The term "bug-out bag" is related to, and possibly derived from, the "bail-out bag" emergency kit many military aviators carry. In the United States, the term refers to the Korean War practice of the U.S. Army designating alternative defensive positions, in the event that the units had to retreat. They were directed to "bug out" when being overrun was imminent. The term has since been adopted by military training institutions around the world, with Standard Operating Procedures involving a bug out location, a method of withdrawal, and the bare supplies needed to withdraw quickly but still survive in the field.[11] The concept passed into wide usage among other military and law enforcement personnel, though the "bail-out bag" is as likely to include emergency gear for going into an emergency situation as for escaping an emergency.[12]
The most important factor that will determine the right size bug out bag is your torso size. You can measure your torso by having a friend or casual acquaintance measure the distance from the top of your Iliac Crest (hip bones) up to the bony prominence at the base of your neck (the last cervical vertebrae). Knowing the length of your torso will help you choose a bug out bag that fits comfortably.
There’s no denying the that first aid kit, paracord, emergency tent, waterproof poncho, compass, tactical gloves, candles and more will all come in handy should you find yourself forced to flee with no shelter in sight. The tomahawk will also save you the need to try and harvest wood for a fire using a survival knife and the machete, beyond its obvious self-defense cred, may come in handy if you decide to hack some underbrush to make a cover for your shelter. Where this bug out bag drops the ball a bit is in having virtually no purified water (although to be fair it does include a water filter) and only a single package of emergency rations. Nonetheless if you find yourself wandering the wild due to natural disaster this bug out bag when augmented with food and water, will stand you in good stead.
An excellent resource regarding bug out bags is a new book by Max Cooper called, “Realistic Bug Out Bag, 2nd Edition: Prepared to Survive.” This is a monster book at over 600+ pages. It has scenarios, drills, and is full of useful and insightful information. I like that the author stresses planning and has a section devoted to bug out plans and how to practice & train your plan. He is also a huge advocate of designing a BOB that fits your needs based on factors that pertain to your situation. I highly recommend this book.
Customize this list to what you need for the particulars of your family. There are many other things that you can add to the list that you may find helpful depending on the vehicle you may be able to evacuate in or the modes of transportation you may use, where your planned final stop might be, or whether you have extra bodies to help carry. Use this as a starting point for what you need to do for the basics and expand it as your family needs and as circumstances dictate.
If your bag is so heavy that you can’t carry it more than a few miles, you’ll have to ditch some of the items, anyway. And what’s going to happen if you have to run from attackers, jump walls, and climb fences? Having a bag that’s too heavy could get you killed. Ideally, a bug out bag should weigh about 15% of your body weight, assuming you’re in decent shape. 20% of your body weight should be the absolute maximum.
One of the interesting findings from the survey was that the majority of Americans believe that a major catastrophe will occur within in the next 20 years. When asked how prepared they feel compared to their neighbors, half (53%) said they were “about as prepared” as those around them. Nearly ¼ (23%) said they were “more prepared” and another ¼ (24%) said they were “less prepared” than the rest of the country.
For someone new to being a Survivalist building your first Bug Out Bag can seem like a big task. Everybody you read about has been tweaking theirs for months or even years and has a pile of gear built up. It’s hard to know where to start, but if you cover all of the basics in a survival situation you will still be much better off that 99% of the people.
I think this list is good too for a person that would not be able to get home but would need to wait where they are until a family member could get to them. For instance I know someone who would have to go thru the middle of a city to get home and I know she would get lost trying to go around the town. Someone would need to go get her at her work place.
Yes, this is something that often goes overlooked. I wouldn’t COUNT on everyone being there for a bug out situation, as by nature you never know where everyone might be at the moment and if they will all be there with you, but spreading the weight across several people can make a huge difference. Suddenly an unfathomable 50 pound carry load becomes more than reasonable with a family of 5.
