Black Rifles & Rambo Knives

AR-15 rifles with assorted configurations. Does a Survivor really need such weapons?

Let me deal here and now with the whole "armed Survivalist" stigma. Self-protection is a Natural Right as well as a responsibility and duty. Firearms kept on hand for self-defense purposes are the best and most effective way for a person to defend themselves. When it comes to physical size or strength a gun is the great equalizer in a physical violent confrontation.
There is much truth in the old adage "God made man, but Smith & Wesson made them equal".
There is no "equality" in nature and there is no "civil equality" considered by a criminal predator when he chooses his fellow human victims.
Firearms can be used by the physically handicapped, elderly, sickly, small statured and out numbered to effectively defend one's self from a much stronger attacker or small group of attackers. Even if those attackers are also armed with firearms. Guns certainly "equal" the odds in an unfair fight.
An American manufactured AK-47 rifle. Nice to have but there are many more important Preparations to spend money on.

As long as a person wielding a gun knows proper safety handling techniques and understands such things as field of fire, background and trigger control firearms are safe self-defense weapons.
The actual choice of what style of firearm one chooses to purchase and own for self-defense is a personal one. Caliber of round a particular gun shoots as well as brand of firearm is a personal choice, but should be made with some intelligence. If a person is not a firearms expert there are plenty of such knowledgeable people around that will be glad to share their knowledge and advice. A gun owner also needs to regularly practice actually shooting his/her firearm(s) to learn to become an effective shooter in the event they actually have to use a gun to stop a violent attack.
Any basic hunting rifle can be used in a Survival situation.

This article is not about Gun Rights nor is it a "Pro-Gun Ownership" article. This article is also not written to convince a non-gun owner to go out and purchase a gun. Buying and owning a gun is a personal choice and this writer respects people's right not to own a firearm as much as he does the rights of others to own them. Instead the aim (no pun intended) of this Survivalist writer is to deal with some of the preconceived notions of Survivalism as it relates to guns.
These preconceived ideas are floating around in some non-Survivalists and Survivalists minds alike. Many non-Survivalists shun the Prepared Survivalist lifestyle and Survivalists simply due to Hollywood generated misconceptions. Hollywood and the media have portrayed Survivalists as "Right-Wing gun-toting nuts" who are awaiting the total collapse of modern civilization. The fact that modern civilization could in fact suffer major collapse and upheaval due to either natural or man-made disasters is not the point. What the issue is here is that many who have never looked into Survivalism and living the Preparedness lifestyle are led to believe it is all about weapons and guns.
What I am about to say here would be considered "anathema", or "blasphemy', by many Survivalists, even the less gun-oriented ones. One of those things I have to say is a Survivalist does not have to own a single firearm to be a Prepared Survivalist.  
Any hunting shotgun, or basic home-defense shotgun, will serve the needs of a self-defense firearm.

One does not have to have firearms on hand for self-defense, but some sort of weaponry, even if it is simply a sword or crossbow, is a must. Yes, to be a Survivalist and be well-rounded in ones Preparations you do have to have some sort of weapons in your over-all Survival supplies. Just as being Prepared for other emergency eventualities of life, being Prepared to fend off violent assaults is something you must Prepare and supply for. One does not have to have a full mechanics tool box in their vehicle to be Prepared for automotive emergencies, but having a somethings in your car for highway breakdowns is sensible Preparedness. 
Having a flat tire on the highway is a daily possibility to all motorists and therefore only wise to have a spare tire, lug wrench and jack in your vehicle. Being the victim of a violent crime is also a daily possibility for everyone. You don't even have to venture out of your home to be such a victim, due to robbers and criminal home-invasions. Even if you live way out in the country and don't live in a city or suburb you are not safe from violent criminals. This is simply just another of life's hard realities that Survivalist are aware of and Prepare for.
This author certainly recommends owning firearms, both long-guns and handguns, but they don't need to be purchased and owned simply to fulfill a Hollywood stereotype of a Survivalist.

