The items you include in your bug out bag must be carefully selected. The biggest mistake people make when they make their bug out bag is adding too much weight and over estimating how much energy it will take to carry a heavy pack. Hiking ten miles is hard enough on its own much less with a 70-80 lb pack on your back. When you pick your items you need to try to leave out heavy, long term items that may not contribute to your immediate survival. Carrying 10 knives and a 1000 rounds of ammo might sound cool but when you're trying to move it will make you an easy target. The essential things are items that will keep you alive for 72 hours. After that you should have found strategically placed geo caches or reached your bug out location. Trying to carry everything like a pack mule is reckless and ill advised. Also, take it easy on the weapons Rambo, they won't be as useful as you may think.
Essential to Survival
Good clothes, shoes, and coat – If you are trapped somewhere wearing flip flops and a cotton tee shirt you aren't going to do very well from a survival stand point. Make sure you have good walking shoes or a good pair of boots available when you go out. Always plan for the unexpected rain storm or blizzard.
Shelter – You can live three hours without maintaining your core body temperature. If you are at risk of over heating or freezing to death you need to act quickly to keep your self comfortable. If it's raining and you're shivering you need to act quickly. You should have an easy way to make shelter in your BOB.
Water – Once your body temperature is stable and you have shelter you can live 3 days without water. Good clean water is hard to find when a disaster strikes. You should be able to carry at least 2 liters at all times in your bag. You should be able to process 2 gallons of water a day at a minimum.
Food – You can live 3 weeks without food but you won't be happy. If you are hiking with your bug out bag you should plan on 4,000 calories a day (basically double what you usually eat). Don't plan on digesting fat as a way to get calories. When your body starts using fat you will be extremely weak and slow. Make sure you pack enough food in your bag.
Bug Out Bag Items – The Absolute Essential Items
- 4,000 to 7,200 cubic inch backpack with a waist strap. Your bag will double as a ground pad.
- Camo Poncho – For a tent and protection from the rain while hiking.
- Sleeping Bag with Gortex Bivy
- 64oz Stainless Steele Water Canteen – For boiling and storing water.
- Three 3600 Calorie Emergency Ration Bars
- 550 Parachute Cord 50 Feet
- Quality Multi Tool or Fixed Blade Survival Knife
- Bic Lighter
With the items above you could live for 72 hours. There are many other items you'll want to keep in your bag for comfort and added capabilities. You'll want to customize your bag for urban or tactical settings.