The Essential Bug Out Bag List – Guide to the Must-Pack Items for Every Bug Out Bag

With so much information out there on bug out bags, grab bags and go bags, it can be a challenge to know where to get started when setting out to build your own. We’ve put together the definitive bug out bag list to help you plan and pack the supplies and tools needed to survive and thrive.

A well planned bug out bag is quite possibly the best way to prepare for the unexpected events of the future. Whether you need to escape quickly due to a natural or man made emergency, preparing a comprehensive go bag, can in some cases mean the difference between life and death and can greatly increase your chances when SHTF.

With humanity now facing more challenges than ever before – think economic collapse, geopolitical uncertainty, skyrocketing populations and ecological issues to name just a few – the need for preparing a definitive bug out bag list and an evacuation, continuity, and resilience strategy is arguably now more crucial than ever before.

The decision to bug out rather than staying put will ultimately come down to the situation that eventually presents itself, and in some cases, hunkering down with a well stocked home base and a supply cache to see you through the storm may represent the best course of action when disaster strikes.

That said, there are times when evacuation is the only option for ensuring survival.

When that situation comes a knocking, the right planning ahead of time means you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you and your bug out bag (or bug out vehicle) are prepared and ready to move at a moment’s notice.

Your bug out bag is your first line of defense if you need to react to an imminent disaster or emergency and a comprehensive bug out bag list will help you pack exactly what you need.

Think of a bug out bag as your “escape and evasion kit” – an insurance policy against adversity – and while it should only be considered as a temporary survival aid (as part of your longer term survival and continuity strategy), it’s still a potent backup plan you should always keep in place, close by, and ready to grab and go when needed.

Want to build the very best bug out bag for your specific budget? Check out our guide here to get started

If your bug out strategy involves travelling further and with more gear than you would otherwise manage by foot (or if you’re leaving with your family), bugging out by road may represent the best course of action for getting out of town. While the kit in our list here is effectively universal and can be applied across both of these scenarios, there are some specific nuances that should be considered if you’re likely to implement your strategy with a car or truck, check out our comprehensive guide to preparing a bug out vehicle to get underway if this is the case.

Getting Started

If your new to the idea of building a bug out bag, the task can seem daunting at first, with so many options out there to choose from and an almost limitless range of products, brands and features to decide between.

Preparing a bug out bag list of the essential gear and supplies can feel like a daunting challenge.

So, where do you start?

Although the most basic goal of a grab bag or bug out bag is to allow you to react to and survive a developing emergency situation at the drop of a hat, there are of course, a ton of other considerations when planning out the perfect kit.

Generally speaking, the core criteria many people stick to when preparing a bug out bag list is the 3 day rule, basically – pack enough supplies to last you at least 72 hours.

While preparing a 72 hour bug out bag will provide you with the essentials to get out of dodge and either evacuate to safety or implement your bug out strategy, it’s not uncommon to design a bug out bag for a more prolonged period of self-sufficiency.

In this case, your bug out bag list will want to be striking that balance between adequate supplies of food, water and shelter, alongside the practical restrictions of weight and capacity. Luckily, all of this is achievable once you know how to start and what to look for in the kit you pack in your bug out bag.

Budget can also play an important factor when planning and preparing your bug out bag whether starting from scratch or building on an existing load out. Factors such as quantity and quality inevitably play a role when it comes to how much you spend, but often a greater consideration around budget, is specific requirements of the equipment or supplies you’re picking and packing – where and how will they be used, how many people will need to use them etc.

Click here for the ultimate guide to choosing the best bug out bag for every budget

The contents of your bug out bag will also vary from person to person and will depend on things like your geographical location, your bug out strategy (where you’re going and how long it will take to get there), the climate, terrain and time of year, as well as personal considerations such as your health and skill set.

Once you address these factors you’ll be on your way to formulating a personalized bug out bag list, the specific makeup of your bug out bag will begin to take shape.

There are however core components of every bag that you will always need without fail, and that’s where having a comprehensive bug out bag checklist for packing your kit comes into play.

When it comes to creating a bug out bag list and assembling the very best bug out bag that will see you right when things go wrong, the key is to focus on building the fundamentals into your kit from the start.

We’ve broken down the essential elements that should go into making up every bug out bag, the components of each and why you should make a space in your kit for them as part of your preparation strategy.

So without further ado, let’s go through the definitive bug out bag list to help you plan and prepare the best bug out bag for every eventuality!

The Comprehensive Bug Out Bag List

If you’re building a bug out bag from scratch, the priority is making sure you have the essential bases covered when it comes to preparedness, survival, and continuity.

With this in mind, we’ve broken the guide down into the foundations that go into making the best bug out bag with our choice of some of the top components in each category to ensure you’re able to react quickly in an emergency situation.

Use this bug out bag list as a foundation to formulate your only tailored kit and you’ll be well on the way to personal preparedness.

The Bug Out Bag

How you carry your gear really is the building block of assembling the best bug out bag that will allow you to go the distance when disaster strikes and you need to move quickly.

With this in mind, at the top of every bug out bag list is the bag itself.

Considerations around capacity, comfort, durability, breathability and weather resistance all play a major role here, and ultimately there are often trade-offs between some or other of these factors.

That said, there’s an excellent choice of tactical bags, pouches and backpacks out there that are perfectly suited to helping pack and access everything you need with minimal fuss, while remaining comfortable and resistant to wear and tear under pressure.

Choosing the best carrying solution for your bug out bag kit is about more than pure functionality though.

In a breakdown of social order or other emergency situations where not drawing attention to yourself becomes a survival technique in it’s own right, how your bag looks can become just as important as how much gear it allows you to carry.

Picking a more inconspicuous bug out bag or backpack now, will ensure you attract less interest from those who may want to get their hands on what you have later.

Planning the best bug out backpack early on provides a base around which to build the rest of your kit moving forward.

Bug Out Backpack

In nearly every instance,  a durable backpack will most likely form the basis of your bug out bag due to the combination of mobility, comfort and storage they offer over other kinds of bags.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the backpack will quite literally make or break the success of your overall bug out strategy as the bag will ultimately need to carry everything you need, while being comfortable to wear and durable enough to deal with whatever adversity comes its way.

Due to this, choosing the best backpack is a high priority when assembling your bug out bag list.

When it comes to choosing the best bug out backpack for the job, the key considerations are simple but important.

To find the best bag for the task, always ask the following questions:

  • is it durable with strong fastenings and weatherproof construction?
  • is it comfortable with good support and ventilation?
  • is it spacious with numerous and easily accessible pockets and anchor points?

If the answer is yes to all or most of the above, you could be on to a winner.

Learn more about our pick of the best bug out backpacks here

The bag you choose for your bug out supplies is quite literally the component of your bug out bag list that holds it all together, so making sure you get the right one for the job from the start is crucial.

As well as providing an excellent level of primary and secondary storage space, the best bug out backpacks will also offer the ability for modular storage additions in the form of webbing and latching points for packing solutions such as external molle pouches (see below for more on these), as well as allowing you to connect extra gear to the outside of your bag.

A decent bug out backpack will not only last you years, but more importantly, won’t let you down when you’re in the field during an emergency survival situation.

Our Pick: 5.11 RUSH 72 Tactical Bugout Bag

If there’s one tactical bug out backpack that stands out from the crowd when putting together the ultimate bug out bag list, it has to be the RUSH72

The 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 is a bug out backpack designed for optimal use over a 3 day period of evacuation and travel from your home to your bug out location.

