I’ve spent a lot of time thinking this one through. Don’t give me that crap about having electronics being a stupid idea because I hear THAT stupid idea from someone every time the topic is brought up. The fact is that 99.9999999% of anything you’d ever use your bug out bag for will allow you to use your electronics so not reaping the benefit of what this stuff can do for you is just plain stupid. If somehow an EMP/CME does wipe out EVERYTHING I have, then I just drop the bag – simple solution. In the meantime, I carry this stuff.
Using this site as a guide I just finished my own BOB. I purchased many of the same items with some slight variations based on my local geography. Since I was starting from scratch I didn’t have many of these items yet so most were recently purchased. Right off, the tent, sleeping bag, ham radio and titanium stuff are about 800$ after getting all of the other items I am right about 1500$. However, some of the items I got there were cheaper options but I chose better quality to ensure the equipment lasted a very long time.
Keep in mind, a well-designed bug out bag should weigh no more than 25% of your body weight, assuming you are in average physical condition and are not overweight. Any heavier than that can make carrying the bag highly strenuous and limit your ability to remain mobile and travel long distances on foot during an evacuation. Limit your packing list to the essentials that will help you survive.
All of our hunter–gatherer ancestors had classification systems for living organisms, knew their names, understood their uses, recognized how they inter-related to each other, and were aware of exactly how to utilize those resources in a sustainable fashion. This knowledge was at the foundation of their ability to thrive within the natural environment.
A BOB is the minimum equipment you need (depending on your skill set) to get from point A to point B. It is not meant to last a month or a year or ten years. If you don’t have long term gear at point B and you can’t stay at point A, you’re better off in a FEMA camp. Point B can be anything from a motel to a relative’s house to a cabin deep in the woods someplace but you have to get there when the going gets tough. That’s why a BOB is important. What I think people fail to understand is that what takes 72 hours in good times might take two weeks or more in tough times and that BOB needs to get you through. Hunting, fishing, trapping and foraging are required skills in that case; you can’t rely solely on what you can carry on your back.
One of the most important things to have in a survival kit is a fixed-blade knife. I used to carry a SOG Seal Elite, and I even carried it in Iraq and Afghanistan, but for a bug out bag here at home, I wanted to see if I could cut down the weight and still have a very effective knife. After a LOT of research, I pretty much came back to the same thing but got the SOG Seal Pup instead.
I took all my “kit” electronics ie solar panels etc, a duplicate luci lamp (how fun is this!), and some spare LED flashlight bulbs and wrapped them in overlapping wax paper with a dessicant pack, then foil, then wax paper, then a specific 3M dri-shield mylar anti-static bag which I closed with HVAC metal tape (like they use to patch a/c ducting). The tape and bags make for some sharp corners and I’m still pondering how to solve that. You can write directly on the bags with a sharpie or use masking tape to make a label. Every couple of months I open it all up to see if it’s working and/or corroded. It’s a total pain in the patootie to seal it up again but I sure sleep better. Didn’t really add any weight and I didn’t wrap everything just the backup/spare stuff. If there was some weird solar or other event, then I would dump the more EDC stuff if it stopped working. Hubby thinks I’m nuts but I sleep better at night.
Don’t forget spices and nutritional supplements. Yes, you can plan a well-balanced diet with prepared foods, but not everyone has the same taste. Spices and herbs allow you to change up the flavor of the same basic ingredients for variety and interest. Vitamins and supplements are an important addition to your emergency supply stash. Choose nutrition bars, protein powder, or multivitamin capsules that support nutrition and boost natural immunity.
On point number 9. It is best to try and reduce the carry weight but having utensils can drag you down. One solution that I have used is to take a frisbee instead of a plate. Its lightweight, easily cleaned, can be a water dish for any pets, they can be brightly colored for signaling and it has the added bonus of being a toy. A little stress relief can go a long way when times are rough.
When calamity strikes you’ll still need to eat and if there are no shelters in the vicinity stocked with emergency supplies what are you supposed to do? The answer is the Food Insurance bug out bag that provides you with copious amounts of prepared food sealed in vacuum pouches and ready to be eaten. Every Food Insurance meal has a shelf life of more than a decade and requires only a bit of water to prepare. Everything from lasagna to omelets to rice and beans are here along with the stove to cook them. Add some of your own survival gear like a tactical flashlight, survival knife, emergency blankets and water filter and you’re ready for whatever comes down the pike.
