Inch bag basics: inch bags are not for everyone due to their weight, but if you are a skilled survivor, you should consider getting one. Another advantage is that you can put nearly everything in it: your macbook, briefcase, survival gear, tools, one more backpack, etc. This kind of bug-out bag is extremely popular across the world with super skilled preppers. Here’s why.
If you are an experienced survivalist, you probably have heard about an INCH bag before. However, if you have just started to explore this topic and prepare for the worst, we are here for you to explain all you should know about an INCH bag.
Let’s begin with the basics: an INCH bag can be perceived as an abbreviation. “INCH” in this term stands for “I’m Never Coming Home.” Although it sounds grimly, these words describe the functionality of an inch bag quite precisely.
With an INCH bag, you can make sure that all the items you need to survive are always nearby. To make it easier, let’s say that an INCH bag is an improved version of a bug out bag. Among the key differences are size and weight, along with the things you put inside. With a heavy and full INCH bag, you will be able to survive for the long term, at least, for longer than with a bug out bag.
Any survival bag should contain specific items. We have prepared a detailed review of all the handy things you might need to survive. You might be unaware of some of them, so keep reading carefully to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything and have gathered all the stuff for your INCH bag. Below, we will also explain the difference between INCH bags, bug out bags, and get home bags.
For those who have faced survival situations before or already know a thing about survival bags, we have made a list of 104 items that you can use to fill your bug out bag. You may check it out here.
So, What Should I Carry in My INCH Bag?
Because an INCH bag might serve you for the long term, the list of items you can take will be long, too. For your convenience, we will split things you have to put inside your inch bag by categories.
They include a first aid kit, things to build a shelter and start a fire, tools that help you get some pure water, and other irreplaceable pieces of gear. Believe us, in an SHTF scenario. Your INCH bag prepared after reading our guidelines will become a lifesaver.
Keep in mind that there is an extensive guide with over a hundred items that can replenish your survival kit and set a perfect bug out bag.
Items to Start a Fire
When you are trying to survive, a fire is a multipurpose option you use to warm up a bit, cook some food, and get a bit of light during the dark evenings. We all know that a fire can start if you use a couple of rocks. However, nowadays, this would be too unwise. The market is full of tools that may assist in starting a fire in seconds. Here are some of them: do not forget to add them to your INCH bag.
Handy Fire Laces
Yes, you have heard this right: there are laces that not only tie your shoes but light a fire. There is no need to carry regular laces anymore. You want to free as much space as possible when getting out to survive. So, consider buying a pair of lightweight and useful fire laces.
If you ask how it works, here is the explanation: at the end of each lace, you have a Ferro rod accompanied by a sharp striker. You simply lace up your boots with this thing, and now you are all set. Such a straightforward item is worth buying.
While regular lighters that we use daily require fuel, electric lighters will save you if you face a lack of fuel. An important thing to carry, don’t you agree?
There are at least three ways to generate electricity when trying to survive; it is much easier than searching for some fuel. We will reveal the items for that below.
Meanwhile, we recommend obtaining a Tesla Electric Lighter, a lightweight and small device of good quality. With a Tesla lighter, you will forget about the lighters that suddenly run out and need recharging.
Although we are used to saying “tinder” when we talk about the mobile app for online dating, tinder is still a thing that helps to light a fire in a blink of an eye.
A tinderbox grate will assist if you need some tinder. And with tinder, a fire will start quickly because even a small twig will let you get enough material.
Survival Solutions for Water
Now, let’s see what we can use to produce some clean water. Everyone knows that water makes up 60–70% of the human body (averagely). Various studies demonstrate that you will probably stay alive for no less than eight days without food, but the term usually decreases to four days without water.
If you are lucky with the climate conditions, most likely, you will die if your body does not get any water in a week. So, the need for clean water is undoubtful, and devices to get it should become an irreplaceable part of your survival gear. Let’s review the most useful items to obtain drinkable water.
Some of our readers already know about tablets that clean water and LifeStraw Water Filters that turn dirty water into drinkable. Of course, if you leave home with all supplies for a small amount of time, a couple of those will be sufficient. However, for a well-prepared INCH bag, it is not enough.
It would help if you still put water purification tablets in your bag. LifeStraw Water Filter is also a good idea. But another option to get something to drink is to boil water. So, consider purchasing a metal water bottle. The best option is a bottle of stainless steel.
When you run out of water purification tablets and easy-to-use filters, a bottle will save you. Obviously, plastic bottles cannot substitute a bottle of steel; plastic will fade away when you try to boil water in such a bottle. This stainless steel water bottle has a huge advantage: it can only be used forever if you don’t lose it.
