The Best Emergency Lighting for a Power Outage


Do you know the emergency situation you are most likely to encounter?

It’s a power outage.

While power outages are highly likely to occur, many people are left unprepared when they happen. In a blackout, most people find themselves rummaging through their junk drawer, hoping to find a flashlight and praying the batteries still have a charge.

Anyone can prepare themselves for a blackout, and there’s no reason not to be prepared as it’s a situation most of us will be in several times throughout our lifetime.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The 9 best emergency lighting options for a power outage
  • The advantages and disadvantages of each method and which is best for you
  • Helpful tips for thriving when the lights go out

Preparing For A Power Outage

To properly prepare your family in the case of a power outage, incorporate the following tips into your survival planning:

  • Keep a light by every bed in your home. For battery-powered lights, check the batteries every 6 months (set a recurring reminder on your phone to do this right now!) and replace those that are weak.
  • Talk to your family about what to do if there is a blackout. Choose a room for everyone to meet during a blackout and ensure each family member has a light source in their bedroom and can use it correctly.
  • Store 1 week’s worth of water and non-perishable food in case of a long-term emergency situation. For proper water storage, I recommend using the WaterBrick.
  • Have a wind-up emergency radio on-hand to stay informed during an emergency and be aware of any progress authorities are making in getting the grid back online. Of special note, an emergency radio also makes a great backup light source, making it a valuable multitool. For more info, learn how to pick the best emergency radio.
  • Always make sure to have at least one backup light source as even the best-laid plans can go wrong in an emergency.
  • For more help on getting your home ready for the next blackout, check out our comprehensive article on power grid failure.

Emergency Lighting Options for Your Home During a Blackout

There are a plethora of options to choose from for lighting your home during a power outage, but which ones are the best?

Read on to learn about the 9 different methods for lighting your house during a blackout and the relative advantages and disadvantages of each.

1. Luci Solar Air Lantern

What It Is

The Luci Solar Air Lantern is a small, compact, lightweight lantern that reaches its full size when inflated with air and recharges via a built-in solar panel. I use the Luci Solar Air Lantern in my blackout kit as well as in my car and camping gear. In my opinion, this is by far the best lantern to use in a power outage.


  • Charges within only a few hours and has no need for batteries
  • The Luci Solar Air Lantern can hold its charge for up to 3 years and provide 12 hours of light
  • Can be flattened to only 1 inch tall and weighs less than a deck of cards – perfect for storage or carrying
  • For its small, compact size, it provides a lot of light due to its round shape, which evenly shines over 150 square feet
  • Offers 100% waterproof capabilities so no need to panic if exposed to accidental dunking or rain
  • Has 2 brightness settings as well as an emergency SOS flash option to make it useful for nearly any emergency situation
  • Offers good quality at an inexpensive price
  • Can also be used for the following:
    • Camping – ideal for a weekend away. Makes it easy to cook, read, or play cards when it’s dark. I just leave it hanging up for the whole trip, it charges during the day, and I turn it on after the sun goes down.
    • Car – perfect for changing a tire or checking under the hood at night. Additionally, it can be set to SOS mode to alert other drivers to your presence.
    • Bug Out Bag – weighing as much as a deck of cards and collapsing down to 1 inch high, this is a perfect lightweight addition to a bug out bag or any other pack that may need to be carried over long distances.
    • Fishing/Boating – as it is 100% waterproof and able to float, it makes a great boating companion. If you happen to find yourself in trouble on the water, especially at night, the SOS setting can be a lifesaver.


  • Doesn’t provide the spotlight or throw distance of a flashlight; better suited for general illumination of a room or work area.

2. Flashlight

What It Is

A flashlight is a small, handheld light. Most people have a flashlight at home. When choosing a flashlight for a blackout kit, my recommendation is to find one that has an LED light source (instead of an old style light bulb), and that takes standard alkaline batteries (no fancy, expensive lithium batteries).

Why Choose An LED Light?

