Essentials for a bug out bag

It can be overwhelming building a bug out bag


It can seem overwhelming when you think about all that you need to do in order to be prepared for an emergency.


Do you need to stock up on food? Water? First-aid supplies? The list goes on and on!


It’s important to remember that the most important thing you can do is to stay calm, in life and especially when SHTF. Once you have a plan, the rest will fall into place. And if you’re not sure where to start, that’s okay! We are here to help! 


Where do you start? What are the most important things to include in your bug-out bag?


However, if you break the process down into smaller steps, it becomes much less daunting. And, if you take the time to think about what you need ahead of time, you’re already ahead of the game. So, where do you start? First, assess your needs. What are the items that you absolutely cannot do without? Everyone will be different so it’s important to figure out what are key things for you. Then I would, make a list of those items and prioritize them according to importance.


Then, start gathering those items and putting them into your bug-out bag. The key thing is to take things step by step. It doesn’t need to be finished right away, it will only add more pressure on yourself which is not needed. I would try to do too much at once, just focus on getting the most essential items first. Once you have those taken care of, you can move on to less essential (but still important) items. Do not forget, that your bug-out bag is never truly “done”, as your needs change, so too should the contents of your bag. When following these  tips, you can be better prepared for whatever comes. 

Water Storage And Purification


A bug-out bag is a survival kit that is typically used to evacuate in the event of an emergency. It is important to have a way to store water so a metal water bottle is recommended for your bugout bag. I would also have a small pot to cook with or purify water with. Boiling is one of the most effective ways to purify water. It will kill bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Boiling will not remove chemical contaminants. If you are unable to boil water, there are other ways to purify water. 


You can use bleach, iodine tablets, or water purifiers. One brand of water purifiers is Life Straw which I love. When I pack my bugout bag I typically use pack the Platypus GravityWorks Water Filter System because it can filter large quantities of water, which is great for a family. I also make sure to bring a Sawyer Squeeze Water System as well. 


It’s always a good idea to have more than one way to purify your water. It may save your life and your families. 


Personal Protection


When it comes to personal defense you have to make sure you are “squared away”. Your protection should be at the forefront of your mind when packing a bug-out bag. You never know what could happen, so it’s always better to be prepared. The best item you could include for personal defense would be a rifle. Not only would it be useful for hunting animals, but it would also provide protection from other people if needed. If a rifle is not an option, the next best option would be a handgun. A knife is also an important item to include in your bug-out bag. I would make sure to have a large and short knife in my bugout bag.


It can be used for various purposes, including personal defense. This would be the worst-case scenario as no one does well in a knife fight. You should also make sure to include ammunition for your firearms in your bug-out bag as well. Yes, I know that ammunition can be quite heavy, but it’s essential for personal defense and security in an unknown situation. Hopefully, you will never have to use any of these items for personal defense. But it’s always better to be prepared just in case.

Survival Shelter 


There’s more than one way to skin a cat, as the saying goes, and there’s more than one way to build a shelter. In fact, there are many ways to build a shelter, and the best way to do it depends on the materials you have on hand. If you’re lucky enough to have a tarp, for example, you can combine it with branches and leaves to create a rudimentary but effective shelter. 


If you don’t have a tarp, you can still use branches and leaves, or you can use what’s around you to build a shelter that will protect you from the elements. The important thing is to practice building different types of shelters so that you’re prepared for anything. And remember, the best shelter is the one that keeps you safe and dry. With a little ingenuity and some practice, you can build a shelter that will serve you well in any situation.


You Need A Tarp


A tarp is an essential piece of equipment for any bug-out bag. In the event of an emergency, a tarp can be used to create a waterproof shelter in minutes. It is also a great basis for building a shelter, as the tarp will ensure you have a waterproof layer of protection which is key. I know many preppers and they all have a tarp because of how essential it is. However, it is important to remember that a tarp is only one part of the equation. You also need to know how to combine it with leaves, branches, and whatever else is around you to create a shelter that will protect you. This takes practice and creativity, as no two situations are ever exactly the same. So don’t forget your tarp when you’re packing your bug-out bag!


Food for A Bug out bag


The key thing when it comes to food in a bug-out bag is determining how long you will be bugging out. Will it be for 3 days or a week? It’s always best to air on the side of caution and estimate a longer time frame than you think you’ll need.


You never know when an unexpected delay will occur, or when you’ll need to ration your food. That’s why it’s important to always have extra food in your bug-out bag. It’s always better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. 


Depending on how long you’ll be bugging out, you’ll need to pack different types of food. If you plan on a shorter distance to travel than a little non-perishable snacks like granola bars and nuts will suffice. That being said, if you’re planning to be out for several days or longer, you’ll need to pack more substantial meals like canned soup and pasta. And don’t forget to pack a can opener!


