Ensure you have a go-bag list before you leave your living space and embark on a survival path. You should plan everything carefully: from the place you are heading to, to the things to take with you in your bug-out bags, such as certain items of survival gear, clothing, a water filter, extra batteries, waterproof compass, paracord projects, first aid kit, and more. To find out what else might come in handy, and save your life in a survival situation, read the article below.
This article provides useful tips for campers and travelers who are not afraid of the wilderness and want to be well-prepared for any type of emergency.
Nowadays, there is some much socio-economic turmoil and political upheaval that every one of us has to be prepared for anything from wildfires to social unrest. This seems to be a wide spectrum of issues and almost impossible to cover for one person. That is why our team of skilled survival experts is here at your rescue. Getting you prepared for any SHTF scenario is our highest priority, either in the wild or social environment.
As they say, so many people, so many opinions. There are no two skilled survival experts that would give you the same advice on composing a well-packed bug out bag. Everything depends on your experience, skills, needs, and situation.
Hereunder, we are going to discuss everything we know about building a proper emergency go-bag:
- Quick emergency evacuation with a go-bag (a link to the relevant section);
- Choose the right go bag to carry emergency gear (a link to the relevant section);
- Go bag list: main priorities and critical objectives (a link to the relevant section);
- Other things to put in your go-bag (a link to the relevant section).
Quick Emergency Evacuation With a Go Bag
Compiling a bug out bag for the first time is a great experience that significantly elevates your survival skills. The bag contents might change over the years, but the essentials stay the same.
One of our team members has kindly shared his own experience of putting together an emergency bug out bag. One day he and his wife drove back home from work and noticed that the sky was turning gray rapidly. By the time they got home, they already knew what to do. They grabbed their bug-out bags, their pets, then quickly loaded all that into a car and drove away. A couple of days later, they found out that there was a massive grass fire in the suburbs, and the fire department had managed to localize and eliminate it quickly.
Such situations teach us to leave our home as quickly as possible without forgetting any vital items. You need to go through special training to leave your house in under 10 minutes with your family, documents, necessary gear, and supplies. Or just follow our rules and recommendations and use our ultimate bug out bag list.
Building a bug out bag list is a complicated task. There are so many things to consider in a minimal period of time. So, you will have to break it down into smaller parts and complete them one by one. Just take it easy and remember that Rome wasn’t built overnight.
Go Bag List: Main Priorities and Critical Objectives
There are four critical objectives that one has to achieve while preparing a bug out bag list. Those objectives are often called the Survival Rules of Three. The rule describes the main resources that you will not be able to live without. The tools that would provide you with those resources should always constitute your bug out bag’s core.
Resource number one – Air
A human being can go on for only three minutes without breathing. That is not a very big number. Even if you are not suffocating and have access to some air, the pollution by smoke, dust, and various toxic gases can make your breathing very difficult.
Use Gas Masks
To protect yourself and your family from chemical burns or intoxication, keep at least a couple of cloth shields and several 95-masks in your bug out bag. Those will filter the air you inhale. Unfortunately, the cloth masks will not protect you in case of chemical attacks or nuclear fallout. Pack a full-fledged gas mask to ensure protection from chemicals and nuclear particles.
We want you to have the best survival gear, and therefore we strongly advise you to purchase gas masks from MIRA Safety or Parcel Distribution.
Stash Necessary Medications
If you have a medical condition that requires treatment, you have to include all the necessary medical items into your bug out bag list. People with allergies, asthma, and other chronic conditions are at the most risk. Getting medical assistance in the wild is impossible, so make sure to stock prescribed medications beforehand and stash them in your first aid kit.
Resource number two – Shelter
Always remember that nature can be hazardous. One can only survive for three hours without a proper survival shelter in extreme cold or heat. That number can reduce dramatically depending on the environment and temperature conditions.
For a successful survival experience, you may use modern technology tools. Pack a survival blanket or a tact bivvy sack in your bug our bag. A Tact Bivvy can come in handy when you plan to head North but do not want to take cumbersome warm blankets with you. A good sleeping bag usually weighs a lot takes way too much space in your bag, while a tact bivy is very compact and easy to carry. It will keep you warm and, more importantly, alive thanks to its airtight mylar material.
