20 Bug Out Bag Essentials You Definitely Need


If there’s one thing we can take away from the current coronavirus pandemic, it’s that preparation is key to survival. A lot of people are struggling right now because they failed to prepare for such a disaster.  No one really expected a catastrophe of this scale but preppers are generally not as hard hit as other folks. Hopefully, we have all learned our lesson and started stockpiling supplies. We’re not just talking about toilet paper here. Stock up on food, water, and other essentials while also investing in bug out essentials.

To help you build your bug out bag, we’ve listed down some of the items you’ll need in case you have to bug out or evacuate your home. These bug out essentials will help you survive a disaster while waiting for things to go back to normal.



Water Bottle

A person requires one liter of drinking water each day to survive. You need more if the weather is extreme or when you’re doing physical activities. Water is also necessary for food preparation and hygiene.

Experts suggest at least three days’ worth of water in your bug out bag. At one gallon per person per day, you’ll need at least three gallons. Ideally, you should have more but you can only pack so much in your bug out bag. As such, carry as much clean water as you can but make sure you have ways to procure water when your supply runs out.

You need a water bottle that you can easily drink from. It’ll be difficult to drink from a 3-gallon water jug or to constantly fill a cup whenever you need a drink. You can use your portable water bottle to collect water from rain or other sources.

The Pirates Will Be Pirates Water Bottle, available on Redbubble, can carry up to 20 ounces of water. The stainless steel bottle is pretty is lightweight so you shouldn’t have a problem including it in your bug out bag.


Portable Water Filter

In case your water supply runs out, a portable water filter will let you drink from a creek or other not-so-pleasing sources. The Life Straw Personal Water Filter can filter up to 1000 gallons or 4,000 liters of water. That’s equivalent to a year’s worth of drinking water for one person.

This simple yet amazing survival tool allows you to drink directly from your source of water. When you see a river, for example, simply get down on your knees and use the LifeStraw like, you know, a straw. It kills 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of parasites and fine particles to reduce turbidity.

The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is 8.8 inches long and weighs a mere 2 ounces or 57 grams making it one of the best bug out bag essentials around. Take it with you on your outdoor adventures or even during long drives. In fact, you should have one in your everyday carry kit.


Emergency Food

You need food to survive, obviously. Humans can survive without food for at least 21 days, which Mahatma Gandhi proved a number of times before he was assassinated.

Again, experts suggest at least three days’ worth of food in your bug out bag. It’ll be extremely tiring to carry nine canned goods or even more if you’re prepping not only for yourself. A better option would be ready-to-eat meals. Military personnel has MRE’s.

Backpacker’s Pantry makes lightweight pouches filled with emergency food such as their Stroganoff Sauce, Egg Noodles, and Beef & Mushrooms meals. The protein-rich meals have a shelf-life of up to 10 years. There are other meal options you can choose from.



Shelter is another one of man’s basic needs to survive. Why do you think cavemen lived in caves? Even Tom Hanks took shelter in a cave when his FedEx plane went down and he was stranded alone on an island. Early humans realized they’re better off inside caves. They eventually learned how to build huts, tepees, and similar shelters.

Building an emergency shelter is one survival skill everyone should know. Without shelter, you can only last for three hours if you are stranded in a harsh environment. Improve your chances of surviving even more by packing a tent in your bug out bag. A tent combined with your knowledge of survival shelters will go a long way.

What You Need to Build Survival Shelter
What You Need to Build Survival Shelter | Photo by Stephen Paris from Pexels

The Ready Shelter Tube Tent with Cord by Frog & CO only measures 1.5 x 8.8 x 12 inches when packed so it barely takes space in your bug out bag. Plus, it weighs just 1.1 pounds. The tube tent is also easy to set up. You just have to extend the cord and attach it to the two anchor points. The tent is made of durable polyethylene which is fire resistant and waterproof.


