Survival Bag

Here is a list of survival bag essentials that you should keep ready to go in case of earthquake, hurricane, tornado, zombie apocalypse, or other doomsday event. This list is in constant development so check back often.


Clicking on the images will send you to affiliated stores that can help you get started with your survival bag. The items pictured in these links are just for examples and not specifically endorsed and may not be the perfect item for your specific situation. This list is also not meant to be a complete list of everything you need but just guidelines to help you get started. You should do your own research when deciding what you want in your own survival bag.


Guardian Survival Gear Camouflage Backpack Bug Out Bag


I recommend a backpack because if you are in a situation where you have to walk a long distance, it will be much easier to carry. I have seen several prepackaged survival bags that are in a duffle bag, or even a 5-gallon bucket. I don’t think this is something that I would want to carry around with me for three days. A backpack I can just throw on my back and go. Portability might be an important factor in your survival. You never know. I have also seen many bags that are red or another bright color. I would select a bright color if you were trying to be spotted, and a black or cammo style bag if you are trying to stay hidden. Another option is to find something casual looking if you want maintain a low profile. I would personally opt for a backpack that is not a bright color. If you want to get someones attention use a flashlight or something. Also, make sure the backpack is large enough and tough enough to survive.

Meal Kit Supply MRE 3 Course Premium Meals / 12 Pack


The idea here is to have at least three days worth of food per person. Some people feel that it is important to have something like an MRE (meal ready to eat), freeze dried meal packet (requires hot water) or something similar. If you are on a budget, there are cheaper alternatives such as energy bars. it doesn’t matter what it is really, you need calories to survive. If you don’t have food, you will get weak and this could lower your chances for survival. At this time, I am leaning towards freeze dried foods because of their shelf life, but remember that they need hot water to cook them.

LifeStraw Go Water Bottle with 2-Stage Filtration (22 oz.)


This is even more important than food. I recommend getting water in some kind of a container and some kind of a purification system to compliment each other. The worst thing about carrying water is that it is heavy. Hopefully you will be able to find a source for some water that you can purify and filter along the way from a river or some sort of reservoir. In the mean time you will need containers filled with water. They sell water pouches, water boxes, but I think water in bottles is fine. I am not really worried much about the shelf life of water, but I will be rotating my water bottles every so often because I usually drink bottled water anyways. In addition to your containers filled with water, you should have something to put water in that you find along the way like a canteen or something like this. A collapsible water bag is a good idea because it takes very little space in your bag. Filtration and purification are necessary when taking water from a stream or similar water source. Simple filtration could be a clean sock or a coffee filter to get out dirt and bugs and things. Purification is to get out the bacteria that can get you sick. You can use bleach or water purification tablets, as well as boil the water. All will work. Make sure you are familiar with how to purify water with whatever process you use.  You can also consider something like a survival straw if you don’t have time to prep your water.

Emergency Thermal Blanket.

Mylar Blanket

These are also known as space blankets. These things work well, so I have been told by many people. They trap your body heat and keep you nice and warm and they take very little space in your bag. They also have mylar sleeping bags which also take very little space and also you won’t have to worry about your feet sticking out from under a blanket.

Master Cutlery Liberator Spring Assisted Folding Knife with Liner Lock

Survival Knife

This can take several forms. I prefer the knife that can do pretty much everything, but you should consider what you need wisely. You can do well with a Swiss Army Knife, a knife that has the fishing lure and matches and all that, or just a hunting knife if you prefer. You need to consider what you like and what you think you will need. There is really no right or wrong answer here. A knife may have lots of tools and such included, but there is no way of knowing everything that you will actually need. Do remember that you get what you pay for. Read reviews and such because a broken knife is not going to do you much good.

