11 Best Bug Out Bags: Your Ultimate Guide (2021) Leave a comment

bug out bags

123RF (Björn Forenius)

In the event of an emergency scenario in which you and your family need to evacuate your home and move elsewhere, owning a mindfully put together bug out bag is absolutely crucial to ensuring everyone’s health and overall safety.

Preparing for unknown disaster scenarios is difficult, to say the least – having a well thought out backpack full of rations and survival essentials is the best you can do for more or less every situation.

Traditional emergency kits are wonderful to own, but you never know if you’ll be able to remain in your home during a disaster or even be able to utilize your vehicle to escape to safety. A well-designed bug out bag that you can throw over your shoulders and evacuate within a moment’s notice is without a doubt the best approach for ensuring your party’s safe passage out of the danger zone.

  1. 1.
    The Denver Survival Company 72 Hour Ultimate Survival Bug Out Bag


    • Multiple sizes and aesthetics available (40 to 60 liters)
    • Includes food, water, first-aid supplies, and survival equipment
    • Nice quality backpack featuring high integrity and MOLLE webbing for additional external equipment attachment
    • Higher than average quality survival tools and gadgets that you may be tempted to use outside of emergency scenarios


    • Will have to buy one of the larger backpack sizes if you want to ensure you maintain some extra packing space
    • Rations and water are only suitble for single person use
    • Does not include any bedding or a tent (just an emergency blanket)

    • 900D Premium Tactical Military Style Backpack (multiple sizes available)
    • Rations, water, and water filter straw
    • 117 Piece first aid kit
    • Survival Kit: 440C EDC Knife, T6 LED flashlight, paracord survival grenade and belt whistle, emergency light, wire saw, compass, fire starter, paracord bracelet, emergency blanket, survival tool, tactical pen
    • Emergency solar charger and radio

    The Denver Survival Company 72 Hour Ultimate Survival Bug Out Bag is a wonderful personal option that includes high-end components all around and features an excellent quality backpack when it comes to both longterm comfort and durability.

    This kit includes more or less everything a solo survivor might require for persisting for 72 hours in either urban or wilderness environments. It’s a versatile kit including all the gear you need, and nothing you don’t, so The Denver Survival Company has made sure to trim the unnecessary fat on this one. 

    Rations, water, and a water filter ensure you keep your body hydrated and well enough fed, while the 117 piece first aid kit is both compact and impressively inclusive for treating any potential injuries without taking up all the space in your bug out bag.

    The survival equipment included is of excellent quality compared to a lot of the sub-par gear you see integrated in many otherwise well-equipped bug out bags. The cordage, fire starter, flashlight, compass and most important of all, survival knife, all excel when it comes to quality and reliability.

    Another brilliant component that The Denver Survival Company has included here is a solar charger and radio. Keeping your essential electronics charged during an emergency evacuation is of monumental importance, and maintaining contact with the outside world could make all the difference in a true survival scenario!

    If you’re shopping for your family or prepping for a larger group, than you could mix and match some of the contents of these bug out bags as well as replace some of the components with other essential gear like shelter and bedding. Four or five people could share two first aid kits, but not the water and rations included here, so consider pulling some of the redundant items and customizing these packs a bit if you’re thinking of buying one for each member of your party.

    All in all, this is a well-rounded, impressively inclusive yet no-nonsense kit for individual use that carries well and leaves space for some other essential items. A brilliant choice by The Denver Supply Company if everyone in your party is capable of carrying their own gear load.

    Find more The Denver Survival Company 72 Hour Ultimate Survival Bug Out Bag information and reviews here.

  2. 2.
    Emergency Zone 2 Person Family Prep 72 Hour Go-Bag


    • Discrete, nondescript, heavy-duty backpack that won’t draw unwanted attention
    • Includes food and water, first-aid and health equipment, weather protection, survival tools and communicaiton,
    • Great quality water and food rations
    • Includes an emergency preparedness guidebook including info on how to create an emergency plan, administering life-saving first aid, and more
    • Enough space remaining to include personal items such as medication, clothing, pet items, etc.


