As much as specialized skills and helpful gear are important to helping you survive a catastrophe in an urban environment, the correct mindset is the real key that will mean the difference between life and death.

How to Adopt a Survival Mindset

An effective survival mindset strikes a delicate balance between a realistic knowledge of the danger of a situation, and the ability to choose to survive and remain hopeful in spite of bad odds. A common survival saying says that you can survive 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, 3 minutes without oxygen, but only 3 seconds without hope. Sure, it’s oversimplified, but the point is that your will to survive will make or break you. In a life or death situation, losing the will to fight for survival will kill you faster than the elements.

Aspects of a Survival Mindset

  • Situational Awareness

    • An important aspect of a survival mindset is an awareness of the situation. Cultivate the habit of being aware of your surroundings: the entrances and exits, the people in the surrounding area and their behavior, and any immediate or potential threats. If there is a dangerous situation brewing, your awareness of it is key to your survival. You don’t want to be taken by surprise.
  • Rehearsal of Scenarios and Actions

    • Visualization is a tactic used successfully by pro athletes and elite Navy SEALS alike. Rehearse possible scenarios and visualize them from beginning to end. If you can see your successful completion of a survival task in your mind’s eye, you have a higher chance of actually completing it, even under stressful circumstances.
  • Psychological Preparedness

    • This involves being both aware of the gravity of a situation, and preparing yourself psychologically to survive. Make the conscious choice to be hopeful in spite of the fear you may feel. Decide that you will make it to the other side of the situation, and then simply do what’s necessary to get there.
A stockpile of food and water and cool gadgets is great, but if you let terror take over in an emergency, you might as well have nothing. When you have the right mindset, only then you can make use of cool survival gear to help you get where you’re going safely.

A bug-out bag is an important element of everyday preparedness. You can go down a pretty deep rabbit hole of various types of bags you can build, including get-home bags which you would keep at your place of employment, emergency bags specifically for keeping in your car, and go-bags for your children. But today we’re going to focus simply on the elements of the basic bug-out bag, which is the bag you’ll grab in the event that you need to evacuate your home, and quick. Let’s assume for the purposes of this article that you’re building a bag only for yourself.

What Kind of Bag Should I Use?

The kind of bag you choose will up to a certain point depend on your individual taste, although it should conform to a few standards:

  • Comfortable. You don’t know how far you may need to go on foot, so you’ll thank yourself for finding something with cushioned straps and an ergonomic design.
  • Inconspicuous. The last thing you need in an emergency situation is to draw unwanted attention to yourself and what gear you might have in your bag. Find something in neutral colors without patches or insignia. It should not look overly tactical, because this broadcasts that you’re prepared, which can turn you into a target. Follow the Gray Man philosophy of a forgettable appearance.
  • Well-organized. Find something with a decent network of pockets for good organization. A bag with a single deep pocket where everything is jumbled together will not be helpful if you need to find something quickly.

What do I Put in my Bug-Out Bag?

The idea of a bug-out bag is that it contains everything you need to get you out of dodge as quickly and efficiently as possible. The typical rule of thumb is to pack enough supplies to last you for three days. This will vary depending on where you live and your personal lifestyle and habits, but some essentials are:

  • An extra set of keys for your home and vehicle(s).
  • Identification.
  • Water. Start with a couple bottles, and eventually add a water purification device.
  • High-energy, low-volume snacks such as nuts and beef jerky.
  • A first-aid kit
  • Extras of any prescription medications you take
  • Cash
  • Fire-starting materials
  • Knife/multi-tool
  • Extra clothing. At the very least, a few changes of underwear and socks. It is especially important to keep your feet dry and warm.

Final Thoughts

  • Only include items that you are likely to use. Don’t bother to include a fishing kit if you’re not anywhere near a body of water.
  • Only include survival gear that you know how to use.
  • A bug-out bag is not intended to contain everything you need to survive for months in the wilderness; it’s a short-term solution to a temporary emergency situation.

Get started with urban survival gear to include in your bug-out bag. Check it out here.

TERMS OF SERVICE

Last Updated:  October 10, 2017

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