Featured Post: Bug Out Bags: Build your own or buy ready-made? -The Survival Mom™

We recently returned from the 2012 Survival Expo in Las Vegas this last weekend. It was a fun trip that allowed us to see our friends and make new ones. One of our friends we were very happy to see there was Lisa “The Survival Mom” Bedford and her husband. Lisa was kind enough to sign books & connect with her fans in our booth at the show!
Last month, Lisa posted a great article on considerations for making your own Bug-Out-Bag VS. buying a “ready-made” BOB. She brings up some great points, especially the fact that those who manufacture and sell the bags are completely ignorant to special needs you & your loved ones will have that don't jive with the general population's needs. One of my preferred BOBs that I use personally is VooDoo Tactical's Black Matrix Assault Backpack (see image).
We feature Lisa's article here in its entirety and encourage you to check out her site for more great content!

Over on Facebook, I was faced with the question of bug out bags. Carrie asked, “I have started shopping for a bug out bag, and I have no idea what to look for. Any suggestions or tips?”

Well, of course I have plenty of each!

Usually a backpack is the best choice because it leaves both hands free. This is especially important if you have kids. In an emergency, you don’t want to be distracted by a shoulder bag falling off your shoulder, weighing too much, etc.
  • Look for sturdy fabric, quality stitching, inner pouches and pockets to help keep your supplies organized.
  • A hard-sided suitcase with heavy-duty wheels may be a good choice. It will protect the contents of your kit and be easy to pull, as long as the wheels hold out.
  • Before committing to a specific bag, assemble all your supplies together and assess what size of bag you need. You don’t want to stuff the bag so full that you can’t find what you need, when you need it. On the other hand, something that is too large will end up being inconvenient and bulky.
  • If you plan on having more than one bag, or emergency kit, use different types of containers. For example, an ice chest on wheels is handy as a container for emergency meals, eating utensils, and a small cook stove, and when emptied, it can double as a baby bathtub, a basin for washing dishes, even as a wheeled tote for carrying firewood. Spend some time looking around at Target or Walmart and checking out the variety of containers for more ideas.
  • This list will help you pull together the items that are most necessary for your bag: The Survival Mom™: The Everyday Emergency Kit Downloadble PDF
  • I recommend putting your own bag together rather than buying one that is ready-made. I’ve seen quite a few of those close up and many contain items that are not high quality. If someday life may depend on a tool or supply, I want it to be the best quality I can afford. Other disadvantages of a ready-made kit?
    • The bag itself may be of inferior quality. In the event that you ever really do have to, “bug out,” that bag is going to take quite a beating. This isn’t the time to scrimp.
    • A ready-made kit may lull you into a sense of complacency, and you may not ever really check out the contents of the bag or learn how to utilize them until you’re in the middle of a crisis.
    • These kits are put together by committees, people who don’t know you, your family, or your circumstances. What they think is a necessity may end up taking space for something that youreally need.
  • When is a ready-made kit the best choice? When you know that you will never actually put together your own customized kit! Hey, I’m famous for saying, “I could make that!”, but then I never do. If a ready-made kit is all you can manage right now, then it’s better than nothing. Just do yourself a favor and get to know the contents, and use my checklist (above) to add additional items you know your family will need.

Read more great tips on preparedness from The Survival Mom™, click HERE.


-David SafeWater

31 Responses to Featured Post: Bug Out Bags: Build your own or buy ready-made? -The Survival Mom™

  1. Vox September 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    From the downloadable emergency list:

    Vaseline infused cotton balls in a Ziploc*

    *An effective and inexpensive tinder for starting a fire.

    I would also suggest a copy of the US Constitution would also work as it is no longer in use in the United States.

    • David September 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

      Thanks for the comment Vox!


    • JP in MT September 17, 2012 at 11:50 am #

      I prefer to carry mine in a small can (from breath mints). I don’t trust petroleum products store in plastic.

      • David September 17, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

        Those small cans come in handy & have many uses. Thanks JP!


  2. Beth Blair September 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    My daughter made her own…she put tons of items in there and I am amazed she fit so much in one back pack! 🙂

  3. theresa September 11, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    I would love to win a Berkley. Thanks for the give away.

  4. Katie Page September 11, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    We are making/giving bug out bags to family members for Christmas. Love the cotton ball comment and the Constitution comment is sad, but true = please vote Nov 6th.
    Also, I’m commenting because part of my preparedness is winning that Royal Berkley water filter and I can’t figure out where the thread is to comment. Hope you guys don’t mind.

