Hurricane Irma just happened to me.
I’m based in the Dominican Republic and I got to experience a full-on natural disaster.
We lost the electric, water, power and we were reduced to the same state as the people you see in far flung corners of the globe.
We were those people, at the mercy of the elements and a government struggling to react to forces way beyond their control and even their level.
I wasn’t homeless, thankfully, but I was cut off from all the basic supplies.
What Do You Need In A Disaster?
It made me realise what I needed. It showed me the things that would make this ordeal 10 times more livable.
It got me thinking about the ultimate survival backpack that we should all have ready to go.
That backpack just isn’t enough. So I’ve made my own five-day survival backpack that kicks the shit out of anything I can find on the web.
Overkill? Yeah, Maybe…
This is the pack that will get you out of almost any emergency. It’s overkill if you’re stuck at home, but not by much, and it means that whatever happens you will be covered.
You hope you’ll never need this pack, but if you do then it could well save your life.
If you’re heading out into the wilderness then it’s a damned site easier if you’re armed.
You need a combination of self-defense and hunting prowess. So we’d go for:
1. Benelli M4 12 Gauge Shotgun
You need a shotgun and we’ve finally decided on the tactial shotgun that the Navy SEALs rely on.
Go for the bigger tube that gives you 8 shells before you need to reload, but apart from that this is the best shotgun in the world for this particular purpose.
The Navy SEALs have torture tested this gun, so it should work in almost any circumstance. They have taken it to the depths of the desert, the bottom of the swamp and the heart of the rainforest.
So it should get you through a week or two in the wild and you can use it for hunting too.
3. Glock 19
It can slip in your belt and it’s the last line of defense for special forces, the FBI and police officers around the world.
4. Springfield Armory XD-Mod 2
This concealed carry pistol should never leave your side. The 3″ barrel belies the massive capacity. This is the gun you want in your waistband, or your sock, when things go sideways.
Ammunition – Yeah this is the downside of guns. You need to carry ammunition and it’s heavy.
5. Serious backpack
Let’s start with a proper backpack. You’re going to be putting a lot of shit in here. One person needs to be able to carry it, so you need all the help you can get.
You could also face the fact, a natural disaster could leave you outside for a few days, a week or even more.
If you can’t carry your things, you lose them.
If water gets in and seeps from one compartment to the other, then everything is getting wet.
So invest in a proper rucksack. Go overboard if anything, and never regret the bag you chose to trust with your life.
6. Wind Up Power Bank/Torch/Radio
Candle light sucks. It’s that simple, and you want to charge your phone, because that can while away the hours while you wait for the electricity to come back on.
Light and power are two basic requirements that can change your world.
Of course, this wind-up torch can’t power your house, or your TV, but it can charge your phone as well as bathing the room in light.
If you’re stuck outdoors then light and the information that a radio can provide, together with the phone charge, could make the difference between life and death.
It might sound a bit weak to say we rely on our phones. But we really do and your smartphone could provide the best solution.
This charger, then, is a cornerstone of your survival pack.
Don’t be tempted by the more expensive radios. They largely have flimsier handles that could snap and render the whole thing useless.
Of course, you’ll have superglue packed. But it’s better not to break anything in the first place.
This powerbank also comes with a solar panel, which will save you a bit of work and could keep the radio running and a phone charging on a sunny day.
This lightweight, three-man tent weighs just 5.44lb, so it can hang off your backpack and be ready to rock at any time.
If you ever need it, then it will be the best investment you ever made.
Nobody wants to live in a tent, but we’re talking extreme circumstances here. Think zombie Apocalypse, or disease wiping out the civilized world.
A tent doesn’t seem so bad now does it?
This is a shelter you can put up in minutes and be out of the rain.
The customers seem to love this tent, although they say it’s more of a big two-man than a genuine three-man item.
Still, for the weight, and the price, we think this is one of the best things you can have in your pack.
8. Sleeping bag
Your sleeping bag will keep you warm in the worst conditions. So get a good one that’s aimed at pro mountaineers.
They’ll be light, warm and waterproof, which is basically what you need right now.
This is one of the cheaper ones. But we think it will do the job unless you head for Alaska, or you start in Canada.
9. Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad
Get off the cold floor and on to an air-filled pad that will make the world of difference to your life if you’re out on the road.
It squashes down to almost nothing and weighs just over 1lb, but you will be grateful you bought it every time you lay your head down.
10. Lifestraw Family Water Purifier
You can and should order a couple of the simple Lifestraws to add to your pack, but the Lifestraw Family Water Purifier is the coup de grace.
This can literally turn ditchwater into pure drinking water, for a family of four, for up to three years.
You can pack more, but three years seems long enough to find clean water. If you can’t do it by then, the world is probably fucked beyond repair anyway.
You can spend more on a knife, but you can pretty much do everything with this one.
You can stab people, saw stuff, cut your way out of a life-threatening situation and it comes with a few assorted goodies in the handle.
The fishing hook and line could prove useful and the matches are a back-up, if nothing else.
