Bug Out Bags

Bug Out Bags: The Essence of a Specialized Checklist


Bug out bags is beneficial for those who want to endure survival situations. It should be remembered that anything can happen during the said circumstances and it would be best to have essential items to help ease difficult times.

Putting the said factors into consideration, having a specialized checklist is important because it can help pin point items that are useful in specific situations. The said checklist can also organize bug out bags and maximize their carrying capacity.

Also, while having more tools and gears during survival situations is better, it should be noted that carrying items that are of no use is a waste of time and effort. For this reason, it would be best to leave non-essential items.

Below are some of the things that should be included in bug out bags

Proper Clothing

Proper clothing is essential because hypothermia and heat related ailments can cause serious health conditions such as heart failure and even death especially if conditions are extreme.

Because of this, it would be best if proper clothing will be at hand during survival situations. Thick multi-layered clothes, head covers, and gloves should be brought during cold weathers and cotton shirts, protective slippers, and sun glasses should be at hand during hot ones.


Stainless water containers can be very handy in times of survival because they can double as a storage item for cold and hot water. Having a water filter is also essential since it can help eliminate contaminated particles that may cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, and other stomach problems.

Furthermore, bringing iodine pills is also important since they can make contaminated water suitable for drinking.


During survival situations, consuming high calorie food items is extremely important since it can ensure that the right amount of energy will be sustained throughout the day. While a person can survive three weeks without food, he/she should consume at least 3,000 calories in a day to perform at an optimum level.


Other Essential Items

  • Multi-tool
  • Knife
  • First aid kit
  • Water bladder with dinking hose
  • Lighter or fire striker
  • Utensils
  • Fishing kits
  • Flares


A lot of times, bug out bags are personalized to fit the needs and preferences of their owners. On the other hand, survivalists should bear in mind that their bags should be modified according to their surroundings. They should also pack lightly since walking around with heavy weights can cause fatigue and decrease energy exertion.


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  1. If you have a group of people – I suppose that could be 2 people, but I’m thinking more along the lines of at least 4 or 5 – you should consider adding a 2 wheeled garden cart to your BOB stash. If you get into a situation where you are bugging out on foot it can make a world of difference.

    I own a Rockway 2 wheel nursery cart (about $150 original cost for the cart, though I bought extra wheels and tires too). Daily it gets used to move compost, hay, dog food, and other stuff I simply don’t want to pick up and carry (which at 53 with a bad knee is just about everything). Get a cart which you can move either pushing or pulling (depends on the surface you are traversing which works best) – that means the handles should be open like a wheelbarrow not in a closed loop like a grocery basket. Most of these carts can handle 300 or 400 pounds if they are properly loaded (i.e., place the load evenly with anything heavy directly over the axle). If you want a good lesson in the physics of a fulcrum place all of your load in front or behind the axle and see what a pain it is to move the cart!

    Before the big day, practice loading your cart and mentally mapping out where all of the supplies (especially ammo and medical) are located. Everything in its place and everyone knows that place. That way you don’t have to add that bit of grief onto your TO DO LIST while the world is stressing out around you. Depending on your cart and the proposed load you may want to reinforce the bed with a layer of 1/8″ plywood and keep a small tarp stashed on the cart to keep everything dry (unless Aunt Betty can be counted on to donate her poncho for that purpose). Don’t forget bungie cords or rope to keep everything securely in place.

    If your group is on the move, one person can push/pull all of the group’s supplies while everyone else scouts, forages, covers the trail, and other duties. That way the folks who are doing the security work are not also serving as pack mules. Trust me, it’s a whole lot easier to react to a situation if you are not trying to keep a 40 or 50 pound pack properly balanced. If you’re nice, trade off. Otherwise, it’s better to figure out ahead of time who are the best shooters/foragers/scouts and let the less adept pull the cart. Assign one or two people to this detail and watch them develop some really great calf and thigh muscles.

    Another benefit is if you have a group member who is injured, infirm, or too young to keep up they get to ride. Better for group morale if you aren’t leaving family members (human or animal) along the road.

    As for Rourke’s list I would suggest adding: a small sewing kit, a P-38 (beats bashing a can open with your Ka-Bar), 1 or 2 rolls of TP, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and any medicine you really need to function. At less than a pound of added weight the above can make roughing it a little less painful.

  2. For someone new to prepping building a Bug Out Bag can seem like a big task. Everybody you read about has been tweaking theirs for months or even years and has a pile of gear built up. It’s hard to know where to start, but if you cover just all of the basics in a survival situation you will still be much better off that 99% of the people.

    We started with one of the kits from http://www.srmarketplace.com and added copies of important papers, extra clothing and an emergency radio too. It takes only a few minutes to pick out a kit that works for your family and have it shipped to you, instead of driving all over town trying to find all the items you need for a good bug out bag. Then spend a day reviewing the contents and adding your extras. Put it in the hallway closed by the door and it’s ready whenever you need it. Total time spent probably 2 hours = Lifetime of Peace of Mind!

  3. Good points to remember. The ruck sack looks like my Maxpedition Condor, but in OD. This pack I use in my EDC as a GHB. In Ca we have pretty much 2 seasons instead of the 4, So my (Fall/Winter) bag is a tad larger and in green colors and my (Spring/Summer) bag is coyote brown, it’s more about cool to cold weather vs warm to hot weather.

  4. Good point from Harry on the garden cart. Right now, we have a few collapsible hand trucks. We even have one that converts to a 4 wheel cart. But, I am not quite comfortable with any of these holding out over the miles. It seems to me that the wheels may not handle the billions of bumps and holes on even a hard ball road. Being retired, and disabled to the point where I cannot work, time is on my side. I have done hours of research on packing Bug Out / Get Home Bags, Survival Kits and containers. I came to the conclusion that a single backpack would have to be similar to a paratrooper’s rucksack in order to have the necessities to cover the most basic crisis situation. That is why I set our family up with a 2 bag system. Forgive me for being redundant. I am sure that I mentioned this before. We all have a rucksack packed with camping / survival items required for sleeping outside. We also each have a Bug Out Bag that contains mainly clothing and food. I envision the backpacks for scenarios where we are fleeing some disaster on foot. The BOBs are more for a temporary exodus, where we will be staying at a hotel or with family and friends. In a serious crisis, where we are forced to leave our home indefinitely, we would take both bags. We would not be capable of carrying them if we were walking, hence the need for a cart or hand truck. I also have a MidwayUSA range bag packed with medical supplies that we would need for any long term disaster. In addition, I have packed multiple ammo cans / dry boxes with bullets and shot gun shells for our weapons systems. Perhaps the garden cart is better than the game carts that I checked out in Cabelas last month. I may go to Tractor Supply tomorrow! In closing, I want to offer the checklists that I put together for survival rucks and Bug Out Bags (Ahern modification). I have become a little neurotic with building survival kits in the past 2 years. I made my own version of the Survival Tin that the British Special Air Service uses. I converted my “Fag Bags” (military map/photo cases) that hold my S&W Governor and Colt M1911A1 into survival kits. I did the same with the bag for the Ruger 10/22 Takedown rifle. I wrote most of these checklists down. I even typed a few on Word Documents and saved on my computer. Anyway, I will gladly share these lists with anyone interested.

  5. Irish…please if you have the time and inclination all of us would love to use it as a starter or compare our bag with yours. Please share it with us…thanks Rusty

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