How to Make a Bug Out Bag | Your Essential Planning Guide

Introduction

Several years ago, I found myself staying at a nice remote hotel in England for a couple of weeks during a private security job. When one morning I suddenly receive an unwelcome wake-up call from the hotel’s ear wrenching fire alarm and the unmistakable sound of multiple people panicking and sprinting down my corridor. “Crap!” Jolting up from my bed, I catch the gust of black smoke pouring past my window; time was against me and I was practically naked. I grabbed some clothing to protect myself against the winter elements and got myself out of the room pronto. With my situational awareness in check; my knowledge of the hotel layout was sound and I was able to swiftly navigate the hotel’s fire escape plan with little to no effort. Safe and sound and now standing in the hotel carpark; I found myself watching the fire unfold with the guests. And then it dawned on me…

Car keys, passport, phone, laptop, hard-drives, personal notepad, clothing, wallet… The list goes on; all irretrievably situated within my hotel room and now facing a high probability to be engulfed by this growing inferno. Superficial stuff that can all be replaced though, right? Absolutely, but after spending the next 4 hours standing in the cold, while I observe the ongoing battle between the local firefighters and the blaze; I find myself pondering a thought. This thought was the unpleasant administrative nightmare that I’m soon going to be dealing with; getting into my car, replacing my passport, reporting my gear to insurance etc, lacking key equipment for work that evening. It was in this moment that the concept of preparing myself a (BOB) Bug Out Bag was born.


Forming a bug out plan

The (BOB) Bug Out Bag

Many of you may be aware of the concept of a Bug Out Bag from survivalists and Zombie Apocalyptic literature. A fascinating and practical solution for the moment when you need to get the hell out of somewhere at a moments notice and grab only the essentials. For many, the concept of preparing a bug-out bag may not seem applicable; certainly if you don’t intend to be a statistic in a doomsday scenario anytime soon! But if the point from my fire story above hasn’t already been grasped; the scenario which may unfold, were a BOB would be useful or even essential cannot be realistically foreseen. 

In an age when our planet's standard of living and health are continuously rising; large elements of society will often place personal responsibility as a mere afterthought. A few years ago within the United Kingdom; hundreds of drivers found themselves trapped overnight on a motorway due to heavy snow. Reporters had managed to gain access onto the blocked motorway to interview the frustrated drivers who where now apprehending their impending lonely night within their cars. One angry man was quick to blame the utter lack of response by the emergency services to provide blankets and water to the hundreds of drivers huddled up in their idle cars. This is the mentality that I speak of; one which doesn’t take personal responsibly for their own wellbeing and will be the first person to be frustrated and angry the moment they find themselves caught off guard and unprepared.

Each and everyone of you reading this article will be situated in various locations all over this planet. As a result, each of you will face unique challenges and threats which will warrant specific preparations and gear in the process of preparing a Bug Out Bag. Each bag can be capable of it’s own purpose based on what you’re willing to pack and what you desire from your BOB. Today, we will be covering the basics of preparing a Bug Out Bag and expanding on more detailed preparation concepts in the future.


Why should I have a bug out bag?

Objective of your Bug Out Bag

The Bug Out Bag will serve a specific purpose based on a predetermined objective set by yourself. Typically a BOB contains the essentials to keep you alive for 72 hours with an emphasis on evacuation rather than long-term survival. But this is completely down to you; and will often be determined by your own plan of action. Whatever the reason you’re bugging out; be it a fire, flood, oil spill, hurricane, sudden outbreak of disease or even a state collapse - a bug out bag will be the essential resource that will enable you to get a head start towards a safe secondary location.


How expensive is a bug out bag?

Purchasing plan

The project of building a bug-out bag can be a fun one; feeling proud of the prospect of being prepared as you’re researching and purchasing fancy gear. However, it’s important to note that this bag will likely find itself residing within a cupboard for the majority of its life while it waits for the moment. While we certainly shouldn’t cheap out on equipment that has the sole purpose of survival and well-being; don’t get wrapped up in the aesthetics of this investment - we’re truly only concerned about the functional purpose of our gear to provide a reliable lifeline in the absolute worst case scenario. With this in mind; we should aim for discretion with our packing strategy and bag selection so we don’t project our bug-out bag to outsiders as a primary source of valuable goods and supplies. Many people find themselves going for the tactical approach to their gear strategy; which is a sure way to becoming a primary target within the chaos of disorder. I truly must emphasise the importance of blending into the populace during chaos and disorder; the objective is to reach safety as quickly as possible while avoiding conflict along the way. 