Black Kaito KA500 Voyager Solar Radio

Hand Crank Radio

A hand crank radio is an excellent edition to your survival bag because you will never have to worry about batteries. This will provide an excellent information about world events in a doomsday or temporary doomsday situation. Many of these have the ability to keep your cell phone or other device charged as well, although it would take some time to keep your iPhone charged and I would imagine that your arms would become quite large by the time you were no longer in need of this. Others have solar panels on them as well, but they are said to be quite weak so I wouldn’t really rely on these for much power either but they will help you with charging your phone on a nice sunny day. The main purpose of this will be for the radio. Most of these emergency radios have access to the NOAA stations so you can keep up on current conditions as well. Many also have a flashlight feature which will save you one thing in you bag.

EXXEL OUTDOORS Wenzel Ridgeline 3 Person Tent


There is a good chance that you may need some kind of shelter at night to keep critters and weather off you when you are asleep. Some people like to get the tube tents because they collapse so small, but my thinking is that these are pretty much useless. I would much rather get a small tent that zips shut and keeps the weather out and doesn’t blow away with the first breeze. The problem with the regular small tents is that they are still quite large and may not fit very well in your bag. It is up to you how you want to do this. I am looking for smaller tents and larger bags myself. Even the small tents are quite large to put in a bag.

Yellow Nexis Heavy Duty Vinyl Poncho with Hood 70'' x 90''


A flimsy poncho is probably good enough for most weather. It is a good idea to try to stay dry. A good downpour can keep you soaked for days especially if you are forced to wear the same clothes for a few days. A poncho is a great way to keep most of the water off you.

Keep Calm and Kill Zombies


It is probably a good idea to have some clothes that you can change into if your clothes do get wet or otherwise damaged unless you really like to be one with nature. It would be good to have a jacket or something in here too.

UST FeatherLite Survival Kit 1.0

First Aid Kit

This is always tricky because you never really know exactly what you will need. At the minimum bring some band-aids, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and a small knife. A soft case first aid kit that you get at the store should have a lot of what you need. I like the soft kits because they are easier to cram into your bag. As a bonus, get one that is waterproof so your kit contents don’t get ruined.

Stealth 100 Lumen Tactical Flashlight by GT-Lite


If you want to see in the dark, you need a flashlight. Enough said. Sometimes the survival radio combos have flashlights too. I would consider having a few light sources of different styles. The little keychain flashlights are not a bad thing to have as well since you likely have your keys with you most of the time anyways.

Coghlans Coghlan's Flint Striker Fire Starter

Fire Starter

Fire is a precious thing. You use it to stay warm, cook food, and to get attention. Flint and steel are not the only ways to start fires, but it is a good way that you don’t have to worry about getting wet or anything like that as you would with matches. Matches are a good simple way, or weathproof matches, but they are a bit more expensive. Carrying a few different ways to start a fire is probably the best because fire is important and fire starters don’t take up much space.

Nexis 100' x 1/4'' Polyethylene Rope


Rope is an item that has very many uses. Alternately, you can use 550 paracord which is much smaller and lighter.

Leatherman Juice CS4 Multi-Tool, Granite Gray (NEW)

Multifunction Tool

While this won’t replace your roll around toolbox, it will help you get out of a variety of binds. Since you never know what you will need or run into, a multifunction tool like a Leatherman or a Swiss Army knife will help you solve some of these problems.


Here are a few related topics you might want to check out:



If you have any comments, ideas or suggestions to make this list better, please comment below.


