Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials

must have bug out bag essentials


This post Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials originally started out as a checklist for our website. But as it grew I knew I would end up turning it into a post so here it is hope you enjoy.

Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials

We will list the Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials first on our list and then what we feel are important items to add.

First of all, you will want a way to carry your must have bug out bag essentials in either a bag or pack. You want your pack to be sturdy, durable and preferably with an internal frame. Choose a pack that is of neutral color Black, brown, do not choose a bright color pack or bag.  Look at the packs listed here one of our favorites is the  Monkey Paks Tactical Backpack with Hydration Water Bladder.

Also, check these packs and bags.

small-tachtacle, Bug Out Bag Essentials, Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials

Bug Out Bag Essentials, Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials

Bug Out Bag Essentials, Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials

Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials


Staying hydrated is an essential part of survival. You will need at minimum one liter a day for each person in your group. Water can be carried with water bottles or canteens. Collapsible water bottles will save space in your pack. If you choose a pack with a hydration system your one step ahead. You will also need water filters or another way to purify your water. Find water bottles, filters, and purification supplies in addition to other hydration needs.

Water Bottles, Filters and Purification 


While water is first on our list shelter is one of the most important must have bug out bag essentials.  For shelter, you will want something to protect you from the weather rain, snow, the wind and the sun. While shelter can be anything from a garbage bag or a cabin in the woods. A shelter is also clothing, sleeping bags and or blankets. Tarps make great temporary shelters drape it over a rope or tree limb and you have a quick shelter.

Look at this article in Boy’s Life Magazine on building shelters.   You want to consider lightweight backpacking tents also emergency shelters like tube tents.   Finally look at lightweight backpacking sleeping bags as part of your shelter needs.

Heat and Fire Starting

A heat source will be necessary for not only keeping you warm but for cooking and purifying water. You will need at least 3 ways to start a fire. Rubbing two sticks together is a great skill to have but not always practical. Bic lighters, magnesium fire starters, and waterproof strike anywhere matches are all great choices. Add a few of these fire starters to your Bug Out Bag Essentials.

You will also want to consider body warmer pads these pads will give sustainable heat for up to 24 hours. You can use these pads with a lightweight sleeping bag or wool blanket and sleep warm all night. Body Warmer Pads


This would be obvious right? Guess how many people don’t think of it? Because the bug out bag is normally designed for 72 hours some people don’t think of food as a necessity. We’re here to tell you food is necessary for a survival situation. You’re burning calories and energy so you will need to replace those. Many members of our team only carry some beef jerky and food bars.  This is fine for one or two people but traveling with children you will want something more substantial. Try these freeze-dried foods for great taste and nutrition. You will also find a wide selection at your local outdoors store or Wal-mart.

First Aid 

This is where we are not medical professionals and that you should take a basic first aid course. Contact the American Red Cross or your local Red Cross chapter for more information. Also, make sure you have all the prescribed medications you or your family may need in your bag.

After you have taken the basic first aid course make sure you have a good First Aid Kit. You will also want a good first aid manual to refer to.  Recommended First Aid Manual.  Also Recommended First Aid Kits. Also, see this post-Basic Medical Kit For Your Bug Out Bag

Protection, Security and the Proper Mindset

This is a very personal thing and you need to consider it carefully. No matter what weapon you choose, get to know it well Your life could depend on it. If you choose a firearm, get training on how it works, how to clean it, and how to use it properly.

Keep in mind that any weapon is there to protect you and members of your group so choose well. And most noteworthy of all is the proper mindset. If you don’t feel you can take another life to protect yourself or family you won’t last long post SHTF.

Survival Tools

Survival tools include Knives, machete, ax or hatchet, and of course the ever popular multi-tool. Check out Northwest Survival Supply for all your survival gear needs


A good LED flashlight comes in real handy and might just save your life or someone close to you. Always have extra light sources and batteries ready for when one fails. Everyone on our team carries a headlamp for hands-free operation and at least two other light sources.

Suggestions would be Miniature flashlights, Keychain lights, and as already mentioned headlamps.


Include in this section hats, wool socks, rain gear or poncho, underwear. Also short and long sleeve shirts, extra pants preferably not jeans. Layers work best so that you can add or subtract as needed.


especially relevant here is you are in a crisis SHTF situation and hygiene practices are important. In this type of situation, diseases can be spread  and  staying healthy is of the up most importance.

Hygiene items to include are hand sanitizer, toilet paper, soap, wet naps, and don’t forget sanitary needs for women in your group. Also, include a toothbrush and toothpaste, and any other items you might think of.


In any survival situation, you can’t always count on your cell phone to be working so you will need someway get news and communicate with your group.

Because you will want to keep in touch and know what is happening we recommend the following communication gear.

KAITO KA500 VOYAGER SOLAR RADIO. Operate on 3 AA batteries, hand crank or solar and weighs in at less than 3 pounds.

KAITO KA350 VOYAGER TREK SOLAR/CRANK AM/FM/SW NOAA WEATHER RADIO FLASHLIGHT.One of the best parts about this radio is it can be charged 3 different ways. You can charge it with the simple dynamo hand-crank. Or set out in the sun and the solar panel will charge the built-in battery. You can even plug it in and charge it via USB. Plus the built-in lithium rechargeable battery will even help you charge other USB powered devices (like cellphones) with ease, meaning you’ll never be without the ability to use your favorite portable electronics.

Another communication tool you will need is communication within your group. So we suggest high-powered handheld radios like the ones here.

Those were all the must have bug out bag essentials we keep in our bug out bags. the heaviest bag in our group weighs in at 38.5 Lbs. and includes a few extra items. Below you will find a few miscellaneous item you will also want to include in your own bag.

Other Must Have Bug Out Bag Essentials


  • Compass
  • Maps of the area
  • Very loud whistle (especially for children)
  • Paracord
  • Duct tape
  • Fishing line and assorted hooks
  • Extra batteries
  • Wire for making snares
  • Sewing kit
  • Sun Glasses
  • Reading Glasses
  • Insect repellant

Consequently, this is not a comprehensive list you will add or subtract items as needed and let us know if you would like to see something added to the list.

Affiliate Compensation Disclosure. From time to time, we promote, endorse, or suggest products or services of others. In most cases, we will receive compensation – either as an affiliate with a commission based on sales or with a free product to review or use. Our recommendations are always based on (i) our personal belief in the high quality and value of the product or service, and (ii) our review of the product or service, or a prior relationship or positive experience with the sponsoring person or organization

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