How do I make a bug out bag?

Strategy

Why aren’t we talking gear yet? Because sir; we have yet to discuss the fine details of strategy. What is the point in preparing a Bug Out Bag if we haven’t got a plan of action in the event of an evacuation? Where are you going to go? How are you going to get there? Sure, you can wing it and hope that you can figure it all out when it happens; but that is a sure way to fail. Plan your strategy in detail and figure out where you’re going in advance, in the event of an emergency. Plan the routes from your home that you will need to navigate to arrive at your predetermined safe location. And practise it goddamnit; make it a hike for the day, or a nice cycle ride (more on this later) so that you can fully understand and embrace what will be required of you, if and when you need to utilise a bug out strategy.

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
— Sun Tzu

We’re going to begin with our content selection before we choose our backpack. Many Bug Out Guides make the fundamental mistake in leading their guide with the bag selection; which often creates the problem of gear incompatibly. Once we have purchased our pack contents and have them laid out in front of us - we can truly understand our requirements when selecting our bag. 


Water

We begin with the very element that is vital to keeping us alive. 3 days is the approximate time you can survive without water. Although this will alter vastly depending on the environment you find yourself in. Most people can tolerate minor dehydration without difficulty or adverse health effects. But when the body has a five to eight percent decrease in total body water, fatigue and dizziness will be sure to appear - Not ideal when we’re executing our evacuation, right? A loss of over ten percent of total body water will likely cause physical and mental deterioration so it’s imperative that we should have enough drinkable water available.

Remember our Bug Out Bag does a whole lot of nothing most of the time folks; and storing water in your kit has a shelf-life that you need to be aware of. The general rule of thumb for stored tap water is a rotation every 6 months (Store your BOB in a cool dark place and DO NOT store in direct sunlight) Pre-packaged bottled water should be rotated once a year. A top solution for this problem is to immediately pack your fancy new water containers empty in your Bug Out Bag. And keep a plastic bag full of pre-packaged bottled water on the outside of your pack that you use from time to time and keep regularly rotated. This is a temporary arrangement that enables you to grab the plastic bag and fill your BOB water containers at a moment’s notice.

1. Nalgene bottle - This bottle has always been my water bottle of choice. Durable, light-weight and wide-mouthed making them easy to clean; transparent so you can see how nasty it looks inside and finally you’ll also find most water filters are perfectly fitted for Nalgene bottles.

2. Katadyn Pocket Water Filter - This robust tool for converting water that you collect into drinkable water is a fan favourite amongst adventurers, military personnel and explorers worldwide. This is arguably the best portable water filter on the market and for good reason. Firstly is the longevity of this product; many water filters have a short lifespan and require costly replacements. While expensive, the Katadyn ceramic filter has an estimated hefty lifespan of 50,000 litres of water filtration (depending on the water quality) and does not seem to be hindered much by age; making this the far cheaper option over time. The product comes with a whopping 20 year warranty to give you peace of mind.

3. Extra Capacity - This is where we should source our second water container and a mug preferably; Metal is a good choice to enable us to boil water. For added water storage could also find yourself a foldable, hydration pouch/bag that will take up very little space. But be warned, hydration bags come with the added risk of a puncture, potentially rendering the thing useless if damaged.

How to make your own bug out bag

Food

It goes without saying that in the event of a sudden catastrophic event that requires us to Bug Out while formulating critical decisions and all the while carrying our BOB across unspecified distances; we’ll find ourselves burning a lot of calories in the process. The hikers amongst us will have a good grasp of the challenges of packing nutritionally, energy rich food all while trying to keeping our bag’s weight at a minimum. 

The first thing we need to consider with the food we choose is the shelf life. Like our water-management above, we should be looking at food that provides at least 6 months of shelf life before we need to be looking at rotation. 

