Discover the Professional Secrets to Writing The Perfect Bug Out Bag List

Creating a bug out bag list that fits your needs.

Writing up a Bug Out Bag List doesn’t need to be a hard task if you know some simple rules about survival and emergency management.

Once you know the rules, you can adapt your bug out bag list to your individual circumstances.

As everyone’s circumstances are slightly different, it’s the rules that become important. What I pack will be different to what you would pack.

What you pack is dictated by your skill set, geography, climate, population density, politics and supply chains.

But the rules of survival and emergency management will be the same.

In this article we will cover the survival principles and rules you should follow when writing your own bug out bag list. And I’ll mention some must have survival items that you would need regardless of the emergency.

Once you get these principles, you will be confidant that you have the best bug out bag list for your individual situation.

Before You Even Start – Mental Preparation

While it is not strictly part of writing a bug out bag list, mental preparation is a critical factor that is often overlooked.

Bug Out Bag List

There is no point writing a kick ass bug out bag list but neglecting the important mental factors that go with a real world survival situation.

When you find yourself in a survival situation, your psychological response will be critical.

Thinking about the scenarios that you a likely to face and working out a plan of action beforehand will greatly improve your chances of survival.

The psychological reactions to a disaster often occur in a set pattern of four stages.

  1. The pre impact period
  2. The impact period
  3. The recoil period
  4. The post-trauma period.

There are many things you can do to prepare yourself psychologically for a survival situation. In this case prior knowledge is power.

The main things that will give you an edge in a survival situation are;

  1. Training
  2. Motivation
  3. Attachment
  4. Hope
  5. Acceptance
  6. Helping Others

These ideas will be explored in a different article but I wanted to get you thinking beyond just writing out a bug out bag list and thinking that you will be covered.

Survival is as much about mental preparation as it is about your physical preparation and equipment supplies.

Bug Out Bag List

Emergency Plan of Action

Further to the mental preparation are forming contingencies on what you would do in a particular survival situation. Again, there is no point writing a great bug out bag list if you have no plan on what to do.

You will need to plan and have contingencies in place.

Time frame – How Long are You Preparing For?

This also comes down to your individual circumstances and what you are planning for. Your bug out bag list will be based on your emergency plan and the time frame on which you are planning for.

I have several bug out bag lists for different situations.

I have a bug out bag list for equipment needed to evacuate from my home. I also have a bug out bag list for escaping from my primary workplace.

And a bug out bag list for items that I will need to evacuate a long term situation and a short term situation.

Bug Out Bag List

In short I have a bug out bag list for each type of emergency that I would expect to face.

While I do have several bags, many of them are interchangeable. This versatility ensures that I have the best equipment with me at all times. Using the Invictus Survival E3 system I am able to swap out my gear depending on the situation that I am dealing with.

Bug Out Bag List – Environment

Your environment is a major factor in what you will have on your bug out bag list. Environment can take up very broad meaning but is based on your geographic location. From this you will need to take into account;

  • Climate
  • Season
  • Weather
  • Population Density
  • Natural Hazards
  • Man Made Hazards
  • Natural water sources

Research the area that you will be operating in. Again, information is power. The more you know about your environment the better off you will be in an emergency.

Bug Out Bag List – How Much to PackBug Out Bag List

How much you pack will be dictated by your own personal requirements. The weather and terrain and the amount of gear you will be able to transport.

Your planned mode of transport will be the main limitation on how much gear you are able to pack.

The more things that you have to carry yourself, the less luxury items you be able to take.

Packing things that have multiple uses is a great way to ensure you have all the equipment you will need while keeping your overall weight down.

Bug Out Bag List – Prioritize Your Gear

Remember to pack your gear in reverse order. The things you want to get first should be the last things you pack.

No matter how much equipment you have, you should arrange your equipment into one of three categories. First Line, Second Line and Third Line, packed in their importance to your survival.

For more information on how to pack your gear see the article here.

What should go on Your Bug Out Bag List

Okay now let’s get down to it.

