DIY Car Survival Kit

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There is a common mistake I see many new preppers make when preparing for disastrous situations. Often times, it’s easy to prep for the more catastrophic situations and overlook the most basic preps of all.

Lots of us are prepared for a fully blown SHTF situation but how many are prepared for basic car problems? In this list I will show you a basic kit you should keep in your car to prepare for a variety of problems.

The kit

Jumper cables – This one should be dead obvious. Perhaps more than anything a set of cables can be used to jump start a dead battery and get you or a friend back on the road. You can also use the cables to help out other stranded drivers on the road.

Pocket Jumper – This has quickly become one of my favorite items in my car survival kit. This device is a bank of batteries you can use to jump a dead battery and charge your USB powered devices. I’ve written a complete review on the Survival Frog Pocket Jumper right here.

Knife / glass breaker – A good multi purpose survival knife should always be kept within arms reach. You can use the knife to slash through seat belts and the opposite end to smash through a window shield. If you flip your a car the knife can help you make it out to safety.

Spare tire – Another obvious one. A dead battery and a flat tire are the two most common reasons for road problems. If you prep for these 2 situations you’ve covered a lot of what might happen on the road. Also be sure you have a tire iron to loosen the lug nuts on the wheel.

Flash light – Nothing too fancy here. Just a flashlight or a headlamp you can use to work on your car if you become stranded at night. A flashlight with a strobing feature can also signal other cars or people around who can offer you assistance.

Water bottles – a pack of water to keep you hydrated. Hydration is especially important if you live or travel through extremely hot climates. You can quickly become dehydrated causing your mind to become cloudy and sub-optimal.

Tool kit – this includes a basic set of tools to make adjustments on your car including a pressure gauge to check the air in your tires.

Paperwork – Registration, insurance, AAA card etc. Basically all the things everybody, even non-preppers, should keep in their vehicle at all times.

Spare clothes – At the bare minimum a change of socks and clean underwear. Pack warm clothes if you live in colder climates. You can change into these if you happen to get wet or something happens to your primary clothing.

Ultra enhanced car survival kit

The above list is a bare bones survival kit everybody should keep in their car. Below is a list of additional items you might consider if you want to go all out with a kit.

First aid kit – a solid first aid kit so you can self treat any minor scrapes and wounds. These could be wounds inflicted on a hike or during an automobile accident.

Fire extinguisher – One of these small ABC fire extinguishers will help you extinguish any fires in or around your car.

Spare cash – Spare cash is always a good thing to have on hand in case of emergencies. If the power goes out businesses will only accept cash. Cash can also be used to barter other items off other stranded folk in the case of fully blown SHTF.

Smart phone charger – A self contained USB battery bank could be your ticket to safety in times of trouble on the road. That is, if your phone has any charge! You can’t rely on your car battery if it’s dead so you’ll need a second item you can use to charge up your devices.

Spare gas tank – You’d be amazed at how many gas stations do not have a spare gas canister you can use to refuel a stranded car. And if they do, many require some kind of collateral to take the damn thing. Not like the old days where people were cool and gas stations actually had stuff to fix your car.

Additional Survival Items

Aside from the equipment specific to helping you with car problems, you can go a step further and include general survival items as well. Here is a list of some common gear options:

  • Fire starter (lighters, matches)
  • Water filter
  • Bug out / duffel bag
  • Sleeping bag / emergency sleeping bag
  • Survival radio
  • Tarp / tent (shelter)
  • Canteen
  • 72 hours of food (non perishable)
  • Spare medicine you need
  • Spare glasses
  • A good book

Final thoughts

And there you have it. Everything you need to put together a fully blown car survival kit. If you think I’ve missed anything, please leave a comment below and I will consider your remarks for the list! Thanks for reading.

 

 

Survival Frog Pocket Jumper Review

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The other day my car broke down and guess what I did NOT have in the trunk? You guessed it, a pair of basic jumper cables. I’ve been prepping for the zombie apocalypse but did not have even the basic tools needed to bail myself out of an auto jam. It took an hour before I was able to flag someone down for help. Got to love Jeep drivers, they always seem to have everything.

Anyways, this got me thinking about the tools I need to prepare for car related disasters. I started out by immediately purchasing a set of jumper cables and then stumbled upon the Pocket Jumper from Survival Frog.

You see, jumper cables are nice but they require a second car in order to function. The Pocket Jumper contains everything you need to jump start your car and get back on the road in no time.

