Introduction: Modern Day Wild West Saddle Bag (a.k.a. Bug Out Bag)

Howdy Pardner!! Thanks for stopping by!! This Instructable is about assembling a modern version of the saddle bags of the Wild West.

Why, you ask? My answer would be, for survival!

Back in the wild west and even before, the saddle bags on a man's (or ladies) horse were their version of a bug out bag, get home bag, survival bag, emergency bag, or whatever you choose to call it. Essentially it was to carry what ever they were going to need when heading out, away from home, on an adventure. In order to ensure that they had the gear that they would need to be able to survive if needed.

There a a few key components that you will want to have in your bag, and we will go over these in the Instructable. Now remember, no two bags are going to be set up the same, everyone's needs and wants will be different. This is just an overview of what I carry and what components are the most important. Now on to the fun!!

If you want to know more about these items, or just like outdoor gear, stop by my Youtube channel and subscribe . I have new gear reviews 3 times a week, and give away gear every week. So stop by and subscribe!!!

Step 1: Your Bag, or Bags.

This will be one of your most crucial decisions to make when putting together a bag. There are a ton of bags, different shapes, sizes, colors and weight. My advice to you is to first, look at the items that you would be packing in the bags, and then try to find something that will suite your needs accordingly. Also take into account the weight, now Im not saying try to pack as light as possible, and miss out on important items. But remember you will have to carry this bag on your back, and if its extremely heavy, you will get tired faster.

Now with that being said, let me introduce you into the bags, that I have chosen.

The first one is my main pack, its a 40 liter tactical style bag, its not a lightweight pack by far, but not that heavy either. I chose this type of bag for a few different reasons. It is tough and durable, its made out of heavy duty Cordura material that will resist getting snagged or ripped if I am going through some heavily wooded areas. It also has multiple pockets, for easier access to items without having to unpack the whole bag to find something. And lastly it has a lot of Molle straps, to attach things to the outside of the pack, and to make it easier to attach smaller packs to it.

My second pack is a smaller maybe 10 liter, multi use tactical style pack. Now you may be asking, Why 2 packs? Well, my theory is, if I decide to make camp somewhere, and need to go away from the camp for a short time, maybe to collect firewood, food, or water. I dont want to have to lug my entire pack with me, I can detach the smaller pack, and have emergency supplies with me, in case something happens. I know, its a bit redundant, but redundancy can save your life.

Step 2: Whats in the Big Bag?

Now we are getting down to the meat and potatoes!

In my big pack, I keep the bigger, bulkier things in there, and the things that I will need for my camp.

1. Shelter This particular time I have my lightweight backpacking tent in there. Its small and lightweight (only 3.5 lbs) and can sleep 2 adults with room to keep your packs in it. Now shelter can be achieved in many different ways, you can take a camping hammock and tarp ( I sometimes do this), it takes up less space in the pack, and is lighter. You can take just a tarp and make a ton of different shelter configurations out of it. Or you can rely on your skills and just make a shelter out of branches or whatever you can find around your camp (just make sure you are practicing this skill before you actually go out). Like I said in the beginning, the choice is yours, but shelter is a must have, so make sure you have that covered. No pun intended, LOL.

2. Dry Clothing Now Im not talking about several changes of clothes, if I go out to camp, or have this bag with me and need it in case of an emergency, I am not trying to win any fashion awards. I am trying to survive. So what I include is dry undergarments and socks, also a lightweight shirt and pants, such as pajama type pants, they cam be rolled up and put into a large Ziplock back, or some other waterproof bag. Believe me, there is nothing like being able to put on some dry clothing at the end of the day, especially if it has been raining, snowing, or just damp from sweat. I will be alot nicer to be dry, while your other clothes are drying by the fire. This is not necessarily an essential, but a definite comfort that I like to have.

3. Food You need food to live, so your food choices are critical, as well as optional. There are a whole lot of different ways to bring food with you, and trying to explain them all right now would take forever. Now knowing that I do not have room to take food to last me weeks, I focus on food to keep me going a couple of days. Usually I take this out hiking and camping so I will bring food to last the 1-2 days that I will be gone. But if you are going to be gone an extended amount of time, or get into a situation that you may not be able to have access to food after a few days, here are some ideas. I always keep a minimum of 2 days worth of food in my pack, along with some back ups. This will ensure that, if I need to forage for food, or fish, hunt or whatever, and I am not successful at doing that, that I will have some nutrition until I can get more food. Some of the food I keep are a few freeze dried or dehydrated meals, such as Mountain House, Backpackers Pantry, etc. these meals are easy to prepare and just need water to reconstitute the food. They taste good as well. I will also keep a can or two of spam or tuna in the pack, they need no refrigeration, or cooking and are loaded with protein. I also keep an emergency food bar, just in case, they dont taste the greatest, but one bar can keep you going a day or two until you can get other food.

4. Water This is one of your most important thing that you need. You cannot survive without water. I have in here, my 32 oz. Nalgene water bottle, and will put anther liter in here as well. This ensures that I can carry enough for a day. I also carry, in different parts of the pack, ways to purify water if I need it in an emergency, also water weighs alot 3.5 lbs per liter, so not having to carry enough water for several days lightens things up tremendously. We will go over the water purification later.

5. Misc. Just because I labeled it miscellaneous, does not mean its not important, I am just lumping the rest all together. Some way to make a fire, I have several in here, a lighter, a ferro rod, and different types of tinder to get a fire going. Light, I have a few different flashlights, and a solar powered tent light. Light is a wonderful thing when it gets dark, and the solar tent light also doubles as a solar usb charger! Knives. This is important as well, you will need a way to process pieces of wood for your fire, as well as use it to cut cordage, process fish or game, or carve something useful, such as a spear or tent stake, the possibilities are endless. And once again redundancy never hurts. Cordage. Paracord is an extremely useful item to bring along with you. The uses are endless. I generally keep 50' of cordage in my packs. It can be used to aid in making a shelter, make traps for game, a stringer for fish, lashing items to a stick, and the list goes on, and on.

Step 3: The Small Bag!

In the small bag I carry alot of the essential "survival" items following is a list.

A portable battery bank to charge devices such as my phone, gps, or to power USB lights.

A survival snare, in order to trap small game for food if needed.

A small pocket rocket stove and fuel, to cook with or to boil water to purify.

A cook pot to cook in or boil water.

A 10 x 12 camping tarp to aid with shelter.

An emergency "space blanket" can be used to make shelter or to stay warm.

My first aid kit, incase of an injury.

MY fire kit, it includes several different ways to start a fire.

A couple lights, a flashlight and head lamp.

If you want to know more about these items, or just like outdoor gear, stop by my Youtube channel and subscribe I have new gear reviews 3 times a week, and give away gear every week. So stop by and subscribe!!!

Outside Contest 2016

Participated in the
Outside Contest 2016