18 EDC Items for Your Bug Out Bag

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18 EDC Items for Your Bug Out Bag

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When it comes to everyday carry, being prepared is important. That goes for your daily carry, but also for less-normal emergency situations where lives are on the line. And when seconds count, having to made an ad-hoc pack of things to get you through rough times is less than ideal. That’s why EDCers often put together a bug out bag (also known as a bail-out bag or go bag) filled with survival kit essentials that’ll help you keep you and your loved ones safe as you evacuate from disasters either natural or man-made. And even for the less earth-shattering situations, it’s good to have these essential items on hand for say a power outage or getting stranded in your car somewhere inopportune.

There are plenty of guides out there and tons of things you can buy to fill up a pack and call it a bug out bag, but the key thing to understand is that you are not going to want to pack everything save for the kitchen sink when you have to leave quickly. Having a huge bag of a survival kit will slow you down and tire you out, and it might also make you a target for people who weren’t smart enough to pack their own gear in the first place. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to a few essential items that you should consider picking up when putting together a go bag of your own. Just make sure to tailor it all to your own needs, and keep safe out there.

Multi-tool: Leatherman Signal w/ Firestarter

Multi-tool: Leatherman Signal w/ Firestarter

Purchase
Key Features
19 tools in one
25-year warranty, made in the US
Includes survival firestarter rod
Specifications
Brand
Leatherman
Model
Signal
Reviews


Price
$$$
The Leatherman Signal includes the standard knives, drivers, and pliers that most butterfly-style multi-tools sport, the Signal also includes bailout essentials like a firestarter, emergency whistle, and a handle that can be used to hammer things down when necessary. And it puts all of these tools into a small footprint that’s much more portable than carrying around dedicated full-size tools for every task you might encounter.
Civilian Radio (AM/FM/SW): Tecsun PL-360

Civilian Radio (AM/FM/SW): Tecsun PL-360

Purchase
Key Features
AM/FM/SW
High-sensitivity antenna
Easy tuning mode
Specifications
Brand
Tecsun
Model
PL-360
Reviews


Price
$
The Tecsun PL-360 allows you to receive the whole gamut of civilian radio broadcasts in an emergency situation, from AM to FM and even shortwave station compatibility. Its high-sensitivity antenna allows the unit to pick up stations where lesser commercial devices like your car or a Walkman would struggle, especiall in the backcountry. And its tall and thin profile allows it to slot easily into the bag, webbing, or holster of your choice when you bug out.
Power Bank: RAVPower Solar Power Bank

Power Bank: RAVPower Solar Power Bank

Purchase
Key Features
20,000mAh capacity
IPX4 rating
Built-in solar panel
Specifications
Brand
RAVPower
Model
RP-PB183
Reviews


Price
$
With so much of modern tech and even EDC essentials relying on USB to recharge, you’re going to want a battery with high capacity on hand when the going gets tough. This RAVPower battery sports an impressive 20,000mAh capacity, which is more than enough to recharge your cell phone more than once. Its rugged design is also able to keep up with some scratches and scrapes, and it’s even IPX4 water resistant. But the best part is that it integrates a 5V/300mA solar panel directly into the design. It won’t recharge as fast in the sun as it would if you were able to plug it in, but when you’re off the grid it’s way better than nothing.
Water Purification: Sawyer Squeeze System

Water Purification: Sawyer Squeeze System

Purchase
Key Features
0.1 micro inline filter
Comes with two 32oz BPA-free collapsible plastic bottles
Attaches to standard thread water bottles
Specifications
Brand
Sawyer Products
Model
SP129
Reviews


Price
$
Water is essential for life, but when your only options are questionable for your health due to contamination, you’re going to want something like this Sawyer Water Filter System to get through to safety. Unlike some filter systems that only let you sip water where you find it, this one allows you to collect water quickly into bags and then squeeze out 99.9% bacteria and protozoa filtered water for drinking as you need it. With the right attachments you can even make the filter a part of your hydration bladder ecosystem, building it into the drinking straw for safer water on the go.
First Aid: Adventure Medical Kits Hiker Kit

First Aid: Adventure Medical Kits Hiker Kit

Purchase
Key Features
1-2 person kit
Waterproof and quick ID bag
Trauma pad, bandages, scissors, and medication
Specifications
Brand
Adventure Medical Kits
Model
Hiker
Reviews