Those tools are very compact and light, but they contribute hugely to surviving bad weather. You may also want to add a tent hammock to your bags. It will provide you comfort away from home an extra place for rest. If you are traveling with friends or family, you may look into shelters suitable for larger groups of people, like a survival tent or even a high-quality survival tarp.
Water is essential for our survival. One can live for only three days or 72 hours without any water. You may not always have access to drinking water in the wild, so make sure you have enough clean water with you. Most of our team members suggest having several single wall water bottles in your emergency bag.
Another survival discovery of ours is the Sawyer mini. This water filter is very compact and light yet powerful. According to the survey, it can filter up to 100,000 gallons before it’s used up, and that is a lot of water.
You can also take a small survival water filter or water purification tablets with you. They will let you refill your water supplies at almost any time. That way, you and your family or friends will have an available and renewable drinking water source. Although three days (72 hours) without water may seem just enough for some emergencies, do not get deluded, and don’t put your lives at risk. Always pack enough water essentials in your bug out bag.
Resource number four – Food Supply
Let us face it. We can do without food a lot longer than without water. Generally, a human can survive for three weeks without eating. But truth be told, no one would actually like to stay without food for that long. The state of starvation would affect your mental and physical abilities, and not in the best way. You can even lose the ability to think clearly, and that is definitely not what you want in an emergency. To avoid such an unpleasant outcome, pack some freeze-dried meals and some calorie-rich snacks with you.
Nowadays, there are so many products in the market that you can substitute a full meal with. There are all kinds of granola bars and calorie-dense snacks. Peanut butter packets, for example, contain protein, iron, and vitamin A. There is a variety of grab and go snacks too.
Unfortunately, most calorie-rich snacks and bars are terrible in flavor. But we take of you, and therefore our team has made up a list of a couple of snacks that you might find attractive. Our most recommended freeze-dried bug-out meal is Mountain House. The package allows you to add water straight into the pouch, and that, in turn, saves you a bunch of time for cooking. The package is super compact, too, so that it will save some space for other important gear.
Please note that even survival food eventually expires. Again, you do not want to risk your health or even life in an emergency, so refresh your food supplies at least occasionally to keep them up-to-date.
Choose the Right Go Bag to Carry Emergency Gear
Before proceeding with your personal bug out bag checklist, make sure you have enough bags to carry your gear in. The right tactical bug out bag should be well-organized on the inside, durable, preferably waterproof, and comfortable to wear. You will be wearing it for a very long time, and your back should not get tired from it too quickly.
When choosing your perfect bag, look for the following features:
- Durable and waterproof material;
- Comfortable fitting and availability of pack straps and hip belt;
- Hydration bladder compatibility;
- Attachment points for any extra equipment.
Do not opt for a bag that is obviously too large for your completion. You might fall for a temptation to have extra space, but remember that you will be the one carrying it the whole time. We suggest you take a look at the EVATAC Combat Bag. It complies with all requirements for a tactical go bag. Plus, it comes at a very affordable price.
Check out the video, where one of our colleagues reviews this amazing go-bag asset.
Other Things to Put on Your Go Bag List
Once you have set up all the essentials, you can take care of your emergency bug out bag’s contents. Remember that bug-out weight is always a huge factor. An overweight bug out bag can traumatize your back, and your journey will not be fun anymore. Try to substitute all the heavy gear items with their lightweight alternatives (if there are any).
Besides all the critical items, there are things just as important to have on a trip. High-quality clothing can make a big difference in various weather conditions. The items might seem expensive, but it is your health we are talking about, and it is the best investment. Adapt your clothing choices for your bug out plans. Try to check up on the weather forecast beforehand and keep up with the season’s demands.
No one would probably argue that a good waterproof jacket and tactical pants are a “must-have.” Get one of each with an insulation layer. This system will keep your body heat inside your clothing, and you will stay warm for an extended period of time. Pack some extra layers of clothing to put on whenever you do not feel warm enough. Grab the cloth that is universal and would suit most types of weather conditions.