If a fellow Survivalist does in fact own firearms for self-defense (something I personally do recommend by-the-way) they don't have to be fancy. To be a Survivalist one does not have to own expensive firearms or stock up enough ammunition to supply a small army. Some Survivalists are medical doctors and they stock up medical supplies, more than most Survivalists. Some Survivalists are mechanically inclined and stock up all kinds of tools and assorted engine parts and mechanical materials. Some Survivalists are professional gun experts, or just firearm enthusiasts and have many guns and lots of practice ammunition. Yet most Survivalists simply have a firearm or two for each member of their family.  Again, I will dare say that an individual Survivalist don't even have to own a single gun to be a Survivalist. But I will say they do have to have some sort of items for self-defense put away. Being Prepared to defend one's self is as important to Prepare for as being Prepared for medical emergencies or any other situation.
Don't buy a gun, or any Survival equipment,  just because it looks cool or due to unrealistic Rambo-like fantasies.

It is important to the reader (both the non-Survivalists and Survivalists) to know that the black sexy-looking military rifles, such as the AR-15, are not mandatory self-defense weaponry for Survival.
The whole big-bad-black-gun thing reminds me of the whole "Rambo knife" phenomena. A person Surviving in the wilderness does not need a big, mean looking sheath knife like they saw in the movies to Survive.
Purchasing a knife to actually use should not be based on some macho image it is thought to project. Purchasing a knife, firearm, or any equipment for serous emergency Preparation purposes, should be an exercise in real-world practicality. Having an expensive rifle with all the bells and whistles and after-market attachments on it simply so you can "look cool" holding it is not Survivalism.
Not only are such "big boy toys" expensive,  they are more macho status symbols than needed self-defense firearms to Survive with, even in the worst of scenarios. Now before my gun expert and gun enthusiast readers flip out on me let me explain why I say that.
First of all, I again will say I believe in a person's right to own a firearm. Gun "laws" are silly and just plain asinine if you ask me. Secondly I believe in a person's personal choice of firearms, no matter how overly priced or fancy they may be. But my third point is that the misconception that a person is not fully Prepared to defend themselves unless they have a Colt AR-15 or a 308 caliber sniper rifle is just that, a misconception.
A very fancy and expensive 308 caliber sniper rifle. Do you really think you will need this type of investment?

I will further elaborate on my "gun philosophy" as it applies to Survival situations. No Survivalist thinks they need a AR-15 or AK-47 to defend their homes during present times. All Survivalists that own such military style rifles own them for extreme Survival situations. Extreme meaning the total collapse of civilization. I certainly believe such an event is possible. But I also believe such an event will only be temporary and some sort of Government authority will re-establish "law and order". If a Survivalist has fantasies of stacking bodies of looters up on their front lawn that Survivalist is living in fantasy world. That Survivalist will have a lot of explaining to do to the cops when they do come back around. An armed Survivalist will have questions asked and an investigation done on him/her to deal with even if they just shoot one person.
If a Survivalist is having to use his gun more than, say once a week, in a total collapse scenario than that Survivalist needs to immediately evacuate that area.
Some Survivalists may say they aren't moving from their homes or supplies and equipment. My answer to that is how many violent assaults and gun battles do they expect to Survive before getting shot?! Play paint-ball or soft-pellet gun battles and see how easy it is to get shot, no matter what your firearm combat skill level is.
I know that some fancy combat rifle owners reading this will say something to the effect that in a gun battle one wants the best gun they can get in their hands. I certainly don't disagree with that point. Some Survivalists are ex-military combat veterans and they may say that I don't know what I'm talking about. They might state that in a life-and-death gun fight a military rifle is a must, because that is what they used in actual combat. Yet there is a element of reality that is being overlooked in all the pro-military rifle hyperbole.  That element is the general danger and unpredictability dynamic of gun battles. Those same military combat veterans would also admit that a gun fight is one you don't want to be in. With that said I will reiterate that Survivalism is not about guns and shooting other people. Survivalism is about overall Preparedness and that means Preparing to Survive. If your Survival and the Survival of your loved ones is what is Priority #1 to you than Preparing to avoid gun battles is more important than Preparing to engage in gun fights.
Battle rifles are cool to shoot and to have your picture taken with, but eating and drinking and other less macho and mundane activities also require much Preparations, money and effort.

