bug out bag

Bug Out Bag Checklist: Essentials For Your Tactical Supply and Survival

by / 38 Comments / 1397 View / January 13, 2013

pinit fg en rect gray 20 Bug Out Bag Checklist: Essentials For Your Tactical Supply and Survival

This article gives you a good starting point for a bug out bag checklist.  A bug out bag or “BOB” bag is an important and necessary piece of your survival and prepper plan.  The idea is that you have a bag ready that contains everything you and your family need in order to survive for a few days to a week.  This is in case you need to ditch out of where you reside and head to a more safe place.  I call this your “safe zone.”  You should know ahead of time what your safe zone is and you should know how to get there on foot or bicycle, using back roads.  This is because in a SHTF or other type of emergency scenario, the main roads will likely be closed or overwhelmingly congested.

This could be because of a disaster, a terrorist attack, or social unrest.  Your bug out bag should have a tactical supply of the things you need for survival in a dangerous situation.  You will probably not have much time to go through your house and put stuff together.  You should have your bug out bag packed and ready so that you can just grab it and go.

Watch My Bug Out Bag Checklist Video

GETTING STARTED:

When preparing a bug out bag, you have two options.  1) You can build your own. 2) You can buy it pre-made.

Option one would require you to make a bunch of individual purchases.  This might end up costing you more in the long run.  However, the advantage to this option is that it is prepared exactly how you want because you are the one who put it together.  Option two will probably save you some money because you get the cost savings of buying everything at once.

Buying A Pre-Made Bug Out Bag

If you are going to buy a pre-made bug out bag, I recommend that you look at either the “Executive 72-hour Kit” or the “Executive 72-hour Kit with Solar Upgrade,” both sold by Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center, Inc.  These are my recommendation for the following reasons:

  • All of the items I have listed here are included, plus some other useful ones.
  • You will save a lot of money compared to if you were to buy all of these items individually.
  • The bag is extremely high quality.
  • It is designed to take care of two people if needed.
  • There is a 120-day 100% money back guarantee.  So if you think it is crappy, you can always return it. icon smile Bug Out Bag Checklist: Essentials For Your Tactical Supply and Survival

bug out bag 300x263 Bug Out Bag Checklist: Essentials For Your Tactical Supply and Survival
You can find both of these products by following these links:

Executive 72-hour Kit – As seen on CNN! Bug Out Bag Checklist: Essentials For Your Tactical Supply and Survival

Executive 72-hour Kit with Solar Upgrade Bug Out Bag Checklist: Essentials For Your Tactical Supply and Survival

If you are thinking more in terms of being able to support several people, I would recommend the 72 Hour Emergency Survival Kit for 10 People Bug Out Bag Checklist: Essentials For Your Tactical Supply and Survival sold by Survivor Industries.

 

LIST OF BUG OUT BAG ESSENTIALS:

If you are going to build your own bug out bag, the following is a bug out bag checklist to help you get started. Everyone’s bug out bag list is going to be different, so use this article as a starting point (NOTE: You need to balance having enough with being able to get around quickly.  Use your discretion on how much or how little to pack.  Of course if you have a bug out vehicle and the roads aren’t closed or too congested to navigate, you can pack several bug out bags and throw them into your bug out vehicle.  This article is geared more toward you being on foot):

1) Food

The first two items, food and water, are the most important items on the bug out bag checklist. Make sure that you have enough food to keep you alive for at least three or four days.  Hopefully, you can make it to your safe zone within that time period.  MRE meals are ideal because they are quick and easy to prepare.  Also, they are light and do not take up very much room. Eight to ten MREs should be good.  If you don’t like MREs, make sure you pack food that is non-thirst provoking, high in calories per weight, and will not spoil quickly.  If you do want to stock up on some MREs, they cost anywhere from $8 to $12 each depending on the quantity you buy at once.  I personally don’t think there is much variation in the quality of MREs, so wherever you get them is probably fine.

2) Water Purification Tools

Obviously, carrying enough water to last you two weeks is not practical.  You should fill up a couple of canteens or water bottles to last you a couple days.  But you should also have a water filter and sterilization device to obtain clean and safe drinking water along your route to safety.  UV sterilization devices such as the SteriPen are great because they are small and can make your water safe to drink in less than a minute.  For more on water purification and devices, read this article The First Necessity For Survival: Water Purification.

