10 Must-Have Items for a Bug Out Bag

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Lone Ranger

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10 Must-Have Items for a Bug Out Bag

Having a bug out bag, or a 72 hour kit, is a necessity for every person in your family. We never know when an emergency might hit, and three days could be the difference between life and death, in some cases. If something ever happened, a bug out bag is going to be the thing that bails you out.

Here are 10 things that you’ll need to have in a bug out bag for everyone in your family:

10. Blankets

You’re going to need something to keep you warm at night, wherever you might be. Blankets are going to do just that. As opposed to bringing large, bulky blankets, I’d use a space blanket. They keep you very warm and they are lightweight, too. These space blankets will be much easier to lug around in a backpack than a blanket that you have on your bed, at home.

9. Extra Clothes

If you’re forced to use your bug out bag, there is a strong chance that you’ll be forced to face the elements. Sometimes, those elements happen to dampen your body and clothes. If you get wet in the winter and don’t have a change of clothes, you could get hypothermia, or other illnesses.

8. Battery Powered Radio

In emergency situations, the radio might be your only communication to the rest of the world. Being informed of what is going on is extremely vital. If for some reason you can’t use it to get information, at least you’ll be able to jam out to some tunes.

7. Cash

Depending on the emergency that’s happened around you, you might not be able to use credit cards. Putting a little cash in your 72 hour kit could go a long way. You could use it to buy food, clothes, or play presidential flash cards. Some extra green never hurt anyone.

6. Flashlight

A flashlight can be good for a bunch of different things. Not only will it help you get around at night, but it can also be good to help people find you. Turn your flashlight on and wave it at planes or helicopters to come and find you. It could also potentially keep wildlife away from you.

5. Flint

How many of us know how to make a fire? Me neither. Fire is going to be crucial to help keeping you warm, and cooking things, too. Flint makes it really easy to get your fire going, plus it’s small and light to carry around in your bug out bag.

4. Water

An adult needs to drink about a gallon of water per day. Considering that your bug out bag should last you three days, and it should all fit in a backpack, carrying around water might not be the best idea. Instead, you can bring a water bottle with a filter. You can refill your bottle whenever you need to, and it will be clean, healthy water. Another option is taking water purifiers.

3. Food

Finding something that will fit in your backpack might not always be easy, but there is a surprising amount of food that you can pack along. MREs and canned foods are good and easy to pack. Dehydrated foods are another type of food that is easy to pack. Jerky is light, filling and tasty. Make sure that you pack enough for three days, though.

2. Shelter

No, I’m not suggesting that you take a big, fancy tent along with you. A tarp or two can work wonders, though. You can build a lean to, or put a “roof” over your head, at night. It will keep you dry and safe from rain.

1. First Aid Kit

You never know what kind of scrapes and cuts that you might take, in this emergency. A first aid kit should have the bandages and medications that you’ll need to make it through three days, though.
 

Lone Ranger

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For all you advanced preppers out there if ya can think of other things worthy of taking along please feel free to post and share your wisdom with us.
 

Trapper

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LR,
Good post, it would get a lot more traffic if you put it in the Prepping 101 area. I like to see posts like this!!

Here are my thoughts and things that worked from MY experience:

10: Blankets - I use a fleece blanket. Cheap, hold heat well, dry fast when wet. Space blankets I have used are junk, provide little more than reflecting body heat and don't have any insulating properties. I actually carry a small fleece sleeping bag. It takes up little space. If you look you can even get sleeping bags that squeeze down to the size of a softball. They are used for lightweight packing. More expensive but offer a lot more when you need it the most.

9: Clothes - Could not agree more. Depending on the time of year and location, check into nylon pants and shirts. Dry quickly if wet. There is a saying, "Cotton kills". Cotton does not dry when wet and will promote hypothermia.

8: Radio - Great addition. I carry a small radio in my pack. One thing to think about is battery size. My flashlights, headlight and radio all work on AA batteries. They are the most common size in the US and I only have to carry one size for spares.

7: Cash - Absolute must! Try to carry smaller denominations. Mostly $1, $5, $10's. I also carry a medicine bottle with quarters and one with dimes.

6: Flashlight - I carry a flashlight and a head lamp. Head lamp is essential. It keeps your hands free. I have a Petzl brand. They go from $20 to $200 depending on features. Even the $20 lights are solidly built.