No matter how long you plan to be bugging out, it’s important to be prepared. That means packing enough food to last you the entire trip, plus some extra in case of emergencies. When you are ready, you can ensure that you and your loved ones will have enough to eat no matter what happens.

Catching Food


If you plan to be near the water or already are then having a way to catch fish may also be a great thing to add to your bug out bag. You could get a small compact gill net that you can attach to your bag. I would take time to learn how to trap animals as well, as both of these are much more passive ways to collect food than hunting.


Long Shelf Life


MREs are the best bug out food in my opinion because of how easy they are to pack and use. They may not be the tastiest but they pack a whole lot of nutrition and you don’t need to worry about them spoiling for a long time. I am a big fan of tuna, in my bug out bag and I avoid canned tuna. It tends to be a lot heavier than the tuna packs. The lighter my bug out bag the better you don’t want to be carrying around the equivalent of your bodyweight around. 


When stocking your bug out bag with food, it’s important to choose items that are non-perishable, high in nutrients, and lightweight. Canned goods and dried foods like beef jerky are excellent choices, as they have a long shelf life and won’t add too much weight to your bag. Nuts, seeds, and granola are also good options, as they provide essential nutrients and can be easily carried. Whatever you choose, make sure that the food in your bugout bag will last for the duration of your journey and provide the nutrients you need to stay healthy.

First Aid


Injuries happen. You can’t always predict when or how, but you can be prepared for when they do. A first aid kit is an essential part of any bugout bag because it gives you the supplies you need to clean and treat injuries, both big and small. When you’re outside, things can get dirty. If you’re moving around a lot, you’re more likely to scrape your skin or get a cut. And even if the wound is small, it’s important to keep it clean to prevent infection. 


First aid kits give you the tools you need to clean wounds and bandage them up so they can start healing. They also include supplies like antiseptic and antibiotic ointment to help prevent infection. Sometimes injuries are more serious, and you might need stitches. That’s why it’s also a good idea to include surgical sutures in your first aid kit. With all of these supplies, you’ll be able to treat injuries quickly and effectively, no matter where you are or what happens.


You Need A Way To Make Fire Within Your Bugout Bag


I would make sure to pack a fire striker and some waterproof matches in my bug-out bag. In my bug-out bag, I always pack two lighters as well. I would also recommend having tinder that is ready to ignite from a spark from your fire striker. I typically have a small ziplock bag with twigs/cotton balls and leaves so that I can use them even if things are wet around me. 


If you find yourself in an area where things are damp and wet, where there is nothing to help get a spark to kindle into a fire. Then find the driest tinder you can find. Then put it inside your coat/shirt and over a few hours, it should be a lot dryer. Just something that I have done when out in the woods and I could not get a fire started because everything was so wet. From then on, I always make sure I have kindling ready to go. 




I include two cans of fuel in my bugout bag. No, they are not large jerry cans of fuel. They are the Sterno fuel cans. There are different types, I go with the 4-hour kind. This way I know that if making a fire is not on the cards with my family I can use the fuel cans instead. 


They allow a person to cook without the smoke and attention that a fire can bring with it. If you haven’t used one before all you need is a match, or a lighter… to get it going. Keep in mind you will not see the flame, so do not put your hand on the open lid once you have lit it. Or you will burn yourself and then have an injury on your hands. 


Some people will say you do not need them, I think you do because you know wherever you are you can have “fire”. Without the smoke and noise that fire brings with it. There may be many SHTF scenarios where you don’t want people to know someone is there, and this gives you the option to cook food and purify water. All the while staying stealthy.


It also gives you the ability to have a fire regardless of the environment. It can be very hard to start a fire when everything is wet. You should always have some tinder(cotton balls, twigs(ziplock) ready to go in your bag. That being said, having two lightweight cans of fuel is something I highly recommend. 


If you plan to bug out using your car, you should make sure you have jerry cans filled with gasoline. This way you will not need to stop until you reach safety. Things will be very dangerous when SHTF and stopping for fuel could easily be a very costly mistake.

Electricity/ Solar Power For Survival


It is so easy to find good-quality solar panels to generate power for you. I would pack foldable/ portable solar panels that you can roll out when you need power. This is a great addition to have in your bug-out bag. I would pack a battery bank which I can charge with the solar panels. This way I have a power bank so that even when the sun isn’t shining, I can our electronics. 


They are a lightweight option to have in your bugout bag. I think the power of being able to use your phone can help in so many ways. One such way is that listening to music has been proven to boost your mood and mental state, something that is essential in a survival situation where every little bit counts.




