The Ultimate Bug Out Bag




I enjoy coming up with ideas for things and then trying to build them. It brings me pleasure.

Wikipedia defines a Bug Out Bag as:

"A bug-out bag is a portable kit that normally contains the items one would require to survive for seventy-two hours, when evacuating from a disaster, however some kits are designed to last longer periods of time than just 72 hours. The focus is on evacuation, rather than long-term survival, distinguishing the bug-out bag from a survival kit, a boating or aviation emergency kit, or a fixed-site disaster supplies kit. The kits are also popular in the survivalism subculture.

The term "bug-out bag" is related to, and possibly derived from, the "bail-out bag" emergency kit many military aviators carry. In the United States, the term refers to the Korean War practice of the U.S. Army designating alternate defensive positions, in the event that the units had to displace. They were directed to "bug out" when being overrun was imminent. The concept passed into wide usage among other military and law enforcement personnel, though the "bail-out bag" is as likely to include emergency gear for going into an emergency situation as for escaping an emergency.

Other names for such a bag are a BOB, 72-hour kit, a grab bag, a battle box, a Personal Emergency Relocation Kits (PERK), a go bag, a GOOD bag (Get Out Of Dodge) or INCHbag (I'm Never Coming Home)."

Well, if all I have to take a bag, or there is two of us and we get two bags, I am going to need more than to survive for 72 hours. If the Zombie Apocalypse, the Zompocalypse, the you know, occurs, I'm betting Rick et al. would be much appreciative of something with a little more than a water bottle and a med kit.

My parameters:

(1) Must be light enough to carry;

(2) Must be compact enough to not getting in the way when in an all-out run;

(3) Must have any and everything I, or a small group, could need to survive.


(1) I will not be alone, at the least, my fiancee will likely be with me, and her bag will contain almost entirely clothes. The bag will thus be lighter in weight and allow her more freedom to move. I do not mean this in anyway saying that men are more fit than women, or anything like that. I am a former Div. I track runner, in the balance, I can take more of the weight. If your companion (assuming 2-person deal here) is the more fit for moving fast person, regardless of gender or age, they should carry this bag, and then you should carry the clothes.

(2) Along the way we would be able to pick up food supplies. Food and water are the first to run out, but with enough water treatment, ways of catching food, and ways of cooking it, the strength comes in the versatility of your supplies and how they move.

NB: Some items are doubled-up on (fire starters, etc.), for those items, in a larger group, would be distributed so that only one is held per person so if there are any issues, at least one of those items survives.

With that, I give you ... The Ultimate Bug Out Bag.

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Step 1: What's Inside

See pictures, here is The List (in no particular order...circular around the main picture):

  1. Dehydrated towelettes
  2. Padded aluminum splint
  3. Seam Seal (repair tents/jackets)
  4. Lumora LED lantern/flashlight
  5. 1-person hammock
  6. Pocket snare trap
  7. Glow sticks
  8. Tarp poncho (nylon)
  9. Mini-bungees
  10. Helpful reading*
  11. Book on identifying edible wildlife of my particular area (color pictures are key)
  12. Microfiber towel (a couple of these)
  13. Pocket SAS Survival Guide
  14. Folding survival stove & fuel pellets
  15. Solar-powered LED flashlight
  16. Hand-crank powered LED flashlight
  17. Camping toilet paper
  18. Waterproof tube vaults
  19. Water
  20. Role of athletic tape
  21. Powerbar (for dire need)
  22. Silk sleeping bag
  23. Chlorine-based water treatment
  24. Mini-crowbar
  25. "Special Forces"-style folding knife
  26. Zipper-pull that hides secret handcuff key
  27. Handcuff shim
  28. Small Bic lighter
  29. Boot knife
  30. Glow-in-the-dark compass
  31. Brass flint wheel sparker
  32. Quickdraws and sling
  33. Collapsible water bottles
  34. Headlamp
  35. LifeStraw (emergency water treatment)
  36. Electrolyte tablets
  37. Additional fuel pellets
  38. Machete (because, you know)
  39. Hand-held slingshot (with additional sling)
  40. Darts for the crossbow
  41. Quik Clot (for blood clotting)
  42. The Emergency Bandage (for stopping serious wounds)
  43. Israeli tourniquet (bandage and tourniquet in one)
  44. Hand-crank radio/flashlight
  45. UST Sparkie fire starter (with magnesium, can start with one hand)
  46. Old school can openers
  47. 200-lbs strength kevlar cord
  48. Adventure Medical UltraLight & Waterproof medical kit
  49. Multi purpose EDC 20 Dram containers
  50. Compact ponchos
  51. Orange gaffers tape rolled up on itself
  52. Bow string wax
  53. Dual threaded lids for dram containers (can interlock 2 containers, as pictured)
  54. BodahPak folding cups
  55. Xtreme tape (silicone stretch wrap)
  56. Fake blood (hey, you never know. for the humor alone it has value)
  57. Self-cocking 80-lbs crossbow
  58. NATO camouflage face paint
  59. Decoy blow-up brain (mainly for humor...the biggest threat we have in an apocalypse is each other...humor diffuses situations)
  60. Survival kit in a sardine can (some fun additionals...can give to that person in your group who is completely unprepared)
  61. Reusable hand warmer (put in boiling water to reset)
  62. Aviation cable key ring (insanely strong)
  63. Pocket knife sharpening tool (a couple of kinds)
  64. Waterproof magnesium/flint fire starter (useful if you are in saltwater areas to prevent damage to use)
  65. Pico grappling hook
  66. Screwz-All 4-in-1 tool ... various screw drivers in compact form
  67. Survival wire saw
  68. Hand chainsaw
  69. Goal Zero Nomad solar charger and accompanying 4 rechargeable AA battery pack. [USB plug included]
  70. **Black molle tactical one-shoulder pack
  71. Grimloc locking molle carabiners
  72. Waterproof sleep bag sack (to store anything that needs to be kept dry)
  73. Homemade beef tallow candles
  74. 2-piece, springless tarp clamps
  75. Another magnesium fire starter
  76. Tea lights wrapped in tinfoil
  77. Eat'N tool (spork & multi tool combined)
  78. Titanium spork
  79. Camping compact cooking pot and bowl [detachable handle]
  80. Mylar sleeping bags
  81. Length of paracord
  82. Fire Fixins fire starter aid
  83. Mosquito head covers
  84. Breacher bar
  85. Deet bug spray
  86. & a NiteCore P12 flashlight

