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In a survival situation, will you be prepared with all the right gear?
Will you be able to provide for yourself and your family during the first 72 hours and beyond?
Our 72-hours Survival Kit (also known as BOB) is our rainy day policy – it has everything we need to start living and thriving in a long term survival situation. Whether it’s an urban or an outdoors destination, your BOB will sustain you through thick and thin for the next 72 hours, and will carry all the tools you need to establish a quick base camp, set up a fire, and filter water. Since all of these may take up to 3 days to set up, your BOB has enough food for 72 hours, in which you have time to prepare traps and capture small game for food, and start getting ready for what comes next. This kit will be your lifeline for anything that nature or anything else might throw at you.
One of the important things we must keep in mind is that we’ll have to carry this backpack on our backs, sometimes for a very long period of time, so we must try to keep its weight just under 22 lbs (10kg). This is the reason we must carefully consider everything we put in there – it must be functional and efficient, while being very lightweight, since the weight tends to pile up and before you know it you’ll either run out of space or it will be too heavy for you to carry. We’ve done some extensive testing carrying the survival kit on our backs for 3-day survival excursions, and made sure that each item is not only efficient but also worth its weight in practical applications. We added each item’s weight in the following list, but eventually you’ll need to be the judge if it’s worth adding it to your own Survival Kit.
Keep in mind that you have to add all the items from your Core and EDC gear to the survival kit for a complete set.
DISCLAIMER: The following gear was chosen after months of rigorous testing in the field. I do not have any affiliation with any of the companies that make this equipment.
Click the image below to watch the Gear Tier System – Tier 4 – Survival Kit video (Part 4/4)
72-hr Survival Backpack – 4 lb (1.8kg)
Your backpack is the core of this kit, and must be large enough to contain all of your needed equipment. It needs to be roomy, organized logically, tough, lightweight, and comfortably distribute the weight around your back and waist so you can carry it for a long time with minimal fatigue. I highly recommend the 5.11 Rush 72 Backpack, which is one of the best-selling backpacks in the market, and is even used by the military to equip soldiers on deployment! It’s MOLLE webbings allow you to attach pouches on its outer shell so you can organize and carry more gear, and it allows for extra straps at the bottom to attach your sleeping bag.
Fixed Blade Knife – 1 lb (450g)
Your fixed blade knife is the most important item in your survival kit. It needs to be very sturdy, lightweight, and easy to use. A smooth belly knife is the most functional, but if you like serrated edges, make sure it’s on the spine (but that will limit your ability to baton it as an axe). I recommend the Cold Steel SRK (Survival Rescue Knife) Fixed Blade Knife, which is the perfect outdoors and survival companion. It’s so effective that the SEAL Team has adopted it, and it’s now standard issue for their BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL) training program and carries with them for the rest of their military career.
Survival Axe – 1.4 lb (630g)
The survival axe or hatchet should be relatively lightweight (around 1lb), hold it’s edge, have a flat back to use as a hammer and fit comfortably on your belt. I recommend the Schrade Extreme Survival Axe, which is small (only 11.8” long or 30 cm) and has a titanium coated head and special designed handle making it perform marvelously in the outdoors. It will save you crucial time and effort with any construction project, from building a quick fire to posting a fantastic shelter.
32F (0C) Degrees Sleeping Bag – 2.6 lb (1.2kg)
The 0 degrees sleeping bag is essential for any outdoors overnight stay. If it’s too warm you can leave it partially open, and if it’s colder you can close it all the way (like a mummy). It will maintain your body heat in most environments and help you get ready and refreshed for the next day.
Lightweight Mattress – 1.6 lb (730g)
I use a slim inflatable mattress which is compact, lightweight and extremely comfortable when sleeping on hard terrain, especially when coupled with some soft vegetation bedding under it. It will give you another layer of insulation from the ground and allow you to get a higher quality of the much needed rest on your nights outdoors.
