This is the most complete bug out bag (BOB) checklist on the Web. Period.
In this guide, I’m going to teach you the strategies we use to build bug out bags at Ready To Go Survival …module by module.
As you can imagine, putting together a bug out bag list for your personal situation is no easy task. Your goal is to build the best bug out bag, but when you scour the Web, it seems like there are thousands of opposing ideas on the perfect combination.
Therefore, it is easy to waste money on stuff that you’re never going to use.
If you who don’t know what a bug out bag is, here’s a simple definition:
What is a Bug Out Bag?
This bug out bag checklist is to help you create a 72+ hour kit to be stored in a location where you spend most of your time. Remember, even the government recommends having a 72-hour kit, although theirs is nothing like the one we outline here.
The go bag list includes enough rations to survive for 72 hours, while also providing the tools to gather additional provisions and survive longer.
Bug out bag shopping should be treated like buying a high-quality custom suit. It must fit your needs perfectly.
However, before we jump into the bug out bag packing list, here are some general tips for getting started…
Table of Contents
- 9 Golden Rules To Building a Bug Out Bag
- Survival Backpacks
- Shelter and Base Camp Module
- First Aid Module
- Hygiene Module
- Food and Water Module
- Tools Module
- Environmental Protection Module
- Communication Module
- Fire Module
- Self Defense Module
- Breaching Module
- NBC/CBRN Module
- Clothing Module
- Documents and Money
9 Golden Rules To Building a Bug Out Bag
1) Comfortable Weight
The general guideline suggests you shouldn’t carry more than 25% of your weight. For example, a 200-lb person shouldn’t carry a bug out bag that weighs more than 50 lb. However, unless you’re very fit and/or have trained to carry large packs, you should cap the weight at 20% of your body weight, not to exceed 50 lbs.
2) Keep it “Gray”
The gray man theory is simple—you need to make yourself blend into your environment as much as possible. Bugging out of a major city with a huge camouflage backpack is the same as putting a giant target on your back.
3) Keep it Modular
Staying organized is key to surviving a SHTF event, and the best way to stay organized is by creating a modular bug out bag.
For instance, if you have a bug out vehicle, there may be items you would leave behind as they are of little use without a ride. If you have items you carry with you every day (an EDC kit), you can create a pouch that connects to your bug out bag as to not double up on items for each purpose and still have your kits ready to go.
4) Bug Out Buddies
In times of emergency, there is strength in numbers. The more people you roll with, the less chance someone will try to rob you. Having bug out buddies also lets you carry more gear. You really don’t need more than one water filter, tent, or trench shovel in your bug out bag. Disperse these items among your crew to collectively have all bases covered without adding additional weight.
5) Bug Out Location
Bugging out is all about evacuating a dangerous area to a safe area, right?
If the SHTF in your local area, make sure you have somewhere to go. It doesn’t have to be a cabin in the middle of nowhere, but your bug out location should be far enough from the danger zone for the short-term.
If the emergency stops the supply chain altogether, then you need to consider moving to a secluded bug out location. The average Joes of this world will begin evacuating major metropolitan areas, moving into the suburbs and looking for food and supplies on the way. This is also when your average Joe becomes an alpha predator, so it’s best to avoid him.
Keep in mind, the further you need to travel to get to your safe-house, the more food and water you’ll need.
6) Your Environment
The type of gear you’ll need in your bug out bag for evacuating an urban area is different than if you’re already living in a rural area.
7) Your Health
Don’t forget to include things like prescription medications, glasses and contacts, and any other specific healthcare needs in your bug out bag.
8) More Skills = Less Weight
The more experienced you are, the less stuff you’ll need.
9) Quality, not Quantity
A bug out bag is an addition to your life insurance policy. The only thing is life insurance pays out when you die—the bug out bag is intended to keep you alive.
When it comes to potentially life-saving items, you don’t want to buy junk. Do your research and buy the best bug out bag gear that you can afford.
This even goes for buying a secondhand item in good condition. It’s better to have used quality items than a bunch of new, lower-quality items that won’t last nearly as long.
The Bug Out Bag List
There’s one last order of business before we begin. Here’s a little more context on what we had in mind when putting this list of bug out bag contents together:
When it comes to choosing a bug out backpack, there are two schools of thought on the type of backpack that should be used. We will cover them both.