How the Pocket Jumper works

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The Pocket Jumper is a portable battery charger that fits in the palm of your hand. The built in battery bank can jump start a standard 12v car battery up to 20 times before needing a recharge. The built in USB ports allow you to also charge your smart phones and other USB compatible charging devices.

Specifications

  • 200 amp Jump Start Port
  • Up to 20 jump starts in one charge. One charge last for 6 months unused.
  • 5V USB port for charging: cell phones, MP3 players, tablets, cameras, GPS units, PSPs & more
  • Car Jump Starter Size: 5.2 x 3 x 1 inches
  • Car Jump Starter Weight: 8 oz.
  • Car Jump Starter Output: 5V 2A
  • Car Jump Starter Input: 12V 1A
  • Car Jump Starter Starting Current: 200A
  • Car Jump Starter Peak Current: 400A
  • Car Jump Starter Full Charging Time: 3hrs
  • Car Jump Starter Operating Temp: 32˚F-140˚F
  • Will Jump Start: All 12 volt passenger and recreational-type trucks/vans
  • Will NOT Jump Start: Larger diesel utility vehicles or semis
  • Car Jump Starter Color: Silver

Personal review of the Pocket Jumper

This is a weighty little beast with high quality batteries. When it comes to raw charging capability, I’ve found the heavier the better. I love how slim and compact the Pocket Jumper is. While I still carry a set of cables, the pocket jumper is a much more compact way to charge a battery without lugging around a bulky battery charger. The Pocket Jumper does everything as advertised.

One thing I haven’t tested is jumping a completely dead car battery. That’s not an easy one to test but I have no doubt this device will jump partially dead batteries all day long with zero problems. This is a great addition to your standard jumper cables, giving you one more tool in your kit to pull you out of any jam on the road.

The entire block can be charged via your cigarette port in your car or via a standard electrical outlet.

Final thoughts

The Survival Frog Pocket Jumper is a great addition to add to your preps. This is a high quality charging station that can easily charge your car battery and your USB devices. In a fully blown SHTF situation, you never know when something like this will come in handy. In fact, you might become citizen of the year jumping all those broken down cars.

The Pocket Jumper is one of those survival tools you can’t afford to be without. Trust me, you’ll be kicking yourself in the ass if your car battery dies and you don’t have this in the trunk!

 

10 Best Survival Food Kits

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Disaster can strike at anytime. Depending on the situation you might not have access to food. Roads could be blocked or maybe the stores have been looted by wild monkeys in the streets. Whatever the case, knowing you have a steady supply of food at hand will give you peace of mind in a state of total chaos. I’ve tested and reviewed many emergency survival food kits on the market.

Below is a list of the kits I’ve found to be fully loaded with great tasting food at a decent price point.

1.) Mountain House “Just in Case” Essential Bucket

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For a drop dead basic survival kit, you can’t go wrong with this bucket from Mountain House Foods. They’ve been in the backpacking industry for years, providing high quality foods you can take with you camping. This kit is an extension of these great tasting meals. The bucket contains 32 Servings; 4 pouches each of Mountain House Rice & Chicken, Chili Mac with Beef, and Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.

A single person could eat modestly for a month or 2 people could eat for 2 weeks. Grab a few of these bad boys and save them for a rainy day. They have a 30 year taste guarantee so don’t worry about them going bad anytime soon!

2.) Wise Company Large Serving Package Buckets

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WISE company is another heavy hitter in the emergency food supply industry. They’ve been around the block and have many emergency food kits available. You can select either a 40 pound (2 buckets) or 62 pound (3 buckets) supply. They have the foods split up into breakfast and dinner items. Each sealed Mylar pouch in the 40lb option contains 4 servings of the following foods: Savory Stroganoff (12 Servings) – Three Cheese Macaroni (12 Servings) – Pasta Alfredo (12 Servings) – Creamy Pasta and Vegetable Rotini (12 Servings) – Teriyaki and Rice (12 Servings) – Cheesy Lasagna (12 Servings) – Creamy Ala King and Rice (12 Servings) – Chili Macaroni (12 Servings) – Tomato Basil Soup (12 Servings) – Hearty Tortilla Soup (12 Servings) – Apple Cinnamon Cereal (40 Servings) – Brown Sugar and Maple Multi-Grain Cereal (40 Servings) – Crunchy Granola (40 Servings)

Great tasting stuff. Perfect for emergencies.

