Camping & Survival

The Budget Bug-Out Bag: 20 Cheap Essentials

Picture shows the back of a military surplus backpack with brown vinyl bottom in Polish puma camo.

Prepping can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Stockpiling non-perishables—especially prepackaged, long-shelf life meals—takes a good chunk of change. Not to mention, some survival equipment is costly. Don’t let the price of prepping scare you off. You can prepare a go-bag for less. If you are strapped for cash, you can build a budget bug-out bag perfect for your car or for an unexpected disaster that will keep you dry, fed, warm, and hydrated for 24 hours.

Note: prices are subject to change without notice.

Picture shows the back of a military surplus backpack with brown vinyl bottom in Polish puma camo.
A military surplus backpack makes a cheap bug-out bag.

The bag
Polish Puma camo ruck sack $9.97
The shelter
Coghlan’s tube tent $7.66
The warmth
Coghlan’s emergency blanket $2.29
Stay dry
Texsport emergency hooded poncho $0.97
Coleman biowipes $3.265

Knife and Tools
Ultimate Survival Technologies SaberCutsaw para knife $18.73

Coghlan’s emergency candles 2 pack with metal candle holders $3.11

The little extras
Coghlan’s survival kit in a can with 38 items $11.46

The food

The water

The fire

First aid

Picture shows a blue foil package of Natural High's freeze-dried three bean chili.
Just add water for this three bean chili.


For about $120, you get everything you need to survive 24 hours in case of emergency.

Have you built a budget bug-out bag? Tell us what is in it in the comment section.

We strive to spotlight products with ample stock, however sometimes the products are so cool, they sell out quickly. If a product is out of stock, you may sign up for an email notification alerting you of when the product is available for sale. Prices subject to change without notice.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (4)

  1. I have to admit I was kind of disappointed when I called right after writing that comment and I tried to order the individual components. I was told by the operator that a number of them were out of stock and there was no date of re-supply available. I already had a few of the things listed but it was still going to run a couple of hundred bucks for both the wife and I, which I expected after reading the article. The biggest hitch was when I was told that the shipping and handling was going to cost $50 because, “It comes from four different warehouses.” I’m sorry but that’s your company’s organizational problem, not the customer’s. For my over weight gun safe I understood it but not for something like this. Hank

  2. This article really struck a nerve with me and I really like the looks of this kit. It appears very complete and compact. I’m retired and seldom further away than walking distance form home but my wife still has a couple of years to go and she commutes about 28 miles to work each way. After the Whittier earthquake in the mid eighties my boss sent me to LA for a week of, “Earthquake Preparation Training,” to bring back to the organization. Since then we’ve both carried water, shoes and first aid kits in our cars but they’re making the trunks a lot smaller these days. This could be ideal for her for an emergency bivouac on the freeway, as well as making a hasty retreat out of dodge.

    I’d really like to hear from those of you who already have one set up and even better those who have had the opportunity to use it. What does it weight fully loaded? What are the approximate dimensions of the pack fully loaded? If I missed that in the article I apologize but my first thought is that if it’s too heavy for my wife and I to carry, I could stuff it into a wheeled back pack for easy transport. Can I also assume that all of the items mentioned are available through Cheaper Than Dirt? Thanks, Hank

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