The Mod­u­lar Sur­vival Kit is a fair­ly sim­ple con­cept.  And one that I know that the mil­i­tary is famil­iar with, but not one that I’ve heard get much atten­tion in the prep­ping com­mu­ni­ty.  Once I had built up my kit, as any aspir­ing sur­vival­ist would do, I did a few prac­tice bug-outs in the form of camp­ing trips, timed drills and deploy­ments.  I had put togeth­er all of the types of packs that I had heard rec­om­mend­ed by oth­er prep­pers and sur­vival­ists.  But, as I actu­al­ly went to use my gear, I real­ized it real­ly was­n’t orga­nized very effec­tive­ly.  I had many dif­fer­ent packs, but most of them con­tained rough­ly the same redun­dant gear, more or less.  I also noticed that I was hav­ing to dump all my gear out on the floor to pack before trips.  My trips weren’t full blown Bug Outs, most of them were more like “work­ing vaca­tions.”  (I believe that’s how Sub­ur­ban phrased it) … you know the trips … the evac­u­a­tions before the hur­ri­cane hits, the fam­i­ly out­ings, camp­ing trips, hunt­ing, fish­ing and boat­ing trips … all of the “real life” stuff that you need more than just your bug out bag for.  Sure, I have a 72-hour kit or Bug Out Bag or GOOD Pack that I can grab as I run out the door, but how often have I had to run out the door with only time to grab that one bag?  Most of the time, even in emer­gen­cies, there is still some sort of pack­ing process that takes place.  Even if it is as sim­ple as open­ing my turnout bag, dress­ing for a par­tic­u­lar activ­i­ty and walk­ing out the door, I still have to grab my wal­let, my keys and my cell phone, etc..  There are also some things that it’s just not prac­ti­cal to have dupli­cates of, like your Dri­ver’s License, Pass­port, Health Insur­ance Card, etc..

  • Giv­en a lit­tle time and space to pre­pare and the means to car­ry it, it’s nice to have more than just what you can run with on your back
  • Hav­ing to sort through gear before a trip wastes time and ener­gy
  • Over-redun­dan­cy adds weight to your load and is often a waste of mon­ey
  • Real-world clut­ter = clut­ter in your mind when it’s time to bug out
  • It’s just not prac­ti­cal to have dupli­cates of some things

For me, a work­able solu­tion to these prob­lems was to devel­op a mod­u­lar sys­tem of pack­ing my gear so that I can quick­ly cus­tomize my load-out for a giv­en sit­u­a­tion.  By pack­ing var­i­ous ensem­bles, bags, mod­ules or packs, you can add or sub­tract mis­sion-ori­ent­ed mod­ules to quick­ly cus­tomize your load-out while min­i­miz­ing over-redun­dan­cy.  Yes, redun­dan­cy of key equip­ment is good as in, “Two is one, one is none.”  But over decades of prep­ping and refin­ing your gear, most of us inevitably amass mul­ti­ples of many items.  Don’t get me wrong, that can be an asset, set them aside for fam­i­ly or barter or char­i­ty or redun­dan­cy in the form of sup­ply caches.  But I’ve seen many a bugout bag with half a dozen or more knives, each 2‑inches longer than the last.   There is a lim­it to what you can car­ry on your back, in a hand­cart, in your vehi­cle, or even on a trail­er.  Car­ry what you actu­al­ly need, keep it sharp, train with it often and set the rest aside.  Once you’ve got your gear sort­ed into it’s mod­u­lar com­po­nents, keep a check­list for each type of trip you make so you don’t for­get any­thing that you have removed from one pack to add to anoth­er for anoth­er trip.  This will also help you remem­ber to put it back were it belongs when you are done with it.  Last­ly, keep a short trip jour­nal and take notes on each trip:  when, where, the weath­er, what worked great, what did­n’t work, what you wish you had but did­n’t, and what was just extra dead weight and could be trimmed.  This will help you cus­tomize your kit down the road.

A mod­u­lar sur­vival kit:

  • Allows you to quick­ly adapt your load to max­i­mize you chances of sur­vival
  • Lets you trim weight by cut­ting loose any­thing you are not going to need
  • Elim­i­nates the need to rum­mage through every piece of kit you own before each trip
  • Check­lists help keep you from for­get­ting gear, from not putting it back were it belongs and helps mit­i­gate the need for dupli­cates of things that are not eas­i­ly dupli­cat­ed
  • Keep a trip jour­nal to help you refine your gear over time in light new infor­ma­tion or bet­ter con­sid­er­a­tion

Below, I’ll make a par­tial list of mod­ules that works for me.  I am a vol­un­teer first respon­der so my equip­ment reflects that.  What works for you might be dif­fer­ent.  Most of you prob­a­bly already have an Every Day Car­ry Kit, a Bug-out Bag or 72-hour Kit and a Get Home Bag for the vehi­cle in addi­tion to a Bug-In Gear or Home Stor­age.  They can still be your frame­work, just recon­fig­ure them so that they are in line with the prin­ci­ples of the Mod­u­lar Sur­vival Kit and break gear out into the oth­er mod­ules as need­ed.  I won’t go into Home Stor­age here since it’s out­side the scope of the Mod­u­lar Sur­vival Kit.

