The Bug Out Bag Essentials Shortlist [downloadable PDF]

If you’re new to prepping and are overwhelmed by the number of things people add to their bug out bags, if all you’re looking for is a basic list of supplies to start with, then this article is for you.

Regardless of your age, location, climate, medical condition, or disasters you have to face, if you’re new to prepping, this is an excellent starting point because you simply cannot go wrong when buying them.

rope-lightweight-blanket, first aid kit, blanket, knives, and more over urban backpack
rope-lightweight-blanket, first aid kit, blanket, knives, and more over urban backpack

Let’s remember the rule of threes which is an excellent starting point for knowing your priorities in times of emergency to build our list. The rule states that:

A person can live no more than 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.

Let’s group the bug out bag emergency essentials based on it this rule.

Air/Breathing and Vision

  • Buy at least a couple of N95 respirators but, if you can get your hands on better ones such as N99, N100, R95, P95, that’s even better)
  • Protective eye-wear (such as a good pair of goggles)

Shelter and Clothing

Keeping your core body temperature steady is a HUGE deal. Consider having the following:

  • a tent
  • a tarp (that can act as a shelter or insulation under your tent to protect you from the cold ground)
  • clothes for warm weather and cold weather
  • a cotton bandanna
  • a pair of work gloves


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  • a bottle of water (one should be enough because water is heavy)
  • a Sawyer Mini (purifies almost 400 times more water than the lifestraw, is half the size and comes with some really useful accessories)
  • a few water purification tablets as back-up

Food, Fire and Cooking

  • energy bars, MREs, and freeze-dried food are all good BOB food options, the key is to opt for lightweight food
  • a couple of lighters
  • strike anywhere matches or ferro rod or magnesium firestriker
  • a stainless steel cooking pot
  • a small foldable stove

Communications and Navigation

  • cell phone and a way to charge it
  • a good compass
  • maps of the area you live in (preferably topographical)
  • walkie-talkies

Light and Electricity

  • a hand-crank flashlight that also works on batteries
  • a headlamp


  • a good survival knife
  • a folding knife as a back-up
  • a good multi-tool
  • a pair of scissors
  • a sewing kit

Medical, First Aid and Hygiene

  • band-aids of various shapes and sizes (adhesive, H bandages, triangular, etc.)
  • alcohol wipes (for cleaning wounds)
  • a tourniquet
  • non-latex gloves (preferably nitrile)
  • hand sanitizer
  • antibiotic cream
  • toilet paper
  • hand sanitizer
  • microfiber towel
  • and, of course, a waterproof container to store all of this.

Weapons and Self-Defense

  • a firearm
  • possibly an alternative survival weapon

Is this list set in stone? Far from it. These are just the essentials to have in your BOB. You can find a full list of bug out bag items here. Still, I guarantee you cannot go wrong with buying any of the items above. Everyone should have these.

If you want a downloadable printable PDF checklist with the items mentioned in this article, you can get it here. Still, don’t forget to pin this article on your favorite Pinterest board for later!

bob essentials shortlist pinterest

6 thoughts on “The Bug Out Bag Essentials Shortlist [downloadable PDF]”

  1. Thank you sir for all the good advice. I definitely take all the knowledge i aquire from your blog and other sources to heart. I follow your blogs alot more though since i get you in my gmail. I dont make a lot of money, and have a small tribe( a wife and four kids ) but manage to squirrel away what little i can. I wanted to ask you, im hoping to buy land in the coming year and wondered what would happen if marshall law or if shtf scenario came about, could i be moved off my land? Could i lose it to government? Never asked this question before. Hope it’s not a dumb one. Thank you.

  2. Due to weight you can take a Hand crank light/phone charger/general AM/FM/Weather radio. This will cover several items. Gas stoves require cylinders which take up space and have limited usage. A fold up stove that takes tablets weighs a lot less and takes less space and cheap. If you live where its mostly dry and wooded and want a stove instead of camp fire they make great little wood twig burning stoves which are light weight. There are so many things you need but in the end weigh your pack then walk around with it for a day. Having a headband type of headlamp is also a great item. Remember everyone forgets the toilet paper. Another light item that is dual purpose is a microfiber towel. If you get wet they work great and dry out quickly. You can set them out in the rain and they will adsorb lots of water quickly for drinking purposes. If its dry it serves as a pillow too.

  3. A good revolver is an excellent choice . Especially for those not highly trained with firearms . A good .357 is ideal. You can use .38 special for rabbits. If using light factory loads . Full loaded .357 hollow points will take a deer down .

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