Bug Out Bag Contents

The Ultimate Bug Out Bag

Owning a bug out bag has become de rigueur for both those who consider themselves real preppers and many others. With the government pushing the idea as well, there are many who have them, who aren’t really part of the prepping movement. These bags can be as individual as their owners, with the bug out bag contents customized to the owner’s particular needs. That’s good, because everyone’s situation is different.

The idea behind the bug out bag is to provide a means of survival, should it become necessary to leave your home in an emergency. While the government’s idea of contents is based on leaving home to go to a government run shelter, survivalists have taken the idea much farther, developing the bug out bag contents to meet any survival need.

Since the bug out bag contents are supposed to help us survive an evacuation, we need to make sure that they are built around supplying our needs in a survival situation. That means that they provide a means for us to keep warm, clean water for us to drink, food for us to eat, a way to start fires, some basic first aid supplies and a means of defending ourselves. Keeping those basic requirements in mind, we can determine the ideal bug out bag contents.


Basic shelter is necessary for keeping warm. The easiest way to do this is with a backpacking tent. However, most bug out bags merely have tools for making a shelter. So, we’d want to include:

  • Tarp
  • Hatchet
  • Sheathe Knife
  • Camp Shovel
  • Wire Saw
  • Paracord
  • Duct Tape

With these items, we can create a variety of shelters out in the wild. It would also be a good idea to have at least one change of warm, rugged clothing, as well as a warm hat and leather work gloves.


It’s impossible to carry enough water to survive on. Even so, we should carry some water with us, as well as a means of purifying more. While water can often be found in the wild or even in the city, you can’t count on its purity, especially during a crisis. But if you can purify it, you shouldn’t run out. So we’ll add:

  • Canteen or Water Bottles
  • Straw Type Water Filter (such as the LifeStraw)
  • A Bag Type Water Filter (for replenishing the water in our canteen)
  • Water Purification Tablets (as an emergency backup)


We can live longer without food, than we can without water. Even so, your body will weaken if you don’t have food to eat. Therefore, it’s important to carry food with you. However, that food must be lightweight and high in energy. Military MREs or their civilian equivalent are a great idea, but you can do just as well, making your own rations out of:

  • Beef Jerky
  • Dried Fruit
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Packaged Instant Rice and Potato Dishes (Rice-a-Roni and its multiple cousins)
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Peanut Butter Crackers
  • Canned Meat in Aluminized Plastic Pouches (SPAM and Tuna both come this way)
  • High Energy Food Bars
  • Granola Bars
  • Instant Coffee
  • Salt, Sugar and Pepper
  • Instant Oatmeal

Many people package these as meals, using quart zipper storage bags to put them together. That will help you to ration them, ensuring that you don’t overeat one thing or eat it all at one time.

You might also want to add some means of augmenting your food stocks as part of your bug out bag contents. A small fishing kit and a few wires for making snares will help your food to last longer. You might also want a book on edible wild plants that is written for the area in which you live.

First Aid

There’s always a chance of hurting yourself and that chance increases when you’re traipsing through the wild. So, you need to be ready to take care of any injuries that occur; not just a small cut on the finger, but something as bad as a gunshot wound. You also need to be able to keep yourself clean, so as to avoid getting an infection. Better add some of these to your bug out bag contents:

  • Cloth Adhesive Bandage Strips
  • 2″ x 4″ Bandages
  • Sanitary Napkins (for use as larger bandages)
  • Medical Tape (the new cohesive tape is much better, even though it is also more expensive)
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Butterfly Closures (for closing the skin over cuts, etc.)
  • Pain Reliever
  • Antihistamine
  • Medicine for Diarrhea
  • Toilet Paper
  • Soap
  • Antibacterial Hand Cleaner
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste

While this list isn’t complete, it’s a good starting point. It’s easy to end up with enough first aid gear, that you don’t have room for everything else. You’ve got to decide what works for you, based on your personal health and how much you know about first aid.


Some people are opposed to carrying a weapon as part of their bug out bag contents, but I believe that it is an essential. The biggest danger you may face is the two-legged predators out there. A crisis can cause them to come out of the woodwork, preying on those they deem weaker than themselves. If you don’t have a weapon, they’ll see you as being weaker.

If you are planning on bugging out into the wild, a rifle or shotgun can also help you hunt for food. That way, your food supplies will last longer. If this is part of your plan, take plenty of salt, so that you can use it to preserve some of the meat.

 What do you think? Leave your comments below…

Expert Prepper

Expert Prepper

Skip Tanner is more than a writer, avid outdoorsman, hiker and international survival expert. He is also the creator of The Ultimate Survival Guide Books, The Family Survival Garden Guide, Becoming a King in the New World Guide and ExpertPrepper.com. Skip's been studying, sharpening, and expanding his skills every day since he was 15 years old. At expertprepper.com, he brings you the news you need to know as well as breakthrough information from some of the best authors and experts in their field. Together, they share their deepest secrets of survival with you.

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