The Ultimate Guide to Bug Out Bag Essentials

A man and a woman walking hand in hand in the forest wearing backpacks

The Ultimate Guide to Bug Out Bag Essentials

A bug out bag, sometimes shortened to BOB, is a portable kit that contains the items one would require to survive for 72 hours when evacuating from a disaster.

The concept is to have everything you need to "bug out" (leave quickly) in an emergency situation where you would typically be unable to return home or access additional supplies for a period of time.

The contents of emergency kits vary according to individual needs and preferences, but they typically include basic survival supplies like food, water, shelter, hygiene, first aid, communications, light and heat.

This may include non-perishable food, water tablets or filters, tents or emergency blankets, first aid kits, flashlights, radios, personal documents, etc.

You can also make a bug out bag with wheels!

The idea is to have this bag packed and ready to go at all times, so that in the event of an emergency, you can grab it and leave quickly.

Why Having a Bug Out Bag is Important

A bug out bag is crucial in emergency situations for several reasons:

  • Self-Sufficiency: In the event of a disaster, you may not be able to rely on local resources or emergency services. A bug out bag ensures that you have the essentials to survive independently for at least 72 hours.
  • Quick Evacuation: Emergencies often require immediate action. Having a bug out bag ready means you can leave quickly without wasting time gathering supplies.
  • Survival Needs: A well-prepared bug out bag covers the basic survival needs: food, water, shelter, warmth, first aid, and communication. This can almost certainly make the difference between life and death in extreme situations.
  • Mobility: A bug out bag is designed to be portable, allowing you to stay on the move if necessary. This is especially important in situations where staying in one place could be dangerous.
  • Personal Safety: In addition to survival essentials, a bug out bag can also hold items for personal protection. This could be anything from a whistle for signaling to a multi-tool or a self-defense item.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that you're prepared for an emergency can provide significant peace of mind. This can be especially important in helping to reduce panic and make rational decisions in a crisis situation.

The key here is: having the kit prepared BEFORE you need it, and having it be PORTABLE enough to wear for long periods of time. This means total weight of 30 pounds or less for most people. 

Start With Water

Water is absolutely essential to staying alive and healthy. It plays a vital role in nearly every bodily function, including digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.

Kind of a big deal!

A young boy staring out over the waters of a lake in a forest wearing a backpack

In an emergency situation, staying hydrated becomes even more critical:

  1. Survival: The human body can survive for weeks without food, but only a few days without water. Dehydration can lead to serious health complications, including heat injury, urinary and kidney problems, seizures, and even death.

  2. Physical Performance: Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and confusion, which can severely impact your ability to move, navigate, or make important decisions during an emergency.

  3. Thermoregulation: Water helps regulate body temperature. In extreme heat or cold, staying hydrated can help prevent conditions like heatstroke or hypothermia.

  4. Digestion: Water is necessary for the proper digestion and absorption of food. If you're consuming food from your bug out bag, you'll need sufficient water to help process it.

  5. Injury Treatment: Clean water can be used to clean wounds and help prevent infection.

Given these factors, it's clear that having a reliable source of clean water in your bug out bag is of utmost importance. This could be in the form of bottled water, water purification tablets, or a life straw or similar filter that can make unsafe water safe to drink.

Remember, the general rule of thumb for survival situations is that an average person needs about one gallon of water per day for hydration and basic sanitation - but carrying all that is next to impossible, so always have a way to procure clean water via filtration. 

See some of our favorite water filter recommendations or just grab a Sawyer Mini. 

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

Typical Price: $16

If you want your water filter to be as compact and lightweight as possible, the Sawyer Mini is your choice. Despite being two ounces in weight, it’s perfectly capable of eliminating all dangerous protozoa and bacteria (though, like most filters, it can’t remove chemicals).

If it starts to become clogged up, simply backwash it out with clean water.

See our detailed review of the Sawyer Mini here. 


You'll Also Need Food

In emergencies, the availability of long-stable, energy-dense food is critical so make sure you've packed some!

