Setting up a 72-Hour Pack or “Bug Out Bag”

Setting up a 72-hour pack or “bug out bag” is specific to the needs of the individual based on skills, abilities, needs and circumstances. Below is information on my personal kit. I keep my kit together and use my kit nearly daily. If you are not familiar with what you have and where you keep it, your gear is just slowing you down. Be sure to develop a habitual association of your gear.

When packing your gear, it is important to keep like things together and keep the things you need most in a place that is easy to retrieve. I pack most of my things in waterproof gear bags. You would not want to do that with wet clothes or a towel, but most things are best kept dry.

I pack all my stuff into the 5.11 Rush 72 pack. Without my 100oz. hydration bladder and Nalgene bottle filled, it weighs in just under 50 pounds. I am 6’ tall and weigh about 270 pounds so for me, this pack is less than 20% of my overall body weight. Weapons and heavy protection gear like armor are set up with a Blackhawk Commando Enhanced Chest Rig that holds spare magazines for my primary (1+8 magazines) and secondary (1+6 magazines) weapon system along with a blow out med kit and an admin pouch with a map cover. The major medical kit listed at the bottom is a separate bag that stays in my truck or kitchen. You want to avoid temperature and humidity fluctuations with medications and IV fluids.

I did not include it here, but you can note the specific brand and amount of each item you use and the place or website you purchased it from. I also keep a copy of this list in my pack so if I run out of something or need something I don’t have I can resupply it next chance I get.

While I have all but a couple of these items below on hand, I do not keep everything listed in my pack. My pack is set up for backpacking and camping. If I have some mission specific needs, I fulfill those at the time I need to. Laptop, armor, weapon systems, heavy tools, surveillance and communication equipment are not necessities to my survival in the woods. I have an E-Tool but the thing weighs several pounds so I keep a plastic trowel in my pack. If I need a shovel I will borrow one from the shed in the back yard of every home in the US. I don’t pack a tent, my hammock or tarp will do just fine to protect me from wind and rain at a fraction of the weight.

So think smart consider size and weight on everything you pack. I go so far as to trim, shave and grind off material from certain items to reduce weight where I can. If you don’t need it leave it behind. Remember that 100 years ago someone went without it. Use the Kiss system and Keep It Simple Stupid.

The preppers code of “two is one and one is none” is important for anyone preparing a 72-hour pack or Bug Out Bag. Certain items in your pack are critical kit and if you loose something like your knife that could be trouble for you. Redundancy of those types of tools is important, so remember when you pack that “two is one and one is none”.

One more thing I should mention here is that I have a great Bug in situation. I am well prepared at home for all the long-term needs for me and my family. I also work from home and live in a rural area. If I have to bug out it will be for one of two reasons. Number one would be, I am on the road and have run out of fuel, roads are closed or it is too dangerous to continue to travel by vehicle. Number two would be that my home has been destroyed or the area is too dangerous to remain, in both cases I would be looking at an extended amount of travel and would not be returning to my jump off point. Because of this my kit may have more and different stuff from you.

If you work within an hour or two from where you live, you won’t need more than a simple 24-72 hour worth of food and kit. My situation is likely to involve a week or more of travel and possibly no home base to return to. The point is to prepare for your own needs and situation and pack your BOB appropriately.

I divide everything up into kits for good organization and ease of use. Pack a list in each kit and up date it as things go in and out of the bag.

Click here for a printable version of our checklist.