I find it odd that some Survivalists are more interested in fulfilling Hollywood stereotypes than actual Preparedness. To those type Survivalists Preparing to eat is secondary to preparing for war.
I have a rule for my own Preparations and that rule is simple. Have no more guns than I have water purifiers.
I don't know about some Survivalists but I plan on eating stocked food and drinking safe water more than I do shooting shots from a gun in self-defense.
A 50 caliber sniper rifle. If a Survivalist ever needs this of type weapon perhaps he would have a better chance of Survival by spending more money and effort Preparing to locate to a safer area.

One last thing I would like to cover concerning Survivalism and firearms. There are the Militia-types that Prepare more for armed revolution than personal and family Survival. Their Preparations are more militantly oriented than Survival centered. Some people, due to movies and the media, sometimes confuse Militarism with Survivalism. Militias are formed and joined by the more politically-minded individuals. I do not condemn these type people at all. Everyone has their rights to their own beliefs and lifestyles. But it must be noted that Militia groups are not the same thing as Survivalist groups. This is not to say Militia groups, and individual members of such groups, may not also have general Survivalist Preparations for their selves and families. Yet Survivalism as a philosophy and lifestyle in itself is not concerned with politics. Individual Survivalists and Survivalist groups are simply concerned with being Prepared and Surviving in the event of Hard Times.
Survivalists and Preparation groups are not armed to engage in political agendas.

What is a "Survivalist"?

If a economic crash happens, the worth of the dollar won't be the only thing going down. Civil order, grocery store supply lines and even utilities will go down with it.

We have all seen the Hollywood made movies that present "Survivalist" characters as crazed, paranoid anti-social personalities. Hollywood is a hot-bed of propaganda and mental brain-washing, plan and simple. California, the home of Hollywood, is sometimes referred to as "The Left Coast". This is partly due to the entertainment industry there and the Left, Liberal leanings of script writers, movie actors and television stars. Yet not all actors are politically and socially Liberal. As a political and social commentator, and a Christian minister, I do not see people in "black and white terms", not when it comes to individuals. I reject stereotypes because they are not a way to look at people in a realistic manner. I am a Realist, thus my world view is based on Realism. It is this Realism that not only helps me to deal with people on an individualistic manner, but also leads me to live a Survivalist lifestyle.
Tornadoes don't just hit trailer parks and disasters of all types can hit any family.

People, groups of people and sub-cultures, can be thought of in stereotypical manners. But only if those "stereotypes" are accurate and thus realistically applicable. Yet who defines a particular stereotype of a given sub-culture group? Do movies and television shows present whatever sub-culture group you may consider yourself  being a member of in an accurate manner?
We all are members of some group, or grouping, of mini-cultures. Whether you are elderly, young, or middle-aged we all have interests that we share with others.  It can be art's and crafts, music or sports that we pursue with passion. Our political activism, historical research or religious practices, or hobbies, that we devote much of our life to is shared by others of like mind. This grouping of people of like interests and lifestyles is what is known as a "sub-culture". I think it is only fair to let sub-cultures define themselves and not let "outsiders" define a group they are not a part of. In addition if you let movies and t.v. shows tell you what a group is all about you will only gain a "Hollywood stereotype" perception of that group.
Survivalism is a family value.

In letting sub-cultures and collectives of people of like interests or lifestyles explain themselves you are going to get a better outlook of those people. That is not to say you shouldn't consider the observations of  a culture group by non-member individuals, but as an outsider looking in you need to consider all information.
Members of religious cults will present their own side of their group, and to get the other side one must consult those who are not members, but have intimate and accurate information as well.
Bikers, the rough and tumble ones, define themselves as "One Percenters" ("1%'rs"). They call themselves that and even have a specific looking patch they sew on their leather jackets and vests. The specific tattoo they tattoo on their bodies looks somewhat like the design of the clothing patch. The very term "One Percenter Biker" defines that they are of the "one percent of motorcycle enthusiasts that live the outlaw lifestyle".
Urban youth that label themselves "Thugs" and "Gangstas" are not being slandered when they are called those terms by non-gangbangers and non-street criminals.
Tattoo enthusiasts enjoy the world of Skin Art and certainly are not all ex-convicts or gang members. The tattoo sub-culture can not be defined by the sub-cultures of street-gangs and outlaw bikers who also have tattoos.
Having a few weeks to a few months worth of food supplies is not an act of paranoia, it is an act of Preparation.