These backpacks are typically crafted from high-grade nylon and are used by military operators.
- Made from tough materials so they are less likely to rip when snagged
- Have many pockets to keep your gear organized
- Some have a compartment for body armor
- Most have MOLLE webbing, making it easy to add attachments
- Usually less comfortable than hiking backpacks
- Need to be disguised to remain “gray”
- Less breathable
- 5.11 Rush 72 Backpack – The Rush 72 is fairly large at 47.5L, extremely durable, offers many storage compartments for easy organization, and is used by military operators all over the world. If you need extra storage capacity, the front pocket expands to add additional cargo. Also, the MOLLE webbing on the bottom allows you to insert ROK Straps and attach a compression sack and expand storage even further.
- 5.11 Rush 24 Backpack – The Rush 24 is the 72’s little brother with a 37L of storage capacity. This pack serves as a perfect companion to the Rush 72 as a secondary bug out bag for another member of your group. Considering you don’t need to overlap on non-essential items for an extra person, the secondary bug out bag should be much lighter.
The emphasis with this bug out bag is on space and comfort.
- Optimized for weight distribution
- Carry larger amounts of gear over longer distances
- Draws less attention than tactical packs
- Better breathability
- Constructed using thinner nylon that’s prone to damage
- Difficult to neatly organize gear in large compartments
- Price ranges can go up to several hundred dollars
- Gregory Baltoro 65 – I’ve tested dozens of hiking backpacks over the years, and the Gregory 65 is by far the most comfortable I’ve ever worn. The waist strap system makes it feel like the weight is floating with your body and eliminates pressure buildup on the shoulders. If you end up purchasing a hiking backpack for your BOB, I would recommend getting some packing cubes, 2-5L dry sacks (preferably different colors so you can identify which items are contained in each), or a few Maxpedition pouches to keep things organized within the main compartment. More on pouches below.
- Alps OutdoorZ Commander X – If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, the 66L ALPS Commander X is a great option. Made from 1680D ballistic nylon, it may look like a normal hiking backpack from the outside, but this pack is a meat-hauling survival machine. Originally made for hunters, it is modular and disassembles into several components. There’s the frame, created to carry meat back to camp, a detachable pack that you can leave at camp with your outdoor living essentials, and a removable fanny pack for day trips looking for wild game or supplies.
Shelter and Base Camp Module Checklist
The contents of this module will be different depending on where you live and how far you need to travel to reach your bug out location. If you will evacuate an urban area and travel to a remote location, you may need to camp out in the bush.
However, if bushcraft isn’t your strength, we recommend a more comfortable setup. After all, you will likely want to avoid having to make a suitable shelter from leaves and branches.
If you’re staying in an urban environment:
You will probably be able to find an indoor shelter in an emergency situation. In this case, keep it simple and light.
- Large Sea to Summit eVENT Compression Dry Sack – Make sure that all compression sacks for your bug out bag are waterproof. Bad weather is almost a guarantee, and you don’t want to end up getting hypothermia because your gear is soaked. A stuff sack strapped to the bottom of your pack is perfect to hold a base camp kit or create a baby/toddler module if you have children that can’t carry their own weight.
- SOL Heavy Duty Emergency Blanket – Make sure to get the heavy duty version of the SOL blanket, as it is 2.5 times thicker than the regular one and can serve as a lightweight tarp. It’s also an olive drab color and is much less noticeable than the neon orange version. The opposite side is reflective, so you still have the benefit of using it to signal if need be.
- SOL Escape Sleeping Bivvy – The SOL Escape, coupled with an emergency blanket and some warm clothing, could be a replacement to carrying a heavy sleeping bag. Make sure to get the Escape version considering it’s more heavy duty than the standard bivy. Also, get the olive drab color for alternative camouflage.
- UST Tube Tarp – If you set up a tent, you’ll need a tarp to stay dry. Also, this tarp can be used to keep your gear dry below your hammock, if that’s your shelter of choice. The UST tarp is my top choice because it packs down to a much smaller size than standard tarps, weighs less and still gets the job done.
If you’re evacuating to a rural environment, add these items:
- ALPS Mountaineering Meramac 2-Person Tent – Very affordable for what you get, and reasonably lightweight for a 2-person tent at 7.5lb. Make sure to split the load with your bug out partner, otherwise opt for a 1-person tent.
