Three most important things in your bug out bag?

What are the three most important things to have in your bug out bag?

  • Ammo
  • Back up gun
  • Compass
  • Firestarter
  • Food (Put how much in the comments below)
  • General first aid kit
  • GPS
  • Knife
  • Multitool
  • Paracord
  • Prescription Medication
  • Space blanket
  • Tourniquet
  • Water/water purifier
  • Other? Please put it in the comments below.

0 voters

Please add your “other” and how much food you’d have in your bug out bag below!


There area lot of things I should have included, but didn’t in that list. Be sure to add your additional items in the comments.


It largely depends what location you’re in or where you’re going, but three good default items are water (or means to get water), first aid (lots of items in IFAKs that can be used for non-medical purposes), and a solid, fixed blade knife for woodcraft, batoning, hunting/fishing, fire starting, etc. You could probably swap out the knife for a multi-tool depending on your area and what the vegetation is like there.


I went with water purifier, compass, paracord.

In my opinion those are the absolute basics for survival and navigating. You really should have most if not everything on that list.

Also remember gear is great but without the skills and knowledge of how to use them they are useless


I went with ammo(primary carry caliber), a knife, and first aid. If I’m bugging out, that means there’s been a breakdown of society, and I better be ready for a fight. A knife is always a handy tool, and 1st aid will be probable.


Many of the items listed are in my bug-out bag, although if I’m limited to only three of the most important, then a knife, firestarter, and a comprehensive IFAK are critical.

My IFAK includes tourniquets, chest seals, decompression needles, CELOX clotting agent, and most other critical care supplies.

When a pocket-sized AED becomes available, I’ll be one of the first to purchase.


I’m always curios about these “Bug out Bags”.

Is this what you have in your car/truck? At work? At home? On your person at any given time?

What is it you are bugging out from? Weather? EMP? TEOTWAWKI? Riot?

Where are you bugging out to? How long did you wait to leave? How long will you be out and about before you are SAFE?

Just wondering? FWIW I have most everything on that list in the back seat of my truck.




The expression “bug-out bag” is perhaps a misnomer.

The term “emergency preparedness bag” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

My personal bug-out bag is more of a “shelter-in-place” kit, and my focus is on the preservation of life.


Ahhhh now I begin to see your reasoning (an observation from two whole posts, you are involved with or have been EMS) For “shelter in place” it’s called my Hurricane Kit and check list. You do know that a 55 gal plastic garbage can holds 55 gal of water, a lawn and leaf bag that fits it can seal it and they stack when not in use. Just sayin’ :innocent:




@Craig6 There’s a few different types. There’s the one you keep at home, which would be in something like a 3-day assault pack or something larger. This would be my main BOB. Then there’s one for your car or truck, and those are usually smaller packs. There are even smaller ones you can keep on your belt or pocket, but those are kinda cumbersome and very limited.

It entirely depends what it is you’re preparing for though. It could be a weather event, mass riots that extend beyond the city limits or even state wide, nukes or EMPs, or TEOTWAWKI. Basically, what I want in my BOB is everything that I would need to survive either in the wilderness or in a ruined city with little resources.

Your questions about where to bug out to, how long you’ll be there, and when will it be safe before you leave, all of that is situational info that you’ll have to determine when you’re there. That’s why you want your equipment in your BOB to be able to last and handle whatever you throw at it.


@JakeCFH15 Thank you for that explanation AND more importantly how you approached it , honestly and with good intention. That said, the point of my quandary was more to find out in what frame or reference most folks would answer the initial question. As a point of my own reference I was prepping when prepping meant studying for a test. “That’s when a smoke was a smoke, groovin was groovy and dancin’ meant everything” Song there :sunglasses:




My guns and knife and phone (gps) are on my body so I didn’t pick those. Picked water purifier, fire starter, compass… those are in the bag. Medical is in a separate bag. Every thing else is in the bags or the truck.

@Craig6 for me it’s a get-home bag, and it’s a long walk if my truck is EMP’d or the roads are done… 800 miles from work to home.