3.) Patriot Pantry Emergency Food Supply

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One thing you’ll notice about Patriot Pantry is all their foods taste home made. While the other foods on this list are definitely tasty, they don’t come close to Patriot Pantry quality. This particular kit is a 3 month survival package for a single adult. It’s a well thought kit too including desserts, snacks, and drinks. While it’s technically for a single person, you can do the math to figure out how many could survive and for how long.

4.) Augason Farms Freeze Dried Fruits and Veggies

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I know preppers tend to be more “meat and potatos” types so I included a healthy option for the more health conscious among you. Augason farms is another reputable emergency food supply brand and well known in the industry. This kit contains 522 servings of a variety of tasty freeze dried fruits and veggies. You can eat them dry or rehydrate to bring back a fresh taste. This is also a great way to supplement the other kits on this list.

5.) Long Term Freeze Dried Supply (Large Entrees)

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This is for the man who can eat. If most “serving sizes” don’t satisfy your large and growing appetite, the serving sizes in this one will. Each serving is massive and will keep your stomach nice and happy. All you need is hot water to have yourself a feast. Eat up! This stuff tastes great by the way.

6.) WISE 240 Serving Milk Bucket

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A life without milk? No thank you. This kit contains 240 servings of whey milk. Add a cup of water to each packet for a tasty drink that almost tastes like the real thing!

7.) Mountain House 14 Day Emergency Supply

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Another solid survival food kit from Mountain house. Here we have a 14 day supply for a single person. The kit contains all the famous foods you’re used to seeing from the brand.

8.) 52 Serving WISE Prepper Pack

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For the ultimate prepper who demands only the best in emergency food supplies. This kit contains a tasty assortment of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and even drinks! All of the best foods are here including Chili Mac, Stroganoff, the famous Creamy Pasta and Vegetable Rotini. Drinks include a high powered electrolyte mix (orange flavored) and whey milk. All meals are freeze dried or dehydrated. Tasty stuff indeed.

9.) WISE Grab and Go Entrees

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This kit contains entree only versions of WISE’ famous and classic dishes. Each serving is packaged in its very own container and cooks right there in the bag. Simple add hot water and you’re good to go.

10.) WISE 4320 Serving Ultimate Package

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I had to include this one as a totally insane option only for those SERIOUS about long term  survival. This is the highest price option the list and for a good reason. There’s enough food to sustain 4 adults an entire year. Or if it’s just you, an entire 4 years! Buy this supply kit and you’ll never have to worry about food preps for a very long time.

 

 

 

8 Best Molle Compatible Pouches

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There’s no better way to extend the versatility of your pack than to strap on some MOLLE compatible storage attachments. With the right configuration, you can dial in and really customize your gear. Here are the top MOLLE compatible pouches and attachments for your all your extensible needs.

1.) Orca Tactical MOLLE Water Bottle Pouch

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To keep your water bottle nice and snug against your pack. 4 MOLLE straps attach to any compatible webbing and the whole thing will fit a generously sized 40oz bottle. What you put in the bottle is up to you!

2.) Condor Rip-Away EMT Pouch

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Generously sized MOLLE pouch with rip away technology. Easy access in case of emergencies. Fits a good sized first aid kit and then some.

3.) Condor Outdoor T And T Pouch

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Coated waterproof cordura material MOLLE compatible attachments. What more can you ask for? The zippers are also extremely heavy duty.

4.) Condor Triple Kangaroo Magazine Pouch

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Another classic pouch from Condor. This one fits a standard M4/M16 magazine. You know, for those times where things start getting heavy. Also a great option for any other clips/magazines you have.

5.) Official U.S. Military Canteen Pouch

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Straight from Uncle Sam himself. Fits a standard canteen or whatever else you want to throw in there. It’s the same pouch issued to the special forces. If it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for us.

6.) Condor 12 Gauge Ammo Pouch

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Holds 12 rounds of your standard 12 gauge shotgun rounds. Solid construction and well bolstered MOLLE attachments.

7.) Rip Away Tactical Medical Pouch

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This little baby comes stock with 1000 Denier nylon and a host of pockets. Rip away technology makes getting to your pouch an easy feat. Double zippers and sturdy construction specially designed for a comprehensive medical kit.

8.) Galati Gear Mag Pouch With Velcro and MOLLE

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Store up to 4 magazines straight on your belt with this high quality MOLLE pouch. Room enough for magazine types of many sizes.

