Camping & Survival

Throwback Thursday: What’s in Your Bug-Out Bag?

Box of waterproof matches from Coleman.

…It’s more important than what’s in your wallet.

Bug-out bag, go-bag, GOOD bag, 72-hour kit, survival kit, BOB, get-home-bag, emergency kit… no matter what you call it, they all share one thing in common—these kits are designed to help you survive for the first 72 hours after a major disaster, emergency, or other SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation.

So, What Exactly do you Pack in a Bug-Out Bag?

What people pack in bug-out-bags is personal, depending on one’s needs. Maybe you have a small baby and must pack diapers and formula, or you have dietary restrictions or rely on daily meds. Location considerations are important, as well. Those who live in warm, muggy climates will pack different clothing and supplies than those who live in wintery, cold areas. There are a few items, though that expert preppers and survivalists agree on. There needs to be a way to procure safe drinking water, food and shelter and a way to make a fire. Others find cordage, a firearm, compass, and first aid kit to be imperative.

The point of your bug-out bag’s contents is to aid in your survival. Some pack the essentials—just enough stuff to fit in a pocket, while others have large plastic totes filled with everything from tools to toilet paper. As long as you have water, water filter or purification tablets, fire starter and a way to stay warm and dry, there really isn’t a “right way” to pack your bug-out bag. Sure, some are better than others—you aren’t going to need a pillow, but a knife and first aid sure will come in handy.

What Makes a Good Bug-Out Bag?

There is one thing I have always appreciated about preparedness-minded people and that is their willingness to share information and help others. Rarely, do I come across the prepper with a lone-wolf mindset. Ultimately, I like to think that the majority of preppers have kind hearts and want to see a world of survivalists bartering, trading and offering services to each other instead of roaming bands of looters and vagabonds willing to shoot others for their supplies. Not to say that that won’t be necessary. During SHTF, there will be a lot of nasty people, but that doesn’t mean preppers won’t band together to help each other out. I understand OPSEC and get why some people don’t share what they have, but I commend those who do. It gives others new to prepping and readiness an excellent reference or starting point.

From minimalistic to those who have a “rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it” philosophy, these seven readers have shared on the various bug-out bag posts on the Shooter’s Log what they have in their bug-out bags and emergency survival kits.

Griffin 93C

First aid kit
Reader “Griffin 93C” has a first aid kit and blow-out kit at the top of their list.
  • Individual first aid kit
  • Blowout kit
  • Short K-Bar knife with sharpener
  • Locking blade folding knife
  • 550 cord with hooks
  • Garmin E-Trex 30 GPS
  • Lensatic compass
  • Signal mirror
  • Signal panel
  • PRC-112G (survival radio)
  • Duct tape
  • 1 MRE
  • 6 bottles of water
  • Shemagh
  • Sock cap
  • Jacket
  • Gloves
  • Rain suit in season
  • Toilet paper
  • 2 multi tools
  • Chapstick
  • 1 M4 with 3 mags
  • 1 M9 with 2 mags

Jon

  • Emergency space blankets
  • Rain ponchos
  • Particle filter masks
  • Duct tape
  • Paracord
  • Glow sticks
  • Lighters
  • Magnesium fire starter
  • Water purification tablets
  • Folding camp saw
  • Hatchet
  • Survival knife
  • Compass
  • FRS radio
  • Emergency crank radio and flashlight
  • Maglite
  • Leatherman Supertool
  • 10×10 tarp
  • 20-lb. fishing line
  • First aid kit
  • Aspirin
  • Benadryl
  • Printed copy of U.S. Army survival manual
  • Emergency candles
  • Binoculars
  • Knife sharpener
  • Waterproof matches
  • Extra batteries
  • Bible
  • 9mm with 3 extra 15round clips

