Recommended Gear for Your Kits
This page was created because YOU asked me to do so, not because I decided to do it. It would be a good idea for you to check back here periodically. The reason that I say this is simply that preparedness is a journey. It is a journey me the same as it is for everyone else.
As my experience level goes up, and the more products I get to try, this list of gear will change.
I made most of this list with a BUDGET in mind, so I chose high value, low cost items for these lists. If you have the money for the extreme high-dollar items, then maybe you should be hiring a consultant first, so you get the BEST items, not the most-expensive.
Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that I will never have EVERYTHING that you will EVER need on this list. There is way too many areas of survival such as wilderness, military, or modern day survival.
Look at modern day survival for a second. You have many different disasters you can prepare for: Loss of a Job, Fire, Tornado, Hurricane, Earthquake, Pandemic, Collapse, etc.
Basic Every Day Carry (EDC)
There ARE better things that you can get than what I have listed, but the EDC that I have outlined is supposed to give you some resiliency quickly and cheaply.
Every day you will go through a gallon of water. Your EDC is not based on any long term survival and must be small, but I would recommend having a couple water treatment tablets (Not the whole bottle) in your EDC. Having a small piece of Aluminum Foil could make an expedient cup. If the size is not a concern, go with having a Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System
For size we will not keep a full sized meal or a large all-inclusive fishing kit. Fish is a great food, so keeping some dental floss or small amount of fishing line on a small floss bobbin and a few fish hooks (which could be wrapped in aluminum foil) are a good way to go. Be sure to consider how sharp they are and cover the hook. You could also keep a small can opener, like the GI P-38 in your EDC.
Fires are a huge advantage when you are in a survival situation. The first no-nonsense solution to this is to have a BIC disposable lighter, which is super cheap and reliable. You won’t add a lot of bulk if you decide to wrap a strip of duct tape around it for utilitarian purposes. An Everstryke Match would also be a decent option, as well as a small Ferro rod. If you choose any of these, I wouldn’t fault you.
You can’t keep a tent, tarp, or hammock in your EDC. This is to keep it small, so we can add a couple mylar space blankets to your EDC. These aren’t very durable, so once you use them, you will probably want to get new ones.
I know a lot of other people that will tell you not to join in the hype, but I am still a huge proponent of paracord. It is too versatile not to have. I do NOT like the typical paracord braided bracelets, because of how difficult they are to unwind, but if that is what it takes for you to keep it on you, then get it. If you want backup cordage, then, once again, fishing line on a sewing or dental floss bobbin.
If you have a digital watch, switch it over to an analog watch, so you can use it for navigation.
This one could get expensive. The cheaper thing to get is a basic pocket knife. There are many different knives that are pretty decent under $20. The S&W CK105H Extreme Ops Knife is usually less. If it wouldn’t bother you to carry something bigger, a good Gerber or Leatherman Multitool would be better.
Next, you need to consider a sidearm if it is legal in your state (and if it isn’t, then move to another state.) My personal preference is a 9mm or .40 cal. Good ones would be the Glock 19, S&W M&P, S&W M&PC, or Ruger LC9.
Keep a Handcuff Key, just in case. This one has a light as well and will take place of your keychain light.
I like to keep a pen for notes, or to leave notifications of my location when venturing out. Why not have one that is a pen, whistle, and weapon combination?
Health and Sanitation
For large wounds, I like to keep a tourniquet in my Trauma Kit, and the Tourni-Kwik 4 is what I recommend due to the small size.
I would recommend keeping a few antihistamines in your EDC. Once again, not bottles, but a few pills. I also think keeping some pain killer tablets would help with aches and pains.
Lights Out Kits (LOK) or Blackout Kit
Although I had a list for your EDC based on categories of survival needs, this is because you could get stranded with nothing but that. Your Lights Out Kit (or LOK) is something that will be at home, so It will be geared more toward spending a night or two without lights. I have more extensive resiliency lists throughout my blog for more advanced preps, but let’s keep this list simple.
