Almost two months after I first announced on my blog that I was a Budding Survivalist I am finally publishing this post with what I consider to be fairly important things to have in a general Survival or Prep BOB (Bug Out Bag). Of course each person should read through the list and determine what needs they have and what things will work better for them and make their BOB sustainable for themselves, but this list is to get your brain thinking and give you a few reasons why you may want to include these items in your BOB! Down the road I plan to put together a more serious list for an outdoor geared BOB, but for now this is what I have so this is what I will share with you.
The Purpose of a BOB
A Bug Out Bag, or BOB, is generally used in an emergency situation where you may have to leave your home and be out and about such as in the woods or in a Red Cross shelter for example. In your bag you will want to pack only the things necessary to life and sustaining life. The list I have below is a jumble of things which are both important and non-important. Although this is a good list, you will have to decide what is necessary for you and your family. Something I may have on my list may not be something you need for yourself...so don't add it!
General BOB Ideas List
There are 60 things listed in this photo...not including each item shown for the medical, fishing, and sewing kits. They are all numbered so if you see something that interests you pop to its number. Otherwise have fun reading! Questions are welcome so if you don't understand something or if I don't have enough info listed next to a certain item please let me know so I can update this post and help you as well as other readers!
1. Ace Wrap Bandage. Good to have on hand in case of a sprained joint or broken bone and there is no way to get to a doctor at the moment.
2. Waterproof Matches. It's always good to have several ways to start a fire. This is one of the few I have on this list.
3. Floss. Besides the obvious of using floss for your teeth you can also use floss in place if you don't have fishing line.
4. Small Sewing Kit. Have at least two needles, a spare bobbin of thread (choose something that's a match-all like black or gray perhaps). And a few buttons. That's really all you need. You should have a knife or multi-use tool in your BOB to cut the string and, as a seamstress, I would know that not much else would be required to mend something in an emergency situation.
5. Cough Drops and/or Lozenges. I like to keep a few of these in the medical kit because you never know when you might end up with a sore throat.
6. Small Fishing Kit. Keep a few feet of fishing line, an assortment of hook sizes, a few sinkers. I've seen it suggested to keep a small empty container in your BOB so you can collect live bait such as crickets since plastic worms don't do well in the heat.
7. Tweezers. Useful for getting out splinters, ticks, and stingers from bees or other annoying insects.
8. Nail Clippers. Nails grow regardless of what you may do to try and stop it. In all desperation you can bite your nails, but if you don't want to do that, nail clippers really don't take up a lot of space.
9. Small LED Flashlight w/ Extra Batteries. You will want to keep this in an easy to get to place in your BOB since (as I mention later on in the list) your bigger flash light should be stored in the main part of your BOB because it won't be used until night.
10. Travel Size Toothbrush. I have this nifty toothbrush with a case that clips onto the bottom so it feels like a regular full toothbrush when you use it, but only takes up half the space. This came from my years of being in braces, but I'm sure if you did some searching you could probably find something similar. I haven't searched for anything like this yet otherwise I might have a direction in which to point you.
11. Super Glue. This has many uses, but I have it in my BOB as a medical item to seal wounds such as cuts after they have been properly cleaned.
12. Large 40 gallon Black Trash Bag or two. If you end up outdoors and in need of shelter you can open the trash bags using your knife or multi-use tool and build a makeshift shelter of sorts from the trash bags and duct tape. This will protect you from the wind. You can also use these as ponchos if you don't already have one.
13. Large Sheet of Tin Foil. Tin Foil can be used to scrub dishes, build a small wall to protect your fire from the wind, mold a dish to eat food from or use to boil water or cook food in. You can also cover the bottom of your cooking pot to keep it from turning black from the fire.
14. Extra Prescription Medicine. If you or someone you are responsible for takes medication on a regular basis you need to keep extras in your BOB so that if something happens you don't have to run around trying to gather up all their medication when you really should be running out the door.
