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The next step is to put together all the tools and equipment you'll need when implementing your Bug-Out scenario - otherwise known as creating a BOB (Bug-Out Bag). This is a bag designed to get you to a BOL (Bug-Out Location) within 3 days which should provide much more security and protection from the current disaster. The BOB is the most basic of preparedness assets, you can also work on more advanced bags such as INCH (I'm Never Coming Home) bags which are aimed at living off the land for extended worldwide disasters.

This is the section people often start with and go crazy on by filling their bags to the brim with tons of gear they believe will help them survive in a disaster. This is due to: a) The ease of buying things and the false sense of progress is gives, and b) people tend to think that "stuff" will save them in a disaster with little effort on their part, which couldn't be further from the truth. They often miss the planning steps discussed above and believe they will "wing it" and head for the mountains in a disaster. What do you think will happen if everyone does that?

Firstly you should only buy gear which provides an essential function for survival such as a knife or rope and possibly an item that makes surviving a little easier such as a book of crosswords or toilet paper. Secondly you should know your equipment inside and out by using it outside of a disaster scenario so you know how to use it without the added stress of a disaster on top. Your gear should also be based around your personal requirements, climate, country and state.

An example being that you're more likely to need water acquisition methods in humid environments than somewhere with snow. Likewise if you live in a country with gun restrictions, this will surely impact the means of self defence you carry. The gear sections contains a list of basic items you should consider carrying with you. From there you can branch out into the other items you require for your situation.

Gear List

Below is an example list of BOB (Bug Out Bag) gear that preppers typically carry. Some of the items provide a critical function to surviving and others used in different situations based on your climate. Carrying pouches for groupings of gear aren't listed but it's recommended to have a few to be able to sort your items out so they aren't scattered all over the bag. Keep in mind this is a Bug Out Bag which should only have enough supplies to get you to a more permanent destination within three days.

You should only buy a backpack once you have the gear you want to put inside. Purchasing the bag first is a common mistake as it could be too small for everything you require or too big causing you to fill up every nook and cranny with nice, but unnecessary gear. Make sure you're able to lift the bag as well or it will be useless when you're bugging out. A good standard for calculating the ideal weight of your BOB is: Your Weight ÷ 3. No bag which will be carried on your back should weigh more than 35kgs (66 pounds).

There's so much more to your gear than just having a list with no explanations for each item, what they can be used for and why it's worth its weight in your backpack. Each of these items is described in much more detail in the Gear section with explanations on why it's necessary, the cost, size differences, recommended brands and alternative uses. For a list of gear in the other preparedness bags, see the GEAR section.

It's always good to have redundancy of the essential items in your kit such as water, fire and medical gear. Fire can be achieved with a match, lighter or a lens. However did you know that you can use a clear spherical bag of water to start a fire instead of a lens? It's also lighter and smaller and provides the additional function of storing and purifying water. Purification, because a bag of water when placed in direct sunlight for 5-7 hours will kill the bacteria, viruses and protozoa in it. This is known as SODIS (SOlar DISinfection). When deciding on equipment to add to your BOB ask yourself what functions this item provides and try to think about any other useful ways it can be utilized.

Most people add way too many items into their BOB when they first start prepping, but this is a step everyone must take to learn what they need and don't need. The key here is to get out into the wild and find out what items you use the most and try to eliminate the ones you don't use or only use once. It's better to have an item you don't need when you're starting out rather than finding you desperately need something when you're in a disaster situation.

Disaster can happen at any time so ensure you're packed and ready to leave at a moments notice.

Your BOB should essentially be a living, breathing asset where you monitor the numbers and expiry dates of items inside, keeping them fresh or "rotated" and in a perpetually ready state in the event of a sudden disaster. There's no use "borrowing" an item from it and then having to hunt it down when disaster strikes, or worse - forgetting to put it back in. Some people keep their bag on them at all times and in the car when they're at work so they're able to make it home quickly, living solely off those supplies. Disaster can happen at any time so ensure you're packed and ready to leave at a moments notice.

The Bug Out Bag List


      • 1x 1L Metal Water Bottle

      • 1x 1L Folding Bottle

      • 15-30x Water Purification Tablets

      • 1-2x Unlubricated Condoms

      • 1x Small Water Filter (Sawyer, Katadyn, MSR)


      • 3-6x Meals

      • 3-5x Energy/Hiking Bars

      • 1x Stove

      • 1x Fuel Canister

      • 1x Cooking Pot

      • 0-1x Cups

      • 1x Utensils Set

      • 1x Scrubber


      • 1x Lightweight Clothes

      • 1x Warm Clothes

      • 1x Rain Poncho

      • 1x Walking Boots

      • 2x Underwear Sets

      • 1x Hat

      • 1x Gloves

      • 1x Shemagh

      • 1x Eyewear

      • 2x Pairs of Socks


      • 1x Shelter

      • 1x Ground Pad

      • 1x Sleeping Pad

      • 1x Groundsheet

      • 1x Wool Blanket


      • 1x Hand Sanitizer

      • 1x Pack Towel

      • 1x Toilet Paper

      • 1x Toothbrush

      • 1x Med. Toothpaste

      • ?x Feminine Products


      • 1x First Aid Kit

      • 10x Isopropyl Wipes

      • 5g Potassium Permanganate

      • 30x Band-Aids

      • 6x Butterfly Sutures

      • 10x Wound Dressings

      • 2-3x Surgical Blades

      • 1x Clotting Powder

      • 60g Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) or (3 Packets)

