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The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List: 60 Essentials [FREE Download]

June 18, 2024

The Complete Bug Out Bag Checklist + Free PDF Download

Prepare for any emergency with our comprehensive bug out bag checklist. Whether you’re faced with a power outage, natural disaster, or unexpected threat, a well thought out bug out bag goes a long way in keeping you and others safe.

packing bug out bag with essential and important items

Our bug out bag list covers everything from survival equipment to self defense to personal items to ensure you’re prepared for any situation. 

Below is a download link for a free bug out bag list PDF. This meticulously curated checklist covers all the essentials and considers crucial elements like food, water, shelter, first aid, communication and more. 

Don’t wait for an emergency to strike. Instead, think ahead and assemble your bug out bag today. Having a well-prepared bug out bag can make all the difference in an unexpected situation.Click the link below to download your free PDF and take the first step toward ensuring your emergency preparedness. 


Download Your Printable Bug Out Bag Checklist PDF

Grab a copy of our bug out bag checklist with all 60 essential items.


What Do You Need a Bug Out Bag For?

A well prepared bug out bag consists of all essential things you might need in an emergency or undesirable situation. When building a bug out bag, it is important to consider all of the possible unruly scenarios you might find yourself in, like if you are going on a road trip, vacation, or just staying home. 

A bug out bag essentials list should have items to prepare you for a roadside emergency, a natural disaster, or even something more severe like a ballistic threat. With this in mind, a bug out bag essentials list should consist of things like non--perishable food, water, emergency shelter, clothing, and hygiene supplies. All of these items can make a huge difference in times of need, keeping you safe until you can get back on your feet. 



The 60 Key Items That Belong on Your Bug Out Bag Packing List

Whether you are a seasoned prepper or someone just getting into the emergency preparedness space, this comprehensive guide has you covered. From survival essentials to strategic tools, our expert curated bug out bag item list has everything you need to be prepared for whatever life throws at you.

packing bug out bag with important items

Being prepared is key to facing unexpected challenges, and with our detailed bug out bag packing list you can rest easy knowing that you have the right gear for any situation.  

Hydration Equipment

One of, if not the most important things you can pack in your bug out bag is high-quality hydration equipment. This takes the shape of water bottles, whether plastic or reusable, a water filter, and water purification tablets. A good bug out bag should have enough water to keep you and your party hydrated for 1-3 days. After that, it is crucial to have some form of filtration to ensure you have clean water for as long as you need. 

  1. Water Bottle
  2. Water Filter
  3. Water Purification Tablets

Medical Essentials

It is also important to prepare your bug out bag with medical essentials like a compact first aid kit. This first aid kit should consist of basic medicine like antibiotic ointment, fever reducers, and painkillers, as well as tools like scissors, tweezers, cotton swabs and bandages.

For larger medical emergencies, consider having a bleed control kit prepared with a tourniquet, cold pack, large bandages, splits, latex-free gloves and a first aid manual. Having medical supplies on hand can make all the difference if a medical emergency were to arise.

Keep in mind the specific medical requirements of yourself or those you are traveling with, as not all emergency medical kits can cater to everyone. 

  1. First Aid Kit
  2. Bleed Stop Kit
  3. Insect Repellant
  4. Latex Gloves
  5. Personal or OTC Medications

Long-Lasting Food Items

Be sure your bug out bag is equipped with long lasting or non-perishable food items such as energy bars, canned goods, or MRE’s. A few days worth of food for you and your party can make all the difference if an emergency strikes.

Make sure you also have the proper tools to prepare your food, such as gloves, a stove, utensils, and water if your meal requires it. Be sure your food supply adheres to the dietary needs of you and your party. Being prepared with nutrient dense, high calorie food on hand is essential in emergency situations.

  1. Energy Bars
  2. MREs
  3. Beef Jerky

Supplies for Shelter and Sleeping

If your travels take you to an unfamiliar location, be sure to plan accordingly and bring the requisite shelter and sleeping supplies if issues arise with your planned accommodations. These supplies might consist of a heavy duty tarp to be used as a ground liner or rain protection, a tent with enough room for you and those traveling with you, sleeping bags and ground pads, and extra blankets if you’re in an especially cold environment.

If space in your bug out bag is an issue, there are a number of lightweight and space efficient options to help preserve space. 

  1. Sleeping Bag
  2. Tarp
  3. Sleeping Pad
  4. Tent
  5. Silver Thermal Blanket

Self Defense Equipment

Although it is unlikely, it is essential to prepare your bug out bag with self defense equipment in case of a ballistic threat or large animal encounter. You might find it useful to have a firearm on hand, whether it is a handgun or a rifle.

If this is the case, be sure to have cleaning supplies and spare ammunition. It might also be helpful to have a knife, taser, or pepper spray/mace on hand to fend off attackers. Ballistic protection is also a good thing to have in your bug out bag, whether it is an armor vest or bulletproof backpack insert.   

