The Division Computer Game – The art of survival

So I read an article in The Division blog called ‘Art of survival – The “Bug Out” Bag’. I have a few thoughts of my own. I will base this text on real world scenarios and things might differ from computer game mechanics.

Gray Man
Being able to stay under the radar, blending in and looking like regular Joe may be the key to survival, I call this “covert”. It might not be ideal all the time, sometimes you may need to arm yourself with a rifle or wear armor which would identify you as a high level threat or someone to ask for help, I call this “overt”.  Although it has some drawbacks, it also allows you more freedom to carry offensive and defensive equipment.

In a WROL (Without Rule of Law) scenario you will need to be flexible in all aspect, transitioning from covert to overt and back to covert again. You will need to blend in to an ever changing environment; streets, woods or  the local population such as refugees. Camouflage are rarely your friend in these situations, try instead to use discreet solid colors and civilian looking garments. You can always strap body armor over your hoodie (or preferably underneath). Try to wear clothing that is able to hide any equipment that might identify you as a survivalist, such as armor.

First of all we will need to distinguish between a few different kits.

Every Day Carry – EDC
The basic kit is my EDC, and I always carry the following on my person:

Folding knife – This is mainly a tool used in accidents and random day to day activities but could function as a weapon if you know how to use it. There are many good ones out there, but I carry my Emerson CQC-8 or Extrema Ratio BF2

Flashlight – A flashlight may be used as a defensive tool or impact weapon. If you ever find yourself in a subway cart and the powers goes out you will love your little light. I carry one that uses a single AA battery, easy to find and replace, cheap to buy. The model in this case is the Fenix LD10 with 100 lumen maximum output and strobe as well as SOS Morse function.

Field dressing – Basic stuff, any will do.

Watch w/ compass
– A Suunto Core. It also has weather warning and most common functions.

BIC lighter – Cheap as dirt, buy a pack of them and stash them on your person, in your pack, car, bags and around the house. They are a blessing.

Smartphone – GPS, maps, guides, instructions, communications and more all in one, invaluable as long as the it has power and you have service.

Paracord 550 survival bracelet – A few meters of cord that will hold to 550lbs of pull that can be used for making shelter, makeshift stretchers, trauma first aid, pulling a kid out of a hole or restrain an assailant.

Some people would carry firearms as well, I don’t


Get Home Bag – GHB
I use a discreet black backpack, a Kelty MAP 3500. It was developed for and with US Navy SEALs but it is still a civilian looking pack without MOLLE attachment. MOLLE (or PALs webbing) is a sure way to identify yourself as military, law enforcement or a tactical geek.
This is what I need to get home safely in case of an emergency. In this I carry:
Meal replacement bar – Keeps your motivation and morale up.

Military emergency tourniquet – If someone suffers from an arterial bleeding seconds count, keep it close and know how to apply the tourniquet, whatever model you choose.

More first aid – Combat gauze with clotting agent, SAM Splint, nitrile gloves, pocket mask and so on.

Medication – Imodium, Codein, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen and puritabs.

Clothing – Spare gloves, Beanie and shemagh

Solar power charger, external battery and phone charger – Used in conjunction this will keep your smartphone and other electrical equipment going. I use a Powermonkey Extreme.

Leatherman multitool –
the most crucial tools in one item, make sure you get one with Bits. It also has a spare knife.

Spare batteries – For flashlight

Lighsticks – For marking, signaling or navigation. I don’t use IR lightsticks in my GHB.

Waterbottle – Remember to drink.

Stay alert gums – Keeps you up and going.

Sunglasses – Make sure they are approved eye protection as well. I use Smith Optics Elite, ESS and Wiley-X

Notebook and pen – I use Rite in the Rain and a Fischer Space Pen, but any will do.