Folding Soft Pillow and Inflatable Pillow – 0.4 lb (200g)
The folding soft pillow and inflatable pillow combination is fantastic for your head and neck support during a night’s sleep in nature, and the fact that you can stack some clothes inside the folding pillow to make it even fluffier, is all the more reason to love this great little product.
8×6.5 ft (2.5x2m) Lightweight Tarp – 1.3 lb (600g)
In any outdoors night camp your first priority is shelter from the elements. A lightweight tarp is the perfect solution, as you can use it to form a variety of shelters from the quick wedge tent, to the great tipi, and it will save you hours of gathering materials.
10×6.3” (16 cm) Lightweight 9g Aluminium Stakes – 0.2 lb (90g)
The lightweight aluminum stakes are great for shelter construction – they will save you the time of gathering and sharpening wooden sticks to form your shelter, and they are easy to use, reusable, take up very little space, and strongly hold your tarp in place.
100 ft Paracord (30m) – 0.4 lb (200g)
The paracord is a must have in any survival situation – it will help you setup your shelter, secure your items, setup traps and snares, and it has a large variety of other useful applications despite it’s very small and light packaging. You can even use it as dental floss (cleaning those pesky bits of game meat between your teeth after a nice meal).
Water Filter – 0.3 lb (140g)
A professional water filter will save you the time and effort of creating and using a homemade filter and allow you to carry a lot less water weight. A healthy adult requires about 1 gallon of water per day, and carrying that much weight is a huge strain. A water filter will allow you to filter water from any source on the spot. I recommend The Sawyer Mini Water Filter which is one of the most effective filters on the market and will filter up to 100,000 gallons of water (yes, a hundred thousand – this is not a typo). You can either screw it onto a bottle, or to its folding water bag or drink straight from the water source using its straw, the choice is yours. The filtering quantity will last you multiple lifetimes! Keep in mind that it will clear the water up to 99.999%. For example, most bodies of water in the US do not contain any viruses or toxins, but if you have any doubts just boil your water after filtering them (see next).
Stainless Steel Water Bottle 32 oz (1L) – 0.7 lb (310g)
The stainless steel water bottle is perfect to gather water from a source, and place it over a fire to boil and purify it. It needs to be sturdy and easy to use and clean, and to keep the water temperature nice and cool or nice and warm, depending on what you placed there. I recommend the Nalgene 32oz (1L) Stainless Steel water bottle, which perfectly fits all of these needs.
300ml Stainless Steel Cup – 0.3 lb (130g)
The stainless steel cup should fit over your stainless steel water bottle, and allow you to cook meals, or drink hot beverages. It’s a great addition to your cooking / eating equipment.
Plastic Utensils – 0.02 lb (10g)
Your cooking / eating equipment will not be complete without some simple, lightweight utensils. You won’t feel it while carrying them, but they will make a huge difference when eating some fish or making tea in the outdoors.
Knife Sharpener – 0.25 lb (110g)
After using your knife and axe for a while they will get dull, it’s not a question of if, but a question of when. Once that happens you’ll lose valuable effectiveness and this is why a good sharpener is essential – it must have a rough and a smooth edge to correctly set the blade’s sharpness. I recommend The Lansky Knife Medic which is light, sturdy and has all the sharpening slots you’ll ever need, for both smooth and serrated blades, with a rough diamond-covered metal surface, and a smooth ceramic surface – a few swipes of your blade on it and it will be good as new!
Fast Drying Towel – 0.5 lb (220g)
The lightweight, fast-drying, microfiber towel is a fantastic addition to the hygiene section of your survival kit – it will dry you up quickly, even after the most wet experience and dry itself up in matter of minutes.
Waterproof Lining – 1.2 lb (540g)
In the outdoors you’ll eventually encounter water, sometimes as part of a large body of water, or a small stream, but water will be there. The waterproof lining will protect all your equipment from getting wet, even if you and your survival kit are completely submerged in water. I recommend the 80L Waterproof Lining by Mountain Warehouse.
