On top of the mistakes listed above, there are a few things that I notice are missing from many if not most bug out bag content lists. While these items may not be utterly crucial to survival, they can sure make life a bit easier in an already stressful situation.
Knives and other blades are a no brainer for a bug out bag but few people think to toss in a small sharpener. A dull knife is far more dangerous to you than a sharp one.
Empty plastic bags
While many preppers pack their gear in plastic bags, which is an excellent idea, keeping several empty ones in your pack adds virtually no weight or bulk. The empty bags will come in handy for packing goodies you may find your travels, such as edible plants, tinder, or even water.
Being able to clean up a bit is a great boost to morale as well as a way to stay healthy. Survival Resources has a great little hygiene kit for bug out bags. Or, make your own by tossing travel size toiletries (soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss) and a couple of washcloths into a ziploc bag.
Yeah, I know, it sounds so metrosexual but bugging out generally means you’ll be outdoors, exposed to the sun and wind, which leads to chapped lips. This can actually be a rather painful condition. Lip balm takes up almost no space in your bug out bag. Plus, if it is petroleum based, it can double as a way to help get a fire going.
Notepad and pencils
Whether it is used for trying to keep track of where you are and where you’ve been or for just collecting your thoughts, being able to jot down notes is an excellent, and again a low weight, addition to the bug out bag.
A few needles and a spool or two of good thread will be very welcome after you’ve ripped out a pocket on your pants or torn a hole in your shirt. Duct tape works, too.
As far as I’m concerned, these are almost as handy as duct tape. They have a wide range of uses in a survival situation. I keep a bunch in different sizes in each of my packs.
Cash and coins
We often think of bugging out as running off to the woods. Odds are, though, that at least some of your journey will be through civilized portions of the country. It makes sense to have some cash on hand to make purchases, should the need and opportunity arise. Think about it like this – it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Pack enough cash to get you a room at a midrange motel, someplace clean and that doesn’t charge by the hour. Add in a little more cover a meal or two and you should be good to go. Stick with small bills, nothing larger than a ten or twenty. Don’t forget a few dollars in change for vending machines.
Get caught up on the other installments in this series here:
First aid / Hygiene
Signaling and Communication
Choosing the Pack or Container