Let me introduce you to your new best friend BOB. I Promise this BOB doesn't have bitch tits, I hope. B.O.B. for those of you who do not know or may be new to this sort of information means Bug Out Bag. This is a kit that you have ready in case of the proverbial Shit Hitting The Fan. It should contain enough food and water for yourself for 72hrs. By that time hopefully you are out of harms way or reached you bug out location. It should also contain items that will help you survive after that 72 hour supply runs out.
One thing I learnt as an Infantryman on the first day of basic was the "Six P's". Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. This applies to everything you will ever do concerning any type of preparation for when the SHTF and the following PAW (Post apoctolitic World). I have known a lot of people who go out and buy a lot of cheap gear that will not last and throw it into a backpack and say "I ready". Sorry folks, but if you done just this then you have set yourself up for failure. Now with that being said, I am also saying sometimes some items, the cheapest will be just fine. Knowing what is junk and what isn't comes from research and trial and error. So before going out and spending a lot of money on things that you see others have in their kit figure out what you need for your situation. Never, NEVER, think well I will build my BOB off of this persons list of items. A number of variables go into what you put in your BOB. It is like clothing, "You are what you wear". With us it is "You are what you carry."
Before going and spending your hard earned money do this. Do a recon of your AO (Area of Operations). Basically, this means look at the environment that you live in and where your bug out location is located. Do research on weather patterns of your area. Do you live in an urban area or rural. Does your bug out location have resources that you will have to have to live? What weather season is it? Myself I have different needs depending on what season it is, so therefore the items I have in my kit will change with them. One BOB for all seasons just will not work. You would need a pack mule for everything you will have to carry. A lot of your items will stay the same because you will need those items no matter what time of year it is.
Now you can start picking your items and as I said before finding out what you need comes through trial and error. In the beginning I bought a lot of cheap items from retail stores such as Wal-Mart etc. Some of those items are just fine for their purpose. You don't have to spend a fortune on a mess kit and canteens and such. In the above paragraph I stated "people who go out and buy a lot of cheap gear that will not last and throw it into a backpack and say "I ready". Sorry folks, but if you done just this then you have set yourself up for failure. Now with that being said, I am also say sometimes some items, the cheapest will be just fine." Items in which you life may depend on are the items to look at and put good money into because of quality and reliability.
Some Basic Items to have in you kit would be these and these are items that stay in my kit no matter what time of year it may be.
01. Chem. lights X8
02. Folding Camp saw
05. First Aid Kit
06. Iodine Tablets
07. Personal Hygiene Kit
08. Sewing Kit
09. 550 Cord (100ft)
10. Socks X 3 Pair
11. Emergency Blanket
12. Magnesium Fire starter
13. Wet Rock
14. Iron File
15. Head Lamp
16 Mini Mag Light
18. Map of Area
19. Road Map of Area
20. Mess Kit
21.100 MPH Tape (2IN X 60YD) OD (Regular duct tape is fine)
22. Camo Paint (Face)
23.D-Rings Locking (Good ones that are rated for climbing) X3
24. Tender Kit (No money required you can make one cheap or for nothing)
25. Matches (Water-Proof) Either store bought or you can make your own.
26. Fishing Kit
27. Snare kit
28. Snake Bit Kit
29. Spare Batteries (For anything you carry that requires them)
30. Condoms (Various uses)
Those are thirty small items for the most part that can be bought cheap. Some may be thinking that is a lot of stuff but when you actually put those together expect for the edged tools will pretty much fit in a gallon bag. Now some of these items may not fit your needs such as some of the edged tools that I included. People who live in the desert and urban areas will not need all of them. One recommendation I will make on that subject is that everyone no matter what the terrain or season of year, you need a Hatchet. It has a viraty of uses, such as Hammer, cutting tool, and melee weapon if need be.
Practice makes perfect.
Use your BOB whenever you think that it fulfills your needs. As I said before finding out what you need to live on is a never ending process. Never say you are done with your kit. Never say, "You are fully prepared for anything". There is just no way for anyone to be that ready. When you think that way that is when Murphy rears his ugly head. For those of you who do not know who or what is "Murphy" this is it. Murphy's Law is something anyone who has ever been in the military knows to well. This is it in a nutshell. Murphy's Law states just this, when something can break, go wrong, disappear, or malfunction it will. You foxhole won't be deep enough; you won't have enough of an item. Something will always go wrong.
A simple exercise is this, Go out with your Kit nothing more nothing less. In the middle of the night or in bad weather. Sticks to your plan make your way to your bug out location. Simulate problems with your transportation, park somewhere continue on foot. Use only what you carry and can find. Once you make it to you location start setting up for your stay. See if you can stay at that spot for three days with what you have. If you can and you don't have too many problems then you know you have a good kit. This is a good way to find out if your gear will holdup. See what works well and what doesn't that way you can make the changes you feel neasscery. Upgrade you BOB whenever you can. Replace those items that didn't work right or broke. Take out those items that had no use so you can replace it with something that you did need but didn't have.
I hope this helps somewhat in your search for the perfect BOB for you.