15. Duct Tape. A million uses in any situation, but for survivalists this is a key item. Keep in mind though if you're going into an outdoor situation you don't want hot pink zebra stripe duct tape as I have photographed above lol. Instead look for the hunting camo duct tape. And you can also check out this tutorial I wrote up for wrapping duct tape around cardboard to save space in your BOB.
16. Sharpie Markers. For labeling things. Not a necessity in an outdoor situation, but for other situations this may come in handy.
17. Sharpened Pencils. Pencils are better than pens because you can re-sharpen them with a knife, but once a pen runs out it's gone and it can dry up and become useless that was as well. Plus in the colder months it could freeze...just too many problems. Start with sharpened pencils. If the tips break in your BOB don't worry about it, you can re-sharpen them later on.
18. Chap stick. Pick something that has sunscreen in it and is moisturizing, especially if you might be outdoors a lot.
19. Small Bible. I don't know about you, but I really do read my Bible often and though it would be too much to have my full size study Bible in my BOB at least a small Psalms & Proverbs & New Testament Bible would be better than none at all.
20. New Razor. This is not a necessity, and I was actually laughed at when I was adding this to my bag, but hey...I like shaved legs, even if I can only shave once a week.
21. Deck of Cards. Again, not a necessity, but something to do when you are bored and have nothing better to do.
22. Tampons. Other than the obvious use, they can be used as fire starter, a Medical Bandage as seen on Art of Manliness, and a crude water filter, also seen on the link provided.
23. A Quart Size Bag of Baking Soda. Baking soda has a mountain of uses but I'll only name the most important: cleaning your teeth and freshening your breath (swish some around in your mouth with a bit of water to freshen breath); used to treat insect bites/stings (make a paste w/water); fairly decent cleanser for small wounds but it will sting; neutralize battery acid corrosion on cars; extinguish fires with baking soda; use to wash laundry; there are a TON of things, just search it on Google. I will be writing a full length post soon for The Survivalist Post.
24. A Spoon or Camping Silverware. In general you can eat with your fingers, but if you prefer to be more civilized you may want to look into some camping silverware. I've looked at WalMart and for a camping set which actually folds up to be the size of a medium-small pocket knife it's only about $5. This is really handy since it takes up little space. I have yet to purchase these, but if you don't want to do this you can always pick up spare silverware at your local thrift store.
25. Magnesium Fire Starter. This is something you can pick up at WalMart, it's about $8 and is worth having in your BOB so that you have yet another way to start a fire!
26. 550 Paracord (in Bracelet Form, optional). In survival situations paracord can be used for multiple things from tying down a tarp to create a shelter, or using a piece as fishing line, securing animals or livestock, tie down items to a vehicle roof rack or more from Truth Is Treason.
27. P38 Can Opener. This is an army surplus item. I've used them and they are totally awesome! Not only that, they are small which is perfect when you are packing a BOB and need every bit of space you can get!
28. Calamine Lotion. I am fortunate enough to not be allergic to poison ivy, oak, or sumac, but Autry is so this is one thing that we have in our bag to help relieve the itching should he accidently run into those nasty plants.
29. Essential Oils. If you are an essential oil lover then you probably already know the uses of these oils and which would be best to have on hand, if not read on. Peppermint is good for stomach pains and relief. Lemon is good for strengthening the immune system, decreases depression, and is a powerful antiseptic. Lavender is good for headache relief by rubbing oils into your temples. Lavender is an antiseptic, antifungal, analgesic, relaxant, and anti-inflammatory. Eucalyptus oil is good as a tropical pain reliever. Wintergreen can be mixed with another oil such as olive oil and used as a muscle rub to relieve muscle pain and spasms. Thieves is an antiviral treatment, an antiseptic and antibacterial, and to can be used to treat infections. It has a mixture of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary in it. Orange Blossom can be used to help with digestive problems and heal scar tissue.
