Nov 12

Bugout Checklist

Bugging out is a huge topic of interest within the prepper community.  Whether getting out ahead of a storm or leaving the homestead after all options have been exhausted (post collapse) the need to bug out is a very real possibility and should be thought through (and practiced) at length.  I recently wrote about refining your bug out strategy, how to streamline your plan in order to maximize success if the need ever arose to execute a full fledged bug out.  In that article I wrote about the need for a checklist, something to help you minimize the stress associated with leaving quickly while fighting the clock.  Until now I have yet to post that checklist, but that’s about to change.  Just remember this should be used as a baseline checklist, feel free to add to or take away based on your individual situation.


Individual Checklist (on your body)

__ Sturdy hiking boots

__ Heavy duty socks

__ Heavy duty work pants, hiking pants, cargo pants (or similar)

__ Heavy duty belt

__ Undershirt (moisture wicking) and loose over-shirt (depending on season)

__  Underwear (optional)

__ Ball cap (protection from sun)

__ Sunglasses

__ Wrist watch

__ Pocket knife (or multi-tool)

__ Holster / Sidearm / Extra magazines (2) (know the laws concerning this)

__ Wallet with personal ID, CCW card, $500 cash (minimum)

__ Small tablet / notebook and pen

__ Lighter


Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

__ Check oil and fluids

__ Gas is topped off

__ Tire pressure correct

__ Spare tire has air

__ 2 quarts extra oil

__ Small tool kit (wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers etc)

__ Duct tape and Radiator hose tape

__ JB Weld

__ Tire changing equipment (jack, lug wrench, tire iron)

__ Jumper cables

__ Can of WD40

__ Heavy duty tow strap (with hooks)

__ Siphon hose

__ Tire pressure gauge

__ Emergency tire inflation kit


Vehicle Load Checklist

__ Maps

__ Compass

__ Bugout Bag(s) (See list below for contents)

__ Water (in 1 gallon jugs, within heavy duty plastic stack-able containers)

__ Food bucket (like this one)

__ MREs (in plastic container)

__ Small propane stove with extra canisters

__ Toilet Paper (and other hygiene products)

__ Bungee cords

__ Tie down ratchet straps

__ First Aid kit

__ Ammunition

__ Extra guns (long guns, shotguns, extra pistols)

__ Water filter system (e.g. Berkey or Katadyn)

__ Gas cans (two 5 gallon, preferably strapped down outside of vehicle, be wary of fumes)

__ Shelter system (tent, tarp with tie downs)

__ Fire extinguisher

__ Road flares

__ Large flashlight

__ Power inverter

__ Trash bags (heavy duty)

__ Small shovel or entrenching tool  (if you have to dig a hole to poo in)

__ Axe and hand saw (firewood, or removing obstacles from the road)

__ Comfort items (blankets, pillows)


Bugout Bag Contents

__ 3 pair of socks (in watertight bags)

__ 3 t-shirts (in watertight bags)

__ 3 pairs of underwear (in watertight bags)

__ Extra pair of insoles

__ Change of pants (optional)

__ Gloves

__ Poncho

__ Poncho liner

__ 3 MRE main meals (strip contents out of packet for easier storage)

__ Iodine tables for water purification

__ 2 quarts of water

__ Small water bottle filter system

__ Extra ammunition and magazines

__ Mosquito net

__ Bungee cords

__ Survival knife or multi-tool

__ First Aid kit

__ Weapons cleaning kit

__ Flashlight or headlamp

__ Zip ties

__ 550 (or parachute) cord

__ Toilet paper

__ Baby wipes

__ Foot powder

__ Fire starting kit

__ Lighter

__ Whistle

__ Signal mirror

__ 2 way radios

__ Extra batteries

__ Solar charging device

__ Hygiene kit (toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, nail trimmers etc etc)

__ Sewing kit

__ CHAPSTICK (sorry I’m addicted to it)


Feel free to print this list off, you can do so by clicking the PDF button at the bottom of this post.


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    • Bob on November 20, 2012 at 7:37 AM
    • Reply

    I would also add a small sewing kit and some 30# fishing line, hooks and sinkers.

      • PJ on November 20, 2012 at 4:36 PM
      • Reply


      Great point, thanks for the suggestion.

    • ParaB on November 27, 2012 at 7:52 PM
    • Reply

    Just looking around at the other articles here. Just a thought…. There are 3 of us in the family. Myself, my wife, and my son. The way we decided to set up the bug out bags are, one has medical, one has food and water, the other has the survival gear. I know that’s bad if you get separated, but it enables us to carry more and better quality equipment because we’re not trying to carry less of everything in every bag. Just food for thought. It works for us.

      • PJ on November 28, 2012 at 6:58 AM
      • Reply


      I’m with Ranger W on this one, in that I say go with whatever works best for you. I would only suggest to keep a supplement of the absolute essentials in each pack, if possible in the same locations. For example: small medical kit, Kwik clot bandage, fire starting kit, survival knife, water purification tablets etc (you get the picture). This way there is at least some form of standardization so you won’t be fumbling around at night if you have to dig through someone’s pack. Additionally if for some reason you lose a pack all the medical supplies (or whatever) won’t go with it. Thanks for the comment!


    • Ranger W on November 27, 2012 at 8:28 PM
    • Reply

    ParaB, Im of two minds on your suggestion. My first response is “aggghhh NEVER, every one needs there own kit!”

    But I have been thinking about it a little bit and I will go with the assumption that if one of your loved ones was stopped/injured the others would not make a run for it and abandon. (obvioulsy, Im considering you a good person off the bat:) But anyways, if you have to divide items based on the ability of the carriers to handle a load you have gone with one method.

    Basically, I think my biggest suggestion is if you are tailoring load based on what an individual can most efficiently carry then put more emphasis on size and weight of an item, not what category it comes from. Although that would present some headaches in finding the right #2 bandage in an emergency…

    So after writing all this Im not sure if I have any recommendations other than if it works for you keep working with it.

    • Midge on January 6, 2013 at 2:03 AM
    • Reply

    I have seen lots of Bug Out Bag lists, but this is the first one I’ve seen where there is a break down for your vehicle (BOV) and a maintenance checklist which is super important! Have to say – I like it!

    We keep emergency kits in the trunk for our vehicles at all times. It includes many of the items on the maintenance list including road flares, iso-heet (cold climate), flashlight, zip ties, multi purpose tool, specialized tools for the vehicle, crescent wrench and ratchet set. In addition, a back up of course for comfort: fire starters, old packing blanket, protein bars, toilet paper, mini first aid kit, Hot Hands (hot packs), instant cold packs, and wet wipes (for clean up after working).

    Thanks for the great articles!

      • PJ on January 6, 2013 at 11:11 AM
      • Reply


      Thanks for the compliment on the bugout list, please pass it along as you see fit. I’m glad to see you also keep a substantial emergency kit in your vehicle, you never know when you might need one. I am in full agreement with you: toilet paper is a very essential part of any kit.


  1. i watched these days come for 70 years. you cannot carry it all. stick to the basic. food water shellter sleeping bag matches belt knife no junk. and be prepared take a course in being a survier. know where you are going. if you get out on the freeway with a million others god help you. bike might be better and you can carry more junk. the list is endless. you chose. weapon i would chose a 22 or 22 mag you can carry more ammo and its a good small game getter fishing line and hooks is light. stay alway from saturday night specials. junk stainless steel knifes more junk. if you run in to my body you can have it all. check the socks for money. the 10 inch blade knife is made from a saw blade and will cut asmall tree down or take a man in half. the 8 pound sleeping bag will keep you warm on the coldest night. the one pound tent does keep the wind and rain out. and my 22 mag. pistol will hit the bull eye at a hundren yards . if iam alive take warning you should have said hello in camp at a hundren yard. might think you are after my expresso coffee and maker. good luck.

      • PJ on February 8, 2013 at 3:31 PM
      • Reply


      Great points, especially about hailing an unknown camp from far away rather than trying to stomp through their location.

      Thanks for the comment

  2. oh one other thing stay away from my dark chocolate fudge. death to them that steal.

    • PJ on November 15, 2013 at 7:22 PM
    • Reply

    Thanks for the comment Chris and I’m glad you enjoyed the checklist.

    • Marine FO on December 30, 2013 at 2:30 AM
    • Reply

    There are several things on this list you don’t need. Zip ties and bungy cords, are made redundant by 550 cords if you know your knots. Road flares are straight up a bad idea, if you are bugging out stealth is your ally road flares are counter productive, if you want an impromptu lighting device chem lights weigh much less, are easier to modify for a low light source and could be used for the same purposes as road flares. Ditch the extra shirts and bring more socks instead, your feet are your most important tool, 1 extra shirt is more than enough. When are you ever going to actually use a signal mirror or a whistle, they are just unnecessary. Good thoughts for the most part, but remember if you are bugging out, security and speed are much more important than comfort or smelling good.

      • PJ on December 30, 2013 at 6:06 AM
      • Reply

      Some items on the list are debatable but I suppose it really comes down to personal preference. There is often a misconception that bugging out only occurs after a major SHTF event (e.g. EMP / Total Economic Collapse) and is only done on foot. Yet there were no doubt thousands of people this past year who were forced to bug out due to natural disasters, whether or not they were prepared to is another thing entirely. Nothing tactical about those scenarios and I doubt stealth was much of a consideration in bumper to bumper traffic when trying to put distance between a family and the flood/fire/storm.

      ps. If I had to cinch down a radiator hose I’d much rather use zip ties versus a square knot/two half hitches and some 550 cord. 🙂

  1. […] on short notice.  Besides food and water what you have inside your bag is usually based on some sort of generic packing list, slightly modified to fit your own personal preferences.  Should you have to leave by vehicle your […]

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