To have the very best Bug Out Bag you need to start with the ultimate bug out list to make sure you have the most important survival items. Here we will give you the essential bug out bag list so you can start to prepare for disaster and and put your doomsday plan in place.
What is a Bug Out Bag
A Bug Out Bag is quite simply a portable kit which the most important survival items to allow you survive for a minimum of 72 hours should you find yourself having to evacuate your home as a result of a disaster.
Like all things in life the best Bug Out Bags start with good preparation and that means you must take the time to create the very best bug out list that suits your own personal circumstances as what would work for someone living in a very hot climate would find the things needed for survival would be very different to someone living in a cold and wet climate.
At the end of the day making a bug out lists and a Bug Out Bag can be as easy or as hard as you make it. If you are just starting out with your doomsday plan you can always add things over time or if you have been working on your doomsday plan for years it is always worth making sure your bug out list and Bug Out Bag is up to date and equipped with the perfect items for you and your family.
The Bug Out Bag
The Bug Out Bag itself is probably the most important item on any bug out list. After all without the actual bag you would not be able to carry the things needed for survival. That said, despite the fact the Bug Out Bag is one of the most important things on any bug out list it is also the last item you should buy. This is because if you buy the bag first you may well find that in the end it is not actually suitable for the items you have chose.
For help choosing the best bug out bag check out our guide.
The Bug Out List – Contents of the Ultimate Bug Out Bag
Water and Hydration
In any survival situation water is without a doubt one of the most important survival items. While the human body can continue without eating for up to 3 weeks it can only function for 72 hours without water. It is therefore 100% essential that water is included on your bug out list. You will need a very minimum of one litre of water per day for each person.
It is possible to carry enough water for the first 72 hours of any disaster but water is heavy and carrying it can be awkward. Because of this we recommend the following items which will help eliminate the need to carry large quantities of water.
A Collapsible water bottle is an ideal way of giving you a way to collect water while only taking up the minimum of space in your bug out bag when they are empty. Collapsible water bottles can also be reduced in size as you drink your water.
A metal water bottle may take up more space than a collapsible water bottle but is a must have item on your bug out bag list. Metal water bottles are perfect if you find yourself in a situation where you have to boil water as a means of purification.
A hard water bottle should certainly be considered on your bug out list as it offers a more protective way of carrying your water than using a collapsible water bottle. While hard water bottles may take up more space than a collapsible water bottle it is also stronger which means it is less likely to sustain damage.
Clean water is an absolute must have item but in an emergency situation finding it could become difficult. Boiling water may well kill many parasites present in water but it does not necessarily get rid of all the toxins that could still be present. It is therefore vitally important to carry water purification tablets in your bug out bag.
We highly recommend a water purification system or water filter for your bug out bag. A water purification system such as the Lifestraw is an ideal method of removing bugs, parasites, and microplastics from water as well as reducing chlorine.
Food and Food Preparation
Like water, food is an important factor in human survival. While some people creating a doomsday prep list might suggest you learn how to hunt and which local plants are safe to eat this skill, while certainly essential in the long term, people living in towns and city’s would be better prepared if they had minimum supplies of food in their bug out bag along with ways to cook.
There are plenty of options for stockpiling food to go in any bug out bag but we personally recommend a good variety of non-perishable food items and ideally non-perishable food items that do not require water to cook. In any disaster or doomsday situation that requires you to bug out you have to assume that clean water may be very hard to find. It therefore makes sense to plan for the worse and assume that all the water you are lucky enough to find would be used as drinking water.
We would recommend the following items are included in your bug out list so you have enough food to last you 72 hours and also have a way of cooking.
A metal cooking pot is a must have item in on your bug out bag list. Obviously it can be used to cook your food but it can also be used should you need to boil water as part of the purification process.
A metal cup is well worth considering for you bug out list and your bug out bag. Since it is made from metal it can easily be used for boiling water.
A P-38 Can Opener is a small compact can opener that was used by many military forces throughout the world. While you may not be carrying any canned foods in your bug out bag there is always the possibility that you may find canned food on your travels. This is why a simple, small and compact tin opener should be considered an important survival item.
