Top 50 Bug Out Bag List Essentials [2021 Update]-DONE

bug out bag

Every prepper and survivalist needs a bug out bag list to stay prepared for any SHTF scenario. 

The idea is to only what you absolutely need for survival.  So what exactly should you include in a bug out bag checklist?

Bug Out Bag List

Table of Contents

What Should You Have In Your Bug Out Bag?

Bug Out Bag Essentials

Knowing which essentials to prioritize in your bug out bag list to survive an unexpected disaster situation is a must.

Building your own customized bug out bag is not so hard or complicated.

You only have to make sure your bug out bag list includes items to address the following needs:

  • Water Tools
  • Food Supplies
  • Warmth Supplies
  • Shelter and Bedding Options
  • Fire Starting Tools
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Core Survival Tools
  • Lighting Tools
  • Communication Devices
  • Self-Defense Tools

And now let’s begin with a rookie mistake…

Make Sure Your Bug Out Bag Is Not Too Heavy

I think it’s human nature (and especially prepper nature) to add more essentials “just in case”.

Still, you don’t want too heavy a backpack you can’t even carry.

To ensure you only bring the absolute minimum here are some tips for you: 

  • Plan your B.O.B. for 72hours or enough time to get to a safe place.
  • You are able to carry your bug out bag with ease (no need for an 100lbs bag here)
  • Keep it lean.
  • When you can, only pack multi-tools instead of one-use-only-items.

We’ll cover some of the best items you can add to your bug out bag…

Before we jump in, make sure to bookmark this page right now so you can come back to this free bug out bag checklist to build out your bag over time.

Go ahead, before you forget.

Let’s start with …

Bug Out Bag List 1: Bug-Out-Bag

Before you begin filling your bug out bag with all your survival gear and supplies, you need a high-quality bug out bag.

Starting your bug out bag build with a low quality pack is a terrible idea.

So make sure you get one with the following qualities:

  • Made with thick, tough fabrics
  • Has a chest strap
  • Has padded hip support straps
  • Water resistant
  • High-quality zippers and clips
  • Includes a lot of compartments

1 – Bug Out Bag

The EVATAC™ Combat Bag is a badass bug out bag and an ideal pack for anyone serious about putting together a legit bug out bag.

It’s the bug out bag that I personally use by the way.

It’s constructed of 600D Polyester which makes it tough as nails.

The Combat Bag’s zipper and clips are heavy duty and long lasting.

The padded shoulder straps make carrying this bug out bag very comfortable and there is a chest strap that can sinch this bag down tight to keep it in place if/when you need to run.

There are a total of 10 compartments that can help keep you and your survival gear organized. By the way, these compartments are waterproofed to keep your gear dry.

There’s even a padded compartment that can fit a laptop or other sensitive gear.

The best news is that, at the time of writing, this bug out bag sells for a fraction of the price of similar bags.

Once you’ve got your bug out bag, it’s time start building your bag with survival gear.

Related Post: 5 Best Survival Backpacks To Carry All Your Gear

Bug Out Bag List 2: Water Tools

For SHTF, you’re going to want have at least three separate ways to your water sources. 

Drinking contaminated water can make you severely sick and can even kill you.

Why not just carry several water jugs?

Because after a couple hours walking you’ll feel every pound of your water jugs.

That’s why you’ll need key purification tools to filter and treat the water you find.

2 – Portable Water Filter

If SHTF dirty water will become your #1 problem… in about 60 minutes.

If a major crisis hits access to clean drinking sources are almost guaranteed to be wiped out

Beware – 10,000 people die every single day because of drinking dirty water. 

So you can imagine how many more people dirty water will kill in a crisis.

A good water filter will remove all the particulates from your water such as dirt or soot, but a great one will also remove most harmful bacterias as well.

So you should pack a small portable water filter to clean your water and purify it too.

Other good light alternatives would be purification tablets.

Bug Out Bag List 3: Food Supplies

Normally you want to avoid excess calories, but in a survival scenario they quickly become your best friends.

A few essential food sources stashed in your bug out bag to keep you healthy and maintain your stamina. 

But you should also try to take advantage of what the land can provide.

So make sure to pack a few survival tools to help hunt or gather additional foods on your bug out route.