 

 

 

 

Kelty Falcon 4000 Backpack Review

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Looking to load up a bunch of stuff and get out of dodge? The Kelty Falcon 4000 is a BEAST of a backpack and me and this thing have been through the RINGER. This pack is a raw work horse and I’m almost sure it would make it out of a wood chipper unscathed. (Don’t try this at home.)

In this review I take a hard look at the Kelty Falcon 4000 and tell you everything you need to know.

Critical Specs

    • Weight: 6 pounds, 14 ounces
    • Weight without Lid: 5 pounds, 15 ounces
    • Dimensions: 32 by 14 by 12.5 inches (L x W x H)
    • Volume: 4000 cubic inches
    • Volume with Low-Volume Hood: 3620 cubic inches
    • Torso Fit Range: 16 to 21 inches
    • Body Fabric: 500D kodra and 1000D nylon kodra

A quick run down

The pack comes straight out of the factory in Keltys signature coyote brown color. A great color that blends in well with any environment so no problems going full blown incognito. The material in question is pure, in the raw Nylon (1000 Denier.) It’s a thick and sturdy bag. You could throw this thing through a wood chipper and still use it for that backpacking trip.

I can tell you that I’ve put this pack to the test deep in the back bush. It’s been chucked over downed trees and mercilessly thrown off ridges and cliffs. Not a single hole in the entire bag.

A true tactical pack

One thing you’ll notice about this pack is the military color and the outer layer of MOLLE on the externals. Kelty has taken an obvious step into creating a decent product aimed at someone who demands a pack that can withstand brutal military grade conditions. Using the Molle you can easily attach extra pouches on the outside for a back crushing load out.

The 1000D nylon makes the Kelty Falcon 4000 damn near indestructible.

Massive load capacity

The Kelty Falcon 4000 features a top loading lid which reveals 65 Liters of raw “stuff and go” storage space. This is not the pack for the neat freak or the hyper OCD organizational nut. You’re basically shoving your gear into a deep cavernous hole and calling it a day. Now, that’s not to say this pack does not have any pockets at all. At the top, A nice detachable pouch. On the front, the main admin pouch with a few modest storage pockets. Lastly, the center of the pack also zips away giving you access to the main storage container and another simple meshed pocket.

Personal review

The Falcon 4000 is my personal get out of dodge for the end of the world pack. It’s strong, sturdy, and boasts a large carrying capacity. You won’t have to worry about this thing busting on your. Everything from the buckles to the straps is extremely well made.

I like the fact that you have instant access to the center of the pouch. I like to keep items I might need right there so I have access to them at all times. There are similar packs like the 4000 but they do not provide this front panel loading access.

The detachable lid is also a handy feature. If you want to cut weight you can easily remove the lid and shed the extra load.

Lastly, this a true to form tactical backpack complete with MOLLE webbing on the outside. Molle extends the versatility of any pack. While this pack is very basic, you can upgrade the storage options with external MOLLE compatible pouches. So, if you ARE an organizational zealot you can really get fancy with this thing.

One other thing to note – the shoulder, back pads, and hip belt are extremely well padded. The hip belt does a great job at gathering the weight of the load around your hips. No spaghetti straps here to dig into body. Very comfortable.

Final thoughts

The Kelty Falcon 4000 is a solid backpack. It will hold up well as a bug out bag or if you’re headed out into the deep bush. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find a tactical bag with this much storage capacity. I recommend the Falcon 4000 to anybody who wants a solid bag that’s going to stand the test of time.

 

Best Survival Clothing

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Lot’s of effort and thought goes into creating the perfect bug out bag or the perfect preps. Very rare is the topic of the best survival clothing brought up. However, becoming equipped to survive means having the proper clothes on your back. Let’s talk about what needs to be considered to make sure you’re wearing the best threads possible when TSHTF.

Assessing your environment

Look outside and think about the local weather is like during the 4 seasons. Lot’s of rain, snow, and sleet during the winter? Maybe you live in a climate that doesn’t get a whole lot of water. In that case, you probably won’t need full blown waterproof gear. If your climate is hot and arid, you should favor breathable materials that allow sweat and heat to escape your body.

The layered approach

The best approach to choosing survival clothing is a layered one. A layered approach offers versatility for all seasons and weather conditions. The idea is if you start getting warm you can shed layers or add them if you’re cold. A layered system includes 3 major types of clothing:

  • Base layer
  • Middle layer
  • Shell layer

Base layer – the base layer is all about moving moisture away from your body. Even in the cold your body will produce sweat during physical labor. If this moisture is trapped on your skin you can easily develop hypothermia and become ill. A good compression base layer is cheap and effective.

