Bug out bags, otherwise known as tactical kits, go bags, or 72 hours kits are pre-packed containers that hold all you need for a single person to survive in the great outdoors for a 3 day period. They are popular with hunters, hikers, fishermen, as well as survivalists and preppers in case of a major disaster. There are a selection of pre-filled bags on the market, but anyone that knows anything about the survival world will realize that you can create a much more effective and less costly bag on your own. To help you do this read our guide below.

The bag

The actual container that you choose to house your bug out bag is as important as the items within it. This is because it need to be sturdy and waterproof enough to withstand outdoor conditions, and comfortable enough to sit on your back for three days of walking without slowing you down.

Luckily, we have reviewed some the best bags for this purpose on the market in a separate post, so check it out for some help in making your decision.


A person can survive 3 weeks without food but only 3 days without water. That means emergency drinking water rations are an essential part of any bug out kit.

It is also a good idea to include a survival straw. An item that filters water straight from the source, meaning you can drink from rivers and streams without worry of becoming ill.


Even though Food isn’t as important as water, if you are in a hunting, or survival situation, having enough energy to keep you moving is still necessary. For this some folks choose to pack their kit with American Army rations packs. Although, you do need to watch the expiry date on these and replace them regularly. Another option is to go for basic food rations such as dry biscuits, or cereal bars that will last a long time but are calorie dense.  

Light source

Whether you are out in the woods or the worst has happened, and there is no longer any electricity flowing, having a source of light can be incredibly helpful.

A torch or headlamp is a useful addition. Use windup ones if possible, so you don’t have to worry about batteries. Glow sticks can also be helpful in an outdoor situation as they can be hung to provide light when you are making camp or used to help your party stay together by attaching them to people’s clothing.

A torch is a bug out bag essential.

First aid and hygiene

Obviously, if you are miles and miles away from civilisation, or the hospitals are not operating for some reason having basic first aid could be life-saving.

Include in this kit dressings, plasters, iodine, scissors, ibuprofen and paracetamol. Basically, you want items that can help you seal a wound and get the person moving again so you can get them treatment as fast as possible.

It’s also useful to include some basic hygiene products in this part of the kit such as wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and chewing gum. This is because these things that can help raise your morale, and can come in handy if you want to enter back into civilization at any point.


Some folks don’t bother with items for hunting and catching food in their bug out bags, but others feel that it is an essential part of the kit. It will, of course, help you survive for longer if you are left without food, and feed a larger group if you have to.

A hunting knife can be a useful addition to a bug out bag.

Items that can be useful for this include a hunting knife, materials for a rabbit snare, as well as a gun kitted out with optics to improve your aim. Obviously, these items are often the most expensive things to go into your survival bag, something that is another reason many people leave them out. However, believe it or not, you can actually get coupons and deals on DontPayFull, and other sites like them that will give you a discount on this sort of kit. Something that means you can focus on whether you truly need the item instead of worry about the how much it will set you back.


Don’t forget that having shelter from the elements can literally mean the difference between life and death in some cases. That is why it is essential to include a waterproof and a fold-down emergency tent to keep you warm and dry at night.

Although, those looking for a more sophisticated option should also consider a tent hammock. This is a cocoon-like item that can be strung between two trees and will keep you safe off the ground as well as warm and dry, wherever you have to bed down for the night.