There are more than enough posts out there that mean to tell you exactly how to pack your bug out bag, and while these are fine, there’s something personal about what you pack in your own bag, and how you do it.
This is the reason why instead of telling you exactly what to carry and how to carry it, we’ve gone ahead and found 15 items that you may have not thought about including in your pack. A good bug out bag is very limited on space, so each item must be vitally important to survival to be included. The items below focus on the basic points of survival, so check them out and see if there’s room in your bag for one or two more pieces.
Map, compass and ranger pace counter
There’s a good chance that you end up buging out on foot at some point and you have to be able to navigate. Your GPS might not work any more (like in an EMP scenario for example) so you’ll have to navigete to your bug out location with your map and compass. Make sure you know how to use the compass and map so practicing will help you when you’ll really have to use them to save your life. Another important thing when navigating is a ranger pace counter. Here’s a great article on how to make one and how to use it.
Anti diarrhea medicines
Everybody has a first aid kit in their bug out bag, and most people concentrate on tourniquets and trauma, broken bones and gunshot wounds and preventing infections and things like that, but in reality you’ll have the biggest issues with your stomach. The stress of a bug out situation alone can cause you stomach and digestive issues. In many situations, you can have a bad case of diarrhea, vomiting or constipation. What I like to see in a bug out bag is fiber pills and the individually packed fiber drink mixes. Those are really good in keeping your fiber intake up and your gut happy. You can add Pepto-Bismol, Imodium AD ( ad a good quantity in case you’ll have a sever diarrhea) , ginger tablets for nausea. Diarrhea, vomiting, constipation are all things that can incapacitate you very quickly and can kill you in a couple of days so keep a good amount of these medicines in your bug out bag. You want to make sure that you have means to help yourself in those situations, things that can keep you on the track, moving forward to your bug out location as quickly as possible.
A significant percentage of folks wear contacts. I view a bug out bag as a bag you grab quickly under duress to move-on according to, hopefully, some planned destination. Why is there no mention of an extra pair of prescription glasses as an important item? If your eyes get irritated/inflamed due to exceeding your contact wear limit that spells trouble. If you can’t see well, you’re sunk.
Dental floss or spider line braided fishing line have many uses in the wild. With spider line or floss you can repair anything from your underwear to your boots. Can also be used for tying off drop lines for fishing or for shelter making and you can carry 550 feet of floss in your pocket. Good idea to have some with you because cordage takes forever to make from scratch.
The thing I see 99% of people forget is their feet. Sure you see them with hiking boots, wool sox and all that, what’s missing? INSOLES…..put a new set of insoles in your bag and if you have to walk any at all, replace the old ones in whatever footwear you’re using. Your feet will be grateful.
Duct tape has an endless number of uses and that’s why it should always be included in your bug out bag. Many times it is a forgotten item. Here’s just a few ways you can use duct tape in a survival situation:
- Repair a cracked water bottle pierced hydration bladder. Duct tape can also be used to insulate a water bottle by wrapping the bottle with it – this should also prevent cracking.
- Patch a hole in a canoe. Patch the hole with a piece of metal, plastic or bark and seal the hole firmly on both sides with duct tape.
- Use duct tape to restrain someone. DT can be used to bind the hands of someone who poses as a danger to your group, at least until a solution can be decided.
- Twist several lengths of DT into cord or rope.
- Repair your rain gear.
- Use duct tape to make a pandemic seal. Seal your home in case of a biological, nuclear, or chemical attack by sealing off windows and doorways with duct tape.
- Mark your trail by taping strips to branches at chest height.
- Use duct tape to patch a hole in your sleeping bag.
- Reseal containers of food. After opening a package of food, make sure it does not go to waste by resealing it tight with DT.
- Make butterfly bandages. Cut two small strips of DT, and add a smaller strip across their centers (sticky side to sticky side) to create a makeshift butterfly suture.
- Use DT to make an arrow fletching. Here’s a neat ‘how-to’ post that shows how to make duct tape arrow fletching.
- Repair a broken tent or fishing pole. Make a splint by taping a stick to the broken area of the pole. You can then use it until you get a replacement.
- Make repairs on your bug out car – patch up leaking hoses, seal windows and cover bullet holes.
- Make a sheath for your knife using duct tape. Just make sure that you double stick the tape so the inside around the knife does not stick to the blade.
- Fashion a drinking cup from a duct tape. You can also make a hat from DT to protect your head. Get creative!
- Duct tape can add insulation in your boots. Tape the insoles with duct tape, silver side up. The shiny tape will reflect the warmth of your feet back into your boots.
- Repair your glasses with duct tape. A thin strip of duct tape will keep broken frames together.
- Line the outside of your coat and pants with duct tape to keep it water resistant and keep you dry.
- Make a fly paper by rolling off a few foot-long strips of duct tape and hanging them from a branch or your tent.
- Create a splint with duct tape. Stabilize a broken ankle or leg with ample splint material, padding and duct tape. Pad the crotch of a forked branch with some cloth and duct tape to fashion a quick crutch to go with your splint.
