The Bug Out Bag – Do You Need One?


Also, know as a survival backpack, it has become the symbolic icon of Preppers. The bug-out bag is a backpack with everything you need to survive for up to 3 days (minimum) in the worst conditions after a disaster.

A Prepper should start the basic survival training by learning the importance of having a backpack with survival gears or tools and learn how to use each item in that backpack properly. A bug-out bag is like a seat belt, which always has its functions and seldom makes its functions, but the least typical day saves your life. For this reason, having a bug-out bag, it’s so important. Although it seems a waste of money (for some people) and maybe you will never use it, but again, it is better to have it and hope that you never need it. But one day it may save your life.

Nowadays, there are so many different models to buy from different companies. Various sizes, designs, colors, and materials. From a single compartment backpack to tactical special ops styles and military-style “molle” extension systems. There are backpacks for all budgets, colors, and tastes.

A good prepper must know how to choose a backpack with enough cubic capacity to accommodate all the necessary equipment that he owns. He must pick the bag base on essential requirements to ensure survival in the worst conditions.

I had learned the lesson the hard way; there is a saying, ” you always get what you pay for.” I had bought equipment in the past that looks very nice from the outside, and they were very inexpensive; however, they tore up quickly because it was a cheap material. It was a total waste of money.

Bug-Out Bags Types

Bug out barato

This backpack that may get at Wal-Mart or other similar stores is relatively inexpensive (under $ 20), tiny (1200cu), and does not have enough compartments to divide your gear.

Bug out regular

This backpack is also easy to get and relatively inexpensive ($ 20- $ 30), is medium in size (2100cu), has three compartments, and can be used as a secondary pack or for the use of a family member with light gear.

Bug out 511

This backpack is another medium size (2100cui) bag, but it is utterly expandable with “molle” system. With this system, you can add smaller compartments that attach between the strips of nylon located in the front and sides of the backpack. It is waterproof nylon (or other types of material) and tested seams that can withstand up to 2,000 pounds of pressure. This type of bag can cost between $ 70- $ 120 (avg). It is a good investment, and there are so many options to choose from brands, sizes, colors.

This specific model is the Tactical “Rush 24” from 5.11. Remember, there are many backpacks styles to choose from, and all of them of good quality, but you have to understand that quality has a price.

When shopping for backpacks (unless you’re buying one online), wear the bag on your back with something substantial in the inside. Check to see how comfortable does it feel. Some backpacks look good but are nothing closed to the word “comfortable” to wear.

Bug out Molle system

The Modular System – MOLLE

The Molle Pack System – known as “Molle” modular system, was introduced during the Middle East war by the U.S. Army. It was a replacement for the famous “ALICE” pack system based on belts connected to each other’s (web gear). The modular system gives you the benefit of choosing different “mini-packs” of different sizes and designs and are easily adapted to the main pack using a nylon webbing.

This modular system added more space (cubic inches) for your gear and allowed you to have a variety of equipment in your backpack that can be separated by compartments. It is an excellent alternative for preppers.
When at home, bug-out bags must always be accessible. An excellent place to keep the bag is near the front door. During an emergency, such as an earthquake, you need to leave the house in a hurry. You quickly grab the backpack and leave everything else behind until it is safe to return, stay home, or replenish your supplies.

Shelter In-place

Some emergencies require shelter in place at home. In this type of scenario, you’ll have your equipment and gear ready for use exclusively in the house (e.g., kitchen equipment, emergency gas stove, gas lamps or oil lamps, two-way communications radios, canned food, reserve water, and more). In the backpack, everything has to be very small or micro-size and made exclusively for portable use. Many “backpackers” or “globe trekker” fans are related to equipment solely designed for backpacking, which occupies less space and is remarkably lighter.

As a prepper, you don’t want to have a bug-out bag that weighs more than 50 pounds. Remember that you must be in “a good” physical condition to walk for long hours.

I have my theory about survival that I want to share. If you are at home, the bug-out bag plays a vital role if an earthquake strikes. At the time of the quake, when everything begins to shake, in my opinion, you should run right away and grab your backpack and seek protection in the safest place in the house. There high possibility that the house could collapse. If you get trapped in the rubble, having the bug-out bag with you will increase your chances of survival as you have the necessary gear.

For the same reasons, I recommend that the bug-out bag be accessible at all times and not keep it in a closet or the garage. Remember that a strong earthquake will only give you a few seconds to react and move before the house can begin to collapse.

Another option is to have more than one bug-out bags around the house. I strongly would recommend one bag per room, since a big quake only give split seconds to react. Teach your whole family on what to do during an earthquake. Write a plan and practice together…a lot.

What Must You Have In Your Bug-Out Bag?


Agua para bug out bag

Water – You must have drinking water for at least three days. Water can be in plastic bottles (BPA free), plastic bags. Many preppers recommend having a stainless steel container. Keep water rotation (every six months). Have some system for portable water filtration in case you find water in your escape.

MRE for bug out bags

Food – The food must be compacted (small packages). Many preppers like to use dehydrated food (add water), military rations (MREs), or zip-lock bags with your favorite survival meals. Always think of what food high in proteins, carbs, vitamins, and minerals you can prepare with just water. 