  • Turnout bag —  Most first respon­ders use some sort of a turnout bag.  It con­tains boots, socks, cloth­ing — every­thing nec­es­sary to get dressed and ready to go in one place.  This saves time and con­fu­sion prepar­ing to deploy dur­ing an adren­a­line surge.  Cus­tomize this bag to what­ev­er you do.  Think of this as your first respon­der gear.  I also use a check­list so I don’t for­get any of those hard-to-dupli­cate items that I men­tioned ear­li­er.  I like the turnout bags from 5.11.
  • Every Day Car­ry —  I keep an EDC check­list in my pock­et agen­da so I don’t for­get any crit­i­cal gear — in par­tic­u­lar, expen­sive items that are some­times used as com­po­nents of oth­er packs.  I want to use my first line equip­ment whether I’m bug­ging out, going camp­ing or being deployed.  I try to buy and wear prac­ti­cal cloth­ing designed for every day con­cealed car­ry.  I like brands like 5.11, Wool­rich, Eotac, Black­hawk, Under Armor because they have all kinds of spe­cial­ized pock­ets for hide­out cuff keys, spare mags, flash­lights and so forth.  I like to keep this togeth­er in a dresser/closet.
  • 72-hour kit, Bugout Bag or Get-out of Dodge Pack —  This is the bag that you can grab and run out the door with should the need arise.  I pack mine in a MOLLE com­bat patrol pack and waist pack so it can be buck­led onto my exis­tence load if I am able to car­ry the addi­tion­al weight because I have a hand­cart or a vehi­cle or because I don’t need to move as fast.
  • Exis­tence Load —  This larg­er pack has a week worth of food, shel­ter, water, first aid, self defense tools and ammu­ni­tion.  Think back­pack­ing trip:  Mod­u­lar Sleep Sys­tem, addi­tion­al cloth­ing,  shel­ter, sleep­ing pad, repair kit, back­pack­ing stove, back­pack­ing lantern, bat­ter­ies etc..  I use a CFP-90 so I can attach ALICE or MOLLE gear and small­er packs like the medic pack or com­bat patrol pack can quick­ly buck­le onto it via fas­tex buck­les.
  • Con­cealed Car­ry/­Self-Defense Go-Bag —  This bag is so you won’t be fum­bling in the dark while expe­ri­enc­ing an adren­a­line surge dur­ing a home inva­sion.  I like to have a cou­ple of less-lethal options in this bag because I want to have options avail­able to me all along the Use-of-Force Con­tin­u­um, as opposed to only lethal force options.  Being a self-defense prac­ti­tion­er that only has lethal force options avail­able is kind of like being a doc­tor that can only per­form surgery.  I use a 5.11 Select Car­ry pack with waist pack for this one with a fold­ed body armor pan­el stuffed in the hydra­tion pouch pock­et to pro­tect my vitals.
  • Cold Weath­er Cloth­ing Ensem­ble — Lay­ers of cold weath­er cloth­ing in water­proof pack lin­ers.
  • NBC Ensem­ble —  Nuclear/Biological/Chemical per­son­al pro­tec­tive equip­ment and mon­i­tor­ing equip­ment.  I keep this in a US Mil­i­tary Sur­plus ALICE NBC Ensem­ble Bag and a rough tote or action pack­er.
  • Deploy­ment Bag/Shelter Bag —  This is a bag in case I’m deployed to a dis­as­ter area and have to work out of a shel­ter or in case I choose to use a shel­ter for some rea­son.  I use a Mis­sion Ready rolling duf­fle by 5.11 for this.
  • CERT Pack — Com­mu­ni­ty Emer­gency Response Team pack with first respon­der gear.  I use a pur­pose built pack sys­tem with CERT ID patch­es for this.  It’s a com­bi­na­tion Waist Pack/Backpack that I bought from Propac.
  • CERT Com­mand POD — This is a Point of Dis­tri­b­u­tion to set up an Emer­gency Oper­a­tions Cen­ter and set up a com­mand struc­ture for my CERT.  This is also packed in a 5.11 Mis­sion Response Wheeled Duf­fle.
  • ARES Go Bag — HAM radio equip­ment in case I am deployed with the Ama­teur Radio Emer­gency Ser­vice.  I use a 5.11 bag that buck­les onto oth­er bags and a Dura­cell Pow­er Pack.
  • FRS/GMRS Go Bag — FRS/GMRS radio equip­ment & bat­ter­ies for 8 peo­ple.  5.11 bag that buck­les to oth­er bags.
  • EMT Trau­ma Kit — First aid, trau­ma kit with small­er pull-out first aid kit.
  • Med­ical Treat­ment POD/Medical Sup­plies Bags — POD to set up Triage and Med­ical Treat­ment Areas.  Mil­i­tary sur­plus med­ical bags full of med­ical sup­plies.
  • Fight­ing Load —  MOLLE Load bear­ing equip­ment, hydra­tion pack, body armor.  A com­bi­na­tion of new and mil­i­tary sur­plus equip­ment in a duf­fle.
  • Var­i­ous Weapon Mod­ules:  Every­thing from wrist rock­ets to sniper rifles.  Each weapon needs ammo, pouch­es, clean­ing jigs, etc.  I store them in labelled gun cas­es and labelled ammo cans so I can find them in a hur­ry with­out open­ing each case or can.
  • Hunt­ing Duf­fle —  Spe­cial­ized hunt­ing gear and cloth­ing so I don’t look like a mer­ce­nary when I go hunt­ing.
  • Fish­ing Bag —  Col­lapsi­ble spin­ning rod & reel, tack­le, line, stringer, fil­let knife, etc..
  • Dry Bag —  Water­proof Sealine Bag Dry Bag Back­pack for boat­ing, raft­ing, and canyoneer­ing recre­ation­al activ­i­ties.
  • Car Camp­ing Duf­fles —  Duf­fles of camp­ing equip­ment for fam­i­ly reunions, cook­outs, camp­ing trips.
  • Sub­sis­tence Mod­ules —  Bags and Rough Totes full of freeze dried back­pack­ing meals, MREs, fuel to cook them, drink mix­es, TP, match­es, mul­ti-pur­pose soap, sun block, bug juice, water purifi­ca­tion tables or drop­per bot­tles of bleach or 2% iodine tinc­ture, and and  US GI water cans.  I pre­fer Moun­tain House for the back­pack­ing meals.  With these mod­ules, I can extend my stay by sim­ply adding sub­sis­tence mod­ules of a day, week or month.
  • Camp Fur­ni­ture —  Tents, Camp Fur­ni­ture, Sun Shade etc..  I store these bulky items sep­a­rate­ly.
  • Get Home Bag —  5.11 Covert Car­ry Pack that blends into an Urban set­ting.  Con­tains what I need to get home if strand­ed while dri­ving.
  • Auto­mo­tive Repair Kit —  Gear to get me back on the road, sig­nal oth­er vehi­cles, shel­ter me from expo­sure.
  • Range Bag —  Every­thing that I take to train­ing.  I don’t know who made my range bag, but it works for me.

