Mar 13

Bugout Log, Entry #4: And the Kitchen Sink

There are plenty of opinions out there concerning Bugout bags and their contents. You can easily do a search and find hundreds of lists and even a few books on the subject. The one thing about all the opinions and lists is there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” solution to selecting the right bag, stocking it with the right mix of contents, and actually utilizing it. Probably the biggest single issue most people make in developing their own personal Bugout bag is the urge to pack everything including the proverbial kitchen sink. If you are using the bag as a true Bugout bag, you are going to be limited by the cube of the bag and if you plan to sling it up, weight will be an issue as well. On that note, I am not presenting my list as “the way” or “the bag” or “the essentials” that anyone else should follow but rather what works for me.

maj bugout 1

In an ideal Bugout scenario, I am throwing my Bugout bag into a vehicle, along with “footlockers” of other supplies and necessities, then hitting the road to my Bugout location. This means what I can carry with me is limited by the cube of the vehicle and trailer which is much, much greater than my bag. I have developed load plans for the vehicle and trailer in order to optimize space. So, where does my Bugout bag fit in to my plans? In my plans I try to be as methodical and modular as possible. If you look at my Bug-In plans/preps as a whole they form a base of supplies and tools which cover essential categories of preps from “Water” to “Miscellaneous”. The vehicle Bugout plan covers the same categories but the quantity and type of supplies in each category is less or different to allow for cube of the vehicle. The Bugout bag is another subset that follows the same categories but is limited to what I can carry in the bag and the weight I can carry on foot. I also go one step further than most by categorizing what I plan to carry in / on my harness, butt-pack, belt, and pockets in the same manner. In each “level”, the list gets shorter and the level of necessity of each item becomes more critical. Using water as a simple example: Bugging In – 55 gallon drums, Vehicle Bugout – 3 or 5 gallon containers, Bugout Bag – canteens and Lifestraw Bottle, and Harness/Pockets – canteens and Lifestraw. In essence, each level becomes a cross section of the level above until I reach a level of “do not want to survive without”.

In order to get to that “do not want to survive without” point. I had to take that critical look at everything I wanted to attempt to cram into my pockets and Bugout bag. I started by laying everything out and making a detailed list. With everything laid out, it became painfully obvious that everything was not going to fit AND even if it did I might make it to the end of the street with that much weight on my back. So, I began to look critically and build a sub-category of “cannot survive without” (even though I could probably still really survive with less). This process was not easy and required me to make some tough choices like do I hang with the ECW Sleep System that takes up a lot of space or look for alternatives that are lighter and do not take up as much space OR; since I am attempting to build a bag capable of sustaining me for 72+ hours do I attempt to carry three gallons of water or carry one gallon (8 pounds) and a means of obtaining more potable water OR; do I attempt to pack 9 MREs or 3 MREs and lighter supplemental rations or lighter supplemental rations and a means of acquiring food on the move; OR…… The question of dual purpose for each item comes into play, followed by the need for simplicity and redundancy. Then you go through the process of trying to find a more compact, yet durable replacement.

Tactical Cleaning Kit, Compression Sack, Butt pack Fishing Kit, Rucksack Fishing Kit, 3/32 line of RLD, Titanium Spork/Spoon Combo

Bugout Supplies

Consolidation of items works well to help with the space an item takes up within the bag. MREs are probably where you get more bang for your buck when it comes to consolidation, by breaking them down into their components and getting rid of some of the “spare” packing materials. You can do the same thing with vitamins, pain relievers, and other pill form medication by seeking out smaller bottles and repackaging them. Nesting items inside of other items helps considerably and only makes sense. Things like pots are prime targets for nesting but anything hollow can be a prime spot for nesting other items to cut down on wasted airspace. For soft and plyable items (poncho, poncho liner, clothing, etc.), I firmly believe in the use of compression sacks and my jungle sleeping bag compresses to a little larger than a soda can, which fits easily into a zip-loc bag. No matter how you choose to do it, making certain that you utilize every square inch of airspace in the bag can become critical.

