34 Essential Items For Your Bug Out Bag

Imagine the following scenario. You are awakened in the middle of the night by the jolt of a powerful earthquake. Your house is leveled, but thankfully you and your family are uninjured. However, the roads are impassable, your utilities have been cut off, and many of your neighbors were injured or killed in the earthquake. The only thing you have to survive is what you have on hand, and because you are a Frugal Dad reader, your bug out bag.

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Unfortunately, this was a very real scenario for the people of Haiti. And in years past we’ve seen other examples, from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to the tsunami in Indonesia. On a smaller scale, we’ve also seen blizzards, floods and other natural disasters leave many people to fend for themselves. With some preparation, and a little planning, you can greatly improve the chances your family can get through these types of survival situations.

What exactly is a bug out bag?

A bug out bag is a collection of basic survival gear that might be required in a disaster scenario, natural or otherwise. It is transportable, and consolidated into a single pack or two so that you can grab it and go in a hurry. I like to keep one at home and one in each vehicle, but how you implement the bug out bag is up to you.

The actual bag could be as simple as an extra frameless backpack or duffel bag, or as elaborate as a framed ALICE pack or similar framed backpack. The best bug out bag is one that you can pack the most in and still carry comfortably in the field.

What About Bugging In?

In some cases, it might make sense to “bug in.” If you have a decent generator, such as a Honeywell HW6200, and a good supply of fuel, you might be safer staying put and living off items stored at your house. Naturally, this assumes your house is still safe and there are few immediate threats around you. If there are, you are better off bugging out with a well-packed bug out bag.

What goes in a bug out bag?

Anticipating worst-case scenarios is never fun, but to properly pack your bug out bag with only the essential items, you must start here. Imagine no food, no electricity, no water, and no city services for days. What types of things would you need to survive?

  1. A couple rations of food (I buy from MountainHouse.com). We have a big bag of rice, and several packs of packaged tuna with a two-years shelf life. Both have a lot of calories and are easy to prepare, but are relatively light to pack.
  2. 3 Gallon Rigid Water Containers. Keep a couple of these on hand and toss them in your trunk before bugging out. At 3 gallons, it is not so heavy that the wife and kids couldn’t lug a couple in an emergency, or if I wasn’t there or was out of commission. These rigid style containers are more durable than gallon water jugs, so they are less likely to leak.
  3. Flashlights. Be sure to pack at least one flashlight per bug out bag. And never burn more than one light at a time to preserve batteries. A hand-crank light can come in handy too, for battery-less operation.
  4. Batteries.  Be sure to have the right size for your equipment, and pack plenty of extras.
  5. Glow sticks. When flashlights fail, or when you don’t need a high concentration of direct light, glow sticks are a wise choice.
  6. Hand-crank emergency radio. Staying informed is a key to survival. A hand-cranked radio requires no batteries or electricity, and can provide news bulletins, weather updates, and information on evacuation routes, etc.
  7. Multi-tool. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere without a multi-tool!
  8. Knives. At a minimum, I’d recommend a folding camp knife with a saw edge, a Swiss Army knife with attachments, and a large, fixed-blade survival knife.
  9. Rope/cord. Some 550 paracord is a must-have in your survival kit for tying up food, making a shelter, and plenty of other uses.
  10. Change of clothes. This is not vital, as you can always wash/dry clothing in the field. If you have room, take along an extra set and lean towards cold weather gear.
  11. Water purification tablets/drops. Boiling water is the most effective way to reduce the risk of ingesting a parasite. However, purification tablets are a close second when boiling isn’t practical. Of course, at home I’d just use my Berkey Light water filter.
  12. Anti-diarrhea medication. Be sure to have this one hand in the event you or a family member does suffer from diarrhea, which can lead to life-threatening dehydration very quickly in a survival situation.
  13. Stainless steel Kanteen. I like this stainless steel Kanteen for carrying water (no worries over BPA’s in plastic), and it can be heated by hanging above a flame through cord threaded through the screw-on cap.
  14. Bottle of multi-vitamins. While on a survival diet, chances are you will be lacking the required nutrients from food alone. A good multi-vitamin will help keep your immune system up.
  15. Emergency blankets. These Mylar blankets help hold in heat in an emergency. In addition to those in our bug out bag, we also have a couple in the glove compartment of our car, just in case.
  16. Bug repellent. After water disasters (floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, etc.) there will likely be standing water nearby, which is great breeding ground for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes, and other insects, are known for helping transmit diseases in these conditions, so keep your skin protected at all times.
  17. Compass. Nothing fancy needed here. Just look for a compass that can reliably provide a north heading.
  18. Map of your surrounding area. Who needs a GPS? When it hits the fan, I’d rather have a map of my city and state than something that requires power and communication with a satellite.
  19. Fire-starting materials. We have a butane torch lighter, water proof matches, a magnesium stick, kindling sticks, cotton balls and petroleum jelly.
  20. Signal mirror. Putting a signal mirror’s reflection on a rescue pilot or boat captain is one of the best ways of attracting attention.
  21. Sun block. If caught out in the open on a hot summer day, you’ll be glad you packed sun block to prevent the sun from cooking your exposed skin.
  22. A safety whistle for each family member. Safety whistles can be used to attract attention from rescuers, and to communicate with family members if separated. Plus, they take a lot less energy and make a lot more noise than screaming.
  23. Fishing lures and line. If you can get to a natural body of water, chances are there is a food source in there. It’s possible to catch fish without lures and line, but having it sure improves your chances!
  24. Ziploc bags. Great for waterproofing items, rationing food, etc.
  25. Hand sanitizer. We personally packed a few bottles of Purell hand sanitizer. If you shop the cheap stuff, just be sure it has a alcohol content between 60% and 95% to maximize germ-killing effectiveness.
  26. Camp axe. Probably the most important tool when setting up a camp. A good camp axe can help clear a camp site, split firewood, and chop down small trees for shelter.
  27. Folding shovel. It isn’t pleasant to think about, but you may have to bury waste, or have the less-gross task of digging a fire pit. Either way, a folding shovel will do the job.
  28. First aid kit. I prefer the soft-sided kits here because they are more compact and flexible than the large, plastic box first aid kits.
  29. Survival handbook. A good survival handbook should cover information such as how to make shelters, identify plants and animals to eat, and strategies to get rescued.
  30. Roll of duct tape. Duct tape is the do-it-yourselfer’s best friend, at home and in an emergency situation.
  31. Cash and coins. We keep a couple hundred dollars in cash in a waterproof tube (originally purposed to hold waterproof matches). Also consider taking along a roll of quarters for any coin-operated vending, or to make change.
  32. Ponchos. When you have to leave shelter in search of food, or to move away from danger, keeping yourself dry greatly reduces the chances of getting sick from exposure to a cold rain.
  33. Tarp. With a section of tarp and a little rope tied between two trees you can provide instant shelter in a survival situation.
  34. Deck of cards (to fight boredom). Don’t discount the psychological aspects of survival. After a day or two, boredom will set in and you’ll be glad to have a deck of cards to pass the time.

I recommend picking up one or two items from this list each shopping trip, or ordering them online with a little money from your next few paychecks. It would cost a lot of money to purchase and pack these items all at once. And if you are like me, you’ll have a main bug out bag you keep at home, but a mobile version for the trunk of your car. After all, you never know where you might be in a survival situation.

Comments

  1. Keep in mind that in a declared emergency, esp. in urban and suburban areas, carrying a hunting knife and camp axe (and maybe even a Swiss army knife) may be considered a threat if you are approached by police or National Guard.

    I just considered: Does the Red Cross and other emergency agencies keep of list of where they would open emergency shelters? If so, you could call the Red Cross for a list of those shelters and addresses in your surrounding area. If you can tell an emergency is coming, you could get ahead of the other refugees.

    • In regards to carrying a knife/axe (and in my case, a gun), I’ll certainly take my chances at being perceived as a threat to rescue workers over taking my chances at not protecting my family against looters/etc.

