CONTEST POST: Eighteen Essential Items for Your Bug Out Bag by R.M.


A bug out bag is an item anyone who is even slightly invested in prepping should own. A bug out bag is a collection of things that should give you everything you need to get through the first few days on the road. You should be able to grab it in a minute, and it should be your best friend when times are tough.

Obviously what you put in your bag is of the utmost importance. Let’s look at 18 items that no bug out bag should be without.


1. An Easy-to-Carry, Weather Resistant Backpack: You will need something to store all of your goodies in. Your backpack should keep you stash warm and dry in all environments.

2. At Least 2 Liters of Water: First and foremost, you need some water. Water is the key to life, and the key to keeping yours going more than a day or two.

3. 30 Water Purification Tablets: A secondary water option for long term survival. As we will soon see, redundancy is essential.

4. Protein or Granola Bars: You’ll want some light weight, non-perishable, high calorie and nutrient food. Other good ideas are crackers and peanut butter, beef jerky, freeze dried food and MREs.

5. A First Aid Kit: A must-have for any survival kit. You can buy one, but making your own will help you get acquainted with how everything works.

6. An LED Flashlight: You will need some light for darker times. LED flashlights last longer and shine brighter. Store some extra batteries.

7. A Portable, Battery Powered Radio: This may be your only source of information while on the road. Store some extra batteries.

8. A Survival Knife: You will use this a lot for things like chopping wood, opening cans, etc. I can talk for ages on the subject but here’s a quick, important-thing cheat sheet:

  • A stainless steel or carbon blade
  • A 6-9”, single edged blade with a sharp point (nothing hooked, flat or rounded)
  • A 4-6” fixed handle, with full tang, solid pommel and no-slip grip
  • A sheath you can connect to your person, with crossover strap so your knife doesn’t fall out

9. Strike Anywhere Matches, A Piece of Emery Board, in a Plastic Container: This is your fire starting kit. The emery board is used for striker.

10. Dental Floss, Fishing Hooks and Sewing Needles: These tools can be used for:

  • Making fishing lines
  • Sewing torn clothes and fabrics
  • Stitching wounds

11. Paracord, Plastic Sheeting and Duct Tape: For making rain shelters and sealing broken windows.

12. Garbage Bags: For removing waste, and fashioning into ponchos.

13. Warm Hat, Gloves and Socks: Keep your extremities warm to maintain your body heat.

14. A Mirror: For signalling to others visually, and inspecting wounds that are hard to see.

15. A Whistle: For scaring off animals and signalling to others.

16. A Pencil Wrapped in Paper: For leaving notes to others.

17. Photocopies of Important Documents: You should have some copies of any important documents you have, such as:

  • Your passport
  • Driver’s license
  • Home and vehicle info
  • Contact phone numbers

18. A Compass and Maps of the Area: These will help you escape trouble and navigate you and your family to safety.

Keep your bug out bag in an out of the way place, but a place you can grab it quickly when needed. If disaster ever strikes, it will be your lifeline.

For more reading, check out How to Make a Wilderness Survival Kit.

Good luck and stay prepared!

Rambo Moe

To enter your own article please email me at rethinksurvival (at) gmail (dot) com with your submission and review the rules here.

Please visit these fine sponsors and learn more about the prizes below…

Fortunately, we have some very gracious sponsors who are willing to sponsor this fun contest. Please visit their sites and review the products being donating as they are certainly good people doing good things for our community. Here’s the prizes…