Price
$
It can be easy to go overboard when prepping a first aid kit for bug out situations. If you’re prepping to take yourself and maybe someone else in an emergency, you don’t need to take a huge kit made for like 20-30 people that’ll weigh you down when you need it less. This Mountain Series kit is made for 1-2 people traversing the outdoors, with 67 pieces of essentials including bandages and medication in a water resistant and organized case. At just 0.65 lbs, it carries what you need without being too bulky, and it even comes with a trauma pad for the absolute worst case scenarios.
Fire Source: UCO Stormproof Match Kit

Fire Source: UCO Stormproof Match Kit

Purchase
Key Features
25 matches
Windproof, waterproof
Built in striker on the waterproof, durable ABS case
Specifications
Brand
UCO
Model
Stormproof Match Kit - Orange
Reviews


Price
$
The best way to ensure you’ll have fire in an emergency situation is to keep a bunch of stormproof matches in a waterproof container like this UCO kit. These are easy-to-light matches that’ll work even if they’ve been submerged in water on accident (let them dry out first). Unlike what you can get at the dollar store, these matches burn for longer and they’ll burn even when the wind picks up and puts out lesser options. And unlike traditional lighters, they don’t have fuel that can dry out or starter mechanisms that might fail; the kit comes with a strike surface on the side for easy operation.
Utensils: Snow Peak Ti Spork

Utensils: Snow Peak Ti Spork

Purchase
Key Features
Titanium one-piece construction
Lightweight
Corrosion-resistant
Specifications
Brand
Snow Peak
Model
SCT-004
Reviews


Price
$
So you’ve bugged out, and you’ve gotten out of immediate danger and it’s time to open a can and recharge before moving on. Problem is you’ve forgotten eating utensils, and digging food out of a can with your dirty fingers just isn’t the best option. Avoid this situation by packing Snow Peak’s lightweight 0.6 oz titanium corrosion resistant spork in the color of your choice so you can chow down with ease no matter where you are. And cleaning the spork is as easy as rinsing and wiping it down, and you can even boil it for a bit to make sure it’s extra clean before your next use.
Cookware: Esbit Camping Cook Set

Cookware: Esbit Camping Cook Set

Purchase
Key Features
Alcohol-based stove system
24 fuel tablets
Hard-anodized aluminum hardware
Specifications
Brand
Esbit
Model
CS585HA
Reviews


Price
$
The Esbit camping cook set solution gives you a lightweight solution for being able to cook a warm meal on the go, even during an emergency. This gives a substantial morale boost after subsisting on less-than-ideal dry goods for a while. The system consists of a 585mL pot that comes with a lid and a fold out handle and an alcohol-based fuel stove system that’s easy to light and will keep aflame even in high wind. The Esbit fuel tablets can also double as a quick way to start a fire: just place it in some kindling and some larger burnable fuel and light it up.
Emergency Food: Korean Bibimbap

Emergency Food: Korean Bibimbap

Purchase
Key Features
Rice, dried beef, vegetables
Cook with hot water
Made in Korea
Specifications
Brand
Kimbyengjang
Model
SG_B01MS8N1VV_US
Reviews


Price
$
There are two general options you can spring for when it comes to emergency food. The first is with dry calorie bars like the SOS food bar, which is sealed in a 3 day package with 3600 calories total that can be eaten as you go to keep you going until you get to safety. With a five-year shelf life, you can toss them into your emergency kit and just change it out when you need to.
But let’s face it, dry calorie bars just aren’t the most palatable thing, and you’re also probably going to want to sub in some more-normal food into the equation if only to keep your hopes up when the going gets tough. Usually these meals require hot water to get things going, but once you have that sorted you can enjoy something a bit fun like this Korean Bibimbap meal consisting of rice, dried beef, and vegetables. If you’re feeling adventurous you can spice it up with the red pepper paste. And unlike calorie bars, meals like this are a nice solution if you want to toss in a few when you’re out backpacking and lives aren’t on the line too.
Flashlight/Headlamp: Nitecore HC35

Flashlight/Headlamp: Nitecore HC35

Purchase
Key Features
Flashlight/Headlamp combo
High 2700 lumen max output
Multi-fuel
Specifications
Brand
Nitecore
Model
HC35
Reviews


