Travel Gear We Use: The Seventy2 Survival System bug-out bag

You may not be a doomsday prepper or preparing for a zombie apocalypse (or maybe you are), but every family should have a car bug-out bag, ideally for each family member and certainly for road trips and emergencies.


Opt for the Seventy2 Survival System from Uncharted.

Preppers define bug-out bags as gear they can grab quickly in case of emergency, that’s ready to go when they are. The folks at Uncharted simplify this even further: their Seventy2 bag are designed with the premise that 95 percent of emergencies are rectified within 72 hours, so they make sure you have everything you might need for those crucial hours, nothing more, nothing less. The result? A streamlined system in an easy-to-carry, high-quality backpack that you can gift to family members or buy for yourself.

The ‘shell’ of the Seventy2 bag is a 48 liter backpack that’s waterproof and very clearly organized. This backpack alone is worthy of a review. It has pockets and features galore. Inside, clearly marked ‘survival pouches’ make it easy to find essentials, plus know what to do with them. The ‘tools’ pouch is thus labeled, for instance, with all the contents listed underneath, including paracord, shovel, axe, duct tape, knife, and fire starter. In the ‘warmth’ pouch is a tent, blanket, hat, gloves, and hand warmers. For a full list of everything in the Seventy2 bag, including USB chargers, radios, and more, check here. 

Can you put together your own survival go bag? Of course. Will you, to this extent? I can almost guarantee you won’t. At least, I won’t, which is why I gifted my college-aged son with a Seventy2 bag and now need more for my household. This bag could be essential on a camping or road trip, but it might also save your life when you’re not traveling.

Pick one up this holiday season as a very special gift for $349. You will have purchased peace of mind along with essentials you needed any way.

Want to design a less extensive, road trip bug-out bag?

For families who like to road trip or car camp, a car bug-out bag can be any kit that contains supplies and extras, such as MOLLE gear, that may be needed in an emergency while away from home.

Whatever type of bug out bag you create, be sure to stock it regularly for minor injuries, sickness, or weather conditions. We’ve never needed ours for a serious emergency, and hope we never do.

Start with any large backpack or duffel. We keep our basic bag, which we use in addition to our Seventy2 bag now, in our primary vehicle. You don’t want to put it anywhere it will need to be frequently moved. Ours is in the back, near the space reserved for the car jack and jumper cables.

What to put in your more basic road trip bug-out bag:

2-4 emergency blankets: These blankets are made of vacuum-metalized polyethylene and reflect 90% of your body heat, allowing you to stay warm despite their thin shape and low weight. They are the size of your palm when still folded, and can also be used as shelter or a ground cloth. We use SOL emergency blankets, which are less than $5 on Amazon.

1 small first aid kit: Ideally, you already have a family-sized first-aid kit in your car (if not, check out our recommendations). However, since your car bug-out bag is meant to be portable, opt for a smaller sized one. We use Adventure Medical Kits’ .5, which is housed in a lightweight, waterproof pouch and includes all the essentials (and not much else). At $15, you can’t make a cheaper one at this weight. Place some extra easy-access bandages in there, too. These nifty band-aids require only one hand to unpeel and place on a cut.

Gloves and winter hats for everyone: Reuse or buy a cheap pair of fleece or knit gloves for everyone in your family, and place them in the bag. Ditto for winter ‘beanie’ hats. These don’t need to be anything fancy; after all, you’ll want to wear your good ones regularly, and you’ll likely never use these. But in case of bad weather or the need to put chains on your tires, you’ll be glad to have some protection for your hands and heads. In winter months, we also add a lightweight jacket for everyone, which just stays in the bag until summer. Remember, you’ll have extra seasonally-appropriate clothing for everyone in your car already if you’re on a road trip or camping trip.

Pocket survival pack: These neat packs fit into your pocket, and include only the barest of essentials for outdoor survival. We have a pack in our backpacking gear, in the ‘just in case’ category, and one more in the car. In the case that someone needed to leave the shelter of the car to seek help, I’d want him or her to have this kit on them. Included is a whistle, mirror, sparker and tinder for an easy flame, and tiny portions of helpful items such as duct tape, safety pins, wire, and foil. It doesn’t seem like much now, but as a former Search and Rescue volunteer, I’ve seen people do amazing things with these items. We like the SOL pocket survival pack, because it comes with a waterproof card of instructions. Pick one up for under $30.

motorola-talkabout2-way radios: Sure, you have mobile phones, but as we all know, they can be unreliable. If you’re out of coverage area, low on battery power, or–unlikely but possible–if cellular service is down, you’ll want another way to communicate. We recently tried out the Motorola Talkabout 2-Way Radios (in other words, walkie-talkies), and they’ve now been added to our bug-out bag. Why we like them: they’re easy to juice up, they have a long range, and you can receive NOAA weather alerts through them. The Talkabout runs on either alkaline or rechargeable batteries (or can be charged using a mini-USB port, if you have access to that). They work in a 23 mile range, and has a scan feature which allows you to search a programmed list of channels. In the past, we’ve found that walkie-talkies can be useless if too many people are using them, but the Talkabout filters interference from non-Motorola units. They’re not toys, by any means, but still under $50 on Amazon.

Supplies for your car: Hopefully you already know where your car’s extra tire and jack are housed, but in addition, most families should carry chains for winter weather (depending on where you live), and jumper cables. We also store a small, collapsible shovel in our bag, which can (and has been) used to dig out of snow or mud.

Matches and firestarter: If you need to, you want to be able to make a fire for signaling help, warmth, or cooking. If you’re on a camping trip, you’ll have these supplies anyway, but we keep a waterproof case of matches and fire cubes in our bug-out bag all the time, so we don’t have to remember to grab them on each trip. What are fire cubes, you ask? These sugar-cube sized fire starters burn at 1300 F in any conditions…even a downpour. Use them to start a campfire or even boil water. Speaking of which…

Water: This is the only item we do not store in our bug-out bag, because we all carry personal water bottles with us in the car for any trip, so we already have them at the ready. For longer trips, however, we buy a case of water and place it in the back by the bag. If we don’t need it, we use this water on our travels, and buy more.

Want to be even more prepared? Have a water filter handy, or do what we do: pack your bug out bag with a LifeStraw or LifeStraw Go. This award-winning personal filtration system uses a filtering straw, so you have safe water to drink anywhere, anytime. We use ours on international travel days, too, so we get use of it regularly, not just during emergencies. After our son Nate lost his on a trip to Costa Rica, we replaced it immediately!

Basic foods: We don’t go overboard on this, which would probably dismay true preppers. But our bug-out bag is only meant for short term emergencies and even car-ride inconveniences, so we pack snacks with a long shelf life, like beef jerky and Nature Made granola bars. We change these snacks out every 2-3 months. I simply like knowing they’re in our bag should we get stuck in traffic for a very long time or need to leave our car for any reason.

Find more Travel Gear We Use!

Do you have a car emergency bug-out bag? What’s in it?

Photo credit: Richard Riley