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· Registered
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. My first post here and thought I might as well jump in and hit the ground running with a question. I'm a former .mil guy who's had some training in survival, and a few combat tours to the sandbox, but now that I've actually separated from the military I've noticed my thinking change a bit.

I'm sure there are topics on this forum or others you may have read about "military" vs. "SHTF" preparedness. I for one thought the military ways that were trained were the end-all-be-all, but I think a true domestic situation (you pick the type/magnitude) is quite a bit different. That got me to thinking, and therefore registered here and reading some peoples posts..

My first question came to mind after reading a few posts here, I wanted to ask your opinions on the matter. Anyhow..

A member here mentioned to another that he should try his BOB and execute his plan for going wherever he might go. Make it a weekend thing of sorts. Essentially practicing/rehearsing his actions. To me it makes perfect sense as rehearsals were a daily part of my military career, and despite how much even I hated them, they're done for a reason.. Along with this suggestion a point was made that in your excursion you'll identify what parts of your kit are needed and if anything was lacking. Pretty basic stuff.

Now my question to others would be, how do you evaluate your kits in regards to what you need and don't need? I guess my experience had me accustomed to make do with what you were given and any extra stuff you wanted/needed was procured on your own. I got used to that method and with the option of having whatever I want at my disposal it suddenly seems a little more complicated.

For instance.. What if I packed one or two of every conceivable item known to man and could carry it.. Being that I had it, I might find or even make a use for a given item when in reality you could do without. Then you could look at it from the opposite end of the spectrum and go with nothing more than the clothes you're wearing, and wish you had everything..

I guess what I'm trying to ask, is how do you that don't have required equipment lists forced on you go about selecting the items for your kits. Whatever their function or purpose.

Thanks for your time! I look forward to contributing what I can, and learn what I can from your experiences.


· Registered
5,161 Posts
Ha. You're thinking is changing because, at least in part, you are not being supported by a big powerful system anymore and everything is on you now.

A dry run to your BOL is good common sense. I have several routes to mine, using 5-6 different modes of transport and none of them are very safe or secure.

· Registered
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Perhaps you're correct, but with that said I could get by with a minimal list of items which would be issued to me under the circumstances and make due. Back then I didn't have a choice.. I was told to make due :)

And with the option of carrying anything and everything I want, and realizing there likely is better equipment than I'm accustomed to using I'd like to lean on the experiences of those here to fill in the gaps in the training I've had. Or perhaps a better way of putting it would be to open my eyes to more effective ways of getting the job done.

· Premium Member
69,133 Posts
I agree about the difference in military and SHTF preparedness. You see it constantly in the gun threads. They always equate a SHTF action with a military one, despite the fact that they will be considerably different. The same with the preparedness. The skills learned in the military are extremely valuable, but the application of them is, by necessity, going to be different.

I also agree very strongly with your stand on practicing bugging out. It's something I post in almost every bug out bag thread. Getting out there and actually using the gear is the only way to find out what you truly need and don't need, how much you can carry, how far, etc. It's also the only way to gain intimate knowledge of the bug out path. To figure out where are safe places to camp, trouble spots to avoid, and locations for caches for resupply.

The one thing I see most in bug out bag threads is "kitchen sink mentality". That is, bring everything they can possibly think of, in case they might need it. This makes for an extremely heavy bag, full of stuff of marginal value. Light and mobile is the way to go. And the only way to fine tune a bag to that stage is to actually get out there and live out of it. Not just once or twice. But enough times to really learn what it takes and what it doesn't.

When I assembled my first BOB, I fell into this thinking also. I think it's only natural for many of us. But with experience, I began to find items I simply wasn't using, or that another item could have substituted for. Those items were removed. I also found things I wished I had. Those items were added. I also found items I figured I might would need later on, but didn't want to carry from the beginning. Those items were cached.

I see you're from Las Cruces. I'm from El Paso. Always good to see a local on the board. We're having a gun show in Las Cruces this weekend and I'll be one of the vendors. If you're going and you want to drop by and say howdy, PM me and I'll give you more info.

· Registered
4,086 Posts
i pratice a bug out drill of just getting up and throwing cloths on sat night and driveing out of the city with just a my sling bag and wallet in the car to get ahead of a problem that made me leave the apt part of the drill it is a gas leak or fire or earthquake this month if pratice the complete no extras bug out drill ..if i have the time i will grab the rubber maid totes and day pack with cloths and access to take with me ..this time was no time to grab anything but the sling bag and cloths and get out the door to the car and get gone ....

the plan was to pratice for a fire inside the area where i lived and we where told to leave the area i pratice getting to the Az border on the back roads then i came back to the apt on sunday morning ..

so here what i learned even with the best laid plans have room in them for wiggle room like running into state road work on one of the roads going to the border area..

second was make sure i had enough cash on hand and not useing a debt card for place machine was down so i bought gas and kept on going intill the next place i could that took a debit card ... so that sunday morning i went back to a atm and pullout some more cash to make sure it stays in the sling bag for use as need..

third was makeing sure once i got out of the problem area was to eat and get something to drink and not try and make it on red bull drinks only that means stoping at the local 24 hour stop and rob and get one of the sandwichs and eat it along with a bag of chips and drink beside red bull ..on the way home i felt the need for sleep at one point right before getting home and it took a couple of cans of red bull to get me to the house ..where i slepted for a half day then i could not sleep again intill late night which was not good ..

next weekend it for a earthquake drill to get out of the area as quick as i can on the back streets and side roads out to the border again ..