- Klymit Static V Insulated Sleeping Pad – If you live in a colder climate, get an insulated 4-seasons sleeping pad to prevent you from losing heat through conduction. Klymit is known to make great camping equipment with an emphasis on weight savings and packability, so the Static V is a viable option for your bug out bag.
- Snugpak Jungle Bag – This is a very lightweight sleeping bag setup. Coupled with the emergency blanket, bivvy, warm clothing, and Klymit pad, it will keep you warm even in colder climates.
Depending on the size of your group, consider the following shelter systems to accommodate:
- 1 person: Hennessy Hammock Explorer Deluxe – I’ve personally used this hammock system for five years and it works really well. In my opinion, the zip version is superior as you can’t accidentally slip out like you can with the classic. I recommend getting a few additional accessories to make setup quicker, including (2) Omega Pacific Rap Rings, (2) Omega Pacific Carabiners, (1) Hennessy Snake Skin, and a Hennessy Double Wide Hex Fly. Make sure you keep a tarp underneath it to keep your gear off the ground and offer something to step on when climbing out.
Here’s a video showing proper set up of the quick deployment system:
- 1 person: SnugPak Ionosphere Tent – If you’re solo, keeping weight down is imperative. This tent is very light weight at 2.5lbs, and offers an extra layer of protection from the elements. Considering its size, it’s easier to keep warm as it will trap body heat in a smaller area.
- 3+ people: ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 3-Person Tent – At a little over six pounds, the Zephyr is one of the lightest and most affordable 3-person tents available. The only drawback is the bright orange color, as you may not want to attract attention while bugging out. Thankfully, that’s an easy problem to fix with a little Rust-Oleum Camo Spray Paint.
First Aid Module Checklist
The basic components of a first aid kit are trauma control, essential first aid, and medication. It’s time consuming to buy one-off small first aid items such as bandages and alcohol wipes, I recommend going with a high-quality, premade first aid kit and build on it with other items.
I would recommend the Adventure Medical Grizzly First Aid Kit. It’s conveniently packaged, comprehensive and has many essentials needed for wilderness trauma.
Basic first aid kit contents:
- Ibuprofen tablets (2)
- Extra-strength non-aspirin tablets (4)
- Aspirin tablets (2)
- Diarrhea medication (6)
- Antibiotic ointment packs (4)
- Alcohol cleansing pads (8)
- Sting-free antiseptic cleansing wipes (12)
- Burn relief pack (1)
- Plastic bandages, 3/4″ x 3″ (50)
- Fabric bandages, 3/4″ x 3″ (10)
- Plastic bandages, 1″ x 3″ (20)
- Elbow & knee plastic bandages, 2″ x 4″ (1)
- Junior plastic bandages, 3/8″ x 1 1/2″ (20)
- Knuckle fabric bandages (8)
- Fingertip fabric bandages (8)
- Spot adhesive bandages, 7/8″ x 1/8″ (12)
- Medium Dressings (3)
- Instant cold compress (1)
- Emergency blanket, 38″ x 60″ (1)
- Butterfly wound closures (5)
- Finger splints, 6″ x 3/4″ (1)
- First aid tape rolls, 1/2″ x 5 yd. (1)
- Trauma pad, 5″ x 9″ (1)
- Sterile eye pad (1)
- Gauze dressing pads, 2″ x 2″ (10)
- Gauze dressing pads, 3″ x 3″ (2)
- Latex-free exam quality vinyl gloves (2)
- Tweezers (1)
- Cotton-tipped applicators, 3″ (10)
- Ammonia Inhalants (10) – These ampules treat lightheadedness and fainting. If someone in your group passes out, this might do the trick to getting them back on their feet and moving towards safety.
- Moleskin – Blisters are almost guaranteed during a bug out situation as you’ll likely be walking for extended periods. They can slow you down, lead to infection, or even immobilize you if they go untreated. Moleskin is essentially an extra layer of skin you apply to the area surrounding a blister to keep it from rubbing and alleviate pain. Make sure to read up about blister care as part of your preps.
- Sawyer Bite and Sting Kit – Living in Austin, Texas, I’ve come to realize there are many critters in the brush that can bite and kill, so I have this as part of my kit. If you live in an area where venomous critters aren’t as common, you can skip this.