30. A Whistle. To signal to others in your group when you get lost, or to signal when you are in need of help.
31. A Can of Beans (or another high protien food). Beans are a great food to have, and if you can get yourself the P38 can opener then you'll be good to go! If not (and if you don't have any food allergies) you may want to settle for a jar of peanut butter instead seeing as it has a lot of protein and would be just as good to have in your BOB.
32. Roll of Toilet Paper. Not an essential, but something that you may want to have. This is actually an item I DON'T have in our bag. I will include it in a car kit later on, but it is not something I am concerned with carrying in my BOB at this point.
33. Hand Sanitizer. You can never have too much of this! Especially if you end up at a shelter where there is no soap to wash your hands properly! Too many germs floating around for me thank you!!
34. Medical Emergency Kit. This should include band aids of multiple sizes, cotton balls, q-tips, clean rubber gloves (I tucked mine together in pairs since I packed three sets in my kit), gauze pads, medical tape, neosporin, alcohol prep pads, and anything you may want to add. I actually keep our kit in a quart size ziploc bag so I can easily see everything that is in it without opening the bag itself.
35. A Tub of Vaseline. Small or regular size this is a nice thing to have on hand and can actually replace item #18, plus you can put a bit in the cap of your super glue so that it won't seal up on you and become unusable; it can also be used as a protective barrier for cuts and scrapes to keep germs and dirt out when you run out of band aids; you can also use as a body moisturizer if your skin gets wind chapped or frost bite.
36. EPI pen. I have MANY allergies, some of which are really bad so this is an imporant member of our BOB.
37. Iburpofen. You can use any other type of over the counter pain medication, but this is what I had so that's what I wrote. I would probably store it in a baggie and not keep it in the bottle since that would give you more space to work with.
38. Allergy Medication. Again, I have a lot of allergies so this is a must for us. Pack plenty, especially if you are heading into a season such as Oklahoma's Tornado Season (aka Spring Time).
39. A Multi-Use Tool. As its name suggests, there are many uses and this is not something you want to skip over. However, choose wisely. Don't buy cheap, but don't go expensive either! You can get these anywhere from $12-$100+ at WalMart alone. I am looking at a few that are in the $24 range and are sturdy enough to do the jobs I'd need it for.
40. An Iron Skillet or another Cooking Pan. If you are in a situation where you have to cook your own food you will need something to cook it in. I personally want an iron skillet, but that could get really heavy really fast so you may want to look into a compact kit which offers the plate and cookware which folds together. You can find something similar at Emergency Essentials.
41. Ziploc bag of All Sizes. Here I have: 2 gallon, 1 gallon, quart, and snack size bags pictured. Sturdy bags can be used to gather fresh water in an emergency situation. You can also use baggies to store things such as papers you don't want water damage to get to. Having different sizes gives you options when you face an emergency situation.
42. A Sock Hat. It doesn't have to be of any particular type, just as long as it fits over your head and can keep it warm. Your head should be kept warm when you're facing a cold situation and a sock hat is one way to do that.
43. A Cotton Short-Sleeve Shirt. One that fits you well, but is not too small nor too big so you can be comfortable wearing just the shirt or layer more clothes over it to keep warm.
44. A Cotton Long-Sleeve Shirt. Another shirt to have on hand, especially during colder months, for layering and keeping warm. It doesn't necessarily have to be cotton either. The one I have in this photo is actually a flannel. I would even suggest putting a sweater in your BOB if you have the room for it.
45. A Long, Thick Scarf. Outdoor situations can be very unpredictable so a nice thick scarf is something good to have packed in case you need to cover your face to keep it from freezing or keep the sun off your neck, etc.
46. Sweat Pants w/Drawstring. This is one of the best options to have as far as bottoms go since in an extended situation you may not eat as much as you usually would so your regular clothes would be a bit big on you. Having a drawstring gives you the ability to adjust the waist so you don't have to worry about your clothes falling off. Sweat pants also give you a full protective layer which will keep you warmer in the winter and you can wear them under most clothing or over other clothes you already had with you.