      • 3x Needles (S, M, L)


      • 10x Analgesics (Panadol, Asprin, Nurofen)

      • 8x Intestinal Sedatives (Imodium, Lomotil)

      • 6x Antihistamines (Benadryl, Polaramine)

      • 4x Anti-Malaria Tablets

      • 30x Antibiotics (Penicillin, Amoxycilin)

      • 3x Iosat (Radiation Tablets)


      • 1x Knife

      • 1x Multitool

      • 1x Flexible Saw

      • 1x Pen & Book (in a waterproof zip-lock bag)

Light & Fire

      • 1x Flint Rod & Striker

      • 1x Large BIC Lighter

      • 1x Headlamp

      • 2-3x Sets of Batteries for Headlamp

      • 1x Medium Candle (In Zip Lock Bag)

      • 1x Fresnel Lens

      • 1-2x Tritium Lights

      • 1x Torch

      • 0-3x Glowsticks

Communication & Navigation

      • 1x Mobile Phone

      • 1x Charger Cable

      • 1x Compass

      • 2x Local Maps

      • 1x Waterproof Map Case

      • 3x Signal Flares

      • 1x Radio

      • 1x Solar Panel (15-30W)

      • 1x Power Bank (10K+ mAh)

      • 1x Loud Whistle

      • 1x Binoculars/Monocular

Self Defence

      • 1x Primary Gun

      • 25-50 Rounds of Ammo

      • 1x 50ml Insect Repellent

      • 1x Secondary Weapon

      • 1x Pepper Spray or Deterrent


      • 1x Backpack

      • $300-$500 USD Cash

      • 1x Brew Kit

      • 0-10oz Barterable Coins (Silver/Gold)

      • 20m Thread

      • 50m Fishing Line

      • 5x Hooks

      • 5x Small Sinkers

      • 1x1m Latex Tubing

      • 2x N95 Face Mask

      • ID Documents

      • 1 Deck of Playing Cards

      • 1-2 Morale Boosters

      • 1x New Testament Bible

Starting a Bug Out Bag

You're probably wondering which of the above items would be best to purchase first if you're tight on cash with a disaster looming. This section guides you on your first 15 purchases for your Bug-Out Bag which fulfill the basic requirements of survival in the wild. This list doesn't include items under $20 which can be picked up for relatively cheap anyway such as paracord. Therefore there are differences between this list and the "Top 10 Survival Items" list. The 'Recommended Buys' below are my own thoughts on the products and may even be something I own. They are not sponsored in any way.

$ = Below Average Cost

$$ = Average Cost

$$$ = Above Average Cost

Water Bottle

First you need a way to obtain, store and purify water. I recommend a stainless steel or titanium, single-walled water bottle. A bottle which is metal and single-walled allows you to boil water inside it, which takes care of the water purification and water storage aspects of survival. This should only cost between $20-$50 to buy but can reach up to $100 for titanium. You want to pick one which can easily stack with a pot too!

Recommended Buys

      • Klean Kanteen 1182ml Bottle $$

      • Keith Titanium 1.8L Canteen $$$

      • Grayl Geopress $$$

Water Filter

Besides boiling water in your bottle you should have a simpler method of purifying it on the go. This is where a high quality water filter comes in. It's recommended, but not essential to buy a filter which also removes viruses, but this comes at a higher cost and they often take up more space. These can cost you between $30 to $500.

Recommended Buys

      • Sawyer Mini $

      • Kayadyn Pocket Water Filter $$$

      • MSR Guardian $$$

      • Survivor Filter Pro $$


A water bottle and a knife are two of the most essential items if you're lost and trying to return to civilization again. You can use it to defend yourself, baton wood, build a shelter, hunt with, feather wood, start a fire, signal for help, gut animals and so much more. Don't cheap out on your knife because it will be used daily in any survival situation. You should pay between $100 to $300 for a fixed-blade, full tang knife.

Recommended Buys

      • KA-BAR Becker BK2 $$

      • Schrade SCHF57 $

      • Fallkniven A1 $$$

      • KA-BAR USMC Knife $$


Since it's more frequent to bug-out than bug-in during disasters you'll want a comfortable shelter which is light and portable. Ideally it should weigh less than 2kgs (4.4lbs) and is easily attachable to your backpack. You have the choice between a tent, swag, bivy or hammock depending on what you prefer. Don't cheap out on your shelter or it may fail you when you need it most and you certainly don't want a wet sleeping bag in the middle of the night. Set aside $200-$1,000 for a lightweight shelter of hard-wearing fabric.

