Bug Out Bag Checklist: 100+ Essential list 2023(Updated)


If a disaster occurred today…what will happen to you? In the recent past, we’ve seen several disasters like hurricanes, earthquake,s or even tornados take place. Being prepared and ready to survive in such a situation is important. Hence, you should always have a bug out bag ready and in place. People always get confused about which items to include in the bag out bag checklist.

Without a bag out bag gear, you might end up with no food, water, or other supplies that will allow you to survive for at least 3 days before you are rescued. Be heads up with our bug out bag packing list!! Our entire bag-out bag kit is made up of essential items that you might need or not need depending on the area that you live in.

Summary of Contents

100+ Bug out bag checklist

With 90 plus bug out bag list, this article offers you a wide range of items to choose from. It doesn’t mean that you will have to pack every item on the list, but at least you will have somewhere to start from. Our years of experience in the bug out bag checklist have taught us several lessons and we are happy to share with you some of the essentials that you need to have ready if an Armageddon occurred.

A quality bug out bag

  • Backpack – after listing all the items that you will need for survival, it’s time now to choose a bug out bag for keeping and carrying those items. There are different types of bags on the market. Pick a tactical backpack that is large enough to fit all your items. It should have a large compartment and small compartments, too. The bug out bag should be lightweight and of high quality. It should also have straps and be water-resistant.

Shelter and bedding

  • Tarpaulin – for survival, you don’t need a heavy tent that will weigh you down on your journey. In place of a tent, you can pack a tarp that is lighter and smaller in size. A tarpaulin can protect you from the wind, rain and allow you to sleep sound at night. Select a tarp with a shape that you like. It should be spacious but at the same time made from quality material.
  • Hammock – another shelter option that you can have is a hammock. With so many types of hammocks on the market, you should choose a simple and durable hammock. These are extremely easy to setup by just tying them to trees or poles in the forest. Also, hammocks are wonderful as they keep you off the cold ground and crawling creatures.
  • Sleeping bag – another great shelter option is a sleeping bag. This is great if you are going to live in a camp. Sleeping bags occupy little space as they can be compressed to fit in your backpack. Get a quality sleeping bag constructed from top-quality material. The sleeping bag should be spacious to allow you to sleep soundly.
  • Sleeping pad – to prevent your body from getting cold, you need something between you and the ground. Although a sleeping bag is great to cover you, adding a sleeping pad will ensure that the ground doesn’t suck the energy and warmth from your body. Buy a firm sleeping pad made from quality materials. The best sleeping pads are made from a rubber-like material.
  • Zip ties – if you have no type of shelter and want to create one, having zip ties with you will help. Zip ties are wonderful and hold things tightly together. To create shelter, you can tie small trees and tree branches together by using zip ties. Also, they are easy to use and will help you make shelter very quickly.
  • Paracord survival straps – paracords are a great addition to any bug out bag packing list. This is because they can be used for a myriad of reasons such as to tie tree branches as one makes shelter, tie the hammock to trees, and fasten tarps to trees.
  • Ground cloth – to survive when the conditions are tough is not an easy thing. Therefore, you need to have all the items that will keep you healthy and in good condition. Ground cloths are meant to be placed on the floor of the tent or tarp. The ground can become very cold, dusty and muddy. Use a ground cloth to keep your things safe and keep the tarp warm.
  • Wool blanket – after buying all the items that will help provide you with a roof over your head, it is time to consider your beddings. Get quality sheets that dry fast. Also, include a blanket that will keep you warm the whole night. It should be of the ideal size and material. Choose a blanket made from wool or some other quality and heavy material.

Food supply items

  • Dry foods – it is not a good idea to go backpacking without food. This is because you aren’t certain to get food in the place that you’re going to. Carry dry foods such as protein bars and calorie-dense bars.
  • Cooking utensilsadd some cook set, spoons, and forks to help you prepare and eat food.
  • Portable stove – there are so many stoves on the market. Pick a small and lightweight stove.
  • Stove fuel –carry enough fuel to enable you to cook, warm water, and support you to start a fire.
  • Multivitamin supplement – when in the wild, you will not be able to eat well and thus you will need to supplement that with multivitamins. These will keep you healthy.
  • Fishing gearThe fishing reel is important if you’re going near a river, stream or lake. You might need to fish which may contribute to the source of food that you already have.
  • Collapsible plate and cup – instead of carrying the normal plates and cups, pack some collapsible plate and cup to minimize space.

