Every bug out bag will be different. There are essential items that every bug out bag should have, but you should customize your bag based on where you live, what type of disaster is most likely to occur in your area, and how much weight you can carry over a long distance.
If your bag is so heavy that you can’t carry it more than a few miles, you’ll have to ditch some of the items. What if you have to run, jump, or climb? Ideally, a bug out bag should weigh about 15% of your body weight, assuming you’re in decent shape. Twenty percent of your body weight should be the absolute maximum.
You should check your bag for any non-essential items with a large weight-to-space ratio and remove them. To that end, here’s a list of survival items you should really consider whether or not they are essential to have in your bug out bag. These are suggestions. The final determination is up to you.
A tent – Instead of a heavy tent, just get use a tarp and some cordage so you can build your own shelter. Doing this could take 5 to 10 pounds off the weight of your bag.
Camping tripods – Another 5 to 10 pounds you don’t need. Why carry something like this when you can make your own using sticks? Just find three long and sturdy sticks and tie them together. Other than that, all you need is a hook and a cord from which to hang your cooking pot.
Camping lantern – This is nothing but a big waste of space. Just use your flashlight or build a fire if you need light.
Flare gun – Unless you think you’re going to end up on a desert island, there’s no reason you need a flare gun. Besides, there are better ways to make yourself seen, the best of which is to build a large fire. You could also use a signal mirror or a brightly-colored tarp.
Bottled water – Unless you live in the middle of a very dry desert, you should carry a water filter instead. Of course, this means you’ll have to know how to find water. If you think it will take a while to find water, then everyone in your group could carry a liter or two of water just in case.
Canned food – Because of all the water in it, canned food is just too heavy for the amount of calories you get. You’re better off getting freeze-dried food and rehydrating it with water you find.
Plates and eating utensils – Just bring a spork and eat your food right out of the pot or package.
Toiletries – Things like shampoo, deodorant, and mouthwash aren’t really essential. Remember, you’re not bugging out so you can live in the wilderness for months on end. You’re bugging out until you can get to a safe location.
Survival books – Books weigh a lot, but knowledge doesn’t weigh anything. Instead of taking a bunch of heavy books with you, just study the information in those books so you’ll have it in your head when you need it.
Heavy tools – It’s tempting to stuff all your favorite tools–saw, wire cutters, socket wrench, etc.–into your bag, but how likely are you to actually need them? If you’re bugging out, you probably won’t be cutting down trees or fixing cars. Carry a decent multitool with you.
Extra ammo – It’s okay to carry a gun and a little bit of ammo for self defense. But frankly, if you need more than a dozen or so rounds, then you’re probably out of luck
Hopefully this information will help you lighten your bug out bag significantly. If you liked this post please share it with others.