Page Updated October 11, 2017

54 thoughts on “Survival Bag

  • September 3, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Among other items oftentimes overlooked when creating a BOB (Bug Out Bag) is keeping the bag AND contents dry during a rainstorm. I HIGHLY recommend that you carry at LEAST two (2) contractor grade trash bags.
    One can be used to enclose your pack in its entirety by merely slipping it over the BOB and tucking any loose ends in as needed and you'll still be able to wear the pack as long as you aren't abusive and running through the low limbs and brambles, and the second one can be used as an EXCELLENT rain poncho. Obviously it doesn't have any headgear but you DO have a LARGE BRIM WATERPROOF HAT, RIGHT?!?
    just cut out a hole large enough to slip your noodle through and holes on either side but about eight (8") inches below the actual corner.
    A third bag would be nice to actually place ALL the contents of your BOB inside if you are experiencing a serious deluge of rain and/or you need to cross a stream of water. Just be sure to tie the opening snuggly without "sealing" it if you plan to use the bag again in the future.
    And a fourth (4th) bag would be nice as a spare-spare Just-In-Case.
    Other items I've noticed as missing are small candles for lighting or even cooking as long as you can keep the wind away, plus the wax makes a fine expedient waterproofing material; waterproof matches sealed inside a waterproof container; some dryer lint mixed with vasoline and tucked inside of a used TP roll and all that inside a Ziploc baggie (for use as Firestarter material); any mention of a small fishing kit; a small, travel sewing kit with threads, needles, safety pin and a spare button or two; HEAVY-DUTY thread like for using to serg (sp?) the edges of heavy materials or carpets. This much (!) heavier thread is better suited to make repairs on heavier materials like your pack, your jeans, coat, tent and the like plus several HEAVY-DUTY needles better suited for sewing the mentioned items. Make sure you have at least two (2) each of the curved and straight needles and secure then by sticking them in a small piece of leather to protect them as well as your fingers. If you make the leather about six inches square (6") the leather can also be used as a pot holder when cooking.
    Which brings my short list additions to a close with one more item (actually I have a BUNCH of small "must have" suggestions that take up very little room but that's another topic) and this last item is a CAN OPENER, at LEAST two (2) of which should be of the military P-38 type and the other one of those small butterfly types much like the typical hand held opener but without any actual handles. Once started it remains in place as you open your can.
    Oh, and did ANYONE mention eating utensils?!? Just a thought.
    Overnout for now.

  • August 8, 2016 at 8:52 am

    During emergency conditions ham radio will still have its place using low lower quality to pass via Morse packet or code radio. The marine radio band contains channels numbered 1 through 88.

  • July 22, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Many of the things you have got around the house without delay will act as survival gear too. It would be an honest plan to buy some further, maybe if you are in an exceedingly pinch and don't have access to gear, you may conjointly use some thread for some fishing line, thread and a fishing hook might even work as suture and a threat. If it comes all the way down to it. It's not ideal, however, survival is regarding creating the simplest of true you are in and also the gear that you just have. Here are many different ways in which to utilize some common things.

  • September 1, 2014 at 5:26 am

    The mylar blankets are a great suggestion – you can get them small enough to fit in a pocket and they'll double as a makeshift shelter along with rope and a couple of black binder clips in a pinch.

  • August 26, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Don't forget the original Duct Tape! It can be used for so many things.

  • August 3, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    To start with, you can find lots of things at the Dollar Store that could later be replaced with higher quality items. Also, if you make it a point to buy 1 or 2 things every week or every payday, you'll soon have a good bag put together. Also, now is back to school sales, and a good time to look for a backpack (which can also be replaced later for better quality).

  • July 13, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Good list for a beginner. I gave up on the tent thing a long time ago when I discovered camping hammocks. They are smaller, lighter, easier to set up, plus you're off the ground and much easier to carry and conceal. I do a lot of "stealth camping" and a nice camo camping hammock is definitely the way to go.

    • September 1, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      Good idea, I hadn't thought of that – thanks for the suggestion.

  • May 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    i also pack a whistle with me

  • February 23, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Thanks for the list and the tips! I'm putting a pack together right now. I do have different kinds of fire starters. I put my wooden matches in an empty plastic fish food container with a screw on lid. It's small, light, and it keeps them dry.

  • February 14, 2014 at 4:27 am

    Fantastic article, great tips. I would add a small garden trowel/does not weigh a lot nor take up a lot of room/can be clipped outside the pack. Keep up with the good tips.

  • February 14, 2014 at 4:27 am

    Fantastic article, great tips. I would add a small garden trowel/does not weigh a lot nor take up a lot of room/can be clipped outside the pack. Keep up with the good tips.

  • December 29, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    This is a great starting point. It needs to be adjusted like you said to fit everyone's own needs but beginners need a place to start and this is as good as I've seen.