Archangel

  • Food
  • Lifestraw
  • 2-liter bottle
  • Collapsible 1-gallon water jug
  • Chlorine in a dropper bottle
  • Lighters
  • Magnesium fire striker
  • 1911 .45 ACP with 4 magazines
  • 100 extra rounds of .45 ACP in a zipper pouch
  • 16-oz. soda bottle filled with denatured alcohol
  • Palm-sized magnifying glass
  • Tuna can and cotton for char cloth
  • Wax-soaked sawdust cast in a paper egg carton for tinder
  • Snowmobile suit in winter
  • Hunting boots
  • Foot and hand warmers

JohnnyAuto

Fixed blade Ka-Bar USMC knife
At the top of “JohnnyAuto’s” list is a classic Ka-Bar fixed blade knife.
  • 3 to 5 knives, USMC Ka-Bar
  • Pistol
  • Water filter
  • Multi tool
  • Fire starter
  • 2 lighters
  • Candle
  • Compass
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • 1-quart pot
  • Drinking bottle
  • Water filter and purification tablets
  • Blaze orange panel
  • MIL-SURP wool blanket and poncho liner
  • Firearm

Richard

Box of waterproof matches from Coleman.
Waterproof matches are lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Roll of quarters
  • $50 cash in $1 and $5 bills
  • Camping “toilet” with 3 waste baggies
  • Cold weather clothing
  • Blankets
  • Emergency blanket
  • Empty tin can
  • Waterproof matches
  • Emergency 20-hour candles
  • Spare batteries
  • Few decks of cards
  • Tools
  • Can or two of “emergency flat tire fix”
  • Hand crank radio and flashlight
  • Bottle of windshield washer “below zero” solvent
  • Safety reflective vest
  • 3-6 MREs
  • Emergency rations of water
  • Toilet paper
  • Microfiber towels

Jeff

  • 1911 with 5 loaded magazines
  • Extra box of ammo
  • Knife
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Extra socks and underwear
  • Baby powder
  • Baby wipes
  • Extra set of eyeglasses
  • 4-day rations
  • Water purification tablets
  • 3 fire starters
  • 2 Canteens
  • 2 containers to boil water

john

Leatherman multi-tool
Many choose to keep a multi-tool in their bug-out bag along with a survival knife.
  • 3 fire starters
  • LED flashlight
  • Extra lithium batteries
  • 9-volt battery
  • Antibiotics
  • Spare ammo
  • Ruger .22 Magnum revolver
  • 3 emergency blankets
  • Steel wool
  • Paracord
  • Becker BK2 camp knife
  • Folding knives
  • Multi tool
  • Aspirin and Ibuprofen
  • Alcohol
  • First aid kit
  • Guitar strings
  • Nails and screws in a bottle
  • Gunpowder
  • Under Armour long underwear
  • Wool pants and shirt
  • Light, Gore-Tex rain suit
  • Bivy bag
  • Water bottle
  • Rice and beans

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Out of the seven, who do you think is the most prepared? Tell us what you have in your in survival kit or bug-out bag in the comment section.

[suzanne]

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 decicions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (46)

  1. I packed my BOB for long term. Yes I have some items that are short term (72 hour needs) like packaged food/water, life straws etc… but I figure if you’re bugging out, it got real bad. Besides firearms and ammo I have medical honey bandages. Honey is natures gift and will provide perfect wound care. Ace bandages which can be used in multiple situations. Medications like aspirin and ibuprofen will last up to 5 years before breaking down. I also have terrain maps of my 50 mile area. These will help in finding water and shelter and maybe where to stay away from. Also take a longsleeved t, underwear, roll them up tight then wrap in a pair of socks. Several of these can be worn to help layer in colder temps. and pack using not much room. Making fire is also very important so I have multiple ways of fire starting. Bugs can also be a pain so I have a couple head nets and hammocks with netting. Then some good knives and some wood cutting tools. The pack weighs about 15 pounds so with carrying that along with a long gun, not unless you’re in super shape we won’t be traveling long distances. So before taking off know where to stop for breaks.