Fire starting tools

  • Firestarter – to survive in the wild, you will need fire. Fire runs various things such as cooking of food, purifying water, warming of water and providing of warmth. That’s why you should always have a fire starting tool in your bug out bag list. One of the commonly used items in emergency situations is a fire starter. Pick a steel fire starter as it’s durable and can be used to light a fire in different conditions.
  • Waterproof matches – in addition to the fire starter, you should carry waterproof matches to bail you out in case a fire starter goes missing. Being stranded isn’t one of the options while out there in the wild. You should always have back up. Regular matches cannot be relied on as they can get wet and not function at all. Waterproof matches work in the cold and even after falling in water.
  • Vaseline – also, you can pack up Vaseline. Starting a fire using tinder alone can be a huge challenge. Vaseline helps to speed the process and it can be used as a backup in case you are out of matchbox or when the fire starter isn’t functioning.
  • Tinder – I’ve been in the wild several times and I can tell you for sure that tinder is a great natural source of starting a fire. All you have to do is to identify it. But if you don’t know how to go about it, you should be prepared in advance by carrying tinder tabs. Use these tabs with cotton balls to start a fire.
  • Small magnifying glass – there are different ways through which a survivor can start a fire. As an alternative way, you can pack a small magnifying glass which you can use to make fire. The magnifying glass is utilized by focusing light energy. For this to work, there should be sun rays.
  • Waterproof storage container – carry a container that is waterproof. This will assist to safely keep the matches from scattering or being exposed to adverse weather. You will only open it when you want to start a fire.

Water and hydration tools

  • Water bottle – finding clean water to drink in the forest is very difficult. On the other hand, if you take contaminated water, it might suffocate or even kill you. Ensure that you pack some drinking water with you as you head out. Carry at least two water bottles to sustain you for 2 to 3 days. Don’t carry more as it will make your backpack to be heavy. Choose either a plastic or insulated bottle.
  • Water filter – in case of a disaster, it is hard to tell how first you will receive help. But at the moment, you will need to survive and drink pure water. Acquire a portable water filter which is able to remove dirt and other impurities from the water. There are some advanced water purifiers that not only get rid of particles in the water but as well bacteria. Consider buying such a water filter.
  • Storage water container – carry some water containers to hold the water that you will use. Even if you camp near a water body, you will need to transport water for bathing and using in the camp. Purchase a water container and fetch enough water to use inside the camp. There are quality water containers on the market to choose from. You can pick one made from plastic as it is normally lightweight.
  • Water purification tablets –since all the water in the lakes, streams, and rivers is not fit for drinking, it should be purified. If you don’t have a water purifier, carry some water purification tablets to make the water suitable for cooking and drinking.
  • Trash bags – carry trash bags to keep the area around your tent or tarp, clean. Also, they can be used to carry extra food and clothes.


  • Clothes – when it comes to survival, you should only pack what you need and not what you want. Packing spare clothes will take up much space and make you sacrifice other important items. Ensure that you just carry a few clothes such as underwear, shorts, a shirt, and pants. If possible, compress the clothes so that they can occupy little space in your backpack. Just carry a pair as many clothes will be difficult to wash and keep while on a trip.
  • Survival gloves – gloves can be used in so many ways. You can wear them on cold nights or use them to fish, or even hunt. Choose tactical gloves made from quality material. They should fit you well enough. Use your survival gloves most of the time to prevent your hands from being hurt.
  • Socks – preppers will tell you openly that you will need at least two or three pairs of socks. Of course, you’ve to keep your legs safe and away from danger. After walking for long, you need to take a bath and allow your feet to breathe. Wash the socks and wear another pair the following day. Pick thick, warm and comfortable socks to wear in the wild.
  • Lightweight long sleeve shirt – pack at least two long-sleeved shirts and T-shirts with you. These will prevent you from the scorching sun and cold evenings. Also, since there are lots of bugs in the wild, you will be preventing them from landing on your skin.
  • Fast drying underwear – with the conditions surrounding wild places, you need to carry clothes that dry faster. There are various fast-drying underwears on the market. These are made to dry fast and should be used in the wild. Pack at least three quick-drying pants which you can wash on a daily basis.
  • Sweater or jacket – when a disaster befalls, you need to be fully prepared. This includes having the right attire for the weather in that area. For cold weather, you should carry a heavy sweater or hood that will keep you warm throughout. In addition, you can carry a jacket which you will be required to wear while it’s raining. Also, pack light clothes for wearing on hot days.
  • Cap – you need to protect your head in all weather conditions, be it cold or hot. Acquire a cap that covers your whole head and ears during cold weather. And in hot weather, you should get a hat that covers your hat from direct sunlight. A camouflage cap should be suitable to keep you away from being detected while in the wild.
  • Sewing kit – as we have discussed earlier, you should just carry the clothes that you will need and no extras. So, it is just normal to carry a sewing kit to repair the clothes which you will be wearing most of the time. Carrying a few clothes will lead to wear and tear. Also, being in the wild puts your clothes in danger as they can easily be torn by thorns or even tree branches.

