Putting together a bug out bag is really not that difficult if you have a bug out bag list to go by. However, putting together a comprehensive, well packed bug out bag requires a little bit more attention to detail.
Using a bug out bag list will help you stay organized, allow you to check off items as they are packed, and highlight any items you may have missed or additional items you want to include in your bag. Remember, you want to get all of your essentials packed first, including tools and supplies that are crucial to survival in an emergency.
Every person has different needs that should determine what they want to include in their bug out bag, aside from the basics of food, water, shelter, and fire. When making your bug out bag packing list, double check that you have listed any special medical supplies or medicine that you need.
For example, diabetics should have an extra supply of medicine and testing supplies, asthma sufferers should have an additional inhaler, and people allergic to food or outside allergens should include an Epi-pen for their bag.
Pack Appropriately for Different Climates
Also take into account what type of weather you are likely to encounter if you have to bug out, do you need extra clothes for a warm climate or cold one? What type of terrain is in your immediate and extended area, and what shoes are best suited to traverse it? (Flip flops, backless shoes, and slip-ons are not ideal walking shoes)
If you are unable to use your vehicle or have to abandon it along the way, do you have a map to reference in case your GPS or phone doesn’t work? These are all questions that should help you think about what items will need to be incorporated into your bug out bag packing list.
Make Your List and Check it Twice
Once you have addressed all these issues, make a physical list of everything you think you need or could possibly need in your bug out bag. I find that having an actual printed list that I can check off is easier for me to use, however, you may prefer to use a digital version or handwritten version of a bug out bag packing list.
Once your bug out bag packing list is complete, review it a few times to make sure you haven’t left out anything, and make notes of items you want to have more of or have left off the list.
Below are essential items and common items to have on your bug out bag list, and to pack in your bug out bag. You will not be able to fit all of these items into one bag, you will need to pick and choose which items are best for your budget and situation. This is just a guideline, as everyone’s list will vary depending on their individual needs. I have included notes that were helpful to me when packing my own bug out bag.
Home-Based Bug Out Bag List
BaseCamp Section (See Examples Here)
- 3 Day Assault Pack
- Two Person Poly Tube Tent
- Waterproof Bivy Bag
- Survival Blanket
- Hooded Poncho
- Pack Straps
- Chow Utensil Kit
- Mess Kit
- Emergency Stove
- Pack Grill
- Extra Socks
- Hand Warmers
Survival Core-Kit Items (See Examples Here)
- MOLLE Tool Pouch
- Mini Survival Kit
- Bic Lighter
- Heavy Duty Zip Ties
- Waterproof/ Storm Matches
- 550 Paracord
- Army Field Manuals
- G.I. Can Opener
- Flint Fire Starter
- Duct Tape
- Tick & Insect Repellent
- Mosquito Net
- Fishing Kit
- Sewing Kit
- Military Style Compass
- Sling Shot Band Kit
Rations & Water (See Examples Here)
Water is the most important thing to plan for in this section. Food on the other hand is one of the least important when bugging out from home, we can actually survive weeks without food. Besides that, when bugging out from home you can do something as simple as grabbing a bag of rice on your way out the door to sustain you for weeks.
- SOS Ration Bars
- Millennium Energy Bars
- Mountain House ProPaks
- Homemade bags containing non-perishable items
- MRE’s (Heavy)
- Water Purifier Tablets
- 2.5 Liter Hydration System
- Straw Water Filter
- Water sachets or pouches
- Water filter bottle
Lights, Tools & Blades (See Examples Here)
- Crank Flashlight that does not need batteries
- Am/Fm Radio
- Portable Solar Panel
- High Lumen Flashlight
- Headlamp w/ Extra batteries
- Micro Multi-Tool Black
- Entrenching Tool/ Shovel
- Full Tang Survival Knife
Health, Hygiene & First Aid (See Examples Here)
- MOLLE First Aid Kit
- Assorted sizes of gauze pads, several of each
- Gauze bandage
- Surgical tape
- Ace wrap
- Antiseptic wipes or liquid.
- Anti-bacterial cream
- Alcohol pads
- Anti-bacterial wipes
- Waterless hand sanitizer
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Aloe Vera burn cream
- Eye wash
- Eye dropper
- Ice pack
- Various size needles
- Safety pins
- Sanitary napkins/pads
- Vinyl gloves
- Moleskin (for blisters)
- Hygiene Kit
- wet naps
- bar of soap
- dental floss pick
- hand and body lotion
- deodorant gel
- twin blade razor
- shaving cream
- Toilet Tissue
- NIOSH N95 Respirator Mask
- Foot care kit
- Potassium Iodide Tablets
- Snake Bite Kit
Vehicle Bug-Out Bag List
Your vehicle bag is an extension of your home bug out bag and should build upon what you already have. In addition to the basic supplies, here are extras that should be staple items for your car bug out bag contents list:
- An all-in-one car emergency rescue tool that has a seat belt cutter, glass breaker tip, alarm, and flashlight.