- SAM Splint – A C-Splint is a pliable sheet of aluminum, sandwiched between two foam pads that helps immobilize limbs in case of injury. They are a strong, supportive, lightweight, and a useful addition to your bug out bag.
- Dental First Aid Kit – AMK makes a convenient pre-packed kit, but you can build your own. The most important element of this kit is a filling repair kit. If you’ve ever experienced a lost or damaged filling, you can testify to the level of pain it causes until you can see a dentist. There may not be a dentist available during a widespread emergency, so this kit is an essential addition to your other first aid items.
- Prescription Medication – If you are prescribed medication, try to get an extra month or two from your doctor.
Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK):
The IFAK was developed for warfighters to intervene with the two leading causes of death in their vocation, severe hemorrhaging and inadequate airway. Today, IFAK use has spread to law enforcement, first responders, and regular citizens looking to prepare for the unexpected. The setup below is what I personally carry in my EDC IFAK, so rest assured that all items will fit in the recommended 5.11 pouch.
- Trauma Shears – Any quality set of shears will do here. If you’re a gear head and want to go fancy, I would highly recommend the Leatherman Raptor shears. They are strong enough to cut a penny in half and come with a ring cutter, seatbelt cutter, oxygen tank wrench, glass breaker, and a nice sheath. They also fold to take up less space when stored.
- North American Rescue ARS for Needle Decompression (3.25″ 14 Gauge) – This device was created to relieve a medical emergency called a tension pneumothorax. This occurs when there is a progressive build up of air within the pleural space, usually due to a lung laceration, which allows air to escape from the lungs into the pleural space but not to return. Basically, if you get stabbed or shot and your lung is lacerated, pressure builds up in the thorax and it needs to get relieved.
- North American Rescue Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) – A tourniquet is a medical device used to cut off blood flow from a vein or artery in case of severe hemorrhaging in the arms or legs. Beware of counterfeit CAT tourniquets, and only purchase from reputable sources. North American Rescue has a patent on the CAT tourniquet, and fakes on the market have been known to fail at the most critical times.
- Nasopharyngeal Airway 28F with Lubricant (NPA) – This tube is designed to be inserted into the nasal passageway to secure an open airway. It can prevent suffocation when someone is unconscious and the jaw relaxes letting the tongue slide back and obstruct the airway.
- Israeli Bandage 4″ and 6″ – These bandages stop bleeding by creating pressure on a wound. First used by NATO troops in Bosnia, they are now used worldwide and are very effective. I recommend one of each size to make sure the arms and legs are covered.
- Sharpie – On the CAT tourniquet, there is a space to put the time of application. This lets medical professionals know how much time has passed when you’re transferring a patient to emergency services. To make sure the time doesn’t wipe off, use a sharpie.
- Zip-Loc Bag – In case you lose a finger, you don’t want to throw it in your pocket and rush off to the ER. To keep it as clean as possible, a ZipLoc bag works perfectly. If you can put it on ice, that helps slow the process of decay.
- Adventure Medical Kits Trauma Pak W/ QuickClot – This kit has a hemostatic sponge with Zeolite to stop bleeding fast. It works on contact to accelerate the body’s natural clotting process.
- 6″ 12 Hr Glowstick – If you’re in a medical situation with low light or you need to signal for help, one glowstick can make all the difference.
Hygiene Module Checklist
Keeping clean is not only important for health. It plays a huge role in keeping up morale. Hence, a lack of emergency hygiene items can lead to infection, sickness, and a whole list of other crappy things you would rather avoid. Here is what we recommend to make sure you stay clean and healthy:
- Toothbrush (1)
- Toothpaste (2)
- Baby wipes (10 pc) (3)
- Kleenex 3ply tissues (10 pc) (2)
- Lightload Towels (2)
- Lip balm (1)
- Bug spray (1)
- Advil (10pc) 200mg (1)
- Bar soap (1)
- Deodorant (1)
- Baby powder (1)
- SPF cream (1)
- Disposable razor (1)
- Tampons (7)
- Nail clippers (1)
- Roll of toilet paper (1)
Food and Water Module Checklist
The key here is sustenance and packing as many calories into the smallest possible space.
