Your First Bug Out Bag – 50 Essentials For Your Kit

contents of a survival bug out bag | Your First Bug Out Bag - Essentials For Your Kit | Featured

September 16, 2023 / Comments (54)

Bug Out Bag Survival Gear

With so many things you want to stock up on, which bug out bag essentials do you really need? Find out which item you missed as you continue reading.

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Bug Out Bag Essentials | Stock Up on These for When SHTF

Ultimate Bug Out Bag List

As part of the bug out community, there are literally thousands of posts scattered around the internet. But the truth is, most of these lists are just guidelines, so take them all with a grain of salt.

The ultimate bug out bag for you will be the one that you build from the ground up and fully customize.

Your Pre-Made Kit

Not every list will work for you, and there is no single “perfect” pre-made kit. A hundred posts can be written about each and every item you need to stock up on (and we’re working hard to do just that!).

Though, sometimes, you just need to know what you need to get and have it on hand without a lengthy explanation.

This post is for just that situation, as we list the top 50 survival items you need to have stockpiled for a future SHTF situation below.

The Survival 50 Bug Out Bag Checklist:

  1. A quality survival knife.
  2. Cordage (550 Paracord for example)
  3. Small home cash reserve (varies based on income/expenses, at least 1 month's worth of all expenses, if possible)
  4. Emergency wallet cash (small bills, usually no more than $100)
  5. A hatchet for splitting wood and other camp/retreat tasks
  6. At least two flashlights (one battery-powered and one powered by hand crank or other long-term methods)
  7. Walkie-talkies
  8. Hand-cranked radio
  9. Journal/notebook for recording information
  10. Basic tools (hammer, prybar, screwdrivers, etc.)
  11. Simple repair and construction materials (screws, nails)
  12. A tough pair of gloves
  13. Coveralls or tough clothing for rough situations
  14. A quality spare tire
  15. Car maintenance kit (an extra oil filter, a set of spark plugs, a bottle of oil, a bottle of coolant, a headlight bulb)
  16. Car window breaker/seatbelt cutter
  17. Temporary tire repair foam
  18. A well-stocked first-aid kit
  19. Spare glasses/contacts.
  20. As many of your needed prescriptions as you can legally purchase
  21. Hygienic wipes (for washing without water)
  22. Feminine hygiene products (intended use is to soak up blood from wounds)
  23. Homemade or store-bought gravity shower
  24. Powdered bleach
  25. Trowel to dig cat holes for latrine
  26. Medical information card
  27. Concealable handgun
  28. A rifle appropriate for mid-range combat
  29. A rifle appropriate for long-range shots
  30. Extra magazines for all weapons
  31. A compass
  32. Topographic maps
  33. Roadmaps with bugout routes carefully marked
  34. Water filter
  35. Portable water bottle
  36. Water quality test kit
  37. Portable water filter
  38. Toilet paper
  39. A reusable alternative to toilet paper (family cloth, bidet, etc.)
  40. Legal documents including a will or deed to home/rental agreement
  41. Firebox for most valuable papers, cash reserve, and so on
  42. Basic 72-hour kit including food, water, and essential medicines
  43. Essential long-term grains and dry goods (rice, wheat, beans)
  44. Preserved vegetable and fruits (dehydrated, freeze-dried, canned, etc.)
  45. Comfort foods that are high in sugar (candy, cookies)
  46. Portable and durable foods (granola bars, hard biscuits)
  47. Water flavoring mixes
  48. Grain mill to grind wheat, rice, and nuts
  49. Solar oven to cook bread and other goods
  50. Resource books to use all the goods, tools, and resources you've gathered
Free Paracord Bracelet - FireKable by Survival Life

Check out these 12 essentials for your bug out bag list:

When it comes to building a realistic bug-out bag, it's not how much you have in your bag, it's about what you have and how you can use it. Innovation is key and weight is everything.

The lighter your pack is, the longer you can travel with it. It is in your best interest to know exactly what is in your kit and more importantly, how to use it.

If you don't understand how something works or why it should be in your kit, DO NOT put it in your kit! You never want to be doing something for the first time when you need it to save your life.

Surely, you have your own long list of bug out bag essentials. Share it with us in the comments section below!


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Your First Bug Out Bag - 50 Essentials For Your Kit |

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 2014 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

54 Responses to :
Your First Bug Out Bag – 50 Essentials For Your Kit

  1. Brown says:

    One thing I almost never see in bugout/survival bag lists is something to sew leather, heavy canvas, etc! Nothing worse than a sole coming loose on a boot/shoe or a rip in your tent/shelter. There are compact self contained leather sewing tools available for under $15 such as the one I have one called AWL for ALL by C.A. Myers Co. It’s about six” long and 1-1/2″ in diameter and weighs just a few ounces. (There are other manufacturers of like units). Comes with some thread and needles, but buy extra needles and waxed thread (Tandy Leather is a good source). Needles store in the handle of the AWL for ALL. Can also be used to repair backpacks, tents, etc., more heavy duty stuff than you can sew with a regular sewing kit. A separate leather awl punch for making “starter holes” also helps if sewing thicker materials. I made a small vinyl bag for mine that keeps the ALL for ALL and awl punch stored together.