In saying all of this I am hoping to open your mind to considering taking up the Survivalist lifestyle. If your mind is somewhat prejudiced towards the very idea, allow me to help put your fears at rest. If Hollywood stereotypes and media news stories have conditioned you to have a mental "knee-jerk reaction" to Survivalists and Survivalism let me, an actual Survivalist, explain what Survivalism is, and is not. In so doing you will get a true explanation of Survivalism from a real Survivalist, and not some hyped-up media story or false movie portrayal.
Let me first say that I believe everyone should be a Survivalist. The benefits of being Prepared, in the event of an emergency are well worth overcoming any initial apprehensions you may have to being called a "Survivalist".
Making serious effort to Prepare for a house fire does not mean you are paranoid. It just means you are Prepared.

Many Survivalist try to avoid the label of Survivalist by referring to themselves as simply being "Prepared individuals". Though that is an accurate description, it is not a practical term for such an individual. The fact is people who "Prepare" to out-ride the "storms" of life are "Preparing" to "Survive" those storms.
Not all of life's "storms" are life-threatening, but they are uncomfortable situations non-the-less. That uncomfortableness can be eased by simply making and taking Preparations. A good example of a non-life-threatening situation is when the electricity goes out in your neighborhood for a 24 hour period. By making sure you have pre-purchased flashlights and kept fresh, unused batteries for said flashlights you have Prepared yourself for such an event. The same principle applies to having smoke-detectors, a fire extinquisher, and a first aid kit in your home. If you have such items does that mean you are a Survivalist? Well no, but it does make you a budding one, and the beginning steps towards being coming a full fledged Prepared Survivalist.
There are Preparedness companies that manufacture and sale food stuffs that have long shelf-lives and can be bought in bulk.

The very term "Survivalist" may conjure up images in your mind of people who are "Preparing to Survive the End Times", or some apocalyptic event. Gun-toting, camouflaged wearing individuals who are seemingly obsessed with the coming of "Armageddon". First let me say to each-is-his-own and if a person wants to live their life like that then so what? I'm not like that and neither are the vast majority of Survivalists. Yes, some are, and that is their right to be so. Secondly I would like to remind you that large scale catastrophic events have happened in the earth's long history. Meteor strikes, multiple volcanic eruptions, even mini-ice ages have occurred, and according to scientists will happen again. Most Americans are aware of  geologists warnings about imminent major earthquakes due Southern California, and the Mid-West area of America. Man-made events such as collapses of governments, economic crashes and mass social upheavals have, do and will always occur as well. No people and no country is immune to major disruptions in daily life, whether man made or natural events.
Having fuels such as gas for vehicles and kerosene for heaters stocked up will be well worth the effort if supplies get interrupted to your area for any length of time. Just be sure to store them safely.

Life, with it's many potential horrors it can throw at you, does not care whether you are ignorant of potential dangers or simply choose to ignore the eventualities of bad times. None of us hope for or want a house fire, but if we dare to accept the reality of our homes catching fire, and act in a responsible manner, we can avoid undue dangers. We practice fire safety around our homes, such as not overloading electrical outlets or carelessly leaving frying pans full of grease on a hot stove. Yet, with all of our precautions to avoid what  house fire events we can, we still accept the reality that they can happen to us and purchase smoke detectors and fire extinquishers.
Survivalists live in reality and take realistic precautions to avoid what troubles they can.
Survivalists also realize that not all troubles can be avoided and Prepare themselves to Survive those troubling events and troubled times.
Survivalists Prepare themselves by purchasing what items they deem necessary to make it through Hard Times.
Survivalists also constantly seek to learn information and skills that will help them if ever needed.
Survivalism isn't about holing-up in the backwoods or in a bunker somewhere, it is about taking responsibility for ones own life and loved-ones. A Survivalist realizes bad things, or Hard Times, can come to anyone and into any of out lives. Those Hard Times don't have to even involve whole communities. Instead personal household economic Hard Times can simply hit your family and being Prepared and having Preparations can help ease those Bad Times and make them a little easier. If your financial income comes to $0 for a time period, having plenty of food, and needed household items and toiletries stocked up before hand is only wisdom in practice.
The very first thing a person can, and should begin to store up is safe, drinkable water.

