are many amazing stories of people who have survived avalanches, fires, floods, and being isolated for extended periods and making it through thanks to an undying will to survive.  They are ordinary people who would simply not quit.  Keeping a positive mental attitude will give you the strength to never give up on yourself no matter the circumstances.

Some ways to instill this mentality are:

  • Set goals for yourself – These may be daily or even hourly goals such as making it to the next hilltop or obtaining a meal from your surroundings.  Make sure they are achievable and objective based.  Every goal you accomplish will be a psychological boost for you and will build confidence in your basic survival skills.
  • Focus on what you can change – If a major disaster has struck, focusing on the unfairness of the resulting situation or the loss that has occurred will not help you.  However, focusing on building a shelter or staying dry will help immensely.  Concentrating your efforts to make your situation better will help you both in the long and short term.  Ignore the big picture and focus on improving your immediate situation.
  • Keep hydrated and nourished – This will give you the energy to persevere in the face of adversity.  A steady water and food supply are extremely important.  You will not be looking to feast daily but meeting your basic calorie and hydration needs will be enough to keep you going.  2400-3600 Calories  per day is a good amount to aim for.  Additionally, if this requirement is squared away it will allow you to focus more on recovery efforts or finding help.
  • Be outwardly positive – Positivity creates more positivity.  Showing fellow survivors that you are with that you have a positive mental attitude will prevent the group being dragged down under the weight of the disaster.  Be the seed that grows into higher morale for your team.

2.  Water

Beyond your own internal fortitude, water is the most important resource you require.  Finding it and knowing how to make it fit for consumption are two of of the most important basic survival skills you can learn.

  • Know how to look for signs of water.  This may be looking where plants are growing, where terrain slopes or contours into a natural water trap, or observing animal movements to see where they are finding their water supply.
  • If you are able to map a route as a part of your Bug Out Plan, identifying likely sources for water along the way will be a massive boon.
  • Understand how to treat water to make it fit for consumption.  Drinking contaminated water can be deadly.
  • Filtration – this consists of passing water through very fine membranes to remove particles and some pathogens.  Some viruses may still make it through even the finest filters available.
  • Purification – treating water with either chemicals such as iodine or UV light sources.  This neutralizes all pathogens but does not eliminate particles.
  • Boiling – This is a type of purification as it kills all pathogens but does not remove particles.  Water should be kept at a rolling boil for at least 1 minute to sterilize it.
  • Because of the separate benefits of both filtration and purification it is recommended that you use both methods to be 100% sure of water safety.  The most basic way to do this is to pour water through a cloth and then boil it.  However a more effective approach is to pass it through a filter device such as the MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter and then purify it using tablets or a SteriPen.  These items should be considered mandatory requirements for any list of Bug Out Bag Essentials.
  • Be able to exploit rainfall if possible.  This may include catching it in a poncho or container if available.
  • Utilize a Solar Still – This can be purchased here or fashioned out of your survival gear.  A Solar Still uses the sun’s heat to evaporate liquid and then recapture it as clean water.
  • Understand how much water you need – A person can survive 72 hours without water.  It is however recommended that someone who is active consumes 75% of their weight in ounces daily. So if you weigh 150 lbs then you should be drinking about 113 ounces (3.31 liters) of water per day.
Basic Survival Skills
A Home Made Solar Still

3.  Food

  • Hiking with your Bug Out Bag loaded with essential survival gear will cause you to burn 400-500 calories in an hour.  To keep your body working as an efficient machine it is important to keep it fueled up.
  • First off, ration what food you have with you.  You are concentrating on survival, not feasting.  Eat small portions when you are hungry but do not over do it.
  • Supplement your rations with foraged sustenance from your surroundings.  This means you will need to learn what edible plants are around and how to harvest them.  Also learn where these plants grow.  Does a particular berry grow around water holes?  Does a high calorie plant prefer the shade?  Learn these aspects to understand where to look for sustenance.  Some plants are only edible after cooking or boiling, learn what you need to do with your local flora to make it palatable.  Additionally, learn what is hazardous or poisonous to eat to avoid making yourself sick!
  • Understand what types of animals inhabit your area.  This includes possible predators to avoid and prey to seek out.  Learn what environments these animals inhabit.  Is there a particular fish that likes eddies and whirlpools?  Target these spots to find them.  Does an animal in your area like to eat a particular plant?  Placing snares in the vicinity of these plants would be ideal.  If you do not know how to operate a firearm, a sling shot may be a good option for you.  There are many options for sling shots, you can purchase one here  or learn how to make one here.  Also learn how to prepare these animals for cooking.  This includes skinning and butchering animals and filleting fish.  We have embedded the below videos as a tutorial in these basic survival skills.