  2. Why are survivalists buying up so much.22 LR ammo? With pellet guns capable of 1300 ft. per second, they are sufficient for taking squirrels, rabbits and other small game up to raccoons and woodchucks. They wouldn’t be good on deer, but neither would.22’s. Pellet guns are quieter than.22’s and ammo is much cheaper. Follow up shots take longer, but we’re talking about hunting, not self defense. In a SHTF situation, the pellet gun would seem to be the better choice.

  3. Secundius, There were actually several makers of these tough little pistols. Even India and U.S. manufactures made them under License from Webly. Though my was stamped BRITISH BULLDOG on the cylinder strap, anyone could have made it. Now, I wish I had kept it. .38 SC is being made in record amounts now. When I had it, only available ammo was old stock, that actually came in 12 round boxes. No telling about quality control in the manufacturing process of either the pistol or the ammo. Had a made in Utah, DAO pistol in .380, would only feed Winchester .380’s. Anything else wouldn’t chamber, or if chamber and fire, wouldn’t extract. So, ‘go figure” , it’s the reason I find firearms so fascinating, despite what people say or believe, they do have personalities and quirks that are unique to each weapon.

    1. @ Roy Holbert.

      Just exactly what do you what of me, Sir? Your Giving me “Scrapes” of Information “Piecemeal”. The two British Bulldog Model’s that I’m talking about, were made in England in the Late 19th Century and the Earlier part of the 20th Century. NOW, you adding another Piece to the “Jig-Saw-Puzzle” by say they COULD be of Foreign Manufacturer. WHAT GAME ARE YOU PLAYING AT. Do your own “GD” Research, I’m not Your “Lab Rat Research Assistant”. This Conversation is Pointless and Just Got TERMINATED…

    2. @ Roy Holbert.

      And, What Your Point? All I asked, is which of the TWO Firearms manufactures made the Pistol. NOW, your Redirecting Me and the Question in Another Direction. I’m aware of Foreign Sources, But that wasn’t MY QUESTION. Is this some kind of GAME or TEST…

    1. Personally I’m bringing an AR (.223) with about 300 rounds of ammunition for self defense and to get out of a populated area and a Ruger 10/22 rifle (22LR) with a sling and basic sights for lightweight carry capabilities and hunting… also the 22LR rounds are much lighter so you can carry a lot more rounds for long term hunting options.

      Side note: I also pack a S&W.40 on my hip and a .380 on my wife’s hip for last resort protection.

  4. Just received my New Montek Solar Stirling Steam Power Generator, rated a 150-watts power output. Should make a Great Addition to my BOB. Weather permitting, will test the (Sorry Suzanne) “SH^T” Out of it during the Weekend…

  5. @ Roy Holbert.

    The only 7.85 round that I’m aware of is the 1897 Pattern Brochardt C-93 Pistol Cartridge (.309-caliber/7.85×21.59mm), more commonly known as the 7.65×21/Parabellum…

  6. @ X-Pack’s, aka LikePack’s, aka HydroPack’s.

    It beats burying your head in the water with a LifeStraw. Also you can Drink and Keep an Eye Out for Potential Threat’s too. I usually carry THREE in my Wheelchair “BOB” Saddle Bag and THREE in my Wearable “BOB” (aka ScottVEST Q.U.E.S.T. Vest) 42- Pockets worth of Life Supporting Goodies. X-Packs are Forward Osmosis Water Purification Systems (No Matter How “Brackish”) the Water Source is. A Reusable/Rechargeable Filtration system, good for about 10-days before Recharging. Entire system is good for about 60-days. About 8.5-gallons of Potable Water @ 1.5-Liters/Hour “Motion” causes Filtration of Water. CTD, did Carry them, but I’m not sure it they still do (Haven’t received a Catalog, in quite some time). If you’re a Family Group, consider LifeSaver 20000. Same type of System, with the exception that the system is about the size of a 5-Gallon Jerrycan and weigh’s about the same. Though NOT Rechargeable, it will filter about ~5,283-Gallons of Water or 20,000-Liters. About $325.00 per unit, depending on where you buy them. My “BOB” Van/Transporter, has TWO, for Redundancy Purposes, including a Powered Marine-Grade Reverse Osmosis Filtration System.

