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What You Need in Your Bug Out Bag

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Hello, my friends!  Today I want to share with you one of the things I have that I hope I never need to use.  Our bug out bag.  Not everyone has a bug-out bag, I know, but I definitely feel like they should!  If there is some sort of emergent situation going on where you can’t go get the things that you need at the store, hopefully you can survive off of what you have at home, right?  Sure.


BUT…what if something happens that you have to vacate your home RIGHT NOW?  Wildfire, maybe?  Earthquake made your home unstable?  There are lots of things that could happen to make you need to leave your home in a hurry.




What You Need in Your Bug Out Bag



what you need in your bug out bag




I think I first got really interested in the whole “being prepared” thing when I got hooked on The Walking Dead about five years ago.  Watching the characters have to just survive wherever they happened to be with whatever they happened to find really got me thinking.  At the time I had a one year old.


Can you imagine being unable to be at your home indefinitely with a one year old?  The thought made me shudder.  Babies are hard under the best of circumstances, right?  That is when I decided I needed to get my act together and get prepared.  After all, “when you need it” is too late to prepare!


So I started combing the internet for ideas on what should go in my bug out bag.  I filled my Amazon cart with things that would be useful and slowly bought a little at a time from that Amazon cart until I got to the point where I felt like my bug out bag was ready.  Now I keep it on a shelf in the garage, right by the garage door so that it is easy to grab in an emergency.



Every year or so I grab my bug out bag and take everything out.  I rotate the food supply (take out things that will expire soon and replace them) and think about what my bug out bag might still need. Recently I did that.  I am going to share it with you so that you can get started on yours!


(It is important to remember that a bug-out bag will always be a work in progress.  Life changes, so the things you will need change.)  I spread out the contents of my bug out bag in the garage and took pictures to share with you.  I hope it helps you feel inspired to get started on your own bug out bag or want to update the one you already have.


Obviously you can fine-tune my list to meet the needs of your own family, but it is definitely a good place to start!  Here are a couple of pictures of what is in my bug out bag…




what you need in your bug out bag




what you need in your bug out bag




And a peek at the tabs of my family’s emergency preparedness binder…




what you need in your bug out bag





Now that you have an idea of what I have done, let’s talk about what should go in your family’s bug out bag!  If you are reading this post you are probably someone who believes in being organized like me, right?   Well, let’s get started!  I have made a free printable version of my comprehensive list of things that you should have in your bug-out bag.  You can click here to get it!



what you need in your bug out bag



First  and foremost, when packing your bug out bag, pack lightweight items as much as possible.  You may end up carrying it rather than just throwing it in your car!



What You Need in Your Bug Out Bag



pocket knife



matches or lighters

battery-powered radio/batteries

duct tape

large black garbage bags


first aid supplies

emergency binder/family plan/info (practice)


solar charger

rope or paracord

emergency blankets/emergency sleeping bags


air filter mask

hatchet for cutting wood

mylar emergency blankets

water filter or water purification tablets




body wash/soap

baby wipes

feminine hygiene products




diapers (if needed…and once your kids outgrow them keep them to use as bandages)

a change of clothes for each person in your family

food/can opener


plastic cups



napkins/paper towels/kleenex/toilet paper (these items can be used interchangeably-you don’t need to pack all four of them)

deck of cards (One of my favorite lines from The Walking Dead was something like, “Who knew the end of the world would be so boring?”)

coloring book/crayons (if kids)






Food ideas for your bug out bag:

peanut butter

emergency meal bars (I have put an affiliate link for them later in this post)



granola bars

beans (black or refried)


dried fruit


hard candy





As I was preparing this post, I asked some other bloggers what things they felt were helpful to have for a bug-out bag.  Here are a few of their responses:


Lisa Bedford at The Survival Mom

Fire starter kit.  Keep your bug out bag organized so you don’t have to dump it out when looking for something (such as a band aid).

When choosing a knife for your bug out bag, there are a few things that are important to remember:

  • Chances are, it will be used every day. Your preparedness knife may be called upon to gut a fish or rabbit, skin a squirrel, cut rope, whittle a wiener stick, peel a potato, dice carrots, open a can etc.
  • Worst case scenario: It might be used as a weapon.
  • Know how to sharpen it!


Phoebe Meeton-

Dental floss.  Some of her suggested uses for it were a clothesline for drying socks/underwear, mending holes in clothing, tying things together, and (obviously only in truly dire circumstances) possibly to stitch up a wound with a sterilized needle.  She also suggested that  cotton balls covered in vaseline are good fire starters; a small sauce pan is useful for boiling water if you are out of clean water.


Peg Flint-

Supplies for your pets


Fabiola Garcia at FabiFabu

Comfort food for little kids (if you have any).  I think that would be really helpful for calming a fussy or afraid child.


Caroline Everett Welti –

Birth Certificates

Social Security Cards





*In case you need a little help getting started on your bug out bag, I have gathered some affiliate links for some of the things I have in my bag to help you!



We took this solar charger camping at Yellowstone a few weeks ago.  It worked great for keeping my phone charged!



These Mainstay bars are tasty (ours are lemon-flavored) and they have a shelf-life of FIVE YEARS!



I have a couple of these Lifestraw Personal Water Filters and I want to get a couple more to put in the glove compartment of each of our cars.   It removes over 99% of waterborne bacteria and protozoa and surpasses EPA standards for water filters.  It filters up to 1000 liters of water.



These emergency blankets are very compact (one is about the size of a man’s wallet, but lighter), but help you retain 90% of your body heat. They are 54 inches by 84 inches, so large enough for most adults.



I know that the idea of putting together a bug-out bag can be a little overwhelming.  Just remember that it all starts with the first step.  Even if your bag only has water, a flashlight, and batteries, you are still more prepared than you would have been without those things.  In time you will acquire all of the things that you need.  


The peace of mind that comes with preparedness is a beautiful thing.  Get yours!  It is always important to have gas in your car!  Don’t be one of those people who always drives until they are on empty.  Keep your tank at least 1/4 full at all times!  When the emergency happens it could be too late to get gas!


More Emergency Preparedness Tips

How prepared is your family?  What do you do to prepare for emergency?  Here are links to some more great emergency tips you should definitely check out!

Emergency First Aid Kit Essentials You Need if You Have to “Bug Out” of Your Home  


How to Make Your Emergency Water Storage Portable  


How to Make an Emergency Plan for Your Family  


Food Preservation Tips to Make Food Last Longer  


How to Build Your Food Storage Shopping By Case Lot Sales  


3 Must Haves for Your Bug Out Bag  


How to Have Fresh Organic Eggs Without Going to the Store  


8 Things to Know When the Power Goes Out  


Water-Emergency Preparedness Essentials…Your Water Supply  


How to Build a DIY Budget-Friendly Rocket Stove  


Thanks for stopping by!  See you next time!


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