Essential Survival Gear to Keep In Your Bug Out Bag

compass in bugout bag

You Don’t Need 104 Things In A Bug Out Bag- But These Items Are Essential!

Sure, we all love survival gadgets and tactical gear. It is easy to get obsessive over having the best survival gear in your bug out bag.  And most of us are always acquiring more and more stuff.

With that said, if you are on a budget, or looking to travel lightly, there are only a few things you need on your most essential bug out bag packing list.  The items on this essential list of survival items contains the most important gear that one must never leave home without.

However, if you just want to buy a well thought out bag, check out our review of the Monkey Pak tactical backpack. has put together a list below of the absolutely most essential survival items that you need to have in every bug out bag in your group.  This list will allow everyone to do a lot more with less and allow you to travel light, quick, and efficiently.


It should be noted first, that you do not need expensive equipment to survive or thrive the outdoors. However, a specific toolset will help facilitate your time outside. For example, without a knife and water reservoir one would have a difficult time surviving at all!


bugging out to the mountains

Got Gear?

As already mentioned, you should be taking only critical things when escaping out to the wilderness. Most importantly a backpack, with which one can carry a number of tools – the size of which will depend on the duration of the trip and the desired “extras” you wish to bring along.

Geared To Survive’s essentials-only bug out bag pack list:

  • Backpack (sized for duration of trip)
  • Fast drying sturdy pants
  • Rugged boots and socks
  • The Best Hunting Knife You Can Afford (full tang only-always strapped to you)
  • BIC Lighter (just keep one please)
  • Fierro Rod (always have – strapped to you)
  • 10ft paracord
  • 32oz: Stainless Steel Water Bottle (purifying water)
  • Rain poncho
  • Fleece sweater
  • Waterproof bag with spare socks and shirt
  • Stainless Steel cup, 32 oz. and simple cooking set
  • Small first aid kit including painkillers, anti-inflammatories and charcoal tablets
  • Tweezers (light and surprisingly useful!)
  • Hygine set (a toothbrush at least)
  • Head Lamp
  • Tent or at least a tarp


No one should ever, ever underestimate how deadly rain can become! It is not just about the discomfort with wet clothing.

More important is the fact that when soaked, your body cools down 25 times faster than when dry. This can lead to hypothermia and death!

Therefore, rain protection are items that must not be overlooked.

A raincoat or poncho must be part of your equipment. Rain ponchos are usually cheaper than a good raincoat, and cover the backpack.

A good cover for the head is also required.

The right footwear in combination with fast drying pants protects the lower body from getting wet.

Again, it is worth mentioning that spare socks and underwear in a waterproof container, is nice to have at camp.


Of course, there are other pieces of gear that make life more pleasant in the bush, or in an emergency to save lives.

Geared To Survive’s Comfort list:

  • Tarp (best with eyelets and loops)
  • Seat Cushion
  • Multitool
  • 3ft wire
  • Super glue
  • Saw (Folding)
  • Ax or Bushcraft knife
  • Leather gloves
  • GPS and emergency compass and map
  • Binoculars
  • Thermals (insulated underwear)
  • Water Filter
  • Baking Soda

This pack is always necessary, and should always go with you to the great outdoors. Not just when the SHTF.  Whether you are an avid trail-runner, cycler, hiker, or only just getting outside to do a weekend camping excursion while in the outback, survival predicaments may hit any time.  You must have at least a simple understanding of the best way to keep your self alive or your @$$ is grass.

Remember Aron Ralston in this instance. This outdoor fanatic became a legend when he got stuck in the canyons of Utah between a massive boulder and a canyon wall.  (Insert rock and a hard place joke here…*groan*)

Regardless of James Franco’s dreamy-eyed cinema-graphic portrayal, there wasn’t anything sexy around Aron needing to amputate his own arm utilizing a very uninteresting multi-tool. However, using one good arm to crawl through canyons and rappel down waterfalls to get to safety required real moxie!

So make sure you observe simple safety awareness and you should expect to return from your own survival predicament using perfectly fine, undamaged limbs.


So there you have it.  In a survival situation when you end up in the wilderness without typical shelter, this list is just enough to get you set up to thrive.  This is a list of the absolute essential items you need in a bug out bag.

Of course, you can expand from here based on a variety of your own situation specific factors such as location, expected climate, and expected duration.

However, how well you manage from there depends on how well you have developed your bush-crafting skills. If you have other items you think should be included or excluded, comment below.

Copyright ©2018. Created by Meks.