An epic bug out bag list is an essential resource for any prepper or survivalist.

So, writing a bug out bag list with the best prepper gear is the single greatest action a survivalist can take to swing the odds of survival in their favor.

Now, at this point you may have a few basic questions.

questions when writing a bug out bag list

These are important questions. All of them deserve a thorough and detailed answer.

1. What Is a Bug Out Bag List?

A bug out bag is a collection of all the prepper gear and supplies that you need to survive in the wild for 72 hours or more.

AKA a BOB, a GOOD bag, a preppers checklist, a grab bag, or a go bag. The bug out bag is often prepared in advance of any disaster, accident or crisis. It should be ready to take with you at a moment’s notice.

The contents of the bug out bag list can be broken down into 12 key categories of survival or prepper gear. All the items are essential to your survival and those in your care.

the categories of prepper gear for a bug out bag list

Each category includes items that can serve one of a number of different purposes and need to be easily accessible.

A bug out bag list is easy to write, invaluable when the SHTF and if planned well, even the best prepper gear won’t break the bank. Don’t go another week without planning one. Every smart survivalist or prepper has one!

2. Why Do I Need a Bug Out Bag List?

Nick Bostrom, Professor at the University of Oxford and Director of the Future of Humanity Institute, once said that “There is more scholarly work on the life-habits of the dung fly than on existential risks”.

A worrying statement indeed given the ever present threat from a whole host of apocalyptic scenarios.

Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, ecological collapse, economic collapse, war, pandemic and authoritarian governments. A by no means exhaustive list of disasters that are not as unlikely as we might hope.

Are you and your family prepared for these scenarios? How do you imagine you would cope? Do you have a plan?

In life there are people who are content to rely on others and other people who like to be self-reliant.

If you are the latter then the single most important action you can take is to prepare a bug out bag list.

3. How Do I Fine Tune My Bug Out Bag List?

Now, it may be tempting to jump on amazon and buy the latest prepacked bug out bag. I couldn’t advise you more strongly against this course of action.

The problem with these kits is that they are not tailored to your circumstances and needs. 

Before you do anything you need to think long and hard about the type of bug out bag you want to put together.

The bag needs to be tailored to your circumstances. To do this you need to balance a number of different criteria to create a versatile, lightweight and durable bag.

We like to think of ourselves as nice people here at Go Apocalypse so we have listed these 5 important criteria below.

criteria of an epic bug out bag list

1. Budget – When deciding on the prepper gear to buy you need to keep one eye on your overall budget. To help in this task it would be useful to assign a percentage of your budget to each of the 12 categories above.

2. No. of people – You may have to assign a greater proportion of space in the bag to food, clothing, hygiene and shelter depending on whether you are responsible for more people.

3. Climate – Are you in New Mexico or Florida? A lot of the gear you choose is going to be very specific to the local climate. It would be a good idea to map out all the likely locations that you will bug out.

4. Weight – When you bug out are you going to travel a lot each day? Are you and others in your group in good physical form? You need to assess exactly how much you are comfortable carrying. I suggest you have a few trial runs with all your prepper gear packed and then adjust the weight if necessary.

5. Skills & Abilities – Only bring prepper gear that you are completely familiar with and which you have no issue assembling. Everything should be tested before you use it and you need to make sure it is appropriate for you skill level and ability.

If you are able to keep these criteria in mind when choosing your prepper gear then you already have a huge advantage over most people attempting to write a bug out bag list.

So, if you feel ready to begin choosing your gear then crack on. However, if you want to know what gear we recommend then please continue to read. We have gone into quite some detail.

4. What Gear Should I Include?

Now, before I begin I should state that this list is by no means exhaustive. I strongly advise you to add to the items below.

Also, this is my own personal bug out bag list of prepper gear. It is kit that I just couldn’t do without in any survival situation. I don’t expect you to agree with everything I have written. So please enjoy!


Water is high up the list for an forward-thinking primate but there are two challenges for any survivalist or prepper to overcome.

First, the weight. Water is extremely heavy. You don’t want to be carrying any more than you have to. Second, dirty or contaminated water is going to be common place out in the wild. If consumed, it can make you very or sick or even kill you.

So, you are going to need to find solutions to both of these problems.

Stainless Steel 25 0z Water Bottle – No rust or metallic taste to your water. You want something cheap that sufficiently does the job.

Water Purification Tablets – Anyone short on time and about to drink water of an unknown quality – buy these!

The Life Straw – Removes 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and parasites and filters up to 1000 liters. Need we say more? This is my current favorite piece of kit in the bug out bag list.

