17 Items You Need in Your Preppers Bug Out Bag List | ultimatepreppingguide.com
Survival & Bug Out

17 Items You Need in Your Preppers Bug Out Bag List

Why would you need a preppers bug out bag list?

With the state of the world today, who’s going to look after you and your loved ones when the proverbial hits the fan? The simplest and most honest answer is you.

Relying on emergency services may not be an option, nor will waiting for help.

Large-scale disasters are on the increase, as are famines, wars, and political upheaval. Although things may not get as bad as Hollywood leads us to believe, keeping your head in the sand is not the answer.

In the event of a catastrophic disaster occurring tomorrow, ending life as we know it either forever or the foreseeable future, take precautions now so you are prepared.

People who prepare for these events ahead of time, or “preppers”, take great care to store specific items that will help them survive any disaster.

The items, contained in the preppers bug out bag list, are stored for extended periods, waiting for the time when they’ll be needed.

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So, what do I need?

The problem with disasters or most life-changing events is that they never happen when you expect them. They occur in the blink of an eye, denying you of the most precious resource needed to deal with them.

Time. And once time is of the essence, no longer will you sit around and plan your next move.

This is where the preppers bug out bag list comes into play. A pre-packed, well-thought-out, ready to go bag that contains everything you and your loved ones cannot live without.

No, I’m not talking about your PlayStation or Xbox or even that iPad with the latest episodes of The Mandalorian ready for watching.

What exactly is a bug-out bag?

Put simply, a bug-out bag is a bag that’s filled with the items a person requires for surviving 72-hours.

It’s meant to be readily accessible and always ready to go in case of a natural disaster or another life-threatening event.

Other names include:

  • Go bag
  • GOOD bag (Get Out Of Dodge)
  • Battle box
  • Grab bag
  • 72-hour kit
  • INCH bag (I’m Never Coming Home)
  • Quick run bag
  • PERK bag (Personal Emergency Relocation Kit)

While the focus of the bag isn’t so much on long-term survival, it’s designed rather for evacuation purposes.

While kits for long-term survival and evacuation may carry similar items, other items will make them substantially different.

Remember that your bug-out bag is designed to get you to a safe place, not to keep you alive while you’re playing Castaway for months on end.

The bag should contain enough items from the preppers bug out bag list to ensure your longevity.

Why is it based on 72 hours?

3 days may not seem like a long time, but when you have no home, no electricity, no worthwhile shelter, no fresh drinking water? 3 days is an awfully long time.

There’s an old adage in survival; remember the 3’s. A human can survive for 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter in a storm, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.

No, the air isn’t really something we can prepare for. And shelter is hopefully something you’ve planned for via your evacuation plan.

But it’s the third one that’s so crucial for survival. Without access to freshwater, the human body quickly declines after 3 days without it.

While the 72-hour survival timeline has something to do with freshwater, it has more to do with those sent to help you.

Members of emergency and disaster relief organizations claim that it may take up to 72-hours for them to reach you in the event of a major catastrophe.

That means up to 3 days without all the wonderful utilities you’ve come to depend on in your lifetime.

Think about it. If a disaster was to strike your neighborhood this very instant, how long could you live without your utilities? A tornado, hurricane, bushfire, earthquake or maybe just a simple blackout could all knock the electricity supply out.

Don’t consider a blackout as being much of a problem? Electricity runs the pumps that bring water and gas to your house.

Just how long would the food in your refrigerator really last without power to cool it? No water for drinking, washing or cleaning.

No heating, no cooling, and no power or gas for cooking. Starting to see the bigger picture and why the preppers bug out bag list is so important?

What if I’m not at home when disaster strikes?

While one side of this answer is more of a suggestion, the other is more of contemplation. Have you ever considered the consequences of what would happen if disaster strikes while you’re at work?

Now consider if it did and you were stuck, with your family back at home. Cell towers are down, roads are impassable. Maybe your car won’t work and public transport has ceased to operate.

How would you react?

Think about how far you work from home and then calculate how long it would take you to walk the distance? A couple of miles? 10 miles? Maybe 30 or 40 miles?

Contemplating what action to take in case of such an event is becoming much more familiar with the decline of world stability.

While the threat of war or significant terror attacks seem to be growing on an almost daily occurrence, so is the increase in natural disasters.

Floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, bushfires are all making the evening news much more frequently than in the past. These threats are very real and preparing for them is not unusual.

A simple solution to increase your effectiveness in case things go wrong is to have a second bug-out bag. This one could be more specific for keeping in the vehicle you take to work each day.

