The Ideal Vehicle Go Bag For You

The Ideal Vehicle Go Bag For You

When it comes to my go-to vehicle go bag, nothing can replace my USGI Sea Bag (military duffle bag). I’ll tell you why here!

USGI Sea Bag: Take a Closer Look


The USGI Sea Bag

I was first introduced to the USGI Sea Bag (military duffle Bag) shortly after getting off the bus in Paris Island. I entered the United States Marine Corps boot camp and had recently placed my feet on the yellow footprints. As I look back at the experience, much of it is a blur…

With the amount of fear that occupied my mind at the time, there wasn’t much room in there for other thoughts!

I remember me and my fellow recruits being maneuvered through a maze of assembly lines as we gathered our initial issued gear. As we shuffled through the process without making eye contact with anyone, I remember being handed this big, green canvas sack, filled with personal gear.

We ended up in our barracks with our duffel bags strapped to our backs. For the rest of my active duty Marine Corps days, there was always a sea bag as part of my standard issued gear.

I still have that initial sea bag with my name; the same with my last four bags. I have also picked up a couple more along the way. Over the years, I have found many uses for these sea bags. I have one with me stuffed with extra necessities when I’m camping with the family. I have also used them for air travel instead of heavier, less accommodating suitcases. There is a lot of diversity when it comes to uses for the USGI duffle bag, but there is one application for my sea bag that works really well for me.

I have a sea bag that is used as my vehicle go bag. It is staged in my Jeep and is my added insurance during an emergency situation. I find certain features of the sea bag to be of great use as a vehicle go bag. I have tried several rucks and backpacks as a viable bug out bag for my Jeep, but I kept coming back to my sea bag as my primary choice.

My plan is to bring my main go bag, which is designated for moving out on foot. If I’m unable to stick to that plan, I know that my sea bag has enough of what I need to give me a fighting chance if a crisis were to occur.

I want to share with you a few of the key features that make me choose the sea bag over other carry equipment when it comes to my vehicle go bag. So, let’s get to it!

1. It’s Inexpensive

It's Inexpensive | A USGI Sea Bag: The Ideal Vehicle Go Bag For You

Since the sea bag is standard issue for the U.S. Military, there are tons of them out there. They are relatively inexpensive if you buy them new. If you are ok with a used sea bag, then you can pick a vintage duffle bag up for under $20. If you check military surplus stores and even eBay, you will find varied choices to fit your needs as well as your budget.

2. Can Accommodate a Lot of Gear

Can Accommodate a Lot of Gear | A USGI Sea Bag: The Ideal Vehicle Go Bag For You

Since the sea bag is basically a large sack, you can stuff the hell out of with gear! The sea bag is approximately 34 inches long with a 15-inch opening. On multiple occasions, I had well over 70 pounds in my sea bag. If you ask a Marine how many items can he or she fit into their sea bag, the answer is always, one more!

There are items that I add to my sea bag to make it an even more viable solution as a survival kit for my vehicle. One of those items is a dry bag. In the military, we have issued a willie-peter bag along with the sea bag. The WP bag basically stood for waterproof and it always did its job of keeping my gear dry. In fact, it performed so well for me that I purchased a new WP bag for use with the sea bag that I stage in my Jeep.

In addition, I have several smaller dry bags that contain items that I want to keep protected from bad weather and spills. Even though the primary purpose for my sea bag kit is for staging in my vehicle, I still need to prepare for the uncertainties I will encounter during SHTF situations. Dry bags are relatively inexpensive and also multi-purpose, might as well use them!

The other item I incorporate into my sea bag consists of multiple parts. They are mesh bags with zippers that come in various sizes. These lightweight bags allow me to compartmentalize my sea bag without giving up space required by rigid containers. I can empty the sea bag into my vehicle and my gear remains organized and easily accessible. This requires a bit of pre-planning and labeling, but it turned out to be a good solution for my current needs.