    • The backpack is well designed and built with integrity, but its load bearing ability is not impressive
    • While the backpack is built with some extra packing space, if you want to bring more than just a few additional items you’ll need a bigger pack
    • Hygiene supplies are wonderful to have on hand, but by no means are essential to survival

    • Discrete design backpack will not draw unwanted attention to your party and is highly organized
    • Water and food rations (for two or four people) as well as some water purification tools
    • Basic first aid kit
    • Hygiene supplies: soap, shampoo/conditioner, toothbrushes and toothpaste, razor, shaving cream, toilet paper, comb, sewing kit, feminine pads
    • Survival equipment: duct tape, survival whistle, 50 feet of rope, flashlight, batteries, weather radio, leather palm work gloves, multi-tool knife, GI can opener, pencil, reflective sleeping bags, ponchos, tube tent, hand warmers, and 48-page Emergency Preparedness Guide
    • Includes a pack of playing cards

    The Emergency Zone 2 and 4 Person Family Prep 72 Hour Go-Bags are some of the most trusted, well-designed bug out bags in the industry that are impressively inclusive and equipped for the price point, as well as coherently organized within a mindfully thought out backpack. 

    These kits include everything you need in a survival evacuation scenario and more, so you may be inclined to remove some of the contents here and trade the pack space for some more essential items or tools. For example, while having some personal hygiene products on hand is a brilliant touch, being able to wash your hair and brush your teeth is far from a life or death decision. If there are multiple members in your party, then it’s not unwise to include some of these luxuries vs. necessities – if you’re evac plans are solo or it’s just you and a partner however, then you would be wise to trade the hygiene kit for more rations or survival equipment.   

    The discrete design backpack will not draw any unwanted attention to your party and is highly organized, so although it’s not the largest capacity, Emergency Zone has ensured you can make the most of the space here.

    A basic first aid kit includes all of the usual suspects, but by trading the hygiene kit for some more medical supplies you can take it to the next level.

    This bug out bag not only includes food and water rations, but also a water vessel, filter straw, and military-grade purification tablets. The food ration bars are furthermore non-thirst inducing, great tasting and calorie-dense, requiring no extra water to rehydrate and no reheating.

    The brand has included a nice array of essential survival equipment with this kit, integrating a few outside of the box items that are brilliantly conceived. Duct tape, leather palm work gloves, reflective sleeping bags and a tube tent are a few of the particularly practical survival items for virtually any scenario included here.

    Emergency Zone has even included a pack of playing cards with these go-bags, an important reminder of how keeping spirits and overall morale high in an emergency situation is of vital importance when it comes to staying motivated and on track.

    Find more Emergency Zone 2 Person Family Prep 72 Hour Go-Bag information and reviews here.

  3. 3.
    Prep Store Elite Emergency Pack


    • Super comprehensive solo bug out bag that hits all the bases and more
    • Includes reliable devices for communication
    • High quality kit compenents on all fronts
    • Nice backpack design that features a high capacity and great weight bearing capabilities


    • Expensive option
    • Designed for one person use, although the included components will go a long way in a group context
    • May end up paying for some tools/gadgets you don’t really need

    • High capacity backpack is mindfully organized and capable of taking on some additional essential items
    • 70+ Piece highly inclusive first aid kit, including an extractor kit and safety mask
    • Highly inclusive fire and cooking set
    • Extensive water purification and storage tools
    • Shelter and bedding: one-person tent, three-season sleeping bag, camping mat, mosquito net, and poncho
    • Power and light: solar flashlight, folding solar charger, power bank lantern/emergency beacon, two-way Ham radio with built-in NOAA radio, and 3 in 1 solar fan
    • Survival/tactical gear: Machete, folding shovel, paracord, zip ties, sling-shot, duct tape, emergency whistle, compass, wire saw, leather palm gloves, knife sharpener

    The Prep Store Elite Emergency Pack is hands down one of the most well-rounded and highly inclusive bug out bags on the market that includes a tremendous array of essential tools and supplies for persisting virtually any evacuation scenario.