maj bugout 2

Once I have done all of that, I go through packing the bag and weighing it. The weight of the bag depends on your own capabilities. I try to stay between 65 and 75 pounds pack weight personally. Anything less than 65 and I am looking for ways to add an extra item or two. Anything more than 75 and I am looking for ways to lighten the load. Once I have my weights in range, I repack the bag according to need. Items commonly utilized in a stop or items I may need to access quickly go into accessible locations in external pockets or on top of the bag. Extra / spare items or items utilized sparingly got toward the bottom of the bag. Nothing sucks worse than needing a poncho when it starts raining out of the blue and it happens to be on the bottom of the bag. When I have it all packed, I unpack the bag and pack it again in order to familiarize where everything is in the bag. It has been a long time since I lived out of a bag for an extended period of time but by the end of three weeks, I will be able to find any item in the bag by location and feel.

Large Rucksack, Commo Bag, Ruger 10/22 Takedown

Bugout Bag

Now before we get to what I am carrying on this exercise, I need to get two things out of the way. What I have chosen and the type of supplies are simulating that I am leaving forever AND I have a temporary hole-up location within 30 miles of my home. The hole-up location is stocked with supplies and other items, so it can be considered somewhat of a cache. Also, I will carry more supplies once I am on the water in the canoe but my Bugout bag and harness contents will remain the same in case I need to abandon the canoe or river for some reason. Finally, this list is my list and it is tailored to me and my situation. Use it as you see fit, adjust it to your needs or totally dismiss it. Anything can be improved and once this exercise is complete, I plan to adjust my BOB accordingly. I will also update that information here. That said, here goes:

Harness, Butt-Pack, and Pocket Contents or Worn:


– Cargo Pants (coyote tan)

– T-Shirt

– Cargo Shirt (coyote tan)

– Socks 3EA

– Dial Watch

– Military Issue Poncho

– Gloves LW Tactical

– Gloves Utility

– Shemgah

– Sunglasses

– Matterhorn Boots

– LW Ball Cap

– Rigger Belt


– Canteen w/cover 4EA

– Canteen Cup 1EA

– Lifestraw Personal Straw

– Water Purification Tablets

– Bandana (strainer)



– Datrex Bar 1EA

– Wire Snare 2EA

– Mesh Bag

– Small Survival Fishing Kit

– Alpine Mess Kit

– Peppermint Candy

– Snuff 5EA


– Poncho Liner

– Poncho

– Compression Sack


– Lighters 2EA

– Fire Steel

– Cotton Balls in Vasaline w/small screw top tin

– Chem Lights (green) 3EA

– Small UvGlostick

– Waterproof Matches

– Flashlight 2EA

– UXO Candle


– Waterproof Band Aids

– Single Pack Antibiotic Ointment

– Super Glue

– Pain Reliever 10 pills

– Small Bar Soap

– Ace Bandage

– Gauze Tape

– Benadryl 5 pills

– Travel Toothbrush

– Travel Toothpaste

– MRE Toilet Paper 2PK

– Travel Sunscreen

– Lip Balm

– Insect Repellant Wipes 6EA


– Buck Pac-Lite Caper

– Cold Steel Oyabun

– Gerber Gator Folder

– P-38 (can opener)

– Leatherman

– Compass

– Pocket Grapple

– Pocket Sharpener

– Tactical Weapons Cleaning Kit


– Cell Phone


– M1A Scout, 5 magazines loaded (100 rounds)

– Colt Commander, 5 magazines loaded (45 rounds), drop leg holster

– Walther P22, 2 magazines loaded (20 rounds), concealed holster


– 550 Cord (50FT) on Drop Line RLD

– Zip Ties 10EA

– 3/32″ Tether (100FT) on Drop Line RLD


– Write In Rain Pad

– Pencil 2EA

– IDs

– Cash

– Small Binoculars

– Trashbag

– Zip-Loc Bag 2EA (empty)

Large Rucksack, Communications Bag, and Ruger Takedown Bag Contents:


– Lifestraw Bottle

– Water Purification Tablets 2BTL

– Eye Dropper Bottle w/Bleach

– Cheese Cloth

– Kelly Kettle Kit



– Datrex Bars 3EA

– Salted Peanuts 3PKs

– Salt & Pepper

– Snares 3EA

– Edible Plant Reference

– Sling Shot

– Titanium Spork

– LW Chain 2FT

– Instant Coffee 6EA (ind packets)

– Peppermint Candy

– Snuff 5EA

– Survival Fishing Kit

– Mesh Bag

– Survival Gill Net


– Cargo Pants 1EA

– T-Shirts 2EA

– Long Underwear 1EA

– Socks 3EA

– Cargo Shirt 1EA

– Fleece Jacket

– Water Shoes

– Gloves CW

– Watch Cap

– Boonie Hat


– Jungle Sleeping Bag and Gortex Bivy in compression sack

– LW Hammock

– Poncho

– Bungee Cords w/hooks 4EA

– Tent Stakes 6 EA


– Water Proof Matches

– Lighters 2 EA

– Fire Steel

– Cotton Balls in Vasaline in Screw Top Tin

– Solar Pack Lantern with Panel and Cell Charger

– Trail Markers

– Flashlight

– Solar Uv GloStick 2EA

– Collapsable Candle Holder

– UXO Candles 4EA


– Water Proof Bandaids

– New Skin 1OZ

– Gauze 1Roll

– Gauze Tape

– Cotton Balls

– ACE Bandage

– Absorbine Jr.

– Cortizone Cream

– Needles

– Syringe

– Pain Reliever 50 Pills

– Multi-Vitamin 30 Pills

– Antibiotics (7 day course)

– Mole Skin

– Snake Bite Kit

– Tweezers

– EMT Shears

– Boudreaux’s Butt Paste

– Sunscreen

– Antibiotic Ointment

– Alcohol Wipes 5EA

– Visine

– Benadryl 15 Pills

– DayQuil Tablets 10 Pills

– Hand Sanitizer

– Clorox Pen

– Insect Repellant

– Lip Balm

– Bar Soap

– Felz Naptha Bar

– Toothpaste

– Toothbrush

– Medicated Body Powder

– Pack Towel

– Washcloth

– Baby Wipes

– Scrubba

– Powder Dish Soap (pill bottle)

– Powder Laundry Soap (pill bottle)

– Comb

– Razors Disposable

– Q-tips

– Nail Clippers

– Toilet Paper 1Roll


– Tomahawk

– SOG Spirit

– Pocket Ratchet

– Pocket Screwdriver (multi-tip)

– Pace Count Beads

– Pocket Chainsaw

– Mini Prybar

– Round File

– Whet Stone

– Canvas Sewing Kit

– Sewing Kit

– Flat File

– Trowel

– Tactical Weapon Cleaning Kit


– Dynamo Two Way Weather Radio

– iPad


– Ruger Takedown, 7 magazines loaded (130 rds)

– .22LR Ammo 7BX


– 550 Cord 50FT on Drop Line System

– Ratchet Straps 2EA

– Rapelling Line 100FT

– Swiss Seat

– Safety Carabiners 2EA

– Suspension Clips 2EA

– Crazy 8

– Zip-Ties 10 EA

– Duct Tape 25FT

– Electrical Tape 10FT

– Braided Fishing Line 300FT on Drop Line System


– Dry Bag

– Waterproof Bag

– Zip-Loc Bags 5EA


– Write In Rain Pad

– Pencils 2EA

– Important Papers

– Scrap Silver

– Cash

– AA Batteries 16EA

– Unlubricated Condoms

– N95 Facemask 2EA

– Pocket New Testament

– Spare Sunglasses

– Inflatable PFD

Whew! I did not go into a lot of details concerning what is in zip-loc bags or detail what was nested into other items for sake of space. I also stayed away from naming brands, I prefer Charmin TP and you may prefer Cottonelle, they both do the job so to speak as with most other items it comes down to personal preference. This is what I plan to start my Bugout with at this point. I will replenish my bag at my hole-up stop and reconfigure as necessary. I will also carry additional supplies from the hole-up location in the canoe and recover a “test” cache along the river leg. Identifying potential cache sites along each leg will be a priority during this trip, which will allow me to store supplies along the route according to what I needed more of or less of on my back. Putting the caches in will allow me to further adjust the contents of my BOB.  I am hitting the road in a few days and will hopefully be able to update from the trail.


