Prepare to Survive: Get a Pack, a Plan, and the Skills You Need

Prepare to Survive: Get a Pack, a Plan, and the Skills You Need

Survival, disaster preparedness and bug-out bags are among the hottest topics these days, and Gun Digest has what you need to be prepared. Make sure you have a pack, a plan, and the skills necessary to survive real emergencies that could occur in your part of the world.

How-to for Bug-Out Bags and Survival Kits

Build the Perfect Survival Kit is a perennial favorite here at Gun Digest. The book advocates careful advance planning and building a personalized kit specifically tailored to each outing or possible emergency you may encounter. Learn what to pack into a kit for your pocket, glove box, four-wheeler, trunk, small plane, backpack, and more.

Build the Perfect Bug-Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit shows you how to create a self-contained disaster preparedness kit to help you survive your journey from ground zero to a safer location. Survival expert Creek Stewart details from start to finish everything you need to gather for 72 hours of independent survival—water, food, protection, shelter, survival tools, and much more.

Start With the Right Bag

The size of your bug-out bag or survival kit depends on what you are doing and how much you are willing/able to carry. Is it for shelter-in-place, carrying in a vehicle, or wearing on your person? Some people just start collecting components in hopes they will end up with a viable survival kit or bag. Planning from the start will help you achieve a more complete setup. Before starting, plan what you want your kit to be and what you want it to do for you. Once you now what it will be, you can choose the right bag.

Survival Knives

When I asked BLADE Magazine editor Joe Kertzman (he sits right next to me here in the GD office) for his opinion about survival knives, his response was, “Any knife you have with you in a survival situation is a survival knife.” That said, he highly recommends the Spyderco Bushcraft G-10, with its utilitarian blade shape that makes it practical for a wide variety of uses. This versatility is critical for any bug-out bag component. Mainstreamed by Ray Mears through his television programs outlining how to thrive and survive with only a knife both skillfully and comfortably in nature, Spyderco's version of a Bushcraft knife results from a collaboration between Tactical Bushcrafter Chris Claycombe, the Bushcraft website and Spyderco designers.

Survival Skills

Having a survival kit is helpful, but it's not enough just to have the kit – you must know what to do with it for it to be of any use. In Stay Alive! Survival Skills You Need, you'll find valuable techniques, tactics and advice for countless survival situations.

Survival Guns

Last, but certainly not least, having the right weapons for securing food and providing personal defense is the key to sustaining life on an independent basis, whether or not a catastrophe occurs. While it was originally written in 1979, Survival Guns by Mel Tappan remains the definitive book for anyone interested in the practical use of firearms and related weapons for defense, food gathering, and predator and pest control under conditions of long-term, self-sufficient living.

If you're interested in survival and preparedness, these recommendations will get you well on your way to customizing a pack, a plan, and the skills necessary to survive real emergencies that could occur in your part of the world.


  1. Getting a proper bag is 70% of success when it comes to bug-out kit in my opinion. If you one that is too large – weight is going to slow you down a lot. Too small – and you can’t fit everything you would need in. I’m usually aiming for around 35-40litre max, usually it fits everything I would need in SHTF situation( currently running Eberlestock Bandit backpack, but it’s personal preference – find what fits you best.


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