Putting together an extra bag while building your main one, small enough to keep in the trunk of your car, may seem the perfect option. When putting together one, why not two?

Why is it called a bug-out bag?

The term “bug out” originated during the Korean war. The US Army allocated alternative defensive positions in case their soldiers were overwhelmed and needed to fall back.

Commanders would tell these soldiers to “bug out” if the enemy appeared to overrun them.

The term spread throughout the other forces of the American military. The rest of the world soon adopted the phrase and is now part of modern culture.

The term bug out stands for a method of withdrawing, as in bugging out to a different location if needed, as in a bug-out location.

A preppers bug out bag list seems like a logical choice when talking about such an important piece of kit.

What type of bug-out bags are there?

Technically speaking, a bug-out bag can be any container large enough to carry the necessary items you need to survive for 3 days.

It can be as simple as a garbage bag or cardboard box or as sophisticated as one of these. While the preppers bug out bag list doesn’t go into too much detail about what type of bag, below are some ideas when choosing one.

Photo of a bug out bag

I should point out that a garbage bag or cardboard box would not make a great bug-out bag.

Neither is strong enough to handle the punishment the bag needs to withhold nor would they survive in harsh weather conditions.

A bug-out bag is a container that’s large enough to hold all the appropriate items you need to carry with you.

They need to be strong enough to withstand extreme punishment while light enough to carry for extended periods of time. A bag that isn’t too bulky, isn’t too small, isn’t too heavy and isn’t too weak.

While some options are far better suited to the cause, others may not stand up to all the tests when challenged.

There’s also those specially created for the purpose of a bug-out bag, already filled with all the necessary items.

Called pre-made bug-out bags, they come in a variety of flavors, filled with items considered appropriate for surviving 3 days out in the field.

There are also those bags considered the most popular, rated by survival experts from across the globe.  But for me, a good bug out bag isn’t about the bag itself.

For the sake of this article, the focus is on specific items for a good bug out bag. A good bug out bag is all about the ingredients it holds to keep you alive and the reliability to protect those items.

The best bug-out bag is one that can hold as many items from the preppers bug out bag list as possible.

The best bags for bug out bag

Bug-out bags come in all sorts of shapes, colors, materials, and sizes. While some are virtually bomb-proof, explosion-proof, bullet-proof and fire-proof, they can also be heavy, adding to the weight of the important items you’ll need.

While others might be lighter, they don’t have the strength to endure harsh punishment.

The other consideration is you. A bug out bag suitable for me may not be suitable for you.

Choose an appropriate vessel for your survival gear based on your own strengths, weaknesses, fitness and stamina.

Consider your plan for escape and the journey to reach your intended destination.

Will you be carrying all of the items on your own back? Will you have a partner to share the load? Are there members of your family that will need supplies but aren’t capable of carrying them?

There’s a lot more to consider than just the bag and what goes inside it. Ponder your own circumstances before deciding on the most appropriate bag for your needs and then research ones that fit your requirements.

Remember the important items on the preppers bug out bag list and see which can support those.

If you need to sacrifice some things to include others deemed more important, then make the cut. Only you can determine the best bag for yourself.

As your putting your kit together, look at how and where you’ll be storing the bag.

While some varieties may be great and appealing as your putting them together, will they be too big?

If stored in a location you still access on a regular basis like a closet, size may be as important as longevity.

Consider all the options and ramifications before making the final decision. The best bags for a bug out bag are ones that fit your needs.

What’s on the preppers bug out bag list?

The list for bug-out bag’s inclusions is extensive and should be well-thought-out before deciding on what to include in yours.

While pre-made bug out bags are an option, the items within may not be perfect for you. Building your own means selecting appropriate items for yourself.

While the available choices might number in the thousands, each of them will generally fall under the following categories.

Text area which says "17 Items You Need in Your Preppers Bug Out Bag List, ultimatepreppingguide.com" followed by a photo of bug out bag

  • Water and Filtration
  • Food and Food-prep
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Sleeping
  • Heating
  • Medical
  • Hygiene
  • Tools
  • Lighting
  • Communication
  • Information
  • Self-Defense
  • Hunting/Fishing
  • Protective Gear
  • Miscellaneous
  • Personal Needs

The preppers bug out bag list is extensive and each category has plenty of options to choose from. But these 17 things are considered the core-requirements for any complete bug-out bag.

The following are some suggestions for each of the different categories and offered as options for you to consider when preparing your own.

