Bug Out Bag Contents

When you're planning your bug out bag contents, you need to make sure that each and every item will help you in a survival scenario. Your bug out bag should only carry equipment and resources that will help you in the first day or two while you get out of harm's way and get settled at your safe base camp. Your bag needs to be small enough and lightweight so that you can grab and go at a moment's notice so only essential items need to go in.

Reusable Items

Your bug out bag contents will fall into two categories; reusable items which you'll use and consumable items that you'll eat or burn for energy. For the first two or three days, the list of reusable items in your bug out bag contents should be fairly minimal as you should have a plan of action to get you to a base camp where you'll have all your long term tools stored. However, you should have the following as bare essentials:

  • Waterproof clothing - don't try and fit a whole outfit as while waterproof clothes are typically designed to be lightweight, they are also bulky and will take up most of the room in your bug out bag. Ponchos are a great option as they are large enough to cover you, small enough to roll up tight and can double as a ground sheet or make shift tent if you're caught out in the rain.
  • Fire starter - matches will work fine as a fire starting option for your bug out bag as you'll only need them for a day or two. Make sure that you put them in a small waterproof container to keep them safe. 
  • Multi-tool - this could be as expensive as an e-tool which will perform multiple functions from digging latrines to hacking, or a simple army knife that will allow you to prepare food and saw branches. Try to find one that will fit in a pocket or side pouch for easy access as it can also double as a weapon for protection.

Consumable Items

The other part of your bug out bag contents packing list will be items that you will either eat, drink or burn for fuel on your way to your safe camp. These should include:

  • High calorie food bars - obviously, you can't pack any perishable foods as you'll want to be able to leave your bug out bag somewhere and not worry about rotting food. High calorie food bars might not taste as good as home made food, but they will contain all you need for a long hiking expedition. Look for ones that have high fiber and protein sources as these will keep you going for longer.
  • Water purification tablets - in a survival scenario, you can't be sure if the water in your local area will be ready to drink. Get hold of enough water purification tablets that will clean water simply by dissolving in it to provide at least two liters per day per person in your party. 
  • Hexamine tablets - hexamine burns to a temperature high enough to boil water and cook meat in less than eight minutes and will provide an ideal starter to your camp fire even in torrential rain. Make sure you keep the tablets dry so they will work as efficiently as possible.

If you’re taking any prescribed medication that should obviously be included, as should a first aid kit - and if you have a large waterproof jacket, you can place some of your food bars and smaller items in the pockets to clear some more space in your bag. As long as the pockets have strong fasteners and the items are not liable to jolt loose.

Any other additions to your bug out bag contents list will be luxuries and whether you can bring them or not will depend on whether you fit them in your bag and carry the additional weight. Be sure to try packing all of your equipment and resources ahead of time to make sure it all fits.

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