Build Your Own Bug Out Bag (Categories & Ideas)

If I could have one recommendation for anyone out there who is new to prepping, try to avoid buying a pre-loaded bug out bag.  Although you might think there is a threat of impending doom with how current events are playing out, you do indeed have some time to make a bag that is tailored to you.  There are many pre-loaded bags out there that are just plain junk, and it is unfortunate that people get sucked into those purchases.  There are other bags out there which are “OK”, but are highly marked up in price due to the convenience factor and are not custom tailored to yourself as an individual.

My best advice to you is build you own bug out bag which is customized to your survival needs, skill level and price.

Survival Needs

Not everyone’s survival needs are the same!  If you live in the desert, your water preparations will look very different compared to someone who lives in a wet climate.  Or how about medical needs?  If you have diabetes, asthma, or some other chronic condition, your medical category will look very different than someone who is in good health.  Get the picture?  Know what your geographic needs are based on ideas from local preppers, and also make considerations to your own individual health or other limitations.

Skill Level

While some might argue that everyone needs to learn survival skills because it is your life, simple truth of the matter is that the level of competency varies greatly from one person to the next.  In my wife’s BOB, I have some MSR white fuel canisters and a small MSR pocket rocket stove so that she can make fire easily.  However, in my BOB, I do not need to carry the extra weight as I can make fire a variety of ways from natural materials.  Know where you are at with your skill level and prepare accordingly.  You do not want to be in the situation where you do not have the skill level to use the preparations you’ve stored.

Cost

We are all on a budget with some more so than others.  Perhaps you are on such a tight budget that many of your preps are homemade or scavenged.  Cost is a very big factor for a lot of people when purchasing their gear.

The List

This list is meant to be a helpful guide for everyone!  Bucketing out your preparations into categories is a good strategy so that you can keep organized and not get overwhelmed.   The recommendations I have below are mostly all from Amazon.com, have very good 4-5 star ratings, and some are economical in terms of price.  Much of this gear is stuff that I started out with, or even have in my own BOB today.  However, as I stress that BOB’s should be customized on survival needs, skill and cost, in no way am I inferring that these are the “must-have” items.  Pick and choose what items you might like, or seek out similar alternatives.

The Bag – Your BOB is a very individualized tool.  Creek Stewart’s Build the perfect bug out bag is a good book to read.  Also read my article Bug Out Bag weight for some additional tips.  Make sure you get something with an internal frame if you’re going to be carrying anything over 25+ pounds.  If you are interested in my bag (pictured above), it is an Eberlestock Destroyer.  It is not a cheap bag, but it is pure awesomeness.

Air

3M N95 Mask ~$14.00 for 20.  (Can use the shemagh below in a pinch)

Shelter

Water

Fire

  • Waterproof match storage – $6.00
  • Matches
  • Large Ferro Rod – $12.00
  • Bic or butane lighter
  • Small Candle
  • Char Tin (to make char cloth).  A small Altoids tin will work.
  • Natural or synthetic tinder material
  • You can get fancy with potassium permangenate and sugar, a 12V battery and steel wool, magnifying glass, etc.  However, the above are the staples of fire making.

Food

Tools

Security 

Firearm & associated ammunition

Travel Planning

Communication

Medical / Hygiene

Psychological Survival

  • Caffeine Tablets ~$8.00 or military caffeine gum ~$25.00
  • Pictures of family
  • Security items for babies or little ones (stuffed animal, blankie, etc.)
  • An anti anxiety essential oil
  • Small music player like ipod

Other

  • Cash and identification
  • Gold or silver bars for barter

Summary

I do not claim to know all the best survival gear, but this is a good start.  If you have some awesome gear you would like to share with others, make note of it in the comments section below!  Cheers!