Home Bug Out Bag Course
by Survival Dispatch

Table of Contents

Introduction – Choosing Your Pack

A Bug Out Bag should always be built around a high quality pack. The last thing you want is for your bag to fail on you. We suggest that you start by measuring out the items that you want to carry, then purchase a high quality bag large enough to hold those items. Too often survivalists purchase their bag first, and then keep filling it until it is heavier than is necessary.


Despite the attention often afforded to them, neither dehydration nor disease nor predators are the most common cause of death among outdoor enthusiasts…hypothermia lays claim to that crown. As clothing is your first line of defense against the dangers of hypothermia, it merits careful consideration when it comes to building your survival bags.

Water & Hydration

After hypothermia, dehydration is the number one killer in survival situations. Not only can you die from dehydration itself, but this condition can also speed up other conditions such as hypothermia or hyperthermia. Learn what you need to pack to carry and purify the water your body needs to survive.

Shelter & Bedding

It is important to remember that shelter is usually the most pressing need in any survival situation. Without it, you can die from hypothermia or hyperthermia in only a few hours. You may need to use a tent in some cases, but more and more survivalists are moving away from commercial tents, and instead preparing themselves to construct a DIY shelter.

Fire Starting Kit

The issue we have seen time and time again with people’s fire starting kits is they are strictly geared towards getting a fire started, but don’t include enough pieces to keep the fire going until it reaches critical mass. You need to have components in your kit that will help maintain the flame until your fire is large enough for your needs.


When it comes to bug out bags and survival, hygiene isn’t one of the most sexy topics. But it might be one of the most important categories to have covered when it comes to survival.

Self-Defense & Security

If the entire country goes into crisis mode, it will be every man, woman and child for themselves. Yes, the disaster will bring out the best in some people, but it will bring out the worst in others as well. With that said, it’s important to pack a way that you and your family can defend yourselves should trouble rear it’s ugly head.

Food & Food Prep

One of the biggest differences between a short- and long-term survival situation is the need for food. You can get through a rough day or two pretty easily without food, but if you are forced to take care of yourself for many days or weeks, you’ll need to find a way to keep yourself nourished. Accordingly, most survivalists and preppers include food rations in their bug out bag.

Medical & First Aid

A well-conceived first-aid and medical kit is one of the most important things in any bug out bag, and you’ll want to ensure that yours has everything you may reasonably need to keep yourself healthy and reasonably symptom-free while trying to survive in a tough situation.


No bug out bag is complete, nor is any survivalist properly equipped, without a comprehensive assortment of tools. Being able to use tools helped our ancestors survive without claws, fur or hooves, and they are imperative for those trying to endure a survival situation.   


Lighting is one of the most important, yet often overlooked, resources you’ll want to include in your bug out bag. Not only is lighting necessary to move around much at night, you’ll also need it for finding items after dark and you may even need it for signaling rescuers or companions.  


Aside from water, shelter, food and medications, one of the most critical resources you’ll need in a survival situation is information. Specifically, you’ll need to know what is happening in the world, so that you can use this information to improve your chances of survival.  


You’ll often find it necessary to travel during a survival situation, and you’ll need to be able to reach your intended destination quickly, safely and efficiently. And because you’ll rarely be able to confine your movements to areas with which you are familiar, you’ll often require the assistance of one or more navigational tools.

Pet Considerations

Most survivalists plan out everything necessary to keep themselves and their families safe in a SHTF scenario, but few remember to account for their pets. Pets represent several key challenges, but some pets – particularly large dogs – can also provide considerable survival value.  

Organization & Maintenance

At some point in your journey to assemble a bug out bag, you’ll need to begin thinking about organizing the various tools it contains. Throwing all your equipment in the bag as you would a hastily packed overnight bag courts disaster. Items will break, complementary sets will become separated and you won’t be able to find anything quickly. You need a plan for organization!