    If you’re starting from scratch when it comes to your emergency evacuation supplies, this is a great place to start. This kit has included an excellent array of essential equipment and tools that hits more or less ALL of the survival bases.

    Shelter and bedding, first aid supplies, power and lighting, water purification and storage, survival tools, it’s all here – and all within a highly capable and mindfully organized backpack featuring some extra packing space! 

    The only component missing from this bug out bag is food and water, so make sure to check out our recommended options for emergency rations within our extra content section below!

    While this kit is technically designed for single person use, essentially all of the components will go a long way in a group context. If you are prepping for a family group or household, then this is a fantastic option for at least one member to be carrying to ensure all of the more nitty-gritty, technical equipment is covered!

    Find more Prep Store Elite Emergency Pack information and reviews here.

  4. 4.
    Prep Store Quick Emergency Survival Pack


    • Includes shelter and bedding, water purification and storage, fire and cooking supplies, first-aid, and survival equipment
    • High quality kit components all around – particularly the wilderness survival equipment
    • Backpack is well designed for organization and bears weight well


    • No water or food rations
    • Lacks a first aid kit
    • Only contains bedding for one person

    • High capacity backpack is mindfully organized and capable of taking on some additional essential items
    • Extensive water purification and storage kit
    • Medical supplies: extractor kit and safety mask
    • Shelter and bedding: one-person tent, three-season sleeping bag, camping mat, large mosquito net, and poncho
    • Power and light: solar flashlight, power bank lantern/emergency beacon, charging cords
    • Survival/tactical gear: Folding shovel, zip ties, fire starter, wire saw, emergency whistle, compass, canvas gloves, survival guide, utensil tool

    The Prep Store Quick Emergency Survival Pack provides you with an excellent quality, coherent set of tools and gear that is the perfect base to build upon in order to create the ultimate, fully inclusive bug out bag.

    This kit does not include a first aid kit or any water or food rations – so those are the major blanks to fill in. The included shelter and bedding, power and light devices, water purification tools, and survival/tactical gear is however very well selected for overcoming virtually any survival scenario. 

    Fire making, keeping your devices charged, staying hydrated and setting up camp for the night are all made simple and straight forward with this kit, so once you add some rations and medical supplies, you’ll have hit all the bases.

    The backpack itself is furthermore very well designed for bearing heavy loads and for including some additional items, so there’s packing space to hit the remaining bug out bag bases.

    All things considered, this is a wonderful value option considering the quality and versatility of the included survival tools and backpack that with just a little further thought can be easily modified into a fully-inclusive, above and beyond bug out bag. 

    Find more Prep Store Quick Emergency Survival Pack information and reviews here.

  5. 5.
    Sustain Supply Co. 72 Hour Emergency Survival Kits


    • Multiple kits available with varying inclusiveness
    • More inclusive kits include food and water, first aid supplies and some survival equipment
    • Excellent quality components all around
    • The backpacks included in the more inclusive kits are designed with extra packing space in mind
    • Great price point


    • ‘Essential’ kit backpack has very little capacity
    • Food rations are great quality, but not the most lightweight and packable when it comes to minimizing your gear load
    • None of the backpacks are particularly durable or weather resistant

    • Multiple kits available with varying inclusiveness
    • Most inclusive kit includes food and water, first aid supplies and some survival equipment for four people, for three days
    • Survival equipment of the most inclusive kit includes: Sawyer Squeeze water filter, 8 Cyalume snap lights, 2 LED lanterns, 2 flashlights,  4 emergency blankets, a portable stove, 4 bowls and utensils, MoraKniv knife, ferrocerium rod, 4 InstaFire tinder, and 4 whistles

    The Sustain Supply Co. 72 Hour Emergency Survival Kits are an excellent value option that are offered at varying levels of inclusiveness for different sized groups.

