skip to Main Content

Bug Out Bag Basics for Beginners- The Must Haves

Bug Out Bag

*We may earn a commission for purchases made using our links.  Please see our disclosure to learn more.

Bug Out Bag Basics for Beginners

What’s in your “bug out bag”? If you’re new to being a survivalist, the term “bug-out bag” may not be familiar. The term refers to a bag you use to survive for 72 hours. Bug-out bags are essential in a natural disaster or any situation where you may need to evacuate suddenly.

Many of your survival bag contents are universal and focus on your basic needs for water, shelter, food, something to help keep a positive mindset. The other items in your bag will depend on your specific circumstance, the natural disasters, or weather conditions common in your region. Read on to check out the recommended bug-out bag basics.

Mindset and Bug out Bag Items

• Entertainment Items

Maintaining a positive mindset is crucial in any survival scenario. To this end, you should include something lightweight to keep you calm. Pick something nonelectric that anyone can enjoy.

Here are some suggestions: coloring book, word find book, sudoku, poetry, sketch pad, whatever you prefer, that will distract you from the situation.

What to Put in Your Bug Out Bag for Shelter

• Tarp

You will need to make e a shelter for yourself to avoid the elements. A tarp makes a handy shelter if you are in the woods. A tarp or tent can both provide protection, but tarps are the more versatile and lightweight option.

• Fire Starter

Bug Out Bag Basics, Fire starter

In addition to a tarp for shelter, a fire also helps to keep you warm and dry. Starting a fire by a traditional means, flint, rocks, a bow drill is hard, so you will need a fire starter to make the process easier. Dry wood and kindling will still need to be gathered.

What Do I Carry in My Bug Out Bag to Get Water?

• Water Filter

Drinking a  gallon of water each day is recommended by the US government. Carrying the required amount of water for three days in your bug-out bag is not practical, and this does not include the additional water for cleaning or cooking.

Having a portable water filter with you will help to ensure access to clean drinking. You will want to have a water filter that can work in a water bottle and also as a pump to fill other containers for more water capacity.

>>Check here for portable water filters   

Remember to consider the weight of all the items you select.  The lighter each item, the more equipment you can carry to fit your specific needs.

Why is Dehydrated Food in My Bug Out Bag?

• Food

Food is an essential item; you can survive three weeks without food, but it makes you feel secure and gives a sense of normalcy to prepare food. To ensure that you have enough food for three days, using dehydrated meals is an easy solution.

You can use seal your food into airtight compartments using a freeze dryer. Cut across the top of the container and add boiling water when you are ready to eat them. Stir and let sit for 10-15 minutes before eating.

Buying dehydrated pre-packaged meals is another option instead of doing it yourself.  Pre-packaged dehydrated meals take up very little space and are healthier than canned foods. These meals can be stored for several months or longer if they are prepared without oils and fats.

>>Click here for your 72-hour food supply

Essential Gear for My Bug Out Bag

• Knife

A good sharp knife is essential for its many uses. The bottom of the handle can be used as a hammer. You can use it as a substitute ax to split wood. A knife can also be used as a substitute shovel for digging holes and first aid to make bandages and remove splinters, and don’t forget its everyday use to help prepare food.

• First Aid Kit

The first aid kit is a must-have; pack a good one. Your first-aid kit should include band-aids, antiseptic ointment, gauze, aspirin, or other over-the-counter pain medication, tape, and anything else you think you may need in the event of an emergency.

>>Check here for your first-aid kit

Be sure to include any medications you take in your first-aid kit; switch out your medication periodically, so they don’t become expired.

• Compass

We take the convenience of maps and GPS with our phones, but these may not be available in a survival situation.

If you’re on the move, a compass is essential. A  detailed map of the area along with a compass can have you navigating with ease; be sure to learn how to use both.

• Toiletries

Packing toiletries are essential to maintain hygiene, especially for women. Keeping clean prevents you from feeling grouse, uncomfortable and helps you avoid getting sick.

Some things that will help you stay clean are hand sanitizer, wet wipes, lightweight, quick-dry toilets, and a small amount of soap, solid or liquid. Also, bring items to maintain oral hygiene: toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss.

Specifically, for men, pack your shaving kit, and for women that are menstruating, bring what makes you feel comfortable, sanitary napkins, tampons, or menstrual discs.

Other items to consider are waterproof socks, a pair of waterproof trousers, and a jacket.

• Water Proof Bags

It is vital to have the items in your bug-out bag in waterproof bags. Your bug-out bag should be waterproof, but it helps categorize items and put them in different kits or bags depending on their function.

It would help if you had a toiletry bag separated from your food items or a first aid water filtration system separate from your gear. Specific smaller bags makes it easier to get what you need without taking all of the items out of your bug-out bag.

The waterproof bags can be as simple as resealable plastic bags. Put several of these in your bag because you can also use them to store your trash.

What Type of Bug-Out Bag Do I Need?

• Bug-Out Bag

The bug-out bag is the last item on the list because selecting a bug-out bag depends on the things you will be packing in your bug-out bag.

Don’t buy a bug-out bag before you have all of the items that will go in your bag. You do not want to purchase a bag that is too small or too big. Your bug-out bag must also be comfortable with good padding as well as be durable.

Every member of the should pack a bug-out bag tailored to their needs. Some things to consider are the ability to use the gear safely, mobility limitations, maturity level, physical fitness, and strength.

If you want to select the best bug-out bag for each family member, keep these different types of bags in mind: a drawstring bag, a duffel bag, a fanny pack, and a regular school backpack.


Being prepared with a well-equipped bug-out bag for at least 72-hours is essential. Disasters and happen at any time; it does not matter where you are. You may be required to evacuate your home for safety.

Ensure that you have the essentials in your bug-out bag for shelter, water, food, and some essential tools. Everyone in your household should have a bug-out bag. Even your dog should have their bug-out bag, as they are part of the family.


Welcome to Survival Skills Now.
After seeing and experiencing some of the effects of global warming, increased floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, and other situations, I see the importance of prepping. It is my mission to present survival skills information so that we can prepare for any survival situation.

Back To Top