17 items that should be on prepper’s bug out bag list

Option #1: Water and Filtration

Photo of a commercially sold bottled chemical used for water purification.Freshwater is more than likely unavailable after a disaster. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING is more important in your bug-out bag than water.

While the options for filtering water to make it safe vary between life straws, purification tablets and water bottle filters, these all depend on finding a source of water in the first place. But what if there is none?

These emergency water kits have a shelf-life of 5 years and are enough drinking water for one person for 30 days.

Technically, your bug-out bag is for 3 days so this pack is sufficient for several people.

Consider the weight of actual water and the number of people whom the bag will service before deciding just which solution you opt for.

But always consider water as your primary concern during an emergency.

Option #2: Food

Photo of a food pack in a vacuum sealed containerConsider the nutritional requirements of everyone this bag is for. Diabetics will need specific items that may need more room than someone with a regular diet.

The choices are so vast, they read like a fast-food menu. Everything from freeze-dried beef stroganoff to protein bars and ice-cream sandwiches.

Keeping stored food is also dependent on how long they will last, with various options having limited shelf lives.

While some have a 25-year shelf life, others only have 5. The ice-cream sandwiches above only last 2 years. Check the packaging to ensure the food is vacuum-sealed.

Check online reviews for feedback about compromised shipments sent to customers. For preparing meals, do you require a heat source such as a light-weight camping stove?

A metal can opener is highly recommended because it’s not only light and durable but can come in very handy when canned food is found.

Simple and lightweight saucepans may also be an option, but consider its importance.

Option #3: Clothing

Photo of a bug jacket cartonWhile you may be able to wear a lot of your clothing, it does add to the overall weight you’ll be carrying, so consider things like warmth, moisture, and strength.

If you are walking cross country or through dense forest, will it tear on low-hanging branches?

How water-resistant is it if walking through a storm? Is it warm enough if there’s snow?

One important factor to keep in mind is that you’ll always want a second set, in case the first is drenched, damaged or soiled.

Keeping a spare set ensures you’ll always be dry. A change of underwear, quality hiking socks, lightweight and durable hiking shoes, a good-quality jacket.

Think about where you’ll be walking and remember the climate and conditions may be less than perfect. If insects are abundant, try a protective hood.

Option #4: Shelter

If you need to leave your home, you may be forced to seek alternative shelter, particularly if the weather is less-than-perfect.

While a tent may seem like a logical choice, think of the weight, the size and the time it takes to set up.

Would a simple tarp be more logical? It folds down to an incredibly small size, is very light and wouldn’t take much to tie between two posts.

But a tarp might be impractical during heavy winds, in which case a good-quality tent might be the better choice.

It’s important to consider all your options when making your own decision on which is more suitable.

Option #5: Sleeping

Photo of a packed emergency blanket held in hand.Feeling well-rested is probably one of the crucial factors that will determine your frame of mind and ability to tackle the types of situations we are planning for.

Will you sleep on the ground with your jacket as a pillow or will you carry everything inflatable?

An emergency blanket may be a great addition, being lightweight and small enough to fit anywhere. An emergency sleeping bag is also a great idea, designed to keep you warm yet still light enough to fold away.

Option #6: Heating

While keeping warm may be as simple as donning an extra jumper, it may not be sufficient to get you through a freezing night.

The oldest method of heating known to man is fire. The most important skill you can have is knowing how to light one by several different methods.

Whether it’s through a lighter, matches or even by using the sun through a magnifying glass, understand the importance of an open fire.

Make sure to keep several choices in a waterproof container, together with enough tinder to start a minimum of 3 fires.

Option #7: Medical

Photo of medical suppliesUnless you’re a doctor, providing medical care is probably not going to go much beyond first aid.

While there are a bunch of first aid kits available, this one is compact enough to keep handy and contains enough variety to ensure most situations can be dealt with.

Of course, always seek proper medical advice as soon as it is practical.

Option #8: Hygiene

While a toothbrush, toothpaste or a hairbrush may not seem like typical items needed in a bug-out bag, certain hygiene products shouldn’t be overlooked.

Your personal health is extremely important, particularly when medical help isn’t available.

Germs, diseases, and bacteria could enter your system when preparing a meal, so precaution is highly recommended.

Never discount the effectiveness of quality hand-sanitizer, soap and moist napkins. Be sure to include a couple of packs of travel toilet paper.

Option #9: Tools

Photo of a multi toolWhile one of the more versatile categories, this is also the one a lot of survivalists go completely gaga over.