When it comes to cooking your food in a doomsday or disaster situation there is always the option of building a fire. The problem with building a fire is that it takes time to find fuel and to start and it also gives off smoke which is far from ideal if you are trying to keep a low profile. A portable camping stove is the perfect item for cooking your food quickly and without alerting anyone to your location.
If you are going to include a portable camping stove on your bug out list then you must carry fuel for it. Stoves can run of different fuels but the most common portable camping stoves use a small gas canister.
Keeping your food utensils clean and germ free should be as much a priority in a bug out situation as it would be at home so a pot scrubber should certainly be carried in your bug out bag.
Dehydrated meals or MRE’s (Meals Ready-to-Eat) have long been used by military forces. They are lightweight, easy to carry and contain a high level of nutritional values. They also do not require any preparation or cooking so they can be ate straight from the packet.
Protein and energy bars are most commonly associated as been used by athletes. Since they are packed high in protein and carbohydrates and easily carried they are perfect for your bug out bag as they are a quick and easy form of energy on the go.
When it comes to the best clothing for your bug out list there is no “one size fits all” option. Not only does everyone find different clothing comfortable there is also the fact that everyone lives in a different climate. If you are living in sunny California the clothes on your bug out list would be different to someone living in the highlands of Scotland.
What we would suggest as essential when it comes to clothing is that you make sure you have two changes of clothing with you. This means you will always have, in theory, a dry set of clothing to change into. There is nothing worse than been in a survival situation and wearing wet clothing. Wet clothing, especially in cooler climates, is a one way ticket to hypothermia not to mention how uncomfortable they are.
The items of clothing we recommend have all been chosen so that they can be easily layered to keep your body temperature perfect regardless of the conditions. The clothing we recommend you use on your bug out list are as follows :-
Possibly the most versatile trousers on the planet. You will have the luxury of long and comfortable trousers which can quickly be converted to shorts and back again depending on the climate.
A lightweight shirt gives you an ideal layer of clothing that not only helps keep you warm while allowing you to move freely it also offers protection to your arms.
When it comes to hiking or walking any distance the most important thing to take care of is your feet. Sweaty or wet socks can breed all kinds of problems for your feet and simple things like blisters could make it very difficult to walk at a time when you need to be very mobile.
A medium weight fleece is an ideal extra layer to help keep you warm.
A few pairs of spare underwear are worth considering on your bug out list but are all to often overlooked in bug out bags.
A hat is yet another important item to have on your bug out list. Depending on the climate you live in you will need to decide if you are including a hat in your bug out bag to keep your head warm or to help shelter you from the sun.
In any survival situation one of the worst things you can be is wet. Not only does it make your clothing heavy and uncomfortable it can make you become cold very quickly. Including a rain poncho on your bug out list is the perfect solution to help you keep from getting wet.
In a bug out situation it is highly likely that you will find yourself needing to do manual labour. For example you may well find yourself needing to build a shelter. A pair of working gloves should be considered invaluable as they will protect your hands when you are handling different things that could easily damage your hands.
A shemagh is a wrap-around head covering that is essential for protecting eyes, nose, mouth and neck from sun, wind and sand. They are used by military forces all over the world.
Shelters and Bedding
For those of you out there who are already experienced survivalists and doomsday preppers you may well feel that some of the things in this section or perhaps a little impractical to be included on a bug out list or in a bug out bag. We do however feel that the things we recommend here are worth considering as they are all chosen because they are lightweight and compact.
Yes, it is possible to devise a shelter out of nearly anything but the better your shelter then the better your rest will be and been well rested can be the difference between life and death in a bug out survival situarion.
A woolen blanket offers an easy way to keep warm as well as providing somewhere to sit or sleep.
A ground pad does exactly what it says on the tin. You simply place it on the ground to protect you from the cold or lumpy ground when sitting or sleeping.
As everyone knows the temprature drops for everyone once the sun goes down so a sleeping bag or bivvy bag should be considered one of those things needed for survival and should defenitly be on your bug out list.
Even a small tent offers a quick and easy way to shelter from the elements. There are plenty of tents available that are lightweight and compact and specially designed for hiking. There is probably no quicker way of quickly getting shelter from the elements than a good quality tent.