3. Can Be Carried Like a Suitcase

Can Be Carried Like a Suitcase | A USGI Sea Bag: The Ideal Vehicle Go Bag For You

I mentioned that I have used my sea bag as a suitcase for airline travel. I have done this on several occasions, especially when traveling overseas. There is no metal or plastic frame in the sea bag that allows it to weigh in at just under 5 pounds. With today’s borderline criminal baggage fees demanded by the airlines, we need to be selective with each pound that is added to our carrying equipment. The same rationale goes for choosing gear for all of our survival kits.

The sea bag has a handle affixed to the middle of it. Its purpose is so you can carry it like a suitcase. I have used other bags and sacks that offer benefits similar to the sea bag. The issue with these other bags is I would have to carry them utilizing a drawstring or the bear hug method. Either of those two choices was not appealing to me, even for short distances. Performing a farmer’s walk or a suitcase carry is something that I’m much more efficient and comfortable with.

4. Built to Last

Built to Last | A USGI Sea Bag: The Ideal Vehicle Go Bag For You

Most USGI equipment has earned a reputation for its durability. I sometimes hear the old adage, “that piece of USGI gear you’re using was manufactured by the lowest bidder!”

That certainly is true in some cases, but even the lowest bidder has to meet stringent specifications. The sea bag is no different. Not only is it military spec, but let’s not forget that I’m using the same sea bag that I was issued in USMC boot camp. It was handed to me ages ago, and it is still just as serviceable as it was on Day 1 of boot camp!

Most USGI sea bags are made of either heavy-duty Cordura nylon or canvas. The stitching is extremely durable, and the metal clasp and grommets are virtually indestructible. It’s mildew resistant as well as weather repellent. Suffice to say, it’s built to last a lifetime or two.

5. Can Be Used as a Heavy Bag

Can Be Used as a Heavy Bag | A USGI Sea Bag: The Ideal Vehicle Go Bag For You

Because of the shape and construction of the sea bag, it makes an excellent heavy bag for both empty hand and weapons practice. You can stuff the sea bag with BDU’s, clothes and other gear to give it some weight. You can then fold the top flaps in, fasten the clasp over the grommets, attach it to a D-ring and hang it. Now you have a field expedient heavy bag to provide valuable feedback for your self-defense training.

In the Marines, we used our sea bags as heavy bags as well as grappling dummies. Whether we were on a 6-month pump aboard a Navy ship or in the bush, we wanted to train! Unfortunately, certain resources are always difficult to come by for Marines, especially grunts, so we did what we knew best. We overcame and adapted!

6. Can Be Carried Like a Backpack

Can Be Carried Like a Backpack | A USGI Sea Bag: The Ideal Vehicle Go Bag For You

I mentioned earlier that I plan to have my standard go bag with me, which is for moving out on foot. That is my ideal planning situation. But in an emergency, the ideal will be a luxury that most of us will not have access to. Luckily in a pinch, the sea bag can also be carried on your back.

The sea bag contains two padded shoulder straps attached to it. I wouldn’t exactly call these straps comfortable, but the fact that it has this feature adds a bit more versatility to my preparedness. If the situation arises, I can move out on foot with my sea bag attached to my back. This will allow me to keep my hands free to utilize other tools and perform needed tasks.

7. Makes an Excellent Bear Bag

Makes an Excellent Bear Bag | A USGI Sea Bag: The Ideal Vehicle Go Bag For You

One of the sea bags I own is a bit more beat up than the others. I have used this particular duffle bag as my bear bag for the past decade. Whenever I am hiking or camping in bear country, my go-to container for a bear bag is my sea bag.

I place all my food and anything else that would attract bears, into my sea bag. I then hang it high and wide from a tree in hopes of keeping it out of bear’s reach. This method is not only effective when it comes to bears, but it works for other critters as well. You have to admit that hearing rumblings from raccoons going through your gear, while you are trying to get some R&R, is extremely annoying!