With an awesome volume of around 47.5 liters of internal space, the RUSH72 can hold a lot of kit with minimal fuss, providing ease of access combined with high capacity for maximum strategic and tactical benefit.

A key feature of the 5.11 is the size of the individual storage spaces provided, from pockets dotted around the bag itself, through to the main compartment which is fully accessible for loading and unloading your gear in a hurry. Combine these with latching points across the surface of the bag and a dedicated water bladder compartment and you can pretty much carry anything you need for 72 hours with the ability to extend this range even further if required.

Learn More About the 5.11 RUSH 72 Tactical Bug Out Backpack Here

Supplementary Storage / MOLLE Pouch

Effectively a ‘bolt-on’ storage pouch for your main bag, including a Molle Pouch as part of your bug out bag strategy is an excellent way of increasing your carrying storage space.

If the goal of the comprehensive bug out bag list is to carry as much gear as possible with the minimum effect on weight and comfort, then exterior carrying and pouch storage solutions are a must have addition to your kit.

The ability to add to your overall capacity can quite literally become a lifesaver if you’re packed and happy with the weight of your bag, but quite simply out of room for packing anything else. Adding those extra few cubic inches can make all the difference if you need them.

Attached to the outside of your pack, molle pouches are also a good place for storing those items that you need to get to quickly without emptying your entire bug out and survival kit in the process. On top of this, they can be quickly and easily detached from the main bag if needed in an emergency.

Our Pick: 5.11 6.10 Vertical Pouch

Designed to mesh with other bags in the 5.11 range (such as the RUSH72 mentioned above), the 6.10 vertical pouch acts as a storage module expansion increasing the amount of gear you can carry without resorting to a separate bag.

A nylon construction and YKK zipper make the 6.10 pouch both durable and easy to access when you need to get to the contents quickly without messing around.

MOLLE pouches are a good choice if you want to extend your bug out carrying ability while keeping certain tools and supplies close at hand and the the 6.10 fills both roles perfectly with enough space to store anything from a large water bottle to flashlights, fire starting equipment and similar sized equipment.

Learn More About the 5.11 6.10 Vertical Pouch Here

Duffel Style / Holdall

If you’re looking for a different style of bag to a traditional backpack, a holdall can represent a good alternative for packing and carrying a lot of your bug out gear.

Many of the best bug out duffel bags will offer a dual or tri-mode carrying system allowing you to carry your kit as a holdall with two handles, over the shoulder with a strap and also as a traditional backpack with two straps. If you’re considering a holdall for yourself or another member of your bug out group, make sure that there are as many ways to carry as possible.

If you’re looking to assemble a high capacity carrying solution in your bug out bag list and a traditional backpack won’t cut it, a tactical duffel bag could be the answer.

One of the advantages of a bug out duffel bag is that they may offer a greater volume and capacity for packing your equipment. This can be particularly useful if you’re packing a tent or any larger kit. No bag is able to reduce the weight of larger supplies however, so this is also a consideration if you’re considering going down this path.

Utilizing a holdall style duffel bug out bag can however be a good solution if you’re preparing your kit as part of a bug out vehicle load out, offering an excellent combination of high capacity packing potential that can sit in the trunk and grabbed if you need to bail out in a hurry.

Our Pick: Yukon Outfitters Bug-Out Bag

Styled as a typical duffel bag, the Yukon Outfitters Bug-Out Bag presents a ton of features that make it well suited as a non-conventional alternative to the traditional backpack style bug out bag.

Offering the option to use either as a grab and go duffel or over the shoulder bag (padded handles and straps for each), Yukon have also built in the ability to carry the bag on your back with the inclusion of backpack straps should you need a more even distribution of weight when you’re on the move.

What we particularly liked about this feature however, is the ability to then stow the backpack straps away into a dedicated pocket if you’re looking to operate a pure duffel bag carry style.

MOLLE webbing is included across the surface of the bag itself meaning that there are plenty of places to latch on additional pouches, gear and equipment to maximize your carrying potential when you bug out.

In terms of storage space, the Yukon Bug-Out Bag provides a generous capacity of around 55 liters with a practical footprint for packing larger kit alongside internal compartment dividers which allow you to separate your gear should you want to (really useful). When you’re all packed up and ready to go, external compression straps that allow you to keep everything secured once you zip the main compartment shut using the double zipper top-down entry.

Learn More About the Yukon Outfitters Tactical Bug-Out Bag Here

Water + Hydration

When it comes down to survival basics, the most important part of your kit and the number one consideration is without a doubt, water.

Due to this, the priority packing items within any bug out bag list are water and the means by which to purify and make raw water safe to drink.

Recommendations for daily water intake vary, but generally speaking, you want to aim for at least 1.5 liters per day as a bare minimum – with this in mind, look to have access to a minimum of 4.5-5 liters in one form or another for a 72 hour bag.

The order of play when it comes to accessing clean drinking water should be planned in stages of accessibility from primary use to last case means of purification as follows:

  1. “Home Supply” water carried in a bottle, canteen or hydration bladder (refill whenever safely possible)
  2. Purified, pre packed water
  3. Physical Filtration Systems
  4. Chemical Filtration Systems

NB. While not essential, boiling water prior to methods 3 or 4 will aid in the purification of water prior to drinking.

Hydration Bladder

A hydration bladder is an excellent way of carrying a personal reservoir of clean drinking water in your bug out bag which is easily stored, accessible and versatile in an emergency situation.

Most hydration bladders will fit well inside a good size tactical bag or grab bag, with many backpacks including a dedicated area for them (and some even include one with the bag itself).

The inclusion of a hydration bladder in your bug out bag list and will likely mean that when disaster strikes, the only thing you’ll need to do before bugging out is to fill the reservoir from the faucet before packing it up and hitting the road.

Our Pick: Platypus Big Zip LP Reservoir

Platypus are one of the leading names when it comes to high quality hydration bladders and the Big Zip LP is no exception providing a high capacity reservoir which will make sure that you have a primary source of clean, taste-free water contained directly in your bug out bag from the moment you leave home.

The trademark easy filling reservoir of the Platypus system features a wide opening meaning that you can top up your hydration bladder quickly and efficiently when you next come across a clean water source, simply disconnect the quick release hose, refill your bag, reconnect and go.

One of the key advantages of hydration bladders is the ability to store within your bag and drink on the move directly from the attached hose which is fed out the top of your pack (some of the best bug out bags contain specific hydration pockets as well as dedicated holes and retaining clips for the drinking hose).

So long as the water you add into your system is clean, the Big Zip LP is constructed from a food-grade BPA free interior lining which ensures your water remains totally clean and tasteless.

Learn More About the Platypus Big Zip LP Reservoir Here

Water Bottle or Canteen

The benefit of a traditional water bottle or canteen is durability, however this can come at the expense of portability.

With this in mind, you’re probably going to end up making a choice between whether your bug out bag list favors a bottle or hydration bladder if carrying space is at a premium.

You may find that a water bottle is better suited to the overall composition of your bug out bag than a hydration bladder in terms of the footprint it takes up within your pack.

If you’re looking to save space in your bag but want to incorporate both a solid water bottle and a water filter, consider adding a flask like the LifeStraw GO which carries out the role of both simultaneously.

Our Pick: Nalgene BPA Free 32oz Narrow Mouth Bottle

For the traditionalists out there (or if your bag doesn’t easily accommodate a hydration bladder system) a good old fashioned high quality water bottle like those from Nalgene remains one of the best ways of ensuring you can quickly ensure a supply of clean drinking water in your bug out bag as soon as you need to leave and whenever you come across a clean source again.

