Bug Out Bag Checklist: Make Sure You Don’t Forget Anything

While you have likely heard of a first aid kit and a survival kit, you may not know what a bug out bag is. This is a bag that is smaller in size intended to keep you alive for a minimum of 72 hours. You should have this timeframe in mind when stocking your bag with the essentials. Fill it only with what you absolutely need to survive, and store it in a place that is easily accessible. 

What Should I Include In My Bug Out Bag?

There are a lot of directions you can take when deciding which items to include in your bug out bag. They can change depending on where you live and what kind of weather you might encounter. They can also be different depending on the actual purpose of your bug out bag. There are a few non-negotiable items to include: water, food, first-aid supplies, and a light source. Besides these items, you can customize your bag to your personal needs. 

Water can get heavy, but there are some alternative options for clean water. A better idea is to include a portable water filter. That way, you can access rainwater, bodies of water, or even tap and well water and turn it into clean, drinkable water. 

You then need to have a food source, such as a meal replacement bar, which will keep you full. Include a flashlight and batteries, or consider using a solar-powered flashlight. Lastly, make sure you have a first aid kit to treat injuries. You should also consider keeping protective clothing, cutting tools, cords, and matches/lighter. Anything you may need to survive should be included in the bag.

Why Should I Have a Bug Out Bag?

There are a few reasons you should have a bug out bag. The most important reason is for safety. When an emergency hits or disaster strikes, you simply will not have enough time to prepare and gather essential items. Having a bug out bag means you are always prepared for whatever may happen. 

Another reason to have a bug out bag is that having one on hand will give you peace of mind. You know that whatever situation you are put in, you will have the necessities to survive. A third reason to have a bug out bag ready to go is that it will buy you time, which can sometimes be the most important thing during an emergency. 

While the bag is typically not intended to last for long periods of time, it will at least give you a few days to figure out your plan, acquire more supplies, or wait until help arrives. A final reason why you should have a bug out bag is that in a state of emergency, essential supplies could become extremely expensive. If you have these must-have items already on hand, it could save you some money when you’re in a pinch. 

What Should I Do With My Bug Out Bag?

There is really no reason NOT to have a bug out bag. In fact, everyone should consider having one fully stocked and prepared. At the very least, you should have one, but ideally, you would have one for each member of your household. 

Rations in a bug out bag are typically made for one person, as they only fit within a backpack. Most people tend to just have it home in a safe and easily accessible place. However, there are other places and uses for a bug out bag. There are three main things you could consider doing with your bug out bag:

  • Keep it in your car
  • Keep it with your survival or first aid kits
  • Bring it with you when traveling/living outdoors

A lot of people think of emergencies happening while they are at home (power outages, tornadoes, etc.). But unfortunately, emergencies can happen anywhere and anytime. Something you should really consider is keeping your bug out bag in your car. Of course, if you are just driving to and from work or around town, you will have access to help and not be stuck in your car. 

But, if you decide you want to go on a road trip, a bug out bag is absolutely essential. If your car breaks down, if you get lost, or if you are stranded somewhere, a bug out bag might just save your life. If you are driving from point A to point B, you may have a few snacks or drinks in the car, but you probably won’t have much else. Having a bug out bag can ensure you get enough to eat and drink and make sure you have the necessary tools to survive until help arrives. 

You can also keep your bug out bag with your other survival kits or first aid kits. This is what many people do simply for the sake of organizational purposes. That way, all the items you could possibly need for an emergency are all in one designated place. This will make it easier in the case of an actual emergency, as you won’t be scrambling or running around your house trying to find what you need. Instead, everything will be ready to go in one convenient place. By leaving your bag amongst other survival gear, you are saving yourself time and stress.

As we mentioned, one of the most important things you can have during an emergency is time. Keeping your bug out bag in an organized and easily accessible place will give you time to think about other issues and save you the time worrying about how to get essential items. 

Also, consider taking your bug out bag on camping or outdoor trips. Anything goes when you are in the wilderness. There are so many things to be prepared for, from the weather to injuries, to having enough food and water. Having a bug out bag ensures you are prepared and equipped for almost any situation thrown at you. 

If temperatures suddenly drop, you want to make sure you can stay warm. Your bag will have extra layers or a small blanket. What if an animal gets into your food supply, and you are left with nothing to eat? Your bag will have rations of meal replacement bars and water for hydration. If you are going for a hike and get injured, your bag will contain a few essential medical supplies for cuts and sprains. 


As you can see, there are many situations that can occur in which having a bug out bag could save you from harm’s way. Also, it will simply make things easier to have all the items you need in one bag. Stick to only the essentials when packing the bag, including food, water, a light source, and possibly tools, matches, and protective clothing.





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