  • The efficiency is much greater than that of an old style light bulb, giving you better value for your money
  • Tougher than traditional bulbs, can be dropped without the worry of shattering
  • Offers a longer lifetime – modern LEDs are rated to last 10,000+ hours, several years of continuous use

Why Choose A Light That Takes Regular Batteries?

  • Economical
  • Easier to find or scavenge in a long-term survival situation


  • Fits easily into a pocket
  • The sheer volume of available options makes it easy to find one that perfectly fits your budget and needs
  • Good for spotlighting – shining on a specific target from far away


  • Not ideal for general lighting purposes as they throw a concentrated beam
  • Batteries can sometimes make them heavy
  • Needs batteries to function! Flashlights tend to sit in a drawer for a long time before use, resulting in the power draining from the batteries and rendering the flashlight useless when you most need it
  • Batteries are expensive, especially if you are going to stockpile them for a long-term bug-in or shelter-in-place situation. I recommend using a cheaper, reusable option.

We recommend the J5 Hyper V LED Tactical Flashlight.

3. Headlamp

What It Is

A headlamp is a small LED light that is worn on your head. It is favored by campers and outdoorsmen as it provides hands-free lighting that is well-suited for many tasks and finding your way in the dark.


  • Offers hands-free working – no more holding a flashlight in your teeth as you work
  • Most modern models come with multiple brightness options to save battery power


  • Not ideal for general lighting tasks such as lighting up a room during a blackout (similar to flashlights)
  • It is difficult to have a conversation with someone while wearing a headlamp as you will be shining the light in their eyes when facing them. This has happened to me more times than I can count, I hated headlamps for a long time before coming to terms with their usefulness.

Click here to learn how to choose the best headlamp for your needs.

4. Oil Lantern

What It Is

An oil lantern is an old style storm lantern that burns lamp oil stored in its base. This method has been used for thousands of years, so you know it’s a solid method for lighting your home.  My parents had some of these in the basement when I was growing up and walking by them always made me feel like I was in an old movie.


  • No batteries needed
  • Simple moving parts that can be easily fixed
  • Long lasting
  • Can burn olive or citronella oil as an alternative to lamp oil


  • Major fire hazard; basically becomes a molotov cocktail when knocked over
  • Frequently made of glass and is therefore quite fragile and is a potential fire hazard
  • Need to store enough oil to keep it going as well as spare wicks

5. Propane Lantern

A propane lantern is a lamp element that sits on top of a small propane tank, which acts as both the base of the lamp and the fuel source. The old style Coleman Propane Lantern was a standard item for the Boy Scout trips of my youth.


  • Generates a lot of light for a long time
  • Provides adjustable brightness
  • Easy to use


  • Have to have propane tanks on hand that fit the lantern (because these tanks are a particular size and type, they are harder to scavenge than something like an AA battery or lamp oil)
  • Pose a minor fire hazard (not as much as an oil lamp but you are burning propane, which has the potential to be a problem)
  • Get very hot during use (something to be aware of if you have pets or children around)
  • Have to replace the mantel of the lantern regularly (another item that would be difficult to scavenge)

6. Emergency Candles

Another light source that has been around for thousands of years, candles are a lighting source that keeps things simple. When I was a kid, we used candles to light the house during blackouts and always had a large stockpile downstairs.



  • They are a fire hazard, and while no one wants to have to call the fire department, during a blackout you might not even be able to!
  • You will need a large quantity to light a large room or entire house, which means a lot of storage space
  • You will need even more candles if you are looking to provide light for a long-term shelter-in-place scenario, no thanks!

7. Battery Powered Lantern

What It Is

A battery powered lantern is a modern electric lantern that runs on regular old batteries. In the last couple years, a huge number of new styles have come out that have LEDs in place of old-style light bulbs.