    Excuse any Spelling Error’s, Medication tend’s to make my Eye’s to “Blur”…

  7. Secundius, a bit off topic and all, but a few years ago I found a Bolivian version or the 98k Mauser in a pawn shop in Colorado. Didn’t know Bolivian even made one, but there it was with Bolivia’s Coat of Arms stamped on the receiver. Any way was in a proprietary Bolivian round 7.85 x?, or something like that. couldn’t find any ammo, so I sold it to a Mauser collector that had never heard of a Bolivian Mauser, either. Do you know anything about these and their caliber, because I’m sure I off on the cal. ? Thanks.

    1. @ Roy Holbert.

      You should have Kept It. It’s a Collector’s Item. Bolivia, bought 1,000 Pattern 1907 Mauser Carbines and Locally Produced 4,000 Rifles for their “Rather” Small Army. It’s Chambered to fire the Argentine 7.65x53mmR Mauser Cartridge. It’s STILL Produced in Bolivia, but in small Numbers. Maximum Range was about 1,400-meters. The Bolivian Army LOVED the Rifle Design

    2. Secundius, thanks. Like I said, was a long time ago. There have been many Mauser rifles in my hands. I paid about $100 for it, a collector gave me $500. No matter how collectible a weapon is, it is useless to me without ammo and at the time, there was none to be had. Even had a ‘little’ British Bull Dog revolver at on time. It was in .338. Try finding that. Closest I could find was .38 Short Colt, which was almost as rare. Let it go to a man that had nearly 1,000 rounds of .38 S.C.. He didn’t have a pistol and wouldn’t sell the ammo. Made $200. on a $50 pistol.It isn’t about making money, though that’s great, but a firearm is just a tool, at least to me. During a long career as a PMC, many very ‘sweet’ weapons have passed through my hands. The only one I regret selling was an MP 40 that I picked up for the equivalent of $200. US. Got an offer that I couldn’t refuse, $20,000 from a man that didn’t care about legalities and paper work and wanted it for his collection. Still miss that sweetheart of a weapon.

    3. @ Roy Holbert.

      British Bulldog Revolver .338, 2.5-inch Barrel rounded up to 3, caliber .38. aka .38/200 (9x20mmR) actual size .361-caliber (9.2×19.7mm). US. Equivalent is .38S&W or (.361-caliber/9.2×19.7mm) exact same round…

    4. Secundius, .38 S&W’s extended out passed the chambers by like 1/32 of an inch. Wouldn’t let the cylinder rotate. A gunsmith that should have know better, told me to seat the bullet deeper into the case. Yea, right! Consulted a local expert on old British revolvers. He had a few boxes of 38 SC. These chambered and let the cylinder rotate. Fired 1, pressure and such seemed okay. At the time 38 SC’s were going at about $30 a box, which was way more than I wanted to spend, when a box of .38 Special or .357 could be had for about $6.00. Great info., though, thanks. Oh, the .38 S&W’s were a bit loose (more than a normal looseness) in the chambers. .38 SC’s were a bit snug, but ejected well after firing.

    5. @ Roy Holbert>

      Do you know who made the Gun? There were Two Gun Maker’s that Made the British Bulldog Revolver. One was Beaumont-Adams and the other was Philip Webley & Sons. The latter, was “Slightly Smaller” because it was used a Detectives Police Revolver by Scotland Yard. If so, it probably used the .320 European or .320 Bulldog (US. Ammo Equivalent was the .32 Colt Short). Actual size, was .3170-caliber/8.05×15.75mmR). The Beumont-Adams, used the .38/200 (.38S&W)…

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