3 – Calorie Dense Food

Honestly, any calorie dense energy bars will do the trick. Just read the label and look for ones that provide the most calories per bar.

These ER Emergency Food Ration Bars pack 2400 calories per bar, which is exactly what you need.

These food bars will provide your primary energy needs on your journey since they are easy to consume on the go, and you can pack quite a lot of them without adding much weight.

4 – Freeze Dried Meals

Freeze dried foods are  another airtight food source you can add to your bug out bag.

They take a few minutes to prepare so wait until you find a safe spot to rest.

Just add the pouch contents to boiling water, stir, and eat up.

5 – Military Meals (MRE – Meal, Ready to Eat)

If MRE meals are good enough for soldiers, then they are good enough for me.

But some people think they are horrible and theirs a long-standing and ongoing debate about MRE’s for survival.

6 – Eating Utensils

Unless you prefer eating with dirty hands, you’ll want something small and light to move your food from pouch to mouth.

Try getting some high quality titanium spork; it’s both a spoon and a fork.

At only 20 grams you won’t mind the additional weigt.

7 – Small Collapsible Cup/Bowl

You’ll want an easy way to keep your prepared food contained for serving and eating.

So get one of these collapsible cups, that can double as a bowl, and they work great.

8 – Bug-Out-Bag Pocket Stove

You can learn how to use a slingshot quickly with some dedicated practice.

Like most survival skills, it will take some practice, but this lightweight hunting slingshot is a decent option for sourcing some protein.

Bug Out Bag List 4: Warmth Supplies

Remember, if you’re bugging out, it’s because of a survival event forced you to leave, so multiple changes of clothes is not a luxury you can afford.

10 – Fresh Socks

Your feet are just too important during a bug out. You can’t afford to get trench foot or severe blisters.

So rotate a fresh pair of socks daily.

12 – Sewing Kit

 A sewing kit allows you to mend your clothes should they rip or tear on the trail.

13 – Emergency Survival Blanket

Made from a lightweight reflective material, they help you retain as much as 90% of your body heat, keeping you warm in a variety of conditions.

14 – Rain Poncho with Hood

Your choice of bug out survival shelter comes down to a personal preference. Personally, I don’t pack a full-fledged tent. The tent poles and anchors are too heavy.

Instead, I use my survival skills and knowledge to make a basic survival shelter.

15 – Hammock Tent

Keep your campsite up off the ground and away from critters by rigging it up between a couple of trees! 

Combine a good sleeping bag with a hammock and you’ll be warm, off the ground, and dry.

All you need is a couple of trees and some paracord to tie off.

16- Emergency Sleeping Bag

The TACT Bivvy space-age fabric reflects 90% of your body heat back to you. 

Once you’re inside the TACT Bivvy, you’re instantly wrapped in a cocoon of warmth. This means when you use the TACT Bivvy in situations where the temperature has plunged to dangerously low levels you’re still warm and protected. 

It has multiple light settings including an emergency strobe setting

And as you know…

Multi-use items are the backbone of any good survival kit – and that goes double for electronics!

17 – Sleeping Pad

Instead of really “roughing it” and ending up with an achy back and very little sleep, use foam pads to make then floor of your tent more comfortable.

18 – Paracord Survival Kit

The Paracord Grenade has so many uses:

  • Start a fire outdoors with the fire starter, knife and tinder
  • Catch fish for a survival meal with fishing hooks.
  • Use tin foil to signal for help, cook food.

Bug Out Bag List 6: Fire Starting Tools

Fire is your lifeblood in a survival emergency.

You need it to:

  •  Purify water
  • Cook food,
  • Stway warm
  • Safety

19 – Waterproof Survival Matches

Any prepper or backpacker knows that having the right tools to start a fire is an absolute necessity when you’re out in the wild.

If you opt for matches, it’s critical that you have a way to protect them. 

Knowing how to waterproof standard matches is a useful skill for the well-prepared and economic outdoorsman.

There are three common methods for protecting your matches against water.

No matter which method you go with it’s best to start with strike-anywhere matches.

They can be lit against any rough surface, whereas strike-on-box matches require the phosphorous strip found on the matchbox to ignite. 

Related Post: How to Make Waterproof Matches – 3 Easy DIY Waterproofing Methods

20 – Everstryke Match

You gotta get one, everybody you show will be amazed, it’s like a magic trick.

