Sometimes called bug out bags, survival backpack
s are designed to get you from Point A to Point B in relative safety. The idea is to carry with you all the supplies you'd need to get home or to another safe location on foot. Survival backpacks should be custom made with the individual user in mind. It is fine to buy a pre-assembled bug out bag, just understand that is more of a starting point than a finish line.
The basic contents of a survival backpack include water, food, warmth, first aid kit, hygiene supplies, and a few tools.
The body must have water to survive, that's common knowledge. But, it is difficult to carry mass quantities of water due to its weight as well as the fact that it can't be compressed into a smaller size. A liter of water will always take up the same amount of space, regardless of how you package it. Assuming the user is a reasonably fit person, two liters of water is probably close to the maximum they'll be able to carry comfortably. It is best to split this into two, one-liter containers.
The reason for this is the user will likely need to refill their water bottles at some point and if the water needs to be treated before drinking, it is best to have one container they can drink from while the other is being treated. Which of course brings to mind the need to pack water purification equipment in the survival backpack. Water purification tablets work well, as do the more expensive filtration equipment often sold to hikers.
The food in the survival backpack should be of the type that can be readily consumed with little or no preparation. When one is trying to get home on foot from miles away, he or she doesn't want to have to sit for an hour preparing a meal. Stick with things that can be eaten while moving, like peanut butter and crackers or granola bars. Calories are critical as they are the fuel that moves the body. Having a satisfying, sit down gourmet meal is far secondary.
Every survival backpack should contain several items used to make a fire.
While you can't really carry fire with you while you're on the move, you may find yourself having to spend at least one night in the field. Be prepared for that eventuality and carry several butane lighters, strike anywhere matches, and dryer lint to use as tinder. Further for warmth, carry one or two space blankets. Incredibly thin, these blankets keep out the elements while trapping your body heat. If you have a few of them in the pack, one can be wrapped around you while the others used to create a makeshift shelter for the night.
The first aid kit should be small yet comprehensive. Bandages from large to small, antibiotic ointment to prevent infections, alcohol swabs, and gauze should all be present and accounted for in the kit. For meds, include pain relievers, fever reducers, and things for stomach upset as well as any necessary prescription medications. Tweezers will be useful when removing inevitable splinters.
We all know what bears do in the woods and when we're on the move on foot, we'll have to do like the bears too. To that end, be sure to have a roll or two of toilet paper in the backpack. You can remove the cardboard tube and crush it flat to save space. It'll still work just as well. Baby wipes are also great to have for cleaning up. Toss in a small bottle of hand sanitizer to keep your hands germ free.
A few miscellaneous items will round out the survival backpack. A flashlight is necessary (don't forget batteries!) but a headlamp is even better. This keeps your hands free while still providing light. A good sheath knife is critical and a multi-tool is useful as well. A compass will help keep you going in the right direction. Spare socks and underwear will certainly be welcome.
A survival backpack isn't made to keep you going forever, just to provide for your basic needs until you get to where you're going.
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