· Registered
5,278 Posts
Yes, you are now the S-1 through S-4, to include a combat and headquarters and support. You are doing allot of jobs.

You have to get out and evaluate what you need, what you don't use that much and what you would get the most use out of.

We do camp outs and scenario runs, like you would in the military and evaluate what you have and what you need. Works damn well.

· Survive... for what?
1,413 Posts
I have practiced a few times. Going into town an hour away, pretending something hit the fan and taking a route home. Now I cant speed, offroad, or deal with bumper to bumper traffic but it does give me an idea of where to go, whats on the route and rough time estimates of how long it should take.

· Registered
588 Posts
Everyone's BOB / INCH bag will be different. It's best to maintain your bag for the purpose of a INCH situation, since many BOB's are designed for short term (and near sighted in my opinion) survival.

There are many facets to cover when you really think about long term guerilla survival. However, you can find a lot of overlap in certain items. So, you should always look for gear that will serve (if possible) two, or more purposes for you. This will help build in redundancy to your system without the burden of many extra items/weight.

Also, look for things that can pack/nest well in addition to being mutlipurpose. For example the "Glock Entrenching Tool". It fully collapses and can be used as a spade, shovel, hoe, hammer, (if you sharpen one edge it could be used for chopping too), and it has a saw that is nested in the handle. The saw is concealed/stowed until you need it. That tool meets alot of criteria for one item and it is pretty light weight (24 oz.) to boot.

The best plan is to create a rough draft first. Write down/brain storm every conceivable category of item for every possible situation you can think of. Then write down every type of item in each category you would think that you could possibly need. At this stage don't rule out any item. It doesn't matter if it seems absurd, or not. If you think you might have a need, or use for it then write it down. This will give you a rough outline of where you are at and where you need to be.

Next you need to figure out your real purpose for the BOB. Whether light survival for a week, or a "I have to survive off of this indefinitely" situation. Personally, I would prep for the later, but everyone is different. Your bag will ultimately be determined by how much you believe/disbelieve in the way things are and the way you see them changing.

Now you have a base to work with and hopefully things are starting to come more into focus for what you really need to live in all circumstances. Your next step will be to refine your categories and subcategories into a bullet list. This will give you simple reference sheet to further flesh out and refine the items in each category.

Here is an example of one of my early Bug Out Bullet List:

(Note this list is for bugging out only and is not meant to cover bugging in)


  • Rifles/Carbines (Battle / Hunting)
  • Shotguns
  • Pistols (Auto / Revolver)
  • Blunt
  • Non-Lethal
  • Non-Standard
  • Optics/Scopes
  • Accessories
  • Ammo


  • Knives
  • Axes/Saws
  • Multi Tools
  • Shovels
  • Ropes/Tapes/Hooks
  • Escape/Entry
  • Navigation
  • General Purpose
  • Special Purpose

  • Flashlights
  • Chemical Lights
  • Candles
  • Lighters/Matches
  • Fire Starters
  • Signaling


  • Filters
  • Canteens/Containers
  • Bladders/Tubes
  • Purification Tablets
  • Water Ration Packs


  • MRE's
  • Dehydrated/Freeze Dried
  • Food Ration Bars
  • Food Tabs
  • Drink Mixes/Powders
  • Nuts/Seeds/Fruits/Jerkies (Vacuum Sealed)
  • Spices
  • Vitamins
  • Supplements


  • Snares
  • Traps
  • Fishing Kits/Poles
  • Small Game Weapons (Example Sling Bow & Pellet Pistol)


  • Portable Stoves
  • Stove Fuels
  • Mess Kits
  • Folding Utensils/Tools
  • Pans/Pots
  • Collapsible Bowls/Cups


  • Tents/Bivy's
  • Tent Accessories
  • Tarps/Sleeping Pads
  • Hammocks/Nets
  • Emergency Blankets/Covers
  • Sleeping Bag Systems (Up To Four Season)


  • Antibiotics/Iodide
  • Pain Relief/Antihistamine Pills
  • Surgical Tool Sets
  • Dental Pick Sets/Dental Epoxies
  • Splints/Compresses
  • Bandages/Wound Closure Kits
  • QuickClot
  • Burn Treatment Kits
  • Snake/Insect Bite Treatment Pumps/Kits
  • Burn Sprays/Insect Repellants/Sun Screens
  • Hand Warmers/Icy Packs
  • Latex Gloves
  • Face/CPR Mask
  • General Purpose
  • Specialty Purpose Tools


  • Survival/Bushcraft Books
  • Edible Plants/Mushrooms Books
  • War Surgery/Medical Books
  • Navigational Guides
  • Specialty Purpose Books
  • Topo Maps
  • Road Atlas
  • State Maps
  • Regional Maps


