Introduction: Bugout Bag 101

Picture of Bugout Bag 101

Let's start building that bag!

Step 1: Purchase a Suitable Pack.

Picture of Purchase a Suitable Pack.

I got this one at wallyworld for $40.00. It's the big one.

Step 2: While You're at It...

Picture of While You're at It...

Grab a waist pack and some small packs as well. Turn around and look at the camping stuff. Get some 8hr candles, water purification tabs., mosquitoe vail, solar blanket, matches and water proof case, 2l water bladder, extra bite valves, 1" qd clasps, 20l dry bag. Mosie on over to the craft isle and get some paracord clasps (need 4, sold in sets of 4), paracord, upholstery needles and embroidery thread.

Step 3: Hit the Pharmacy Isles for This Stuff.

Picture of Hit the Pharmacy Isles for This Stuff.

I got the first aid kit from my local grocery store cheaper than wally world. Don't forget stuff like aspirin, ibuprofen and Tylenol. All 3.

Step 4: Now for the Packs.

Attach clasps to top of waist pack as well as bottom of back pack using some paracord and sew the knots with the embroidery thread doubled.

Step 5: Take a Trip to Your Local Harbor Freight for Some Essentials.

Picture of Take a Trip to Your Local Harbor Freight for Some Essentials.

pepper spray, hatchet, gloves, scissors, machete, magnesium starter, miners light.

Step 6: Surplus Store Time.

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Grab yourself some light sticks - 6 (yellow is easier to read by and produces best light), parachord (100' mil-spec), fleece balaclava and a camping stove (not pictured here).

Step 7: Tarp and Spikes

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I got tent spikes, 9 from Wal-Mart and a blue tarp 7x9 from H.F. for cheap.

Step 8: Let's Organize All This Stuff Into Ziploc Bags. Medical, Fire, Fishing/hunting. Etc...

Picture of Let's Organize All This Stuff Into Ziploc Bags. Medical, Fire, Fishing/hunting. Etc...

Step 9: Keep Up With the Dates.

Keep up with the dates on your meds and other dated items. You must always keep your bag up to date.

Step 10: Pack That Bag!

Pack that bag with thermal socks(3-4 pair), long johns, briefs, personal hygiene supplies, pants, shirts, 1 pair extra shoes and double check everything. Good luck and always keep your bugout bag with you.


steveofthenw (author)2014-04-09

Finally! A Bug Out Bag that DOESN'T include a big-assed handgun. These freaks on the Youtube & such always build their bag around an item that only does one thing: people-killin'. Should be called a "Start Something Bag". Can't use it for hunting; can't get close enough to game to hit it accurately. Don't really want to shoot a bear with it; it'll just piss it off.

If you must include a firearm in your BOB, all you really need is a Henry AR7; it breaks down into its (floating) shoulder stock & you can carry lots of 22 Stingers to hunt small game with, if that's your bag.

Dr.Webb (author)steveofthenw2016-09-25

surprise you knew what a Henry survival gun is. The handgun is for one purpose self-defense. Many animals are aggressive such as wolves, dogs, deer, wait any animal that find you in their territory. Self-defense doesn't mean killing.

BeardcraftS (author)2015-08-18

Why is everyone flipping out over the knife? It's a harbor freight bug out bag people, they don't sell Cuda or Benchmade knives there. A knife is better than no knife.

tiunkabouter (author)2015-07-17

you do realize that you don't have a full tang knife?

I use a glock FM-78 wich is about the same size/price only a way better quality.

I've had a "survival" knife that wasn't full tang and it broke in half after a week, while the glock knife takes brutal abuse for 2 years now and is still sort of sharp.

and with a molle bag you might want to look into dominators and grimlocks, I'm in love with them, I can now tie almost anything to my bag.

Cressers (author)2015-06-13

I'd suggest an olive green or earth tone colour for your tarp. In addition if you are reliant on spectacles or reading glasses have a spare pair in their case in your bag, along with a lens cloth and lens cleaning wipes.

SparkySolar (author)2014-10-19

Thank you for your Instructable

Nice job.


mcb0501 (author)2014-05-25

I am going to make this bag when I get the supplies to make it. It looks awesome . Good job!

graypeddler (author)2014-05-25

One item left out of all bug out bags is two step epoxy. For the broken handles of knives and lots of other stuff + some crazy glue also. Just a tip.

th3_v1k1ng (author)2014-05-11

nice pack...
only thing to add is to go with your pain meds.... and thats anti diarrhoea meds and antacid tablets.. tums, rennie... some other uses for those 2 as well.

Check out something called SUGRU.. thats something new that I stick in all my packs, and I carry several on motorbike.. "just in case"..

