bug out plan

How to Make a Bug Out Plan

bug out plan

It can be argued that having a bug out plan is as or even more essential than having a packed bug out bag as one can escape mortal danger with or without a survival kit as long as they have a plan.

We have looked in the past at how to pick a bug out bag as well as what to put in it and even how to customize it for wilderness or urban survival.

Now we will maximize our survival preparedness by examining how to execute a bug out or strategic evacuation.

Click on the link below to download a free template for making your own custom bug out plan. The information presented in this article will help you make informed decisions while formulating this plan. Once it is complete, be sure to share it with anyone whom you will be bugging out with and conduct practice runs to make it second nature.

Also, be sure to review and update your bug out plan periodically to make sure it is effective towards the ever-changing threats you may face.

Factors to Consider When Making Your Bug Out Plan

1. What disasters are likely to occur in YOUR area?

An important part of survival preparedness is knowing what has happened historically. Is your area known for having massive floods? Are you in an earthquake zone? Has your town or city been a target of terrorist attacks?

Consider these factors when making your plan, as they may immediately eliminate some options or make others more favorable.

2. What are your personal strengths and weaknesses?

Considering these can help tailor your Bug Out Plan to complement your strengths, mitigate your weaknesses, and give you a much higher probability of survival.

  • Are you very fit? Great, you will be able to carry more survival supplies and plan a longer route.
  • Do you know how to perform survival first aid? That could be vital if a member of your party gets injured.

Identifying weaknesses can be as easy as understanding what survival skills you need to train in.

  • Can you make a fire reliably? Are you able to navigate at night with your map and compass?
  • Do you have a working knowledge of plants and animals in your area?

Learning these things and other survival skills will make your Bug Out Plan far stronger.

Remember, the more skills you have, the less you need to carry.

3. Plan on more than one possible destination

The best practice for survival planning is to have at least 4 destinations as a part of your Bug Out Plan, one for each cardinal direction on the map (North, South, East, West).

This can be narrowed down due to both geography and the likeliness of particular events occurring. For example, if you lived on the Mississippi River’s western bank and were preparing for a flood, you would not need to consider bugging out to the East. Having multiple destinations in your plan and multiple routes to each adds a level of flexibility that must be planned out ahead of time. Going through this planning effort will make you prepared no matter what disaster fate throws at you.

Going through this planning effort will make you prepared no matter what disaster fate throws at you.

4. Have specific destinations in mind

Having a destination in your bug out plan gives you a goal to work towards as you travel. This will have an enormous positive psychological impact on your survival scenario. Surviving is extremely difficult in even favorable conditions and having a positive state of mind makes a huge difference towards success.

Certain types of destinations, such as a second home, relative’s house, or designated camp also allow for caching survival supplies both at the location and on the routes to them. Besides giving you an even greater psychological boost, this will massively increase your odds of survival as well as lessen the amount you have to carry.

If none of these options are available, look for large public facilities or designated shelters, no matter what it is, having a destination is a key element to your bug out plan.

bug out plan - survival planning

5. Calculate how fast you will be able to travel

This is essential for planning your routes. If you can calculate your average travel speed you will know how many hours or days it will take you to reach your destination. This then informs you as to how much survival gear and supplies you need to either carry, forage, or cache along the way. Your average travel speed will be most heavily impacted by the following factors:

Weight of your Bug Out Bag

An average person should carry no more than 25 percent of their body weight in a backpack. More than this is possible but highly strenuous, plan your bug out bag accordingly. To aid you in determining what you will bring and how it will affect the overall weight of your bug out bag, we have created this free tool. It is even better if you can perform a test carry of your bag over a significant distance to ensure you can handle it. You need to be able to carry your pack for hours, if not days. Bringing too much weight will hobble your progress.

The terrain you will be crossing

The average walking speed with a pack is 2.5-4 miles per hour on flat ground. When planning your route, you need to account for what type of terrain you will be crossing. People often make the mistake of thinking that hiking downhill is faster than uphill. This is often not true, as hiking with a pack downhill will mean that you need to take extra care to have proper footing and to brace your steps. Will you be picking your way through rubble or having to cross a body of water? Plan a realistic pace as a part of your survival planning to have a better outcome.

Overall fitness

A very fit person will obviously be able to cover more ground than an unfit person. Assess yourself realistically for this trait; there are no egos in survival. If it has been a while since you went for a run, plan accordingly. The great part of making a Bug Out Plan is that it brings to light your weaknesses. This allows you to address them BEFORE they become a liability. If your plan would benefit from additional fitness, start slow going for walks or runs and then build up to conditioning your body to hike with the additional weight of a pack.