    These go-bags include quality components on all fronts, so you can be sure that you’re purchasing rations and survival gear worth buying with this one.

    There are not a ton of included survival tools within even the more inclusive kits, but the selected gear is superior to most comparably priced options. For example, the Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter and MoraKniv Knife are two excellent quality, invaluable survival tools – unlike the knock-off equipment you often find in the “fully-inclusive” kits.

    Sustain Supply Co. even includes a portable stove, bowls and utensils so you can enjoy some hot food on the go. While the included rations are not the most packable and lightweight, they offer excellent caloric content and taste great. There’s something to be said for actually enjoying a meal during an emergency evacuation scenario rather than bearing through dry calorie bars for days – if you have multiple members in your party and therefore the packing space for at least one person to carry some tastier, freeze-dried meals, it could be a great move for enhancing everyone’s comfort and morale.

    While these kits offer better than average components, there are some blanks when it comes to overall inclusiveness. The best decision is to perhaps consider owning at least one of these kits in order to ensure one or multiple members of your party have some particularly tasty rations and capable survival tools for everyone!

    Find more Sustain Supply Co. 2 Person 72 Hour Emergency Survival Kits information and reviews here.

  6. 6.
    Redfora Complete Earthquake Bags For 1-6 People


    • Available as a one to six person kit
    • Includes food and water, first-aid and hygiene supplies, shelter and warmth, and some tools
    • Unassuming backpack will not draw any unwanted attention
    • MOLLE webbing on the exterior of the backpack allows for additional gear attachment
    • Very reasonable price point


    • Lacks wilderness survival equipment
    • Backpack does not have much interior space for additional supplies
    • Backpack and duffel (utilized in the larger kits) are not particularly great at bearing weight compared to many alternatives

    • Available as a one to six person kit with varying levels of inclusiveness
    • Unassuming backpack and/or roller bag will not draw any unwanted attention
    • Water and food rations as well as water purification tablets
    • Extensive 107 piece first aid kit
    • Hygiene essentials
    • Shelter and bedding: emergency ponchos, mylar sleeping bags, and tube tent(s)
    • Survival tools and equipment: multi-tool knife, 5-in-1 whistle, nylon rope, work gloves, goggles, waterproof matches, hand warmers, light stick, 30-hour candle, hand-crank flashlight/radio/charger, sewing kit

    Redfora’s Complete Earthquake Bags For 1-6 People are an excellent value, no-nonsense option that allow you to tailor your bug out bag(s) to properly account for each and every member of your family or party.

    Available as a one to six-person kit with varying levels of inclusiveness, you can select the go-bag, or set of go-bags that make the most sense for you and those you anticipate evacuating with. 

    Each kit includes water and food rations for the designated amount of people, an extensive 107-piece first aid kit, hygiene essentials, shelter and bedding, and a well thought out array of survival tools and equipment.

    Depending on the number of people you are buying for, the kit comes in either a standard backpack, a rolling duffle bag, or combination of both.

    Both pack options are unassuming and will not draw any unwanted attention, but keep in mind the roller bag is not a great choice for covering long distances on foot. If you go with one of the more inclusive kits, you would be wise to pair the contents with a more capable backpack.

    Find more Redfora Complete Earthquake Bag For 1-6 People information and reviews here.

  7. 7.
    Rescue Guard Emergency Bug Out Bags


    • Available in several different levels of inclusiveness
    • All options are designed for 72 hour persistence (aside from the kit lacking food and water)
    • Suitable kit for wilderness survival scenarios
    • Higher level kits have very comprehensive first aid supplies for the cost
    • Excellent price point


    • Backpack does not provide very much additional packing space, and no external attachment points
    • Backpack does not offer very impressive integrity
    • While the more minimalist kits can work as a great addition to your existing emergency supplies, they will not function well as fully operational bug out bag

    • Available in several different levels of inclusiveness
    • All options are designed for 72-hour persistence (aside from the kit lacking food and water)

    Rescue Guard’s Emergency Bug Out Bags are a brilliant choice for emergency preparedness that allow you to choose your level of survival gear inclusiveness.