Nalgene’s BPA Free 32oz water bottle is hard wearing and durable as well as being easy to fill and drink from on the go. With almost every one of the best bug out bags or backpacks out there offering side pockets optimized for carrying a traditional water bottle, you can’t go wrong with a tried and trusted solution such as the Nalgene.

Learn More About the Nalgene BPA Free 32oz Narrow Mouth Bottle Here

Purified Water

While the obvious choice here is pre-bottled water, weight and space considerations should make this a no-go as all but a last resort when considering what makes it onto your bug out bag list.

Rather than grabbing a bottle of mineral water from the store, invest in some purified water pouches which offer a totally safe drinking water option with a long shelf life (usually around the 5 year mark) while taking up a small footprint in your bag when packing.

When planning drinking water for your bug out bag, it’s a good idea to make sure that you go above and beyond what you actually need for the amount of time you’re going to be away, so you really want to take enough clean drinking water in the form of purified where possible plus a pre-filled home supply and the means to purify on the go if required.

If your bug out bag list is going to be working in tandem with a bug out vehicle strategy, double down on your provision of purified water given the extra space available – you can never have too much.

Our Pick: Purified Water Pouches (3 Day / 72 Hour Supply)

These emergency purified water pouches are a practical way of ensuring you have a guaranteed safe supply of clean drinking water in your bag when needed.

With each sealed pouch containing just under 4.3 oz of clean drinking water and with a stated shelf life of 5 years, this offers a practical solution for maintaining a supply of pure drinking water with a low profile for packing in your bug out bag to supplement any home supply of drinking water carried in a hydration bladder or water bottle.

Consider pairing these drinking water pouches with a primary water bottle or bladder solution (see above) and a contingency combination of water filtration and purification methods (see below) and you’ll have an excellent range of safe hydration solutions on hand within your bug out bag.

Learn More About Emergency Purified Drinking Water Pouches Here

Water Filter

If you ever find yourself needing to bug out for longer periods of time or your bug out plan will involve entering the wilderness, you’ll be glad you packed a portable water filtration system as part of your kit.

With solutions such as the excellent LifeStraw and Sawyer Mini Water Filter offering the ability to quite literally drink water straight from the source and filtering it along the way, you can be sure that if your main reserves run dry, you’ll still be able to stay hydrated until you next reach a source of pre-treated drinking water.

Many of these water filtering systems are lightweight and compact making them an invaluable addition to your bug out bag list, slipped into a spare pocket of your grab bag or bug out backpack for emergency use if needed.

Our Pick: LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

An essential item on your bug out bag list and a core tool for almost any survival situation, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is one of the very best compact water filtration systems on the market and could make all the difference if you find yourself without access to clean water.

Offering the ability to filter out 99.9% of bacteria and microbes from otherwise undrinkable water means you’ll be able to ensure you have access to treated water when your packed supply becomes compromised or depleted.

Alternatively, a two-stage filter is also available from the brand, incorporating an additional layer of carbon filtration to reduce chlorine, organic chemicals, odors and bad taste, while also being contained within a durable and attractive stainless steel case.

Learn More About the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter Here

Water Purification Tablets

While a pre-prepared source of water and a filtration device will be your primary considerations for ensuring safe drinking water, including a pack of water purifying tablets on your bug out bag list for good measure is a wise choice.

Simply add to a water source when the quality is questionable to purify it and make it safe for drinking.

Our Pick: Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets

Used by emergency organizations, hikers, and military personnel alike, Potable Aqua’s water treatment tablets disinfect contaminated water, making it safe to drink.

As with any chemical water treatment, these iodine based tablets are intended for short term use during an emergency rather than on a continuous basis but will get you out of trouble should you need them, treating 25 liters or quarts of water in 30 minutes.

If you want to also remove the residual color and taste left behind from the iodine after use, the Potable Aqua PA+ Plus set also includes a second set of tablets for removing these side-effects of treatment after you’ve treated the water.

Incredibly compact, these water purification tablets are an excellent addition to any hydration component of your bug out bag list and are perfectly sized for slipping into a small pocket or spare space within your bug out backpack.

Learn More About Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets Here

Food + Nutrition

During an emergency event, you quite literally may not know where your next meal’s coming from. With your mind in survival mode, the consideration of food is one of the first things you’re likely to forget about when getting out of harm’s way.

This is a dangerous situation to find yourself in however as while the human body can go without food longer than it can go without water, you really don’t want to find yourself resorting to this fact when you’re bugging out.

Crucially,  receiving an adequate energy intake is absolutely fundamental to ensuring that no matter what you’re up against, your physical and mental stamina and agility wont be affected.

The baseline energy requirement for adults varies by age, gender, activity level and physical characteristics but the ODPHP suggest that on average, men should be looking to consume 2000-3000 calories per day, while women should aim for between 1600-2400 calories. More specific estimates on daily energy requirements are available here.

While energy is the immediate goal when considering food in a survival or bug out situation, the role of well balanced nutrition comes in a close second to making sure you’re able to perform at optimal efficiency for prolonged periods of time. Eating as well as possible during adversity will maximize your ability to heal and recover while helping to prevent illness – all critical factors when you’re in the field.

Find out about the Best Emergency Survival Food and Emergency Meal Kits in our definitive guide here

Make sure you give serious thought to nutrition on your bug out bag list and you’ll know you’re covered when you need to leave home fast.

Ready to Eat Meals

Nothing quite beats the nutrition and morale boost offered by a proper meal and this option is an excellent choice for your bug out bag list when it comes to portability and ease of preparation.

With an excellent and highly portable choice of ready to eat meal pouches available, the benefits of packing at least a few in your bag (although we highly recommend a 72 hour supply if space allows) will ensure that you can maintain energy levels as well as a sense of routine when you’re bugging out.

Our Pick: Mountain House Just in Case Classic Bucket

Providing enough food to see a single person through a three day bug out scenario, the emergency meals in the Mountain House Just in Case Classic Bucket deliver everything you need to maintain a balanced level of nutrition on the move.

A low profile pouch form means that these ready to go (just add water) meals are well suited to incorporating into a medium to large bug out bag and will provide vital energy in the form of food you’ll actually want to eat if you find yourself away from home.

One of the key things to look for when preparing a bug out bag list is a food solution that delivers that crucial balance of portability, nutritional value, and the ability to keep morale high when times are tough. This kit addresses all three of these factors perfectly.

Variety is provided in the form of 29 total servings providing an excellent choice of ready to go meals ranging from Breakfasts like Granola with milk and blueberries for example, through to entrees such as Beef Stroganoff and Chicken Teriyaki with Rice.

Learn More About the Mountain House Just in Case Classic Bucket Here

Energy Bars

The obvious advantage of packing energy bars as a food source in a bug out bag is without a doubt the “bang for your buck” factor of high energy for a low space footprint.

If you’re thinking of adding energy bars to your bug out bag list, consider packing enough to keep you going for three days, either supplementing your MRE’s or as a pre-determined ration for your bug out period to get you from A to B.

Our Pick: Clif Energy Bars

Arguably one of the most trusted and established names in the energy bar market, if you’re thinking of supplementing your bug out nutrition with energy bars, you can’t go wrong with CLIF.

With the Chocolate Chip CLIF Bar offering up a balanced blend of whole grains and fiber as well as 10 grams of protein and 43 grams of carbohydrate per bar, this is a good solution if you want to incorporate a small packing footprint with a high nutritional yield onto your bug out bag list.