The makeup of your party

If you are creating Bug Out Plan for additional people you will have to consider this as a factor. If you are moving with elderly people or children, you should incorporate into your survival preparedness the additional resources and time needed to assist them. Do this by planning your routes’ progress based on how far you expect to travel at the pace of the least fit/mobile of your party.

bug out plan - map

Additional Factors to Include in Your Bug Out Plan

  • Plan on packing an extra waterproof or laminated map with your routes and destinations clearly marked. It is additionally helpful to mark landmarks along each route to aid navigation.
  • If you are bugging out with others, establish a rallying point for you all to meet at. Doing this beforehand avoids a messy situation where you are all wasting valuable time desperately attempting to contact each other when you should be on the move.
  • Also, bring along a list of emergency numbers for friends, family, and government agencies. This will help you stay in touch and keep updated on the disaster situation as it evolves.
  • This may seem obvious but actually USE your Bug Out Bag to make your journey easier. This may mean using your hatchet to fashion a shelter or pry tool to open a door to access a shortcut.  There is no point in planning, packing, and carrying awesome survival supplies if you are not going to use them. Have you ever gone camping with a friend who brings a carload of gadgets that they never even take out? Battery-powered tent fan, anyone? Do Not Be That Guy.
  • Plan on looking for a place to spend the night 2-3 hours before sunset each night. You may not like the idea of trading that much travel time in, but this will give you enough time to find a safe, dry place to camp, prepare food and water, and establish your shelter.
  • Know that a 160-pound person will burn more than 400 calories in an hour while hiking and more than 500 if carrying a full backpack. This is a level of exertion comparable to that of aerobics or running. Incorporate into your survival planning rest breaks and methods of keeping yourself hydrated and fueled up.
  • Once you have made a bug out plan it is important to review it periodically to make sure it still fits your personal survival scenario. Learn how to do this and get our free Bug Out Kit Update Checklist here.
  • More information about general disaster preparedness planning can be found at Ready.gov (external link).


Creating a Bug Out Plan is an important step towards your overall survival planning. Utilizing these tips to build a simple, effective survival preparedness plan will ready you and your loved ones to survive when disaster strikes. Download our free Bug Out Plan Template and get started preparing your family to evacuate. Be sure to also use our Free Bug Out Bag Planning Tool to help you determine what to pack.

Remember, chance favors the well prepared.

Your Thoughts?

If you thought this post was helpful, please Like, +1, or share it using the social media buttons at the left of the page! Have a great Bug Out Plan that you would like to share? Are there any factors that you think are essential to consider when making one? Please let us know in the Comments section below. Thanks!

Bug Out Plan

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Amazon Links

The aim of this site is to be a GREAT resource for people looking to learn about Bug Out and Survival tactics.  Part of this is to look at tools and other items that would aid in a survival situation and we examine many such items on several of our posts.  To assist you in looking for helpful Bug Out and survival related items we have created this page as a consolidated list of what we review and recommend on this site.

Many of the items are available on Amazon if you would like to search for them there or look for more information, please click on this link: Amazon Home.   Clicking on the items in the lists below will also take you to the relevant Amazon page for your convenience.  If there is a specific category of items that you would like is to take a look at or something you would suggest please email me at info@thebugoutbagguide.com and I will create a special link for it.  Thank you again!

Bug Out Bag Essentials

Survival Knives

Camillus Survivorman Les Stroud Ultimate Survival KnifeUnited Cutlery Bush Master Survival KnifeRothco Deluxe Adventurer Survival Kit Knife

Water Filtration


Sleeping Options

Sleeping BagCamping Hammock

Every Day Carry Items

ItemClick image to view on Amazon
Kikkerland Classic Survival Tool
Carabiner "Grenade" Survival Kit Key Fob
Zitrades Mini Cree Led Flashlight
LifeResQ 6-In-1 Car Escape Tool
Leatherman Sidekick Multi Tool
BOKER Minibar Blade
Schrade Key Chain Pry Tool
The Friendly Swede Paracord Bracelet w/ Fire Starter
Para Cord Brands Survival Bracelet and Watch
Type-III 4pc Liquid Filled Slip-on Compass

Premade Bug Out Bags

Bug Out BagNameCost# of People SupportedType of bagType of KitReview
Guardian Survival Pal
$32.991Small bagBare BonesThis kit is very basic and would be well suited to be the Bug Out Bag to keep in a car or office as it is small and lightweight. It does have good food and water options for its size and cost as well as a hand powered flashlight.
ESEE Advanced Professional Survival Kit
$1211Shoulder bagDeluxeGreat basic kit, has high quality items and many survival supplies not included in cheaper Bug Out Bags including a fishing kit, can opener, firestarting flint, and comprehensive first aid kit. The higher quality of the included items means that you would need to replace less and can simply build out from the foundation this kit provides.

