If you’ve spent any amount of time on this site, you’ll notice that I like to review gear. I’ve had the chance to play with all sorts of knives, flashlights, knives, backpacks, knives, watches, and even knives!
A lot of you have asked me what specific gear I would pack in my bug out bag/get home bag/EDC kit and rather than answer each request individually, I decided to make an easy list to reference.
Bug Out Bag
Here is the gear I have in my personal bug out bag that I would recommend. This isn’t a full list of all of the gear you should pack in your BOB, just the items that I can personally attest to. You can check out my bug out bag checklist to see a more complete list (it’s pretty long).
Backpack: 5.11 Rush 72 pack (My review) – Read my review if you’re interested but the long and short of it is that this bag is as tough as Paul Bunyan’s beard and has plenty of easily accessible storage. I would be hesitant to trust a less reputable brand than 5.11 because when you need it, that’s not when you want to find out that they went cheap on the stitching or used low quality zippers. Buy a good bag once and never think about it again.
Hammock: ENO Doublenest – I use the ENO during the warmer months because it means I don’t have to pack a sleeping bag or a tent (I just use the rain fly).
Water filter: Lifestraw – I hear the Sawyer is good too but I use the Lifestraw and it works well and if it ain’t broke…
Water bottle: TOPOKO single wall steel bottle – I chose a single wall metal bottle so I can use it to boil water in. If that isn’t something you plan on doing or you have a pot already, I’d go with the lightest one you can find (while still being durable).
Camp cookware: Mallome cookware mess kit – I love how everything fits back into itself and takes up much less space than a normal cookware set. I’ve taken this set all over the country and it has been solid the whole way through.
Survival knife: ESEE 6 (My review) – They might as well rename this knife The Cockroach because I just can’t kill it. This beast deserves a pension for all the work it has done over the years. Check out our full list of the best survival knives of 2023.
Camp axe: Estwing 14″ – It’s pretty and efficient, just like me. You can see our full list of the best bushcraft axes here.
Multitool: Leatherman Oht – This beast has saved my behind more times than double ply toilet paper
Firestarter: The Friendly Swede Magnesium Fire Starter – I like these because they’re simple, small, and effective. Plus they have a bottle opener!
Compass: Suunto MC-2G – I have a special attachment to this compass that has to do with a poorly marked trail, a directionally challenged friend, and being 150 miles from civilization. If you’re thinking that you can find a compass for cheaper, you’re right. But ask yourself, do you want to kind of get where you’re going or do you want to get exactly where you’re going? And don’t forget to check out our article on how to use a lensatic compass.
Headlamp: Black Diamond Storm – You’re going to love the Storm. Red light (plus green and blue), 350 lumens, easy to use, long battery life, and super comfortable. And of course it’s waterproof. All for a decent price.
Flashlight: Fenix PD35 (My review) – The price has actually fallen since I bought my PD35. It used to be around $90 but I see now you can get it for less than $60. I don’t know if that’ll change soon but if you see it does, just send me an email to update this. You can also take a peek at our list of the best tactical flashlights of 2023.
Firearm: CZ 75 Handgun (My review) – Solid, dependable, and accurate. What more could you want?
This is the gear you can usually find on me. I use it every day and it works.
Pocket knife: Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 folding knife – As far as EDC knives go, I used to really like the Kershaw knives with the Speedsafe feature. I still do but when you compare a Kershaw to a Spyderco, you’ll notice the difference. While every Kershaw knife comes with free resharpenings for life, the Spyderco just stays sharp. The type of steel they use holds an edge much longer and when you use it every day, you start to notice.
If you’re not looking to spend >$100 for a pocket knife, I’d still recommend the Kershaws. You can’t go wrong with any of the Ken Onion ones, just find one that fits your hand and how you plan to use it most. The Blur is a solid choice as is the Leek (oh look, I did a review on that one too!).
For more great options, browse our list of the best pocket knives for EDC.
Wristwatch: G-Shock Rangeman (my review) – This green monster has been by my side (literally) for years. It gives you more data than a rerun marathon of Star Trek: The Next Generation and it can take a beating better than a Klingon warrior.
If you’re an avid hiker/runner/person who gets lost in the grocery store and are looking for GPS functionality, I used to recommend the Suunto Ambit 3. But then I was introduced to the Garmin Instinct and it’s my go to when I go out. Take a look at all it can do and then tell me you’re not impressed.
Don’t miss our collection of 2023‘s best tactical and military watches as well.
EDC flashlight: Nitecore Tube keychain – Some people might prefer a penlight but I like how easy it is to forget that the Tube is even in my pocket. 45 lumens gets most jobs done and it’s rechargeable, which is huge in my book. I’ve also seen videos of people driving over the Tube and it doesn’t break a sweat. And, of course, it’s waterproof.
And, of course, we’ve compiled a list of the best EDC flashlights of 2023
Pen: Uniball Roller – You thought I was going to choose a “tactical pen”, right? I’m picky about my pens and I’m left-handed so the Uniball works best for me. I don’t find many situations where I need to break glass, “collect DNA” (whatever that means), or get into hand to hand combat with a kubaton. If you’re on the fence, check out this great video from Blade HQ.
Here are some more great tactical pens.
Multitool: Gerber Dime – It’s simple, it fits on my keychain, and it has a bottle opener. What more could you want? I actually chose the Dime after watching the Blade HQ Keychain Multitool Competition video and, I must say, it’s pretty solid.
I will admit, I love seeing the new multitool designs people are coming up with on Kickstarter. So far, I haven’t found one that fits my needs perfectly but if you’ve got a favorite, let me know!
Here is the gear that I have at my house and use on a regular to semi-regular basis, depending on the season and what’s on Netflix.
Varmint gun: Benjamin Trail NP XL air rifle (my review of the NP2) – Whether you’re plinking cans or peppering possums, this rifle is accurate and efficient.
Don’t miss our roundup of the best air rifles for pest control and varmint hunting.
Long term food: Valley Food – They are running a special right now where you can get a free sample of their All Natural Freeze Dried Long Term Food: Claim