The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List For Every Survivalist

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Know which essentials to prioritize in your bug out bag list to survive an unexpected disaster situation!

RELATED: The Top 5 Ultimate Medicinal Herbs For Your Bug Out Bag

What Should Be in Your Bug Out Bag List?

Practical Bug Out Bag Supplies

Every survivalist needs a bug out bag list to stay prepared for any SHTF scenario. While Adam Sandler's Jill believes “It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it,” that is not the case in a bug out bag.

You only take what you absolutely need for survival. So what exactly should you include in a bug out bag checklist?

Bug Out Bag Essentials

Building your own customized bug out bag is not so hard or complicated. You only have to make sure your bug out bag list includes items to address the following needs:

  • Hydration or water
  • Food and food preparation
  • Shelter and keeping dry
  • Clothing and bedding
  • Heat source
  • Hygiene
  • First aid
  • Tools
  • Lighting
  • Travel Aids
  • Communication
  • Self-defense

How Heavy Is Too Heavy for a Bug Out Bag?

Identifying what you need to include in a bug out bag can be a serious case of wants versus needs. You never really know what you will need later.

Still, you cannot bring so much along. Try these tips to see if there is a way to pack one or two items you want.

  • You are able to carry your bug out bag comfortably. – A heavy B.O.B. will get you in this scenario – if you have to walk far to safety, you will either stay where you are or leave the bag, and you don't want that. Get it?
  • Keep it lean and mean. – You just can't have everything in a survival situation. You might think you need a coffee maker, but you can make coffee without it. Keep it simple to cover basic needs.
  • Pack items to help you become self-sufficient. – Think about a Swiss Army knife. Instead of bringing a can opener, a pair of scissors, and a knife, take a Swiss army knife which has all those and more.
  • Plan your B.O.B. for a given period. – 72 hours is about the right time, since a person will only survive for that long without water.
  • Take to mind you're in it to survive. – Make sure you only bring items that benefit you the most in a survival scenario. Forget about your electric toothbrush or your hairbrush. Only MC Gyver can find survival uses for them.

I will share with you some examples of lists you can use as your own B.O.B. guide. But first, let's answer the common question about the two types of bug out bags:

Are a 72-hour emergency kit and a bug out bag the same thing?

Yes and no.

A 72-hour emergency kit is a “type” of bug out bag. It serves the same purpose — to let you get by for 72 hours. Survivalists pick the 3-day window, since rescue is common on the third day.

The much larger bug out bag is called a Sustainability Kit — a bag constructed to get you through a much longer survival scenario. So this bag will be packed with survival items to help you last for more than 72 hours.

RELATED: Packing a Bug Out Bag? Don’t Forget These Three Items

Bug Out Bag List for Both Types of Bags

1. 72-Hour Emergency Kit

Blue and orange bag in the ground | The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List For Every Survivalist

Every family member should have two identical kits each: one set of 72-hour emergency kits in your home, ready to grab at a second's notice. The second set of 72-hour emergency kit is for the trunk of your vehicle.

It may sound a little too much to have two kits ready to go for each person. But when disaster strikes, you and each of your family members need to have a ready safety net in place.

Whether you’re in your vehicle or in your home, your emergency kits will be there. It will be a relief to each of you to have those much-needed emergency supplies.

The following infographic is a great guide to follow for each 72-hour emergency kit:

Note: Some of the items on this list can be shared among family members. You can save a little money and space by sharing items like a can opener, for example.

Also, blankets and extra pairs of shoes are a great addition to your bug out bag list. Finally, any prescribed medications should be added to the first aid kits.

2. The Perfect 72-Hour Bug Out Bag List for Your Little Ones

Check this infographic to see what you need to pack for your child.

Your Sustainability Kit – The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List

Green bag in the woods | The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List For Every Survivalist

A sustainability kit is different from the 72-hour emergency kit. It’s not only designed to survive for three days. It's packed to help you last for up to three months.

Your pack should be made from a super sturdy material. Super lightweight fabrics and plastics are a no-no. They will only get in your way.

Drago Gear Tracker Backpack

A Drago Gear Tracker Backpack (as shown above) is a great choice for a sustainability kit. It’s durable and lightweight and has tons of space. Some of the features include:

  • Dimensions: 18″ x 11″ x 11″
  • Made of 600 Denier
  • Ideal balance between capacity and transportability
  • The compact pack provides an ideal blend of capacity and transportability with a compact design and 4 main storage areas
  • Premium back-relief panel design for maximum comfort during extended use
  • An internal organization system for securing tools and other items
  • Hydration-pack compatible
  • Made of 600D Polyester

What Is Denier? It is a unit of measurement referring to the thickness of the fiber based on the individual threads and filaments used. The higher the Denier, the thicker and sturdier the fabric is.

Purchase the Drago Gear Tracker Backpack on Amazon.

Since your sustainability kit is for a much longer term survival situation, really consider and weigh all your options for its contents. Here's a bug out bag list for you to use as a guide but, again, you can adjust the bug out bag list to fit your specific needs – prescription medications, any personal items, etc.

Now, because fully stocked sustainability kits can be expensive, I would suggest just having one per family member to keep inside your home.

The Best Sustainability Kit Checklist

This bug out bag list infographic will cover all the information you’ll need for the perfect sustainability kit experience!

Check out the contents of Black ScoutSurvival's bug out bag in this video:

Planning your bug out bag list is fun, but it's also a serious business you shouldn't take lightly. When worse comes to worst, you'll thank the heavens for taking it seriously. Make an inventory of your bag out bag list now!

Did we miss anything important for your bug out bag list of supplies? Share your own bug out bag tips in the comments section below!


The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 4, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

19 Responses to :
The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List For Every Survivalist

  1. David King says:

    3 gallons of water is about 24 lbs and occupies a fair amount of space. How much of the rest of the list will fit in a pack the average person could carry for 3-day hike?

  2. fizzlecat says:

    Best to get a portable filter. I like Sawyer- they make all sizes of portable water filters which work like a dialysis machine- filters out 99.999999 of bacteria and cysts. Bear in mind it won’t filter viruses, radiation, chemicals or heavy metals, but in my situation, I won’t be likely to encounter those. (Hopefully)

  3. Anne says:

    I like portable water filters as well, but I’ve found HydroBlu to work better than Sawyer. The flow rate of the Versa Flow is faster which is important to me in a SHTF situation.

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