  1. Firearm
  2. Knife
  3. Taser
  4. Pepper Spray/Mace
  5. Body Armor

Personal Hygiene Items

Another bug out bag essential is personal hygiene items. These should be lightweight and easily accessible to ensure maximum usability. Hygiene items like soap, a toothbrush, and toothpaste, and sanitation items like disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper are essential to ensuring comfort through unforeseen circumstances. These items not only promote physical health, but address a certain level of psychological need as well.

  1. Toothbrush
  2. Toothpaste
  3. Hairbrush
  4. Hand Sanitizer
  5. Toilet Paper
  6. Soap
  7. Small Towel
  8. Wet Napkins

Versatile Attire

In an emergency situation, having versatile attire on hand is essential. Versatile attire consists of clothing that performs well in a large range of temperatures, moisture levels, and performance requirements. Some examples of versatile attire consist of moisture wicking pants and shirts, multi-purpose hats such as a bandana or hood, and water resistant shoes.

Being prepared for any and all weather scenarios is essential in an emergency, as the difference between being wet and dry can be the difference between life and death. It is also important to pack extra socks and under garments in your bug out bag, as these items can drastically contribute to your quality of life in an emergency situation. 

  1. Rain Jacket / Poncho
  2. Hat / Bandanna
  3. Long Sleeve Shirts
  4. Hiking Socks
  5. Underwear
  6. Work Gloves

Multi-Functional Tools

Having multi-functional tools in your bug out bag is a great idea due to the large number of use cases they have. Whether it is for a roadside emergency or a survival situation, having tools on hand can make a huge difference when it comes to preparing shelter or making repairs.

It is also a good idea to have useful items like duct tape and paracord due to their multi-use functionality. These items are great for patching holes and securing your belongings. Be sure to regularly check on the quality and quantity of these items you have so you are not without them in an emergency situation. 

  1. Multi-Tool
  2. Fire Starter
  3. Duct Tape
  4. Paracord
  5. Survival Knife

Lights and Power

If you are planning on traveling for multiple days, be sure to have lights and power on deck. If you pack a flashlight, make sure you also have spare batteries. If you are worried about weight, you can rely on a solar powered battery bank instead.

However, if you do go the battery bank route, be sure to have extra charging cables that suit the charging needs of you and your devices. Investing in durable, lengthy cables is not a bad idea as the convenience they provide can make a big difference in a pinch. 

  1. Flashlight
  2. Spare Batteries
  3. Solar Powered Battery Bank
  4. Extra Charging Cables

Communication Devices

If you find yourself in an emergency, having a way out is crucial to your wellness. This is why it is important to have a cell phone, radio, or walkie talkie on hand in case you find yourself stranded without immediate help.

If this is the case, be sure to bring the correct charging equipment to ensure these devices are usable when you need them. It is good practice to double check the charge of these items regularly, whether you just top them off or keep them on a drip charger. 

  1. Cell Phones
  2. Walkie Talkies
  3. Radio

Personal Documentation

In an emergency situation, personal documentation like an ID, drivers license, passport or medical information can go a long way in identification with authorities. If you do decide to bring these things, ensure that they are copies, and that they are stored in a waterproof box or bag to guarantee their quality when needed. 

  1. Copies of Drivers Licenses
  2. Copies of Passports
  3. Copies of Home and Title Documents and Keys
  4. Copies of Prescriptions/Important Medical Records

Navigation Aids

Having a reliable navigation aid in your gear is a great way to stay oriented and find your way in an emergency. Whether it is a compass, satellite GPS, or a good old fashioned map, having navigational equipment handy can go a long way to ensure your safety if you find yourself lost or disoriented. 

  1. Maps
  2. Compass

Miscellaneous Items

Be sure to do an overview of your gear and fill in any gaps with some miscellaneous items like cash, resealable bags, or even playing cards. These items, while not necessarily essential, are useful in guaranteeing your bug out bag is well rounded.

When adding these items to your pack, consider random scenarios that might arise and what would be needed to handle these situations effectively. From here, think of other quality of life things that you can add to make an emergency feel a bit more like home. 

  1. Cash
  2. N95 Face Mask
  3. Resealable Bags
  4. Sewing Kit
  5. Emergency Whistle
  6. Pet Supplies
  7. Playing Cards

Bug Out Bags for Every Emergency

In the face of uncertainty, a well-equipped bug out bag is your key to making it out in one piece. Our comprehensive guide will help ensure you are ready for any emergency, big or small. Whether your gear is for a vehicle, a large group of people, or a specific condition like the wilderness or an urban environment, having a well curated bug out bag on hand can make a huge difference in your ability to handle emergencies. 

Keep your head up, check on your gear routinely, and run through emergency scenarios often to ensure you are prepared. Vigilance is key in an emergency, and it is always better to be over prepared than underprepared.



Written by: Aidan Shelton

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