Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag

the perfect bug out bagBuild the Perfect Bug Out Bag by Creek Stewart is a book I really wanted to love. I’ve read some of Creek’s magazine articles and really liked them. I’m also a gear junkie, always looking for ideas (excuses) for things to add to my preps. I read through this a few times looking for a reason to recommend it. Trust me, I really tried. Mr. Stewart knows his stuff, and there is some good info in this book. In the end though, I can’t recommend this book. Instead of picking it apart, I’ll just talk a little about what I didn’t like about it. I also have a couple of suggestions for books that I think are better for those looking for info and ideas on building your perfect bug out bag.

Build the perfect Bug Out Bag

Like I said, I really wanted to like this book. The information seems solid. It’s mostly the presentation I didn’t like. It could be more concise. The first chapter (especially) reads like it was written for someone in middle school, if not younger. The book is sprinkled with phrases like “… is a subject heavily debated…,” “…there are countless other things…,” “…you are almost guaranteed…” and other generalities. While they’re true, if I’m shelling out my hard earned cash for a book, I expect solid, authoritative advice. Especially if I’m a beginner who wants to learn how to build the perfect bug out bag. Equipment lists and generalities don’t cut it. I can find those all over the internet – free.

For example, compare this book to Cody Lundin’s 98.6: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive. Cody’s book is written at an adult reading level. It’s concise, but still manages to be very entertaining. It’s precise and authoritative. He tells you what you need, what it does, why you need it, and how to use it. He doesn’t mind telling you exactly how things are, but he manages to say it without sounding bossy or condescending. He’s obviously confident in his knowledge and skill.

Bottom line…

Creek Stewart is obviously knowledgeable and skilled. That’s what makes it so weird that he comes off as unsure of himself some times. Other times, he comes off as mildly condescending. I realize I probably just pissed off almost all of his fans and friends. That isn’t my intention. I don’t know Mr. Stewart but I am a fan too, and my reaction to this book surprised me. It is what it is though, and I can’t recommend this book. If you’re looking for a book on how to build the perfect bug out bag, there’s nothing here that you can’t get free on numerous YouTube channels or prepping and survival blogs.

If you want a book, I highly recommend Cody Lundin’s. It’s written in the context of a survival kit, but that survival kit could be fleshed out into a full bug out bag (a.k.a. 72 hour kit). Another book that looks like it might be interesting is Build the Perfect Survival Kit, 2nd Edition by John McCann. It covers different sized kits from a small get home bag through a full blown evacuation kit. I’ve been looking through a friend’s copy and I like what I see so far.  Until next time…

Peace out,

The Prepper’s Blueprint

When I got into prepping, the first book I bought was The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster by Tess Pennington. It’s not a bad book if you’re new to prepping. The author seems to know her subject and there’s lots of solid information in the book. In spite of that, I don’t recommend The Prepper’s Blueprint, for two reasons. First, there is no information in this book that you can’t find free on line. In fact, it’s freely available on the author’s own web site.

Repetitive repetition…

Second, the information as presented is repetitive repetitive. Some chapters look like they were copied and pasted from an earlier chapter. For example, there are four chapters on hardware or tools. Three out of the four tell you to buy a hammer. Two tell you to buy a crow bar and a multitool. One list has “sledge hammer” twice – on the same list. Other chapters are similarly repetitive.

OTHO, other topics are a little light on subject matter. As someone interested in radio communications, I can tell you the chapter on emergency communications has no useful information. The chapter on Home Defense is even worse than useless. Example:

First, 12-gauge shotguns offer a generous spread (i.e., you don’t have to be that accurate)…

She then goes on to talk about the best kind of “bullets” for a shotgun.

In conclusion, I do NOT recommend The Prepper’s Bluprint

Even though it does contain some good information, I do not recommend this book. The good information on some topics is offset by skimpy or wrong information on other topics. If the author would stick to topics she knows about, and expand on those instead of repeating the same info over and over this would be a much better book, maybe even one I’d recommend.

Cody’s Book – The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive

98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive (referred to from here on as Cody’s book) is probably the best survival book I’ve read. There are a few reasons… First, it does one thing and does it very well. A lot of books I’ve read try to do too many things and as a result fail to do any of them very well. Second, the author is a bona fide primitive skills and survival expert. This book is full of information based on actual research and experience, not (as he puts it) copied from the old Air Force survival manual. Third, the information given is well researched. Fourth, the information is presented in an easily readable, entertaining style. Finally, unlike some survival authors, Mr. Lundin doesn’t come off as an arrogant prick. He’s very down to earth, seems like someone I’d enjoy hanging out with.