10x Monocular – 0.3 lb (130g)
Gathering intel and recon is one of the best practices in any mission – sending a scout ahead to check the path, or detect any hostile movements. This will prevent many dangerous situations, and the monocular is a very lightweight and compact way to carry a scope and see from a distance. I recommend the Tasco 10×25 Monocular, which fits all of the criteria above.
Waterproof matches – 0.16 lb (70g)
We should always carry alternative ways to start a fire, and a pack of waterproof matches is perfect for cases you need to light a fire in very wet or windy conditions. The matches do not require oxygen in order to burn so they will even work underwater!
Small Sewing kit – 0.3 lb (130g)
A small, very lightweight sewing kit will help you when clothes and equipment rip or deteriorate from overuse. A small thread and needle will go a long way to further the efficiency of your equipment and clothes, and are also great to suture wounds if the need arises.
100oz (3L) Water Bladder – 0.7 lb (300g)
A large quantity water bladder is great to have, especially when hiking for a long time. It will have your water supply readily available for drinking and when you need to resupply you’ll be able to collect water from a source and use your water filter on the bladder’s water hose. I recommend the Mil-Tec 3L Water Bladder for this purpose
Headlamp – 0.2lb (100g)
The headlamp is virtually a lifesaver at night, as it allows you to be fully functional with both hands in dark environments and during the night when visibility is nil in the outdoors. The headlamp should be lightweight, sturdy and have at least high and low beam strength, that will work for at least 8 hours without recharging. It should be rechargeable so we don’t need to worry about carrying or finding more batteries. I recommend the Olight H2R Nova Headlamp, which covers all of these needs and then some.
Change of Clothes – 1 lb (450g)
At the very least you should carry one set of spare clothes including socks and underwear. If one set gets wet, you can quickly change to the dry one, and place the wet clothes by the fire to dry out, or even hang them on your backpack to dry while walking in the sun.
Compass and Map – 0.2 lb (100g)
Your compass and map are essential for any navigation effort – they will keep you on course and prevent you from running in circles. I recommend a clear compass with a clear, square case which is fit for map navigation. Make sure you have a map of the local area as well.
Wristwatch – Water and Shock Proof – 3.5 Oz (100g)
In the outdoors you’ll need a way to keep track of time, so you can return to tasks that are time sensitive like trapping and snaring or cooking. A good way is to use an analog wristwatch, which is water and shock proof. A watch can also help you locate the North and thus help you navigate. I recommend the G-Shock Mudmaster (GG-1000) by Casio, which proves to be one of the toughest watches out there, made for the outdoors.
3x MRE for Adult (total of 5000 calories) – 3 lb (1.3kg)
MREs or “Meals Ready to Eat” are standard issue in the US military since 1986. They have a shelf life of over 5 years if kept in room temperature, and up to 10 years if kept in a cold environment (fridge) and will supply you with the nutrients you need. Each MRE will sustain an adult man for a full active day and can be consumed straight from the package without heating. Each team member should carry 3 MRE’s, which will give you enough time to set up your base camp, capture game and prepare fresh food.
To Sum Up:
Your survival kit will be your lifeline during the first 72 hours of a catastrophe, where you have to survive away from home, and sometimes even in the outdoors. The kit includes equipment for the 4 things you must have in order to survive: shelter, fire, water and food. The kit will also help you prepare for what comes next. All of this with just under 22 lb (10 kg) of equipment, so you can carry it over a long period of time, with minimal fatigue.
Make sure you have all the necessary Survival Kit items:
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In the next post we’ll talk about the top invaluable hobbies in a SHTF scenario, from blacksmiths to gardening and everything in between. These hobbies will give you the skills that will place you as a prominent member of any post-collapse society.
I can’t wait to share all of this with you.
So, until then – Stay Safe!
Your friend always,