    All of the options are designed for 72-hour persistence other than the kit lacking food and water rations. We consider each bug out bag to be an excellent overall value, so it’s tough to go wrong here with any of the options. That being said, the Advanced Survival Pack is certainly our top pick for any and all preppers that includes the most relevant and high quality components at just a slightly higher price point.

    The top-level kit includes great quality survival tools and equipment including a utility knife, multi-tool, hatchet, duct tape, wire saw, lantern, bivvy sacks and much more. The kit Is furthermore designed for four people, making it an even more impressively inclusive option for the price point.

    Unfortunately, the included backpack here is not all that great when it comes to integrity, organization, or capacity, so consider pairing the kit’s contents with your existing hiking bag or a higher quality pack from our recommended list located in the extra content section below.

    The higher level kits give you quite a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to their contents, so purchasing these bug out bags for their included components alone is still a great value!

    Find more Rescue Guard First Aid Kit Emergency Bug Out Bag information and reviews here.

  8. 8.
    Brite Safety 1 Person 3 Day Survival Kit


    • 73-Piece first aid and survival kit
    • Includes food, water, first-aid supplies, and a bit of survival equipment
    • It can be carried by hand or on the shoulder with a detachable shoulder strap
    • Designed to snap onto your existing gear with the quick attach MOLLE straps


    • Bag must be carried by hand or over the shoulder, making it a less than ideal option for covering long distances on foot
    • No real space for adding additional essential items
    • Lacks survival equipment and tools

    • Durably built pack can be carried by hand or on the shoulder using the detachable shoulder strap
    • Water and food rations for one person for three days
    • Quality first aid kit
    • Emergency blanket, flashlight and batteries, light stick and poncho

    The Brite Safety 1 Person 3 Day Survival Kit is an excellent bare-bones option for single person use that’s offered at a very reasonable price point.

    This go-bag comes packed within a shoulder bag rather than a backpack, so it’s not the ideal hands-free option for evacuating home and covering long distances on foot. That being said, this kit makes for a stellar vehicle-specific bug out bag that can live in your car in case of a sudden, unexpected emergency.

    This bug out bag is furthermore designed to snap onto your existing gear with the quick attach MOLLE straps, so it can be quickly integrated into your existing kit.

    There are food and water rations for 72 hours, adequate first aid supplies and a handful of emergency items that are honestly better suited for roadside use than wilderness or urban survival. 

    All things considered, this is best utilized as an add-on kit to your existing bug out bag or as a vehicle-specific go-bag. Stashing one or several of these kits in your safe house or bunker is also a wise move to ensure you’ve got some extra essential supplies.

    Find more Brite Safety 1 Person 3 Day Survival Kit information and reviews here.

  9. 9.
    Lightning X EMT First Aid Responder Medical Backpack Kit


    • LXPB89 backpack is hydration and MOLLE compatible, highly organized, and supports weight well
    • Super inclusive medical supplies
    • Includes some more technical, specialized medical devices and equipment


    • Backpack leaves little to no room for additional survival essentials
    • Includes no water or rations
    • Includes no survival tools or equipment

    • LXPB89 backpack featuring four main exterior compartments plus a quick access velcro compartment behind the lumbar panel
    • Highly inclusive first aid supplies

    The Lightning X EMT First Aid Responder Medical Backpack Kit is a full-blown set of medical supplies including both standard first aid items as well as some more specialized equipment, remedies, and devices for treating a wide range of ailments and injuries.

    While this kit does not contain any food or water rations, shelter or bedding, or survival equipment – it covers all the bases and more when it comes to ensuring everyone’s health and safety during an evacuation scenario. If your emergency plan involves your family or a party of people from your household or neighborhood, it would be a brilliant decision for one member of the group to carry this intensive first aid pack.