While not really a consideration if you’re just looking to complement another existing food solution in your bug out bag with a couple of bars, you may want to consider mixing up the flavors of bars you pack in your kit if this will make up the majority of the food and nutrition balance in you pack. Luckily CLIF offer a lot of other choices out there to keep you covered for variety so if you need to mix it up, check out the options here.

Learn More About Clif Energy Bars Here

Portable Stove and Fuel

Packing a portable stove and fuel (either solid fuel or gas) will allow you to both cook food and boil water in the field.

The advantageous effects of both of these are obvious and make a stove a worthwhile addition to any bug out bag list, particularly if you think you’ll be leaving the urban area, traversing the wilderness, or travelling for prolonged periods.

When it comes to deciding on the type of stove that makes it onto your bug out bag list, the main considerations are ultimately between the method of generating heat (and basically the fuel used to do it),  the combined size and weight of the stove and fuel and the quality including things like the ability to perform in all conditions and the likely usable life of the stove.

The range of prices between types of stove varies almost as much as the number of different options out there, ultimately though the expectation of price follows quality is a good yardstick if you’re looking at a high-end stove. That being said, there are also some excellent low value solid fuel and gas options out there if you’re looking for a short term solution.

Ask yourself whether you’re going to want to use your stove only in emergency situations (think 3-5 days of use) or if you’re looking for a solution that can be used reliably again and again in regular situations and in times of emergency.

Our Pick: JetBoil Zip Cooking System

The JetBoil Zip Personal Cooking System is a compact and efficient solution for cooking food when you’re on the move.

Holding 0.8 liters of water, the Zip is good for heating up approximately one freeze dried meal at a time as well as hot drink like coffee.

If you’re looking for a system that holds a higher capacity when cooking, check out the JetBoil Flash, the bigger brother of the Zip with a 1 liter capacity.

A neoprene sleeve covering the cup itself acts to both insulate the contents after cooking and protecting you from getting burned, with an added bonus that this also protects the entire stove (packable within the cup after use) when packed with the rest of the gear in your bug out bag.

Being able to pack a stove, fuel and stand within an insulated and padded cooking cup makes the JetBoil Zip the perfect portable cooking solution for inclusion on a bug out bag list.

Learn More About the JetBoil Zip Cooking System Here

Our Pick: Esbit Ultralight Folding Pocket Stove with Six 14g Solid Fuel Tablets

A solid fuel pocket stove offers an extremely portable (we’re talking pocket size) alternative to a gas powered stove and can represent a good choice if space is at an absolute premium in your bug out bag or you’re looking for a way to heat food and water purely for the duration that you’re bugging out.

The Esbit Ultralight is a foldable pocket stove that effectively unfolds to provide both a fuel tablet holder and pot stand for cooking or boiling water on the go.

Simply unfold, place a solid fuel tablet on the stove, light, and heat water or food in a cup or pot.

Unlike a controllable gas stove such as the JetBoil system above, the Esbit and other solid fuel stoves are not adjustable – just old school heat, watch and wait until done.

With that being said, for the small space footprint required in your bug out bag for a foldable solid fuel stove, it represents an excellent option as a low weight and compact cooking solution for use during an emergency situation and is an essential addition to a bug out bag list where a low profile bag is the optimal outcome.

Learn More About the Esbit Ultralight Folding Pocket Stove Here

Eating Multi-Tool

A multi-tool for eating is one of the most effective ways of getting at your food quickly when you’re on the move or camping out and can be slipped in a spare pocket or attached to your keychain when not in use.

Considering the negligible size and weight of these kinds of tools (particularly given the significant benefit they deliver in the field), including one on your bug out bag list is highly recommended.

Most of the best eating multi-tools will incorporate more than one bit of usefulness, so if you’re looking for the swiss army knife of eating on the go, look for a tool with multiple features to maximize the bang for your buck when you’re on the road or in the field.

Our Pick: CRKT Eat N Tool

When you’re preparing a bug out bag list to get you through any emergency, packing equipment that does more than one job while still maintaining a small size and weight is a huge bonus when picking the best kit.

The Eat’N Tool from Columbia River Knife and Tool does just this, providing a spoon, fork, bottle opener and set of three hex wrenches on one pocket sized, lightweight tool.

Weighing in at just 1.5 ounces, this multitool is not only perfectly designed for eating on the go, but also incorporates a carabiner for hanging directly from your belt buckle or any spare latching point on your bag. Minimal weight, minimal fuss.

Learn More About the CRKT Eat N Tool Here



A key addition to any bug out bag list, particularly if you’re likely to be heading off road is a lightweight and resilient tent.

Offering protection from the elements as well as a roof above your head at when darkness falls, a well spec’d tent is a must have if your bug out plan is likely to involve traversing wilderness areas for a night or more.

In actual fact it’s our recommendation (and my kit contains one for this very reason) to pack a tent regardless of this fact, as you never know the adaptations you may be forced to make to your plan during an emergency situation.

For the lowdown on the ultimate portable shelters for every situation, check out our guide to the Best Survival Tents

The key priority when picking the best all round tent for your bug out bag list, is to go for a model that’s lightweight and easy to pack (with a small footprint when bagged up), while offering the level of durability, protection and weather resistance for use in as many climates and seasons as possible.

Our Pick: Big Agnes Copper Spur

The priorities for the items that make it onto your bug out bag list are always around striking the perfect balance between the highest quality, the lightest weight, and the most compact packing footprint. Throw into this, a fourth variable of incredible value and you’ve undoubtedly got one of the best survival tents for bugging out by foot.

The Copper Spur from Big Agnes is a truly excellent 2 person tent if you’re looking for a shelter that’s lightweight (it weighs an almost unbelievable 2 lbs 12 oz when packed up) that packs down to a mere 4″ x 19.5″ making it well suited as a spacious and high performance but feather-light survival shelter for packing in a bug out bag.

As well as easily sleeping two people (a one person variant is also available), the Copper Spur is built to withstand the elements with a 3 season design and includes a ton of additional storage and performance features ranging from vestibule storage and a ceiling pocket to reflective external guy lines.

Learn More About the Big Agnes Copper Spur Tent Here

Our Pick: ALPS Mountaineering Mystique 1.5-Person Tent

If you’re looking to find a high performance tent that’s lightweight enough to carry in a bag or backpack, while still offering enough living space for one person with a extra gear, then the Mystique by ALPS Mountaineering is a solid choice.

Designed around a frustration-free assembly system, the Mystique 1.5 person tent utilizes a two-pole aluminum design to make setup a breeze, meaning you can pitch in no time at all, whatever the weather.

The exterior fly of this lightweight backpacking tent is weather, UV, and water resistant and when set up, provides extra storage space with vestibules over each door.

This tent comes complete with #8 zippers, a mesh storage pocket, aluminum stakes, and a guy rope.

Learn More About the ALPS Mountaineering Mystique 1.5-Person Tent Here

Our Pick: Snugpak Ionosphere 1 Person Tent

When you’re considering your bug out bag packing list, the question of whether or not to pack a tent can be a difficult one to answer.

The inevitable issues of packed size and weight are the main factors when it comes down to packing your bag and a tent or other portable shelter can take a considerable share of your allocation.

If you’re bugging out solo, there are a few choices out there but one of the best in our opinion is the Ionosphere by Snugpak.