5: Flint - Carry a lighter, a fire striker, tinder (dryer lint, cotton ball with petroleum jelly, small strips of birch bark) A flint alone is almost impossible to start a fire with if you don't have something to catch a spark. Make a small fire kit. Medication pill bottles work great for cotton balls with petro jelly.

4: Water - Carry more than a filter. I have had filters clog on canoe treks only after a few gallons. Even hand pumps can break. Have a method to boil water and carry iodine pills. Have a method of carrying water. If a safe water source is located fill your reserves. Camel back bag and a Nalgene bottle works well together. Don't buy cheap knock offs, they cost less for a reason. Built cheap and don't last. I know this from experience...... Carry water flavoring packets as well. Many are on the market and will help cover the taste of iodine. It also helps change up just plain water all the time.

3: Food - Pack items your used to eating if possible. MRE's will cause constipation. Think of items such as granola bars, almonds, peanuts, oatmeal packets, hot chocolate packets. Get a stainless steel cup. You can cook in it and heat water. There is one on the market that a quart Nalgene bottle will slip into and they nest together.

2: Shelter - A tarp is a MUST HAVE item. Many different shelter configurations can be made. I use a hammock with a tarp. Gets me off the wet ground, use with the fleece sleeping bag. Very comfortable. Hammocks even come with bug netting. Grand Truck brand hammocks pack small and weigh very little (under 2 lbs). My whole shelter system is under 5 lbs and is usable anywhere I go.

1: Medical Kit - Should be made to each persons specific needs. Another must have piece of equipment.

Don't forget a light rope, paracord preferred. 50 feet would be minimum. I carry 2 -25 foot and 1 - 50 foot section. Comes in handy.
 

Jordan Webb

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Yeah a light pistol and melee weapon sould be in there. But thats just me. Anyone else?
 

Trapper

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I agree with all of the above but I would have to add a good knife and a pistol, two things I try not to leave home without.
Good catch Wildman. Cant believe I missed those important items. I believe in lists. As you make a bag keep a list going of what you have so you can recall what needs replacing or items to get. Very important, at least for people like me with a slipping memory........
 

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4. Water

An adult needs to drink about a gallon of water per day. Considering that your bug out bag should last you three days, and it should all fit in a backpack, carrying around water might not be the best idea. Instead, you can bring a water bottle with a filter. You can refill your bottle whenever you need to, and it will be clean, healthy water. Another option is taking water purifiers.
Water being, in my opinion, the most important consumable should make people want to learn all they can about water purification. Depending on how long you are in survival mode, filters might not last long enough.

Please share what you know about water purification!
 

Colt 1911

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Water being, in my opinion, the most important consumable should make people want to learn all they can about water purification. Depending on how long you are in survival mode, filters might not last long enough.

Please share what you know about water purification!
God for bid it happens, but my plan is to boil and use filters as needed.
 

Colt 1911

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On blankets, I agree the space blankets are junk, wool is the way to go, even if it is wet you can stay warm.. I if we are talking about a 72 hr bag I went with a gortex jacket and pants and pitched the blanket.
 

Gazrok

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Mine would be: (for a bug out or get home bag)

In order....

1) Water - without it you die, pure and simple. This includes having ways to purify it (like a simply $20 filter straw) and ways to make it taste better (flavoring additives)
2) Pistol/Ammo - when the SHTF, not having a firearm is going to make you a victim
3) Food - Like 1, just less urgent. If a get home bag, concentrate on something you can eat on the move, like a ration bar, etc. While you can go three weeks without food, you'll suffer effects from it much, much sooner.
4) Information - You need to know WHERE you are going, and HOW to get there. Without this, you're wandering aimlessly. Whether a map, or directions, etc. Lots of other info can help too (edible plants of your area, locations of fresh water sources in your area, etc.) Knowledge is power.
5) AM/FM Radio - May be your only source for information on what is going on. Hand crank is best.
6) Flashlight - In a SHTF situation, power may be out, and the world at night will be DARK. I'll also echo the virtues of the headlamp. Use sparingly though. In the dark, it also makes you a huge target. A simple red piece of plastic can still have it provide light, but protect your nightvision. Go to the dollar store and get some tail light repair tape. Works great for this.
7) Zippo Lighter - Forget the flint and all that, a trusty Zippo is much more convenient. Having the other stuff as backup is fine, but seriously, are you going to strike a fire or use a lighter?
8) Medical Kit - Doesn't have to be an EMT kit, but some basics are a good idea, especially OTC meds or required prescription meds. If serious enough condition, elevate this one to number 3)
9) Knife - A good knife is the best all-around tool you can have. A multi-tool is nice too, but only as an addition, not as a substitute for, a good knife.
10) Tarp & Paracord - I lump these together, because it's your shelter. Smaller and lighter to carry than a tent, and can be bungeed around your BOB for more water-proofing when carried.

