Zombie Apocalypse Bug Out Bag Essentials

bug out bag

***UPDATE 7/2013: The list below is comprehensive, but it can also be daunting. I’ve received many emails asking for an easier solution, and after comparison shopping I’ve found this – Executive 72-hour Kit – As seen on CNN! This is the best pre-built kit I’ve seen in terms of cost, value, and items covered. I hope this allows you to stop making excuses, and take the preparedness steps you know you need to take.***

Bug out is a military term meaning that camp needs to get packed up now so you can move on.  So a bug out bag would be designed to get you the same result, but you can have it ready to go in advance.  At first zombie sighting you can grab your bag and be on your way.

If you’re gonna put the effort in to building a zombie survival kit, you’re gonna want to make sure you do it right.  This isn’t to say there’s one right way to build your bug out bag – it should absolutely be tailored to your particular tastes and needs, but there are some essentials that need to be included.  It’s not likely that you’ll find some “survival packs” on your travels, like the ones you see in video games – so you need to have the basics covered.

Let’s break it down into parts.  Keep in mind, a typical bug out bag is a 3-day kit – designed to keep you alive until you find suitable resources elsewhere.

Survival Food and Water

  • Clean drinking water – 1 liter per person, per day (3 liters, minimum)
  • Emergency food bars / MREs / other shelf-stable food source (suitable for a 3 day pack)


  • Pack warm clothes for cold nights
  • Extra socks
  • Full change of clothes in case you get wet
  • Rain jacket / poncho


  • Tent or tarp to sleep under
  • Ground tarp to sleep on
  • Sleeping bag / bedroll (or at least a good, heavy blanket) to stay warm

Emergency supplies

Sanitation / Personal hygiene

  • Toothbrush / toothpaste
  • Toilet paper
  • Bleach


This is a personal decision that depends what you’re comfortable with.  We will explore this in more detail in another post, but to get an idea check out Gerber’s Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit.

Don’t forget, you also need a great bag to carry it all in!

Please note that the Amazon links are affiliate links, and I get a small commission if you buy the products through them.  Please don’t buy something you’re not comfortable buying or isn’t a good fit for you, just because I recommend it.

This is a pretty good list, but it doesn’t cover all situations.  If you have a baby with you, remember they have special needs that you need to account for.  The same goes for any pets you will take with you.

Personally, I would bring along something to write with and a notebook, and a deck of cards to keep me sane.  That’s why this needs to be personalized to your tastes.

If you’d rather take a shortcut and buy a ready-made kit, such as this one here, that’s a valid strategy too.  Just remember to tweak it and tailor it to you.

Want a printable version of this list?  Just sign up for the ZSG newsletter and I will email it to you!

High Quality Survival Tools At Low Prices

At home, a dog might be a man’s best friend, but in the wilderness, a man’s best friend is his knife.

If you need something cut, stabbed, slashed, flayed, or chopped, you rely on your knife.

Of course, there are specialized tools like machetes, hatchets, and throwing knives for certain tasks too.

Luckily, BudK carries them all, at everyday low prices, which get even lower if you buy more.

Bowie Knives, Survival Knives, Pocket Knives and Tactical Knives – Thousands to Choose From & Lowest Price Guaranteed at BUDK.com!

Choosing the Right Survival Knife

choosing-the-right-survival-knifeOne of your best friends in the wilderness is your knife.  It can help you build a shelter, dress game, or gut a fish.  It can also be used to defend yourself from zombies and other predators.

When choosing the right survival knife, usefulness and durability are the prime concerns.

  • Forget cool:  If you’re buying a knife because it looks cool, great – assuming you’re gonna put it on display and never use it.  If you are going to actually use your knife, buy something practical, not something flashy.  If it looks awesome, it’s probably useless.
  • Size matters:  Don’t get an over sized knife in an attempt to do everything with it.  It will do nothing well.  If you need to chop wood or clear brush, you’ll do well to pack a parang or machete for that purpose.  Otherwise, remember that you will need to do detail work at some point, and trying to do that with a huge knife is going to suck.
  • Solid construction:  Many knifes are built cheaply, with a blade that is attached to a handle.  This results in a weak spot where they are joined.  Instead, look for a blade labeled full tang – this means that there is a single piece of metal to which the grip of the handle is mounted.
  • Quality matters:  You want something durable that can take a beating and still hold an edge.  This means steel, and ideally carbon steel.
  • Like a glove:  Find a grip that suits you.  Your knife needs to feel comfortable to the point that it seems like a natural extension of your hand.  Also, the grip should be made of a non-slip material.  You don’t want a knife that becomes your worst enemy when your hand is wet or sweaty.
  • Put it away:  Get a knife that comes with a sheath, and make sure it fits well.  It shouldn’t move or rattle at all.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be sure to find a knife that will suit your every need when the shit hits the fan.


Photo credit: mikepetrucci