3) Guns and Ammo

You will need to protect yourself from wild animals and possibly looters.  You may also need to hunt for food if you are on the road for longer than you can sustain yourself on your food supply.  A .22 caliber rifle is good for hunting small animals like rabbits, squirrel, and birds.  You should also have a pistol for self defense.  For you pistol, consider at least a 9mm, preferably something with more stopping power like a .45 caliber.  I would suggest that you have at least fifty or so rounds for each gun, but pack as much as is practical, given needed mobility and space.  Remember, ammo (as well as any useful item) can be used for barter as well.

4) Fishing and Trapping Gear

If your food runs out and hunting with a gun is impractical or you don’t have a gun, fishing and trapping gear can come in very handy and can be a more low key way to get food.  If you don’t know how to fish or trap, you should take some courses or watch some video tutorials on the subjects.  If you have friends that go fishing, you should go with them and learn all you can.

5) Extra Shelter and Warm Clothes

A tent, sleeping bag, rain pancho, and a couple of changes of clothes are essential.  As far as clothes go, you want at least two pairs of socks and underwear.  Think wilderness survival rugged attire like army style apparel.  If it is winter and you are going to be in the cold, make sure there is enough to bundle up.  The shoes you are wearing should be army style boots, durable and strong enough to endure heavy bush-whacking.

6) Stove and a Fire-Starter Kit

You will want a stove to be able to cook food.  There are some great compact propane stoves that you can add to your bug out bag.  If you run out of propane, or you don’t have a stove to start with, you will need to be starting fires to cook food and to keep warm.  Make sure you have a bunch of matches and that they are stored in a waterproof container to prevent them from getting wet.  It is also a good idea to have a durable magnesium flint steel fire starter in case you run out of matches.  In addition to matches and a magnesium flint fire starter, it is a good idea to have some tinder.  Tinder is easily combustible material that you can easily ignite to start the fire as it builds and catches onto larger pieces of wood.  Newspaper works well, but my favorite method, and my suggestion for your bug out bag, is to coat some cotton balls in petroleum jelly (vaseline).

7) A Survival Knife

There are so many uses for which a survival knife will come in handy.  Self-defense, cutting, skinning, digging, sharpening, etc…to name a few.  For a discussion on how to find the best survival knife, read this article: Survival Knives

8) A First Aid Kit

In a survival situation, you are likely to get some cuts and scrapes, and maybe even some more serious injuries.  Your bug out bag first aid kit should contain many different sizes of bandages, disinfectant, a suture kit for stitching wounds, gauze, pain killers, antibiotics, and any medication you rely on. For more information on first aid kits and medical supplies, see my article on Medical Supplies

9) A Map and Compass

It is likely that in the event you are putting your bug out bag to use, there will be no cell reception or data connection for your smart phone, and thus there will be no google maps to guide you. Have a paper map and a compass in your bug out bag so that you can get to where you are trying to go.  If you don’t know how to use a map and compass, i suggest that you watch some tutorials and learn this valuable navigation skill.  It is a good idea to have previously mapped out and marked on your paper map a course to your designated safe zone so that you can navigate your way there.

10) Sewing Material and Paracord

Sewing material can come in handy for stitching torn clothing or other important materials in your survival supplies.  It can also serve to stitch wounds in an emergency (if you don’t have a proper suture kit).  Additionally, paracord is a must for any survival situation.  Paracord is a lightweight, but extremely durable and strong type of nylon rope.  It is the material used in parachute cords (hence the name “paracord”).  Paracord can be used for building shelter, fishing, trapping, tourniquets, etc…

In conclusion, these are what I think are the most important items to have in your bug out bag. I’m sure you might be able to think of some more, but this should give you a good start.

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38 Comment

  1. Thirty to forty MRE’s on foot? You are kidding right?

    • You’re right. I was thinking more in terms of lasting a couple of weeks, but now that I think about it, that would be a pretty heavy pack. Thanks for pointing that out.