Cash is a good idea, as mentioned, but wouldn't make my top 10. I like my quarters in rolls (make a good solid punch in a fist).
Clothes, I'm assuming I'm not naked, but clothes take up a LOT of room and weight. Just have a change of socks and underwear. Other clothes can always be out to dry. I actually have bug out clothes and boots (which are made more for being out in the woods than my work clothes) in the truck next to the bag, so I can change, and not have to carry them with me.
On blankets, won't see the need in FL. Though an inflatable pillow sure is comfy. (or the blanket can be a pillow).
I actually carry an AM/FM Crank Radio/Flashlight with cell phone charger. This way, I can crank it and charge my cell phone too. If service, then GREAT! If not, then I still have access to stored documents and info, which is pretty damn handy.
If I had the money to spare for it, a Goal Zero charger is awesome. the solar panel is on your pack, and can charge your cell phone as you go.
 

Colt 1911

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My GHB 72hr max

1) Canteen, cup an stove, esbit fuel tabs.
2) food / water
3) am / fm radio
4) gortex rain gear
5) knives
6) tool kit
7) sure fire flashlight an head lamp, extra batteries
8) cell phone with extra battery pack
9 ) bandanna and toiletries / wet wipes
10) fire kit and candle
11) poncho
12) first aid
13) paracord an zip ties
14) life straw " personal water filter "
15) write in rain note pad, and marker
16) glow sticks
 

ChancesR

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1. Cash/Coins
2. Maps in case you need a new rout
3. cell phone and battery and back up charger in case you have to take shelter some where temporary
4. toilet paper incase you dont get to stop some where decent or safe
5. car things like spar, gas can, good dependable jack, lock wrench, est...
6. food you can eat with no preparing incase you can not stop.
7. Drinks that dont need to be changed out often that your family will drink.
8. Gas Can incase you have to park somewhere people wont see you or you dont make it to the pump.
9. in Texas it is hot so I assume you have AC or HEATing but I would have stuff to block out the windows to keep cool or a thermal blanket for warmth per person.
10. everyones IDs and important Papers ready to go near door on you way out to the CAR or if you are single coppies in car originals on you (SS card) and papers near door. I dont leave my house with out my Social Security Card in a metal case with my other cards and ID.... I dont keep money in a purse that is just for stuff not valuables.
11. and for the ladies... Ladies things.
 

rudyc

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1. Water, at least a liter of water in your bag (camelbak, bottle, ziploc bag)
2. Way to clean or purify water, (water pump w/filter, gravity filter, iodine tablets, canteen for boiling....)
3. Walking food. (food that does not need preparation, can litterally be eaten while walking, does not need fire to make) ex: tuna packets, cliff bars, crackers...
4. First Aid kit. Add aditional meds if needed.
5. Tarp 8x10 to make a small shelter for me and maybe some one else.
6. Flashlights. hand held is my main bright light, and headlamp is smaller and mostly for things around arms reach.
7. Fire. matches, lighter, flare stick.
8. Money, in small bills.
9. Toilet Paper.
10. Cortage. Need to tie that tarp somehow, or need it for multi use. At least 25-50 feet.

These are my top ten that may fluctuate at any time, but are always on top 20 list.

On my person, i mostly have my edc, which is knife, cortage, meds, pen, flashlight, identification, wallet.

so even though i have those items on me, i will always go by the 1 is 0, 2 is 1 rule, and make sure i have contigencies in my bag.
 

Kenprep1979

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LR,
Good post, it would get a lot more traffic if you put it in the Prepping 101 area. I like to see posts like this!!

