A bug out bag is the ultimate means of survival in an emergency situation. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to get out of your home quickly, having a well-equipped bug out bag ready to go can be a lifesaver. Although overwhelming to think about, now is the time to start assembling your gear. Hopefully you will never need to use your Bug Out Bag, but if you do you’ll be glad you have it prepared!

Ideally, a bug out bag should contain survival gear and necessities to get you through at least 72 hours. We have assembled a list of the basic things to consider when creating your bag. Keep in mind that each situation is unique, and things such as climate and personal preference may mean you need to tweak our list to fit your specific situation.

We have compiled a list of the most common things to think about gathering, but also remember that this bag needs to be easily portable. If you are needing to get out of a location quickly, having a pack that is too heavy can slow you down and put unnecessary strain or injuries on your body. We recommend that you try to keep your pack weight to 25% of your body weight for optimal maneuverability, so try to choose the things that are most vital to keep you and your loved ones safe!


5.11 Tactical Rush 72

The first important decision you must make is how you will carry your survival gear. There are many options available in the tactical backpack and outdoor backpack space. Look for a pack that is durable and comfortable.

It is also a good idea to choose something that includes a MOLLE system, water resistant, high quality zippers, and has various compartments for easy access and organization. Check out our Top Rated Bug Out Bags for some ideas on what would make an excellent BOB(Short for Bug Out Bag). 

2. Water and Hydration

Platypus Hydration

In a survival situation, water is the most important thing to have access to. A human being can survive for about 3 weeks without food, but cannot survive longer than 72 hours without water. You need at least a liter of water a day per person, but since water is so heavy it is not practical to carry around that much potable water. We recommend having different methods for ensuring you have the water you need to survive.

Water purifier

Water purification tablets

Stainless Steel water bottle (you cannot boil water in a plastic or insulated water bottle, boiling is the simplest way to purify water)

Hydration Bladder

3. Food and Preparation

Dehydrated Meals

Food is often the thing people focus on stocking up on the most, and you’ll find lots of different suggestions for what are the best survival rations. Dehydrated meals definitely have a place in the survival food space, but we recommend having a variety of foods since many of those meals require water and in a real emergency situation, water may be scarce enough that you don’t want to have to rely on it for cooking. You can even make your own freeze dried meals with a freeze dryer

Having a variety of other non-perishable foods as well will ensure that you will be able to eat what you’ve prepared. Again, you’ll want to pack enough food to last at least three days. We also strongly recommend packing metal cookware and utensils for durability and heat-resistance instead of plastic cookware.

Protein/energy bars


Dehydrated Meals

Metal cooking pot

Metal cup


Portable stove

Stove fuel

4. Clothing


The clothing you need in your Bug Out Bag is a more personal decision and varies based on climate, region, and body type. Ideally, you want to strategically choose articles that can be layered to maintain a healthy body temperature. Clothes can be bulky and take up a lot of space in your pack, so we recommend sticking to two changes of clothes so you always have dry clothes available. The exception to this idea is with socks. In a true Bug Out Bag situation, keeping your feet healthy and dry is vital, and investing in at least 3 pairs of high quality wool hiking socks is a necessity.

Wool Hiking Socks (3 pair)

Rain poncho

Convertible (zip off) pants

5. Heat Source


Having a means to create fire is an obvious survival necessity. We recommend having multiple fire starters in your pack, they are lightweight but you’ll be glad you have more than one option to create fire in a true Bug Out situation.

Flint and Steel

Waterproof Matches


Body Warmer Packets

Windproof-Waterproof Electrical Lighter

6. Shelter


Having a warm and dry place to sleep is not something to be overlooked. There are many products available that are made to be lightweight and compact that make it possible to carry around a tent or sleeping bags in a Bug Out Situation. However, if you are on a tight budget having a tarp and rope to create shelter can still go a long way.



Mylar Survival Blanket


Sleeping bag

Sleeping pad (Primary purpose is not comfort, but to insulate your body from the cold ground)

7. First Aid and Hygiene

First Aid

Personal hygiene products can often be overlooked when planning a Bug Out Bag, but if you are living in unsanitary conditions for an extended period it can have a negative impact on your health and should not be overlooked. You also can create your own first aid kit or purchase one already made.

First Aid Kit

Insect Repellent



Celox Blood Clotting Powder

Wet napkins

Hand sanitizer


Personal Hygiene Kit

Tampons/Sanitary Napkins

8. Lighting

Olight M-20SX Javelot

It is also a good idea to have multiple light sources, don’t forget to pack extra batteries! Check out our top rated tactical flashlight list and explanation for importance in survival situations.

LED Headlamp

EDC Tactical Flashlight

Glow Sticks



9. Communications and Navigation


These are items that you’ll be glad to have in a Bug Out Situation, but are not always considered a necessity. The ability to navigate your way to safety is not something to be taken lightly.

Emergency Radio

Survival Whistle

Signal Mirror


Laminated State Map

Cell phone crank charger

Two-Way Walkie Talkie Radios

10. Self Defense

Self Defense

A true Bug Out Bag situation is survival at its core. Whether you need to defend yourself or loved ones in a hostile situation, or have the ability to hunt wild game, take special consideration into what weapons and self-defense items you feel comfortable including in your BOB.

Pepper Spray

Handgun & Ammo

Rifle & Ammo

Slingshot & Ammo

11. Personal Items


In a Bug Out Situation, you will not have time to think through what important documents or items you may need in the precious time you have available. Thinking through and planning ahead of time can help ensure you have important items that may otherwise be overlooked in a survival situation



Identification (photocopies)

Prescription Medications

Spare pair of Corrective Lenses

12. Miscellaneous Survival Gear


There are many other items that could be helpful in a survival situation, but often one item could have multiple uses. Plan carefully according to your available weight and space, but here are some items to consider.


Survival Knife


550 Paracord

Trekking Poles

Duct Tape

Solar Charger

Pocket Survival Guide

Safety pins

Sewing kit

Fishing kit



Camp Shovel

Camping Hammock

Snare Wires


N95 Face Mask

Winter Gloves

We understand this list can seem daunting, the most important thing is that you start preparing your Bug Out Bag now. Gather items a little at a time to help create your ultimate survival tool. However, if you are looking for a pre-made BOB this pack does a good job of covering all your essentials. Good luck and stay safe!

Categories: Tactical Gear