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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:

Hazard 4 Evac Plan B

Hazard 4 Evac Plan B


Water supply


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.

Steri Pen Classic 3 Katadyn Water Purification MyBottle

Food Supplies


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.

Expedition Foods Ration Pack - Chicken Expedition Foods Ration Pack - Vegitarian



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 hat

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.




For your three-day survival shelter, you would need a tent or tarpaulin and a sleeping bag so that you’ll have a warm and dry place to crash for the night.

At a minimum you will want:

  1. Some type of tent or tarp and a way to set it up
  2. A ground tarpaulin for underneath your shelter to stay dry (really important if it’s rained or likely to rain).
  3. A good Sleeping bag or Bivy.
MSR E-Bivy

MSR E-Bivy


First Aid


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.

Adventure Medical Kits - Weekender Mountain

Adventure Medical Kits – Weekender Mountain


Basic Gear


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.






17 thoughts on “BUG-OUT BAG- What is it? And the 7 basics you MUST pack!

  1. Graham Strowes - 11:32 am 30/07/15

    An often overlooked item in a bug out bag is important personal documents.
    Photocopies of passports, driving license, birth certificates, marriage certificates, property deeds, insurance documents.
    Bugging out is most likely due to house fire, flooding, storm damage, or the like.
    Not the zombiepocalypse.
    Having the information on hand to sort out your life can save lots of heartache.
    Also if you have small children, a duplicate of their favorite security toy never goes wrong.

  2. Lee - 2:16 pm 30/07/15

    You can get a Utag usb stick which stores medical infomation and also has an encrypted part where you can store documents etc.

  3. Adrian Johnson - 2:49 pm 05/08/15

    Graham is not seeing the bigger picture, you wont need any of your documents, because if you are bugging out, you are not returning home, deeds and marriage certificates can only be used against you as well as passports. When its time to “bug-out” there is no looking back. …..get out of dodge…dissappear because somebody is looking for you and you dont want to be found. I know the Zombie Apocolypse is a far stretch but ya never know. If your crossing a border? nevermind the passport. You will be more likely swimming across a body of water to get to the other side un noticed.

    Revelation 13:16-17 “And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.”

    On May 10, three members of a family in Florida became the first people to receive the biochip implant. Each device, made of silicon and called a VeriChip, is a small radio transmitter about the size of a piece of rice that is injected under a person’s skin. It transmits a unique personal ID number whenever it is within a few feet of a special receiver unit. VeriChip’s maker describes it as “a miniaturized, implantable, radio frequency identification device (RFID) that can be used in a variety of security, emergency and healthcare applications.”

    The United Nations, World Trade Organization, International Criminal Court, UN peacekeeping/police force, numerous UN NGO’s, and other agencies are preliminary steps to the formation of a one world government. We now have the communications technology, transportation, and the pro-globalization media necessary to usher in the one world government headed by the antichrist. The increasing terrorist threat and the middle east conflict will only speed up the formation of this governing body as fear and promises of better security make more people willing to give up their national sovereignty for global governance.
    Be Prepared!

  4. lyonedes - 8:02 pm 05/08/15

    I’m sure those words will manifest, but to be honest a bug out bag isn’t going to do much to help as nowhere will be unaffected. Revelations also mentions that not even seeking shelter in caves will be sufficient protection.
    It’ll be game over.

  5. Nicky Took - 9:38 pm 05/08/15

    Ade, methinks you are a wee bit loco, no? A zombie apocalypse is slightly more feasible than your brand of quasi religious nutterism. Graham, however, makes a good point, id and other documents make perfect sense, take up very little room/ weight and may come in very handy in the aftermath of any catastrophe. Perhaps you should stick to the lunatic fringe.

  6. Nexy - 10:44 pm 06/08/15

    @Nicky: I think given that most people consider those of us who have BOBs to be fringe nutjobs, name calling is less than ideal.

    As for Ade’s particular brand of scenario, zombie apocalypse is generally used as a metaphor for societal collapse. Discussing how to defend oneself with a machete from zombies, as a hypothetical, is fine. Discussing how to use a machete to stop the less pleasant elements of one’s locality from bashing one’s skull in and taking one’s valuables in the event of large scale unrest of some description… Frowned upon.

    Not saying that’s necessarily the case here, but there’s a reason survivalists talk about the zombie apocalypse and it’s not just Max Brooks.

    While I certainly find the religious component to his writing to be somewhat illogical, each to their own. And if the revelations of Snowdon and the leaks from the TTIP don’t surprise you, perhaps consider at what point you think conspiracy theorists turn to nutters. And if what we know to be true today would have been considered a conspiracy theory a few years ago.