Middle layer – the mid layer serves to trap heat close to your body for warmth. Natural fibers like wool or goose provide a great mid layer material and come in different thicknesses. Something like this North Face Fleece jacket would work.

Shell layer – this is the elemental layer. The shell layer protects you from elements like wind, rain, snow etc. This is the layer that keeps you dry. Here’s a popular shell layer.

Survival pants

Outdoor hiking pants fit the bill. Hiking pants are almost always made with a synthetic fabric that stretches and dries fast. The stretch allows your legs to move freely over obstacles. Regular jeans are just about the worst choice of clothing as they don’t stretch and they won’t dry fast if they get wet. Tactical pants also work well.

Survival socks and boots

Working our way  down the body we have perhaps the most important piece of survival clothing – the socks and boots. Your feet are a critical component of your survival strategy because you will most likely be doing a lot of walking – and trench foot is the last thing you want in a fully blown SHTF situation! I’ve owned a pair of these for well over 2 years and they’ve held up quite nicely. Check out the full review of my Vasque GTX boots here.

Avoid cotton socks and opt for either wool or synthetic. Once again, cotton socks retain moisture and take forever to dry. Wet feet are a recipe for blisters and fungus, something you certainly want to avoid.

Final thoughts

Don’t overlook survival clothing as you’re getting your preps together. The clothes on your back might be the one thing that keeps you alive in a fully blown SHTF situation!

How To Choose A Survival Backpack

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When the SHTF the first thing most of us will do is bug out. In my case, I don’t have a car AND I live in a major city. This means I will have to rely on my wits and my survival backpack to make it to safety. There’s  ton of options for backpacks out there. Hell, you might even have an old Jansport laying around that can do the trick. I wouldn’t recommend it however. There’s  lot of aspects about your survival backpack which must be considered.

Let’s take a look at a number of these.

Survival Backpack Crucial Considerations

Storage – The most important part of your backpack is the storage capacity. Can it stow all of the gear you need to survive a fully blown SHTF situation? At the bottom you’ll find a list of important gear you need. At the bare minimum you need at least 30L of storage space to store the basics.

Construction – Is the backpack going to fall apart on you as soon as SHTF. You might be thinking about cheaping out on of those Walmart packs but rest assured, they’re gonna come straight apart as soon as you do anything serious with it. As an avid hiker I’ve put my fair share of packs through the wringer. The cheap ones never last while my 5.11 72 hour bag has withstood the test of time. Nylon is strong and won’t rip apart if you snag it on barbed wire. Synthetic material is lighter but can’t handle the rigors of life.

Appearance – When the monkeys start looting in the streets you don’t want a bag that paints  a red flag on you saying “Hey, Loot’s over here!” Those fancy packs from REI might look cool but you’ll quickly become a target for an opportunistic ape. Going gray man is the way to go. Avoid bright colors and don’t buy a backpack that makes you look like daddy’s little trust fund baby who’s setting off to backpack around Europe.

Load bearing – if you’re going for a full load out a backpack with a hip belt is a must. The hip belt takes a good portion of the load off your shoulders and places it on your hips where you have more strength.

Comfort – Your survival backpack should be well padded in all the areas that count. This means the shoulder straps, back padding, and hip belt if the backpack comes with one.

Best survival backpack

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The 5.11 Rush 72 Hour Tactical Pack

I’ve used and reviewed many survival backpacks. While all have their merits, the 5.11 rush 72 always comes out on top. It’s the perfect size, extremely durable, completely incognito, and well padded. The 5.11 Rush also has the most versatile storage options I’ve seen on a survival backpack. It’s a great a hybrid pack coming with the durability of a military ruck sack while looking completely civilian. This is the pack you want if you need to stay under the radar.

I’ve written a full review of the 5.11 Rush right here.

Survival backpack gear list

Once you’ve purchased the right backpack it’s time to throw some survival gear in there. Here’s a basic list of things you need.

Thanks for reading.

Best Water Filter For Fully Blown SHTF

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I live deep in the urban jungle. If SHTF, I’m grabbing my bug out bag and high tailing it out of dodge to my primary bug out location. As fate would have it, many of us live in these urban type environments where we can easily get trapped. We do not control the water sources, the electrical sources, or any of the basic utilities required to sustain life. This is why it’s crucial to own the right gear.

