Bugout Bags: What to Include in  Disaster Survival Kits or Add to Readymade Bags

Bugout bags or grab bags should provide you with enough supplies to get you through, at a minimum, the first 72 hours of an emergency. You can purchase ready-made bags or you can stock your own, but carefully consider what you must have to get through three days.

Ready Made Survival Kits

You can purchase fully supplied backpacks with all the basic gear to last you 72 hours. Survival-Goods.com offers the $25 fanny pack for one that includes: 

  • Battery operated AM/FM radio
  • Hand Squeeze flashlight
  • Food bars
  • Water Pouches
  • Solar Blanket
  • Water proof matches
  • Dust mask
  • First Aid Kit
  • Wet Nap
  • Auto Emergency Instructions

The ReadyStore offers the Deluxe All-In-One Kit for four people and the 138-piece kit includes buckets to be used as portable toilets with liners as well as some tools and tube tents costing about $320. If you should decide to make your own bugout bags, looking at what is contained in the ready made kits, will give you a checklist for what you need.

The Bag for Bugout Bags

You should choose a sturdy backpack that fits your body type comfortably, that is large enough to carry your needed supplies but light enough that you can carry it easily. It is important that you carry only those things that are essential so by choosing a bag first, then filling it, will limit the amount of items you can take with you and force you to take only the essentials. 


Water is essential for your survival, as you can go without food for days but you can't go without water. You can pack water-purifying devices, such as straws, purification tablets and filters. The SureAqua filter water bottle has a straw filter that you can remove and drink directly from streams and rivers. The ReadyStore carries Daytrex water pouches with a shelf life of 5 years, although it will add pounds to the overall weight of your bugout bags.


Energy bars are the most popular food source for those on the move; as are meals ready to eat (MRE), which you prepare right in its packet. Some people dehydrate their fruits, vegetables and make their own jerky. 

Mountain House has a 29-meal bucket of freeze-dried main entrees that are pork, shellfish and tree-nut free costing about $80. The downside for the freeze-dried foods is that they require water for preparation to eat so you would need a substantial water supply.


The Wenzel Pine Ridge 5 Person Tent weighs a little over 10 pounds and will hook to your backpack and has a waterproof rip stop floor, is wind and water proofed and has a zippered door. It costs under $110 but Wenzel has tents for three, two and one person. Tube tents are an option as well for bugout kits.

Heat and Warmth

If you evacuate to a shelter, having your own bedding could be to your advantage. Packing an emergency blanket or wool blend blankets in your bag will provide added warmth.

You should have matches in a waterproof container and some other fire-starting source. A magnesium fire starter is an option, where you cause magnesium shavings to spark and ignite kindling.

Health Items

You should have at least a basic first aid kit and you should keep a supply of three days of prescription medicine in your bugout bags. Each time you fill the prescription, switch out the old meds with the newly filled prescription.


You should have some type of money on you. The Prepper Project reminds people that coins made before 1964 contain 90% silver. Having some cash or even gold, could strengthen your bargaining position for an essential product or service.

Packing bugout bags is a personal task that is unique to you, your family and your particular situation. The grab and go bag is a bridge to get you to the next step of survival or it could mean just getting you over the initial power outage as you prepare to return to your original home. You should carefully consider what you must have, practice carrying it and repack it until it is comfortable to carry everything that you really need.

Return from Bugout Bags to Bug out The Complete Plan

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