Featuring a low profile when assembled, the Ionosphere fulfils the role of emergency shelter exceptionally well with a 5000 mm waterproof polyurethane coated flysheet to help keep out the elements when you need to bed down for the night.

As well as excellent shelter properties though, the feather in the cap of the Ionosphere has got to be the ease of packing and carrying thanks to a compact packed footprint and low weight when packed (c. 3.3 pounds). This makes it a great choice if you’re thinking of incorporating a one person tent into your bug out kit but don’t want to sacrifice the space to make it happen.

Learn More About the Snugpak Ionosphere 1 Person Tent Here

Sleeping Mat

Including a lightweight sleeping mat with a small packed footprint is a wise addition to your 72 hour grab bag.

If you’re on the move for hours on end and/or you find yourself trekking back country, then good sleep and nutrition become crucial elements to maintaining effective cognitive abilities and optimum energy levels.

A lightweight sleeping mat will mean that you can get the best night’s sleep possible regardless of the events unfolding around you.

Our Pick: Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Sleeping Pad

Therm-a-Rest is one of those brands that has become synonymous for what they do and  the Z Lite Sol is a perfect of example of why the brand is one of the best manufacturers of high quality sleeping mats out there.

Using what the brand calls a ‘ThermaCapture’ surface, the Z Lite Sol keeps you warmer when sleeping by reflecting any radiated body heat back where it should be, increasing the warmth trapping characteristics of the mat by up to 20%.

The unique construction of the Therm-a-Rest make it both easy to pack and portable while the same design provides comfort and heat trapping qualities for a comfortable night’s sleep that is simple to pack up and carry when you’re on the move.

When preparing your bug out bag list and deciding on the best sleeping mat for the job, you ultimately want the combination of a lightweight and compact footprint alongside thermal efficiency and comfort on the ground. In both of these instances the Z Lite Sol delivers the goods.

Learn More About the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Sleeping Pad Here

Sleeping Bag

The topic of sleeping bags can feel broad enough outside of a contingency planning situation let alone when you’re weighing up the options for a bug out bag list.

Luckily however, when it comes to choosing the best sleeping bag for bugging out, the considerations can be streamlined to the essential factors you should look for.

Insulation properties and overall warmth are of course, important elements when choosing a sleeping bag for your bug out bag list and decisions on this will need to be made around your local climate considerations.

Ultimately though, more warmth often means more weight (and packing space) and this really becomes the key point to think about when choosing a bag, particularly if you’re going to be carrying it on your back over potentially long distances.

If the capacity of your bug out backpack allows, a mid temperature range bag with a small packed footprint is a safe bet to keep you comfortable in the widest range of scenarios.

However if carrying space simply won’t allow it, go for a survival bivvy bag or a super-lightweight mylar emergency sleeping bag and aim to make up for any difference in the clothing you bug out with.

The issue of space,weight and carrying capacity become much less of a concern if you’re bug out strategy incorporates a vehicle to take the strain of what you want to take with you. If this is something you’re thinking of, preparing a bug out vehicle can open up a number of additional opportunities for carrying more (and bulkier) kit, equipment and supplies.

Our Pick: TACT Bivvy Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag

This lightweight survival sleeping bag is constructed from HeatEcho thermal reflective material which is capable of reflecting 90% of body heat, making it an invaluable tool in a survival or emergency preparedness situation.

If you’re planning to use in conjunction with a standard sleeping bag, the TACT is ideal as a sleeping bag liner and will act to increase your body temperature by up to 20 degrees.

The TACT Bivvy Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag utilizes reinforced and weather resistant seams in combination with a material which is tear resistant, waterproof, and windproof.

Perfect in form and function for use in a bug out bag, bug out vehicle, emergency shelter or as a core element of your camping gear, this emergency sleeping bag will ensure your safety when it matters most.

Learn More About the TACT Bivvy Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag Here


While not necessarily a direct component of your bug out bag contents (there are some exceptions to this), if there is time to get changed before you leave, layering up with the right clothing can make all the difference in an emergency survival situation.

The clothing and footwear you bug out with are effectively nothing more than an extension of the shelter considerations mentioned above and ultimately every bit as critical to survival in an emergency situation – after all, you may not have the luxury of time or favorable conditions to set up camp depending on circumstances, at which point the clothing you choose can be crucial.

Look to prepare your main set of bug out apparel in advance and keep it accessible and ready to go near your bag.

The goal of the clothing you wear is to keep you warm and dry while providing ease of movement, durability and additional storage space so keep these considerations in mind when adding any clothing to your bug out bag list of preparations.


As with the other items listed in this section, your bug out footwear won’t actually be packed in your bag, but the importance of making the right choice here shouldn’t be overlooked.

When disaster strikes, you’re going to want to make sure that when you bug out, your footwear is up to facing the potential challenges and obstacles on the road ahead.

High durability, water resistance, and overall tactical functionality and performance are essential and should be the first things you look for when choosing what to wear on your feet.

Remember, the chances are that you could be heading out into anything, and suitable footwear isn’t something you want to be thinking about when it’s already too late and the damage has been done.

Your bug out plan will almost certainly involve considerable time spent on foot and potentially traversing challenging areas with rapidly changing climate conditions, make sure your footwear is prepared for anything with this in mind.

Our Pick: 5.11 Men’s A.T.A.C. Storm 8″ Side Zip Boot

From a waterproof lining to a bloodborne pathogen resistant finish, the A.T.A.C Storm boot from 5.11 is the tactical footwear of choice for your bug out inventory.

Built around a high resistance, synthetic sole designed to provide an oil and slip resistant base of traction when on the move, the A.T.A.C Storm is designed for just the kind of situations you’re likely to find yourself in if SHTF.

While not a direct component of your actual bug out bag list, high quality waterproof footwear can save you considerable space within your bug out bag through the problems they will potentially help you avoid and with this in mind, there are few bug out footwear solutions out there as capable as the A.T.A.C Storm.

Learn More About the 5.11 Men’s A.T.A.C. Storm 8″ Side Zip Boot Here


The second layer of defense when it comes to protecting your feet, making sure that you have two pairs of high quality hiking socks (one to wear and one for your bag) is fundamental to ensuring that you’re covered from the moment you step foot out of the door in an emergency situation.

Look to choose a pair of high quality (remember – buy cheap, buy twice) hiking or survival socks that are both breathable and form fitted, ideally with at least 50% merino wool construction if you can.

Once on your bug out bag list, keep your first pair with your bug out outfit and the second in a waterproof pouch or bag within your main bug out bag as a reserve.

Our Pick: Smartwool Men’s Hike Light Crew Socks

Smartwool have built up a reputation as a leader when it comes to high quality hike socks and when it comes to the specific and potentially varied challenges of a bug out scenario, having a couple of pairs of their Hike Light Crew Socks is a good strategy for ensuring your footwear doesn’t let you down when you need it to perform most.

These socks are built on a long tradition of high quality and continual performance in the field, used by outdoor experts, hikers, and military professionals alike and their lightweight, quick-dry, and breathable design make them the perfect addition to your bug out bag list for ensuring comfort and reliability.

Learn More About Smartwool Men’s Hike Light Crew Socks Here

Waterproof Gloves

If you live in an area with a cold or temperate climate, a pair of windproof and waterproof gloves are an important addition to your evac gear and can make an enormous difference to your ability to carry out manual tasks if you’re outdoors for a prolonged period.

The best gloves for your bug out bag list will provide good manual dexterity, warmth and waterproofing while still packing down to a low profile when you need to throw them in your bag or a pocket.