  • Has it all: Contains the ferro rod and wick in one all-inclusive fire starting kitthat fits conveniently in your pocket
  • Strikes hot, burns hot: Ferro rod strikes at over 3,000 degrees and flame burns at over 600 degreesFahrenheit
  • Long Lasting: Each match is capable of 15,000 long burning strikes. Built in O-Ring keeps fuel from evaporating indefinitely.
  • Easy to use: If you can strike a match you can start a fire (and this one won’t burn your fingertips)
  • Ultimate survival tool: In a survival situation a fire is life, this tool will make sure that you can start a fire whenever, wherever you need it

21 – Windproof Electrical Lighter

Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of windproof lighters and found them all to be more “wind-resistant” than anything. The Tesla Lighter is a different breed – a flame-free, smoke-free, fuel-less lighter.

Try as hard as you want; you can’t blow out the twin plasma arcs.Instead, they produce easy fire starts for all types of natural kindling.

The compact Tesla Lighter is an excellent addition to your everyday carry tools. And a single charge (via USB) is enough to start hundreds of campfires!

22 – Vaseline

Add a dab of vaseline to tinder and it will help it ignite quickly and easily.

Bug Out Bag List 7: First Aid Supplies

When in the wilderness, exposed to the elements, there’s an increased chance of illness or injury.

So add the essential first aid supplies to be able to treat these issues. Remember, a minor cut can kill via infection if not properly treated.

23 – Personal Medications

If you have prescribed medications, then stock up and add them to your bug out bag.

24 – Wound Gauze Roll

Gauze is the ideal dressing for bad cuts or severe burns.  It’s light and takes up very little pack space.

25 – Band-Aids / Mole Skin Pads

Band-aids are the best solution for small cuts and lacerations. They help keep open wounds clean and protected, which helps prevent an infection from developing.

You should also add a few moleskin pads for blisters. Band-aids won’t stay in place on your feet while walking, but moleskin will.

26 – Pain Killers

For minor aches and pains, these can help keep you going. For serious injuries, pain killers will take the edge off until you can get more help.

27 – Hydrogen Peroxide

Same idea as the alcohol pads, use it to keep wounds clean and bacteria free.

28 – Q-tips Cotton Swabs

Q-tips are ideal for applying small amounts of medical salves and liquids.

Lastly, you can tear off the cotton ends and use them as tinder to start a fire.

They are extremely light and useful, so feel free to pack a couple hundred of them.

29 – Insect Repellent

Mosquitos are a nuisance and can transmit diseases so if they are abundant in your region you’ll want to pack a repellent spray with high amounts of DEET.

Sage works as a natural deterrent to keep those pesky bugs away, and it smells nice, too.

Related Post: 19 Camping Hacks and Tips

Bug Out Bag List 8: Core Survival Tools

These are traditional survival tools that didn’t fit into our other but out bag checklist categories. However, they are essential to your bug out’s success.

30 –  Compass

If you’re into survival, then you should own a high-quality compass and learn how to use it.

Navigation is too critical. Getting lost is too dangerous.

Know where you are and the best way to get to your final destination. Learn how to use a compass (and keep it with you) and you’ll never get lost again.

31 – Tough Compact Folding Shovel

If you’ve buried some survival caches along your bug out route, then you’ll want a compact shovel to dig them up.

It also allows you to improve your shelter area by clearing and leveling the ground.

tactical shovel allows you to complete even more survival tasks such as digging, chopping, sawing, pickaxe, trenching, opening, etc.

This one does all that and more.

Related post: The Ultimate Tactical Shovel REVIEW

32 – Survival Knife

When it comes to speed and stealth, CRKT Xolotl is unrivaled with its lightning fast release. The sleek silver blade is a testament to its history as the choice of blades of the Assassin – a fact that both entices and intrigues knife collectors the world-round.

But the Survival Huntsman is the balanced Goliath of the Steel River Lineup. Featuring a titanium coating that prevents any sort of rust or corrosion to the blade and handle.

 Integrated into the handle of the Sentinel are two lifesaving tools the prepared individual needs to have in case of an emergency – a Steel Glass Breaking Tip and a Razor Sharp Seatbelt Cutter

Spend some quality time researching good survival knives. Find one that meets your needs best because a good survival knife has so many critical survival uses.

