154 Bug Out Bag Essentials (Open Checkist!)
Lightweight, durable, water-resistant and ready to fulfill all your survival needs. That’s what your bug out bag should be like. But we all know packing a BOB is a balancing act, don’t we? There are items that are crucial and there are others that are more or less important, depending on your location, climate, your medical condition and on and on.
I initially wanted to write an article that covered just the essentials bu then t I quickly changed my mind. EVERY item in your BOB is essential. If it isn’t (for you), then don’t pack it in the first place!
So what I’m going to do is give you a full list of all the things you can or should include for your survival, leaving it up to you to decide which ones make the cut and which ones don’t.
Caveat: never buy those pre-packed BOBs. They are too expensive and may miss important items that you may need, such as medication, pet care items and so on. You’ll also end up with a backpack that won’t fit you comfortable (which you should also buy separately – more on that here).
Another caveat: you don’t need all the items below. A lot of them are just alternatives to each-other. Pick the ones you think you’ll need most and make sure you keep your BOB weight below 35 pounds.
OK, let’s get started!
as much water as you can comfortably carry (you can throw it it away when bugging out if it slows you down)
stainless steel water bottle with no paint or coatings (use it to boil water or even for cooking). Recommended: the Klean Kanteen Wide Insulated Water Bottle with Stainless Loop Cap
water filter (like the LifeStraw)
water purification tablets
Food and Cooking
cans of tuna
canned food (could be heavy)
can opener (only if you have canned food)
freeze-dried (lightweight but needs extra water to cook)
spam (some people love it, some people hate it)
Shelter, Clothing and Warmth
a pair of hiking boots. You should keep those tied to the outside of your BOB so when you grab your bag, the boots will come along (I’m assuming you won’t have time to change shoes)
a pair of long pants
a pair of shorts (in case you’re facing extreme heat)
thick wool socks
gloves (useful for climbing trees and fences when you’re on the run)
a change of footwear (besides your hiking boots)
bandanna (make that two)
an extra pair of reading glasses
Fire and Cooking
4-5 bic lighters
vaseline cotton balls
magnesium fire starter
Communications, Electronics and Positioning
a ham radio
universal USB solar charger
paper and a pencil (or a pen)
hand-crank AM/FM radio
cell-phone with pre-paid calling card
extra cell-phone battery
Hygiene and Sanitation
toothbrush (you can break off the handle to save space and make your BOB lighter, even if not by much)
toothpaste (or baking soda, if you prefer, as you can mix it with water)
feminine hygiene products
a bar of soap
a good fixed-blade survival knife
a good multi-tool
a pocket knife
a hand-powered chainsaw
small hammer and nails
Self-Defense, Hunting and Fishing
gun cleaning kit
pepper or wasp spray
bow and arrow
Medical / First Aid
basic first-aid kit
arm sling (keeps your arm in place when injured)
anti leg cramp pills
hand and body warmers
iodine tablets (for radiation threats)
duct tape (oh, so many uses)
small elastic bands
extra-large trash bags (numerous uses)
copies of your most important papers and IDs
money (you never know when you might have to buy your way out of an unpleasant situation)
condoms (useful for a number of things)
an extra set of keys
coins (for vending machines)
inflatable canoe and a small pump (doesn’t take much space and could help you bug out on a river)
We all have our own ideas on what a bug-out bag should contain and sometimes it’s best to agree to disagree. That’s why I decided to make a separate list of the non-essential items, meaning the ones that may be important for some but not for others. Here it is…
An eBook reader can be a good addition to your BOB for several reasons. They use very little energy and can hold thousands of survival eBooks and manuals. And you don’t need to worry about the Wi-Fi signal giving away your location, you can just turn it off. You won’t need it, anyway, and it just eats up battery life.
What you should be worried is the weight or the fact that an EMP will render it useless (unless you put it in a Faraday cage that everyone seems to know how to build but no one will know for sure whether it will work onr not.).
Maybe you should consider just becoming a very good prepper or, if you find it more convenient, to replace your Kindle with a copy of the SAS Survival Guide Handbook.
A Compact Digital Camera
There’re a couple of things you can do with it. First, you can take photos every couple of miles so you can come back if you get lost. Second, you can use the zoom function to take a better look at things/people. Of course, you can use binoculars for that. Whether you include it, it’s up to you.
Comfort Items and Foods
Some people will need them, others won’t. Up to you whether you want to carry them but, just in case you want them, here’s a small list:
a small bottle of whisky
and, of course, the above-mentioned eReader