The Bug-Out Bag: The Best Survival Kit List

Recently, I shared my own personal camping checklist with an optional glamping upgrade. These are all of the items the average camper should bring with them on a trip. However, every camper is different: some of us bring our own tents, some of us travel to pre-furnished glampsites, and some of us camp in RVs. Depending on your style, your personal camping checklist might vary drastically from mine. 

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Regardless of how you camp, there is something that all travelers and vacationers should have packed in their vehicle: a bug-out bag. If you haven't heard of bug-out bags, they're pre-packed backpacks or duffels that contain items you will need in a survival situation. I'm not talking about running out of wine in the middle of your camping trip; I'm talking about being stuck in the middle of nowhere in a life-or-death situation and no immediate rescue in sight.

Sounds pretty bleak, right? No doubt about it... the thought of having to use a bug-out back is terrifying. But it's better than being in a bad situation and not having an emergency survival kit. If you pack smart and keep your bag with you wherever you go, your odds of making it through a survival situation go way up.

I'll preface the list with this: the items you put in your bag depend on your geographic location. This list contains all of the basics, but you may want to swap out or omit certain items, particularly the clothing. Consider your environment and think critically -- what would you need to survive out there? And remember: each item you include should be as small, lightweight, and practical as possible.

With that being said, read on and don't forget to download the printable version of this list by clicking the button below.



Aim for something lightweight, waterproof, and at least 30L. Durability is a must, since it will be towing a lot of heavy gear. Padded straps and waist straps are added bonuses. Try this one or this one.


Cash ($200-$300 small bills)

Prepaid card ($100)

Gas card ($50)



Water (at least 2 liters)

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Water filter/purification tablets

 Canteen or insulated thermos



Energy bars

Backpack meals

Food bucket



1 pair sturdy shoes

2 pairs socks

1 pair long pants

1 t-shirt

1 long-sleeve shirt

2 pairs underwear

1 versatile jacket

1 set long underwear

1 hat

1 bandana/shemagh

1 rain poncho

1 pair work gloves



First Aid Kit

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Camp stove/fuel

Insect repellent

Mylar emergency blanket





Pepper spray

Duct tape

Fishing kit

Sewing kit

1 Contractor garbage bag



Well, those are the basics. You'll notice that some of the items are two-fers, like the solar charger/LED light and the fire starter/compass. Again, consider editing this list to suit your needs. Or, you can head over to Amazon and buy pre-stocked bug-out bags if you don't have the time to build your own, like this one or this one! Or, this one comes with some of the basics and allows you to make some of your own additions.

These bags should be in your car or RV at all times. They're not just for travelers; a bug-out bag is an essential survival item for families and individuals. Whether you're with me in California, dreading the next big earthquake, or with Glamp-Ed co-founder Sophia in Texas, dreading the next big hurricane, everyone should have a pre-packed survival kit on hand. You really never know when the unthinkable may happen, and it pays to be prepared.