25 Items You Forgot to Put in Your Bug Out Bag

Last Updated: August 27, 2021

At this site (and many sites all over the web), we’ve talked a lot about what to pack in your bug out bag.  Since a BOB is all about survival, we focus on the key areas – like the items which will provide you with shelter, food, water, warmth, and personal security.

However, there is no one “best” Bug Out Bag packing list!

Everyone is going to have very different needs based on aspects like their location, their group size, their personal health and physical abilities…

I’m not saying that you should include all 25 of the items in this article.  Rather, its purpose is to get you thinking about some of the items you might have forgotten in your Bug Out Bag which are crucial for your unique needs.


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1. Spare Glasses

My wife wears glasses, so this is a must-have for us.  We got her some really cool “unbreakable” (Amazon link) glasses and keep a spare in her Bug Out Bag.

2. Extra Socks

You don’t need that much clothes in your BOB (1 change of clothes should do), but feet are important.  Have an extra pair of wool or synthetic socks (they dry faster) to prevent blisters. More on survival socks.

3. Water purification tablets

Having a water filter in your BOB is a good start, but water filters won’t remove viruses.  Since you don’t always have time to boil water, make sure you bring some water purification tablets (Amazon link) along too. Confused about water purification?  Read this article on the 9 Water Purification Methods and what they treat.
Water purification tablets

4. Oral Hydration Salts

During disaster survival situations, diarrhea and vomiting are always a top ailment.  It happens when people eat contaminated food, drink unpurified water, or just catch a germ due to crowded, unsanitary conditions.  Dehydration can kill you!  Make sure you have oral rehydration salts (Amazon link) in your Bug Out Bag to treat dehydration.   If you are interested in how they work, read this article.
Oral Hydration Salts

5. Personal Medications

See if your doctor will prescribe you extra meds so you can keep them in your BOB.  Pay attention to their expiration dates and how they need to be stored.  Meds will probably go bad quickly if kept in the trunk of your car.

6. Personal Documents

In a total SHTF situation, your ID is going to be worthless.  But we aren’t just prepping for complete SHTF scenarios. We prep for ALL types of disasters. So make sure you have your personal documents available.  Read What to Pack in Your Emergency Binder here.

7. Pictures of Family Members

Remember after Katrina when at least 100,000 people were separated from their families? If you get separated from your family members, you’ll need their photos to help locate them.

8.  Internal Dry Sack

No backpack is completely waterproof.  A rain cover is good for keeping your items dry. But what if you need to quickly cross a river without taking off your pack?  This is where an internal dry sack (Amazon link) comes in handy.

9. Trash Bags

There are dozens of reasons to pack trash bags in your BOB.  For starters, they can act as a poncho, rain cover, or a ground cover so you don’t have to sit on cold, wet ground.

10.  Antibiotics

Normally you should never take antibiotics without consulting a doctor.  But, in a SHTF situation, you’ll be happy to have antibiotics.  Maybe your doctor will prescribe you extra antibiotics to keep handy maybe you can research some natural antibiotics.  Or you can get fish antibiotics.

11. Babywipes

When you’ve got a rash on your @ss you’ll be glad you have these.  When you are stinky and disgusting and want to clean yourself, again you’ll be glad.

12. Hat or Bandana

As someone who is balding and prone to sunburn in my head, I can attest to how important it is to have a hat or bandana to protect you against the sun.  The bandana (Amazon link) has more uses than a hat, so it is probably the better choice for most people.

13. Pepper Spray

A lot of preppers keep a weapon in their Bug Out Bag.  But I’d say it is also good to have a non-lethal form of self defense too.  Pepper spray (Amazon link) is a good option because it won’t just protect you from people, but from animals too.  Plus, it is silent whereas a gun could give away your location.

Recommended Reading: Best Pepper Spray For Self Defense
Pepper Spray

14. Potassium Iodide Tablets

If you live near nuclear facility, then you will need these Potassium Iodide Tablets (Amazon link) to protect yourself from fallout.

15. Heavy Duty Work Gloves

When bugging out through an urban area, you will likely come across a lot of rubble, broken glass, and burning items.  Having cut resistant gloves (Amazon link) can give you an edge here.