First Aid Items
We know that it is difficult to survive without certain things, but surviving without a first aid kit is truly impossible. People need medications in everyday life, let alone a survival situation when you, for example, suddenly lose your home and become a part of wild nature.
Getting sick is not an option because you need the energy to stay alive. Here is what can help in unpredictable circumstances.
Though many people consider antibiotics too specific, you should make them a part of your survival kit. Special survival antibiotics is a thing you need to avoid death from various infections.
Cream with Antibiotics
It works the same way with cream: each wound you get may lead you to severe disease. Such situations often involve infections, and you cannot get better without antibiotics. So, put some antibiotic cream on the wound to prevent yourself from a lethal threat. Neosporin is among the best options on the market.
First Aid Kit (a Small One)
We have warned you that an INCH bag is a heavy thing to carry. We suggest getting a small first aid kit because we try to save as much space as possible. Such first-aid kits contain the key things you need if you feel sick or get traumatized.
You cannot avoid illnesses or traumas when trying to survive; with this kit, you will be able to make your life easier.
Make sure you have read our ultimate checklist with 104 precious items that turn your bag into a perfect bug out bag!
Things to Hunt for Food
We have mentioned above that it is impossible to survive without food. Remember: if there is no food, most likely, you can stay alive from eight to 10 days, tops.
The food itself is not a thing you can carry in an INCH bag. However, you can supply your gear with certain things that can catch something for you.
We have found six helpful items to get some calories. Consider adding at least a couple of those to your INCH bag. To be fully prepared, read our guide on what you can eat in the wilderness.
Whether it is a small game you are trying to catch or have more expectations, snares will work.
Small Fishing Rod
It is another obvious item you should get to complete your INCH bag. When you are trying to survive in the wild nature, you can find many ponds to get some fish. With a compact rod, the process becomes straightforward.
A small rod is deployable — you can fit one in your pocket. The Ronco Pocket Spincaster is one of the best examples today that we highly recommend.
Although you can find the advanced versions of fishing rods like the Shakespeare Ugly Stick Rod, a small rod will also work.
Good-Quality Survival Bow
Nowadays, there are at least three types of survival bows. They differ by size, weight, characteristics, and abilities. But you can choose any bow you like, and it will perform the role anyway.
If you can put a takedown bow in your INCH bag piece by piece, it won’t be that easy with an advanced crossbow or a compound bow. However, there are several retention components that you can use to put your bow right on the INCH bag, not inside of it.
While being a convenient thing to carry, a takedown survival bow is inferior to the other types in some features. The arrow’s speed, long-distance shots, and fewer efforts to shoot are the key advantages of crossbows and compound bows.
We have already told you to take a fishing rod with you. But it becomes absolutely useless without a fishing tackle. The fish you are trying to catch will not be interested without all the bait.
So, when packing your INCH bag, ensure that you have put a sufficient amount of essential accessories and hooks inside.
Slingshot for Survival Hunting
Another way to shoot the wild game is to use a survival slingshot. For such hunting, you have to either learn or be a skillful person. But after you practice and understand how to hunt with a slingshot, your life in the woods will become much easier.
When we say “slingshot,” we usually imagine rocks of different sizes that we can use to shoot something with it. To make it easier, you can purchase ammo kits for your slingshot that contain various items of different materials. Such kits will not take much space in your INCH bag.
Yo-Yo Reels for Fishing
For many people, fishing is a long process when you sit on the shore for hours waiting for fish to come. Yo-yo reels (or a fishing trap) are a thing that will probably make you rethink how you go fishing.
Leave yo-yo fishing reels in a place full of fish, and do your thing. After a while, you can come back for the prey. The reels will catch fish for you automatically. It has never been easier! The only thing you have to do now is turning the fish you got into some tasty food.
If you still haven’t seen our perfect list of over 100 things you should put in your bug out bag, check it out now!
Items to Generate Alternative Power
Living off the grid means that you don’t have any traditional sockets to charge stuff. If such a situation happens, and you are no longer able to get some electricity, you can rely only on alternative power sources.
We have gathered the most reliable items that you can utilize when you live off the grid. They work with the energy of the sun, hand crank, or biomass energy. To simplify your life when facing electricity malfunction, consider choosing and adding some of them (or all of them) to your INCH bag.
Portable Solar Charger
All batteries require either charging or replacing. We are used to utilizing things that can be recharged, and some of these things might appear inside your INCH bag. Without a solar charger kit, you won’t be able to load batteries that let these things work.
When living off the grid, you may use the Goal Zero Solar Recharging Kit to revive your devices.
Such a survival radio allows you not to depend on the sun and solar-powered batteries. You can generate power at any moment.