Only consider foods with the following characteristics: 

  • Sustainable energy: High-energy foods, especially those high in protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates, provide the calories needed to maintain energy levels and physical endurance. This is especially important when traveling or dealing with physically demanding situations.
  • Longevity: In situations where access to fresh food is limited or non-existent, the use of foods with long shelf lives ensures a reliable source of nutrition over the long term.
  • Portability: Permanent foods are usually packaged in an easy-to-transport, weather-resistant manner, making them ideal for carrying in emergency bags.
  • Easy to prepare: Many shelf-stable, high-energy foods require little or no preparation. This is a great advantage in emergency situations when cooking facilities are not available.
  • Nutrient Density: Survival situations require spending money to get maximum nutritional value. High-energy foods are often nutritious and provide important vitamins and minerals in addition to calories.

Examples of such foods include energy bars, trail mixes, dried fruit, nuts, jerky, canned foods, and specially packaged survival foods. It is important to consider dietary restrictions and food allergies when choosing these products. Also, be sure to rotate these foods regularly and make sure they are not past their expiration dates. 

Check out emergency food bars like the Datrex 3600 Emergency Food Bar and see our tutorial on Food & Fire making for more information. 

Emergency Spare Clothing

Having a change of clothes in your emergency kit, or bug out bag, is crucial for for survival. You need adequate clothing, especially when normal life is upended by a natural disaster. Don't get caught in nothing but PJ's and flip flops!

  1. Protection from Elements: Clothing serves as your first line of defense against the elements. It can protect you from harsh weather conditions, such as rain, wind, cold, and sun. Having a change of clothes ensures that you can adapt to changing weather conditions.

  2. Hygiene and Comfort: In a survival situation, maintaining personal hygiene can be challenging. A change of clothes allows you to maintain a basic level of cleanliness, which can also help prevent skin infections and other health issues. Moreover, fresh clothes can provide a significant psychological boost, improving morale in tough situations.

  3. Injury: If your clothes become torn or damaged, having a spare set can be crucial. This is especially true if your clothes become contaminated with hazardous substances or biological matter.

  4. Insulation: Clothes provide insulation, helping to maintain body temperature. In cold conditions, changing into a dry set of clothes can prevent hypothermia.

  5. Camouflage: Depending on the situation, you might need to blend into your environment or avoid drawing attention. Having an appropriate set of clothes can help with this.

When packing a change of clothes in your emergency kit, consider including long-lasting, durable items that are suitable for various weather conditions. This might include moisture-wicking undergarments, a warm layer like a fleece pullover, sturdy pants, an all-weather jacket, and a couple of pairs of socks. A hat or bandana can also be useful for protection against sun and cold.

We do a deep dive on the types of clothing you should consider having in your emergency survival kits in our Protective Survival Clothing & Footwear tutorial. 

First Aid Kits

MyMedic First Aid Kit open, with a man with tattoos on his arms taking out a splint

A first aid kit is an essential item in any emergency or survival situation for millions of reasons:

  1. Immediate Response: Injuries can occur at any time during an emergency, and immediate response is often crucial in preventing further complications. A first aid kit allows you to treat injuries promptly before professional medical help is available.

  2. Prevent Infections: Open wounds are susceptible to infections, which can lead to serious health issues if not treated properly. A first aid kit typically includes antiseptics and bandages to clean and protect wounds, helping to prevent infection.

  3. Pain Relief: Pain can be debilitating in a survival situation, potentially hindering your ability to move or make decisions. A first aid kit usually contains pain relievers to help manage pain.

  4. Life-Saving Measures: In severe cases, a first aid kit can provide the tools necessary to perform life-saving measures. This could include a tourniquet to stop heavy bleeding, a CPR mask for resuscitation, or an epinephrine auto-injector for severe allergic reactions.

  5. Manage Chronic Conditions: If you or someone in your group has a chronic condition such as diabetes or asthma, a first aid kit can hold necessary medication and supplies.

  6. Peace of Mind: Knowing that you have the tools and supplies to handle medical emergencies can provide significant peace of mind in a stressful situation.

A well-stocked first aid kit should include items like bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes or solution, tweezers, scissors, a digital thermometer, an emergency blanket, disposable gloves, and a first aid manual. It's also a good idea to include any personal medications and a list of emergency phone numbers. Remember to check the kit regularly and replace any expired or used items.

The best kits out there by far are the ones made my MyMedic. We have 7 of them in our cars and around the house and use them for training First Aid to our kids and friends as well. Check out our full MyMedic review here. 

MyMedic First Aid Kit Advertisement

Or if you prefer to build your own, get inspiration from our Build an EMT & Paramedic First Aid Kit tutorial.