First thing that you will notice is that the lights go out, so lets look at what you need for lighting. Beyond what is in your Tote or container, I would have a central place in every room of your house that has small LED flashlights. The Cree 7w flashlight is a great cheap, useful, and durable option. You can spend less than 30 bucks to have one for every room in the house. This is the only thing that I recommend having outside of the tote because it is safer to have a flashlight or headlamp close at hand no matter where you are.
Container or Tote:
You need a central place to put all your supplies so you know where to get everything. You may have everything you need, but where is it. Keep it here.
In your centralized tote, you should have the following items, so you can conveniently get to everything you will need:
2 Lanterns (battery operated): Hard to pack away Kerosene lamps, isn’t it.
1 Small LED Flashlight per family member: I prefer to turn this into a headlamp. It may be a little more expensive, but works so much better.
1 Glowstick per family member: Train your children to only crack this in an emergency. Otherwise use their flashlights.
4 Jar Candles: I prefer these over stick or pillar candles because they are safer. Candles present a fire hazard, but that hazard is lessened by having a glass container.
Pack of 24 Tea lights: The only reason these are on here is because they are so cheap and work. You can place one of these in a jar to make a lamp.
Weather/AM/FM Radio (battery option): Not battery operated. I only want the battery to be an OPTION. I prefer one that can plug in, use batteries, AND have a handcrank.
Pack of BIC lighters: These are CHEAP and reliable. Great addition.
2 Butane Lighters: Higher temperature flame makes it easier to light stuff. It is also nice that the lighter is more wind resistant.
4 Boxes of Matches: Backup, Backup, Backup!
72 Hour Kit, Bug Out Bag, Get Home Bag, Get Out of Dodge Bag, or Whatever Else You Want to Call It
This is just a 72 Hour bag based on getting you from your location to your destination. You have to carry this on your person while trekking, so size, weight, and components are a priority.
The Bug Out Bag
I choose back packs over duffles because packs are much easier to carry. You can go hands-free.
I used to say that Internal Frame packs were my favorite, but now I think hybrid packs are a better option (part internal frame and part external frame) for stability and weight distribution.
What should be in the pack?
Food / Water
Keep foods you normally eat. I recommend, based on your needs, a mix of the following:
- Granola and Energy Bars
- Trail Mix
- Dried Soup Packets
- Vacuum sealed rice
- Water (1 gallon per person per day)
- Water purification tablets and/or sawyer straw filters
You will need a full set of clothing. Both short and long sleeve. Have several pairs of socks to keep feet dry.. Get a Poncho, or rain jacket and pants for adverse weather and a hat to keep the sun off
Shelter / Bedding
Shelter is a big deal during a bug out. It can be your separation from weather, insects, or critters. Bedding performs a couple functions. It acts as a miniature shelter, and as insulation.
For your bedding the following is a good list:
- Space blankets, wool blankets (packing space is concern)
- Bedsheet takes very little space but will make a space blanket more comfortable
- Hammock or hammock net. Both can be used as a hammock, but the military hammock nets can be used for fishing and trapping. I have the Grand Trunk Hybrid Hammock and my children have the Grand Trunk Ultralight Hammock.
For your shelter, consider these items:
- Tarp: You can make A-frame shelters and lean-to shelters with it. Collecting water, waterproofing pack.
- Small hiking or dome tent. I prefer 2 person tents. I actually have the Alps or Alpine Engineering Mystique 2.
Light and Fire-starting
You need lighting. It can get dark fast when no lights are around. I recommend LED Flashlights. I prefer battery with hand crank or shake backup. I keep headlamps because they are great hands-free lighting. If there is one thing that is a common thread is that I want headlamps.
Next, you want to be able to have fire. Signal Flares provide a rescue beacon as well as a single use fire starter. Tea light candles can make a fairly long lasting flame that has much utility. You need Lighters (BIC is a favorite of mine) and waterproof matches in your bag for firestarting. I would also keep a Ferro rod and a few kindling items as a backup.
