Backpacker’s Bugout List

## Food ##
25-lbs of whole, gluten-free grains
Combined with legumes, whole grains provide a complete protein source which can substitute for meat. Avoid brown rice because this will go rancid. Stick with white rice, whole oat groats (not rolled oats because they weigh differently), non-GMO corn, millet, and/or amaranth. Glutenous grains like wheat, spelt, kamut, etc. are difficult to digest and often cause allergic reactions. Consider supplementing this supply with rice protein powder to boost the protein in your diet.

6-lbs legumes
Legumes are very hard to cook and digest, but the protein in them is an indespensible meat substitute. Pea protein powder is ideal, but is expensive. Lentils and chick-peas are generally easier to digest than other legumes.

6-lbs nuts & seeds
Almonds, peanuts (technically a legume), sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds are all better sources of fats, protein and fiber than legumes or grains. Adding them into the mix provides a good nutritional boost as well as variety.

3-lbs dried fruit
Dehydration not only preserves the nutrient content of fruit, it causes some nutrients to become more concentrated. A 2005 study found antioxidants in dried cranberries, grapes, and plums are twice as potent as those in the fresh fruits. Make sure to avoid brands which add lots of sugar.

54 oz (~3.2 lbs) coconut oil
Oil packs more calories per lbs than any other calorie-source, and coconut oil does not go rancid like other oils do. Oils also metabolize more slowly and steadily, making them an ideal staple.

1-month supply whole-food multivitamin tablets
Dried vegetables are expensive and bulky while powdered varieties need to be refrigerated and are messy. A good quality, whole-food multivitamin will concentrate your fruits and vegetables into tablet form, solving all these problems. The majority of multi-nutritional vitamins you buy in stores are synthetic, and not all “whole-food” multivitamins actually include the entire plant, only isolated nutrients from it. Brands like MegaFood, Garden of Life, and Pure Synergy do this. The best multivitamins compress whole foods into a highly dense, getalinized form that’s put into the capsule. VitaMineral Green and Dr. Schulze do this.

1/2 lbs. celtic sea salt or himalayan pink salt
Sodium is necessary for the body to maintain sodium-potassium ratios, but not all sources of it are alike. Table “salt” is manufactured by taking natural salt (such as crude oil flake leftovers) and heating it to 1200° Fahrenheit. The chemical composition is completely altered by this, and all of the nutritional benefits are destroyed. After this, anti-caking chemicals are normally added. Celtic and himilayan salts are normally un-processed and provide natural minerals, electrolytes, and enzyme enhancers.

1/2 lbs. high quality cayenne pepper powder

5-gal. food-grade bucket
This will be needed to store your food in. These buckets are portable, and they seal out moisture, insects, and rodents.

Mylar bags w/ oxygen obsorbers
For long-term storage, seal your dry goods in mylar bags with oxygen obsorber packets. Once done, toss the bags in your bucket, snap on the lid, and you’re good-to-go.

## Water & Cooking ##

55-gal. rain barrel
One gallon of water per person per day is needed for drinking and sanitation; however, in very hot temperatures, water needs can double. The water collected in this barrel will not be drinkable, so filtration must be done separately.

Berky water filter
The world-famous Berky Water Filter system will not let you down!

Small Titanium pot w/ lid & folding handles
Titanium is lighter than steel but can still take an open flame for boiling water, unlike plastic and silicone. In addition to being the basis of all trail food (which must be disinfected this way if it’s wild), boiling water is the best, most reliable means of treating drinking water, though it’s not the fastest. In addition to drinking directly, boiled water is important for washing-up. Rinsing clothes in cold water is mostly futile and trying to wash hair in winter ice-water is a good way to get a bad chill. Finally, a little knowledge about wild herbs will be great for making medicinal tea. Be sure to get a *pot* not simply a mug or cup because 1) pots have a lid and 2) pots cook enough food for a meal. The lid is crucial for conserving heat and fuel as water comes to a boil. Lids are also important for keeping ashes out of the contents. Getting the proper size is equally important because this ensure you only have to build *one* fire to cook a full meal. This conserves both time and fuel.