- The tire change kit that came with your car or one that you have purchased. Know where it is located and how to change a tire.
- An auto kit containing car battery jumper cables, tow rope, tire puncture sealant, reflective triangle, tire pressure gauge, and oil funnel.
- 4 Emergency road flares and lighter
- Multi-function Swiss Army style knife tool
- A complete medical kit that would be too big to carry in your backpack
- Extra food and water, enough for 72 hours
- A larger camp stove and fuel, if you’d like
- An inverter with a phone charger
- 2-way radios, enough for your entire family
- Waterproof weather radio with extra batteries
- Extra 5-gallon water bladder
- 5-gallon Gas Can
- 2 Extra tarps and rope
- Bungee cords
- Water filtration unit or water purifying tablets.
- Extra sleeping bags
- Blankets – Mylar and polar fleece ones are easy to pack.
Office Bug Out Bag
For the sake of this list, we’re assuming that you’re using your office bug out bag as a tool to get you home. An office BOB is only useful if you can easily get to it in an emergency, therefore, keep it with you and don’t leave it in the car. You may be trapped in your office building or unable to access your car in a disaster or crisis. In that capacity, it should include the following on your bug out bag contents list:
- Your docs box
- Food and water to get you home, 1-2 days’ worth
- Dust mask (NIOSH approved)
- A small first aid kid with the basics in it
- Multi-tool knife
- Change of clothes including shoes, socks and a jacket or coat
- Fire kit
- Extra medication
- Map of the local area (Preferably with multiple routes home already marked)
- Cash including coins
Children’s Bug-Out Bag
In an emergency situation, having a role and responsibility can help keep your kids from panicking. Practice emergency procedures with them regularly and let them help you pack their bug out bags so that they know what’s in them. Explain how to use each item in the bag and develop a plan in case you should get separated. Don’t just assume that everything will be OK - hope for the best and prepare for the worst!
Here are a few items that will be specific to a kid’s bug out bag contents list:
- Written (or drawn) map to a close designated meet-up place.
- Document with your child’s personal information as well as yours
- Change of clothes
- 6 rations of snacks/meal bars that they can easily open
- Water - 4-6 bottles if they can carry it, and water purification tablets. For younger children, purified water pouches are lighter.
- Wind-up or shake flashlight
- Polar Blanket
- Rain Poncho
- Glow Sticks
- Small first aid kit
- 2-way radio with new batteries, set to a preset channel
- Comfort item such as a small stuffed animal, family picture, or coloring book and crayons.
Bags for elderly relations can also be packed according to what they can carry. Don’t overload them, but don’t leave them out, either. It’s important in an emergency situation to be practical, but it’s also important to remember that morale is an integral part of survival; everybody wants to feel needed. In addition, you’re going to need all of the help that you can get and it would be foolish not to utilize every tool in your arsenal in order to get everybody through your ordeal safely.
Odds and Ends and Other Considerations
- Extra Cash, Coins, Gold.
- Important phone numbers Written Down.
- Passport and copies of other important personal information.
- Packet of sugar, Light and provides energy.
- Cotton, Used to silienge clanking gear and as fire tinder.
- Zip lock bags, Keeping stuff organized and dry is paramount
- Sharpener, Knives and axes get dull.
- vitamins, Prolonged bug-outs you may have days without food.
- Extra socks, kept in ziplock bags, this can’t be stressed enough.
- Underwear, Ditto.
- Tea bags, Lighter and easier to prepare than coffee.
- Map of your area, SERIOUSLY IMPORTANT.
- Thick garbage bags, a million and one uses.
- Collapsible cup, if not included elsewhere.
- Magnifying glass, redundancy for fire starting.
- Super glue, light and can extend the life of your equipment,
- Salt & pepper, why not?
- Bandanas, Sooo many uses, google it.
- Personal protection, besides bug out problems, hungry things lurk in the woods.
- GPS, make sure you have a compass as a back up and a renewable energy source.
- Red spray paint, mark your path in unfamiliar territory.
- Respirator or gas mask, takes a lot of room, use your best judgement.
- Frying pan, very heavy, but extremely nice to have.
- Gold-bond powder, for chafing and foot care.
- Sun block, a life saver if needed.
- Signaling mirror (great for non-zombie apocalypse)
- Glow sticks (in case of disco)
- Spare battery for your electronics.
- Solar powered rechargeable batteries or plenty of extra batteries
- Pocket Survival guide, if your’re inexperienced.
- Edible plants guide for your area.
- Aluminum foil, millions of uses.
- Towel, chamois cloth.
- Spare shoes/boots and extra laces
- Clothes pins, Rubber bands
- Signal flares
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