    In addition to all the regular first aid items you’d expect to find in a bug out bag, this highly inclusive kit contains some more specialized equipment such as splints, an Oropharyngeal airway kit, CPR masks, a sprague stethoscope, Dyna-Stopper trauma pressure dressing and more. 

    If one member of your group carries this medical backpack kit, then all other members of your party can rest assured they’re covered when it comes to ailments and injuries on the go and furthermore pack their bug out bags accordingly with less first aid essentials. Equip the closest one to a nurse or doctor in your group with this pack and entrust them with the role of emergency EMT in the event of an emergency evac.

    In an ideal scenario, each member of your party should play a specialized role in terms of what type of equipment/supplies they’re carrying. While it’s wise for each party member to be more or less self-sustaining, someone can take the role of packing most of the food and water rations, while someone else can pack survival tools, etc. It’s a strategic preparation plan that ensures you hit all the bases and furthermore sets up each member of your group with a gear load they can manage.

    While the LXPB89 backpack does not have any additional interior storage space, the bag is fortunately hydration compatible and also has some integrated MOLLE webbing on the exterior for securing some extra gear.

    Find more Lightning X EMT First Aid Responder Medical Backpack Kit information and reviews here.

  10. 10.
    Monoki First Aid Survival Kit


    • 302 Piece first aid and survival kit
    • Military tactical molle EMT IFAK pouch is compact and durably built from 600D nylon
    • Quality of the included survival gear is above average
    • MOLLE system attachment straps on back allow you to attach it to other MOLLE-integrated packs


    • Included pack must be carried by hand and is not ideal for covering long distances on foot unless you own a MOLLE compatible pack
    • No practical packing space for any additional items
    • No food or water rations included

    • Military tactical MOLLE EMT IFAK pouch is durably built from 600D nylon
    • 275 Piece comprehensive first aid kit
    • 23 piece survival kit including: multitool pliers, LED flashlight, tactical folding knife, 6-In-1 paracord bracelet, stainless steel saber card, emergency mylar blanket, disposable rain poncho, compass keychain, emergency whistle, fire starter, wire saw, aluminum D-ring, and fishing equipment

    The Monoki First Aid Survival Kit is a brilliant bug out bag option that covers almost all of your first aid and tactical/survival tool needs all within an impressively compact and durable MOLLE pouch!

    While this go-bag does not include any water or food rations or shelter/bedding, it more or less hits all of the other bases. The 275-piece first aid kit is quite extensive for treating a wide range of injuries and ailments and the included survival tools and gadgets are of more than adequate quality.

    The dimensions of this go-bag are less than 8 by 6 by 5 inches and it’s furthermore integrated with MOLLE webbing so it’s easily externally attached to your existing bug out bag or packed within. If you feel like you’re lacking some first aid essentials or want to add a few pivotal survival tools to your kit, this is a brilliant high-value option that gives you quite a bit of bang for your buck.

    There are even a handful of more specialized, unique survival tools here that very well may be absent from your current go-bag such as some fishing equipment, multi-tool pliers and a 6-in-1 paracord bracelet.

    All things considered, this is a stellar kit for filling in your bug out bag blanks, utilizing as a vehicle-specific go-bag, or adding to your safe house or bunker’s supply stores that comes at an excellent price point!

    Find more Monoki First Aid Survival Kit information and reviews here.

  11. 11.
    Pet Evac Pak, LLC Premium Big Dog Emergency Survival Kit


    • Everything to keep your dog safe for up to 72 hours
    • For dogs between 30 and 70 pounds (kits for smaller dogs available)
    • First-aid supplies and dog bowls can be used for personal use if needed
    • 5 year shelf life


    • The bag is a normal backpack and not designed to be worn by your dog
    • Contents are not intended to cover any of your own personal survival needs
    • Includes some non-essential items such as a dog toy and waste baggies

    • The bag is a normal backpack and not designed to be worn by your dog
    • Designed for dogs between 30 and 70 pounds
    • Dog food and water 
    • First aid kit: vet wrap, ASAP pet wound ointment, ClotIt blood stopping powder, tweezers, cotton swabs, alcohol wipes, gauze pads, hydrogen peroxide spray, cold pack, and first aid brochure
    • Safety items: 6-foot slip lead, mylar blanket, LED light, ID card, and waterproof ID card holder
    • Also includes a rope toy and waste disposal bags

    The Pet Evac Pak, LLC Premium Big Dog Emergency Survival Kit includes all of the essential items you’ll need for your canine companions in an emergency evacuation scenario.

