In the abstract, one thing I notice a lot is that people tend to bring way too much, both in weight and "creature comforts". It's really important to give a no-BS assessment of what you need, not just want. In the military we used the phrase "Travel light, and freeze at night", and even there we were constantly needing to re-evaluate and cut nonessentials out. In the civilian world (e.g. students in my survival courses), it's taken to a whole new level... people bring all kinds of things. A lot of the problem stems from people not actually using their gear in a realistic setting, so they have only hypothetical notions about what they need, how to use it, and how it will perform.

[blockquote class="alignright"]It seems hard to argue with the idea that more gear, meaning more capabilities, is better, but you must be ruthless in your pursuit of minimizing to the truly bare essentials.[/blockquote]

Unless you are training to carry your load-out, at least on a weekly basis of several miles, I suggest limiting your total From the Skin Out (FSO) load to no more than 30-40lb. That probably only leaves 20-30lb. of load in your pack, and in our climate 8lb (1 gallon) of that better be water. It seems hard to argue with the idea that more gear, meaning more capabilities, is better, but you must be ruthless in your pursuit of minimizing to the truly bare essentials.

Using this "backward planning" method, starting at the end (e.g. max weight) and working backwards, you only have 12-22lb of gear. Anywhere else, I would suggest carrying two ponchos (one to wear, one as a shelter), but it rains so little here in Colorado that you could get away with just one that you use for both purposes. A poncho liner ("woobie"), combined with a military casualty blanket (nearly identical to the "Space brand" survival blanket - not the same as the paper-thin $3 "survival blankets") makes the good old "Ranger Taco" sleep system (can also be folded in your second poncho), good down to near freezing. Add 2-4 pairs of good "military boot socks" (the aftermarket type are far better than the issue variety), because most of us wear cotton athletic socks daily which are basically worthless for maintaining the integrity of your feet. An extra pair of pants, a fleece jacket, and in the winter, thermal underlayers, are next. A shemagh, sniper veil, or scarf is a fairly important tool in our desert environment. Toss in a couple pounds of high-energy snacks, and the ubiquitous "firestarter-pocketknife-compass-red flashlight" survival items, and we're at max capacity.

You should carry at least one canteen and canteen cup combo (they also make canteen cups for Nalgene bottles, which is the same idea), so that you always have a metal cup for heating and eating food, boiling water, transporting coals for fires, digging, etc.

Depending on how you envision a bug-out scenario, I am a big fan of the entrenching tool. Buy a real GI one (e.g. NSN: 5120-00-878-5932), not a cheap knock-off or Glock/Fiskars brand plastic imitation. Digging "Ranger Grave" hasty fighting emplacements (7'L x 2'W x 1'D), including for sleeping in, digging a pit for hiding your cooking fires, etc. are all activities you will likely need to engage in, and are at a severe disadvantage without the requisite tool. The downside is that it's heavy.

You should tier these items. You should have some basic survival items that you carry in your pockets everyday... swiss army knife, lighter, flashlight, etc. Your next tier would be your equivalent of a military "fighting load"... your web gear, fanny pack, etc. that has redundant and improved versions of your basic pocket survival tools (e.g. firestarter, water, snacks, poncho, etc.), plus mission essentials (e.g. maps, ammo, etc.). Your pack then steps up another level, with another set of survival tools, but then also longer term sustainment items (e.g. poncho for shelter, extra clothes, etc.). This way, you can ditch levels of gear, and still be capable.

The final item I like to include is sunglasses. If you always wear sunglasses, even better (keep a little soft cloth protective bag in your pocket then). If not, include them. Not only is it very sunny here, and you have a danger of snow blindness in the winter, but they add a powerful psychological tool when encountering people under the circumstances of questionable and stressful events.