Sleeping Bag

A tent is not enough to protect you from the cold. You need a sleeping bag. The Tact Bivvy® 2.0 Emergency Sleeping Bag is made of the HeatEcho® reflective polyester film. The ultra-thin and lightweight sleeping bag reflects 90% of the heat released by your body back to you. This helps prevent hypothermia.

The Tact Bivvy features taped seams that provide additional durability to the already tear-resistant, waterproof, and windproof sleeping bag. It also comes with 10 inches of para-tinder drawstring, which you can use for tying and other survival purposes. Peel the surface of the string and you’ll find a flammable inner cord you can use to start a fire. The set also includes a 120-decibel whistle, a carabiner, and a stuff Sack.



Space Blanket

Space blankets are not blankets made of the same aluminum foil you see in the kitchen. It’s easy to see why some people are confused. It’s a good idea to have sheets of aluminum foil in your bug out bag because of their many uses but it doesn’t compare to a space blanket.

These emergency blankets are made of the kind of foil that NASA first used as sun shields. It eventually became one of the cheapest yet important bug out bag essentials around.

Also known as Mylar blankets, lightweight space blankets are used mainly for warmth. Its smooth and reflective surface allows you to use it for waterproofing and as a signaling mirror, respectively.



The more layers you have, the better equipped you are to survive the cold. Aside from your clothes, sleeping bag, space blanket, and the tent over your head, you could use a poncho to keep you warm and dry.

Coghlan’s Emergency Rain Poncho is made of 100% waterproof polyethylene vinyl, which will come in handy when it rains. Since it’s extremely lightweight at 0.1 pounds, you can pack as many as necessary so you can also keep your gear dry.


Fire Starter

Fire provides light and warmth. It also cooks food and boils water. Obviously, starting a fire is an important survival skill. It would be a whole lot easier if you packed different fire starters in your bug out bag, though. Make sure to include fireproof matches, lighters, and a ferro rod fire starter in your list of bug out bag essentials.

Top Fire Starters for Every Survival Situation | Photo by zlikovec/Bigstock

The Tough Tesla Lighter 2.0 by Frog & CO is meant for the outdoors so it’s a good friend to have on your adventures. The dual arc plasma lighter is made of durable zinc alloy wrapped in waterproof and shockproof ABS plastic.


The fuel-free lighter is charged using a micro USB charging cable. Each full charge (2 hours charge time) provides up to 300 instant fires. It also comes with a 15-inch paratinder neck lanyard, which is useful in other survival tasks. Plus, the inside of the cord is flammable, which will come in handy when you’re having a hard time starting a fire. You also get a 120-decibel whistle and a built-in 100 lumens flashlight with three different light settings.


Tactical Flashlight

You need a number of light sources aside from your fire. A tactical flashlight is a definite must-have. Make sure you pack one in every emergency kit you have. That means at least one in your bug out bag, get home bag, car emergency kit, and everyday carry kit.

How to Use Your Tactical Flashlight to Survive | Photo by NorGal/Bigstock

The Mini Rechargeable Tact Flashlight by Frog & CO measures just 4” x 1.75” x 1.75” but gives off a super bright 130 lumens of light. It also has three light modes, particularly, a front-facing flashlight, an emergency flashing light, and a flood sidebar light with 250 lumens of brightness.

The Mini Rechargeable Tact Flashlight is made of durable aluminum and utilizes a 400 mAh battery that can be fully charged in 3 to 5 hours. It comes with a lanyard, USB to Mini-USB charging cord, and a plastic carrying case.


Camping Lantern

Flashlights and headlamps are limited in terms of the area they light up. You also have to hold or wear them all the time. A camping lantern, meanwhile, lights up a wide area and can be left alone. Make sure you have all three bug out bag essentials in your backpack so you have plenty of lighting options.

The Pocket Light Collapsible Solar Lantern has a built-in 4.8V solar panel that powers small devices and the lantern itself. It has three light settings – high, low, and flashing. The solar lantern takes 4 to 6 hours to charge the lantern under the sun. The telescopic lantern doubles as a USB charger measures only 3 5/16″ x 3 5/16″ x 2 7/8” and weighs a measly 5 ounces. It hardly makes a difference when carrying your pack.



