The point of this article is to help you build your own comprehensive ultimate survival kit/bug out bag for you and your family. It can often take up to 3 days for help to arrive and reach you in emergencies. Having a kit prepared will often mean the difference between relative comfort and being in a dicey situation where you and your loved ones’ health and well-being are at risk.
Most of the items listed are relatively cheap and require minimal space. A survival kit is an essential item, and there is really no excuse not to have one. About $200 and an afternoon will often be enough to set one up, and you’ll have the safety and peace of mind that come with knowing you’re prepared.
Tactical Bug Out Bag Essentials
Here’s a selected list of items. You don’t necessarily need all of these items, but really think hard before crossing one of your lists. It’s always better to be over-prepared than underprepared and how much food to stockpile per person.
- A weather-resistant container or backpack: to store your kit items in.
- A copy of important documents: Your passport, driver’s license, contact phone numbers, etc. These will come in handy if you need to drive, identify yourself, pass checkpoints, etc.
- 3 liters of water per person: if you have space, the store even more. But 1 Liter of water/person/day is the minimum recommended.
- 3 day’s worth of non-perishable: survival food list you can store for long periods, prepare easily, and are high calorie/high nutrient. Some ideas: Peanut butter, beef jerky, fruit cup, raisins, crackers, chicken noodle soup, MREs, ramen noodles, granola bars, instant oatmeal, freeze-dried food. Some high-calorie junkie food is fine here, as it will supply maximum calories with its limited space and offer some comfort in an emergency.
- A mess kit: knives, forks, spoons, cups, and plates to eat your food with. Disposables are good, as water may be limited in an emergency, and you won’t want to waste it on dishwashing.
- First aid kit: an essential item to your kit. There are many kits available for sale at a low price. If you’re looking to build your own kit and become acquainted will all its items.
- Battery-powered portable radio: it may be your only info on the disaster. Have a backup set of batteries as well.
- Medication: keep an extra stash of any medications needed by your family. You never know when you’ll have access to a pharmacy again.
- An extra pair of glasses/contact lenses: for anyone who uses them.
- LED flashlight: a bright, energy-efficient LED flashlight (go for yellow or white-colored light, as it is most visible). Have an extra set of batteries.
- Swiss army knife: many potential uses on these babies.
- Lighter: I prefer a lighter to matches- takes up less space, easier to use, and is less likely to be ruined by water. I’ve always been baffled why some kits recommend matches.
- Pencil and notebook: if you need to take or leave notes, write down information, etc.
- 50 water purification tablets: to purify water. Unscented household bleach and an eye dropper will work as well.
- Personal hygiene: shampoo, bar soap, liquid soap, disinfectant, sunscreen, bug repellent, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, lip balm, wet wipes, tissues, dust mask.
- Tools: hammer and nails, adjustable wrench, bungee chord, staple gun, crowbar.
- Sewing kit: for fixing clothes and gear.
- 3 oz. Gel fuel: for cooking if the power is out.
- 3 garbage bags: for waste. It can be used as ponchos as well (the clean ones, at least).
- 6 Ziploc bags: put food leftovers in, can be useful in other ways.
- A Warm blanket: to stay warm if the power goes out. 1 per family member.
- Extra clothes: to stay warm and dry. And remember- you can’t have too many socks.
- Poncho: protection from the rain/snow.
- Compass; critical should you need to evacuate and travel to another location.
- Candles: for light if the power goes out.
- Mirror: for grooming/treating wounds that are difficult to see.
- Whistle: signaling others, scaring off animals.
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape: for sealing broken windows, among other things.
- Large heavy-duty: plastic bags and plastic buckets: for waste/sanitation.
- Emergency cash: have some cash on hand, including quarters for phones.
- Maps of the area: should you need to evacuate and move to another location.
Optional Bug Out Bag Kit Items
- Compact camping stove: for boiling water, cooking food. If the power goes out or finds yourself on the move, this can come in extremely handy. It’s worth considering, but it can be bulky and expensive, so I was hesitant to include it in essentials.
- Camping Gear: (tents, sleeping gear, etc.) if you live in an area with a lot of wilderness, this can come in extremely handy should you need to evacuate your home.
- Gas masks: if you live in an area that could be a terrorist target or could potentially face a chemical disaster, this is an idea. I’ve heard painter’s respirators with activated carbon filter canisters can be used as a decent, less expensive substitute.