The Ultimate Bug Out Kit

This post was kindly contributed by Jessica Hooley, an emergency prepper and writer of the blog Salt n’ Prepper – Critical Emergency Preparation with Ease.

In my quest for ultimate preparation, I found that the average 72 hour kit sold at your local sports outlet isn’t a practical approach to bugging out. Most ready-made kits are all but useless containing minimal calories and a destitute number of tools for survival. That’s why I decided to create my own ultimate bug out bag.

Before I get going crazy on all the wonderful prepper items you need to add to your kits, a couple disclaimers:

First – This kit is not for wussies. If you’re going to survive a coronal mass ejection, nuclear warfare, EMP attack, natural disasters or anything else you happen to be preparing for, you need to be in good shape. Health and fitness are essential to survival and this kit is made for people who take that seriously. It has some weight to it, but not more than an in shape person should be able to handle.

Second – This is a “96 hour” kit for two people. There are several tools you will only need one of between the two people. It’s an easy way to distribute weight and add more essentials. I put the “96 hour” in quotations because essentially you can make this kit last as long as you need so long and you can supply yourself with adequate food.

Third disclaimer – I’ve linked several of these items to places where they are available for purchase. I receive no monetary gain for you purchasing them at these particular sites so feel free to shop around wherever you like. All of them will be available locally as well as online. When shopping for your items ALWAYS keep weight in mind.

Now to the good stuff:

2 – Backpacks (Highest quality available I’ve found at my local army navy store)
1 – First Aid Kit
1 – Body Powder
2 – Flashlights w/Extra Batteries
6 – Glowsticks (3 per person)
1 – Wind and Waterproof Matches Pack
1 – Magnesium Block
2 – Sandwich Bags Full of FiredUp! (Or any other fire starter/kindling kit of your choice)
1 – Map of Local Area
2 – Compasses with Measure (Learn to orienteer if you haven’t yet)
1 – Leatherman Pocket Knife
1 – Hand Saw
1 – Hatchet
1 – Compact Fishing Kit
2 – Cooking Sets (Or 1 large)
1 – Hunting Knife
1 – Stove and Fuel (Propane only. Do not buy an isobutene or butane camp stove. They don’t work in cold temperatures.)
24 – Packaged Meals (Ramen is a great small and cheap solution for food)
1 – Body Wipes Package
2 – Toilet Paper Rolls (Remove cardboard roll in the center so it can be easily compressed in your pack)
1 – Trowel
1 – Container of Corn Starch (Great for use as dry shampoo, burn treatment and insect bites)
1 – Soap / Sanitizer
2 – Hand Towels
1 – Sewing Kit
1 – Pocket Radio w/ Extra Batteries
2 – Two Way Radios
2 – Foam Pads
2 – Sleeping Bags
1 – Pair of Binoculars
4 – Hankies
4 – Plastic Bags
1 – Waterproof Watch
2 – Pairs of Sunglasses
1 – Small Pad of Paper and Pen
1 – Bug Repellant
1 – Lip Balm
1 – Sun Block
1 – Aloe Vera
1 – Mirror
4 – Signal Flares
2 – Storm Whistles
1 – 3 L Water Bladder
1 – Water Filter (I prefer Katadyn or Seychelle)
1 – Spool of Rope (100+ Feet)
6 – Rubber Bands
6 – Safety Pins
1 – Tent
1 – Tarp (light weight)
2 – Firearms and Concealed Carry Holsters
Extra Clothing Each (Including Wool Socks, Jacket and Layered Clothing)
Necessary Prescriptions
Copy of Important Legal Documents in Water Proof Pouch
Address Book
Cash – $200 Worth
Coins – $10 Worth

Some of these items I have left to your own discretion such as the first aid kit, extra clothes, fishing kit, etc. And yes, I was able to fit all of this in mine and my spouse’s bug out bags each weighing approximately 25 pounds.

TIP: Next to my bug out bags I have one clothing bag filled with our hiking boots, wool socks, thermal underwear, 2 long sleeve shirts, 2 jeans, 2 hoodies, beanies and 2 pairs of gloves. The purpose for having a clothing bag is in the case of an emergency occurring in the middle of the night while we’re sleeping (such as a fire) and all we have on our backs is some cotton pajamas – we grab our bug out bags and clothing bag. When we get to a safe place we’ll have warm clothes to change into and the bag can be easily tucked away in our packs

Do you have an ultimate bug out bag list? Add anything you think I missed, brand recommendations or anything else you feel like sharing in the comments section below.

