Bug-Out Bags are a type of survival kit designed to allow its owner to survive at least three days in the event of emergency, typically evacuating from a disaster zone. As Bug-Out Bags have a finite amount of space and the weight of the bag must be worn through potentially life threatening situations, it is of critical importance that survivalists put a lot of thought into exactly what they include in their bag. Forgetting to include a certain item (or enough of it), or carrying too many things can all result in a tragic outcome during an emergency. Remember that Bug-Out Bags are designed specifically to sustain a survivalist for at least seventy two hours while they reach their evacuation location, whether it is one’s home, a cabin in the woods or their grandparents homestead farm. Deciding or forgetting to include any items on this bug out bag list could mean life or death. Having supplies is only part of the solution though. If you don’t have a good plan in place all of your supplies will mean nothing. If you lack a good plan or would like to improve your current one check out the Family Survival Course.
Before we even get to listing what you will include inside your Bug-Out Bag, we need to talk about the actual bag itself. The most important part of any Bug-Out list is the quality of the Bug-Out Bag itself, remember after all that you are entrusting this bag with your life. Make sure that whichever bag you decide on has a spot for a water bladder, has straps and a multitude of exterior pockets. Our recommendation is the Eberlestock G4 Operator. Eberlestock bags are particularly well known for their excellent reputation as a survival bag in the shooting community. The G4 is actually marketed as a snipers bag, which is why it is the perfect Bug Out Bag, as it is designed to handle emergency situations with extended periods of exposure to the elements, much like a sniper would in a combat situation. The Eberlestock G4 Operator also comes in with a built-in scabbard that features a butt cover, as such this bag allows you to completely conceal a weapon up to 60 inches long and places the weapon perfectly along your centre of gravity which makes it very easy to lug around.
With the actual Go bag out of the way, let’s move on to your actual Bug-Out Bag List.
The guiding principle of any successful Bug Out Bag is the Three Three’s: Human beings can only survive for 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. Since Bug-Out Bags by definition require supporting oneself for seventy-two hours, shelter and water are by far the most important items on any Bug-Out Bag, followed by food.
If you do not have adequate shelter, you will simply not be able to survive three days of an emergency, especially if it is a natural disaster. You can’t expect to survive “sleeping rough” during Hurricane Katrina 2.0. If you already know how to correctly pitch a good tent then all you will need to do is pack a tarp and all the equipment such as pegs and so forth to set it up. If you do not know how to pitch a tent already, then go back to square one and learn how before you learn more out survivalism. Also be sure not to forget to pack a sleeping bag and whatever else you will need to keep dry and warm. Whatever you do, do not bring a pillow. Use your sleeping bag’s case as a makeshift pillow and stuff it with the clothes you’re not wearing while you sleep.
Water is a critical part of any Bag-Out Bag or survival kit. Generally, humans must take at least 1 Litre of water a day, so make sure you have 3 Litres of water packed at the minimum, preferably four. Pack a few water bladders and bottles and above all make sure that it is clean. You can always refill your water at a natural water source like a lake or river, but never drink water from the wild without first boiling and or treating it. Something like the Mayday Pouch Water would also be very convenient.
Having a method of water purification is absolutely essential. Make sure to pack enough Emergency Water Filters. This allows you to treat wild water so that it doesn’t make you sick. Should you consume unsafe water, you may not survive an emergency situation. You cannot afford to become sick during a disaster. Something like a water filtration bottle, which is a water bottle with a built in filter, would definitely be recommended.
Freeze dried food and MRE’s are your best friend in a bug out. Trail mix also has a lot of calories so you may want to consider packing some to eat while you’re on the go in between your meals. Regardless of your height, weight and you should aim to eat at least 3,000 calories a day, more if you are tall, heavy and male. You are in serious danger of malnutrition if you eat less than 1,200 calories a day. If you don’t pack enough food, you are shooting yourself in the foot and hampering your own ability to survive emergency situations because you will not be able to perform at peak efficiency. Adding high calorie food bars to your supplies would be ideal.
Make sure you pack adequate clothing depending on the weather. Wool and thermals are your best friend in cold environments.
Now that the life or death essentials are out of the way, it’s easy for us to list everything else you need in your Bug-Out Bag.
Also carry a torch and batteries, an LED and head torch is an especially good idea. A battery or AM/FM solar powered radio is also very important, just make sure it can receive both Local (FM) and National (AM) stations. A compass is also a must-have so you don’t get lost on the way back to your safe haven. A sharp and sturdy survival knife and duct tape is also always a good idea. Make sure to always have hand sanitizer and a first aid kit to prevent illness and treat injuries. A universal first aid kit and burn dressings will cover all your bases.
Lastly, a firearm is always a good idea depending on your local laws. A .45 or 9mm caliber handgun will be enough to keep you safe until you can reach a rifle at your safe haven, unless you’ve decided to carry with your Eberlestock G4 Operator bug out bag.
Make sure to pack all the items included in this Bug-Out Bag list, but also take care not to over-pack and avoid non-essentials. You will be living off this kit for three whole days, so pack wisely. As I mentioned earlier, having a good plan for survival is just as important. Good luck.