Bug Out Bag Essentials

Bug Out Bag Essentials

Our guide to your bug out bag essential gear

Lets get some things cleared up while we still can. Everyone keeps talking about having a Bug Out Bag (BoB), hundreds of people have different ideas about what “HAS” to be in a BoB, and thousands of people claim to be an expert on bugging out and what everyone will need if they do.

Remember, those people are not you and everyone has different needs. Your plans should be your plans, not based on what everyone else says.

I am going to go down the list and get things straight in a manner that should be easy to understand for everyone. There is no such thing as a true BoB. A BoB is just a selection of items that will fill a gap in your logistics planning.

There is also talk about surviving for 72 hours using the BoB. If your logistics plan is set up correctly and everything is in place, then your BoB should only have to get you to the next location and possibly overnight.

Why does everyone insist on 72 hours? Probably because the Government says that they can get a majority of emergencies under control after 72 hours. This is not always the case but that’s what they say. If your logistics are in place, you need a few items such as water, etc. and the clothes on your back to Bug Out.

For most people, a BoB is a necessity though. They don’t plan ahead, they aren’t trained to survive, they dont get their routes selected in advance, and if something happens and they have to Bug Out, they are running lost and have only what they take.

Ask any Grunt if he enjoyed carrying hundreds of pounds of equipment through the desert, jungle, or woods. The more you carry, the faster you will start getting rid of things. The better your abilities, experience, and skills, the less items you will need to survive. What do you really need to get to a location that is 20-30 miles away?

  • A small pack with enough supplies to get you through a 24 hour travel period
  • A location with 24 hours of supplies staged en route to your Bug Out Location via a back up route
  • A RON (Remain Over Night) location on each route with supplies that will get you through 24 hours

You should be able to travel a minimum of 10 miles a day, so you should have plenty of supplies staged to survive your trip and have extras available if you need them. A small bag with the bare necessities might even be your best option.

The Infantry has operated on a supply as needed method for a long time, if your supplies are pre-staged in a cache, then you can get what you need just by going to that location. You plans need to be put in place before something happens. Remember the 6 Ps. Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

Don’t spend a lot of money on everything you need to go into a bag that you will carry unless setting up a few caches are not an option. If you put everything you need into a bag, it will probably weigh over 100 pounds, you are not going to walk as fast and cover as much ground if you are weighed down. You should count on carrying about 25% of your own weight at the most. 20% if you are overweight. 

So what do you need in a BoB?

The basics:


You should have at least 1 liter of water per day at a minimum, 2 should be enough to be comfortable under average work levels in average temperatures. Water is heavy but a requirement.


Enough food to get you through to the next meal. Make sure if you carry canned goods, you have pull top cans or a can opener. Energy bars and candies are a good addition. Back pack meals are freeze dried meals that you just add boiling water to. They are light weight and last a long time.


Your Bug Out Bag clothes should be similar to what you would pack for a weekend backpacking trip:

  • A pair of sturdy boots or shoes
  • A pair of long pants (preferably not blue jeans)
  • 2 Pairs of socks (preferably not cotton)
  • 2 Shirts (Maybe 1 long sleeve and 1 short sleeve for layering)
  • A Jacket that is both warm and protection from rain
  • Warm long underwear of some kind
  • A hat
  • A Bandana or good kerchief to help with sweat


You are going to need protection from the elements and a warm dry place to sleep. You need at least:

  • Some type of tent or tarp and a way to set it up
  • A ground tarp for underneath your shelter to stay dry  or a sleeping pad
  • Some type of Bedroll, preferably a sleeping bag

First Aid Kit

There is a different between a First Aid Kit and a Trauma Kit. You need the very basics in your bag. Build your own kit instead of buying one. Why carry the extra items that you will never need and you should know where everything is quickly.

Basic Needs Items

  • Rain Gear. At least 2 ways to stay dry in the rain. Poncho and Coat are good coupled with your Tent or Shelter
  • Fire. A minimum of 3 different ways to make fire
  • Ax or saw. You’re also going to need something to cut your firewood and a knife takes a long time to cut down trees
  • Cooking. Bare minimum is a small pan or a large cup to boil water in for both drinking and freeze dried meals
  • Light. At least 2 dependable flashlights and a backup set of batteries for each
  • Survival Knife. The most important and most versatile tool is your knife