There’s many schools of though on what should go into a “bug out bag”. It all comes down to personal preferences and also factors like location, family-status, short vs long-term, etc. We compiled this list to serve as a starting point for a general 72-96 hour pack for one person. If you have pets, check out this post on recommended list of items to pack for your cat or dog. Please continue to do your own research and feel free to leave tips in the comments below.
The 10 Essential Supply groups for Bug Out Bags:
- The Bag
- Fire & Cooking
- First Aid
- Comfort Items
Choose a decent sized assult or tactical camouflage backpack matching your local terrain. If you can spend the extra money, look at the FDE brand, specifically the 5.11 Rush 72 Back Pack. Or if you’re on a budget try Riot Gear’s Military Advanced Expeditionary Assault Pack Backpack (pictured right). Some must-have features to look for in a good bug-out bag: Bladder pocket, molle straps, weather proof.
In addition to the bladder in your backpack, you’ll need a canteen, Nalgeen or similar for handheld and to hang off your bag. Water purification via tablets such as Potable Water Treatment Tablets, a compact filtration system like the innovative LifeStraw or go all-out with the awesome Steripen Adventurer Opti UV Water Purifier (pictured left).
Fire & Cooking
You’ll wanna pack at least 3 kinds of fire starters. a good set of Waterproof matches like this UCO Stormproof Match Kit are essential. We also recommend Strikeforce Fire Starter– a tried and true flint & steel starter. For another method of fire, look into magnesium fire starters, and definitely a few normal Bic lighters.
For your cooking stove: if you have the cargo space, get a compact, single burner stove like this low cost yet powerful Ultralight Backpacking Canister Camp Stove with Piezo Ignition (pictured right) and single bottle of propane/butane mix. For even smaller needs, try the Coughlin Emergency Pocket Stove.
Of course you’ll need a compact mess kit to cook in, and we highly recommend the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Soloist. It’s a ultra-portable pot, cup, and washbin that nests into 1 unit. It can even house your mini-stove and fuel can, saving even more valuable bag real estate.
You should pack enough food for at least 3 days: Mountain House dehydrated meals are great. But you could also get by on Clif Bars, beef jerky, nuts, or dried fruit. Also remember to throw in some drink mix – pack instant coffee or tea, and some seasonings or sweeteners..
You’ll likely need a backpacking tent – something you can tether to the bottom of your pack. One of the most affordable high-quality ultra-light tents is the Marmot Limelight Tent.
You can always use an ultra-light tarp. They’re good for shelter, shade, ground cover, and much more.
Pick a Mummy style sleeping bag that folds up small into a stuff sack. If you’re in a warm climate like Texas you could get away with this Suisse Sport Adventurer Mummy Ultra-Compact Sleeping Bag (pictured above) Priced at only $33, the Suisse is dirt-cheap, lightweight, has the perfect amount of insulation for most situations and it’s small enough to fit in your bug out bag. For more extreme temperatures try the Kelty Cosmic Zero Degree Down Sleeping Bag…It’s a slightly heavier bag, but will keep you warm down to zero degrees fahrenheit. Also, remember to pack some of these cheap emergency mylar blankets.
First Aid & Hygiene
It’s essential to pack a small high-quality First Aid kit. Be sure to take extra bottles of your prescribed medications, an extra pair of glasses, sun screen, and bug spray. For personal hygiene, you can’t go wrong with a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s 18 in 1 Liquid Soap (pictured left), and a pack of Action Wipes.
Lots of small things to consider here: Paracord, a good multitool, a good fixed blade knife, machete, compass, watch, folding shovel, fishing line and hook, snare wire, wire saw, plastic freezer bags, large trash bags, Dry Sacks, duct tape and electrical tape, signal mirror, and A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants. You may also wanna consider Protection in the form of a firearm: Ryan recommends a small 22 pistol with 300 rounds, and a G21 on the hip with 100 rounds of ammo. If space and budget allows: get a PVS-14 Night Vision Monocular.
At least 3 light sources, and 2 sets of extra batteries for each: A good headlamp, handheld and chem-lights. hand held GPS, compact binoculars, cell phone with charger, a pair of 2-way radios, and Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio with Flashlight, Cell Phone Charger with NOAA Certified Weather Alert.
2 pairs of base layers: underwear, thermals and socks. 1 extra pair of pants and a shirt and jacket. Hat, gloves, sunglasses. Rain suit like Frogg Toggs or rain coat and pants and extra poncho and bandana.
comfort items go a long way during tramtic and stressful times to keep you sain and calm. Chocolate, iPod, pocket Bible, mini booze bottles can really be the little things that make the stressful times bearable.