The Bottom Line

The USGI military duffle bag is quite the versatile carrying equipment solution. I have used it as my vehicle go bag for years and will continue to do so. It has not only stood the test of time with U.S. Marines, but it is also convenient enough to fit inside of another backpack when not in use.


Take a closer look at the USGI sea bag on this video by Coach Helder:

With all the added benefits that I conveyed in this article, the USGI sea bag is certainly an option I hope you consider adding to your gear. It will be hard to find an equivalent solution for your vehicle bugout bag utilization that will best out this sea bag.

What do you think of using a USGI sea bag? Let us know in the comments section below! 

Check out A USGI Sea Bag: The Ideal Vehicle Go Bag For You at

Up Next: Composting For Beginners | The Building Blocks To A Better Harvest


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 9, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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Polish Army Bread Bag Kit: Make Your Own for Survival

Polish Army Bread Bag Kit: Make Your Own for Survival

Make an awesome Polish Army Bread Bag kit out of a surplus item that can be purchased for around $10.

In this article:

  1. The Polish Army Bread Bag
  2. Polish Army Bread Bag Kit Contents (To Date)
  3. Straps

Polish Army Bread Bag Kit | Make Your Own for Survival

The Polish Army Bread Bag

The Polish Army Bread Bag | Make a Polish Army Bread Bag Kit

The Polish Army Bread Bag is a military surplus bread bag that can be purchased for around $10 for an unissued item. The bag is made totally from a lightweight cotton canvas measuring approximately 11 inches wide x 10 inches tall x 4 inches deep. The straps are heavier canvas webbing with metal tips and fasteners. The metal came a little “dull” but the quality is there.

The top flap folds up, giving access to a split compartment interior. The bag is divided into a smaller compartment at the left and a larger one to the right. The left side perfectly holds a wide mouth water container; the larger right accommodates other essential gear. There are four button-flapped smaller pockets sewn to the inside as well. These are perfect for stashing smaller items like spoons, pocket knives, and Ferro rods. The outside front of the pouch has two small pockets adequate for lighters and flashlights.

Polish Army Bread Bag Kit Contents (To Date)

Polish Army Bread Bag Kit Contents (To Date) | Make a Polish Army Bread Bag Kit

  1. Char Cloth Tin
  2. Large Ferro Rod
  3. Flint
  4. Striker & Tin (for making Char)
  5. Jute Twine Tinder
  6. Water Bottle
  7. Stainless Steel Cup
  8. 5×7 All Weather Space Blanket
  9. Small First Aid Kit
  10. Fixed Blade Knife (Condor Kephart)
  11. 25 feet of Paracord

My kits change with the seasons, but you can see the bag will accommodate plenty of gear for a day hike or for a survival kit.  The items above still allowed plenty of room for food and maybe a pair of gloves.


Straps | Make a Polish Army Bread Bag Kit

The front straps are really simple in design. The flap ring fits down over the first ring sewn to the bag, and then the strap slides through both the retaining rings. Surprisingly, these hold very well and are super easy to get into the bag for gear.

Straps | Make a Polish Army Bread Bag Kit

The bag came with a non-adjustable shoulder strap that is sewn to D rings on the back of the bag. As you can see in the photo, attachment straps are secured in multiple points and totally wrap under the bag. The back/bottom straps have some adjustment to attach gear like tarps, jackets or ponchos to the bag. Heavier tools like camp axes or survival shovels may be a little much for the straps, but I haven’t tried it yet!

I think the Polish Army Bread Bag has real potential as a haversack for bushcrafting or an inexpensive EDC bag. This kit set up is very light so the likely hood of leaving it behind is minimal. I forgot to mention the handle at the top of the bag for grabbing it when jumping in the car. I’m already thinking of a few modifications like waxing the material to make it waterproof and a square of Velcro to attach patches.


Here’s a quick review of the Polish Army Bread Bag by John Sherwood:

So, if you are looking to experiment using a haversack for bushcrafting or EDC, the Polish Army Bread Bag might be an inexpensive option. They are well made for the price point and have a very rustic look.

