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The essential guide to building your ultimate bug out bag

The day has come, and suddenly, you realize that you are a living, breathing doomsday prepper whether you like it or not. Pandemonium has struck, turning everything on its head. As the floodwaters rise downtown and the wildfire crests the ridge outside your window, you grab your bug out bag and hit the road.

The first 24 hours go smoothly enough, all things considered, but as the second progresses, you begin to realize that the pre-packed bag you bought for hundreds of dollars (or was it thousands?!) isn’t all it was cracked up to be. Sure, you’ve got plenty of food, but once you ditched the car, you started to realize that your “ultimate” bug out bag is not so ultimate after all. The bag sucks to wear, and some of the essentials you expected to find are a bit, shall we say, lacking. Even the company’s bold branding feels like retro flashing neon proclaiming, “Hey, everyone! Over here! Look at this loser! What an amazing target!”

As the clock strikes 60 hours since you left home, you have come to hate your expensive one-size-fits-all solution. Thankfully, your situation resolves before the 72-hour mark, but you have made up your mind to do things right in the future. Next time, you will be building the ultimate bug out bag with everything you actually need and nothing you don’t.

Find the essential guide to building your bug out bag, written by Brian Smyth here.

LAST UPDATED

May 6, 2022

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Task & Purpose

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My only complaint is that eventually, backflushing won’t be enough. These can clog up after some time and no amount of back flushing will fix its low flow. I went through 2 on the AT. However, it will attach to Smart Water Bottles and most bladders!

Anna Hamrick

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Built for backcountry reliability and portability, the Sawyer Squeeze filter is our pick for the best portable water purifier.

Pete Ortiz
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The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
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