Personal Hygiene kit
Micro-fiber Towel
Wash cloth
Soap and case
Tooth brush and case
Toothpaste
Toothpicks/floss
Mirror unbreakable
Razor and spare blades
Nail clippers large & small
Tweezers
Deodorant
Shampoo
mouthwash
Hand sanitizer
Kleenex
Toilet paper
Handi-wipes
Q-tips
Chap-stick
Hand Cream
OTC drugs
Sleeping kit
Sleeping bag
Hammock
Pillow
Mattress
Fleece blanket
5’x6′ HD space blanket
Lighting kit
Head lamp
Surefire light led
AE mini might 85 light
micro photon
Kitchen Kit
Stove Jetboil
Gas canisters
Eating utensils
Cooking utensils
Cooking pot with lid
Scrub sponge
Cutting board plastic
Nalgene bottle
Eating bowl
Salt & pepper shaker
Water purification tablets
MRE heater
Protective gear
Gloves tactical/work
Knee pads
Elbow pads
Sun glasses
Clear glasses
Glass case
Lens cleaner
Ear protection
Body armor
Helmut
Helmut shield
Sun protection lotion
Clothing Kit
Pants
Tee shirts
Long sleeve shirts
Socks
Underwear
Rain gear jacket/pants
Jacket
Long johns
Ball cap
Knit hat
Shemagh
Handkerchief
Tactical vest
Ghillie suit
Water Proof bag
Zip lock bags
Sewing kit
Primary Weapon system
AR-15 platform weapon
Weapon case
Sling single point
Optics
BUIS (back up Iron sight)
30 round magazines
20 round magazines
Specialty ammo
Suppressor
Cleaning kit
Weapon cleaning mat
Spare parts kit
AR-15 tool kit
Chest rig or Tactical vest
Pouches
Weapon light
Smoke Grenade
CS canister
Secondary Weapon system
Handgun 1911
Holster
Magazine pouch
Specialty ammo
Spare magazines
Cleaning kit
Tools
Suppressor
Weapon light
Shotgun weapon system
Shotgun pistol Grip 20ga
bandolier
scabbard/case
specialty shotgun ammunition
Slugs, Breeching round, shot, mortars
rubber rounds, colored smoke, etc..
Spare batteries
battery cases
AAA
AA
9 Volt
CR123
C
D
Spare light bulbs
Camera Kit
Digital camera
Video camera
Memory cards
Spare batteries
Survival gear
Whistle
Compass
Space blanket
Signal mirror
Chemical light
Magnifying lens
Duct tape
Water purification tablets
Water filter
Para cord 100′
Trip wire
Heavy duty thread
Zip ties various sizes
Contractor bag-Zip lock bags
Plastic container
Pepper Spray
Knife sharpener
Candies – Energy bars
Bullion, instant coffee, tea, sugar
Deck of cards
Camo compact
Hand warmers
Candles 9 hour
Fishing Kit – Auto fishing reels
Fire making kit
Blow torch lighter
Matches
Wind and water proof matches
Fire starting material
Blast match
Magnesium block
Hand sanitizer
Steel wool
Dryer lint
Fire blocks
Hexamine Fuel tablet
Food kit
Energy bars
Tuna packages
Pasta packages
Rice
MREs
Trail mix
Cup-a-soup
Coffee
Tea
sugar
candies
MRE extras
hot sauce
condiments
beef jerky
Tools
Machete
Saw
Axe
E-tool shovel
plastic trowel
Standard screw driver
Philips screw driver
Folding lock blade knife
sheath knife
pocket knife
Leatherman type tool
Lock pick set
Surveillance & communications
GPS
Two way radios
Night vision device
I-pod
Laptop
Mobile laptop card
Cell phone
Phone card
Radio AM/FM Shortwave, weather, etc.
Pack Minor Medical kit
Small cut and bump kit
OTC drugs
Band aids
Small bandages
Neosporin
mole skin
gun shot trama kit/ blow out kit
Major medical kit
Stethoscope
Blood pressure cuff
Oxi-meter
Thermometer
ENT light set
Medic Shears
Permanent marker
Lighter/ matches
Headlamp/ flashlight
Surgical kit
Surgical airway kit
Dental kit
Surgical staples
Suture kit
Surgical Scrub sponge
Face mask
Nitrile gloves
Hand sanitizer
CPR mask
IV fluids dextrose/sodium 1000cc
IV fluids lactating ringers 1000cc
IV starter kit
Nasopharyngeal airway
Surgi lube
Celox 2g/ 15g/ 35g
Celox guaze
10″ x 30″ trama dressing
Non stick pads 2″x 2″ and 2″x 3″
Eye pads
Roll gauze
Band aids
Surgi Strips
Mole Skin
Medical tape water proof
Ultra heal pads
Asherman Seal
Wound seal
Tongue depressors
Q-tips long and regular
Clinere Ear cleaner
Sam Splint
Vet wrap
Waterjel burn dressing 4″x16″
Israeli bandage 4″ and 6″
Swat-t
Triangle bandage
35cc syringe
3cc syringe
1cc syringe
Mono-jet Bent tip syringe
Irrigation fluids
Irrigation cap
eye wash
Hydrogen peroxide
Antiseptic wash
Bedadine
Medications
Amoxicillin 5oomg
Zithromax
Cipro
Metronidazole 500mg for giardia/stomach
Clonipin for stress
Cyclobenzaprine 20mg muscle relaxer
Asprin 82mg and 325mg
Alieve
Advil
Benadryl
Imodium for diarrhea
Gas-X for gas
pepto for stomach
Alka seltzer
Clonipin
Pain Meds
Glucose tablets
Bee sting treatment
Energy bars
Claritin
Musinex
Day-quil
Fenagan suppository
Ipecac
Tecnu poison ivy wash
Preparation H
Triple antibiotic cream/ Neosporin
Lotrimin anti-fungal cream
Therma-care heat pad