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Look for a pack that has multiple compartments, with pockets and organizers built in to help keep track of the small items, and try to pack your BOB strategically with items grouped that you’ll use together. Remember to pack clothes and bulky items on the bottom and heavier items at the top for better weight distribution and to ease the strain on your body.  
The Basic 3-Day Emergency Preparedness Kit is approved by the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. The American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, a volunteer committee of nationally recognized health care, aquatics, preparedness and educational professionals, helps establish and assure the scientific basis for Red Cross programs, products and public guidance. Council members’ contributions help ensure that the Red Cross is using the latest science, addressing current needs and is preparing for future changes.
If I could ask a stupid question… I’m planning on immigrating from the US to the UK where some laws are different for preppers. Things that I have here, such as my machete and combat/survival knives are illegal there. As are most firearms without extensive registering and licensing and I’m sure those few with real firearms are on a list there. And likely new immigrants are prohibited from owning firearms and most weapons in general. I also have a future wife and two children there to consider. I’m ex military and martial artist but they aren’t and I want them to be able to get prepared asap. Any suggestions? Thank you immensely for this information and for educating beginner preppers. Contrary to some posts here, many of these items, while perhaps not necessary, can make the difference between life and death or worse the deaths of loved ones. Vaseline, duct and electricical tape, socks, gloves, cotton, fishing gear, strong paracord, and much more have a wide myriad of uses. Also I would suggest getting at least basic military field medical training to treat cuts, infections, GSWs (gunshot wounds), etc. One strong suggestion, I personally would add various sized plastic Ziploc type bags and at least a couple of contractor trash bags. These are indispensable. They can help with distilling water with a solar still in even a post nuke environment, with Vaseline can patch a sucking chest wound, can keep your documents, phone and other paper or electronic equipment dry, etc… In addition, know your surroundings, what’s available, and LEARN TO IMPROVISE. Learn to make a firebow, what wood types in your environment are best, how to make your own fishhooks or fishing spear from wood or bone or scrap metal, etc. A small saw is indispensable. I also have a leatherman tool and a couple of different sized pliers as well as wire cutters and a small coil of wire…which also has a myriad of uses from securing any blade to a handle or shaft to making fish hooks, to even crafting various boobytraps and snares. Be vigilant, know your surroundings and common things and locations you see daily. Make mental note. Learn to braid paracord. Or martial arts. Your most valuable resources you can ever have are your mind and body, keep them honed and healthy and continue to learn and perfect your craft. One last note: nearly anything is possible with the right knowledge. Best wishes to all reading this. ♡
Cold Steel shovel, Crunch multitool with saw blades, lockaid “gun”, 2 qts of water, (depending upon the area) 1 plastic canteen, one plastic canteen, water filter, water treatment pills/fluids, 2 canteen cups, medical kit (to include tape and condoms) firekit, heavy-duty trekking poles, Kindle reader with survival info, “shaker” AA light with Campmor headband to hold it, keychain led light, 2 lbs of rations (almond butter, Tang, instant oatmeal, powdered Gatorade, spices, Day pack, OD green socks, underwear, sleeping/shelter gear (5 lbs) about 5 lbs of clothing/boots(beyond what you’d wear to the office) NVD goggles, about 25 lbs. 3 lbs of soft armor, 2 lbs of pistol and ammo, and possibly another 12 lbs of autorifle, silencer, scope and ammo.
Steel four in one tool which features a shovel, saw, pick, and bottle opener. 11 in 1 credit card survival tool. Machete, wire saw, camping tube tent, camouflage bag, compass, 8 inch blade, magnesium alloy fire starter, axe, 18 fortified food bars, first aid kit, 12 pouches of drinking water, military style poncho with hood and pull cord which features grommets that can be used to anchor it for rain protection or as tent as well as other purposes like as a wind shelter. US Army Survival Field Manual. Glow sticks, whistle, polar shield blanket. Three in one belt buckle (whistle, flint fire starter), weatherproof matches, ceramic knife sharpener. Lifestraw (advanced chemical free water filter which can filter up to 1000 litres of water).
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