Price
$$
Reducing the number of things to carry is important for your go-kit considerations, and Nitecore’s HC35 allows you to have both a handheld flashlight, right-angled for convenience, with a headlamp system that lets you operate hands-free while you work. It sports an impressive 2700 lumen max output from its 4 CREE XP-G3 modules, but you’re going to want to tone things down for longer run time. At its low 40 lumen output, it’ll last for 52 hours and put light out to 9 feet in front of you. In dire emergencies, the light can go down to a single lumen and last you for weeks on end. When the 21700 battery finally runs out, you can charge it via micro-USB, and you can toss in other batteries you have on hand like 1x 18650 or 2x CR123A batteries in a pinch.
Sleeping Bag: Klymit KSB 20F

Sleeping Bag: Klymit KSB 20F

Purchase
Key Features
20F three-season sleeping bag
3.1 lbs total
14" x 9“ pack down size
Specifications
Brand
Klymit
Model
13KHRU20C
Reviews


Price
$$$$
It’s easy to think you’ll get to safety soon when you bug out, but you might have to sleep in the rough more than once before you get to where you’re going. And even when you’re at your destination, having your own warm bedding can really help you out when the going gets tough. That’s why packing a light sleeping bag like the Klymit KSB is a choice you should make. It’s a head-to-toe mummy style sleeping bag with 650 power fill down and synthetic batting that’ll keep you warm down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside. It weighs only 3.1 lbs, giving you impressive weight to warmth ratios and it packs down to a compact 14 x 9 inches in your bug out kit.
Survival Essentials: Suunto MCB Compass

Survival Essentials: Suunto MCB Compass

Purchase
Key Features
High grade steel needle with jewel bearing
Floats in water
Built-in signal mirror and whistle
Specifications
Brand
Suunto
Model
SS012277013
Reviews


Price
$
When GPS signals die out and your phone loses signal, you’re going to have to rely on more traditional methods of finding your bearings. The best way to do that is with a handheld compass like the Suunto MCB. Tuned for North Hemisphere magnetics, the MCB allows you to take accurate bearing readings and also plot a course when you pair it with the sighting hole and a good quality map. It closes into a compact package for transport, and the internal mirror can also work for signaling for help.
Sanitation: Combat Wipes

Sanitation: Combat Wipes

Purchase
Key Features
100% biodegradable
Textured cloth for comfort
25 wipes in a single pack
Specifications
Brand
Combat Wipes
Model
SG_B074DDCW8B_US
Reviews


Price
$
One of the few things people talk about when it comes to bug out emergencies is how you’re gonna deal with things when nature calls. Simply put, if you have nothing to wipe yourself clean after your dirty business, bad things can result. And the last thing you need is to contract disease due to poor personal sanitation when excrement hits the fan, so to speak. Do yourself a favor and pack something like the Compbat Wipes, which are 100% biodegradable and gentle on your skin.
Cordage: Atwood Rope 550 Paracord

Cordage: Atwood Rope 550 Paracord

Purchase
Key Features
550 tensile strength
7 strand durable nylon core, 8z, 100ft
Made in the USA
Specifications
Brand
Atwood Rope
Model
MFG 550
Reviews


Price
$
The sheer number of things you can do with a good amount of 550 paracord is astounding. From the obvious tying of things together to keep them secure to use as ad-hoc grips for tools, tourniquets for wounds, and kindling for fires, it's a no-brainer to take a bundle of paracord with you in your bug out bag. And make sure it’s the real deal, as this Atwood cordage is made in the US in Ohio and strictly made to spec so you can rely on it when the going gets tough.
Fixed Blade: TOPS Knives El Chete

Fixed Blade: TOPS Knives El Chete

Purchase
Key Features
12“ blade length
1095 steel 56-58 RC
Micarta handle, Kydex sheath
Specifications
Brand
TOPS Knives
Model
El Chete
Reviews


Price
$$$$
When it comes to emergencies, it comes time to put away your daily driver EDC folding knife and reach for the big tools. Take something like the TOPS El Chete for instance, a large 12" full tang 1095 steel machete-style blade that’ll make short work of anything that gets in between you and safety, whether that be debris, downed trees, or softer targets. It has a durable canvas Micarta handle for a sure grip and the included Kydex nylon sheath lets you attach this large blade to your gear for easy transport.
Duct Tape: Duck Max Strength