    • The Red Cross will come in after a disaster and evaluate buildings first, then establish shelters. Knowing which buildings will survive a disaster isn’t a known quantity, merely a hope.

      • The Red Cross dos not always come & when/if they do they don’t always help. I lived in Lebanon in 1985 during their civil war. I am an American & had just had a baby. The Red Cross did not help us & turned us away a couple of different times. Don’t reply on anyone else to help you. Be prepared to help & defend yourself & your family.

      • I agree with the others that you won’t know about shelter sites until it happens, but you could ask around (city buildings, schools/univetsities, etc.) if they are on the list as possible sites. My employer let us know that our worksite is on the list for the Red Cross to choose from pending a building check should an emergency arise.

      • The Red Cross will come in after any threat has been neutralized. In other words, they won’t show up until you probably don’t need them anymore. NYC learned that after their recent hurricane. The Red Cross showed up and handed out cookies instead of blankets.

        Besides, if the S really does HTF, a Red Cross shelter is probably the last place you want to go, since it will attract all the low-lifes that you’ll be trying to avoid. Fall asleep at one of those shelters, and you’ll wake up without your Bug Out Bag or shoes.

        • While I understand why people look to the Red Cross, as someone who has been involved in several clean up/aid operations including Katrina and the 2011 tornadoes, the Red Cross is one of your worst enemies as a survivor. Local, private, religious charity type groups are boots on the ground providing good help fast. Then Red Cross rolls in and uses the local law enforcement to run off those that were of the most help to you. I’ve had the Red Cross run off churches providing steak and potatoes so they could give us microwaved…..”stuff.” They have a political aim, make no bones about it. If I were in a survival situation, I’d take advantage of the Red Cross if I had to, but otherwise avoid them like the plague. In a disaster/survival situation, the folks that want to tell you that your mode of survival is breaking their laws are the last people you want to see.

    • In the event it hits the fan, I’d be much more concerned about being able to protect my family and myself. If you don’t have a gun, get one and learn to shoot. If you have a wife and she doesn’t know how to shoot, teach her. The same goes for your kids. Unfortunately, the police or National Guard will take time to get organized and make their presence known. Until then YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN AND THE WORLD IS FULL OF TWO LEGGED PREDATORS. And I sure wouldn’t be worried about law enforcement thinking I was a “bad guy” if they saw I was armed. The post by The Poet misses the point about personal protection and with his attitude he would be a victim early in the crisis.

      • Our firearms are a must-have with our bug-out bags. My wife and both have 9mm handguns for protection of our two children. We recently bought my 9yo a Jennings .22 and have been teaching her gun safety and how to shoot preditors and pray in the event (worst case senerio) my wife and I can’t.

        • While teaching your children to shoot is admirable please purchase a better quality .22. Stay away from Lorcin or Jennings. They are very poor quality (disposable guns) and dangerous to the shooter.

    • what you do if you carry a gun or knife and any kind of military or law enforcement comes along you just tell them what you have. it is your right as a citizen to carry those things.

      • Under Marshal Law all of our constitutional rights are revoked and the local law enforcement and military will take your weapons. Google NRA+Katrina

        • you need to read up on your federal laws. In 2006 a law was passed banning the confiscation of your firearms during an Emergency or national Disaster. Its called the Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act of 2006. Yes after Katrina The Dumb*** police chief ordered for firearms to be confiscated. That is why this law was passed, and is now illegal for anyone to ever do it again.

          • Even if you had the law (rules) on your side, you won’t have the law (police) agreeing with you. What are you going to do when they say “take it up with the court” and demand that you hand over your weapons, and will be shot if you resist? In a SHTF situation, they will try to disarm the populace through every means possible as a way to ensure their own safety. Your safety is secondary to them.

            I will tell nobody (including police) what weapons I have unless absolutely necessary.

          • Imagine if police officers were human, too. You know, maybe have kids, a conscience, compassion, understanding and sympathy. Maybenot all would be in agreement with their upper-echelon supervisors and administration. Wow! Compassionate police officers who actually care!
            Nah. That’d never happen because all police officers would have to enforce unethical laws.

        • Get a couple cans of bear spray udap bear spray shoots 30ft trust me grizzly bears stop dead in there tracks when there sprayed good luck

        • Under Marshall law, under Terrorist threat, under ANY “emergency” that an official sees as a threat to him/herself or “others”, they WILL remove any PERCEIVED threat. If you happen to have a weapon, they will seek to remove it from you. America stood out as a force to be reckoned with BECAUSE they took to arms to defend what they had established as theirs. Being that I am a retired Marine, a veteran with combat experience, a conservative, and a Christian, I am already on their “of interest” list. Believe what you will, but the Government will enforce what they “consider” to be “best for all”. And then there are the “living dead” (heartless), those who act without considering anyone but themselves (without impunity), dangerous dangerous dangerous; these are the ones who will “take a person out” for a can of tuna (extreme example). Thus, be prepared for any situation.

      • Not during “Marshall Law” for example during Katrina there was a 75 or so lady that did not want to go with the National Guard. When they said, if you don’t leave now we won’t be able to protect you, she said don’t worry I have food, my house is not flooded and I have a gun. They confiscated the gun and put her in handcuffs while they searched the house for more weapons.
        No one is on your side when the SHTF you need to evaluate ALL contacts as threats and proceed with caution at all times.

          • Complete BS is a good name for the idiot who called you a liar. There were many more cases than that one. Trust in God, monitor all others.

          • Heads up.. I am happy to see there were none of the “Guns are evil” comments.. But anyway. Your best bet in a situation like this is to not come into contact with “authority” figures until such a time that an infrastructure and “rule of law” (so to speak) has been established. There are plenty of dirty fools out there who will go for what you have simply because they lacked the forethought to prepare. If you are one of the “I don’t like guns” types, That is fine but you had better be able to fling a baseball accurately at upwards of 100 feet with some power behind it.

            If you do carry a firearm, Make sure to use a common ammunition type as ammo may be hard to come across in some areas. Also if your entire family is going to carry and IF you can make sure your clips are interchangeable. This will allow you grab a spare from a partner in the event you run dry.

            This is a nice list and can be a very useful starting point for your own BOB.

          • Mr. BS,
            You must have your head in the sand, because the incident regarding the 75 or so year old lady being jumped by several large power hungry men.
            That incident has been shown a number of times since Katrina. You must be a Democrat.
            The thugs that went around infringing upon innocent citizen’s 2nd Amendment rights.
            Now the idiots who shot at rescue helicopters should have been shot on sight.
            I have tremendous respect for law enforcement, but those government thugs were out of control.

  2. Wow an awesome post but costs a lot…. I’m not living in my home country so it’s hard for me to justify getting so much stuff knowing I will be leaving in just over a year and won’t have the capacity to take it with me.

    However I may cut this list down and get a very basic kit sorted out…. I’m in Egypt between a few war zones and things could happen.

    • Thanks for the great tips! Don’t forget a wide tipped permanant marker to leave messages on designated landmarks if you become seperated from family or friends, or to warn others of danger. Also there is a new product for women during their menstrual cycle that is made from rubber, cone shaped and is reusable. Not ideal perhaps, but certainly less to pack, and you wont run out!:)

      • Keep in mind tampons can have several uses in a survival situation regarding first aid and fire starting.

        • such as….?
          interested to know what for as they are small and light so if they’ll come in useful it will be good.
          thanks

          • You can use them to plug a puncture wound, is the main first aid use I know. Be sure to keep them in an air- and water-tight container. They’re no use to anyone if they get contaminated!

          • Nik, tampons could be included for a number of survival uses. Since they are very absorbant, they can be used as a makeshift medical bandage or even a crude water filter of sorts. Dry, the cotton material can be used as fire tinder or the string as a wick for part of a makeshift candle. I’ve even seen some use the various parts/packaging as a fishing bobber.