  2. There are survival knives that contain fishing gear, and a little reel you can mount on the side of your knife. they also often come with a compass, reflector, and some water-proof matches.

    • Yes, there are some great options like that, but be careful about having a hollow handle, which can be weak and may not be as durable as a solid one.

  3. [...] so it was not that hard). If you need help getting a bug-out-bag, I suggest you read my blog post Bug Out Bag Checklist: Essentials For Your Tactical Supply and Survival.  After you have things squared away for the first few days, then follow that same approach and [...]

  4. I actually have both a bug out bag and a box set up. Bag is on foot, and well iI can just toss ‘em both in the bed of my old truck and head on out. It pays to have somethin set up just in case.

    • Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you see how important this stuff is.

  5. so you will be walking /riding/driving blindly around. get a radio scanner and you have at least some chance of getting info about the situation. If you have an android phone try glSDR and a R820T dongle. extra power source could be handy if you go down that path.

    • Thanks for your comment. Hopefully, you will have already planned where you would go when you need to get out of dodge. That is why I wrote of having a map and a compass with a route pre-mapped out. I like to plan on smart phones not working, just in case, so learning some good old navigation skills like using a map and compass, is what I would suggest. I’ll check out those android apps you mentioned though. Thanks!

  6. Recently I had to leave due to fires.The broadcast emergency radio was vague and delayed.Listening to the fire crew radio talk I was able to build up a far better scope. Some times I could hear the fire crew say get all the people out of town xxyy now, only to hear that on the broadcasts , for the 1st time, an hour later.
    Only had 1 road still open so it is handy to know whether to get out or not. Yes, I had a map but some times you need more.

    • Thanks for your comment. That is a good point. Having a radio so that you can hear the emergency broadcast is very important.

  7. I know some one with a “zombie plan” but when faced with a real emergency, a flood, the plan fell apart as the 1st option for getting food during the emergency was to go to Pizza Hut, which closed for the flood. Epic zomie plan fail.

    • Thanks for sharing that Paul. It points out just how important it is to plan ahead and really try to think through what the situation you are faced with might be like.

  8. i think that u should know an exact secret location where u plan on going.and before hand hide some basic survival needs.dig out a hole and hide a tent with all the basic survival needs.and then have a few restock piles planted along the way.so then u dont have to take everything on ur body when ur bugging out.(that way youll be much faster to leave the dangers behind.

    • That is a great point. This is the kind of planning that needs to be done. Good survival skills, most of all, require thinking ahead and taking action before the emergency so that you know what to do. Thanks for your comment!

      • Where in the world can you do such a thing? Seriously.
        Do you just go out in the woods on someones property and start digging holes? I see this suggestion all the time but nobody ever elaborates on to actually DO it.

  9. The large screw top plastic containers, suitable for rafting and therefore watertight are a good choice.Stock as you see fit. Best buried on a fenceline, easier to re-locate and if the fence has wire in it, less likely to be found by weekend metal detectors.

    • Who owns the fenceline?

  10. Best to have plans for all scenarios. I’m currently working on a list for BOB (walking and driving), as well as an INCH plan (walking and driving). The BOB will go no matter what, but the INCH will include more items/guns and ammo for longer survival periods.

  11. There are a few small things you may be missing. A small sewing kit, for ripped clothes and major wounds would be a good addition. You didnt mention any paracord, which could have a huge variety of uses.

    • Good point. I was just putting what I thought were the most important things, but now that you mention it, I am going to add both things you suggested. Thanks for the comment!

  12. Thanks for the list! It’s helpful.

    Compass is a great idea – I do know how to use one and the city I live in is extremely gridlike and the areas around it very north (other cities), south (water), east/westy (national parks) to the point that even without a map, having a compass to stay on track would help get to or away from useful areas. Not that the sun and mountains couldn’t help me out for a while as well…

    As for a radio/flashlight/phone charger, I cannot more highly recommend the WR-111B which can be recharged using hand crank or solar and is the size of a soda can. Very easy to use and good quality light and radio.