Whether it be a small scale family disaster or a large nationwide one being Prepared before Hard Times hits makes only sense. To me it should be common sense, but in the modern age in which we live, most have become accustomed to the many modern comforts we have. Clean drinking water, food availability and medical help are all taken for granite that they will always be there. Even if people realize the daily needs of life can be taken away, they assume they will be restored in a timely fashion and therefore don't Prepare.
The Government is looked to like a "Big Brother" that will always be there to "protect and serve" if things go bad on the playground of life. This is a very childish and dependent way to live one's adult life, in my opinion.
Not only can the Government (local, State or Federal) fail in providing the necessities of life in an emergency,  but Government agencies are not very efficient at doing so.
A well stocked and thought out supply of first aid and medical items is something every home should have.

Finally being a Survivalist is not just having a hunting rifle, box of ammunition, hunting knife and some cases of canned food. A Survivalist certainly has those things, but the Survivalist Way of Life is a Life Philosophy all in itself. A Survivalist thinks things through, and considers eventual problems that may arise. It is not a paranoid way of looking at life, but a mature and intelligent one. A Survivalist will also have a gun cleaning kit and spare parts for that rifle. He would have enough ammo to last a lifetime of use hunting, and if need be self-defense. A Survivalist will also "stock-up" on information about, and skill with, that rifle. He will seek to learn  the basics about repairing or replacing worn parts on that firearm and know how to use it well. The same Principle of Survivalism is applied to the hunting sheath knife. It will be a knife of both good quality and design. A Survivalist will also have a sharpening stone, sharpening system or gadget to keep that knife in working order. A Survivalist won't just have a few cases of canned foods, he/she will have other foods put away as well. Survivalists rotate their food stuffs and keeps them fresh by eating what foods he/she stores and faithfully replacing what is eaten.

Survivalists are planners and think out their Survival Plans. Survivalists don't fail to plan because they don't plan on failing. No one can Prepare for everything in life, but one thing is for sure if you fail to Prepare, you Prepare to fail  
Begin to become a more Prepared person today, and a Survivor tomorrow. Make a list of the things you use everyday and would miss if you couldn't go to a store for a month.


Quips & Quotes

* "Fail to Prepare, then prepare to fail".

* "Hope for the best, Prepare for the worst".

* Remember the acronym "K.I.S.S. when making preparations or plans:
   Simon (or you can insert "Silly" or "Stupid")

* "Don't keep all of your 'eggs' in one basket." (This simply means do not keep all of your stockpiles, equipment  and resources in one area or one place)

* "Specialization is for insects." (All humans have their special talents and skills, but try to learn a little about everything else, besides your own personal area(s) of expertise)

* If it can happen, it also just might happen. (Never live your life thinking "it" can't happen to you)


Meet Mr. Bob Good

Allow me to introduce to you a good friend of mine, Mr. Bob Good. Bob is a close and personal friend of mine and I've known him all his life. Bob is the kind of friend you would want along when things go bad. He has most of the essential items one would need to survive if a situation arises that requires such materials. He carries these items with him at all times. These items he is always sure to have total in cost less than a big screen television, and are priceless when needed. His name is actually spelled B.O.B. G.O.O.D. and is an acronym. The letters in his name stand for Bug Out Bag - Get Out Of Dodge. If you ever have to flee a dangerous situation, and temporarily stay in a outdoor setting, or even primitive urban environment Bob Good is the guy to bring along.

Much has been written about the subject commonly called "Bug-out Bags". Many Survival and Preparedness experts and amateurs alike have had plenty to say about these emergency escape "grab-and-go" kits. Most Preparedness enthusiasts are in agreement that the bag, or kit, must contain at least the bare necessities to maintain life in a primitive setting for up to seventy-two hours. Many label their Bug-out Bag designs with the common phrases of "Bug-out Bag" or "Emergency 72 Hour Kit".  I  call my personal design "Bob Good" to distinguish it from the common emergency-evacuation-kits. Years ago I can up with a concept for my own Bug-out Bag list of essential contents. I haven't seen a better one in my opinion. It must be understood that my kit design is based on certain factors that I deem as the most important when considering a emergency evacuation and temporary, but primitive, survival scenario.

