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Bug Out Bag Survival Gear Checklist

Jonathan Tayag
Bug Out Bag Survival Gear Checklist

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A bug out bag can be a lifesaver in helping you deal with the unexpected, as long as it's filled with the right gear.

Even if you've got a good emergency bag to haul around, picking out what to put in it can be a daunting task.

What's in your bug out bag should reflect your own needs and situations. For example, keep in mind what events you're preparing for, your plan of escape, who's going with you, and so on.

While all of this can be highly personal, most bug out bags do share a few fundamental core essentials.

If you need help starting your own bug out bag kit, we've put together this checklist to give you an idea of what bases you should have covered.

This list should give you a good foundation for starting your BOB, but feel free to sub in your preferred products for each category and add anything else you'll need.

Bug Out Bag Checklist

✓ First Aid Kit

In an emergency situation, planning ahead for a possible injury is extremely important. Having a good first aid kit as part of your bug out bag is essential. This one comes with the traditional bandages and shears. It also comes with a survival blanket, compass, and poncho.

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✓ Emergency Radio

An emergency radio is essential for finding out rescue and safety information. The Kaito KA500 is a good radio for this, and more. It integrates a solar panel and dynamo for charging if the power grid fails. It also has a built-in USB rechargeable battery pack for your personal devices.

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Fire Source

Being able to start a fire to keep warm at night is important. The easiest way to get this done is with a lighter. Zippo lighters are popular for this for a reason. They provide a reliable light when others fail, even when it's a bit windy.

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✓ Multi-tool

Space and weight is a premium and there isn't room to carry around individual tools in your bug out bag. It's better to carry a good multi-tool instead. The SOG PowerAssist offers easy, assisted one-handed operation. SOG's compound leverage system also makes the pliers on this tool easier to use than others.

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✓ Flashlight

When disaster strikes, you're going to want more than the light on your keychain or the flash on your cell phone. A dedicated light is the best tool for the job and it deserves a spot in your bug out bag. The Anker LC90 offers 900 lumens in a small water resistant package. It's also rechargeable via USB.

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✓ Dry Food

Food is energy, and without food it will be hard to power through and get out of an emergency situation. With these S.O.S. 3600 calorie food bars, you'll have safe food on hand no matter what happens. They have a five year shelf life if you keep them sealed.

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✓ Water Bottle and Purifier

Water is an absolute essential in any survival situation. You can last a bit without food, but go for long without water and you'll be in deep trouble fast. The LifeStraw Go is unique from other water bottles in that it integrates a water purifier. Once you run out of the safe water you put in it to start, you can deal with questionable water sources with it if needed.

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First time prepping a bug out bag? Leave a comment and let us know what you're planning to include. For more experienced EDCers, what are the top 3 must-have items for a BOB?

#survival #buying-guides #bug-out-bag #bug-out-checklist #get-home-bag-must-haves #exotac-tool-roll see all

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Discussion (37 total)

Deerlord ·
No zippos in the B.O.B., I love them but they're far too unreliable. In mine I run multiple Bic lighters, they're light dependable and can be bropen down for useful scrap. Behind them I also carry a ferro rod (that I know how to use) and storm proof matches.
Deerlord ·
John Homan ·
The lighter fluid in zippos evaporates too fast. I suggest one of the peanut lighters that have an o-ring to seal. Bic lighters are the easiest and cheapest way to go.
Maid Madsen ·
I disagree.

While Zippos may be more trouble to carry as a 'system' they are FAR more reliable than a BIC if your short term scenario turns into a more long term gig (aka: natural disaster / border jumps). My BOB is a bit large (it covers my partner and I plus the animals), but I keep an empty Zippo (plus my daily carry), a can of fuel, and a few flints + wicks in it. BICs are trash in a windy or rainy situation and the innards of a Zippo can be used for tinder (or you can remove it for a solid 'stash' box in the case of a border hop).