For a bug out bag, the rule of thumb is carrying 72 hours’ worth of food and water. To maintain endurance and energy, add a few packets of powdered electrolyte mix.
You should also have the means to procure food if you are on the move long enough for your rations to run out. Aim to provide about 1,500 calories a day per adult, along with 1 liter of water, including:
- Datrex Emergency Food Bars (3600 cal) (18) – For something that can sit around for five years, these taste pretty good. Remember, the key is to pack as many calories as you can in the smallest possible space. These emergency food bars accomplish just that.
- Datrex Packets of Emergency Water (24) – For survival, you need at least one liter of water per day. Packets make it easier to ration water during emergencies, and they last 5 years. If you’re not looking to dig through your bug out bag every month to replace the water, I would recommend you go with packets. For 3 liters of water (72 hours worth), you would need about 24 packets.
- Klean Kanteen Wide Mouth Stainless Steel Water Bottle (64oz) – The 64-ounce Klean Kanteen is my go-to water bottle for emergency preparedness. It’s made of stainless steel which allows you to boil water in it. It has a wide mouth so you can prepare food in it without worrying about cleanup, and it’s large enough to store almost two liters of water. To suspend this canteen on top of a fire, use a fish mouth spreader.
- Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets (50) – If your filter fails or the situation doesn’t allow you to boil water, water purification tablets are a viable alternative. When it comes to water, you want several backup plans in case one system fails. You can only survive four days without water. Other options are to carry around a small vial of regular, unscented chlorine bleach, or potassium permanganate. For bleach, you can add two drops of 8.25% bleach per liter of water to disinfect. For potassium permanganate, add a few crystals to make the water slightly pink. If the water turns purple, you’ve added too much.
- Uncle Flint’s Survival Fishing Kit – I’ve tested many premade fishing kits over the years, and Uncle Flint’s 63-piece kit is by far the most useful for its size.
- Flat Trigger Yoyo Reels (6) – Coupled with Uncle Flint’s fishing kit, these Yoyo reels will provide an automated system to fish while you’re “tackling” other tasks. They are essentially spring-loaded fish traps. Once a fish bites, the spring is activated and hooks the fish. Once it’s hooked, you can come by a few hours later to retrieve it. Make sure to get the flat trigger model as it’s proven to be more reliable over time.
- Sawyer Mini Water Filter – I highly recommend the Sawyer filter over its popular competitor, the Lifestraw. With Lifestraw, you have to drink directly from a contaminated source and there’s no way to filter water into a canteen for later use. You would have to fill your canteen with dirty water and sip out of it using the Lifestraw every time. The Sawyer Mini Water Filter comes with a reservoir that you can use exclusively for dirty water, which is a big plus as you can keep your main canteen clean. Also, the Sawyer filter comes with a syringe for flushing out any debris stuck in the filter, but it can also double as an irrigation syringe for wounds.
- Vial of Olive Oil (1)
- Small bag of sugar (1)
- Bag of spices (salt, prepper) (1)
- Teabags (5) – Bug out situation or not, Harney & Sons Fruity Black Tea with Bergamot is phenomenal.
- Core Element Titanium Spork – Grams turn into ounces and ounces into pounds. Stick with titanium to keep weight down.
- Black Diamond Storm Headlamp – I’ve used the Storm for several years now, including on a trip in 2018 to climb Mt. Fuji. During the climb, my wife and I got caught in a pretty gnarly downpour which put our gear to the test. Along with the inclement weather, we had started climbing at 4 pm so most of the ascent was in complete darkness. Although I own several headlamps, I’m happy I had this one as it’s rated to withstand water immersion for up to 1.5 hours and performed flawlessly.
- Olight S1R II 1000 Lumen Flashlight – Flashlight technology has come a long way, packing more lumens in smaller packages. The Olight S1R II weighs in at just 1.5 ounces, is IPX8 waterproof, and is USB rechargeable. Couple this with two extra MR16340 rechargeable batteries, and you’re set for about three full days of light at the 60 lumen setting.
- Suunto M-3nh Leader Compass – There are many options out there for compasses. Stick to a model that’s light, reliable, and actually points to true North. Sunnto has many options and is known to produce some of the highest quality compasses on the market.
