The Ultimate Bug-Out Bag List is here to answer all your questions and help guide you through all your long term and short term survival needs. Whether you’re being proactive about emergency preparedness or are a skilled survivalist, we can help you get through any situation. We will review and discuss in great lengths all the items that are necessary for your ultimate bug-out bag, or BOB. The Ultimate Bug-Out Bag List, where we care about your survival.
What is a bug-out bag?
A bug-out bag is a bag that contains food, tools, and other things for use in a disaster or other type of emergency. Often times when a disaster occurs, the infrastructure that we normally take for granted becomes bogged down or completely unavailable. Electricity may be out for days or even weeks, the supermarkets we buy our food and water from may be low or out of stock, hospitals may be extremely over capacity, and even the roads we use everyday may be closed.
This is why there are bug-out bags. Like insurance, BOBs are something that you hope to never need, but are extremely important to have if you ever do. Many people like to keep a BOB or two on hand, just for the peace of mind of knowing it’s there for use, should the need arise. Having all the right things in your BOB can mean all the difference, if you or your family are ever in in a position to have to use it.
Should I buy a bug-out bag or make my own?
This is a good question, and it’s something that a person has to decide for himself. We frequently get asked this question, and our answer normally comes down to how much time and money the person wants to spend. If you’re short on time we recommend that you buy an off-the-shelf bug-out bag.
An off-the-shelf bag will have basic supplies that might be useful in an emergency situation. But it may not have everything you want, in the quantity you want, and so you’ll probably have to supplement the bag, or do without. The cost will also likely be more than making your own bug-out bag.
Making the bag yourself allows you to personally choose everything that goes into it. This can be very time consuming, because you need to research every individual piece, to make sure it’s right for you. Many people actually enjoy researching items for their bag, and finding the perfect ones. You will have more confidence knowing that you have personally researched and chosen every item in your bag, and you will very likely spend less money than if you bought a similar off-the-shelf bug-out bag.
But no matter whether you want to buy an off-the-shelf bag, or you want to make your own, have something. Even the cheapest off-the-shelf bag is better than having nothing at all. Don’t be one of those people who intend to make their own bag, but never get around to it. Make your own, or buy one, but have something.
Recommended Bug-Out Bags
Before we get to our list of recommended bug-out bags, I want to point out that none of these BOBs come with everything you’ll need. All of them require some additional supplementation, but some require less than others. For these recommendations we have listed the BOBs we feel are best, for a number of price ranges. There are other bug-out bags that are in these price ranges, but we did not feel that they were as good as those listed.
When it comes to supplementing food and water, you can buy food specifically made to be emergency food, or you can even just add a couple more liters of water per person, and a jar or two of peanut butter. But whether you’re adding peanut butter or food designed for emergencies, always check the expiration dates!
Finally, remember that a BOB with a rating of 1.5 stars is still better than no BOB at all!
Pros: This BOB comes with a LifeStraw water filter, so that you can drink any water you come across. It has a real sleeping bag, unlike most other BOBs. It has most other things you will need.
Cons: Aside from the high price of this BOB, it doesn’t have enough food or water, and the food it comes with requires water (taking away from your drinking supply).
Recommended Supplementation: We recommend that you add additional food and water to this BOB.
Pros: A few of the highlights of this pack are multiple ways of starting a fire for a variety of situations. Also comes with a thermal sleeping bag cocoon, hydration system, Gerber multi-tool, and waterproof LED flashlight.
Cons: This pack is lacking in the way of food and water. For a three day BOB It includes only 2.5 liters of water and 1 bottle of water purification tabs. As far as rations are concerned, this bag comes with 6 food bars that are listed at 400 calories each.
Recommended Supplementation: Added food and water as well as the inclusion of a hearty blade. Some individuals may also prefer to have a stove and a cooking pot included.
Pros: This pack comes with a sufficient amount of food in the form of MRE’s, fortified food bars and freeze dried entrees.
Cons: Once again we are looking at a BOB that is lacking in its initial water offerings. It contains twenty-four 4.22 ounce packets of water for two people over the course of 72hrs. Although we are glad the pack offers Katadyn MyBottle Water Purifier, we would still like to see enough liquids to cover the three day duration. Also, one would expect a pack of this price to contain a tool or blade of some kind, but unfortunately it does not.
Recommended Supplementation: The addition of a tool and knife would greatly further this pack, as well as an extension of the initial water offerings.
Pros: The inclusion of a large first-aid kit is definitely a plus for this pack. Also glad to see that this urban survival bag doesn’t forget the importance of a good length of 500lb grade paracord.
Cons: This pack is missing a few components to push it towards being a better bag. A few of these items being the addition of extra food and water, a couple of ponchos, water purification tablets, and a way to further purify ground water.
Recommended Supplementation: For the price, this BOB provides a number of solid items that would help during an emergency situation. With the addition of extra food, water, ponchos, and ways to further your water supply, this bag would work fairly well.