Add the following items to your bug out bag:
- Survival knife: I have the Colt tactical survival knife (cheap option) or the Gerber LMF II Infantry Knife: The tool that will build almost all of your other tools. Keep one on you and one in your bag.
- Good Mulitool: I have 3 Gerbers (like the Suspension), but Leatherman Skeletool is awesome also.
- The SOG Compact Shovel or Military E-tool
- Pen and paper for your own memory and to leave notes to rescuers
- AM-FM weather radio with battery and crank option. The Midland WR300 or Midland XT511 are awesome.
- LOTS of paracord. Extremely versatile. X-Cords 850 Test is good
- Map of the areas that you are in, the Ranger compass or Suunto compass, and training.
- Aluminum foil and tin foil for makeshift cooking, eating, and drinking. Also great for leaving prints behind.
- Duct tape
- Pepper Spray, Sabre is great
- Prepaid phone and phone card. The SpareOne phone is a cool option.
- List of important phone numbers
- Extra credit or debit card
- Extra cash
- GPS is awesome when charged. Garmin eTrex is a good basic option, and the Garmin Montana has awesome functionality
- First Aid Kit. If you want a premade medical kit, the Elite GI Medic Bag, First Aid Only Responder Kit, or the Ever Ready Responder kits are nice. Should you want to build your own kit, then purchase the Voodoo Tactical MOLLE M3 Medic Bag and Take my First Aid Kit Building Course
- Stash of volatile maintenance medicines (asthma, heart, epi, etc.)
Personal Items and Sanitary Items
- Toilet paper
- Feminine hygiene products
- Toothbrush with broken handle
- Diapers and Baby wipes for the children
- Vacuum Sealing is great for space saving.
- The Emergency Zone Bucket Toilet is good for camping or short term scenarios
Other Items to Consider
This isn’t where I give you my ideas of good backup power based on short-term or long term scenarios. This isn’t a blog about what to DO. This is simply… what brand of items do I recommend for backup power in an emergency situation.
Flooded Lead Acid Batteries: Duracel GC-2 is a rugged golf cart battery. 2 of these in series will give you the 12vdc needed to run a backup system.
AGM (Absorbed Glass Matt): Exide XMC-31 is a rugged and durable 12vdc battery that is generally leak-free. Just one of these will run your devices, so this is good for mobile or small uses. Optima YellowTop Batteries are the best of the best and are also 12vdc.
Rechargable Batteries for Devices
Automatic Chargers only to prevent battery damage. Bigger Amps (A) means faster charging.
150/55/20/2A: Schumacher SE-1555A Charger
125/15-40/2A: Schumacher PSC-12500A Charger
100/30-15/2A: Schumacher SC-10030A Charger
Alternative Power Chargers (Solar, Wind, Water, etc)
Alternative Power Harvesters (Panels, Turbines, Generators, etc)
Solar (Stick with 12v systems)
Wind (Stick with 12v systems)
Alternative Fuels/ Generators
Plug these into your vehicle receptacle
These Won’t overload the wiring and fuses.
Bestek 150 Watt Inverter (I like it mostly for the high capacity USB Charger)
Connect these up to the Battery Terminals of your vehicle
Most can not draw more than your alternator can run.
Rally 500 Watt Marine Grade Inverter (MARINE GRADE!)
Duracell 800 Watt Inverter (Awesome Product)
Larger Inverters that Should Be Run off of a Battery Bank or Large Vehicle Setup
These inverters are usually large and have the capacity to draw too much for a automobile alternator to make up for.
Backup Power Accessories
Hydrometer for testing batteries: EZ RED SP101
Breaker: Minnkota MKR-19 is waterproof and rugged
Battery Refill: Plews 75-030 Battery Filler is a no-spill refill system
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