17 Items Every Prepper Should Carry in an Emergency Bag

As any prepper knows, early preparation plays an essential role in any crisis survival strategy. Every well-stocked prepper needs an emergency bag that contains essential groceries, health, hygiene, and self-defense.

In this article:

    1. Basics
    2. Hygiene and health
    3. logistics
    4. Everyday needs
    5. miscellaneous

RELATED: What Is Emergency Equipment?

17 items every prepper should carry in an emergency bag


1. Water

Survivors should have drinking water for each party member for at least three days when looking for a hideout or bunker.

On the other hand, the bunker or campsite you choose should have a water source nearby. If you can’t find a suitable hiding place yet or are stuck in a place where you have no access to water, store drinking water worth at least two weeks per person.

2. Eating

The pot burns at night near the tent in the forest what to pack in an emergency bagCarry three weeks worth of non-perishable items in your emergency kit. Likewise, your house or bunker should keep food worth two weeks in a dry, cool place out of direct sunlight.

However, we recommend delaying the use of your emergency food supply as long as possible. If possible, get your food by hunting or picking fruits and vegetables in the forest. Keep the non-perishable goods for life or death.

3. Emergency medication

White prescription pills spilled on a table Contents of the emergency kit

Don’t forget to bring your prescription and nursing medicines. In a crisis where you do not have access to clinics, you want to be the last one to get sick.

4. Additional clothing

Make an emergency bag checklist for the clothing you need for hiking

Contrary to popular belief, survivors cannot always wear the same clothes. Wearing fresh clothes at least every other day will reduce the risk of contracting various infectious diseases.

Also, make sure you have a good mix of light and heavy clothing in your emergency bag. You wouldn’t want to be caught in the middle of a snowy forest with nothing but a thin shirt, would you?

Hygiene and health

5. Basic toiletries

Bar of Soap, Liquid Soap, and Toilet Paper Emergency Bag List

Bring soap, shampoo, toilet paper, diapers, and other toiletries. Regular hand washing and sanitation slow the spread of germs, which is extremely important in a crisis where clinics and hospitals are closed.

6. Vitamins and supplements

Pills and capsules in wooden spoons with fresh fruits what to pack in an emergency bag

Vitamins and supplements can provide your body with the essential nutrients to help strengthen your immune system. These supplements can help meet your daily nutritional needs, especially if you don’t have access to full meals.

7. First aid kit

First aid box with pills on the table inside |  Emergency bag checklist

Bring a first aid kit that contains everything you will need in the event of an accident. Some of the most important items include the following: topical ointments, wound cleansers, compression wraps, bandages, and pain relievers.

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8. Cash and Property, Plant and Equipment

Hand holding money in dirty stone floor |  Contents of the emergency bag

A common misconception when planning a crisis is that you don’t need money. That is far from the truth. Regardless of what crisis plays out, society will retain some form of economy, and its components must follow some kind of currency.

Carry a good mix of fiat money and real investments like gold and silver. You need crisis-proof assets that retain their value in a post-crisis society.

9. Communication devices

The police are holding a communication radio in their hand

Make sure you have battery operated radios that you can use for everyday communication. These devices play a particularly important role in natural disasters and crises where you may be separated from your party members.

10. Map and compass

two young tourists determine the route map and the compass what to pack in an emergency bag

Never cross unknown lands. If you don’t have access to a GPS device or map, at least make sure you have a compass with you so you don’t get lost.

Everyday needs

11. Fire start kit

Bushcraft fire starting with fire steel and striker |  Emergency bag checklist

A campfire can mean the difference between life and death in a crisis. You can use the flames to light your undercooked, bacteria-filled raw meat, and at the same time, it can serve as a source of heat even on harsh winter nights.

Always carry a small can of gasoline and a pack of matches with you. If possible, try to learn how to start a fire using primitive tools like bows and drills so that you can start a fire anytime.

12. Equipment for foraging

Squirrel hunting |  Contents of the emergency bag

Using a knife and gun, you can go hunting for food for varmints like squirrels, wolves, and wild boars. That way you won’t exhaust your emergency supplies from the start.

13. Sleeping bags and tents

Young woman in warm blue sleeping bag |  Emergency bag list

Always pack a sleeping bag or tent. Sleeping on the cold, hard floor is not only extremely uncomfortable, but it also makes you prone to various diseases.

14. Bleaching

Watering a fruit apple tree in the garden from a metal bucket what to pack in an emergency bag

Bleach is a useful, multi-purpose solution that you can use for a variety of tasks, from cleaning clothes to disinfecting your water source. Make sure you have at least a couple of gallons in your pocket. And if possible, store a few gallons in your bunker or hideout as well.


15. Identification records

Two Dutch passports close up |  Emergency bag checklist

Carry important documents such as your birth certificate, passport, driver’s license and social security number with you. You never know when you will need these documents in extreme crises.

16. Baby and pet essentials

Mothers bag with toys |  Contents of the emergency bag

Remember, babies and pets cannot survive crisis situations without the help of a human adult. So it’s up to you to take care of them. Make sure you keep the essentials as well.

17. Self-defense weapons

A person hides a pistol under the jeans belt contents of the emergency bag

Carry a self-defense weapon or two. Instead of focusing on using large, intimidating weapons, focus on simple, functional tools that you can make best use of in a variety of emergencies.

In addition, it shouldn’t take up too much space. Hanging a long, bulky rifle or shotgun from your backpack is more than good.

Check out this video from BlackScoutSurvival where they share the ideal checklist for bug-out bags:

There are no strict rules or guidelines on what to put in an emergency bag. Every household has different needs. For example, families with young children could prioritize food and medication, while large groups of young adults could focus on safety and self-defense.

Also, survivors should strive to come up with a solid, efficient survival plan that will fit their bug-out pocket. The contents of the emergency bag are only used as a tool. Your chances of survival in a given crisis depend to a large extent on your ability to use the resources available.

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What other important things do you think every prepper should have in their emergency bag? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Macallister Anderson

I am by no means an expert in every aspect of this stuff. I plan to learn, and when possible, enlist the help of experts in various fields to come together and offer their knowledge. In a few years, I dream that this site will be a virtual survival encyclopedia and allow a total novice to come on here and be supplied with everything they need to prepare for anything.

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