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Overlooked Bug Out Bag essentials

overlooked bug out bag essentialsTo help prevent overlooked bug out bag essentials, we’ve brainstormed and put together our list of  essential items that seem to get over looked.

This is just the start, we’re going to keep brainstorming and investigating this topic, then add to it as we go!

Overlooked Bug out Bag Essentials:

I hate it when I’m on a trip and I forget to pack something. Imagine how much worse it would be after SHTF? You may not be able to run to the store and get what you need.

The time to get these items is now. If you can’t buy, then barter or trade for what you can get!

Do you have the tools and supplies that you need for bug out or bug in?

The List of Overlooked Preparedness items:


  • Sewing Awl: You can use this to repair items made of tough materials, like leather and overlooked Bug out bag essentialscanvas. I’ve used this to repair my backpack straps, sew canvas, stitch a camp chair, to repair leather sheaths and holsters and even to make my own sheaths and holsters. If you can’t by new items and must repair, maintain and create your own, this Awl will be one of your most valuable possessions! The Awl that I linked to is Made in the USA! Don’t forget to order extra Thread for this (or use tough fishing line) and replacement needles.
  • Sillcock key: Get to water that is locked up or secured! We did a very popular post on this: Secret Weapon to Access Restricted Water
  • Duct Tape: You can use this for almost everything and you will use it!
  • Figure 9 Carabiner: Fantastic and quick alternative to knots for tents, hammocks, clotheslines, etc. These tightens, tension, and secure ropes without knots, a hassle-free alternative to untying difficult knots and using ropes that quickly lose tension. They’ve made it even easier to use by adding a carabiner clip that attaches to any fixed anchor point
  • Adjustable Wrenches: Everyone should ALWAYS have at least 1 adjustable wrench in their bug out bag, in their car and some at home. For Bug Out Bag, I’d probably go with a 12 inch and a 4 inch, both wrapped in a camp towel to keep them quiet.
  • 10-in-1 screwdriver: That’s right 1 screwdriver that can handle almost anything you come across. This is the Klein brand. Lifetime warranty. Bits included: 5/16-Inch and 1/4-Inch nut drivers, 1 and 2 Phillips, 1/4-Inch and 3/16-Inch slotted, T10 and T15 TORX, and 1 and 2 square-recess.
  • Long reach pliers: extend your reach into tight and narrow work areas. These always come in handy. When I don’t have them is when it seems like I need them the most!
  • Compact Gun Cleaning Kit – because crawling through mud makes guns dirty!
  • Camp saw: Firewood isn’t going to cut itself!

Fire Gear

  • Lighters, tons of Lighters: I like the outdoors as much as anyone, but if I’m hungry or cold, I want my fire now. I will make fire with firesteel or flint, sure, as soon as I run out of lighters. I have 10 lighters in my bug out bag. I have 2 in my first aid kit, I have 5 in a ziplock bag in each of my cars. I know I can light a fire with cold fingers using a lighter. 50 lighters is not too many, 100 lighters is not to many. Get some and stash them in all your cars and kits.
  • FireSteel: lighter’s can break, and it’s a good idea to have a backup. An Exotac nanoSTRIKER Ferrocerium Fire Starter on your key ring would be perfect!
  • Camp Stove: you may want to cook some food or boil some water, without a full blown camp fire. A Kelly Kettle or Solo stove is what I like, but there are so many options!

Food Gear

  • Fishing Gear: Everyone packs fishing tackle, but what about a tiny fishing pole? The Pocket Fisherman would fit in a pack. I think having some Fishing Yo Yo’s would be very helpful for some automated fish catching!
  • Snares: Catch some small game.
  • Camp bowls: not everyone can eat out of the cook pot at the same time. The silicon, collapsible bowls take up almost no space
  • Sporks for each person in your group. They can carry their own, so put one in each pack.
  • Mora Knife: a standard kitchen sized knife, perfect for cooking and chopping, but can also be a backup to your full size survival knife. Be careful, these are sharp, very very sharp.
  • Camping Spices: All the essential food seasonings to make food zesty!
  • Camp cookware: How were you planning on cooking that food?
  • Cooking Utensils: Because flipping an egg with a knife can get crazy. If nothing else grab a Spatula from your kitchen before you head out! Trust me on this one.

