How To Organize Your Bugout Bag

A very common question even among more advanced survivalists is what is the optimal way to organize a bug out bag
. Once you get all your gear into your bug out bag and make it fit, you probably think its perfect. Then you pick up your bag and realize the weight is unevenly distributed or you cant find your gear once its all packed. I've been packing and repacking my bag for a couple months now and I think I have a solution.
 The first thing I would recommend is pull all of your gear out and divide into categories based on each item's intended use. Once you have all your gear laid out, select your absolute go to gear that you need ASAP. For me that was my Leatherman, Kershaw folding knife, waterproof match case, compass, whistle, Maglite, an orange Bic lighter, and magnesium. After you have selected your can't live without items put them into their own pile and get out a piece of paper.
No matter how organized you are sometimes you forget where things are, this is what the paper is for. Draw a picture resembling your pack so we can map where everything is located. Its a whole lot easier to look at a map of your pack then it is to pull all your gear out just to find out that the spare lighter was in a side pocket.
Now its time to pack, your categories are probably tools, fire, water, first aid, food/cooking, etc. Think logically about what you will need quick access to. You probably won't need your extra clothes in an emergency so these should be at the very bottom. Your second layer should be cooking equipment, food, and other heavy equipment that won't fit in the side or inner pockets. Remember to always pack the heaviest gear as low as you can. The third layer should be reserved for toiletries, the forth should be fire starting supplies and rope. Use the final layer closest to the top for your first aid kit. Always use the biggest pocket on the front of your pack for your can't live without items so they are easily accessible and all in one central location.

Put any small items in zip lock bags based on their intended use and distribute extra matches, lighters, and knives evenly within the pockets of your bag so you always have a backup. Just be sure to keep track of where everything is on your pack map. After you've got all of your gear loaded try your pack on to test weight distribution, it should be much better than it was before. If not, move things around a bit until it feels right. Once your bag is ready put your pack map in a pocket so you have it for future reference. This will save a lot of time, energy, and frustration in the field.

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