Apart from the radio for emergencies button, this device has a USB port handy for charging other items of your survival gear, including smartphones. After all, the radio will provide you with some information about the surroundings.
Compact Biomass Camping Stove
Each time you decide to light a fire, remember that you can use the biomass camping stove to charge your devices.
This survival item is quite new and considered progressive. If you have no idea when you are coming home, add the stove to your INCH bag.
A solar headlamp is a helpful device because you get the light during the night without using your hands at all.
Leave it outside on a sunny day. When it’s getting dark, you will put it on your head and stop worrying about a possible blackout.
Solar Powered Lantern
Well, these lanterns are not as convenient as headlamps. However, they are still a decent source of light that you can use when it’s dark.
Solar lanterns are compact; some of them can fit not only in your INCH bag but in the pocket of your jacket. Check out the solar lantern that has proved its efficiency; the experts of survival recommend it.
Survival watch won’t require electricity or battery replacement. You can charge it with the energy of the sun.
Among the most popular models is the G-Shock Rangeman Watch Series: this watch will not let you down for sure. They are called “survival” for a reason: besides having a solar battery, they offer information about outside temperature and have a compass and other useful features inside.
Even a couple of hours under the sun will charge such a watch for quite a long time. You definitely can make moving around easier with this multifunctional tool.
Our checklist of 104 survival items to put in your bug out bag is worth reading if you are still unsure what to choose!
Sometimes you have to reach a new level of self-defense. A slingshot and a knife might not be enough to protect you and the people that accompany you in surviving. We have included one survival weapon in this review just in case.
Buying a perfect rifle that suits your preferences is a whole new process. Before you get one, do some research or use our guidelines and reviews on the topic.
You may opt for a 22 rifle because such rounds are easy to carry and can become a part of an everyday carry bag (and an INCH bag, of course). The Henry – AR-7 U.S. Survival .22 rifle is a great option. Unfortunately, an INCH bag doesn’t presume space for a gun cleaning kit.
Shelters’ Tools for Survivalists
When trying to survive in the woods, in abandoned buildings, or any other kind of circumstances, you can’t avoid the necessity of creating a shelter for you and others who are trying to stay alive around you.
So, you have to be prepared to demonstrate various skills, and setting shelters from scratch is one of such skills. But no one can build things without special tools and materials. The tools we propose below are intended to creating fantastic shelters of different kinds or saving yourself in extreme conditions.
Warming TACT Bivvy Sack
This tool is not for building shelters; however, it will help you stay warm if you are spending your nights in unbearable climate conditions.
We have gathered our recommendations to survive when it’s cold outside. Every shelter will protect you from the bad, cold weather, but you have to lie down to fall asleep; the natural surface might be too cold, and your sleeping bag won’t work.
The TACT Bivvy Sack will help you confront this problem. It is more effective and lightweight than a blanket or a sleeping bag, so ensure you have added this Bivvy Sack to the INCH bag you are packing.
There is a way to build a shelter that some people consider not so common: digging deep holes and hiding there. You, as a great survivalist, should be prepared to build shelters in all ways possible. With a regular shovel, you cannot reach success as quickly as with a special survival shovel.
Another useful thing such shovels can do is creating Dakota fire pits. These pits let you light a fire that will have less smoke and, therefore, will be almost invisible if you need to hide. Additionally, you can protect your shelter with a survival shovel on a rainy day by digging a deep ditch.
Survival Ax (or Hatchet)
To get the wood, you should bring a survival ax (also called a survival hatchet) and other items in your INCH bag. Even if you have obtained a good-quality survival knife and decided to leave the ax, change your mind because, with an ax (like this Gerber Hatchet), you will spend much less time and effort when setting a shelter.
Other Handy Things to Carry
Some gear doesn’t fit in any category, so that we will include it in this separate section. These things will facilitate every survivalist and undertake various tasks you face when you are alone in the wild nature, for example.
If you already know how to use compasses and find the right way, you can appreciate its importance without our recommendations. If you are still unaware of how to use these things, explore the topic as soon as possible because a good military compass is an indispensable item in your INCH bag.
With a compass and knowledge of using it, you will be able to get out of the woods much faster if you get lost.
We have already mentioned a survival knife when discussing the survival shovels’ topic. While this cutting tool can’t dig deep holes, numerous tasks are still needed: from self-defense and cutting wood to cooking survival food.
When you research the market, choose among these knives wisely. Whether the knife is made of stainless steel or any other material should be a knife of the highest quality that will serve you for the long term.
One of the reasons to apply your survival skills is sudden air poisoning. To be ready for this situation, get a gas mask. Of course, you may never use it because such cases are not common.
