Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag – Your 72 Hour Disaster Survival Kit

Build The Prefect Bug Out Bag – Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival KitBOB
By Creek Stewart
Better Way Home Books

Please read the review and the details that follow for a chance to win a copy of this book.

In a recent poll on the The Prepper Website, readers were asked, “How often have you used your bug out bag?”  Out of 210 voters, 26% (54 votes) said “I don’t have a bug out bag!”  I have to admit, that is more than I thought.  However, I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit that I don’t have one either – yet.

My plan in an emergency was always to bug in.  Instead of having a bug out bag, I have a bug in closet (BIC – 🙂 ).  However, my scenario has changed in the last few months and I can now say that I have a Bug Out Location (BOL) that I can call my home away from home.  So Creek’s book couldn’t have come at a better time.  I’ve read many articles on BOBs and linked to many on the site, but this book is the Bug Out Bag Bible (BOBB).  As school is ending in the next few days, building my BOB is something that I want to accomplish with the whole family, and having this book will help me to not make some noob mistakes.

A quick thumb through of the book will inform you that there are 19 chapters and a whole lot of pictures!  Chapter topics range from “the why” to choosing your pack, fire, water, self-defense, bugging out with pets, bug out plans and much much more.  Again, Creek is very thorough in detailing the subject of creating and maintaining your BOB.

A couple of the features that I enjoyed in the book are the Survival Quick Tips, multiple lists and reference websites/companies.

Survival Quick Tips – Every chapter contained survival quick tips on the topic that was being discussed.  Some of the tips I have read and heard of before (I read a lot as I find articles to link to on the site), however, some were new to me with Creek always providing his own personal touch.

Lists – The lists are very important if you want to be systematic about covering all your bases.  It is easy to get carried away in preparedness and think that buying stuff is equal to being prepared, believe me I know.   The book also gives you the information on how to download a very helpful BOB inventory sheet.

Reference Websites/Companies – The book provides the reader with a ton of resources when it comes to useful websites to visit and companies that sell supplies that were discussed.  Creek even breaks up the reference lists into categories.  So for instance, if you are wanting to research or learn where to buy “Canister Stoves,” there are websites that are listed to help you in your search.  It is easy to spend hours, if not days, checking out these sites.

For those who don’t have the time to assemble all the inventory that should be in a BOB, there is a section that describes the “Quickie BOB.”  Creek mentions how he is a believer in quality gear, however, the “Quickie Bob” details how everything needed for a “sufficient” BOB can be found at your local Walmart.  The section even details the specific items you would need for each category to complete your BOB.

Again, there is so much detailed in the book that by the time you finish, you will know exactly what needs to be done to build the perfect bug out bag.  I highly recommend this book for every prepper and survivalist…especially those new to the concept and lifestyle of preparedness.  You can order the book on Amazon (click below).

Creek Stewart is the owner of Willow Haven Outdoor in Central Indiana.  You can visit his website at



Win a copy of Build The Prefect Bug Out Bag – Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit

Creek has graciously provided two signed copies of his book as a give-a-way.  This contest will be run strictly from the comment section below.  In order to enter, please answer one of these 3 questions in the comment section below (my answers follow):

  1. How old were you when you built your first Bug Out Bag?

  2. What do you consider the top 5 items in your Bug Out Bag?

  3. What have you chosen for your Bug Out Survival Knife?

The contest starts today and will end on June 5, 2012.  On that date, I will count the number of entries and use the random number generator at to choose two numbers.  The winners will be announced on this page as well as emailed.  Good luck!

My answers:

  1. How old were you when you built your first Bug Out Bag? – I first became familiar with the term BOB when I became interested in preparedness in late 2009 (read my story here).  As mentioned above, I currently don’t have a BOB.  However, I have everything that would go into a BOB.  This summer, I plan to purchase my first bag, with the advice that Creek provides, and build one for each of my family members.  I’m 40.