Do you have your own Polish Army Bread Bag? How was using the bag been going so far? Let us know in the comments section below!

Up Next: How Heavy Is Your Go-Bag? Applying Ultralight Backpacking To Survival Preparation

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 6, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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Bug Out Bag Essentials | 30 Uses For Trash Bags

Bug Out Bag Essentials | 30 Uses For Trash Bags

Deciding how to spend available funds in a preparedness budget, especially for a bug out bag is not an easy task. Multi-use items and under $5 survival items are always a favorite of wallet-conscious preppers. Trash bags, even the brand-name sturdy ones definitely fall within the “reasonably priced” category, but when we look past the obvious uses for plastic bags, they become an even more advantageous contribution to our preps. These hacks and uses for trash bags will fix it as one of your top essentials in an ultimate bug out bag!

These Uses For Trash Bags Make It A Bug Out Bag Essential!


1. Use as a Poncho

Put in a bug out or get a home bag to use as a poncho. Simply cut or carefully tear a hold for the head and even the arms, and one poncho is coming right up!

2. Emergency Shelter

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Packing a tent or tarp for an emergency shelter is, of course, optimal–but such items take up a lot of space and are heavier as well. Even a one-person tent will not fit in a child’s backpack, but a trash bag and some duct tape surely will.

Wow: This Tool Is An Essential Addition to your BOB


3. Keeps Your Feet and Shoes Dry

Trash bags are also useful in keeping your shoes and feet dry. Open a trash bag, step inside and tie or secure with duct tape and keep rain and snow at bay. Storing several trash bags for emergency booties and a poncho inside a get home bag or bug out bag takes up very little space and adds virtually no weight to the pack.

4. Reusable Water-Proof Storage Bags

Keep your spare socks, change of clothes, and blankets dry with trash bags. The bags used to store these items can be turned into a poncho, bootie, or emergency shelter in mere minutes.

5. Septic Disposal Containers

During either a short or long-term disaster, trash bags can be used to safely store waste when commodes are not working. The bags work equally well for sharps and bloody cloth or bandages used to treat wounded. Preventing the spread of disease becomes even more important during a TEOTWAWKI scenario.

6. Makeshift Hats

Keep the rain off or your head with a makeshift trash bag hat. Simply wrap the trash bag over your head like you would a bandana.

7. Fly Screen/Bug Repellant

Make a fly screen for the front of your shelter with a trash bag — or two. Cut the trash bag into a sheet type form and then cut slits within a few inches of the top of the bag and you have a protective screen to keep the bugs away.

8. Ground Cover

Trash bags also make a great ground cover. If you are using a tarp, or another trash bag for a shelter, placing another plastic bag onto the ground will prevent dampness from impacting your clothing. The trash bag also offers another layer between you at bugs which will come out of the ground seeking a food during the evening and early-morning hours.

9. Thermal Underwear

Although not exactly soft, trash bags can be used like thermal underwear under your clothing. Tape or tie piece of the bag around your legs, arms, and stomach beneath your clothing to prevent body heat from escaping quite so easily.

10. Container for Food Preparation

Sure, they will be a bit flimsy and perhaps messy, but trash bags can be used to mix food or drink ingredients. Only avoid using sharp objects in this business because you know what happens next.

11. Solar Water Still Accessory

Trash bags have also been successfully used as part of a solar water still. A trash bag, a container, and greeneries will give you water in an area where there is none.

12. Trash Bag Life Jacket

Although this is not US Coast Guard approved, some folks have reported success with trash bag life jackets — it is at least worth a shot during an emergency. Tie the ends of the trash bag together and blow air into it to inflate, then secure the open ends together as well. Tape or tie the back into a life jacket shape and use it to help keep your, your pets, or your get home bag afloat.

13. Food Storage and Transport

Trash bags can also be used to store and transport food. When you’re caught in a flood or crossing a body of water, you can keep your food dry and afloat with trash bags.