  • There are many varieties of this lighting method available, making it easy to find one that suits your budget and performs exactly as needed
  • They usually take standard batteries, which are easier to scavenge than some of the other fuel sources mentioned
  • Very easy to use
  • Good for lighting a room or work area


  • The main difference between a battery powered lantern and something like the Luci Solar Air Lantern that I use is that a battery powered lantern needs a constant supply of new batteries
  • Batteries can be expensive, especially if you choose to stockpile them, and are one more thing you will need to scavenge for in a long-term blackout or shelter-in-place scenario

8. Wind Up Lights

A wind-up light is a small flashlight powered by a hand-cranked dynamo. A crank or lever, usually on the outside of the flashlight, is wound or pumped to generate electricity.


  • No need to stock up on batteries, you are the energy source!
  • Simple to use


  • Not ideal for long-term use as they need to be turned off to charge (this can also be tiring)
  • Ineffective at lighting up rooms or work areas as they are not that bright
  • Tend to break from overuse as there are lots of moving parts

9. Glowsticks

Glowsticks are plastic tubes filled with chemicals that glow when a small capsule is broken inside them, usually by bending the glowstick. Glowsticks typically glow green but can be purchased in a variety of colors.


  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight
  • Works well for lighting up small spaces or places such as wells or manholes where you may not want to stick something you don’t want to lose
  • There is no fire hazard as they do not generate heat and there’s no worry of shattering
  • Can last up to 12 hours


  • They do not provide a lot of light
  • Once they are on, they remain lit until they burn out
  • Once burnt out, that’s it – no refilling or recharging

What I Use In My Blackout Kit

For my home blackout kit, my primary light source is the Luci Solar Air Lantern. I love the fact that I can charge it up and know that charge will hold for 3 years.

Then, when a blackout occurs, I will have 12 hours of lighting on-hand and can charge it up the next day.

Never needing batteries is a big thing to me. In a long-term emergency situation, not needing batteries means I won’t have to leave my family alone at home while I scavenge for batteries!

My backup light source is a Fenix HP25 Headlamp. I use this if I have to do maintenance on the house in tight quarters or need to light the way while walking at night.

For extra lighting, for yourself or other family members, a J5 Hyper V LED Tactical Flashlight can come in handy as well.

Lastly, I have several sets of emergency candles as the last line of defense. When properly used, candles can double as a can double as a heat source, so I see this a smart, multipurpose item to include.

Your Thoughts?

What do you use to light your home during blackouts? Is there anything you would suggest staying away from? Let me know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

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survival first aid basics

Survival First Aid Basics: Skills and Gear to Keep You Alive

survival first aid basics

With the current state of modern medicine, getting a cut, sprain, or broken bone is no longer the death sentence that our ancestors faced. With proper medical attention, you can get patched up and on your way in no time.

But what do you do if these medical systems fail, are destroyed, or are jammed with other survivors?

How will you make sure you or someone you love doesn’t die unnecessarily?

The best way to insulate yourself from this type of tragedy is to make sure you learn some basic survival first aid.

First aid is an invaluable skill set to learn and to help get you started we have teamed up with Dr James Hubbard of

Besides being a practicing doctor for the last 30 years, Dr Hubbard has also published five easy to understand books on survival first aid (see them here). In this article he walks us through some basic problems that are likely to occur in a survival situation and what you can do to save lives when it matters most.

What are the 3 basic First Aid skills you should learn for a survival scenario?

JH: The skill I most recommend learning is how to stop a wound from bleeding. Most of the time, applying pressure to the wound will work. Also know how to use a tourniquet.

Learn abdominal thrusts for choking. A person can die from choking within minutes, so even in normal times, when emergency services are available, this technique can save a life.

A third important skill is the skill of improvisation. Remember to use what you’ve got. If you don’t have the perfect medical equipment, you may be able to make it out of something common. For example, you can make a decent tourniquet from a belt or a T-shirt. I go over a lot of other ideas for makeshift supplies in the book.

But what about CPR?

JH: That is important to know, but a lot of people are surprised to learn that CPR is only going to keep you alive for a certain amount of time. So it’s most helpful if emergency services are on the way or if you have access to an AED—automated external defibrillator. A lot of public places and even some homes have them.