            Those are just a few of the ways I can think of right off the top of my head. Very resourceful and lightweight item that takes up little room but can prove very useful in a pinch. Hope this helps! – BOBA

  3. The mobile pack can also be a vest. Similar to what a fly fisherman wears. In an urban or shelter environment there is less chance of losing your vest or having someone take it.

  4. I love the list. I have to comment on the money and change. If things get crazy, I agree that it is important to have cash because debit cards may not work. However, depending on how bad it gets, cash may have no value. Also, as far as change goes, it is very heavy to carry change. In an emergency situation, I would have no qualms about using the axe to access the vending machine items. You should consider packing a gun or pepper spray in case you need to protect yourself or your family against people or animals that want your provisions.

  5. What a comprehensive list!
    It’s very rare in our society that we think about this as a requirement but, since the Haiti earthquake, “survival” has become more of a hot topic.
    It can happen here and we should be prepared.
    That said, I’d venture to guess that few are prepared for such a disaster…myself included.
    Thanks for the kick in the pants!

  6. While I am set up at home for most any emergency, including being without electric and water for a long time if need be, I need to put a bag in my truck – cuz wherever I am, there’s my truck :) It does already have snack bars, water, a change of clothes, and raingear/boots, and usually a fishing pole :) ….. but I need to do the rest!

    Thanks for the reminder!

  7. I think part of being prepared is understanding the potential natural hazards in your area. The USGS provides some excellent hazard information for the general public:

    http://www.usgs.gov/hazards/

    What you pack – or don’t pack – may depend on the types of hazards you’re likely to face. For instance, people who live in Los Angeles, California might need to prepare for the possibility of an earthquake, but that particular hazard is much less likely in, say, Florida.

  8. Don’t forget that it’s also important to go through your bag periodically to rotate contents. Pull the food and medicine out before it reaches its expiration point so you can you use it at home and replace the items in your bag with new ones.

    • …With meds, the expiration dates are at least twice as long as what is listed, think about it, the more they sell….the happier the shareholders are….

      • @ BMills; Not necessarily true all the time. Check out the drug in a drug book or online for information on shelf time and plan accordingly. If plannign on keeping broad spectrum antibiotics on hand for emergency purposes, ask your doctor for a script for a powdered antibiotic. The rationale is that it can be hydrated when needed and there is no need for it to be refrigerated either ( while in the dry state ). I agree though, there are many things that are perfectly fine after the expiration date has passed.

    • as for that…keep a list with your bag on the outside and in and at the bottom of your list put all items and there exp. date and periodically check it to replace it, sometimes after a while the date in not readable so putting it where you can easily see and check it can help and for nutrition bars and such keep next to it with a whole qty. back up and eat from it and replace then use back up-so on and so and buy stuff you like so its always eaten and replaced so wont expire

  9. I carry some of these items in my van at all times, and I have some items available at home, but I don’t have a comprehensive pack like this. Thanks for the ideas! I will work on upgrading our emergency supplies.

    In our area we evacuate for major hurricanes ahead of time (Greater New Orleans) but there’s always a risk of unexpected tornados.

    I carry a standard First Aid Kit, but with additional medications – tylenol, ibuprofen, etc. as the kits have just a sample.

    The one thing I would add in the food category is NUTS. I carry nuts in the car at all times as well as bottled water.

  10. @Diane: Yes, nuts are a great addition because they are packed with nutrients and calories. In fact, one of my favorite snacks is homemade GORP (Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts with M&Ms). Just have to make sure I’m burning off those calories as I eat them!

  11. Good ideas, FD. TP is good to have also. And if one has a concealed carry permit, a handgun. Looks like you read Lew Rockwell also.

  12. Depending on the emergency (ie house fire) you could also keep a copy of your important documents/records (deed, birth certificate, list of emergency contacts, photos, etc.) on a small flash drive. Just make sure you keep this safe from theft.

  13. Keeping extra copies of essential documents is something I thought about. I keep a set in a waterproof/fireproof box in my closet, which goes with us in an evactuation.

    But if something happened to the house & the box didn’t survive it would be great to have another copy somewhere like the car for emergencies. Just can’t figure a way to keep that safe & secure…

  14. Don’t forget if you have kids you need to have stuff to keep them occupied. Coloring books, crayons, pencils and paper. We have had ours for a few years now and knock on wood have not had to use it yet.

  15. If you do decide to carry a firearm, please know its and your limitations. I say this because some people read articles and just believe what they read. On a funny note, I was hunting and shot at a deer that I thought was 40 yards away. I had patterned the shotgun at that distance and the pattern was very good. Unfortunately the deer was at 60 yards. I couldn’t believe I missed it. I set a pattern piece of cardboard 2 foot square and shot it. None of the pellets hit it at that distance. So familarize yourself with any firearms you own. You should also familiarize any family members of proper use. Take care.

  16. I always made sure I had room in my ALICE pack for a roll of nice soft toilet paper. Believe me …after a few days of using leaves, sticks, scraps of paper you come to really appreciate the simple joys in life. :)

  17. For remote (“cloud”) backup of that “small flash drive” with critical data, I’d suggest looking up the 2GB free offer at http://www.dropbox.com (I’m just a satisfied user).

    Their documentation says the files (outside an optional Public folder) are encrypted and inaccessible, even to their employees, without your account password.

  18. Your post has had me thinking and I thought of something quite important that is missed out….. Women’s sanitary products are something that could be seriously needed if it’s a certain time of the month and they won’t take a lot of space.

    Thanks,

    Forest.
    http://frugalzeitgeist.com

    • Tampons and pads also serve as excellent emergency first aid supplies. A tampon can be inserted into a bullet wound to stop or slow the bleeding, and a pad can be used as a field dressing. Practically sterile, often packages individually, and designed to absorb. So even if you don’t expect to have women along, you would do well to have a supply of one or both.

    • Never use a gun when stressed? Chances are if you`re in a bad situation where you need it, you just might be stressed alil.” Oh no, a bear`s attacking little Johnny!” Don`t use the shotgun, you look stressed (!?!) I hope more people take to heart what Jeff S says.

  19. We call it an earthquake kit.
    Ditch the rice – add peanut butter. You need water for rice and that becomes sparse in a bad situation.
    We carry a gun- but for hunting. Never use a gun under stress.
    Bottled water- at least a gallon per person. We leave it in the car.
    Simple can opener- you might not want your multi purpose thing to get messy.
    Soy candles and matches in a water proof carry bag.
    CASH! Nothing like it when credit cards don’t process when no electricity!

    Forest @1- the state department highly recommends a bug out bag. Passport and water are essential.

    • Good idea about the candles…I heard if you put them in the freezer they burn twice as long and can reduce drips…got that from lifehacker.com

      • Only if there still cold when you use them. Reminds me of a guy I knew who put hot water in his cars radiator so it wouldn’t be frozen in the morning.

    • “never use a gun under stress.” well then you might as well just leave the gun out altogether, hunting or otherwise considering that when you are in a survival situation you WILL be under a considerable amount of stress. It doesn’t matter if you are hunting or defending your family from unscrupulous people.

      • I have an ar 7 and a smith and wesson 6 inch stainless…both r good for campmeat… .44 good for self defence or deet

  20. I definitely need to put one of these together. I already have some of these things scattered around the house, but I need to get them together in one place and add in others.

    Ditto on the comment about womens’ sanitary supplies.

  21. I found a GREAT bag this morning at a garage sale for 25cents… Heavy duty red canvas bowling bag with several outside pockets for shoes and towels and misc… because it is for carrying 20 lbs or more, the straps and buckling are all heavy duty. I’ll line the main bag with a couple plastic bags to insure the stuff inside stays dry.

    Great find! And it will fit in the truck great also!

    • I picked up several bags with shoulder straps at goodwill for a couple of bucks each. One for each vehicle as a get home bag(not the same as a bug out bag) and one for each person with their change of cloths etc. I have a ccw and gun and ammo(at all times), my wife has pepper spray. We also have a book on edible wild plants for our area.