I like your addition of a bug net. One thing I noticed is that the author correctly says to save space and weight to just pack a tarp. However, where I live, from late May to late September if you don’t pack bug netting, a tent with screens or plenty of bug spray you are going to be itchy, sore and tired from no sleep because you are up all night swatting mosquitoes
Most everyone loves fire. Fire is essential in a wilderness survival situation for a few reasons. One, it provides warmth which keeps body temperature up. Two, it provides heat used to purify water. It also provides light, heat to cook food, and serves as a center to draw people in. Earth based wisdom teaches us that fire is a spirit unto itself, and encourages us to have a good relationship with fire. I know that despite my passion for it, I didn't truly appreciate fire until it took me four days to get it with a fully primitive bow and drill fire making kit on my first wilderness survival solo.
The most important factor that will determine the right size bug out bag is your torso size. You can measure your torso by having a friend or casual acquaintance measure the distance from the top of your Iliac Crest (hip bones) up to the bony prominence at the base of your neck (the last cervical vertebrae). Knowing the length of your torso will help you choose a bug out bag that fits comfortably.
Some survival books promote the "Universal Edibility Test".[18] Allegedly, it is possible to distinguish edible foods from toxic ones by a series of progressive exposures to skin and mouth prior to ingestion, with waiting periods and checks for symptoms. However, many experts including Ray Mears and John Kallas[19] reject this method, stating that even a small amount of some "potential foods" can cause physical discomfort, illness, or death.
Most everyone loves fire. Fire is essential in a wilderness survival situation for a few reasons. One, it provides warmth which keeps body temperature up. Two, it provides heat used to purify water. It also provides light, heat to cook food, and serves as a center to draw people in. Earth based wisdom teaches us that fire is a spirit unto itself, and encourages us to have a good relationship with fire. I know that despite my passion for it, I didn't truly appreciate fire until it took me four days to get it with a fully primitive bow and drill fire making kit on my first wilderness survival solo.
Wow! This is fantastic! I started out blindly trying to put together an emergency “bug out” bag and I found this well written breakdown extremely helpful. So much so that I’ve actually purchased many of the recommended items. A somewhat costly endeavor considering that I made two identical bags, one for my wifes vehicle and one for mine. We live in a earthquake prone region and the talk of the “big one” is always in terms of “when” rather than “if”. It gives me considerable peace of mind to know that no matter where my family is we have the means to survive as long as we can get to our car.

I carry electronics also, but use a 1L dry sack ( http://pin.it/TST5oS- ) should Murphy’s Law define the moment. A larger dry sack is the ideal container for carrying my spare underwear (hot or cold season), and another dry sack is carried for bandanas, bandages, and gauze. A 35L dry sack is used as a liner for my Snugpak Sleeka Force 35 pack and doubles as a floatation device when sealed for hasty stream / river crossings.
How to Make a Bug Out Bag? – If you decide to make your own bug out bag you’ll want to start with a good-sized, water-resistant backpack and then fill it with a combination of food and practical implements that will allow you to transcend any difficulties you’re likely to encounter. You’ll want to include purified water as well as a water filter (in case the emergency has fouled the local water supply), plenty of freeze dried food along with power bars (but no perishables) and things you can use to protect yourself from the wind, cold and any precipitation that may be falling. Which means you’ll want emergency blankets, dry clothes and rain ponchos. You’ll also want to include other practical implements like a compass, tactical flashlight, walkie talkies, multi tool and more.
Not surprisingly, hypothermia is the number one outdoor killer in cold weather. That means a well-insulated shelter should be your top priority in a prolonged survival situation. To make a simple lean-to, find a downed tree resting at an angle, or set a large branch securely against a standing tree, and stack smaller branches close together on one side. Layer debris, like leaves and moss, across the angled wall. Lastly, insulate yourself from the cold ground–which will draw heat from your warm body–by layering four to six inches of debris to lie on.
Nice list. Its uncanny that I myself have most of the same exact gear. Even so I would like to give all my gear a cold weather weigh in as I live up north. I have warm and cold weather kits and the cold weather kits get heavy quick since the sleep systems are so darn heavy. Havent done a weigh in for a while, made me think. I cant carry what I used too a decade ago.