Jessica Hooley is an emergency prepper and writer of the blog Salt n’ Prepper – Critical Emergency Preparation with Ease.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published March 14th, 2012
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27 Responses to The Ultimate Bug Out Kit

  1. EastTenn says:

    I believe zip ties and a couple small bottles of super glue would be nice.  Perhaps a roll of duct tape or some other tape.  I also have a stainless steel water bottle since you could use it to boil water.  Instead of a propane stove, could one bring a small stove like a small rocket stove instead?

  2. Sari says:

    What about a bandana or hat to block the sun with? Just a thought…

  3. WestPac says:

    -Small mirror is nice, but I also include a signal mirror.
    -Survival kit should be made up x 2. Never leaves your body, along with personal first aid kit (cargo pockets).
    -Hunting knife should be x 2 and also never leaves your body (include smaller knives also).
    -Don’t get all hung up on having TP, because eventually you will run out…learn alternatives, as the locals have in Asia for centuries. A bucket and plastic ladle/pourer for washing is a lot more sanitary (just don’t forget to wash your hands).
    -Learn how to take a “Bucket Bath.” There is a technique!
    -Add spool of smaller diameter line to whip ends of rope, snares, etc. Paracord works great.
    -Add map to safe area and surrounding areas up to 100 miles.
    -Add machete or Air Force Survival Bush Axe strapped to outside of one pack & a folding E-tool (old style) to the other pack.

    Next article should be: “How to pack a pack” It is an art!

  4. JamesD says:

    I prefer a multi-fuel stove.  Fuel can be siphoned from vehicles if more is needed.  Propane is more difficult to acquire if your bug out goes longer than expected.  I prefer the all in one type but there are lighter models.  Just remember to rotate the fuel several times a year, use a fuel stabilizer, and stick to white gas in storage or your stove will gum up as the gasoline breaks down.  If you can’t perform such maintenance, stick to propane. 

    A lightweight hose for siphoning fuel for the multi-fuel stove.

    A tooblite along with something to stash it in so you can turn it off.  It beats using lots of batteries around a camp.  Sure LEDs let batteries last a long time but they are susceptible to damage from EMP, solar radiation, or from dropping.  The tooblite does not have those limitations, will shine all night, and NEVER needs batteries.  

    I do think you still need a flashlight for walking in the dark and I prefer the headlamp type.  If you buy an LED type, wrap it in some sort of insulator (cardboard should work) and wrap that in foil to form a faraday cage.  You should do the same with any other electronics… just in case.

  5. Prepping Preacher says:

    any one particular b.o.b. must have the provisions that any one of us feels most comfortable with and can handle the best…  so, any stated set of preps is a guide which can set a person in the right direction for well-rounded preparedness…  make the alterations, inclusions, exclusions that will help make you feel more secure if/when tshtf…  i personally go nowhere w/o duct tape and para-cord…  also, i carry a couple carpenter pencils versus pens…  i include a couple “burner” cell phones as well, for those “just in case” moments while the grid may still be at least partially intact… 

  6. Rev Jim says:

    I recommend several small airline sized bottles of alcohol. 

    They can be used to clean a wound or trade or take the edge off of the hard times you are going thru.

  7. Judi says:

    Where I come from we have snake bite kits

  8. Gary P says:

    I have four different ways to start a fire, several knives, a machete, saw, signal mirror, several compasses (that way you can compare one to the other so you know without dobt it is performing right), I use dryer lint for fire starting material, I think a book on survival is a good thing to have and a bible…I also intend to get heirloom seeds and above all I think water purification is the most important thing you can have. You can live a long time without food and find several natural things to eat for sustanance, but you can only go without water a few days at most. I have all the other things mentioned as well like lights, first aid etc. A good weapon and ammo will be almost as essential as water, especially if your in the city or the burbs.

  9. phil g says:

    Small bottle (1 oz) of iodine drops for water purification if water filter device quits. “1 is none and 2 is 1”!

  10. Nobody thought of a thick magnifying glass to start fires with?  Leaves & paper are perfect kindling with a magnifying glass, so you won’t have to carry all those bits of kindling.  Of course, the toilet paper can be used as kindling too, so there is even less reason for the kindling. 

  11. ATG says:

    Good list. The corn starch is also good for taking the itch out of poison oak and ivy.

    The list does not include a sharpening stone for knives or one of the small ceramic type knife sharperners. A stone and a small file will allow sharpening of the axe, knives, machete or saw.

    A pistol for selfprotection-sufficient knockdown power. A simple 22 cal, rifle for killing varmints and small game.     

  12. Chloe says:

    Just curious why the recommendation is always for matches and not a bunch of disposable lighters?

    • Chloe,

      It can be whatever your preference is. I like matches because they are more versatile. For instance, when I make my homemade firestarters for our bug out bags, before I seal them up, I cut up half a matchbook and throw them into the package. Although I have a lighter in my bag, the matches will be a back up in case I’m in dire need of fire.

