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bug out bag list

Personalizing Your Own Bug Out Bag

By Travis Birch

In All Articles
Dec 25th, 2017

B.O.B. Bug Out Bag   by Travis Birch

It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was indeed a prepper. It was something that I read about often and investigated online. Once I did enough research I realized I was already a member of the community that I was looking into. The evidence was in my closet, it had been there for a couple of years, my bug out bag. I called it my ‘Grab Bag’, another friend called his a ‘Head For the Hills Bag’. Regardless of what we called it, the concept was the same, a preparation bag that could get us from point A to point B with a little bit of ease.  What is in your bug out bag list?


A backpack to carry everything is essential.

Our family has a cabin about 4 ½ hours away from our home in town. Our bug out plan includes getting out with the essentials that can help us get to the cabin in as long as three days in an emergency situation. We can’t get everything in our bags, so we have things set up to get us off quickly. The bag is filled with the basics that help us function away from our vehicle and cabin. With five of us to care for, (My wife and I, our two kids, and Chester, my faithful four legged friend), we all have similar assignments. Everyone has a bag, and they bring that, and a case of bottled water to the back of the truck. We load a couple of weather proof containers, they contain a tent and our sleeping bags. The other holds Chester’s kibble. Additionally I maintain a small fireproof safe that can be transported. This holds our personal identifications, such as birth certificates, social security cards, and a six month supply of cash as well as some precious metals we’ve built up over the years. The cash is in small bills for quick and easy transactions. This safe travels with me in situations like this.    

A cooler is loaded from the freezer with ice, meat, and if there is room, essentials from the refrigerator. Four gas cans of various sizes make their way into the truck, all these are located in our garage in a certain manner to provide for a quick escape. All of our vehicles have paper road maps, flares and, gloves. These are just every day items we equip ourselves with. Our ‘Bug Out Bags’ though, are different. Each person adds different things to their own, but I wanted to breakdown some of the essentials in mine. A quick note, you can purchase a pre-assembled ‘Bug Out Bag’, they run around $300-$350. Building your own, such as this, assures that your bag is customized to you specifically, and the items you use are deemed reliable by you and your family.  

Emergency radio

An emergency radio will keep you informed.

An Emergency Radio is a must. This is a hand crank, a power generator that has a preset weather channel. In addition it has a siren, lights, and it has accessory ports.   

‘Prescriptions’, being a man of a certain age, there are certain medicines and vitamins that I need on a daily basis. I fill a weekly holder, and keep the rest of my 90 day prescription supply in the bug out bag so it isn’t a second thought that it will be there when I need it.   

‘Clothing’, I update the bag with the seasons. There are always a couple pairs of jeans, shorts, and shirts in there. Also, rain ponchos, hats, knit and ball caps, gloves, bandanas, and undergarments.  

First Aid Kit , whether you build one that is specific to your family’s needs, or you purchase a pre-built one, this is a necessity. Be sure to check it a couple of times a year to make sure nothing inside has expired. Our first aid kit includes the basics, along with antacids, sunscreen, super glue and, tampons. 

First Aid kit

Personalize your first aid kit to your family.


A variety of Flashlight’s come in handy. Your phone has one, your radio has one, but I try to keep at least several flashlights that use different batteries. That way if only D cell batteries are available, we’re not stuck in the dark.

In a crisis situation, Batteries’ are like gold. Important to remember that along with batteries, grab your charging cords, and power cell blocks that offer portable recharging abilities to your handheld devices.   

‘Weapons’, I keep a .22lr revolver, and a 9mm pistol in the bag. In addition there is a sling shot, and ammunition. My oldest son includes his compound bow in his bag. A ‘Fixed Blade Knife’ and sheath are there, and several ‘Folding Blades’ as well. I keep a Swiss army knife in my pocket, and a ‘Leatherman Style Multi-tool’ in my truck at all times. ‘Picture Hanging Wire’ stainless wire is ideal for setting traps for small game.   

Fire starters

Try a variety of different fire starters.

‘Firestarter’s’, in the form of a striker, lighters, candles and, matches are included. ‘Paracord’, and ‘Ropes’ are in there. We also have several rolls of ‘Duct Tape’. Duct tape helps to make a quick seal, can waterproof items, and it can be broken down and woven into cord if necessary.    

A roll of  Heavy Duty Trash Bags, are available, along with heavy duty ‘Aluminum Foil’. The aluminum foil is heavy and has many uses, one of which is to cook in.  

Water Purification Tablets’ are a confidence building item to keep on hand. You can order this, and keep with your camping gear, or keep in your bug out bag. With camping gear in mind, my bag includes a ‘Hatchet’, as well as several ‘Emergency Whistles’, enough so everybody has access to one, and we can find each other if lost. A ‘Compass’ in each bag allows us to coordinate meeting points, and find our bearing.   

A ‘Magnifying Glass’, and ‘Mirrors’ to signal or start a fire with is great to include. Each person’s bag includes at least one ‘Heavy Duty Tarp’. The tarp can be used to build a temporary shelter, collect rainwater, and protect you from the rain and the sun

Fishing kit

Pocket homemade fishing kit.

Finally, I keep a homemade pocket ‘Fishing Kit’ on hand. Ideally the family is bugging out to our cabin. We keep a plethora of supplies on hand there, including fishing poles. In an extreme situation, there is no idea how long the journey to the cabin will be. A quick and easy fishing kit allows for an opportunity to get some protein into you so that you have the required energy to go on.   

Each of us has a different goal in mind when we set out to prepare a ‘Bug Out Bag’. I’ve tried to share the basics of mine with you as an example. Whether it is for a long term, short term, transitional or the genesis of beginning a new lifestyle, your bag needs to be right for you, easy to get to and should be available for your entire family to access in the event of an emergency.

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