    Don’t forget about your pets when it comes to your emergency plans – this kit has checked all the boxes for ensuring your dog’s safety for 72 hours including food and water, safety equipment and some first aid supplies. The brand has even included a rope toy and some waste baggies (although we doubt picking up after your pet will be of the utmost importance in a survival scenario).

    This kit is designed for dogs between 30 and 70 pounds, so if your pooch is any heavier than that, you’ll need to include some extra food and water to sustain them for a full 72 hour period.

    Unfortunately, this kit is organized into a regular style backpack rather than a pack that your dog can carry themselves. Everyone needs to carry their own weight in an emergency scenario, so consider transferring the contents of this canine bug out bag into this high-performance dog pack by Mountainsmith, or this equally awesome option by Ruffwear in order to maintain focus on your own essential supplies.

    Find more Pet Evac Pak, LLC Premium Big Dog Emergency Survival Kit information and reviews here.

How To Select A Bug Out Bag

Selecting a bug out bag, or putting one together has everything to do with what challenges you expect to endure in the event of an emergency. Carefully consider your local climate, community, and landscape in order to come up with the best assortment of survival tools. 

If you have to run out of the house with essential survival equipment, here are a few general questions you ought to ask yourself in order to be best prepared:

-Will you be needing specialized gear for mostly wilderness or urban persistence?

-Is there an abundance of free-standing water you can filter on your way to safety, or will you need to pack your own water supply?

-Is the climate generally warm, or cold, and what kind of shelter, clothing, and bedding does it call for in an evacuation scenario?

-How long of a trek do you anticipate to reach your designated “safe-zone”, and what kind of equipment is necessary for keeping one foot in front of the other?

-Is it wise to include tools for self defense?

-Don’t forget to consider where you will store your bug out bag(s) and who will be carrying them – it’s important to specialize every person’s pack within your party so nobody ends up with unnecessary items and weight. 

Bug Out Bag Specifications

While building your bug out bag is made easy by selecting one of the pre-made, thoughtfully designed options above, there are still a few general guidelines and specifications you ought to be mindful of.

Here are a few details to consider when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of setting up the perfect bug out bag:

-You need food and water for a minimum of 72 hours for each member of your family/party. If you want to really trim pack weight and make the most of each bag’s packing space, then calculate how many calories of food and liters of water each individual needs for X amount of time based on their body weight.

-Assuming you are in average physical condition, your bug out bag should weigh no more than 25% of your body weight to ensure that you can carry it long distances. Keep this number in mind as you add items to your personal pack and those of your family members and make sure your maximizing everyone’s gear load without over-packing.

-Don’t forget personal essential items like medication and health devices – nobody will make it far without their inhaler, prescription glasses, insulin, or other important health tools and meds. 

Building Your Own Bug Out Bag

While we recommend at least starting with a pre-made bug out bag from our top list, we understand that many preppers prefer to start from the ground up when it comes to their safety and that of their family.

Below, we’ve highlighted some of the best options for each essential category of your personal bug out bag so you can upgrade or fill in the blanks left by some pre-made options, or go ahead and start from scratch!

High Capacity, Weight-Bearing Backpacks

While the contents of most pre-made bug out bags are brilliantly conceived by in-the-know experts, oftentimes the included backpack that houses all of the essential equipment and rations is sub-par at best.