  13. smee says:

    During Katrina many bodies were found abandoned or alone without i.d., it’s gruesome to think of, however storing a permanent ink fine tip marker is a good idea. At the time of emergency all parties should have someone write their name and personal info on clothing and also on the body* between the shoulder blades on the back or on the chest, just in case. The ink will stay on the clothing and also on the body if it gets wet and until it begins to decompose. 

    *Many times if a person is caught up in a rush of water their clothing can be washed away, good idea to have the body i.d.’d as well as the clothing. 

  14. Kory wittman says:

    I have an idea for a portablecooking  stove. For ur list.

  15. eianluke13 says:

    Sounds like a good list. My personal preference is for each person to have a complete bag even though there is more weight. It could be the end of both of you if you get separated and vital stuff is missing from one bag or the other. For example, you get separated and so one of you doesn’t have a map, first aid kit, tools, or a water purification device. 

  16. Alice says:

    I would add cigarettes. I don’t smoke, but they are useful for barter or bribes.

  17. LiveInLiberty says:

    I would also suggest using pencils instead of pens, as they don’t run out until they, well, run out. You can sharpen them and they will write on anything.

    I’ve also seen these very small solar panels for charging cell phones or other batteries (radios, etc.). They are slow but they work quite well (sorry, I don’t have a link for where to buy…)

    The clothing bag is something that I use as well. Nobody knows when something like this happens but you can almost guarantee it’ll be when you’re sleeping…  

    • photoman says:

      i have a goal zero adventure 10  that i use to charge 4aa’s or 4aaa’s in a handy that has a usb port, micro usb ,also has small flashlight. the solar panel i 7 watts….not big but works well ,has a female ciggerette adapter , so you can charge from car . i got the kit from costco for $110. a yr ago but prices are up. the little battery holder with a full charge will charge my iphone,&my ipad ….but you must make sure the battery holder says “guide 10 plus”the older model won’t charge ipad, or iphone., i love this thing it works great !! i keep about 12 aa & aaa ea. i get those costco ones and they claim they will hold a charge for 7 years ? ya think? 
      do the research , oh it came w/ 4 aa & 4aaa’s to start 🙂  

  18. trent says:

    a pair or two of work gloves to use and to barter come in handy, ive picked up a two pack of inflatable pool floats for a dollar towards the end of summer, we will use them to sleep on incase we are ever evacuated or on the run, they fold up real small.

  19. Steve says:

    Jeans are the worst thing to wear in a survival situation. They don’t insulate and dry very slowly. 

    • tyler says:

      what do you or anyone suggest for (separately) urban and wilderness/country/survival situation, pants and shirts?

  20. amos says:

    utility knife with spare blades, pot, dried beans, large stainless steel bowl with curled in rim or something inverted over a pot of boiling water to distill water… rigged to spout the condensed water into a metal cup or a premade pot lid with a copper tube coming out of the top that fits into a metal cylinder above it that condenses the steam into water. old style flat razor(you can buy them online), thumbdrive with important files, toothbrush, learn homesteading skills beforehand, oil of oregano gelcaps, get in shape now, archive of digital books on portable usb harddrive that teach life skills – 1800 – 1900 era books from googlebooks,, gutenbergproject, that talk about livestock raising, agriculture, blacksmithing, building, clothmaking, sewing, kniting, butchering, hunting, beeking, etc. be saved by Jesus(Yahshua) that’s the most important thing, do what the Bible says not what the chuches say.

  21. Bill says:

    Fire is essential for warmth and cooking/boiling water. That being said, my BOB includes : BIC lighters, matches, magnesium stick(s) small packages of kindling (can be bought at various sporting goods stores) and a couple of 9 volt baterries and steel wool pads. The steel wool pads can be great in high humidity areas where there is moisture in the air. Take your 9 volt battery and touch both the positive and negative contatcs to the steel wool and the wool will begin to glow.

  22. Ken says:

    Army surplus poncho. Cooler and more effective than shirt type.

    Elastic band lightwight  waterproof pants for cold. Gaiters for warm. Gaiters prevent having pants constantly get wet.

    100% cotton Ts doubling as bandages: everything else wool or synthetic.

    Socks and foot powder. Spare sneakers


  23. Barbara says:

    I would suggest flavor packets for water, especially ones with electrolytes. It will cover up the taste of whatever you used to purify the water.

  24. Navy says:

    It’s a sea bag so it good for long trip. Not so much if stop every night. That because the top is the only thing to get something out of. It a real pain if you need something because if something is on the bottom. You need to take every thing on top out to get it.

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