Recommended Reading: Best Survival Gloves

16. Face Mask

If you want a reason for why having a face mask is so important for your Bug Out Bag, look no further than September 11th.  Thousands of people are still dying from the terrorist attack because of diseases like cancer that they got from inhaling toxic particulates which were released into the air.  A gas mask is the safest option, but is fairly impractical and quite pricy.  For most, a N95 mask is a good option.

17.  Moleskin

A blister can really slow you down! Have moleskin (Amazon link) in your Bug Out Bag first aid kit to treat them.

18. A Way to Get Into Locked Places

I’m not condoning theft, but in a SHTF situation you will want a lock picking set, axe, pry bar, or other tool to help you get into places. There are tons of lock-picking classes online (like this one).

19.  Pocket Chainsaw

This pocket chainsaw (Amazon link) is a great EDC tool which takes up very little space but can be used for cutting through branches, such as if you need to make a shelter.
Pocket Chainsaw

20. Emergency Radio

Without an emergency radio, (Amazon link) how will you know what is going on in the world?  Here’s How to Choose an Emergency Radio.

21. Siphon

If you will be bugging out by car, pack a siphon (Amazon link) so you can get more gasoline. Learn how to siphon gas.

22. Sewing Kit

I have a sewing needle in my EDC kit.  Instead of sewing thread, I use dental floss. It is stronger than thread, waterproof, and also keeps your teeth clean. πŸ™‚

23. Wilderness Survival Guide

Depending on your location and level of knowledge, you might want a guide on wild edibles, how to make animal traps, or how to make a survival shelter in your Bug Out Bag.

24. Headlamp

Have you ever tried to take a dump in the woods while holding a flashlight?  If so, then you know why a headlamp (Amazon link) is important!  Further, a headlamp means your hands are free and will really help if you need to flee somewhere at night.

Read more about rechargeable headlamps.

25. Something to Help You Keep Your Sanity

Mental survival is just as important as physical survival.  So go ahead and pack some comfort or entertainment items which will help you stay sane through the disaster. I’ve got a deck of playing cards in my Bug Out Bag.

What else would you add to this list of commonly forgotten Bug Out Bag items?  Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Black Pepper. It is very lightweight , the granularity does not matter. Not only is it a good way to stop bleeding but helps mask the scent of blood from any predators in the area. It is a quick way to not only seal a cut effectively with the minimal use of bandages which will be more scarce as you go but also provides a protective scab to help prevent infection. It is also important to clean the cut first and should not be used on any cuts that would require more than 2 or 3 stitches. The scar is minimal and believe it or not it is painless , and can cause some numbness to the effected area. Not only is it cheap today but the canisters can be reused later for keeping things dry for the most part.

  2. The problem with ’21. Siphon’ is that most cars built since the mid-1990s have an anti-rollover valve on all the openings into a gas tank… this acts as an anti-siphoning technology… you can’t just put a hose down the into a gas tank and get gasoline flowing.

    But with the proper tools, you can ransack every car you come across for its fuel: an awl or screwdriver, a hammer, a plastic container (like an oil changing pan), and a long-neck funnel are all you need. Oh, and it’ll take TWO people to accomplish this task. Three if you want someone there for security purposes.

    Make a hole in the gas tank as far UP as you can get it to act as an air hole, then put the plastic container under the gas tank and make a hole in the LOWEST portion of the gas tank. Be prepared to stopper the low hole with a vinyl-gloved finger when the plastic container gets pretty full… empty the gas into a gas can using the long-necked funnel and put the plastic container back under the low hole in the gas tank to catch the remaining fuel. Repeat until the tank is empty or your gas containers are full or the zombie horde shows up. πŸ˜‰

  3. Knee pads nail clippers,and socks not just a few All of them, Wool blanket , rethink your assessment and reviewing your gear rips and TLC ,,Gator chin cover awesome boots and all purpose same as gloves & EYE protection neck warmer and Hoodies 2is 1 &1 is None,a 45$ Value F.A.K.first aid kit be familiar with items you got Knowledge will Thrive you over Skills come After

  4. I agree with you Stephane,
    I would also add a fire starter, vitamins (in case your diet isn’t at its best), sunscreen, and cordage. Pack for the appropriate season. If it’s Winter, add some of those nifty hand warmer packets that you can often find at farm stores, outdoor equipment or sporting goods stores. Even if you needed to bug out, you can still have some small comforts from home. Bring some tea bags, a nice cup of tea will chase away that Winter chill.


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