Survival Gear: Building an Emergency Bug Out Bag

Bug Out Gear

I’m sure you’ve heard the term thrown around a thousand times, but don’t feel bad if you don’t know what it is, it’s actually one of the most common questions we get.

What is a Bug Out Bag and Why Do you Need One?

A Bug Out Bag (BOB) is basically a large survival kit that’s filled with everything you need to survive after a disaster. When seconds count, fumbling around trying to find your emergency gear can be deadly. Having a ready to go Bug Out Bag allows you quickly grab the emergency gear you need, should you be forced to evacuate during a crisis.

How Much Gear Should you Pack?

BOB - Bugout Bag

If you listen to most so-called survival experts, they often suggest that your BOB should contain enough supplies to last for at least seventy-two hours. Don’t listen to them; that number is grossly underestimated! Since most major disasters often disrupt essential services and normal life for far longer than 72 hours, we think it is a good idea to have a Bag that will allow you survive for at least two weeks and if you can afford it then aim for an indefinite period of time.

Make sure your Bag is built to fit your needs; remember, some people may need items that are not listed on this list. The emergency supplies listed on this page are general guidelines, meant to help start building your bag. When putting your kit together, you need to take into consideration any special needs or items that you or your family might require. Below we discuss some of the things that you may want to include in your Bug Out Bags, as well as some items that will hold up when it really counts.

What items should be in your Bug Out Bag?

BOB emergency survival bag

This will depend on a number of factors, such as the area you live in (climate, elevation, etc…..) But the basics are as follows:


  1. Hello Scott the Second Bag is a Naneu Pro Military Series Briefcase….. I’m Not sure that it’s the best bugout bag, but it might be a good for a smaller bag that you keep in the truck of your vehicle. I liked the look of the bag thats why I used the picture, but I am not 100% sure on how good of a bag it is…….

    You can but them on Amazon the link is below:

    Naneu Pro Military Series Sierra Convertible Briefcase/Messenger SLR +12.1″ Laptop Case – Olive Drab

  2. This is really good advice. However, one litre of water per person per day is too little. Two to three days is what an average person uses in normal activity, at least twice that if physical exertion or hot/dry weather are part of the equation.

  3. I include a small, inexpensive digital camera in my Bug out Bag. not a necessity, but a great “nice to have” in emergencies or to capture the moment. I never, and I mean never leave home without my Bug out Bag over my shoulder, and placed im my Jeep. On more than one occasion I have needed the camera.

  4. The kit looks excellent, but I would recommend adding one more item. Quick Steel. It is a 2 part epoxy in a tube, you cut or break off a little bit, roll it together, and in a few minutes, you can “weld” anything that is broken back together. It also is water proof. I have 2 tubes in my bag.

  5. This is just my opinion, but the best Bug Out Bag I have ever used and am still using, is the one from Camelback. It is the the AMBUSH, huge, 2550 cubic inches. I started using during my first tour in Iraq, then used it as a bug out bag. Now I am in Iraq again, and using it for daily combat operations, it is incredble. Holds up to everything. I have used and spent alot of money over the past 20 years on backpacks, and this is the best one I have yet to own. Lots of pockets, tough, and organized. Great 72 hour bug out bag.

  6. Let’s not forget the inexpensive items that have countless uses. I mean zip-top bags, aluminum foil. paracord, and, of course, duct tape. I am talking about the REAL duct tape, not the kind named after waterfowl ( we all know where to find that ) , or the $ 2.99 roll. The 100-MPH tape is the best and is relatively cheap. Put all of that together in a few 30-55 gallon trash bags with a good multi-tool, and you’ve got the start of a good toolkit that takes up very little space in a bug-out-bag.

  7. All of these are great ideas-Definitely MORE than 1-liter per person/per day..3.5 liters weighs about 8 & 1/2 lbs though so weight needs balancing. While I carry a Victorinox “Swiss Army” multi tool-which I LOVE, I also believe that a Fixed Blade should be an essential item. I’ve used the Alice Packs a lot but prefer the SOF Ruck pack from BlackHawk-Pricey(saved for mine awhile) but sturdy as iron. I keep one at home B.O.B. and one in my POV, both packed and ready to bug. Also, just like real duct tape, buy REAL Paracord!!! Walkie-Talkie Radios I bought for $50. for two are awesome also. i have 6 of them so that units that might split stay in commo. Stay Sharp And Be Prepared…

  8. Great list.
    I also added a petzl Tactikka headlight which allows me to have hands free at night.
    Two compasses, aquamira water filter and a emergency whistle.
    I still have a way to go but with great info like this Ill get there.

  9. Don’t forget binoculars, sling shot, zip ties, magnifying glass, sharpening stone, small bible and work gloves!

  10. What brand are the collection of bags in the first image at the top of the page? I don’t see them named anywhere.


  11. The LIGHT MY FIRE messing kit w/ harness is perfect for snapping to the outside of your BOB. Also, to the post a couple above mine, I don’t see how that small bible will help you survive.

  12. Dave C,

    To many people a Bible = faith which in turn = hope. If you do not have hope, why survive? If you had to ask that question, you probably don’t need one. Doesn’t mean you’re wrong or a bad person, just a different point of view.

    I would recommend anything in your personal BOB that gives you inspiration or hope. Maybe a small American flag, pic of loved ones, small bible, etc.

  13. Great ideas, one thing I bought was the Strikeforce {I think that is the name of it} firestarter and I also went to the local army surplus store and bought some trixane fuel tabs also, I’ve had some for over 15 yrs and they still work great. And toilet paper too. I think I’ll pull my BOB out and go through it and see what all I need to add or take out. If I think of anything else I’ll post another comment.

  14. Great info, however I do need to say, that being in Australia, it would also be prudent to have a snake bite kit, as we have 12 of the 20 worlds most deadly snakes in the world, and there are lots of them !, also here too many people living in the coastal cities, I could easily see the ” golden horde” leaving if there is a major collapse such as quake or grid down situ for a length of time.

    My personal choice is a Med ” Alice” pack, also gloves and beanie!, I have also found a RAT 7 is a really good choice for me along with my old timer.

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