June 19, 2024


"Knowledge is Power"


How to build YOUR Ultimate Bug out Bag aka “The BOB”

Most of us are aware of what the BOB or Bug out Bag is and some of us are aware of what we need to put into this bag but most of us follow any one or combination of lists out there to help us decide on what to put in a bug out bag.

BUT….The bug out bag is personal, this will carry all the things YOU need to survive should you be forced to leave the security of your homestead. Because it is personal I wish to talk about how to determine what is best for YOU and YOUR needs in this bag.

All of the different recommendations for bags and gear should be personal for you or your family’s needs.  These can range from medical conditions to the ages of children or simply personal preferences.

Water (Some way to carry or make it pure

Purification tablets
Means to distil or boil

  • Fire (A means to heat and cook
    • Matches
    • Lighter
    • Firestarter materials
    • Magnesium
  • Food (you gonna open a package or hunt it?)
    • MRE’s
    • Prepackaged
    • Homemade
    • Powerbars
    • Nuts or crackers
    • Snack foods
    • spices
  • Clothing (This varies by the climate and the season)
    • Seasonal items
    • Extras
    • Spare set of items
  • Shelter (again are you going to build it or open it?)
    • Tent
    • Tarp
    • Tools to build from nature
  • First Aid (so many fail to give this segment the importance it mandates)
    • Not just bandaids but meds
    • Pain relievers
    • Vitamins
    • Antibiotics
    • Yes …bandaids & bandages
    • Antiseptic
    • Suture materials
    • Anti-itch cream
    • Topical antibiotic creams
  • Tools (you at least need a knife, right?)
    • A good knife
    • Saw
    • Leatherman’s tool
    • Paracord
  • Self Defense (this could be a matter of life and death)
    • Pepper spray
    • Firearm
    • Slingshot
  • Misc (this may be your largest category)
    • This one will cover things like the bandana, towel,

Other considerations…

  • Weight (who is carrying this pack?)
  • Shelf Life of items (how often do you update it?)
  • The Pack itself (rigid or soft?)
  • One large bag or multiple smaller ones

Since there are literally hundreds of books and lists out there for determining what you need in this bag, all the must haves and can’t live without. I thought I would just go over the things you want to think about when making your very own list.

Below are a few resources for finding lists others have compiled and hopefully these will give you some place to start when choosing your items.

Here are my thoughts on the needed items in your bug out bag.  Questions you need to answer before you create your bag

  • Who will be carrying this bag?
  • Strength and endurance are a key factor in what this bag should hold
  • Are there any special needs for this person?
  • After deciding who is going to carry it you can establish the amount of weight the person can bear.
  • What special medication and items it needs to contain.
  • How long do you wish for this bag to sustain you?
  • If you’re thinking a week or two then adding a bunch of freeze dried food might help.
  • If you’re thinking longer than a means to obtain food as in hunting, trapping, fishing or foraging is going to be more of a priority
  • Why do you believe you will need this bag? (Often people overlook the reasons why they chose to do things and simply do them because someone said they needed it.  If you don’t know why you need it, how can you know what you need it for?)
  • How soon do you think you need to obtain this bag?
  • If you need it immediately, a basic bag full of the recommended items might be your choice
  • If you feel like you might be able to take some time to tweak this to best fit your needs then you could start with basics and shift things as you try it out.

All of these questions are things to think about when thinking about your BOB… think on this scenario…you are planning a new car purchase!  You do your homework and check the ratings on some of your favorites.  You decided on what you can afford and how you plan to make this decision.  Should you not spend some time looking at all the options when it comes to something that could save your life?

Take the time to research which water filter will give you the best results for your area and your needs, don’t just take my word for it that life straw, for example, will do it for you.  Have you ever tried drinking the water that is purified with the tablets or eaten the freeze dried meals?  I highly recommend you give it a try.  Have you ever trapped a squirrel, butchered and skinned it for dinner?  No? Maybe before you decide this is your options you should see if it is TRULY an option.  I do believe anyone given the time and motivation can do such things but why wait until you’re starving to decide to figure this out?  In this case, it is probably a good idea to have a means to trap that squirrel but also maybe a few MREs or freeze dried meals to tide you over.

My thoughts are that there are enough lists out there and I will send you to some of the best so I won’t bother to give you just one more list but more like the ideas and motivation to create one of your own.  In the situation of the squirrel having a little of both the means to hunt and a meal while learning this skill could help you bridge the gap between our comfy lives now and the harsh reality of what may be if we need this bag! 

A few comfort items might be a good idea as well, I have friends who hike… Like for months sort of living off the land but me???  Well, I like my chocolate and such so my bag might have a few candy bars in it just to stave off the shock of things.  And improvise!!!  I have a few large contractor bags in my pack and let me give you only a few of the reasons why…

  • It could protect me from the rain
  • I can use one cut into a single sheet as a shelter
  • I can gather water in it
  • I can set that water in the sunshine and heat it up to clean up with
  • Placing my food items in it with paracord I can suspend them in a tree for safety.
  • I can sleep on it to keep me off a wet ground
  • I can use it to place items into a cache for later if I had to travel light and they could stay dry.

This list could go on and on but this is but a simple item I carry that could prove useful and not one most list will have on it.  By using the heavy contractor bags the plastic is thick enough to withstand some serious usage and the weight in my bag is negligible.

As long as you keep in mind the basic needs for survival, water, shelter, security, and food all other things like sleep and energy come naturally…building your bag will not only give you a useful survival tool but you will be uniquely familiar with its contents and know how to use them.

These things here are but a few considerations when deciding on what you choose to do but also the EDC (Ladies you won’t want to miss this part! coming soon), 72 hours, Get Home bag, Auto kit, Med kit and others so tune into SurvivingDystopia on Prepper Podcast for great info each week!

And now for your lists!

One of my favorite sites for information is often found at Graywolfsurvival.com they have a great BOB list in the ultimate 25lb bug out bag

I thought Survivalsullivan.com/154-bug-out-bag-essentials-open-list was fairly comprehensive and in list form

Check out the Bugoutchannel.com for some great videos on the bug out bag.ParagraphStart with the building block of all narrative.

DJ Cooper
DJ Cooper

Post apocalyptic fiction author and Executive Producer for POSH Prepper Podcast