Collapsible, titanium wood / solid-fuel backpacking stove
While open fires are romantic and popular in Hollywood, a legitimate wood-burning stove is required for those of us who prefer to cook frequently and consistently in all weather conditions without wasting an ounce of wood. Open fires waste an incredible amount of heat and fuel while being difficult to start and maintain. Stoves focus the heat on the pot and funnel the air into the flame, giving consistent, efficient results every time. If the trip is especially rainy, consider packing some solid-fuel tablets as a backup to sticks. Do not bother with alcohol stoves or other liquid-fueled cook systems these are not sustainable. They are mainly good for either hikes through terrain without wood (such as deserts and tundra) or professional athletes who don’t have time to make fires. When picking a stove, it’s essential to keep an eye on weight because they can get heavy fast, and there’s absolutely no good reason to waste valuable endurance and calories on hauling around extra metal. Make sure to get one of the *collapsible* stoves because these can be used to screen regular fires and take up almost no space in a pack, unlike the specialized chimney-style stoves.

Spoon and fork
Do not eat with your fingers!

Toothbrush & Bronner’s soap
Keep those tooths clean! Yes, you can use Bronner’s to brush your teeth, though it doesn’t taste good. The advantage is that it can *also* be used for bathing and washing dishes and utensils.

Washcloths (x2)
Allowing infected bites and scrapes to fester is not an option. Secondly, human skin, sweat, and oils foster bacterial growth which will cause trouble in the long term even without the inevitable scrapes and bites. Alcohol bathing disinfects and dries quickly, but it gives off a strong odor and is mildly toxic. Use a little soap along with a quick-drying, zero-maintenance wash cloth, and you are good to go. Dampen yourself with the cloth, lather up a little bit, and rinse off with the cloth again. Use one cloth for your face, fingers, utensils, and pot; use the second cloth for… everything else. Make sure you differentiate the two cloths in some way to avoid contaminating your cookware!

Quick drying travel towel
Staying dry in the winter is absolutely critical to retaining body heat and avoiding hypothermia, yet it’s still necessary to sanitize your body and hair from time to time. Even in the summer, wet hair is a serious drag, so be sure to pick up a durable, lightweight and quick-drying travel towel. Strap it to your pack for drying, and be sure to get the appropriate size for your surface area because these can scale from simple face-cloth-sized varieties to full-sized bath towels.

Toilet wipes
This is easy to overlook until you need it. It’s certainly
possible to stock up on regular toilet paper, but there are more
sustainable options. The ancient Romans used a sponge on a stick which
was rinsed between uses and stored in salt water. Colonial Americans
used corncobs, which have the benefit of being a renewable resource.
Newspaper (better yet) phone book paper are also considerations,
though these are not renewable. The leaves of the bannana plant and
sage are, like corncobs, a renewable resource. It’s also possible to
use cloth diapers because these are designed to be washed and re-used.
Get the flat cloth kind. These are the easiest diapers to get clean
because they are just one big layer of absorbent cotton. To thoroughly
sterilize these, boil them in a dedicated pot which isn’t *ever* used
for eating… or pour boiling water over them.

## Summer ##
Zippered mosquito net hammock
In summer, nothing can beat the heat and bugs like a hammock with bug netting. String up a tarp over this to shed rain, and you have a complete package. The air circulation keeps you far cooler than any ground-based shelter, and anything less results in sweaty, sleepless nights in the muggy summer.