Recommended Buys

      • Snugpak Ionosphere $$

      • Marmot Tungsten Ultralight $$$

      • Carinthia Observer $$$

      • The North Face VE 25 $$$

Sleeping Bag

Sure, you could get by without a sleeping bag while you bug out if you're in a warm climate, but with a disaster occurring do you really want to risk a good night's sleep in favour of saving a bit of weight and money?

Recommended Buys

      • Sea to Summit Trek II $$$

      • Snugpak Softie Elite 3 $$

      • Coleman 0°F Mummy $


You won't get much sleep lying on the cold, hard ground. Thankfully there's lightweight portable mattresses which you can either blow up or leave to self-inflate over a few minutes.

Recommended Buys

      • KLYMIT Static V $

      • Sleepingo Camping Pad $

      • HiHiker Camping Pad $

      • Sea to Summit Sleeping Mat $$

      • Sea to Summit Comfort Deluxe $$$


This sheet can be used to protect your tent from punctures, provide additional shelter configurations, collect rain, store water, build a solar still and more. Throw in about 30m (100ft) of paracord with it and you can do almost anything.

Recommended Buys

      • Tarp/Canvas $

      • Tyvek Sheet $$

      • Cuben Fiber $$$


Next on the essentials list is food. Generally you only want 3 days worth of food in your BOB which should be enough to get you to your destination. You have quite a range of tasty options available today, in the form of MREs, ration bars, canned meals and freeze-dried meals. Freeze-dried meals are generally the best option because of how light they are, but if there isn't any water on your route then pick something that contains the water already.

Recommended Buys

      • Mountain House (USA) $$

      • Backpackers Pantry (USA) $$

      • Back Country Cuisine (AUS) $$

      • Campers Pantry (AUS) $$

Camping Stove

You will probably need to cook while bugging out, and with today's technology you can have a hot meal within a few minutes. You can either heat water and pour it into a freezedried meal or heat the food directly. Alternatively you can buy a chemical heating bag which does the same for a fraction of the weight - although they are one use only. There's also many other methods you can cook with, but these are either messy or complicated to utilize. Don't forget the fuel if you opt for a gas stove.

Recommended Buys

      • BRS 3000-T $

      • MSR Pocket Rocket 2 $$

      • SOTO WindMaster $$

      • Flameless Heater Bag $

Cooking Pot

If you're going to be eating food from a tin or packet you'll probably need to put it into something to heat up. That's where the pot comes in handy. Not only can you cook food in it but it can boil water, be used to brew coffee and more. Therefore I recommend getting one which fits snugly around your water bottle. Add a spork or any other cutlery you want to finish it off.

Recommended Buys

      • Stanley Adventure Cook Set 24oz $

      • Toaks Titanium 750ml Pot $$


You're probably going to need some form of light during your bug-out and this is where a torch or headlamp comes in. They come in all shapes and sizes and have a lot of useful features, but all you need is something weather resistant and provides a decent amount of light for up to 3 nights. If you want to go stealth, get a light with a red LED on it as well as a white light. Don't forget the spare batteries!

Recommended Buys

      • Olight Seeker 2 Pro (3,200lm) $$

      • Olight i3E EOS (90lm) $

      • Black Diamond Spot 325 $$


You probably won't have a mobile signal during a large scale disaster which is where a radio comes in. These can be small in size and may even already be built-in to your phone. I recommend one which has either a dynamo handle or solar panels and acts as a power bank from which you can charge your other devices.

Recommended Buys

      • RunningSnail Emergency Radio $

      • FosPower Emergency Radio $

      • Kaito KA500 $$

Map, Compass & Plans

Since you'll be travelling to your Bug-Out Location (BOL) during a potentially environmentaltering disaster it's best to have a printed map and a compass so you can alter your course, if for some reason you can't use your original route. You should also print your Bug-Out Plan so you have it ready in your pack in zero hour.

Recommended Buys

      • Printed Local Maps $

      • Silva Explorer 2.0 $

Medical Kit

This isn't technically one item, but as a kit it's an invaluable asset during any disaster because you're much more likely to injure yourself, or be injured during a disaster. You can either purchase a pre-packed kit or choose the bag and items yourself for a custom setup. See above for the recommended contents of this medical kit, or the GEAR section if you want a full spec-sheet of each item.

Recommended Buys

      • N/A


You should buy your backpack once you have the items you want to store inside it so you don't buy one that's too big and try to stuff it full of gear. Look for a backpack suited to your frame and which can hold up to about 1/3 of your body weight.

Recommended Buys

      • Granite Gear Crown2 $$

      • Paratus 3-Day Operator's Pack $$

      • Eberlestock 79 Skycrane II $$$

      • Maxpedition Falcon 2 $$

For the next part in this series, head to: (TBD)

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