However, it is lightweight and will not take much space in your INCH bag. So why not be fully prepared? Besides reading the review on purchasing such masks, we suggest you check out this good-quality gas mask at a reasonable price.
In the wilderness, pliers turn into one of the multifunctional survival tools. With survival pliers, you may deal with many problems regarding mending, flexing, and attaching things.
Many experienced survivalists consider multi-purpose pliers almost as vital as a good-quality knife. A convenient tool that should get into your INCH bag, isn’t it?
You can choose a small duct tape roll to fix and attach things. It can also protect some of your gear from rain and water if needed.
The Importance of Multifunctional Tools
Okay, we have listed so many items that our INCH bags will explode if we pack all of them. How to avoid such a result? Choose the maximum of multifunctional tools: those that can do more than one thing.
You can purchase one item that will bring you four or five instead, like this outstanding shovel that includes knives, a hatchet, tools to light a fire, and other handy things.
You have to free your INCH bag from unnecessary gear that is already included in purchased tools. Imagine how much extra space you will get after combining various functions in one item!
Tools to Skip When Packing Your INCH Bag
We have covered the question of things each survivalist has to put inside their INCH bag. Let’s analyze other gear that you might have considered. We are going to explain why you don’t need it anymore.
When we pack our bags to travel somewhere, we usually take lots of clothes and don’t bother cleaning and drying them. Survival is not the case. You will surely have some time to wash your clothes and have no space in your INCH bag. So, add a minimum, and don’t forget about the tactical pants with lots of pockets to store your gear.
You have replaced any gear you need to sleep comfortably with a TACT Bivvy Sack mentioned above. This precious element is much better than a sleeping bag, a blanket, or a survival hammock. Instead of tents, you will use natural materials to create your shelter, so skip those, too.
Without electricity, you can leave behind most of the devices you use daily. You can take your smartphone because you will be able to charge it somehow. However, forget about a laptop or any other technically complex item that will not help you survive.
Finally, a fire that you start using natural materials will substitute any stoves you can imagine. You won’t cook any “sophisticated” (or even freeze-dried) food, and for a small game or a fish, a fire is usually enough: the easiest way to cook when you face a lack of equipment.
Choose Which Bag Is Perfect for You
We have talked a lot about what we should put inside of INCH bags. But how to choose a perfect bag itself?
It doesn’t really matter what you are packing: both bug-out bags and INCH bags require solid and good-quality bags to fit all the gear. They have to be spacious, and the content should find a place in tons of pockets. The fabric should be relevant: your bag shouldn’t break and should be able to carry all the pounds.
The 5.11 tactical bag is one of such bags. It will make your life easier with all the room, pockets, and soft belts that help carrying your gear. That bag will serve you for the long term.
If you are curious about bug out bags and things people put inside them, read our thorough review with a long checklist.
All in all, we all have to be ready for the worst. Packing of such bags brings your preparedness to a new, advanced level. And we believe that our guide has clarified all your questions and concerns regarding the topic.
Don’t forget to read our ultimate bug out bag checklist with 104 items to put inside!
Never Coming Home Bags and Bug Out Bags: What is the Main Difference?
People pack bug out bags if they know their experience as survivalists will last for a limited period or will end with finding a solid shelter for a long time. They apply the “never coming home” concept when packing their INCH bags.
Because you will carry less gear in your bug out bag, it will be much lighter. We have a guide that helps to understand how you can reduce your bag’s weight.
Probably, water battles, survival axes, and TACT Bivvy Sack are among the things you will not put inside this bag. Also, you will leave a massive survival tarp behind.
You can convert your inch bag to a bug out bag and vice versa. The content will be different, though, so it will take time to re-pack your bag.
What is the difference between an INCH bag, a bug out bag, and a get home bag?
As you can see, the main difference between those three is the tools you put inside.
If we make a scale of those three, the INCH bag will be the most advanced bag full of tools that help you survive in any conditions.
Then comes the bug out bag. It is something in between: you can use it to survive for a long period, but supplies might end at some point. Let’s say you are not that prepared with a bug-out bag as you are with an INCH bag. By the way, check our bug-out locations guide to find out where you can hide.
Finally, get home bags are simple bags that will never substitute the ones we have described. These bags will help you reach home if any kind of disaster occurs in your area. You will not pack many tools in a “coming home” bag: only the essentials.
What should I remember when packing my INCH bag?
The key to your success is choosing a bag of high quality. All the gear you buy should also serve all tasks you will possibly undertake when trying to survive.
Don’t rush into buying everything you have read about. There is only one way to do your shopping properly: conduct research, compare items and choose wisely before purchasing.
As you can see, we have added several links with the items you can add to your bag. Don’t skip them either, especially if you don’t want to spend all your budget on the bag!