  • November 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    this is a simple rehydration drink powder i learned from some good old military docs 1/2 teaspoon salt (promotes improved water retention and proper pH balance).
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda (balances pH levels and regulates water absorption).
    3 tablespoons sugar (provides a source of glucose, energizes the body and helps it retain moisture).
    1 quart room temperature water (provides hydration and a vessel for the other components). ive used and it does the trick,i just having this in your bug out bag for emergencies

  • November 6, 2013 at 2:18 am

    Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such great information being shared freely out there.


  • October 23, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    thought i might give a few ideas for those who already have, if you use a glow stick, a mouse trap, and some fishing line one can make a perimeter alarm, simply tie the glow stick to the mousetrap and tie it to a tree and set it while tying fishing line to the trigger at a height that animal such a bobcat can set it off, the trap will go off if done right, the snapping sound on a quiet night will be loud and the glow stick will tell you what direction you should defending from.

  • October 22, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Sorry, I needed to correct and add some stuff to my comment. I love your list, because it covers the basics. I would add in some toilet paper, you can take the cardboard roll out and then compress the roll to make it smaller for packing. I would also add sunscreen and bug repellant for obvious reasons. Instead of a tent, you could add a tarp to use for shelter. I would also add electrolyte tablets and some gatorade packets, to keep your electrolytes balanced and keep you hydrated. The last thing you need in a survival situation is to have sun stroke/

    • October 22, 2013 at 11:25 am

      There are many things to consider for your Bug-Out Bag. Everyone should consider their own needs and level of experience and knowledge in working with these things.

      I have tried to keep this list simple and not overwealming for people who don't even have a bag.

      I find people keep making very valid points on several items on this list as well as items that should be added. I am considering reviewing and possibly redoing this page.

  • October 21, 2013 at 11:05 am

    your survival bag is pretty good i would advised having some good old fashion know how some time gear doesn't cut it, also add a compass and a E-tool, E-tools are pretty versatile and can cut back on weight and space, and in my opinion a tarp and hammock or a collapsible cot work better for shelter, tarps can keep the elements at bay while wrapped up in a Mylar blanket near a fire keeps you warm,hammocks are easy to use, cheap, light weight,easy on space,and can be used as a net, and keep you up off the ground away from the critters,a collapsible cot is for those who live in less forested areas, a PVC pipe capped at both ends one end with a bolt for grip can easily be turned in to a fishing spear or pole depending on area and type of fish, also keeping strong fishing line with you can be use for small game traps not just for fishing its harder to spot then 550 paracord, char cloth would be a good thing to add as well for fire starting and having the means to make it doesn't take any real space and can pay off in the long run, metal water containers made of aluminum are almost just as light as plastic but you can use fire to purify what ever water you find, a water bladder is also a good thing to have little space when empty and easy to access if needed, as for flashlights head light with a red filter,it doesn't take much space and the red filter doesn't mesh up your night vision, the axe multi tool is a good one and pretty cheap for its worth, i also suggest going to this link it is an altoid sterno tin which ive used and has save me plenty of time when i fell in a river and needed fire.

    • October 21, 2013 at 11:38 am

      My name is Sean Macbride and i left this forgot to say that it was a long post

    • October 21, 2013 at 8:16 pm

      Excellent suggestions. I appreciate the input. I will be adding some of these to this page soon.

  • September 30, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    I would like to suggest something for outside the bag, like a walking stick. They have many uses, balance,poking for snakes, or other critters, and as weapons.

  • September 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    I would like to suggest something for outside the bag, like a walking stick. They have many uses, balance,poking for snakes, or other critters, and as weapons.

    • October 6, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      Good Idea. Just keep it near your Bug Out Bag so you can grab it at the same time.

  • September 27, 2013 at 1:18 am

    I like your suggestions for a survival bag, but did not see any fire making items, like waterproof/storm proof matches, or flint.

    • October 6, 2013 at 7:06 pm

      You are correct. An item I overlooked. It is now on the list.

  • May 27, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Tents are truly over rated if you are on the move. I would spend a little time educating myself on wilderness survival. Knowledge of these skills is a much greater asset then any tent. Now a tent is a wonderful thing at a base camp, but as the gentleman said they can be easily concealed.