Navigation Aids

  • Compass: A good compass is always a must, especially for people who might be traveling via back roads or across the wilderness. People don’t understand how easy it is to walk in circles…for days.
  • Maps: We’re always pushing maps. We have to because if the SHTF and it’s the type of situation, where we need to lay low and avoid any form of entanglements, then you can bet that we won’t have ANY electronic devices on us, for them to track or triangulate us with. We’re talking old school, move at night stuff. Learn to navigate using maps and compass. We discuss using a map and compass in one of our posts.There are really good books to on navigation to help you:
  • Binoculars: Observe and scout before you move into an area. This is essential. If you don’t do this, you will walk into ambushes or stumble into gangs of looters or worse! I found out the hard way that water-proof binoculars should be the standard for outdoorsy people and preppers.  Trust me when I say you need waterproof binoculars! “Whoops”…..<SPLASH>

Protective gear

  • Goggles: There is a reason that our military issues these to our troops. Keep crap out of your eyes while on the move. Dust, debris, and tree branches will poke out your eyes. Never go in the forest without protective eye-wear! Don’t be blinded by assailants wielding “Pocket Sand”.
  • P95 Respirator: Keep your airways safe, while you breathe. There may be dust and smoke in the air.
  • Gas Mask: If I have to use a gas mask (and we might), I’m going to use one from Israel (they fight and survive). These also use the NATO filters (Type 80), which you can find.If you have children, get the Child-sized gas masks too!
  • Nitrile Gloves: You’re going to be touching some nasty stuff, even if you’d rather not. You may be moving bodies or performing first aid. Keep some in your bag, your car and at home!
  • Helmet: A rock climbing, bicycle or skateboard helmet is essential. It’d be a pity to survive the apocalypses to trip and hit your head on a rock, then die. Also helps to negate being hit over the head when attacked!
  • Insect repellant. Ticks, mosquito and biting insects can be fatal, but they are always irritating. You’ll have enough to worry about without bugs.
  • Sunscreen: protect your head and face from sun. If you’re not wearing a Shemagh or hat make sure to have sunscreen. Also think about Lip Balm.


  • Hand Sanitizer: Clean your hands before eating, or touching your face. Every time. Take no chances, not just after SHTF, but day to day too.
  • Nail Clippers: That last thing I want to die from is an infection from a hangnail. You can buy nail clippers anyplace, pick up a couple sets for your fingernails and toenails!
  • Feminine hygiene: Besides the obvious uses, tampons can be used to filter water and maxi pads make great bandages. There are a million uses for both of these items.
  • Toilet paper: grab a roll from your bathroom and reroll it on a smaller tube, or buy some camping toilet paper. Your tushy will thank you.
  • Camp Suds wash: to clean your body and hair. I sometimes use Dr Bronners Castile soaps instead.


Power and Light

  • Battery Converters or Adapters: Turn your AA batteries into C or D batteries. This would be very very handy!
  • Solar battery charger: Recharge your rechargeable batteries with the Sun.
  • Lantern: Sometimes you need to do things and holding a flashlight or using a headlamp, just isn’t optimum!
  • Candle Lantern: A non battery alternative
  • Automatic Watch: A watch that is EMP proof and doesn’t ever require batteries is essential.Knowing the date and time can help you plan your movements and help keep you sane. You can even use a watch to help you determine direction (see post: Determining Direction With Your Watch). I too have procrastinated on getting an Automatic Watch, but I have resolved that this will be my next purchase, because it’s not a bank breaker and it’s really important.
  • Solar watch: An alternative to the automatic watch.