Our Pick: SealSkinz Waterproof and Windproof Gloves

In my opinion, Sealskinz are one of the premier glove brands out there when it comes to high performance hand-wear.

The combination of a light weight alongside both water and windproofing make these gloves a great choice if you’re likely to be bugging out in conditions that warrant both warmth and high performance.

If you’re looking for a glove that offers the tactical flexibility to also operate a weapon alongside these characteristics, also check out the SealSkinz Sporting Gun-Cut which provide trigger finger freedom when required.

When you need to get of the door quickly, protecting your hands is likely to be the last thing on your mind, however the conditions that you may well face in an emergency situation (think flooding, blizzard/winter conditions or severe storms) can have an severe adverse effect on your manual dexterity when every second counts most. With this consideration in mind, you’re going to want to include a reliable, lightweight, and waterproof pair of survival gloves on your bug out bag list which can be grabbed quickly when needed to make sure you’re protected against the elements and in this case, few brands out there tick all the boxes as effectively as SealSkinz.

Learn More About SealSkinz Waterproof and Windproof Gloves Here

Rain Poncho

If conditions worsen when you’re on foot, a rain poncho is one of the most effective, lightweight and compact ways of making sure you stay dry.

Having access to a lightweight and packable rain poncho ensures that you’ll be able to keep yourself relatively unaffected by the the rain if you need to carry out tasks in the open such as setting up camp or assembling a tent.

For the minimal size and weight footprint, a lightweight and strong poncho is an essential addition to any bug out bag list, allowing a simple but effective way of keeping you and your gear dry when the conditions are anything but.

If you’re unsure what size poncho to go for, one option is to go for a larger size than you’d usually wear, this way, you can provide a level of coverage for your bug out bag as well as your body when the weather turns.

Our Pick: Totes Rain Poncho

A good quality, reliable rain poncho from a reputable brand like this one from Totes will keep you dry when everyone (and everything) else isn’t.

While it might not seem like an obvious addition to bug out bag list, you really want to make a good quality rain poncho part of your packing priorities.

As well as keeping you and your gear dry, a poncho is an excellent way of fabricating a quick and easy temporary shelter for you or your gear and can even be used to collect water in extreme survival situations.

For the incredibly small pack-down size and weight, make sure your bug out bag contains a rain poncho in a spare space or pocket.

Learn More About the Totes Rain Poncho Here


The ability to generate heat and light from fire is a survival skill almost as old as humanity – and for good reason.

Packing the means of starting a fire as quickly and efficiently as possible is the essential pre-requisite for cooking, boiling, sterilizing, light and of course, keeping warm.

As with water, think of fire creation as an optimal first to last list of “preferred methods”, with redundancies in place after each subsequent method is unavailable or impractical:

  • Waterproof matches and at least 1 reliable, weatherproof lighter
  • Fire Steel / Fire Starter
  • 9v Battery and Wire Wool / Magnifying Glass (Pocket Fire Starting Kit)
  • Natural Fire Starting Survival Skills

Try to keep fire starting supplies in waterproof pouches like these and keep individual methods of fire starting and ignition sources separate whenever possible.

Check out our definitive guide on how to build a fire here

As with first aid equipment, pack your fire starting tools and supplies within easy reach in your bag so they’re accessible quickly when needed. A good option here is to keep a method on you (a lighter in a pocket for example), another in an outer pocket or section of your bag (a molle pouch or bag pocket is ideal) and then layer the others towards the top of your bag compartment in separate pouches or bags.

While natural fire starting skills are also an added bonus here, when it comes to the essential elements of your bug out bag list, fire starting equipment is a priority so make sure your kit includes as many of the following as possible.

Waterproof Matches

Matches are one of the quickest and simplest ways of starting a fire when you need to most. The importance of this addition to your bug out bag list shouldn’t be overlooked and choosing the best matches for your bug out bag is simple: waterproof with a water resistant case.

Our Pick: UCO Stormproof Match Kit

The Stormproof Match Kit from UCO contains everything you need to ignite a flame in even the most adverse conditions.

With a burn time of up to 15 seconds, each of the 23 matches included in this kit actually relight after they’ve been submerged in water.

On top of this, the case is constructed from ABS plastic which is both hard wearing and durable as well as offering the ability to float should the conditions get really bad.

Ideally sized to fit in a pocket or spare nook of your bug out bag (or carried on your person), the benefits of a high performance weatherproof match set such a this make them an absolute essential for any bug out bag list.

Learn More About the UCO Stormproof Match Kit Here

Stormproof Lighter
A good quality weatherproof lighter should form the backbone of your fire starting strategy alongside waterproof matches and should be kept close at hand to be used when needed.

You want to pick a lighter that is usable in all weather conditions with a durable external casing and a flip lid for when not in use. Keep a lighter in a pocket that is easy to reach with one hand and quick to access, even when conditions are bad around you.

Our Pick: Windmill Classic Stormproof All Weather Lighter

This lighter is the ideal pocket-sized fire starter for the survivalist or prepper, providing reliability and durability when you need it most, without sacrificing on size and weight.

Featuring a blowtorch style flame, the Windmill Stormproof All Weather Lighter does exactly what it promises, allowing you to get a fire started or a stove lit, whatever the weather conditions.

As with stormproof matches (see above), an all weather lighter is a crucial addition to any outdoor survival  kit and the Windmill is one of the best for adding to your bug out bag list and loadout.

Learn More About the Windmill Stormproof All Weather Lighter Here

Fire Steel

Using a Fire Steel is a simple, effective, reliable and portable way of starting a fire when traditional methods are no longer an option.

Small enough to keep in your pocket, on a keychain or in a discrete area of your bag, pack a good quality Fire Steel as an essential part of your bug out bag list fire starting inventory.

Our Pick: Überleben Zünden Fire Steel

A fire steel is an essential part of any bug out bag list and while there are a lot of options out there, the Überleben Zünden with its traditional bushcraft feel, is one of our favorites.

Providing up to 12,000 strikes, the Zünden throws off 5,500º F (3,000º C) sparks for igniting a fire wherever you need to use it.

The durable simplicity of this fire steel gets the job done in a way that looks good and is highly practical with a hardwood handle and paracord for attaching to a belt loop or attachment on your bag.

Learn More About the Überleben Zünden Fire Steel Here

Emergency Fire Starter Kit

Your bug out bag list needs to account for every eventuality with contingency options and plan B alternatives provided wherever possible. This kind of redundancy planning applies to many areas such as hydration, nutrition, and of course fire starting.

If your primary means of starting a fire becomes ineffective or unavailable for any reason, the following basic supplies can become a godsend when you need heat quickly.

Battery and Steel Wool:

Rub the contacts of a 9V Battery against some fine steel wool before adding to tinder and you’ll have a fire going before you know it.

Magnifying Lens:

Similarly, in the daytime, focus sunlight through a magnifier onto dry tinder and you’ll be on your way to warmth.

Simple, cheap but effective, compile a small kit of these essential components and you’ll always be able to get a fire going no matter how wet your matches get.

9v Battery | Steel Wool | Magnifying Lens

Fire Starting Tinder

To get your fire started quick you need tinder. To get it started quick in any conditions, you need a form of wet start tinder.

Simply scrape the tinder cube with a knife or similar blade and make a small pile of the shavings, ignite with your fire steel and you’ll be alight before you know it. Then. just build up your fire and maintain it.

Our Pick: WetFire Tinder

The pocket sized fire starting cubes from WetFire are designed to help you get a fire going in wet and windy conditions (they’re stated to actually burn longer when wet).