1. Trail Mix - This is the food of choice for the avid hiker. Portable,lightweight and full of energy-dense ingredients like nuts, dried fruit and chocolate; perfect for our bug out needs. Trail Mix comes in numerous different combinations which is ideal for your nutritional and taste-related requirements. There are literally thousands of free recipes online combined with pre-packaged bags for purchase.

2. Instant noodles - Another great choice for the BOB. Once again, we benefit from a lightweight, portable food source which is high in carbohydrates. The flavour sachet also contains salt, which is necessary to replace the body’s lost electrolytes.

3. Ration packs - Comes in countless forms globally. Sourced from military, maritime or civilian made emergency food packs. Water-proof, ready-to-eat, high-calorie food with a shelf life often exceeding 12 months makes the ration pack a very smart choice for our BOB. The military packs will also come with cooking tools as an added extra. 

4. Candy/Protein bars - Get a few chocolate bars and protein bars in your kit. Excellent for morale and can offer a nice change from the typical blandness of survival food.

5. Light My Fire Titanium Spork - We need a tool to eat, right? I’ve had the pleasure of owning one of these tools for over 3 years now and it’s been an excellent bit of kit on my travels. I keep this thing in my daily carry bag for its sheer convenience (You never know when you want to buy a yogurt on the go) extremely light-weight, strong, easy to clean and the titanium means its taste and odour free. What more do you want?

Bug out guide for men

Heat

When we’re on the move, we need to be capable of creating fire at any time for cooking food, boiling water and most importantly, keeping warm. The elements will kill us in no time if we get exposed to the cold and have insufficient heat to keep us warm. If we’re well prepared in our planning, we shouldn’t have to rely too much on bushcraft (if ever!) during our movements to a safe location. However, plans often fail and this may become a necessity if things take a turn for the worst. 

1. UCO Storm Proof Match Kit - Durable, waterproof container with 25 matches. floats and keeps contents dry and protected. Integrated external striker for easy lighting

2. AGM Magnesium Fire Starter Flint Striker - A durable pocket sized and weatherproof fire starter that can be used up to 1000 times. Some people often don’t see the purpose of flint when you can simply use a cheap BIC lighter. The beauty of using flint is that it won’t be hindered by frozen temperatures or water; this would certainly be a problem for the portable lighter. 

3. BIC Lighters - However, contrary to my above point it’s actually not a bad idea to get a few of these into a water-proof, sealable bag and tuck em’ into your BOB. They’re cheap, light-weight and offer us an alternative option for creating fire.

The essential bug out guide

Shelter & warmth

With our fire-making capability now firmly established, we now will look at procuring some high-calibre kit to keep us dry and warm all the while providing adequate shelter from the unpredictable elements. 

1. Military Poncho/Tarp - The Military Poncho is my shelter of choice. Not only do these things serve their user with a reliable waterproof layer, they double up as a tarp-tent. I’ve had the pleasure of spending many cold, wet nights in the woods under nothing more than my poncho strapped to the trees during my time in the military. A strong, robust tarp setup will be more than sufficient for a few nights in the rough before arriving at your secondary location. These things are lightweight and fold into a nice neat, flat package allowing for easy storage in your bag.

2. Sleeping Bag - Now we have something overhead, it’s important that we find a reliable, compact sleeping bag that will keep us warm during the cold nights. The better sleeping bags for warmth will certainly challenge our limited space; so we’re looking for a good warmth to weight/size ratio. I've always been a fan of Outdoor Gearlab's reviews for assisting my outdoor kit selection.

3. Space Blanket - low-weight, compact blanket made of heat-reflective thin plastic sheeting. We have NASA to thank for these windproof life-savers. The primary purpose of the space blanket is to reduce heat loss from a person's body and can be used during rest to stay warm during unfavourable weather. 

4. Wooly socks x2 - Oh man, I truly can’t emphasise the importance of warm, wooly hiking socks packed into your bag. In the event of a Bug Out scenario, we’re going to be spending a long time outdoors and moving a lot. Whatever we can do to keep our feet happy during this time will pay off in the long run. Cold, wet, uncomfortable feet are going to bring your movements to a stop in no time.

what should I put in my bug out bag?