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14. Pillow

Give your head a somewhat soft place to rest during an overnight hike home by inflating a trash bag and using it as a pillow. It isn’t much but a little comfort in a survival situation is a lot.

15. Water Container

Trash bags can also be used as an emergency water container. Trash bags will hold a decent amount of weight but will need to be carried carefully so the plastic does not tear and the water spill out onto the ground.

16. Water-Proof Your Sleeping Bag with Trash Bag

Keep your sleeping bag and yourself dry and a little warmer by using a trash bag as a cover. To stay extra dry, slip into a sleeping bag like you would a potato sack for a race before getting into the sleeping bag as well.

17. Emergency Blanket Substitute

Mylar emergency blankets are inexpensive, lightweight, and take up little space, but trash bags can be used as a good substitute if more injured than expected need to be protected from the elements or shock.

18. Sun Shade

Trash bags can be hooked onto branches, or taped into place, to make a temporary sun shade. After taking the hiking break, carefully fold the trash bag into a small square so it can be used again during the next break period.

19. Pressure Bandage for First Aid

Pressure Bandage for First Aid | Bug Out Bag Essentials | 30 Uses For Trash Bags

Trash bags can also be used as a pressure bandage or a triangle bandage. The bags can also simply be used to cover a traditional bandage to help protect the wound from exposure to dirt or the bandage from exposure to the rain.

20. Splinter Support for First Aid

Tie a splint with a trash bag, double the bag or tape two together to make a sturdier splint.

21. Catch Basin for Water

In addition to being used as a makeshift water carrier, trash bags can also be used as a catch basin for water. Tie the bag to something mildly sturdy in an area exposed to the sky, or line a bucket or similar item with the bag, and capture enough water to keep yourself hydrated.

22. Patch

Trash bags can also be used as patching for leads in other food and water containers. The plastic bags can be taped to cover worn spots or tears in a bug out or get home bags too.

23. S.O.S. Signs

Use trash bags to signal help. Tie or secure a white trash bag to a rock in a visible spot to let others know where you are. It is always a good idea to carry a permanent marker and spray paint to write messages.

24. Disposable Plates

Trash bags can be used as plates. Find the most smooth and flat rock in the near vicinity and place a piece of the trash bag onto the rock for a clean eating surface.

25. Trail Markers

Use trash bags to tie onto trees for trail markers. This is one way to reuse trash bags which you have previously used for food storage, sleeping bag, and some of the items mentioned here.

26. Windsock

Windsock | Bug Out Bag Essentials | 30 Uses For Trash Bags
Wind Sock for July 4th by  The Tiny Funnel

Make a windsock with a trash bag. It could serve a couple of emergency functions other than telling the wind direction. You can use it as an S.O.S. sign or as hazard markers.

27. First Aid Liter

If an injured person, pet, or heavy gear needs to be moved, make a liter and line it with several trash bags.

28. Hazard Markers

Make a banner with the trash bag to leave warning notes for others or to mark unsafe buildings. Tape, string, and marking materials will also be required.

29. Hot Shower

Fill a trash bag up with water, set it in the sun for a while and then hang it from a sturdy branch to use for a shower. Heated water is also useful for cleaning wounds.

30. Temporary Backpack

Make a temporary backpack with a trash bag so the non-prepared person you come across during your trek home can help you carry the load. Be warned, the person could run off with your stuff, but if they are scared and unaware and you appear full of knowledge, the person will likely stick to you like glue.


Watch this video from History and see why you need trash bags in a bug out bag:

Trash bags are one of the most economical preppers’ “to do” list finds and literally, dozens of potential disaster uses. In addition to being easy on the budget, trash bags are lightweight yet durable and take up very little space in a bug out bag, INCH bag, and get home bag. Don’t forget to include trash bags in your ultimate bug out bag checklist for both a survival and an emergency situation!

What do you think would you do with a trash bag yourself, in an emergency or survival situation? Share your insights in the comments section below! 