  2. What do you consider the top 5 items in your Bug Out Bag? – The items that I have stored that are the most important in my eyes are water, food, multiple ways to make fire, first aid items and extra clothing including cold weather undergarments and socks.

  3. What have you chosen for your Bug Out Survival Knife? – I own the Gerber 31-000751 Bear Grylls Survival Series Ultimate Knife.  A quick note – I had my eyes on this knife for a while.  Although Amazon sells it for around $36 now, at the time I bought it, I never saw it for less than $49.99.  But one day as I was looking up something on Walmart’s online store, I noticed that it was selling for $29.99.  I couldn’t pass it up.  Till this day, I have never seen it at that price again.I also own a Kershaw Scallion Frame Lock Knife and a Boker Plus Urban Survival Folding Knife for EDC.  However, I mostly EDC the Boker because I am an assistant principal and it has an accessory for the top of the knife that makes it look like a pen that is just clipped to my pocket!

32 responses to Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag – Your 72 Hour Disaster Survival Kit

  1. Darren Mayfield May 26th, 2012 at 6:41 am

    I really started to become aware about 2 years ago when I was 45. Coincidentally, today is my 47th birthday.

    Water, Food, Fire, Knife, and Handgun are the top five that I MUST have in my BOB.

    I am still on the lookout for a good knife. Right now all I have in there is a WalMart special.

  2. Emerson May 26th, 2012 at 8:23 am

    1.) 34 years old, after remnants of Hurricane Ike ripped through the midwest (I live in Ohio), knocking out power for 3 days to a week… big wake-up call.
    2.) First aid kit, Large tarp, metal cup, knife, and magnesium flint bar.
    3.) SOG seal team elite, 7 inch blade with proximal serrated edge.

  3. Genny Basch May 26th, 2012 at 8:40 am

    ~I am 38 years old and building a bug out bag for the first time now. My husband is 42 and building his first one as well. We are building bags for our 13 and 15 year old kids as well

    ~ top 5 items I think should be water, food (protein bars/small items), something to make a shelter with,
    A way to start a fire, and a knife. Hard to pick top 5! There are so many other thing that are important as well!

    ~we have a Bear Grylls survival knife. My father is a custom knife maker so we have a plethora of knives in our home. Each bag will be outfitted with at least one small pocket knife (Swiss army style) and one full sized sheathed knife.

  4. Amiel Blajchman May 26th, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I was 34 when I built my first bob; but I’m still find tuning it.

    Fire, shelter, food, water, navigation

    I have a spyderco delica for edc. I have a Gerber 7 inch for the outdoors

  5. judi May 26th, 2012 at 11:47 am

    My top 5 are water food 4differt way for fire. Shelter and firearm.

  6. GARY SALAZAR May 26th, 2012 at 12:55 pm


  7. russell May 26th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I’m 31. 1. Made my first Bob at 20.
    2. Camel water pack. Small water filter. Flint steel. Army poncho. And jerky.
    3. K-bar.

  8. John Christiansen May 26th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    1. Working on building one right now at 25 years old . . . the book would be quite useful to me.
    2. Top 5 would be fire starting implements, military poncho, water, knife, and first aid kit.
    3. Kabar

  9. Matthew May 26th, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I was 12 when I made my first Bug out bag. Since I work in an office, I’d say the top five items are a knife, hiking shoes, a first aid kit, water purifier, and parachute cord.

    I have a Buck fixed-blade hunting knife that I found in a field when I was 15.