Before I list what my "B.O.B. G.O.O.D." contains let me explain why it is was designed the way it is. I came up with my list of Bug-out Bag contents based on the following criteria:
Don't buy junk and stake your life on it. Sure "anything" is better than nothing, but what is your Survival worth? Stay away from cheaply made crap like the imported so-called "Survival Knife" picture here.

  1.  UTILITY & PRACTICALITY: Fist I envisioned what a Bug-out Bag must contain that will cover a wide range of temporary living environments. The very concept of any Bug-out Bag is that a user will be needing the contents of such a kit to survive. The possible environments and situations a bugging-out person could find themselves in are not always ideal and each have their own situational dynamics to contend with. The Bug-out Bag I designed had to be utilitarian in it's contents. Life can be very unpredictable and an ideal preplanned temporary survival bug-out destination, or rendezvous point, may not be the place you find yourself in a emergency situation.   
  2.  LONG-TERM USE ITEMS: Second I considered the fact that a primitive survival situation may last possibly longer than the 72 hour window many Bug-out Bags are designed for. I compiled a list of the most essential items I knew a Survivor would need to support life in a Survival situation away from most modern comforts. In so doing I also sought out implements that were of the best make and material. In other words I didn't just want "a" knife, I wanted a rugged and well designed one as well. I didn't just want a cheaply made water canteen, I wanted one that had good threading on the lid and mouth and could take a lot of weight being dropped on it.
  3.  MOST ESSENTIAL ITEMS: The next consideration for a contents list is that the contents had to cover the most essential of human needs in a survival situation. I also knew that the vast majority of us can not make some of those very basic items we take for granite in daily life. Fire making implements being at the top of the list. Regardless of what is said in some primitive survival manuals, making a bow and drill, or trying to find a flint rock and piece of steel to create fire from "scratch" are extremely hard endeavors. Even if you find yourself escaping to the wilderness and actually have experience locating the right materials in the wild, and skilled enough to make a bow-drill, you may not have the time to make one before nightfall. That could be disastrous if it is a very cold winter night. It takes experience, great skill and knowledge for a person to make fire from scratch. Another item that is very hard to make in the wilderness from scratch is a vessel to carry water in or drink from. A third hard to make from scratch item is string, or cord. Basically I decided on the most essential tools and implements that evacuee would have immediate need for, but hardest to make, and included them in my contents list.
  4.  WEIGHT AND BULK: The weight of the over-all bag and it's contents had to be as light as realistically possible. Not only light, but not too big in size, or bulky. This is not only for these ease of carry and lugging around during a survival scenario, but for storage practicality when not in use as well. If a bag is too bulky and cumbersome it can be dangerous walking with it on your back or slug over your shoulder. As to the storage when not in use, if it is too big or bulky it may not stay in your car trunk, or S.U.V.,  for long. During the course of daily life it might get considered "in the way" and end up getting taken out, by you, and not be there when you need it. If you store a Bug-out kit in the closet of your bedroom and it is huge, it may get stuck piled behind junk in your garage or basement overtime. The key to a Bug-out Bag is that is is easily accessible to grab and run with. If it weighs a hundred pounds and hard to carry, you may actually skip grabbing it during all the chaos and uncertainty of a emergency evacuation. Also if it is so big it's get shoved into some corner of a storage building you just may not be able to grab it before you have to escape. A Bug-out Bag has to be accessible at all times. I have kept one in my car and one just like it in my bedroom closet for years. I may be away from my home when I have to "get-out-of-Dodge" thus the one in my automobile. I may not have my car at home, so the one at home, which is easy to get to, might I add. I would just have to use a different mode of travel, but at least I can travel on foot, if need be, without trying to carry some 80lbs ruck-sack like military soldiers do. You may be in better shape than a U.S.Army Ranger, but there are others that are healthy, but still unable to carry the burden of a pack mule.
This Survival Knife is well made and still affordable. It has metal running through the handle connecting to the blade and to the butt-end. No cheaply made hunk of scrap metal here. A sharpening stone is secured in the sheath.

Basically, my main criteria for making a Bug-out Bag contents list was that the overall kit had to contain what is essential, practical, utilitarian, and capable of use past the 72 hour window if need be.
I broke down the list of contents into sections. The first list is what I term "MANDATORY TEN". The 10 items, or "tools", that a person would have to have to survive, even for a couple of days. I then added a second list of 2 more items that are as essential, (and yes even more "mandatory" then the first ten items).
I added a second 2-item list to bring the total of  mandatory and essential items to 14.
Minus any important medications one is prescribed to take, and more clothing and boots, I think you will agree the following list covers life-sustaining essentials. 


