What’s In the Bug Out Bag?

The Bug Out Bag. You have heard mention of it all over the place. Fine, what exactly goes into it? Ask 100 people and get 99 answers. All we can do is peak into each others BOB and get ideas for ourselves.

If a situation pops up that you actually need to grab the Bug Out Bag, you likely do not have much time to contemplate what you need to take with you. That’s the whole point.

The motto we keep coming back to in the prepper world is;

‘Chance favors the prepared mind’ – Louis Pasteur

Take the time now to pack a variety of things you may likely need so when the moment comes, you won’t need time to pick and choose what would be useful, it’s all in the BOB.

Let’s peak inside mine!

Start with the BASIC categories of emergency preparedness;

Food, Water, Shelter, First Aid, Security, Light/Power, Communication, Clothing, Camping, and Information.

Food. The common current trend for BOBs is 3 days worth of immediate supplies. That translates to the actual food (high value, good shelf life) and the ability to prepare it.

  1. MREs (Meal Ready to Eat) or their freeze dried equivalent.
  2. Quick protein bars.
  3. Hard Candy.
  4. Small stove, literally small($5).
  5. Fuel tabs for that stove
  6. Pot that can boil water, metal yet light.
  7. Sturdy reliable can opener.
  8. Utensils to eat with. Metal.
  9. Collapsible cup.
  10. Scrub Buddy for the pot.

All of the cookware hopefully fits into each other to take up less space. Keep in mind that freeze dried food also needs water. Yet, non freeze dried takes up more space and is heavier. It is a trade off. Here is a picture of the kind of stove I mean.

Water. You can only go 3 days without water and if you are on the run that span gets even shorter. Here are the recommendations in this category;

  1. Actual bottled water. 1 liter per day minimum.
  2. Canteen, metal.
  3. Filter. Maybe go with a LifeStraw($15).
  4. Water purification tablets.
  5. Flavor powder.

Remember to boil questionable water if you don’t use tablets. Straining through cloth first also helps keep out the nasties. Flavor powder is not necessary, but it only takes up a small pace and can help a lot with funny tastes.

Shelter. Getting and staying out of the elements is way better than being exposed to them.

This section of the bag takes up a large portion of the room, but it is likely worth it.

  1. Small two man tent.
  2. Large dull colored Tarp, better with grommets.
  3. Goodly length of rope, 550 para-cord.
  4. Assorted smaller sizes of rope.
  5. Wool blanket.
  6. Mylar blanket.
  7. Optional sleeping bag.
  8. Optional ground pad.

Those last two take up enormous space in the bag, it is all about what value you place on a good night’s sleep. If you have never made a shelter out of a tarp and some rope, try it.

You do not want the first time you did this to be during an already hectic time.

First Aid.  A good solid First Aid kit($20-30). But remember to take the time to look through it. If you do not know how to use something, it will not do you much good when the time to open the first aid kit comes.

Security.  I like a nice range of items here;

  1. Henry Survival .22 rifle (breaks down)($225)
  2. Handgun. (.45 or .40 or 9mm)
  3. Ammo for any gun (25-50 rounds)
  4. A good knife.
  5. Another good knife.
  6. A good lightweight hatchet/machete.
  7. Pepper Spray.

There are many variations on the firearm scenario and plenty of options for the alternative weapon type. The thing about firearm choice is to stay with the most common rounds. (.40 & 9mm used by police, .45 & .223 used by the military) A third good knife is probably not a waste of space either 🙂 This Quora post addresses the choice between knife, hatchet, and machete.

Light/Power/Communication. By this I mean artificial light, we will cover making fire further down. Good communication is often the first thing to collapse in a SHTF situation. First up, LIGHT

  1. LED lights are superior. Flashlight.
  2. LED mini flashlight
  3. LED head lamp
  4. Candles
  5. Glow sticks


  1. Hand crank cell phone charger
  2. Batteries; AAA, AA, 9 volt.

Lastly, COMMS 

  1. Old cell phone
  2. Hand crank emergency radio
  3. Walkie-Talkies, even toy ones are OK.

Clothing. Not having the right clothing can make an unpleasant situation even worse very quickly.

  1. Mosquito netting
  2. Good rain poncho
  3. Dry Wool Socks, and then more dry socks.
  4. Bandana
  5. Lightweight windbreaker type jacket.
  6. Clean underwear
  7. Sturdy gloves, not for cold weather, for work
  8. Hat with a brim
  9. Old Pair of Glasses

Hopefully you were wearing something useful when you had to Bug Out. You can never prepare for all contingencies as far as clothing goes and you will always be pressed to not fill the Bug Out Bag too much. If you still have space, pack a pair of RUGGED BOOTS.


Camping. Sort of a generic category for all the other stuff that should be in your BOB if you are going have to rough it for awhile;

  1. Several plastic lighters
  2. Pill Bottle with wood stick matches
  3. A good Flint
  4. Dryer Lint in a baggie.
  5. Insect repellent
  6. Chapstick
  7. Wet Wipes
  8. Toiletries
  9. Small Mirror
  10. Whistle
  11. Small note pad and pencil
  12. Compass
  13. Duck Tape
  14. Sunglasses
  15. Sewing Kit
  16. Fishing Kit
  17. Zip Ties
  18. Binoculars
  19. Small towel
  20. Assorted Ziploc Bags
  21. Sturdy large Garbage bags
  22. Small gauge Wire
  23. Small bottles of liquor
  24. Local Map

There are plenty of other things you could include if you have the inclination space;

Money(cash), bullion, a credit card(you never know), ID. Creature comforts – like tobacco, additional items of clothing. More ammo. More socks. Soap. The list goes on.

Remember you are not a crackpot, you are thorough, not naive, and well prepared.


Bug Out Bag

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3 thoughts on “What’s In the Bug Out Bag?

  1. I’m impressed you already have one set up (is there something going on there we should know about?). But nice to see what needs to be in it should I ever desire to create one (I’m going to be honest, I’m probably too lazy to do this and out in the country with a slower paced life, probably not as high a priority)

  2. If I may add my 2 cents. I have done preparedness and bush craft for many years. A good knife should be a fixed blade and full tang. But, instead of a small Axe, I carry a
    Silky Pocket Boy folding saw. It will cut through a 6” diameter branch quickly. But I usually use mine for building a shelter and sawing smaller branches for fire. You won’t find a better folding Saw. And you save quite a bit in weight over an axe, even if it’s a small hand Axe.

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