  10. gray fox 114 May 26th, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    I was 11 or 12, I’m now 62, when I built my first Bug Out Bag. Living in a small mountain town, there was nothing much to do in the winter time, and there was lots of snow, so I built/put together what I termed my survival kit, but which I now realize was a BoB. It contained food for 1-2 days:Eggs, bacon, salt, dry cereal pre mixed with powdered milk and sugar,hot chocolate mix and tea bags/sugar, canned fruit, Vienna sausages, a couple of cans of soup and a canteen and mess kit, matches, hatchet, snare wire and cordage, a small fishing kit, a plastic sheet about 6×10, a small first aid kit, a large knife(a Western sheath knife that cost me $3.69 in 1961), extra bb’s for my Daisy, a signal mirror and a wool blanket 1/2. With this kit, we would hike out in the snow, make a fort under a cedar tree in a thicket, and we would “camp” out all day. It was amazing how weather tight we were able to get the “fort,” as we had no particular knowledge of survival shelters. We would stay dry and warm regardless of the weather, and although we could have easily stayed out overnight, but our parents forbade it. We had great times, and never got in trouble. Recently my wife found the fishing kit portion of the kit, in a box after 50 years.

  11. Robert May 26th, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    I was about 30 when I made my first BOB. It had enough provisions to feed Atilla and his Huns and weighed about the same as a young elephant. Since then I have learned a lot about preparedness and now my bag is filled with only the most useful items.

    Now my first and most important item is my knife. Currently I use a SOG seal team elite that has proven to be very worthy to have a place in my bag. Its a very tough blade.

    The second thing that has earned a place in my bag is a handkerchief (several actually). My oldest son and I have a long running list for all the uses for a handkerchief. They are indespensible.

    I have the ubiquitous well worn fire steel, tarp, poncho, survival space blanket water purifier etc. To me, having the tools is secondary to the knowledge and actual hands on experience necessary to use them. There are a lot of new “gee whiz” survival gizmo’s coming out almost everyday but I have to vet it out before it finds a place in my pack.

  12. Melanie May 26th, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    What do you consider the top 5 items in your Bug Out Bag? –

    I would have to say, in order of what I consider to be most important to least (maybe?) …my datrex water pouches, my MREs, my Food Block (for quick, easy calories), First Aid kit (I assembled, and..technically is multiple items but I’m counting it as one ^^), and my ToolLogic knife (that has a swedish firesteel & a whistle on it), and if I were to include food block and MREs as one item (food), the 5th/6th item would have to be the bag that carries it all (tactical gear bag).

  13. Philip Clinton May 26th, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    My top five are: food, water, fire starting material, first aid supplies, and a solid full tang knife.

  14. theresa May 27th, 2012 at 12:07 am

    I have always been into prepping. When my kids were little, 38 years ago, I sewed little nylon back backs for them. The whole family had BOB’s. Now I’m more into prepping than ever, with the signs of the times. My top 5 items are water, food, medication, warm sweatshirt, and hat. I have a multi-tool knife (unknown brand).

  15. Sue Billing May 27th, 2012 at 1:07 am

    I’m 51 years old and was 48 when I built my first Bug Out Bag.

    As I live in New Zealand, I consider the top five items in my BOB to be:
    1. Water.
    2.Food that requires no cooking or heating.
    3. Shelter (it can be very wet and cold here -not to mention the wind chill factor).
    4. First Aid Kit.
    5. Clothing/shoes for all seasons e.g. Icebreaker Merino thermal wear which I wear all year round).

    My chosen Bug Out Survival Knife is a Leatherman Micra.

  16. Daniel G. May 27th, 2012 at 1:45 am

    1. How old were you when you built your first Bug Out Bag?
    A: Young, maybe 7 yrs old? I didn’t call it a BOB or EDC but that’s what it was. Small basic gear that fit in a school back pack for emergencies. My father grew up in a desert town with the teachings “Don’t expect help, best be able to help yourself first.” That plus being half Native American and being taught to be able to respect and live off the land helps in starting a BOB.

    2. What do you consider the top 5 items in your Bug Out Bag?
    A: 1. A good multi purpose knife
    2. Water container
    3. Cordage or rope
    4. Fire making devise or kit
    5. Tarp, poncho or blanket for shelter

    3. What have you chosen for your Bug Out Survival Knife?

    A: I have two main knives;
    1. Bear Grylls Parang Machete ( as much as I can’t stand “BG,” the Parang Machete is well made and comfortable)
    2. Cold Steel Bushman Bowie (takes a great edge, easy to sharpen and all one piece and light weight)
    2 B. A Swiss Army pocket knife is in the kit for finer work.