Military Paracord, available from Army Surplus Stores and Camping Supply stores.
  1.  Canteen: -I prefer the military issue type canteen.
  2.  Metal Cup -to eat and cook over a open fire with. I find the metal canteen-shaped cups of the military  work great. They save space as they fit over a canteen and they have large handles to use when cooking with them over a fire. The military ones made to fit over military canteens are also of good size and therefore make good mini-cook pots.You also will want to add a large metal table spoon, like backpackers carry to eat and cook with. There are military issue ones available as well.
  3.  Sheath Knife/Fixed Blade Knife -This is a utility tool and will take a lot of abuse. It can also serve as a defensive weapon, but the first purpose is to use as a utility knife. It needs to be well made and not some cheap piece of junk, nor some fantasy "warrior blade" type thing.
  4.  Folding Knife -this is not redundancy here, the folding knife is for finer cutting chores and not to be used for light prying, that is what the larger fixed-blade sheath knife is for.
  5.  Knife Sharpener -if I have to explain this one perhaps you don't need to carry knives, or handle them. As a firearm is of absolute no use without ammunition so is a dull knife with no way to keep it sharpened.
  6. 6) Pocket/Cigarette Lighter-waterproofed matches, magnesium sticks and the other fancy modern fire-starting gadgets available from camping supply stores are also worth carrying, but nothing beats a pocket lighter when you need a flame real fast.
  7.  50' of Paracord/String -I prefer military style paracord. It is strong and a length can be cut to replace a shoe or boot lace and a million other uses. Trying to make twine or string in the wilderness, especially of any real length is not something you want to try to do in an emergency.
  8.  Poncho -military issue or store bought it don't matter. Just be sure to get one that is well made and of heavy material. You want a poncho instead of a rain coat because it will cover your bag from the rain while you are packing your bag on your back. A poncho can be made to serve many other purposes too.
  9.  Blanket -yes a blanket takes up room in a bag, but it will be worth the space usage when you have to actually take it out and use it. You don't just have to be asleep to use a blanket, you can wear it wrapped around you as you move about to help keep you warm.
  10.  Bandanna -it has a hundred uses from being a wash cloth to being a make-shift bandage. Pack 2 or 3. Any square cloth material will work, the bigger the better.
Military Issue Canteen and Metal Cup (w/cover for belt carry -optional).

I would highly suggest you not just go out and purchase these items. Take your time and look around before you buy. Many of the above items can be picked up at military surplus stores and are military issue and thus proven designs and made ruggedly. You want the most rugged and tough versions of the items on the above list.

Now for those other 2 essential and mandatory items it takes just to stay alive.

Camping/Backpacking Water Purifiers mean being able to turn water obtained from questionable sources into safe drinking water. Consult manufacturers instructions when learning what they can and can not remove from water.