This tactical flashlight fits neatly into the palm of your hand so there’s no excuse for not making it part of your survival gear. It produces 300 lumens of intense, focused light, has 3 operational modes – high, low and strobe (particularly handy in emergencies) – and is tough as nails so you don’t have to worry about damaging it. It’s the kind of rugged, dependable companion you want with you if you’re lost or injured and it will greatly increase your chances of enjoying a successful resolution to your situation.
The Ready America Deluxe Emergency Kit is a bug out bag with serious survival in mind. As such it’s heavy on practical, tactical gear such as dust masks, duct tape, a multi tool, rain ponchos, protective goggles, a well-equipped first aid kit and maybe most impressive of all, a 4 function emergency power station that requires no batteries or power cord and acts as a flashlight, radio, emergency siren and cell phone charger. Just crank it for 1 minute to get 30 minutes of power for the various functions. Clever and essential survival kit.
Everyone’s needs when they Bug Out are different. So your Bug Out Bag should suit your needs. Your size/strength, number in party, where you plan to go and for how long will determine what goes in the bag. Bigger groups can share load weights. The only way to determine which bag works for you is to research and try the different sized and designed back packs. In the end, the weight you’ll be carrying may determine whether an external frame or internal frame will be best.
Not surprisingly, hypothermia is the number one outdoor killer in cold weather. That means a well-insulated shelter should be your top priority in a prolonged survival situation. To make a simple lean-to, find a downed tree resting at an angle, or set a large branch securely against a standing tree, and stack smaller branches close together on one side. Layer debris, like leaves and moss, across the angled wall. Lastly, insulate yourself from the cold ground–which will draw heat from your warm body–by layering four to six inches of debris to lie on.
I have to agree with Steve: I have a bug out bag ready in case the SHTF. That doesn’t mean that there’s going to be a lot of “safe places” to run to. If we get together with like minded people, we can make a long term plan. The only reason for a “three day bag” is if “they” are coming for you specifically and you can go to another sane location. I personally have packed a .22 revolver and 200 rds., carry a .38 Special and pack 100 rds., and shoulder a Saiga .223 carbine with 200 rds. of “penetrators”, FMJ, and some soft point if I need to take a little larger animal. And, another thing, if you pack “pills” in a baggie and happen to get stopped along the way, you can bet on a trip to the station!
One thing about Eberlestock packs is that they are built with high quality and they are tough. The packs are expensive but you won’t need to buy another pack again. Made with top-notch materials in the United States. Users have given it fantastic reviews and we agree, this is a high quality pack that can be used to carry a small load or a huge load. The pack is very versatile which makes it an attractive choice for a bug out bag.
I agree less is more. Use two contractor refuse bags sandwiched together with leaves and moss in between the layers will make a good sleeping bag, floats for river crossings.water storage etc. Not so detectable on ir, properly camouflaged. Thermal a whole different story. The Oath Keepers site has instructions for a thermal evasion cloak. With a little bit of tweaking it will make a very warm and snug sleeping bag. So if evasion from thermal is a concern this might be a solution. It can be used as poncho, lean to, and rain fly. For survival needs I carry .22 with subsonic 1000 fps thereabouts and a silencer. The sound signature is that of a click of the firing pin. For motion detection $ 9.99 motion detector from Harbor Freight, they come in white, mask and and paint black avoiding the white detector cover.

I agree less is more. Use two contractor refuse bags sandwiched together with leaves and moss in between the layers will make a good sleeping bag, floats for river crossings.water storage etc. Not so detectable on ir, properly camouflaged. Thermal a whole different story. The Oath Keepers site has instructions for a thermal evasion cloak. With a little bit of tweaking it will make a very warm and snug sleeping bag. So if evasion from thermal is a concern this might be a solution. It can be used as poncho, lean to, and rain fly. For survival needs I carry .22 with subsonic 1000 fps thereabouts and a silencer. The sound signature is that of a click of the firing pin. For motion detection $ 9.99 motion detector from Harbor Freight, they come in white, mask and and paint black avoiding the white detector cover.
Learn how to use it – What good is a compass if you don’t know how to use it? Not much. How about your Tenacious Tape? Or your GPS locator, or multitool? It’s great to head out into the wilderness with all the appropriate survival gear but if you don’t know how to use it when the time comes it will be as useless as the “g” in “lasagna”. Once you’ve decided what you need and have purchased everything take the time to familiarize yourself with what you have and how it works. Take the GPS locator out into your local state park and practice with it. Practice starting a fire with your emergency fire starter. Buy some extra Tenacious Tape and a cheap raincoat and practice cutting it up and making repairs. Take your survival knife out on a short hike and see what its practical limitations are when it comes to cutting wood etc. You might need a larger one or one with a longer serrated edge. The bottom line is this: make sure you know how to use the survival gear you have before you leave civilization behind and head into the woods.