The longer you keep doing CPR without a defibrillator to restart the heart, the less likely the person is to survive. Experts say to do CPR until you’re completely exhausted. I agree, but in truth, after about ten minutes, the person is unlikely to survive.

Exceptions are victims of hypothermia and drowning. They’re likely to live longer, without irreversible brain damage, because they have lower metabolism—less need for blood and oxygen. Some people, especially children, have survived after multiple minutes—even an hour—of having CPR.

What’s your number-one piece of survival equipment?

JH: Besides my book, I’d say the brain—knowledge. You’re not always going to have the specific equipment you need. If you have knowledge, you can improvise.

What are your top-five must-haves for a “go” bag?

JH: Vinyl gloves to protect yourself from infectious disease and fluids. I like vinyl because some people are allergic to latex. It’s better to buy too large than too small because you can always get a larger size on. And if someone else is using the gloves, they may have bigger hands than you. You could improvise by putting any type of waterproof material over your hands.

I like to keep some SAM Splints. They’re flexible splints that become rigid when you bend them. They’re so versatile, and you can use them for many types of sprains and broken bones.

Have some elastic bandages to use on sprains. They help with stability and with compression, which in turn can decrease swelling. With compression, watch the circulation though; your toes or fingers shouldn’t become numb or cold. You can also use an elastic bandage to keep a SAM Splint in place.

You’ll need bandage scissors or any type of strong scissors that can cut cloth, tape, and the SAM Splint.

And throw in some tape. Duct tape is my favorite. It’s a good waterproof, very sticky type of tape. However, any type of tape will do—the stickier the better. You can use it on bandages or to cover a wound after putting down some sort of cloth or padding. If you have to walk for help and your shoes are causing blisters, put duct tape in the shoes on the pressure points to relieve the friction. Duct tape does have latex in it, so it’s good to keep a latex-free option in case someone is allergic.

One reason I like these supplies is you can use most of them in multiple ways for multiple problems.

I live in a busy city and never go hiking; do I really need these skills?

JH: Yes. There’s always the risk you won’t be able to get medical care due to natural disasters, upheaval, or all kinds of other things.

A few years ago, there was an episode in England when some city-dwellers, because of riots, were not able to get medical treatment in a timely manner. Ambulances were overwhelmed with calls, and it wasn’t safe to go into the streets and try to get to help. For unsafe times like that, the book also gives hints on when you really need to get to the doctor if that’s possible and when it can wait.

Even in ideal times, with emergency services just down a couple of streets, that first few minutes before they reach you can save a life.

What are some common household items you can use to treat a cut or wound?

JH: You can stop the bleeding by applying pressure with any clean cloth material, like a T-shirt. Wadded up, the material can apply deeper pressure than your hands would to a rough wound’s nooks and crannies.

You can clean the wound with drinkable water. Or many types of clean liquids will do.

And you can tape the wound with duct tape if the person isn’t allergic to latex. Not all wounds should be closed, but for those that do, a specific taping technique, which I go over in the book, can substitute for stitches if necessary.

What’s the main concern with broken bones and dislocations?

JH: The main concern is usually blood and nerve supply. If the bone is out of place, it can press on a nerve or blood vessel, and you could develop permanent problems. If blood flow is stopped, you could even lose the limb. In the book, I go over ways to check for these problems and try to fix them or minimize the damage, at least temporarily, if you’re unable to get professional help.

If you’re dealing with an open fracture, a main concern is infection. “Open fracture” means a broken bone has gone through the skin—maybe only briefly before going back in. This puts you at high risk for a serious bone infection.

How can you tell if someone has had a concussion?

JH: If a person has had head trauma—from either a hit or a jerk of the head or neck—and then has any symptom caused by that trauma, they probably have a concussion.

Many years ago, we thought you had to be knocked unconscious to have a concussion. Now that belief has changed, and we know there can be at least temporary brain damage with much less. For example, you might be dazed, have a headache, feel nauseous or dizzy, or have trouble sleeping. These are just some of the possible symptoms of a concussion.