12. Stun Gun Torch/Baton
This isn’t just a beast of a tactical flashlight, you can also use the baton to ward off aggressive animals or people. Or you can go nuclear and power up the stun gun that is hidden in the torch.
It’s another line of self-defense and the crackling noise should be enough to scare most animals off.
If you need to use it, then even a bear wouldn’t fancy getting zapped again. If you get that close with a bear, this is pretty much your best chance at a peaceful outcome too.
13. Folding Shovel/Multitool
You might have to dig a toilet, or a snowtrench to stay alive, or just level some ground for a comfortable night’s sleep.
So a shovel might seem like a luxury, but this weighs just 1.2lb and comes with an axehead, a serrated tactical knife, a spare fire starter and even a whistle.
You won’t notice the weight, but you might miss the shovel if you’re digging a trench with your hands.
If you’re out in the wild, you can build a trench trap across a small stream and catch fish by the dozen. But only with the right tools.
This is a seriously clever bit of engineering that replaces the important part of the toolkit with just one thing.
It’s a hatchet, a hammer, and adjustable wrench and a whole load of other things.
It’s a perfect tool, then, which will save your ass time and again if you’re out in the wild.
15. Stansport Aluminum Mess Kit
This kit weighs just 1.67lb and you get two pans, bowls and more in this compact set-up.
If you have pans and clean water then you can survive on soup produced from the local vegetation. It won’t be pretty, but it will get you through.
17. Pocket Sharpener
The best blades in the world will wilt under serious pressure and you don’t want to sharped blades on a rock.
So, throw a sharpener in to the bag.
18. Firelighting kit
Getting a fire going as quickly as humanly possible can be the difference between making it out in the wild or just mentally checking out.
So your emergency bag should have every conceivable way of getting one started.
This magnesium rod and scraper will make a spark and we’re about to show you the secret weapon.
18. Fuel Free Cigarette Lighter
A simple cigarette lighter that creates electrical arcs and recharges off your Power Bank.
So it should go forever, it’s windproof and it should help you start a fire and provide a light when you need it most.
In fact, get two and store them in separate plastic Ziplock bags. you never know what can happen.
19. Dried Food
This is going to be a bitch to carry round, but it might keep you alive and you might want to think about packing more.
If you can make a base camp, then fresh water and dehydrated food mean you should always have an option. So you just have to get it to the base camp and you might well achieve that in the car.
You’ll need to get food at some point, but this is enough to get you through more than a week.
20. Basic Fishing Kit
It’s compact and fishing is one of the easiest ways to find protein out there in the wild.
It will be a pain. It might be the best thing you’ve ever eaten when the time comes, though.
21. Lightweight, waterproof clothes
You need one set of waterproof clothes if you’re going to prepare for the worst.
You should pick them up for less than $100. But if you’re stuck outside in winter, these could be a lifesaver.
These lightweight gloves are made from Dacron and have a thermal fluff lining that should keep you warm even in freezing conditions.
They’re also slimline, so they shouldn’t get in your way. You can even use a smartphone with them thanks to a cover on the thumb and forefinger.
23. Portable Laundry Bag
If you’re stuck out in the woods, then hygiene can be a real problem. This 5oz, foldable bag will fit in to a corner of your pack and will mean you can clean your clothes, a little and get the worst of the grime out of them.
You can take this when you go on vacation, too, it’s a multi-purpose tool that isn’t just for the aftermath of a catastrophe.
25. First Aid Kit
You’re going to have medical emergencies along the way. So keep a basic first aid kit with you. We’ve got some better ones here, though. Seriously, check these ones out, they’re so much better…
26. Emergency blankets
These lightweight foil blankets weigh almost nothing, but they can save your ass on a really cold day. One side is camo colors, too, so you can either signal with them or hide your presence.
27. SAS Survival Handbook
Let’s assume that Google doesn’t have the answer, because the internet is dead. You’re going to need a quick reference for the difficult situations and this book just about fits the bill.
It’s from the British Special Forces, the SAS, who are famous for being able to survive just about anywhere.
This is a quick reference guide to help you with survival, and a strategy to get out of whatever hole you’re in.
28 Wire Saw
You never know when you’ll have to cut through something and this compact wire saw gives you another option.
29. Mini Toolkit
Its a small toolkit, but then it fills the gaps and gives you selection of small screwdrivers that could prove crucial in keeping your other equipment going.
30. 50ft SurvivorCord
This amazing fiber contains translucent fishing line, waxed tinder thread and snare wire in one versatile package.
You can break the cord down and get the part you want or use the super strong cord for general purpose rope.
Other Things To Pack
Lighter Fluid – An instant fire when you need it.
Superglue – Fix everything, from leaky boots to broken tools.
Soap – Never underestimate the power of feeling clean.
Washing Powder – For laundry day.
Razor – Ditto.
Underwear – Yeah.
Thermal Underwear – If you’re in colder States, this could change your world.
Clothes -Light layers that you can stack, with the clean one on the inside.