Up Next: 25 Winter Bug Out Bag Essentials You Need To Survive

If you’re looking for useful survival gear that you can’t make at home, check out the Survival Life Store!

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The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 29, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

Bug Out Bag | 30 Uses For Trash Bags In Your Bug Out Bag

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The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List For Every Survivalist

The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List For Every Survivalist

Every survivalist needs a bug out bag list to stay prepared for any SHTF scenario. While Adam Sandler’s Jill believes “It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it”, that is not the case in a bug out bag. You only take what you absolutely need for survival. So what exactly should you include in a bag out bag list of supplies? Read on to know!

What Should Be On Your Bug Out Bag List?


Bug Out Bag Essentials

Building your own customized bug out bag is not so hard or complicated. You only have to make sure your bug out bag list includes items to address the following needs:

  • Hydration or water
  • Food and food preparation
  • Shelter and keeping dry
  • Clothing and bedding
  • Heat source
  • Hygiene
  • First aid
  • Tools
  • Lighting
  • Travel Aids
  • Communications
  • Self-defense

How Heavy Is Too Heavy For My Bug Out Bag?

Identifying what you need to include in a bug out bag can be a serious case of wants versus needs. You never really know what you’ll need later. Still, you cannot bring so much along. Try these tips to see if there is a way to pack one or two items you want.

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  • You are able to carry your Bug Out Bag comfortably. – A heavy B.O.B will get you in this scenario – if you have to walk far to safety, you will either stay where you are or leave the bag, and you don’t want that. Get it?
  • Keep it Lean And Mean. – You just can’t have everything in a survival situation. You might think you need a coffeemaker but you can make coffee without it. Keep it simple to cover basic needs.
  • Pack items to help you become self-sufficient. – Think about a Swiss Army knife. Instead of bringing a can opener, a pair of scissors, and a knife, take a Swiss army knife which has all those and more.
  • Plan your B.O.B for a given period. – 72 hours is about the right time since a person will only survive for that long without water.
  • Take to mind you’re in it to survive. – Forget about your electric toothbrush or your hairbrush. Only Mc Gyver can find survival uses for them.

(Article Source)


I will share with you some examples of lists you can use as your own BOB guide. But first, let’s answer the common questions about the 2 types of bug out bags:

Are 72-hour emergency kit and a bug out bag the same thing?

Yes and no.

A 72-hour emergency kit is a “type” of bug out bag. It serves the same purpose–to let you get by for 72 hours. Survivalists pick the 3-day window since rescue is common on the third day.

The much larger bug out bag is called Sustainability Kit  a bag constructed to get you through a much longer survival scenario. So this bag will be packed with survival items to help you last for more than 72 hours.

Here’s a bug out bag list for both types of bags:

72-Hour Emergency Kit

EVERY family member should have two identical kits each: one set of 72-hour emergency kits in your home ready to grab at a second’s notice. The second set of 72-hour emergency kit is for the trunk of your vehicle. It may sound a little too much to have two kits ready to go for each person. But when disaster strikes, you and each of your family members need to have a ready safety net in place. Whether you’re in your vehicle or in your home, your emergency kits will be there. It will be a relief to each of you to have those much-needed emergency supplies.

The following infographic is a great guide to follow for each 72-hour emergency kit.

Note: Some of the items on this list can be shared among family members. You can save a little money and space by sharing items like a can opener, for example. Also, blankets and extra pairs of shoes are a great addition to your bug out bag list. Finally, any prescribed medications should be added to the first aid kits.


72-Hour Emergency Kit | The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List For Every Survivalist
(Photo by)

The Perfect 72-Hour Bug Out Bag List for Your Little Ones

The Perfect 72-Hour Bug Out Bag List for Your Little Ones | The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List For Every Survivalist
(Photo by)

Your Sustainability Kit – The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List

Your Sustainability Kit - The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List | The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List For Every Survivalist
(Drago Gear Tracker Backpack – Photo by)

A sustainability kit is different from the 72-hour emergency kit. It’s not only designed to survive for three days. It’s packed to help you last for up to three months.

