10 Essential Items for Your Bug Out Bag

BOB = Bug Out Bag. The grab and go, advanced preparedness kit for when all hell breaks loose. A well-planned bug-out bag presents you with a chance at survival when everything seems lost.

What you choose to include in your BOB can be the difference between life and death. Regardless of what you are preparing it for, there are certain things that you should absolutely make sure are in your bag. Let’s look at the top 10 bug-out bag essentials.

bug out bag essential
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1. Water

Water is one of the keys to survival. For your BOB, it is suggested that you have a minimum of 1 Liter per day for each person that will be with you. You should have at least a three day supply. Of course, this will take up a good bit of valuable space, so it is suggested that you place your bottled water in a plastic bag and strap it to the outside of your BOB.

You can place collapsible water containers in the bag to break out later when they are needed. Keep a small store of gallons of fresh water, so that you can transfer them directly to the collapsible container when the time to move arises.

2. Water Filtration System

The bottled water you are carrying will not last long, so it is imperative that you have a way to collect water, as well as a way to filter it. You may opt for water filtration tablets, a straw filter, or a complete portable water filtration unit.

Personally, I like to rely on the hand pump systems with self-contained filters. The filters can pump many 100’s of gallons before needing to be cleaned. The cleaning is simply scrubbing the surface of the filter core to remove debris.

3. Food and Cooking Utensils

While space is at a premium, you can still pack up enough food for at least a week. You are in need of foods with a long shelf life that have some nutritional value, as well as an ample number of calories. Energy and protein bars, MREs, meal replacement shakes and powder, nuts, and freeze dried fruit are all good options

Only bring the bare minimum in the case of cooking utensils. Essentially, all you need is a large cup or small pot that can be used to boil water for drinking and freeze dried meals, as well as a spoon/ fork. I prefer a multi-functional utensil that can cut, stir, scoop, and stab all in one sturdy utensil.

4. Shelter

Some form of protection from the elements is critical for your survival. You need a ground tarp and some sort of tarp or tent (preferably one that is lightweight and all-season) and a way to set it up. In addition, a sleeping bag (if room is available) or a few blankets should be included in your BOB.

5. Appropriate Clothing

You will need clothes that are suitable for the weather you will likely be facing. Make certain to include a good pair of hiking boots, some sort of jacket or poncho that can provide protection from the rain and wind, pants that are comfortable and have plenty of pockets, wool socks, and a bandana. When choosing what clothing to take, also pack up a few toiletries you may need.

6. Ways to Start a Fire

You will need matches, preferably some that are waterproof. It is best to store them in several spots, including at least one that is easily accessible. It is also a good idea to include several lighters, including one that is windproof and waterproof, as well as Butane refill fluid. You will also benefit from a fire steel and scraper. Even if it is wet, it will still start a fire. It’s a good idea to carry some type of accelerant, such as cotton balls covered in Vaseline, for emergencies.

7. First Aid Kit

A good first aid kit that is equipped to treat a variety of medical conditions should be readily accessible in your bag. You may want to purchase a ready-made kit or create your own. Regardless, it should include bandages, antibiotic ointment, an OTC pain medication (Tylenol, Motrin, Excedrin etc.), medication to treat an upset stomach, ice pack, and any medications you or anyone traveling with you may need.

8. Light Source

You should have at least two flashlights, preferably one of which is a big spotlight. LED flashlights are the best option. Not only do you get a brighter and more powerful light source, but they draw far less power than incandescent bulbs, and rarely burn out. Be sure to pack some extra batteries just in case.

9. Weapons

This is largely a personal choice, but it is necessary. At the very least, you need a knife. Your best option is to carry two, a large knife for cutting wood, clearing a campsite, etc. and one with a smaller blade for cleaning game and fish, opening packages, etc.

Many people suggest having a .22 caliber rifle, both for protection and to hunt for food. The .22 is a reliable weapon with decent range, making it a versatile choice. However, you should also consider your location and what you may come up against, such as bears, deer, and hostile people if the situation is really bad.

10. Portable Radio

You will need some way of keeping up with what is going on in the world. The best way to do this is to include a battery operated or windup radio with shortwave receiving capabilities.

