Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
I want to start off by saying that I do NOT expect you to fit all 100 of these survival items into your bug out bag. That’s impossible. Even if you could get it all into one bag, it would be too heavy. Ideally, your bug out bag should weigh about 15% of your body weight if you’re in good shape, and 20% of your body weight if you’re in great shape.
Rather, the purpose of this list is to remind you of items that you would have put in your bug out bag, if only you had thought of them. For example, someone might peruse this list and think, “A sillcock key? What a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that?”
Every bug out bag is unique depending on your skills, your region, your preferences, who will be with you, and so forth. This is why you should periodically go over the contents of your bug out bag and make any necessary adjustments. Since it’s the start of a new year, I think now is a great time to do that.
To that end, check out this list of 100 bug out bag items you may have forgotten. (The list is in alphabetical order.)
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1. Activated Charcoal – It’s usually used for treating gas, but it can also be used to treat poisoning. It works by trapping chemicals and keeping them from being absorbed into your body.
2. Baby Powder – This isn’t just for treating diaper rashes. Baby powder can also be used as deodorant, to soothe dry skin, and to prevent chafing.
3. Baby Wipes – These are very easy and convenient way to keep clean.
4. Backpack Rain Cover – This helps you keep your bug out bag and its contents dry even if it’s pouring down rain.
5. Bandanas – You wouldn’t think so, but bandanas have dozens of uses, and every prepper should consider carrying one.
6. Battery Adapters – Imagine needing a C battery for something but only having AA batteries. Battery adapters solve this problem.
7. Benadryl – If you’re outdoors and on foot, allergies could become a major problem. Benadryl will make your life much better.
8. Binoculars – The importance of these should be obvious. If you can get to some high ground, you can look around and figure out which way you need to go.
9. Bouillon Cubes – Just add one cube per cup of water and boil it. Use the broth to make soup.
10. Can Opener – If you have any canned food in your bag, then for God’s sake, don’t forget to bring a can opener.
11. CAT Tourniquet – If someone is bleeding so badly that gauze and pressure aren’t enough stop it, then this tourniquet could save their life.
12. Celox Blood Clotting Powder – This stuff is great. It will stop small, penetrating wounds from bleeding.
13. Chalk – This could be used to leave messages for others, draw a map and strategize, or just entertain the children.
14. ChapStick – Use this stuff to prevent blisters, help start fires, moisten chapped skin, lubricate your gear, stop small cuts from bleeding, and much more.
Related: 27 Useful Items You Should Have In Your Bug Out Bag
15. Cigarettes – Believe it or not, there are several reasons a pack of cigarettes could come in handy.
16. Clothesline and Pins – Even if you take a lot of clothes with you, you’ll still have to wash and dry them at some point.
17. Clotrimazole Cream – Some rashes can get so bad that you’re unable to walk. This cream will clear them right up.
18. Collapsible Bowl – This is a sturdy bowl that takes up very little space.
19. Collapsible Canvas Bucket – A bucket for hauling water or supplies, but since it’s collapsible, it won’t take up much space in your bag.
20. Compact Survival Fishing Kit – If you pass any lakes or rivers on your journey, try to catch some fish so you don’t go through your packed food as quickly.
21. Dental First Aid Kit – Tooth pain can be excruciating, believe me, but a temporary filling can help relieve the pain until you can get to a dentist.
22. Dental Floss – Flossing is the most important thing you can do to keep your teeth clean, but it also has many other uses.
23. Dice – These come with rules for seven dice games. It could be a fun way to pass the time.
24. Duct Tape – There’s a reason MacGyver liked duct tape so much. It has all sorts of surprising uses.
25. Ear Muffs – Frostbite on your ears will make you miserable. Don’t let that happen.
26. Ear Plugs and Mask – As long as somebody is keeping watch, a mask and earplugs could make it easier for other people to sleep.