Your pack should be made from a super sturdy material. Super lightweight fabrics and plastics are a no-no. They will only get in your way.

Drago Gear Tracker Backpack

A Drago Gear Tracker Backpack (as shown above) is a great choice for a sustainability kit. It’s durable and lightweight and has tons of space. Some of the features include:

  • Dimensions: 18″ x 11″ x 11″
  • Made of 600 Denier
  • Ideal balance between capacity and transportability
  • The compact pack provides an ideal blend of capacity and transportability with a compact design and 4 main storage areas
  • Premium back-relief panel design for maximum comfort during extended use
  • An internal organization system for securing tools and other items
  • Hydration-pack compatible
  • Made of 600D Polyester

Purchase the Drago Gear Tracker Backpack on Amazon.

Since your sustainability kit is for a much longer term survival situation, really consider and weigh all your options for its contents. Here’s a bug out bag list for you to use as a guide but, again, you can adjust the bug out bag list to fit your specific needs – prescription medications, any personal items, etc.

Now, because fully stocked sustainability kits can be expensive, I would suggest just having one per family member to keep inside your home.

The Best Sustainability Kit Checklist

This bug out bag list infographic will cover all the information you’ll need for the perfect sustainability kit experience!

The Best Sustainability Kit Checklist | The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List For Every Survivalist
(Photo by)


Planning your bug out bag list is fun, but it’s also a serious business you shouldn’t take lightly. When worse comes to worst, you’ll thank the heavens for taking it seriously. Make an inventory of your bag out bag list now!

Did we miss anything? Share your own bug out bag tips in the comments below!

Need to stock up? The Survival Life Store has got all the essential all the Pillars of Survival covered:

Up Next: 25 Winter Bug Out Bag Essentials You Need To Survive


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 4, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.


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Building A Bug Out Bag

Building A Bug Out Bag

Want to be the BEST prepared
for the WORST to come? Click here to sign up NOW! We'll even throw in a FREE survival tool! (just pay s&h)

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for the WORST to come? Click here to sign up NOW! We'll even throw in a FREE survival tool! (just pay s&h)

A 72-hour bug out bag or “Go Bag” isn’t just for end-of-the-world scenarios. A bug out bag is handy to have around in case of other emergencies such as power outages, car breakdowns, natural disasters, and other instances where you might be without services for a few days.

A Better Bug Out Bag For Greater Chances Of Survival

If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, wildfires, or ice storms, this type of bag will help keep you and your family safe at home or during an evacuation. If you keep the most necessary items in one central place (the bug out bag), it will be easier to get your hands on them when you need them.

A Brief History

What is a bug out bag? “Bug out” is British military slang for “leaving quickly under fire.” The origin of a bug out bag is with the military—a survival kit for use when you need to exit an area quickly. Aviators during World War II had bug out bags or “bail out bags” to take with them when skydiving out over enemy territory.

Bug Out Bag Or Survival Kit

A bug out bag is different than a survival kit in that it is meant to give you the items you need for the first 72 hours of survival. Bug out bags are more focused on lightweight, emergency, and short-term supplies as opposed to long-term solutions. Choosing a military style bag or backpack has become a very popular choice due to its durability. But it may not be the best option…

Choosing A Bug Out Bag

You’ll want the bag to blend in with its surroundings. If you have to travel through an urban area, a blue or black nylon backpack is a good choice. For traveling through the wilderness, a camouflage pattern is ideal. The key is for the bag to not stick out like a sore thumb. As a side note, your bug out bag doesn’t have to be an actual “bag.” It can be a Rubbermaid container or another type of box that fits in your trunk. It could even be a large purse. The size and type of bug out container depends on whether you will need to be carrying it and walking (in which case a backpack is a better choice) or if you can drive to your alternate location.

