If you’ve come across this page, then chances are pretty good that you already know what a bug out bag is, and you probably know why you need to always have a bug out bag ready to go. This article will help you establish the basic bug out bag contents that you will need to survive.
Bug Out Bag Essentials: Water, Food, Shelter, Fire
First thing is first – most survival blogs and survivalists suggest that your bug out bag contains emergency supplies that will allow you to bug out for a maximum of 72 hours. What is the single most important element to human survival? Water!
Bug Out Bag Checklist #1: Water Filtration
Clean water is a must. You must have a way to filter water – even if you are planning on boiling your water first, you’ll still want to be able to filter out sand and other nasty impurities.
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I suggest getting a nice water filter that is portable and lightweight, and that is capable of producing enough water to survive on for 72 hours. Here’s an example.
|Emergency Water Filter– $34.95
Emergency Water Filter Used by the military during Katrina. Makes over 3 Liters of clean drinking water a day for 3 days. Makes virtually any water drinkable – even muddy water.The filter itself has a microscopic pore size of 3 to 5 angstrom; 100 times smaller than the smallest pathogens and 200 times finer filtration than competitive filters. The system this filter uses is forward osmosis. Meet all EPA standards.
This type of water filtration kit is small, lightweight, portable, and inexpensive.
Another possible addition to your bug out bag contents could be a UV pathogen killer, like this one below.
What a filter like this does is kill water-born pathogens that could make you sick. If you carry one of these in your bug out bag along with a few coffee filters, you can achieve great tasting and safe water during your survival situation.
If you do decide to go with a UV-type water killer, remember that these all require power. Even with a solar charger, batteries have a limited shelf life, and they will be difficult or impossible to recharge during a long term grid-down or TEOTWAWKI situation.
Bug Out Bag Checklist #2: 72 Hours of High Calorie, Long Lasting Food
Your bug out bag contents must contain a minimum of 72 hours of food rations. Most survival blogs and survivalists recommend using MREs (meals-ready-to-eat).
Here are some benefits to MREs:
- MREs are lightweight
- MREs require little preparation
- MREs are relatively inexpensive
- MREs have a great shelf-life
- MREs are a great source of extra calories
When deciding on the contents of your bug out bag, make sure you realize that you are going to be in a survival environment – which means you’ll be burning more calories than normal. Most survivalists assume that you will be burning at least 3500 calories each day that you’re bugging out, so make sure you account for those extra calories somehow.
To add extra calories, think about using energy bars that are super high in calories to augment your bug out bag contents. Here’s an example:
Bug Out Bag Checklist #3: FIRE!
You need to make sure your survival bag contains plenty of ways to make fire. Most survival blogs and survivalists suggest having 3 ways of making fire – just in case. I personally like to have a lot more way of making fire.
Fire is an essential for survival. Here are the reasons you need fire in a bug out situation:
- Water purification/sanitization
Here are some of my favorite tools for creating fire.
Magnesium Fire Starter
Here’s how to use a magnesium fire starter:
- Gather wood, kindling, and tinder for your wood pile
- Get an area to catch the magnesium fire starter scrapings – a piece of bark or dry wood works
- Scrape a small pile of magnesium shavings onto your catching area
- Add some tinder on top of the shavings
- Spark it up!
Using magnesium fire starters definitely takes practice, but they are much longer lasting than matches or lighters.
No bug out bag is ever complete without water proof matches. Waterproof matches are an absolute must for every bug out bag.
You never know what is going to happen during your bugging out – so I always suggest getting waterproof and windproof matches. Although wind-proof matches are more expensive, it would be your last resort. Your magnesium will blow away and your matches will blow out.
Bug Out Bag Checklist #4: Lightweight, portable shelter
If you’re a human, then you definitely need shelter to survive. Its absolutely essential.
Shelter protects you from the following:
These super inexpensive survival tents are quick to set up and easy to use. They weigh less than a pound and can fit two people.
