Plan for bug out bag is one of the survival skills you should have in case of emergency, disaster, or other situation where you would need to leave your home or workplace at a moment’s notice.
That said, preppers and survivalists know that it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Having a bug out bag packed and ready to go isn’t just for those that are prepping, or survival enthusiasts.
You need to survive one heck of a disaster to have your normal everyday life disrupted, so you better make sure that you are prepared in the event that it does happen.
It is not enough to just have the basics like food, water, and shelter squared away.
You need to think about what other physical needs you might have when it comes down to it.
As well as any medical supplies that might be needed in an emergency situation.
The ability to evacuate at a moment’s notice can mean the difference in life and death when it comes to many situations, such as natural disasters, or in home invasions.
Although the bug out bag is often associated with preppers alone, there are multiple circumstances that could make your bug out bag the best idea you’ve had in years.
However, when it comes to knowing what to have in a bug out bag, many people can’t differentiate between the hundreds of items in their home that they use every day and the materials that are absolutely vital to survival.
The key to a bug out bag is having enough essentials to survive for 72 hours, without your bag weighing more than 25% of your body weight.
This will ensure that you can live through the first wave of an emergency without weighing yourself down to the point of exhaustion in order to do so.
So here are the ultimate bug out bag list for essentials to have in your bug out bag.
Table of Contents
No One Size Fits All
There are more specific bug out bags for every type of disaster situation, but the list below is a general starting point.
Each person should assess their personal situation in order to come up with their own list of survival kit.
Whether your survival plan is to live in your vehicle or on the streets after you evacuate, every small detail will play a role towards whether you live or die.
The Absolute bug out bag essentials
Without these items, you are basically just packing to camp in the backyard without smores.
Fire Starter Kit
With this kit, you can start a fire and have warmth and protection from the cold and light, which is sure to come in handy in many situations.
Try buying some waterproof matches (environmental protection) instead of classic matches or lighters to make things even easier on yourself.
This way, you’ll have more time before your match goes out in wet conditions and for those who know how to do this properly.
Emergency Blankets will serve as both a blanket and a raincoat. It keeps you warm and waterproof at the same time.
They are lightweight, compact, and can fold in to a small package when not in use.
The Emergency Blanket won’t just keep you warm at night, but it will also protect you against the elements like no other item on the list does.
They are lightweight, compact, and can fold in to a small package when not in use.
The Poncho is a must-have for most people because it can save your life by protecting you from both the rain and the sun.
They are so much more than just rain gear.
They are multi-purpose and a lifesaver when you’re on the go.
A sleeping bag is an essential accessory for any emergency situations. It can spare you from many discomforts that others have to face when there is no place to sleep. If you’re cold, your sleeping bag will keep you warm.
The inside of the sleeping bag is filled with insulation.
This insulation traps air molecules to create pockets of air that hold heat close to your body
It can protect you from bugs that might crawl on you at night, as well as lower your body temperature if desired, thanks to its insulation properties.
A tarp is often underestimated as an essential for your bug out bag, but it’s one of the most important items you can stock up on.
All you need to do is use rope or a sturdy string, tie the tarp’s corners to trees, and voila!
You’ve got yourself a shelter.
This will be especially useful if you find yourself in a situation where no other option is available.
Sleeping outside might sound romantic when talking about camping trips gone wrong.
Still, it’s quite treacherous in many cases–especially when there are bad weather conditions or when wild animals are nearby.
That’s why this tent made the list of essentials for your bug out bag.
A tent can provide you with shade, a warm shelter, and privacy.
Your bug out bag should include an extra set of clothes that you can switch into if your present outfit becomes wet or dirty.
A spare outfit will ensure that you can change your clothes without losing the ability to keep warm at night.
It’s one of the most important items on the bug out bag list.
You never know how much you’ll appreciate it until it’s too late.
You only can go without food for a few days, but if you don’t drink water, you will be dead in just three days.
That’s why it’s so important to pack as much water as you can carry or enough rations to keep your thirst at bay for an extended period of time.
Depending on the situation, you should always have at least 2-4 liters of water in your bug out bag to stay hydrated and stay alive.
Something that you may need to consider when bugging out, is how hot it is outside. You might need more than the suggested amount of water, for drinking and cooking, because summer time can often be quite intense
If you find yourself in an area with no access to clean water, your bug out bag must include several days’ worth of rations as well so that you can last longer without having to find a new source to drink from.
Water filters, purification tablets, and water purification bottles are also a great supplement to your bug out bag checklist.
Water filter device
Water filter device helps to filter out harmful microorganisms and toxins in the water you drink.
It also removes bad taste and odors from water, which can be frustrating when living outdoors.
Water Purification Tablets
Those who plan to bug out should always prepare themselves by including a complement of water purification tablets in their bag.
They are easy to toss into your pack or in a side pocket of your pants, and they don’t take up as much space as bottled water does when you’re on the go.
They also protect against viruses and other things that can harm humans by contaminating our drinking resources.”
It helps you to open canned goods and soups when you’re hungry.
This is a vital tool because it can save you a lot of time and effort in emergency situation.
Cutting tools are essential survival gear for your bug out bag list.