Bug Out Bag – BOB
This is where it gets interesting. First of all; will you “bug in” or “bug out”? The first option requires a lot of food and clean water where you are staying. You need to be self-sufficient or have a plan to acquire sustenance, looting stores is a bad option since everyone not prepared will be there, and they will be desperate.
Bugging out would most likely mean that you leave the city, if that is where you live. Leaving means a helluva lot more than getting your BOB and heading out the door. How will you extract? On foot? In a motor vehicle? Is it prepared for this kind of emergency? What route will you take? What is your secondary route? Tertiary? How will you identify obstacles before you get stuck in a jam or are attacked by desperate sheeple? Do you have allies that will escape with you? Where will you meet up? Get maps of your surroundings, plan your route in advance, make sure you know all your options. If your phone still has service, use apps such as Waze to identify traffic jams and what routes to avoid, if not you may need eyes on recon from your intended route. Maybe scout ahead on a bike, it doesn’t use up gas and it is silent.

The BOB should keep you alive and safe for 72 hours. More than that and we are looking at an INCH. More on the INCH in a bit.


Keeping warm and dry is a good way of keeping alive. I use a Swedish Fire Steel for making fires, when I have to… That means ‘when I don’t have a BIC lighter somewhere’. After collecting hundreds of small fir branches in a dark, rainy forest I fail to find no pleasure fiddling with fire steel.  I’m just not that hardcore. After finding out that my BCB Strike Anywhere Matches didn’t ignite the hard way, I’ll never use them again.


Swedish fire steel
BIC Lighter
Fastfire™ tinder – this is excellent when starting fires when it is wet outside. Possibly also an arsonists delight.
1 pair of spare socks and underwear
Grid fleece under garment set (PCU lvl 2 clothing)
JetBoil – Warm fluids are great for keeping warm and keeping morale up.
Chopping knife – In order to make shelter


Water purifier – Keep your drinking water clean
Oral rehydration salts
Puritabs – just in case
3L hydration bladder
1L Nalgene bottle


In a WROL-scenario this is quite a large part of a kit. You will need protection against the elements and perhaps making shelter but also against aggression and violence.


Emergency space blanket – This will allow you to keep warm for a while or you can use it as foundation for a shelter.

Helmet – This is certainly an ‘overt’ part of your kit. If you wear a helmet your automatically look like military or law enforcement. It protects against pistol ammunition, shrapnel and bumps. It is also the best way to wear and use your night vision. I’ve chosen an Ops-Core FAST Ballistic helmet, but cheaper helmets like the ACH TC-2000 is almost as good for less than half the money.

IR markers – Much like the author of the ‘The Division’ article I always carry a few IR lightstick in order to mark targets for myself or others using night optics. I always carry my Adventure Lights VIP Strobe with both green and IR lights, as well as MS-2000 strobes on my helmet.

Body Armor – In The Division you will be facing opponents in combat, in a real world scenario like the game you wouldn’t be facing artillery, mortars or grenades to any larger extent. A level IV plate will stop hits to your central nervous system, heart, lungs and parts of your abdomen. It will stop 7.62x63mm (.30-06) armor piercing rounds, not to mention 7.62x54R fired from a Draganouv SVD or PKP Pecheneg or a .308 from a Remington 700 or Mk17mod0. I wear my plates in a solid color (MAS Grey) LBT-6094 Slick, keeping it low-profile enough to wear underneath my jacket.
I would NOT use anything large and bulky, and if O need to carry magazines or other gear I prefer strapping a chest rig on top of my plate carrier.

Gas Mask – Get one that is CBRN-approved, which means that they are full face and will help against tear gas and other less-lethal agents.

Eyeprotection – You only got two eyes, keep them protected from debris and things that may poke you. If you fear facing powerful lasers, like we’ve seen in civilian uprisings such as Syria and Ukraine or that the military are using, get laser protective lenses, they are more expensive but it if you don’t want an IR-laser to cause permanent damage to your vision it’s worth it.

Earprotection – Preferably combined with communications. There are low profile systems out there from Nacre, Invisio and Silynx. Get any, and get a good radio too – communication is the key to success in combat.

This is a small part of a complete kit, one that I could get into great detail regarding. The most important part is to realize that you will need to maximize both your overt and covert ability and flexibility in transitioning between offense, defense and disguise.