How to Make a Bug Out Bag




Every day we have an increasing need to learn how to survive should the worst happen. Whether it be a natural disaster or an invading country, having resources available to you is one of the most important assets you could have. Preparation is key, whether or not there is immediate danger. In this instructable, I will show you how to put together a lightweight bug out bag that gives you a good opportunity to survive on the move. Please check out my YouTube channel Alpha & Omega Survival School for survival videos and much more!

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Step 1: The Pack

The pack I used for my BOB is a SOG Hydration pack. It includes a water bladder that stores in a pocket against the back of the pack. It is lightweight and has plenty of storage pockets and storage area for a lightweight BOB. By lightweight I mean from 0 to 25 pounds. There are compression straps on the side and underneath the pack. These can be used to keep the contents of the pack secured or to attach a small backpackers tent. The major con of this pack is it has a tactical look...maybe not the best in encounters with unfriendlies. If you can find an urban looking pack that has plenty of space I would recommend that too. But this pack works well...wouldn't you agree?

Step 2: Outer Attachments

On the outside of my pack, I have:

1) a lightweight but heavy duty carabiner
2) a 5000 mah solar power bank
3) 2 high lumen torches with military sheaths
4) 2 solar powered G-Shock time pieces
5) Gerber Gator folding knife
6) Leatherman Supertool 300 Multitool
7) Small pouch containing a small sharpening stone
8) 4 ALICE clips (attaches multitool and Gerber to the pack)

It is very important to have some items on the exterior of your pack for easy access. Having a blade and a Multitool on the outside of the pack in an emergency will keep you from needing to stop or slow down and fish through you bag if you need it quickly. The same goes for the small stone. My primary stone is inside the bag. The watches are solar powered and water resistant as is the power bank. These are on the exterior for obvious reasons... The sun. The torches are also a frequently needed item and they attach very nice to the Molly on the pack. The ALICE clips currently hold the Leatherman and the Gerber, however, I commonly carry the Multitool as part of my EDC so I could potentially use the extra clips to attach any added gear or supplies. The carabiner conveniently fits on the outside and can be send for anything from an extra handle on the pack to attaching heavier items.

Step 3: Outer Small Pocket

If your bag has an outer small pocket, you might include items such as I have in mine. They are small (obviously), and would need to be easily accessed. My outer small pocket contains:

1) Gerber BG watertight Ferro Rod and striker with a small whistle attached with some shock cord
2) 2 water resistant containers that hold my primary 18650 torch batteries.
3) An Multitool including a fork, spoon and can opener
4) an Engineer lensatic compass
5) 2 small pocket mirrors with blaze orange cases
6) a small bit/driver set
7) a small bottle of hand sanitizer
8) a small bottle of gorilla glue
9) an extra mouthpiece for the water bladder
10) Chapstick

The torch batteries are not kept in the torches in order to avoid possible corroding and the subsequent ruining of the internal workings of the torches. The orange containers are simply Coleman match containers! 1$ each at Walmart!

Step 4: Outer Mid Sized Pocket

The outer mid sized pocket contents are:

1) a 5x7 foot tarp with drawstring pouch
2) a roll of black electrical tape
3) a roll of cloth athletic tape
4) 3 spare 18650 batteries in water resistant cases
5) a Doan magnesium bar
6) a fair amount of 550 paracord (not walmarts cord)
7) small bag of assorted sized ranger bands
8) 2 pens and 2 pencils
9) a small weatherproof notebook
10) a water resistant tin containing fire starting materials
11) 2 gallon sized ziploc bags

Step 5: Secondary Large Pocket

In the second largest pocket, I include:

1) a small packet of credit card sized fresnel lenses
2) a pack of playing cards
3) an altoids tin containing matches and a striker
4) my altoids tin survival kit (check out my 'ables on it!!!)
5) a leather knife strop for fine tuning my blade
6) my primary sharpening stone (double sided fine cut with diamond inlay etc etc)
7) Mora Light my fire Knife with Ferro Rod in the handle with sheath
8) S&W tanto fixed blade with sheath
9) Schrade extreme survival knife with fire kit inside the handle
10) American flag patch on Schrade sheath can be used as a notifier to others that you are friendly

The playing cards are to help pass the time and lighten the mood. This is key to survival. There is no need to worry yourself to death. Columbus' men made cards from leaves to pass the time when they came to America. Why not have a deck with you when you're surviving? The Schrade is not a cheapo knife that will break like the ones from harbor freight. It is drop forged from a single piece of steel and the handle is waterproof.

