Keeping Your Bug Out Bag & EDC Gear Compact

If you’re a seasoned survivalist, then you know how important your bug out bag (BOB) is to surviving in even the most extreme situations. When you’re in evacuation mode, it’s essential to have all of the right goods with you. But that doesn’t mean your BOB has to be bogged down by heavy supplies. There are plenty of ways to lighten up your load while still making sure that you have all the vital supplies and products that you need.

A portable bug out bag is meant to be exactly that – portable. And by following these quick steps, you can ensure that your EDC gear is not only lightweight, but valuable. Here’s how to ensure that you can still carry your stuff around and not suffer from cheaply made items.

1. Don’t Bring Food – Bring Food Supplies

survival food supplies

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime”? That mindset might come in handy when you’re deciding what to bring in your bug out bag. Obviously, you need food to survive. But it’s impractical to think about carrying tons of heavy cans or MREs with you everywhere.

Instead, think about the tools you use to gather food. A field guide on edible plants is a lot more lightweight than pounds of dried fruits and snacks. Knives and materials to craft spears with can go a very long way. If you know how to find food in the wild, you should be all set. And remember, a human being can survive up to three weeks without food.

2. Rethink Water

Apply this same weight-saving mentality to water as well. Think about how much water you need every day to survive. A gallon alone is over 8 pounds! It’s impossible to be able to carry as much water with you as you might need.

So, what’s the solution? Iodine tablets. Or a lightweight filtration system. This is an inexpensive solution that saves you tons of space within your valuable EDC gear. As long as you know where to find sources of water in the wild, you can depend on your iodine tablets to sanitize just about anything.

3. Invest In Smaller Shelter Options

Nothing is nicer than being able to camp outdoors in a large, spacious tent. Even a smaller tent can be cozy and keep you protected from the outside elements. However, pitching a tent can be a pain, especially when you have to carry your gear around for extended periods of time. How are you going to fit those tent poles into your bag? If you’re looking to lose some extra pounds in your BOB, think about some alternative shelter options.

Some great ideas include:

Sleeping bags are typically advised against, as they can be quite weighty once they’re strapped to the back of your bug out bag. But, it’s ultimately up to you. Remember that you’re packing for survival, not for a fun camping trip. While there are some more luxurious and lightweight camping options out there, you must only think about the bare essentials – that’s what will keep you on your feet.

4. Pack Only Small Electronics

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to pack something that will provide you with a little bit of entertainment. You never know when you’re going to get stranded, or for how long. But when it comes to electronics, you might want to shy away from DVD players and iPads. To keep things light, only pack something that can be useful in a variety of situations, such as a cell phone and a small hand radio.

Of course, you will need some flashlights and batteries as well. A solar panel or an adapter is a great choice if you have a phone and you’d like to keep it charged.

5. Bring Small, Utilitarian Tools

There’s no point in bringing a giant, heavy tool that only serves one purpose. The value of a bug out bag is largely measured by the types of tools it carries. Having a multi-tool, such as this one on Amazon, can provide you with over a dozen uses and it is small enough to fit in your pocket.

Here are some other important tools to consider:

  • Survival hatchet
  • Whistle
  • Bandana
  • Cordage (but NOT climbing rope, as it is too big and heavy!)
  • Survival knife
  • Duct tape
  • Sanitary pads (Not just for use in the bathroom – they can also be used to filter dirt from water and as a bandage!)
  • Plastic bags

Remember that when it comes to survival, a little can go a long way. Plastic bags work great as an alternative water container, or to store food and organize items. Sanitary pads and tampons can be great healers when you’re in need of first aid and can also be used to start fires. A paracord is the most recommended type of cord as it is small, lightweight, flexible, and extremely durable.

6. Forget The Cigarettes and Alcohol

Any movie or traditional media depiction of a survivor’s kit always includes a pack of cigarettes and a flask of whiskey. But those items don’t serve any real survival purpose, and they can end up just bogging you down.

Alcohol causes you to lose your bearings and become dehydrated. Needing even more water than usual is one of the last things you’ll want to experience when you’re out on your own! And tobacco may start accidental fires or attract unwanted odors. The only reason you might have one of these items is for bartering, but that’s only in an extreme survival situation.

7. Don’t Go Crazy With Clothing

While it’s true that you don’t know how long you’re going to need to be out on your own for, you shouldn’t go overboard when it comes to packing clothes. Having one or two dry outfits should be enough to go on. Most BOB and EDC kits are designed for survival for up to 72 hours. While we all like to take advantage of the luxury of being able to change our clothes once or twice a day, it isn’t a necessity for survival.

Sure, being out in the open for several days without a change of clothing may induce some unfamiliar odors, but it’s not going to kill you. Extra clothing can put on several more pounds than is necessary for your bug out bag. Bedding and fabrics can take up 20 pounds alone. You’ll suffice with an emergency blanket and one or two pairs of shirts, pants, and underwear.

Build the Ultimate Bug Out Bag Today!

Now that you’re able to separate the necessary from the unnecessary, you should have an easier time organizing your bug out bag for the ultimate survival. If you’re looking for more guidance, you can check out the ultimate bug out bag essentials List. This includes anything and everything you might possibly need to start stocking up for survival mode.

But remember that each bag is unique. Each situation calls for different items. It’s not practical to include everything they might have on that list. But you should be able to tell what’s essential for you and what isn’t. Building a bug out bag is different than packing your camping or fishing backpack but it can be an exciting and educating process, and there’s nothing wrong with a little trial and error. Be sure to take your BOB out for a spin so you can fine-tune the weight limits and test your items to ensure that everything works. Once you’re prepared for the journey, you’ll be able to survive just about anything.

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Posted in: Pro Staff Blog
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About the Author:

Jessica is an avid hunter, doing the hunting from her childhood. She spent lots of time in the hunting fields with her dad from her childhood. She also have the blog Hunting Mark where she often write about hunting & survival and camping.
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