Pros: Once again this pack delivers a sufficient supply of first aid and hygiene items. The addition of a hefty survival knife, compass and wire saw helps push this pack beyond its urban cousin.
Cons: As with most of the packs we have been reviewing, this BOB also falls short in the realm of food and water. This particular pack seems like it would simply be better off serving two instead of four.
Recommended Supplementation: This bug-out bag would benefit from the addition of extra food and water if it’s going to serve four people. Also we would like to see the addition of rain ponchos and a way of purifying additional water.
Pros: Fox typically puts their name on high quality products that last. This pack also contains a sufficient supply of food including a couple of MRE’s and several fortified bars.
Cons: This pack is missing a few key ingredients to take it up to the next level. With the addition of a good knife, multi-tool, extra water, a water filtration system, and a first-aid kit this bag would have been very tough to beat for the price.
Recommended Supplementation: We insist that if you purchase this bag that you consider adding a well stocked first-aid kit, some sort of tool/knife, and a way to purify additional water.
Pros: The inclusion of a pry bar/gas shut off wrench is an unexpected find in this pack. Also glad to see that the bag includes a hand crank radio as well as a hand squeeze rechargeable flashlight.
Cons: This BOB is actually a duffel bag and not a back pack. The bag itself weighs in at 32 lbs which could become a problem over a 72hr period. Once again another attempt at a four person pack falls short in the area of food and water.
Recommended Supplementation: Changing this duffel bag to an actual back pack would help with carrying all the gear needed for 4 people. Also extending the amount of food and water that’s included would further sustain the needs of those who purchase this bag.
Wise Deluxe Survival KitThis deluxe survival kit by wise is meant to sustain one individual for 2 weeks, or two people for 1 week. Initially the contents of this bag look quite attractive simply because the description of the food included, but once we delve deeper how does it stack up?
Pros: As mentioned previously, this pack offers 44 servings of a variety of food which sound quite appealing. This bag also includes a multi-function shovel as well as a stove and a number of other necessary additions.
Cons: This survival kit comes in a 27 lbs rolling duffel bag and not a back pack, which may make it more difficult to handle over the course of a week or two. Also the tantalizing food offered within this kit requires the addition of water therefore cutting short your initial water supplies.
Recommended Supplementation: You would be wise to add a healthy supply of water to this pack, and think about switching over to a bag that’s easier to maneuver especially over rough terrain.
Ready America Grab ‘N Go Deluxe 4 Person BackpackThis reasonably priced BOB by Ready America is fairly popular. While it says it’s packed to help sustain 4 people during a disaster or emergency, we don’t feel there is enough food or water for 4 people, and we recommend it for 2, or possibly even 1 person. It weighs in at 19lbs.
Pros: Some of the items included in this bag are a 107 piece first-aid kit and a 4-function emergency power station that is a combination flashlight, AM/FM radio, siren, and cell phone charger.
Cons: A few additions to this pack would help even things out. This pack is lacking in the realm of hygiene products and would benefit with more water and further ways of starting a fire.
Recommended Supplementation: To help this BOB out, consider adding more water, a few home items like toothbrushes, a BIC lighter, and a wire saw.
Life Gear LG567 Wings of Life Emergency Survival Kit BackpackThe Life Gear LG567 Wings of Life Emergency Survival Kit Backpack is moderately priced, and has some basic supplies that you would need in a disaster or emergency situation. There isn’t enough food or water, however, and some critical things are missing, such as a flashlight and a way to start a fire. It weighs 8.6 pounds, and would be worth keeping in a car.
Pros: Has a little bit of food, a multi-tool, and a basic first aid kit.
Cons: Doesn’t have enough food, water or equipment.
Recommended Supplementation: More food and water, a knife, a fire starter, a lighter, and if for use in a car, some road flares.
Ready America 70280 Grab-‘n-Go Emergency Kit, 2-PersonLike the Ready America pack designed for “4 people”, this one really doesn’t have enough food and water for the number of people that it claims to. It might be enough for 2 people, if you don’t have to physically exert yourself during the 72 hours this bag is for, but if you do, there isn’t enough food or water to sustain 2 people. It weighs 8.1 pounds.
Pros: This inexpensive BOB has a little bit of food and water, and a very basic first aid kit. This is a good little BOB to toss in a car, to have a few basic supplies in an emergency.
Cons: There is not enough food or water, and there is very little equipment to assist you in an emergency.
Recommended Supplementation: More food and water, a knife, a multi-tool, a fire starter, a lighter, and if for use in a car, some road flares.
Life Gear LG492 Emergency Survival Kit BackpackIt should be noted that this BOB has NO food or water! It does have some basic supplies that would be useful in a disaster or emergency.
Pros: Has basic equipment that would be useful, such as a poncho, first aid kit, flashlight, hygiene kit, signaling mirror, and work gloves.
Cons: Has NO food or water, and is a bit pricey for what it is.
Recommended Supplementation: Some food and water, a knife, a multi-tool, a fire starter, and a lighter.