Food & Cooking

The human body if pushed can go without food for over a week. But given the choice we don’t advise it. You fatigue easily, you are unable to think straight and you can’t defend yourself.

The bug out bag list should include food supplies to keep you alive for at least 72 hours. We recommend well over 2000 calories per day. Be it prepackaged food, food from hunting and foraging or other prepping supplies.

As well as the actual food, it will be useful to have the tools to prepare and cook. But be smart with the weight as this category can soon make your bag very heavy.

Titanium Spork – Everybody needs a good eating utensil and the Snow Peak Titanium Spork is a durable and versatile piece of kit. It was voted the #1 spork with the guys at Outdoor Gear Lab.

Collapsible Bowl – An innovative yet sturdy addition to your eating set. It takes up very little space and weighs next to nothing.

Trangia Spirit Burner – A truly reliable way to get a fire going. Lightweight and simple to set up. Great when combined with the wood burning stove as it concentrates the heat and the flame.

Wood Burning Stove – You can now cook your meals with some kindling and a few twigs . Great when combined with the trangia burner. Also, it only weighs 9 oz.

Burner Fuel – If you get the Trangia then you need some Trangia fuel. Be sure to pack enough for 72  hours or more. Maybe even use a separate lighter container.

Titanium Cookware – A shockingly light and compact set. It scored 10/10 on Outdoor Gear Lab for the weight test. Need we say more?

Military Meals – At 1250 calories per meal these military spec meals also contain a few home comforts including a dessert and a side snack.

Emergency Ration Food Bars – At 2400 calories a pack any sane survivalist will have a few of these stashed away.  They were designed specifically for disaster scenarios and provide a very efficient intake of calories.


The right clothing is the difference between life and death out in the wild. So, here are few ideas to keep in mind.

First, look after your feet. There is nothing more important than a good pair of socks. In fact bring a few good pairs. You will appreciate it after 72+ hours.

Second, you need to stay dry. So, invest in a high quality hard shell jacket. If you go cheap on this option you will definitely regret it.

Third, you need to pack clothes that dry quickly. Be it from excessive sweating or wet weather, you can’t be waiting around for clothes to dry.

And fourth, don’t pack too much. Clothes can take up a lot of space. Take only what you need and nothing more.

Hard Shell Jacket – The Arcteryx Alpha is the best hard shell jacket on the market according to Outdoor Gear Lab. And we certainly agree and suggest you pick one up. 

Hiking Socks – Darn Tough socks are undeniably the best out there. We particularly love their micro crew cushioned socks for hiking. If you are moving a lot you need to invest in high quality socks.


The form of shelter you pack is a hotly debated point in the prepper gear and survivalist community.

You need to keep your weight to a minimum while at the same time you don’t want to sacrifice too much of your protection from the elements.

You need to decide whether to go with a tarp or a tent.

We are not going to delve too deep into this topic for fear of unleashing the “internet”. In the end we decided on the tent. But if you want to find out the latest on this topic then check out this debate on stack exchange, this Reddit post, or this Quora question. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

4 Season Tent – The Swedish built Hilleberg Nallo 2 is incredibly lightweight. It is also bomb proof. Well worth the investment we made! Check out this great review for more information.

3 Season Sleeping Bag – Named the best sleeping bag by Outdoor Gear Lab. This 3 season goose down Megalite sleeping bag will quickly become your best friend.


Fire has a whole of host of different uses in the wild. We use it to keep warm, to cook raw meat and fish, to dry out wet gear, to scare off dangerous animals, and to improve our mood.

It is therefore a good idea to pack a few tools to make fire. The tools need to be both easy to use and weather proof.

Fire Steel – Originally designed by the Swedish Department of Defense. This fire steel can be used at any altitude and in any weather to maximum effect.

Water Proof Lighter – This UCO Stormproof lighter is great in a crisis. Both wind and waterproofed, every survivalist should have one. And it even has a bottle opener…

Water Proof Matches – Waterproof and windproof. These matches keep you safe even in the harshest conditions. They are loved by a whole community of preppers.


Stumbling around blindly at night is just not an option. You need to pack at least one source of artificial light. A good lighting device saves time and keeps you safe.

Lighting, like fire, has a whole host of uses. You may have to move your camp suddenly, investigate an unknown noise, or explore a cave.

Do not leave home without at least something!

Head Torch – Useful for a whole host of tasks performed at night. The torch provides 20+ feet of illumination. The stable head mount provides perfect lighting in your field of vision.

