Battle for the Best Bug-Out Bag Winners

By CTD Blogger published on in News

Cheaper Than Dirt!’s Battle for the Best Bug-Out Bag contest received an overwhelming response from Shooter’s Log readers. After hundreds of submissions, we were pleased to see the results of the creative and well-prepared minds behind the submissions. In all we received over 650 submissions, which made selecting the winners, a daunting task.


After several rounds of much enthusiastic discussions between the judges, Cheaper Than Dirt! would like to congratulate James B. in Williamsburg, VA,  as its Grand Prize winner! Following close behind was Chris C. from New Hampton, NY,  in second. To keep the sanity of the judges and settle the final disputes, Cheaper Than Dirt! named co-winners for third place and congratulates Dallas G. of  Bossier City, LA, and James D. of Mesquite, NV, with Ashley M. of New Braunfels, TX, Christopher T. of  Fort Wayne, IN, and Daryl A. of Santa Clarita, CA, receiving honorable mentions for outstanding submissions.

Our winner’s bug-out bag, at a grand total of $299.83, includes:

  • Vism First Responders Utility Bag 12.5″x8.5″x7.25″ Nylon Urban Gray (Item: 9-183079, $20.77)
  • 72 Hour Kit Single Person Survival Ark (Item: CAMP-242, $19.93)
  • Adventure Medical Kits SOL Pocket Survival Pak (Item: 9-194711, $26.99)
  • Adventure Medical Kits SOL Escape Survival Bivy (Item: 8-AMK-01401229, $39.99)
  • Emergency Shelter Tent 8×5′ Waterproof Compact Lightweight Silver Reflective Material (Item: CAMP-232, $9.97)
  • Ultimate Survival Technologies Reflective Survival Poncho (Item: 2-UST20-190-1000, $2.64)
  • Adventure Medical Kits SOL Series One Person Emergency Blanket 56″x84″ (Item: 8-AMK-01401222, $4.00)
  • NcSTAR VISM Water Bottle Carrier (Item: 9-183092, $10.49)
  • Water One Pure Sip Personal Water Filter (Item: 3-2811843, $13.73)
  • Aquamira Water Filter Bottle 22 Ounce Bottle (Item: 2-AQU67015, $15.83)
  • Ultimate Survival Technologies Floating Butane Lighter (Item: 2-UST20-W10-01, $10.56)
  • Winchester MultiTool (Item: 9-61484, $11.91)
  • Benchmade Knife Company HK Conspiracy Knife (Item: 20-BM-14101SBT, $46.16)
  • Cold Steel 5′ Two-Piece Blow Gun Kit (Item: 9-49498, $27.59)
  • Tru-Spec 550 Paracord Nylon Kermmantle Rope 300 Feet (Item: 20-TSP-5063000, $13.98)
  • Frogg Toggs Breathable Boonie Hat (Item: 9-74293, $7.26)
  • BLACKHAWK! Universal BDU Belt Up to 52″ OD Green (Item # 82046, $7.48)

According to James, he chose these items in keeping with contest rules, they can be contained or attached the utility bag using paracord, and all within a manageable weight on your shoulders with the option to carry by hand or easily store in your vehicle. He also kept in mind the rule of 3 while building his BOB:

  • 3 hours without shelter: To include warmth and a means away from the elements.
  • 3 days without water: Not only a means to immediately have a supply of water, but a means to drink from a clean water source, as well as bringing a supply water with one as well.
  • 3 weeks without food: An initial supply of food, but also a means to obtain and prepare other sources of food.

Team Cheaper Than Dirt! thanks everyone who sent in their entries. We hope it was as much fun for you as it was for us.

Would you use the items James chose? What would you choose differently and why? Tell us in the comment section.

Click here to start building your bug-out bag.

Chris C., Second Place:

Dallas G., Tied for Third Place:

James D., Tied for Third Place:


Cheaper Than Dirt! prides itself on being America’s Ultimate Shooting Sports Discounter since 1993. Cheaper Than Dirt! boasts over 100,000 items available for purchase through its website and catalog. Articles, photos and videos appear daily on The Shooter’s Log at We thank all of the participants for their submissions.

* Final winner status and prize deployment pending notification and acceptance.

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Comments (29)

  • Joe


    WOW! I figured my submission sucked and I understand with so many entries, it must be hard to select an overall winner, but that is lame. Boy Scouts are better prepared. Doubt if I’ll waste my time on any of these again.


  • sixkiller


    Yeah, but what about when information IS available and critical to your survival? Not all survival scenarios include EMP or grid shut down. For $15.00 for a SW AM FM radio and a $1.00 EMP protection bag or some aluminum foil or both, seems like a no brainer to me, good luck guessing WTF is going on!


  • Bret P.


    Meh,I dunno,not to come off sounding like a sore loser,but I agree the winning bag is/was a bit lacking in a couple of key areas.