  22. I don’t think I saw medications. My parents live with me and they both have high blood pressure, and my dad has diabetes and other things…you definately want to have medications and they need to be rotated out frequently to keep current dated stuff. The water is important, too. At the very least 1 gallon per person per day for 3 days.

    • This is an extensive first aid-kit but I believe you can never go wrong with medical supplies, especially in an emergency. It may be a lot to lug around and costly, but I get most supplies from the dollar store, such as ace wraps, Band-Aids, etc. Also I’d recommend taking a first-aid/CPR course, usually done by the Red cross. But you can search online in your local area for such curses.
      http://www.alpharubicon.com/med/basicmedkitpalehorse.htm

  23. @Mr. Poet,

    You want to rely on the government to help you or a agency? They took DAYS to arrive after Katrina. Relying on the government sounds like welfare and I prefer to take care of my family and myself since no one will do a better job of it then me.

    I would load up on more food. Probably 7-14 days worth. You can always ration it out. Dehydrated food would be good too, light and holds more vitimans and nutrients then packed tuna and rice.

  24. @Mr. Mike,

    Relying on a government or charitable agency for survival is never an enviable position, and if I had the means and/or outside support to stay out of one in an emergency situation, I would. But we cannot predict what might happen at every point in our lives. Sure, you may keep a bugout bag in your car. But what if you are on a vacation or on a trip where your car is at home? The airline will not let you carry on a bag with firestarters and shovels and knives. And checked baggage can be lost.

  25. Haven’t seen any military types yet but here’s my take on the comments. A lot of you have missed the vital point about a bug out bag. It HAS to be light and simple. I always have a “fly away kit” packed and ready for instant use the moment I need it. But everyone in the family needs to have there own bag. That way women will pack sanitary needs, kids will pack a few toys or coloured pencils. If you have to carry extra food then leave it in the car or near the car where it can be loaded quickly. Also make sure you have a few jerry cans of fuel. Especially handy if the tank is only one quarter full when you need it.
    But you also gotta allow for the fact that you may not be able to use your car, so make sure you have a pair of good quality boots next to your bag too. Make sure that if you get seperated that everyone knows a safe place to head for. or buy each person one of those Radio Shack cheap UHF two way radios. Another thing to add to your bags. And it’s important for everyone to understand how to use a compass or to set a map. You may not be there so at least your partner can take over. Family is important in any disaster. Decide on a particular place a long way from danger to meet up if you got a spread out family. People who need specialised medicine make sure they keep a supply in there own bags. But remember this, as cold as it sounds. In a disaster situation it becomes a battle of survival of the fittest and it is the fittest and most prepared who win. Friends become liabilities too so try to avoid them until everyone is safe.

  26. Instead of bug spray or in addition I would pack a vitamin B complex. Vitamin B-1 acts as a bug repellent and works great. Better for me than spray. I miss a spot with spray, hate the stickiness and it gives me migraines. The vit B complex has proven itself camping, kayaking in wetlands and sitting around a backyard fires with family and friends. My family and friends use this method also. Be sure to give it 20 mins after swallowing to get into your system and the excess will make you urine a brighter yellow so don’t be alarmed.

  27. We have an RV and in the summer I have at least three days worth of food in it as well as tools, toiletries, etc. However, if we had to abandon ship say due to a tornado in our travels, nothing is in one place so that worries me. At home I have a closet with about two weeks worth of supplies which is fine if I have to shelter in place. But all the survival gear, and I have a lot of it so far, I keep lugging from my car to the house. I guess I need a bug out bag in all three places or I will drive myself crazy.

  28. Some of the items mentioned here can be purchased at surplus military stores or online and they where designed for rugged military use.
    #1-folding shovel
    #2-back packs
    #3-emerg. blankets
    #4-compass
    #5-MRE (meals ready to eat)
    #6-paracord
    #7-signal mirror (unbreakable
    #8-First Aid Kit
    #9-poncho
    #10-whistle

    • shopping list
      yard sale- folding shovel $2-$5,
      back pack or bag with wide shoulder strap $1,
      whistle .25,
      small blanket .50, (if you fly on airlines keep the ones they provide for free)
      Wal Mart-
      space blanket(can double as large reflector) $1 in sporting goods
      emergency poncho $1 in sporting goods
      first aid kit $7
      ebay- para cord by the foot cheap.
      MRE’s- yuk, get something you will actually eat like jerky, canned meat, trail mix or dried fruit.
      Compass not needed during day light. look up how to use your watch as a compass on ehow.com, knowledge is pricless and weighs nothing.

      • “Compass not needed during day light.” You sir, have never met my wife. Bless her heart, but she has a hard time finding east at sunrise!

    • An option for #7 is an old CD/DVD (when my kids’ DVDs got scratched and wouldn’t play – I moved it over to their earthquake bag – cheap, easy, and pretty tough/non-breakable). I have one in each bag, in the camping bucket I use, and in each car.

  29. i keep my kits simple as i can and try to focas on being able to obtain water and food if you dont know how or dont have the tools to do so you will run out. food and water in home or base type kits are a good idia but in a bug out situation it’s all to heavy to carry learn basic bushcrafting skills and try to think of multiple uses for each item you pack. wire,paracord and rope of any type zip ties, i carry a pack of guitar strings(snares) wrap flashlights ect. in tape to limit the space the take up.
    good sturdy blades like the pathfinder from blindhorseknives.com the sog battle ax and i always have some sort of “neck knife” and a good high quality tactical folder like any of the axis lock line from bench made.
    firearms of choice for me are of the fn five seven line inexpensive and high performance are great qualitys of this round though the guns themselves are a bit pricy my five seven with combat sights is dead nuts at combat range and can consistantly put leathal hits out to 100yards and i can buy about a hundred rounds of balistic tip or hollowpoint ammo for about as much as 20 rds of 9mm hollowpoints cost 3 20rd mags are included with the gun and a carbine form is super compact and is availible with 50rd mags. i also keep a take down recurve bow with several arrows a fishing arrow and real and some flu flus for birds/squirrles ect. in a pvc tube (wraped in duct tape) and my ottis cleaning kit will do anything from 17 cal. to a 12ga or 50.cal. keeping my guns in check as well as helping me make serviceable any i may come across and is about the size of a snuff can
    my tackel includes hooks big and small, bank line and leaders aswell as a small asst. of flys (small light and super effective in shade pools on pan fish just droped in and letem sink) and a small spool of mono line.
    my first aid is a little more advanced than most due to training i keep a few iv start kits an suture kits on hand in addition to meds and basic first aid gear and some shugar salt and a bottle of sucrose isnt a bad idia eather
    fire gear i keep a small 40x mag glass (for reading blueprints ect.) several lighters(wraped in elec. tape) a butane torch style lighter matches and a fire steel or ferrous rod some birch bark cotton cleaning patches and pack it all in a tin (so i can make fire tender by smoking the cotton or carry fire with me)
    i also like the small personal hammock/bivy shelters they are light and keep you high dry and are compact to carry
    aluminium water bottles are great things to have as well as some purifiying tabs and a filter of some sort and remember surviving is being active keeping cool and making due with what we have LEARN THOSE BUSH CRAFTING SKILLS!!! a good place to do so is from dave “pathfinder” canterburry at wildernessoutfittersarchery.com

  30. One thing I didn’t see mentioned was routes?
    If everybody is scrambling to get outa town, or if you just need to be discreet, nobody thinks of the railroads. They are level, and cut through parts of the country where traveling might otherwise be hard or impassable. If you might want to avoid being one of the sheeple?

    • Driving on a railroad track is not a good idea for two reasons. (A) Even when martial law has not been imposed, private vehicles on rails will attract the attention of law enforcement. In a national crisis, a private vehicle on the rails may be considered a possible terrorist attack. (B) In many spots, such as railway trestles over water, driving would be very dangerous. Wooden railroad ties may puncture your tires. Rails are elevated in many spots with gravel on both sides. So if you’re on the rail and a train is coming, you can swerve off the tracks, but you may flip your vehicle.

      Don’t drive on railroad tracks!

