Dressing for Survival

The revolution has come and all you have is your bug out bag. It came in the middle of the night and you had to move fast. The world around you has descended into anarchy and chaos and all you're dressed in pajama pants, a t-shirt, and your hiking boots. You're hardly a dashing figure. Mad Max you are not. You did manage to grab you go bag on the way out the door. Now, what did you pack? If you read this guide prior to the Big One, you packed exactly what you needed. Now what does that mean as far as clothes go?

Your clothes will keep you warm, dry, and safe from the elements. It's vital that you adjust what clothes you carry in your go-bag depending on the season. In the following guide we will discuss what you will need for more temperate climates.

What to pack:


There are a variety of quality and expensive lines of clothing designed especially for outdoor use. These are great. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to spend over a $100 apiece for a shirt and a pair of pants. For the survivalist on a budget there's only one option. Wool. Wool is surprisingly water resistant. Both the lanolin and the exterior scales on wool help to break up water and prevent it from soaking through into the skin.

There's an old saying amongst hikers and survivalists, "Cotton Kills!" While this might be an exaggeration, it has a nugget of truth. Cotton is fine in cool dry weather, but it lacks wicking properties and holds a lot of moisture. Because it retains moisture it can lead to rabid cooling of the skin as well as chafing and blistering.

So, if you are on a budget, go for lightweight breathable wool clothing.

How should it fit:

Tight clothes bind and restrict movement. That's bad. Loose clothes catch on everything. That's bad. You want clothes that do not restrict your movement but fit close enough to the skin so as not to catch every little branch you might pass by.

How much should you pack:

Two pairs of pants

Four pairs of underwear

6 pairs of socks

Two long sleeve button down shirts

Two undershirts (this is where you can spend the money on the expensive synthetic wicking material)

Sundry Items


A good pair of sturdy work gloves will prove invaluable when you have to pick up and move things, not an uncommon occurrence in a survival situation. Your hands are very important. They are almost as important as your feet. Do whatever you can to protect them.


You don't want your pants falling down. That's what a belt is for. But in a survival situation a belt can be so much more. A belt made from paracord can have over 300 ft of utility cord used in its construction. They are designed to be taken apart and used in an emergency situation. Buy one.


Get a floppy hiker's hat. They are lightweight and protect your head, neck, and eyes from the sun.


A good pair of UV sunglasses can improve vision and reduce glare. Make sure you have a pair in your bag.


You can use it for blowing your nose, as a dust mask, headband, hankerchief, tourniquet, etc. These things are about $3 for a 5 pack. Buy some.


Your feet are your most important asset in a survival situation. Most likely, they are your only means of reliable transportation. You can't run fast with bleeding blisters. TAKE CARE OF YOUR FEET! Make sure you have a pair of top quality well broken I boots in or near your go bag at all times. They are invaluable. Military combat boots are a perfect example of a survival boot.

Alright, now you know what you need to pack. Time to go shopping. Remember to combine quality with affordability. Don't break the bank, but don't skimp where your future survival is concerned. Cheap stuff is cheap for a reason.