This is the ultimate guide on bug-out bags.
Ahh… preparing your first bug-out bag. What a ritualistic activity.
Building your bug-out bag for the first time is similar to a young man going through the rite of passage to become a gladiator.
It’s a colossal stepping stone of progress. The end of the beginning and the beginning of the rest.
After completing your set up and gazing upon at the military-style rucksack that looks like it could stand alone amongst an army of demons, at the moment if when you’re officially a prepper. And you never forget it.
Okay, weeping boy scouts story is over. Let’s get down to business.. or bugging-out I should say.
Let’s define exactly what a bug-out bag is and why you need one if you don’t already do.
If you’re a beginner to prepping, you might be asking what a bug-out bag is.
We have the full bug-out bag definition post that’s a part of the survival glossary you can go to, but to give you the shorter version of that here.
Also known as a B.O.B., a bug-out bag is a collection of gear and supplies that are’s packed tightly and securely in a bag. A BOB is designed specifically for you to grab when an emergency or disaster happens. Typically the bag itself is a well-made backpack or duffle bag.
A bug-out bag is a bag that’s designed to provide you with enough gear and supplies to survive for 72 hours or three days.
Why three days?
The idea is to get to your bug-out location where more supplies, food, and shelter are located and more suitable for long-term survival.
A bug-out bag is a short-term solution for when SHTF and bugging-out are critical.
Importance of Building a B.O.B.
Your bug-out bag is arguably the most essential item you can have for survival.
If you grabbed nothing else but you’re B.O.B. you would feel confident knowing that you have everything you need to survive.
There are different kinds of bug-out bags. Nearly all of them are good enough for a proper BOB. There is no perfect BOB for every single kind of emergency or disaster.
As long as you have the essentials for survival, it’s a good BOB.
If you’ve never packed a bug-out bag, nows the time. The entire point of having a packed BOB is so you can grab it when SHTF without having the think about it.
Do I have the right supplies?
Do I have enough of these?
None of those questions should enter your mind because your BOB should be prepped and ready to go in an emergency.
Prep first. Have it ready to go at any day and time.
So let’s go over the core essentials for your BOB that will serve you well in any disaster or emergency.
Building The Ultimate Bug-Out Bag
One of the common questions I see if “what is the best bug-out bag?”
There is no perfect BOB for every single kind of emergency or disaster. As long as you have the essentials for survival, a useful and efficient bug-out bag is a good bug-out bag.
For the complete guide on the best survival and bug out bags and packs. Go here.
What Makes a Good B.O.B.
This question is the focus here. What will get the job done, keep you safe and will just plain work when you need its supplies. There are different kinds of bug-out bags.
Nearly all of them are good enough for a proper BOB. However, preparing your B.O.B. for emergencies that are more prone to occur to you because of your location or other circumstances would be ideal.
The key functions that a BOB should provide in order to be effective are:
- Double Straps – Opt for two shoulder straps instead of one. It needs the added durability.
- Durable Construction – Walmart step aside, you won’t do.
- Multiple Compartments – We want to have many pockets, zippers, and compartments to pack different items of different shapes and sizes in them.
- Size – The size of your bag shouldn’t weigh more than about 25% of your personal bodyweight. Any more than that becomes either not necessary or not efficient. Not necessary meaning you want it but you don’t need it and not efficient meaning packing items that don’t serve as much purpose as other items. Trim the extra fat off the meat to leave nothing but efficiency and what really matters.
Let’s review our criteria for a bag.
- Two Shoulder Straps
- Durable Construction
- Multiple Compartments
We have a guide on the best survival backpacks you can visit.
There are lots of options out there for bags. Including:
- Military Backpacks
- Single sling backpacks
- Duffel bags
And like most things.
You want to ignore most of them.
Most choose a backpack.
The BOB needs to be a large heavy-duty backpack with two straps. It doesn’t have to be your only bag with survival supplies in it. Have as many bags as you wish. But for the 72-hour bug-out bag, go with a rugged and rough around the edges type bag.
After looking at different options and reading reviews, choose is the one that makes sense for you personally. As long as it meets the minimum requirements we layout below for you, then it will be a good choice.
Just make sure to get what you need.
The Pillars For Survival Gear
The process of building the perfect bug-out bag is a never-ending process. It takes trial and error. It takes refinement. And it takes time. Combine all that with never-ending innovations and improvements in gear and technology… there is always room for improvement.
In the ultimate survival kit list, we listed about 19 different categories for gear with over 180 items total. You can go here to see the ultimate Bug-Out Bag List.
There are primarily only 5 or 6 different categories of survival that you want to have gear for, as each category is essential.
Here is the list of the different categories listed in the ultimate survival kit guide.
- First Aid
- Physical Preparedness
- Shelter & Bedding
- Miscellaneous Supplies
- Mental Preparedness
- Food and Food Preparation
- Water & Hydration
- BOB Maintenance
- BOB Organization
- Protection & Self Defense
Bug-Out Bag Essentials Checklist
You don’t need to pack every survival item under the sun in your BOB to make for a proper BOB.
The key is to pack the essentials and the other items that are the most effective at providing what you need for at least 72 hours.
Here is the checklist for the no-negotiation minimums to have packed in your bug-out bag.
The primary areas of gear you need to have covered are:
Below is the list of the items to have to meet all of these categories. There are 7 bug-out bag essentials items you want to have for your B.O.B.
Don’t forget about the less common and unusual items to pack, like a book for some entertainment.
Now you want to keep your BOB packed and ready to go. Store it in a secure place that easily accessible to you. You never know when you’ll need to quickly grab it and bug out.
Here’s what to do next, now that you have the ultimate bug-out bag prepped and ready, you need to finish the rest of your bug-out plan for when you need to bug-out.
It’s official. When SHTF and it’s time to bug-out. You’re prepared now. You’re the one your friends will turn do when crisis strikes.
You have a plan.
You have the skills.
You have the gear.
You have the vehicle
You have the location.
You have the supplies to survive until the crisis is over.
Do you know something we don’t? Let us know and we’ll add it to this guide.