Requiring only a small amount of tinder to get a fully-fledged fire going, WetFire is also quickly and easily extinguished and with each cube individually wrapped, you can ensure that they’ll remain reliable and ready to light when stored in your pack.

Learn More About WetFire Tinder Here

Health + Hygiene

When disaster strikes, the rules of the game tend to go out of the window. Whether you’re dealing with a breakdown of civil order, a biological event or a natural disaster, the number of hazards to your health that you will potentially become exposed to will increase exponentially during a serious emergency.

It’s crucial therefore, that you provision supplies on your bug out bag list that cover the entire spectrum of health and hygiene scenarios to ensure that whatever happens, you’re ready and protected from prevention through to treatment.

We could be talking about anything from injuries sustained en-route (or upon arrival) at your bug out location, through to protection from contaminants in the air (think smoke, biological, chemical or other airborne agents), and even the essential hygiene procedures that you may take for granted at home.

Preparing an adequate stock of portable health and hygiene supplies for your bug out bag list today, can make all the difference when you need them most tomorrow.

First Aid Kit

If you find yourself bugging out, the chances are, medical help may not be easy to come by for some time.

A comprehensive first aid kit is an essential addition to any bug out bag list and should be placed within an easily accessible area of your pack.

Alongside a kit offering the supplies needed for triage, treatment and pain/symptom relief, it’s a great idea to brush up on as many basic first aid skills as possible and rehearse the steps you’d take to deal with various medical events should you ever need to implement them in the real world.

As well as ensuring the contents of your first aid kit is in date, packed and up to scratch, also be sure to have any regular medication in an easy to reach location so it’s to hand, that way, should you need to bug out fast, you can just throw it in your bag and hit the road.

Our Pick: OXA 100 Piece Survival First Aid Kit

This FDA certified first aid kit contains 100 pieces of hospital grade medical supplies including prep pads, antiseptics, bandages, and other essential emergency medical equipment.

Perfect for use in a bug out bag, kept in a vehicle, or stored at home as part of your preparedness supplies, the OXA 100 piece first aid kit is a compact, practical, and comprehensive emergency first aid kit that’s designed to called upon whenever needed.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive survival first aid kit for your bug out bag list that delivers the capability of covering more than one person for emergency triage and treatment, check this out.

Learn More About the OXA 100 Piece Survival First Aid Kit Here

Our Pick: Renegade Survival First Aid Kit

The Renegade Survival First Aid Kit is a good choice if you’re looking for a compact trauma response and medical supply solution for your bug out bag.

With a pouch offering quick and easy access to the most essential items during a medical emergency and molle straps for fitting directly to the outside of your bag, this kit has been field tested in real life, high intensity situations by the military, emergency service personnel and tactical groups alike.

Learn More About the Renegade Survival First Aid Kit Here


There are multiple instances when airborne dangers can present themselves during a disaster or emergency situation and when they do, you’ll want to make sure you’re as prepared as possible.

While masks vary by effectiveness and particle filtering (always check the details on the manufacturer site prior to purchasing and using), if the quality of the air you breathe becomes questionable, a basic respirator or one with an appropriate ‘hazard specific’ filter is a sensible choice

Our Pick: SGE 400/3 Respirator

Made in the USA to NATO specifications, the SGE 400/3 is a 40mm full face respirator designed to deal with full spectrum NBC emergencies.

The 400/3 is compatible with 40mm gas mask filters which can be attached at any of the three filter ports on the mask and provides full face protection in conditions up to 800 Degrees Celsius (1472 F) for 5  seconds or temperatures of up to 200 degrees Celsius (372 F) for a 6 minute duration.

A controlled air flow prevent the visor of the mask from fogging up when you’re in the field while the field of vision offered by the visor itself has been considered to allow maximum visibility to the wearer while adding protection from flying debris.

Add this respirator or one with a similar specification set to your bug out list if you’re looking to make sure you’re covered against airborne threats.

Learn More About the SGE 400/3 Respirator Here

Illumination + Communication

Tactical Flashlight

The benefits of a tactical flashlight go beyond the ability to produce light, doubling up when necessary as a defensive weapon.

Check out our guide to the best tactical flashlights for every situation here

As well as needing to be long lasting with sufficient brightness (at least 1000 lumen ideally), priorities for the flashlight that makes it onto your bug out bag list are the same as other supplies you pack in that it must be lightweight, compact and hard-wearing.

Our Pick: Fenix FX-PD35TAC 1000 Lumen Flashlight

Whether you’re after powerful illumination, a lightweight body, or extreme durability, there a couple of great features which make the Fenix PD35 TAC an excellent choice as a tactical flashlight your bug out bag list.

The PD35 TAC utilizes a super powerful Cree XP-L LED which pumps out up to 1000 lumens and has a stated operational life of up to 50,000 hours.

In terms of construction, the PD35 TAC is built within an anodized aluminum body and toughened glass lens and has been designed to remain resistant to extreme conditions with IPX-8 standard waterproofing (around 6 feet of water immersion for up to 30 minutes).

Learn More About the Fenix FX-PD35TAC 1000 Lumen Flashlight Here

LED Keychain Light

Build a pocket or keychain LED into your bug out bag list load-out as a redundancy you can fall back on at a pinch or if your primary light source fails or is inaccessible.

Providing the ability to clip onto a belt, spare zipper, or latching point, these kinds of LED keychain flashlights are more than worth the minimal weight addition to your gear if you’ve got the budget to spare.

Our Pick: Streamlight 73001 Nano Light Miniature Keychain

When you need to grab a flashlight quickly and your primary tactical is out of reach, a powerful keychain alternative like the Streamlight 73001 Nano Light can be a lighting lifesaver.

With a clip for attaching directly to a zipper, belt loop or attachment point on your bag, the 73001 Nano Light measures in at a handy 1.47 inches in length and features a high intensity, shockproof white LED with a 100,000 hour life.

The Nano Light is so small that if your weight restrictions allow it, consider picking up a couple and locating them tactically on you person and bag separately for every eventuality.

Learn More About the Streamlight 73001 Nano Light Miniature Keychain Here

Solar/Hand Crank NOAA Weather Radio With Cell Phone Charger

When the world is falling apart around you, information is power.

Make sure you stay up to speed with the most crucial developments by packing a radio that can runs off multiple power sources.

If capacity and weight allows, go for a multi function unit that doubles up as a charger and flashlight and include this invaluable device to your bug out bag list.

Our Pick: Horizons Tex Emergency NOAA Weather Radio & Cell Phone Charger

The hand crank and solar operated radio, flashlight and cell phone charger from Horizons Tec offers a lot of features for the money and provides multiple levels of power redundancy so you can operate it whatever the scenario and time of day or weather conditions.

A multi-band tuner with NOAA/AM/FM coverage ensures that you’ll be able to stay on top of the most critical information regarding, weather and disaster alerts in the area.

The unit also features a bright 3 LED flashlight which is ale to output 20 minutes of light from a minute or so of turning the hand crank.

Learn More About NOAA Weather Radio & Cell Phone Chargers Here

Tools + Equipment

Foldable Entrenching Tool

If you can make the room for it in your kit, a tactical or military grade entrenching tool becomes a worthy ally for any comprehensive bug out bag list.

A foldable entrenching tool allows you to dig and prepare parts of a camp or shelter area if you’re likely to be in the wilderness for 72 hours or longer and many higher quality tools also incorporate a serrated edge on shovel head for sawing.