27. Electrolyte Replacement – These pills help replace the electrolytes you’ll lose while walking all day.
28. EpiPen – These are used in emergencies to treat severe allergic reactions. Ask your doctor to prescribe one.
Related: 9 Tips For Packing Your Bug Out Bag
29. Faraday Shield – This will protect your electronics in case of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse).
30. File – This can be used for sharpening knives, tools, and other things.
31. Flash Drive – Scan all your important books, pictures, documents, forms of identification, and so forth on this key chain flash drive.
32. Fly Swatter – Of course, you can’t kill every fly, but maybe you can kill enough of them to get through a meal without them landing on your food.
33. Frisbee – Another fun way to pass the time. Frisbees also have many survival uses.
34. Gill Net – An easy way to catch fish. Just set it up on a small stream and collect your lunch.
35. Glow Sticks – You can use these to mark things in and around your camp so you’re not fumbling around in the dark.
36. Goggles – Useful if you have to swim, and they’ll also protect your eyes from sand and debris during a storm.
37. Gorilla Tape – Weather-resistant tape that sticks to almost any surface. Useful for quick repairs when you’re on the move.
38. Gum – I always have a pack of gum on me. And if you also have an AA battery, you can use that and the gum wrapper to start a fire.
39. Ham Radio – Great way to communicate over long distances, but you’ll need a license. You’ll also need a repeater directory.
40. Head Lamp – If you’re carrying several items, something large, or perhaps a small child, this will help see where you’re going at night.
41. Heirlom Seeds – If you end up staying at your bug out location or somewhere else for a long time, you’ll need heirloom seeds if you want to start a garden.
42. Hoyle’s Rules of Games – If you pack a deck of cards, make sure you also pack this book.
Related: Here Is What To Put In Your Kids’ Bug Out Bags
43. Hydrogen Peroxide – Pack a small bottle so you can prevent infections in cuts and scrapes.
44. Instant Coffee – If you’re a caffeine addict, be sure to pack this so you can avoid caffeine headaches.
45. Kindle Paperwhite 3G – Get one of these and load it with free ebooks so you can look up important information in the sunlight or in the dark. The battery lasts for weeks.
46. Laces – Don’t forget to bring extra laces for your shoes and boots.
47. LifeStraw – Drink water directly from the source. This awesome invention filters up to 260 gallons of water.
48. Liquid Bandage – An invisible, flexible, waterproof, antiseptic bandage to prevent infections.
49. Lockpick Set – Although I don’t condone theft, it your life depends on finding some supplies, then it might be okay to break into an abandoned home or building so you can search it.
50. Microfiber Towel – An absorbent towel that dries things very quickly.
51. Moleskin – Protect calluses, blisters, and sore spots from painful friction.
52. N95 Masks – Filter out dust, smoke, ash, and other small particles. Could be useful during an urban disaster when the air is filled with contaminants.
53. Neck Gaiter – Keeps you warm in the winter and keeps sand out of your face.
54. Pantyhose – These have all sorts of surprising uses, from building shelters to hunting animals and more.
55. Paper Clips – There are at least a couple dozen survival uses for paper clips.
56. Pen or Pencil and Pad of Paper – I recommend this tactical pen, which can also be used for self-defense, and these waterproof notebooks.
57. Pencil Sharpener – In addition to sharpening pencils, these can be used for making arrows, gigs, tinder, etc.
Related: Bug Out Bags for Dogs and Cats
58. Penny Can Stove and Denatured Alcohol – A small, lightweight stove that gets very hot and is very efficient.
59. Pepper Spray – For self-defense against both human and animal attacks.
60. Pictures of Family and Friends – This is important in case you get separated. People you encounter might be able to help you find your family and friends again.
61. Pipe Cutter – This can cut through aluminum, copper, brass, plastic, and more. With it you can make tools, utensils, weapons, etc.
62. Pocket Chain Saw – This takes up very little space but can cut through thick branches.
63. Poncho Liner Blanket – A weather-resistant blanket that can also be used for building a shelter.
64. Potassium Permanganate – Useful for starting fire, cleaning wounds, purifying water, and more.
65. Power Inverter – Even if you’re bugging out on foot, maybe you’ll come across an abandoned vehicle and be able to use this. It turns a cigarette lighter into an outlet and USB charger.
