My Personal Bug Out Bag List

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

Last week’s e-mail about going beyond the bug out bag drew lots of attention. Specifically, there were a number of people who asked about what I carry in my bug out bag. I suppose that’s a good question, as you’re reading my advice on other aspects of survival. I’ve just never seen the need to write about it, because so many others do.

Nevertheless, bowing to popular demand, I’ve decided to answer your questions. Here’s the list of what I currently have in my bug out bag. I say currently, because this is something that’s always changing. My bug out bag isn’t a static thing. As I find better solutions to problems, I make changes. I also move things back and forth between by bug out bag and my everyday carry bag as needed. In the event of an emergency, I intend to take both, even though that will give me some duplication.


When I created my bug out bag, it was with the assumption that I’m going to go into the wild and intend to stay there, living off the land as much as possible. So, it’s more of a big survival kit than it is anything else.

The bag itself is a tactical backpack in black. Ideally, that should be a different color, so that it doesn’t stand out as being a bug out bag, but I got a good deal on this backpack, so I bought it. Like everyone else, I have to look for ways to save money on my survival supplies.


  • 10′ x 12″ Tarp – for making a temporary shelter
  • 6′ x 8′ Heavy-duty space blanket – one of the good ones
  • Three normal space blankets
  • Rain poncho
  • One complete change of warm clothing
  • 200′ of paracord
  • Duct tape
  • Emergency sleeping bag – made of the same materials as the space blankets



  • Two liters of water
  • Sawyer bag water filter – guaranteed to filter one million gallons at 0.02 microns
  • Lifestraw – the best straw type filter I’ve seen
  • Water purification tablets (my emergency backup)
  • WAPI (water pasteurization indicator) – a great device that tells you when your water is pasteurized. You don’t have to get it hot enough to boil
  • Clear plastic sheeting – for making a solar still, if necessary
  • Flexible plastic tubing – for use with the plastic sheeting


Most people turn their food into homemade MREs. I don’t bother, as I find it easier to just carry the stuff that I can turn into those meals. If it’s in a meal, I tend to eat it all. Better to just eat what I need and allow it to last longer. All in all, I have about five days worth of food.

  • Rice-a-roni
  • Packaged mashed potatoes
  • Ramen noodles
  • Beef jerky (for soups)
  • Spam and tuna in soft pouches
  • Dried vegetables (for soups)
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • High energy food bars


  • Magnesium backpacking cookware
  • Camp stove that burns sticks
  • Esbit stove and fuel – a recent addition, for use when I don’t have wood available to burn
  • Stainless steel utensils
  • Plastic cups and bowls – from the dollar store

Food Gathering

  • Spool of fishing line
  • Fish hooks
  • Bobbers
  • Split shot weights – I use the type that are designed to be removable
  • Automatic fishing reels – set them and come back later to see what they caught
  • Guitar strings – for making snares

Fire Starting

  • Stormproof matches – the best survival matches there are
  • Butane lighter – more fires per cubic inch than anything else
  • BlastMatch – I really like this, sends a shower of sparks, rather than fighting with a Ferro Rod
  • Powdered magnesium – for use with the BlastMatch, if needed
  • Metal match (also magnesium) – also easier to work with than a Ferro Rod
  • Commercial “cube” fire starters
  • Cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly – my “go to” fire starter for damp weather
  • Fire starters made of black powder and nail polish remover – my “real emergency” fire starter for wet weather


  • Sheathe knife – on my belt
  • Spare sheathe knife – in my bag
  • Combination hatchet, hammer and pry bar – this was cheap, but it’s excellent
  • Manual chain saw
  • Multi-tool – make sure it’s a good one; the cheap ones bend too easily
  • Collapsing camp shovel
  • Machete with a saw back edge
  • Spare flashlight, with extra batteries (my primary flashlight is on my belt)


  • Toilet paper – don’t forget this one
  • Personal hygiene kit – contains toothbrush, toothpaste razor, soap, shampoo and deodorant
  • Insect repellant
  • Waterless hand sanitizer
  • Sewing kit
  • Spare pair of prescription glasses

First-aid Kit

I carry a larger first-aid kit than most people do, so that I can be ready for anything. Just a personal decision I’ve made. I want to be able to help out anyone I run across who is hurt.

  • Rubber gloves
  • Adhesive bandages – cloth are flexible and work better. I also carry cloth knuckle bandages, which are great
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Butterfly bandages – used in place of sutures
  • 3″ x 4″ Bandages – for larger wounds
  • Sanitary napkins – great for large wounds and cheaper than bandages
  • Cohesive medical tape – sticks to itself, not to your skin
  • Israeli bandage
  • Sam splint – foam backed aluminum, which is formable by hand. Can be fit to any shape to make a quick splint. Much more comfortable and better than using sticks.
  • Ace bandages – for use with the Sam splint
  • Tweezers – for getting out splinters
  • Eye loupe – for use with the tweezers, my eyes aren’t as good as they could be
  • Medical scissors – for cutting away clothing or bandages as needed
  • Hemostats – for closing off a spurting blood vein, before the person bleeds out
  • Tourniquet – the kind that can be operated one-handed, in case I have to use it on myself

All of these medical supplies, as well as some basic medicines, are packed in a shaving kit, so that I can separate it from my bug out bag if needed. It normally sits on the outside of the bag, so that I can get to it quickly.

Communications & Electronics

  • Disposable cell phone with cards for extra time
  • Signaling mirror
  • Whistle
  • Hand-crank FM radio – for getting the news
  • Solar battery charger – to charge my phone and tablet


  • AR-15 “ghost gun” with a 4 power scope, chambered in .223
  • 9mm Glock pistol – on my belt
  • Spare magazines for both – on a thigh rig
  • Spare ammunition for both
  • Sheathe knife – my main knife is big enough for fighting, if necessary


  • Compass
  • Monocular
  • Maps – topographical and road maps of the area
  • Extra batteries for my flashlight
  • Tablet – Contains survival books, including edible plant recognition
  • Miscellaneous plastic bags
  • Small bungee cords – for holding things to the backpack, if needed

I realize that makes for a rather lengthy list, and yes, my bag is a bit heavy. I believe in redundancy, as you can see in the list. When one thing goes out, you need something else you can use. In most cases, my redundant items are very light. Of course, once I eat the food, it’s going to be a bit on the light side.

So, what’s in your bag? Did you miss anything? What am I missing? Let me know in the comments below.

Remember, it’s not worth taking, unless you know what to do with it.

Until the next time,

Dr. Rich



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