      That said, some rails have adjoining access roads used by railway workers to maintain the tracks. These access roads can run for miles and probably won’t be occupied during an emergency. If you get stopped, you can plausibly say the main roads are jammed and you want to get to the next passable road. You’ll want to get off, anyway, before the access road ends. A railway worker can be ignored if he orders you to turn back, although he may get on the horn with police, but only the more cautious police officers may arrest you. In almost all cases, you will be breaking the law by being on or near the tracks. So keep that in mind. Still, it’s a good emergency route to study ahead of time.

      • i don’t think joe was referring to driving on a rail road track, i believe he was referring to walking using it as a route that wouldn’t be overly crowded.
        depending on the event, a fema or red cross controlled area may not be the best choice. be a sheep or a wolf, the sheep all gather in the same place.

  31. Very nice. I like the idea about the multi-vitamins – I’ll be adding that to mine.

    I noticed that no one mentioned alcohol or tobacco. If you smoke or chew, you don’t want to be stuck without a little tobacco to get you through a high-stress situation. Alcohol could come in handy if you need to barter (as could tobacco), and it could help to take the edge of a bit if used in moderation; you don’t want to consume too much and get dehydrated on lose the ability to function, though.

    I stow six of the little plastic “airline” bottles for barter, a flask for me, two packs of smokes for barter, and two tins of chew (the kind with the individual serving pouches in the tin) for barter. I go with the single pouch chew so that I might be able to trade a few at a time instead of just a pinch or a whole tin. Don’t forget a few books of matches, too – if you try to barter the smokes, they might also need a light. It doesn’t add much weight or take up much space, and it could really come in handy.

    A couple of points if you pack food – 1) Watch the sodium content: You don’t want to increase your thirst and consume water too quickly. 2) Keep the calories high: The stress will take a toll, you will be active (even if it’s on-and-off), and that will reduce the number of meals needed. 3) Stick with foods you already eat: Radically changing your diet can be a shock to your system, and with the stress of an emergency situation requiring evacuation, you do not want to go from normal cuisine to exotic survival food. 4) Watch the weight: Make sure that any food that you pack will not make your bag too heavy.

    If you pack clothing, I’d advise getting some of the Space Bags for the clothes to compress the items and keep them dry. I have two small ones for separate changes of underwear and socks, a small one for hats and gloves, a medium one for pants and a shirt, and another medium one for thermal underwear, ski socks, and a Thinsulate jacket. The Space Bags make them nice and flat, so the clothes take-up very little space. You don’t want to only have the sleep clothes that you are wearing if you’re awakened from your sleep and need to go.

    Make sure that any clothes that you pack are functional and in good condition. You can find some great hiking or outdoors type clothing at thrift stores for an amazing price. The pants that I pack are the kind where the legs can zip off just above the knees so that they can be converted to shorts if I’d like, and they only cost me $4 at a thrift store.

    Look for the water boxes for water (they look just like juice boxes), and get a water bottle with a good filter. The water boxes are compact, sturdier than plastic bottles or pouches, will freeze without bursting or excessively bulging, and provide and immediate source of potable water.

  32. We understand, everyone has specific needs when it comes to what works best for you and your family. Uncle Bobs GO-Bags has done thier homework assembling a complete GO-Bag. If you are former Military, Special Forces or any kind of a survivalist with a good head on your shoulders, you more than likely already have direct access to these items and much more. Uncle Bobs GO-Bags has a well thought out bag, and has marketed thier UBGB to people who want and need to be better prepared. Many dont have the time, patience or resources to put a basic bag together. To start, Uncle Bobs GO-Bags are a Voodoo “Matrix” style Assault Pack. (OD Green or Coytote Tan) Cotote Tan is the best seller. “Blending in” makes Coyote Tan the color of choice. All UBGB’s come with a 3 Liter Hydration Bladder. If you are one who thinks GO-Bags are a bad idea, thats OK, because the people who DO can rely on UBGB to get them what they need. Free Shipping (via UPS Ground) anywhere in the Continental USA. Additional shipping sure-charge applies to all orders to HI and AK. You can see the inventory list at http://www.unclebobsgobags.com or send us an email at info@unclebobsgobags.com. Thanks for reading. Great posts everyone! Have a great day and be ready!

  33. Voodoo Matrix Assault Pack Packed with – 25 gram pouch Quick Clot, 3 Liter Hydration Bladder, 50 Ft. Para Cord, Plastic Eating Utensils, Hand Sanitizer, Waterproof Matches, Chem. Lights, Duct Tape, Emergency Blanket, Emergency Radio, First Aid Kit, Fishing Kit, GI Mess Kit, Head Light, Israeli Battle Dressing, Katadyn MYBottle & (ViruStat) Filtration, Magnesium Fire Starter, Medical Adhesive Tape, Multi-Tool w/Knife, N95 Masks, P-51 Can Opener, Emergency Food, Nitrile Gloves, Signal Mirror, Tincture of Iodine, Whistle, Compass, Thermometer, Wire Saw, Work Gloves

  34. Quick note on the backup storage of documents. There are USB flash drives and USB portable hard drives that have built in encryption software. You would save your data to them then encrypt it. Anyone wanting to access the data must provide the proper password in order to unlock/decrypt the information. This would be fairly safe to keep in a car or other location where the potential for theft is higher. One warning though, these devices can be sensitive to environmental conditions like that of a hot car interior.

  35. Great list. Might add a pair of leather work gloves & to be sure everyone is up-to-date on their tetanus shot.

  36. I think its always a good idea to have a small, battery-powered AM/FM radio. I don’t know if that has already been mentioned.

      • Forget AM/FM, you need a submersible handheld shortwave transceiver that also handles the 2-meter band.

        All you guys and your food concerns crack me up. You’re missing the point. TSHTF there’s 2 things that you’re gonna need:
        1) power
        2) communications

        Get some solar gear and rechargeable batteries so you can charge your 2-way radios form the sun, as well as your lights. You got light and power, you can find your way to where you need to go to get what you need.

        The little stuff goes without saying: a compass, swiss army knife, firestarter magnesium block, that kinda stuff. I even pack a 12″ combo prybar sledge.demolition tool for whateverthehell.

        Guns? Nah. I don’t plan to take anyone’s stuff by force and as for self-defense, even if you do have a gun it wo’nt matter if the other guy just rolls up on your with his gun already drawn. Whatcha gonna do, walkl around with your gun pointed at everyone? Get shot that way eventually; but at the same time if you don’t do that, eventually someone gonna point there’s at you before you can get yours out. So the gun is just a no-go IMO, takes up space, cost $$, spend it on comm & power and a bag/case for it all be in control whereever you go.

  37. Thank you so much for your website. I am a nurse but am disabled but I can still suture and do some other life saving measures.

  38. I have added to my emergency kit is toilet paper and baby wipes. You can get travel sizes of wipes for the bug out bags. Keeping yourself clean and healthy is going to be very important during an emergency.

  39. Don’t forget items for bartering. I read someone wrote alcohol and tobacco would be good when money isn’t worth anything. I am stocking up on them and also on large amounts of salt, sugar, flour, and oil because we live on a small farm and plan to live off the grid here. I am also planning on stocking up on huge amounts of candy and coffee to use for bartering. When things are bad, people are going to need comfort food. Now, I just need to stock up on more mason jars, lids, and rings.

  40. What about stocking up while you can on comfort foods to use for bartering, such as candy, chocolate, and coffee in addition to tobacco and alcohol? I don’t drink but I think my neighbors would appreciate being able to barter for alcohol.

  41. Excellent ideas here! My husband never goes anywhere without his bug-out bag and has included many of the items you have listed. I don’t have one yet, but he says he’s going to put one together for me. I’ll forward this on to him to help him get started :)

  42. Protecting your family is the number 1 priority being armed is the best way to go. In normal daily situations it takes Police around 23 minutes to respond, also location dictates response times. Police usually arrive after a crime to investigate very seldom there to prevent crime. Just think what can happen in a crisis. All family members should be taught gun safety and how to use a gun. You should have 1000 rounds for each weapon you have .