Basic Survival Skills: How to Fillet a Fish

Basic Survival Skills: How to skin a squirrel

Basic Survival Skills: How to Butcher a Deer


4.  Shelter

A well prepared person will have a means of sheltering themselves from the elements as a part of their Bug Out Contents List.  However, a TOTALLY prepared person will also have learned survival shelter building as one of their basic survival skills.  A survival shelter does not need to be complicated or fancy but it should keep rain/snow out, keep heat inside, and be easily cobbled together from local materials.

  • A survival shelter can be built from most anything – debris from collapsed buildings, trees and leaves, animal hides, or a tarp or poncho
  • Consider bringing paracord and a saw or hatchet when building your Bug Out Bag Contents List as these can be your best friends when building a shelter.  With these items you can make a survival shelter out of just about anything in very little time.
  • If you do not have paracord, zip ties, duct tape, or another binding material, primitive rope can be improvised from strips of tree bark, small green saplings or branches, and vines.
  • A basic survival shelter could consist of building a frame from long rigid materials such as tree branches or 2×4’s and laying a poncho or tarp over it.
  • If you cannot use your poncho or tarp for this, layer brush on to the frame sloping away towards the ground to insulate for warmth and keep moisture out.   See the picture below for a general idea of this.
Store Bought Survival SheltersA Shelter Made On the Trail




Basic Survival Skills
Image Credit: simonov on Flickr

5.  Fire

Fire can provide many things when in a survival situation and both building and maintaining one are essential basic survival skills.  A fire will give a morale boost, provide heat and light, and enable you to purify water and cook food.
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  • The basic requirements to build any fire are to give it air, fuel, and an ignition source.
  • Air – A fire consumes air hungrily and it is important to build it in a way that allows air to flow into the combustion.  Do not smother a fire by putting too much fuel onto it.
  • Fuel – This is what actually burns in a fire and can be sourced from many places.  If a branch or stick snaps cleanly it is dry and will burn well.  If it bends and splinters it is still green and will smoke and smother a fire.
  • Ignition Source – this can be a lighter, matches, or a fire starter that you bring with you.  You should however learn more primitive means of fire starting as one of your basic survival skills in the event that these items cannot be sourced.  See the video below for one simple method.
  • A fire is build in successive layers of increasingly larger wood.  You start with tinder, which is very small, dry, and catches easily.  Examples of tinder are tree bark, dryer lint, coconut husk, and pine needles.  From tinder you go up to kindling which is generally twigs up to the diameter of your little finger.  Next is fuel wood which is in sizes up to your thumb.  Continue to add more wood gradually until you have a fire large enough to ignite logs.  These logs are what will produce the majority of your coals in a fire pit.
  • The opposite technique is to build what is known as an “Upside Down Fire”  This has large logs at the bottom and tapers to fuel wood, kindling, and then tinder at the top.  An upside down fire allows you to build your cooking fire and then let it burn down without having to babysit it and can be great in makky outdoors situation.  Check out my in-depth instructional guide to learn how to build an Upside Down Fire here.
  • Learn how to use a fire to cook food.  Coals are a far better method of cooking food than a naked flame.  Coals will produce a more even heat and allow you to control the rate at which your food cooks, rather than having some parts seared with the inside raw.  A naked flame is however better at boiling water.
  • The most commonly used types of fires are called a Teepee and a Log Cabin, which are pictured below.
  • A Dakota Fire Pit is another type that is less widely used than these but more efficient.  See the image below for how a Dakota Fire Pit works.
Teepee FireLog Cabin Fire
basic survival skills
Image Credit: mikemol on flickr
basic survival skills
Image Credit: geraldford on flickr