Fox Tactical Field Operator's Action Pack
$1691BackpackDeluxeThis has a very high quality backpack that stores some excellent survival gear. The inclusion of an LED flashlight, sanitary pads, and wet naps are all well thought out additions. The makers of this Bug Out Kit did no skimp on quality when assembling.
Mayday Deluxe 1 Person Backpack Kit
$54.161BackpackBasicGreat basic kit. This has all the Bug Out Bag essentials a person would need. This is a great base to build your customized survival kit out of.
Guardian Elite Survival Kit
$73.991BackpackBasicThis is a good basic kit that will be a great foundation to customize and build upon as the bag is designed with additional space to put your personal items in. It includes an emergency shelter, hand powered flashlight and water purification tablets, useful items that not every basic level kit gives you.

FOX Tactical Rio Grande 75L
$5351-2Hiking PackSuper DeluxeThis is the most complete Bug Out Bag that we have seen. You could take this as it is and survive for more than the minimun 72 hours. The bag and contents are brand-name and high quality including Leatherman, Fox, AMK, and Black Kaito. The addition of a solar and hand powered radio/flashlight combo is excellent. With a great bag and high quality contents, This is the bag to go with if it is in anyone's budget.

Fox 2 person 72hr Survival Kit
$339.952Hiking PackDeluxeThis is a high quality 2 person kit with many essentials. Both the bag itself and items within are very high quality with a price to match.
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Kit 2014
$102.751Zippered bagBasicVery basic kit as far as the contents provided but the survival equipment inside is very high quality being that it is manufactured by Gerber. The inclusion of the Priorities of Survival Pocket Guide is an excellent addition for the inexperienced.
2 Person Guardian Deluxe Survival Kit
$70.992BackpackBasicThis is the 2 person upgrade from the Guardian Elite Survival Kit and is a good basic kit that will be a great foundation to customize and build upon as the bag is designed with additional space to put your personal items in. It includes an emergency shelter, hand powered flashlight and water purification tablets, useful items that not every basic level kit gives you.
Deluxe 2-Person Perfect Survival Kit for Emergency Disaster Preparedness
$98.952BackpackDeluxeGood basic kit with a lot of bonus features that you do not get with the cheaper ones such as a hand powered flashlight, hygiene items, and ample water.
Wise Foods Wise Deluxe Survival Kit
$229.994Duffel bag with wheelsDeluxeThis kit has many of the features of a basic kit such as a first aid kit, hand powered flashlight, and an emergency shelter as well as some of the more advanced, "kitchen sink" options such as a multitool, water filtration bottle, and a stove and fuel. It also has 44 portions of food which will keep a survival party going for a long time.

Dan's Adirondack Survival Kit
$5301BackpackDeluxeThis is an interesting kit that has several items we don't see elsewhere such as duct tape, a sharpener, a bandana, and a machete. It also comes with a survival DVD to watch at home to help prepare you.
Generally, the items in his kit are high quality and should not need replacing.
Deluxe - 4 Person Emergency Survival Kit - Back pack Kit
$594BackpackBasicGood basic kit, stocked with a lot of useful items including Coast Guard approved rations.
Ready America 70280 Grab-'n-Go Emergency Kit, 2-Person, 3-Day Backpack
$392BackpackBasicGood basic kit. Quality of items is in line with the reasonable price. Some items may need upgrading.

