Bug Out Bag Checklist

Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist)

Getting the right tools and items for your 72-hour bag is even more critical than choosing the bag itself. Today I will be providing you with my top 13 bug out bag list to help you decide what to add to your top tactical backpack following up to my previous review on the get home bag to get.

Whether you are a beginner to survival prepping or a veteran, this checklist will ensure that you have the essentials when bugging out. The list also includes important items that could potentially save your life during any emergency situations because it would be difficult to predict the situation you would encounter. Of course, the ultimate goal for every prepper is to reach their safe house or destination within a limited amount of time. Without further ado, here is my top 13 bug out bag checklist.   


You will need a few categories of items that are essential for your survival when bugging out and only pack what is really needed because every ounce matter to make the perfect emergency kit. Here is a list of categories of items that are essential to your preparedness kit:

#1: Water supply
#2: Survival food and utensils
#3: Shelter
#4: Medical supplies and hygiene
#5: Survival tools

Let’s get right on to it, shall we?

Bug Out Bag List Essentials

Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 1Portable Purification
Check BEST PriceWater SupplyYou will be able
to make the
suitable to drink -
great for the
outdoors or
Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 2Sawyer Water FilterCheck BEST PriceWater SupplyA filter that
removes 99.99%
of bacteria
helping you make
your water
healthy to be
Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 3DATREX Emergency
Water Pouch
Check BEST PriceWater SupplyLightweight
purified water
that is
manufactured for
Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 4Mountain House Emergency FoodCheck BEST PriceFoodYou'll get 20
servings with
1650 calories
each - this will be
able to help curb
your hunger for
Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 5Be Smart Get
Prepared first aid kit
Check BEST PriceMedical SuppliesYou'll get all the
medical supplies
you need to treat
most injuries -
ointments and

Category #1: Water supply

Referring to the survival rule of three, you can survive 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 hours without shelter in a harsh environment, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. The ability to get clean and filtered water supply is critical when bugging out. When finding a suitable shelter for yourself and your loved ones, hiking would dehydrate you quickly and keeping hydrated is of utmost importance here to improve your chances of survival.

Water Purification Tablets

Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 6

These Potable Aqua water purification tablets are ideal to complement with a water filter. Simply drop 2 tablets into a liter of water and wait about 30 minutes to get treated water suitable for drinking. With its small size and relatively low price, it is definitely an ideal backup for our emergency survival kit.

Portable Water Filter

Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 7

LifeStraw or the Sawyer Mini can do the job just fine so you can drink from any stream or lake safely and still feel like drinking from a fresh spring. Both water filters are lightweight (only about 2 ounces!) and equipped with micron filtration technology which removes all harmful bacteria which causes cholera and E. coli as well as waterborne parasites and microplastics. Both water filters also provide you a few options such as attaching the filter to a drinking pouch, connecting it to hydration pack or a straw to drink directly from water source.

The Sawyer MINI water filter is rated up to 100,000 gallons while LifeStraw Personal water filter will provide 1,000 gallons of clean and safe drinking water. There is no doubt that these water filters are great for outdoor camping, hiking, traveling and of course, emergency prepping.

Emergency Water Pouch

Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 8

In case you could not locate any water sources, the DATREX Emergency water pouch might be a viable option. With 5 years of shelf life, it is packed in individual sachets to minimize any loss potential and easy to be dispense when required.  

Category #2: Survival food and utensils

After solving your water needs, you will need to pack some food bars and food kit into your bug out bag to maintain your energy and stamina. If you plan to hunt for food, you would still need some energy bar, so time to pack some calories!

Food Ration Bar

Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 9

The ER Emergency Food Ration bar is a common choice as it packs 3600 calories per bar providing you the energy you need. Approved for 5 years shelf life under all climatic conditions by the US coast guard, these bars are individually wrapped which does not require you to break it apart from large hunks.

Survival Food Kit

Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 10

Alternatively, if you have some storage space in your bug out bag, you can pack some Mountain House Emergency food supply. These food kits are easy to prepare just by adding some boiling water and waiting about 15 minutes. The best part? It actually tastes good! You can taste the eggs, sausages and unlike MREs or canned food, they do not lose their shelf life when kept in the heat. This means you can throw these in your car and leave them there in case of emergency. Don’t forget to pack a spork and bowl in your bag for convenience purpose.