Perhaps the most important piece of gear in your survival kit is the water filter. Even in the city there are sources of water from ponds, rivers, and other places. This is good but the water here is more than likely infested with bacteria and pollution from years of local industry.

With a water filter you can purify these sources of water and save yourself in a situation where water is unavailable.

Let’s crack into the best water filter for your bug out bag.

The Lifestraw

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The Lifestraw is cheap and effective solution for filtering dubious water sources. It works exactly how it sounds – it’s a giant straw you use to drink directly from a pond, lake, river, stream, or other source of H20. The Lifestraw is lightweight and cheap. It’s not without cons however. You cannot filter lots of water at once with the Lifestraw. You are limited to only drinking directly from the source. The 1000L filtering capacity is not that impressive compared to the other water filters on this list.

That said, the Lifestraw is a great secondary water filter to a more robust device. It’s cheap enough to grab a couple and forget about them.

The Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter

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The Sawyer Squeeze is a popular water filter in the backpacking community. Weighing in at a mere 3 ounces, this is another extremely lightweight option for your bug out bag. The Sawyer Squeeze comes with 3 different sized water pouches (16, 32, 64 oz)  along with the filter itself. You fill the pouches with water and then thread them onto the filter. You then “squeeze” the water through the filter into a secondary container.

This is a nice setup for a number of reasons. One, you don’t have to filter the water straight away if you come across a water source. With a pump or the lifestraw your only options are to stop and filter the water right then and there. With the Squeeze you can simply fill the water pouches and then filter them later.

The filter also threads onto any standard water bottle. If you lose the pouches a water bottle can be scavenged and used as a makeshift pouch.

Katadyn Pocket Filter

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This is a high quality water filter that can no doubt handle the brutal conditions of any fully blown SHTF situation. Heavy duty (it’s one downside) and built to last. It’s a pump action filter with 2 hoses – one you throw into a water source and the other into your canteen. The cool thing about the Katadyn pro is you can attach it inline to your hydration bladder and pump straight into bag. If you’re a fan of your Camelbak, these two go together like bourbon and coke.

Best water filter?

So which one of these filters wins? I’d say it boils down to how you plan on bugging out. The Lifestraw is a great piece of gear for short term emergency situations. The Sawyer squeeze and the Katadyn are great longer term options. The Sawyer is certainly the lighter option of the two. The Katadyn attaches inline to a Camelbak which is a game changer for those who want to move fast. Simply pump the water into your Camelbak and go.

I prefer this setup because you might not have the luxury of dropping your pack and reaching for your canteen. The Camelbak makes it easy to drink on the go without stopping.

For this reason, I go with the Katadyn. You can choose whatever you want but make sure you at least have something!

 

My Review Of The Infamous 511 Rush 72

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Readers of this blog know that I shamelessly promote the 511 Rush 72 every chance I get. Having gone through many backpacks (and being somewhat of a pack addict) I’ve developed a good idea about what features you need to look for in a pack. What are these features exactly? For starters, the pack should adequately carry all your gear and NOT fall apart on the road. One day while backpacking I had to dismount from my pack to crawl under a downed redwood tree which had fallen across the trail. I dragged my pack along the ground after me and tore the synthetic fabric doing so. That’s the last time I went synthetic.

Especially in a fully blown bug out/SHTF situation, you’re one rip away from having a very bad day. This why I always stress quality. The 511 Rush 72 is my main bug out pack and in this post I will make a case for why this is the BEST BOB you could ever own.

Strong Construction

Everything about this pack is over fortified and ultra resilient. 1050D Nylon is the primary material used to make this pack absolutely bombproof. This stuff is very water resistant especially with the waterproof coating. I’ve hiked a considerable distance home in the rain and my gear always stays dry. Anything short of a complete downpour will not effect the 511 Rush. The zippers are the beefiest in the business. Thick stuff, heavy metal zippers. The same level of quality and construction is found in all the stitches. You can throw this pack through a damn wood chipper and still use it to bug out.

Sure, this makes the pack heavier than the synthetic ultra light packs but this does not phase me. When I bug out I want to know I have quality gear. If that means carrying a pack that’s a few ounces heavier than the others, so be it. The same guys who whine about the 511 rush being too heavy are the same guys who load their packs down with everything and the kitchen sink. Especially if you’re packing a full load out, the pack is not the place you want to go light on.