In total I end up keeping 2 Zippos, 2 BICs, and a torch lighter. Lighters are small and fire is...always necessary (especially when I'd undoubtedly smoke the pack of cigarettes in the BOB in a day or two).
My top 3 must haves are:
A military wool blanket, it will keep you warm even if your wet. A good knife, I use either a mora companion or an Ontario rat 5. And my last would have to be fire starter, my choice normally is an ordinary bic lighter, easy to use and produces an actually flame. I have had to many problems with zippos drying out for them to be in my bug out bag. But for my bug out bag I start out with the 5 "C's" of survival, cordage, combustion, container, cutting and cover.
ThreePercenter ·
I agree. I could never have a BOB without a cold weather blanket or at the very least, a goretex bivy cover to sleep inside with some insulation from mother nature.
Tracker ·
Overall, not a bad list - except the Zippo thing. A zippo as a primary fire starter in a BOB, really?

Also, I would recommend a sturdy fixed blade knife in addition to the multi-tool, preferably with a striking pommel (USMC KaBar, anyone?), and some cordage. Personally, my ideal BOB contains a handgun (or two...) with ammo - to each his own though.
Maid Madsen ·
Disagree with you on the Zippo bit (see above comment of mine), but the fixed blade knife is a must. Spend $15 on a Mora Carbon blade and you're set. Stainless Steel is for suckers. ;)
Tracker ·
I should have elaborated I suppose. Although I carry BICs and Zippos often, I don't consider either reliable enough to be my primary source of fire in a BOB.

I'm a ferro-rod guy.
Deerlord ·
More water purification options, iodine is a must and can be used to to disinfect, and something to boil the water in will make eating considerably easier.
I'd suggest a plain Bic lighter is superior in emergency situations. Zippo's need to have fuel added regularly for them to work. Whereas the Bic lighter can be in a package for years and light on the first try without maintenance.
Also I'd suggest a flashlight with replaceable batteries like AA, AAA's. It will be easier to find replacement batteries than a USB charger in a survival situation. Keep an extra set of batteries and you should be good.
White Knight ·
A thought-provoking article, with some decent suggestions. I may even pull the trigger on the Kaito radio.
Like others, I would always keep a full-tang knife, as well as a multitool. I currently use a Leatherman Juice XE6 which has stood the test of time. Flashlight is a small but BRIGHT zoomable UltrafireT94-5 XM-L T6, which costs little & utilises an 18650 rechargeable battery. I have had this years now. Although they aren't bad, I concur with the Zippo concerns. A firesteel along with my knife is essential, but I also carry an Iroda Micro-jet. Just chuck in a Bic lighter and these will light in a storm, let alone a teacup. Firecord is a useful addition (7-strand paracord with a red filament included which, as the name suggests, ignites). Dry food is a good option, so water purification is a must. Mine is a bombproof Web-tex Surviva Pure canteen water bottle. 2.0 micron filtration. I wish they made in metal so I could boil water in it too, but it does fit nicely in my army cup. First Aid kit is so personal and dependent on where you are and what you are doing. I like Ken Martini's addition of something to keep you warm too. His wool blanket doesn't bark or whisper sweet nothings, but the dog or the missus are reasonable substitutes ;)
Johan Bertilsson ·
Most what i would think of is already mentioned, like a Zippo and so on, but i would add all prescribed medication you have.

But i would not use a Mora in a survival situation. It is not a full tang knife, i usually like all Mora knifes and have several. But in survival i want a knife that i can baton wood with.