 

basic survival skills

Basic Survival Skills: Dakota Fire Pit

basic survival skills

Basic Survival Skills: Making a fire without matches

Conclusion

There is no doubt that learning basic survival skills will significantly increase your chances of success.  Putting in some time now to teach yourself these basic survival skills will make you better prepared and help you provide for yourself and your family when disaster strikes.  As with your bug out bag contents or bug out plan, you should tailor your survival skill set to match your environment.  To learn what you need to master in order to survive in a cold weather setting have a look at our article on cold weather survival tips.  We mentioned several survival tools in this article that partnered with your skills will make your struggle far less daunting including paracord, a hatchet, saw, and fire starter.  To see how these items will affect your overall survival kit and see what other items you can add to your Bug Out Bag list, check out our Free Bug Out Bag Planning Tool.  Remember, chance favors the well prepared.

Basic Survival Skills

Your Thoughts

If you thought this post was helpful, please Like, +1, or Share it using the social media buttons at the top of the page!  What do you think of these basic survival skills?  Is there a survival tactic that you would recommend?  Please let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

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Bug out bag contents

Plan Your Bug Out Bag Contents With Our Free Tool

Bug out bag contents

There are many Bug Out Bag lists posted all over the internet that look at what to include in your Bug Out Bag contents.  However, many of these include everything under the sun in an attempt to cover every possible survival scenario but do not account for how carrying around all this weight with affect a person.  As highlighted in our How to Make a Bug Out Plan post, a pack should weigh no more than 30% of your body weight.  Any more than this will be highly strenuous and will limit a person’s ability to hike over long distances as may be required by your survival situation.  To aid in your planning of your Bug Out Bag contents we have built the free tool below to help you approximate how much your Bug Out Kit will weigh, with the option of entering your own body weight to see if your gear is above or below the 30% weight threshold.  Additionally, if you enter your email address and press the “Submit” button you will get a copy of your custom BOB list sent straight to your inbox to help you pack.

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Bug Out Bag Contents Tips

If all the items that you deem absolutely necessary weigh greater than 30% of your body weight you can consider the following options to reduce weight:

Use multi purpose survival tools

There are may survival tools that can do the job of several individual items.  Consider replacing some of the single purpose in your survival kit with something that can do the job of several.  Our list of Top 10 Multi Purpose Survival Tools covers many helpful options for slimming down your kit.

Carry less water

Water weighs a lot per volume, 8.34 lbs per gallon to be exact.  It is however necessary to our survival.  Depending on your locality you may be able to carry less and forage more from abandoned buildings, collected rainwater, or lakes and streams.  A water filter or purification tablets are ESSENTIAL for this.

Carry less food

This is the same strategy as above with the water.  Carry less and scavenge more.  This may mean knowing edible plants in your area, hunting, fishing, or trapping animals, or foraging in abandoned buildings.

Reconsider your bag options

We took a look at how to judge and pick the best Bug Out Backpack for you here.  You may decide that a smaller, lighter bag is a better option.  A smaller bag will discourage bloat and bringing unnecessary items that will slow you down.

Cache Supplies along your route ahead of time

This is one of the options that we discussed in our Bug Out Plan post.  If you are able to plan your Bug Out destination and possible routes, caching supplies is a possibility for you that will reduce weight and greatly improve your chances of survival.

Use items that don’t need batteries

Batteries are heavy enough by themselves but packing EXTRA batteries in your pack is a recipe for overpacking.  If you NEED electronics rely on those that are hand cranked or that can be solar powered.

Consider multi-purpose items

There are many items that you can pack that will serve more than one purpose or be combined together to replace another item.  Examples include using paracord and a tarp instead of packing a tent or using a combined hand cranked radio/flashlight rather than bringing two separate items.

Grow your survival skill set

The basic rule of survival is that the more you know, the less you will need to carry.  If you know how to build a shelter, you don’t need to pack a tent or hammock, if you know how to build a fire you can bring a smaller fire starter kit, cook game that you catch, and boil water rather than lugging around filtration equipment.  Your mind is by far the most useful weapon in your survival armory and it needs to be honed like any other.  For more information check out our post on Basic Survival Skills.

 

Bug Out Bag Contents
How much survival gear is too much?

