Saturday, July 10, 2021

What Should Be in a Bug Out Bag?

Learn how to make a survival bug out bag and what should be in a bug out bag.  Even if you don't have a place to bug out to, having bug out bag gear is important in case of an emergency or natural disaster.  Use this guide to help you plan bug out bag contents so you can build one for your family.

When I started dating my husband, he had a green backpack next to the back door.  Since he was a bachelor, I just figured that he hadn't gotten around to putting it away after a trip.

A few months later, it was still there.  I finally asked about it.  He looked at me like I was crazy and informed me that it was his bug out bag.

Then I looked at him like he was crazy and asked what a bug out bag was.

In the last 20 years, I've learned a lot about bug out bags.  I thought they were unnecessary, but the last year has proven how much we all need one.  Keep reading to get a bug out bag list so you can make your own.

I highly suggest making an emergency planner.  Use it to store all of your lists, ID information, insurance information, and more.  I have a printable emergency planner that you can print to make your own binder.

Bug Out Bag Essential Oils

Before we talk about your survival bug out bag, there are a few things that I want to note.  Some people create bags for specific time period, like a 72 hour bug out bag or a 3 day bug out bag.  

Technically, a bug out bag is only meant to get you from your home to your bug out location.  However, you can plan your bug out bag items based on your needs.  

We don't really focus on a time period.  We have things for basic survival because we are only grabbing that bag for absolute emergencies.  

However, we do use our bug our bag for an emergency bag.  We took it with us when we made a road trip out of state a few weeks ago.  We will also grab it if we go camping or will be at an outdoor party or event.

What Is A Bug Out Bag?

A bug out bag is a backpack filled with essential supplies that you can grab on your way to your bug out location. 

Ideally, what should be in a bug out bag is everything you need to stay safe and sustained on your way to a safe location in the event of an emergency.  Your bug out bag list will depend on your family size and needs.

Learn more about what is a bug out bag and why you need to make one.

Why Is It Called A Bug Out Bag?

It is called a bug out bag because it is a bag you grab when you need to bug out or leave your home, work, or vehicle. It is meant to be grabbed in the event of an emergency when your current location is no longer safe and you need to move to a bug out location.

Do You Really Need A Bug Out Bag?

There are a slew of reasons to keep a bug out bag around. Should you ever need to leave your primary location, your bug out bag will allow you the resources to get there safety.  Your bug out bag contents will help you should need fresh water, medical supplies, or food.


Further, bug out bags can be stored in cars and at your job so any minor emergencies can be quickly handled and the supplies in the bag can be replaced.

Some people have a true bug out bag that does not move from its location, and other use theirs sometimes when needed.  Your bug out bag list should reflect how it will be used.

What Items Should Be In A Bug Out Bag?

Your bug out bag should include everything you need in order to make it to safety from your primary location. As such, it should contain supplies such as medical equipment, water filtration tools, toilet paper, and other personnel as well as other effects.


I recommend looking up emergency supply lists and seeing what works for your bag before making your own. What's important to remember is that you can pack items for comfort in addition to necessities. 


Many preppers keep water flavoring packets in the event they have to purify their own water, as well as hygiene wipes or other self-care resources. Staying safe and healthy is important but it pays to be comfortable in a bad situation.

How To Make A Survival Bug Out Bag For A Family

When you have to take multiple people into account in a survival situation you will need to decide on how many survival bug out bags to prepare. For families with younger kids I recommend having the parents take bug out bags with enough materials for the kids as well.


For families with older kids and teenagers you can help them prepare their own bags to grab in the event of an emergency. I recommend doing practice drills grabbing your bags and heading out the door so that they are not forgotten in the event of an emergency.

What Are Bug Out Bag Essentials?


When you first learn how to make a bug out bag the list of items that you will need may seem daunting. However, there is plenty of literature that describes what you will need.


When making your bug out bag list there are some supplies that you will want to have no matter what. Following is a quick rundown on these bug out bag essentials.


Medical Supplies


You will want to compile a medical first aid kit. For this it might be more effective to purchase a ready made medical kit like this one on Amazon 


At a minimum you should have bandages, antibiotic cream, gauze, medical tape, tools such as small scissors and tweezers. However this is the tip of the iceberg and your medical kit should be much more comprehensive.


Food Supply


As far as food goes, you will want dense foods with high calorie counts in your bug out bag contents. I recommend granola bars and dried fruits as they are packed with nutrients, have long shelf lives, and taste good.


You will also want a mess kit and can openers and other such utensils so that you can safely and comfortably eat any food you might find or catch.

I recommend adding a 72 hour survival kit or even a 1-week survival kit for more than one person.