    Lifestraw is a great water purifier. (Basically a bit straw with a built in filter that was designed for use in 3rd world countries)

    I would also recommend a heavy needle and thread and possibly duct tape. Chances are you can come across various fabric items/tarps/heavy plastic….the ability to sew them together means ability to rough construct and tailor clothes, shelter, other items and, in a pinch, sutures.

    Also money (or, if you feel like it a few ounces of precious metals). Assuming that you get somewhere where civilization still prevails (which if you’re escaping from a flood area or whatever is likely) then it’s good to be able to purchase things.

    Finally, a few days supply of any prescription meds…and I don’t think most people thing of this but if you have bad vision (like me) or other impairments consider those! A spare pair of old glasses can really be a life saver to a contact wearer stuck without any options of replacements or care products.

    I’d also suggest a survival handbook (SAS style or similar). Covers lots of situations…if you find you really need to could even teach yourself how to make fire without matches, what is required for purifying water, what makes good shelter, what plants might be edible, etc. Knowledge is power, and unless you have a lot of free time, hard to memorize all that.

    • Thanks for your comment. I appreciate the time you took to share all of that helpful information. You seem like the perfect candidate for becoming one of our writers. If that is something that interests you, I encourage you to fill out an application form here: http://www.howtosurvivestuff.com/become-a-writer-for-htss

      If not, no worries and thanks for participating in the discussion. I especially like you point on having a survival handbook. Its true that there is so much to know and our memories are limited (at least mine is :). I will likely revise the list to include that item. Keep learning, keep surviving!

      • When I am hiking with the kids (I work for a traveling teen camp during the summers) I ALWAYS have a basic first aid kit instruction book in my day pack and a survival handbook in my 4-day pack. Not just for myself, and handy lessons on the go but if something happens to me so the kids have a guide on what to do to get me stabilized. For every 1 camper injury on a trip we had 4 adult injuries. Some of those were from dumb teen councilors but most were just the extra wear and tear you get from leading from the front. I want to make sure if I take a nasty fall that the people taking care of me have something to help instead of assuming that they know as much as I do

        • Thanks for your comment! You seem to really understand the importance of being prepared. Keep it up!

  13. I’m not concerned so much about bugging out. I live in a very rural area. My concern is that I drive 90 miles to work one way. Any thing In addition you think I would need if I had to hump it home ( beside good boots).

    • sleep system for the nite for the hike home and a hand gun for self protection. water filter for re-hydration and throw a couple of MRe’s in the car to have handy for the walk home all thia in a pack ready to grab and go look over some other things like a map of the area to get an idea of some short cuts to walk home.

    • Hi Kevin!

      I’d highly recommend the following:
      -extra socks. If your feet get wet you will get blisters
      -a flashlight, either with good batteries or a hand crank (you can also signal passing cars with this, but 90 miles suggests you’ll probably be walking through the night)
      -agree with map comment above. Though as far as how to get home, unless for some reason you don’t want to run into other people or the road is very much longer (windy) than walking as the crow flies, I’d stay on the road. More chance of rescue and less chance of getting lost.
      -if you are quite concerned about it, look into SARSat Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) – http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/personal-locator-beacons.html. This will allow search and rescue to find you. There is no subscription fee – only a fee if you use it when you don’t really need rescue. These have saved a number of lives and are required in some areas.
      -A case of water and a blanket in your trunk. Even if you don’t haul it all with you if you hoof it, it might be useful to have these. And if you DO hoof it, take a few of the water bottles with, please! Blanket can be worn as an extra coat over your shoulders if it’s cold or you think you might have to overnight. Also provides good shade if you need to rest for a while.
      -I don’t know if you live in an area with extreme weather, but protect against it. Whether it be a garbage sack you can make into a poncho, gloves and a hat for cold, or a hat with a brim that you can soak to protect against sun and heat…consider it.
      -Band aides, clothtape & gauze, or moleskin. If you get blisters, you’ll want them.
      -a decent, comfortable backpack with two shoulder straps. I suspect the strongest temptation will be to overload it rather than to pack it too light…though you can always throw out stuff if it gets too heavy.