Step 6: Primary Large Pocket

In the largest pocket, I keep items such as:

1) first aid kit (also contains toothbrush/paste, water purification tablets, bug spray, etc)
2) 3 sets of everlast hand wraps
3) bandana
4) 3 smoke bombs
5) camo bible
6) large weatherproof notebook
7) 2 dry bags
8) metal canteen
9) fatwood shavings
10) metal cup
11) Bic lighter
12) perma match waterproof lighter
13) fire piston with 3 bags of char cloth
14) Pack of clove cigarettes (for trading)
15) hand saw

The hand wraps are for boxing gloves but could be used to secure a broken arm, etc.

Step 7: First Aid Kit Add Ons

I'm going to spare you since this 'able is long enough... These are the add ons to my first aid kit, which I purchased from Walmart. The list of the included contents can be found online.

Here are the items I added to it:

1) mini roll of gorilla tape
2) pack of diamond paper matches
3) tube of 100% deet bug spray
4) bug spray towelettes
5) mini toothpaste tube
6) collapsible toothbrush
7) water purification tablets
8) Bic lighter
9) candle
10) Chapstick
11) tissues
12) Anti diarrheal pills

Step 8: Hope You Enjoyed!

Before I get bombarded in the comments, I'd like to say that I will be adding food items such as clif bars or jerky to my bag in the near future. Food is important but knowledge is even more important. I am a hunter and a gatherer. I know enough about edible and medicinal plants to sustain myself for a little while. I study my field guides and I know my local area. I highly recommend building your own bag rather than copying mine or anyone else's. Make your bag your own. The essentials will be the same, but you may choose some different items than I have.

Thanks so much for reading and please comment and check out my YouTube channel Alpha & Omega Survival School!!



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    63 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Me thinks...
    "Unfriendlies"?!! "Be prepared"?!! For what? in case of an invasion? Well, which country do you live? Invasions dont happen suddenly, like rainstorms happen in some countries.

    A proposal: If you are worrying for a foreign invasion, the correct thing to do is to tell other people, discuss it with them and... But you can't worry for an invasion without a specific reason. It is silly, and naive. It is more telling for you rather than the political conditions.

    A proposal: If you are worrying for an invasion, act politically, tell other people and suggest that the country should prepare. **The country should prepare**, with all the many, or few, resources available to the state. Not one person completely separated from the others and in a selfish way. Again, this is more telling about the width and the depth of your political perceptions, rather than informative about the real world.

    A proposal: Act politically: this means:
    -- speak publicly: articles in newspapers, the internet, speak to a radio, etc
    -- act publicly: call for a public meeting and present your case. If you find many people, organize a demonstration. Propose to organize a group, an organization.

    In the US, more than elsewhere, "be prepared" its just a silly playground, a replacement and a first naive step in the absence of any other political thought.


    4 years ago

    "camo bible" ???

    How about a book on first aid or field craft instead ??

    I have a great book from my scouting days that shows all kinds of great things you can make with items found in nature, like shelters, ways to filter water, traps, etc...

    Why bother with something like a bible... and in camo to boot ??

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    Faith, like anger or love, can be a powerful motivator. Sometimes carrying a totem can give you the courage you need to go and do something dumb. Just ask all those fly-boys, jar heads and grunts with pictures of their sweethearts adorning their lockers.

    zoran popovici

    4 years ago

    I would be careful about the advice I give when it comes to situations where someone`s life could depend on it.

    In your BOB I see a lot of redundancies and a lot of missing item are necessary for an urban or wilderness bug out scenario.

    I can n`t figure out why you have 3 fixed blade, one pocket knife, a multi tool, a second multi tool, two watches, two torches, countless ways to make a fire, cammo bible, as if weight is not an issue but you don`t have a sleeping bag or at least a blanket, spare clothing, a map because your compass is worthless without it, an ax or wood saw, and the list can go on.

    I see somebody without experience, pretending to be some sort of Survival School, giving poor advice which can be taken for good by someone with even less experience.

    1 reply
    4WantofaNailzoran popovici

    Reply 4 years ago

    No reason to berate the guy... Everyone has the capability to use good judgment. If nothing more, this might be a good spring board for someone else's journey toward preparedness. Everyone's got to start somewhere. Cheers and welcome to the community.


    4 years ago

    Great pack design, content,etc.
    However I may suggest keeping fewer items on the outside of your bag as having visible gear makes you a target to unfriendlies


    4 years ago

    There is something that you can do to alleviate the tactical look somewhat. The desert tan is probably the biggest indicator that is has a tactical look. What a lot of people don't know is that you can spray paint fabric. If you get a flat black paint that is designed for both metal and plastic then you can paint that bag and it will look good and it will last.