However, both ends are open, which provides little protection against the elements, insects, or animals, and could make it a bit colder. Still, I do suggest carrying one of these with you – because you just never know.
This is a one person shelter tent that retails out at around $100 bucks. It may be a bit more expensive than a tube tent, but it sure is a great little tent for bugging out in an emergency. It has plenty of headroom and a side entrance.
This is an essential item for my bug out bag for sure.
This tent is an ideal tent for the survivalist who might be traveling with a girlfriend, wife, friend, or who just wants a bit more space. This tent will sleep up to two people, but you can fit a third person with the three person model.
This tent retails at about $65 bucks and is a great item for bugging out. It weighs out at 6lbs and can be setup in seconds.
Bug Out Bag Checklist #5: Firearms for bugging out
Personal protection – the survivalists’ most fun hobby. We sure love our AR15, Glocks, and guns! That said, packing your survival bag with the bare essentials is important – remember, you’re only anticipating a 72 hour bug out period, so you won’t be able to lug around 1000 rounds of ammunition. I wish we could!
That said, I’ll explain what I have in my own bug out bag and why I chose those firearms for bugging out.
Bug Out Firearms: AR15
Although I’ve never gone camping or have been in a bug out situation with my AR15, my ultimate goal would be to bug out with my AR15 and about 6-10 magazines. Here’s why I would choose an AR15 over any other rifle.
- The AR15 is very reliable – which would be important in an bug out situation
- The AR15 is accurate ( the shooter needs to be too)
- The AR15 has the ability to switch out its bolt and magazine to make it into a .22LR – perfect for small game hunting
- The AR15 has low maintenance – but I would carry some extra springs and such just in case
I could go on and on about the AR15 – but instead, read more about the AR-15 here: How to Choose an AR15 That’s Right for You
Bug Out Firearms: Smith & Wesson M&P vs. Glock
Living in Florida, I never leave home without carrying a firearm, and I recommend that anyone who is legally allowed to carry should carry. Imagine the lives that could be saved! Enough about that, onto the Smith & Wesson M&P vs. the Glock 19.
I’ve been a Glock owner for years, and I stand by their reliability, their accuracy, and their performance. They have a ton of accessories and parts are readily available (and cheap!).
However, I purchesed a Smith & Wesson M&P 9c – and that quickly became my carry pistol.
Which pistol would I bug out with? That’s easy!
Arguing about Glocks being better or M&Ps being better is like trying to prove that Fords are better than Chevys, or that iPhones are better than Droids. In the end, it all comes down to opinion.
The bottom line on bug out firearms is this – whatever firearm you feel comfortable bugging out with, that’s the best firearm for you.
Bug Out Firearms: Tactical Bug Out Accessories
When choosing their bug out bag contents, keep in mind that you may be in situations where speed and agility could be important. Being able to draw and use your firarms quickly is also very important. All of these factors need to be addressed when deciding what your bug out bag should contain.
If a bug out situation ever faced me, I’d be wearing a tactical vest that contains a chest holster, a holster on my right leg, and plenty of areas to story ammunition and other items.
Bug Out Bag Checklist #6: Survival knife
So now you have chosen your most essential items – water, food, fire, shelter, and firarms. Take a sigh of relief – but here’s where the real fun starts.
We’ve dedicated entire blog posts to survival knives, but for the sake of time, we’ll try to go through it fast. Here are the survival knife basics:
- Make sure your knife is one single piece of metal with a handle – these are 100% more reliable than cool looking knives with mechanical parts
- Make sure you have a way to sharpen your survival knife
- Make sure your survival knife will not fall out of its sheath during high movement activities
Bug Out Bag Checklist #7: Compass
During a bug out situation, I plan on keeping moving and avoiding as much human contact as I possibly can. That said, your bug out needs to contain navigation equipment like a compass.
Don’t trust a cheesy compass – spend a but of money and get a nice one.
Bug Out Bag Checklist #8: Pots, plans, and cookware
Cooking equipment needs to be lightweight, strong, and portable. Here’s a few examples.