Portable Radio

Information is vital to survival. You need to be updated with what’s going on so you can be prepared to do what’s necessary. A weather alert radio, for example, provides reports and official announcements on weather disturbances. So if a strong storm is coming, you’ll know from listening to a portable radio.

The Sidekick Weather Alert Radio by Eton features NOAA and SAME signals for your weather alerts. The AM/FM stations provide entertainment and more news reports. You can also play your favorite music or listen to podcasts through Bluetooth. The retractable antenna lets you get a better listening experience, too.

The Eton Sidekick can be charged using the USB charging feature and the built-in solar panel. If the 2600 mAh rechargeable lithium battery runs out of juice and you can’t recharge the gadget, you can turn the hand crank for four minutes to get 10 to 15 minutes of power. The Sidekick ac also be operated by three AAA batteries so make sure you have some in your bug out bag. The portable radio also comes with an alarm clock, LED flashlight, ambient light with dimmer, red emergency beacon, and a headphone jack.


Solar Charger

It won’t hurt to have a couple of solar chargers in your BOB. In case one is lost or damaged, you can still charge your phone and other small gadgets with your other solar charger.

The QuadraPro Solar Power Bank, also from Frog & CO, comes with four built-in solar panels that harness energy from the sun to generate up to 5.5 watts of electricity. You can charge three small devices at the same time thanks to the two USB output jacks and the wireless charging feature.

The 15.7-ounce solar power bank boasts a 6,500 mAh battery capacity, which is powerful enough to fully charge three phones in one day. The form-fitting rubber keeps the device resistant to water. The built-in magnets let you stick the QuadraPro to your car to get maximum sun exposure.  Meanwhile, you can also use the loops and carabiners to hook it to your backpack. It also comes with a built-in LED flashlight and a leather case.



In prepping, you don’t just prepare for natural disasters. You also consider events that others may think to be out of this world. But hey! Nobody or probably only a few thought a pandemic this bad would happen in our lifetime. But look where we are now. If you don’t want to be caught unprepared when the dead walks the earth or alien beings attack the planet, you better include them in your preparedness plan.

When it comes to zombies, you need weapons. Aside from firearms, the Zombinator Survival Hatchet Multi-Tool Axe should be among your bug out bag essentials. It’s not just for splitting zombie heads in two. The Zombinator is great for other tasks, too. Use the full tang hatchet blade to split wood, cut branches, and scare bad people.

This multi-tool, made of tough 420 stainless steel material, also works as a hammer, nail claw, pry bar, hex socket, glass breaker, and seat belt cutter: The 1.7-pound survival hatchet also comes with a 120-decibel whistle, paratinder cord, and a nylon sheath for the blade.


Survival Knife

Speaking of blades, you simply can’t leave one of the most important bug out bag essentials ever – a knife. You need a survival knife to, well, survive. Use it for hunting and skinning game, catching fish, cutting branches and vines to make a shelter, and other fun stuff.

The MTech 12.5-Inch Fixed Blade Tactical Knife comes with a 7-inch stainless steel blade with a nylon fiber handle coated in black rubber for a better grip. The back of the blade can be used for sawing. The 11.5-ounce knife comes with a lanyard at the end of the handle and a nylon sheath.


Portable Stove

You don’t always have the luxury of an electric stove or microwave oven. In an emergency situation, you’ll need to cook or boil water with fire, gas, or other kinds of fuel. The task will be a lot easier with a portable stove.

The Pocket Stove Folding Camping Stove uses smoke-free Hex Fuel Tablets. All six fuel tablets weigh only 1.2 ounces while each one burns for 10 minutes. The 3.8-ounce stove measures 0.8″ x 3.9″ x 3″ when packed and 2.2″ x 3.75″ x 3″ when opened. It is small enough to fit in your back pocket.

The portable stove is made of aircraft-grade aluminum that will withstand drops and abuse. The Pocket Stove is also easy to use. Simply open it, place the fuel tablets, and light them up.




