Buggin’ out! How to make a Bugout Bag for fun and fear!


I’ve been meaning to make a bugout bag for several months now. Not only does it seem practical to be prepared for some sort of catastrophe that would force me from my home, but many of the items I’d put into a bugout bag would be similar to one I’d make for a short camping trip. So why not?

Bugout Bag survival kit

Photo by mirvana on Flickr


A bugout bag, for the uninitiated, is a sort of survival kit that would allow you to survive for 72 hours after a natural or man-made disaster. The idea behind this is to jsut get out of Dodge, not for long term survival, so the bag doesn’t have to be huge.

It’s a good idea to have a bug out bag stocked and ready to go. We’ve seen natural disasters popping up all over the place in the last few years, and if you’re ready to go with some survival gear, you’ll be much more likely to make it through those first few days, which are generally the most difficult.

If you’re going to have a bug out bag, make sure there’s one for each member of your household, and you keep them in a specific area that everyone knows. When an emergency strikes, you don’t want to be panicking and trying to dig the bags out of some closet.


What to put in a bug out bag can vary as widely as the personality of the person carrying it. However, there are a few things that are pretty much standard protocol.

  • Water
  • Water purification
  • Non-Perishable Food (MREs and backpacker meals are great)
  • backpacking stove, fuel, pot, spork
  • Weather appropriate clothing
  • Shelter (Tent, tarp, bivy, etc)
  • Bandana
  • Fixed blade and folding knives
  • Weapon/hunting gear
  • First Aid Kit
  • Firestarter
  • Maps & compass (not GPS)
  • Emergency procedure literature & disaster plans
  • Rain Gear
  • Sleeping Gear
  • Lighting (headlamp, flashlight, pico light, etc)
  • ID, passport, birth certificate, etc.
  • Cash
  • Duct Tape and Paracord
  • Emergency wind-up radio


If you’re an outdoors enthusiast or traveler, you might have noticed that this list very closely resembles a standard backpacking checklist. Good eye! A lot of us Part-Time Vagabonders sometimes find it difficult to whittle out more than a few days at a time to get away from daily life. Having a bug-out bag suitable for a quick S24O or a two night adventure can help you get away at a moment’s notice. As we all know, sometimes those adventure opportunities pop up with little warning, so having a bugout bag can be the difference between sitting on a train and sitting on your couch.


While every bugout bag should have those basic supplies, this is your opportunity to make it your own and ensure that everything you put into it is something you know how to use. Even your first aid kit should be something you put together instead of one of the pre-packaged ones. Take some time to list out everything you think you’ll need to survive for 72 hours, then pack it up into a rugged pack of some kind. Bugout bags became very popular in the military for their portability and usefulness. Overpacking a bugout bag can be just as bad as underpacking, but with a little planning, you’ll have the perfect short term survival kit for those unforeseen “events.” Whatever they may be.

Chris Cavallari

About Chris Cavallari

Chris is a longtime digital content producer based in Maine. Since 1999, he has been an early adopter and active participant in blogging, podcasting, and social media, and has been guiding small and mid-sized businesses in leveraging video, social media, and digital publishing to the fullest. With an avid love of travel and the outdoors, Chris started PartTimeVagabond.com in 2009 to give him a platform to showcase his outdoors and travel adventures, and to help educate others in doing the same.