Bug Out Bag List

If something goes wrong and you have to abandon your equipment, then what you have on you is all you have to survive. A survival kit is the smallest and most important bit of kit you can carry.

Survival Kit;

A small survival kit is an essential item to have on you at all times. This will contains several ways to make a fire, a small knife or multi tool and a compass.

Bug Out Bag List

The Australian Army Hootchie is still the best light weight shelter available.


The first level of protection you should pack is some sort of covering you can use as a shelter. The Australian Army Hootchie is still the best and most versatile piece of survival kit. It can be used as a tarp, a ground sheet and a rain water collector. Tough and durable, the original Australian design is still the best and well worth the investment.


You don’t get very far without water. Pack several ways of carrying water. Camelbak water bladders are a compact way of storing water. Unlubricated condoms are an extremely compact bit of kit to pack that expand out to carry 1 Litre of water. Great for an emergency situation.

You will need several ways of purifying your water as well. Iodine drops or bleach will work as a chemical treatment of water. Packing plastic sheets and surgical tubing and a mess tin can be used as a solar still.


For short to medium term emergencies it will be possible to pack enough food to get you through. Remember that human beings are able to live on a lot less food than you may think. I’d bet that you could probably half your calorie intake and be fine.

That said, the morale boosting effects of food cannot be underestimated in a survival situation.

How much you pack will again, depend on how long you are planning for.


It is important to get as much Intel as you can as an emergency evolves. I’ve seen situations where people have grossly underestimated the level of danger they are in because they lacked situational awareness.

Small emergency radios are a must to keep up to date with what is happening around you.

Mobile phones are also important, but are less reliable as the network is more likely to be effected in an emergency situation.

Having basic radio communications is also a good idea as you will be able to report out regarding your situation as well as get information in.

Clothing;Bug Out Bag List

Having the right clothing for your environment is important, especially when you are operating in areas where the weather is very changeable.

Remember to pack for the absolute extremes of where you are.

Aim to pack items that have multiple uses.

Polar fleece jackets are a good item to pack as they are extremely warm, dry quickly when wet and can be used as a pillow or head rest and as a basic dust mask or cover.

Shemagh’s are also a versatile addition to any bug out bag list.


Good quality footwear is an important but easily overlooked item for your bug out bag list. Don’t scrimp on buying the best quality footwear you can afford.

You will need durable footwear that will last and is comfortable.

Again, be mindful of your operating environment and choose footwear that is suitable.

Make sure that your footwear is worn in before you have them ready to go. There is nothing worse than footwear that is uncomfortable and ill-fitting. Your feet are very important in a survival situation and it is often not until you have some sort of foot injury do you realise this.

Good quality footwear is critical. Make sure your shoes are worn in and durable.

E3 – Evade Escape Evacuation

As you can see there can be more to writing a bug out bag list than meets the eye. As you dig into the subject more and more you will realise that there are many things to pack. But then you can only carry so much, so how do you prioritise?

In a survival situation your first priority will be to escape and evade the initial danger or threat. Then you will need to evacuate to a safe location.

Using the Invictus Survival E3 (Escape, Evade, Evacuate) system to plan, pack and prepare for an emergency you will be confidant that you have done as much as you possibly can to be ready.

The Rules;Bug Out Bag List

Remember the rules of making a good bug out bag list and you are on your way to making sure you’ve done everything you can.


E3 Evade, Escape and Evacuate.

Mental Preparation

Know your environment

Mode of transport – Pack according to how you are travelling. Be ready to pare down your equipment should your means of transport change.

Prioritise your gear – First Line, Second Line, Third Line.

Using the Invictus Survival Go Bag system – Multiple interchangeable bags that ensures you always have the most important equipment on you at all times.

Survival Fundamentals – Protection, Water, Food and Comms.

Remember that it’s the mental game that will dictate whether you survive or not much of the time. Always rely on yourself first and your equipment second.

Still stuck on what to pack?

Check out the Invictus Survival – Bug out Bag List. Here. Use this document as a guide and tailor what you need based on your specific situation.

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