15 Uncommon Items for Your Bug Out Bag

swim goggles

We all know what our bug-out bag essentials are, right? 90% of the items we packed are pretty much the same for all of us… but what about the other 10%?

In this article I want to give you a list of “uncommon” survival items that some people have in their backpacks. Not just because it’s fun but because I want to give you some fresh ideas on what to pack. If, by the end of this article, I get you to say “Yeah, that sounds like a great idea, I’m gonna add item number 7!”… then the article is useful and I haven’t written it for nothing. If I fail, feel free to share your own weird survival items in a comment below so you can improve on this list.

Caveat: I’m not saying you need to start packing all these items. These are just a few ideas that may or may not make sense to your particular situation. Your bug-out bag essentials should have priority and you should always keep your backpack as light as possible by only packing what you need.

#1. Floss

Floss is lightweight, takes very little space and hard to find post-collapse. But the really cool thing about is that it has a bunch of other uses, such as tying things up, to use it as fishing rod and so on.

#2. A hand-crank chainsaw

Hand crank chainsaws are ultralight, compact and can be used in both rural and urban scenarios. You never know when you come across a tree that your car is helpless against.

#3. Fishing net

Do you have rivers near your location? A net might bring you much needed food besides the little you’ve already packed.

#4. A hand fan

If high temperatures are a concern, a hand fan might be a lifesaver. Small, compact, lightweight and cheap – perfect for a BOB.

#5. A razor

A razor has many more uses besides shaving (which won’t be a priority when disaster strikes, anyway).

#6. A foldable skateboard

Skateboards allow you to travel at speeds of over 10 miles per hour while walking is usually done at about 3mph. The fact that you can also fold it means you can put it in your bug out bag (though I have a feeling you’ll take it for a spin every once in a while).

#7. Tweezers

Cutting your nails without tweezers is hard. They take little space, they’re dirt cheap and might be unavailable when the brown stuff hits the fan. You might want to consider putting them in a Ziploc bag to avoid water getting to it and getting it all rusty.

#8. Condoms

Condoms have many uses besides the obvious one: they allow you to carry water, they can be used as a flotation device or even as a lens to start a fire (by filling them with water).

#9. Swim goggles

I’m not trying to scare you by telling you you’re gonna end up in a river somewhere, fighting for your life but, if you do have to cross one, wouldn’t it be better if you were equipped?

Besides, you can use these googles in other situations, such as when there’s tear gas or when you give your kid the important task of trying to spark a fire.

#10. An alarm clock

I know a bug-out bag is supposed to be as light as possible but some people think an alarm clock could be useful. This is NOT something I personally pack (or intend to) but maybe you want to…

#11. A Frisbee

Frisbees have more uses than just for playing. You can use them to sit on or to prepare food on them for example.

#12. Fly fishing lures

You’re gonna want to fish, at least that’s what most bug-out scenarios suggest…

#13. Pipe cutter

This could be really useful in urban scenarios where you’ll encounter a lot of pipes. Let’s not forget that PVC pipes have a lot of uses pre and post-disaster as long as you can cut them to the desired length.

#14. Paper clips

There are dozens of uses for paper clips, from lock picking to using them as a worm hook, zipper pulls or even to make a small chain. You may also want to keep them in your edc kit, your car’s BOB, your get home bag and so on.

#15. An extra pair of underwear

Needless to say, you may not have the luxury of having your wardrobe with your when it hits the fan. But an even bigger question is, what will you do if the only pair of underwear when bugging out is the one you’re already wearing?

Put an extra pair of underwear in your bug-out bag. In fact, make that two, and you can thank me after SHTF.

 

Ok, those were it. I realize I could have added a lot more of these unusual items but I tried to stick to the ones that you will actually need. Take this article with a grain of salt and, if you feel the need to add some of these items, how about you build a second BOB with non-essentials that you may or may not be able to take with you as you evacuate?

Survival Uses for Bandanas

The bandana is an item that is on practically every list of recommended survival gear, and for good reason.  It’s incredibly lightweight and has many different uses in survival situations.  For this reason, it’s a good idea to carry several in your survival kit, and not just one.  To give you an idea of just how versatile a bandana really is, here are a list of uses.

NECK GAITER

Perhaps the most obvious use is as a neck gaiter.  In cold weather, this will help to keep your neck warm, while in the summer, it can help to protect your neck from a sunburn.  Hypo and hyperthermia are not to be messed with.

