By Adam Baker

Posted on December 21, 2013 in Hodderscape Advent with tags Terminus

21 Essential Bug-Out Items

Preppers never tire of debating the contents of a well-equipped bug-out bag. Most argue a person isn’t truly ready to face a shit-hits-the-fan scenario unless they have a machete strapped to their hip and an assault rifle in their hands.

For a more sober view of individual preparedness, you might want to head over to sf72.org, a site run by the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management. They have published a straightforward list for anyone who wishes to protect their family during a natural disaster.


1)      Water, 1 gallon per day.

Debatable whether the average person has space in their home to store a barrel of water, however it makes sense to keep a few bottles on hand to avoid an instant crisis if supply suddenly fails.

2)      Water filtration.

If you find yourself relying on an improvised source such as a river or lake, you will need to treat water before it is drunk. There are three main methods:

  • A filtration hand pump.
  • Sterilising tablets.
  • A UV light pen.

3)      Non-perishable food.

4)      First aid kit.

The American Red Cross recommend a first aid kit should contain the following items:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First aid instruction booklet

(Most hiking organizations also suggest a proper wilderness kit should also include good quality splints and a CPR mouth shield.)

5)       Fire extinguisher.

6)       Manual can opener.

7)       Flashlight and extra batteries.

8)       Sleeping bag or blankets.

9)       Warm clothes +sturdy shoes.

10)   Cash in small bills.

11)   Cellphone charger (battery operated or car-plug in).

There are plenty of solar chargers on the market which allow personal electronics to be juiced when mains electricity is not available.

12)   Crank operated radio.

13)   Basic tools.

A good quality Swiss army knife or Leatherman-style multi-tool could prove invaluable.

14)  Pocket knife.

No need to carry a massive Rambo-style survival blade. However a good quality penknife has a multitude of uses.

15)  Personal medications.

16)  Treats (sweet or salty).

17)  Personal hygiene items and toilet paper.

18)  Children’s toys and games.

19)  Personal documents.

Some people recommend keeping essential household documents in a flame-proof safe, so they can be retrieved following a fire or flood.  These documents could be supplemented by an encrypted USB stick containing info regarding utilities and banks accounts, along with a detailed photographic survey of every room in your house, to enable an insurance inventory to be compiled in the event of disaster.

20)  Special needs items for kids and the elderly.

21)  Special needs items for pets.


Adam Baker is the author of Outpost, Juggernaut and Terminus, all of which showcase how important bug-out preparation really is. 


Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published.