Health items

  • First aid kit – being in the wild is in itself a danger. There are lots of risks one faces, thus including a first aid kit in your bug out bag helps a lot. Some of the things to include in your bug out bag are wound gauze roll, moleskin pads, blood clotting sponge, super glue, hydrogen peroxide and cotton swabs. First aid kits can be bought from drug stores or even chain stores. Include items you think are important and the ones that you may need.
  • Insect repellent – there are all kinds of bugs in the woods. If you are bitten by a mosquito, you might get sick and this should be the least of your worries. As a result, you should carry an insect repellent to chase away bugs from biting you. Apply it when you leave your tent or tarp in the morning.
  • Sunscreen – not only does your skin face danger from bug bites, but also from the UV rays. Sunburns are common and those who have been in the wild such as me can attest to that. Carry a quality sunscreen lotion which you should apply before going out in the hot sun. Use it in small portions so that it can last the days that you will be out there.
  • Survival antibiotics – you need to pack some survival antibiotics. It is easy to get infected in the wild from animals, birds or even fish. So, ensure that you have several antibiotics to keep your health in check.
  • Painkillers – moving up and down in the woods isn’t a simple thing. This is because you might slip or be hit by a branch during hunting or when hiking. Carry some painkillers with you so that they can relieve the pain before you get actual treatment.
  • Prescription medicine – if you’re on prescription medicine, you should carry the dosage with you. Talk to your doctor and let them know that you’re going away in the wild. Include them in your bug out bag.
  • Tweezers and nail clippers – pack some tweezers which can be used to get silvers out and nail clippers for trimming your nails. Always maintain high levels of hygiene. You should also carry a comb to straighten your hair.


  • Toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss – your oral hygiene is crucial. Keep it healthy by carrying oral tools like toothpaste, toothbrush, and mouthwash. These take up very little space.
  • Hand sanitizer – when in the wild, you will touch different things on your trail. This will make you come in contact with bacteria. You shouldn’t eat without washing your hands. Pack a hand sanitizer to get rid of bacteria on your hands so that you don’t get ill.
  • Microfiber towel – carry a lightweight and small towel to dry you after getting a shower. A large and heavy towel is not necessary and will just increase the load.
  • Bandana – a bandana can be used by a survivalist in several ways. It can be applied to wipe away dust, wear on the head to prevent things like dust and be as well used as a makeshift mask. Also, keep the sun off your head by wearing a bandana.
  • Camp soap – don’t forget to bundle up soap in your bug out bag checklist. The bar soap that you carry can be used for washing dishes, clothes, and even bathing. It will save you from carrying different soap for different uses.
  • Baby wipes – pack some baby wipes to get germs and other dangerous bacteria from your hands.
  • Toilet paper