- Schrade Ultimate Survival Knife – This knife really offers the best bang for your buck. It works well for chopping, fine cutting, and is nearly indestructible. I own many knives and typically fall back on this one when I go camping as I don’t like beating on my safe queens. It comes with a nylon sheath that you can strap to a MOLLE pack, or use the belt loop for quick deployment.
- ROK Straps (2) – If you need to expand your bug out bags capacity, you’re going to need straps. While these were originally created for use with motorcycles, they work well for strapping a compression sack to the bottom of your kit.
- Leatherman Wave+ Multitool – Buying a Leatherman multi-tool should be treated as a long-term investment. Yes, they are expensive, but they are also expertly designed to be dependable for a lifetime. Each Leatherman comes with a 25-year warranty, so if you have any issues, send it back to the company and they’ll send you a new one free of charge. The Wave is a bit heavy at 11.2 ounces, so if you’re looking to shave some weight, I recommend going with the Charge+ that weighs in at 8.3 ounces.
- Rite in the Rain Weatherproof Notepad – When cellphones power down, you’re gonna need a way to write things down. One of the biggest uses during an emergency is leaving notes for other people in your group. Let’s say a loved one that was supposed to meet you by a certain time didn’t show up. You can leave a note for that person so they know where to go next. It’s probably best to leave out personal information like addresses since you never know who might come across the note, but a simple “Going to grandma’s” with your signature works just fine.
- Fisher Space Pen – The ink in most pens will run when used in rainy weather, but not the Fisher Space Pen! You can use it at any angle, even at zero gravity. It writes in extreme temperatures of -30 to 250 °F.
- Assorted sizes of Ziploc bags (3) – While regular gallon size Ziploc bags work just fine, if you want something more heavy duty and reliable, go with the Loksak brand of waterproof dry bags.
- Laminated Local Map – I typically like to have a laminated state map, along with local maps I print out using Google. Make sure these maps have a primary and secondary route to your bug out location and keep them away from prying eyes. For the state map, I typically go for the Rand McNally Easyfinder series as they are small, inexpensive, and one of the only pre-laminated options on the market.
Environmental Protection Module Checklist
Protecting your orifices is imperative in a bug out situation. After 9/11, over 20,000 people reported respiratory damage ranging from breathing issues to full-blown Mesothelioma. If on that day, the victims had used something as simple as an N95 mask, a set of goggles, and a pair of earplugs, that number would be dramatically lower.
- Earplugs (4 sets) – If you’re into shooting sports, ride a motorcycle, have a baby or annoying co-workers, I recommend getting a set of custom molded earplugs from your neighborhood hearing specialist. They’re pricey at around $120, but last 5+ years with daily use, work well to block your ears from debris in an emergency and are much more comfortable.
- Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite Poncho – Frogg Toggs makes lightweight ponchos that work really well to keep you dry. They are not intended to last forever as the material is quite thin, but with a little bit of duct tape, you’ll get some good mileage out of them.
- Mechanix M-Pact Gloves (1 pair) – Durable glove with the bonus of coming with Thermoplastic Rubber knuckle and finger guards to protect against impact. This glove also comes in Multicam, giving the wearer +5 hitpoints and +10 stealth.
- Uvex Stealth OTG Goggles – Really comfortable and meet ANSI Z87+ for impact protection.
- Cotton bandana (1) – If you’re going to get a bandana for survival, you might as well get a bandana with survival information written all over it.
Electronics and Communication Module Checklist
In a major emergency, there’s a good chance your cell phone won’t work. Even if the phone systems are functioning, everyone will be trying to make a call at the same time and the satellites can’t handle the bandwidth. At that point, you’ll have to rely on other technologies.
The radio is tried and true. It lets you listen for important updates about road conditions, weather patterns, or even updates on imminent terror threats. You will need the following in your bug out bag for communications:
- Storm whistle (1) – Storm claims that their whistle is the “world’s loudest” at 120 decibels. We’ve been packing them in Ready To Go Survival’s premade bug out bags since 2012 because they are very effective at getting someone’s attention, even underwater. You’re going to want to keep a Storm Whistle with you in your EDC or Get Home Bag as well, just in case you get trapped and need to signal for rescue.
- Eton FRX2 Emergency Weather Crank Radio – While the cell phone charging feature doesn’t work well as this radio was designed back when power requirements weren’t as high, it works very well as an emergency radio and flashlight combo. There are several ways to charge the FRX2 including plugging into a USB, crank, and solar, so no matter the circumstance you’ll always be able to use it.
