Bug Out Bag Check List

A general bug out bag check list is a tool for you to review and create your own check list. A bugout bag is a personal item and it should contain those essential items that you need if suddenly you had to leave your home. From the general checklist, you can determine what you need in your grab and go bag.


You must have clean drinking water to survive in any scenario and large amounts of water are very heavy and a challenge to carry. For short periods of time you might be able to carry enough water pouches but water related items are:

  • Water filtration equipment
  • Personal water filter
  • Canteen
  • Purification tablets
  • Water filter straws

The need for water not only for drinking but also for washing and overall hygiene makes it a very important item for your bug out bag check list.


You need to stay healthy and to be able to address any wounds, breaks or illnesses, so in your medicine kit, you should have:

  • A supply of prescription drugs
  • Antibiotic ointment and antifungal ointment
  • Scissors
  • Gauze and bandages
  • Medical tape
  • Lip balm
  • Thermometer
  • Alcohol or alcohol wipes
  • Tweezers
  • Bandages
  • Aspirin
  • Potassium Iodide tablets
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Sterile packed sutures with needle
  • Plain sanitary napkins
  • CPR pocket resuscitator
  • Scalpels

If you choose to pack sutures and scalpels, you should train to properly use these tools.

Hygiene & Sanitation

Cleanliness, sanitation and hygeine, may help you avoid some health problems so your bug out bag check list should have: 

  • Soap
  • Toothbrush and paste
  • Comb
  • Razor
  • Dish soap
  • Camping toilet


Your shelter supplies depend on your evacuation plan and where you are going. It is important to have a plan to stay dry and warm until you can access a permanent place to live:

  • Sleep pad
  • Tent
  • Tarp
  • Sleeping bag
  • Space blanket
  • Rainfly
  • Emergency thermal blankets
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Magnesium fire starter


Having the right tools for the right job holds true for post apocalyptic world as much as it does now. Basic tools on a bug out bag check list are:

  • Camp axe, machete or folding saw
  • Folding shovel
  • Flashlight 
  • Wire
  • Duct tape
  • Sewing kit
  • Nylon Rope
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Maps
  • Compass


Paying attention to any news about the world outside your own camp and communication with your family and group is an important part of survival and you would need:

  • Portable radio
  • Walkie talkies
  • Whistles


Preppers debate on using space for a change of clothes but those for carrying clothes argue getting wet can be a life or death situation and dry clothing can ward off hypothermia & low body temperature. Others however, look at the extra clothing as unnecessary, but if you are going to pack clothing, your bug out bag check list should include:

  • Pants
  • Underwear (+two pairs)
  • Socks, (two pairs)
  • Jacket
  • Hat (boonie hat if possible)
  • Boots (your own worn-in pair - to reduce blisters)
  • Bandana
  • Sunglasses
  • Gloves (rigger gloves would be ok if you dont have any)

A rain poncho or rain deflecting clothing is something you should pack whether or not you do the extra clothing.


Energy bars are the usual fare of commercially made bug out bags as well as Mountain House freeze dried meals.

Other options include:

  • Canned foods (which will add a great deal of weight, so not the best choice)
  • Dried fruit and vegetables (requires water to rehydrate)
  • Dehydrated meals (light weight, most can be eaten as it is or rehydrated)
  • Propane stove such as Coleman Max stove
  • Can opener
  • Bowl
  • Fork and spoon
  • Fishing line and hook
  • Cooking pot


In a chaotic situation where the usual supports are gone, you may need weapons to protect you and your family, which may include:

  • Firearms (Pick ones that have popular calibers  – as ammo will be scarce post apocalypse)
  • Ammunition
  • Bow and Arrow (or crossbow)
  • Alarm system

Remember that weight will be an issue. If you are not used to carrying 30 to 50 pounds on your back for long treks, then you might need to practice…or keep the weight in your BOB to a minimum.

Making your own bug out bag check list will help you organize your supplies and ensure that you don't forget any essential items. Once you go through the list and pack your supplies, you know what is in your bag and have a handy list to check when you wonder if you packed something, instead of rummaging through your bag to be sure that you have that particular something.

Check the list at least 3 times, and consider what other family members will need in their check list; as it won’t be the same as yours.

Return from Bug Out Bag Check List to Bug Out The Complete Plan

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