nano-striker-fire-starter is donating an Exotac nanoSTRIKER XL Ferrocerium Fire Starter in Olive Drab.The description says “We created an evolutionary derivative of the original nanoSTRIKER with a larger rod and striker handle. It utilizes the same innovative design as the original, but with just enough extra size and heft to improve its ease of use without making it too big or bulky for key chain carry. The striker handle is 46% bigger, making it easier to grip. The XL version also sports a 33% larger ferrocerium rod, which improves the durability and lifespan of the rod even beyond that of the original nanoSTIKERs. Slowly scrape shavings off the rod into a small pile. Use these shavings on top of your tinder bundle for even better sparks! Use the nanoSTRIKER? to light gas stoves, alcohol stoves, fuel tablets, BBQ grills, etc.”
guardian-first-aid-pack is donating an The Guardian First Aid Fanny Pack. Contents include: 1 – Fanny Pack, 1 – Eye Wash, 2 – Instant Ice Packs, 1 – 3″ ACE Bandage, 1 – Bandage Scissors, 1 – First Aid Guide, 1 – CPR Mouthpiece, 3 – Iodine Prep Pads, 6 – Pair Nitrile Gloves, 3 – 2 x 2 Gauze Pads, 4 – 4 x 4 Gauze Pads 1 – Tissue Pack, 6 – Alcohol Prep Pads, 2 – Water Gels, 1 – 1 x10 yds Adhesive Tape, 1 – Bio-Hazard Waste Bag, 1 – Box 3/4 x 3 Bandages, 1 – Tweezers1 – 4 ounce Hand Sanitizer, 2 – Eye Pads, 6 – Wet Naps, 1 – Hydrogen Peroxide, 1 – 5 x 9 Combine Dressing Bandages
ozark-mountain-gift-cert is donating $100 Gift Certificate to any of their wonderful survival courses.”Our mission is to provide the highest quality instructional courses to people who desire to pursue a self-reliant lifestyle; whether in the wilds or right at home. By blending both modern and primitive methods into our curriculum, we offer a comprehensive and practical view of survival and preparedness. Our course topics include wilderness and urban survival, fur trapping, bushcraft, primitive skills, long-term wilderness living, land navigation, home disaster preparation, outdoor cooking, food procurement and storage, foraging, wild edibles, and others.”
grow-buckets is donating a set of five Self-Watering Grow Buckets. I recently got a set and will review them soon. What is a grow bucket? “It is a 4, 5 or 6 gallon bucket altered to grow vegetables and flowers using a water reservoir in the base. Growing plants in self-watering buckets has been around for quite a while now, but our design has improved on the old method of using two buckets, one inside of the other, to create the water reservoir.”
I figured my sponsors shouldn’t do all the work, so I’m throwing in a McNett Tactical Aquamira Frontier Pro Ultralight Water Filter:
•Military edition portable water filter system with straw-style design
•Attaches directly to water bottles, cups, or bladders
•Removes 99.9 percent of Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and other contaminants
•Activated carbon improves taste; universal connectivity adapter system
•Filters up to 50 gallons; removable bite valve doubles as hanging drip filter

Author: Damian Brindle

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19 thoughts on “CONTEST POST: Eighteen Essential Items for Your Bug Out Bag by R.M.”

  1. Just what I’ve been searching for. I have to say, that this post is awesome. there is nothing more useful than good info these days, after all we do live in the information age. Thanks for the info, it is very useful.

  2. one thing i didnt see was a good water filter, some type of food (MRE’s or freeze dried), Ferro rod fire starter i use the Blast Match,xtra set of heavy duty clothes… my concept is like what was pointed out on an earlier post to be self sufficent while enroute and if Point B is compromised or their is s delay getting to point B than your giong to need these supplies.. also i have a tatical bag with weapons, gear and those necessities… if bugging out means not being able to come back than looking at the gear and supplies will have to get you thru until you can reach a BOL or a safe destination..

  3. BOB’s, the intent I alway’s dwell upon is that this is just a temporary item to get me to my home/dwelling, BOL, and not a lifestyle, tarp’s are ok, with a but, pick your color wisely, the brighter the color the easier others will pick up on that one as well, and card’s??? If you have time for a game of card’s, your not bugging out, your camping out, object is to get from point A to B with opsec in mind, either or it is a preference to your liking so go with it….

    1. What if point B is no longer a safe destination , you cant go back to point A , as it is not safe or you would have hunkered down . So now all you have is the bag of trail mix and whatever else you have neglected to pack ……thats it , thats all ya got …….hope you remembered ammo … may need it , your now a refugee . I look at it this way , If I’m forced out of my home ( point A ) I know all I literally have is what I take with me , so yeah , I pack heavy , and have both a tarp and tent . I’m also well armed , My point B or C may also turn out to be as bad an area as what I was forced to leave . Better to wing it with as much help as you can have than to have to be a complete scrounger along with the majority of the population looking for the same things you are going to be looking for . Just sayin . If you can get to point B ok , thats great , whats wrong with having more when you get there . But if you cant get there ….