When it comes to versatility, the paracord is at the top of the list among all bug out bag essentials. There are simply so many things you can do with a paracord. Use it for tying, hanging, fishing, rappelling, and starting a fire. It also works like a tourniquet, sling, or tow strap.

Survival Gear Essential: The Valuable Paracord And Its Many Fascinating Uses | Photo by Jollier/Bigstock

Frog & CO’s 100-feet black 550 lbs. paracord bundle can really withstand 650 pounds. Remove the outer covering and you’re left with seven inner strands that also function in many ways.

Amazingly Easy Paracord Projects You Can Do to Make Your Life Easier and Safer | Photo by Remains/Bigstock


Emergency Whistle

If you get into some kind of trouble, you need to catch the attention of other people to get help. Just look at what Rose did after Titanic went down. You can always shout, paint a giant SOS sign on your rooftop, or send out smoke signals. An emergency whistle, however, is pretty effective up to a mile away.

The Micro Scream Whistle by Frog & CO produces 100 decibels of piercing sound that can be heard from a mile away. The 0.2-ounce pealess whistle is made out of tough ABS plastic and is guaranteed to work whatever the weather condition may be.



A compass may seem irrelevant because of its size but it goes a long way when you need it most. In fact, it will show you the way if you ever get lost. Learn to use one and you’re already halfway back to safety.

The Pathfinder Glo Pocket Compass is only 0.5 ounces and comes with a handy mini carabiner. Snap it onto your bug out bag or your keychain. It’s so compact and lightweight; you won’t even notice it’s there. The Pathfinder glows in the dark allowing you to use it to navigate at night.


First Aid Kit

First aid kits are another one of those bug out bag essentials that you really shouldn’t leave behind. When SHTF and you have to evacuate, the instances of someone getting hurt are far higher. Even without a disaster, you could get hurt. A first aid kit will let you treat an injury or medical issue while waiting for professional aid.

The Tactical Field Trauma with QuikClot® First Aid Kit includes 53 medical supplies such as bandages, gauze pads, medical tape, a triple antibiotic ointment, and anti-septic alcohol wipes for cleaning and closing wounds. The QuikClot® Sport sponge stops life-threatening bleeding. It has zeolite, a mineral that helps increase blood clotting by three times than normal.

The lightweight first aid kit also contains medicines for pain, inflammation, and common allergies, Other items include a trauma pad, safety pins, pre-cut Moleskin, forceps for splinters or ticks, nitrile examination gloves, biohazard disposal bag, medical bag, and the Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicine guidebook.



When disaster strikes, your physical health is not the only thing at risk. Your priority, of course, is to stay alive but you also have to take care of your mental well-being.

Stress, anxiety, and depression are valid side effects of disasters and other emergencies. These are especially taxing on little children. One way to cope with disasters is to entertain yourself.

For children, their favorite toy or book would be a good start. Adults could use a good book or a board game to while away the time while stuck in an evacuation center, for example. These may be a bit on the heavy and clunky side, though.

The same cannot be said with playing cards. They’re light and portable at only 3.2 ounces. Furthermore, there are lots of things you can do with a deck of cards. The Survival Tips Playing Cards by Frog & CO takes things a step further. As the name implies, you get to learn different survival tips by reading what’s on each card.


The Ultimate Bug Out Bag: How to Pick the Right Survival Bag for You
The Ultimate Bug Out Bag: How to Pick the Right Survival Bag for You

Consider the bug out bag essentials listed here as just a starter pack. You can add more survival gear that you think is important. Follow Gentleman Pirate Club for more tips on what to put in your bug out bag.


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Gentleman Pirate Club aims to share valuable knowledge and tips on how you can prepare and survive emergencies and other dire situations. We think of different scenarios and show you the many ways you can survive them. We also believe in self-sufficiency as a way to prepare for whatever lies ahead. As our ship sails in these waters, we look for valuable treasures. When we spot one, we tell you where it is.

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