COOL COMPRESS

When you have a headache, soaking a bandana in water and then setting it over your head will alleviate pain if you don’t have proper medications such as ibuprofen.  This is also something you should do if you have a fever and need to bring your temperature down.

TOURNIQUET

If you or someone in your group sustains any kind of an open wound on a leg or an arm, you’ll want to fashion a tourniquet above it, to inhibit the flow of blood. Tying a bandana tightly above the site of the wound will work great for this.

BANDAGE

Of course, perhaps the simplest medical use for a bandana would be to just use it as a bandage over an open wound.  Place a clean bandana over it and then tie it down either with a cord or another bandana.

FIRST AID SLING

A tourniquet and a bandage aren’t the only first aid uses a bandana can have. You can also use it as a sling in the event of a fracture. You have to tie the corners of two bandanas together or tie the bandana to a cord for it to be long enough to wrap around your neck, but it will work.

TO TIE A SPLINT

Instead of a sling, you may have to use your bandana to tie a splint around a broken arm or leg to help heal the fracture.  Find two sticks and place them on either side of the fractured limb, and then tie them in place with the bandana.
WEAPON SLING

It may be primitive, but a simple bandana and stone may be what gets you dinner.  If you’re going to rely on a sling for hunting game, or for defending yourself for that matter, it’s imperative that you know how to use it.  For this reason, collect a pile of stones and spend a few hours training yourself in using your bandana as a sling until you get the gist.

STRIPS/CORDAGE

Simply cut up a bandana into smaller and thinner strips to serve as cords.  Obviously you won’t be able to put it back together.  This technique should arguably only be used if A, you have another bandana to fall back on, and B, you have absolutely nothing else to use as cordage.

FOR SIGNALING

A brightly colored bandana may not be the most effective signal in the world (smoke signaling or a mirror reflecting the sunlight will be better), but it’s still better than nothing if you need to get someone’s attention quickly.

RAG/NAPKIN/WASHCLOTH

This is likely how you will find yourself using your bandana most of the time. There are many reasons for why you would want a rag or a washcloth in a survival situation, the vast majority of which have to do with cleaning and personal hygiene.  Assuming that you don’t have an actual rag with you, can you think of anything that would serve this purpose better than a bandana?

MASK

While images of old western outlaws with bandanas over their faces may come to mind here, what we’re referring to here is using your bandana as a means to protect your mouth and your nose from inhaling anything they shouldn’t: smoke, toxic chemicals, or dust.

GUN CLOTH

It’s imperative that your firearms be well taken care of for them to work properly. If you have any with you in a survival situation, you’ll want to wipe and dry them down daily to prevent rust or corrosion from setting in.  However, this will always be more difficult if you’re stuck in the wild with limited resources.  Fortunately, a bandana will work excellently as an alternative to a normal gun rag.  While you can use your whole bandana to wipe down the exterior of the gun, you can also cut it down into smaller strips or patches to wipe the internals.

NOISE REDUCER

All of the metal gear in your backpack can make a lot of noise when it’s all clanging together, but you can strategically place your bandana(s) in between those metal items to reduce the noise as much as possible.  This will be key if you’re hunting game and need to be as quiet and stealthy as you can.

MAKESHIFT STRAP

If any of the straps on your backpack break, you may think this means you now have to actually carry your backpack in your arms.  Fortunately, an ordinary bandana will serve as an excellent remedy.  Simply tie your bandana tightly to the two ends of the strap that broke and you should be set.

HANDKERCHIEF

It’s not the most pleasant use for a bandana by any means, but if you don’t have disposable tissues with you to serve as a handkerchief, there’s always your bandana.

TINDER

This means that you’ll be sacrificing your bandana obviously, but if you need fire desperately to cook food or warm yourself and you can’t seem to get anything going, it could be worth it.  Cut the bandana into small pieces and thin strips.  If it’s dry, it should take a flame easily, but even if it doesn’t, you can soak it something flammable such as Vaseline, hand sanitizer, or chap stick, and it should convert a spark into a flame almost instantly.  You won’t want to sacrifice your entire bandana for this use, so it may be wise to just cut a single thin strip and then leave the rest of the bandana intact.

FISHING NET

You can use your bandana as a net to catch fish in a stream.  Either tie the four corners the bandana to the end of a stick, or tie two corners between two sticks and then wade through the stream when you find a fish.  While it may be difficult to catch a single fish with this method, you should be able to catch several if you come across a school of small minnows, for example.