What’s the first thing you should do if you get bitten by an animal?

JH: Get away from the animal!  If we’re talking about wounds: If it’s dangerously bleeding, stop the bleeding. Wash the wound out well with water.

Do not close it or get it sutured. Animal bites are especially prone to infection, and closing the wound will give those germs a nice breeding ground. Keep it open so you can regularly clean it and so your body can get rid of some of the germs.

With most normal wounds, cleaning with plain water will suffice. But for animal bites, there’s some indication that Betadine-type solutions work better when you’re trying to wash out rabies germs.

survival first aid basics
If you get bitten by an animal: FIRST get away from the animal, then do what you can to avoid infection.

What do TV shows and movies get wrong about CPR?

JH: The actors don’t press hard enough—because they can’t. You’re supposed to press the chest down about two inches, but you don’t want to do that on a living actor.

Also, the actors usually still do artificial respirations with the chest compressions. Today, it’s recommended that in most circumstances, when laypeople perform CPR, they only to do the chest compressions. Exceptions are when you’re performing CPR on children younger than puberty or on drowning or drug-overdose victims.

Also, in the movies and on TV, people come back to life just from chest compressions. In real life, that’s basically unheard of. It’s very, very rare. You do the chest compressions in order to keep the brain alive until you can shock the heart back.

survival first aid basics
Don’t do what the TV Doctors do. Especially this guy.

What’s the main concern with broken bones and dislocations?

JH: The main concern is usually blood and nerve supply. If the bone is out of place, it can press on a nerve or blood vessel, and you could develop permanent problems. If blood flow is stopped, you could even lose the limb. In the book, I go over ways to check for these problems and try to fix them or minimize the damage, at least temporarily, if you’re unable to get professional help.

If you’re dealing with an open fracture, a main concern is infection. “Open fracture” means a broken bone has gone through the skin—maybe only briefly before going back in. This puts you at high risk for a serious bone infection.

What’s the first thing you should do if you get bitten by an animal?

JH: Get away from the animal!  If we’re talking about wounds: If it’s dangerously bleeding, stop the bleeding. Wash the wound out well with water.

Do not close it or get it sutured. Animal bites are especially prone to infection, and closing the wound will give those germs a nice breeding ground. Keep it open so you can regularly clean it and so your body can get rid of some of the germs.

With most normal wounds, cleaning with plain water will suffice. But for animal bites, there’s some indication that Betadine-type solutions work better when you’re trying to wash out rabies germs.

survival first aid basics
If you get bitten by an animal: FIRST get away from the animal, then do what you can to avoid infection.

Where is the best place to be in a thunderstorm to avoid getting hit by lightning?

JH: In the inside part of a house—away from windows—or in a car. If you’re in the woods, there’s no great place.

Some experts have said to keep walking, so if lightning strikes you, hopefully one foot will be up and one down and you’ll be grounded. Others have said squatting on the balls of your feet, heels together, head down, hands off the ground, will help.

survival first aid basics

These theories are debated. I think the best idea is to stay away from metal poles and structures, and make sure you’re not the tallest thing around—or beside the tallest thing. Squat under a low-lying group of short trees.

People don’t usually die when they get struck. They sometimes have burns. There will be a boom that can cause hearing loss. They can have abnormal nerve troubles and are prone to get depression later on.

Can you really drink seawater, urine, and blood?

JH: Yes. It might help very short-term—meaning several minutes or so; it may get you out of a dangerous situation. But after that, it’s going to do more harm than good.

There’s too much concentration of chemicals in these fluids. Your body will try to dilute those out, so you’ll urinate more than usual. In turn, you’ll become more dehydrated.

Also, you’re putting toxins into your body. With urine, your body has just expelled those chemicals because it doesn’t need them. They’re not like a poison; they won’t kill you immediately. But they’ll be more concentrated in your body and will affect your kidneys in multiple ways.