Conclusion

This is meant to be a guide to help you make your Bug Out Plan and aid you when considering your Bug Out Bag contents.  For more information on what makes a great Bug Out kit, check out our Essential Items post or our posts on building a wilderness survival kit and urban survival kit. It is important to understand however that a survival scenario is always fluid and you will need to adapt your equipment and plan on the fly.  Remember, chance favors the well prepared.

Your Thoughts

Was our Bug Out Bag Contents List Creator helpful to you?  Are there any items you would like to see added to the list of survival gear?  Let us know in the Comments section below, thanks!

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Amazon Links

The aim of this site is to be a GREAT resource for people looking to learn about Bug Out and Survival tactics.  Part of this is to look at tools and other items that would aid in a survival situation and we examine many such items on several of our posts.  To assist you in looking for helpful Bug Out and survival related items we have created this page as a consolidated list of what we review and recommend on this site.

Many of the items are available on Amazon if you would like to search for them there or look for more information, please click on this link: Amazon Home.   Clicking on the items in the lists below will also take you to the relevant Amazon page for your convenience.  If there is a specific category of items that you would like is to take a look at or something you would suggest please email me at info@thebugoutbagguide.com and I will create a special link for it.  Thank you again!

Bug Out Bag Essentials

Survival Knives

Camillus Survivorman Les Stroud Ultimate Survival KnifeUnited Cutlery Bush Master Survival KnifeRothco Deluxe Adventurer Survival Kit Knife



Water Filtration

SterpienLifeStrawTablets



Sleeping Options

Sleeping BagCamping Hammock


Every Day Carry Items

ItemClick image to view on Amazon
CRKT M21
Kikkerland Classic Survival Tool
Carabiner "Grenade" Survival Kit Key Fob
Zitrades Mini Cree Led Flashlight
LifeResQ 6-In-1 Car Escape Tool
Leatherman Sidekick Multi Tool
BOKER Minibar Blade
Schrade Key Chain Pry Tool
The Friendly Swede Paracord Bracelet w/ Fire Starter
Para Cord Brands Survival Bracelet and Watch
Type-III 4pc Liquid Filled Slip-on Compass

Premade Bug Out Bags

Bug Out BagNameCost# of People SupportedType of bagType of KitReview
Guardian Survival Pal
$32.991Small bagBare BonesThis kit is very basic and would be well suited to be the Bug Out Bag to keep in a car or office as it is small and lightweight. It does have good food and water options for its size and cost as well as a hand powered flashlight.
ESEE Advanced Professional Survival Kit
$1211Shoulder bagDeluxeGreat basic kit, has high quality items and many survival supplies not included in cheaper Bug Out Bags including a fishing kit, can opener, firestarting flint, and comprehensive first aid kit. The higher quality of the included items means that you would need to replace less and can simply build out from the foundation this kit provides.

Fox Tactical Field Operator's Action Pack
$1691BackpackDeluxeThis has a very high quality backpack that stores some excellent survival gear. The inclusion of an LED flashlight, sanitary pads, and wet naps are all well thought out additions. The makers of this Bug Out Kit did no skimp on quality when assembling.
Mayday Deluxe 1 Person Backpack Kit
$54.161BackpackBasicGreat basic kit. This has all the Bug Out Bag essentials a person would need. This is a great base to build your customized survival kit out of.
Guardian Elite Survival Kit
$73.991BackpackBasicThis is a good basic kit that will be a great foundation to customize and build upon as the bag is designed with additional space to put your personal items in. It includes an emergency shelter, hand powered flashlight and water purification tablets, useful items that not every basic level kit gives you.

FOX Tactical Rio Grande 75L
$5351-2Hiking PackSuper DeluxeThis is the most complete Bug Out Bag that we have seen. You could take this as it is and survive for more than the minimun 72 hours. The bag and contents are brand-name and high quality including Leatherman, Fox, AMK, and Black Kaito. The addition of a solar and hand powered radio/flashlight combo is excellent. With a great bag and high quality contents, This is the bag to go with if it is in anyone's budget.

