Whenever I leave my house with my truck, I always make sure that my bug-out bag (BoB) is in the trunk. Not because I fear a zombie apocalypse, but because it could save my life if anything would happen. While some recommend having 72 hours worth of gear in a BoB, I do carry a bit less to keep the weight as low as possible.

Three Essential Bug Out Bag Items
Life Straw (the blue cylinder)

Knowing that I could have to run, jump over fences, and walk a lot of miles, the weight of the bag is something I really try to keep as low as possible. Up until recently, I was using a BlackHawk Ultralight 3-day pack as my bug-out bag, but I decided to switch it to a civilian-looking bag. So I took my newly acquired Vaude Asymmetric 48+2 bag and transformed it to a BoB.

Three Essential Bug Out Bag Items
Vaude Asymmetric 42+8
Three Essential Bug Out Bag Items
Russian Civilian Gas Mask

Here’s a list of the equipment I carry in my BoB. This is totally up to your own preferences, but three items are absolutely essential and should be in every bug out bag:

  • a lifestraw
  • a radio
  • gloves

Here’s what’s in my bag:

  1. Russian civilian gas mask – just in case someone starts using tear gas or molotov cocktails, this will help me breath while getting through it.
  2. Baofeng radio – a small Chinese-made VHF/UHF 5-Watt radio with a PTT so I can use a headset. We have pre-programmed frequencies that I can check in on when I get close enough to my house.
  3. MSR Pocket Rocket – so I can get some boiling water quickly (can help for food and for cleaning a wound).
  4. Armasight Gen 1 NVG with spare batteries – might help me if I am in a forest or somewhere really dark.
  5. Lifestraw – this can filter up to 1,000 liters of water without even having to boil it.
  6. Petzl headlamp – to keep my hands free during night time.
  7. Three taped glowsticks – I tape them so they illuminate just enough so I can see.
  8. One marker with about five feet of duct tape on it.
  9. GSI Halulite Microdualist – review coming soon!
  10. One pair of Oakley gloves with knuckle protectors – these really help if you need to protect your hands.
  11. Two thermal blankets – these reflect body heat and can also be used for signaling.
  12. Two packs of hand warmers – these can keep you somewhat warm if you are cold or can be used as a hot pack on a sprained ankle or pulled muscle.
  13. One tourniquet – in case something really bad happens.
  14. One Olaes Bandage in case of a major wound.
  15. Alcohol swabs, sterile gauze, some Band-aids, two steri-strips, six Ibuprofen 200mg tablets, and six Acetaminophen 500mg tablets (all in the IFAK pouch).
  16. Medical scissors (not shown in the picture).
  17. One pair of extra socks and an Under Armour shirt.
  18. One elastic bandage – could be used alongside the hand warmers in case of a pulled muscle.
  19. Anker Portable Power Bank Pack External Battery – helps keep your comms up (batteries on iPhone and radio).
  20. Instapark 27-Watt solar battery charger – provides a backup if the battery pack isn’t working.
  21. Two Mountain House meals (can last me 36 hours) + 4 Vega Sport protein bars (not in the picture).
Three Essential Bug Out Bag Items
Antek Battery Charger

For some, this might be more than enough, and for others not enough at all. The thing with a bug-out bag is that it’s very personal. You should also make sure to adjust yours depending on the amount of people in your immediate family and the time it might take to get back to your house if you have to walk there. I also keep 12 liters of water, a trauma kit, some dehydrated fruits and two SUREFIRE flashlights in my car at all times.

Three Essential Bug Out Bag Items
Foldable Solar Panel

As for the weapons, I would normally carry two knives. Because we cannot go around with a pistol in Canada, I tend to stick with those knives and would do everything possible to not get involved in violent situations. Your goal here is to get back home to your family and start to get your house ready until order returns.

For some, this might also sound scary, but enough bad situations around the world have convinced me to keep myself ready in case something happens. It’s better to prepare than to react, if you ask me.