    I have some flat black camouflage non reflective Krylon paint that has Fusion technology so that it will stick to plastic. Because the synthetic fibers in most backpack bags are essentially a type of plastic. By using flat it will not peel or look weird. You could test it on an inconspicuous area, but I know it will work because I've spray painted a lot of fabric over the years.

    You should first wipe the bag down with a rag dampened with acetone or MEK and then immediately wipe it with a dry one, to clean it and promote good adhesion. Just make sure you do it in a lot of thin coats instead of one or two thick coats. And don't hold the can too far back or it will go on too dry and won't adhere well.

    Shake the can for a little more than a minute, I usually go a good two minutes and hold it about 12 inches from the bag, and always keep the nozzle perpendicular to the bag, don't do arc like strokes. If you spray paint while moving your hand like an arc like most people do then that is incorrect. It will have you shooting most of the paint where it hits at an angle, which is wrong.

    Also to prevent runs, have the can moving before you press the button and let off the button while the can is still moving. I'm a professional paint sprayer so I know what I'm talking about.

    You could do other colors to make it look extra non tactical, but black is a good choice because it is still stealthy but at the same time there are a lot of book bags and camping bags that are black so it doesn't scream tactical. I have my sons old Swiss Gear book bag, which is black and I've been thinking about making it into a bug out bag. It's not huge but it still has good capacity and it won't get too heavy and it's not too bulky.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    I hear the "no tactical look!" line a lot (and I bought a normal non-molle, bright red pack partially for that reason, though its not really a BOB as it is a big "man purse"). That said, I don't think the tactical look is really a bad thing much anymore simply because its become so *common*. I see them *all* the time now, especially in Coyote, Desert Tan, and OD green (with the occasional multicam). Woodland or any of the issue digitals (marine or ACU) do tend to stand out and scream "military" but I very rarely see those. I think the hipsters have gravitated to the MOLLE style gear recently, especially in the colors I listed and that accounts for the great increase in MOLLE style bags I'm seeing (you can also find MOLLE style bags for sale through non-tactical websites and stores now, again, hipsters. lol).


    Reply 4 years ago

    you can also buy rain covers for packs, spray them any color you want , add a loop or two so foliage can be added and the any pack regardless of the original color can be used. And without the cover not so menacing. He seems a bit light on with his solar charged battery pack, if you do the math it take about 3 days of GOOD sunlight to charge them, I'm working on an additional wind powered generator ie motor with blades to go with my solar. Also one thing people seem to overlook is intelligence gathering. A lot of groups will be running around with CBs, there will be 1st responder chatter sometimes un-encoded, amateur radio and maybe even broadcast radio. A small radio scanner with a list of commonly used frequencies will some times give a bigger picture, use head/ear phones to increase the battery life.


    4 years ago

    Yes tbh you guys, I don't give a crap about the concealed part. In an emergency situation or when you have the need to bug out, no one is going to care if you have a permit or not.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    Police might care. It is always wise to have your paperwork in order since you do not know the circumstances of the situation. Sitting in a jail cell is no way to survive a disaster.

    R Jordan

    4 years ago

    I would suggest getting a concealed carry permit and getting yourself a sidearm. Someone suggested a .22 but that isn't going to be enough unless you plan on waisting a lot of bullets. I would suggest a .40 or a 9 mil. Shop around and see what you like. A long range weapon wouldn't hurt either.

    3 replies
    evacoxR Jordan

    Reply 4 years ago

    I would think that if it is an extreme case, you wouldn't need a concealed weapon; the more visable the better.


    Reply 4 years ago

    This is a common misconception. You want it concealed until you are personally threatened. Then you pull it out. Otherwise you risk someone shooting you as a threat, or to get your gun.

    RusznicR Jordan

    Reply 4 years ago

    Wasting what bullets? You mean shooting someone until they drop dead? 0.22 is perfectly enough to deter anyone in bug out situation. It is the lightest and most common across the world.


    4 years ago

    Uh you're way, way better off putting a pack of normal cigarettes in there if you really feel like the space is best used for that. My best guess is that 1-3% of smokers will touch a clove no matter how desperate they are.

    3 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    Not really, then you introduce another item (rolling papers) that has to be scrounged. And since we're talking about bartering I wouldn't even put myself in the situation to barter with someone who's desperate for alcohol, whereas someone desperate for a cigarette isn't dangerous or unpredictable.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Coffee would be a far better choice, or even coffee candy. Only 25% of the general population are smokers, and preppers I hope are 100% non-smokers.