Among survivalists it’s called a “Go Bag” or “Bug Out Bag”, or just “BOB”, but no matter what you call it, it could be your most essential piece of survival gear. It is basically a large survival kit that’s filled with everything you need to survive during and after a disaster. Your Go Bag allows you to quickly grab what you need should you be forced to get out of dodge in a hurry.
FEMA and the other preparedness agencies of the world will tell you that your bag should have enough supplies to last for at least 72-hours. Since most major disasters will disrupt services and your normal life for a lot longer than three days, it’s best if you have stuff in your bag that will get you by for longer than that.
There is, however, only so much you can carry, but The official US Army Survival Manual says even the smallest survival kit, if properly prepared, is invaluable when faced with a survival problem.
Your Go Bag should be packed and ready, and easily accessible whenever you should need it. You may want to keep your Go Bag in your car, or your designated “Bug Out” vehicle. Each family member should have their own Go Bags stocked with the baseline essentials, and other more specific items based on their age, gender, and other personal needs.
You need to take your Go Bag with you when hiking, camping and traveling by boat, or any other means of transportation where you may wind up in a survival situation.
How much equipment you put in your kit depends on how you will carry the kit. A kit carried on your body will have to be smaller than one carried in a vehicle.
Always layer your Bug Out Bag, keeping the most important items on your body.
For example, your knife and compass should always be on your body – or in the most readily accessible pockets of your backpack.
Here is a list of the essentials, but make sure your Bag is built to fit your needs; some people may need items that are not on this list.
- Individually sized Backpack/Rucksack
- Drinking Water—(3day supply, minimum 8 oz per person per day)
- Food—nonperishable, easy to prepare items (3day supply, minimum 1200 calories per day)
- Batterypowered or handcrank/ solar Multi-band/NOAA Weather Radio
- First aid kit
- Multipurpose tool
- Pocket Compass (see tips on how to use)
- 8feet x 10feet Plastic Tarp
- Emergency blanket
- All Weather Pocket Size Sleeping Bag
- 36 Hour Emergency Candles
- Flint Fire Starter & Striker
- Storm proof/water proof matches
- Disposable Lighters
- Sun Screen – at least spf 30
- Dust/ Bio-hazard Mask
- Compact Folding Stove & Fuel Tablets
- Portable Water Filter
- Water Purification Tablets
- 2.5 Gal Collapsible Water Carrier
- Rechargeable batteries (AA/AAA) and Solar Battery Charger
- Heavy Duty Poncho
- Light Rain Poncho
- Bio-Hazard Mask
- Change of clothes and a warm hat· USB Cigarette Lighter Charger Adapter
- Sewing Kit
- Water Proof “Personal Communications Pouch” – including Permanent marker, paper, tape
- Duct Tape
- Compact Folding Shovel/Hatchet/Hammer 6-in-1 Survival Tool
- Pry Bar and Gas Shutoff Tool
- Leather Work Gloves
- 2- 4 Light Sticks
- Safety Goggles
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- ¼ inch x 50 ft Polypropylene Rope
- 50 ft Nylon Utility Cord
- Siphon Hand Pump
- Map(s) of the area
- This Handbook
- Hammock system.
- Ground pad, foam, or inflatable.
- 50 gallon drum liner bags, at least 2
- Head net, to keep bugs off
- Leather, or mechanic’s gloves
- Sports tape, to prevent sore feet
- Good supply of Imodium, Tylenol, anti- histamine, and laxatives
Essential but non-emergency/survival items
- Extra cash
- Deck of playing cards
- Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
- List of emergency point-of -contact phone numbers
- List of allergies to any drug (especially antibiotics) or food
- Copy of health insurance and identification cards
- Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
- Extra keys to your house and vehicle
Even the best of kits should never be considered “complete.”
The above outline and details are intended to provide you with the “baseline essentials” of a Bug Out Bag. You will want to customize your Bag to your individual size and physical abilities. You also will want to personalize with individual toiletry or other personal items for men, women, and children etc.
Some additional items you may want to include are:
- Wind Proof Lighter
- Back Pack Signaling Flares
- Chemical hand warmers
It is recommended that you only include weapons in your Go Bag, if the situation you are going into dictates it, and only if you have been properly trained in their use. A folding “survival rifle” like the AR-7 used by the US Air Force is a great Bug Out Bag firearm.
If you are talking about a “survival rifle” in its most literal sense of the word, then it has to be lightweight and easily mobile.
At the same time it must have enough firepower to be capable of procuring food, or to offer you protection against a hostile threat. In my experience there is none better at that than the AR-7. The AR-7 made by Henry Arms is the civilian available version of the famous U.S. Air Force “floating survival rifle.” The components of the AR-7 break down, and all fit into the waterproof stock of the weapon; it becomes small enough to carry in your Go Bag.
It is a favorite of bush pilots, boaters, and outdoorsman the world over. It is chambered for .22 long rifle ammo, making the ammunition cheap and plentiful.
You can get 500 rounds of .22L for under 20.00. The action is semi-auto, and it takes an 8 round magazine, two of which also fit into the stock.
It is ideal to have in your Go Bag for picking off squirrels, rabbits or other small game, and in the hands of a good shooter, adequate for self-defense in an emergency situation. The whole weapon is as light as a feather weighing only 2.5lbs. It will float both when collapsed and when fully assembled. This rifle is also inexpensive and goes for anywhere from $150 used to $250 for the new ones.
Tips and Takeaways
- In addition to packing extra clothes in your Go Bag, the clothes you wear while bugging out are also important. Of course time of year and the weather have a lot to do with what to wear. But in general, get yourself a good sturdy pair of hiking boots, or military style combat boots.
Unless you have reasonto be hiding from someone while you are evacuating — and that’s your business – you don’t have to wear camo, but military, or law-enforcement style “cargo pants” with lots of pockets are a good idea. A hunters or camping style vest, again with many pockets, is also a valuable piece of clothing. Wear a belt, it is useful to hold items that you need to get to quickly, and it also can be used as an improvised rope or fastening device for a number of emergency situations. Be sure it has a heavy buckle, and you do not really need it to hold up your pants, so it can be swung effectively as a bolo type weapon in a pinch.
- Carabineers can be used to hook items that you need to get to easily on the outside of your pack.
- Select items for your bag that you can use for more than one purpose. Do not duplicate items, as this increases your kit’s size and weight.
- If you know nothing about knots and lashing, include some zip ties in your Kit, these have a ton of uses.
Some say your pack should be a bright color to use as a signaling device if you get lost. I say if you need to Bug Out, the Sh*t has probably hit the fan, and you probably don’t want to be seen, and/or you may be in a situation where you have to hide your stuff. Always think “E&E” – go with a camo military surplus rucksack for your Go Bag. You will have other stuff in it for signaling for help if need be.
IF YOU PLAN TO BUG OUT WHEN SHTF THAN YOU REALLY NEED THIS GUIDE. GET YOUR COPY HERE
MUST read resources!
James Cole is the author of ‘’Civilian Commando-Special Ops Secrets To Surviving Anything’’, and owner of www.bioprepper.com. James is a born and bred survivalist , an internet addict and a gun enthusiast. He believes a man’s word is his bond, and looks forward to teaching others.