In a world where unexpected emergencies and natural disasters can strike at any moment, being prepared is key to ensuring your survival.
As a survivalist, having a bug-out bag ready with essential items is crucial for facing unforeseen challenges head-on.
While you may have put together many of the fundamental necessities like food, water purification tablets, and first aid supplies in your bug-out bag already, it’s easy to overlook some critical items that could greatly enhance your chances of surviving and thriving during an emergency situation.
In this article, we will explore 16 often overlooked but important items that all survivalists should consider including in their bug-out bags to help ensure that you are best prepared going forward.
Let’s dive in.
A multitool is an essential item that should be included in every bug-out bag. It is a compact and versatile tool that takes up little space, making it perfect for emergency situations. Look for a multitool that is made from high-quality materials to ensure durability.
The tool should include a sharp knife for cutting rope or other materials, pliers to help with any necessary repairs, screwdrivers for fixing equipment, and a saw blade for cutting through small branches if needed.
Having a multitool in your bug-out bag will provide you with the necessary tools to tackle a variety of tasks, such as setting up camp, repairing gear, or building makeshift tools.
2. Duct Tape
Duct tape is known as the ultimate quick fix, and having some in your bug-out bag can be a literal lifesaver. This versatile adhesive tape can be used to repair torn clothing, fix gear, secure shelter, or even create emergency splints for injuries.
Look for high-quality duct tape that is strong and tear-resistant. It’s compact and lightweight so it won’t take up much space in your bug-out bag, but it can provide endless possibilities when it comes to emergency repairs.
3. Water Filter
In a survival situation, having a source of clean drinking water is crucial for your health and well-being.
While you can carry some water bottles with you, they won’t last forever. That’s where a portable water filter comes in handy.
Getting a water filter that is capable of removing bacteria, protozoa, and other microorganisms from freshwater sources like rivers or streams is a no-brainer. Compact and lightweight options that fit easily into your bug-out bag are ideal.
A sturdy rope-like paracord is an essential item in any bug-out bag. This lightweight and durable cord can be used for a wide range of purposes, such as setting up shelters, creating traps or snares, securing gear for your backpack, and building emergency tools like fishing lines or bow drills for starting fires.
Look for paracords that have at least 7 inner strands, which you can use individually when finer cords are needed. Having several feet of this versatile cord on hand could prove invaluable in survival situations.
Creating fire from scratch is not easy without the right tools, especially during emergencies where warmth and cooking methods become necessary to survive outdoors successfully. That’s why having a reliable firestarter in your bug-out bag is essential.
Consider options like waterproof matches, windproof lighters, or ferrocerium rods that can create sparks even in wet conditions. Additionally, consider including some tinder (such as cotton balls soaked with petroleum jelly) to help get the fire going more easily.
6. Emergency Blanket
Keeping warm and protected against harsh elements is crucial during survival situations, making an emergency blanket a must-have item in your bug-out bag. These lightweight blankets are designed to retain body heat and provide insulation even in extreme conditions.
An emergency blanket, also known as a space blanket or thermal blanket, is typically made of thin but durable material that reflects heat back to the body. Its lightweight and compact design allows you to easily carry it in your bug-out bag without taking up much space.
Mylar Emergency Blankets are the most common type of emergency blankets available in a compact size. They usually feature a shiny metallic surface on one side to reflect your body’s radiant heat back towards you.
7. First Aid Kit
In emergencies or disasters, injuries can happen unexpectedly, making a well-stocked first aid kit an essential item in your bug-out bag.
Good first aid kits should include items such as adhesive bandages of different sizes to cover cuts and scrapes effectively, antiseptic wipes to clean wounds and prevent infections, and sterile gauze pads for dressing burns or larger wounds with proper hygiene.
Other important supplies to have in the kit are tweezers, which can be used to remove splinters or foreign objects, scissors for cutting tape and other materials, over-the-counter pain relievers to address minor aches and pains, and antihistamines if you have allergies that may flare up during an emergency situation.
Lastly, make sure the first aid kit is organized, waterproofed, and properly labeled so all items are easily accessible when necessary.
8. Headlamp or Flashlight
Reliable lighting is essential for navigating in the dark and performing tasks with accuracy. A headlamp or flashlight should be included in your bug-out bag to ensure you have a source of light whenever needed.
A headlamp offers the advantage of leaving your hands free while providing illumination, as it can be worn on your head using an adjustable strap. A model that offers different brightness settings and angles so you can adjust it based on specific needs, such as reading maps or cooking food at night, is ideal.
If you prefer a handheld option, consider including a compact and durable flashlight in your bug-out bag, then look for flashlights with high lumens (brightness) and long battery life. LED lights are recommended due to their energy efficiency and durability.
9. Portable Stove
Having the ability to cook and boil water can significantly increase your chances of survival in a bug-out situation. Including a portable stove in your bag ensures that you have access to hot meals, clean drinking water, and the ability to purify potentially contaminated sources.
