What Should Be In A 72-Hour Bug Out Bag?

What Should Be In A 72-Hour Bug Out Bag?

An earthquake hits your area. Lucky for you, you survived it and were able to go out safe. However, your house was shattered, and your whole community was facing huge destruction. Survival is not only about the “during” phase of a calamity but also the phase after it. That is why sustaining yourself for the next 72 hours is essential in disaster preparedness.

A bug out bag (BOB), or simply an emergency bag, should include essentials such as water, food, shelter, clothing, medical kit, hygiene items, and other tools that might aid in a 3-day feat of survival.

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Find out essential items to be included in your BOB by reading this article. You will also learn about some tips that would help you prepare your BOB more effectively.

Three Tips In BOB Preparation  

Before moving to the list of essential BOB items, here are three things you should keep in mind when preparing your BOB.

1.   BOBs Are Different

You need to understand that BOBs are not necessarily “similar.” Each individual could have a different situation and survival needs. For this reason, do not blindly follow any BOB list, including this item-by-item.

The lists laid out on the internet are only recommendations from people who may have different geographical location and way of living than yours. Consider your location, situation, personal needs, and conditions when preparing a BOB.

2.   Cut Weight As Possible

Your BOB needs to be lightweight so you can carry it around. Be wise and use your common sense in choosing items you would bring along.

For instance, you could bring along MREs instead of canned goods, or a tarp instead of a tent, as they are lighter to carry. Cut weight without overlooking the essential items.

3.   Leave Some Space

Many preppers tend to fill their BOBs at its maximum storage. Some, however, suggest otherwise. I agree with the latter as it is also essential to save some room for useful items you may find and may decide to keep along the way.

For example, if you find an abandoned gear that will be useful in your survival, at least you still have room to carry it in your bag.

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BOB Essentials

Water And Containers

As evident as it is, it is an extremely essential item in your BOB. While you struggle for your survival, you need to be constantly hydrated. Bring purified drinking water that would be enough for three or more days.

You would need something to carry your water with you. You may use army canteens, Nalgene bottles, or just regular water bottles. But it would be good to consider purchasing hydration packs like CamelBak HydroBak.

They are easy to carry. They also save space in your BOB, and some even provide additional compartments for small items.

Water Treatment Supplies

Even if you bring treated water, you might run out of it due to emergencies or simply need to survive longer. In these cases, you might need to find another water source.

And to make sure it would be safe for drinking, you will need water purification supplies such as iodine tablets to treat it. Remember, do not drink untreated water; it may be contaminated.

Food And Supplies

You can go three weeks without food, according to the survival rule of threes. But you would certainly need food for your body to function efficiently every day.

Choose non-perishable foods with high protein and fat content. MREs, peanut butter, and granola bars are great choices because they are lightweight and nutrient-dense. Also, bring milk if you have a baby with you.

Also, you will need a pot to boil water and cook food. It may take up space, but you can pack items inside it anyway. Bring enough utensils for three days. Collapsible bowls and “sporks” are good picks since they don’t take up much space in your BOB.

Shelter And Warmth

Bring a tarp or a tent big enough to accommodate you and your family. If possible, choose lightweight and water-resistant tents like GEERTOP Backpacking Tent. You can also learn to make survival shelters out of the debris.

This way, you can put tarp or tent out of your BOB and save space for more things.

You should also bring a sleeping bag, mat, or emergency blanket to keep you warm at night.

Fire helps keep you warm. It can also be used to boil water, cook food, keep wild animals away, and signal help unless you want to throw all your energy in striking stones or spinning sticks, secure lighter, matches, or fire steel.

Clothing And Footwear

Bring one or a couple of spare shirts and pants, preferably made from synthetic materials, so they can easily dry. You would need to “wash and dry” for a few days. Find clothing that blends to your environment.

Care for your feet – It is an essential body part when fleeing. Bring boots or tennis shoes that would help you run comfortably. Keep extra socks as well.

Bring along ponchos or rain gears to stay dry when raining. You may also bring a hat and glasses to protect you from the sun’s extreme heat. You may also need heavy-duty gloves, face masks, and other gears, depending on the situation.

Hygiene Items

  1. Soap bars – You will need bath soaps for your body and a detergent bar for your clothes and utensils. Bring a sponge too for dishwashing.
  2. Toothbrush kit – A travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste would not take up much of your space, so it won’t hurt to bring them along. Brushing keeps your teeth clean and healthy.
  3. Toilet paper and wipes – Toilet paper is very useful in keeping you and your items clean. Pack wet wipes also, especially if you have children.

Medical Kit

  1. First aid essentials – Stick to the essentials. You don’t need all the stuff in a first-aid kit. Just store an antiseptic, a disinfectant, bandages, and tapes.
  2. Vitamins and medication – Pack medication for specific ailments you have. Bring multi-vitamins, too, to further boost your energy.


  • Bag – You need a bag to store and carry all of these things. Make sure it is durable, big enough, and, if possible, water-resistant like Mardingtop Molle Hiking Backpacks.

  • Cordages – Cords and ropes are incredibly versatile and can be used in many ways, like making tarp shelters. Bring along paracord, preferably 550, and other durable ropes and cords if available.

  • Scissors and survival knife – These multi-purpose items are good tools that would help you be fine. They can be used to cut many things, open canned foods, and defend yourself.

  • Tapes and adhesives – Duct tape is a really durable and highly adhesive tape that can be used in many ways, so better to include a roll in your BOB. You can also pack other tapes and super glues. They might come in handy.

  • Flashlights – You might need to flee at night or find something in the dark. Make sure you have flashlights in hand.

  • Batteries and charging items – Make sure to bring extra batteries for your flashlight and battery-operated devices. Bring along a power bank and connector for your mobile phone, too. You might need it to communicate with your loved ones in case you got separated. It might also be helpful for navigation, help-seeking, and entertainment.

  • Weapons – Your survival knife would suffice, but if you still want to carry firearms, it won’t hurt to do so. Consider carrying a pepper spray or a stun gun if you wish to a less-lethal weapon.

  • Documents – There are documents that you might need in an emergency— your ID, photos, passport, phone numbers, and others. These are necessary for identification and safekeeping and can also help in case you get separated from your family members.
  • Baby supplies – If you have children with you, make sure to bring a baby carrier to carry them on your chest. Bring their baby supplies as well.

Related Questions

Why should I pack for 72 hours?

On large-scale disasters, people often rely on the government’s help. However, government response takes 72 hours on average.

Meaning, they may not be able to provide help right away (or at all), so being self-sufficient for at least three days could help you survive. Again, 72 hours is just an average, so it may also prepare for more extended periods.

How Big Should It Be?

It should be enough to accommodate the items you would bring. However, make sure to keep it as light as possible so you could carry it around comfortably. “Pack what you can carry for miles” is a simple rule.

Many survival experts recommend limiting its weight up to 10-25% of yours.


As a conclusion, preparing a bug out bag is crucial, and the BOB is achieved by careful examination. It would be best to assess your situation and conditions before you choose which items you would pack.

Whatever disaster that may strike, you can give yourself the peace of mind and put worry to its minimum by preparing for it.