By SGT Ken®


Two tornadoes tore through our city in May of 2020. While our house was unscathed, one of the twisters trashed the power transformer three blocks away from us. Many people in our neighborhood heard it when it exploded in the chaos, putting us all in sudden darkness with screaming winds around us.

One of the many things that I have learned from being in the military for over 30 years is that very few battles were won under ideal circumstances. We had to face the unknown, time and time again, under tough conditions to complete our missions. It was those situations under fire that forced us to flourish or flounder.

We learned to love the process of preparing for the worst while hoping for the best! We equipped ourselves for emergencies and practiced dealing with disasters and deploying to safe surroundings, when needed.

There are two main categories for disaster preparedness: Bug-in or Bug-out. The bottom line is that bugging in is always the most preferred response for an emergency. Bugging out means that your situation is severe, forcing you to leave your home to seek refuge elsewhere.

Extreme Environment RULES OF 3 Survival Priorities

You can survive for:

3 Minutes without air

3 Hours without shelter in a harsh environment

3 Days without water

3 Weeks without food

The main principle of the Rules of 3 is to simplify your priorities during a disaster.

Bug-IN Bags

Tech Case (Steel Case, Military Surplus)

  1. Restored Ammunition Box, Steel, Medium
  2. Faraday Sheet, Large
  3. Dry Sack, Large
  4. Lithium Battery, 2,000mA, Hand Crank, Eton
  5. Lithium Battery, 100Wh, Goal Zero
  6. Solar Panel, 20-Watt, Goal Zero
  7. AC Charger, 15.3 Volt, 3 Amp, Goal Zero
  8. Lithium Batteries, 1.5 Volt, AA
  9. Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries, NiMH, 1.2 Volt, AA and AAA
  10. Handheld 2-way CB Radios (2 each)
  11. Handheld 2-way GMRS Radios (2 each)
  12. Radio, Hand Crank, Eton
  13. DC Voltage Adapter
  14. DC Charger, AA
  15. Solar Charger, AA
  16. Light Kit with Lithium Battery and Goal Zero lights
  17. Emergency Kit, Small
  18. International Hot Spot, Solis
  19. Headlamp
  20. USB External Drive (Personal documents and back-up files)

Download the PDF!

Survival Case (Hard Case, Pelican)

  1. Pelican Case, Medium, with Foam
  2. First Aid Kit
  3. Rescue Breathing Mask
  4. Sunscreen
  5. Insect repellent
  6. Multi-tool
  7. Knife, Large, with blade sharpener
  8. Headlamp, or Flashlight (batteries stored separately to maintain power)
  9. Light Sticks, Cyalume
  10. Paracord
  11. Rations, Long-term Storage (MRE or similar)
  12. Camping Stove
  13. Camping Candle
  14. Hand Crank Generator, 12 Volt
  15. Mobile Phone Dry Bag
  16. Duct Tape
  17. Wind-resistant Lighter
  18. Water Purification Tablets
  19. Fire Extinguisher
  20. Super Glue

Stored Separately (Wrapped in Faraday Materials)

Generator, 2,000-Watt, with Sine Wave Inverter, Ryobi

Stored Separately

Water, 5-gallon bottles (1 bottle for each family member)

Download the PDF!

Bug-OUT Bags

72-hour Bag (Backpack, Large)

  1. First Aid Kit
  2. Insect Repellent
  3. Sunscreen
  4. N95 or higher respirator mask
  5. Gloves, Heavy Duty
  6. Zip Ties
  7. Hat
  8. Water, at least 100 oz.
  9. Water purifier
  10. Rations, Long-term Storage (MRE or similar)
  11. Spork (Stainless Steel)
  12. Compass
  13. Storm Whistle
  14. Sunglasses
  15. Toilet paper
  16. Spare socks in a Ziplock
  17. Hand sanitizer
  18. Lip balm
  19. Wet wipes
  20. Duct Tape
  21. Super Glue
  22. Rain Poncho
  23. Bandana or Gator
  24. Blanket, Compact
  25. Headlamp
  26. Flashlight, Lantern
  27. Lithium Battery, 100Wh, Goal Zero
  28. Solar Panel, 20-Watt, Goal Zero
  29. Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries, NiMH, 1.2 Volt, AA and AAA
  30. Handheld 2-way GMRS Radios (2 each)
  31. Cash
  32. Passport and Driver’s License
  33. Birth Certificate (Copies only)
  34. Local and State Maps
  35. Survival Book
  36. Hygiene items
  37. Medicine items
  38. Prepaid Mobile Phone
  39. GPS
  40. Binoculars (optional)

120-hour Bag (Duffle Bag, Large)

Note: This is added to the 72-hour Bag, if expected to be remote for longer periods of time.

  1. Blanket
  2. Sleeping Bag
  3. Pillow, Compact
  4. Air Mattress or Cot
  5. Tarp
  6. Tent and stakes
  7. Hammer and Wrecking Bar Combination
  8. Cot
  9. Camping Stove
  10. Camping Candle
  11. Wind-resistant Lighter
  12. Water Purification Tablets
  13. Rain Poncho
  14. Spare Clothes
  15. Fire Extinguisher, Mini

Special Remarks: Keep your items dry by lining your backpack and duffle bag with thick garbage bags, before you place your items from your packing list inside. If you get rained on, the pack may get wet but the items inside will remain dry.

Get more free training and tips at @sgtkenw.

About SGT Ken®

Ken Weichert (aka SGT Ken®) is a two-time canfitpro International Presenter of the Year (2017, 2019), six-time US Army Soldier of the Year, Master Resilience Trainer and CSP® (Certified Speaking Professional™). Ken is the co-founder of Project HOPE: Help Other People Endure™, a non-profit program with comprehensive coaching services designed to encourage and empower people to push for positive perspective and become the champion of change. Ken has impacted and empowered over one million military and their families through Operations Family Fit, Fit to Fight, and Warrior Fit Camp, while supporting the Suicide Prevention Task Force. Ken’s personal mission is to help people turn stress into strength and obstacles into opportunities through physical and emotional resiliency coaching and leadership training. For more information, go to