I happened to run across this book on Amazon a short time ago and after reading the description, immediately contacted the author to see about obtaining a review copy. Creek Stewart is a survival expert and owner of Willow Haven Outdoor, a leading survival and preparedness training facility in Indiana. He was kind enough to send me a copy of his book and I devoured it in just a couple days.
I’ve often said that putting together a bug out bag is sort of a rite of passage for preppers. It is often one of the first concrete steps into disaster readiness. Because it is so common, the Internet is rife with lists on top of lists of suggested bug out bag contents. Often though, these lists are just cribbed from one site to another, with little or no actual experience going into the drafting of such lists. The practical use of specific items is rarely ever discussed, usually because the person writing the list doesn’t know either but figures he saw rubber tubing on 85 other bug out bag lists so it must be something desirable in an emergency.
Creek however has been there and done that. He knows from practical experience in the field what works and what doesn’t and shares this knowledge with the reader. In Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag, he breaks down the bag contents into twelve categories, from food to fire making. For each category, he gives several suggestions for items to pack, often mentioning specific brand names he has used himself. Creek describes the actual use of these items as well, discussing not only the importance of that rubber tubing but exactly how it will be of benefit in a bug out.
Bear in mind though, this isn’t a survival manual in the strictest sense. While there is quite a bit of survival instruction, both in the main text and in the many sidebar articles, the focus isn’t on teaching the reader how to find water in the wilderness but on packing the appropriate gear to carry, filter, and purify the water you find.
Much of the discussion in the book mirrors what my readers have heard me yammering on about for years — you’re not going to take a bug out bag out in the field and live off the land for months on end. Planning to do so is, for the vast majority of people, simply planning to fail. Instead, the idea behind a bug out bag is to have enough supplies to get you to a safer location during an emergency. I was also pleased to see that several of the specific items recommended by Creek are ones I’ve selected for my own use, such as first aid kits made by Adventure Medical Kits and the Cold Steel kukri machete.
In addition to the twelve chapters on the supply categories, there are chapters on pack selection, bugging out with pets, bag organization, mental and physical preparedness, planning to bug out, and even at-home exercises to test and hone your skills.
Even the experienced prepper will learn a thing or two in Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag. Each of the 200 or so pages is crammed with practical information with no fluff at all. There is a very handy checklist at the back of the book. This checklist is also available as a download via a link given in the text.
I give the book a solid A and suggest it be considered required reading for both the budding prepper and the long-time survivalist. It is available here on Amazon as well as in all major bookstores.