Survival Knife

A survival knife is one of the most versatile tools you can have in a bug out bag or any survival situation. Here are some of its potential uses:

  1. Food Preparation: A survival knife can be used for hunting, fishing, cleaning game, and preparing food. This includes tasks like gutting fish, skinning game, and cutting or chopping food.

  2. Building Shelter: A survival knife can be used to cut branches, clear brush, or notch wood, which can be essential when constructing a shelter in the wilderness.

  3. Fire Starting: With a fire starter or flint, a survival knife can be used to create sparks for starting a fire. Additionally, it can be used to split wood or shave tinder.

  4. First Aid: In emergency situations, a knife can be used to cut bandages, remove splinters, or even perform more serious first aid procedures if absolutely necessary.

  5. Self-Defense: While hopefully not needed, a survival knife can be used as a tool for self-defense against wild animals or other threats.

  6. Signaling: The blade of a survival knife can be used to signal for help by reflecting sunlight.

  7. Tool Making: A survival knife can be used to carve or whittle wood to create other tools or utensils, such as spears for hunting or wooden stakes.

  8. Navigation: If the knife is made of steel, it can be magnetized (by rubbing it with silk or carefully stroking it with a magnet) and used as a compass needle.

  9. Rope Making: A survival knife can be used to cut and strip bark or other materials to make cordage for various survival needs.

  10. Digging: While not its primary use, a survival knife can be used for digging, such as creating a fire pit, digging for water, or excavating edible roots.

Remember, a survival knife is a tool, and like any tool, its effectiveness depends on the skill and knowledge of the user. It's important to learn how to use and maintain a survival knife properly.

Ka-Bar BK-22 Becker Companion Knife in the hands of a man wearing military desert camo

My favorite knife right now is the Ka-Bar BK-22 Becker Companion Fixed Blade Knife. It's over $100 but it's an indestructible piece of hardware. A absolutely monstrous blade that can take Terminator levels of abuse.

 If that's outside your budget, check out the Cold Steel SRK-C Survival Rescue Fixed Blade Knife instead. They run about $40. 

Invest in a Good Multi-Tool

A multi-tool is a highly versatile piece of equipment that combines several individual functions in a single unit. It's an essential item for any bug out bag or survival kit due to its compact size and wide range of uses. Here are some of the ways a multi-tool can be useful in an emergency or survival situation:

  1. Cutting and Sawing: Most multi-tools include at least one knife blade, and often a small saw. These can be used for cutting cordage, preparing food, making kindling, and more.

  2. Pliers and Wire Cutters: These can be used for a variety of tasks, from repairing equipment to removing hooks from fish, or even dealing with barbed wire in extreme situations.

  3. Screwdrivers: A multi-tool often includes both flathead and Phillips screwdrivers, which can be used for repairing gear, assembling items, or other tasks that require tightening or loosening screws.

  4. Can and Bottle Openers: These can be invaluable when you need to open canned food or beverages.

  5. Scissors: For cutting bandages, clothing, or other materials.

  6. File: Useful for smoothing rough edges or even for minor sharpening tasks.

  7. Awl: This can be used for punching holes in leather or heavy material, or for tasks like sewing or repairing gear.

  8. Tweezers: Useful for removing splinters or dealing with small items that are difficult to handle with your fingers.

  9. Ruler: Some multi-tools include a small ruler, which can be useful for navigation or other tasks where measurements are needed.

  10. Fire Starter: Some multi-tools even include a small ferrocerium rod for starting fires.

Remember, the versatility of a multi-tool comes from the variety of tasks it can perform. However, it's also important to know how to use each of these tools effectively. Practice using your multi-tool in various situations so you're familiar with its functions when you need them most.

Leatherman Wave Plus Multitool

Leatherman Wave Plus Multitool

Price: $100
Everything but the kitchen sink in this little guy. We included it in the cutting tools because it has knives but its so much more than that.

You might already have one of these lying around somewhere, but make sure you have an extra available for your bug out bags - so you aren't searching around for it if an emergency strikes.


Starting a Fire

Being able to start a fire in a survival situation is crucial! If you don't already know why, its because you will need one for:

  1. Warmth: Fire provides a source of heat, which is essential in cold environments to prevent hypothermia. Even in milder climates, temperatures can drop significantly at night, making a fire important for staying warm.

  2. Cooking: Fire allows you to cook food, making it safer to eat by killing bacteria and other pathogens. Cooking can also make some foods easier to digest and improve their taste.