I don call my bag a bugout bag, i call mine a get home bag. It is in two parts a backpack angd a fannypack that i use as a SAS survival pack. If i lose one of them i still have the other left. Both of them contains the 5 C of survival.
Bob Winstead ·
I like the 18650 batteries in my Thrunite because if there is a breakdown in society, I think the AA, and AAA will be gone the first day, and you will not be able to find them. I have a solar charger that will charge the battery and with a couple spares, I should be good for a long time....The batteries will be worth their weight in gold to say the least, rechargeable AAA and AA are also worth consideration. Depending on the severity of the disaster though I would still want to at least have the option of running store bought batteries.
Deerlord ·
The batteries will be worth their weight in gold to say the least, rechargeable AAA and AA are also worth consideration. Depending on the severity of the disaster though I would still want to at least have the option of running store bought batteries.
Unfortunately, 18650s aren't what I would consider 'readily available' in the local arena, and can take eons to charge, even with a high current charger. While they are great, and should provide power to a light quite well, I wouldn't want to rely on them.
caligo ·
I guess it depends on your surroundings, but wouldn't it make more sense to bring a firesteel rather than a Zippo? And a steel water container, that can also be used for boiling? If you really need water purification other than just boiling it over a fire, you could always include some iodine pills or something in your kit.

Also, for a knife, while multi-tools are fine and dandy I'd really want to bring a decent fixed-blade knife as well. Something like a simple Mora would suffice – they even have some tacticool all-black knives with integrated firesteels and stuff, if that's your cup of tea.
Deerlord ·
Final note, if I were trusting my life to a single multi tool which you essentially are since this guide doesn't take into consideration "one is none," then I would probably chose something more reliable, like a leatherman rebar for example. I also would not be caught dead with a dedicated fixed blade in a survival scenario.
Brad Clarkston ·
Those food bars are low calorie boat rations made for people setting in a life raft for days at a time not for someone exerting themselves in the woods. It would be better to have peanut butter and trail mix than those.
Deerlord ·
You need both, in some regions it may be essential. I'd argue the survival rations are even more valuable if you find yourself in scenario where hunting, scavenging, and foraging may be difficult or impossible. You're not going for a hike, you're trying to survive.
Those are 3600 calorie food bars. 3600 calories is 3600 calories. Unless you are a high endurance Olympic level athlete you won't need more in a single day. They aren't the most nutritious but we're talking an emergency situation here, not ordering room service. The only downsides are the bars weigh a lot and the packaging can have sharp corners that might cut your carry bag.
Deerlord ·
They're actually relatively light considering their caloric density and I've recently found more civilian oriented ones that are finally in some decent packaging.
Care to share a link?
Brad Clarkston ·
Not all calories are equal the main ingredients for all of the boat bars are: Wheat flour, Vegetable Shortening, Cane Sugar, Water, and Salt. (it's an easy google search if you want proof)

That's not really what you want to be eating if your burning through your energy reserves in the woods. There probably ok if your just day camping but I personally wouldn't have them as a "emergency" ration.
Alex ·
In most survival situations, what's needed for general survival and survival foraging activities is 2000 calories. I've gone through an aircrew survival course before and that's what we were taught. Sure that may sound low but that's the bare minimum that's needed for purely survival activities.

Hell, I wouldn't even eat those boat bars for camping as I'd definitely look for more tasteful food options to actually enjoy camping haha.
ThreePercenter ·
you need a blanket and something other than a zippo for fire. plastic bottles for sure (spare water) and my personal favorite - toothpaste/brush and a small mirror. you'd be surprised how much that little hygeine can boost your moral. Also, butt wipes. Always always butt wipes. I would also recommend in this day and age, some kind of solar recharge kit. It does not matter if a whole day is wasted on charging, you just may need it.
Wasim Shah ·
What make/model is the Red Ham radio?? What make/models do you guys recommend??
Alex ·
I have a PuXing 888 and that works fairly well too
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Hoi Phng ·
My bag: a fixed knife, bic lighter and storm proof matches, first aid kit, Flashlight with some battery pack (aa or aaa), 100ft paracord, water canteen and dry food. zippo, folding knife and tiny flashlight for edc. zippo run out fuel so fast, it good for moment, not for long survival.
TKsovereign ·
Dang this is one generic list. It is good to have reminders and Google can set you up with lists upon lists but for a certainty the foundation is fairly accurate here though one should consider Shelter a foundation item. Shelter (tarp as the cheapest means), water, food, multi-tool (add in a fixed blade), communication, lighting (including fire starting), health (first-aid), and a good pack for carrying things. You can upgrade from there in my opinion.
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