They provide one of the most important functions in the kit, which will help you slice open cans and cut the rope to make other tools.
There are several uses for a survival knife.
They can be used to baton wood, make traps or lashing spears, and take care of other tasks.
If you don’t have a fixed blade knife in your bug out bag yet, you should consider adding one because it’s a tool that can just do too much in an emergency situation.
It will also be an effective self-defense tool against animals and other dangerous threats when everything else fails.
There are also multitools such as the Swiss Army knife with many other uses such as a screwdriver, bottle opener, flashlight, ruler, and many other tools.
A spork is a fantastic multitool for your bug out bag.
It’s much more than just a utensil.
ID helps to identify people during times of chaos and facilitates the restoration of order.
It also connects a person to their belongings, which can prevent people from being lost in crowds or staying without any personal property.
So better keep a copy of your ID along with the important documents.
If you don’t want to get caught off-guard, make sure your bug out bag includes some cash so that you can buy necessities when they are needed without worrying about credit cards or debit cards that might not be accepted everywhere.
A multi-use mask is an excellent bug out bag checklist item because it can be used for various purposes.
It can be used as a breathing mask, gas mask, and chemical protection. It’s lightweight and portable, which makes it a highly recommended item.
Pepper spray is harmless to people and animals.
It causes temporary blindness, a burning sensation of the eyes and respiratory system, and an uncontrollable coughing fit.
While it’s not a substitute for a firearm, bear spray is still a great option to have during bug out situations.
It has been proven to be more effective than most people tend to think. It is also legal in most states, making it an excellent alternative to a gun.
First Aid Kit
Prepare the emergency kit with first aid items, medications, and clotting agents.
The emergency kit must be light and small enough so that it can fit into a small bag.
The first aid kit will help heal wounds, such as cuts or scrapes, and help avoid infection.
A person should have at least 10 basic items in their kit, including gauze pads, adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, safety pins, and antiseptic wipes, etc.
While it is a little more expensive than other forms of disinfectant, you can’t beat the convenience.
It can be tucked in your bag or purse and used to clean hands on the go. A few spritzes will rid hands of most germs, viruses, and bacteria. Alcohol-free and fragrance-free
At the bare minimum, this list of items should be ready to go in your bug out bag and survive at least for 72 hour.
There are plenty of amenities that we will list in the next section, but without these items, you really cannot hope to be in a survival situation and make it for any length of time.
The important thing to remember is that you want to enable yourself and your group to live and hunt/gather/trap anything they can, but without a couple of MRE’s and some water, that isn’t a realistic goal.
If you have clean drinking water, you can outlive people who have food supplies and no water.
However, if that water is putrid, you’re not getting too far into drinking it without giving yourself a nasty stomach bug that will also kill you with dehydration in a survival or bug out situation.
If you are traveling as a family or group, you should have the luxury to divide some of the less essential items amongst you so you can bring a little more gear with you.
Some items that would definitely make survival living more comfortable are included in the next bug out bag list.
Some Less Necessary, But Great To Have, Items:
- Emergency Radio
- Laminated Map
- Flashlight and Batteries
- Cell phone power box/cord/charger box
- Baby Wipes
- Bug Spray
- Duct Tape
- Solar Charger
- Dry Rag
- Fishing Kit
- Camp Shovel
- Filet/Skinning Knives
- Signal Mirror
- GPS Device
- Microfiber Towels
- Tactical Pen
An emergency radio is great for listening to updates, especially if there’s a natural disaster or danger where you are.
It can also provide music and entertainment during long walks in the wilderness and hopefully keep your spirits up during difficult times.
A map is essential for long-range travel before you make it anywhere.
Maps can give you a lot of information about your next bug out location or just the area around your shelter to allow for self-localization.
This will be very helpful when trying to move on foot because it will provide an escape route if things get dangerous and allow an individual to anticipate what obstacles might lie ahead.
A headlamp can help you feel safer and prevent getting lost at night.
It can be a great companion when traveling on foot or by foot in treacherous terrain.
Even if it’s not technically needed, a good headlamp will make your day-to-day life easier.
If you’re like most people, the time spent just looking around your bug out bag will be by far the most enjoyable and productive part of the process.
Flashlight and Batteries
It can be used to light your way and safely keep yourself during nighttime travel.
Always carry spare batteries with you for your flashlight, so you’re never caught off guard.
Cell phone power box/cord/charger box
Even if you’re not missing in action, having a power box or charger with you can be extremely convenient.
It will provide you with a way to charge up your electronic devices using renewable energy sources, so it’s not the most necessary item.
Still, it can be very helpful if you are bugging out and need something to make the process as easy as possible.
Baby wipes are just wet wipes for adults.
They can help you get a good night’s sleep because they will freshen up after a long day.
It might sound like a luxury, but it’s not.
You can save yourself from some serious bug bites, which in turn could save your life and make your journey much more comfortable.
Bug spray can keep mosquitoes, ticks, and other pests away.
A multitool is just a fancy way of saying a Swiss Army knife without the actual blade.
A multitool can be used to cut the rope, repair small items, and do various other things that might otherwise be hard to do on your own.