Weight is definitely a consideration here, so evaluate the cost to benefit of carrying an E-Tool if you’re bugging out solo. If there are more than one of you evacuating, one option is to distribute your carrying weight with another member of your party.

Our Pick: Gerber E-Tool with Serrated Edge

The Gerber E-Tool is a durable and lightweight folding shovel that also incorporates a serrated edge on half of the blade to maximize digging efficiency and to allow you to saw through various low impact obstacles such as plants and undergrowth.

Measuring in at around 9.37 inches when closed and weighing just over 2 pounds, the Gerber E-Tool is compact enough to fit into your bug out bag when you’re on the move and is quick and easy to put to use as soon as needed.

Learn More About the Gerber E-Tool with Serrated Edge Here


An essential addition to any bug out bag list is a well featured multi-tool.

In a space for benefit trade-off, a high quality multi-tool is an invaluable piece of kit, offering everything from file to bottle and can opener, knife, saw, pliers and wire cutters – your get out of jail free card if you find yourself in a fix.

Our Pick: Leatherman Wave Multi-Tool

It’s widely accepted that Leatherman probably represent the crème de la crème of high functionality multi tools and the Wave is the go-to model in the range if you’re looking for a tool that will get it all done.

The Wave features 17 individual tools ranging from pliers and wire cutters to knives, files, scissors, and screwdrivers – basically everything you’re likely to need when it comes to solving a problem.

The ability to operate one handed as well as locking every feature and blade when extended means that you can get to the best tool for the job quickly and safely when you need them most.

A lightweight and fully featured multi-tool is a worthy addition to a bug out bag list and will provide with an array of invaluable tools at a fraction of the weight and space of carrying them individually.

Survival Knife

A high quality survival knife is an invaluable asset in a survival situation and as such should be included in your bug out bag when possible.

When it comes to choosing a high quality knife for your kit, there are a couple of options and considerations to be made in choosing something suitable.

Check out more of our top survival knife picks in our ultimate guide to the best survival knives

In terms of features, a multi-bladed penknife such as a Swiss Army style tool is certainly a useful to any grab bag. However if you’re only able to carry one knife, go for something stronger and more substantial, as a general purpose blade will allow you to carry out any likely jobs such as food preparation and cutting trees and other tasks comfortably and effectively.

Hollow handled knives containing a recess for additional equipment and sometimes a built in compass are available, however these may not be as durable as a solid handled knife.

Learn More About the Leatherman Wave Multi-Tool Here

Our Pick: Fallkniven F1 Survival Knife with Leather Pouch

Choosing a decent survival knife is a highly personal task with different blades and handles suiting individuals uniquely. Due to this, there are a lot of high quality survival knives out there, all of which could likely make the cut (no pun intended) for a spot on your bug out bag list.

That said, if you don’t know where to start looking when it comes to picking the best survival knife for your bug out bag, consider the Fallkniven F1 as an excellent all-round option.

There’s a reason that the F1 is standard issue in the Swedish Air Force and the build quality of this knife is as striking as the design which not only looks good, but makes it compact enough to work perfectly as a component of a comprehensive EDC kit or bug out bag.

With a laminated VG-10 stainless steel blade and thermorun elastomer handle, the Fallkniven F1 is the knife you’ll want by your side should you need one.

Learn More About the Fallkniven F1 Survival Knife Here

Paracord Survival Kit

There’s no doubt about it, paracord is one of those essential parts of any survival packing inventory that is hard to beat when it comes to useful equipment to have on hand.

Adding a length of high quality paracord to your bug out bag list will ensure that you have cordage to hand when you need it most for securing and tying in the field.

One of the very best ways to carry a good length of paracord with you during an emergency situation is to invest in a paracord survival kit that combines a length of paracord as a shell around an essential selection of survival kit.

When you need it, simply unwrap the cord (then ready for use) and you’ll have access to a wide range of the most essential tools and survival equipment to get you out of a fix.

Most paracord survival kits are designed with some kind of carabiner or loop for attaching to a belt or the exterior of your bag meaning it has minimal impact on your overall carrying capacity.

Our Pick: ParaTactical Survival Grenade

The ParaTactical Survival Grenade is one of those pieces of kit that has to be seen to be believed. Quite literally containing almost all of the basic essentials you need to survive in an absolute emergency.

If your bug out bag goes AWOL or needs to be ditched, if nothing else, make sure you keep this beauty on your person and you’ll be glad you did.

Effectively a pocket sized, self-contained 53 piece survival kit within a length of high quality 550 Paracord, the Survival Grenade contains the following and more: an LED light, Pocket Knife (File, Scissors, Pick, Tweezers) Fire Starting Rod, Striker, 30′ Fishing Line, Fish Hooks, Needle & Thread, Bobby Pins, Safety Pins, Band Aids, Razor Blade, a Compass, Aluminum Foil, Wire Saw, Water Purification Tablets, Whistle Buckle, Split Rings, Electrical Tape, Wire, Can/Bottle Opener, Fire Starter Taband a Signaling Mirror.

That’s a lot of kit within a 7.8 ounce shell which can easily be stowed in an outer pocket or on a belt loop, making it an invaluable addition to your bug out bag list.

Learn More About Paracord Survival Grenade Kits Here

Portable Power Bank and Recharger

Our Pick: Goal Zero Flip 10 Portable Recharger

This pocket sized powerbank is the perfect emergency energy backup for a phone or small device when you’re on the go and is the ideal size for slipping into a bug out backpack or spare pocket.

Small and portable, the Flip 10’s 2600mAh with 1A output is designed to provide a full phone charge from empty making it ideal for a get home kit, roadside preparedness kit, and of course, for use in your everyday carry kit.

Pair with a compatible portable solar panel and you’re going to be able to top up the levels of this pocket powerbank on the go.

The Flip 10 gets its name from a USB flip tip on the device which is used for charging in and also features a micro USB cable for charging out.

Learn More About the Goal Zero Flip 10 Portable Recharger Here

Weatherproof Notepad and Pen

The ability to keep written notes in all weather conditions can be crucial during emergency and survival situations – there may be only one chance to take in invaluable information when bugging out so make sure you don’t miss any of the details.

While carrying a regular pen or pencil and paper is better than nothing, if possible, try to ensure you have access to a method of writing that isn’t affected by inclement weather conditions, that way you’ll be able to get down everything you need, even when the heavens are opening up around you.

Also, keeping a survival log to record all events can be an invaluable resource and can help in maintaining morale when you’re bugging out.

Our Pick: Rite in the Rain All Weather Tactical Notebook | Rite in the Rain No.97 Black Pen

Your Complete Bug Out Bag Checklist

Without a doubt, the best bug out bags start from a definitive and carefully considered bug out bag list outlining the essentials for survival and continuity.

Use this bug out bag list as a starting point to tailor the very best bug out bag for you and you’ll be able to rest easy assured in the knowledge that if the time ever comes that you need to leave quickly and without a moment’s hesitation, your bag will be packed and ready to go.

The Last Word

When it comes to preparedness, we reference as many expert sources and real world user reviews as possible when looking to provide the most relevant and educational information in our guides.

Creating the best bug out bag list for yourself or your loved ones is a highly personal activity with individual needs and preferences sometimes varying considerably between people, locations and uses.

With these considerations in mind, this bug out bag list looks to provide advice on our own top configurations of bug out bags, however it’s always important to carry out your own due diligence to find the best solution for you when putting together your own bug out bag list.

Prepare . Survive . Thrive


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