I always have a multitool around, in my car and house. They are a relatively cheap way in comparison to the number of things it can solve. They are light and easy to carry, which makes them ideal for a bug-out bag. If you had to have all the items that would take up a lot of space. They can easily fit into your pocket making them a great item to have when SHTF, or in general.  




I would also pack a silk saw. They are various types of saws that they make. They have been my go-to for saws. A chain saw is faster when it comes to cutting wood. That being said having a good saw that uses less energy to cut a sizable piece of wood without using gasoline is key. If you maintain and take care of any of their saws they last for a very long time. I have three saw’s from them and they all still work amazingly. 


Why do I need a saw in my bugout bag?


You most likely will want to use wood to create your structure, when your on the move. Or maybe you have a bug-out location out in the wilderness. Silky saws allow you to have a quality saw that is lightweight and easy to carry. They make an amazing addition to any bug-out bag. They come in all different sizes. Most importantly they can fit in a bug-out bag easily.


If you want to build a lean-to or a frame structure being able to cut wood with ease is key. Yes, you still have to put in the work, but they make sawing a whole lot easier. The larger the saw the more space it will take up but on the same note. 


Communication Devices


In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to stay informed. With the current state of the world, you never know when an emergency situation will arise. That’s why it’s essential to have a reliable way to communicate with the outside world. Hand-powered radios are the perfect solution. They don’t rely on batteries or electricity, so you can always be sure that you’ll be able to stay in touch with what’s going on around you. In addition, hand-powered radios are extremely rugged and reliable. A walkie talkie is another good thing to have, it keeps you in informed right away if anything happens to someone in you care about. If they need to do something such as getting water and they saw something, they could let you know without having to move a step.


They can withstand the elements and continue working even after being dropped or knocked around. Whether you’re looking for a way to stay informed in an emergency situation or just want a reliable way to stay in touch with the outside world, hand-powered radios are a must-have. 


Solar power is becoming increasingly popular due to its renewable and sustainable nature. Many hand-powered radios have solar panels built-in so that they can be charged by the sun’s rays. This is a great feature, as it means that you will never be without power. In addition, many of these radios have USB ports, so that you can charge your phone or other important devices. I would highly recommend looking into getting a hand-powered radio, as they are a must-have for any home. 


Not only will you be able to stay informed in case of an emergency, but you will also be able to keep your devices charged. solar power is a great way to ensure that you are never without power. So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself a hand-powered radio today!


Sleeping Bags For Bug Out Bag


Determining what sleeping bag is right for you comes down to asking questions. 


Where are you located? Where do you plan to be when you bug out? This will help to determine what you buy. 

When shit hits the fan, the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not you have the right sleeping gear. But trust me, location is key when it comes to choosing the right sleeping bag. If you’re bugging out to a colder climate, you’re going to need a heavier-duty bag that can withstand the elements. Conversely, if you’re headed for a warmer climate, you might be able to get away with a lighter bag. Personally, I don’t like to put my sleeping bag in my bug-out bag. I prefer to carry it on top of my bag or at the bottom. That way, I can grab it quickly if I need to set up camp for the night. 


Of course, the right sleeping bag for me might not be the right one for you. So take the time to figure out what will work best for your particular situation.


The season you’re in will also play a role in your decision. If you’re bugging out in the middle of winter, you’ll need a warmer bag than if you’re bugging out in the middle of summer. If you live in an area that gets heavy snow during winter, then I would recommend getting a warmer bag. The worst case is you bug out when it’s hot and you have to open your bag up. 


I personally have two sleeping bags for each person in my family. One that is heavy duty and the other that is lightweight. 


And remember, when it comes to sleeping bags, quality is more important than quantity. So don’t skimp on your purchase – it could mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and a sleepless night spent shivering under the stars.


Navigation Without A Map When SHTF


A compass is one of the most important tools that anyone can have, especially if they are planning on going off the beaten path. With a compass, you will always know which direction you are going in and you will never have to worry about getting lost. GPS may be the more popular choice these days, but if GPS goes down, you could find yourself in a very difficult situation. A compass doesn’t rely on batteries or satellites, so you know that it will always work when you need it.


A compass can help you to determine your position and to find your way back to your starting point if you get lost. It can also be used to help you plan your route and to find your way to a destination that is not on any map.


That being said, I still think you should have a map of where you live and the different routes to reach your destination if you have to bug out. 


Additional Items For A Bug out Bag


There are quite a few things that need to be added to a bug-out bag to make it more complete. One major one that often is forgotten is money. If you ever need to use the bug out bag you don’t know what might have occurred. You might not be able to take out money because it’s too dangerous. Or maybe money has lost its value completely. In that case you will need something else of worth to barter with. 