  • April 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    How about a metal match? Using your knife just one spark into dried cattail head or crushed out dry grass makes a quick fire.

    • April 12, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      It is a great idea, but you need to be sure you know how to use it before you really need it.

  • March 29, 2013 at 12:57 am

    Sweet, a dude who likes gear! To reduce payload, I'd take a bushcrafting knife like the SOG NW Ranger or Kershaw Bear Hunter II. Survival + utility all in one at 5-6 oz. What do you think?

    • March 29, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      I haven't used either of those. I would recommend trying one out that someone you know has, or reading reviews from people online who have purchased them. Check and see if what they liked or disliked are things that are important to you. Lately I am leaning toward having a knife and a multitool separate unless I was limited on space like in a bug-out bag. The knives you mentioned do have good reviews on Amazon.

  • March 9, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    A great list thanks!

  • February 4, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    This is a great list! J. Bullivant Urban Survival Gear offers a few of the items listed as well as a few other useful tools in an emergency including a water purification bottle, solar power backpack and more.

    Check it out

  • February 2, 2013 at 12:25 am

    Thanks for the tips 🙂 were always adding this to our bag(s), this has given me a few more ideas.

  • January 31, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    You might want to add a way to make fire like matches, lighters, or magnesium fire starters. It might not be summer when you need to survive and you can use fire to make water safe to drink and make a signal fire.

    • October 6, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      You are absolutely right. An oversight on my part. Done.

  • January 16, 2013 at 10:51 am

    This is a great check list to start preparing a survival bag. We have a hurricane kit – we should have this too!

  • November 29, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Wow some great tips…I didn't even think of the rope! I am slowly building up my little bag but still missing a multifunction tool and the rope!

    Love your blog

    • November 20, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      I haven't seen anything that does everything, but I am leaning towards getting the (Wenger 16320 Swiss Army RangerGrip 78 Knife, Red and Black) for my next tool based on reviews, size, and features.

    • November 27, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      Thanks for the advice. I must check it out and see if I can wrangle a relative into getting me one for christmas. Much appreciated.


  • November 16, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I've got mine packed and ready to go. The only thing that I suggest that you add to the bag is some rope. It is surprisingly useful for a variety of building situations.

    • November 16, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      Good point. I put it on the list.

  • November 14, 2012 at 3:54 am

    I would love to have a bag like this one you have up top. Its so hard to save and buy when you have little money to use. But I try my best and love that your giveaways help people like me that dream of a bag or bags like this but cant just buy them thank you

    • November 14, 2012 at 10:36 am

      There are lots of places that sell kit survival bags, but often they have things that you don't need, are low quality, or whatever. If you get one of these, I suggest taking it apart and taking out what you don't need and adding things that you will need.

      Keep in mind, weight can be an issue with these bags too. Many people have made bags that are so full of stuff that they can't even carry them for long.

      Another thing to think about is the quality of the backpack. Having a cheap backpack that cuts into your shoulders will not be helpful either.

    • September 30, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      I went to walmart at the start of our school year and bought a good black backpack, around 18 bucks I think. Then I bought a camoflauged one from the sporting goods dept, that one was around 30. They both are big with a lot of pockets to hold stuff.

  • November 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    It's hard to find tents with camouflaged design here in our area.

    • August 9, 2015 at 5:26 pm

      Amazon has camo tents for a good price, they come in the fleck pattern which was used by the German Army

  • May 17, 2012 at 4:49 am

    If you're running from something or somebody, wouldn't a tent be obvious? Maybe you be better off sleeping on the ground, under leaves? Or in a tree?

    • May 17, 2012 at 11:14 am

      A tent would be ideal for protection from the elements, but if you are worried about someone or something chasing you, make sure you set up your tent in an in-obvious place and cover it with mud and or leaves. They also sell camouflage pattern tents. It also helps to have a buddy to alternate sleeping/watching with.

    • March 1, 2013 at 10:43 pm

      If you are worrying about running with a tent, wouldn't tarp and rope be better than nothing?

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