Great read & outstanding list of items. Extremely helpful & very much appreciated. While I’ve found over the decades that there are usually several ways to accomplish most things, focusing on the core items/goal while adapting to the situations & environment an individual(s) find themselves in is crucial. You can have everything known to man & still have limited skills/experience leaving you vulnerable. You can have all the skills but arrogance & overconfidence can do you in. Applicable intelligence, balance in actions/approach to problem solving on the fly & practice with skills/preps can make the difference in most cases. So one has a 35 year supply of beans and rice, great to have no doubt, but who wouldn’t trade some of it for a coke and some M&Ms for normalcy occasionally? That may be just enough encouragement to get the companions/family through to safety. Again, it’s all a wag for the most part…do what preps you can, develop usable skills…plan, persevere & prevail. Fantastic prep checklist & ideas…thanks! Proverbs 27-17…As iron sharpens iron, so on man sharpens another!
A “Bug out bag” (sometimes called a “bail out bag” or “survival bag”) is loosely defined as a backpack-style bag that a person keeps at the ready in case they need to evacuate in a hurry (bug out) due to natural disaster, civil unrest, fire, war or any other similar type of calamity. A bug out bag won’t be much good should a comet the size of Dallas hit the earth but for the type of events listed above it can make the difference between thriving and barely surviving.
I cut a 6′ section of that same Reflectix that I used for the pot cozy/lid, and sealed the edges with aluminum tape. It makes for a great lightweight sleeping pad. I take it camping but it’s not in my bug out kit normally because it’s 11 ounces and I’m trying to stay under 25 pounds. I may end up just keeping it in there anyway at some point but I’m trying to cut down another 10 ounces before I put it in if I can. This is it all folded up nicely n such.
Often survival practitioners will carry with them a "survival kit". This consists of various items that seem necessary or useful for potential survival situations, depending on anticipated challenges and location. Supplies in a survival kit vary greatly by anticipated needs. For wilderness survival, they often contain items like a knife, water container, fire starting apparatus, first aid equipment, food obtaining devices (snare wire, fish hooks, firearms, or other,) a light, navigational aids, and signalling or communications devices. Often these items will have multiple possible uses as space and weight are often at a premium.
By choosing versatile tools like multi-tools and bandanas, planning an array of easy-to-make meals, and arranging an even distribution of weight in your pack, you can prepare yourself for a glitch-free outdoor experience. Essentially, you’ll consider the things you need to live safely in everyday life and then adapt those supplies to fit outdoor life. Once your bag is packed, you’ll be ready to dive in to the next adventure: using a blend of tech and nature’s navigation tools to find your way in the wilderness.
These days news carries quicker via modern tech such as mobile phones and social media networks, this modern equipment maybe the only way you can get news early into any disaster, news that could be vital to your survival by giving you the information needed to decide how to proceed in the safest fashion, such as government advice what to do based on the information they have but you do not.

I’ve had several times in just daily life that I’ve needed a wrench. Can’t hurt to have one if you’re out trying to survive and come across something that needs to be disassembled. Measuring tapes are useful to make sure you can fit something to something else and don’t have both of them together. I have a fiskars hatchet but it’s a different tool. Chopping a 9″ log is a lot of work but sawing it is pretty easy.
I’ve seen that 1/3 of your body weight number getting tossed around a lot. Any idea where that comes from? In Afghanistan I tried to keep my pack around 35 lbs so I was never over 75 or so with my weapon, ammo and body armor. Even then, walking all day with that much weight is brutal when you’re not used to it. I’d hope most people would shoot for around 35lbs total in a bugout bag. Add in a weapon and some ammo and you have another 8-10 lbs if you take a rifle. It adds up quick.
Say you're at work and a terrorist attack occurs. Roads are closed to any and all traffic but you only want to get home - even if that means walking. You may not want to grab your full on family pack in the car or you may not even be able to get to it. But you just want a light kit to get you through. How far is it to get home from wherever you may be? This get home kit should provide for 1-3 nights of traveling on foot till you make it home.
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