- Mend tears in your clothing. Slip a piece of duct tape inside the rip, sticky side out then carefully press both sides of the rip together. A strip of duct tape can also be used to hem your pants.
- Make a shelter. With trash bags or space blankets and some duct tape, you can create a roof for your lean-to, a sleeping bag cover, or a wind break.
- Strap bandages in place with duct tape.
- Make a spear by cutting a branch about 3 -6 feet long then strapping your knife to one end with duct tape. Now you have a tool you can use for hunting, fishing, or defense.
- The space blanket or Mylar blanket can be use as well in many situations. It can be used to cook or purify water (you can create a solar oven and use it to cook or purify the water with the help of UV rays).
- The space blanket can be a great signaling device. You can create a mirror using a cardboard or creating a frame from sticks to reflect the sun light.
- You can wrap pieces of the shiny material around an object that can be attached to your fishing line to act as a lure. You can also cut into strips and tie the strips to a weighted line to act as bait or lures.
- Drape over vegetation and then create depressions in the material to collect dew overnight. You can secure the blankets in many ways to create a depression to collect rainwater. Dig a small hole and line with the material, for example, but make sure the area around the hole is not obviously contaminated with animal feces, other contaminates or poisonous vegetation, because of ground runoff filling the depression.
- Even if the air is cold Mylar will quickly dry clothes placed on the material in direct or even indirect sunlight. Wet clothing is deadly in cold weather, so as soon as possible get out of the wet clothes, and then wrap yourself in a blanket then lay another blanket out in the sun and place the clothes on it. Wring the clothing out as much as possible before placing on the blanket. Do not overlap the clothing, and turn occasionally for faster results.
- While it is obvious that they can be used as an emergency shelter it is worth mentioning it again. In a survival situation people may forget there is probably a blanket or even more than one in their first aid kit that can be used like a tarp or poncho to keep the rain and snow off you and your gear.
Plastic garbage bags
They’re lightweight, they’re multi-purpose, they’re inexpensive and they don’t take up hardly any space; a plastic bag fits all of the criteria for being an ideal survival item. Here are just a few survival uses for plastic bags – we promise not to state the obvious use of carrying things!
Garbage bags are great to protect yourself against the elements (wind, rain). They are great to collect rain water and, if needed, transport water. Another way to obtain water is by placing clear plastic bags over the leafy branch of a non-poisonous tree and tightly closing the bag’s open end around the branch. Any holes in the bag must be sealed to prevent the loss of water vapour.
During photosynthesis plants lose water through a process called transpiration. A clear plastic bag sealed around a branch allows photosynthesis to continue, but traps the evaporating water causing the vapor pressure of water to rise to a point where it begins to condense on the surface of the plastic bag. Gravity then causes the water to run to the lowest part of the bag. Water is collected by tapping the bag and then resealing it. The leaves will continue to produce water as the roots draw it from the ground and photosynthesis occurs. You can secure your food when you are in the woods. Though the bears and raccoons love it when you leave your food down, you may not be as happy with the results. To keep animals from raiding your food supply (which can also be dangerous!), place your food in a garbage bag, tie it shut and hang it from a tree limb several feet off the ground.
Plastic bags are great for shelters. The only thing worse than being cold, is being cold and wet. Use a garbage bag to create a waterproof roof to your shelter. On the flip side, you can also use it to make shade. Heat stroke is just as dangerous as frost-bite.
A Shemagh tactical scarf
Absorb the sweat off your forehead and eyes while working (an often use for me).
Keep your head shaded / covered from the sun.
Protect your neck from sunburn (or the top of your head if you’re bald or short hair cut).
Tie it as a nose & mouth filter during dusty, dirty environments.
Camouflage your face.
Blow your nose with it (though you’ll need an extra on-hand for other uses .
Wipe your face and neck from dirt or sweat.
Tie things together.
A rag – clean your hands, etc.
Use as a first-stage water filter to strain out sediments.
To hold and collect small objects / things.
Marker or flag.
Weaponized bandana – fill with rocks, tie into bundle, throw-sling-wield-etc.
Temporary wound dressing (better than nothing).
Kindling fire-starter material, or to make ash cloth.
Use it for a better grip on things.
Grip a hot pan handle with it.
A cleaning rag for dishes.
Tourniquet (with a stick).
Bib (especially while eating spaghetti & sauce .
Small pillow if you fill it with leaves or such.
Gag (to silence someone).
Wrap and hide things in your pocket.
Cover your eyes when napping.
I think that a shemagh is one of those things with so many uses, that everyone should consider having lots of them.
Tampons have many survival uses and some of the uses are:
Excellent fire tinder
Being sterile are great to stop a bleeding
You can create a great fire starter by adding some petroleum jelly
Fletch arrows for a blow gun and many other uses. You can find more about tampons survival uses in this article.
‘’By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’’ – Benjamin Franklin
OTHER USEFUL RESOURCES!