MAKESHIFT HAT

The main purpose to wearing a hat in a survival situation is to keep your head warm, especially in a cold climate.  But if you don’t have a hat, the next best option will be to simply tie a bandana around it.

PILLOW

Folding up a bandana, or tying the four corners and then filling it up with a few leaves, will be better than nothing if you need a pillow to help you get a good night’s sleep and conserve your energy for the next day.

CONCLUSION

As you can hopefully see by now, there’s perfectly food reason for why most survival checklists have a bandana near or at the top of the list.  Bandanas are just so small, lightweight, and cheap that there’s practically zero reason not to include at least one of them in your bug out bag, get home bag, inch bag and even as part of your edc kit.  Better yet, you should try and include at least two or three so that you always have backups.

5 Survival Things You Shouldn’t Compromise On

4x4 bug out vehicle

Ok, ok, so you might ask yourself: what can you compromise on when it comes to survival and preparedness? A lot of things, particularly when it comes to using everyday items to solve problems or when you’re solving redundancy issues. If you already have a veritable flashlight collection, it doesn’t matter if your 6th one is from a Maglite or some knock-off.

But some things you should never compromise on, because your life and the life of your family may depend on them. Let’s talk about those for a moment.

Clean Water

I know some people are tempted to drink water from a river that looks clean, but that doesn’t mean it’s full of bacteria. If shelter can be improvised, clean water cannot. Keep a water bottle in your bug out bag, one inside your car and always keep a portable water filter at hand. If you’re bugging in, you should think about additional ways to obtain it, such boiling it on a small propane stove (to kill bacteria) and even stock up on refills for those Brita water filters that remove some heavy metals.

Security

Imagine this: you’re speeding on the highway, anxious to get to your BOL when, all of the sudden you’re stopped by a gang of thugs. What do you do?

We’ve seen this in Europe recently: the African and Middle-Eastern migrants that were forced to live in a camp near Calais, France, would constantly attack trucks and even a school bus at one point. Do you know what to do if that happens to you? Do you have the reaction time to defend your family, or will you freak out?

I think people are misled by “survival documentaries” where they depict bugging out as being a walk in the park. Maybe it will be, or maybe it won’t.

Just look at the atrocities happening to the migrants on their journey form the Middle East to Europe. Rape, starvation – those camps are anything but safe, and we’ve seen something similar during Katrina when average folks and thugs alike were all crammed in the Louisiana Superdome – eye witnesses said it was horrible.

Freedom

Stories from migrant and FEMA camps are more than enough for us to realize that our freedom should not be compromised. It’s better to be out there in the woods than taken into detention camps where, in theory at least, you’ll be safer and have access to supplies.

During Katrina, it was only a matter of time until all the food they had there started to rot, (after they ran out of electricity). Supplies are never enough and, sanitation and hygiene are always a problem when large numbers of people are crammed together into tight places. Now, I’m not saying you should run around through the woods when there’s a hurricane, but if you do it right, no disaster should ever take you by surprise and cause you to share a room with thugs and rapists.

Your Bug Out Vehicle

Believe me, the LAST thing you want is to for it to stop working when you’re desperate to get to you your bug out location. Sure, you can always go on foot, but that could take days and will be exhausting to say the least. Besides, when you’re in your car, it’s a little difficult for people to physically harm you.

That being said, you need a solid bug out vehicle that’s always equipped and always in good shape. One other thing you should do if you have the budget is bulletproof it. Things like using run flat tires, installing bulletproof windows and even steel-plated armor for the exterior.

Weapons

Knives, guns, primitive weapons – all of these need to work flawlessly. With a little bit of research, you can find plenty of quality items at the right price. The Internet is full of scams but also of reviews on forums, blogs and on Amazon – real people sharing their experiences with every product.

Speaking of knives, one thing you should probably do is have two of them. A larger, bushcraft knife that you can rely on for rough tasks (including chopping wood) and a second, smaller one that you can keep as a back-up. Swedish company Mora makes very good carbon steel budget knives.

Final Word

I wish I had some memorable ending for this article, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you take survival and preparedness and that you never try to cut corners.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst is the thing that sums up well everything you read on this page, and what it means is, you should never cut corners when your life and the life of your family is at stake.

Sure, you may try to wing it with some aspects of survival, such as stockpiling less in favor of having the skills to acquire food and water, but some things are just too important not to do them right.

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