66. Ranger Bands – Use these to secure belts, cables, cords, hoses, lines, straps, etc.
67. Rubbing Alcohol – This is an essential part of any first aid kit.
68. Sawyer Mini – A small water filtration system that can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water.
69. Scream Whistle – This emergency whistle gets incredibly loud and works in any conditions.
70. Sea Salt – Mainly for seasoning food, but it has many other uses.
71. Seasoning Kit – Great thing to have if you’re hunting and foraging. Also bring some cayenne pepper as it has several health benefits and can keep pests away.
Related: 8 Maps You Should Have In Your Bug Out Bag
72. Sewing Kit – If it’s the end of the world as we know it and you’ve bugged out to a remote location far away from any stores, you’ll have to fix damaged clothes.
73. Sharpening Kit – This one is pretty self-explanatory. Keep knives nice and sharp.
74. Shewee – This makes it so women can urinate while standing. Sounds strange, but it’s a great thing to have if it’s freezing cold outside.
75. Sillcock Key – Great urban survival tool. This allows you to take water from buildings with outside spigots.
76. Siphon – Use this to refuel your vehicle with gas from abandoned vehicles.
77. Skin Stapler – This is a wonderful tool to have in a medical emergency.
78. Slingshot – With a slingshot, you can hunt birds and small game without wasting ammo.
79. Solar Air Lantern – Hang this on the outside of your bag so it can charge up all day, then at night, inflate it and turn it on for a surprisingly bright light.
80. Solar Charging Kit – Charge your devices and batteries whenever the sun is out. You can attach this to the outside of your bug out bag so it works even while you’re walking.
81. Solar Shower – Fill this with water, hang it in direct sunlight, wait for the water to heat up, and enjoy a nice warm shower.
82. Spare Glasses and/or Eyeglass Repair Kit – The last thing you want is to be half-blind in a survival scenario. Make sure you’re able to see.
83. Spork – This is so you don’t have to pack both spoons and forks.
84. Stanley Wonderbar – Not just for prying open doors. This is a very versatile tool.
85. Sterno Stove and Fuel – A very easy and efficient way to cook food and generate some heat.
Related: 30 Best Foods For Your Bug Out Bag
86. Sunglasses – Bugging out means you’re going to be outside and in direct sunlight a lot. Plus, sunglasses will protect our eyes from dirt and sand in a storm.
87. Superglue – This could be used for repairing gear, tools, water bottles, and even wounds.
88. Tin Foil – This can be used for cooking, fishing, repairs, and more.
89. Toilet Paper Tablets – These tiny tablets can be expanded and used as toilet paper, so you don’t have to worry about a toilet paper roll taking up too much space in your bug out bag.
90. Toys – If you’re bugging out with children, the experience could be very difficult for them. Be sure to bring some toys to keep them entertained and help them maintain some semblance of normalcy.
91. Trail Marking Tape – Use this to find your way back in case you get lost or help others find you.
92. Trash Bags – There are dozens of reasons to pack some trash bags.
93. Trick Candles – Since these candles refuse to go out, they’re great for building a fire in windy conditions.
94. Trowel – Use it to dig a cat hole, level your shelter floor, plant seeds, etc.
95. Umbrella – Being wet isn’t very fun, especially if it’s cold and you’re walking.
96. Vaseline – Although it’s mainly for moisturizing skin, it has many other interesting uses.
97. WD-40 – Most people just use it for squeaky doors, but there are literally hundreds of other uses.
98. Weather Blanket – A durable all-weather blanket that holds in up to 80% of body heat.
99. Work Gloves – Wear these so you don’t cut your hands while building, carrying, digging, and doing other types of manual labor.
100. Zip Ties – Yet another small item with multiple uses. Even just a few of them could be very useful.
Related: Top 100 Bug Out Bag Items
What are some other bug out bag items that people tend to overlook? Let us know!