Proper Bug Out Hat
Add a proper hat item to your bug out list. The thing is, your head loses heat way faster than your body, and you would want to keep it warm at all times. If you cannot decide what kind of hat you might need on your trip, just take a cap to keep your face protected from direct ultraviolet rays and take a windproof fleece beanie to protect you in case of bad weather.
You will be surprised to know that cold weather gloves can come in handy even during a hot summer. That is why everyone needs to have a pair of durable gloves in their bug out bag. Consider packing leather-palmed gloves to protect your hands from not only the cold but the heat from your cooking tanks, blisters from working with tools, splinters from wood, and pieces of broken glass.
All the above can cause some serious injury and leave you incapacitated in the wilderness. That brings us back to the first aid kit, but better prevent such things from happening at all. An injury is hazardous because an infection can easily get it, and there will be no antibiotics around.
In addition to the spare set of clothing, pack an extra pair of socks with you. After several days of hiking, you will definitely not regret this idea. Change your socks as frequently as you can, or you will get painful blisters and trench foot. If you are afraid to forget to change them, just make sure to do that when you stop for a meal. Try to do all your routines at the same time. That way, you will be more likely not to miss anything out.
Once you change your socks, your feet will feel a lot better the next time you put your heavy bag and head further.
Full Change of Clothes
Of course, you cannot possibly stay all dry and clean during a bug-out trip. It takes time to wash and dry the clothes, especially repair the damage. We suggest you keep a small and compact sewing kit in your bag just in case. If you do not happen to have a sewing kit with you, just change your damaged clothes for new ones.
A spare set of clothes will also save you from getting cold in your wet and dirty regular clothing. Getting wet and cold can cause you some serious health trouble, and your survival depends on it greatly.
Tactical Bug Out Boots
An excellent pair of tactical boots is a real lifesaver in the wild. Trust us, and you do not want to spend hours or even days hiking on wet feet. That is why we suggest you get a pair of boots with waterproof Goretex. Your feet provide your movement, and without it, your chances for survival decrease significantly. Once again, make sure you take good care of your feet, and proper tactical boots are the best way to do that.
Lightning tools should be an obligatory part of your bug out bag essentials. We are visual beings and always need to keep an eye out when left one on one with nature. Through our vision, we process more information than through any other sensory organ in our system. With no light, we become not only blind but disorientated, start panicking, and are not capable of making adequate decisions anymore. That is why it is critically important to have a suitable light source in your bag.
W hen choosing a proper light source, one needs to look up to our mountaineering community. These guys know everything about the best headlamps. Saving bag space and controlling the weight has always been a great issue for all hikers and travelers. These are built for sports and various activities, as they can provide you with spare hands.
This backup light source that has proven to be very reliable is chemical light sticks. You can store them on your shelf for years, but they really come in handy when an emergency light source is much-needed. They are another “must-have” on our bug out bag list. Use them to navigate in the dark, identify each other, and send out an S.O.S. signal. Please note that you will not be able to turn them off once you have activated them.
If you are thinking of packing an in-camp light source, use a lightweight solar LED lantern for these purposes. The lantern is perfect for managing group activities in the dark. It won’t help you much navigating in complete darkness, but it would do pretty well for reading a map when you need to charge your headlamp. Try out the Luci Solar Lanterns. They are one of the best when it comes to combining both weight and brightness.
Another excellent item to add to your bug out bag list is a bright LED tactical flashlight. It is a consummate backup source of light, and it can be turned into a weapon if needed.
First Aid Guidelines
Getting injured or wounded on a bug-out trip is almost inevitable, no matter how cautious you are being. If the injury is minor, you can deal with it using simple first aid kit tools. Clean the injury with a wipe and then put a band-aid on it. Use hand sanitizer to avoid touching the wound with dirty hands.
Suppose you are on a medication that you need to take daily, stock some extra of it, and pack it in your emergency kit. You have no idea how fast you can run out of those. Keep your daily consumables in your outer bag pocket so you could have easy access to them at any time. The Solo First Aid Kit from MyMedic will be a great addition to your other medical gear. It is compact, capacious, and, most importantly, lightweight.