As you can see, there are a lot of skills we can learn to improve our chances of survival. If you are interested in this topic, start off with the basics and build your survival skill set from there. This is a skill that no one ever regrets learning. Always remember, Chance Favors The Well Prepared.

Further Reading:

Your Thoughts?

Is there a survival first aid skill you think everyone should know? Do you have a piece of first aid gear that is a must have for a bug out bag? Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

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Using the 80/20 Rule To Prep Smarter, Cheaper, Faster & Better

I don’t know about you but I’m what the French would call “lazy”.

However, I like to think of myself as “efficient”.

By which I mean to say, I prefer to do the least amount of work for the most amount of return. Smarter people than me refer to this as the Pareto Principle a.k.a. The 80/20 Rule.

I don’t know if you read bolded words in a big, booming voice in your head but that’s how I meant it.

What is the 80/20 Rule?

The 80/20 Rule states: You should aim to achieve 80% of the results with 20% of the work but the last 20% will take 80% of the work.

For example, let’s say that building a basic shelter, like a lean-to, takes you 30 minutes to set up. But making sure that it’s level, properly insulated, fully weatherproof, has a comfy pine straw floor, etc takes you another 2 1/2 hours. What you built in half an hour was basically all you needed but making it perfect is what took up ~80% of the time. Here is a quick example:


How Can The 80/20 Rule Help Me Survive?

I know, I know. You came here to learn about bug out bags and survival skills, not principles and rules and such. But bear with me, I’m going somewhere with this.

We can apply the 80/20 Rule to bug out bags as well.

If you’re on this site, you probably already know how important bug out bags are and why you need them. But raise your hand if you actually have one.

Now look up and see if your hand is raised. If not, read on. If it is, you can jump down to the Weight section.

Let’s start with what to pack.

Try to bring the minimum you need instead of the maximum you can carry

What to Pack

For a lot of people just getting into prepping, putting together their bug out bag is kind of overwhelming. Hell, I wrote a BOB checklist that had almost 100 items on it! And that still wasn’t everything.

Yes, you can go buy a $200 pack and drop another $500 in gear. And it would be totally worth it. But did you know that you can get 80% of the way there and 1107% more prepared than you already are without spending a dime?

If you’re like most people, you’ve got most of the supplies you need to survive already lying around your house. Because you’re surviving right now.

All you’ve got to do is put all that stuff in a bag.

Here’s a very basic breakdown of how this fits the Pareto Principle:

80% – Easy stuff you already own

  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Shirts
  • Pants
  • Food
  • Water
  • First aid supplies (Click HERE to learn how to make your Bug Out First Aid Kit)
  • Medications
  • Flashlight (Check out our comprehensive Flashlight Guide HERE)
  • Lighter/Matches
  • Cordage (paracord is optimal but not everyone has some in their junk drawer)
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Pocket knife
  • Duct tape
  • Floss
  • Super glue
  • Tinfoil
  • Trash bags
  • Ziploc bags
  • Etc

20% – Need to buy

Sure, you’ll probably need to buy some items to be fully prepared but I bet you can survive for a while just on what you can put together in 30 minutes from what you already have.


Here is an article covering this topic specifically (click here to see it), but I will summarize here to make it easy on you.

bug out bag

A lighter kit will let you travel further and faster before exhaustion sets in.

Why should you care about your bug out bag weight?

  1. The weight of your pack is one of the main factors determining how far and at what speed you’re able to travel.
  2. A heavy BOB will cause you to burn more energy and sweat more, thus requiring more food and water.
  3. And when you’re tired and sore from lugging that thing across Kingdom Come, your morale plummets.

Bug Out Bag Interactive Packing List

Click on the button now to make your bug out bag list and see how much it will weigh!

But there are some very easy tricks you can do to get rid of a lot of that weight while still keeping 80% of the functionality.

First, comfortable shoes are a must when bugging out. But they don’t do much good if they aren’t on your feet. So either put them on or toss them but don’t take up precious space and weight with a pair of “just in case” hiking boots.