  17. Josh May 27th, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I was 25 when I built my first bug out bag and have been trying to improve my bags ever since. I have two knives with my bob’s. One is a Gerber LMF-II. I put that knife on my belt when I grab my bag. It was build strong enough to cut through the almost anything, it’s a little heavy but very solid. It also has three holes in the handle so I can latch it to a long stick making it a spear. The butt of the handle has a sharpened point designed to break out plexiglass, so no matter what I should be able to escape any inclosed area with a window. The second knife I have strapped to the bag itself is a CRKT M.A.K.-1™ Multiple Access Knife. This is a fixed blade but the end of the blade is flattened out and is a very effective pry tool. I choose this knife because its versatile. I can use it to pry open doors or whatever I need instead of packing an actual pry bar or similar item.

  18. Kelly Perkins May 27th, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    I built my first real BOB this past year at the age of 39. My first concern was water so i have multiple water containers and filtration/treatment devices. I next went with multiple fire making devices. Emergency food, a change of clothes, and a combination hand powered flashlight/emergency radio would round out the top 5. A Mora military issue knife is my BOB knife due to its good quality and affordable price. The sheath is rugged and very secure and it is suitable for a wide range of camp tasks.

  19. ZenDarb May 28th, 2012 at 8:08 am

    1. My 1st BOB was built when I was 43

    2. Top 5 items: My BOB is organized by kits – so my top 5 kits would be Fire, Shelter, Water, First Aid and Tools. If I went by top 5 individual items, they would be: Lighter, Canteen, Energy Bars (it’s a 72 hour bag – I’ve gone a week without eating with no ill effects), Tarp and … drum roll…

    Toilet Paper!

    3. Knife – I’ve chosen the Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival Knife – it seems to strike a great balance between quality and price.

  20. Scott D. May 28th, 2012 at 10:15 am

    1. I am 25 and have started getting some things together to make a BOB. (why I need this book)
    2. Water purification, knife, fire starters, first aid kit, tarp or emergency blanket
    3. Once again, I’m new to this, I don’t have a “survival knife” just several folding pocket knives… Need to find one I love.

    Thanks for the review and giveaway.

  21. Theodore Gilliam May 28th, 2012 at 11:17 am

    My top five items for a BOB (Bug Out Bag) is:

    1: A good knife. My knife I found as a lawn sale, and it’s a really good survival knife; strong blade with saw built in, fire starter kit (mag bar), lanyard and a small storage compartment in the handle. I generally keep some aspirin and water purification tablets in it, so really this one item gets me a few items really!

    2: Chafing Fuel! Might sound a little weird, but this little can will stay lit for 8 hours, and works AWESOME for starting a camp fire (just put it in the bottom of the pile of sticks, and use the mag bar to get sparks on it). Once the fire starts, I pull the chafing fuel out, and put it out for later. Also, for a quick snack of tea or soup, it takes no time to heat water, and I can pack it up. Also, it’s water proof!! This leads to number 3…

    3: Rice! I know it’s not like the best food since it lacks a lot in the way of nutrients, but it’s cheap, it packs easy, it cooks with only water (important) and it’s filling!! Remember, this BOB is not meant for long term living, but just making it through three days of really bad times! The rice is the easiest food to bring, it’s last forever in your BOB, and it’s SOOOO satisfying when your belly is empty.

    4: Pistol w/ammo. I’m a gun guy. I like the security I feel when I have my pistol on my side. And though the point is to survive, I feel like if it’s bad enough that I had to use my BOB, then it’s bad enough the other people might not be as prepared! I don’t want to lose my stuff by force (I’m more than happy to share…), and the gun makes sure that doesn’t happen.