Having a fresh water source should be at the top of your bug out bag list.  You will want to pack a way to purify water, such as a life straw or water purification tablets

You will also want a canteen, which I recommend getting in tandem with a mess kit. This will allow you to purify and store water for later consumption.


Important Identification


Many preppers overlook these essential bug out bag items and the chance that you will need to verify your identity post-emergency. You will want to keep a copy of your driver's license, insurance and credit cards, passports, and copies of important numbers such as bank accounts. 


Keep these copies in a sealed bag in a secure part of your bug out bag. As far as bug out bag items go your identification might be more important than you would think.  Many people do not put these on a bug out bag list, but they are essential items I think.


Self Defense & Survival


Keeping a tool such as a knife or hatchet in your bag is always a good idea. Other defense items such as bear spray will help to keep you safe against hostile elements and should be among your bug out bag items. 


Shelter and Heat


You will want to pack along a portable tent, tarp, and several methods of creating fire in your bug out bag items. I recommend packing some lighters as well as a magnesium striker set.


I also recommend packing along a poncho, and extra clothes as well as a jacket to stay warm and dry. 


Tools and Light


You will want a few tools in your bag to help you out in an emergency. As previously mentioned knives and hatchets are good for both collecting resources as well as for defense.


I recommend packing multi-tools such as swiss army knives or Leatherman multitools as well. E-tools are also great as they serve multiple purposes, and you can find lightweight models fairly easily.

Further, you will want a rechargeable, solar powered, or crank style flashlight and lantern so you can see in the dark.


Personal Effects and Hygiene


You will want to pack resources that keep you clean and healthy in an emergency situation. You should have hand sanitizer, toilet paper, rubber gloves, and other such items. 

I also recommend bringing soap and deodorizers to keep you comfortable and clean.


As far as bug out bag gear goes, this section will keep you comfortable and keep morale high which is incredibly important.


Communication and Orienteering


You will need to bring along a way to stay connected to the rest of the world such as a radio, and a way to find your way around outdoors. I recommend stocking up on maps of your county, state, and a larger national map as well. 


When learning how to make a bug out bag it can be easy to overlook some of these items. That is why it is crucial to do plenty of research and add any extra items that you might need specifically. 

How Do I Organize My Bug Out Bag?

Your bug out bag contents should be organized in such a way that the materials you will need the most often are easily accessible. 

For instance, medical supplies should be easily accessible while spare clothes can be harder to get to as you will not need them in an emergency.


Further, you should try to distribute the weight of the bug out bag gear evenly as to make for a more comfortable carry.

How Big Should My Bug Out Bag Be?

The size of your bag will depend on how long you need to live out of it and how many people you are taking care of with it. If you are doing a 72 hour bag for just yourself it will be much smaller than a 72 hour bag for your whole family.


Make sure you invest in a bag that will allow you to comfortably carry all of the bug out bag essential oils you need. I recommend making your bug out bag list first and then choosing a bag that can fit everything you need.

What Is The Best Backpack For A Bug Out Bag

When buying a backpack to use as a bug out bag, it is a matter of striking a balance between weight, comfort, durability, and storage. 


I recommend military surplus or military grade backpacks such as this ALICE pack from Rothco. These packs are made with tactical and military situations in mind meaning they will be more than durable enough.


Furthermore, they are very modular and comfortable to wear for long periods of time. If you can, I recommend buying your bag in person so you can test it out and wear it before buying.

As another tip, make sure you buy your bag in a dull color such as olive drab, gray, or black. In the event of an emergency camouflage may come into play and the last thing you want is a bright red bag with all of you valuables.

How Do You Lighten A bug Out Bag?

Bug out bags can be lightened in a few ways. To start, if you have any materials in containers that would be fine without them, ditch the container. 


Further, distribute the weight throughout the pack so that you are not stuck with a heavy load in a specific part of the bag.

What Should You Not Put In A Bug Out Bag?

Everyone wants to know what should be in a bug out bag, but what shouldn’t be in a BOB? 

When making your bug out bag contents you should not put any fragile materials that could break or ruin the rest of your supplies. 


For instance, you should not keep glass products in the bag in the event that it could shatter inside. This would pose a health risk and also spill the contents all over the inside of your bug out bag.

Where Should I Keep My Bug Out Bag?

Your bug out bag should be kept in a place where it won’t be disturbed or knocked around when not in use. It should also be somewhere easy to grab on your way out the door without extra steps. 


Keeping your bag buried in a closet or in the basement or second floor isn’t a good idea. It should be near your main entry and exit in your home.

Now you know how to make bug out bag and what should be in a bug out bag.

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