Health & Wellbeing

During our challenging journey we may find ourselves dealing with medical issues along the way. It’s very important that we’re well prepared to deal with the extensive issues that can arise during the execution of our Bug Out plan. Each user will have their own specific requirements for what they feel may assist them during a multi-day movement from point A to point B. This may be specific medication for the individual, or environmental specific assistance such as mosquito spray. This is an area which often requires specific personalised preparation. Think carefully. 

1. First-Aid Kit - For those Boo-Boo moments.

2. Stomach First-Aid Kit - The high stress from this extreme ordeal mixed with the sudden shock to your diet from the ration packs and ageing water creates a high chance for an upset tummy. First-Aid preparation for stomach related problems are too often overlooked for trauma based problems (tactical syndrome strikes again!) The reality is that you’re more likely going to face stomach and digestive issues in the field than having to deal with threatening trauma incidents; so lets prepare for this with a container of well known remedies for stomach related issues. Imodium AD, Heartburn tablets, Beano Tablets & Ginger tablets are an excellent place to start. 

3. Cleansing wipes - Good Hygiene is paramount when we’re on the move for days. Cleansing wipes serve as an excellent bit of kit to keep us clean. Oh and as an added bonus; they double up as toilet paper!

4. Tiny travel toothbrush & toothpaste - Keep those fangs clean.

Bug out bag hygiene tips

Tools

We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.
— Marshall McLuhan

Humans are as good as their tools. And it is here, that we should utilise our preparation with the finest equipment we can acquire. The quality, fine crafted tools you acquire don’t have to live out their days in the shadows of your closet. Utilise them regularly and become proficient and experienced in their usage. But be sure to return the kit to the confines of your Bug Out Bag as soon as you have accomplished your task. A well crafted tool will come at a cost, but you undoubtedly get what you pay for when it comes to having kit that won’t let you down when you need it most. This is a life investment gents!

1. KA-BAR USMC Knife - Probably the most famous fixed blade in the world. A fine knife with a lineage to WW2 and still holding strong 70+ years later. Exceptional steel, razor-sharp. The reputation speaks for itself. 

2. Leatherman Wave Multi-Tool - Great quality blades, pliers, saw, scissors, file, screw drivers, and more - isn’t huge, but has everything you really need and a very useful tool for life in general.

3. Victorinox Huntsman Pocket Knife - Beautifully crafted stainless steel tool and endlessly useful piece of kit that is perfect for our BOB. The Huntsman Swiss Army Knife has large and small blades, a corkscrew, a can opener with a small 3 mm screwdriver, a bottle opener with a 6 mm screwdriver and wire stripper, a reamer/punch tool, tweezers, a toothpick, scissors, a multi-purpose hook, oh and a woodsaw!

4. Paracord - A good roll of paracord is needed to pitch our shelter. The uses for this stuff are many; improvised clothing lines for wet clothing to shoe lace repair etc. Make sure you find out the breaking point beforehand when you acquire your cord. The Paracord I've linked has a certified strong 250KG breaking point! Some of the cheaper cords out there break around the 75KG mark. So for the bigger guys; don’t be hanging yourself from a hammock anytime soon unless you purchase the good stuff.

what are the best tools for a bug out bag?

Light

The darkness can literally comprise of half of our entire existence here on Earth and if and when we find ourselves bugging out, it becomes a necessity to become comfortable operating within it. With adequate lighting solutions the darkness can become our ally; like a predator we can utilise the darkness to hide our presence if necessary.

One of the key factors we must consider when we’re selecting our lighting solutions is our power requirements. What batteries does my kit require? How long will they last on a single charge? Do I have access to adequate battery reserves if I run out of power? With these points in mind, Lithium batteries should be our battery of choice. They're going to be a little pricier, but more than justify the additional cost with longer run times, better performance in extreme temperatures, substantially longer shelf-life and brighter light outputs.

Furthermore we should take advantage of the tremendous improvement of LED lighting technology over the years. Today’s LED torch has surpassed the traditional torch for a variety of factors. Longer life, lower power consumption and highly durable design (No filament, tube or bulb to break)

1. Glow Sticks x3 - Let’s begin with a simple, cost effective light source with a long shelf-life. The glow stick is a favourite within the military. Simply snap the stick and you’ll instantly find each of these sticks providing you with up to 12 hours of lighting; covering our 3 days of darkness if required.

