A Bug-Out Bag is usually a backpack, typically prepared in advance, with enough essential supplies to help you survive at least 72 hours away from home in an emergency or mandatory evacuation. The most common places to store this bag, once prepared, is in your home, vehicle, office, storage unit, or even a survival cache.
We've looked at the best bug out bagsout there, and broken it all down so that you know exactly what contents you'll need to have on hand. In the following article, we'll show you what we recommend, and even link to some of the items that we like best for each purpose.
And if you just want a simple bug out bag list, here's a usable PDF checklist that we've put together for you:
Container - You will want to use a large backpack for your Bug-Out Bag so that you can store all of your 72 hours essentials and supplies in one place. Keep in mind that a smaller bag typically means less resources, and that means less time before you have to start scrounging for necessities.
Large Backpack Recommendations
Water – When it comes to water, you don’t want to mess around. The average person can only survive about 3 days without water, so you’re going to need to make sure you’re doubly prepared here. We recommend a high-quality, single-walled metal water bottle for storing and boiling water, a method of filtering debris from water you get from streams or ponds, and a method of purifying any of that water so that it’s safe to drink.
Single-Walled, Metal Water Bottle Recommendations
Water Filtration System Recommendations
Water Purification System Recommendations
Food – Food is fuel, and in order to survive you will need a lot of energy to complete necessary tasks. We recommend having dehydrated food because you get all the important vitamins and minerals from it without it taking up too much room. You should also have protein bars, energy, bars, and granola bars so that you have a quick and easy way to get energy and protein in the most compact form.
Dehydrated Food Recommendations
Protein/Energy/Granola Bar Recommendations
2. CLIF BARS
Cover – The weather can be unpredictable, so you want to have equipment that will protect you from the elements, and it’s a bonus if it can help you blend in to avoid predators. We recommend you have a compact tent, which will be a perfect cover for overnight rest, and an emergency sleeping bag which will retain your body heat throughout the night. Emergency blankets will retain your body heat if you are trying to be more mobile, such as when you are cooking, hunting, or fishing. Wool blankets will provide even better warmth, but can also be fairly heavy and bulky, so this item is optional.
Emergency Sleeping Bag Recommendations
Emergency Blankets Recommendations
Compact Tent Recommendations
Wool Blanket Recommendations (Optional)
Clothing – Weather conditions can always change, so making sure you have the right clothing is crucial for your ability to survive. Cold weather is what you will want to be most prepared for, so we recommend you have a waterproof jacket to protect you from the rain and wool socks to protect your feet and prevent hypothermia. A beanie will help regulate body heat and a hat is essential if you are in a humid weather situation and need to protect yourself from overheating. Having a bandana or shemagh helps protect your skin from the sun, and a bandana can also be used to filter water. You will need gloves for completing tasks, and hand warmers to retain heat that are more prone to hypothermia, such as your hands and feet.
Waterproof Jacket Recommendations
Wool Socks Recommendations
Bandana or Shemagh Recommendations
Hand Warmer Recommendations
Combustion – Being able to create a fire is the most important skill in survival. To purify water, cook food, retain body heat, and ware off predators, you’ll need multiple tools that’ll create a long-lasting fire. We recommend you have a lighter to burn vegetation and a ferro-rod to create sparks on a bird’s nest. You’ll also need emergency tinder to make your bird’s nest easier to light and increase its ability to burn longer. An emergency fire kit with multiple fabrics and tools to build a fire is necessary so that you can create a fire if you are in an area with a lack of flammable material.
Emergency Tinder Recommendations
Emergency Fire Kit Recommendations
Tools – The tools you bring with you could make or break your chances of survival. We recommend a knife to cut into animals and cordage, and an axe to chop firewood or other thick material a knife can’t cut into. A gun will help you hunt for food and protect yourself from predators, and a multi-tool will help accomplish multiple tasks. Paracord is a necessity because it can do anything from creating shelter to creating a splint. You’ll also need a first-aid kit in case you obtain a minor or major injury.
User Preference here. We prefer a SIG P226 in 9mm, but that’s just our opinion based on a quality all metal pistol with widely available ammo.
First-Aid Kit Recommendations
Miscellaneous – These items are necessities that you will most likely need when you face the multiple obstacles of survival. We recommend you have a compass or a GPS device to help your navigation when you are not aware of your current location, and a flashlight or a headlamp to help you find your way if you are traveling in the wilderness at night. We also recommend you have a solar power bank so you can place it in the sun and be able to charge your phone or any other electronics you need. Emergency cash is important to have in case you need fuel or other last-minute necessities. We recommend you have an emergency whistle and a compact mirror to make others aware of your location. You’ll need sunscreen so that you can protect your skin from too much exposure to the sun, and duct tape can be used for multiple purposes such as fixing shelter and sealing food. We recommend you have toilet paper to protect items and stay hygienic and healthy. Extra ammo will allow you to use your gun for a longer period of time, which will increase your chances of obtaining more food and staying protected. For a powerless source of light, you will need chem-lights or glow sticks, so you will always have a source of light without worrying if a battery will run out.
Navigation Tool Recommendations
Solar Power Bank Recommendations
Emergency Cash Recommendations
Emergency Whistle Recommendations
Compact Mirror Recommendations
Duct Tape Recommendations
Toilet Paper Recommendations
Extra Ammo Recommendations
We highly recommend you carry at least 3 magazines in your Bug Out Bag if possible. Just in case.
Staying prepared will make or break your survival, so make sure you have all the right equipment in your Bug Out Bag. You can also take our checklist on the go with this downloadable PDF.
IMPORTANT: When building out your Bug Out Bag, redundancy is very important. Whenever possible, you'll want to make sure that you have items with dual purpose, such as a Solar Power Bank with and integrated LED light, or a SurvivorSteel Ferrocerium Rod with an integrated emergency whistle.
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