    • A .44 mag sounds heavy…but consider this : u can get brass rounds…..stop a a grizzly….or a car block…shot loads for close grouse rabbits…ducks..etc

  43. This post is very informative and nicely laid out. I am 18 years old and trying to prepare myself for a survival situation in order to take care of my skeptical family. Along with this post i have found some websites and info I would like to share that may help some. I felt somewhat overwhelmed starting my kit…If your looking for a good starting point that gives you most of everything you need I would encourage checking out.
    http://www.essentialpacks.com/Deluxe-Emergency-Backpack-Kit-4-Person-411

    Not knowing what type of weather situation I might face I basically took this entire bag and placed it inside this one below which is a waterproof bag. great quality…they specialize in anything waterproof.

    http://www.overboardusa.com/ob1054blk.html

    I have takin these two products and paired them with a fixed blade knife like this one:
    http://www.gerbergear.com/Survival/Knives/Survival-Series-Ultimate-Knife_31-000751
    -this knife comes with a fire stater and a diamond sharpener as well a survival whistle.

    Regardless of any law…I will also be carrying my shotgun and ammunition in a disaster or survival situation.

    Hope you find these products to be helpful.

  44. Great list thanks, and some good additions in the comment section too. I was in Andrew and that bad summer down in S. Florida, and I can tell you it can be days, a week or even more before any help may arrive in a bad situation. Armed gangs will likely get around much faster than any help will, so it really helps to communicate and bond with neighbors. Helps everything from working out shelter to barter, to security. The Army MRE’s are awesome! Good food, beverage, desert, Tabasco, long storage life, even contain a heating element if you get the real Army ones. These would also make great barter, as it was one of the first things we started trading after Andrew.

    Also, won’t fit in a BOB but a Gas generator… worth it’s weight in gold for a prolonged stay sans electricity. Can run a fridge, or a fan, might even run an air-conditioner if you had a decent generator and a small window shaker. Was a month until our power was back on and I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that generator.

    Last, I consider my dog to be invaluable. Everything from security to helping me track what ever I need to track. They sleep lite, and bark loud when danger comes around…

  45. Priority #1 when spending extended time outdoors is warmth. Appropriate clothing is essential- a layer for warmth and a layer for keeping out wind and rain. Clothing should also be lightweight, comfortable and easy to move in.

    Other survival items follow this.

  46. I am new to the bug out bags but I started putting one together today. It seems that there is no end to all the things one might need in an emergency situation. I do have a couple of things to add though. My husband and I was coming home one night after all stores were closed when our fan belt broke. There we were, stranded along side the road. He asked me to take off my panty hose, so I did. He cut one leg off the panty hose, tied it to the size of the fan belt. It was a temporary quick fix. We made it the twenty miles home.They are lite weight and can be used for alot of things and come in a small pkg. Ther other thing is, don’t forget about our dog or cat. They need food and water also.

  47. for about $200.00 you can set yourself up with a food dehydrator and vacum seal system , you can dehydrate your own food and it will be light weight also

  48. great site and allot of common sense information..My question is where do you get those MRE meals? My husband was in the service and said they are horrible tasting but well worth the investment.

  49. Hi.

    I’d like to give a little input from Australia and my own personal history of 12 years in the armed forces.

    The most important point of ‘bugging out’ is that it’s short term. If your idea is to be outside of normal societal means for more than 72 hours you need to either become completely proficient in all forms of survival (hunting and trapping, water procurement, identification of edible mosses, barks, plants and roots as well as shelter and fire building and evasion techniques (should the need arise).

    Bugging out can be necessary for a number of reasons; catastrophic weather or natural disaster, outbreak of civil unrest, sudden local conflict resulting in loss of normal channels of law and order. To keep in practice I also bug out once a year to prevent the rust setting in.

    BOB’s are not meant to be heavy. They aren’t supposed to maintain a normal level of comfort. They are supposed to keep you alive. Mine consists of

    Leatherman

  50. Hi.

    I’d like to give a little input from Australia and my own personal history of 12 years in the armed forces.

    The most important point of ‘bugging out’ is that it’s short term. If your idea is to be outside of normal societal means for more than 72 hours you need to either become completely proficient in all forms of survival (hunting and trapping, water procurement, identification of edible mosses, barks, plants and roots as well as shelter and fire building and evasion techniques (should the need arise).

    Bugging out can be necessary for a number of reasons; catastrophic weather or natural disaster, outbreak of civil unrest, sudden local conflict resulting in loss of normal channels of law and order. To keep in practice I also bug out once a year to prevent the rust setting in.

    BOB’s are not meant to be heavy. They aren’t supposed to maintain a normal level of comfort. They are supposed to keep you alive. They have to provide water, shelter, fire, food. Thats it! Mine consists of

    Leatherman
    Machete
    Tarp and bungee cords
    4 16oz flexi bottles
    Water purification drops
    Survival straw (further purifys water)
    3 days mre or freeze dried food sachets.
    1 dry set of clothes (for night…day clothes can remain wet if o means of drying them)
    1st aid kit. Plenty of painkillers, dressings, alcohol wipes and any prescription meds. Don’t mess with suture kits, cannulas, IV fluids.
    Light weight alcohol stove, light windshield or tin foil, fuel, small cooking pot. Mine are made from titanium and weigh nothing. Spork
    Compass
    Watch
    Wet wipes or baby wipes.
    Paracord, as much as possible!
    Fishing kit
    Sunblock
    Whistle
    Mg fire stick and lighters.

    That’s all you need.

    Firearms are not necessary. If you have to gtfo then go quietly.

    • Very good advice. However, I will disagree on your last line about a firearm not being necessary. When you need to get out you can do so quietly with a firearm believe it or not. You don’t have to go riding out of town firing your gun into the air to let everyone know that you got one. Having a firearm will give you a better chance at surviving for 72 hours if the need for one should arise. Just remember that during disasters and other situations that would require someone to “bug out”, that unscrupulous people will be out and about trying to take advantage of the weak and improperly prepared. Give yourself a fighting chance and make sure you have a firearm included in your bug out bag. No need for and assault weapon but a .40 caliber handgun or something similar in caliber size would suffice.

      • The firearm or no firearm can be tricky. Austrailia is not firearm freindly and to go out once a year for practice why risk it. take something legal that wont have you bugging out in the local jail. If the situation is real but not overtly hostile then the handgun would be prudent just as a precaution for bad dogs, snakes etc.but if things are hostile or long term the handgun is not enough. Most people can’t hunt meat or defend them selves from armed gangs with just a handgun. I will take my AR and my hand gun because I can and I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

      • I also agree that firearms are NOT needed for BoB. To heavy and bulky and are more likely to get you into trouble than out of it.

        There’s only 1 narrow scenario where it’s going to help you: a group of thugs, none of whom are packing guns themselves, decide to jump you after you have already seen them. I say after you have already seen them because if you don’t see them coming (a possibility) then it doesn’t matter that you have a gun. And if you do, how do you know they have bad intent? You just gonna pull a gun anytime anyone gets near you? And if the bad guy also have a gun, then, great…you’re in a gunfight. IMO it’s just better to forget the gun and concentrate on being stealthy. Pack a 2-way radio or shortwave receiver instead of a gun. Information is more valuable than anything in a crazy situation.

  51. DONT FORGET THE DOLLAR STORE for all kinds of needs! I have been putting together earthquake backpacks for each of our family members. Live in So Cal! Check out the “A” Meds: antihistamine, antacid, non-aspirin pain reliever, triple antibiotic ointment. Bring Rx enclosures for prescriptions. Bring copies of important papers..all in ziplock.

  52. I just put together a bog out bag..like some you who mentioned this…it was expensive. About 700 dollars…but it will be priceless if I ever really need it. Many things can cause a need for this bag. I feel more confident now that I have it prepared and ready to go. There is one other thing you may want to consider adding- a small self contained solar charger that you can use to charge phones or lighting sources. Cabella’s sells several styles and sizes.
    Thanks for the list!