    Don’t forget skin health products in your BOB! Living in the wild is hard on skin. Doxycylcline can be gotten without prescriptives in the form of Bird Biotic. Just sayin’.

  5. Christiana September 11, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    There is nothing like taking a parasitology class for my masters degree to realize the importance of a good water filtration system. Let’s say this could make my day and have one less thing to worry about 🙂

  6. heather h September 11, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    I would like to win a royal Berkey because all I drink is water and milk and our house is over 100 years old and I worry about contamination. We do have a faucet filter for us and the babies water. This system would make our life easier.

  7. Teri Psarris September 11, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    (Relating to the Berkey sweepstakes)
    I owned a Berkey for 10 years but gave it to a single mom and would really like to own another one.
    I’ve been getting tired of hauling in 10 gallons a week of RO water from the store.

  8. Jim September 12, 2012 at 3:15 am #

    The bug-out bag is essential, but I think one of my biggest concerns is water. That’s why I want to get one of those Royal Berkey water filtration systems. In fact, though our current water supply drips into our water tank from a spring in the side of the hill, I have been worried about how long that water will be safe because of all of the gas fracking that has been occurring in the region.

  9. Jen September 12, 2012 at 5:55 am #

    I’d love to win the Royal Berkey Water System because I can’t convince my husband that we need one! He refuses to spend the money, and I don’t want to be up the creek without a paddle if the SHTF!

  10. Melissa Horinka September 12, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    So many things to consider. Would be THRILLED to win a Berkey water system to assist in clean, safe water! Thank you for the contest.

  11. Bruce T September 12, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    I am coveting a Berkey water filtration system for my home preparation equipment!

  12. Rose Bohmann September 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    I would like to win this Berkey system because I’ve wanted one ever since I first read about them. I like the fact that it can filter even river water or other wilderness source water. having been a camper with a little back-pack water filter, this impresses me.

    • David September 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

      Thanks for the comment, Rose, and we wish you the best!


  13. Margie W September 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Re: Royal Berkey giveaway, we have a Big Berkey and love it but would like a larger one as we go through so much water each day. We would then give our Big to a good friend who has wanted one for some time. Thank you for the opportunity.
    Re: Bug out Bags, we have knapsacks with some emergency supplies hanging in the hallway with a list of other things that we need to grab quickly should we have to evacuate due to a hurricane, or if a tornado warning is issued, we can quickly grab our wallets and cell phones and thes bags and take cover in our hall bath.

    • David September 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

      We wish you the best of luck & appreciate the comment Margie!


  14. Cathie September 14, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    I would love to win a Royal Berkey Water Filtration System. Our well water at home gets kinda brown sometimes. Thanks for the giveaway!

    • David September 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

      I wish you luck on the giveaway, Cathie! Thanks for the comment!


  15. Eric Adams September 17, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    This is a great site. Please include more articles on basic preparation training.

    • David September 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

      Thanks for the comment & the request, Eric.


  16. Carrie@LifeRegardless September 17, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    Even kids need their own, kid-sized, BOB with their own gear. We have one each for our little ones. They don’t carry much, but every little bit helps…and makes them feel important, too! 🙂

    Would love to win the Berkey!

    • David September 17, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

      Thanks for the words Carrie! We wish you luck!


  17. Kir September 17, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    love the blog. great ideas and help..

    • David September 17, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

      Thanks for the comment, Kir.


  18. JP in MT September 17, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Water purification is one of the area’s were we are a little short. We have water bottled and some “field expedient” methods, but our current house is totally grid dependent. We will eventually have 3: a Light Berkey for the trailer, a travel Berkey for the truck, and a Big or Royal for the house. Then I can concentrate on getting more filter elements vs. other filters.

    • David September 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

      Thanks for taking the time to comment JP!


  19. Kathy September 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    I finally decided to make our own bags and fill them with the items I wanted. I spent so much time trying to find the “perfect complete” bag, and its not out there. A lot of bags have great items, but not necessarily for my household. I am very happy with my homemade bags. I think in the end I spent more doing it this way, but I am familiar and happy with everything I packed.

    I would love to win the Berkley system since that is the one area that I feel very unprepared. All the prep in the world is not going to help with out good clean water.

    Thanks for offering a great giveaway. I am enjoying your site. Tons of info.

    • David September 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Kathy!


  20. Elizabeth - Water Rolls Uphill September 20, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    Hmmm, I think I need to research this a bit more. I’m just now starting down this path now that I’ve realized how important it really is!

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