Bug out bag essentials

In today’s unpredictable world, being prepared for emergencies is not just a choice; it’s a necessity. Whether it’s a natural disaster, a power outage, or a need to quickly leave your home, a well-prepared bug-out bag is your first line of defense. This guide aims to equip you with the knowledge and tools to build a bug-out bag that’s tailored to your unique needs and circumstances, ensuring that you’re always one step ahead in the game of survival.

what is a bug out bag?

A bug out bag (BOB) is a portable kit that normally contains the items one would require to survive for 72 hours when evacuating from a disaster. It’s also known as a 72-hour kit, a grab bag, a battle box, a Personal Emergency Relocation Kit (PERK), or a quick run bag (QRB).

The focus is on evacuation, rather than long-term survival, emphasizing the essentials for survival: water, food, shelter, warmth, and first aid supplies. The concept is popular in survivalist, prepper, and emergency preparedness circles.

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Why is it called a bug out bag?

The term “bug out bag” originates from the Korean War, where “bugging out” referred to the U.S. military’s need to rapidly withdraw from a position or retreat from a threatening situation. This term evolved to mean leaving quickly under pressure or escaping an immediate threat.

The “bug out bag” is so named because it contains essential items that would allow someone to “bug out” or leave quickly in the event of an emergency. It’s a prepared kit that one can grab at a moment’s notice. It’s designed to sustain a person for a short period while they escape from a dangerous situation to a safer location.

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A bug out bag vs. a go bag

A bug out bag is designed for 72-hour survival during emergency evacuations, containing extensive survival items. A “go bag” is more versatile for various urgent situations, equipped with basic necessities for short-term use.

While both are for quick departures, bug out bags focus on emergency survival, and go bags are for general, unplanned needs.

Bug out bag vs. emergency kit

A bug-out bag is for on-the-go survival during a forced evacuation, while an emergency kit is for sheltering in place during a crisis, with supplies for several days in a stationary location.

The bug-out bag is more personal and portable, whereas the emergency kit is larger and less mobile.

Bug out bag essential items

When preparing a Bug Out Bag, it’s important to customize its contents to your specific needs and the potential situations you might encounter.
Factors like climate, geography, personal skills, and the nature of potential emergencies in your area should guide your choices. Besides, it’s important to consider the needs of each family member, including children, the elderly, or even pets.

The goal is to have a well-equipped, yet manageable bag that aids in survival during the critical first 72 hours of an evacuation. Here’s a detailed list of essentials, categorized for your easy reference.

Food and Water

  • Water bottles or hydration bladder, at least one liter of water per day.
  • water purification tablets, a portable water filter.
  • Non-perishable, high-energy food (energy bars, MREs, dried fruits, nuts, ready-to-eat meals, etc.)
  • Cooking equipment like a small portable stove, fuel, and a lightweight pot or pan.

Shelter and Warmth

  • Compact and lightweight tent or tarp
  • Sleeping bag
  • Reflective, space-saving emergency blanket


  • Durable and weather-appropriate change of clothes
  • A lightweight raincoat or poncho
  • Hiking boots or trail shoes
  • Several pairs of moisture-wicking socks

First Aid Kit

  • Basic Supplies (bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze, tape, pain relievers, and any personal medications.)
  • Tools (scissors, tweezers)
  • A booklet on basic first aid procedures

Documents and personal items

  • Identification (passport, driver’s license, ID cards)
  • Important Documents (insurance, medical records, emergency contact numbers.) in a waterproof container.
  • Cash (small denominations)

Tools and equipment

  • Fully charged cell phone with charger
  • A fully charged power bank 
  • A hand-crank emergency radio
  • Map and compass
  • Knife or Multi-tool
  • Flashlight or headlamp (extra batteries)
  • Fire starting tools (matches, lighter)
  • Whistle
  • Signal mirror
  • Duct Tape and Paracord


Assembling your bug-out bag is the first step towards proactive preparedness in an unpredictable world. The items listed here provide a foundation, but remember, the best bug out bag is the one that suits your personal needs, the local environment, and the specific risks you may face.

The best time to prepare is now, long before you ever need to rely on it. Regularly review and update your bag to keep it relevant, practice using your items, and stay informed. By being prepared, you stand ready to face any situation with confidence, knowing you have everything you need to overcome the challenges ahead.

Our bug out backpacks and bags, designed for emergencies, are durable and versatile. They provide plenty of storage and are made from strong materials. Trust our products to be your reliable partner in readiness.