- BaoFeng BF-F8HP 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio – While most preppers stick to walkie-talkies, if you’re serious about communicating once the grid goes down, you must become proficient in HAM radio. While it may be daunting to learn this new skill and get a license (which is required to communicate with these devices), the reward is being able to talk with someone in another town, another city, state, or even country. I’ve personally tested four separate walkie-talkie models, including a few Motorola and Midland models which claim a 35-mile range. They all fell short of their claims. The Motorola Talkabout, which claimed a 25-mile range, barely lasted a few city blocks. Those metrics could only be remotely accurate with an open line of sight, and without any interfering waves. Bottom line, learn how to use a pocket two-way radio like the BoaFeng, or you’re not likely to be able to communicate if the grid goes down.
- Nagoya Extended Antenna – Increases usable range of your radio, and compatible with BTECH, BaoFeng, and Yaesu.
- Baofeng Radio Programming Cable – Allows you to program your radio with a computer.
- Baofeng Extended Battery – More juice for more talk time.
- Baofeng Battery Eliminator – 12V DC connector to power your battery with your car.
- Baofeng AA Shell – Allows you to use AAA batteries to run your radio, making it easy to charge when you’re away from home.
Here’s our top list of electronics:
- RAVPower 24W Solar Charger – Although heavy at 1.64 pounds, the wattage you get increases the efficiency of charging by up to 21.5% – 23.5%. I would only recommend this charger if you have a bug out partner and can split up items that you only need one per group. If you’re solo, go with the Nekteck 21W Solar Charger as it weighs 1.1pounds, saving weight to also carry a battery charger and power bank.
- AUKEY 20000mAh Portable Power Bank Charger – While bugging out, you should always aim to top up your power bank with your solar charger. Once the power bank is full, use the solar charger as a default for keeping devices charged. The power bank is a backup in case of bad weather or days when the sun doesn’t come out. I recommend the AUKEY because you get more juice per ounce, weighing in at 15.3 ounces. Comparable models weigh in at 20+ ounces.
- Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus – Allows you to charge AA or AAA batteries via the USB port on your solar charger.
- Eneloop AAA Rechargeable Batteries – It would be ideal to have at least one extra set of batteries for each electronic item you have. That way, you can cycle these sets and never be without power. Eneloop makes reliable batteries that can be recharged up to 2,100 times.
- Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS – Keeps track of waypoints, routes, tracks, and heart rate. Military personnel all over the world use this system because of its compact size and rugged body. This navigation module is waterproof and comes with a versatile mount system that fits perfectly on rifle stocks, a plate carrier, or wrist.
Fire Module Checklist
Starting a fire is one of the most important survival needs, so redundancy is a must.
Your first resort should always be a lighter, and then matches, and then a fire starter. If all else fails and you’ve got a bit of sun, use the Fresnel lens. It’s very effective and weighs close to nothing.
Self Defense Module Checklist
In the face of calamity, you don’t want to walk the streets with a shotgun in your hands—especially if you live in an urban or suburban area. Depending on the emergency, police or even military will be out patrolling the streets.
If they see you loaded up like Rambo with an AR-15 hanging from your neck, your bug out journey might end right there.
Be as discreet as possible. If local laws permit, conceal a handgun. Other options are to carry non-lethal weapons, like bear pepper spray and stun guns. Self-defense options include:
- Concealed Handgun – Although my EDC handgun is the Glock 43, I prefer the G19 for a SHTF situation as it holds more ammo and is more accurate. Either way, I recommend a 9mm pistol, as 9mm ammo is plentiful and fairly inexpensive.
- Rounds of ammo (48) – For 9mm firearms, go with the Federal HST 124 grain Jacketed Hollow Point ammo. It’s rated by experts as one of the best options for personal defense considering the .61″ expansion when it hits a target. Forty-eight rounds includes three full magazines with an extra bullet in the chamber for each one.
- Bear Pepper Spray – Personally, I wouldn’t want to deploy my firearm unless it’s absolutely necessary. If non-lethal means can get the job done, Bear Pepper Spray is an effective option. Just make sure you don’t spray against the wind (for obvious reasons).