      Be careful with the handgun idea above unless you are already proficient and comfortable carrying…check the laws in your state. Also, be aware of what your weather is like. Storing guns and ammunition in a hot (or worse, hot and humid) car is a good way to ruin a good gun and end up with misfiring ammo. Honestly, I’d go with a good knife (like a SOG Seal Team or a nice >3″ folder). It’s also good protection but aside from that, it’s a useful tool that doesn’t run out of ammo.

      • I live down south so it can get up to 100 in the summer and low teens in the winter. i have a good LED light and I bought a head style light. I really appreciate your input. I am pretty much a newby on this topic. I read a novel about EMP pulses and it got me doing serious thinking about things.

  14. Hi Kevin!

    I’d highly recommend the following:
    -extra socks. If your feet get wet you will get blisters
    -a flashlight, either with good batteries or a hand crank (you can also signal passing cars with this, but 90 miles suggests you’ll probably be walking through the night)
    -agree with map comment above. Though as far as how to get home, unless for some reason you don’t want to run into other people or the road is very much longer (windy) than walking as the crow flies, I’d stay on the road. More chance of rescue and less chance of getting lost.
    -if you are quite concerned about it, look into SARSat Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) – http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/personal-locator-beacons.html. This will allow search and rescue to find you. There is no subscription fee – only a fee if you use it when you don’t really need rescue. These have saved a number of lives and are required in some areas.
    -A case of water and a blanket in your trunk. Even if you don’t haul it all with you if you hoof it, it might be useful to have these. And if you DO hoof it, take a few of the water bottles with, please! Blanket can be worn as an extra coat over your shoulders if it’s cold or you think you might have to overnight. Also provides good shade if you need to rest for a while.
    -I don’t know if you live in an area with extreme weather, but protect against it. Whether it be a garbage sack you can make into a poncho, gloves and a hat for cold, or a hat with a brim that you can soak to protect against sun and heat…consider it.
    -Band aides, clothtape & gauze, or moleskin. If you get blisters, you’ll want them.
    -a decent, comfortable backpack with two shoulder straps. I suspect the strongest temptation will be to overload it rather than to pack it too light…though you can always throw out stuff if it gets too heavy.

    Be careful with the handgun idea above unless you are already proficient and comfortable carrying…check the laws in your state. Also, be aware of what your weather is like. Storing guns and ammunition in a hot (or worse, hot and humid) car is a good way to ruin a good gun and end up with misfiring ammo. Honestly, I’d go with a good knife (like a SOG Seal Team or a nice >3″ folder). It’s also good protection but aside from that, it’s a useful tool that doesn’t run out of ammo.

    • Thank,s I live in the deep south, so heat and humidity is a factor. I have a CCW. I bought a good medium alice pack yesterday and a well used army modular bag with bivy cover. i will check out the other things on you list. Thanks again

  15. Any good ideas on a good first aid kit for my backpack BOB bag. That would take care of say two adults.

  16. ghost, it all depends , if you live in an area where properties are 2000+ acres then the owners probably will too far to notice. Of course, here, I can get a prospecting permit, ask the owner if I can do a little prospecting, metal detecting, usually get an OK for that . A few holes dug around the place over two weekends to cover the real hole. Go thank the owner say it was fruitless. Hole dug.

  17. A couple things I don’t see here. An emer tent is very small and light. Aircraft safety wire is also very light and you can carry 20′ coiled up. That can be very handy. I keep a jogging wheeled carriage that is also adaptable to be towed by a bicycle ready at all times. You can gat a lot of stuff in there and it is easy to push if you don’t get it too heavy. Also you can hook it to a bicycle to fetch water or whatever. Mountin bikes with solid filled tires are great to have ready. I have one for myself and one for my wife ready to go. Hopefully we won’t need all this stuff but I would far rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. By the way, KelTec has a GREAT folding rifle in either 9mm or .40. They’re pretty inexpensive and easy to store and carry. Diamondback also has a mini 9mm handgun for under $450. If a fuy had the same cal hangun and folding rifle you would only have to carry one cal ammo.

  18. Nice article. As a fellow survivalist and blogger, I appreciate your receptiveness to your reader’s comments and additions. Too many people take offense way too easily these days. It’s nice to see the opposite here. There’s always something to learn. It’s the only way we’ll get better at what we do.

    Keep up the good work and feel free to stop by and say hi.

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