  3. Purifying Water: Boiling water over a fire is one of the most effective ways to make it safe to drink by killing most types of harmful microorganisms.

  4. Signaling: A fire can be used as a signal for help, especially at night or when smoke can be seen during the day.

  5. Protection: Fire can deter wild animals and insects, providing a level of safety.

  6. Light: Fire provides a source of light after dark, allowing you to see your surroundings and continue activities after sunset.

  7. Morale: A fire can boost morale by providing a sense of comfort and normalcy. It can be a psychological boost that improves mental resilience in a survival situation.

A smiling man building a campfire in the woods

Given these benefits, it's clear why the ability to start a fire is a fundamental survival skill. It's important to carry reliable fire-starting tools in your bug out bag, such as matches, lighters, or ferro rods, and to know how to use them effectively. It's also beneficial to understand how to start a fire using natural materials if necessary.

We recommend a reliable fire starter like the Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel.

Be sure to also check out our recommendations in our BOBB Fire Starting Kit tutorial

Emergency Blanket

An emergency blanket, also known as a space blanket or thermal blanket, is an essential item in any survival or emergency kit. It's a compact and lightweight sheet designed to retain heat in emergency situations. Here are some of its uses:

  1. Thermal Insulation: The primary use of an emergency blanket is to keep warm. The blanket is designed to reflect back up to 90% of your body heat, helping to prevent hypothermia in cold conditions.

  2. Shelter: An emergency blanket can be used as a makeshift shelter. It can protect you from wind, rain, and sun, and its reflective surface can help retain heat inside the shelter.

  3. Signaling: The shiny, reflective surface of an emergency blanket can be used to signal for help in a rescue situation. It can be seen from a distance and can even reflect sunlight to catch the attention of aircraft.

  4. Ground Cover: If you need to rest or sleep on the ground, an emergency blanket can provide a clean, dry surface. It can also help to reflect heat back up to your body when used this way.

  5. First Aid: In a pinch, an emergency blanket can be used as a wrap for someone in shock or as a sling for an injured arm. It can also be used to cover and protect wounds.

  6. Water Collection: The blanket can be shaped to collect rainwater or morning dew, providing a source of hydration in a survival situation.

Remember, while an emergency blanket is a versatile tool, it's not a substitute for proper clothing, shelter, or other survival gear. It's a temporary solution designed for emergency situations.

a woman wearing a Swiss Safe Emergency Mylar Thermal Blanket

You can't beat the pricing on the Swiss Safe Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets. You get 5 blankets for under $20 typically. A wise investment, and addition to your First Aid Kits. 

Flashlights and Headlamps

Having a reliable light source in your emergency supply kit is vital, and it's one reason why we own way too many of them:

  1. Visibility: In an emergency situation, especially at night or in low-light conditions, a light source allows you to see your surroundings clearly. This can help you avoid potential hazards, find your way if you're lost, or locate items in your kit.

  2. Signaling: A light source can be used to signal for help. Flashlights can be turned on and off to create a signal, and some even have a built-in SOS mode.

  3. First Aid: A light source is crucial when administering first aid in the dark. It allows you to accurately assess injuries and provide the appropriate treatment.

  4. Morale: Having a light can provide comfort and a sense of safety in the dark, which can boost morale in a stressful situation.

  5. Task Efficiency: Whether you're setting up shelter, preparing food, or packing your bag, having a light source allows you to perform these tasks more efficiently in the dark.

When choosing a light source for your emergency kit, consider options like hand-crank flashlights, which don't require batteries, or headlamps, which allow for hands-free operation.

a man with a very powerful flashlight lighting up a forest in the valley below him

It's also a good idea to pack extra batteries if your light source requires them. Remember to check your light source periodically to ensure it's working properly and replace batteries as needed.

We prefer lights which use the rechargeable 18650 batteries. They are the best batteries you can get in our opinion. 

We've got a whole section on emergency lighting, check it out before you buy anything, get a feel for what's out there first. 

Backup Power

In today's digital age, having a power source to charge devices in an emergency situation is more important than ever. Here's why:

  1. Communication: Mobile phones, radios, and other communication devices require power to operate. In an emergency, being able to call for help or receive updates about the situation can be critical.

  2. Navigation: Many people rely on digital maps and GPS on their smartphones or other devices for navigation. Keeping these devices charged can be crucial if you're trying to find your way to safety.

