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Bug Out Bag: The Only 14 Life-Saving Essentials to Pack [Checklist]


Have you ever heard of ‘bugging out?’ It is a relatively new term that is catching on fast.

Basically, bugging out is when a huge catastrophe hits. You’ll need a bag to sustain you until you can get to your ‘bug out’ location and live there until the world settles down a little.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m just a homesteader and don’t really consider myself a prepper. However, I think at least considering having a bug out bag is something everyone should do. I’m considering building my own bug out bag and have done a ton of research as to what I should include in my own.

So I want to share some of the knowledge I’ve gained with you all. Then you can make your own choice on whether you feel you need a bug out bag or not.

What is a ‘Bug Out Bag?’

A bug out bag is a bag you have packed and ready to go in an emergency situation.

I once thought this was only for people that were expecting Armageddon to break out suddenly. But I’ve since realized that this bag could actually be a great thing to have in place in case of a natural disaster. If you look around, these are happening a lot more frequently it seems.

So having a bag ready to go in the event of a natural disaster is actually a good preparation to make for you and your family. Keep in mind, however, that a bug out bag is only supposed to provide what you’ll need for about 4 days. By that time you should be in your safe local.

Also, don’t purchase the actual bag until you’ve gathered all of the items you think will be necessary. It wouldn’t be much fun to purchase the wrong size bag. So just keep that in mind before you run out and buy your own bag.

Here are the items that you might want to consider including in your own bug out bag. However, I will take this time to state that I am not certified in this field in any way. This is just one person sharing information with another person. You should do your own research and decide what you believe is best for yourself and your loved ones.

What should I include in my Bug Out Bag?

There are 14 key areas that I’ve found when packing a bug out bag. Those 14 areas can obviously be expanded upon as much as you see fit.

Here are the key areas and a few items you might want to consider packing to satisfy each of those areas:

1. Who Are You?

When an emergency happens you don’t always have the time to grab your belongings. A lot of times people have to take off with only the clothes on their backs.

However, if you can plan ahead, then you’ll have time to gather a few items that can help you survive those first few tough days.

But you’ll also need a way to identify yourself to the authorities as well if needed. So if you can pack your passport, license or another government-issued id then you’ll have an easier time proving who you really are.

2. H2O

Water is obviously a necessity for life, but if you don’t have the methods to collect and purify the water you have available, then you could easily have a problem on your hands. That is why you’ll want to consider packing a few items to help you along with this.

3. Food

Food is another big essential necessity. So when packing your bug out bag be sure to include shelf stable items that can fuel your body until you can make it to safety. A few good items could be:

  • Protein bars
  • Jerky
  • Pop tarts
  • Utensils
  • Canned fish
  • Canned beans
  • A can opener
  • A pot for cooking
  • A rocket stove
  • Fuel for the stove
  • Pot scrubber
  • Vitamins
  • Protein powder
  • Spices and bouillon for your food

4. Clothing

Clothing is another necessity that can’t go without consideration. You’ll want to be careful not to over pack in this area while still making sure you have what you need.

5. Shelter

A shelter is another extremely important part of survival. So planning ahead in regards to this is really smart. Again, a bug out bag is only supposed to last you around 4 days. If you’d like to be even more prepared in case of an emergency, you could take it one step further and plan a bug out shelter.

However, you’ll still need your bug out bag to help you along the way until you reach your safe place. With that in mind, you’ll need to consider the following items to provide adequate shelter:

6. Heat

If you are sleeping outside heat is a huge concern especially if you live in colder climates. A fire is also good protection from wild animals. You also need it to cook and purify water in some cases.

So obviously, you are going to want to consider how you are going to build a fire and make sure you have the supplies to make it as easy on you as possible. Here are a few items you might want to consider including in your bug out bag:

  • Waterproof matches
  • Lighters
  • Tinder
  • Waterproof storage bags to store your fire equipment

7. Health and Safety

Your health is of the utmost importance too. In an emergency situation, it is very probable that you or a loved one could sustain some injuries. If you don’t sustain them during the emergency, you could while you are seeking safety. Either way, it is always a good idea to have plenty of first aid equipment just in case:

8. Hygiene

Keeping yourself clean will obviously make you feel better. I don’t know about you but when my hair is dirty or my teeth aren’t brushed I just feel bad. This could be a problem in a survival situation where moral is everything. So consider including these items in your bug out bag:

  • Wet naps
  • Hand sanitizer
  • A small towel
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Nail clippers
  • Shampoo
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Toilet paper
  • Soap
  • A mirror
  • Feminine hygiene products

9. Tools

Tools are of extreme importance in a survival situation as well. You can go as old school or new school as you’d like. I will say, thanks to modern technology, you don’t have to rough it nearly as bad as you would have years ago. Here are a few items for your consideration:

10. Lights

In the event of an emergency, you are probably not going to have any electricity. With this in mind, you’ll need an alternative light source while you are traveling to your safe place. Take this into consideration when packing your bug out bag. Also, look at the following items for ideas on alternative light sources:

  • Headlamp
  • Batteries
  • Battery operated lantern
  • An old fashioned lantern
  • Candles

11. Communication

We often take the ability to communicate easily for granted. Not so many years ago, getting a letter across the country was quite the task. Now, we just shoot someone an email.

However, if a catastrophe happens, communication can become difficult. Keeping this in mind while packing your bug out bag is important because you’ll want to have ways to communicate and keep up to date with everything that is going on. Some items that can help you do that are:

12. Self Defense

Sadly, when chaos hits, people often lose their sound mind. This means that if you have made preparations and others have not they could potentially want to bring harm to you for what you have. That is why it is important to think about your own protection when packing your bug out bag as well. You may want to include some of these items:

13. Travel

Obviously, if you have a bug out bag you will be traveling. You could just be trying to get to a safe location such as where the Red Cross is located in your area to help those that have recently gone through a natural disaster, or you could be traveling to a bug out shelter for a longer duration.

Either way, you’ll need a way to travel. With this in mind, you’ll want to pack a few items that will make traveling a little easier. You might want to consider a few of the following items:

14. The Few Randoms

There are quite a few random items that don’t really fit in any of the above categories. Yet, you might still definitely want to consider adding them to your own bug out bag. But that is all about your personal preference:

  • Parachute cord
  • Duct tape
  • Sunglasses
  • Sewing kit
  • Face mask
  • Bandana
  • Big garbage bags
  • Binoculars
  • Latex tubing
  • Face paint
  • Military survival gear
  • Fishing kit
  • An e-reader preloaded with survival books

Again, these are all items that you could consider adding to your bug out bag. Some items are more for convenience and less about necessity, but it is all about how you choose to prepare.

However, keep in mind I’m not certified in this topic, but these are items I found in my own research that I’m personally considering adding to my own bug out bag. Remember that bug out bags are not just for those preparing for the end of the world.

Yet, they could prove themselves invaluable in a situation where a natural disaster has occurred. You and your family would be completely prepared for the worst in the event the worst came knocking at your door.

So now that I’ve shared these thoughts with you, hopefully, you feel a little more prepared to build your own bug out bag. If you still are feeling unsure about packing your own bug out bag but feel that you need one, you can always purchase one fully stocked here.

Now I want to hear from you. Do you think creating your own bug out bag is important? If so, why? And what would you include in your own bug out bag? Do you have something in your bug out bag that I didn’t mention here?

We love hearing from you all so please leave us your comments in the space provided below.


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