The best ones are lightweight and compact stoves that are easy to assemble, operate with fuel efficiency (such as high-efficiency gas or wood-burning stoves), and are resilient enough for outdoor use. Some models even come with built-in windshields or pot supports, which help optimize cooking performance by minimizing heat loss.
10. Water Proof Matches
Building upon the mention of a firestarter earlier, it’s important to consider including waterproof matches or another reliable fire-starting tool in your bug-out bag. These tools will come in handy during wet or damp conditions when regular matches may fail to ignite.
Waterproof matches are typically enclosed in a waterproof container, while other options like ferrocerium rods produce sparks that can start fires even in adverse weather.
It’s crucial to have a reliable means of starting a fire as it provides warmth and comfort on cold nights. It also allows for cooking food and water purification through boiling. Not only that, the item can also be a lifesaver in situations where you need to stay warm or signal for help.
11. Maps and Compass
In an emergency situation where GPS or other electronic devices may not be available (EMP for example or if you forgot to pack), having physical maps and a compass is crucial for navigation. Including detailed topographic maps of the area you plan to navigate through is essential as they provide useful information on terrain, water sources, trails, and potential hazards.
A reliable compass should also be included in your bug-out bag to help determine direction accurately when navigating through unfamiliar territories. Learn how to use a compass properly by understanding north-south-east-west orientation along with basic map-reading skills.
Having maps and a compass as part of your bug-out bag ensures that even in situations where technology fails or is unavailable, you have the necessary tools to find your way and reach your intended destination.
A lightweight whistle is a small but important item to include in your bug-out bag. In emergency situations, especially if you find yourself lost or injured, a whistle can be an effective tool for attracting attention and signaling for help.
A high-pitched sound produced by blowing into the whistle carries much farther than shouting alone. It allows you to conserve energy while increasing your chances of being heard by rescue teams or other people nearby.
Choose one made from materials such as stainless steel or durable plastic that can withstand outdoor conditions. It is also beneficial to opt for a whistle with multiple chambers, which can create distinctive sounds and increase the chances of being noticed.
13. Energy Bars and High-Calorie Snacks
In a bug-out situation, it’s important to have access to food that is lightweight, compact, nutritious and has a long shelf life. Including energy bars or high-calorie snacks in your bug-out bag can provide you with the necessary sustenance during times when accessing regular meals may be challenging.
Choose energy bars that are specifically designed for survival situations – they should be dense in calories yet packed with nutrients to keep you energized and satisfied. Look for options that contain a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats in order to provide sustained energy.
These bars should also be individually packaged or sealed securely to prevent spoilage or contamination. Additionally, consider including other high-calorie snacks like nuts, dried fruits, or jerky that provide a good balance of protein and healthy fats.
These items can serve as quick and convenient sources of sustenance during challenging times.
14. Emergency Cash
An often overlooked item in bug-out bags is emergency cash, but it can be incredibly valuable during survival situations. In some scenarios, electronic payment methods may not be accessible due to power outages or disruptions in the banking system.
Carrying small denominations of bills in your bug-out bag allows for convenience when purchasing with limited resources. Emergency cash also provides flexibility in unpredictable situations, enabling you to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.
It’s important to keep this cash hidden and secure within your bag while also considering various scenarios – such as power outages or retail establishments only accepting cash during emergencies.
15. Personal Hygiene Items
While it’s easy to focus on survival essentials, personal hygiene items are often overlooked in bug-out bags. However, maintaining good hygiene is important for both physical health and morale during prolonged emergency situations.
Include travel-sized toiletries such as toothpaste, a toothbrush, soap or hand sanitizer (for cleaning hands), shampoo/conditioner packets(if needed)& others like wet wipes(for quick bathing)or menstrual products (if relevant).
These simple yet essential items can help preserve good health by preventing the spread of bacteria and maintaining cleanliness. Proper oral hygiene can also help prevent dental issues that could arise from neglecting dental care.
16. Emergency Shelter
Having a reliable and portable shelter option is essential for protecting yourself from the elements and providing much-needed comfort at night or during inclement weather.
Consider including lightweight options such as an emergency tent, tarp, or bivvy sack in your bug-out bag. These can provide protection against rain, wind, and potentially extreme temperatures, even if you have limited materials on hand to construct makeshift shelters.
An emergency shelter ensures you have a safe and secure place to rest, seek refuge from harsh weather conditions, or maintain privacy in survival situations. This item can provide both physical protection and a sense of psychological comfort during challenging times.
A well-prepared bug-out bag is crucial for every survivalist. While there are certain staple items like food, water, and medical supplies that should always be included, it’s important not to overlook the often forgotten but equally essential items.
While it’s easy to focus on the basic necessities, it’s equally important not to overlook the often-forgotten items that can greatly enhance your chances of survival.
Remembering all necessary elements can make the difference between thriving during challenging times rather than just surviving them. So carefully selecting, purchasing, and packing supplies suited to individual scenarios increases odds against uncertainties.