Now that sounds like a lot of gear, and it is, but at the end of the day, it’s orga­nized and I can quick­ly load my truck or car with­out dump­ing every­thing I own on the floor every time I go some­where or need some­thing.  In truth, it’s not even a com­plete list, but that would­n’t be prac­ti­cal for the blog.  If you can’t quick­ly locate your gear, it might as well be stored on the moon because you will not be able to get at it in a time­ly fash­ion when you need it.  Worst yet, you could waste pre­cious time try­ing to find it, cre­at­ing addi­tion­al vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty.


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About Mr-Jones

Mul­ti-gen­er­a­tional Prep­per, Eagle Scout, NRA Sharp­shoot­er Trained by John C Coo­ley, Nation­al Junior Small­bore Com­peti­tor, CERT, ARES, Ama­teur Radio, Urban Firearms Insti­tute, CCW by Ken­ny Woodard, Tac­ti­cal Pis­tol 1&2 by Dave Vaughn, Tac­ti­cal Shoot­ing Skills by Glen Gar­ri­son, CCW Renew­al taught by a Judge, Tac­ti­cal Car­bine, Defen­sive Shot­gun, ASP Basic Course (ASP Baton & Pep­per Spray) Pre­ci­sion Ord­nance Prod­ucts, Less-Lethal Weapons, Stun Muni­tions, Dynam­ic Entry, High-Explo­sive Breach­ing, Aiki­do, SCARS CQC, Edged Weapons, Intro to IPSC by a Ret Delta Force Lt Col, Learn­ing Long Range Hi-pow­er Rifle, Work­ing on EComm Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, Hunter, Back­pack­er, Some Fish­ing, Boat­ing, 1yr Food Stor­age for 2, Gear Junky, Com­put­er Back­ground