    • When SHTF what are you going to use to procure more items for you or your families survival? Gonna trade in your knife or some other really valuable item? A few small valuable lightweight trinkets or items (I have a small amount of 90% silver coins in my BoB) to barter with can end up getting you something much larger and valuable down the line.

    • Yep thats it, there is no end, and the worse the disaster is the more “opportunistic” some people will get. Just try and get a deal on gas during a disaster.

  53. im 13 and have a bug out bag i say be prepared for anything even if you live were floods earthquakes tornados etc dont happpen often you should have equipment for this stuuf so you and your family are prepared for the wrost

  54. I am from Joplin, MO. As plenty of you probably already know an EF5 tornado took out atleast half of my hometown. Since then I have been hearing about bug out bags constantly and finally decided to look it up. This is a great idea and all the things on your list on spot on. I certainly wish this would have been something I had last May but, you can believe i’m putting one together now!

  55. Thank-you for all these great, additional ideas.

    I always have an extra pair of reading/prescription glasses as well as sun glasses in my bag, I would lost without either. Less than perfect pairs for everyday use can be perfect in an emergency.

    Benadryl (pill form to conserve weight) is another important med in case of any allergic reaction (which can sometimes be very serious).

    Tecnu (small bottle of) to deal with any poison ivy or similar plant exposure if you’re in a rural area.

    Laminated copies of your most important documents/ID.

  56. Still adding things, but I use the three pockets on an ALICE.

    Waterproof containers in each pocket from Wally-W.

    A
    First Aid-tweezers, al. pad, bandages, small band, wp tape, adh. Bandage, Ricola, gauze, needles, tea, ES Exed.,WP med cont., pain reliever, Tums, cinnamon, Pet Jelly, antibiotic cream, Pepto., toothpick, steel tweezers, scissors.
    10’ coated braided cable w/snaps (snare, etc.), JB Weld, butane-1.48oz

    B
    Tin with lint and wp matches, notebook, pen, N Test, soap, twisty, 3 zipties, 3 rubber bands, 2 toenail clippers, 6 eyeglass screwdrivers.

    C
    SS folding shovel, 2-org hd ties, 50’ paracord, spoon-knife tool, 5 tine frog spear w screw, splitshots, swivels, #10 hooks, fish line, .22 shells some CB, small folding pliers, 5 led flashlight(4-LR44), green garden wire, mini-Stanley cutter, bu-lighter, 2-superglues, ziplock bags, wax, LR 44 batteries,, paracord handle, DEET, compass.

    OUTSIDE BAG-2 fixed knives, Leatherman/scissor, pliers in cases, fillet knife in case, mini-mag,parachute cord bracelet, 2-carbiner clips, med container tubes, mini-carbiner style clips, mini folding knife.

    IN BAG-water bladder, filter, IF not worn-.22 Ruger MK II Slab w/2 clips/holster

    Need shelter, clothing….good comments here, hope you learn from me too.

    I may also pack a 110 connibear :) Use that over a rat trap any day!

    PS I live in the woods already :)

  57. This list is filled with a great deal of good advice. Keep in mind your B.O.B. needs to fit you needs for the situations you will face. One thing I haven’t seen except for the Vasoline candle idea is needing to learn how to survive on nothing.
    Things happen. Vehicles break down, gasoline in scarce or heaven forbid a terrible accident could wipe out your transportation so you B.O.B. must be packable (any type of bag with straps will do but a good backpack is desirable)
    For those who are thinking that a gun is not needed, take a hard look at how society is acting at the present (not everyone of course just those who are not following the rules now) and think about a natural or man made disaster stirring things up. You will go from being in your home separated from those individuals to being in the street with them. I am not saying go out and engage in combat. It is best to blend in until you get to a point where you can control your environment to a degree.
    A knife and tomahawk are in both my primary and family B.O.B. when considering a knife try and stay away from folders. A fixed blade with a full tang is prime. A folder should be used for back up only. The tomahawk is for shopping and if it is really that back food procurement from those evil money eating vending machines. It is likely that the first few days of a massive disaster will chaos at best. The idea is to survive until there has been a restoration of order but one needs to plan in the event that it doesn’t get restored at all.
    Learn basic survival skills. Learn primitive living skills and prepare you B.O.B accordingly.
    in god we trust, all others are suspect.

  58. one small item that may seem insignificant in terms of surival, that ive added to my wifes and kids bug out bags. I had photo’s of the four of us lamenated and put in the bags without them knowing. God forbid anything ever happened to one of us or we got separated, but i think the morale booster and sense of we are all still together maybe help on a lonely night if your in a desparate situatio

  59. I suggest a get home bag for your vehicles. Most of us spend atleast 8 hrs a day at work plus all the other places we go. That translates to about a 50/50 chance that if something hits without warning we won’t be at home, we will be at work or where ever and we may have to walk home. A get home bag is simpler and can be a smaller part of your bug out/ survival bag and is to last for 24 hours.

  60. To get a look at what it can be like from some one who has lived through it go to shtfschool.com and read Selcos story. Be ready, this is real life in Bosnia during the cival war and it will scare the sh**t out of you.

  61. No one’s mentioned Wasp Spray. I did see one on Bear Spray though! I work for Veterans Affairs. Every year the local admin calls in all employees for a hurricane preparedness talk. One of the key elements they always discuss is weapons and defense. Being mostly Veterans we’re surely armed. However, a can of Was Spray can blind or kill other animals and could permanently blind a human. It’s pretty quiet and not very weighty + about a 20 ft. reach. I’d carry better weapons for sure but here’s a cheapy that can take care of a lot of common scares vs. an all out gun fight and buy you time to run. Again, it all depends on the circumstance. I see a lot of “wishful thinking” here. Those of us who live in, near, or have experienced combat know all too well that atrocities to women and children are far worse than what’s usually done to men. You may not like weapons but evil does and will not think twice about using them to take what’s yours and destroy your family. I don’t really like ‘em either but it’s unfortunately necessary.

  62. I realized no one said extra fat. In a survival situation (at least one where you don’t need to run lol) this fat can keep your energy up and supply you with nutrition for longer than a skinny person ;)

  63. You lost me with referencing Katrina. Don’t live below the water of the the ocean, a lake, and a river. Everybody else knew Katrina was coming for several days, so if they didn’t get out. Too bad. Dumb ass behavior is not my problem.

  64. just a few rules on firearms, only people who know how to use them should consider keeping them handy. in the hands of the fearful and the ugnorant a gun can make a bad situation worse. if you have one make sure you are not the only one in your family/group who knows how to use and maintain it. Pick a common caliber. store plenty of ammo.

    i’d add a few items just for barter. waterless soap, hard candy, bic lighters, candles….

  65. I really enjoyed this article and lots of good comments too!
    I have 4 kids and I’d like to remind people not to forget about the kids. If you have to go on foot with a toddler or infant how are you going to transport them? Stroller may not be available or feasible, I keep a sling carrier and a child leash in my 22mo olds bag. What about diapers? Disposable ones will need disposed of and will run out, cloth take time to wash and dry. Consider what your likely circumstances are and decide what would be best for your needs. What if there is a flood or you have to cross water? How do you get scared kids who might not be able to swim or are too afraid and panicked to safely get through in their own? A life vest is pretty bulky for a BOB especially if you have multiple kids. (My boys are terrified if water that they can’t touch their feet to the bottom and keep the water line below their neck). We have inflatable swim rafts (the lay down lounge kind for adults) in each of the kids bags. Not too bad for weight and it can also be used to sleep on for comfort and as a barrier from the cold ground. I love multi purpose items :) the rafts I can literally tether my kids on to and guide them through water. Kids are less likely to be ok mentally with just survival items, they need comfort. A couple cars or a small doll, some pocket travel games are better than just a deck of cards for young kids. Some powdered milk is a good idea too. My kids pediatrician recommended melatonin for my son because on his own he only sleeps 2-3 hours in a 24 he period, scared kids as less likely to sleep which will make thing potentially much worse and possibly more dangerous. I recommend keeping some chewable melatonin in with your meds just in case, its the hormone that your body naturally makes to make you tired. Dollar tree sells a chewable tablet and a mint strip (like listerene) version. Don’t forget instant coffee it another caffeine source for the adults, especially if you drink it daily now, caffeine helps migraines (look at the ingredients of excedrin migraine) and it may be the moral boost you need to keep calm and keep your family moving.
    Dryer lint or vaseline fire starters, you can make your own waterproof matches and I like the newspaper bio bricks that you can make into smaller chunks for a rocket stove (you can diy that too!) also alcohol can stoves are all good cheap ways to add to your bob kits.
    We have a bag for each of us, a rolling suitcase for heavier items, and a tote to transport in a vehicle if we can of extras. With 6 of us bugging out is going to be a last option. My oldest is a near 11 yo dainty girl and I have a 7 & 5 yo boys and a near 2 to girl. All my kids have asthma an I have high blood pressure so we have to seriously consider the risks before we make the choice to leave home.

