Building A Bug Out Bag

Feature | Survival kit bag | Building A Bug Out Bag

Planning to building bug out bag? The ultimate building bug out bag by following these helpful tips and tricks!

Building Bug Out Bag for Greater Chances of Survival

What is a bug out bag? Also known as BOB, this is a kit you carry around that contains all the necessary items a person will need to survive for 72 hours.

How to Pack a Bug Out Bag

A 72-hour bug out bag or “Go Bag” is not just for end-of-the-world scenarios since it is also handy to have around in case of other emergencies.

These can include power outages, car breakdowns, natural disasters, and other instances where you might be without services for a few days.

Why It's Necessary to Have a Bug Out Bag

If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, wildfires, or ice storms, a bug out bag will help keep you and your family safe at home or during an evacuation.

Also, a bug out bag kit will give you access to supplies that may not be easily available during these situations.

If you keep the most necessary items in your bug out bag, it will be easier to get your hands on them when you need them.

A Brief History

What is a bug out bag? “Bug out” is British military slang for “leaving quickly under fire.” The concept of the bug out bag started with the military, where it was used as a survival kit when you needed to exit an area quickly.

Aviators during World War II took the bug out bags or “bailout bags” with them when skydiving over enemy territory.

Bug Out Bag or Survival Kit

A bug out bag is different from a survival kit because a bug out bag is meant to give you the items you need for the first 72 hours of survival.

Because of this, a bug out bag should be able to carry lightweight, emergency, and short-term supplies as opposed to long-term solutions.

Gerber survival bag | Building A Bug Out Bag

The Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Kit For Emergencies And Disasters by Outdoor Warrior

And while choosing a military-style bag or backpack has become a very popular choice due to its durability, it may not always be the best option.

Choosing a Bug Out Bag

When choosing a bug out bag, you would want the bag to blend in with its surroundings. For example, if you have to travel through an urban area, a blue or black nylon backpack is a good choice.

On the other hand, if you are traveling through the wilderness, a camouflage pattern is ideal. The key is for the bag to not stick out like a sore thumb.

As a side note, your bug out bag does not have to be an actual “bag” since it can just be a Rubbermaid container, another type of box that fits in your trunk or could even be a large purse.

The size and type of bug out container depends on whether you will need to be carrying it while walking (in which case a backpack is a better choice) or if you can drive to your alternate location.

Bug Out Bags for the Family

If you have more than one person to pack a bug out bag for, consider packing a smaller bag for each member of the family so everyone has their own supplies. Additionally, this will also help you organize your supplies.

Bug Out Bag for Your Vehicle

Transportation is something that can occupy an entire article in and itself, but there are a few brief considerations to think about regarding vehicles when planning for bugging out:

  • If possible, try to acquire and maintain a vehicle manufactured before 1981 since these vehicles have fewer electronics. Because of this, they are less likely to be affected in the event of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack.
  • A vehicle with a diesel engine is preferable.
  • It should have enough room for the people and cargo you need to transport when “bugging out.”
  • At your safe location, it is a good idea to have a bicycle and cart for transportation that does not require fuel.

Three Rules to Remember to Building Bug Out Bag

When building your bug out bag, it is important to remember three rules that will help you in the event of an SHTF situation. Essentially, it focuses on preparation in terms of building your bug out bag and the actual bugging out.

First, you gather the right supplies, then develop a solid plan. Finally, you also have to check the supplies in your bug out bag and practice using the tools you will need in an emergency situation.

RELATED: Bug Out Bag Essentials | 30 Uses For Trash Bags

First Rule: Have the Right Supplies

The first rule in building the ultimate bug out bag is gathering the right supplies. Your bug out bag is only as good as the supplies you put in it and the skills you have to use them.

First aid kit | Building A Bug Out Bag

Here are a few suggestions for stocking your 72-hour bug out bag. However, remember to take this with a grain of salt because you still need to customize this kit for your area, needs, and family.

Here is a list of the supplies you need to build a bug out bag:

First Aid Supplies

  • Adhesive bandages
  • Ace bandages
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Gauze pads
  • Tourniquet
  • Aspirin & Ibuprofen
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • 30 days of prescription medications
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Pepto Bismol

Clothing (per person)

  • Three pairs of wool socks
  • Three pairs of underwear
  • Two pairs of pants
  • Two t-shirts
  • One long-sleeved undershirt
  • Jacket
  • Long underwear (thermals)
  • Something a little more risque

Food and Water

  • Bottled water (two liters per person)
  • Electrolyte tabs or salt
  • Iodine tabs and cheesecloth
  • Protein and nut bars
  • Dehydrated fruits and meats
  • MREs


  • A Compass (best if you will practice so you know how to use it before you need it)
  • Local maps
  • Small tool kit (screwdriver, pliers etc)
  • Hatchet
  • Collapsible shovel
  • Knife
  • Knife sharpener
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Small pan for heating water


  • Tent or tarp
  • Rope (to hang the tarp)
  • Foam pad (to prevent hypothermia)
  • Space blanket or emergency blanket (one per person)
  • Sleeping bag


  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Ziploc bags
  • Trash bags
  • Duct tape
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Second Rule: Come Up with a Plan

The second rule in bugging out is formulating a solid plan. One thing almost nobody thinks to include in a bug out bag is a written plan.