A bandage or a band-aid is extremely useful when you need to cover an injury. Make sure to remove all foreign objects from your wound, including debris and dirt, and then apply a clean band-aid to it. This will reduce the risk of getting an infection.
There are multiple variations of bandages. For example, a triangle bandage is a large swath of cotton usually used for deeper cuts and scratches.
The medics warn us that any antibacterial materials and drugs create antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and it is the truth. However, they can save your life in an emergency. Remember that even the usual bacteria that our system is familiar with can cause a life-threatening condition by getting into an open cut or injury. Undoubtedly, add anti-bacterial wipes to your emergency kits at all times.
We will never get tired of repeating that you should take outstanding care of your feet. Besides the fact that blisters can be very dangerous and painful, they can blow up and turn into an open injury subject to infection. Moreover, if you do not change your socks often enough, your feet can become a home for fungus. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep a pad of moleskin in your emergency kit to patch up your feet on the move.
Pack some medical scissors, tweezers, and forceps to provide extra help with minor and major incidents. You may as well add some safety pins and tape to secure bandages in case of an accident.
The pain can intervene in your life in most unexpected situations and mess with your physical and mental abilities. Be careful and do not tolerate pain for too long. Use pain relief drugs to ease the condition and try to get some rest while the medicine is working.
Ibuprofen and aspirin are the most common choices for pain killers. They are effective, suitable for most occasions, and they very rarely cause an allergic reaction. However, naproxen sodium works better, and its effect is more durable. Stash some oral painkillers in your emergency kits for reducing tooth or gum pains.
We have already mentioned the antibacterial wipes briefly. Now let us talk about some more serious stuff. The antibiotic ointments, just like the wipes, help to keep the wound clean and safe from infections. But unlike the wipes, they do contain a pain-relief ingredient in them. Minor injuries may not cause as much pain as big wounds, but still, no pain shall be endured.
As we mentioned above, having an extra stash of your daily medications is of critical importance. Ask your doctor for another prescription to make emergency supplies and refresh them every now and then. Label your daily medications for quicker access.
There is no explanation needed for this one. Sunburns can cause just as much discomfort as blisters, and being unprotected under direct ultraviolet rays increases your risk of getting melanoma. To avoid that, please grab a tube of high-SPF sunscreen.
When working with injuries or wounds, make sure to wear medical latex gloves. Providing hand disinfection with soap and clean water will not be easy in the wilderness. Keep a pair or two in your first aid kit, just in case.
Add some gauze pads to your bag checklist. They have proven to be incredibly useful when you need to stop the bleeding immediately. Use several layers for more effectiveness and keep the pressure steady on the wound.
To prevent or cure muscle hyperextension, use the SAM Splint. It basically is a combination of foam and lightweight aluminum, a most definitely necessary asset for a bug out bag. The material can be applied to any body part and is super effective.
Modern tourniquets are way more advanced than the good old belt-around-the-arm method. Most of them are effective and very easy to use.
Tourniquets are true lifesavers in cases of serious injury, but one needs to be extremely cautious with them. If you leave the limb for an extended time in a tourniquet, the blood flow will stop and cause amputation.
Self-confidence can be both useful and tricky and at the same time. If you seem to know the local area like your own five fingers, do not trust this feeling blindly. Add some navigation tools to your bug out bag checklist. Navigation tools will also come in handy if you need to communicate with the group members who are not familiar with the surroundings.
Standalone GPS and Phone Apps
We have access to all the modern technology we want. Normally, people tend to use the GPS Apps on their smartphones. Make sure that you have one that can work offline, as most places in the wild do not have access to an Internet connection. Get a standalone GPS in your emergency go bag as a backup in case your cell phone dies.
Of course, you can always use the good old-fashioned way to navigate the land. A paper map can be irreplaceable for coordinating large groups of people. It will show you all the existing backroads and alternative routes. It might also be a good idea to get a map covering the whole region to help you in an emergency evacuation.