    All that said, I kept copies of my documents in my BOB because the most likely scenarios for using my BOB are more mundane. I should probably repack it soon…

  7. Just me - 7:17 pm 07/08/15

    Em…… Right. Anyway, back to documents. I keep an iron key USB pen in my BOB and update it as and when. Very secure drive and durable, the key part is password protection, make sure it’s hard to work out. It’s got a tamper safe bit and electronically shreds info after 10 incorrect password entries. If it’s an EMP problem, this won’t work, but for most logical situations, it should be fine. Zombie apocalypse ? In that case were all stuffed in the end. I also keep a Lansky Blade medic in mine, no good have a fancy knife if you mess up the blade on hour 2. It’s compact, substantial and will get you out of a fix. A pack axe or tomahawk is good. Local (define it as you wish) area map/s. Comfort items such as playing cards or dice are good. the mostly likely event is to evac because of fire, flood, chemical leak or similar. A lot of waiting around in a village hall or somewhere else is pretty boring.

    Just a few thoughts from my corner. Anyone with a BOB is generally thought of as a nutter and we all have our niches. Let’s just hope they a never needed and we don’t have to say “I told you so” to a struggling neighbour. We can’t save them all as I was once told.

  8. Roger - 8:01 pm 07/08/15

    As a countryman, someone who loves the outdoors, lives and breaths it, eats the stuff from fresh road kill to things growing in the hedgerows and taking the wild bounty that I am legally entitled to take as I have permission from the land owners and farmers I find all this talk about BOB and NWO stuff a little on the edge of reality really and rather scary. I know it has become fashionable lately thanks to US Prepper TV shows for equipping oneself with all the gear to last a few day or longer but the skills I’ve learnt since being a boy will stand me well and all this talk of NWO taking over the world leaves me a bit disturbed that rational people are preparing for the End of Days type situation. As if anyone would survive anyway? It is common sense to have all your documentation in a fire proof file that you can take out with you if your house is on fire but really in the UK where are you all going to bug out too? An island that is so packed with people means no one will ever be anywhere alone for longer than a day and as for a prepper bunker, its not going to be allowed as the Council Planning people and local kids will sniff it out in a jiffy. I am a camping under the stars gear bloke, have candles and lights at home in case of power cuts along with a camping gas burner in case the gas is shut off but I really think some people sit down and have rational thinking session as to what is sensible. No one in the UK could take to the hills to escape a so called NWO event as they would be with hundreds of thousands of other people with the same idea and there will always be someone bigger and stronger than you.

  9. […] like your bug-out-bag, for your best headlamp choice, you want to select one that is both comfortable and lightweight, […]

  10. […] 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. Article by bug-out bag – Google Blog Search. Read entire story here. […]

  11. Anthony - 11:39 am 09/08/15

    There is some good advice given by HH here,
    But plan your kit for “indefinite” you don’t know how long a situation or event may last,
    so think long term,

    Things I would add
    Repair kit :
    (Something to fix any and all your kit, from stiching clothing, boots, tent etc, to glues and tapes)

    Stainless steel bottle/canteen:
    (You can make a very rudimentary filter with a fine piece of fabric (or a “Millbank bag”) to get the larger particles out of the water, then boil for several minutes, again renewable, long term,)

    Dynamo Flashlight/Torch:
    (You don’t need to worry about batteries,)

    An Axe/Saw:
    (Something to process wood for fire making or building a shelter)

    If you have a family with small children (in their single digits) you will need a tent, not a tarp,
    And it could be a good idea to invest in some “SOL two person Bivvy” (in fact the whole SOL line is good, But should be used has a back up and support system, but not your primary for sleep/heat) remember children can not fight off the cold like an adult can, share body heat if you can,
    Shelter and warmth are vital, windchill is your enemy, one bad night can be lethal,
    Do not underestimate this,

    If you are going to learn just one skill, learn how to make a fire, this is your most important skill,
    it keeps you warm, sterilizes your water, cooks your food,
    Learn has many ways as possible to build and create a fire, (Do not rely on just a lighter)
    invest in a thick firesteel from a reputable company (not a random ebay job)

    And Roger,
    (you wouldn’t happen to be a Freemason now would you?, I’ve heard this argument from them before….)

