Suggestion for a Bug Out Bag

It has been a long time since I have posted a suggested list for the contents of a 72 hour kit or bug out bag.  I look at the kit as designed to get you to some safe place within a few days. This is not a kit that will allow most of us to live in the back country without additional help.

FOOD -Three days’ supply of food minimum, (I carry more) to be determined by size and age of family and personal needs.
Suggested items

• MRE’s (meals ready to eat) or LRPs (long range patrol rations)
• 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
• Fruit bar or fruit rolls
• Mountain House or similar freeze dried of dehydrated foods
• Jerky or pemmican
• Home dried fruits
• 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. At least one depending on availability of water.
One Qt. Nylon canteen cover.
Aquamira Tablets, 4-year shelf life, or a good quality water filter like the one made by Aquamira, Katadyn or First Need. I like the Aquamira’s Frontier Pro which only weights 2 oz and will filter 50 gallons of water. The cost is under $25.00.

Toilet paper
Bar of soap, small. I use the little ones out of motels.
Towel small
Feminine supplies if needed, they can double as first aid dressings.
Personal items, tooth brush etc.
Insect repellant, many some insect repellents will double as a fire starter, check yours.

Sleeping bags are the best choice for warmth and comfort, keep it light
100% wool blanket is the best second choice for warmth. Check the military surplus outlets and thrift stores.
Space blanket, emergency use only, poorest choice
A good poncho, not the cheap plastic ones. They can also be used to make a temporary shelter.

Waterproof match case
Strike anywhere matches
BlastMatch, Strike Force, Sparkie or varies fire steels are all commercial manufactured fire starters that will work after having been wet. I carry at least one of these in addition to matches.
A small container of cotton balls impregnated with vaseline.

Legal papers, money, insurance policies and other important documents.
A large trash bag
Battery or solar power radio, if weight allows
A good knife
A good LED flashlight and spare batteries. I carry a Powerfilm USB+AA solar charger and Eneloop batteries. It weighs 6.2 ounces including two batteries.
50’ hank of parachute cord
Small shovel for burying waste
Large rucksack or other means of carrying kit.

CLOTHING is an item that depends 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. Keep the weigh as light as possible.

The kit should contain a minimum of the following items. If possible package them in a water proof container.

• Surgical dressing, approx. 4” x 6 or feminine hygiene pads
• Band-aids assorted sizes
• Gauze pad 4” four each
• Adhesive tape ¾”
• Ace bandage
• Triangular bandage
• Antiseptic
• Anti-diarrhea medicine
• Aspirin and acetaminophen
• Calamine lotion
• Moleskin for blisters
• Sunscreen
• Prescription medicine as needed

Personal protection or hunting items of your choice.

Keep in mind that this is just a suggested list; yours will vary depending on your age, health, strength, physical conditioning, experience, skill levels and local conditions (weather). Do your best to keep it light.


5 thoughts on “Suggestion for a Bug Out Bag”

  1. Matt in Oklahoma

    I think that the most important thing is to take the bag out, use the contents and really see what you “need” to survive. In winter it needs to expand with additional clothing, real sleeping bags and tentage.
    In summer more start up water/electrolytes may be need when temps approach or are over 100.
    The BOB or GMHB is a living object of constant change not a closet queen to be admired by others while on display.
    Some common mistakes I see are mylar blankets that will not keep you in real weather, not knowing how to tie down tarps in 30 mph (common here) winds, using insufficeint flashlights because many types, like wind ups, that look cool in the living room do not work “out there” on the trail. Having only a tarp in the bag when you leave the house in blizzard conditions. Having a knife and no sharpener, you are, at most, 2 days away from an unusable tool.

    1. Thanks Matt you always put things in prospective, I often am not as clear as I should be. Things like a sharpener with the knife, I just assume they go together. Plus I always have at least two knifes on me in addition to what is in the bag.


  2. Great list Howard! As you mentioned experience and skill levels are variables. I think these can be improved with practice and being sure of the operation of all of items in the kit. Thanks for the blog. Steve in Houston, TX

  3. I like the list, just a few comments. I agree that canned foods are too heavy, but the mylar pouches of tuna, SPAM and other meats are great, and far cheaper than MRE’s. I also keep vacuum sealed bags of instant rice. I bag them up in 2 cup servings, then all I have to do is add 2 cups of hot water, and be eating (right out of the bag) in just a few minutes. Not as fast as MRE’s, which don’t require any cooking time, but I think it’s a good compromise.

    I agree with having water purification items, but it’s important to have at least some water on you that is ready to drink, in the event that you can’t top off before you have to leave. I know water is heavy (8lbs per gallon) but I keep a full 1 liter bottle with my pack at all times. It’s not enough to last a full day, but it will get you going anyway.

  4. An important factor is the weight of your kit and your ability to get out of your vehicle, walk and carry it. At age 64 and far from the shape I was in 20 years ago, I limit my ruck to about 10 kilos, which includes 2 litres of water, a Mainstay 2400 ration and a pound of peanut butter.

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