Having a bug out bag packed and ready to go isn’t just for those that are prepping, or survival enthusiasts.
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.
The Absolute Essentials
Without these items, you are basically just packing to camp in the backyard without smores.
- Fire Starter Kit
- Emergency Blanket
- Sleeping Bag
- Spare outfit
- Rations (think sardines, MRE’s, Clif bars)
- Water filter device
- Water Purification Tablets
- Can Opener
- Multi-use mask
- Bear Spray/Pepper Spray
- Firearm and Ammo
- First Aid Kit
At the bare minimum, this list of items should be ready to go in your bug out bag.
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.
Water purification tablets and a canteen are the very basic in survival.
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 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
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)
- Additional Firearm/Ammo
- Additional toiletries (deodorant, toothpaste)
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 lists should help you prioritize your very own bug out bag.