47. A Fixed Blade Knife. The one in this photo is actually my dad's Winchester, but I really like it and I would actually get it if I could happen upon one at some point. I'm on the lookout for my own knife, but for now I just have a small pocket knife.
48. Instant Soup Packets & Hot Chocolate. You can pick up both of these items at a grocery store to have on hand. Keep in mind that if you get something like Onion Soup you will want to seal it in a separate ziploc before storing it with the other food items in a larger ziploc so that they won't have a hint of onion to it. Hot chocolate is not a need, but is something you could add if you wanted.
49. Oatmeal Packets. A nice addition to any BOB since you can get them in any flavor and all you have to add is hot water to have a filling breakfast. Perfect for a situation when you may need it!
50. Dry Rice. Rice cooks in hot water and takes about 30 minutes on a regular stovetop to become soft. This is another item which could be nice to have in a BOB. Beans that don't require soaking overnight such as lentils are another food option.
51. Raisins or other dried fruit. Something to keep your body systems working when foods may be limited. It never hurts to have a small snack bag of raisins or prunes in your BOB.
52. Nuts. These have a lot of portein and a lot of options. Pick something that you and your family all like and can eat so you have less ziploc baggies to pack.
53. Chicken bulion cubes. When all else runs out if you have a little baggie of chicken or beef cubes you will at least have a flavor to hot water instead of drinking plain water until the next meal arrives.
54. Large LED Flashlight w/Extra Batteries. A necessity. Although I already mentioned the small flashlight, a large one is good to keep in your BOB for night use when it's darker and you may need more of a light source than a small flashlight could give you. Keep an extra set of batteries so that you won't run out in the middle of an emergency.
55. Stainless Steel Water Bottle w/Secure Lid. It doesn't have to be stainless steel, but this seems to be a good option for storing water in. I wouldn't suggest putting anything else in your bottle though so keep those soups and drink mixes in something else and only use your bottle for water.
56. Bandanas. This could replace item #58 as a washcloth, bandanas are also useful for keeping the sun off your neck, a dish rag, a dust mask, a sweat band and more as suggested at Survival Cache.
57. Spare Underwear/Panties & Wool Socks in a Ziploc. Keep these two items in a ziploc so that they are always dry in case your BOB gets soaked. You can find wool socks in the hunting department at WalMart for about $4 a pair.
58. A Washcloth. For washing dishes or your face/body.
59. A Head Scarf/Bandana for Your Head. These are generally something you'd see a biker wear, but they would actually be useful for keeping your hair out of your face and sweat away from your eyes if you had nothing else. I got these from my Dad, but my brother wears them for his job at a factory where it's really hot most of the time.
60. A warm blanket or sleeping bag. Always something to keep in mind: a place to sleep. If you have something extra go ahead and set it aside with your BOB. If not, consider saving money off of each check until you can purchase a sleeping bag or blanket.
Other things I have since added:
~Important Documents. Get the original birth certificates & social security cards and seal them in a ziploc bag. In a situation where you have to leave you may not be able to get back to your home (such as a tornado or hurricane) so the originals would be important to have instead of a copy.
~Small lighter. I bought a pack of 7 at WalMart near the registers for $2 so I would have plenty on hand. It never hurts to have a lot of options for starting a fire. This is also stored in a small ziploc incase the liquid leaks out so that it won't get on anything else in my BOB.
~Emergency Blanket. These blankets can be found at WalMart in the camping section and are about $2.50 each. They send about 80% of your body heat back to you to help you keep warm. Pack one per person.
~Machete. This is a good idea to add if you are prepping for outdoor survivalism since you can use it to chop back tall weeds and so much more! Plus it adds another weapon to your bag.
This is what I've come up with so far. As I said in the beginning of this post I do plan to put together a more serious list for outdoor survival, but many of these items would work for multiple situations. As I add new things or find something that would be good to have in a BOB I will stick it on the end of the list for future readers to view. Of course if you think of something I don't have listed feel free to share! It may be something I need to add to my own BOB and this list! :)
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