11. – An E-Reader

This is a bonus item, and one you may not have expected. Notice I didn’t say tablet or smart phone. The battery power on those will die long before you end up need them. An e-reader can last for days and weeks on a single charge.

Fill up your e-reader with as much information as you can. Grab how to guides, mechanic guides, and anything else you can think of that can give you the knowledge you need when things get difficult.

Survival Skills for the Modern Man

Preparation and practice to survive in the event of a short blackout or a major catastrophe should be on everyone’s to do list, not just those nutty preppers. We rely far too much on electrical power for our everyday comfort, and pampered way of life. Deep down you know this.  So, what if something happens?

When the SHTF, will you be one of those ready to rock, or one of the masses waiting for someone to bail them out. This is where your survival skills will put you far ahead of the blissfully ignorant masses.

Although the basic skills, such as how to start a fire, find shelter, find water are important, these are not the major ones discussed here. The skills noted are the ones needed to keep one living and surviving along with the skills used to make a living from.

What are survivor skills? Skills that could be used in the wilderness, living off the grid or even in your own home are learned over a period of time.

Now is the time to learn these skills. Any practice and preparation is better than none. To truly learn a skill, you must take what you have read or heard and get out there and do it. Here are a few of the most important skills used to survive.

shelter and fire

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Maintaining Drinkable Water Sources

Water is very important for our survival. Where are the current water sources for your home? What would happen if the power or service went out and you could not run water thru the pipes?

Investigate sources of water close by that are within walking distances. Invest in rain barrels and start using them now. Take hikes in your area, study maps to locate any streams, waterfalls or springs nearby. To make sure this water is potable; you will have to invest in a water filtration system.

Hunt or Forage for Food

When you learn to hunt, you are learning a skill that will feed not only your family, but may also be a trade worthy item if the length of emergency grows beyond weeks and months. It’s like the saying, Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. When choosing to use a Rifle, keep extra bullets in a safe dry place along with the items needed to make your own bullets. In extreme cold weather the guns can freeze up. Other options for hunting is using a bow and arrow or trapping. Use the best tool for your area.

Foraging will take extra time to learn and reap, but many herbs and plants can be used to enhance the flavor of food or for medicinal purposes. Buy some field books to help you identify edible plants in your area. Foraging a hat full of gut wrenching berries does nobody any good.

Growing Your Own Food

This is another skill for surviving extended periods of off the grid living. Get to know the environment you live in. Be knowledgeable about what foods will grow in your area and climate. Understand the growing season so the seeds can be planted at the proper time. This will take some time to learn, but starting today will prepare you for the next growing season.

All fruits and vegetables can be preserved by freezing, canning or drying. In addition to growing your own food, knowing how to safely store basic items such as flour, sugar, salt will help keep your pantry stocked.

Raise Livestock

If you are living in the rural countryside where you can raise animals for food, some of the easiest animals to raise are pigs, chickens and rabbits. Chickens can provide eggs on a daily basis. The eggs are not only protein rich, but you can hatch more chicks and butcher some for meat.

Know First Aid, Keep a Well Stocked Kit

Most people know basic first aid for cuts, burns, and insect bites, but it is to your benefit to take your knowledge a little further. You need to have a plan if you become infected, or come down with a fever. Stock up on Fish Mox which can be purchased online or at a pet store. This antibiotic can be consumed by humans, requires no prescription and has a shelf life up to 10 years. Please use common sense when considering using this!

Learn to Harness Alternative Power Sources

Solar and wind power are becoming more affordable and more popular today. Items that are needed for solar power are an inverter, several batteries, wiring and panels. Windmills are also an excellent choice to create power for those that may not live in a sunny area, but is windy.

Learning to harness the power of the sun and wind is something that could be used to make a living at as well as living. Many people who live “off the grid” find these methods to be their number one choice for power.

Channel You Inner MacGyver

MacGyver could fix or rig up anything. When SHTF, you need to be the MacGyver of your family. Carpentry, electrical, automotive, and mechanical knowledge will inevitably become critical the longer your survival experience goes on. Things break, and items become scarce, meaning you have to know how to make the most of the tools and parts available. Each day you learn something new, you enable your chances at survival. Become someone your ancient ancestors would be proud of.