Then once you’ve settled on “the one”, make sure you learn how to use it in the wild with lots of practice.

I couldn’t possibly list all the uses of a knife around the campground. It’s one of those tools you’ll use every single day for a variety of tasks.

33 – 12 IN 1 Multi-Tool TRADEMATE

The Multi-Tool Knife by Frog & Co   has 14 tools crafted into 1 top notch piece of gear that you will never want to leave home without.

34 – Portable Solar Charger

Without power, a lot of our favorite survival tools will stop to function.

Radios, GPS, flashlights – you NEED a backup plan to keep them charged and working.

good solar charger can provide you with a steady stream of power. And a battery pack can allow you to store that power for when you need it most.

Whether you’re in need of some extra power to call for a rescue or you just want to post a picture of a gorgeous view, we believe you should be able to harness the power of the sun.

35 – Survival Hatchet

Survival hatchets are awesome.

They are helpful to accomplish tasks quickly that using your survival knife alone would take hours.

good survival hatchet makes batoning branches for firewood a breeze. It makes chopping down trees a whole lot faster too.

Bug Out Bag List 9: Lighting Tools

You’ll need good light to work under the darkness of night. And if forced to move in the middle of the night you’ll need it to see where you’re going.

I can’t imagine bugging out without illumination devices. Attempting to do so would put you at an extreme disadvantage.

36. Survival Solar Air Lantern

The Solar Air Lantern can provide emergency lighting without relying on batteries, fuel or the need to plug it into the wall for power.

Just lay it in the sun to charge – then inflate the lantern and enjoy hours of bright ambient light.

Keep one in your car, at home, or in your bug out bag – the Solar Air Lantern can provide the backup light that you need.

37 – LED Tactical Flashlight

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What Is The ONE Tool(broken) You Always Need?

A flashlight is a tool you just can’t live without and the Hybeam Zoom FLARELIGHT™(broken) is perfect for any situation. 

It is ultra bright, uses standard batteries, can fit in your pocket and has a lifetime of durability.

If you’re going to carry any item(broken), it needs to be a flashlight(broken). But you can’t just carry around any old one and expect it to do the job!

Related post: 5 Best Survival Flashlights – Buyer’s Guide

Bug Out Bag List 10: Communication Devices

Gathering information and sharing information during a bug out situation is critical for survival.

Whether it’s a severe weather forecast or knowing the location of potential threats. The more you know, the more you can plan and adapt on the go.

38 – Pocket Radio

Kaito created this “Pocket Radio” so people could finally have an ultra-light and super-powerful radio. The same size as a credit card (and only ⅞ of an inch thick), this is one of the tiniest radios on the market.

With perfectly cut fingernail notches, the tuning dial acts like a heat-seeking missile to find the station you need in a crisis.

39 – Two-Way Walkie Talkie Radios

Packing a set of walkie-talkies is a smart idea for a small bug out group.

If your team gets separated, or you split up for strategic reasons, you’ll still be able to keep in touch at short distances.

Recharge your walkie-talkies with your solar charger.

40 – Multi-Functional Survival Whistle

A loud whistle is another way to communicate with your bug out team over long distances. Again, it’s light and takes up very little space.  It is extremely LOUD.

Bug Out Bag List 11: Self-Defense Tools

In the worst survival conditions, you’re going to be the hunter or be hunted. You need to be prepared to defend yourself and your group from threats.

Threats from wild game and threats from other humans.

41 – Survival Firearm

So which firearm is best for bugging out? 

For bugging out, you need a firearm that is designed to break down to fit in a pack and can take a ton of abuse. I also prefer a rifle as opposed to a handgun if you plan on taking just a single firearm.

42 – Firearm Ammunition

Ideally, you want to carry enough ammo to avoid having to ration. But you have to watch your bug out bag weight and ammo is heavy. That’s why I suggest sticking with .22LR.

43 – Pepper Spray

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High-quality pepper spray(broken) is another solid self-defense tool you should pack. It’s effective against both wild beasts and humans.

Conclusion

My final word of advice is to take action today using this free bug out bag checklist. If you don’t already have a bug out bag, invest in one today.

Fellow survivalists know that disasters happen when we least expect them. If you wait; it might be too late.

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