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How to Build the Best Emergency Go-Bag for Your Truck

A packing list of expert-vetted gear for the best bugout bag to stash in your truck or at home

Keeping an emergency cache and bugout bag at home is always a good idea, but what if disaster strikes while you’re out and about? Predicated on addressing the survival hierarchy of Security, Medical, Shelter, Water, Fire, Food, Light, and Communication, this expert-vetted gear gives you the means to get back to your safe space when disaster strikes—in a kit designed for fast and light movement.

1. Bag

Instead of a military-style pack that screams “I have a gun,” opt for the low-profile Umlindi from Hill People Gear ($220). Rated to carry up to 120 pounds, with modular accessories available to add volume and functionality, the 33-liter Umlindi weighs a ­reasonable 2 pounds 13 ounces. Although larger than needed for our loadout, thoughtfully placed compression straps allow it to be cinched tight to smaller loads, with the option of expanding if needed. Slap a PETA patch on it and you’re ready to roll.

2. Security

You can’t go wrong with the Glock G19, given its proven reliability. Pair it with SureFire’s XC2 light/laser ($449) for operating in low-light conditions. (SpongeBob grip tape is optional.) Carry it in Blackpoint Tactical’s Mini-Wing holster ($99). And for backup, have a fixed-blade knife suitable for both fighting and fieldcraft. Designed by a former Navy SEAL, the versatile and ergonomic AMTAC Blades' Northman ($450) includes a fire-starting ferro rod built into its sheath.

3. Medical

Even a minimalist trauma kit should include a tourniquet. The Ratcheting Medical Tourniquet is reusable, easy to apply one-handed, and requires less strength to tighten than other designs ($34). Combine that with an Israeli pressure dressing and hemostatic gauze for additional means of dealing with moderate to severe bleeding. Lesser wounds can be addressed with emergency laceration closures and tissue adhesive. Add sterile gloves, NAR Gecko Grip tape ($5), a topical antibiotic, and a few Band-Aids and nonessential “snivel” drugs, such as an anti-inflammatory and anti-diarrheal. Don’t forget hand sanitizer, soap, antimicrobial wipes, and two N95-rated respirator masks for protection from smoke and airborne pathogens.

Finish reading Derek McDonald's packing list here.


May 5, 2022

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