I agree with all except this one, “you should carry a water filter instead.” That water filter does NOT filter viruses which can incapacitate or kill just as quickly as can the bacteria it does eliminate. Carry purification tablets & a couple gallon sized double-ziplock baggies or an aluminum/titanium pot (multiple uses) or learn about SODIS instead. Why plan to fail?

At 70 years young I have survived many natural disasters. These include tornadoes, wild fires, earthquakes and many hurricanes. In each case the “government” did NOT show up within 72 hours! That is why I never recommend a 72 hour BOB. My personal BOB is packed with enough light weight food to last two weeks. To accompany these provisions I always carry snare wire and a light weight fishing kit. I also carry at least two books, a wild edible foods guide and a book on medicinal wild plants and how to prepare them. All of these should be used from day ONE. Reserve the food you carry in your BOB for those unlucky days when you can find nothing else to eat. You WILL last a lot longer if you do and you will not starve to death.
Packing a bug out bag can seem overwhelming as the task of not forgetting something important can be daunting. There are many checklists out there that will tell you the essential items you should always keep in your bug out bag. You can buy an already packed Bug out Bag, like this one here- Urban Survival Bug Out Bag, which contains essentials items like food, water, and a first aid kit. You can also check out our Bug Out Bag Checklist and personalize your bag yourself.

When creating your plan, make sure that it can be used for the many different worst-case scenarios that can happen. Take a look at the different types of disasters that are likely to happen in your area and make sure you have a deep multi-scenario plan for each.Some people fall into the trap where they think that they are prepared, but it's been so long since they have checked in on that plan that they really don't remember it, or circumstances have changed that make it important to change your plan. For instance, you may have some food stored up, but have you checked the expiration dates lately?
But how do you pack effectively and what exactly should you be packing? In this 72-hour kit checklist, we explore questions you should consider prior to packing and break down your pack into things you need, things you’ll want, and what’s nice to have in an emergency situation. You can also take a look at premade 72-hour kits you can buy here and then consider what you want to add to them.

On another note, the only thing I had trouble with was #1. Yes, sleeping bags are big and fat and are a pain to carry, but they will make up for it in heat. You need that heat, at least here in the Pacific Northwest where I live. You use a space blanket or bivvy, you get either a miserable night (lucky), or hypothermia (normal). I wouldn’t mind packing a bivvy instead if I lived in a warmer climate, but seriously, don’t skimp on the sleeping bag.


The biggest misconception about bug out bags is the idea that the contents in and of themselves will be enough to keep you alive. The truth is that the contents of your bug out bag are only as good as the individual using them. If you don’t know how to make the most of the contents of your bug out bag or ration them appropriately, they won’t help you survive any more than a firearm without any ammunition. You should always take the time to familiarize yourself with the contents of your bug out bag and feel comfortable using everything so that you’re best prepared when TEOTWAWKI does occur.
Have an extra set of clothes good for whatever season you’re in, plus extra socks. Keep a good, sturdy pair of shoes handy in case you have to walk. You’ll want to have dry clothes available if you get wet, be able to layer on more if it is cold, and change into something clean if you get hot and sweaty or dirty. If you’re wet, having something dry to change into will be a useful thing.

Size – Everyone overestimates how much they’re carrying when they go backpacking (if everyone who claimed to carry a 100 pound pack actually did we’d have thousands of hiker deaths every year in the US alone). But a survival situation is one time when you need to be cold-light-of-day honest about how much you can carry and what that load should be comprised of to give you the best possible chance of survival. As a general rule you shouldn’t carry more than 15 or 20% of your body weight, which for most people will be between 20 and 40 pounds. With this in mind you’ll want to take into consideration the weight of the pack itself (which must be deducted from the total load) and its volume so that you wind up with a bug out backpack that can carry the appropriate amount of supplies.

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.
On point number 9. It is best to try and reduce the carry weight but having utensils can drag you down. One solution that I have used is to take a frisbee instead of a plate. Its lightweight, easily cleaned, can be a water dish for any pets, they can be brightly colored for signaling and it has the added bonus of being a toy. A little stress relief can go a long way when times are rough.
The majority of Americans feel that a significant natural disaster will occur within the next 25 years. 64% said they believed a significant earthquake would hit. 63% said a significant hurricane and 29% said that a pandemic, such as a super-virus would occur. Nearly 3 out of every 4 people (71%) believe that disaster in our lifetime will be an act of God, not man. With that being said, 55% of Americans believe that a terrorist attack could occur within the next 25 years. 51% believe that a financial collapse could occur while 14% fear a nuclear fallout.
A while ago I wrote an article called 100 Survival Items You Forgot To Put In Your Bug Out Bag. Several readers complained, saying things like, “How the hell am I supposed to fit all this stuff in my bug out bag?” Well, you’re not. The point of the article is to tell people about any items they would have included but either forgot about or hadn’t considered yet.
Another factor that affects comfort is the pack’s ability to breathe and dissipate the heat that your body generates as you move. The major area where heat builds up when you’re wearing a bug out bag is along your spine. This is why certain models offer a mesh back panel that creates a small gap between your back and the back panel of the bug out bag. Even a small space here can dramatically improve heat loss and help your body stay cool.
Great read & outstanding list of items. Extremely helpful & very much appreciated. While I’ve found over the decades that there are usually several ways to accomplish most things, focusing on the core items/goal while adapting to the situations & environment an individual(s) find themselves in is crucial. You can have everything known to man & still have limited skills/experience leaving you vulnerable. You can have all the skills but arrogance & overconfidence can do you in. Applicable intelligence, balance in actions/approach to problem solving on the fly & practice with skills/preps can make the difference in most cases. So one has a 35 year supply of beans and rice, great to have no doubt, but who wouldn’t trade some of it for a coke and some M&Ms for normalcy occasionally? That may be just enough encouragement to get the companions/family through to safety. Again, it’s all a wag for the most part…do what preps you can, develop usable skills…plan, persevere & prevail. Fantastic prep checklist & ideas…thanks! Proverbs 27-17…As iron sharpens iron, so on man sharpens another!
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