Truck will do it in one go. No stopping… 100 gal extra tank. Here’s my truck kit, although I’ve added a few of the missing items.

In addition to the truck kit. I have 2 get home bags in the truck, one personal and one medical. If I had to leave the truck. and if I don’t have someone with me to carry one of them, I’ll consolidate the more important stuff and leave the rest.

Might have to acquire a horse if I’m truckless… it would take 2 months on foot.


For this question I took a different approach,(this is not I repeat not my Bob but a thought).I chose a space blanket,a knife, and Paracord . The rationale is knife works when bullets are gone,or by stealth to get a weapon,or for hunting and fishing,skinning,chopping wood ,making a ground compass,even starting fires or at worst just collecting starter material. 2) space blanket for heat,protection,collecting rain or stream water,purifying it,( most likely I would look for a cheap clear plastic bottle and initially 8 hours of sunlight to purify water,space blanket can be used for signalling and a host of other things,and Paracord,for setting snares, lashing knife to a pole for a spear, using for a tourniquets with wood or the knife, tie downs,security etc. Additionally if minor injuries I would cauterize with knife and flame if summer get some wax and honey for a band aid, possibly make green sapling surgical needles and take apart part of the Paracord for thread. This is of course if the country (woods) was the best place to be safe. If the city then it’s a whole nother thing. Obviously I was getting my Jerimiah Johnson on above lol. Could do it,but I guarantee my attitude would not be peaceable until I acquired more resources. Obviously I was trying to assess what were the most versatile items on the list


Just as an aside I have in my daily edc a smart checker/smart Geiger u can get from Amazon . Might look it up, plugs into your phone, performs,radiation,uv,infra red,temp and a host of other checks,also rad tabs(isosat iodide tablets) and rad triage sensor badge(personal contamination monitoring), and duct tape


Hey there!

For me, my BOB changes thruout the year. Wisconsin weather shifts 100+ degrees in a years time. So my pack changes to accommodate 90° humid, mosquito days down to -50° polar vortex. My day to day objective is to get home. From home, situation depending, we’d stay or leave. So weather, riot, emp,…get home. I dont work to far from home, I could make the trip easily but pack for a few overnights just in case. Between the hubby and i, we both have routes we will try and stick to get home. Now, this is day to day. If routine changes (ie, going to deer camp, etc) BOB changes.


Ok, I’m pretty good at forage and bushcrafting knowledge, but that’s one that’s outside my territory altogether.

… if we’ve been nuked, I’m guessing the smartphone may not be that helpful. Maybe if something’s in the water, but… where I am, we don’t have cell service on most of the property, so it’d need to be free standing, not net-enabled.

Container, preferably a metal one that can be heated in a fire.

I know opinions abound about the man, but Dave Canterbury and his 5 C’s of survival are excellent points of reference.

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Expired suture kit is usually available on eBay, and large quantities can be purchased for a nominal fee.

If the surgical medical kit is listed as expired, then this does not necessarily mean non-sterile.

I’ve purchased large quantities of expired suture kit from eBay, and the suture is sterile and perfectly viable.

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I keep a pretty extensive trauma kit with my BOB. Next in importance would be spare ammo for the rifle and handgun and a spare handgun.

Not to be gory but if it all hits the fan with those two items I can get anything else I need.


In sterile medical devices, the expiration date is almost always about the integrity of the packaging… when that breaks down, you can lose sterile state. That being the case, and knowing that packaging is always tested to a level well beyond normal storage expectations, the packaging MAY remain intact for quite a while after it’s expiry date. And… usually there’s no way to know if the packaging has failed or not. Careful and appropriate temperature controlled storage helps with that, but… you’re in the not really sure zone after that date.

In a SHTF dire need situation, I wouldn’t let the expiry date slow me down. But I would want antibiotics on hand, just in case.

BTW, expiry date CAN be different with meds - some do break down over time into things that can be less effective, or occasionally, outright poisonous. Know your meds well enough to know if there’s risk associated with expired product.