Close up of notebook, pen and watch on table | Building A Bug Out Bag

This is necessary because when disaster strikes, you’ll most likely be distracted and won't be able to think quickly. The plan should include:

  • A list of what to take
  • Directions for getting to the alternate location
  • An alternate meeting place, should that be necessary
  • It is possible that you could be injured or incapacitated and somebody else in your family or group will have to lead the group to safety.

In the event of a catastrophic failure of all systems, if you have written out your plan, you will be better able to safely and confidently get from point A to point B without forgetting anything.

Third Rule: Prepare for Execution

Finally, the last rule in building your bug out bag and preparing for an SHTF situation is preparing to execute your plan and making sure you are equipped with the right tools and supplies before it takes place. Make sure you have practiced using the items in your bug out bag.

A compass is useless if you don’t know how to use it, and using one is actually harder than it looks! Practice starting a fire without matches.

Check the food and medical items in your bag to make sure they have not expired and rotate them out as needed (practice FIFO – First In First Out). Otherwise, leave the bag alone.

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A Word on Premade Kits…

There are tons of premade kits you can buy that already come with supplies. However, because they may not come with items you want or need, your best bet is still to build your own from scratch.

In addition, the premade kit can also be used as a springboard to create your personalized “ultimate” bug out bag.

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Watch this video posted by SensiblePrepper on how to make a DIY Walmart Premium Bug Out Bag:

There are certain things you need to remember to successfully build the best bug out bag. Do not “borrow” items from the bag for non-emergency situations.

If you do, you might forget to put the items back or replace them, and in the case of an emergency, you will be stuck without something vital that you need.

Most importantly, remember that while a bug out bag won’t prepare you for every scenario, it can still help you get to the place where you have prepared for every eventuality.

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What do you put in your bug out bag?  Have something “weird” or uncommon essentials? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Up Next: 36 Reason Why You Should Test Your Bug Out Bag Today!

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Placard | Survival Bug Out Bag | Building A Bug Out Bag

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on February 2, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy. 

17 Responses to :
Building A Bug Out Bag

  1. Ilona Kerr says:

    Something weird for your bug out bag – if you wear eye glasses and have a prescription dive mask, it can be used to replace your glasses if they are lost or broken. Can also be used as – a dive mask!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Seriously…no mention of a way to make fire?

  3. Sarah Anderson says:

    How about pets? Most of us want to have them with us.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If someone is building a ” bug out ” then they should have already know how to build a fire. If not and that person should learn how and the importance of having one. Pets other than dogs bigger than 90 pounds should be left behind. It’s tough however it’s tougher to have small pets to care for if they don’t physically contribute to the party.

    1. Dolores Reynolds says:

      Depends on the emergency, I would think. Also, even smaller dogs can carry a pack with their food/water/etc in it, and you won’t find many animal lovers willing to leave pets behind. In bringing pets you need their food, a way to feed & water them (bowl/dish/cup), and a means of control (collars/harnesses/leashes) as well as medication they may need. Pet ID’s are a must (chips & tags). Also helpful if pets are kept current on shots.

    2. Sarge says:

      I have two “small” dogs. Both are very obedient and excellent at alerting to the presence of anyone on our property WITHOUT barking. They are also very good at bringing in small game such as squirrel and rabbits (and unfortunately the occasional skunk). Yes, the food and water would be an added burden but I can see an added benefit even besides the wonderful companionship in what would be a very difficult situation.

    3. Daniel says:

      My Dog will carry her own bag.
      Also serve as early warning.
      Lord help anyone that acts aggressively
      towards me or my wife.
      Lucy will never be left behind.

  5. Anonymous says:

    A bible is essential for many of us

    1. Sarge says:

      I have a pack sized Bible with waterproof pages that I keep in a ziplock for added protection. Used it for years on missions in Africa. Now it’s in my BOB.

  6. D says:

    No dogs under 90 lbs, ha, I’ll put my Malinois up against most dogs bigger than her. She’s smarter than many people I know (including me sometimes)

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