There’s no single way to pack the perfect bug out bag. And while there are certain attributes everyone should be familiar with, no two bags are identical. Differences in climate, environment, and whether you’re running solo or in a group can drastically impact what gets selected; individual needs also play a big part. But at the end of the day, a bug out bag is only worth its weight if it can get your ass out of a jam and keep you going. Here are five items that most people leave out of their survival packing lists but shouldn’t.

Fleece Watch Cap

black fleece beanie

Many people who aren’t familiar with the outdoors often mistake nice weather with easy survival conditions. But even on the mildest days, you can still fall victim to exposure that can jeopardize your survival. Nighttime temperatures can plummet. If you’re in a real survival situation — probably lacking sufficient food and water — heat loss can be fatal. A simple fleece cap can help you preserve roughly 10% of your overall body heat, even when wet. Additionally, it can double as a handy receptacle for gathering edibles or collecting naturally occurring tinder.

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Solpro Gemini Solar Battery Charger

Lots of people pack batteries. But while batteries are good to have in long-term cache, they’re often a drag on a bug out bag. For one, they’re heavy. They’re also exhaustible. But most importantly, they can’t power one of the most ubiquitous and useful survival tools: a cell phone. Solpro’s Gemini solar battery charger can re-juice your smartphone or other USB device multiple times on a single charge. It also weighs about 2 ounces (roughly the same as two slices of bread) and fits in your pocket. 

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Trauma Shears

Survival tools for Bug Out Bag

Even a boy scout would know enough to pack gauze, bandages, and sterilizing agents in their bug out bag. But most people neglect to include trauma shears. A good pair of shears is immensely helpful. When you need to treat a wound quickly they slice through clothing, helping you assess and treat the casualty faster. Not planning on sewing up bullet wounds? No problem. Shears can go a long way assisting with everything from building a hasty shelter to harvesting edibles and even cleaning and preparing fish and game.  

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Exotac Candletin Nano Survival Candle

Fire is an essential part of survival. But many first-timers fill their bug out bags with hardcore butane lighters or badass blowtorches. While a good windproof lighter can be a great tool to have, you shouldn’t overlook a simple candle. Exotac’s Candletin Nano is a beeswax candle that comes in a reusable tin with a threaded lid, boasting 4 hours of burn time. Use them to dry out tinder, transport your fire to a torch or signal pyre, or even illuminate a bivouac encampment. Once the wax is exhausted, re-use the tins to store small items like fish hooks and line, tinder and more.

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Survival Shovel

The survival shovel, also known as the entrenching tool (or e-tool for short), has been a staple for field military operations since World War I, and for good reason. With a pointed spade head with bladed sides and collapsible handle, the survival shovel is a total workhorse. From digging improved shelters to hacking up fuel for the fire and even staving off unfriendly woodland creatures, a survival shovel can help save your knife blade for more important jobs.

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