bug out bag contents

4 Real-Life Examples of Bug Out Bag Contents

The contents of your Bug Out Bag are one of the most important things you need for disaster preparedness.  We’ve talked about this a lot before at Primal Survivor.  If you are still new to Bug Out Bags, then I recommend reading this first:

Bug Out Bag content lists can help a lot when planning your own BOB.  But, as we’ve said many times, each person has different needs.  A BOB for a fit young man, for example, is going to look a lot different than those of a family.  To give you an idea of how different Bug Out Bags can be, check out these 4 examples of Bug Out Bag contents.

Not all of these Bug Out Bag contents are perfect, but looking at what they include and don’t include should help you decide what to put in your pack.

Example 1: The Military Bug Out Bag

military bug out bag contents

This Bug Out Bag was created by a female military veteran.  She’s done a really good job of choosing her BOB items, including a few items which normally aren’t on lists – like the collapsible wash bowl.   She’s chosen a great survival knife (a khukuri), which would be a lot more useful in the wilderness than your standard folding knife.  The basha pole is great, but I wouldn’t recommend it to preppers unless you actually know how to use it in combat.

It was also really smart for her to add waterproof pants to her BOB in addition to the standard waterproof jacket/poncho.  If you’ve ever gone backpacking in the rain, you know what I am talking about!

Bug Out Bag Contents List:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Poncho liner/blanket
  • Roll matt
  • Basha and pegs
  • Bungee and paracord
  • Basha pole
  • Khukuri knife
  • Spare clothes rolled into pant leg
  • Waterproof trousers and jacket
  • Shemagh (aka tactical scarf –see survival uses here)
  • Boonie hat
  • First aid plus trauma first aid kit
  • Wash kit and wash bowl
  • Towel
  • Pot, gas, and gas stove
  • Rations
  • Water bottle
  • GPS and Batts in pelican case
  • Hexi stove
  • Cable tape
  • LM wave and Swiss army knife
  • Wind up flashlight
  • Mini survival kit

*Not pictured:

  • Gloves
  • Gortex bivvie bag
  • Footwear

Example 2: Backdoor Survival Bug Out Bag

backdoor survival bug out bag contents

This Bug Out Bag was made by the good people over at Backdoor Survival. I want to point out that this is the only Bug Out Bag here which includes COPIES OF IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS.  As I talk about in this post about bug out binders, it is really important that you have copies of documents like your ID, passport, health insurance, etc. in case they are needed by rescue workers.  Not every disaster is going to bring about TEOTWAWKI, so you’ll want these for semi-SHTF scenarios!

They also included some other really practical items – like TOILET PAPER.  It isn’t absolutely necessary and it does take up a lot of space, but you’ll probably be happy to have some TP around when SHTF.  Note that Bug Out Bags are supposed to be the minimum supplies you need for survival immediately after disaster strikes.  So, a knife sharpener isn’t exactly necessary.  It is small and lightweight though, so why not bring it along? I would have included a more durable flashlight, preferably a winding one in case the batteries go out.

Bug Out Bag Contents List:

  • Medications and first aid items
  • Survival blankets
  • Toilet paper
  • Berkey water bottle
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Mini flashlights
  • Chemical light sticks
  • Batteries
  • Toiletries
  • Important documents (aka Bug Out Binder)
  • Paracord plus paracord bracelet
  • Fire starter
  • Swiss army knife
  • Kershaw OSO Sweet knife
  • Compass
  • Knife sharpener
  • Storm whistle
  • Cash in small bills
  • Multi-tool
  • Energy bars
  • Rain ponchos
  • Flash drive


Example 3: The Budget Bug Out Bag

budget bug out bag contents

This is a pretty good example of how to build a Bug Out Bag on a budget.  There are some higher-quality items in this BOB (like the knives), but they are older and passed down.  While this Bug Out Bag is a pretty good start (more than the average person has!), there are quite a few flaws here.

Instead of including 4 knives in the kit (yes, there’s 4 knives here!), I would have opted for one really good quality survival knife with a fixed blade.  Fixed blades are much stronger than folding knives and a quality blade will allow you to do things like cutting wood.  Or, he could have packed 1 fixed blade and 1 folding knife. Read how to select a survival knife here.

I would have also opted for a wind-up flashlight instead of carrying around all those spare batteries.  And there should definitely be some sort of tarp or tent in this Bug Out Bag.  A wool blanket isn’t going to do much good when you don’t have a roof over your head!

Bug Out Bag Contents List:

  • Timbuk2 waterproof bag
  • Spare clothes
  • Smartwool socks
  • Hat and wool gloves
  • Wool blanket
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket
  • Collapsible water bottle
  • Mountain Hardware gloves
  • Paracord
  • First aid and sewing kit in Tupperware
  • Camera
  • Small power strip with USB
  • Knives: Smith & Wesson SWAT knife, Fox Knives Voyager, and KA-BAR TDI knife
  • Gerber multi-tool with metal tether cable
  • Small flashlight
  • Spare batteries
  • Granola bars
  • Zebra Sharbo-X multi-pen and notebook
  • Scout knife
  • Leatherman Blast
  • LED flashlight
  • Spare charging cables
  • Lighter
  • Waterproof container with matches and meds
  • Collapsible chopsticks

Example 4: Secondary Bug Out Bag

secondary bug out bag contents

This is a SECONDARY Bug Out Bag – meaning it contains the gear which isn’t used as often so the main Bug Out Bag can be free.  There are some nice additional items here you don’t see on every BOB packing list – like the zinc oxide tape, and mini fishing kit.   The addition of gloves is really nice too, especially for urban survival situations where you might have a lot of broken glass or rubble to deal with.

Bug Out Bag Contents List:

  • Northface jacket
  • Towel
  • Hat, thermal top, socks, underwear
  • Large ziplock bag
  • Ortleib drybag
  • Coleman gas burner with cartridge
  • Katadyn water filter
  • Spoon, pot, and lid
  • Lighter and matches
  • LED light and 2 12-hour chemical lights
  • Gloves
  • Mini fishing kit
  • Latex gloves and zinc oxide tape
  • Bandage, safe pins, and scalpel in tin
  • Gerber survival knife
  • Ration pack meals
  • Sleeping bag

How does your Bug Out Bag compare to these ones?

Image credits:

AWOL_bag_inside” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by  SlipStreamJC
AWOL_2011_loadout” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by  SlipStreamJC
Bug Out Bag Items” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by  Backdoor Survival
My Go Bag” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by  P_Breen
What’s In My (BO/SHTF) Bag v1.0” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by  jeffreyuk 

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About the Author Jacob Hunter

I'm Jacob Hunter, founder and chief editor of Primal Survivor. I believe in empowering people with the knowledge to prepare and survive in the modern world.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime

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