Essential Items for Your Bug Out Bag

bug out bag

Maybe you’ve heard the term “bug out bag” before but many people aren’t sure of what this term means or why you should have one. A bug out bag is usually a backpack or duffel that contains essential items that you can grab easily if you need to evacuate the area at a moment’s notice. The general guidelines are that it should contain what you need to keep you alive for at least 72 hours. There are some items you should have on your bug out bag and it should ideally weigh no more than 25% of your body weight. Your items may vary slightly depending on where you live, but these are the basic items to check off your list when assembling a bug out bag.



Water is the number one item that should make it into your bag. You can go for a few weeks without food but you’ll only last a day or two without water, less if you’re in a hot climate. Bottled water or sealed water pouches are a good idea. Some people skip this and carry a small water filtration device. Choose both if you have the option.



Although you don’t need to carry a lot of food, some shelf-stable food that will provide you with energy is a good item to carry. Energy nutrition bars are a great option because they will last for years and provide a lot of calories and protein. Some people may also carry MREs that require only water to heat up. These can add to your total weight though so your main priority for food should be energy bars and any high protein food like nuts or trail mix.



In a bug out bag, you’ll want to carry something that can be used to make a shelter. Although a tent is usually the first thing that comes to mind, you likely won’t have the room to carry a full tent. A simple tarp has a variety of uses and can be used to make a tent. Carry a tarp with you and a rope that can be used to create a makeshift tent.


First Aid Kit

This is a must have for a bug out bag. Most first-aid kits don’t take up much space and you can even make your own. What you need to have in the kit is the basics: bandages, disinfectnat, scissors, medical tape, OTC pain killers, and scissors. These items are fairly lightweight and can be put in a small packet or bag. Keep these items together so that you’ll be able to find them quickly in your pack as needed.



You can’t carry every possible tool that you would need in an emergency situation so you’ll probably only be able to carry one or two items that could be used for protection or survival. A general multi-purpose folding knife has a variety of uses and it is simple and lightweight. Choose a good quality knife to carry in your bag.



Extra clothing has a variety of uses in an emergency situation. You’ll never know if you’ll need the fabric to fashion a makeshift device. The clothes that you bring will depend on your climate, but consider carrying the following items: sturdy socks, boots, hat or bandanna, waterproof jacket, extra shirts and a long pair of pants.


Personal and Financial Information

It’s recommended that you carry a copy of your identification documents and some cash in your bag. You may also want to carry a small amount of any prescription medications in the bag, as you likely won’t be able to stop and pick it up in an evacuation situation. Keep in mind that your bug out bag is not designed to be your source of survival for an extended period of time.


A bug out bag will keep you going for around 72 hours and it’s main priority is to contain the essentials without weighing you down. Make sure that you purchase a high quality backpack or duffel that you could travel with easily. With this pack, you’ll be able to face any number of situations. Keep the bag close by you at all times so that you’ll be ready to evacuate as needed.

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