Shield Maidens

What’s in Your Bug-Out Bag?

…It’s more important than what’s in your wallet.

By Suzanne Wiley

Camping and Survival

Bug-out bag, go-bag, GOOD bag, 72-hour kit, survival kit, BOB, get-home-bag, emergency kit… no matter what you call it, they all share one thing in common—these kits are designed to help you survive for the first 72 hours after a major disaster, emergency, or other SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation.

So, What Exactly do you Pack in a Bug-Out Bag?

What people pack in bug-out-bags is personal, depending on one’s needs. Maybe you have a small baby and must pack diapers and formula, or you have dietary restrictions or rely on daily meds. Location considerations are important, as well. Those who live in warm, muggy climates will pack different clothing and supplies than those who live in wintery, cold areas. There are a few items, though that expert preppers and survivalists agree on. There needs to be a way to procure safe drinking water, food and shelter and a way to make a fire. Others find cordage, a firearm, compass, and first aid kit to be imperative.

The point of your bug-out bag’s contents is to aid in your survival. Some pack the essentials—just enough stuff to fit in a pocket, while others have large plastic totes filled with everything from tools to toilet paper. As long as you have water, water filter or purification tablets, fire starter and a way to stay warm and dry, there really isn’t a “right way” to pack your bug-out bag. Sure, some are better than others—you aren’t going to need a pillow, but a knife and first aid sure will come in handy.

What Makes a Good Bug-Out Bag?

There is one thing I have always appreciated about preparedness-minded people and that is their willingness to share information and help others. Rarely, do I come across the prepper with a lone-wolf mindset. Ultimately, I like to think that the majority of preppers have kind hearts and want to see a world of survivalists bartering, trading and offering services to each other instead of roaming bands of looters and vagabonds willing to shoot others for their supplies. Not to say that that won’t be necessary. During SHTF, there will be a lot of nasty people, but that doesn’t mean preppers won’t band together to help each other out. I understand OPSEC and get why some people don’t share what they have, but I commend those who do. It gives others new to prepping and readiness an excellent reference or starting point.

From minimalistic to those who have a “rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it” philosophy, these seven readers have shared on the various bug-out bag posts on the Shooter’s Log what they have in their bug-out bags and emergency survival kits.

Griffin 93C

First aid kit

Reader “Griffin 93C” has a first aid kit and blow-out kit at the top of their list.

  • Individual first aid kit
  • Blowout kit
  • Short K-Bar knife with sharpener
  • Locking blade folding knife
  • 550 cord with hooks
  • Garmin E-Trex 30 GPS
  • Lensatic compass
  • Signal mirror
  • Signal panel
  • PRC-112G (survival radio)
  • Duct tape
  • 1 MRE
  • 6 bottles of water
  • Shemagh
  • Sock cap
  • Jacket
  • Gloves
  • Rain suit in season
  • Toilet paper
  • 2 multi tools
  • Chapstick
  • 1 M4 with 3 mags
  • 1 M9 with 2 mags


  • Emergency space blankets
  • Rain ponchos
  • Particle filter masks
  • Duct tape
  • Paracord
  • Glow sticks
  • Lighters
  • Magnesium fire starter
  • Water purification tablets
  • Folding camp saw
  • Hatchet
  • Survival knife
  • Compass
  • FRS radio
  • Emergency crank radio and flashlight
  • Maglite
  • Leatherman Supertool
  • 10×10 tarp
  • 20-lb. fishing line
  • First aid kit
  • Aspirin
  • Benadryl
  • Printed copy of U.S. Army survival manual
  • Emergency candles
  • Binoculars
  • Knife sharpener
  • Waterproof matches
  • Extra batteries
  • Bible
  • 9mm with 3 extra 15round clips


  • Food
  • Lifestraw
  • 2-liter bottle
  • Collapsible 1-gallon water jug
  • Chlorine in a dropper bottle
  • Lighters
  • Magnesium fire striker
  • 1911 .45 ACP with 4 magazines
  • 100 extra rounds of .45 ACP in a zipper pouch
  • 16-oz. soda bottle filled with denatured alcohol
  • Palm-sized magnifying glass
  • Tuna can and cotton for char cloth
  • Wax-soaked sawdust cast in a paper egg carton for tinder
  • Snowmobile suit in winter
  • Hunting boots
  • Foot and hand warmers


Fixed blade Ka-Bar USMC knife

At the top of “JohnnyAuto’s” list is a classic Ka-Bar fixed blade knife.

  • 3 to 5 knives, USMC Ka-Bar
  • Pistol
  • Water filter
  • Multi tool
  • Fire starter
  • 2 lighters
  • Candle
  • Compass
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • 1-quart pot
  • Drinking bottle
  • Water filter and purification tablets
  • Blaze orange panel
  • MIL-SURP wool blanket and poncho liner
  • Firearm


Box of waterproof matches from Coleman.

Waterproof matches are lightweight and easy to carry.

  • Roll of quarters
  • $50 cash in $1 and $5 bills
  • Camping “toilet” with 3 waste baggies
  • Cold weather clothing
  • Blankets
  • Emergency blanket
  • Empty tin can
  • Waterproof matches
  • Emergency 20-hour candles
  • Spare batteries
  • Few decks of cards
  • Tools
  • Can or two of “emergency flat tire fix”
  • Hand crank radio and flashlight
  • Bottle of windshield washer “below zero” solvent
  • Safety reflective vest
  • 3-6 MREs
  • Emergency rations of water
  • Toilet paper
  • Microfiber towels


  • 1911 with 5 loaded magazines
  • Extra box of ammo
  • Knife
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Extra socks and underwear
  • Baby powder
  • Baby wipes
  • Extra set of eyeglasses
  • 4-day rations
  • Water purification tablets
  • 3 fire starters
  • 2 Canteens
  • 2 containers to boil water


Leatherman multi-tool

Many choose to keep a multi-tool in their bug-out bag along with a survival knife.

  • 3 fire starters
  • LED flashlight
  • Extra lithium batteries
  • 9-volt battery
  • Antibiotics
  • Spare ammo
  • Ruger .22 Magnum revolver
  • 3 emergency blankets
  • Steel wool
  • Paracord
  • Becker BK2 camp knife
  • Folding knives
  • Multi tool
  • Aspirin and Ibuprofen
  • Alcohol
  • First aid kit
  • Guitar strings
  • Nails and screws in a bottle
  • Gunpowder
  • Under Armour long underwear
  • Wool pants and shirt
  • Light, Gore-Tex rain suit
  • Bivy bag
  • Water bottle
  • Rice and beans

Out of the seven, who do you think is the most prepared? Tell us what you have in your in survival kit or bug-out bag in the comment section.

Introduced to shooting at young age by her older brother, Suzanne Wiley took to the shooting sports and developed a deep love for it over the years. Today, she enjoys plinking with her S&W M&P 15-22, loves revolvers, the 1911, short-barreled AR-15s, and shooting full auto when she gets the chance. Suzanne specializes in writing for the female shooter, beginner shooter, and the modern-day prepper. Suzanne is a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

View all articles by CTD Suzanne

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