    Do your homework, try starting with “9/11 Building 7” or listen to what “Edward Snowden” (someone employed by the CIA and US government ) has to say, look up FEMA camps, or why they are arming police with military hardware, look up the term “Water Army” and how governments pay for internet shills and trolls, (or even how “facebook manipulate emotions”) I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea,

    But even if someone could be ignorant to the facts, I’m sure you would agree to the old Boy Scout Moto
    “Always Be Prepared”

  12. Nigel - 11:45 am 09/08/15

    I’m with Roger on this. My survival gear and knowledge will most like be used at home.
    This winter 2015/16 the UK national grid will be at its lowest spare capacity for years. If one power station goes off line we could be faced with brown outs, rolling power cuts etc.
    Forget the zombie apocalypse, just imagine a three day power cut – no petrol pumps, no frozen food, no milk. No heating (how may modern houses have a chimney).
    If you are going to be ready, you should be ready to be useful to society. If you are only ready to look after number one I probably don’t want to know you.

  13. […] person to come to you asking for help. Always have a bug-out bag ready to go. Remember our post on how to build a bug-out bag? Well that explains how to get started and how to at least ensure you have the basics readily […]

  14. Mark Watson - 12:11 pm 28/08/16

    Just picking up on this thread at a time when am considering a BOB for my car. Why do I want one? Zombie apocalypse? Nope. Natural disaster? Unlikely… I wouldn’t slate anyone’s opinions on here as each to their own and everyone should do what they think is best for them and follow their own reasoning. Personally I would go more with the theory that unlike Roger, we don’t all have the skills that maybe we should to be able to simply get by for a day or two and that being able to manage some necessities like water, fire and shelter would definitely be handy skills to have. My view is therefore simple – if I throw together a bag with a few things in it, learn along the way how to use these things, then at least I have some basic kit and some knowledge. Knowledge may be the one thing that gets you through a situation one day, however well prepared or ill prepared you are. I wouldn’t class a bag in the boot as OTT, if it gives me some options on food and drink for a start, then a massive motorway pile up (which isn’t outside the realms of possibility) may be a different story for myself and other travellers alike if needs be.
    Personally, am treating this like a bit of a hobby. You tube is great, am learning stuff, buying odd things here and there, not spending a fortune and having fun with it. If it helps me and others along the way, then all good.

  15. Johnson - 3:20 am 15/09/16

    Roger’s spot on about the impossibility of us all running en masse to the hills in the UK. I’m looking into this stuff as I’m part of the new wave of homeless folks created by the recent funding cuts for mental health and head injury patients. Ten years ago I had the support necessary to maintain a life with purpose. This support has dwindled to the point where I have no option left but to try to figure out how to live outdoors. Since my coma I have been unable to look after myself in a flat, so my chances of living well in a wood seem slim but it’s the only option other than sleeping on the street in town. Some of the situations described on this site seem a little paranoid to me, but the survival techniques mentioned will always be useful to someone in a crisis. Thanks

  16. Andrew - 9:58 am 29/12/16

    @Roger… Some of the things you have said are rather contradictory, on one hand you put down the whole BOB and preppers idea, and then say you would have your documents in a fire proof file, and have candles, lights and cooking equipment at home. So sounds like you are kind of prepped to me, only problem is all that stuff is only any good if your are in your house, and never leave your house… what if you are 20 miles away, 50 miles away, and if you are using your house fire scenario what if you are 5 minutes away on foot, your files in that 30 minute fire proof box will be destroyed before the fire is out, your candles will be melted, and your gas bottles are about to explode. I don’t think of my BOB as my last hope, I just think of it as all that useful stuff you have spread about your house in one easy to grab package. Go out in the car for the day, sling it in the boot. I am not thinking some grand worldwide disaster, I am thinking your more normal flood, fire, power cut, traffic jam scenario… even if I end up sitting in some village hall or in my car for 24 hours, I will have some dry socks and can get some warm food or drink inside me.

  17. Saul - 3:48 am 20/06/17

    Pretty sure I’m the youngest person here (17), strangely interested in prepping and survival tactics for my age but on the topic of bugging out in the UK, I currently live on a 122 km² island in the west coast of Scotland with around 7,000 people on it, a fair few of that being elderly people that (I’m sad to say) would probably die in the event of a long term disaster due to the fact that most of them don’t have wood fires or if they do, a way to fuel those wood fires because most of them won’t be able to chop wood for said fire. Along with how quickly a lot of people would leave to go and seek aid from the govt/authorities in nearby cities such as Glasgow, this would rather quickly decrease the population on the island and allow for a fair few people to survive, if they knew how. Now, in a long term situation, there would doubtfully be enough food to last everyone a few weeks aside from the deer and farm animals which are plentiful, which most people won’t be able to hunt/kill, gut and cook. But there is still the possibility of sustainable life here if you were clever/skilled enough, much like the rest of the highlands/islands that are barely populated. If you want somewhere to go in a SHTF situation in the UK, go north. Most of the people are gonna stay in the south if they’re already there.

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