The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List: Multipurpose Gear

bug out bag

October 7, 2023 / Comments (4)

Bug Out Bag

Does Your Bug Out Bag List Have These Versatile Items?

There are literally hundreds of items (big and small) to consider when preparing your bug-out bag list. It’s the one bag in the house that has been packed and repacked over and over. You might discover a new piece of gear to replace an old item.

But then, somehow, those ‘replaced items’ get packed back into the bag to go with the item(s) you replaced them with, etc. Before you know it, you have a bag packed full of survival gear! Every person with a bug out bag knows exactly what I’m talking about.

What most people don’t consider in the beginning stages of prepping is that when you pack an item, you should ask yourself, “Does this item have multiple survival uses?”

Not that an item that has only one intended use is a bad thing, but when preparing your bug out bag list, you should try to think of multiple uses for every item. For myself, I like to have at least two or three survival uses for something. This method saves space and time.

It is important to remember that you do not want your bug out bag to be too heavy because if you are ever faced with an emergency and have to travel on foot, you do not want too much extra weight on your back. (Easier said than done, I know.)

I have made a list of 10 items that have multiple uses and they will not take up a lot space in your bug out bag, which is a plus!

1. Multi-Tool


  • Cut or saw wood
  • Building a shelter
  • Open cans and bottles


  • Cut cordage
  • Snip wire
  • File things down (wood, soft metal, etc)
  • Can be used as a screwdriver (most multi-tools have Phillips and flathead attachments)

…And so much more! The uses for a multi-tool are almost limitless. Get one today!

2. Duct Tape


  • Repair numerous things – like your shelter, for example
  • Apply for extra security on bandages
  • To make cordage
(Image via)

(Image via)

Duct tape is a necessity in any type of survival kit or bag.

Tip: To save on space, wrap duct tape around a store gift card (an invalid one of course) or something of similar shape that is also flat. Wrap the duct tape around the gift card about 10 times and keep 3 or 4 of these in your bug out bag. You’d be surprised how much tape you will actually have on hand using this method. It takes up almost no space at all.

3. Bandana


  • Signal device (bright colored ones are perfect for signaling)
  • Bandage
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(Image via)

  • Cordage (rip into sections and tie sections together)
  • Face or head protection (wrap around your nose/mouth area or use as a hat to protect yourself against the elements – cold, heat, etc.)
  • Makeshift carrying bag

Since bandannas are lightweight and take up such little space, I recommend carrying 5 in your bug out bag.

4. Tarp


  • Shelter
  • Signaling device

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  • A cover to keep your things dry
  • A makeshift hammock to keep you off the ground

5. Paracord


  • Building a shelter
  • Assembling a snare

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  • Climbing and descending (I typically carry 550 cord which would be safe for 1 person to use for this purpose)
  • Security for a makeshift sling or splint for an injury
  • Fishing line

Check out this awesome article, 80 Uses for Paracord, for more great ideas! No bug out bag list is complete without plenty of paracord!

6. Zip Ties

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(Image via)


  • Gear repair
  • Attach items to the outside of your pack or your belt
  • Secure shelter

7. Garbage Bags


  • Poncho
  • Shelter
  • Container for water
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(Image via)

  • Waterproof protection for your gear
  • Stuff garbage bags with leaf debris (can be used as insulation in cold weather or simply as a pillow)
  • Use it as a carrying container for random items you may find along the way. (If you are in a true wilderness survival situation always be on the lookout for things you can use. Remember: Another man’s trash is another man’s treasure)

8. Whistle

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(Image via)


  • Signaling for help
  • To scare off an attacker (If you are in a public place and someone with obvious ill intentions is coming toward you…..USE YOUR WHISTLE!! Be as loud and annoying with it as you can. Remember, the last thing a criminal wants is unwanted attention! They will run!)

9. Tampons


  • First aid bandage
  • Fire tinder
  • The string of the tampon can be used as cordage (it’s not much but any cordage is better than none at all)

tamponSome folks are surprised to see this on by bug out bag list… until they realize how useful it is. Check out my article, 5 Surprising Survival Uses for a Tampon, for additional uses.

10. Hammock

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(Image via)


  • For sleep (obviously). It keeps you off the ground which provides extra protection against the elements (cold, wet ground, etc.).
  • Improvised gill net (netting type hammock)
  • Improvised carrying bag (cloth-type hammock)

You'll be glad you added this to your B.O.B. – Double Camping Hammock With Tree Straps and Carabiners- Lightweight Portable Parachute Nylon for Backpacking, Recreation, Beach, Travel, 20&l=am2&o=1&a=B01FXUAL4Q

Essential Homemade Weapons | Essential Homemade Weapons for When SHTF Bug Out Bug | The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List: Multipurpose Gear

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 17, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

4 Responses to :
The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List: Multipurpose Gear

  1. Dave says:

    A joke way back when asked, “What do you call a [ethnic reference deleted] that has no dogs ???” A – “A vegitarian”…
    “What about one who has many dogs ???” A – “A rancher”….
    PC aside, a VERY big problem will be the day AFTER you ate your last MRE.
    Y’all BETER be thinking about what you are willing to put that bullet into that will feed your family. VERY few households have only one person to care for.
    I’m thinking that a comfy campsite within walking distance to the nearest SPCA
    facility might work. ANYTHING, once it’s cleaned and skinned-out will make you a hero provider around the cooking fire.
    OH YEAH…. The ‘BOB’ necessities; how about a super large bottle of Phil’s Cajun Seasoning.

  2. Whaledriver says:

    Most city dwellers have absolutely no idea how to survive on their own. If there’s some natural calamity, too many people are going to perish needlessly.

    I’ve been through four military survival courses (three of them specialty courses: arctic; desert; and jungle) and years of training in mountaineering. The longer you have to depend upon yourself in a survival mode, the more training you’ll need.

    Get geared-up — then get trained.

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