Bug Out Bags For The Family

If you have more than one person to pack a bug out bag for, consider packing a smaller bag for each member of the family so that everyone has his or her supplies. This will also help you organize your supplies.

Bug Out Bag For Your Vehicle

Transportation is something that could occupy an entire article in and of itself, but there are a few brief considerations to think about regarding vehicles when planning for bugging out:

  • If possible, try to acquire and maintain a vehicle manufactured before 1981. These vehicles have fewer electronics that are likely to be affected in the event of an EMP attack.
  • A diesel engine is preferable.
  • It should have enough room for the people and cargo you need to transport when “bugging out.”

At your safe location, it’s a good idea to have a bicycle and cart for transportation that doesn’t require fuel.

There are 3 rules that one has to remember when building a bug out bag. Let’s start with the first one…

Rule 1: The Right Supplies

Rule 1: The Right Supplies | Building A Better Bug Out Bag

Your bug out bag is only as good as the supplies you put in it and the skills you have to use them…Here are a few suggestions for stocking your 72-hour bug out bag. But take this with a grain of salt… you need to customize this kit for your area, your needs, and your family. Here’s a list of the supplies that you can put in your bug out bag:

First Aid Supplies

  • Adhesive bandages
  • Ace bandages
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Gauze pads
  • Tourniquet
  • Aspirin & Ibuprofen
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • 30 days of prescription medications
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Pepto Bismol

Clothing (per person)

  • Three pairs of wool socks
  • Three pairs of underwear
  • Two pairs of pants
  • Two t-shirts
  • One long-sleeved undershirt
  • Jacket
  • long underwear (thermals)
  • something a little more risque?

Food and Water

  • Water bottles Water (two liters per person)
  • Electrolyte tabs or salt
  • Iodine tabs and cheesecloth Protein and nut bars Dehydrated fruits and meats MREs


  • Compass (practice so that you know how to use it before you need it)
  • Local maps
  • Small tool kit (screwdriver, pliers etc)
  • Hatchet
  • Collapsible shovel
  • Knife
  • Knife sharpener
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Small pan for heating water


  • Tent or tarp
  • Rope (to hang the tarp)
  • Foam pad (to prevent hypothermia)
  • Space blanket or emergency blanket (one per person)
  • Sleeping bag


  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Ziploc bags
  • Trash bags
  • Duct tape

Rule 2: The Plan

Rule 2: The Plan | Building A Better Bug Out Bag

Something almost nobody thinks to include in a bug out bag is a written plan. When disaster strikes, you’ll be distracted. The plan should include:

  • A list of what to take
  • Directions for getting to the alternate location
  • An alternate meeting place, should that be necessary
  • It’s possible that you could be injured or incapacitated and somebody else in your family or group will have to lead the group to safety.

In the event of a catastrophic failure of all systems, if you’ve written out your plan, you’ll be better able to safely and confidently get from point A to point B without forgetting anything.

No products found.

Rule 3: The Execution

Make sure that you’ve practiced using the items in your bug out bag. A compass is useless if you don’t know how to use it—and using one is harder than it looks! Practice starting a fire without matches. Check your food and medical items in your bag to make sure they have not expired and rotate them out as needed (practice FIFO- First in First Out). Otherwise, leave the bag alone.

A Word On Premade Kits…

You can buy premade bug out bags that come with supplies. But keep in mind it may not have the items that you want or need, so your best bet is to build your own from scratch. Or use the premade kit as a springboard to create your personalized “ultimate” bug out bag.

Watch this video posted by SensiblePrepper on a DIY Walmart Premium Bug Out Bag:

Do not “borrow” items from the bag for non-emergency situations. If you do, you might forget to put the items back, and in the case of an emergency, you’ll be stuck without something vital that you need. While a bug out bag won’t prepare you for every scenario, it will help you get to the place where you have prepared for every eventuality.

What do you put in YOUR bug out bag?  Have something “weird” or uncommon? Leave a comment below and let us know.


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Last update on 2018-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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