    Not much gear in the winning bag in terms of navigation tools/aids,to me the term “bug out” implies covering some ground over that first 72 (or more) hours,and I guess that means more to me than relying on just that one small button compass included in that SOL survival pack in the winning bag.

    And as mentioned already,the winning bag has/had no flashlights or such for night-time operation/navigation.

    Also,there’s not much in the way of gear for gathering the firewood used to make a warm fire beyond just getting the fire itself started,see I’m talking things like a camp axe,a pack saw,a folding shovel and such as these are much more than just time/labor savers in a SHTF scenario,they also help to conserve one’s energy for when it’s needed most.

    These can also help one to build more substantial shelter should such be needed in a longer term bug out.

    Sure the rule of three is a handy guide no doubt,but IMO one really needs to read between the lines to get the full effect outta it.

    Also no mess/cooking kit in the winning bag either.

    If one does happen to catch some fish or wild game,it sure helps to have a way to cook it.

    And I also agree the first-aid aspect of the winning bag is seriously lacking IMO as well.

    IMO the minimal first aid gear in the winners bag is’nt anywhere near adequate,I’ve found that when times are tough going,”stuff” tends to happen,and even relatively minor injuries can quickly become game changers,so I feel a first aid kit like the one I chose seems to me to be somewhat more in line with this sorta scenario (UST CORE 2.0).

    Sure,more than a few items in the winners bag (or similar items) are/were likely in all our contest bags,the SOL bivvy,an emergency tent/blanket,some length of paracord and such,as well as some means to treat/filter/carry water,and no doubt a sturdy knife & multi tool,as those are all pretty much no brainers.

    Those items were the easy ones,to me what counted here is how one filled in the gaps between the easy items,ie: how well one covered all the bases,not just one or two of them.

    And as far as clothing and other misc. odds & ends are concerned,I guess I figured that’s the sorta stuff that one would almost hafta add from their own gear @ home to “fill out” the gaps in their “basic” contest bags,especially seeing as those sorta items are size specific,thus why I did’nt include anything like that from the CTD catalog/website in my BOB contest entry.

    I guess in closing,what I’m saying here is I’m sure we each feel we had the best bug out bag,mostly because our choices reflect what we individually tend to feel would be most important to ourselves in a BOB type situation.

    Anyhow,all & all this was a fun excersize none-the-less,so for that I thank CTD for having this contest,and congrats to all the winners.

    Bret P.


    • James B


      Allow me to address some of your concerns.
      1. Certainly a good quality compass can be of benefit, but you already know that it isn’t the only means to navigate. The position of the sun and is certainly a useful tool (which I can use my wristwatch to position North and South), but the Moon if rising sunset, the bright side is in the west. If it rises after midnight, the eastern side is illuminated. The stars are also fairly useful if visible. Add to that the moss on trees grows thicker and greener because that side often gets more sun, and tree bark may be duller and branches more extended to the sky on the north side of trees because it doesn’t receive as much sun. Snow generally melts faster on the warmer southern side of rock faces or mountains, and Ants often build their nests on the south or southeastern side of trees where it is warmer.
      2. Gathering firewood need not be difficult either. Generally one doesn’t use green tree wood to burn, leaving a fair amount of dead wood and discarded man made items lying about.
      3. Primitive cooking isn’t a hard skill to master either. Cooking over coals (ash cooking), broiling rack, plank cooking, hot rock cooking, steam pit cooking, flat stone cooking, spit cooking, and clay cooking are all other ways for one to prepare a delicious food source.
      4. First aid equipment and supplies are yet others sources available from the environment. Many plants and foods have curative properties, both ingested and applied topically.

      Its not the equipment and supplies which dictate one’s success, but one’s training to utilize those equipment and supplies


  • Orrin M. Knutson


    Dear Cheaper Than Dirt,

    All are good recommendations. If any ametures or folks new to the idea of being prepared when lost, stranded or hit by a natural disaster that would like to learn how to build and use their own BOB (Bug-Out-Bag) there are several options for information out there..

    Respectfully, I offer the book I personally wrote and was published last year as a reader friendly guide; SURVIVAL 101 – HOW TO BUG OUT AND SURVIVE THE FIRST 72 HOURS..

    It was written to help protect and save at least one life of the 150,000 urban “greenhorns” whoi carelessly venture into the outdoors each year, without any gear and suffer or die from exposure when lost.

    We faithfully tithe 10% of all sales of the book to the WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT. I am not really hustling my book here, just letting people know it is out there if they are interested.

    Orrin M. Knutson
    Retired Peace Officer and Author.


  • Mike


    Yeeahhhhh, ok

    Whatever the reasoning here is, I don’t see it. Just comparing the 2nd place contestants, there is a clear winner. And your saying out of 650 people NONE were better!
    Okay, note to self; “this is why you don’t do contest”


  • sixkiller


    I have no problem with what you chose, what you didn’t chose is a means of communication or especially information, which is critical in ANY bug out scenario, 72 hour or otherwise. Thanks.


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