A compass is an ultimate navigation asset, but one needs to learn how to use one first. Combined with a paper map, it is one of the most effective tools for orientation on the land. It is lightweight, requires no batteries or connection. Provided you have developed a proper skill. You can even read the compass at nighttime.
Do not forget to check out our ultimate Bug Out Checklist for more tools and details on navigation.
Any person hopes deep on the inside that he or she will never have to defend themselves. But we all need to survive under any circumstances. By far, not every encounter can be a friendly one. There are various kinds of threats in the wild, and we have to be prepared for most of them.
Pepper spray is a great self-defense tool. Pack it amongst another bug out bag essentials in case of an unexpected attack. Pepper sprays differ greatly in concentration and hotness. For example, Devil Juice obtains an extreme hotness level that can measure up to three million SHU. It is 50 percent hotter than one of the hottest peppers in the world — the Carolina Reaper.
The Devil Juice provides you with a wide strike zone and can blind your attacker at a distance of 6 feet.
If your survival gear includes a firearm amongst other items, make sure to stock some extra ammunition and pack it in your tactical go bag. Don’t overdo it, as any kind of ammunition is burdensome.
A proper survival knife can become both a self-defense weapon and a multi-use tool. Your perfect bug out knife will be the one with a full tang and a solid steel blade. Please, go check out our partners’ websites for the best products in the market.
Personally, we have always been huge fans of the Bowie Knife and different types of Tanto Blades. However, there are some other impressive-looking tactical knives too. For example, a drop point blade is, by far, not a bad one. Check out the American Gunner official website to get an EVATAC Rescue Knife for free. The quantity of free samples is limited.
You should learn how to maintain the blade properly if you want the knife to be of good and long service. Pack a knife sharpener among your other tools.
Fire and Heat
Regardless of weather conditions, you will need to keep yourself warm, at least at night. We have prepared some more useful tips on how to do that while bugging out.
One may need chemical hand warmers for surviving in shallow temperatures. They are everywhere in the market and are pretty cheap. Hand warners produce safe heat that will keep your hands warm while you’re on the move, and there is no possibility to build a fire.
Use a space blanket to keep your body warm in extreme cold. It retains the warmth of a human body and does not let the cold in. No sleeping bag will protect you from the cold like a space blanket. It basically is a human thermos, which is a great thing during a blizzard.
Small backpacking stove
Add a portable stove into your shopping cart while preparing for your next trip. This tool will help you cook in an emergency and keep you warm when a campfire is not an option.
Matches and Lighters
Every person should have a set of matches or at least one lighter in his or her bug out bag. You will most definitely need those when building a fire. Check out the latest waterproof matches, for starters, as well as our highly recommended survival lighter.
Not always the environment can offer you dry kindling material. That is when the “Magic Biscuit” fire starters come to rescue. You can easily make one yourself. They are very durable and almost indestructible.
Check out our video to learn how to make firestarters and use them during the worst weather.
Multi-purpose tools should take a special place among your bug out bag essentials. They save your bag space and cover so many areas of use.
If there is something you cannot fix with duct tape, then it cannot be fixed at all, period. Our absolute favorite kind of duct tape is the Gorilla Tape. You can even fix your water bottle to your bag by just wrapping a couple of layers of duct tape around it. This tool is definitely worth including in your emergency kit.
The possibilities of a paracord are almost limitless in an emergency. A coil of paracord can be used for building various types of survival shelters or for hanging your bags up in the air. One can also use the paracord’s inner strand as a fishing line.
If you had any doubts up to this moment, doubt no more. Of course, you should have a survival multi-tool in your bag. It has many uses for all occasions.
Whether you are building a survival shelter, clearing vegetation, or just collecting wood for a campfire, a small hatchet or saw can make those tasks easier. Plus, you can use the back of the hatchet as a mallet to pound tent stakes into the ground. Both the saw and the hatchet make an excellent improvised survival weapon in a survival situation.
Now, let’s talk about the other items that might go on your checklist. Here we will briefly discuss the ones that don’t comply with any other category.