Wilderness Survival Customization Items

Survival Fishing Kit

Basic Compass

Tritium Compass

Eagle of Sniper G5 Slingshot

Survival Hammock

Sleeping Bag

Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent

Edible Plant Guide

Tri-fold Shovel

Fillet Knife

CRKT Shakaulu Skinner


Urban Survival Customization Items

Ka-Bar Becker

Stanley FUBAR - Small

Stanley FUBAR - Large

Ontario SP16 Spax


Pepper Spray

Bug Out Bag Backpacks

BackpackBag NameFeaturesHydrationMolleCost
5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack
Sized for 3-day excursions. Designed by special operations combat veteran. Large, external shove-it pocket, Top exterior crescent-shaped organization pocket, two exterior, side, gusseted zippered pockets. Water-repellent coating.YesYes$$$

VVV Gear Paratus 3-Day Operator's Pack
Modular design - 3 packs in 1
2 large compartments, multiple interior pockets/organizers, two attached MOLLE pouches
Heavy duty zippers
Reebow Tactical 3-Day Backpack
1 large compartment but with many other organization pockets. Great value for the price.YesYes$

Survival Pocket Knives

Smith & Wesson Border Guard 2 Rescue Knife

Gerber E-Z Out Jr Knife

SOG Specialty Knives & Tools Escape Knife
Survival Pocket Knives
Wartech 8" Assisted Open Folding Tactical Survival Pocket Knife

CRKT Graham Folding Razel Knife


GERBER Paraframe II Tanto Knife

Spyderco Tenacious G

Buck Knives Folding Omni Hunter Knife

CRKT Kommer Free Range Hunter
Folding Lockback


If you are interested in building a Bug Out Bag, please check out our posts on Bug Out Bag Essentials and How to Choose a Bug Out Backpack as well as and try our Free Bug Out Bag Planning Tool to choose what you want to pack and see how it will affect the overall weight of your Bug Out Kit.

Once you have this squared away, visit our How to Make a Bug Out Plan and Basic Survival Skills posts to learn how to maximize your odds of surviving when disaster strikes!

Your Thoughts

If you thought this post was helpful, please Like, +1, or Share it using the social media buttons at the top of the page!  Is there anything that you would like to be added to this list?  Let us know in the Comments below, thanks!

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Best Bugout Backpack

How to Pick the Best Bug Out Bag Backpack

Best Bug Out Backpack


Which Bug Out Bag backpack is best?

Choosing the right bug out bag backpack is the important first piece of equipment you’ll need to purchase when building your kit.

  • Should you choose a backpack, duffel bag, or backpacking style bag?
  • What qualities should be considered when picking one?
  • Are any features that are particularly important?

We’ll tackle these questions and then share our recommended bug out bags.

How to Pick the Best Bug Out Bag Backpack

The types of bags typically employed as Bug Out Bags are:

  • Backpack – A Bug Out Bag backpack can be anything from a school book bag to a tactical assault type bag.  This category has the widest options and is the most commonly used as it has a good balance of size and variety.  This is optimal for 1-2 people or if you are bugging out with a party of adults who can each carry their own survival supplies.
  • Duffel Bag – These generally are a greater volume than a backpack but lack the ease of carrying.  This is a good option if you are planning on bugging out in a vehicle and have a destination in mind such as a second home or designated camp.  You would not want to have to carry this type of bag for an extended period over uneven ground.
  • Hiking Pack – This combines the best features of a backpack and duffel bag being that it will have a large volume and ergonomic carrying options.  You will be able to carry much more survival gear in one of these than in a backpack which is great if you are evacuating with a family.

Critical Bug Out Bag Backpack Factors

1.  Comfort and Fit

You may be humping your Bug Out Bag for days on end. You need something that you can wear comfortably, and that will not limit your movement by causing you discomfort. Pay attention to the following features when looking at a candidate bag:

  • Hip straps and hip padding – This is the single most important thing when looking at a bag for comfort and fit, which is something that is not understood by someone who has not humped a heavy bag over long distances. Hip support straps snug the pack tightly to your hips allowing the weight to be carried by the strong muscles in your thighs and hips rather than balancing the load on your shoulders. This improves balance by lowering the center of gravity and saves your back and shoulders from bearing the weight. It is exponentially easier to carry a heavy load in this manner.
  • Width of straps – Are the straps made of narrow webbing that is going to dig into your shoulders and hips or is it wide with ample padding to cushion the attachment to your body? I reiterate: you have the potential to carry everything you need to survive over long distances. If you are hobbled by discomfort you will not be able to travel as fast or far.
  • Sternum clip – This enables you to secure the shoulder straps to a comfortable position and uses the bony part of your chest as a counterbalance to the backward leaning force of the bag.
  • Allows for airflow on the back – Walking all day with a sweaty back can lead to discomfort and chafing. Most better bags come with channels or webbing in the part of the pack that faces your back. These allow for air flow to minimize this.
  • Are there any hard elements within the bag that may rub or poke into you – Some bags have rigid frames or hard plastic bits to help them retain their shape or to allow you to strap things to them. They do not need to be avoided as a whole, but they are something to consider when choosing one. I once ignored this when choosing a hiking pack that had a metal frame right at the height of the back of my head. This caused me to have to lean slightly forward or bang my head… for miles. Please do not make the same mistake.
  • Gender specific design – Many bags come in male and female options. These have the straps cut and shaped in particular ways that make them better fitting for their designated gender’s body types. There is some good information here about measuring yourself to help find the best fitting pack.


