What’s in Your Bug Out Bag or 72 Hour Kit?

My Bug Out Bag

The Bag

Having served in the Territorial Army and being in the Cadet forces when I was younger I have kept that theme by using a British Army Bergan as my main bug out bag. It holds 100litres in the main compartment which means I have plenty of room for extra clothes and equipment as well as plenty of water. The pack is comfortable, lightweight and extremely hard wearing and I have no trouble carrying it around for a long period of time.

My favourite part of this bag is the fact that I can detach the side pockets and use them as a day pack if I need to.


I carry two types of water bottle with me and a total of 5 litres. This sounds a lot but I would prefer to be prepared and carry too much than not have enough. My main water carrier is a 3 litre Camelbak Antidote Reservoir which means I can drink on the move. I have always liked these types of water carriers and the recent innovations have meant that they no longer give the water a taste of plastic. The wide fill port means that I can fill it from the tap, hosepipes or even a stream very quickly if required.

I also carry two 58 pattern military water bottles which I forgot to give back after leaving the TA, these each hold roughly 1 litre and fit snug in the front pockets of my Bergan.

Along with the bottles I also carry water purification tablets in case I need to fill the bottles from a stream or other water source. These are good but they make everything taste of chlorine so I usually prefer to boil all water that I am going to drink.


My favourite subject. When I am in the outdoors I like to be comfortable so I have put a lot of thought into the food I take with me for my initial days outdoors as well as some essentials to make things taste a little better.

A lot of people advocate freeze dried or dehydrated food as it is lightweight and lasts forever; myself I prefer boil in the bag meals. My reasons?

They taste better

They can be eaten cold

They last for ages

There is a huge number of choices

One of my main bug bears of dehydrated food is that you have to carry extra water to eat them. This completely negates the weight you might save and although you need to use water to heat up the boil in the bag meals, you can reuse the water for a brew afterwards.

For this reason I carry three British Army 24 hour ration packs. These each add up to 4000 calories and include three main meals plus a desert as well as high energy drinks, snacks, hot drinks and most importantly boiled sweets. