Your Bug Out Bag Essentials


Your Bug Out Bag Essentials

More often than not essential items are overlooked when packing various types of bug out bags.  Your bug out bag essentials will vary based upon gender, naturally, as well as these essentials will vary depending upon the length of time your bug out bag is packed for.  The most common bug out bags includes 12, 24, 48 and 72 hour bug out bags.  For each of these bags essential supplies can often be overlooked however, here is a short list to help you remember all the essentials while packing the basics.


12 Hour Bag

For a 12 hour bug out bag the essentials are pretty basic.  Your bug out bag essentials for 12 hours include:

  • Water
  • Maps / Compass
  • IFAK / Rope
  • Gloves


First and foremost water.  Water is not often forgotten but the importance of how to store water is often overlooked.  Ensure a canteen or a product of similar durability to store your water.  Canteens are often recommended because they include a small cup around the canteen itself that allows for more tools to be easily carried.  Maps and compasses are often overlooked as some of the more basic supplies are focused on.  Be sure to keep maps and compasses within hands reach while traveling.  IFAK or Individual First Aid Kit should be kept pretty basic but must still include all of the essentials for a 12 hour mission.  Include rope or at least 550cord for setting up traps, climbing or shimmying across hills or debris.  Finally, don’t forget your gloves.  The short duration of a 12 hour bag often makes the wearer forget their gloves.


24 Hour Bag

For a 24 hour bag essentials from the 12 hour bag will also be included however, these essentials will be increased.  Your bug out bag essentials for a 24 hour bag will include:

  • Flashlights
  • Socks
  • Toiletry Kit


Your water supply, rope, IFAK, maps, compasses and of course gloves should already be included but what must also be included are flashlights.  A 24 hour bag means that the mission will include an overnight stay.  Packing flashlights will help you navigate and maneuver especially if you have a headlamp.  Include socks as most of your 24 hour mission will include being on your feet.  As well as do not forget your toiletry kit.  You will be at least peeing while outside.  Be sure to pack a toiletry kit that will cover all of the basics.


48 Hour Bag

Much of what you include in a 24 hour bug out bag will be included in a 48 hour bug out bag but doubled.  However, there are still a few essential items that will need to be included in a 48 hour bag.  Your bug out bag essentials for a 48 hour bag include:

  • Batteries
  • Chemlights or Flares
  • Undergarments


The duration of time that a 48 hour mission includes means batteries are an essential item to not overlook.  If operating a HAM radio, flashlights or even a red dot attached to a rifle than additional batteries will need to be included in your 48 hour bag.  Chemlights and flares should also be included as well because markers will need to be set while in dusk or at night.  Better to use chemlights or flares for their long burning abilities.  Finally, because two overnight stays outdoors will be anticipated be sure to pack undergarments for your lower and upper body.  This will help to keep warm while out for two full nights.


72 Hour Bag

The 72 hour bag is especially important to ensure all essentials supplies are packed because they can be so easily overlooked.  Realistically 72 hours away from home with nothing but your bug out bag is a really long time and this may cause slight forgetfulness when packing your bug out bag essentials.  Everything previously mentioned will also be included in a 72 hour bag but additional essential items will be included.  Your bug out bag essentials for a 72 hour bag include:

  • Increased toiletry kit
  • Additional clothing
  • Reading material
  • Easy pack blanket
  • Trash bags
  • Increased water supply
  • Any additional gear


Anticipate several days outdoors; because of this pack a decent sized toiletry kit not excluding baby wipes for use on the body, face and as an alternative to toilet paper.  Pack a set of clothes in case of need of changing.  It can be expected that you will at least smell if not covered in dirt.  Be sure to pack an additional pair of clean clothes.  The whole 72 hour mission will not mostly be spent on foot so in case some sit down time happens include reading material.  One of the best books to have on hand as part of your bug out bag essentials is the SAS Survival Handbook.  Include a small tight roll up blanket for additional warmth while sleeping.  Trash bags will come in handy in case a hunt occurs, a shower is needed or if temporary cover is required.  A canteen will not cover the water supply needed for 72 hours so be sure to have an additional water supply such as a water bladder.  Finally, if any additional gear can be thought of be sure to include it while still anticipating the weight of the bag altogether.  Packing too heavy can cause pain throughout the 72 hour mission so be wise when packing your bug out bag essentials.

Alden Morris
Proprietor at All Done Marketing
Alden Morris is a freelance writer and producer of content aimed to create interest, inspire, and educate.