Flashlight – The J5 Tactical Pro runs for hours on just one AA battery. It has a shockingly long range of 600 feet and can really take a battering.


In the hours and days following a disaster reliable information is going to be vital to your survival.

It may be necessary to share information with other survivalists camped out nearby or possibly you will need keep up-to-date with a rapidly changing weather situation.

Good information will be useful to when you come to plan your next course of action after the first few day and will help you adapt if circumstances change suddenly.

Hand Crank Radio – The Ironsnow Radio has 3 options to charge. Hand crank, solar and mains recharge. It is small, light, and easy to use.

Walkie Talkie – This set of Motorola walkie-talkies has a range of 23 miles. They are water resistant and are very difficult to break.

Survival Whistle – The Jet Scream Whistle can be heard above most noises. It doesn’t have a pea inside so can be also be used when it is wet.

Signalling Mirror – The UST flash mirror is invaluable in a crisis. Light, easy to use and takes up very little space.


At any one time in the wilderness you should know exactly where you are. Even if you are moving great distances you still need to have some idea of your location.

When the SHTF some more advanced forms of navigation may become unreliable. Your best option is therefore something we have been using for centuries. The humble map and compass.

Compass – The Eyeskey military compass is a very accurate piece of kit. Heavy duty and durable, it has handled many years of extensive use. 

Map – A professionally produced, detailed map of the area where you intend to bug out is a must.


It is often something that is at the back of the survivalist’s mind, but personal hygiene becomes very important if you are in the wild longer than 72 hours.

You need to stay clean and maintain good dental hygiene ever out in the wilderness.

Unscented Soap – This soap keeps you clean but because it is unscented it doesn’t give your position away to animals or humans in the area.

Toothbrush & Toothpaste – The government may have been overthrown but that is no reason to not look after your gnashers.

Essential Tools

There are some tools that are often very specialized to specific tasks. Often the task is next to impossible without this tool.

They tend to save you a lot of time and effort and can be the difference between life and death out in the wilderness.

There are four items that I could not be without and each has a large number of potential uses both on the road and in camp.

Hatchet – The Estwing Hatchet is comfortable and easy to use and is incredibly well balanced. A hatchet will speed up tasks like the cutting of wood.

Folding Shovel – This SOG shovel has come in useful in a variety of unexpected situations. Excessive snowfall, burying supply caches, and waste. This piece of kit really saves time.

Multi Tool Pliers – Strong and innovative my Gerber multi-pliers have well over a hundred different uses. Don’t leave home without a pair.

Survival Knife – The Ka-Bar Becker is a lightweight steel bladed knife. I have found none better. Great for skinning game, cutting vegetables, and preparing kindling.

Self defense & Hunting

It goes without saying that out in the wilderness you are going to want to both defend yourself and hunt. But the question is with what? A firearm or a bow?

As with the tarp or tent dilemma we don’t want to delve to deep into this issue in this article. In the end after much thought we decided on a bow because they are silent, lightweight and cheap. But if you want to explore this question further then check out this Reddit post or this Quora question.

Hunting Bow – An economical entry-level bow perfect for a bug out bag. It is silent, powerful and lightweight. Only bring one along if you feel competent to use one.

Pepper Spray – A fantastically effective non-lethal way to protect yourself. This brand is used by police departments across the USA.

First Aid

Murphy’s law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. In the wilderness this can mean injury or illness.

The likelihood of these issues occurring is high so you need to be prepared for a number of different medical emergencies.

The best first aid kits are those which are tailored to a person’s needs. We have suggested a basic kit but we advise that you add to it. You need to think about items that are appropriate to the local environment, your age, you level of fitness and any preexisting medical conditions.

First Aid Kit – Versatile, lightweight and effective. This kit contained lot of the emergency essentials you are going to need.


A category for the things that just can’t be categorized…

Duct Tape – Heavy duty, double thickness Gorilla Tape is useful in thousands of random situations. Make sure you pick some up!

Cards – A great way to keep your mind off the collapse of civilization. Playing cards is also sociable and keeps your mind alert.

Batteries – Great for flashlights and other tech. Be sure to pack both AA and AAA.

Final Thoughts

So, that is all I want to say for today. It is now over to you begin the process of writing a bug out bag list with the best survival gear you can source.

Remember the 12 key categories and be sure to balance the 5 criteria mentioned above. Enjoy!

If you love the article, hate the article or somehow got lost on Go Apocalypse and want advice on how to leave the website then leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!