  66. One thing i didn’t hardly see mentioned, if you are getting a BoB together, Think utility…Make sure everything has more than one use. What i didn’t see a lot of, is tampons: Tinder,Bloody noses,wounds etc, and the female visitor every month,and a good water filter as well (murky water).

  67. All this input has been extremely good, however, in a true survivall situatio
    Its important to remember the basic 5 c’s cover, combustion, container,
    cutting tool, cordage. This list include all of these that i can see, people just need to remember to base their kit around these and not get quite so caught up in creature comforts. A 40+ lb pack is no fun!

  68. Very important to buy durable good quality tarps etc. “The one I have is better than nothing.” You wont believe that when less than a month later you watch the tattered remains hanging by the tie-downs.

  69. While prepackaged freeze dried foods are light weight, bear in mind that they will consume precious water to re-hydrate, pretty much require a heat source, and provide limited nutrition (most of them are rice or pasta with minimal protein). And they are expensive. Canned are heavy, in part because they include the water. Packing water separately makes little sense, in terms of space or weight. There are some very good options among canned foods available with pop-tops, so you needn’t depend on a can opener. Chili beans, beef ravioli, beef stew. Tuna is available in light weight foil pouches. Go for high calorie content for this situation. Also, you can more readily rotate these items, as they tend to be things you would normally consume. Also, consider having a bottle or two of fruit juice in place of water. It will provide much needed calories as well as hydration and nutrition. 100% juice individual pouches are a good choice too, and useful for rationing, plus won’t spoil since you consume it all when you open the pouch. Bottles take up less space and the empty might come in handy (fishing float, canteen, etc.). Don’t overlook the value of a bottle of vodka. Can be used to sterilize, or to barter with. If you drink coffee regularly, you will have bad headaches if you suddenly stop getting your caffeine. Either pack some freeze dried (excellent morale boosting value too), or pack Excederin as your pain pills, since it contains caffeine.

  70. One key thing about bug out bags and any survival kit is to not only check the food and water for expiry dates, but also clothing – does it still fit? I lost quite a bit of weight just before the Feb 2011 Christchurch earthquake and only had the very baggy clothing that I had stashed at my parents. It could have been worse, I could have put weight on.
    Don’t forget the kids, they will need toys to keep them occupied and you should ensure that they will happily eat the food you intend to serve. Not much more frustrating than a kid who demands a honey sandwich when you’ve just served a peanut butter sandwich that they hate. Add sanitary products to suit your family too.
    What if you are away from home when the SHTF and can’t get home? Could pay to stash a BOB and supplies at your families homes. They might chip in with the cost too.

  71. Most of these are great points. When I put my bag together I opted to include a mossberg 500 a with a top folding stock and an 18 1/2″ barrel as well as a full sized barrell and a bandolier with buck shot, slugs and bird shot. The shotgun will cover most any situation I could possibly need it for I also have a single point sling attached to it for easy carry. For the bag itself I picked up from a garagr sale for $3.00 a large sports bag with many compartments, securing straps on the inside and most importantly an extendable handle and wheels. It still has traditional carry straps but when possible it would be nice to pull it rather than carry to conserve energy.

  72. I really like the idea of the playing cards, especially if you are lost. Start playing solitaire and someone is bound to come along and tell you where to play.

  73. Awesome list! And I thank you for sharing. If I might add, there are companies that make backpacks equipped with small solar panels. You can easily charge whatever batteries/electronics as you go, without having to wait till you stop or hold the solar “kit” in your hand as you’re walking. If you can’t find those kinds of backpacks, you can find the little solar panels (and accessories) in a marine shop or sports store with a dedicated hunting (feeders) section. Some hunters use solar panels to power their game feeders, and a lot of water enthusiasts use solar panels while on the ocean.

    Also, a headlamp, instead of a traditional flashlight may be better. It’s a lot easier to travel in the dark with both hands free, not to mention safer, when you don’t have to hold onto a flashlight.

    One additional item that may be useful, are shoelaces. Point in fact, you don’t need extras if you have the 550 cord. However, if you pack extra shoes in your BOB, then you might want to lace them with the 550 cord ahead of time. You never know when you’re going to need that extra bit of line, or the threads inside of it (perhaps to fish with or set traps for food, who knows).

    Thanks again for the list. I’ve already started pricing our BOBs out.

  74. My Disconnect extension blocked 252 trackers on this very page, the most I’ve seen on any site ever. I’m now deleting your link and I’ll never be back to frugaldad.com again. Nice work.

  75. another good thing to do is make a double pantry and eat from one side-dont use any from other side-replace the side eaten then switch to the other side and keep re-peating so you always have a full pantry and never out of date-just takes will power-i cover 1 side with a sheet like its not there and switch to the other side-if something happens just before a big shopping trip you might be screwed and fill bath tubs cause that never hurts in an emergency

  76. I do agree with the entry. Only thing i would add is that some people forget that prepping can be done on a budget. Me and my husband only have one income and it is less than 40,000 a year before taxes. I have stocked up on food for 3 people for 20 years. And that is for three meals a day. Also another way to do this on a budget is Dollar stores. My favorite happens to be dollar tree. I have found many of the same items that walmart sells, same brand but only 1.00 instead of 10.00 at walmart. Also if your wife or family does couponing that is a good way to stock up on alot of stuff that you may need. Don’t get me wrong i do love watching the doomsday preppers show but most of the people on their spend thousands of dollars that is not needed. I do own a 2 1/2 ton but only paid 3,000 for it. Youcan buy one for 10,000 completly redone but for 7,000 less i only had to invest about another thousand in it. Like I said if you got the money to spend have at it, but if you don’t then just take your time stick to your budget and defintely try to find the best deal. And good luck to all the preppers out there.

  77. I don’t have time to read all the posts now, so forgive me if I’m repeating. I’d also suggest to store some money for those who may still value it, but make sure it’s in 1′s and maybe a couple rolls of quarters. Divide it up into a number of different containers. You may find you can use a one without making yourself a target whereas a 10 or even 5 could get you killed. Remember to pack a few barter items if you can, too. Never appear too prepared. ;)

  78. Good call on the multivitamins. Not something I would have considered. I also like how you keep the list simple, you could actually carry the list in a bag, unlike some of the “kitchen sink” lists that you see online. Thanks.

  79. My only issue with this is the cash and coins. If you need something out of a vending machine and its a bug out situation, break the glass! If all hell is breaking loose I’m not worrying about buying anything. If I need it I take it!

  80. I have a red cross survival radio that has a USB hookup in the back. So all you have to do is get a USB charger with it. They sell them at radio shack for 40 or50 dollars. It seems like a lot of money but it is very useful to be able to call loved ones and inform them that you are ok.

  81. That’s a good Idea about the radio. I am going to get one. I got a really good USB charger for 10 dollars at Walgreens (local drug store) I have used it for a year now and haven’t had a prob with it, so it doesn’t actually have to cost too much.

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