Everything from multi-tools to all-in-ones is here, plus all the knives, machetes and digging tools as well.

But when choosing these, remember that “every ounce amounts”. The weight adds up so choose wisely.

Plan to include the necessary things here like a sharp blade, scissors (if not already in your first aid kit), magnifying glass, compass. Items with more than one use are especially useful.

Option #10: Lighting

Photo of a light stickWill you choose battery power, hand-wound or liquid fuel light? Whatever the choice, it’s worth noting that half the time you’ll spend bugging out will be night time.

Preparing camp in the dark can prove dangerous and ineffective.

Keeping a couple of sources of light available will ensure a back up is available in case the first option fails.

Lightsticks are great because they need very little room, are lightweight and require no power source.

Option #11: Communication

Photo of a portable multi-use field radioThe ability to contact emergency services, family or just good-old-fashioned help during an event may be impossible, but if there’s a chance they still work, these items can be a godsend.

Keeping a charged cell phone handy, including a hand-wound charger with which to keep it powered up could mean the difference between being rescued and not.

There are some quite fancy options to choose from, including this model, that holds a variety of functions. A HAM radio is also a reliable form of communication when the cell towers are gone.

Option # 12: Information

If you haven’t thought of these in other categories, this is all about the information you might need while on the road.

If you’ll be traveling in unfamiliar territory, following rivers or just trying to stay near roads, handheld maps can be effective.

Relying on your cell phone may not be possible if the signal is lost or the power runs out.

Include a compass, note pad and pencil or pen for quick notes you might need to take.

When it comes to survival books, read them ahead of time and make some notes if the information might come in handy and you want to make sure you’ll remember.

Books are too heavy and bulky so I wouldn’t recommend packing them.

Option #13: Self Defense

People can take on a completely different demeanor in times of stress, panic, and survival. The safety of you and your loved ones is paramount and they may not be able to rely on you for all of their protection.

Take self-defense classes as a family and make sure that everyone embraces the need for it.

Although many countries don’t allow firearms, if yours does, consider the options.

Handguns may seem great for personal protection but can be less effective for hunting food. Rifles are great for taking down deer but may not be suitable when confronted by an aggressor.

Family members may also opt to carry mace or pepper spray as back up. Whatever you choose, your family’s safety is the most important thing when considering this category.

Option #14: Hunting/Fishing

Rope or a simple fishing line with hooks is a pretty common inclusion, all of which are useful for more than one situation.

The rifles from the previous category will also fit in here, as will the knives in the tool’s category. The location will determine the most likely additions in this lot, as will personal skill.

Option #15: Protective Gear

This category may be more suited for specific disasters where toxins are released into the atmosphere, but some might see these as a necessity.

From full-face gas masks to cheap disposable ones, respirators and protective equipment come in a large variety. How particular you want to be with your bug-out bag, depends on you.

Option #16: Miscellaneous

This is where you add in all the things that may be needed but you’re not sure just how they fit in.

Cash is a great option to keep in mind, especially if ATM’s are down and electronic banking has crashed.

Although $500 in cash might be sufficient, how many of us realistically can keep that kind of money in a bag?

Adding plastic bags, preferably the snap-lock variety which will also provide a waterproof environment. Duct tape, sewing kit, and magnifying glass if not already added are all good for many uses.

One that I always love to mention is a good-quality slingshot. They can be great for hunting as well as personal protection and don’t rely on anything else. Just a good aim.

Option #17: Personal Needs

These may not be as important to some as to others. For those who rely on things like specific medication, dietary requirements or medical devices, this could prove to be one of the more important categories for you.

Diabetics will need syringes, insulin, and sources of sugar and carbohydrates. Every condition will require their own emergency supply but should have their shelf life monitored to ensure they remain usable.

Consider your own situation and devise a plan to include all the necessary things needed for a complete bug-out bag.

The final thought

While the preppers bug out bag list contains 17 types of items needed to prepare a complete bug-out bag, choosing the most important will come down to you.

If the decision doesn’t need to be specific, maybe selecting one of the many pre-made bug out bags might be a great option.

They include everything you could need for that quick escape and may just save you the effort of deciding what is needed most.

Whatever you decide, consider the safety of yourself and your family above all else and start from there.

Determine the most important things first, the items considered “exorbitant” last. Start with water and work your way down.

The best hope you could have is that you’ll never need to use it. But if you do, then you’ll be one of the few who had the motivation to survive.