Bug out Bag List: A Simple Guide for building your bug out bag

The bug out bag, also known as a 72-hour kit, an emergency kit or an INCH bag (I’m Never Coming Home Bag). It doesn’t matter if you’re a closet prepper or if you wholeheartedly embrace the prepper life. 

Learning how to build your bug out bag is a vital step which every survivalist needs to go through. In this guide, I aim to give you a brief guide on what is necessary to build an awesome bug out bag. 

I’ll now cover what you can do to prepare a bug out bag, one step at a time. 

1. Planning out what you need to put in the bug out bag 

First off, you need a game plan on how you can build a fine bug out bag. To makes things even simpler, I’ll break this point down even further. 

  • Determine whether you are bugging out using a vehicle or on your feet. For myself, I would recommend that you prepare for both situations by getting 2 bug out bags. If you’re short on a budget, you can consider preparing for a bug out bag where you’re bugging out on your feet first.  
  • Understand how physically fit you are. Instead of imagining how you will feel carrying 40 pounds of gear behind your back, I would recommend that you actually try it out yourself. This will be a good wake up call on how far you can actually go while carrying a heavy backpack. 
  • Finally, you’re ready to plan out your bug out bag list. 

2. Planning your bug out bag list

If you want to read a more comprehensive guide on building a bug out bag, you can go to The Survival Hacks and check out our article on the bug out bag list essentials. 

There are multiple categories of items you can look into but there are some other categories that you MUST cover. They are the Survival Rule of 3’s. 

They basically include: Air, Shelter, Water and Food. 

The general rule of thumb is that you can’t survive 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without a shelter against hostile environment, 3 days without water or 3 weeks without food. 

If you want to pack really light, these are the categories that you absolutely must cover first before you consider other categories. 


First and foremost, I will ensure that I can consistently get access to clean air supply. 

Unfortunately, there aren’t any practical solutions when it comes to getting clean air. As of now, the only gear we can prepare with us to get clean air are the best respirators. 

For myself, I will ensure that I have the best respirators with me. In fact, most respiratory diseases could be avoided if we wear a suitable respirator mask. This means that you won’t be inhaling hazards and you can be sure that you are getting the best air quality too. 

If you don’t want a respirator mask that stands out too much or is too expensive, you can purchase the adjustable anti-dust respirator mask. If you want something more heavy-duty, I would recommend that you get the North safety 7700 silicone half-mask respirator. 


Shelter, in my view, can be separated into 2 different aspects.  

First, you’ll need proper clothing. This means you’ll need sufficient and suitable clean clothes to help you get from point A to point B. You need to understand the basics of clothing and choose all 3 layers of your clothing wisely. The base layer should be able to help keep your body dry, your mid-layer clothing should be able to retain your body heat while the outer-layer clothing should be both waterproof and windproof. 

Second, you will need a proper place to rest. I would recommend that you get a high-quality tent which can protect you from outside elements. Alternatively, a sleeping bag can work just as well too. In an y case, I would recommend that you learn how to build both primitive survival shelters or utilize modern shelters. 


For clean water, I would recommend packing 2 categories which are – clean water and tools to help filter water. 

For clean water, I would recommend keeping at least 3 liters of clean water in a metal water bottle. 3-liters of clean water should be able to help get you going for at least 72 hours.

As for tools to help filter water, I would recommend getting a portable water filter such as the Sawyer Mini or water purifications tablet so that you can get clean water wherever you are. 


Finally, I would recommend that you keep extra calories in your bug out bag. 

If you’re planning to bring along a backpacking stove with you, I would recommend stocking up on survival food kits and freeze-dried food. If you aren’t sure which survival food kit is good for you, I would recommend that you test out survival food kits from various brands before concluding that a certain brand is a good fit for you. Generally, I would recommend getting Mountain House survival food kit because they’re best known for serving great food with great taste. This should help get you started on how you should benchmark the survival food kits. 

If you’re not bringing a backpacking stove, I will recommend packing Meals-ready to eat. MREs don’t taste as good but they are extremely lightweight and they should have sufficient calories and nutrients to help keep your body going. 

3. Choosing the right bug out bag 

After knowing what are the essentials items you need in your bug out bag, you’re ready to get a suitable bug out bag. 

I’ll recommend that you choose a bug out bag that you are actually comfortable with the size and make sure you will happy carrying it around for hours even when the bag is filled to the brim. 

In fact, there’s a debate as to when you should consider getting a bug out bag. For myself, I would say that you’re ready to get a bug out bag right after you know what items you need for air, shelter, water and food. 

A bag which is durable enough to withstand physical abuse when you’re bugging out and it should fit just right. 


I hope that this serve as a guide to both beginners and old-timers alike. If you think that there’s a better game-plan or you have any suggestions to pack an awesome bug out bag, feel free to comment below!