2. Fenix LD22 (2015 Edition) - Fully powered by two AA batteries this popular compact LED torch made from durable aircraft-grade aluminium is capable of multiple brightness levels, strobe and hidden SOS. The LED possesses a whopping lifespan of 50,000 hours! Note: The 2015 edition offers an extra 85 lumens than the older LD22 model boasting a commendable 300 lumens.

3. Petzl Tikkina Head Lamp - Once this is firmly around your head, you’ll have a hands-free practical source of light following your every move. Need to run in the darkness while illuminating the ground in front of you? No problem. The Petzl is highly durable and IPx4 water resistant, so no concerns using this excellent headlamp in the rain.

4. Mini LED Flashlight - These things are ridiculously cheap; simply clip one to the top of your bag and utilise a handy source of light at a moments notice. These things conveniently allow you to rummage freely throughout your bag at a moments notice in low light conditions without having to continuously forage for your torches each time.

light solutions for a bug out bag?

Communications

Our overall Bug Out strategy may require us to check-in and contact others during an emergency in order to obtain information and reach safety. Your ability to communicate and receive information effectively during this time will be entirely dependent on trusted communications equipment. Nevertheless, during catastrophic events cellular networks often get overloaded and cannot be relied upon. When Hurricane Katrina struck the US in 2005 it knocked out over 2000 cell-towers resulting in the severe overload of the remaining cellular network as the surviving stations were completely overwhelmed by the spiking call volumes. Let us take look at some emergency communication solutions. 

1. Soulra FRX3 Hand Turbine AM/FM/Shortwave radio with Smartphone Charger - When it comes to emergency comms equipment, these things are indispensable. Soulra (or Eton for our North American friends) provide us with this Red Cross endorsed kit which is powered by sunlight or a good ol’ fashion wind up motion. Very popular in the developing world due to the radio’s ability to operate independently from the grid. (AAA battery and DC power is also available if required) The FRX3 provides us with a nice USB charger to power our phone or GPS equipment.

2. Mobile Phone - The network may certainly be under severe stress; but during your manoeuvring from A to B this may not always be the case. Furthermore, text messages will often find their way to the recipient even when the networks are bottlenecked. Many Bug Out guides will often recommend you purchase a secondary, durable phone specifically to be packed in your bag; This is entirely at your discretion. I personally carry my phone on my person and choose not to pack a secondary phone in my bag. As an extra, our smartphone can double up as a GPS unit if required with the countless navigation apps available for offline maps that don’t require a cellular signal to work. The downside to utilising your phone’s GPS capability however is the severe lack of robustness, insufficient weatherproofing and the high power demands required from the phone. Always good to have multiple options at our disposal if required. So you may have guessed our next device… 

3. Garmin Oregon 600 Handheld GPS - A Touchscreen, glove friendly unit enabled for GPS and GLONASS (the Russian GPS equivalent) An invaluable asset in assisting us with our navigation plan. We shouldn’t have too many issues with this global worldwide radio-navigation system during an emergency. However we would be foolish to depend entirely on an electrical gadget during a crisis without a Plan B; Solar storms, difficult terrain, physical damage, power failure, or unforeseen technological faults can all play a factor in knocking out our navigation capability in one way or another. So be sure to have a physical map in our BOB as a backup (more on this below) - For planning purposes we can download free custom maps onto our GPS unit available at GPSFiledepot. And pre-plot our waypoints into the device so that they’re stored and fully ready for us to use when required.

Communications plan for a bug out bag

Information storage

Perhaps one of the most overlooked elements to Bug Out preparation advice is the information storage segment. This entails the packing of encrypted digital backups of your most important information. Also critical to the selection of information, is anything which can aid our movements to our predetermined secondary location. This can range from Maps, Region specific guides to Bushcraft survival booklets. This is another section that is truly personal to each and every user on what they feel they should be included to aid their strategy.

1. USB flash drive[Backed up with encrypted administrative documents] Digitally scanned administrative documentation that will assist us when returning to normality. 