  • Tarp: Any color will work, but I’m all for camo or earth tones, to blend in.
  • Military Poncho: Rain gear, shelter and tarp, all in one! Fantastic gear. Get a good military surplus one. Keep one in each of your vehicles and each of your backpacks!
  • Tent: A good tent will provide you some shelter. I like camo or earth tones, but you can always cover your bright tent with a subdued tarp.
  • Sleeping bag: This is your key to warmth on those cold nights. Get a good one.
  • Sleeping pad: This provides a measure of comfort to help you sleep, and also adds another layer of insulation between you and the cold hard ground. Trust me, this is important.
  • Waterproof Bible: We’ll all need some hope in a post Apocalyptic world. Hope may be all that keeps you going! This is your spiritual shelter ;-)


  • Paracord: The work-horse of the rope world. You can never have enough!
  • Zing It: sometimes you need rope that is only 1.75 mm in thickness, but has a 400 lb strength (This stuff is perfect for hammock ridge lines)
  • Lash It: Same strength and thickness as Zing It, but in a more subdued color.

 Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments and we’ll make sure to add it!

Try to find a quality backpack for your gear, because even if you don’t plan to bug out, a good backpack will come in handy!

This list of Overlooked Bug Out Bag Essentials wasn’t originally designed to be published, it was designed for me any my family to determine what we’d need that isn’t normally included when thinking about post-SHTF life. When I showed it to a friend, he was amazed and wanted a copy. He said he had the same experience when he showed it to other friends.

Please use this list of Overlooked Bug Out Bag Essentials as a starting point to help you prepare for the worst.  We’re seeing craziness around the globe so how long do you think it’ll be before it comes to your area?


  1. No one ever mentions one thing that is kinda essential if one expects to be , or remain , welcome in a bug out shelter : a small pocket or purse size container of Underarm Deodorant …LOL.. but I am serious..; a week or so in a fallout shelter or similar is tough enough with several people in close quarters.. who have not bathed and are under stress, which promotes odor.

  2. Excellent list btw::: we always say Warm first Water next,, and while it is true as you might last only 3 or 4 hours if too cold,, and hypothermia can set in rapidly even in 40 degee (f) temps if the wind is blowing & you are wet,, You won’t make 3 days without water,
    But your wise inclusion of goggles (or Very close fitting wraparound sunglasses) is often overlooked… and the truth is , you probably would not last 30 Minutes in a SHTF scenario if you could not See !!!!

  3. Something else I would include in this would be condoms. It may seem funny but if you have a significant other…or you just happen to meet someone after TSHTF then they will probably be appreciated because I doubt sex will stop entirely during a disaster. Stopping the spread of STIs and pregnancy should still be a concern in the immediate aftermath of a cataclysmic disaster.

  4. Great suggestions! I never thought about goggles. I had to take my husband to the ER one time because he got crap in them ;)

  5. i swap the fishing line for dental floss as it has more uses and packs smaller plus i add tinfoil it will have many uses signaling cooking repairs all sorts of things

  6. Really glad you included the sleeping pad. One thing that you will need is as much of a good night sleep as you can, and the sleeping pad does wonders, you have no idea!

  7. rather than the sleeping pad I prefer an inflatabile air matress, I have both. The air matress can also be used to transport gear over still(ish) water, something an air mat can’t do. If you can’t inflate the matress by mouth , don’t bother prepping you’ve already failed. the weight/space difference between the two is minor an in fact my air matress saves me space ove the air mat. Insulation is better with an air mat , usually R2, air matress R1.
    Also buy DPMR, it’s not a brand, radios.

  8. Great list. Didn’t know about waterproof Bibles. However, instead of toilet paper I prefer flushable moist wipes. One wipe can do the job of a handful to toilet paper, take up less space and can be used for other cleanup purposes. And if they dry out (as mine do in a ziplock bag over time) add a little water. Only thing they do not do well is replace Kleenex, that is why I carry a travel pack of Kleenex.
    I would also include some other items that may be overlooked:
    – large contractor grade trash bags, many uses.
    – knife sharpening stone. You’re going to use your knife so it will get dull.
    – head cover, especially in cold weather to prevent heat loss (toboggan, shemag, etc.)

  9. This is not a bug-out bag; it is a bug-out crate! All good suggestions, though. As an elderly geezer, I have to use a vehicle to bug out, so I can carry most of these items.

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