Bug Out Bag (BOB) Guide, Gear List, and Checklist [2023]

Bug Out Bag (BOB) Guide, Gear List, and Checklist

This is a dynamic bug out bag guide curated by all of our authors for preppers both new and experienced. It is constantly being updated with up-to-date and accurate information, so please check back frequently for updates.

When you need to evacuate your home you won’t have much time. Hopefully, you’ve planned for this exact situation and have a bug out bag for each family member to grab and go.

If not, you’ve found the right place. We’ve cultivated the most comprehensive bug out bag guide on the web to get you ready to survive whatever is thrown your way. With gear suggestions fitting any budget, in-depth reviews and comparisons for all survival gear we suggest, and downloadable or printable checklists- we have your bug out bag covered.

Contents (Jump to a Section)

What is a Bug Out Bag?

Bug out bags, also known as 72-hour bags or Go bags, are used to bug out (relocate) from your home. Survival tools, food, and water are the cornerstones of these kits that are designed to sustain you as you execute your emergency plan.

They are individual kits, meaning that even in a family, you spread food and water storage across each person’s bug out bag rather than storing it all in one or two large kits. There are many varieties and variations of bug out bags – but they all are built with survival on the go in mind.

Bug Out Bag Essentials

These are the essential items that most experts agree are needed in a bug out bag. Further down in this guide we list out what we suggest but do not consider essential. Those items are good for specific situations, but the following gear is needed as a bare minimum:

The Bug Out Bag:

The bag itself needs to hold all of the essential gear and any other survival gear you deem necessary. Weight and volume can become an issue with smaller bags, plus you will want to pack your bag like a professional backpacker.

Safety BOB Essentials:

Self-defense is always a high priority, and that priority is easily supported as crime historically increases drastically during widespread disasters. Even during non-emergencies, security, and self-protection consistently shows up as the top focus of most risk analysis.

Fire & Light BOB Essentials:

As you don’t want to be rendered useless for half of the day while it is dark, having light sources available and the ability to create fire are both important. Besides seeing, you’ll need fire sources to stay warm, cook food, and purify water.

Water BOB Essentials:

Food BOB Essentials:

Communication BOB Essentials:

Shelter & Clothing BOB Essentials:

Hygiene & First Aid BOB Essentials:

Documents & Navigation BOB Essentials:

Miscellaneous BOB Essentials:

Suggested Additions for Your Bug Out Bag

This gear may not be essential by definition, but adding any of these to your bug out bag will improve your bag’s versatility for even more situations.

Extra Supplies for a Bug Out Bag

Essentials and suggested additions have been covered, so this is the area will you will find everything else that could be useful for your bug out bag. These extra supplies will help you in very specific situations, are less versatile, and may take up a lot of space. Even still, they could be the difference makers in an emergency- so it could pay off to consider adding these.

The Full Bug Out Bag Checklist

A perfect bug out bag doesn’t exist- what is right for you depends on your situation and risk tolerance. That said, we have as close to perfect of a starting point for you: our comprehensive checklist.

Our checklist is available as both a pdf download and as a Google Sheet/Excel file where you can check off items yourself, and even add and subtract items from the checklist.

Bug Out Bag Checklist PDF/Excel

Bug Out Bag Printable PDF Checklist

If you are looking for the simplest way to print and use the checklist above, download our printable PDF version. It is two pages long on 8.5″ x 11″ paper and makes creating a bug out bag extremely easy. Once you open the bug out bag PDF checklist in your browser, you can either print it directly or save it through your browser.

Bug Out Bag Checklist Excel / Google Sheet

If you are looking for a comprehensive way to track your bug out bag contents, open our Excel / Google Sheet version. The sheet is sharable, and you just need to copy it to your own Google Sheet account or download it to excel to edit it. We also keep the best-reviewed item for each category linked to simplify shopping for any equipment you may find yourself missing.

Bug Out Bag Variations

There are a few variations of bug out bags designed for different functions:

Bug Out Bag

There are also variations that focus on individuals and pets:

The main point is that you can make a bug out bag for anyone, any situation, and for any length of time. Bug out plans are meant to bring you versatility, and the wide variety of kits you can build using the plan reflects this.

The Next Step

Now that you have completed a bug out bag and are ready to be prepared on the go, you can take it up one notch further.

You won’t always have the luxury of being nearby your survival kit or even your bug out bag. That is where Every Day Carry comes into play. Just a few extra items combined with some situational awareness can allow you to be prepared for many situations at any given time. Follow our EDC guide here: Every Day Carry.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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Bug Out Bag Guide