I had made a comparison table for the 8 best survival food kit which you can read further here.  

Portable Stove with fire starter

Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 11

A simple stove with easy-to-get fuel is key here. Ohuhu camping stove and the Solo stove lite would do the job. With any one of these stoves, you do not need to carry any fuel. Get twigs, dry leaves and solidified alcohol as fuel then light it up with a starter or matches to simply start cooking your meal.  

Category #3: Shelter

Emergency Tent

Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 12

When selecting an emergency tent, choose a tent material that has extra thick HeatFlex mylar like this 2 Person Mylar Emergency Shelter Tube Tent. You can easily set it up by just running the 20 feet paracord through the tent and tie up between two trees. Use rocks to anchor the corners and it is ready to use. Now, you can always stay warm and dry whenever you are bugging out.

Survival Blanket and Poncho

Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 13

Keeping your body warm is your primary concern to pass through the night, pack a few reusable Mylar Blanket which are waterproof, windproof and is designed to retain up to 90% of your body heat. These blankets can also be used as a tent footprint, emergency shelter, backpack cover or even rain poncho. If you prefer a sleeping bag instead, the SE Survivor emergency sleeping bag kit is tear-resistant, water proof, thermal reflective and comes with drawstring carrying bag for your convenience. However, a sleeping bag would add on some weight to your bugging out bag compared to the relatively light-weight Mylar Blanket which works just as effective.

Category #4: Medical Supplies

First Aid Kit

Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 14

Having a well-stocked first aid kit would make all the difference as it enables you to deal with minor accidents, aches and injuries effectively. Make sure your first aid kit contains alcohol prep pads to remove any bacteria and germs, antiseptic for disinfection, sting relief, antacids for emergency stomach pain, aspirin and non-aspirin tablets to relieve aches. Ointment for minor cuts, bandages and sterile gauze to cover any injured body part. These Be Smart Get Prepared kit (303 pieces) or the First Aid Hard Red Case (326 pieces) exceeds the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and American Nation Standards Institute (ANSI) standards should cover all your first aid needs and is ideal for travelling.  

Category #5: Survival Tools

Spare Cash, yes, you will need some money even when bugging out. When the whole electrical power grid goes out, you will also need to buy some batteries from any stores. Make sure you bring loose change instead of big notes because its unlikely anyone will give you change in an emergency blackout.

Torchlight and SnapLight

Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 15

Having both torchlight and snap light is essential because it can be used for evacuation illumination, contingency lighting and rescue signal to get help from others. The GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 would be perfect for a survival kit due to its water resistant and indestructible material. If you prefer not to use any batteries, then the Thorfire hand crank solar flashlight would be the best pick.


Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 16

Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a Leatherman? The Leatherman Wingman multitool has a blade-out design like a pocket knife, spring loaded pliers, stainless steel scissors, wire stripper, screwdrivers, can openers, file and a ruler. I would recommend getting the Leatherman Rebar because it has all the tools the Wingman has and additional electrical crimper, a saw and an awl for just an extra few dollars.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 17

Here are 2 great reasons to get a GPS today for your bug out bag: ability to navigate through places you are unfamiliar with and contact SOS even when you are out of ‘signal’. Most GPS units have an alarm to alert your loved ones when you are caught in a dangerous situation. Otherwise, these GPS units can also send distress signals to satellite to call for a rescue team. The Garmin GPSMAP 64st would make the ideal pick here due to its waterproof characteristics and the ability to provide fishing and hunting information too.

Pepper Spray

Top 13 Bug Out Bag List Essentials in 2023 (Checklist) 18

This chemical compound is useful for self-defence purpose that irritates the eyes to cause tears and temporary blindness. If your country does not allow pepper spray, you could carry a wasp spray instead but it has been proven to be ineffective towards the human. If possible, carry a pepper spray with you to defend against attackers or wild animals.


Other survival tools which you can include in your bug out bag are the paracord which can be used for a hammock, survival boot knife, hatchet and a solar phone charger. You can also check my previous articles on boot knife and paracord projects to get a comprehensive review and guide.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Bug out bag essentials – Expert Roundup

I hope you found this bug out bag list useful as it pins down the essential tools you will need to survive in an emergency. Let me know in the comments about your thoughts about this bug out bag checklist!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top