You may have noticed that many of the listed kits above are not particularly well rated for their weight-bearing ability or their capacity for additional essential gear. While the included bags are certainly suitable, those who anticipate longer treks and heavier gear loads will be wise to pair their bug out bag supplies with a higher quality, more performance backpack with greater durability, a higher degree of organization, and most importantly – less required exertion when it comes to carrying it long distances!

Some of our favorite high-capacity backpacks that are built to take a beating and remain comfortable for even the longest of treks include:

Food & Water Kits

Your food and water supplies are the most important component of your kit in most survival scenarios.

When adding rations and hydration supplies to your bug out bag, ideally you select options that are low weight and pack particularly compact, while offering a whole lot of caloric content.

Your food rations ought to be selected based on the included energy vs. the packed weight/occupied space. When camping and backpacking, there are many delicious freeze-dried meal brands that pack great, but an emergency scenario calls for rations with even greater portability. Typically, calorie bars and tabs are the best routes to go when it comes to bang for your caloric buck – so we’ve leaned into the following options for bug out bag applications:

Water, of course, has a fixed weight, so there are no corners to be cut there, but you can, however, choose soft, rather than hard-bodied vessels for containing your water supply that will pack more compact than a bottle, canteen or jug. Some of our favorite picks for pre-packaged water and water vessels to fill on your own include:

Portable Water Filters

While having a water supply packed within you bug out bag is wise, if you know there is bountiful free-standing or running water in the landscape you plan on evacuating through, you ought to have a reliable portable water filter on hand.

A water filter can trim your pack weight immensely by replacing a few liters or gallons, so every in the know prepper should own one.

Our top picks include the Sawyer Mini and the LifeStraw, but make sure to check out our post on the best portable water filters for all the top options!

First Aid Kits

Your first aid supplies are of monumental importance when evacuating your local surroundings. Sustaining an injury on your way to safety could be the difference between life and death, so be sure to have some tools to keep you going in the event of an accident.

Selecting your medical supplies is just as much about the potential injuries/afflictions you can’t think of, as much as it is about preparing for the usual first aid suspects. This means including at least a few versatile items that can be implemented to treat some more ‘outside of the box’ type injuries or ailments.

For example, band-aids and tweezers are great, but what about a leg splint or ankle brace for staying on your feet in the event of a bone break or sprain? 

While most premade bug out bags offer exceptional first aid components, check out the following specialized medical supplies and fully inclusive fist aid kits for some particularly great emergency options:

Survival Equipment Kits

Every well thought out bug out bag should contain some survival equipment for persisting outdoors. Whether you live in a greatly urban or suburban environment or within a complete and total wilderness, there are some particularly practical tools for staying comfortable and safe in a survival scenario.

Many pre-made bug out bags offer an assortment of survival tools that are just plain sub-par when it comes to overall quality. A survival situation is not the time to struggle with mediocre gear, so be sure your more technical tools are up to par with the challenges you expect to endure.

The main details to think about when considering tools/equipment that maintain your well-being are as follows:

  • Shelter and bedding
  • Fire making and cooking
  • Cordage
  • Communication with others/staying informed
  • Navigation
  • Light and power supply

Here are just a few of our favorite kits and tools to get your gears turning that we’ve found to be the most relevant for bug out bag inclusion:

Self Defense

While conflict with others while fleeing an emergency scenario is an awful thought, responsible preppers ought to have this detail covered somewhere in their bug out bag. 

If you are a gun owner, then choosing a backpack with an adequate, on-hand firearm carry system and some space to stash ammo is a wise tactic for staying alert and ready to engage potential threats.

If you are not a gun owner or would simply prefer to employ non-lethal tactics rather than implementing your firearm, there are many reliable and effective self defense tools for directly engaging threats that don’t require you to use a gun.

Paintball guns, mace and pepper spray devices, stun guns, and many other non-lethal alternatives to firearms exist, so make sure to check out our post on non-lethal home-defense tools for some guidance selecting an option that you feel safer having on hand than not, as well as comfortable using.

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