A good quality tarp can be used as a quick form of shelter. It could also be used in addition to your tent as a means of keeping your kit dry and away from the elements.
Since the begining of man’s time on this planet, fire has been essential to his existence. Not only does fire keep you warm when it is cold it is also how we cook food, boil water and even make tools. Making sure you have a source of heat and / or fire in your bug out bag list is one of the most important survival items. In fact fire and heat sources are so important it is worth including a second and even third method of creating it on your bug out list.
Here are the three means of creating heat and fire that we highly recommend including on your bug out list and in your bug out bag.
While it is possible to start a fire the old fashioned and primitive way with a couple of sticks it is much easier to include either matches or a cigarette lighter on your bug out list. Matches or a lighter are much quicker and easier than rubbing two sticks together.
When starting a fire it is essential that you have easy to burn fuel in order to get your fire going. A small amount of tinder does an ideal job here.
The one thing that kills a fire like no other thing is water. Therefore it is essential to include on your bug out list a form of waterproof storage so you can keep your tinder and ignition source dry at all times.
No bug out list or bug out bag is complete without giving close attention to medical provisions and first aid. The very last situation you would want to find yourelf in during an emergency is in need of medical attention with no way to treat yourself.
The items we recommend you include on your bug out list and in your bug out bag are as follow :-
A first aid kit is one of the most important survival items you should have on your bug out list. The last thing you want is to need a bandage and not to have one.
A mylar survival blanket is a lightweight and easy to carry blanket that has excellent thermal qualities and are superb at warming a person up.
Even at the very best of times insects and insect bites can be painful and a nuisance. A simple insect repellant would be a welcome addition to your bug out bag especially when you consider you may find yourself in an environment where insects may well be present in greater numbers than you are used to.
When creating your bug out list and selecting the items you wish to include in your bug out bag it seems that hygine is all to often overlooked. When compiling your own bug out list and bug out bag you really should give carefull consideration to including hygine items. Extended periods of time where you are in a survival situation poor hygine can easily lead to a very quick deterioration of health and bactirial infections.
We recommend that you consider including these following items in your bug out bag :-
If you are able to find a source of water which is sutible to wash in a small bar of camping source is an ideal way of freshening yourself up.
While not essential a small pack of towels could offer a small creature comfort when surviving in a bug out situation. After all there is nothing worse than been wet and out in the cold. A small towel can help you get dried off quickly.
While fresh breath and oral hygiene may not be the most important part of surviving doomsday it is certainly worth considering toothpaste be included on your bug out list. Especially if you are planning on bugging out with other people as bad breath can be offensive even when trying to survive doomsday.
Wet napkins, wet wipes or baby wipes are well worth including on your bug out list. They offer a quick way of cleaning your hands without the need of water
In any survival situation it is highly likely that you will find yourself touching all kinds of dirt. A small bottle of hand sanitizer offers an easy, quick and effective way of cleaning your hand’s thoroughly and cutting down on the risk of infections.
When it comes to including tools on your bug out list and in your bug out bag it is very easy to get carried away when selecting which tools are essential to your survival.
Our best advice when it comes to selecting the most important tools for survival is to keep it simple. We recommend you consider including the following tools on your bug out list.
In a survival situation a machete has a variety of uses. It can obviously be used in a self-defence situation along with been the perfect tool for cutting back plants and similar jobs.
A mutli-tool is an easily carried collection of tools simliar to a swiss army knife. A quality multi-tool could easily work out to be the only tool you really need to carry and a therefore should be conisdered one of the most important survival items to have on your bug out list.
A good quality and sharp survival knife should be another must have item on your bug out list. The uses for a quality survival knife are nearly endless with jobs they can be used for ranging from making tools and weapons to hunting and skinning animals.
A source of lighting is something you really should have several instances of so if one source fails you always have another to turn to. In any survival situation it is highly likely that the electricity supply would fail so at night a source of lighting would be vitally important.
We recommend the following items for consideration on your bug out list.
Light glowsticks offer a quick and easy tempoary light source. They come in the form of a small plastic tube which when snapped allows the contents to mix and start to glow.