Pockets

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Inside look into the admin pocket

 

I’ve owned military ruck sack style packs over the years. These packs are equally bombproof and built for the hard rigors of war. The problem is a serious lack of organizational space. Your run-of-the-mill ALICE or military ruck has one large sack where you dump your gear. It’s easy to lose track of gear and retrieve items, especially the smaller pieces in your survival kit.

The 5.11 over delivers with lots of pockets and space to store and organize your gear. On the front you have the admin panel with multiple zippered pockets and storage locations. On both sides of the pack are two other generously sized pockets and on the top is a fleece lined media pocket for electronics and valuables.

Versatility

When buying a pack you want to look at ingenious ways you can use the pack. The compression straps allow you to lash gear to the sides of the 5.11 if you’re strapped for space. Molle is everwhere on this pack. You can load this thing down to the max and still attach gear to the outside. You can buy external Molle pouches to accomplish this or you can use a bit of paracord. The 5.11 is strong enough to not worry about overloading. Your back will break before this will, guaranteed!

Even on the bottom you have lashing points for gear attachement. Full SHTF load out all the way.

Load bearing

511-rush-72-full-loadout
511 Rush 72 Full Load Out

 

With the 5.11 Rush 72 you got a set of thick padded shoulder straps and nicely padded back plating for plush comfort, even in the thick bush. The straps feature a contoured yoke and they take a surprising amount of weight off your shoulders. My shoulders are the first to go on long hikes and I notice I can hold out a lot longer with this design. Coming stock with the 5.11 Rush 72 are load bearing waist straps. Again, these are padded to the max and extremely comfortable and supportive. I will say, if you’re a taller guy you might not be able to make use of the waist belt. There is no way to configure the vertical adjustment. They definitely designed the belt for a guy of average height. If you are 6 foot and under you won’t have a problem but don’t count on using the belt if you’re any taller than that.

Capacity

The 5.11 Rush 72 can stow away 55 Liters of gear. You can stuff whatever you need into the main compartment and lash as much as you can to the outside. You can really load this thing down way past spec and it’s gonna take it.

Hydration Ready

The icing on the cake with the 5.11 Rush is the hydration pocket which fits a standard Camelbak hydration bladder (not included.) You can’t appreciate the convenience of having water readily available until you’ve used a Camelbak. The standard way to drink usually means dropping your pack completely and digging into the main pouch for your water container. If you do any amount of hiking you know how stopping can drain your momentum. Having that water tube right there is a great way to stay hydrated while continuing to tromp forward to your destination.

5.11 Rush 72 PROS

  • Bombpoof 1050D Nylon
  • Solid construction in zippers and seams
  • Molle compatible
  • Hydration bladder ready
  • Cheap compared to many packs
  • Good organizational layout / loads of pockets

5.11 Rush 72 CONS

  • Heavy
  • Waist belt won’t fit taller guys
  • Hydration tube goes through the media pocket which gets in the way
  • Side pockets are nice but reduce in capacity depending on how much you have in the main compartment

The final verdict

The 5.11 Rush 72 is hands down my favorite bug out pack, and I’ve used plenty. You can count on this pack withstanding the rigors of anything you throw at it. The nice thing is that it looks fairly civilian while staying true to military specifications. When it’s not loaded down it looks inconspicuous. It could easily double as your day pack. To stay fit I walk to the store and load it up with groceries. To date nobody has looked at me funny and I take that as a good sign.

I give the 5.11 Rush 72 a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended.

Bug Out Bag vs Get Home Bag

If you’re new to prepping you have no doubt stumbled across many acronyms by now. SHTF, WTSHTF, TEOTWAWKI, BOB, GHB are phrases thrown around all the time – and it’s enough to send you running for the hills (which you may actually have to do some day.) You might think BOBs and GHBs are the same but the truth is we are dealing with two completely different bags. This post will clearly illustrate the difference between a bug out bag and a get home bag.

The bug out bag

bug out bag

The bug out bag is the backpack you grab when the shit has hit the fan. The bug out bag has everything you need to leave behind everything you know and love. The bug out bag is locked, cocked and ready to rock for situations where you might not be able to return home  for a length of time. The reasons for why you cannot return do not matter. All that matters is you have everything you need inside this pack to survive on your own.

**Note** In most situations, you’ll only be bugging out for a short period of time. A typical bug out bag will have the supplies you need to survive 72 hours along with tools to secure your own resources for longer periods of time.