Best Bug Out Backpack Example
This bag has many options to ensure a good, comfortable fit.

2.  Volume and Mass

How much space do you need in your Bug Out Bag backpack? This is determined by:

  • How many people are you carrying survival supplies for? Will you be bugging out by yourself or with a family in tow?
  • Do you plan on packing your Bug Out Bag with everything and the kitchen sink or just the bare essentials?
  • The more you pack, the larger volume bag you will need and the more mass you will have to carry on your back. It is one of the most important trade-offs you will have to consider.
  • Consider your phyical ability when determining how much weight you can actually carry.
  • I prefer sticking to the essentials rather than bringing everything under the sun and then scavenging and improvising on the way. Multi-function items are a godsend in getting the most from your gear in this regard.

best bug out bag backpack

3.  Accessibility

So now know that you want the perfect fitting bag that carries the right amount of survival supplies, great job!

Let’s consider the options for how we will be compartmentalizing the gear and accessing it.

If you have a decent sized list of bug out gear, you will have a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and utility. Putting this all in one large compartment is a formula for inefficiency and frustration. Imagine you have slipped and cut yourself and now need to dig through all your clothes, tools, and rations to get to your medkit. Not good.

What we want for an efficient bag is one large compartment to store general items and several separate, smaller compartments for storing smaller subgroups of items. Most modern bags have multiple compartments and options to attach small satellite bags. This is ideal. Before packing, you will want to organize your gear with these compartments in mind. You will want to put larger items in the main compartment and smaller ones in the secondary pouches, organized by item type. This will make finding things in a hurry much easier and your Bug Out Bag more useful overall.

best bug out bag backpack
Here you can see how you can organize a multi-compartment bag to maximize functionality

4.  Useful Features

So you have your Bug Out Bag backpack that meets your basic needs, what are the best additional features you should be looking for that will increase your chances of survival while bugging out?

  • Hydration Bladder Compatibility – Integration of a hydration system such as a Camelbak is a huge bonus to any bag.  This makes it far easier to carry large amounts of water over long distances.  As you will be exerting yourself, keeping properly hydrated is essential to keep you moving as fast and as far as possible. There is some good additional information on choosing a hydration pack.
  • Rain Hood – Many bags come with a rain cover integrated within.  This is usually tucked away into a velcro compartment and then pulled out and over the bag when needed. This will keep your gear dry and preserve it optimally for when you need it.
  • MOLLE compatibilityMOLLE (pronounced “molly”) is an acronym for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. It is used to define the current generation of load-bearing equipment and packs utilized by a number of armed forces. This widespread use means that there are a HUGE number of compatible options for adding accessories to a MOLLE compatible bag.  Items that use MOLLE include tool sheaths, pouches, hydration bladders, and medkits.


Best bug out bag backpack mollee
Many bags have MOLLE attachment points for easy customization

The Best Bug Out Bag Backpacks

Here are some backpacks that are excellent choices for your bug out bag.

BackpackBag NameFeaturesHydrationMolleCost
5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack
Sized for 3-day excursions. Designed by special operations combat veteran. Large, external shove-it pocket, Top exterior crescent-shaped organization pocket, two exterior, side, gusseted zippered pockets. Water-repellent coating.YesYes$$$

VVV Gear Paratus 3-Day Operator's Pack
Modular design - 3 packs in 1
2 large compartments, multiple interior pockets/organizers, two attached MOLLE pouches
Heavy duty zippers
Reebow Tactical 3-Day Backpack
1 large compartment but with many other organization pockets. Great value for the price.YesYes$

Our Pick

Looking at the features, price, customization options, and overall quality we have chosen to award the 5.11 Tactical Rush 72 as Best In Class for the following reasons:

  • Modular design allows us to plan and organize our Bug Out Bag for maximum efficiency
  • High quality, durable pack for a great price
  • Medium carrying capacity means that we will be able to carry our essentials without being weighed down
  • High quality, padded straps will let us move faster and for longer while bugging out
  • MOLLE integration and Hydration bladder compatibility exceeds our standards
The 5.11 Tactical Rush 72
Our favorite bug out bag backpack: The 5.11 Tactical Rush 72

For those that are building a more compact or lightweight bug out bag, consider the smaller 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 (or the even smaller 5.11 Tactical Rush 12).