. Financial documentation (Bank accounts, Tax information & Bitcoin Retrieval Key)
. Insurance documentation & Home details
. Educational & Work awards/certifications
. Birth Certificate & Passport.
. Medical information (Vaccination records) 
. Vehicle documents & Vehicle insurance documentation.
. Miscellaneous - Diary/Journal, Digital Notes, Photos, 1Password backup.

All data above is fully encrypted using VeraCrypt. Another storage method which provides us a secondary backup is the utilisation of free online Cloud based services. Dropbox & Google Drive are completely free and excellent Cloud services to use. Ensure the complete encryption of this data before uploading to the cloud for your own personal security.

2. Map & Compass - A detailed physical map of the terrain you’ll be navigating to reach your destination is essential. Getting lost would cause us all kinds of problems; and our GPS unit may not be working when we need it most! Tip: Waterproof map case to protect your map from the elements. Navigating using a map and compass should be a skill that you become sharp and capable with. Utilise the opportunity from time to time to head out to some of your nation’s finest hiking areas and practise navigation using nothing but the map & compass. (It’s also a fun hobby to do) Youtube is an excellent source of beginner tutorial videos for those of you who are new to map & compass navigation or just simply out of practise.

3. Bushcraft guides - Optional. My personal Bug Out strategy doesn’t envision long periods of time within the wild utilising bushcraft. The terrain between your location and your destination may require considerable movement through heavy forest and mountainous regions; if you feel that having bushcraft guides/tools is favourable to your plan then go right ahead. Note: Added weight will be a factor.

Best items to put in a bug out bag

SELF-DEFENCE & PROTECTION

This is entirely dependant on the situation that triggers our bug-out response. If I’m up against a wildfire or a sudden outbreak of localised disease, defence will not be an issue that is high on my priority list when I’m flying out my front door. So what? you ask; prepare for the worst scenario at all times! Right? Slow down - There is a serious decision for many of us when it comes to the issue of carrying protection. For those of us who reside within territory that has strict weapon/gun laws (Europe for example) our only options available for protection will often come down to carrying knives/melee weapons which could get messy very quickly if or when we needed to defend ourselves. So if the moment ever came; you may be offered the dilemma of complying with the laws even in the midst of national emergency or choosing to arm yourself at any cost. This is a decision that is unique to each and every one of you and is entirely dependant on each scenario that may take place.

We should be doing everything in our capability to avoid conflict at all costs. Nonetheless in the event of a mass emergency; chaos with the loss of law & order will bring out the primordial survival instincts of society. With such dangers, we should have adequate options to defend ourself.

1. Pepper Spray / CS gas spray - Many variants of this stuff are available (even in Europe) and can offer us an excellent solution to defusing a hostile situation without having to initiate violence.

2. KA-BAR USMC Knife - Our combat-proven fixed blade covered earlier in this guide is our knife of choice for our protection needs.The durability, sharpness and design of this blade is exceptional making it ideal if we depended on it during a violent clash.

3. Glock 19 Pistol - The 9mm pistol that has worldwide acclaim with both private and public security agencies. Lightweight (Less than 2 lbs fully loaded) and compact makes this ideal for carry and concealment. 9mm ammunition will be less expensive to shoot, meaning more time on the range - Having more shots on deck equals more effectiveness at hitting the target when it truly matters. Psychological factors are probably going to be the most important factor to successfully putting down a threat if we ever need to utilise our firearm; so it’s very important to become proficient and comfortable in shooting. The Glock 19 Pistol is a reliable, resilient, cost effective firearm which makes it my firearm of choice for our Bug Out Kit.

Best weapons to place in your bug out bag

Miscellaneous

We have now covered the fundamentals of our bug out bag. Now we’re going to discuss some tips and miscellaneous items which will be excellent additions to wrap up our BOB. Firstly I wish to discuss clothing; I would suggest (similar to our carrier bag of pre-packaged bottled water mentioned above) keeping your outdoor gear in a small bag alongside your BOB when its in storage. This would be a good pair of hiking boots, thermals, waterproof gear, wooly hat etc. When we need to get out of our home at a moments notice, we don’t want to be panicking while we ransack through our wardrobes to get prepared. 

1. Mechanix Gloves - Highly durable synthetic leather, stretch spandex finger gussets and a flexible wrist closure provide us a tough, snug fitting glove with dexterity.