Duct Tape: Duck Max Strength

Purchase
Key Features
High tensile strength
Waterproof backing
Aggressive adhesive
Specifications
Brand
Duck Tape
Model
240867
Reviews


Price
$
Duct tape is one of those ultra-versatile bits of kit that work well so long as you have it on hand, from clothing and tent spot repair to general reinforcement and protection. We recommend you don’t take a full roll, but pick one of these max strength rolls up and wrap it around itself on a bit of plastic to make for a more compact carry in your bug out kit.
Zip Ties: Flurhrt 12

Zip Ties: Flurhrt 12" Heavy Duty

Purchase
Key Features
12“ length
50 pieces
Nylon
Specifications
Brand
Flurhrt
Model
4330221844
Reviews


Price
$
When duct tape or rope won’t do, you can use cable zip ties to hold things fast. The uses are endless, but it can be as simple as keeping cordage and gear organized in your go bag so it doesn’t unpack itself as you rush out the door. You’re also going to want higher-quality stuff, and these particular cords are wide and thick and made of plastic that won’t go brittle if things get too cold or too hot.
Document Holder: Magpul DAKA Document Holder

Document Holder: Magpul DAKA Document Holder

Purchase
Key Features
Weather-sealed polymer construction
Clear TPU panel for quick viewing
Anti-slip material
Specifications
Brand
Magpul
Model
MAG894-245
Reviews


Price
$
Everyone says you should bring your most important documents with you like birth certificates and other forms of ID when you bug out but how are you going to keep it safe from the elements as you escape? You do it with something like the Magpul DAKA Window Document Pouch, which is made out of a sturdy polymer with a fully-sealed construction that makes it water impermeable. The clear TPU window allows you to show the contents to people without pulling out of its safe container, and it can also double as a way to keep a map safe from the elements when you’re on the go.

What's in your bug out bag or emergency kit? What do you pack that's not on our list? Share it with us in the comments below!

#magpul #flurhrt #duck-tape #tops-knives #atwood-rope #combat-wipes #suunto #klymit #nitecore #kimbyengjang #esbit #snow-peak #uco #adventure-medical-kits #sawyer #ravpower #tecsun #leatherman #bug-out-bag #survival #buying-guides #bug-out-bag-kit #bug-out-survival-list #every-day-carry-list see all



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Discussion (17 total)

Funny about the timing of this list. If a pandemic is knocking on your front door, you will probably be much more comfortable (and safe) sheltering in place, rather than grabbing a backpack and running into the woods (i.e. stay home with your netflix and totino's pizza rolls and WASH YOUR HANDS).

That being said this is a pretty solid "bug out bag" list. Very thoughtful choices. Jonathan did a great job picking essential & versatile items, and considering the overall weight of the pack... And specifically by avoiding the pitfall of including the tempting but unnecessary tacti-cool "survival gear" that was NOT suggested. Awesome idea to consider not just what goes in the pack, but what it would be like to wear the pack over an extended period of time. Thanks for the write-up!

I have a few more suggestions:

An all-metal, liner-less water bottle with metal cap like a Klean Kanteen. Something that can be hung over a fire to boil. Ditch the water purification system. Boiling will take care of the germs. Add a piece of panty hose to your bag or use a t-shirt to filter out particulates if you prefer. And you can upgrade that water bottle and also ditch the cookware set by getting an all-in-1 military canteen set, like the Keith Titanium canteen kit (shout out to Mon Garcia and Dan!)

A Bic lighter. Yes it is great to have one of those other fire starting methods as a backup, but let's not overlook the obvious

Swap out the machete for a folding saw like the 21 inch Sven-saw. The multitool already has several blades anyhow, and the saw is lighter and will make quicker work of building camp vs a machete

A small tarp or poncho that can be used with a ridgeline for shelter. If you are willing to add the bulk, also strap an iso mat to the outside of your bag.

Tarred twine instead of paracord (non-stretch, non-absorbent, lighter weight, grips better, generally cheaper)

Ditch the wipes and the weight that goes with it. Maybe replace with a vegetation field guide, like "Edible Wild Plants". Something that has photos of poisonous plants. Avoid those and use the rest to wipe instead. And of course use the book to forage.