Second, water is important. But you don’t need to bring a week’s worth with you. Knowing how to find and purify water is an essential skill you should know anyways.  If you want to learn how, just Click HERE Now.

A bottle (16 ounces) of water clocks in at 1.05 pounds. So if you’re able to get rid of a spare bottle, you’ve just shaved a significant amount of weight off.

Keep a bottle or two with you (unless you don’t plan on being around a water source for a while) and ditch the rest.

long term water storage

Water is HEAVY! Bring a little and plan on foraging on the way.
Image credit Lisa Risager on flickr.

Third, while food is important, unless you’ve already gone through your original supplies and are forced to scavenge, stay away from cans.

The goal isn’t to have as much food as possible, it’s to have as many calories as possible.

Basically the opposite of your diet.

So focus on small foods that keep well and are high in calories (and protein, if possible). Things like:

  • Trail mix (there are some good recipes here)
  • Protein bars – I like these, they taste awesome and are long lasting.  I usually keep one in my EDC bag for a snack when I am on the run but they are well suited for a bug out bag also.
  • Coast Guard Survival Rations – These ones taste good and are very filling
  • MREs – Stands for “Meals Ready To Eat”, basically Army rations

bug out bag

MREs are light and provide plenty of energy when on the move

Fourth is shelter. If you plan on bugging out in a non-urban environment, shelter is pretty important.

There are two categories to focus on when cutting your shelter weight; what you’ve got and what it’s made out of. And what you can change or leave behind will be based very heavily (pun intended) on your specific situation.

For example, I live in a very hot, humid area. If I had to bug out, chances are low that I’d need a thick sleeping bag but they’re pretty high that I’d need something to keep the rain away.

So in my instance, I decided to ditch the typical tent and sleeping bag and instead went with a lightweight hammock and rainfly.

I’ve got a comfortable place to sleep and something to keep me dry (plus the hammock has mosquito netting which is essential in my region). And it all weighs less than 3 pounds.

bug-out hammock

Click On The Image to learn how to choose the right hammock for bugging out

So to lighten your load, you either need to switch out what you’re carrying, like trading a tent for a tarp or sleeping bag for a yoga mat, or buy lighter equipment.

There are “ultralight” tents and sleeping bags that weigh next to nothing but perform just as well, if not better, than their portly cousins.

If you go this route, make sure you choose your gear carefully, ultralight equipment can cost upwards of ten times the price of regular gear!

best lightweight tent

Click on the picture to see how to choose the right ultralight tent


No, not the final frontier, I’m talking about room in your bag.

If you followed all the rules from the weight section, you should have quite a bit more room for other essential items.

Take a look at the largest items in your bug out bag and ask yourself if you really need them or if there is a smaller alternative.

Here are a few quick tips:

  1. Wrap duct tape around a pencil or your water bottle so you don’t have to carry a whole roll.
  2. Remove items from packaging, if possible.
  3. Attach your flashlight and knife to the outside of your bag (especially if your backpack has MOLLE webbing). This will free up space and make them easier to deploy in a hurry.

Now that you’ve cleaned out the excess, don’t go throwing more crap in there just because you can.

Leaving a bit of space might be a good idea, especially if you plan on scavenging along the way.

Personally, I would use that extra room for more socks and underwear.

You may laugh at that but let me tell you from experience, you do not want to walk numerous miles a day, for multiple days, without a change of socks. Or undies.

Plus they’re light, have a number of uses, and disposable if you find a cute snow globe at the gift shop.


Wrap It Up

So that’s the 80/20 rule and some ways you can use it to improve your preparedness. Once you get used to thinking this way, you will see you will be able to apply it to nearly any aspect of life to get the maximum results with the minimum effort!

Your Thoughts?

Did you learn anything new? Were you able to apply any of these to your bug out bag? Got some more tips to add on optimizing your prepping?

Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

About the Author

Evan Michaels is the chief editor at Know Prepare Survive. When he’s not rambling about survival skills and bug out bags, he can be found hiking (or, as it’s called in Florida, walking), fishing, and just generally being a cool dude.

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