A mini LED Light may not be as bright as some larger flashlights but if you are struggling for space a mini LED flashlight is ideal for finding your way in the dark.
An LED headlight is the big boy of lighting sources. While an LED headlight may, in some cases, be clumbersome to carry if your doomsday plans require plenty of light then a LED headlight is what you should be looking for.
In outdoor situations candles are probably not the best option as a light source. Of course even in a survival and bug out situation you could well find yourself camped out in an abaonded building. In such cases candles are a great idea for constant lighting.
It goes without saying that if you are going to include flashlights on your bug out list then you are going to need batteries. It is always advisable to carry spare batteries.
In the event of a disaster, doomsday situation or any event that requires you to put your doomsday plan into action it will be vitally important for you to be able to commnicate with others. Even a simple radio is essential so you can listen for emergency broadcasts which could be relaying life saving inforamtion.
When selecting your communication items for your bug out list consider the following items.
A crank power charger is a must have item if you are carrying any form of cell phone. It offers a portable way to charge up a cell phone on the go.
If doomsday does not take down the cell phone networks a cell phone, especially in the early days of any crisis, would be perfect for staying in touch with those closest to you and arrangint to meet up.
As in any disaster or crisis the primary source for emergency information from your government would likely come via the radio. A wind-up powered radio is perfect for listening for emergency broadcasts and does not require batteries.
When preparing a bug out list and bug out bag it is not just the obvious survival items that you should be looking to include. We highly recommend considering including the following items on your bug out list.
If you find yourself trapped a whistle gives you the ability to make a lot of noise to get the attention of any resuers.
A small note pad and pencil offers you a method of jotting down any ideas or things you need to remember. It would also be handy if you were leaving notes for people instructing them where you are heading to next.
Since humans first began to explore the planet a compass is a must have survival item for navigation.
A map of your local area will always be helpful even if you feel you know your way around with ease. There is always some area that you will not be aware of.
In a bug out situation trading with others is likely to be nessasary. Traditional currency may have little to no value in a crisis but gold and silver has, for thousands of years, been conisdered valuable.
$500 in Small Bills
In an emergency situation or disaster having some form of money is obviously important. Having a considrable amount of currency is a worth while investment especially in small bills so when trading with others you do not have to worry about change.
When it comes to self-defense items to be included in a bug out bag it really comes down to personal preference and the country that you live in. In the UK firearms are going to be impossible to include on your bug out list but in the USA they are likely to be a must have item.
Our advice here is not to get carried away but make sure whateger you choose is good enough to protect you in whatever situation you consider a viable threat to you.
While these next items are not must have items to include on your bug out list they certainly would make your life a whole lot easier should you find yourself having to put your doomsday plan in action.
Strong rope of any description can be used for a variety of things including building shelters.
Duct tape always has plenty of uses and a survival situation is no different. It can be used for everything from shelter building to repairing shoes. The only limit when it comes to uses for duct tape is your imagination.
Resealable bags are hand to include in your bug out bag. When empty they take up no space but are handy as a waterproof container or to store food in.
Probably more of a luxury that vital for survival but at least you will look cool and help with your vision when out in the sun.
A face mask is well worth considering on your bug out list. They offer limited protection in the event of a virus outbreak and they are good to help avoid inhaling any particles that could be in the atmosphere.
A sewing kit may come in useful for repairing clothes and it may also be useful if you find yourself having to stitch up a wound like Rambo.
Latex tubing can be used for a variety of things including certain methods of purifiing water.
Even people with no hunting skill can find dishing relatively easy and a good source of food.
Military forces across the world have used condoms for everything from waterproof storage to a flask for carrying water.
The ability to see further is always useful in a survival situation. Binoculars would be great for keeping a close eye on approaching threats.
Camouflage is highly useful in a survival situation. Camouflage face paint is the final touch if you are committed to staying hidden while bugging out.
As we originally stated when it comes to doomsday plans, bug out lists and bug out bags there really is no one size fits all solution. While the majority of items we have recommended here are, in our opinion, vital to your preppers checklist others may disagree. You really need to sit down and think about the place you live in the world and what you personally think would be vital for you to survive a disaster, doomsday scenario, situation of civil unrest or collapse of society.