  3. Light: While it's recommended to have a standalone light source like a flashlight, your smartphone's flashlight can serve as a backup light source.

  4. Information and Entertainment: In a prolonged emergency situation, a charged device can provide access to important information, books, games, or other forms of entertainment that can help pass the time and keep morale up.

  5. Medical Devices: For those who rely on powered medical devices such as hearing aids, glucose monitors, or CPAP machines, having a power source can be a matter of health and safety.

A portable charger or power bank can provide a source of power for these devices. Solar-powered chargers are also a good option as they can be recharged during the day for use at night. Remember, it's important to check your power source periodically to ensure it's charged and functioning properly.

You'll also want to invest in one that has the ability to charge from solar panels and has an "always on" feature (for lights) like the Voltaic Systems V25 USB Battery Pack. They run about $40 and can charge your phone 2x. 

For $75 you can upgrade to their Arc 10W Solar Charger Kit which adds a small, foldable 10W solar panel. 

For more information about backup emergency power, read our Portable Power tutorial

Paracord for the Win

Paracord, also known as parachute cord, is a lightweight nylon rope that is an essential item in any survival or emergency kit due to its strength and versatility.

And you aren't truly a prepper if you don't have paracord all over the place! It's utility cannot be overstated. 

Here are some of its potential uses in a survival situation:

  1. Shelter Building: Paracord can be used to tie together branches or secure a tarp when building a shelter. It is also the way we hang tarps - learn how to tie a truckers hitch to get your lines nice and taught.

  2. First Aid: It can be used as a tourniquet, sling, or to secure a splint.

  3. Fishing: Paracord can be unraveled and the inner strands used as fishing line. A simple fish hook can be made from a piece of bone or wood.

  4. Hunting: Paracord can be used to make snares or traps to catch small game.

  5. Fire Making: It can be used to create a bow drill for starting a fire.

  6. Repairing Gear: Paracord can be used to replace broken shoelaces, repair ripped clothing, or replace the drawstring in a bag or pack.

  7. Navigation: You can use paracord to mark a trail or create a makeshift compass.

  8. Carrying Items: Paracord can be used to make a carry strap, handle, or even a makeshift backpack to carry items.

  9. Signaling: Brightly colored paracord can be used to signal for help.

  10. Food Gathering: Paracord can be used to create a makeshift net for catching fish or birds.

Remember, while paracord is a versatile tool, its effectiveness depends on the skill and knowledge of the user. It's important to learn various knots and how to use paracord effectively in different survival scenarios.

You can't go wrong with the cord made by TOUGH-GRID 550lb Paracord. We buy ours in spools of 500' it gets used that often when we are camping, and we can do huge runs for tarp hangs.  

Emergency Shelter

Having shelter in a survival or emergency situation is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Protection from Elements: Shelter provides protection from the elements, including rain, wind, snow, sun, and extreme temperatures. This is crucial for preventing hypothermia or heatstroke, and for ensuring you stay dry and comfortable.

  2. Rest and Sleep: Shelter provides a space for rest and sleep, which are essential for maintaining energy and morale in a survival situation. Lack of sleep can lead to fatigue, impaired judgment, and decreased physical ability.

  3. Safety: A shelter can provide safety from wildlife or other potential threats. It can also provide a sense of security and privacy, which can be psychologically comforting in a stressful situation.

  4. Visibility and Rescue: In a rescue situation, a shelter can make you more visible to rescuers. It can also be a place to store and protect signal devices like mirrors or flares.

  5. Health: Shelter can help prevent exposure-related health conditions such as sunburn, frostbite, or respiratory conditions caused by exposure to cold air.

When considering shelter for your bug out bag or survival kit, options can range from a lightweight tarp or bivvy sack to a more substantial tent. It's also beneficial to understand how to create a makeshift shelter from natural materials if necessary. Remember, the goal is to protect yourself from the elements and maintain body heat.

W recommend carrying a lightweight backup emergency shelter like the Don't Die In The Woods World's Toughest Ultralight Survival Tent over carrying a full-sized tent in your backpack, but if you have your vehicle with you, then by all means have a real tent available. 

Have a Map or Two

Having physical maps for navigation in an emergency or survival situation is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Reliability: Unlike digital maps or GPS, physical maps don't rely on batteries or a network connection. They can be used anytime, anywhere, and won't fail due to technical issues.

