BUG-OUT BAG- What is it? And the 7 basics you MUST pack!
What is a Bug-Out Bag?
When you’re new to prepping or even just researching prepping, you will find all over the place articles and guides about how to create the perfect ‘Bug-Out Bag’. Most of them are good, but they also can looking pretty daunting. They are correct in what they are saying, but if you’re start off chances are you won’t have a mountain of supplies. That’s why we have written this. We want to keep things simple, but still give you the essentials. With that in mind if ‘SHTF’, you’ll be in a much better place than the vast majority of the population.
A Bug-Out Bag should have everything you need to survive for at least three days (72 hours). As you get more advanced in prepping you’ll be able to create different bags for different events and different lengths of time. However, there is always a limit to what you can carry, which is dependent on things like size and weight.
Here are the seven basic types of gear you will need for your Bug Out Bag:
First on the list is your water supply. It’s essential for life, and when scarce becomes an even greater commodity. The minimum amount of water for survival per person per day is one litre. Therefore, you should have at least three litres of water in your bag.
It is also smart to learn how to forage and purify water while on the move. Therefore, to expand your capability or survive longer than a couple of days you will need a water purification system. This can be as simple as boiling water and iodine tablets, or a serious water filter. Either way its highly advised you have at least one! Have a look at the Steri Pen 3 and Katadyn Mybottle below as ideal additions to your bag.
Food has to be second on the list. On the move you don’t know how long it will be before you’re safe to make camp or in a position to hunt for food. In order to survive, your food supply should help you live for three days. And how will you effectively store food in your bag? Get yourself a grip on survival food kits. These are compact, ready-to-eat meals that are packed with nutrition for your survival. In addition to meals it’s also advised you get some sort of energy bars or snack foods like Kendal Mint Cake. Obviously depending on how long and why you’re bugging out you may need to consider longer-term food sources. However, for a standard bug-out bag at least three days worth of food is good enough.
The clothes that you will pack for your bug out bag should just be like the clothes that you will bring for a trekking trip or to go bushcrafting in. They should be comfy, warm and lightweight.
As a rough guide you should look at including:
A pair of sturdy boots or shoes
A pair of long trousers (important especially if in woodland or in winter).
Two Pairs of socks (preferably not cotton as it absorbs and holds moisture)
Two Shirts/T-shirts (Maybe one long sleeve and one short sleeve for layering)
A Jacket that is both warm and protection from rain
Warm long underclothes that are designed to either keep you warm or stop you getting too hot.
A Shemagh or head-tube.
This list could go on for a while and many people would never dream of leaving their Bug-Out Bag without twice that much. But as far as the bare essentials go, this should be enough for you to scrape by for 72 hours.
On a final clothing note. You may want different clothes depending on the time of year. So consider that when choosing the clothes to take.
At a minimum you will want:
- Some type of tent or tarp and a way to set it up
- A ground tarpaulin for underneath your shelter to stay dry (really important if it’s rained or likely to rain).
- A good Sleeping bag or Bivy.
A helpful tip is to build your own Bug-Out First Aid kit. You can still buy the pre-packaged ones but sometimes you don’t need everything that is in there. Building your own first aid kit can help you in choosing those items that you would badly need in case of emergency rather than filling up your kit with useless medicines and items.
The list of things you could potentially need though is huge, and one that will take a long time to put together and likely need a few other posts. That’s not ideal, hence why we’ve suggested you build your own designed around your needs.
Plus, building your own first aid kit gives you an intimate knowledge of what it contains and how to use it. How many people buy one of those pre-made set ups and just assume they are prepared because there’s so much in them, when in reality you may not need half of it and the thing you really need just isn’t there.
Basic Gear sounds repetitive (what have we just been talking about?) but it is the category for the things you absolutely cannot live without but don’t really fit well into another category. Some of you guys who are well into your prepping and survivalism will not like this list because it is not exhaustive by any means and again is down the individual, situation and location.
Rain Gear – at least two ways to stay dry in the rain. Poncho and Coat and maybe some waterproof trousers are good coupled with your Tent/Shelter.
Fire – A bare minimum of three different ways to make fire. We found a great article about how the light a fire here: Do You have 5 Ways to Make Fire? With that you can get a flame but you will have to actually build the fire up too. Luckily for you we stock everything you need 😉
You’re also going to need something to cut your firewood and a knife uses too much energy long term. We will expand upon this in the next section.
Cooking – Bare minimum here is a small pot/large cup to boil water in for both drinking and freeze dried meals. A small backpacking stove and fuel are better. There are options from brands like Pathfinder or JetBoil which offer a range of multi-use cooking equpiment. These sorts of equipment are great because they are versatile and space/weight saving.
Light – You will want at least two dependable flashlights and a backup set of batteries for each. It’s also worth considering that one of those should be a head-torch so that you can have hands free illumination.
Knives and Tools
A survival knife is the most used and most versatile tool in your Bug-Out Bag. We’ve written a number of articles on knives and the types of knives needed for certain activities. So instead of going into all the details here, if you are interested in a knife for your bug-out bag we suggest you read one of these articles.
A knife can be used for a whole range of scenarios and the right knife can make all the difference.
On top of simply having a knife, it’s also worth looking at a multi-tool or a SAK (Swiss Army Knife). These will give you further options such a scissors, saws, screwdrivers, glass-breakers and more. By simply having one of these you open up a huge range of options for yourself. Also you get a decent tool for not a lot of money these days. Well worth investing in.
In this post we have tried to cover the essentials. Of course different situations require differing equipment. However, as far as the fudamentals go we have covered them. Bugging-Out is something we hope you don’t have to do. But, being prepared is essential and knowing how to be prepared is just the beginning . . .
If you have any other suggestions though or want to share with us what you have in your Bug-Out bag please do so either in the comments below or join us on one of our Social Media channels.