Make a few photo copies of knot tying instructions to stick inside your field guide. Or buy one of those pro-knot card sets. Knot tying knowledge is essential for a good ridgeline, but practical for many other reasons.

Make sure your first aid kit has some hemostatic dressing and a tourniquet. Also a CPR barrier is good.

A couple other items to consider, although maybe too heavy for your bug out bag. Keep on hand a local gazetteer (such as made by Delorme), and phone book. The phone book has a list of all businesses that might have valuable supplies (listed conveniently by category, with address)-- and the gazetteer will help you get there. Maybe grab your can opener too.
I would also pair the bic lighter with a butane lighter (like the ones used to light up cigars) as well
100% agree on the Bic, the water bottle, and the tarp. I still like my paracord, but meh, to each their own and use what you know. Not sure I'd take the saw over a large, fixed blade knife, but then I'm in an urban setting, so it's less critical in my world. But some solid additions!
Great point. You have less to saw in an urban setting. The focus wouldn't be on building a shelter/camp in an urban environment, since dwellings are readily available. But people are more prevalent and so self-defense might need some extra considerations (like an intimidating blade as a deterrent!). Or maybe omit both the saw and the machete and grab a large pair of bolt cutters or a halligan bar instead.
What about a USB Electric Lighter. Just another thing to charge like the flashlight.
Agree Jeff - the thought of having to keep another thing charged sucks !
Thanks for the list. I’ve heard of people putting these together, but never knew where to start
Good list and read!
OK, I'll start.

Why in God's name do people still cling slavishly to the obsolete paracord?

Sure, for hippies to make cute macrame bracelets from it's fine. But in your bug out bag where your life may well depend on it wouldn't you want something that wasn't declared obsolete 23 years ago by the best military in the world?

I know I do.
What do you suggest instead then?
I suggest you do your research and find something that's fit for purpose.
Macrame - paracord - fine. Dangling my smelly white arse over a cliff edge - not so much.

How much is your hairy rear end worth?
This forum is about sharing ideas and knowledge. It IS a source of research for many people. The fun part of it is that all of us get to contribute, to the collective benefit of everyone. If you have some knowledge to spread-- Let us know what you know! We will be grateful.

But also, I think most people don't have rappelling in mind when they think of emergency cordage in a bug out bag. They are probably thinking of using it to build a shelter, or to lash items to their pack, or to make an impromptu sling or carrying device, or replace a broken boot lace... All of which paracord is perfectly suitable for (even if it isn't the best choice for every scenario). But you bring up a good point... Maybe paracord AND a better rope should be included in the bag.

Regardless of all that, welcome to Everyday Carry. I know you have a lot to offer and look forward to seeing the gear you choose to line your pockets with. Welcome to the family!
Great response. Sure, maybe paracord isn't the *PERFECT* solution for *EVERY* situation, but, like a Swiss Army Knife, it's quite useful in a lot of situations. Not just macrame.

The best tool is the one you have with you. If you're making decisions about what goes into your go-bag, weight is, eventually, going to be a consideration. Paracord is pretty light and pretty useful for a large number of situations. So that's making my list.

Rappelling is a pretty unlikely situation for me. Making some kind of shelter with cordage and a tarp? *MUCH* more likely. For making a shelter, the kind of rope I'd need for rappelling would be borderline useless. Plus, the weight associated with rappelling rope would force me to eliminate several things from my go-bag.
Personally, I don't have much against paracord and it is a fine choice. I only mentioned tarred twine because I suspect many people haven't heard of it, so I thought I would take the opportunity to provide another option to folks. My opinion is that tarred twine is a better choice specifically for a ridgeline so it doesn't sag as easily-- so that was the use I was thinking of most when I suggested it. But paracord performs good enough in that regards too. To each their own!
Paracord is cheap and very useful. I´m not army so for me it is not obsolete.
Awesome. If that's what your butt is worth that's your call.
Be nice. If you know a better general use cord please share what you are thinking of. If you are rappelling as part of your bug out plan great. Most of us would prefer to avoid the need in the event of an emergency. But always on the lookout for good general use cord. BTW don't knock macrame- hammocks are great!