Step 2: The Pack

Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING listed fits inside or onto the pack. It is snug, but not overly bulky.

Plan-B Evac Sling Pack (

Click the link for product specifications, but roomy, can carry a hydration bladder, and numerous details that makes this both lightweight and great for adding small extras and includes molle coverage, 2 small exterior pouches on the back, and different zipper access points for ease of access to items. The bag also has side straps and pockets that fit the machete and crowbar snuggling so an all-out run is possible.

One shoulder strap, but a second connector that comes across from the other side to secure the pack in place. You can change the shoulder side, if desired as well. Very secure clips and connection points.

Weighed fully packed (no water added in hydration bladder): 25 lbs even, without mini-crowbar. Just over 25 lbs with crowbar.

Step 3: Always Improving

There is never a moment where you can no longer improve on what you have.

My goal is for this Instructable to lead to intense discussion on what is deemed extra weight or items to be added.

There are a number of small "survival kits in Altoid tins" or the like that I have seen posted that would be great additions -- though my survival kit in a sardine tin likely has a lot of those (though is a one-time open and was a gift).

Please (1) Vote for my Instructable, but more importantly, (2) Drop a comment, I would love to hear your thoughts. This is the evolved version of the first bug out bag I had, in which I recorded a teardown of it with another enthusiast friend that I will one day post as a podcast, if I can make the time to figure out how to do that.


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    87 Discussions


    2 years ago

    This is a great B.O.B but i´ll stick with my simple B.O.B Mk1


    3 years ago

    Unnecessary and sexist comment. "... my fiancee will likely be with me, and her bag will contain almost entirely clothes."

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    I am a former Div 1 athlete and still train and lift. My wife, now, is amazing, but cannot carry the same weight that I can carry. We hike and camp, we have tested it. Given that the Instructable is for a Bug Out Bag, and one key feature of a Bug Out Bag should be additional clothes, the note was specifically made to make the point that we will have 2 bags, one lighter weight and taking care of the additional clothes need. As one of the aspects of keeping the bag small was speed of travel, as described, the note also is a quick nod that my wife and I would be able to travel quickly with our relative packs.

    I know the urge to try to find sexism and other hate speech is prevalent in the online, and non-online, zeitgeist, but please do not try to add whatever issues you are bringing to what I have created. The note was both necessary, and not sexist. I would whole-heartedly support my wife if she felt the desire to train more rigorously and wanted to then carry the heavier pack or distribute the weight equally. That is not the current case. Sexism would be assuming something about someone based solely on his or her or their gender. All prejudice comes from the assumption about someone else without any actually knowledge of that person.


    3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing the weight. Just for reference, it's just about the same weight as 3 gallons of milk (8.6 lb per gallon). For any significant trekking, that would probably be close to the limit of what many people could carry if they're not in condition. Good idea to load a backpack with weight and start by taking short hikes, gradually increasing the distance to build up stamina. If your bugout bag becomes an impossible burden, it becomes part of the problem.