Polyester or polypro webbing straps w/ 1000+ lbs. tensile strength
“Webbing” is the term used for the nylon, polyester, or polypropylene straps which are used for everything from hauling vehicles to strapping backpacks. They are excellent for hammocks because they provide better grip on the trunks of trees than regular ropes do. Of the three strapping materials, nylon is the worst because it will stretch. Polypro is not as flexible as polyester, but neither stretch like nylon. Get straps with over 1000 lbs. of tensile strength. According to the “Cordage Institute’s Fiber Robe Technical Information and Application Manual”, “Working Load” is between 1/5 and 1/12 of a line’s minimum breaking strength. In practice, this means 1000 lbs. tensile strength should support 200 lbs. and 1200 should support 240 lbs. Higher tensile strength also means less stretch, but going too high makes the webbing heavy and inflexible. Once you have your webbing, cut off a few feet of it, solder the ends with a lighter, and get on youtube to practice tying some “hammock”, “bushcraft”, “survival”, and/or “tarp” knots (e.g., The sheet bend, siberian / evenk hitch, and the taught tarp hitch ( are all solid options when used in the right places. A good quality knot will hold any weight you put on it while still being easy to tie and un-tie. Practicing these knots once or twice a week is essential for keeping them in memory. Once you get into it, tying knots will become a very relaxing and enjoyable art.

Mosquito head net
Spray-on bug repellents are often only marginally effective, usually toxic in one way or other, way to heavy and bulky for what they do, and consumable. In short: they’re out. Fortunately, a $5 mosquito head net is highly effective, non-toxic, practically weightless, and will probably outlast its owner. Avoid no-see-um nets as they are too dense to see or breathe much with. The only disadvantage of head nets is that they can stick to your face, so it’s important to get a hat.

Nylon boonie hat
A boonie hat is the essential companion of the head net as it creates gap between the net and the head which prevents the net get sweaty and sticking to the face. Aside from that, a boonie hat is excellent head protection from insects either when pushing through the undergrowth or lying down on the grass. Finally, when any of the aforementioned factors aren’t an issue, the boonie is the only hat which can fold up into a pocket-sized bundle for storage. As always, do not buy cotton here: it’s hot and heavy. Nylon is, as usual, the preferable material.

Earplugs (Noise Reduction Rating 32+)
The woods are deafening in the summer, and so getting enough sleep can be a serious challenge. You can try covering yourself up with clothes, rags, and what-have-you, but you will simply end up cooking yourself to no purpose. Pick up a $5 pack of earplugs and say “goodnight” to the critters.

## Winter ##
Hooded pullover fleece sweatshirt
Fleece is breathable, durable, and performs well in damp weather. Fleece sweatshirts are lighter than jackets because sweatshirts have no zipper, and the amount of heat retained by the hood (esp. when layered with others) is astonishing. These hoodies have varying balances of cotton and polyester. Hoodies with more cotton are more durable while those with more (or 100%) poly will simply shred up and fall apart in the outdoors. The disadvantage of a higher cotton blend is the extra weight, so it’s best to stick with the lighter variety.

In the winter, wearing a fully-fledged down hoodie is far too hot on the trail, but a simple hoodie will do absolutely nothing against the bite of the winter wind. Slapping a windshirt on top of this provides not only a block against the wind, but it also provides water-resistence to handle fog, dew, and light rain. Unlike a fully water-proof poncho or rain coat, the windshirt is also breathable enough to be worn all the time.

Expedition Weight Thermal Pant & Shirt
At night, long underwear is an essential base layer when temps drop below freezing. During the day, thermal underwear both cuts the biting winter wind and keeps you dry be wicking away sweat. This is important to avoid chills from your own perspiration. Wool is usually preferred because it performs best when wet; however, synthetics are far more economical and work nearly as well.

Heavy wool socks
These socks will *not* fit inside the same pair of shoes which will fit correctly with lightweight socks; instead, these wool socks are for the purpose of keeping the feet warm and dry at *night*.

Heavy fleece hat & neck warmer
It’s been said that a fleece hat or balaclava provides more warmth for weight than any other article of clothing. This is because 15% of all body heat is lost through the head, making it inch-for-inch arguably the single fastest way to lose heat; don’t let that happen. Pick up a good neck warmer to conserve even more heat. A tremendous amount of warm blood flows through the neck, so insulating this area is extremely efficient.

Pop-top mittens
The convertable mitten design provides the warmth of a mitten with the dexterity of bare fingers.

