Have you ever seen or read about someone who just piles dozens and dozens of items into their survival kit or bug-out bag? They keep adding to it with no regards on how they’re actually going to carry it on their shoulders or for the fact that they need to leave extra space, just in case.
Filling your survival bag to the brim is never a good idea. To fit everything inside, you either need a bigger bag or you need to take some of the stuff out. This last approach is what I want to discuss in today’s article.
Let’s look at some of the things you could remove from your bag so you can better focus on the essentials.
1. Certain comfort items
Sure, it’ll be nice to have a bottle of your favorite drink to cheer you up when everything around you is falling to pieces, but some of these items can be heavy and provide little or no nutritional value. If you want comfort items, stick to the ones that are light and have added benefits.
Hard candy (the sugar variety) is such an example. It’s small, lightweight, has a long shelf life and provides you with fast absorbing carbohydrates that will provide energy while on the run.
2. Canned food
Canned food is a bad idea for the same reason a bottled beverage is: It’s too heavy. You’re much better off with freeze-dried food. All you have to do is bring water to a boil (which purifies it at the same time), add the food, let it re-hydrate for a while and you’re ready to eat a nice, nutritious meal.
It’s best to keep your cans of food where they belong: in your pantry.
3. A glow stick
Some people think glow sticks will save them in an emergency and they might, but when you’re able to build a fire, the smoke will attract a lot more attention than the stick.
As long as you have adequate means of starting a fire in your kit or bag, you really don’t need this.
4. A flare gun
Same thing with flare guns. You don’t really need them as long as you can make fire and, as far as self-defense is concerned, you should already have a firearm and your survival knife to protect you.
5. Foldable chairs
Let’s keep those for when you’re going camping, OK? In a survival situation, I wouldn’t even put them in the trunk of my car because there’re much better ways to use that space.
I get that you can carry water in them but as long as you have your stainless steel bottle and your canteen cup, you won’t have to. Some reality televisions use this trick to attract eyeballs to their survival shows, but we need to look at things from a different perspective.
They’re even more annoying if they have a knife on one edge. Much better to get a multi-tool that has a fork, a spoon, a knife, a can opener and even a cork screw.
8. Water purification tablets
This is somewhat ironic because I actually recommend them as part of your everyday carry, particularly if you live in the city. The reason they’re not useful in a survival situation is because you should already be able to boil water or use your portable water filter, such as a Paratrooper Filter.
On the other hand, if you don’t have your kit or bad with you (such as when you’re trapped in a get-home situation), then you won’t have your portable water filter or the means to boil water. In such cases, it’s safer to include a few water purification tables.
9. The SAS Survival Guide
That was one of my personal mistakes I made a while back. I was shocked to notice how my bag got a whole lot lighter once I removed it. Yes, there’s also the pocket edition but it’s still something you may want to reconsider adding to your survival kit. Much better to print out the essential information you need and keep the rest on your phone.
Before I wrap this up, I just want to remind you that this isn’t a list that you should follow to the letter. This is just something to think about. If you’re looking to build a larger bug-out bag, there’s nothing stopping you from keeping all of them. But if you’re not in good shape or your bag is too large, then this list is a good starting point.
What items would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the section below: