Bug Out Bag Essentials

A “bug out bag” or a “go bag” is a bag for supplies and equipment for when on the go, usually when evacuating or escaping a disaster.  While certain situations call for different preparation, a bugout bag should generally contain food and supplies to sustain you for a 72 hour period and should be chocked full with your bug out bag essentials.

Not only is what is in the bag important, its size, shape, and weight are very important things to consider when choosing a bag.  Some prefer a duffel bag type, others a backpack.  It all depends on the need of the owner and the specific situation it is meant to be for.

A bag with sectioned compartments will provide easy access to gear and weapons especially in a hurried situation.  Try to keep certain gear in specific locations and practice retrieving those items.  Familiarity with your bug out bag is a necessity to survival.

Equipment that is absolute bug out bag essentials:

1. Water

Water is crucial to survive.  Which is why it’s definitely one of our top bug out bag essentials. Unfortunately water is also heavy and hard to store and carry efficiently.  Emergency water pouches are great for immediate hydration needs.  For longer term water solutions, a Water purifier and water purification tablets can provide gallons of safe drinking water.

2. First Aid

Injuries or medical conditions make having an Emergency first aid kit an important part of your gear.  Kits range from smaller kits to larger kits, including kits that are a bag itself.  This may be beneficial in a situation where more than one person would be carrying packs; One would carry the primary Bug Out Bag, the other would carry the First Aid Bag.

3. Food

If there’s a chance they you will be displaced, a small amount of food is essential.  As mentioned before, having enough food for a 72 hour period is a good idea.  Healthy and nutritious food is the most desirable, your body may be under physical stresses, like hiking, climbing, building, etc. For high nutrition/small size, nutrition bars are a good option. Freeze dried food or powdered food needs to be mixed with water but takes up little space and weight by itself, and can usually be stored for very long periods of time.

4. Clothes

Emergencies can happen at any time.  Having a set of clothes in your bag will assure that you have the right clothes for any weather situation.  Depending on your local climate, what you choose may vary.  Generally, a rugged pair of shoes or hiking boots will be useful.  If in colder climates, long underwear and a weatherproof warm jacket would apply.  A pair of pants, a Tee shirt, a sweat shirt, 2 pairs of socks and 2 pairs of underwear would provide appropriate attire in most conditions.  As mention before, space and weight are precious factors, so pack accordingly.  Clothes are often overlooked as bug out bag essentials.

bug out bag essentials

5. Shelter

If you find yourself outside for an extended period of time, shelter will be something that will be needed.  Whether a small tent, or a crude lean-to, protection from the elements should be a concern.  Small emergency tents are available that fold very compactly and will not take up very much space in your bag.
See our tent review here.

6. Heat/Cooking

The ability to start and maintain a fire has major advantages in a survival situation.  Simple solutions include waterproof matches or lighters. Magnesium fire starters or Flints work well also.  Small folding stoves take up very little space and usually use fuel tablets, which is convenient if you are unable to find or cut down tree branches.

Hand and body warmers take up little space and can stay warm for 20+ hours.

7. Light

Navigating the outdoors with a light source can be a dangerous predicament.  If stationary, a campfire may be enough lighting, but if on the move, flashlights are indispensable tools to have.  There are many kinds of flashlights, some use standard or rechargeable batteries, while some can be charged with a crank or by shaking.  At least one weather resistant flashlight will be an asset to your bag.

8. Miscellaneous

Other than the obvious bug out bag essentials listed above, a bug out bag still needs other equipment to be complete.  Some of these are:

  1. A high quality multitool –  An absolute must have.
  2. An emergency poncho – for each person you plan to have with you.  Being outside in the rain without protection can be uncomfortable and dangerous in colder climates.
  3. A portable emergency radio –  These can range in prices depending on their capabilities.  A radio will allow you to hear emergency updates, weather forecasts, and music helps boost morale.
  4. Entrenching Tool –  Useful for digging.  Can be folded for portability.  See also: Entrenching Tool (E Tool)
  5. Sleeping Bag(s) – A respectable sleeping bag, especially when used with a tent, will improve sleeping conditions immensely.  See also: Best Emergency Sleeping Bags and Best Family Tents For Bugging Out

These equipment listed here are general suggestions for Bug Out Bag Essentials.  Ideally, you should decide what gear you may or may not need according to your situation.

Since familiarity with your gear is important, take your bug out bag out for a night camping.  Make notes on what tools you used, which ones you didn’t, which ones you wish you had, and then you can decide what needs to be added or left out.


See also:  Bug In Or Bug Out?

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