Water and Hydration
Arguably the most important bug out bag essentials are related to water and hydration. The human body can go without water for only 72 hours, whereas it can go without food for about 3 weeks. Water is an absolute must have in your bug out bag. One liter minimum, per day, per person is highly recommended.
Below, you can see the items we recommend.
- Drinking Water (3 Liters)
- Collapsible Water Bottle
- Hard Water Bottle
- Metal Water Bottle / Canteen
- Water Filters / Purification Systems
- Water Purification Tablets (Qty 3)
Food and Food Preparation
Next up are food stuffs. In the preparedness community we see a lot of people eager to recommend various products, mostly off-the-shelf, dehydrated, store-bought items. Personally, we recommend a variety of non-perishable food items, some that might require water and some that don’t. In a real bug out situation, you don’t know how scarce your water source might be. To be safe, plan for more scarce than you think.
Most of these items are self-explanatory, but we will definitely expand upon our reasoning for selecting these items in future posts. The important thing to know now is, you’ll want enough food to last three days at least. Another recommendation we see is, people using plastic cookware. For heat-resistance and durability, we recommend metal cooking utensils and cookware.
- Protein / Energy Bars (Qty 6)
- MREs / Dehydrated Meals (Qty 3)
- P-38 Can Opener
- Metal Cooking Pot
- Metal Cup
- Pot Scrubber
- Portable Stove
- Stove Fuel (Qty 8 Tablets)
Choosing clothing for your bug out bag is a very personalized selection as we all have different body types, tolerances and levels of fitness. The items listed below are to be strategically layered to maintain a healthy body temperature at all times.
Your clothes selection will obviously depend on your location, climate and the other factors listed above. You should evaluate your bug out bag every six months. At these times you’ll want to have a seasonal selection of clothes that you can swap out when necessary.
At least two changes of clothes ensure you can always have a dry set to wear. The last thing you want while bugging out, and in the elements, is wet clothes. Not only are they uncomfortable, but hypothermia is a real concern not to be taken lightly.
- Lightweight Long Sleeve Shirt
- Convertible (Zip-Off) Pants
- Wool Hiking Socks (Qty 3 pair)
- Medium Weight Fleece
- Hat w/ Flex Brim
- Working Gloves
- Rain Poncho
Shelter and Bedding
At first glance, to the experienced survivalist, some of the items we’ve chosen for this category might seem excessive or even impractical. But if you check the individual products we recommend, you’ll see they’re all made compact and lightweight with the backpacker in mind.
Yes, you can make a shelter out of a tarp or use a trash bag filled with leaves as a makeshift ground pad, but these are all items we think are a wise choice to include for numerous reasons. Being well-rested, both mentally and physically, is extremely important when times are rough.
- Sleeping Bag
- Ground Pad
- Wool Blanket
Having several means for starting a fire is also essential when bugging out. We recommend the following basics to be included in every bug out bag. The reason being, a survivalist and firearms expert friend of ours shared this piece of wisdom which has stuck with us ever since –
“Where there are two, there’s one. Where there’s one, there’s none.”
Essentially that means, if you don’t have a back up, and your primary fails you…you’re toast.
For that reason we recommend having at least 3 different means of starting a fire on your bug out bag list of items to pack.
- Ignition Source (Qty 3)
- Tinder (Qty 3)
- Waterproof Storage
First aid is one of those areas where there are a lot of “done for you” type products out there that just aren’t well-suited for a survival kit such as a bug out bag. The topic of First Aid could easily warrant several posts, but to keep it simple for now, we have one that we do highly recommend, but of course you can always build your own too.
- First Aid Kit
- Insect Repellant
- Mylar Survival Blanket
We’ve found that various aspects of personal hygiene are often overlooked when compiling a bug out bag list of essentials. But the implications of forgoing any of these for an extended period of time might lead to bacterial infections and a rapid deterioration in health. When bugging out, you need to be at the top of your game, so be sure to pack these items.
- Wet Napkins
- Hand Sanitizer
- All-Purpose Camp Soap
- Hygiene/Signal Mirror
- Small Pack Towel
- Travel Toilet Paper (Qty 2)
- Travel Size Toothbrush & Toothpaste
- Other Personal Hygiene Necessities
Next to weapons, this is the one category that everyone loves to go crazy over. And it’s easy to see why. Gadgets are cool, and some of these are especially sweet. But as we’ve said before, “every ounce counts.” Determine the must-haves and forget the rest. Trying to practice what we preach, we recommend the following three tools for your bug out bag.
Again, we’ll be sure to detail our reasoning later in another post, so stay tuned, but for now, these should fit the bill for most, if not all, bug out bags quite nicely.
- Survival Knife
Illumination, like fire sources, is something we recommend having multiple instances of as well. If one fails or you lose it somehow, you have another to take its place. Each item listed below has multiple uses, but they all serve the same purpose – helping you see what you’re doing or find where you’re going. Don’t forget the extra batteries!
- LED Headlamp
- Mini LED Keychain
- Light Glowstick
- Mini LED Light
Communications is another highly contested category in the preparedness community. We like to keep it simple though. If the bug out scenario allows for their use, you’ll be glad to have these items with you.
- Cell Phone
- Crank Power Charger
- Emergency Radio with Hand Crank
Depending on the situation you find yourself in, these items might prove quite useful. Don’t leave home without carefully thinking these through first.
- $500 Minimum in Small Bills
- Quarters (Qty 8)
- Gold / Silver Bullion Coins
- Local Area Map
- Small Note Pad / Pencil
- Emergency Whistle
Without a doubt, this is a controversial topic, and (WARNING: Blanket Statement Ahead!) it’s been our experience that the Americans among us tend to embrace this category the most. And being from the US ourselves, we definitely see why. J
Self defense is something we should all give serious consideration. Bugging out, in its severest of circumstances, is a survive or die proposition. Whether you choose a handgun, a rifle, both, or just a can of pepper spray, it’s completely up to you. But you can be sure in a bug out scenario, we’ll be well equipped to defend ourselves and hunt wild game if need be.
If you choose not to carry a weapon, or are not allowed to do so, then we highly recommend some degree of self defense training – especially If you have a family – as they’ll be depending on you for their safety.
We’ll definitely be doing more posts on this topic as time goes on, so please let us know what you would like to read more about in the comments below.
- Pepper Spray
- Takedown rifle
- Ammunition (Qty 25 rnds minimum)
We’re almost done! These are items that didn’t necessarily fit into any of the other categories, but they’re just as important for inclusion in your bug out bag. Chances are some of the items will have you scratching your head, but we assure you, you want these items in your bug out bag.
- 550 Parachute Cord (50′)
- Cotton Bandana
- Duct Tape (25’)
- 55 Gal. Contractor Garbage Bag (Qty 2)
- Resealable Bags (Qty 5, Various Sizes)
- N95 Face Mask
- Sewing Kit
- Latex Tubing (3’)
- Fishing Kit
- Condoms (Non-lubricated)
- Binoculars (Optional)
- Face Paint
- Military Surplus Survival / Snare Wire