0-20 degree 800 fill-power down mummy bag
A quality sleeping bag is the foundational requirement for staying warm and rested at night when the world around you is freezing. All animals go to great lengths to survive the winter by staying warm and dry at night. Bears dig dens, squirrels build nests, and birds flee south. You just have a sleeping bag, so make sure it’s a good one. A good winter sleeping bag will be rated for no less than 20 degrees.

Jumbo accordion car sunshades (x2)
Without insulation, the bare ground acts as a thermal conductor which leeches heat from the body during sleep, much like a vampire. Inflatable pads are heavy and easily punctured. Foam pads are lighter, tougher, and do double duty as groundsheets; however, they are overpriced. Car sunshades are the best option. These were made famous by Mike Curiak in his 2004 Great Divide Race. They are highly effective at blocking heat loss from contact with the bare ground, they are extremely durable, lightweight and the “accordion” variety pack well. Unfold one to sleep on and fold the other for a pillow. Be careful to get the XL size, since this is the only one with padding.

## Misc. ##
First aid medical kit
Packing enough gear to handle every possible medical emergency would require bringing an embulance, but neglecting to prepare for the inevitable and/or most common risks would be foolhardy. Pre-assembled first-aid kits take the guesswork out of building one, though many people personalize these kits to suit individual needs. The medkit should include:

– Band-Aids (various sizes)
– 2 – 4 butterfly bandages or Steri-strips
– 4 – 6 ibuprofen
– 2 – 4 Immodium
– 2 3×3 or 4×4 gauze pads
– moleskin
– medical tape

It’s important to remember that a medkit is no good unless the owner knows how to *use* it, so be sure to learn. Do not bother with “snake bite” kits that claim to draw venom. They do not. The only treatment for snake bites is antivenom, but the best treatment is prevention. Walk with care in the underbrush and wear nylon gaiters with long nylon pants.

Pea-/tongue-less emergency whistle
Tongueless whistles never rust or freeze up. Do not get a cheap one as they are not loud enough to be of any value.

30- to 50-lumen, multimode LED headlamp
Since flashlights take up a free hand, headlamps are the obvious choice. When choosing headlamps, it is important that both floodlight and spotlight functions are covered. Multimode headlamps can do both. The floodlight is required for peripheral vision; the spotlight is required for working with small objects.

Duct tape
This is the universal fix-it product. It can be used to repair tents, packs, boots, shoes, clothes, rain gear, and everything in between and beyond.

Small folding knife
A small folding knife is a basic necessity for cutting food packages, kindling and firewood. None of these tasks are incredibly demanding, so blowing $100+ shouldn’t really be necessary; however, something better than a $10 pocket-knife will be needed. Make sure it is folding, not fixed-blade because this cuts the packed size of the knife in half. The knife should be kept small for the same reason; remember: the purpose of this knife isn’t to start a war; it’s to perform simple camp chores.

Humanure sawdust toilet
It is possible to relieve yourself outdoors, but this is prone to a myriad of hazards both to the person responsible and the locality receiving the waste. The sustainable, long-term solution is to compost the excrement. This simply means utilizing naturally-occurring microorganisms to convert the waste into pleasant, soil-like material without odors or dangerous pathogenic bacteria. “The Humanure Handbook” is a classic text on this subject, but the basic principles are simple enough. Raw human waste is too nitrogen-rich and too wet to compost, but when combined with sufficient “cover materials” (carbon-rich, dry organic materials), the excess nitrogen and moisture is brought into balance, allowing the composting process to take over. The typical choices for the cover material include dead grass, leaves, sawdust (the classic choice), hay, and straw. The simplet way to do this is with a 5-gallon bucket, which will take about 1-week to fill up. At that point, the contents can be emptied into the center of a compost pile and re-used. To optimize this system, it’s best to only use the bucket for solid waste. When properly dispersed outdoors, human urine doesn’t pose nearly the health hazards that solid waste does, and the former consumes far more cover material to dry out and become compostable.

First 100 Items to Disappear

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1 Response to Backpacker’s Bugout List

  1. Pingback: Prep, Prep, Prep! | Icliks Incoming

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