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IF AN E.M.P. WEAPON IS SO EFFECTIVE; WHY HASN’T ANYONE USED ONE IN A WAR YET?
Okay, this needs thought and training. 2 items I think are a joke, fly swatter and ear muffs. This bag is meant for survival not comfort or fashion. Winter head gear, a good wool watch cap and you can swat flies with it.
A bug out bag is very different than an INCH bag.
When building a bag consider it’s purpose. A Short term bag will be very different than a long term bag.
If for a bugout bag, I really think a solar shower is kinda wasted space. A week or less traveling should take into account just washing with the microfiber washcloth now and again. Don’t waste time or effort with showering, save the super duper body cleaning for when you arrive at the destination.
As for a pipe cutter, well, I have 6 or 7 of varying sizes for use in my remodeling job, and don’t see much point in carrying the small ones since they only work on 1/2 inch pipe or less, and the larger ones are bulky enough and heavy enough that they too, belong at your bugout spot, not in your SURVIVAL WHILE TRAVELING kit.
Much of the rest of the items mentioned are pretty decent ideas, but one MUST choose what works for whoever the bag is for. I packed some things that are specifically for my wife, even knowing she can’t carry the load. She just can’t. And she carries what she can manage.
Think long and hard before packing, and test out your aching back BEFORE you lose the chance to modify your load.
Bemused Berserker says
I didn’t catch the Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) the first time through. You should keep it and Chlortrimeton (Chorpheneramine Malleate) for allergies, but specifically for mild allergic reactions. Both though, have a sedative side effect that makes you drowsy, which may or may not be desirable. For that reason alone I recommend carrying Zirtec (Certirizine) and/or Claritin (Loratidine). Both are less likely to give you the drowsy feeling, plus they’re longer acting (12 – 24 hours as opposed to 4 hours). Really, keeping an amount of each of the common 4 OTC Allergy Meds is a good idea. Like having Aspirin, Tylenol, Motrin and Aleve on hand. Pain and Inflammation relief is different for everyone (in my case, Tylenol and Aleve do very little, where Aspirin and Motrin are effective for me). The common OTC Meds are great barter/trade items too.
A lot depends upon your situation and circumstances. At 60, with severe Degenerative Joint Disease, walking/bugging out on foot, will be the last ditch effort for me. So my main Bug Out Supplies are crated and ready to load in the SUV. I do keep a bag ready to go, in case hoofing it becomes necessary, and my BO End Location does have some supplies cached there, but I have to be honest with myself and health condition, that the odds of walking some 70 odd miles away are low. I don’t keep as much as I’d like at the cabin, because there’s still certain people watching uninhabited dwellings and they have no problem breaking and entering, so I have to bear that in mind with anything I cache there. Twenty years ago, I could have hiked there in 2 – 3 days, now, I’d be lucky if I could make it in a week.
Growing old ain’t for sissies my friends!
M Shields says
A good few to have on hand are at least the 5 in 1 survival bracelets that combine a nice length of woven paracord, a compass, a whistle, a scraper/cutter and a flint to start fire. Minimal space and weight. Some have more features.
Great list for ideas, thank you. I note that many of these can be replaced with other items you would have on hand. For instance, shoe laces. Paracord, anyone?
Ear muffs and nose protection and the like can be replaced by a very lightweight balaclava that takes almost no space at all.
Clothesline? More paracord. In my experience, bobby pins work great as clothes pins and again, take up almost no space or weight.
Paracord, especially good cord like SurvivorCord XT can serve sooo many functions. Did I mention I love paracord? Lol… there’s a reason it’s in the top 5 of EVERY list. I cannot tell you how many things I’ve fashioned from this stuff on my own survival outings.
Need to carry firewood? A piece of paracord or two, a larks head knot to hold it together and you can now carry or drag a big bundle of firewood without dropping it all over the place.
