What to Put on your Bug Out Bag List

In an earlier post, we answered the question what is a bug out bag. (Also known as a 72-hour kit, a battle box, or a grab bag, it’s a wilderness survival kit that is filled to the brim with everything a person needs to survive for three full days.) This post offers a complete bug out bag list to help you pack. Disasters can strike at any time with little or no warning, so it’s vital that you know how to make a survival kit and have one prepared in advance. There are a lot of survival kit ideas out there, but the new book Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag by Creek Stewart offers the most comprehensive explanation of bug out bag contents complete with a bug out bag checklist. Here’s a quick overview of what to put in a bug out bag. Find complete explanations of each piece of kit along with photos, specific product recommendations, and quantity to pack (based on your survival skill level) in the book. You can also download this survival kit list for free.

Bug Out Bag List of Content

Water and Hydration

Bug Out Bag List Tips

  • Fresh Drinking Water
  • Collapsible Water Bottle
  • Nalgene Style Water Bottle
  • Metal Canteen
  • Water Purification Tablets
  • Water Filter/Purification System

Food and Food Preparation

  • Open-and-Eat Bars (Cliff Bars, candy bars, granola bars)
  • MRE Meals or Dehydrated Meals
  • Metal Cook Pot
  • Metal Cup
  • Spork
  • P-38 Can Opener
  • Pot Scrubber
  • Portable Pack Stove
  • Fuel for Portable Pack Stove


  • Well Broke-In Hiking Boots (leave your house with these on your feet)
  • Lightweight Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Pants
  • Underwear
  • Wool Hiking Socks
  • Mid-Weight Fleece
  • Brimmed Hat
  • Leather Work Gloves
  • Shemagh
  • Rain Poncho (get the military-style with metal grommets so you can also use this to create shelter)

Shelter and Bedding

  • Tarp
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Ground Pad


  • Ignition Source
  • Fire Tinder
  • Waterproof Container

First Aid

  • First Aid Kit
  • Insect Repellant
  • Mylar Survival Blanket


  • Disinfecting Wet Napkins
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • All-Purpose Soap
  • Hygiene/Signal Mirror
  • Small Pack Towel
  • Toilet Paper


  • Survival Knife (choose a fixed blade, full-tang knife with a pointed blade and single edge)
  • Multi-Tool


  • LED Headlamp
  • Mini LED Keychain Light
  • Glowstick
  • Candle


  • Cell Phone
  • Crank Power Charger
  • Emergency Radio with Hand Crank
  • Survival Document Portfolio
  • $500–$1000 in Small Denominations
  • Quarters
  • Local Area Map
  • Compass
  • Small Note Pad and Pencil
  • Emergency Whistle

Self Defense

  • Pepper Spray
  • Handgun
  • Ammunition


  • 550 Parachute Cord
  • Cotton Bandana
  • Duct Tape (wrap lengths of this around lighters and Nalgene water bottles to reduce bulk)
  • 55 Gallon Contractor Grade Garbage Bag
  • Resealable Bags in a Variety of Sizes
  • Sunglasses
  • N95 Face Mask
  • Sewing Kit
  • 36” Latex Tubing
  • Fishing Kit
  • Binoculars
  • Inspirational Item


  • Collapsible Water Bowl
  • 72-hours Worth of Food
  • 72-hours Worth of Water
  • Vaccination Records
  • Leash
  • Muzzle