2. Cash - Society may not have completely collapsed when you have to Bug Out but the electronic banking services that you’re regularly accustomed too may very well have. It’s good to have a bit of cash available for when we reach our destination. Having cash at hand to acquire supplies along the way is something which may be an option, be prepared. The amount you’re willing to hold is completely at your discretion; £500 would be a healthy amount.

3. Portable Sewing kit - It sucks when your waterproof trousers get torn in the rain. Have a solution. 

4. x3 Garbage Bags - Improvised shelter, Backup poncho and water storage solution.

5. Sunglasses - Protect your eyes. 

6. Suncream - Protect your skin.

7. Notepad & Pencil - Take notes of key information. 

8. Small towel - A towel is the most important item a Hitchhiker can carry.

miscellaneous items for your bug out bag

BAG

So, we finally have our gear selection sorted. It’s time to lay out all of this and understand the weight and capacity demands required to carry it all, when we’re choosing our Bug Out bag of choice. One other important factor with bag selection is user-compatibility. Unlike the individual components above, which are tried and tested tools to utilise; the bag is something which may or may not be comfortable on a specific body-type. Selecting a bag which will carry your contents across vast distances will need to be comfortable and compatible with its owner. So hold off on spontaneous online purchases and try these things in person. Not a problem if your bag of choice is available cheaper online, just leave the store and buy it when you get home. 

1. Osprey Farpoint 70 - The Farpoint 70 is a massive favourite for backpackers worldwide due to its high durability and good fit. The bag neatly comes together in 2 parts: A 55 litre back pack and a detachable 15 litre daypack giving us a total of 70 litres storage and making this an outstanding contender for a suitable Bug Out Bag. 

2. 5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack - With my tactical rant earlier this suggestion could be seen as hypocritical, but hear me out. This bag is an exceptional choice for a high quality, 72 hour backpack (That is literally what the bag was designed for) Leave off the tactical velcro tags and numerous external pouches and this bag doesn’t have to stand out like a sore thumb. 5.11 bags are notoriously high quality (Look around, the ratings are always top notch) Highly robust and designed for practicality in mind, you won’t go wrong with a 5.11 bag.

Best bug out bag backpack

Bicycle

I highly advocate the ownership of a Bicycle for life in general, but for bug out purposes it can be the most important asset you can possible have to get to a safe destination without hinderance. With good fitness and carrying up to 20kg we can hope to cover 45 miles per day if we’re competent riders. For many of our readers who reside within highly populated urban environments, the roads will be hindered with incalculable traffic as hordes of people aim to escape at the same time. The bicycle can evade this problem and enable us to escape the city without delay. Be sure to pack a bicycle repair kit in the event of a puncture. It must be said though, that the motorcycle is a far more effective transport solution and offers the benefits of speed, distance and storage that could never be rivalled by a common bicycle. 

So why suggest the bicycle in the first place? Well, most people don’t ride motorcycles and more people can ride a bicycle so there is a very practical element to this suggestion from the offset. Also the bicycle won’t be impeded by insufficient fuel supply (Unless you’re storing fuel locally, then you better hope that your bike has adequate fuel available when shit hits the fan) The bicycle overall gives us all an immediate tool to begin a plan of action knowing that we can reach specific distances from our residence and that is something that shouldn’t be overlooked.

This concludes our guide to building a Bug Out Bag. Remember that the process of formulating a plan and storing a BOB is an fluid and unique process which will differ for each and every one of you. This article is not gospel and the information within it should be seen as a reference guide to formulate your own plan when preparing your bag and strategy in the event of the worst. In closing, I wish you all the best of luck.

transport for bug out bag

The founder of Capable Men. 

Currently operating personal projects while he simultaneously attempts to develop the Capable Men platform. John served five years in the British army, with a tour of duty in Afghanistan before eventually departing the forces to begin a career in the private security sector.

John attended several private protection courses dealing with security strategy, close-quarters combat training, firearms and advanced driving. This new profession took him worldwide Including the protection of government assets in South America, VIP tasks on the Côte d'Azur and security work within the French Alps.

His interests include global affairs, philosophy, hiking, sports and fitness.