The saying goes “money talks” and that’s very true. When things go south you need to have some form of money to pay for unexpected expenses. I would focus on having a few hundred to a thousand dollars in my bug out bag. 


I would also have some pieces, such as quarters and things of that nature. Silver is also a good thing to carry as well. I would not walk around with thousands of dollars worth of cash and precious metals in a bug-out situation or in general. It is just asking for trouble. I would say a few hundred dollars in gold and a few hundred dollars in silver would be a good thing to pack away. You know that they will hold some value regardless of what has happened. 



This should complement the first aid that you have packed and ready to go. I would make sure that you have different types of generic medicine. Such as Ibuprofen, Aleve, sore throat medicine, and honey. If you need medicine specific to you then that would definitely be high on my priority list of things to stock up on. 




I think having honey, even a small jar of 100% pure and organic honey is key. The number of uses that honey has can not be put into words. If you have a sore throat, it will help. If your feeling under the weather honey helps in combination with medicine. It also can be that sweet little extra that gives you the mental boost to keep going when times get tough.  


Honey has been proven to help in fighting an infection. This could make all the difference if this happens when SHTF. 




The need to have a few different types of rope is so vital for a bug-out bag. The need for a rope is clear as day. When you want to build a shelter having rope will make things so much easier and faster. If you need to get down from a high-up area, the rope will get you down safely. The list goes on and on about how important it is to have rope in your bugout bag. a rope is one of those items that has endless possibilities and no downsides. 


You can use rope for trapping, hunting, belaying, shelter construction…the list goes on and on. That’s why I always have at least two types of rope in my bug-out bag. I will have thicker rope if I need to assist a family member or carry an animal after a hunt. I will have a thinner rope for shelter construction. Whatever your needs, having rope is a resource that you cannot afford to be without. 


Staying In One Place Or Bugging Out


As anyone who has been through a major disaster can tell you, the world can change in a blink of an eye. That being said, it’s always crucial to be ready for the unexpected, but there will be some situations where it’s simply too dangerous to stay put. That’s why it’s of utmost importance to have a backup plan in place for when things go wrong.

Of course, there are advantages to staying in one place when SHTF.


 You’ll be familiar with your surroundings and you’ll have access to all the resources you’ve stocked up on. But the downside is that you won’t know what’s happening outside your area. When the unexpected happens and comes up to your doorstep things can get very dangerous. You might think that could not happen where you live, but things change fast especially when people panic. I have witnessed that firsthand when things turn for the worst, people lose their heads and no longer think clearly. 


I am not saying it’s not important to have a plan A, but on the same hand, it’s equally important to have a plan B. So, ensure that you have a bug-out bag packed and ready to go, so you can get out quickly if you need to. Then make sure each member of your family knows what to do in case of an emergency. When you bug out you should have a location or place that you know will be a safe place to go to.


I would make sure you have multiple ways of getting there as some of those routes to getting there may be blocked. The key one is roads can become very dangerous, in that everyone will be trying to get out. So have alternative roads, and trails to go on to. When you are prepared for anything, you can give yourself the best chance of staying safe when disaster strikes.


Emergency Blankets


You could pack an emergency blanket if you feel that you may need one. I personally do not have emergency blankets in my bug-out bag. That being said, they can be a lifesaver if you fall into a frozen lake for example. Or in any situation where your core body temperature is dropping. Emergency blankets serve a purpose, and maybe one day I will add one to my bug out bag( if I can find the room).




Everyone in my family has two sets of clothing in their bag. It’s important to have especially if your clothing gets wet, you will want to change and should. Wet clothing is so made to stay in when trying to survive. So have a change of clothing. When it comes to shoes I would have a comfortable and sturdy pair of hiking boots. In combination with hiking shoes. This way if the boots become too heavy you can switch into lighter but still strong footwear that will weather the storm around you. 


Personal Hygiene


I would have a small case/ziplock bag with all of your personal hygiene. There are many ways you can do it. The main thing you want is that your personal hygiene stays inside of whatever kind of container/bag/case that you are using. You do not want things spilling or damaging other things within your bug-out bag. 


Bugging Out


If bugging out is your plan A or if it’s your plan B make sure you have your destination mapped out. I would make sure that everyone knows how to get there, in case you get separated for some reason. Your bug-out bag may need different things based on what scenario you are preparing for. Regardless of the situation, if you have these core items in your bug-out bag you will be in a pretty good situation. 


If you take on board these essential elements and advice when it comes to building a bug-out bag you will be much more ready. Emergency survival comes down to having the tools ready and knowing how to use them. That could be learning how to make a fire for boiling water or how to build a shelter for survival. Whatever happens, be that from a black swan event on an economic level or something else. You will have the foundation to tackle whatever comes your way. Practice and do not become complacent. 



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