Doomsday Prepping 101: What does a basic bug-out kit need?

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

Opinions vary, but there are basic items most preppers agree every bug-out kit needs.

Across the nation, people are jumping on the doomsday prepwagon, collecting items that are “must haves” for what many believe to be an “inevitable” scenario of world-wide destruction—or, at least, total chaos and destruction in their own areas that will force them into survival mode. But, as one puts together a doomsday survival kit, what supplies are real “must-have” items for a functional bug-out kit?

Those considering themselves to be prep experts (and this can mean anything from having serious survival training to having been collecting and preparing for years, no formal training whatsoever) agree on many of the must-have basics. Across the web, an eager would-be prepper will find the following suggestions:

  • A sharp, good-quality survival knife. This, preppers point out, is a multi-faceted tool, and can be used for more than just trimming weeds in the woods. A good knife can be used, for example, for digging, building, and self-defense.
  • Water purification tablets. It’s pretty simple: You cannot survive without water to drink. So, having a way to purify water is a basic prepper suggestion for a survival kit. Long term, one will need other options—tablets will only get you so far, no matter how many you hoard—but for the outset, purification tablets are a popular choice.
  • Food: Again, one needs food. Lightweight packages of high-nutrient choices are typically suggested for a “bug-out kit,” with jerky, granola, and protein bars being popular picks.
  • First Aid: It’s not unlikely that there will be a need for first aid in a bug-out situation, so basic first-aid items, including a topical antibiotic, alcohol, cotton pads, Q-tips, tweezers, bandages of various sizes, Ace bandages, scissors, over-the-counter pain meds (like aspirin), sting relief swabs, sterile gauze, medical tape, and a disposable CPR shield, are good to have on-hand. Also, if you take a prescription medication, check into making provisions to have it on-hand, as well.
  • Hygiene Kit: You may be bugging out, but you still need certain items, including a toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, feminine supplies, deodorant, nail clippers, soap, sunscreen, bug repellant and a razor. Also, a mirror, while a vanity item on one hand, can also be used for signaling—pick a safety mirror that can be stashed without concerns if it is crushed.
  • Flashlight with batteries: Keep up with these over time, making sure they are fresh.
  • Firestarter: Waterproof matches, lighter, tinder, flint striker
  • Compass
  • Whistle
  • Ballpoint pens with pad of paper
  • Sewing kit
  • Poncho
  • Lightweight blanket
  • Tent, typically two-person

Stuff all of these items into a good-quality, well-fitting, easy-to-grab backpack, and one's bug-out kit is ready to go at a moment's notice.

Of course, this is a general list, compiled and verified from multiple suggestions, both from individual prepper suggestions and groups across the web. There may be other items some feel are more important, and items on the list that some consider completely unnecessary. Feel free to make suggestions of your own in the comment section.

Happy prepping!

UPDATED: Doomsday Preppers new season begins tonight on NatGeo

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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