Being prepared is a matter of choice. In the very same manner, the selection of the right gear determines our success in facing hazards, as well as when the time to bug out arrives.
Setting up our gear addresses the following:
- the different environments we cross (from urban to the Outdoors)
- our gear itself (backpacks, tactical belt and so on)
- our physical conditions and personal features
- our comfort in movements
- the temperature range
- our adaptability
In this article we will discuss criteria beyond just selecting jackets, which will round out your bug out kit.
Criteria that determine selection
No one likes to be caught with the wrong gear at the wrong time. For this reason, you should avoid rushing to the outdoor store, and picking up the very first jacket that catches your eye.
Don’t make your lack of homework a prelude to disaster. Take some time to learn what you need to purchase. Keep in mind that all-season jackets non-existent. You need to combine different layers together.
Some Facebook groups related to Prepping and Survival may offer you guidance on where to start investigating the best brands and models you should get familiar with.
I’ve personally seen this topic covered several times. Despite individual physical differences and preferences, some brands are the most recommended by preppers and survivalists for a reason. Asking an expert doesn’t make you stupid, especially if you don’t have a lot of outdoor experience.
People look for garments that have the following features:
- external and internal pockets
- good/reliable construction
- value for thr money
- water resistant
- not too flashy
Bear in your mind that being expensive doesn’t always mean something is good. Be careful not to buy a jacket just because it’s the most expensive one on the market. Climbing apparel is very good for mountaineers, but they’re extremely flashy to make things easier for Rescue Teams. If your purpose is to related to being in the woods, and not the Himalayas, they don’t actually fit bug out criteria.
Tactical clothing: pros and cons
Tactical brands offer a wide rage of products, many of which are great for an emergency situation.
- Natural basic colors: tan, OD green, jungle, sand, black, grey and camo
- Roomy external and internal pockets
- Good breath-ability System
- Tough construction
- Water resistant
- Possibly too big if you’re slender. (some brands have a broader range).
- Polish Helikon-Tex and Slovenian UF Pro, are good options.
- Pricey (especially some brands)
- Stiffness (some apparel)
Military surplus: pros and cons
Military surplus provide a good compromise if you look for second hand garments still in good condition.
- Possibly already treated with specific products to ensure water resistance
- Presence of roomy external and internal pockets
- Camouflage colors
- Good construction
- Possibly damaged or defective.
- Soldier’s name tag.
Try before you buy
Placing orders on Amazon is quick and easy, but it could be misleading for selecting garments that could save your life.
The best option you have is to try on every jacket you’re considering. There is nothing like touching the fabrics, feeling the consistency, evaluating it by yourself before seeing if it fits.
When you’re in the dressing room, don’t forget to simulate movements you may have to do when bugging out:
- moving your shoulders
- stretching arms
This is just to mention the most obvious ones. It will help determine if you’re really comfortable with the jacket.
This should be done with soft-shells, waterproof Jackets, quilted jackets, etc.
Test and review
Once purchased, don’t forget to go out in the field under different weather conditions to test your jackets.
Building a natural shelter, as well as collecting wood, starting a fire, climbing and crossing river beds could provide you the chance to see if your jackets successfully pass the test.
The worst thing to do, is to put them somewhere with your Bug Out Gear without giving them a try.
Testing means to know. By that you will know how much you can rely on your garments.
Taking care of jackets
Having a sewing kit inside your B.O.B. is mandatory. It goes without saying that you need to master at least the essentials of sewing.
If you regularly use your bug out Jackets, don’t ignore the importance of taking care of them. Use specific products like Nikwax, which will help you to maintain water resistance.
Take care of them, and they’ll take care of you.
My personal jackets
I own several bug out jackets, all fold-able for storing in bags. I don’t have a separate selection of garments in my B.O.B.. If I need one I just grab it from my closet.
- British Military Surplus Waterproof Jacket DPM
- Carinthia TRG Jacket
- Helikon-Tex Trooper black
Mid Temperature Jackets
- Helikon-tex Wolfhound Hoodie tan
- British Military Surplus Anorak tan
- UF PRO Ace Jacket
Severe Temperature Jackets
- Helikon-Tex Gunfighter black
- Carinthia Mig 3.0 wolf grey
As you can see, there’s no such thing as a multipurpose jacket. My garments stick to the criteria we covered above. They’ve successfully passed all the tests they underwent, both in urban both in outdoor contexts.
Sometimes I combine several jackets together. Two years ago I was running a course in the Netherlands, with heavy wind and constant rain. I wore my British Military Surplus Anorak tan under the Helikon-tex Wolfhound Hoodie and they worked great together.
Knowing your personal needs and activities will help you to find which jackets work the best for you. In a bug out situation, you don’t need additional problems like jackets that don’t fit or perform properly.
Kyt Lyn Walken
- Certified Wildlife Conservation Ranger at Conservation Ranger Operations Worldwide
- Official Representative & Instructor at Hull’s Tracking School
- Directora de Rastreo Humano por Dynamic Tracking (Spain)
- The way of Tracking – European Mantracking School