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Categorized | Food, Water, Shelter, Gear

Building a Bug out Bag: 15 things to consider

As with all things related to personal preservation a lot of thought needs to be given when building your Bug out Bag (BOB).

Bug out Bags, or 72 hour bags should be used like a reserve parachute on a pilot. You only pull the cord of the reserve chute when the plane and primary chute both fail. Your bug out bag should be used only as a last ditch when everything else has crapped out.Remember when you strap on your bag and leave the relative safety and resources of your shelter you have at that point become a roving refugee. You are admitting that your primary and secondary plans have failed and must evacuate with only what you have in your bag. Now that you have that gloomy thought in your head you should be doubly inspired to give very careful consideration to what goes into your bag. There are lots of resources out there that have nice pre-packaged Bug out Bags for sale. They may all work wonderfully and have everything you need. However, I would offer a word of caution before rushing out to purchase something that is pre-assembled. First, you should insure that any pre-packaged bag contains the immediate necessities, food, water and shelter because these three things are a must.

bug out bag

If this is hovering over your house, you may want to reconsider going home. Just a tip.

I have seen some pre-packaged kits that had three or four knives but not a drop of water or bite of food. Those kits are crap and should be avoided unless you enjoy slowing suffering from dehydration.  Second, think long and hard about ordering a kit that offers brightly colored packs to carry your gear. In most cases this would probably work well, but in extreme condition (which is what we prepare for) brightly colored packs would become a beacon for someone who may be willing to offer you harm in exchange for what you have. I prefer a darker drab color that is easier to conceal and draws less attention which allows me to be less noticed. Packs that have a military look can also give you a psychological advantage; to an observer it looks as if you may have some prior military training or experience.  A final consideration when building your pack is to identify tools or equipment that have multiple uses. This will help minimize the weight of your pack and increase your mobility.

Bug out Bag gear list:

1)    Water packs: The rule is one gallon, per person, per day for basic needs. This is my primary item — without it, I am toast.

2)    Water Filter: Water is heavy! So I pack a water filter bottle that I can use to augment my supplies, I prefer to use the filter before I tap into my package stuff. There are many great manufactures’ of water filters, I like Katadyn. I also stock water purification tablets

3)    Food Bars: I stock high calorie food bars for three days. Pick shelf stable food that can last for a few years, unless you want to restock your bag more often. MREs are good as are Coast Guard approved food bars/tablets.

4)    Shelter: A water proof tarp is my shelter of choice due to size and light weight.

5)    Emergency blankets: Heat reflecting emergency thermal blankets work great and weigh almost nothing.

6)    Light source: I am scared of the dark so I go overboard here. I use a LED headlamp which frees both my hands and has long battery life. I also have a hand cranked flash light that never needs batteries. Additionally I have a 100 hour emergency candle.

7)    Fire Starting: Water proof matches and a magnesium fire starter are wonderful. I also have my candle from item #6.

8)    First aid kit: For this you don’t need a trauma kit just a nice well stocked compact kit.

9)    Multi-Tool: This little miracle can do anything and fits in my pocket. Better by far than lugging a tool box around.

10) Para Cord: I have a 100’ roll. Unlimited uses for this stuff!

11) Knife: A good sharp knife with a fairly large blade, it performs as a knife, machete, ax and sometimes a shovel.

12) Clothes: A change of clothes, especially socks! If your feet go then you ain’t moving far. Package clothes in a plastic bag and squeeze out the air to save space.

13) Plastic trash bags: Many uses augment; shelter, rain poncho, etc.

14) *Gun: I do have a pistol in my bag. My gun is a 1911 pistol in .45, I chose that gun because I like it and have trained with it and not because it is inherently a better survival weapon. If you choose firearms for your bag, pick one that fits your needs. * GUN SAFETY IS PARAMOUNT

15) Cash and important papers: The cash may come in handy at some point and my documents will be necessary. All of these items should be in a waterproof container or bag.

There are a lot of pre-assembled bug out kits out there. Consider your own needs before making an important purchase.

Remember this is a list of what I carry! My knowledge may or may not be more extensive than yours, use this as a guideline and build your pack around it. The only limit on what goes into your pack is what you want to carry. Also your bug out bag is your last option and shouldn’t be the entirely of your survival plan. The moment you strap it on your back and head out into the unknown you have admitted that there is likely no help coming for you. You are on your own and can rely only upon your skill and will.

Good luck and stay safe.



5 Responses to “Building a Bug out Bag: 15 things to consider”

  1. T.R. says:

    My BOB is actually a hunting pack . Its an Eberlestock blue widow . I chose this because its made to be customizable , made to pack out more than you pack in . I go on extended camping trips with it as a freighter pack . No complaints so far . One reason it is my BOB is that the design has a built in rifle scabbard for quick draw ( its for hunting )and comes in mossy oak brush ( redneck unicam lol )I figure if I am forced to leave , I am probably not coming back for awhile so I have a good amount of gear in this thing , it can handle the load . especially if you get the duffle with it . Some people have suggested also making a never going home again bag full of sentimental things you dont want forever lost to keep and pass down . Not a bad idea in my book as SHTF has to settle down at some point .

    • Patrick says:

      Yeah, not a bad idea at all. Mine is a tactical bag from Blackhawk. Honestly, I could do better. I like the built-in water storage, but it sort of screams “Tactical Operator.” I think I may be better served with something a little less high profile.

      I do have an ancient Kelty pack that I keep in my wife’s car that is more suited for packing heavy loads over distance. I really like it (plus I paid next to nothing at a garage sale years ago).

      Is this your pack?

  2. T.R. says:

    Kelty makes some good sturdy packs . I like the traditional configuration of them as well .


  1. […] a couple of copies of your plan and put them in a secure, but retrievable location (your bug out bag is a good choice). As your situation in life changes don’t neglect the need to go back and revise […]

  2. […] I always keep a few hundred dollars in cash in my bug out bag. I put this money in years ago, and I have left it there ever since. This money is as crucial to me […]

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