  • Holsters/Slings/Bandoleers
  • Sheaths/Scabbards
  • Ammo/Dump Pouches
  • Accessory Pouches
  • Backpacks
  • Drop-Leg Pouches
  • Waist Packs/Shoulder Bags
  • Gear Pods


  • Gun Cleaning Kits
  • Gun Spare Parts
  • Knife Sharpeners
  • Heavy Duty Sewing Kits
  • Extra Snaps/Clips/Rings/Zippers
  • Grommet Repair Kits
  • Lens Care Kits
  • Eye Glasses Repair Kits
  • Tire Repair Patches/Kits


  • Toiletries
  • Tooth Care
  • Fingernail/Toenail Care
  • Hair & Shaving Kits
  • Soaps/Sanitizers
  • Wipes/Deoderants
  • Feminine Care
  • Washcloths/Towels
  • General Purpose


  • Jackets
  • Tactical Vest/Harness
  • Shirts
  • Belts/Pants
  • Underwear/Long Johns
  • Socks/Tactical Shoes
  • Hats/Bandanas
  • Rain Suits/Ponchos
  • Bio/Chemical Suit
  • Gas/Chemical Mask
  • Gloves
  • Specialty Clothing (Example Ghillie Suit)


  • Concealable Vest
  • Standard Vest
  • Plate Carriers
  • Plates
  • Helmets
  • Shoulder/Arms/Sides
  • Crotch/Legs
  • Knee/Elbow Pads


  • Ear Plugs
  • Ear Enhancement Devices
  • Binoculars/Monoculars
  • Night Vision/Thermal Goggles
  • Eye/Reading/Sun Glasses
  • Goggles/Protective Glasses


  • Whistles
  • Portable/Emergency Radios
  • Portable CB/HAM Radios/Scanners
  • 2-Way Radios
  • Cell Phones/Pagers


  • Lithium Batteries (For All Electronics)
  • Portable Battery Chargers (Solar/Crank)
  • Roll Up/Folding Solar Panel Chargers
  • Laptops/Netbooks (SSD Hard Drive & Loaded With Info/Maps/Medical/Movies)
  • Handheld Game Systems (Example Nintendo DS For The Kids)
  • Portable SSD's (Loaded with Info/Maps/Medical/Movies)
  • Ipod's (Loaded)
  • Video Cameras (With SD Card Memory & Night Vision Mode)
  • Scientific Calculators (Solar)
  • Wrist Watches


  • Bug Out Vehicle (4x4/AWD Only)
  • Vehicle Fluids/Belts
  • Vehicle Spare Parts (Common Wear Items)
  • Vehicle Upgrades (Extra Fuel Tanks, Spare Tires, Wenches, Armor etc)
  • Vehicle Tool Kits (Tools, Jumpers, Air Pumps, Chargers etc)
  • Vehicle Additional Carry Items (Regular Tools, Gas Cans, Extra Supplies etc)
  • Vehicle Trailors
  • Portable Rafts/Floatation Devices
  • Mountain Bicycles/Razor Scooters


  • Waterproof Playing Cards
  • Travel Games
  • All Items That Don't Fit In Another Category

Now that you have your category bullet list done, it's time to move to the next phase. Go by each subcategory filling in all the items you have come up with so far. At this point you should be stating specific models/brands of items you have researched. You should also be deleting/adding items as you are putting them into your list. Start weeding out things that you could surive without, but remember if you have children you need to allow certain non essentials for them.

Your main goal now should always be to keep the item weights/sizes to a absolute minimum (where possible and without affecting quality). AND always try to pick items that have multiple uses and overlap in thier use with some of your other items.

You will be constantly refining your list as you read new information/reviews and firgure out what will suit your needs. This will help you create a truly comprehensive Bug Out Bag that will allow you to survive most situations.

P.S. You will find that as you refine your list that you may have categories that will have one, or no items in them. This is perfectly fine and it should be tailored to your goals. For example I don't plan on carrying any type of stove, sine it's too short term for me and adds unnecessary bulk/weight. However, I might bring just one stove and ditch it once the fuel runs out, but I haven't decided yet. I would be more than willing to carry it in a Bug Out vehicle/trailor though. Children and/or wife will also casue you to add to, or detract from this list.

· Registered
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow! Thanks so much for all the insight and advice. All of it very solid info!

I've got a location scouted for a relative short term situation. I'll be packing up and giving it a few dry runs to eval. the kit, and make any caches. Thankful my years in the service have left me a wide variety of packs of all sizes to test a variety of loadouts. Next step will be geared more towards locating a self sustainable location.

Again, thank you all for your input! I can already see the wealth of information here. I again, look forward to contributing what I can to keep that going.

· Registered
4,086 Posts
remember this simple statement ..think about what you have to have and what you have to need to survive and go from there ..

you have to pick and chose the items that you think you need not me or someone else choices based on the simple fact of where you are at and what are your needs ..

· Registered
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
remember this simple statement ..think about what you have to have and what you have to need to survive and go from there ..

you have to pick and chose the items that you think you need not me or someone else choices based on the simple fact of where you are at and what are your needs ..
Very good point!
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