Survival tools

  • Tactical torch – for you to survive in the wild, you will need to bundle up items that can survive in all weather conditions. Choose a sturdy and powerful flashlight. Consider acquiring a rechargeable torch that can go days without batteries. Also, pick one that has higher lumens and with defensive parts. A bezel is a nice defensive weapon. Look at the best tactical flashlights on the market and select from one of the top brands.
  • Survival knife – in survival situations, you will need a knife to help you out with different tasks. This includes chopping, cutting, prying, filleting, mincing, and even stabbing. Choose a durable and sharp knife to help you perform all these tasks.
  • Multi-tool – such a tool will help you to be prepared to tackle any activity that you come across. Whether it is opening a drink, cutting a tree or setting up a tent, a multi-tool will be useful.
  • Charger – this should be one of your top bugs out bug items to pack. A portable solar charger will help you charge the radio, GPS, Walkie, phone and flashlight when they run out of power.
  • Extra batteries – carry some additional batteries for your flashlight and radio. Such items won’t function for long and sooner or later, you will have to change the batteries.
  • Glow stick – pack some light sticks which can be used to light the whole camp or tent. Some people use these light sticks use to identify one another.
  • Small wire saw – packing a large item such as a hacksaw or machete isn’t suitable at all. A small wire saw will help you cut small branches to build your tarp or even tent. It is small and easy to pack in one of the bag compartments.
  • Survival hatchet – a survival knife alone will be difficult to get some tasks done quickly. Get a hatchet to help you carry out big tasks. This includes collecting firewood using a hatchet instead of a knife.
  • Emergency radio with hand crank – including an emergency radio with a hand crank in your bag is a good idea. These radios usually have a holder and a big flashlight. This will help you light the tent and listen to news even while in the wild.
  • Headlamp – this easy to use gadget is a must-have for a survivalist. Keep your hands busy as you chase game, fish or event roam around the camp. Ensure that the headlamp you buy fits you well and it is very bright.
  • Candles – candles can be a source of light backup when the battery of your torch or headlamp runs out. The lantern light work great in this situation. Also, they are ideal to light inside the tent.
  • Cellphone – a mobile phone will help you get in touch with friends and family. You can let them know where you are so that they can stop worrying. Also, you can contact authorities and let them know if you are in danger.
  • Survival whistle – always be prepared for the worst when going to the woods. Danger lurks in such areas and having items that can alert authorities in time is vital. A signal whistle is normally small in size but can be utilized to alert nearby people in case of any danger. Blow your whistle to let camp members know that you’re in trouble.
  • Pepper spray – this is a great self-defense tool to carry. It occupies little space but can be used against animals and humans as well.
  • Handgun – as long as you have a gun that is licensed, you should include it in your bug out bag list. This will help you protect yourself in case you’re attacked.
  • Ammunition – as you carry a gun to keep you safe and from assailants, you should as well carry enough ammo. Watch out for your weight as they may make the bag become heavier.
  • Survival bow


  • Sunglasses – sunglasses are stylish but at the same time, they can be used to protect your eyes from the dangerous UV rays. Add sturdy sunglasses to your backpack and you will be certain to have a great view of nature. The glasses should be scratch free and shatterproof. Ensure that the glasses have the right glare-resistant.
  • Playing cards – spend time with friends by paling cards after a long day out in the woods. Also, you can carry some extra games to keep you busy.
  • Map/GPS – ensure that you not only pack a map or GPS finder in your backpack but also have it in your pocket. Even when you get lost in the forest, you will be certain to trace your way back to the camping site.
  • Carabiners – do you have more than you planned for? Attach the additional items on your bag by use of carabiners.
  • Survival watch – get a survival watch with a compass. Wear it always to keep track of time and direction.
  • USB drive – keep all your important documents and information on the USB drive and include it in your ultimate bug out bag checklist.
  • Binoculars – get to view things that are far away by use of quality binoculars.
  • Face paint – get face painted as a way of hiding from being easily noticed in the wild.
  • Camera – capture all the beautiful and terrifying moments on your tactical camera.
  • Trekking poles – in case your bug out bag plan involves moving from one steep area to another, then, you should pack trekking poles to support you. These will assist relieve stress on your knees and legs.
  • Duct tape – is there a thing that a duct tape can’t support. From setting up the tent, wrapping things together and many other duties, this is a bug out bug must have item.
  • Cash – have some cash with you to buy stuff that you will need.
  • Pocket notebook
  • Mirror
  • Passport/ID
  • Superglue
  • Walkie talkies

Final thoughts

The bug out bag packing list will definitely vary from one person to another. This is because each and every situation is different and people do have different needs. But with our detailed checklist, it is easier to find essential items that you may need in your emergency situation. The major reason for a bug out bag checklist is to enable you to survive for some days and our list just gives you that. Pick what you feel you may need while in the woods, backpacking, or in case of an emergency.

Christopher Joseph
Christopher Joseph
Joseph is a 39 years old blogger from United State. He is an outdoor enthusiast and blogging from last 4 years. Read more about him



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