Fox 2 person 72hr Survival Kit
$339.952Hiking PackDeluxeThis is a high quality 2 person kit with many essentials. Both the bag itself and items within are very high quality with a price to match.
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Kit 2014
$102.751Zippered bagBasicVery basic kit as far as the contents provided but the survival equipment inside is very high quality being that it is manufactured by Gerber. The inclusion of the Priorities of Survival Pocket Guide is an excellent addition for the inexperienced.
2 Person Guardian Deluxe Survival Kit
$70.992BackpackBasicThis is the 2 person upgrade from the Guardian Elite Survival Kit and is a good basic kit that will be a great foundation to customize and build upon as the bag is designed with additional space to put your personal items in. It includes an emergency shelter, hand powered flashlight and water purification tablets, useful items that not every basic level kit gives you.
Deluxe 2-Person Perfect Survival Kit for Emergency Disaster Preparedness
$98.952BackpackDeluxeGood basic kit with a lot of bonus features that you do not get with the cheaper ones such as a hand powered flashlight, hygiene items, and ample water.
Wise Foods Wise Deluxe Survival Kit
$229.994Duffel bag with wheelsDeluxeThis kit has many of the features of a basic kit such as a first aid kit, hand powered flashlight, and an emergency shelter as well as some of the more advanced, "kitchen sink" options such as a multitool, water filtration bottle, and a stove and fuel. It also has 44 portions of food which will keep a survival party going for a long time.

Dan's Adirondack Survival Kit
$5301BackpackDeluxeThis is an interesting kit that has several items we don't see elsewhere such as duct tape, a sharpener, a bandana, and a machete. It also comes with a survival DVD to watch at home to help prepare you.
Generally, the items in his kit are high quality and should not need replacing.
Deluxe - 4 Person Emergency Survival Kit - Back pack Kit
$594BackpackBasicGood basic kit, stocked with a lot of useful items including Coast Guard approved rations.
Ready America 70280 Grab-'n-Go Emergency Kit, 2-Person, 3-Day Backpack
$392BackpackBasicGood basic kit. Quality of items is in line with the reasonable price. Some items may need upgrading.

Wilderness Survival Customization Items

ItemPicture
Survival Fishing Kit

Basic Compass

Tritium Compass

Eagle of Sniper G5 Slingshot

Survival Hammock

Sleeping Bag

Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent

Edible Plant Guide

Tri-fold Shovel

Fillet Knife

CRKT Shakaulu Skinner
Hatchet

Paracord

Urban Survival Customization Items

ItemPicture
Ka-Bar Becker

Stanley FUBAR - Small

Stanley FUBAR - Large

Ontario SP16 Spax

Spork

Pepper Spray

Bug Out Bag Backpacks

BackpackBag NameFeaturesHydrationMolle
5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack
Sized for 3-day excursions. Designed by special operations combat veteran. Large, external shove-it pocket, Top exterior crescent-shaped organization pocket, two exterior, side, gusseted zippered pockets. Water-repellent coating.YesYes

VVV Gear Paratus 3 Day Operator's Pack
Modular design - 3 packs in 1
2 large compartments, multiple interior pockets/organizers, two attached MOLLE pouches
Heavy duty zippers
YesYes
Sandpiper of California Long Range Bugout Backpack
1 large compartment and 7 pockets
Expansion zipper
YesYes

Survival Pocket Knives

KnifeLengthWeightSeatbelt
Cutter
Glass
Breaker
Gut
Hook
Smith & Wesson Border Guard 2 Rescue Knife

10"8.8ozYesYesNo
Gerber E-Z Out Jr Knife

5.5"1.7ozNoNoNo
SOG Specialty Knives & Tools Escape Knife
Survival Pocket Knives
8.2"4.8ozYesYesNo
Wartech 8" Assisted Open Folding Tactical Survival Pocket Knife

8"~8ozYesYesNo
CRKT Graham Folding Razel Knife

~8"6.1ozNoNoNo
CRKT M-21

6.6"4.8ozNoNoNo
GERBER Paraframe II Tanto Knife

9.5"4.3ozNoNoNo
Spyderco Tenacious G

7.76"4.8ozNoNoNo
Buck Knives Folding Omni Hunter Knife

9"4.6ozNoNoYes
CRKT Kommer Free Range Hunter
Folding Lockback

8.9"4.4ozNoNoYes

If you are interested in building a Bug Out Bag, please check out our posts on Bug Out Bag Essentials and How to Choose a Bug Out Backpack as well as and try our Free Bug Out Bag Planning Tool to choose what you want to pack and see how it will affect the overall weight of your Bug Out Kit.

