7 Things You Don’t Need In Your Bugout Bag

Packing a good bugout bag is a tough task. You’ve got to think ahead and try to bring as much functionality as possible into a tight space while keeping things light. Lynx Defense tries to best determine what to leave out of our bugout bags, which is just as important as deciding what to put in. You won’t want to take a big, bulky bag with you when you have to move fast, so spend some time thinking about what you do and don’t need in your bugout bag.
Wool Blanket
Wool Blanket – These blankets are great for camping, but when it comes to your bugout bag you should leave it at home. Mylar keeps you cozy and warm even better, at a fraction of the size and weight. Wool blankets are a luxury that take up space in your bag and don’t offer any clear advantages over the alternative.
Handheld GPS
GPS – Relying too much on technology can hamper your survival efforts. Not only does a GPS unit rely on batteries, but they also need a functioning satellite network. Depending on the situation, you could find yourself without any means of navigation. Take the time to teach yourself to use a lensatic compass, topological maps, and a logbook in order to find where you are in the wilderness through dead reckoning.
Sleeping Pad
Sleeping Pad – Closed-cell foam mats are a good way to get yourself up off of the cold ground and help you get a restful night’s sleep, but they’re really bulky. Inflatable sleeping pads are a slightly better option, although the best choice is just to skip them altogether and fill a trash bag with leaves. Depending on the area, evergreen boughs, dead grass or even moss can be just as effective.
Hatchet – Sure, you can use a hatchet to split wood and drive stakes, but a good full-tang survival knife and a rock do the same job nearly as well. Hatchets are too heavy and not versatile enough for bugout bags in most situations. They’re also a notorious calorie burner, since often you’ll waste your time trying to hack up deadfall for firewood instead of just gathering pieces that are easier to get at.
Two Way Radio
GMRS/FRS Two-Way Radio – Walkie-talkies burn through batteries, have a short range that changes based on terrain and weather, and can’t be used in the first place unless you have a friend with one on the other end. If you’re bugging out with a group, then train together with simpler means of communications like signal mirrors or whistles, and leave the radios behind.
Pepper Spray – It’s hard to think of many situations where a can of pepper spray would be of much help in a survival situation. Everything OC spray can do, a sidearm can do better. Usually the best tactics are to escape and evade, rather than trying to confront someone who means to do you harm with less-than-lethal force. Train every member of your group to handle a pistol until they’re confident and comfortable instead of bringing along pepper spray.
Snare Wire
Snare Wire – Snare wire is lightweight, easy to stash in your pack, and strong enough to trip up and bring down a deer. But unless you’ve spent time perfecting your traps and snares, which is pretty unlikely, you’ll be better off with a baited rat trap set out for squirrel. Setting a snare takes the sort of knowledge and dedication that comes with years and years of experience. It’s too easy to find yourself in a situation where you need a meal and come up empty handed. Most people would be better off bringing extra rations and plenty of survival fishing gear.

5 replies on “7 Things You Don’t Need In Your Bugout Bag

  • Learning2Survive

    I’m going to respectfully disagree with you about the wool blanket. Yes, some can be heavy (mine is 60″ x 80″ and only weighs 3 lbs), but it’s a weight I’m always going to be willing to bare. Unlike a Mylar blanket, a wool blanket gives a toasty warmth. This contributes to your mental well-being and morale, something which would be in short supply in a SHTF situation. If need be, the blanket can be cut into strips or used as emergency clothing, something you can’t do with Mylar.

    • Michael Savage

      I agree. I think it’s important to take a look at your overall plan and options. If you are walking or traveling long distance it’s important to keep weight low so a wool blanket might not be the best option. Where as if distance isn’t an issue then a wool blanket is probably a great option.

  • AirmanDown

    Interesting points, and a refreshing change of ideas…
    That said… I can’t agree with everything – especially when I consider different environments, but I think some points are at least worthy to consider, if not heed.
    You might as well also toss in the Bugout Location – because that section of the country may also be over run by “zombies” – and you would be safer staying on the move… at that point – you might reconsider the hatchet or wool blanket…

  • Dave

    I disagree on the wool blanket. My heater went out and it was 47 degrees in my house my wife and I were still cuddled up shivering even with a comforter over the mylar blanket. It helped but not as much as I expected.

  • InformationisLife

    Totally disagree on the two-way radio. If you are talking about one from a cheap $40 kit at Walmart then yes. That’s a GMRS radio and really only good for talking to someone in your group. But for cheap money these days you can get a UHF/VHF with 256 channels that can be programmed to pick up all your local town and county agencies as well as national weather channels. I have every police and fire department for 200 miles in the corridor I travel programmed, as well as public works, sheriffs, forestry and park rangers, local ham and prepper channels. It’s incredibly useful and should not be dismissed offhand. My radio kit weighs 3lbs (radio, additional wire antenna to string up for long range tx/rx, spare battery shell that takes rechargable AA, solar charger to hang on backpack) but when shtf INFORMATION will be priceless and I will have it. You won’t.

    Also everyone in my group in my town has one. Mine was $70 because I want all the channels. Simple 16 channel (NOT GMRS) are $20-30 these days so there’s no reason your friends shouldn’t have one. And if communication goes down we’ll be in contact within the first hour making plans as we pack and prepare to move out.

    One final note. Some might argue that with many first responders moving to encrypted digital radios aren’t that big a deal. And that’s true to a point. In my state the police departments in the more populated towns have all gone digital and I can’t listen in. But the rural areas have not. And even in areas that are digital, they all have local “event” channels that are still analog. These are what everyone switches over to in case of a disaster as they need to talk to too many groups that are not all digital.


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