The human body needs a specific amount of calories and water to survive. We need shelter and warmth to protect against the elements. Roll all this into one kit and you get a long term survival load. The kit that I have put together is based what I’ve learned from my own training and my memories of long term camping trips with my family.
This kit is always subject to change based on the mission at hand and the climate. The current load is for winter so it weighs in a bit heavy with the addition of of the sleeping bag, base layer clothing, headgear and gloves. Either way, you have to be realistic about what you carry in the field and how long it can keep you fat and happy before you seek resupply or friendlies. If you live in reality, you quickly realize that you can only carry so much in your kit. The concept of grabbing some “bugout bag” and heading for the hills is a dangerous fantasy created by the media to make profit from fear mongering and the uneducated masses. If you take a moment to examine the contents of these bags, you see enough food to last a few days, usually no canteen, therefore no way to collect water, a bunch of various snaring and fishing items that 99% of people won’t use, all tossed into some crappy cheap nylon “tactical” bag made in the great land of China.
These premade bags provide virtually no room to add or customize and after a day of toting it around, I can bet you’ll wish you had bought a pack with a frame, heavy duty shoulder straps and a good lumbar support.
There is no set it and forget option for survival. But America has bought into the concept hook line and sinker because so many have become lazy and rely on the internet or some shady company to tell them what they need to survive. Don’t be too lazy to think, your survival should not be left up to somebody else who only cares about making $ off your lack of motivation to take care of your situation.
If you’re flexible in what you pack and understand that your kit must be adaptable, then the next step is to be grounded in reality and the scenarios that you expect to encounter. I’m not going to cover the list of what ifs because we’d be here forever. I only see about two scenarios that could end up forcing you into the field for survival. The first one and most likely is a natural disaster.
I lived in Florida back in the late 90’s and experienced fires that swept through our location and surrounding areas, torching everything in sight. We decided to evac at the last moment and ended up being stuck in that line of vehicles trying to escape. At one point, I recall sitting in traffic on a small state road and watching as the local Fire Department fought hard to keep the fire for hitting the road and forcing everyone out of their vehicles to avoid getting roasted alive. That is one situation where, depending on when and how you flee the area, you could very easily end up having to take cover in a wooded area because movement by vehicle was impossible.
In this type of situation, your long term kit would get changed up. It would make sense to drop the camo clothes and go with civilian grab and toss in some commercial camo items like Realtree if you prefer. There’s probably no need for a battle rifle so that can stay home if you expect to return or keep it buried deep in your pack. The items in your LBV or Chest Rig can be moved directly into your pack or put on your person for easy access.
The other scenario would be a complete and total collapse. I don’t believe that one day I’ll wake up and see some kind of dramatic scenes on the news of wild crowding stampeding through the streets, investors jumping to their death because the stock market crashes…well you get the idea. The United States has proven it’s ability to slowly eat itself from the inside and still avoid a movie style SHTF event. The collapse I believe is occurring right before our eyes, but it’s that death by a thousand cuts until one day if you’re not paying attention, you do see everything I described, riots, panic, bank runs, etc. It would seem like it happened overnight, but in reality, if you were watching the signs, you would have seen the build up to the collapse.
This kind of environment would be more dangerous therefore once again your kit may change up. You might add more ammo & mags to your gear, weapon selection might change, clothing might change, etc.
For any of those situations, the preps and training do not change. You still train in the field with your full kit, customized for the scenario. You still practice the survival basics to build that strong foundation of knowledge. In the end, you get in what you put in. If you don’t train and let that gear collect dust in the corner, then you are planning to fail, even if you have spent countless hours on Facebook discussing what makes a good “bugout bag”.
Now let’s get into the good stuff, the kit review. As I mentioned earlier, this is my winter loadout, you can easily imagine a summer kit, by simply subtracting the cold weather gear and going with a smaller pack. I have labeled each item or group of items with a number so let’s get into it.
- USMC FILBE Main Pack
- Thermarest Ridge Rest
- Snugpak Sleeper Lite
- US Army Issue Poncho Liner (Woobie)
- USMC FILBE Hydration Pack
- Russian SPOSN Smersh LBV
- Fenix E05 LED Flashlight
- Tasco Folding Binoculars
- SOG Multi Tool
- Petzl TIKKA Headlamp
- SOG Flash II TiNi
- Gerber LMF II
- Accusharp 4-in-1 Knife & Tool Sharpener
- Space Blanket
- Topo Map & Case
- Camo Facepaint
- Suunto Compass
- Sven Folding Bow Saw
- US Military Tent Stakes
- Silky Pocket Boy Folding Saw
- E-tool & pouch
- INCH Survival Paracord kit
- Fire kit
- Multi function fire starter
- Browning Hipower with 2 mags
- Romanian AK-47 with 3 mags
- British DPM Basha
- Med Kit Pouch
- Medical Kit
- Camo top/bottoms
- OR Cold Weather gloves
- Propper ATACS boonie
- New Balance Bootistan boots
- Russian Partizan M Sniper Suit
- Mechanix gloves
- Spec Ops Belt
- Underlay tops fleece & cotton
- Thermal base layer top & bottom
- Wool socks – 3 pairs
- Neck gaiters
- Esbit stove with fuel
- Lifestraw & Aquamira Water Purification
- Sanitation kit
- Food kit
- Gorilla glue & inner tube
- Dry bags
- US Military Issue Poncho
- 3m Duct tape
I’m sure there are few items I’ve missed, I’m not here to promote myself as an expert. But overall, the primary bases are all covered. I will say that when it comes to water filtration, I’ve been slacking on doing an upgrade. Don’t get me wrong, the Lifestraw works great but it’s not an effective solution for large scale filtration. You end up having to constantly find water in order to stay hydrated, the straw provides no way to store the water, you have to drink it on the spot. That’s where I fall back to my water purification tabs, it’s easy to drop one in the canteen or hydro pouch.
The Lifestraw is only effective in my opinion for a backup puri source. For a primary filtration system, the Katadyn Hiker is good fit. Yes it’s a little pricey, but I’d rather spend some coin on a high quality water purification system vs dropping excessive amount on packs and chest rigs. Check out some info and pricing at this link – Katadyn Hiker
Probably the most important factor to remember is that just because a specific type of gear costs more than another item, doesn’t mean it’s better. Do your research and focus on gear that is functional and fits the requirements at hand, not because it’s cool, or has the latest camo pattern or has some high speed low drag brand name.
My old school ALICE pack can accomplish the mission that a $350 Gucci pack can do. The extra money I save can be used on kit that really matters, like a quality purification system or cold weather gear. So be smart about what you purchase, do the research and then pull the trigger.
Then you gotta get out and train. I have a big container full of gear that I’ve tested and used in the field and never used again. I have a “tacti-cool” chest rig that was completely worthless for my needs. BUT I would have never known if I never used it. Imagine a real world SHTF situation where you’re using gear for the first time. The goal is to know your gear inside and out and customize it for your needs. Just like there is no perfect camo pattern, there is no piece of gear that is going to be a perfect fit for you.
As always I appreciate the support, hope you get a brief inside look into a long term kit and maybe some ideas on how to upgrade or change your gear.
And finally, don’t forget to hit me up with comments, I’m not expert by any scale, so tell me what you think, you won’t hurt my feeling!