Bugging out is seen as a cornerstone skill for preppers, and with good reason. Whenever you can, evacuating away from danger and trouble will greatly increase your chances of survival, and reduce risk.
Bugging out is one of those things that seemingly every prepper talks about planning for, but precious few actually have a plan set in stone and committed to paper.
There are so many variables, so many moving parts and so many items needed for a comprehensive bug-out plan you shouldn’t hope to memorize it and then call upon it in a time of stress.
What you need are checklists, guides, and proven, tested procedures if you want to bulletproof your bug-out plan.
To help in that endeavor, we are bringing you 19 of the best bugging out survival downloads for your personal prepper library.
No matter where you are in your prepping journey, there’s going to be something below that can help you.
Table of Contents
Packing the Bug-Out Bag
In prepping, it is usually skills that pay the bills but there is no substitute for having a bug-out bag loaded with all of the equipment and all supplies that you and your family will need.
A perfectly packed bug-out bag is usually the crown jewel of your preparations, and it is one that deserves lots of research and refinement.
The following downloads will help you select and load your BOB based on your specific needs and anticipated threats, and we have even included more specialized literature that can help you plan if you have very young or elderly family members you’re taking care of.
1. Survival Sullivan’s Bug Out Bag Checklist
It is only right that we lead off with our very own bug-out bag checklist. It isn’t fancy, but it covers all of the basics and even has room for you to write in your own specialized items.
When you are working up a loadout having a simple list in front of you with details on weight and other pertinent info is a great way to stay focused on the task at hand.
Use this as your core packing list and you won’t go wrong. Download it here.
2. Build Your Own Bug Out Bag 2.0, Bug Out Bag Academy
This is another checklist that is perfect for people who are building a bug-out bag from scratch.
This list from Bug Out Bag Academy has all of the bases covered and even hopefully includes links to some of the most common items you might need.
From shelter and clothing to food, bedding, fire starting kit, and even the bag of choice this checklist has everything. Find it right here.
3. Bug Out Bag Checklist, Skilled Survival
For those who want to dig into the nitty gritty of items and gear selection in the same place as their checklist, this handy reference guide from Skilled Survival tops out at around 30 pages and has more than 100 specific bug-out bag items.
I really like this checklist because it takes a generalist approach to item selection, with multiple uses listed for the relevant gear.
If you were starting with a single dash through the local sporting goods section of your big box store, using this guide as your shopping list is a pretty good plan. The link is here.
4. Bug Out Bag Inventory Review Sheet
One part about prepping that some people omit, from ignorance or just sheer laziness, is the necessity of inspecting, rotating, and refreshing your kit.
This includes your bug out bag, no matter how nicely, neatly, and tightly you have it packed. Consumables like fuel, food, and water will spoil or otherwise go bad.
Clothing can get moldy or moth-eaten. Metal can rust, and even the stitching on your tightly packed bag can start to give way.
Inspecting and taking care of these items can be a chore when you have so many other things to do.
You can ease this logistical burden by relying upon this inspection sheet which has columns for inspection interval, the date when you last inspected the item, and rows where you can write in other gear or relevant information.
This is one that I use all the time and have it taped up where I have my gear stored and also at my workbench so it is constantly in mind.
Once I perform an inspection I set a reminder on my phone for the next date and forget about it until then. Download right here.
5. CDC’s Family Emergency Kit Checklist
This is one of my favorite short and sweet bug-out preparation documents.
Aside from general guidelines on what you should pack and how much, the CDC has included a list of family preparation questions that can help you better deal with the challenges attendant with prepping when you have children, elderly or any family members with special medical needs.
This is a great gut check for any family if you want to make sure you really have your I’s dotted and T’s crossed.
I myself have worked with more than a few industrious preppers who mistakenly left out some pretty crucial preps according to their own specific family situation. Get this one and look it over, no exceptions! Linked here.
6. Go Bag Checklist for the Elderly
This short, one-page grab-and-go checklist is from the Canadian Red Cross and was developed for elderly citizens living in remote First Nations communities.