  2. Orientation: A physical map can help you understand your surroundings, identify landmarks, and plan the best route to your destination. This can be especially important in unfamiliar terrain or in a situation where landmarks have been altered or destroyed.

  3. Planning: Maps can be used to plan routes, identify safe areas or potential hazards, and estimate travel times. They can also help you find resources like water or shelter.

  4. Communication: If you're with a group, a map can be a valuable tool for discussing plans, identifying meeting points, or explaining routes to others.

  5. Rescue: In a rescue situation, a map can help you communicate your location to rescuers, or follow their instructions to reach a safe location.

When choosing maps for your emergency kit, consider including a variety of scales and covering a range of areas. A local map can provide detailed information about your immediate surroundings, while a regional or national map can be useful for broader planning or if you need to travel a long distance.

Topographic maps can provide valuable information about the terrain. Remember to store your maps in a waterproof container or bag to protect them from damage.

Pickup maps of your area, and a few of the surrounding ones as well - you might need to split town. We have paper maps of the 5 states closest to us in each vehicle, and in the big truck we have a US road map book. They are backups should the GPS systems ever fail. 

Get a Compass 

A compass is a vital tool for navigation, particularly in survival or emergency situations, and here's why:

  1. Direction Finding: The primary function of a compass is to identify the cardinal directions (North, South, East, and West). This is crucial when navigating unfamiliar terrain or following a specific course.

  2. Map Reading: When used in conjunction with a map, a compass can help you understand your position and plan your route. This is particularly important in areas where landmarks are not distinct.

  3. Staying on Course: A compass can help you maintain a straight path and prevent unintentional deviation, which can occur easily in dense forests or in low visibility conditions.

  4. Conserving Energy: By helping you navigate efficiently, a compass can save you from unnecessary detours or backtracking, conserving your energy in survival situations.

  5. Rescue: In a rescue situation, a compass can help you navigate towards help or follow directions given by rescuers.

Remember, while a compass is a powerful tool, it's only as effective as the person using it. Understanding the basics of how to use a compass, along with map reading skills, is essential for anyone venturing into the outdoors or preparing for emergency situations.

A good, not too expensive compass we like is the SUUNTO A-10 Compass. They are light weight, and easy to use with maps. 

Personal Hygiene

Maintaining personal hygiene is crucial in any situation, but it becomes especially important in an emergency or survival scenario for several reasons:

  1. Disease Prevention: Poor hygiene can lead to the spread of diseases, especially in close quarters or in situations where medical help may not be readily available. This includes skin infections, gastrointestinal illnesses, and other communicable diseases.

  2. Infection Control: Keeping yourself and any wounds or injuries clean can help prevent infection. This is particularly important in a survival situation where access to medical care may be limited.

  3. Comfort: Staying clean can significantly improve your comfort level, which can in turn boost morale and mental well-being in a stressful situation.

  4. Social Interaction: Good hygiene can make social interactions more pleasant, which can be important for maintaining group morale and cooperation in a survival situation.

  5. Heat Regulation: Keeping your skin clean can help your body's natural processes of sweating and heat regulation, which can be important in extreme temperatures.

To maintain hygiene in a survival situation, consider including items like soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, toilet paper, sanitary wipes, and hand sanitizer in your emergency kit. Feminine hygiene products should also be included if applicable. Remember, even in a survival situation, maintaining good hygiene practices is an important part of staying healthy and comfortable.

Our Hygiene on-the-go tutorial will give you all the right products you need and maybe spark some other ideas. 

Cash and Important Documents

Having cash and copies of important documents in your emergency kit is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Cash: In an emergency, credit card machines and ATMs may not be working, or there may be no time to find one. Having cash on hand can be essential for purchasing supplies, paying for transportation, or securing a place to stay. Small denominations are best, as making change may not be possible.

  2. Identification: Copies of identification documents (like driver's licenses or passports) can help prove who you are, which can be important if you need to get help from authorities or access services.

  3. Medical Information: Copies of health insurance cards, prescription information, and any important medical records can be crucial if you need medical attention.

  4. Contact Information: A list of important phone numbers and addresses can be invaluable if your phone dies or gets lost.

  5. Legal and Financial Documents: Copies of deeds, titles, wills, and other legal documents, as well as financial account information, can be important in the aftermath of a disaster. They can help you prove ownership, access resources, and start the recovery process.

  6. Emergency Plan: A written copy of your emergency plan, including evacuation routes, meeting places, and the location of emergency supplies, can be a valuable reference in a stressful situation.