Remember, it’s important to design your bug out bag according to your physical ability. Use our interactive bug out bag list builder to help you decide what to pack while automatically estimating the bag’s approximately weight.

Budget-friendly picks: If you prefer a budget-friendly option, take a look at the 3V Gear Paratus 3-Day Backpack or the Reebow Tactical 3-Day Backpack.


Hopefully, you have taken away from this discussion the elements that you need to look for in finding a suitable Bug Out Bag backpack. This is an important step in your disaster preparedness journey and getting it right make a huge improvement in your ability to bug out when the unforeseen strikes.

If you are ready to plan what items to pack in your Bug Out Bag, check out our Free Bug Out Bag Planning Tool.

Remember, chance favors the well prepared.

Your Thoughts

If you thought this post was helpful, please Like, +1, or Share it using the social media buttons at the top of the page!  Are there any features or types of Bug Out Bags that you would suggest?  Please let us know in the Comments section below, thanks!

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Urban Survival Kit

How to Customize your Bug Out Bag Contents for an Urban Survival Kit

Urban Survival Kit

To be truly well prepared for a disaster, you need to tailor your survival kit to your surroundings.

For example, someone from a highly urbanized area will have different needs from someone living in a more rural area.

Here we will look at some urban survival gear to add to your Bug Out Bag that will customize it into a self-sufficient urban survival kit. 

Urban Survival Kit Planning Factors

Bug out situations that occur in urban centers have several unique factors to consider when building your Bug Out Bag packing list. These urban survival factors include:

  • Having to deal with building debris and glass in the wake of the disaster event.
  • Increased likelihood of opportunities to scavenge water and food from abandoned buildings.
  • The possibility of finding supply caches in abandoned buildings – looting is not endorsed by this site but if abandoned supplies mean the difference between life and death, go for it.
  • Increased likelihood of encountering humans – This can be both good and bad based on the disposition of the people faced and how you handle the situation. Other survivors can be bartered with and be valuable sources for information as well as dangerous criminals. Approach them with caution in mind.
  • Less need for emergency shelter as there should be many buildings around and debris available to cobble a shelter together if need be.

urban survival gear

Urban Survival Gear Essentials

  • Crow Bar / Pry Bar – For scavenging and removing barriers and debris as well as hammering out glass. The Ka-Bar Becker is an excellent choice for this as it is compact and can smash, pry, as well as cut as the situation requires. The Stanley Fubar is also a very good choice for those with more space in their urban survival kit, and it comes in small and large varieties.
  • Urban Axe – A multipurpose urban axe, such as the Ontario SP-16 SPAX can be an incredibly versatile and powerful tool in your arsenal. The SPAX is a knife, a hatchet, or a pick axe, whatever the situation dictates. It even has the required slots to open and close water hydrants and gas mains. This is useful if you find yourself in a house with gas leaking or if you want to access a fire hydrant for some clean water. As a bonus, it can also serve as an a intimidating self-defense weapon.
  • Multitool – Investing in a multitool such as the Leatherman Wingman will give you the versatility to perform all sorts of unexpected jobs, solve minor problems, or get you out of a tight jam with minimal hassle.
  • Work Gloves – If you have to break glass or move debris, a pair of work gloves such as the Mechanix M-Pact Gloves, will save your hands and keep you working and moving much longer. These can be picked up at any hardware store.
  • Dust Mask – If there are collapsed buildings in your area this will protect your lungs from airborne debris particles. Have a look at 3M N95 Particulate Respirator Masks to a quality choice.
  • Permanent Marker – The nature of the urban environment will give you opportunities to leave markings or notes for yourselves or others in your party.
  • Can opener – In an urban survival situation there will be many more opportunities to scavenge food than in a rural locality. A can opener will enable you to easily access preserved food that you come across.
  • Sillcock Water Valve Key – Ever notice secured water valves on the side of commercial buildings such as malls or rest stops? All it takes is an inexpensive little tool, the Cobra 4-Way Sillcock Key, to access this water.
  • Metal Spork – Scavenged food will need a way to get to your mouth. There are many options for this. I like the varieties that come with an attachment option such as this one.

urban survival kit urban survival gear

Weapons for an Urban Survival Kit

Encountering unfriendly people can be an unpleasant scenario and must be considered in an urban survival scenario.