Locomiguel (author)2014-05-04

Complements on an excellent Job. First and foremost you have stated something that most do not: Keep up with the dates. Expiration dates are important and should be logged on the contents list in the bag and some where for followup. In today's world it can be an old fashioned calendar, An electronic calendar on a computer, tablet or cell phone, and should be placed on a tag on the outside of the bag. Second you have provided a bag that is within every ones price range. As you patently understand, there are differences between a Survival Kit, a Bug Out Bag, and a Bushcraft Bag, even though the terms are frequently used interchangeably. As you state in step ten, the bug out bag should be kept available at all times. That means packed and inventory complete and only used for a specific purpose. Cheap is good. The only thing I would add would be some kind of carborundum sharpening stone not unlike the one that was used by the Boy Scouts back in the dark ages when I was a member or a round Lawn Mower hand sharpener like the lansky puck. Something with two grits preferred, but even a small file will do. Even if a knife breaks off the handle you can retouch it in such a manner that it could be attached to a different handle. I would agree with tanzer26 that if one is going out and buying them, the kind of shears that we used to call "penny cutters" (because they would cut a penny in half) but are now called EMT Shears would be good, although for 99 cents with light duty in mind, why not. Really a great Job.

drkangel319 (author)2014-04-17

Very nicely done, I appreciate that you not only mentioned where to get things for cheaper, but didn't say that this was the only way to go. Yes, there are items that most would agree should be of better quality, but in a pinch, every item you have has multiple uses. I do agree that even if evasion is your goal with this, an item or two that would get someone's attention in an emergency is a good idea.

dirtrydr88 (author)2014-03-30

you can also purchase Kevlar panels custom shaped to your bag (for pistol protection) at

_Who (author)2014-03-29

Ad some navigational items like maps compass etc

_Who (author)2014-03-29

I wouldn't recomend that survival knife thing they are terrible I suggest you invest in a good knife

kbc2 (author)2014-03-27

tactical* store anf got a medium med bag, mainly for my frequent injuries but hooks on the my bugout bag. Good one ! get the feeble minded people aware.

kbc2 (author)2014-03-27

dig it! inexpensive way to start. cheap knife vs expensive knife.... what ever , it gets the job done. like you said... you put together your pack as to be prepared for where you are and/or where you might be heading. i had spent the extra money a while back at a tacktical store

Mattakers (author)2014-03-23

A multi tool with a pair of pliers would be a good addition. Maybe a lifestraw also.

inexpencive multi-tool can he had from te local Home Depot.. along with some other items you may be looking for

SlavicFMJ (author)2014-03-19

I was just thinking about making a bug out bag, so thanks for the tips!

just keep in mind.. you build your bag for your needs.. and remember to keep it updated.. no need for thermals in the summer time.. well unless you want them

TheNinthDoctor (author)2014-03-23

One thing I have found is that you can go cheap in other things, but you should never go cheap on a knife. A knife is better than no knife, however.

mwm2929 (author)2014-03-21

I think this is a great opportunity for everyone to see how easy it really is to be better prepared. Way to go! Some of us started getting ready years ago and have certain things to try and make your setup better, but I think it is great for someone just starting out. That is the whole point of making an instructable like this, to show how easy it can be and reach more people to save their lives possibly. So I say Great Job!

musicmaneman38 (author)mwm29292014-03-22

Thanks. Some people are hypocritical of some of the items I chose. But, on a budget, dollar stores and places like Walmart and Harbor Freight is the way to go for some quick items.

Mattakers (author)2014-03-20

I believe aspirin, Tylenol and ibuprofen are all the same thing.

musicmaneman38 (author)Mattakers2014-03-20

All different and have different uses. Look them up.

Tanzer26 (author)2014-03-19

Instead of those multi purpose scissors, I'd add a couple of pairs of EMT shears. Lighter, smaller, easier to use and they work better. I'd also add an elastic bandage or similar. Vet wrap ( Tractor Supply Store or place that sells horse tack) would be an option, sticks to itself, no clip or pins needed. You may want to attract attention, so a pealess whi

Tanzer26 (author)Tanzer262014-03-19

wrong button. a pea less whistle and a reflector (old CD) might be handy.

alexmac131 (author)2014-03-17

less weight - use duct tape for first aid, the rambo knife a waste - candles - double up on good folding knifes forget the hatched go with a tree saw

The hatchet takes less energy to use than sawing especially through hard woods. Doubles as an entrenching tool. The machete has a tree saw on the back which works great. As for duct tape. It's good to keep a roll handy but infection kills quickly. I have used the Rambo knife as a spear point.

Shovel69 (author)2014-03-18

Ok, why do you not have a sleeping bag? Also, you didn't include rain gear, a warm layer, or extra socks. And also, I would get a better fixed and pocket knife. Before people me that my suggestions are too expensive, a bug out bag is something you should be willing to survive on, and I wouldn't trust a lot of your items with my life.

musicmaneman38 (author)Shovel692014-03-18

Actually, I did mention socks(3-4 pair). I did include long johns. THERMAL LAYER! Did you read the whole thing? Feel free to pack your bag with as many creature comforts as you want. One doesn't have to spend $500 on a pocket knife to feel secure. As for rain gear... one can make a poncho from the tarp. Pack whatever you want to weigh your pack down. I packed mine to reflect the area I live in. There isn't much need in the Louisiana swamps for coats and sleeping bags.

Fuddmaster (author)2014-03-18

The knife maybe cheap but is better then nothing!

Agreed, it actually has a bad ass saw on the back.

noobatubie87 (author)2014-03-18

that knife is way too cheap. I would look into getting something that won't break on you and we'll stay sharp. good instructable otherwise

ballread (author)2014-03-18

It's got the basics

mehlani (author)2014-03-17

Harbor Freight is awesome!

cwmart (author)2014-03-15

nicely done

joshabgvghn (author)2014-03-15

No whistle or watch?

Evasion is the key. A whistle is for lost hikers. Everyone has a timepiece of some sort.

behindblueyez (author)2014-03-15

I like that you told us where to buy everything. That will really help some people who are less familiar with the gear.

Survivorkidjr (author)2014-03-15

I like it. Good work!

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