However, the information it contains is just as viable for elderly citizens living anywhere else, including under your own roof or elsewhere.
Senior citizens have special needs during crisis situations and evacuations, even when they are in the best of health.
Though they might not need some of the items on this list day to day during normal times, they might need them if they are forced to evacuate with the rest of the family.
Get these items on hand now, and save yourself a ton of grief and time later. Download it from here.
7. Get Home Bag Checklist
To bug out, you must first get home. No, this isn’t some riff on fortune cookie wisdom but is instead the reality of the situation when facing a crisis that could see you and your family evacuate.
Chances are actually high that you and yours won’t be at home, and probably won’t even be together when the time comes. Have you thought about how that will affect your bug-out planning?
If you want to get ready to bug out, say nothing of actually grabbing your BOB, you’ll need to get home first, and that means you need supplies to get home with.
Enter the get-home bag, a relative to the bug-out bag. Smaller, lighter, leaner, and purpose-driven for keeping you mobile and moving to your home location, putting one together properly is something of an art form in itself. This checklist will show you how. The list.
8. Survival Sullivan’s Get Home Bag Checklist
Once you understand the nuts and bolts of putting a get-home bag together, you can get by with a smaller, minimalist checklist. We have our own that is a companion to our bug-out bag checklist above. Get it here.
Disaster Specific Bug-Out Preps
All bug-out bags contain certain core items that are universally useful no matter who you are, where you live, and what you are facing.
However, the specifics of various disasters and other events might mandate more specialized gear choices, accounting for different factors and planning or a complete change in the way you will conduct an evacuation.
The following downloads will help you tailor your bug-out bag and bug-out plan to the event.
9. Hurricane Survival Kit Checklist
Hurricanes are one natural disaster that will likely see you and your family getting as far from the coastline as possible. In this case, bugging out is your default response.
But these massive and unpredictable storms can change direction rapidly or intensify far beyond the predictions of weather experts. When that happens, you might be forced to shelter in place.
This guide will help you prepare for both eventualities, evacuating and sustaining after you have evacuated or roughing it while you are forced to shelter in place. You can download it here.
10. Administration for Children and Families Homestead Influx Care and Evacuation Plan
Something else that you might consider if you live in a rural area, and especially if you live on a homestead with a lot of room, is that various governmental agencies at the local, state, and federal level might be directing people your way when they are evacuating from hard-hit areas.
This might create challenges for people who plan on surviving in place, and you might decide to bug out if you know there is going to be a hoard of survivors hanging out in your neck of the woods depending on your own supply situation.
It is a little scary to think about on top of everything else, but knowing how the authorities are planning and will react to the event must be an integral component of your own plans. Download here.
11. FEMA Flood Preparedness Checklist and Evacuation Guide
Anywhere that it can rain, it can flood. Any place that is near a river, lake, or mountain range can experience devastating flooding.
Floods are among the most common, destructive, and deadliest disasters that occur yearly around the world. If you prepare for nothing else, chances are you should get ready for flooding.
Flooding by its very nature can make evacuation difficult or impossible but make sheltering in place impossible or deadly. This is serious business, and you should take it seriously.
This short flood preparation guide will help you gather the things you need to do both, and also has a list of easy-to-remember and follow procedures that will help you and your family stay safe during flooding. Download here.
12. FEMA Volcano Preparedness Checklist and Evacuation Guide
Another FEMA guide, this one on volcano preparedness. Although for most folks, the notion of a truly devastating volcano is either a flight of fancy or the stuff of Hollywood disaster movies, the reality is anything but.
Volcanoes can cause intense localized damage or even an outright regional catastrophe, and some volcanoes that have erupted in the past 2,000 years have had a global impact.
If you live anywhere near a volcano, even one that is supposedly dormant, you must be prepared for dealing with it when it shows signs of erupting.
Pyroclastic flows, engine- and lung-choking ash, and flaming debris raining down for miles in every direction paints a pretty apocalyptic picture.
