Bugout bags are a very personal item and what is good for one will not work for the next. Each one of us needs to build a bag in which we are familiar with the contents and know how to use everything in it. Some of us can get by with very little, others require more.
The following is a list of items that you may want to consider putting in your bugout bag. The contents of your bugout bag will vary depending on your physical condition, age and size of your family and the weather conditions in the area in which you live. In addition, finances will play a part in determining what goes into your bag.
A list of suggested items for your bugout bag.
Large rucksack or other means of carrying your bugout bag
Food and cooking supplies
Three days’ supply of food minimum, ( I carry more) to be determined by size and age of family and personal needs.
- MRE’s (meals ready to eat)
- Canned food – meats, tuna, sardine, fruits, vegetables chili etc. I avoid these as to heavy.
- Hard candy dried fruit, etc.
- Granola Bars or Power Bars
- Instant Breakfast
- Fruit bar or fruit rolls
- Grab & Go buckets from FreezeDryGuy
- Mountain House or similar freeze dried or dehydrated foods
- Jerky or pemmican
- Beans or pasta
U.S. military surplus mess kit or similar backpacking set
Knife, fork & spoon set
U.S. stainless steel canteen cup can be used for drinking or cooking.
One Qt. Military canteen.
One Qt. Nylon canteen cover.
Aquamira or Katadyn water treatment tablets 50 per bottle, 4 year shelf life or a good quality water filter like the one made by Sawyer, Platypus, Katadyn or First Need. I like the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System which only weights 2 oz and if used correctly will filter up to a hundred thousand gallons of water. The cost is only about $25.00.
Bar of soap
Warm and shelter
- Sleeping bags are the best choice for warmth and comfort; go lightweight
- 100% wool blanket is the best second choice for warmth. Check the military surplus outlets.
- A bivy bag, this will keep you dry at night
- A self-inflating sleep pad
- Space blanket, emergency use only, poorest choice
- A poncho liner, ok in warmer climate
- A good poncho, it can also be used to keep you dry in the rain or to make a temporary shelter.
Waterproof match case containing strike anywhere matches
BlastMatch, Strike Force and a Sparkie are all commercial manufactured fire starters that will work after having been wet. I carry one of these in addition to matches.
A small container of cotton balls impregnated with Vaseline.
Legal papers, insurance policies and other important documents
Large trash bags
Battery or solar power radio
A good sharp knife
A good LED flashlight and spare batteries
50’ hank of parachute cord, has many uses including helping to construct shelters
Small shovel for burying waste
This will depend on the area in which you reside, and the time of the year. Be sure and pack warm clothes, if you have to stay outside all night it can get cold even when it seems hot during the day.
First aid kit
The bugout bag should contain a minimum of the following items. If possible package them in a water proof container. A doubled one-gallon zip lock bag will work
- Surgical dressing, approx. 4” x 6
- Band-aids assorted sizes
- Gauze pad 4” four each
- Gauze pad 2” four each
- Adhesive tape ¾”
- First aid book
- Vaseline, doubles as a fire starter
- Ace bandage
- Triangular bandage
- Anti-diarrhea medicine
- Aspirin and acetaminophen
- Calamine lotion
- Cotton swabs
- Ace bandage, 3”
- Moleskin for blisters
- Mosquito repellant
- Prescription medicine as needed
The above list is by no means complete there are many other options depending on your skills. I have not made any suggestions on the subject of self-defense, there are many other good articles on this that I am not going to try and duplicate. My only cautions would be to advise you to obey the law. The important thing is to get started on your bugout bag, even if you just use items you already have at home. Remember an 80% bag on time is better than a 100% bag too late.