      1. Also , you may indeed have plenty of time to play cards or roll dice . Your route may be full of bad things you may have no other choice than to hide out and play the waiting game till you can move again . A lot of front line soldiers play cards , it gets their mind off of where they are …..even if its only for a short time , its valuable psychologically .

  4. You have some interesting items on your list. One thing I didn’t see that seems to be a requirement for your bug out bag contents is a shelter. Whether you prefer a tarp, bivy bag or small tent, you should have something I think.

    1. I agree , tarps are cheap , light , and a lot better than being out in the open . The BOB argument will never be resolved because it absolutely a to each , their own kinda thing . One thing that may be fun if you have kids or just to challenge yourself , is to go out in your backyard with different sizes of tarps ( 6×8 , 8×10 , 10×12 , etc ) and see how creative you can be in folding them into as much of a tent as you can , see how much total coverage from the elements on all sides that you can possibly get . You will find that the bigger ones may be worth the extra bulk , then again …… all how you fold it . My personal advice about BOB’s is not to short yourself , pack as much stuff as you can reasonably carry , you can always trade or ditch it later if you find that an item is too much of a burden . To all the minimalists out there , I say this , lighter is better BUT unless your an Army Ranger and trained to deal with that kind of lifestyle …… might want to pack a few more extra things . Just sayin . I’m not an ex Marine or Ranger , so I pack some gear .

      1. I think I have a link in the “how to” section to an article that literally showed hundreds of ways to fold a tarp into some form of shelter. It was cool to see but I’m luck if I can put together two or three the right way.

  5. A pocket pistol with at least 2 spare magazines ……… BOB should be without it . Without that , the rest may not matter . Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6 . Just sayin .

    1. I recently listed to a podcast on the aftermath of a shooting from the perspective of the person doing the shooting (having to defend themselves) and it was a real eye-opener… almost makes me feel like “carried by 6” is the better option sometimes!

      1. Depends on how bad you want to live i guess . Depends on situation ……..I think it would be rather judged by 12 if it was protecting your kids ……..remorse is the luxury of the living .

  6. Excellent list of items for your BOB. Might I make two suggestions. A deck of cards to keep minds entertained. If anyone in your family has an addiction…be prepared for some tense times. I pack little nasty cigars in our bags for my sweety. I have seen him after a few hours without a smoke….I would be praying for the zombies to get him. If alcohol is the addiction, pack a few of the small airline-sized booze bottles. With severe alcoholics they can go into DT’s if they don’t have some liquor, and a seizure could kill them. This wouldn’t be the time to have someone stop drinking cold turkey.

    1. Deck of cards and a set of different ” dungeon ” dice . Dice games are good for when you have to wait but know you have to be ready to go at any moment . One time on a job site , every one of the crew had a 6 sided die in his pocket , and if there was a crappy job that nobody wanted to do …out came the dice ….low number looses .

  7. Rambo Moe, on the go, nice write, never enough said to stress the importance of having even the minimal BOB, like a fire estinguusiher, never thought about until you smell the smoke, your BOB is ready for the flame test.

  8. Good post. BOB’s are one of the most talked about item’s on sites these day’s, to be ready, an edge to make it home from work, to get to your BOL, or to just get…..a way to make it while ya sort thing’s out. I know your post isn’t all conclusive to what you had to say and as odd as it may sound ONE has to break these bag’s in to feel the load, move the item that pokes ya where you don’t like being poked, carry strap adjustment’s, hard to do in an urban enviroment, neighbor asked me why I was pushing the mower with a pack on my back, told him the mid-section was in need of reduction and the added weight made the lower gut/back muscles work harder, he thought he’d like to try it sometime himself, lol, the schmook!!!! Not redoing your post, it’s a good one, an important one, even liked the idea of carrying a few of the larger trash/leaf bag’s, to use versus raingear, or a shiney heat wrap, that plastic will hold the heat in for sure, been there done that, so I guess I’m carrrying on because it’s exciting to hear/read a good post!!!!

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