How To Make a WTSHTF Bag

Let me ask you a question – do you have everything you need to survive a full blown SHTF situation? Do you have a WTSHTF bag with everything you need to blow through even the hairiest catastrophes? I’ll tell you this – when the food trucks stop running, when the SNAP benefits come to a full halt, the animals will take to the streets in mass hoards. Look up videos of the L.A. Riots. Look up videos of the Ferguson riots. These are small examples of what would happen on a MASS scale if we are deprived of basic goods like food, running water etc.

Putting together a WTSHTF bag is the start of becoming ready for a full blown SHTF situation. With a bug out bag you will have everything you need to get the hell out of dodge and into a safe environment.

WTSHTF Bag Checklist

An overloaded wtshtf bag
An overloaded wtshtf bag


In it you should stock 72 hours worth of food. That’s 3 days worth of food until normalcy is restored or you reach an alternate location. Think about foods that won’t spoil: Clif bars, snickers, packaged tunas, fruits, nuts etc. High calorie foods to get you through a fully blown SHTF situation.

Water. You’re gonna need some water. Since water is heavy, I recommend picking up a water filter and securing your water from alternative sources. With a water filter you now have access to sources of water you couldn’t normally drink. Even in major citys there are ponds and bodies of water you can source water from.

With a sillcock key you can tap in to the water supply from local commercial buildings. Fill up your stainless steel drinking mug and drink deeply.

Knife. What happens if you need to shank your way through a fully blown situation? A knife is the most important piece of gear in your WTSHTF bag. It’s not just for self defense either. With a knife you can process firewood, cut cordage, bust glass windows (butt end of the knife) and lots of other survival related tasks. Knives can be expensive or they can be cheap.

I’ve reviewed many knives on this site and also have a post on budget survival knives if you’re looking for something decent under $20 bucks. Snatch one up for cheap and throw it straight into your B.O.B. Crack deep. Shank wide.

Illumination. When the sun goes down the city will turn into a full blown real-life planet of the apes. Darkness will descend and the monkeys will swing from the rafters. A flashlight or a headlamp will keep your path lit even in total darkness. Light is an essential piece of gear when the grid goes down. No power means you’ll have to find portable methods of lighting your surrounding area.

If your only option is to move at night, blast through with a headlamp and some spare batteries. Many survivalists go for a tactical flashlight which has a blinding beam of light and a serrated rim around the edge. This is useful for self defense. When you get attacked, you hit em right in the face with a beam of light and then come straight in for the skull cracker. They will think twice about going monkey mode the next time.

Ninja wrap, also known as a shemag, is a useful article of clothing you can use for many purposes. When the dust is relentless, if the air is toxic, you can use the shemag to wrap your face. Wrap your neck at night to stay warm. Use it as a tourniquet. Use it as a way to carry wood to and from camp. It’s a light and cheap piece of gear that might come in very handy.

Tarp. A tarp is a truly versatile piece of gear. Use it to rig up a solid shelter with a bit of paracord. A tarp is much lighter than a tent. Remember, you want to pack as light as possible. Mobility is your friend and you can’t do much walking if you’re loaded down under the weight of a WTSHTF bag that’s too heavy.

Fire. BIC lighters, waterproof matches and a ferrocerium rod will ensure you have redundant ways of making fire. A ferrocerium rod and striker is included with the Bear Grylls survival knife. The knife is actually quite good and affordable considering his reputation among survivalists. Check out my full review of his knife.

Trash bags. Yes indeed, the humble trash bag. Versatile indeed in times of need. Use the trash bag to collect water, waterproof your gear,  or stuff it full of leaves for an insulating ground layer. They also make fashionable parkas when it’s raining cats and dogs.

Best WTSHTF Backpack

The 5.11 Rush 72 Hour Tactical Pack


You’re going to need something to throw all this stuff into. Perhaps you have something around the house, perhaps you want to purchase something that isn’t going to rip to shreds when exposed to a fully blown SHTF situation. Most hardcore survivalists recommend a tactical backpack. These are military spec backpacks and extremely durable.

Some are camouflaged while others appear to be more civilian. The question is – are you going full on incognito mode or does looking like you are military not bother you? Read up on going grey man. 

My personal recommendation is always the RUSH 5.11 72 hour backpack. It’s a civilian style backpack with full blown military specs. Extremely durable in every aspect. The whole pack looks like it was made for serious urban ops. There’s no doubt in can hold all the gear on this list and smash through even the hairiest SHTF survival situations.

Final thoughts

If you secure everything on this list you will have a WTSHTF bag to serve you well in a fully blown SHTF situation. Apart from the gear you have, your survival is determined by your knowledge of how to survive. For this I recommend you take a look at a few of the popular survival books out there. These books offer invaluable knowledge you can use to blow straight through any survival situation. They use laymans terms to set you on the right path and instill the core knowledge of what it takes to make it through even the worst of the worst.

Always be preparing. Always be learning!

Thanks for reading.






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