Preppers Bug Out Bag – The Basics

by Mac Hanks

Welcome to Preppers Bug Out Bag where our mission is to provide you with as much useful information as possible and help you make good choices when you assemble your own customized bug out bag.

What Is A Bug Out Bag?

Red Cross Preppers Bug Out Bag

A Typical Red Cross 72 Hour Bug Out Bag

Chances are, when you’ve been watching TV or films you’ve heard a character refer to a go bag or a bug out bag. Maybe you’ve wondered just what that is or assumed it was something only the military or action film heroes used. Or worse, you’ve heard it associated with the Preppers movement and dismissed it as something only “those people in that fringe element of society would want”. While I suppose any of those assumptions could technically be correct, bug out bags are really about being prepared for sudden unforeseen events, whether those are natural or man made disasters.


In the simplest of terms a bug out bag is a portable emergency kit that contains essential items you would need to survive for seventy two hours if you needed to evacuate from a disaster area. The bug out bag is designed to be used as a short term solution in the event of an evacuation and is not a full fledged survival kit. Your bug out bag is also not the be-all, end-all solution to an emergency survival plan, it’s part of an overall survival strategy.

Why Do You Need A Bug Out Bag?

The idea behind the bug out bag is that you’re going to have it pre-packed and ready to go if a situation should arise where you need it. In fact, you may never need it or use it but but if you’re putting together a family survival strategy it’s an essential item. The reason that a bug out bag is designed to have supplies for seventy two hours is that most emergency management and disaster relief organizations have advised people that it typically takes them about seventy two hours to get into area affected by a disaster. That means three days before these organizations can begin providing relief services to people. In the event that relief services are not going to be available the bug out bag provides you with the resources to get to an area where you can find some help or to an area that you’ve designated as a meeting place or safety/shelter until things return to normal. Lastly, if you decide that the best plan under the current circumstances is to shelter in place, then the bug out bag will help you by providing you with essential items in one place rather than having to hunt around for them.

What Should Be In Your Bug Out Bag?

This can be a hotly debated topic and there’s a lot of misinformation about bug out bags that’s opinion based rather than being factual or helpful. The purpose of this website is to explain not just what a bug out bag is, but how a bug out bag works, what should be in your bug out bag, and to provide some guidance on what products to select when building your bug out bag. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” bug out bag, they are customized to meet individual needs. A bug out bag for a single adult will be different than for a couple or for a person traveling with a child.

Bug out bags should also not be the sum total of your survival strategy, you should create and put into practice a solid family survival plan (and if you’re not sure where to start you can get some free information about that here). As stated above, the bug out bag is a short term solution so don’t get caught up in the “I need to have everything I’m ever going to need in there” mindset. Remember, your bug out bag is a customized highly specialized travel kit, it needs to have the essentials but you also need to be able to comfortably carry it with you for 72 hours.

The Bug Out Bag Basic List:

Bug out bags are heavily customized but there are some basics that should generally be included in every bug out bag:

  • The bug out bag itself
  • Food & water for 72 hours
  • Water purification equipment
  • Cooking supplies – utensils, etc
  • Fire starting equipment
  • First aid kit
  • A written copy of your family survival plan that includes rally points, shelters, evacuation routes, etc
  • A survival manual/reference book
  • Maps and travel information
  • personal sanitation supplies
  • Weather appropriate clothes relevant to your locale.
  • Poncho as most of these items will be water repellent but not water proof
  • Any medications you cannot live without
  • Medical records, Identification documents. Birth cert or passport
  • Sleeping bags/blankets
  • Battery or crank operated radio
  • Two knives, a fixed blade and a folding knife/multi tool
  • Duct tape and rope
  • Plastic tarp for shelter
  • Flashlight, glow sticks
  • A compass
  • Wire for binding or animal traps (or a small fishing kit, depending on your locale)
  • Any pet, child or elder care items needed
  • Cash and coins as electronic transactions may not be working
  • Camping equipment
  • Optional – firearms and ammunition

As you can see there are quite a few bug out bag essentials. This list is by no means exhaustive. We will be covering these basic items and many more. Preppers Bug Out Bag will review several items in each category in a variety of feature and price ranges to help you make educated decisions when building your own customized bug out bag.

We’ll be taking a beginners approach and starting with the bag itself, something that many lists and sites forget to even talk about. Different items will have their own categories and we’ll add items every couple of days in various categories. All you’ll need to do is click a category name over on the right hand column to get a list of items reviewed for that category. Reviews will include links to places where you can purchase the items for competitive prices in order to get the most bang for your bug out bag buck. Again, we’re here to provide you with the news, reviews, tips and plain talk so you make educated decision as you put together bug out bags for you and your family.

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