One other tip- yes, the baby powder or other type of Gold bond type stuff is a big deal if you’re in a hot climate. I can back up what’s said: you get some bad chaffing, especially if you’re a hairy guy and yes, it will hurt so bad you will have trouble walking. Been there done that on a 50 mile survival trek and I had no idea how bad that could hurt!
So how much does you BoB weigh? The average person will not last a day carrying more than 60 pounds on their back and actually trying to travel distance.
Mine is nearly 30 pounds (about 16% of my body weight). I’m in pretty good shape, so I’m confident I could walk a good distance with it, although I really ought to go hiking with it again this spring to see how I do.
David H says
I’m calling bs on your weight. There is A LOT that can double in use. The above user gave a good example (paracord. Gorilla tape/duct tape??) space in your BOB is precious, extra weight is a detriment, excess slows you down. find multiple use items are gold. Single use items only take up space, add weight, and reduce your rate of movement. A novice using your list would end up with a BOB weighing waaay more than they can handle, and eventually drop vital gear and keep non-essentials. Sorry for the harsh review, but….
I never meant for anyone to put all 100 of these items into a single bug out bag. That would be too heavy. It’s a list of the top BOB items, but it’s up to you to choose which ones to use for your bag.
Jay L says
It’s hilarious you thought he was suggesting someone put all of this in one bag. As a novice even I understood that!
The weight is totally up to you. A BOB is not a one and done type of thing. Its like a never ending hobby all on its own.
My BOB is 50lbs, dry. No water, or fire arms included in that weight. I have hiked with it for 8.56 mi. in 95ºF and 90% humidity. I’m 45 and weigh 250lbs. It was hot and yes it sucked but I did it.
I am going to do it again this year.
My BOB covers the rule of 3s and the 10+ Cs of survival.
Rule of 3s:
3 minutes without air
3 hrs without shelter
3 day with out water
3 wks with out food.
2. Container and Cup
4. Cotton Bandana
5. Candle power
6. Cutting tools
8. Casualty care
10. Compass and Maps
11. Cargo Tape
Jabba’s summarized listing is great plus his helpful body & BOB experience.
Thank you for the survival ideas i do find it very useful.
Elbert Jones says
THE ODDS OF AN EMP ATTACK HAPPENING ARE POSSIBLY ABOUT 1,000,000,000,000,000–1.THE ODDS OF A MASSIVE SOLAR FLARE HITTING US ARE POSSIBLY EVEN HIGHER. SO WHY DO YOU NEED #29?
WHEN HAS THE EARTH EVER BEEN HIT BY A SOLAR FLARE BIG ENOUGH TO CAUSE A MASSIVE EMP INCIDENT?
IF AN AIR BURST NUCLEAR EXPLOSION HAPPENS; DO YOU REALLY THINK A HOMEMADE FARADAY SHIELD WILL PROTECT YOUR ELECTRONIC GEAR?
DON’T YOU THINK ABOUT 99% OF EVERYDAY ELECTRONIC DEVICES WILL BE TOTALLY FRIED BY THE BLAST?
The solar storm of 1859 (also known as the Carrington Event) was a powerful geomagnetic storm during solar cycle 10 (1855–1867). A solar coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth’s magnetosphere and induced the largest geomagnetic storm on record, September 1–2, 1859.
A similar solar flare happened in 2012 but just missed Earth in it’s orbit.
Kieran Roberts says
I think Canada got hit by a solar flare in the late 1980’s, combine that with a Winter storm and they had a major disaster.
At one point NASA did they they detected a solar flare but it was directed somewhere else, and missed Earth by a few days.
I think it was Apollo 12 that missed being hit by a solar flare by a week.
Remember these are just suggestions I would hope that nobody thinks you’re going to carry everything they need including the 100 items on this list. Choose wisely only carry what you need.
Actually Elbert, we (the Earth) was just missed, this past fall and it would have made the Carrrington event look like a party.