    4 years ago on Step 3

    Nice setup. You've applied redundancies in the vital areas. I'd suggest a better first-aid kit, as someone mentioned already. I'd also suggest a handgun and ammo. Or perhaps a Henry survival .22 rifle, or something similar. The fake blood and decoy blowup brain are a nice touch.

    4 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    This might come as a shock ... but there are lots of countries were weapons aren't allowed for the general public. Were i live most people have never even seen a real gun.


    Reply 3 years ago

    There's no hunting in Belgium? No critters that could invade a
    campsite? I'd hate to have to carry every morsel of food that we'd need
    for a prolonged bugout or rely on primitive methods like traps.


    Reply 4 years ago

    you can also buy , or make an arrow holder for your slingshot. Not as good as a bow but will work in confined spaces. Depending on your crossbow bolts there may also be a problem getting enough power into them, ie can't fully stretch the "rubber" band. I seemed to have a problem uploading images , but there it is


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I suspected that might be the case for you. I didn't mean anything derogatory with my initial statement. Overall, I think you have an extremely comprehensive survival kit here. Thanks for taking the time to post this!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome suggestions!

    How about a hat, fishing line, lure/jig, toothbrush, gum, hand-sanitizer?

    Also, be sure to put you old pair of prescription glasses in your BOB just in case (if you wear glasses). They may not be good for you now but they'll be better than nothing in an emergency.

    Lastly, socks and sandals that can clip to you bag.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    You can use the towels as a head covering but sunglasses and sunscreen are handy. One question about the beef tallow candles, the only ones I ever encountered did smell when burning. I would not be using them if stealth were required.


    Reply 4 years ago

    The tallow candle is mainly as a backup source of food and emergency candle. Tea lights are also in there, but since tallow is beef fat it allows that emergency from starvation option, and candlelight in a pinch.


    4 years ago

    Neat list good sir. I'm interested in how you've got it all sorted out in your bag as that's a whole heap of items you've got there? Also, no communication? Though I might have missed it. Over all, interesting read. Cheers mate.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Very carefully. Hahahaha. I am working on optimizing the items a little more. Went on a 2 and a half day camp and tested a bunch of the items. Upgraded the water with a new camelbak and an inline (sawyer, I think) mini filter, among others. There is a hand-cranked/solar powered radio but no walkie. Any recommendations on a small enough and useful enough communication device?

    I mainly organized from the inside out, placing outside priority on things that could be potentially needed more frequently, and less likely needed immediate items more inside.


    4 years ago

    I've never had much luck with the survival wire saws, yes I know they do work but they seem to be very prone to breaking. Probably good as bone saws but I prefer the hand chainsaws for wood, as you are also carrying. Also one thing that seems to be overlooked is the actual route you intend going, if there are bridges along the way over large rivers, then the bridges can become choke points. And who can say if free passage will be allowed over these bridges, think robber bands extracting tolls for crossing or military checkpoints under marshall law(US Constitution suspended). You may not get guns past these points, ok if you have some in your cache but until you can get there? to save money maybe you can find some ones cache, look up fluxgate magnetometers and two box detectors.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    Metal/magnetic detectors are a good idea. Do they come in portable? My key for this one was portability and the ability to run while wearing the pack. Updated a bunch recently, and need to repost new gear and what I slimmed down.


    Reply 4 years ago

    The fluxgate I have is abt 1.5m/5ft long. As they use the Earths magnetic field to detect metal they would need to be recalibrated to often to used while running. Cache detectors are a leisurely paced items best used when field trying other items in your bob or surveying for bug out locations. If you did find some ones cache in an area you were considering as a bug out location, then it is probably a good spot just too many people will want it. Best places to bury caches would have to be in the corner of a field/border with wire fencing. Use some bits of burnt rusty wire, dug in shallow, to provide a few false targets. It's not perfect but it will stop casual metal detectorists.


    4 years ago

    Oh and I would also suggest throwing in or replacing one of your knives with a Swiss-Army or "multi-tool" style knife. I'm personally a fan of Leatherman products. Lots of options and quality material. I've got about half a dozen of them.


    4 years ago

    Hey man. Awesome walkthrough. Just a single tip coming from a medical professional; ditch the Quick Clot. It's only really useful if you have access to a hospital level of medical care within a couple hours. Otherwise you run a serious risk of an internal blood clot forming and either cutting off circulation or moving to your heart/lung/brain and causing an embolism (embolism=death). Otherwise, I'm loving this B.O.B.