A few years ago, The National Geographic Channel introduced a new reality series entitled, Doomsday Preppers; a show that focused on individuals who are actively preparing to survive a possible global disaster. With each episode, we are allowed an inside look at the lives of a few preppers who have a specific disaster scenario that he or she believes will occur — worldwide economic collapse, pandemic, megaquake, nuclear war, etc. We spend a few days with these folks, see how they prepare and view the eminent end of the world and then experts determine if their plan is solid enough to survive in that specific scenario.

When the show’s first season was aired it was met with mixed reviews.

While some critics saw the series as an accurate portrayal of a worldwide movement, there were others who claimed it was simply another exploitive reality series — a vehicle to ridicule these individuals rather than educate on their beliefs and lifestyles. Also, many viewers objected to what they called the show’s anti-life format — as most preppers have large cashes of firearms and ammunition set aside to protect their food and rations from those who were not as prepared as they were. In fact, most preppers are very open on their intent to kill anyone and anything that plans on stealing from them if said disaster occurs — because in a world where society has broken down and there are no longer laws to protect, it becomes kill or be killed.

But regardless of your opinion, millions of us tuned in — and 60% of the Doomsday Preppers audience were men.

Now it’s important to note that this is not a piece on doomsday prepping and I am not a prepper. I am not concerned about the collapse of our banking system, a worldwide virus, or the takeover from the walking dead. I’m not mocking those individuals who are actively preparing for these events — well, maybe a little — but I am simply stating that I’m not worried about it. But just because I don’t believe in the collapse of modern civilization doesn’t mean I don’t believe in disaster.

In my life, I have had one house burn and another one flood. I have had cars break down on back country roads. I have been lost in the woods. I have been knocked unconscious and I’ve been trapped in the snow.

These things I do believe in. These things I try to prepare for.

[amazon asin=B008HHX15Y&template=iframe image][amazon asin=B00K5AH8T6&template=iframe image][amazon asin=B002PEZH3O&template=iframe image][amazon asin=B00H4JDHRS&template=iframe image]


A bugout bag — or 72 hour bag — has taken on a prepper reputation  because it often refers to that bag when civilization collapses — usually a handgun is the first item in it — but it’s simply a bag that will allow you to survive for three days. 72 hours. Because if you are lost in the woods, stranded in your car, caught in a freak snowstorm, your odds of rescue increase if you can make it through those first three days.

The bag itself.

A bugout bag is often kept in a small day backpack. Nothing too large or  too heavy because you want it to be something you will grab for a hike and not think about — if the bag is too bulky you may not take it with you.


Food is the first thing that people think about when putting together a 72 hour bag but in fact it’s the last thing you’ll need.

Remember …

You can survive three minutes without air.

You can survive three hours without shelter — in extreme temperatures.

You can survive three days without water.

But you can survive three weeks without food.

Food is actually the last of the four survival basics that you will need if caught in a survival situation. However, you will need to keep up your strength, your morale and your health. So you will need some food.

A few Cliff bars are a good idea, or some dried fruit, or trail mix. And you can cover your food needs is by having a few military MRE’s — Meals Ready to Eat. These are simple food kits that the military uses when in  the field. They can be purchased online, at any Military Surplus Store, or civilian versions can be found in camping or outdoor stores. These meals are high in protean — they are broken down into entree’s, snacks and even have coffee and drink mixes inside — and contain a manner to flamelessly cook that require simply a little bit of water to activate. So you can have a hot meal anywhere. One Military MRE — in a survival situation —- is enough protein to get you through a full day.

But I think the easiest way to take care of food in your bugout bag is simply a small jar of peanut butter — high in protean and high in fat.

After that here are some basic ideas for your bugout bag …

Tarp — for shelter

First aid kit


A few bottles of water — you’ll need a gallon of water per day but since you can’t carry three gallons in a pack you’ll need a way to purify and/or boil water when you find it.

Cooking kit

Matches/lighter/way to make fire

Fire starter — I have one of those fireplace starter bricks in my pack. A small piece of this will get even the wettest wood going

Space blanket or light blanket

Water purification tablets

Rope or cordage

Whistle – a great way to signal. Screaming will hurt your throat and take up energy.

Plastic garbage bags — bring a few, these can be used as ponchos, bags, to carry water, etc.

Emergency literature — books on survival, first aid, distilling water, edible plants, etc.

Some cash

Crank radio


Crank flashlight

Fishing line and hooks — when the food runs out, you’ll have a way to catch additional food

Additional socks — things go easier if you can keep your feet dry

    There are no set rules to a bugout bag and you can make it as simple or complicated as you want. But for thirty dollars or less — I know some guys who have purchased every item in their bag from The Dollar Tree and done it for much less —  you can have a bag that will allow you to survive for three days.


Everett De Morier has appeared on CNN, Fox News Network, NPR, ABC, as well as in The New York Times and The London Times. He is the author of Crib Notes for the First Year of Marriage: A...