Breaching Module Checklist
These items are geared more for the urban dweller, although they are applicable to a rural environment for long-term survival.
When cities get locked down, the chain link fencing goes up. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be contained or detained for any reason. The Knipex bolt cutters are compact and will cut through a chain link fence like a hot knife through butter.
Along with that, the ability to open up a fire hydrant or close a gas main is also important. The Ontario SPAX tool is perfect for this. It works as a gas main wrench, hydrant wrench, pry bar, and axe.
The lockpick set is an added bonus, but don’t expect to perform like Harry Houdini without training. Start off with some YouTube videos to learn the basics. Lock picking is a fairly popular hobby so finding a local club to advance your skills should be easy.
- High quality lock-pick set – SouthOrd is a reputable brand for lockpicks. Make sure to get a quality set as cheaper ones tend to break. The last thing you want is a broken lockpick head stuck in your keyhole during an emergency.
NBC/CBRN Equipment Checklist
Since the atomic age began in 1945, humanity has harnessed the power to destroy the world with the push of a single button. Beyond that, nuclear power has become the high-efficiency standard for power production, with plants being built all over the world.
If you live within a 50-mile radius of a plant, it is recommended that you evacuate should a nuclear emergency occur. Furthermore, there is a 50% chance of a Chernobyl-level event happening by 2050. Also, with the threat of terror on the rise, there is always a chance that someone could detonate a dirty bomb. Simply put, they could also use chemicals or biological agents as weapons of war.
As many smart preppers have said, “It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.” In this case, I think they’re right!
- MIRA Safety CM-6M Gas Mask – Full disclosure, the owner of MIRA Safety is also the owner of Ready To Go Survival. The CM-6M mask comes with a drinking system, canteen, speech diaphragm, and is made of butyl rubber in accordance with CBRN standards. This mask is highly regarded in the preparedness and tactical community as one of the best gas masks available to the civilian population.
- NBC-77 SOF Gas Mask Filter – This is the ultimate gas mask filter as it has a 20-year shelf life, and it filters all known CBRN agents. It’s currently deployed with NATO troops across Europe and is compatible with all 40mm NATO threaded gas masks.
- BLACKHAWK! Omega Elite Gas Mask Pouch – Blackhawk makes high-quality tactical equipment, and the Omega Elite is no exception. This pouch fits a gas mask and two filters and will protect your mask from getting scratched when not in use. If you get the complete kit, I recommend putting everything in a large duffle bag.
- MIRA Safety HAZ-SUIT
Clothing Module Checklist
To save space, we recommend having a special set of clothes for emergency purposes. Consequently, keep them right next to your bug out bag so you can quickly change and be out of the house at a moment’s notice.
To avoid sun damage, wear light colors and long sleeves (roll them up if things get too hot).
- Nylon Underwear (2)
- Pair of merino wool socks (1) – Wool is a great insulator, even when it’s wet. That’s why wool is the fabric of choice for hiking socks. You should wear a pair of wool socks out the door and have a backup pair in your bug out bag.
- Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boot – I’ve had two pairs of these over the last five years, and they are by far the most comfortable hiking boots I’ve ever owned. They are lightweight for the level of protection they offer, completely waterproof and backed by Gore-Tex’s lifetime waterproof guarantee. These boots are used by U.S. military personnel.
- Nylon underwear (2)
- Synthetic sweater/zip up (1)
- Birth certificates
- Ownership deeds
- Drivers licenses
- List of phone numbers and addresses of family, friends, family doctor, insurance company, etc.
- Repair manual for your vehicle
- HAM radio license
Physical copies of the following documents should be added to your waterproof bag:
- Driver’s license
- License to Carry Permit (or CCW)
- Insurance documents
- Pictures of Family
Also, when it comes to money, keep small bills and stash them in several places, both on your person and in your bag. This way, if you get robbed, there may be a hidden stash that was missed.
You should have the following in cash:
- $1,000 in the following denominations: 1-$100 bill, 10-$20 bills, 10-$10 bills, 20-5$ bills, 50-1$ bills
- Quarters (4)
- Geographic location
- Physical ability
- Skill set
- Group size
- Likely threats for your area
Is there anything you think we missed in this bug out bag list? Let us know in the comments below.
Finally, rather than making costly mistakes when building your BOB you can get help by clicking here.
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