    1. (11) Water Purifier -these are available from any camping supply corner or on-line store. The decent ones are not cheap, but well worth spending the money. You will notice I didn't just list "water" itself. Actually you do want some actual drinking water stored at all times in you B.O.B. For long term storage I keep an unopened quart/liter bottle of store-bought drinking water in my B.O.B.  As long as the factory seal is not broken the water will keep safely for years. I also find the extra bottle useful to gather and transport dirty, unfiltered and unpurified water gathered from a questionable source to a safe location for running through a water purifier. This keeps your main water vessel, or canteen, from being contaminated with unpurified water. The fact is no one can possibly carry all the water they will need for 3 to 30 days. Drinking, boiling food, washing your steel cup, spoon and hands, and other sanitary needs, will require more water than you can carry or store in a B.O.B. A water purifier will purify out most microorganisms that are dangerous to ingest or get inside of a wound. Having a water purifier to insure safe water is like having a tap water faucet in the wilderness. All one has to do if they have a purifier is, quite literally, "just add water". If you are in a survival spot, or hiding out from mass chaos, and there is no source of water to be found you won't be able to stay in that spot for long away. Having a water source is #1 priority to your survival. One can only carry so much drinking water with them when evacuating a dangerous area. Having a good water purifier in your B.O.B. is essential.As to water purification tablets available at camping supply stores they are recommended as well. But, the problem with purification tablets is they do not remove some things a purifier does. 
    2.  (12) Food -it is my opinion that if one wants to weigh there Bug-out bag down with anything it should be with food items. Now I'm not saying throw some cans of canned chili in your bag, that would be plain stupid to do. Military Ready to Eat meals ("M.R.E.s") are ideal for such an application. You can purchase freshly manufactured ones from Survival Supply Outlets that are on-line. There is quite a selection available and they are tasty too, in my opinion. Complete meal M.R.E.'s that come with an entree, side snack, desert and drink mixes can be purchased. Or, you can just buy a selection of individually packaged entrees to stuff in your emergency evacuation bag. There are camping supply stores that carry commercially available vacuum packed meals for back-packing and camping trips. Energy bars, granola bars, bags of trail mixes and packages of your favorite nuts are all also good to use as stow-away food in your B.O.B. A small bag of hard candies to suck on is also not a bad idea to throw in there as well. Along with whatever food items you pack I highly suggest a small bottle of daily multivitamins be added to your overall food purchase list. 
    M.R.E. military style meals are very practical for long term "stowaway and forget" food storage inside of your Emergency Evacuation "Bug-out Bag". If bought recently made and from commercial sources they will keep for years unopened.

    The above 2  items added to the previous list of "MANDATORY 10" makes up what I affectionately call "The DOWN & DIRTY DOZEN". I call it that simply because it is a list of 12 items one must have to survive even just a few days, but can be used for a few weeks if need be. The contents of my Bug-out bag design are based on the possibility that a given situation may require a Survivor to get "down and dirty" and live in a primitive manner for a few days to a few weeks.

    The final two items I see worthy of carry in a Bug-out Bag one is trying to keep as light as possible are two items I see as next importance factor.

     "The EXTRA TWO"
    The Maglite AA-cell battery flashlight can be employed as a hands-free "candle".
    1. (13) Flashlight - A small but rugged two "AA" cell battery flashlight is recommended. I prefer the Mag-Lite variety. It carries an extra bulb in the butt of it and is one tough flashlight. The added bonus of that particular light is the head and lens can be screwed off and slipped on the butt end making a small, hands-free "candle" light. I would suggest storing a unopened pack of 4 batteries in the Bag with the light. Don't store batteries inside of the actual flashlight, as they do go bad and can bust open causing a mess inside the flashlight.
    2. (14) First Aid & Sewing Kit -no the Sewing Kit is not for trying to sew up a laceration you may get out in the wild like John Rambo did in the movie First Blood. The Sewing Kit is for sewing any rips you may get in your clothing or replacing buttons. The contents of the First Aid Kit I will cover in another article, but suffice to say it don't have to resemble a paramedics trauma bag they carry around in their ambulances.

    Now for the actual BAG itself. I am opposed to frame back-packs for one reason. They are bulky for automobile storage. I will leave that decision up to the individual though. They are the  most comfortable way to carry your survival tools, water and food, that is not disputed by this writer. Shoulder bags that are of the horizontal type with one long zipper opening running along the top are okay but they have draw backs. One drawback is they don't carry well if you have to walk any distance with them strung over a shoulder. A second drawback is the zipper. Zippers have a infamous record of busting, jamming up or just working open. I, personally prefer to pack my DOWN & DIRTY DOZEN and EXTRA TWO items in a military style large duffle bag. Those type carry bags are tough and ruggedly designed. They can be thrown around, drug and basically abused and they stick it out. They have a small strong carry or drag handle and shoulder straps for on the back carry as well. One other point about a bag is you want to leave "dead space" or unpacked room in your bag. This extra space can be for extra clothing, to store a coat what have you. Also the extra space serves for area to throw even more food and supplies in at a moments notice, or to place food and items in the Survivor gathers.

    It is my sincere hope you never have to live out of this Bug-out Bag, but if you do, you won't regret having it.
    Commerically available prepackaged "72 Hour" Emergency Evacuation Kits are better than nothing in an emergency. But many lack the rugged, long term use materials one may need in a longer Survival situation.