When disaster strikes most of the time the best option is bugging in, but unfortunately sometimes you just need to get out of dodge! Bugging out is a very series decision for you and your family immediately after disaster strikes – it should not be taken lightly. In order to get ready ahead of time make sure you review our free Bug Out Bag List PDF and details below.
Check out this Guide to Bugging Out to help frame your decision making. As a Prepper you should consider all the possibilities and have the following questions thought out before you Bug Out.
- When is the right time to bug out?
- Why is bugging out the best option?
- Where do we go when we bug out?
- When should we come back home?
- What do we bring with us?
Now for the good part, the bug out bag! Every Prepper who is planning to possibly bug out should have at least 1 bug out bag prepared for their family.
Ideally everyone should have one to include the most basics – food, water, clothing, and shelter. The list below is the complete guide for anyone interested in putting together a Bug Out Bag along with this handy Bug Out Bag List PDF for future reference.
Best Bug Out Bag
Let’s start with the most important part – the Bug Out Bag. Everyone has their preference for brands, size, fit etc. Below are some top options to consider when putting together your Bug Out Bag.
Personally, I would go with a larger bag so that I can fit more sets of clothing. Also, I live further north, so in the winter my clothing takes up a ton of space. Here are some of the best bug out bags out there with different options to consider for each.
Food and Water for Bug Out Bags
When you find yourself rushing out the door, the last thing you want to do is pack your bug out bag.
Food and water are often overlooked in bug out bags due to their wasting nature. Canned food is heavy, and most other options have a short shelf life.
Consider freeze dried food as the ideal option – and look for camping and hiking meal kits for your first choice.
In addition to a water bottle or two, you should also keep handy portable water purification and filtration gear. Water is especially heavy considering each person needs 1 gallon a day minimum. Plus, when you consider your water needs for freeze dried food, it can really add up.
Make sure you always pack light and keep multiple water purification options with you. Tablets are a MUST in addition to a high-quality filter or UV device.
Nice to have:
Fire is nearly essential when you are on the go. Warmth, boiling water, cooking food – fire provides a key element to survival.
At a minimum it makes sense to keep a fire starter and windproof matches in your bug out bag.
If you wanted to upgrade, it makes sense to keep a camping stove with you as well. The MSR Whisperlite Universal is a great option because it can use different types of fuel.
Nice to have:
In an emergency, a minor bump or bruise could prove to be fatal if not properly treated. Consider a basic medical kit as essential gear when you build your bug out bag. Do you know how to stop bleeding? Can you properly clean and secure a wound? What if it needs stiches, what are your options?
Also consider stocking basic OTC medication for bugging out. If you are bugging out, things are getting ugly, and if things are getting ugly, for sure the stores will be closed!
- Small first aid kit
- OTC medication
Bug Out Bag Tools
Tools and gear are an area where you can quickly get carried away. Consider the size and weight of everything going into your bag before you make the purchase.
For anything to make the cut, it must provide a great deal of utility and weigh as little as possible.
Below are tools to consider adding to your bug out bag. At a minimum you should consider a cutting tool, a flashlight, radio, and cash and ID copies.
Consider storage for everything as well. Some gear below comes with clips so you could attach to the exterior of your bug out bag. In that case weight becomes an option, but space can be freed up.
The other items on the list below are all worthy of consideration, but not essential.
Nice to have:
Shelter and Warmth
Finding shelter on the go could be challenging. While it is probably not worth bringing a hiking tent, consider smaller shelter kits to at least provide modest protection from the elements.
Wet clothes can also be a major bummer. It’s well worth bringing a few extra sets of clothing (socks especially) to have fresh options available.
- Emergency shelter kit
- Mylar blanket multipack
- 2 Extra sets of clothing that layers
- 4 Extra sets of hiking socks
Nice to have:
While not absolutely required, the small space and weight of personal hygiene items makes them very easy to add to your bag.
Consider basic wipes or soap as well as toothbrush and toothpaste.
Also make sure to consider backup contact lenses and glasses. During a bug out type event, you don’t want to find yourself searching for your backup glasses! I would advise buying a very entry level prescription pair for your bug out bag. Who cares how fancy they may be, just that they work!
- Camping soap
- Extra contacts / Glasses
- Toothbrush + Toothpaste
Nice to have:
- Bathing wipes
Final Thoughts For Your Bug Out Bag
Bugging out should be your last resort. Staying in your home where you are better protected is by far the best option when SHTF. However, if you find yourself on the move, remember to have a quality bug out bag handy. You could buy a pre-made bug out bag if you wanted instead.
In addition to the standard bug out bag options above (detailed in our Bug Out Bag List PDF), you may want to consider some of the following based on your circumstances.