Paracord is a versatile piece of equipment.
It can be used in a variety of ways, including replacing rope.
It can also be used as a tourniquet, snare trap material, fishing line, and more.
Duct tape is extremely useful for several reasons.
It can be used to tape up wounds; fix broken items; patch up tents or other shelters, and seal up cracks or holes as needed to keep you warm or dry.
It is extremely useful because it can provide you with constant power.
In the event of a blackout, a it can provide your electronic devices with electricity.
It can be used as a tourniquet to cover wounds in an emergency, like a towel or washcloth, and so much more.
A dry rag can be used in a variety of ways.
It can be used to soak up water, as a bandage, as a filter for any dirty drinking water, and anything else that comes to mind.
A fishing kit is a great tool for those who love fishing because it helps them catch more fish by making fishing easier.
It will allow you to catch more food and can also make your traveling experience much easier.
A hammock is a practical item that can be used in several different ways.
It can make sleeping more comfortable, drown out disturbing noises, as a bug out bag shelter, and much more.
A hatchet is quickly becoming the ultimate survival tool for many people.
It can easily cut through wood, bones, twigs, vines, and brush and is ideal for just about anything you might encounter on your journey.
A camp shovel is essential for most camping or bug out bag trips.
It can be used for digging holes, gathering water, as a weapon, and even for more serious survival purposes.
A filet knife is used to fillet fish and other sea animals.
It can also be used to cut through meat and bones.
Its main purpose is to let you communicate with other people quickly, which is necessary if your group is separated in the wilderness or if your group of survivors needs to regroup.
A GPS device provides you with a sense of direction and location.
It provides you with access to coordinates that may help you find your way to safety if you are lost or have gone out of your way.
Sewing kit are really simple.
They can be used to repair garments and fix simple to more complex equipment.
The sewing kit can also be a great way for people to make their own clothing and equipment as well.
It’s best to just purchase a sewing kit that is already pre-made with all of the necessary components and materials needed, such as thread and needles.
Microfiber towels are very lightweight and absorbent, which makes them excellent for cleaning.
They can be used to dry yourself off after a bath, or keep your gear clean and free of dust and other foreign particles.
While all of the items in this list would be ideal to have with you in a survival scenario, there’s no way that one normal-sized person alone could carry all of these items and not be bogged down and too tired to carry on within an hour or so.
That would defeat the entire purpose of bugging out, and being in a cumbersome situation when your nerves are raw from travel and the unknown variants can prove to be deadly.
However, if you’re part of a family unit, or group that is bugging out together, it is quite feasible to divide these supplies amongst your group and have a nice camp setup that would give you much better odds in survival.
The GPS device is listed in place of a compass, but if you can read a compass, obviously it would be great to have because it doesn’t require batteries.
However, if you cannot operate a handheld compass, it doesn’t help to have one with you.
The same applies to a map. While it is ideal that everyone knows how to read a map and a compass, the reality is that not everyone can do so.
You need to pack according to your abilities, and if you know you would fare better with a handheld GPS unit, that is what you need to pack in your bug out bag in order to help you make it to a safe point, or to hold on until the cavalry arrives for you.
In this last section, we have included a few of the “comfort necessities”.
These are items that, if you can manage to divvy their weight between your group, would lend an almost comfortable feel to the bug out situation you have found yourselves in.
The “Comfort Necessity” Items
- Light Sticks/Flares
- Additional rations
- Additional Clothing
- Additional First Aid Supplies (Splints, Tourniquets, Medicines)
- toiletries (deodorant, toothpaste, toilet paper)
- Nail Clippers
- Petroleum Jelly
Additionally, you may want to pack toiletries to make your trip more comfortable. Toiletries can include toothpaste, a toothbrush, and deodorant.
Toiletries are also good for hygienic reasons, especially if you’re sleeping on the ground or in a dirty area. Toothbrushes can be used to help avoid brushing your teeth and other surfaces with dirt and particles in them.
it is used for a variety of things in the emergency situation such as lubricating gear, taming frizzy hair, soothing bug bites, and as a substitute for lip balm.
Another item you’ll want to have with you is trash bags. These are very useful for a variety of tasks. For example, to line your sleeping area you can use the trash bags as a sort of clean, protective sheet.
Again, none of us want to find ourselves on a three-day trip where we haven’t brushed our teeth and we smell like we belong wandering in the post-apocalyptic woods, but when it comes to a can of sardines or a tube of toothpaste, those sardines win every time on day 3.
You won’t care how dirty your slacks have become if you run into a bear and you don’t have any ammo left.
The point is survival at all costs, and that will often include the cost of some of the more unnecessary hygiene items. If you have baby wipes in your bug out bag, you should be able to cleanse yourself a few times, and also to keep your hands clean for eating your rations.
Often it is nice to have flares or light sticks for signaling purposes but remember that a fire, or a flashlight, can serve the same purpose, and several other purposes.
When traveling with the bare minimum for supplies, you want to bring the most multifunctional items first, then tack on any single-use items as you see that you have the room to travel with them. When it comes right down to the survival basics, these bug out bag list should help you prioritize your very own supplies.