    5: Tarp. Now, I’m limited to only 5 items, so needless to say there are a lot of things on here that I can’t put, but if I had to limit myself, I’d say the tarp is right up there. It’s a water collector; either solar still or simply collecting rain. It’s a shelter; put up as a lean-to could be the difference between a warm, dry night, or a cold wet one! Folded up, it’s nice to sit on. Laid out, it’s a barrier from the ground.

    Hope my list helps someone. I’ve been a big fan of BOBs for a long time, and prepping in general. I’m always happy to discuss preparedness with anyone, shoot me an e-mail!!

    Thanks, and good luck.

    Remember, ‘Hope for the best, but PLAN for the WORST!!’

  22. Curtis Meehl May 28th, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I built my first BOB about 5 years ago, and have been refining it ever since.My top 5 items would be 1)Firesteel 2)Water filter, with 40 oz. kleen kanteen 3)10×10 Tarp 4)Batroom kit(contains meds, TP, soap,toothbrush) 5) food pouch (high energy snacks, dehydrated foods)

  23. Aaron Kimmins May 28th, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    I’m 39 and have not yet built a BOB. I do have all the necessities in my vehicle though. Knife, amazingly enough I also have the Bear Grylls that the author mentioned. There’s about 10 different ways for me to start a fire just from the drivers seat. Water, some food, and of course the vehicle is shelter.

  24. David May 29th, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    1. I was 35 when I first started packing my bug out bag. It’s been a year now and I take it camping all the time. I hardly use anything out of it, but as my wife said last weekend on our family camp trip, “If we don’t have enough food we can still make it for 3 more days!” I also carry a BK7 knife as my survival knife along with my Benchmade auto knife.

  25. Larry May 30th, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    (3) The topic of Survival Knife is lengthy and somewhat dependent on an individual’s taste and experience. My EDC knife is a Gerber Hinderer Combat Life Saver folder. For my BOB I have chosen a sturdy fixed blade knife — the Gerber LMF-II. In the event of long-term survivability I opt for a rugged, wilderness knife as opposed to a purely “combat” knife.

  26. Paul B. May 30th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I within the last year built my BOB and am constantly changing it to suit my circumstances. I live in the desert southwest so water needs are critical here, so items 1 and 2 will go a long way in staying alive. Here are my 5 items.

    1.Water Bottle/Canteen could also be camelback since I have all three.
    2. Seychelle water filtration straw
    3. The Bear Grylls knife w/fire starter.
    4. Long life energy bar pack.
    5. Adventure Medical First Aid kit.

  27. Troy Fernandez May 30th, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Looking back I must have been around 12 when I built my first BOB. Picked up an ALICE pack, 2 complete C-rations and military jungle boots (I grew into them) for $20 at a garage sale. Of course was just a bunch of cool army stuff then & my first bugout was running away from home for all of 12 hours. But hey, just goes to show that prepping is in the DNA.
    Top five items for a BOB now would be:
    1) military canteen & cup
    2) military poncho
    3) 550 cord
    4) bic lighter or ferro- rod
    5) fixed blade knife

    My knife of choice is definitely the RTAK. Half knife & half machete. It’s worth the money!

  28. judi May 31st, 2012 at 9:57 am

    My first Bob I was 49. Now I am building my grandkids bobs

  29. Jake May 31st, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Since I live in the country in a very unpopulated area my top 5 BOB items are
    1- Water Purifier
    2- .22 rifle w/ 500 rounds of ammunition
    3- Multiple fire starter tools
    4- Kershaw fixed blade knife
    5- Various easy to fix foods (no canned goods due to weight)

  30. Doris June 2nd, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Last Christmas my husband and I gave our daughters their own BOB for their family. I followed a basic 72 hour list, but there’s still more to go in each bag. We put water, food, first aid kits, personal hygiene items, the eton am/fm/weather radio…stuff like that. We did get the girls a pocket knife and a multi-tool…the guys have their own. My BOB is a work in progress. I just need to finish it!

  31. Todd - Prepper Website June 5th, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Winners from are #5 & #21. I will contact you through email and get your address!


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