Here are my thoughts and things that worked from MY experience:

10: Blankets - I use a fleece blanket. Cheap, hold heat well, dry fast when wet. Space blankets I have used are junk, provide little more than reflecting body heat and don't have any insulating properties. I actually carry a small fleece sleeping bag. It takes up little space. If you look you can even get sleeping bags that squeeze down to the size of a softball. They are used for lightweight packing. More expensive but offer a lot more when you need it the most.

9: Clothes - Could not agree more. Depending on the time of year and location, check into nylon pants and shirts. Dry quickly if wet. There is a saying, "Cotton kills". Cotton does not dry when wet and will promote hypothermia.

8: Radio - Great addition. I carry a small radio in my pack. One thing to think about is battery size. My flashlights, headlight and radio all work on AA batteries. They are the most common size in the US and I only have to carry one size for spares.

7: Cash - Absolute must! Try to carry smaller denominations. Mostly $1, $5, $10's. I also carry a medicine bottle with quarters and one with dimes.

6: Flashlight - I carry a flashlight and a head lamp. Head lamp is essential. It keeps your hands free. I have a Petzl brand. They go from $20 to $200 depending on features. Even the $20 lights are solidly built.

5: Flint - Carry a lighter, a fire striker, tinder (dryer lint, cotton ball with petroleum jelly, small strips of birch bark) A flint alone is almost impossible to start a fire with if you don't have something to catch a spark. Make a small fire kit. Medication pill bottles work great for cotton balls with petro jelly.

4: Water - Carry more than a filter. I have had filters clog on canoe treks only after a few gallons. Even hand pumps can break. Have a method to boil water and carry iodine pills. Have a method of carrying water. If a safe water source is located fill your reserves. Camel back bag and a Nalgene bottle works well together. Don't buy cheap knock offs, they cost less for a reason. Built cheap and don't last. I know this from experience...... Carry water flavoring packets as well. Many are on the market and will help cover the taste of iodine. It also helps change up just plain water all the time.

3: Food - Pack items your used to eating if possible. MRE's will cause constipation. Think of items such as granola bars, almonds, peanuts, oatmeal packets, hot chocolate packets. Get a stainless steel cup. You can cook in it and heat water. There is one on the market that a quart Nalgene bottle will slip into and they nest together.

2: Shelter - A tarp is a MUST HAVE item. Many different shelter configurations can be made. I use a hammock with a tarp. Gets me off the wet ground, use with the fleece sleeping bag. Very comfortable. Hammocks even come with bug netting. Grand Truck brand hammocks pack small and weigh very little (under 2 lbs). My whole shelter system is under 5 lbs and is usable anywhere I go.

1: Medical Kit - Should be made to each persons specific needs. Another must have piece of equipment.

Don't forget a light rope, paracord preferred. 50 feet would be minimum. I carry 2 -25 foot and 1 - 50 foot section. Comes in handy.
walmart has a couple of skincare products that come in metal cans that contain oils and beeswax that goes great with the cotton balls for fire starting and then the metal can with lid is a great resource in its self for making charcloth , cooking or boiling water etc.
 

john bair

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Edited By Clyde For Advertising
Water, food, and air or you die forget gas masks they are not for every thing but a rebreather the size of a purse
 
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Kenprep1979

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On blankets, I agree the space blankets are junk, wool is the way to go, even if it is wet you can stay warm.. I if we are talking about a 72 hr bag I went with a gortex jacket and pants and pitched the blanket.
i dont use space blankets as a wrap , i use them for heat reflection if needed for those really cold winter nights. they are great for that . or put them under your bed roll to lesson your heat loss to the ground.
 

Tyler

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I'd like to point out that for food'cans get really heavy, really fast. While a couple of cans may not seem that heavy individually when packed up you will feel how heavy they are. I'd suggest no more than 3-4 cans for a 72 hour bag.

My 2 cents
 

Colt 1911

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I'd like to point out that for food'cans get really heavy, really fast. While a couple of cans may not seem that heavy individually when packed up you will feel how heavy they are. I'd suggest no more than 3-4 cans for a 72 hour bag.

My 2 cents
Good point . Top reman, power bars, candy, dried fruit, instant coffee, about it for me on the food. LIGHT FAST AND MOVIN.
 

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