Once you have this squared away, visit our How to Make a Bug Out Plan and Basic Survival Skills posts to learn how to maximize your odds of surviving when disaster strikes!

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Best Bugout Backpack

How to Pick the Best Bug Out Bag Backpack

Best Bug Out Backpack

 

How do you determine what is the best Bug Out Bag backpack for you? It is an important element to consider and getting the right one for you is a primary step in your journey towards disaster preparedness. Should you choose a backpack, duffel bag, or backpacking style bag? What qualities should be considered when picking one? Are any features especially useful?

We’ll tackle these questions and then share our recommended bug out bags.

How to Pick the Best Bug Out Bag Backpack

The types of bags typically employed as Bug Out Bags are:

  • Backpack – A Bug Out Bag backpack can be anything from a school book bag to a tactical assault type bag.  This category has the widest options and is the most commonly used as it has a good balance of size and variety.  This is optimal for 1-2 people or if you are bugging out with a party of adults who can each carry their own survival supplies.
  • Duffel Bag – These generally are a greater volume than a backpack but lack the ease of carrying.  This is a good option if you are planning on bugging out in a vehicle and have a destination in mind such as a second home or designated camp.  You would not want to have to carry this type of bag for an extended period over uneven ground.
  • Hiking Pack – This combines the best features of a backpack and duffel bag being that it will have a large volume and ergonomic carrying options.  You will be able to carry much more survival gear in one of these than in a backpack which is great if you are evacuating with a family.

Critical Bug Out Bag Backpack Factors

1.  Comfort and Fit

You may be humping your Bug Out Bag for days on end. You need something that you can wear comfortably and that will not limit your movement by causing you discomfort. Pay attention to the following features when looking at a candidate bag:

  • Hip straps and hip padding – This is the single most important thing when looking at a bag for comfort and fit, which is something that is not understood by someone who has not humped a heavy bag over long distances. Hip support straps snug the pack tightly to your hips allowing the weight to be carried by the strong muscles in your thighs and hips rather than balancing the load on your shoulders. This improves balance by lowering the center of gravity and saves your back and shoulders from bearing the weight. It is exponentially easier to carry a heavy load in this manner.
  • Width of straps – Are the straps made of narrow webbing that is going to dig into your shoulders and hips or is it wide with ample padding to cushion the attachment to your body? I reiterate: you have the potential to carry everything you need to survive over long distances, if you are hobbled by discomfort you will not be able to travel as fast or far.
  • Sternum clip – This enables you to secure the shoulder straps to a comfortable position and uses the bony part of your chest as a counterbalance to the backward leaning force of the bag.
  • Allows for airflow on the back – Walking all day with a sweaty back can lead to discomfort and chafing. Most better bags come with channels or webbing in the part of the pack that faces your back. These allow for air flow to minimize this.
  • Are there any hard elements within the bag that may rub or poke into you – Some bags have rigid frames or hard plastic bits to help them retain their shape or to allow you to strap things to them. They do not need to be avoided as a whole but they are something to consider when choosing one. I once ignored this when choosing a hiking pack that had a metal frame right at the height of the back of my head. This caused me to have to lean slightly forward or bang my head… for miles. Please do not make the same mistake.
  • Gender specific design – Many bags come in male and female options. These have the straps cut and shaped in particular ways that make them better fitting for their designated gender’s body types.  There is some good information here about measuring yourself to help find the best fitting pack.

 

Best Bug Out Backpack Example
This bag has many options to ensure a good, comfortable fit.

2.  Volume and Mass

How much space do you need in your Bug Out Bag backpack? This is determined by:

  • How many people are you carrying survival supplies for? Will you be bugging out by yourself or with a family in tow?
  • Do you plan on packing your Bug Out Bag with everything and the kitchen sink or just the bare essentials?
  • The more you pack, the larger volume bag you will need and the more mass you will have to carry on your back. It is one of the most important trade offs you will have to consider.
  • I prefer sticking to the essentials rather than bringing everything under the sun and then scavenging and improvising on the way. Multi function items are a godsend in getting the most from your gear in this regard.

best bug out bag backpack

3.  Accessibility

So now know that you want the perfect fitting bag that carries the right amount of survival supplies, great job!