Don’t forget condiments, at least have salt pepper and some sugar or honey. 

Canned food is not a good option because of the weight that can add to your backpack.

Portatil stoves

Portable stoves – There are many models to choose from when buying portable stoves. I have two different models, one that works with solid fuel and the other used pieces of wood and pellets. It would help if you also had matches, lighters, magnesium rods, and other alternatives to light up a fire.

Fire Starter 3

Fireyou must have several options; don’t just rely on one option.

  • Matches, make sure they are waterproof or moisture; there are you-tube videos that teach you how to make your matches waterproofed.
  • The lighter or lighters should be transparent to make it easy to see how much fuel is left.
  • Magnesium bars, learn to use them and do not wait for the time of crisis to know how they work.

Prepare in advance your combustion material to facilitate the ignition of a fire. Many preppers collected lint from the dryer. Others do cotton balls with petroleum gel, and others do the pieces of char-clothes (which, for me, is the best option of all). There are videos on you-tube on how to make them.

Light sources for bug-out bag

Lighting – Lighting is also an essential item to pack and should use more than one alternative. With the introduction of small LED lanterns, you can have several of them without taking up too much space. Remember to have replacement batteries. A dynamo type flashlight (auto recharge based on a small manual generator integrated) is a plus.

If you use candles, try to get those made with beeswax since they last longer, burn more brightly, and generate more heat, so you can even use them to heat food or warm up your hands. Don’t forget to have a few chemical candlesticks; they come very handily sometimes.

Survival knives 3

Survival Knives – A Bug-out bag is not complete without some survival knives. Invest in a proper survival knife is not a luxury but an obligation. A good knife is an essential tool for a prepper. Also, a knife is a defensive weapon in the hands of a knowledgeable pepper. Don’t forget to have a portable shovel, an ax, a foldable saw, and maybe a small machete that you can carry on the side of the bag.

Handheld radio 3

Communications – Being well connected in times of crisis is extremely important. We must be alert to all local emergency bulletins. The emergency alerts can provide the latest information about open roads, distribution points for water and food, and medical emergency triage. 

You can have a small AM and FM radio, or “weather alert” radio, capable of self-recharging.

Having two ways “ham radio” to communicate with emergency services the area is a must (for this one, you need to have an FCC license). You can buy a “two-way walkie-talkie” radio, and some of them cover great distances, and no FCC licenses are required. You could also buy a four radio kit and use them all on the same channel, for the family to stay connected.

Survival items for bug out bag

Housing – In situations where you have to be outdoors for days or weeks, having some coverage against weather inclement is very important. Primarily this is a mental boost under the stress conditions of a disaster.

Having a roof against the sun and rain is essential, and the sense of privacy that offerers is priceless.; this provides moral support as you relate to a shelter (home) that belongs to you. Having a full-sized tent is too big and bulky to have in your backpack, but a single tarp with a rope is an excellent choice for a temporary shelter against the weather.

Two people can sleep in the tarp (depends on the size) to have a survival tarp for every two backpacks. Don’t forget to have thermal blankets and gloves; sometimes, nighttime can get a bit chilly.
It’s best to include a set of military utility uniform and a pair of underwear and socks. Always takes into account the material that is made off; be careful about increasing the weight of your backpack.


First Aid Kit – Part of our preparation as preppers is to administer first aid to ourselves and our family members. Many preppers have a basic first-aid kit with plastic bandages (Band-Aids), aspirins, and other essential goods. All this is good, but you need to step up and have some trauma kit in your bag. You need to be able to treat deep wounds, apply sutures, tourniquets, treat infections, and other everyday medical situations during disasters.

You can attach a medical pouch to the “molle” system and not taking up extra space in the main compartment, and it’s easy to detach.


All these items mentioned are the essential equipment to keep in your survival backpack or bug-out bag. You can add other things, like:

  •  a kitchen kit (mess kit) 
  • a gas mask
  • ropes 
  • firearms 
  • personal documents 
  • money
  • navigation equipment (maps, compasses, GPS) 
  • paper and pencil
  • playing cards
  • fishing equipment (a fishing line, hooks, a buoy, and a weight)
  • a signal mirror

And anything else that you think necessary to have with you. Just be always minded of the total weight of your bag. Learn how to properly distribute the pressure in the backpack so you can take long walks if necessary and not suffer from backaches or have back injuries.

Last But Not Least

Always take into consideration the quality of products that you’re buying and the size. It is sometimes better to pay a little extra and have a piece of equipment that you can depend on for ages.

Boricua Prepper helps you always to become prepare. Use this information if you’re buying your first bug-out bag or already have one, and you’re thinking about getting a second one. If you are about to buy your first bag, do not buy the first one that you see, take your time, look at various models, and compared one with the other. 

Remember that your life and your family may depend on this investment someday to survive.


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  1. […] meal that will make you feel satisfied. To make things easy, if you need to have some for your Bug-out bag, try dehydrated vegetables in zip-loc […]

  2. […] one that is significantly lighter than a tent will allow you to have additional gear in your bug-out bag. A high-quality emergency tarp that can accommodate two people weighs as little as 10 ounces, while […]

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