Survival vest
Photo by Jason Hunt
This survival vest was designed by Dave Thomas, a military veteran.

One of the most important things to think about when trying to evacuate an area or region is not standing out like a survivalist with a bunch of great gear during a mass panic. You will want to blend in as best you can with the crowd and your surroundings. This means that your get-home bag should not bear a lot of survival-oriented morale patches, should not be camouflaged and definitely should not portray that you have sort of food, weapons or ammunition.

The same goes for your bug-out bag. You will not want to be toting around your AR-15 or strapping it to the side of your pack. For one, it’s too hard to reach should you need it on the fly, and secondly, you’ll be perceived as a threat from a distance, which can work against you.

Your get-home bag should allow you to get home and then get to a spot to meet up with extended family and friends, where you will get your bug-out bag to evacuate. As you can estimate by the description of the bug-out bag’s contents, it will be larger than the get-home bag and certainly addresses a wider variety of survival needs, but this also means it will not be practical to carry with you every day.

In lieu of the typical backpack or messenger-style bag, you might consider packaging your get-home gear in a survival vest. A survival vest is a compartmentalized vest, typically made our of a heavyweight Cordura, that allows you to spread your load out evenly over your body, always having it within quick access. Military surplus stores are filled with load-bearing vests that will serve this purpose, and you can even find some suitable options in the fishing section of your favorite sporting goods store.

While survival vests are not hidden easily in warmer weather, you can certainly cover them up in colder climates with an oversized coat. One of the best survival vests on the market was created by Dave Thomas, a military veteran who designed this vest based on real-time needs he experienced in the field. He calls his the Op/Survival Vest.

For more information, visit or call 800-260-4127.

This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE™ Winter 2016 edition. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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