Packing For Armageddon: Bug Out Bag Essentials

They go by many names: BOB (Bug Out Bag), GOOD bag (Get Out Of Dodge), INCH bag (I'm Never Coming Home), PERK (Personal emergency relocation kit), and 72-hour kit. So whether you believe the fate of humanity is near or far, one thing is for sure... You can never be too prepared. And you do not want to be caught in a nuclear winter with nothing but your Crocs, socks, and bare ass to the wind. Now you don't have to. Consider yourself one step closer to survival by being sure you have the essentials mentioned below.

Warding Off the Elements

Environmental protection is the most practical first step when preparing to fend off whatever hell mother nature throws at you.

Lets start with clothing:

  • Long pants, NO blue jeans (1 pair) - Ever tried to run in wet jeans? You might as well be wading through quicksand in a gun fight. A sturdy pair of pants will do. Convertible zip off pants are even better. Remember, you're not in a fashion show... Unless the runway is starvation and the audience is trying to kill you.


  • Lightweight long sleeve shirt (2 pairs) - "But I'll be hot and the other survivors will make fun of me." I see where you are coming from... but you are wrong. The other survivors will have blisters from the sun and you will be a happy wastelander.


  • Sturdy shoes - Expect to be on your feet for a while, it would be wise to have some sturdy shoes available that are already broken in and ready to haul your ass from point A to B without complication.


  • Wool socks (2-3 pair) - Cotton socks chafe and cause hot spots on your feet that turn into blisters. You can even stuff your extra pairs with food or other essentials.


  • Underwear - Yes.


  • Bandana - Tourniquet, sling, sweatband, wash cloth, eye patch, neck protection, trail marker, wet wear in hot whether... This is probably the most versatile accessory in your pack. Bring some.


  • Tent
  • Tarp
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Sleeping Bag

Unless the local cave colony is taking applicants, you are going to need a means to take refuge from whatever nightmare you were thrust into. The lighter a tent is, the pricier it is. If a tent isn't in the budget, an extra tarp will do. Just be sure to pack some stakes and some extra nylon rope. When choosing a sleeping bag, be sure it is a mummy with a temperature rating that suits your regional climate.

Other protection:

  • Insect Repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Baseball Hat
  • Rain Jacket

Bugs, the sun, and weather are all out to purge anyone who wants to brave the outdoors for an extended period of time. This is especially so during an apocalypse. Do not think for a second you are an exception.


Eight to Ten days. That is how long our feeble selves can last without water. Twenty-one days is the magic number for how many days we could last without food. So yeah, a source of nourishment is kinda' important. You better have a plan when shit hits the fan and don't think you can just eat the shit.


  • Bladder
  • Water Bottle
  • Purification (iodine) Tablets
  • Filtration System

A person needs 1 liter of water a day minimum. Since your BOB is intended to last 72-hours, pack 3 liters of water. A CamelBak and a secondary water bottle should be sufficient. After that 3 liters is gone, you are going to need to refill. As it turns out, there is no plumbing in nature so not all water is going to be clean. This is where purification tablets and a filtration system pay for themselves.


  • Protein Bars
  • Freeze Dried Food or MREs
  • Large Cup or Travel Pot
  • Telescoping Fishing Pole

Protein bars and freeze dried food will last the first few days. If you can get some MRE (Meals Ready-to-Eat) then they can double as a way to get warm in cold climates. They have a chemical that heats when mixed with water that heats the food. Stuff that in your jacket to ward off that pesky hypothermia.

Give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he doesn't have to eat his extremities to stave off starvation. Fishing poles are light and extremely useful. Chances are that scavenging isn't in your portfolio, but fishing is something anyone can do in a desperate situation.

Self Defense

Any global catastrophe will come with a slurry of unknown threats that may require you to pack more heat than some matches. Here is what you will need:

  • Knife
  • Handgun
  • 25 rounds of ammunition

A knife is a no-brainer in any survival scenario. Ideally, one with a partially serrated edge for cutting rope and branches. A gun on the other hand is something that should not be selected lightly. For one, if you are not properly educated on how to handle a firearm then having one is useless. Know how to dismantle, clean, and assemble your firearm. Also, know how to tell if it is loaded by learning how to perform a press check. Choosing the right gun is a heavily debated topic, but it would be recommended to choose one durable with a solid clip capacity.

Other Basic Essentials


Until quantum backpacks are invented, we cannot possibly contain enough supplies to be prepared for every possible cataclysmic event. Gas masks, radiation suits, nun-chucks, antivenom, batarangs, grappling hooks, etc. all sound great in theory. But they are not essential. These are:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Matches
  • Compass
  • Local Topographic Map
  • Flashlight
  • Extra Batteries
  • Headlamp
  • Chapstick
  • Moleskin
  • Sewing Kit
  • Zip Ties
  • Paracord
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  • Two-way Radios
  • Notepad/Pencil

Now you have stuff. But it should go without mentioning that stuff isn't going to save you. Physical preparedness is the first step to surviving the apocalypse. Without being properly conditioned, exhaustion will be the first to claim your life. So drop the drumstick, put on something elastic pants, and work on your cardio. The tools are in your hands and it is better to be a survivor than a victim.

If you would like to learn more about how to better ready yourself for the end times checkout episode 3 of the Pseudophiles Podcast!