Everyone has a different idea of what should be included in a Bug Out Bag (BOB). Each person has a unique situation they must prepare for, so there can be no one size fits all list for a BOB. Most importantly is that you are going to have to lug this pack around, so filling it with non-essential items is a waste of energy that you may need just to stay alive.
While none of these items are required, you should think about each and decide if they deserve a place in your kit. They are in no particular order of importance.
1. Sewing kit
Something many will overlook, but one of the handiest things you can put in your kit. A small traveler’s kit is light and takes very little space. It will be good for repairing most of your garment needs and can in an emergency but used to suture wounds.
2. Water Filtration/Container
Potable water is very important to life. You can only go for about three days without it in extreme conditions. Being able to purify whatever water you find will add a layer of security to your situation.
3. First Aid Kit
A decent first aid kit should be included in your bag. Something that can stop bleeding, clean and cover wounds, along with any prescriptions you may require. If you have room, add extra cleaning supplies since staying clean in the field is extremely important.
There are many different options available to use for lighting. Chemical lights are quick and effective for marking trails or signalling at night. Lanterns are good for general lighting and working light. Headlamps are good for working and moving around at night while a flashlight is good for movement, spotting and signalling.
If you use battery powered lights, be sure and pack extra batteries. You may need them, or you might use them to trade for something you do need.
5. Cutting Tools
I have seen those who carry several knives in their kit, one for this, one for that and oh one for this over here, plus a spare or two.
Most jobs can be accomplished with a larger sheath knife and a folding pocket knife. A multi-tool is what many people recommend. I am not against a multi-tool; in fact, I recommend you get one, but don’t count on it as your only cutting tool.
If you have more room, or if this BOB is intended for a longer time period, you may want to include a folding saw along with a hatchet.
Shelter will be your number one priority in a disaster. If you cannot maintain your body temperature (in hot or cold environments), you can only survive about three hours in extreme environments.
Most people who end up dying in the wilderness usually die of “exposure”. This is someone who could not maintain their body temperature. So shelter is anything that will maintain your body temperature.
A garbage bag is a small, light shelter. You can use it as a rain poncho, split the seams and use it as a rain-fly on your shelter, or as a shade from the sun. Painter’s plastic and drop cloths are another light, cheap shelter.
If you have room, you can include a military shelter half or a pup tent in your kit.
Most people don’t think of including money in their preps. In an emergency situation you may have to come up with cash to buy your way out of it.
Your money can be in the form of bills or silver coins. If you can afford it, gold is good, but you may end up paying much more since you won’t be getting change. I prefer coins since they are easily recognised and rarely counterfeited.
You can make a good bedroll out of a surplus wool blanket. Try to get as close to 100% wool as you can, and also get the largest you can find. You can wrap yourself up and be very warm and snug even in adverse weather with a wool blanket.
9. Fishing Kit
A small fishing kit can feed you in more ways than one. Aside from the obvious utility of catching fish, you can use the line to create snares for harvesting small game. If you have a couple larger hooks in your kit you can strap them to a small pole and create a gaff for catching small animals.
As you can see, there are a plethora of things you can put in your BOB. The exact list is entirely up to you.