Light Weight Rugged Solar Charger
Most of our gear, from flashlights to cell phones, is working on a battery. Discharged, they are abso
lutely useless. To avoid getting in trouble because your device doesn’t work and there is no electricity around, pack a solar charger and a spare battery in your bug out bags. Double-check for all the necessary device cords. Our skilled survival team highly recommends purchasing the Anytime Charge Power Bank. It has a huge charging capacity (up to 10,000 mAH) and a dual-cord portal.
Way back in the article, we have talked about the dangers of smoke, allergens, dust, and nuclear particles. All of the above impose a threat to your lungs, and we use a mask to protect them. But how do you protect your eyes? Get a pair of quality goggles and pack them in your bug out bag. Opt for ski goggles in winter environments.
If you are in danger and need to send out a signal for help, use a loud survival whistle to do that. Choose a high-power survival whistle that will work in any weather conditions and add it to your bug out bag.
Hand Crank Radio
Whether away from civilization or not, we are social beings. We need to know what is going on in the world to make informed decisions. While on the go or without any access to power, you may use an emergency radio. Our team’s ultimate favorite is hand-crank radio. It never runs out of power and is a great company if you are on a trip alone. Check the video review of a similar hand-crank radio.
Leave your E-mail address, and we will send you some more info on additional skilled-survival items.
Once the power is out, your credit cards will become useless pieces of plastic. To avoid getting in trouble of being left without a livelihood, save a certain amount of extra cash in your bug out bag.
It is good to have an electronic copy of all your important bug out documents on a separate flesh driver. Pack the originals in a sealed folder and extra cash in someplace protected from fire and water. You may use a bank account deposit box for saving these documents:
- Passports or any identification documents, including Birth Certificates of all family members;
- Vaccination records of all family members, including pets (if applicable);
- Vehicle and medical insurance information of all family members, confirmation of private property ownership, as well as any existing loan documents;
- Photo inventory report of our home that can be valuable for an insurance claim;
- A phone book with the addresses and relevant phone numbers of all your important contacts.
To Wrap It All Up
It might look scary for the first-timers, but trust us, once you get to do it, it doesn’t seem so complicated and overwhelming after all. Work gradually through each category, and, eventually, it will take you less and less time to put it all together. You will develop a reflex, and it all will come naturally to you. Edit your bug out bag list as you go, and remember, practice makes it perfect.
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Best of luck in your future journeys!
What is a bug out bag?
A bug out bag is an emergency unit that contains all the necessary items, tools, and equipment required for survival in the wilderness. Bug out bags is usually used for a long-term hiking trip away from civilization or in case of a forced evacuation. One should think through all the bug out bag essentials in advance.
What to put in an earthquake kit?
In case of an earthquake, you will need a special survival kit. Make sure to pack all the necessary items, such as important documents, cash, at least a gallon of water per person, food supplies, extra batteries, cell-phone along with the charging device, a first aid kit, dust protecting masks (at least one for each family member), flashlight, local paper maps, a GPS, high-powered whistle, and a hand-crank radio.
What to put in a survival kit?
A survival kit shall contain first-priority items, vitally important for surviving in an emergency. Make sure to pack enough warm and spare clothes, food items, medication, first aid items, sleeping bags, multi-functional tools, water, toilet paper, and at least one lighter to build a fire. People tend to have different survival minimums, so you shall adjust your survival kit to your personal needs. When you are done packing, double-check all your essentials, just in case.
How to pack a bug out bag?
Make up a go-bag list to make sure you do not miss out on anything important. Include items that would be most suitable for the environmental conditions of the place you are headed to. Compiling a survival items checklist can be difficult, so try to break it down into smaller parts and deal with each of them separately. Prepare the bug out bag that would fit all the necessary equipment and will not be too overweight.
Where to go bugging out?
It really depends on your personal preferences. Some people prefer to test their abilities in extreme weather conditions. Some prefer a more relaxed bug-out trip. However, if you are a new-comer to wilderness survival, try to start with places situated closer to civilization. Thus, you will be able to get help or medical assistance if needed.