Let’s consider the options for how we will be compartmentalizing the gear and accessing it.

If you have a decent sized list of bug out equipment you will have a wide variety of sizes, shapes and utility. Putting this all in one large compartment is a formula for inefficiency and frustration. Imagine you have slipped and cut yourself and now need to dig through all your clothes, tools, and rations to get to your medkit.  Not good.

What we want for an efficient bag is one large compartment to store general items and several separate, smaller compartments for storing smaller sub groups of items. Most modern bags have multiple compartments and options to attach small satellite bags. This is ideal. Prior to packing you will want to organize your gear with these compartments in mind. You will want to put larger items in the main compartment and smaller ones in the secondary pouches, organized by item type. This will make finding things in a hurry much easier and your Bug Out Bag more useful overall.

best bug out bag backpack
Here you can see how you can organize a multi-compartment bag to maximize functionality

4.  Useful Features

So you have your Bug Out Bag backpack that meets your basic needs, what are the best advanced features you should be looking for that will increase your chances of survival while bugging out?

  • Hydration Bladder Compatibility – Integration of a hydration system such as a Camelbak is a huge bonus to any bag.  This makes it far easier to carry large amounts of water over long distances.  As you will be exerting yourself, keeping properly hydrated is essential to keep you moving as fast and as far as possible.  There is some good additional information on choosing a hydration pack.
  • Rain Hood – Many bags come with a rain cover integrated within.  This is usually tucked away into a velcro compartment and then pulled out and over the bag when needed.  This will keep your gear dry and preserve it optimally for when you need it.
  • MOLLE compatibilityMOLLE (pronounced “molly”) is an acronym for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. It is used to define the current generation of load-bearing equipment and packs utilized by a number of armed forces. This widespread use means that there are a HUGE number of compatible options for adding accessories to a MOLLE compatible bag.  Items that use MOLLE include tool sheaths, pouches, hydration bladders, and medkits.

 

Best bug out bag backpack mollee
Many bags have MOLLE attachment points for easy customization

The Best Bug Out Bag Backpacks

Here are some backpacks that are excellent choices for your bug out bag.

BackpackBag NameFeaturesHydrationMolle
5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack
Sized for 3-day excursions. Designed by special operations combat veteran. Large, external shove-it pocket, Top exterior crescent-shaped organization pocket, two exterior, side, gusseted zippered pockets. Water-repellent coating.YesYes

VVV Gear Paratus 3 Day Operator's Pack
Modular design - 3 packs in 1
2 large compartments, multiple interior pockets/organizers, two attached MOLLE pouches
Heavy duty zippers
YesYes
Sandpiper of California Long Range Bugout Backpack
1 large compartment and 7 pockets
Expansion zipper
YesYes

Our Pick

Looking at the features, price, customization options, and overall quality we have chosen to award the 5.11 Tactical Rush 72 as Best In Class for the following reasons:

  • Modular design allows us to plan and organize our Bug Out Bag for maximum efficiency
  • High quality, durable pack for a great price
  • Medium carrying capacity means that we will be able to carry our essentials without being weighed down
  • High quality, padded straps will let us move faster and for longer while bugging out
  • MOLLE integration and Hydration bladder compatibility exceeds our standards
The 5.11 Tactical Rush 72
Our favorite bug out bag backpack: The 5.11 Tactical Rush 72

Conclusion

There are a great many packs that meet the requirements laid out above, we have taken a look at a few for your convenience here in this post.  Hopefully you have taken away from this discussion the elements that you need to look for in finding a Bug Out Bag that is right for you.  This is an important step in your disaster preparedness journey and getting it right make a huge improvement in your ability to bug out when the unforeseen strikes.  If you are ready to plan what items to pack in your Bug Out Bag, check out our Free Bug Out Bag Planning Tool.  Remember, chance favors the well prepared.

Your Thoughts

If you thought this post was helpful, please Like, +1, or Share it using the social media buttons at the top of the page!  Are there any features or types of Bug Out Bags that you would suggest?  Please let us know in the Comments section below, thanks!

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