Remember, these documents should be kept in a waterproof container to protect them from damage. Also, because these documents contain sensitive information, they should be stored securely to prevent identity theft.

Not sure what to backup? Check out our Important Documents tutorial to see what you need to backup, and how to take it all with you. 

Also make sure to have a WUSH Bag handy, this should cover you for much of this!

Portable Radio

Staying informed about weather conditions and news is crucial in any situation, but it becomes especially important in an emergency or survival scenario for several reasons:

  1. Safety: Weather conditions can have a significant impact on your safety. For example, knowing when a storm is coming can allow you to seek shelter, while understanding temperature trends can help you avoid hypothermia or heatstroke.

  2. Planning: Information about weather conditions can help you plan your actions. For example, if heavy rain is expected, you might choose to stay put rather than risk traveling. If a cold snap is coming, you can gather extra firewood in advance.

  3. Rescue: In a rescue situation, understanding the weather can help you decide when to signal for help. For example, if you know a plane or helicopter is unlikely to fly in current conditions, you can save your signal flare for later.

  4. News Updates: In a broader emergency, like a natural disaster or civil unrest, staying informed about the news can help you understand the situation, make informed decisions, and stay safe. This could include information about safe zones, evacuation orders, or where to find help.

To stay informed, consider including a battery or crank-powered weather radio in your emergency kit. Some models also include a built-in flashlight or phone charger. Remember, information is a valuable resource in any emergency situation.

This one has everything but the kitchen sink for $35: Weather Radio Raynic 5000 Solar Hand Crank Emergency Radio 5 Ways Powered AM/FM/SW/NOAA Weather Alert Portable Radio with Flashlight

For more info than you could ever possibly want about the subject, check out our Emergency Communications guide

Personal Protection

Personal protection is a critical aspect of survival in emergency situations for several reasons:

  1. Self-Defense: In certain situations, you may need to defend yourself against threats. This could include wild animals or, in extreme cases, other people. Having a means of self-defense, such as a survival knife or pepper spray, can provide a level of personal protection.

  2. Prevention of Injury: Personal protection also involves taking steps to prevent injury. This could include wearing sturdy shoes to protect your feet, using gloves when handling sharp objects or rough materials, or wearing a hat and sunscreen to protect against sunburn.

  3. Health Protection: In some emergency situations, personal protection might also involve protecting your health. This could include wearing a mask in dusty conditions or during a pandemic, or using insect repellent to protect against mosquito-borne diseases.

  4. Visibility: Personal protection can also mean making yourself visible to prevent accidents. This could involve wearing bright colors or reflective materials when traveling, especially in low-light conditions.

  5. Mental Well-being: Having means of personal protection can also provide a sense of security and peace of mind, which can be important for mental well-being in a stressful situation.

Remember, the goal of personal protection is to keep you safe and healthy, so you're in the best possible condition to handle whatever the situation demands. It's important to consider personal protection when assembling your emergency kit and to understand how to use any protective equipment or devices you include.

We think pepper spray is a good option for most people, if it's legal to carry where you live. But you need to know how to use it properly. Thats why we wrote The Ultimate Pepper Spray Guide


Having a well-stocked bug out bag is a crucial part of emergency preparedness. It ensures that you have the necessary supplies and tools to survive and stay safe in an emergency situation. Whether you're dealing with a natural disaster, civil unrest, or any situation that requires immediate evacuation, a bug out bag can be a lifesaver.

The importance of a bug out bag lies in its ability to provide for your basic needs: shelter, water, food, warmth, and first aid. It also includes tools for navigation, communication, and self-defense. Each item in the bag serves a purpose and contributes to your survival and well-being.

Remember, emergencies can happen without warning, and in many cases, there may not be time to gather supplies when disaster strikes. Having a bug out bag ready to go means you're prepared to leave at a moment's notice.

Building a bug out bag is a proactive step towards ensuring your safety and survival. It's an investment in peace of mind, knowing that you're prepared for whatever may come. Start by identifying your needs, considering factors like your local climate, personal health needs, and potential emergency scenarios. Then, gather your supplies, focusing on quality and durability. Test your gear, learn how to use it, and periodically review and update your bag as needed.

Remember, the goal isn't to pack for every possible scenario, but to equip yourself with the essentials that will help you survive and stay safe. Start building your bug out bag today – it's a step towards preparedness that you'll never regret.

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