Solar flares happen all the time. One happened on January 14, 2020 and as a result, Elbert Jones keyboard can only post in ALL CAPS. Oh, the horror! Learn from this, people…
Will fry if there not in a faraday bag or cage of some sort for sure. And the last solar flare to interupt electronics was in 1990’s… may happen more often given the weather of late. Should jave at least a multi bamd radio and a Ham radio in a faraday bag at least, just to be able to get alerts and info! Can alway load up a ipad mini with all the survival books, medical info, maps, conversion tables etc. Always good to have all the knowledge backed up on an i pad or tablet of some sort…
Kieran Roberts says
Read up on the Carrington Event. It is very illuminating.
This sort of thing has happened before and IT WILL happen again.
Tiny usb stick with records , phone numbers , pics of licences precriptions ect. Maybe mini linux os and vpn.
Use a jewelers diamond file for file. Small and will cut anything. Mask should be charcoal type for beter filtering. Fuel tab stove. Smaller than sterno very hot.
Bemused Berseker says
Vise Grip pliers. Can take the place of many other tools, including the sillcock key. Buy a good set and steer clear of the cheap Chinese knock offs. I keep a needle nose set in my wife’s bag, and the standard blunt nose in my bag. You can even use the tool as a handle when heating up canned foods. Zip Ties are rated for tensile strength rating anywhere from 18 lbs to 175 lbs, so it’s a good idea to have an assortment of varying strengths and lengths. I weave them through MOLLE webbing to store the longer lengths.
Superglue (Cyanoacrylates) harden upon exposure to moisture, even the relative humidity effects how fast it cures. Too prevent premature hardening of your glue, store the tubes in a container that can be sealed along with a dessicant packet. Your superglue will last a lot longer.
A Compass is a must have in any kit, whether urban, suburban or rural, knowing the direction you’re heading to or away from is essential, especially in many parts of the country without visibly distinguishing natural directional landmarks like mountains. Weather conditions can make landmarks invisible and night can as well, so having a way to maintain your course is a must have. Even a very basic compass is better than nothing at all. Spend a little time reading up on the art of orienteering. It’s worth the effort. GPS is nice, but like anything electronic,0 it’ll fail when you need it the most. Besides, if we’re experiencing the aftermath of an EMP event, having your GPS in a Faraday cage does you little good, if the satelittes have all been knocked out.
I’m not a fan of toilet paper. It’s worthless when it’s wet, and even if you manage to dry the roll, it’s nearly as worthless then as it comes off in chunks. I prefer wet wipes or baby wipes. They clean your bum better, even if they dry out, a little water rehydrates them, and they can serve multiple cleaning purposes.
Along with the Instant Coffee, consider other instants like Hot Chocolate, Apple Cider and so forth. While Coffee and Tea are stimulants thanks to the caffeine, they have no nutritional value without adding cream or sugar. Hot Chocolate and Cider will give you a carb boost without requiring any additives. Varying what you’re drinking prevents monotony.
WD40 is mentioned, but rather than the aerosol can, consider the non aerosol container. It takes up less space in your kit. I use Rem-Oil as it serves the same purpose and is safe for use on firearms. It contains particles of teflon suspended in the oil.
It never fails that hydrogen peroxide gets mentioned for cuts and scrapes. DO NOT USE H2O2 ON ANY OPEN WOUND! Peroxide kills healthy tissue along with the microbials. It interferes with healing and can make the wound more susceptable to infectious agents. Clean water and mild soap (such as Castille Soap) are the recommended First Aid for cuts and scrapes. The use of peroxide has been contraindicated and condemned by Emergency Medical Professionals for 50+ years, but it never fails that it still gets recommended and mentioned.
There are some Bug Out supplies that are area specific and your choices should reflect that. What I might carry in my wanderings in the Colorado Rockies will be different than what you might need in the Appalachians. Your supplies should reflect that.
Useful, helpful info, thanks.
Also add baby oil to the list. Bandana’s also have the 1000 and one uses. Much more versatile than handkerchiefs they can be used in anyplace and ever place. Always carry more than one, always. Even ripped you can still use them like Macgyvers duct tape and paperclips.