    1. GrouchyJohn says:

      If you happen to have close access to one, Tandy Leather Factory has everything you could want for leather goods, ect, including the sewing awls and sewing threads you mention. I’ve been a customer at the local one for about 5 years. I’ve made holsters for pistols, belts, other items. You can also buy sheet leather, in various grades and sizes along with the dyes, rivets and boning tools to make stuff look fancy. No, I don’t work for them, I just like their products.

  2. GrouchyJohn says:

    Having just seen a post wherein Clorox chlorine bleach is stated to loose its ability to kill bacteria in water after 9-10 months from its production date, I am wondering where I can acquire some granular clorine bleach. it has to be the straight stuff, no frilly smelly stuff or heavy metals. Any one have any suggestions?

    1. MI Patriot says:

      Geouchyjohn…Here is something I found on Pinterest. She uses something called Pool Shock. There are a lot more. Just search pool shock on Pinterest.

      1. GrouchyJohn says:

        Thank you very much. Wonderful website. I have bookmarked that webpage and will re-reference and likely print it when my Amazon order comes in. My stored bleach will be put on the wash room shelf to be used, hopefully my wife will not catch on as she is one of those “it can’t happen here” types that think I am looney for having stuff stashed away.

    2. Smokey says:

      Maybe those chlorine tablets/cakes used in swimming pools might work? The ones I use in my mom’s pool are 3 1/2″ in diameter and maybe an 1 1/2″ thick. These tab/cakes may be 100% pure chlorine in strength so it probably would’nt take alot to purify a water storage container and I don’t know what a proper mix ratio would be. But I do know that it does’nt take much to burn the skin or remove black algae from concrete pool decks so be very careful with this stuff if you catch my drift

      1. Loki says:

        The usual ratio of bleach to water for disinfecting is about 1 teaspoon: 5 gallons.
        The CDC has similar recommendations:

    3. nncee says:

      You might try pool stores. You can get granular or tablet. I don’t know how much you might need to clean say a gallon of water bur I’m sure it would work.

    4. Patricia says:

      I got mine from Publix.

  3. Timothy John Maine sr says:

    Dear Survival Life my dad was a friend of Tesla who taught dad a lot including free electricity designs, 1 of those designs is you have a transformer core and you have transformer wire and you wrap the wire on the input side of the transformer core say 100 wraps and on the output side wrap the wire 200 wraps, you just doubled your volts,,, also on the input side use say 1/16th inch wire and on the output side 1/8th inch wire and you just doubled your amps, you can do both at the same time,,, this design works only with AC current,,, further added there is a just described Tesla true step-up transformer in every cathode ray tube TV and a cars ignition coil also is a step-up transformer,,, also an inverter is an oscillator which changes DC current to AC current with a true step-up transformer and you can go from there with a 12 volt car battery you can power your neighborhood,,, GOD & JESUS Bless!!! Tim J Maine sr

  4. Dan in Colorado says:

    #14 A quality spare tire…..?
    sorry the only spare tire I’ll be carrying is the one around my waist;-)

    I think you’ve confused a Bug Out Vehicle list with a backpack bag list….
    engine oil, spark plugs, tire sealant, etc are not in a BoB!

  5. Don says:

    As a mechanic, I would have to disagree with the editor’s choice of items for the car maintenance kit. Extra fluids like coolant and engine oil are a good idea if your car leaks any of these things, but some of the other items on the list are not really necessary. I see no reason why anyone would need an extra set of spark plugs or light bulbs. Spark plugs in today’s cars last for about 100,000 miles, and neither fouled spark plugs nor a burned out headlight will stop your vehicle from traveling from point A to point B. Here is a list of emergency items I keep in the trunk of my car: Spare tire (checked periodically), tire pressure gauge, lug wrench (for installing the spare), tire plug kit (not fix-a-flat), jumper cables, basic mechanic tool set (wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, etc.), vice grip pliers, diagonal cutting pliers, a small hammer, extra fuses, road flares, duct tape, wire ties, a can of WD-40, a lighter, rope, and a first aid kit. One item I do not have, but can really come in handy if you have to repair a tire in a remote location, is a small 12-volt air compressor that plugs into the power outlet in the car.

  6. Dave says:

    just reading your 50 list and some comments, some of my thoughts, for what its worth. Dude, how big is your bug out bag, 1) “A quality spare tire.
    Car maintenance kit (an extra oil filter, set of spark plugs, bottle of oil, bottle of coolant, headlight bulb).
    Car window breaker/seat belt cutter. That’s just in the first 22 items. the link to the rest was not working.:(
    Temporary tire repair foam.” Just saying, a bug out bag is just that a bag you can grab and run with. 3 to 14 days.
    2) for stored water just get cheep W-mart water bottled water,it will last for years, 2 or 3./ 2Lt. per person per day. keep you water containers clean and dry then fill when you have to go. bleach is good for restocking water supply in the field, after filtering, before boiling. DON’T drink pool supplies, it hard on you guts

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