The get home bag

get-home-bag
Example of a get home bag

 

The get home bag is a pack you carry with you at all times. This is the pack designed to get you back home in case of emergencies. Perhaps your car broke down in an area with no cell service. Maybe your bus broke down and you decide you don’t want to wait around for the replacement. Maybe terrorist cells or protest groups have blocked critical roadways and have begun to riot. Whatever the case, the GHB has all the goods you need to make it back to your home where you have access to a more comprehensive set of gear.

Contents of a bug out bag

I have written an extensive post on everything you need to include in your bug out bag. It’s crucial to cover the 4 elements of survival. Fire, water, food, and shelter. I will briefly cover the basics here but you should read the above post for a detailed look.

Fire – matches, lighter, ferrocerium rod. Very simple stuff. If you want to go all out you can take cotton balls and slather them in Vaseline. Store these in a watertight container for easy fire starters.

Water – 72 hours worth of water. This works out to about 3L in mild conditions or up to 6L in more extreme. The amount of water you bring depends on your unique physiology, your environment, and how much water you expel through exertion. Carry a water filter to replenish your sources.

Food – 72 hours worth of food. Clif bars, tuna packets, peanut butter, dried fruit etc. Think hiking foods. Foods with a lot of caloric density is what you’re going for here. Also foods that don’t perish.

Shelter – Either a tent or a tarp. Your choice depends on your comfort threshold. Trust me, you can survive with only a tarp but will you be comfortable? Probably not. A tent will provide you with a cushy environment but not entirely necessary in many environments. There are many ways you can rig up a tarp and it’s a lot easier to carry.

That’s the basics. Everything after this is pure luxury. Hell, they might as well put you up at the Ritz at this point. While the above is the bare minimum of what you need, there are items that will make life a lot easier. Here are a few gear recommendations.

Knife – What can’t you do with a good knife? It’s the most important survival tool in your bug out bag. Use it for anything. I’m a big fan of the Bk2 but there are many others to choose from. Read my post on choosing a survival knife. 

Paracord – You never know what you’re gonna need it for, you just always need it. Use it to rig up a fine shelter for the night or replace your boot laces. Lots of versatility here.

Headlamp – a headlamp or flashlight. I like a headlamp because it frees up my hands to do night tasks. Either way, you’ll want some kind of illumination in case things decide to crack off in pitch black darkness.

I could drown you in more gear recommendations but I’m going to stop here. You have your work cut out for. Now it’s time to find a decent bug out bag. I only have two requirements for a bug out bag. It must hold all of my gear and it must be durable enough not to fall apart on the road. If you want to shortcut the process of reading through a thousand BOB reviews, my choice is always the 5.11 Rush. It’s a solid backpack with marginal flaws. Really, anything but that Jansport you’ve had in your closet since you graduated highschool.

Contents of a get home bag

This list is going to be much shorter.

Snacks and water – Clif bars, dried fruit, granola bars, etc. Up to 3L of water in a steel container or Camelbak.

Flashlight – for those times you get stranded at night.

Light rain poncho – save yourself from getting soaking wet.

Lighter – You probably won’t need a fire but you never know. Lighters are too light not to have on hand.

Pepper spray – getting stranded in a bad part of the city is never fun. If anybody starts giving you shit blast them right in the face and get out of dodge. Don’t feel like a little bitch because you used pepper spray. Most guys think they can fight but are severely delusional.

Extra socks – not particularly exciting but extremely valuable. Walking in wet socks is a miserable experience. Pack an extra just in case.

Spare cash – If the power is out you won’t be able to make electronic transactions. Cash ensures you can get what you need without relying on the power grid.

The GHB – I like to keep my GHB light and agile. I’ve looked at many bags and finally settled on the Camelbak Mule. I love this pack. It’s a 12.5 Liter pack with an included 3L hydration bladder. I can run forever without stopping and it’s large enough to carry all my basic get home items. It’s something I carry with me wherever I go. In my city I do a lot of walking and it is always on my back – locked, cocked, and ready to rock.

That’s the basics. Consider adding a first aid kit, sunscreen, and an extra pair of glasses if you wear prescriptions. Other items to consider are spare chargers and batteries for your electronics. Some of you take certain medications which must be included in both your BOB and your GHB.

The thing is, there is no such thing as a perfect bug out bag or get home bag. Some guys carry everything and the kitchen sink. Some guys keep it light and only pack the minimal gear. No approach is “correct.” Start with the basics and expand based on your own personal preferences.