Ideally, we can either talk our way out of a dangerous encounter or avoid them altogether. However, that’s not always possible.

If a situation does devolve into a fight where you need to defend yourself or your family, consider carrying weapons that can protect you, such as:

  • Repurposed Tools – If you choose to carry a weapon with you, you can either repurpose a piece of urban survival gear such as the above mentioned Ka-Bar Becker or Stanley Fubar.
  • Knife – A knife is also a potential self-defense weapon. The Kershaw Tanto has smooth one-handed opening making it ideal for quick self-defense.
  • Pepper Spray – A popular choice for an effective survival kit weapon that does a great job deterring attackers. The SABRE Advanced Police Strength Pepper Spray is the most recommended choice.
  • Firearm – A gun is also an option if it is legal in your area and you are familiar with using one. Here is a good rundown of some firearm options for an urban survival kit.

Urban Survival Kit List Items to Consider

Ka-Bar Becker

Stanley FUBAR - Small

Stanley FUBAR - Large

Ontario SP16 Spax


Pepper Spray

DON’T MISS: Pack your Bug Out Bag or Survival Kit with our Free Bug Out Bag Planning Tool.

The Ultimate Urban Survival Kit (TUUSK)

I have been working on a project to build a comprehensive, practical, and top quality urban survival solution from the ground up.

I’ve been lucky enough to be teamed up with the founders of Ready To Go Survival (RTGS) on it. We have partnered up to combine my knowledge of survival and preparedness with their experience in building countless custom bug out bags over the years.

We are calling our project “The Ultimate Urban Survival Kit” (also known as TUUSK).

The TUUSK is an urban survival solution that will use the knowledge gained by myself and the team at RTGS from a lifetime of living in urban environments. Our goal is to take all the trial and error we have had over the years and develop a survival kit that will help others shortcut their own paths to preparedness.

We have spent hours selecting and testing the most practical, reliable gear, and are excited to share the TUUSK with the world.

We have documented every step of the process of developing the TUUSK to help others make better survival kits for themselves. Such as:

  • HD video and photos of us testing the gear in the heart of New York City
  • How we decided what to pack and what to leave out of the kit
  • How the TUUSK can help YOU overcome the most common urban survival threats

Learn More About TUUSK: The Ultimate Urban Survival Kit

The TUUSK Loadout

This is an urban-focused bug out bag that leverages our combined city living and emergency preparedness experience to help the 80.7% of Americans that live in an urban environment prepare for disaster scenarios.

Learn More About TUUSK: The Ultimate Urban Survival Kit


The items discussed above can be added to your Bug Out Bag Packing List to transform it into an urban survival kit.

You will, however, have to consider both your approach to survival and your locality when picking and choosing:

  • Do you want to pre-pack lightweight, non-perishable food to fuel your bug out?
  • Are you in an environment where you will be able to scavenge as you go?
  • Are there any factors that make your urban environment unique?
  • How will you deal with other humans?

These are all important factors to consider when planning your urban survival tactics and Bug Out Bag.

Check our out Basic Survival Skills guide to see what tactics you can master to help increase your odds of survival.

DON’T MISS: Pack your Bug Out Bag or Survival Kit with our Free Bug Out Bag Planning Tool.

Remember, chance favors the well prepared.

Do you have an item that you would add to your urban survival kit? Do you have urban survival tactics or advice that you would like to share? Let us know in the comments section below.

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How to Customize your Bug Out Bag Contents for a Wilderness Survival Kit

Wilderness Survival Kit

As we have discussed, each survival scenario has its own factors that will influence how you should pick your Bug Out Bag contents.

Urban Survival Kit Planning Factors

Having a more rural area as your locality presents its own advantages and challenges that will require some modifications to your previously discussed Bug Out Bag essentials in order to make it into a self sufficient wilderness survival kit. These additional factors include:

  • Increased likelihood of encountering wild animals – know what is dangerous and/or poisonous
  • Lower population density means less people to run into which means both less potential for hostiles as well as people to request assistance from.
  • Smaller communities mean that there will be less options for scavenging survival supplies from abandoned buildings
  • A rural or wilderness area will present the opportunity to scavenge plants and hunt or trap game

wilderness survival kit list

Wilderness Survival Gear Essentials

  • Survival Fishing Kit – If you live near a body of water that has fish, you can carry less food with you and instead count on catching your own food. This can mean you can either move faster or carry more survival supplies. The Best Glide Emergency Fishing Kit is small enough to fit in your pocket but has all the fishing essentials you would need.
  • Compass – Landmarks will be harder to find and use as navigation points in a wilderness survival situation so a compass (and local map) are wilderness survival kit essentials. You can go with a basic model compass, but a Tritium compass will glow in the dark and make nighttime orienteering far easier.
  • Slingshot – Light, easy to carry and able to hunt small game. This can double as a weapon against unfriendly humans as well if need be. There are many options but we really like The Scout Hunting Slingshot as a well-rounded choice. You can either pack some 3/8″ steel slingshot ammo or use scavenged ammo such as pebbles.
  • Travel Hammock – Having a good travel hammock can save you from spending time and energy building a shelter each night. We really like the Scout Zip by Hennessy Hammock which is great on its own but for colder weather you’ll want to add a sleeping bag.
  • Bug Repellent – This is not required for survival but avoiding annoying inspects does raise morale and is therefore recommended. Most people are familiar with DEET based bug sprays, which can be effective but for a survival situation we suggest a Permethrin based repellent. Permethrin can be sprayed on clothes and gear and will last up to 6 washes which means you don’t need to reapply if you get caught in the rain or have to swim across a river. A Permethrin based bug repellent such as Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent will protect you from ticks, mosquitoes, mites, and chiggers.
  • Pocket Guide to Local Plants – You want this for both edible and poisonous plants so that you know what to eat as well as what to avoid. You are best getting one that is focused on your locality but if you’re located in the US or Canada, check out the Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide as a comprehensive reference.
  • Camping Shovel – this can be used to bury waste and garbage in order to keep dangerous animals away. It can also be used in shelter building and as an improvised weapon if need be. A tri-fold shovel is preferred as it will take up less space in your wilderness survival kit.
  • Filleting knife / Skinning knife – You will want to choose one based on what type of animals can be caught or hunted in your local area. These tools will enable you to maximize the yield of protein from your capture. For a filleting knife, have a look at the Kershaw Filet Knife that I have used for years. It keeps a nice edge and is perfectly flexible. As for a hunting knife, you cannot go wrong with the CRKT Ken Onion Skinner as comes razor sharp to skin easily and is heavy enough to sever bone.
  • Hatchet – This is a tool to be used to shape your environment around you. A good hatchet is essential to making a shelter on the move in addition to chopping fire wood. The CRKT Shakaulu mentioned above can be repurposed for light chopping duties but if you are interested in a compact, high quality tool, the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet is an excellent choice.
  • Paracord – This goes hand in hand with the hatchet as far as something to shape your environment with. Paracord is lightweight and compact as well as extremely strong for its size. Add 100 ft or so of 550 Paracord to your wilderness survival kit and you will be able to lash a shelter together, make a rope ladder, or lash a splint on to an injured survival teammate.
  • Bear Spray – If you may be bugging out in bear country, you’ll want to get yourself some Bear Spray to protect yourself from a potential attack. Frontiersman Bear Spray is a trusted product with maximum stopping power that is effective from 30 feet away.

Wilderness Survival Kit List Items to Consider

I have created this helpful chart to aid you in researching and planning your wilderness survival kit list, it identifies the items I mention above for your review:

Survival Fishing Kit

Basic Compass

Tritium Compass

Eagle of Sniper G5 Slingshot

Survival Hammock

Sleeping Bag

Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent

Edible Plant Guide

Tri-fold Shovel

Fillet Knife

CRKT Shakaulu Skinner



Overall, these items can be added as appropriate to your Bug Out Bag to customize it into a fully functional wilderness survival kit.

You will want to consider your locality to see what best works for you. Will you be able to fish or hunt? Do you plan on scavenging edible plants while on the move or are you planning on carrying a pre-made food supply with you? Do you live in an area that experiences cold weather? These are all considerations that I raise to help prepare you for YOUR survival scenario.

The more you can plan out beforehand means the better you will be able to improvise and survive when the unforeseen strikes. Check our out Basic Survival Skills post to see what tactics you can master to help increase your odds of success.

If you are ready to plan what items to pack in your Bug Out Bag or Wilderness Survival Kit, check out our Free Bug Out Bag Planning Tool.

Remember, chance favors the well prepared.

Your Thoughts

If you thought this post was helpful, please Like, +1, or Share it using the social media buttons at the top of the page! Do you have anything you would add to your wilderness survival kit list? Are there any great survival tips that you would recommend? Please share these in the comments section below. Thanks!

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