Cody’s book

98.6 – The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive, part one

  • Foreword, Check This Out!, and Why a Survival Kit? make up the introduction to Cody’s book and cover the what, why, and how. Even though it’s “just” the introduction, it’s worth reading because it will give you insight into the rest of the book
  • Survival Situations: How Do They Start? – Chapter 1 could have been titled “Don’t Be Stupid.” If everyone followed the advice in this chapter, the rest of the book might not be needed (just kidding).
  • Survival vs. Primitive Living, or “Living Off the Land” – Chapter 2 is a great discussion on surviving (i.e. Keeping Your Ass Alive) vs “primitive way more than  survival skills.” Since Mr. Lundin teaches both, I trust him way more than many of the “survival experts” I’ve read in print or online. I’m pretty sure a lot of Sacred Cows died in the writing of Chapter 2…
  • Survival Psychology and the Importance of Proper Prior Training – Chapter 3 talks about the importance of (proper) attitude, (correct) training, repetition, and practicing your skills. I’m sure you’ve encountered “keyboard commandos” who love to brag about all their cool gear but haven’t ever used it except maybe to jerk off over. This chapter helps you see how full of crap those kind are.
  • Why Fear Sucks – Chapter 4 explains the negative effects that fear will have on your ability to live through a survival situation AND teaches you how to not succumb to fear.
  • Dealing with the Survival Scenario: Attitude, Adaptation, and Awareness – Chapter 5 teaches the importance of a positive attitude, developing the skills to adapt to different situations (vs. relying on “more stuff”), and the importance of situational awareness.
  • Reducing the Threat of the Survival Situation: The 7 Ps – Chapter 6 discusses the physical aspect of preparing to keep your ass alive in a survival situation.
  • What it Takes to Stay Alive – Chapter 7 does a great job of tying together the first part of Cody’s book. After reading part 1 you should have a  good idea of what it takes to keep your ass alive in a survival situation

The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive, part two

  • The Most Common Way to Push Up Daisies in the Outdoors – Chapter 8 explains the most common ways to die in a survival situation. Guess what? It’s not grizzly bears or brain eating zombies. It’s not being swept away in a tidal wave or avalanche. It’s not even falling off a cliff. The reality is much more boring – simple exposure. I expect more sacred cows lost their lives in the writing of this chapter.
  • How Your Body Loses and Gains Heat – Chapter 9 explains the physiology of why you might get hypothermia or hypothermia in preparation for Chapter 10.
  • Your First Line of Defense – Chapter 10 teaches you how to stay cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather. It goes into great detail on clothing choices. It explains climate acclimation. It tells you how to generate heat and stay hydrated and lots more. This is one of the longest chapters in the book and should be studied closely.
  • About Your Rescuers – Chapter 11 talks about Search and Rescue (SAR) operations from the perspective of the rescuers. The information in this chapter will help you avoid doing stupid things that will make it harder for your rescuers  to find you.
  • Helping Rescuers Bring You Back Alive – Chapter 12 expands greatly on Chapter 11. Besides helping you avoid doing stupid things, it gives you proactive steps to help your rescuers find you. Hopefully while you’re still alive.

The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive, part three

  • What is a Survival Kit? – After explaining how to stay alive and get found, Chapter 13 explains what a survival kit is. Not only that, but things you need to consider when putting together your personal kit.
  • Survival Kit Components – Chapter 14 is my favorite chapter in the book. In this chapter, Cody gives a detailed description for every item in his survival kit. Not only that, but also detailed reasoning on why each item is included in the kit. In my opinion, this chapter is a “must read” for anyone putting together their own survival kit.

The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive, part four

Chapters 15 and 16 wrap up the book. Chapter 15 is Cody’s final thoughts on the book. Chapter 16 is a summary of the first 3 parts and info on choosing an instructor if you decide that formal, in person training is something you want.

Cody’s book, my final thoughts

I love this book. It’s the best written survival book I’ve read, and I’ve read a few. The writing style and illustrations make it fun to read, not just informative. Most of the Chapters are short, but all are packed with good information and solid advice. On a scale of 1 – 10, I give 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive a 10. That’s not an exageration either. Cody’s book really is that good, especially compared to some of the other survival books on the market.

Peace out,