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  1. Wow! I am REALLY impressed with your BOB! Great job!

    One question. I see you have 6 tent stakes, but I didn’t see a tent or tarp, or anything you might use those for (I might have missed it). Are you bringing a tent or a tarp, or anything to make a shelter out of?

    As I’ve said before, I’m really excited about this! One thing I’d like to hear about, in addition to any general updates, is your mental state, as you make your way to your hole-up location.

    In addition to being a great learning experience, this trip could be a good, enjoyable life experience. I hope everything goes smoothly! Stay safe!

      • The Maj on March 14, 2014 at 3:12 PM
      • Reply

      You did not miss it. I am not carrying a tent or a tarp. I will get by under the stars or under a “poncho-shelter” when there is potential for rain. The stakes can be utilized in the “poncho-shelter” when vegetation doesn’t cooperate for natural stakes. Also, I am traveling through areas that have pretty large wild hog populations, so I use the stakes and the braided fishing line as a trip/early warning system around my bivouac site.

      I will do my best to keep you updated on all aspects of my trip, including my mental state.

    • Bill on March 15, 2014 at 1:29 AM
    • Reply

    I don’t know where youall are at, but, this is all bs. Find a boy scout and ask him about camping. LOL.

      • PJ on March 15, 2014 at 8:25 AM
      • Reply

      I love drive by comments 🙂

    1. Bill, can you be more specific?

      I think both the Maj’s plans and his bug-out bag are well thought out. If you think he’s doing something wrong, let us know. No one knows everything about survival, or even bug-out bags, and I’m always happy to learn.

      The only thing I would disagree with the Maj on is not bringing a tarp. I think that if it starts pouring, and he is trying to huddle under a poncho shelter, he might wish he had brought a tarp. Having said that, that’s just my personal opinion. The Maj is satisfied not bringing a tarp, and I respect that.

      • doug on July 6, 2014 at 2:14 PM
      • Reply

      gosh …. if you really deem all this information as b.s. ….. then i sure do hope we never meet = shtf
      —- like the one comment shared = your comment is indeed ‘a drive-by comment’ and/or maybe you are the s. in the b.s.
      i personally agree with everything the Maj has shared – it would be very difficult to enhance and/or improve his preps – he is one i could go into combat with and know – with out a doubt – he would be there for my back ….
      i am doing copy of this posting and printing it out to compare to my preps – it all should be quite close – but, i can already see room for improvement with my preps … that is why i read these postings = to learn and to improve and to apply – there will be very little chance once the shtf does happen

    • THE California Alligator on September 27, 2014 at 12:46 AM
    • Reply

    Can you please tell me what bags you used to store this stuff. It might help all of us to understand how well this all packs down.

      • The Maj on October 1, 2014 at 3:57 PM
      • Reply

      Pretty much everything that I utilized (still utilize) was/is U.S. Military issue / military surplus at some point, other than the Ruger Takedown bag, which is the same bag that came with the rifle.

      Also, some of the items are hung to the bag and harness rather than packed inside. I.E. 550 Cord on RLD or Drop Line System, flashlight, gloves, etc. Some items are intended to be carried in the cargo pockets on the pants and shirt that I am wearing, some things on my belt.

      As to your specific question about “bags”, I am assuming you are referring to the following:

      Large ALICE Pack with Frame
      Two “Medic Pouches” (attached to the low side of the ALICE)
      Ruger Takedown Case (attached to the high side of the ALICE)
      Medium Communication Bag (attached to the high side of the ALICE)
      Pre-MOLLE LCE Vest with Pistol Belt
      Large Butt Pack (attached to LCE)

      Also, necessary to mention is the fact that I used and firmly believe in compression sacks in varying sizes. It helps tremendously with space as does nesting. The issue you will run into is most people will typically “weigh out” before they “cube out” their equipment.

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