Bug Out Bag Survival Kit:
Essential Supplies for an Emergency Survival Bag


The major part of your bug out bag survival kit plan needs to focus on keeping you and your party alive and healthy for the first few days. The kit should have enough medical equipment to deal with small and medium injuries as you travel to your safe destination, where hopefully you will have been able to put together a field surgery kit for the long term.

Essential Supplies

Your medical bug out bag survival kit doesn’t need to be big or bulky, as this will only slow you down as you try to get to safety. In fact, your kit only needs the following essentials to keep you going:

  • Bandages and tape – these have multiple uses, from strapping joints into place to avoid further ligament damage to providing support in the case of broken limbs. Many survival experts prefer tape to safety pins as it tends to be stronger and more flexible for larger bandages. Try to find cotton bandages as they can double up as blood cloths.
  • Band aids – you need to find the right balance between not taking enough band aids for your whole party and having too many shapes and sizes which will take up precious space in your bug out bag survival kit. An ideal compromise is to find band aid rolls which will allow you to cut off the desired amount. You will need to put a bandage over the top as the sides of the band aid won’t be sealed. However, you can use it to address any size cut on any part of the body. 
  • Anti-septic wipes and solution – the biggest danger to anyone suffering an injury during a survival situation is infection. You may be miles from the nearest set of antibiotics, so your first priority will need to be to clean out the wound as best you can, using the wipes. The solution can be used with the bandages for deeper and wider wounds as well as topping up used wipes. 
  • Pain medication – whether its aspirin, paracetemol or codeine, you will need some form of pain relief in your pack as there won’t be time for long breaks. Pain medication will help your injured party keep going for longer and can also be used for smaller pains like headaches and toothache both of which will make people feel like going slower. 

Other Bug Out Bag Survival Kit Equipment

If you have space in your bug out bag survival kit, you should add the following items in this order:

  • Sterile gloves – these need to be in the right size for the designated medic in your survival party. You should aim for non-latex gloves just in case someone in your party has an unknown allergy.
  • Field surgery kit – this will include suture thread, needles, small clamps and skin scissors and will help you to fix any large wounds. Make sure that you have someone in your team who feels comfortable to do field surgery under pressure and can do a reasonable job of sewing skin back together. Pig skin from a butcher can be a good way to get some practice.
  • Burn cream – you’re unlikely to have use for this until you start lighting campfires, but if your survival plan calls for an overnight stop somewhere, then this is useful to have on hand to stop the pain and clear the infection.

You might also include:

  • Dental floss (for suturing)
  • Bandana (tourniquet, sling)
  • Tweezers
  • Bouillon cubes, tea bags and instant coffee packs
  • Bandage scissors
  • Hand sanitizer

It is possible to find a ready-made bug out bag survival kit, but by choosing this option, you lose your ability to pick out the best equipment in each range. You may also find that you don’t have enough equipment or you’re carrying way too much. Building your own kit means that you have the peace of mind about the quality of the contents of your kit.

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