It’s no joke, take it seriously and get prepared with this guide. Find it right here.
13. FEMA Tsunami Preparedness Checklist and Evacuation Guide
Tsunamis are another disaster with a global reach. A massive influx of water, anywhere from 10 to 100 feet high, they can surge inland for upwards of a mile, wiping out everything in its path.
Usually caused by undersea earthquakes or other related tectonic activity, tsunamis have produced some of the most devastating tools in terms of casualties and property destruction among all disasters.
This is another disaster that requires specialized care in terms of preparation and evacuation.
Considering that you will usually have precious little time to react, good family planning is a must. Download here.
14. Wildfire Evacuation Checklist #1
Wildfires have always been a threat, but they seem to be greatly increased in severity, span, and intensity since climate-obsessed ideologues have made it virtually impossible for local and state firefighters to properly tend to our forests.
In recent years we have seen entire communities immolated by megafires that can scorch the very soil into a cracked wasteland.
Wildfires leave no room whatsoever for sheltering in place; it is evacuate or die, and as always packing the right gear to facilitate your status as a temporary evacuee or refugee is imperative.
This document will help you do that. Download it here.
15. Wildfire Evacuation Checklist #2
This is another wildfire readiness checklist, but one with some additional pages that can serve as your backup for emergency contact info, planning, procedures, and the like. Get it here.
Evacuation and Bug-Out Preparedness
Actually bugging out and surviving as an evacuee or long-term refugee is a skill unto itself, and will entail many challenges. These downloads will help you prepare for such eventualities.
16. The Ultimate Survival Guide, “John Lofty” Wiseman
Where most preppers go wrong concerning bugging out is thinking that they’ll just grab their bag, pile into the car, drive somewhere, and then basically rough it for a day or two until they get the all-clear from authorities to go home. Unfortunately, things might not turn out that way for you and yours.
The evacuation itself might be full of hazards, and follow-on events or problems elsewhere might mean that you and your family could be legitimately surviving out of doors instead of hanging out in a hotel room.
This means that tried and true survival skills could make the difference.
Accordingly, you’ll need a survival guide that can take a bug-out situation into consideration. This legendary version from John Wiseman is one of the best. Get it here.
17. FEMA Emergency Survival 7-Day Kit
Having a two or three-day kit is enough for almost any bug-out scenario conceivable, but as times grow more and more tumultuous it is easy to see how that might not be enough for the worst events.
Luckily, FEMA has come through with this comprehensive and easy-to-follow checklist for putting together your own seven-day survival kit.
This will be enough to help you and your family shelter in place for a while prior to evacuation, or you can take it with you if you are bugging out by vehicle or as part of a convoy. Get it from here.
18. Red Cross Emergency Preps Checklist
This is another simple emergency prep checklist from the Red Cross and one that is adaptable to all sorts of situations and lifestyles.
Remember, the biggest part of prepping is about getting back to basics. The fundamentals of survival do not change no matter what is happening.
It is easy to lose yourself and miss the forest for the trees if you’re only concerned with specialized, niche gear or the latest in high-tech gadgetry.
Always cross-check your own loadout against a simple list of fundamentals like this to make sure you have all the bases covered. Find it here.
19. Considerations for Evacuations and Sheltering in Place, Dept. of Homeland Security
Consider two that there was a lot to go wrong when you are sheltering in place, preparing to evacuate or actually getting underway.
As I mentioned above, either of these situations can turn into their own survival scenario if you are unlucky or not paying attention.
Knowing how to deal with the likely problems that could occur might make the difference between a good and bad outcome for you and your family.
This guide from DHS will help you get a handle on all the factors involved and then prioritize your efforts and preparations accordingly. Get it here.
Get Ready to Bug Out with These Guides
Bugging out is never something that you should do lightly, but it is often the best response to encroaching danger of any kind.
Being able to get you and your loved ones away while having all the supplies you need on hand to survive and sustain until the danger passes is critical. These checklists and guides will help you get ready no matter what life throws your way.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.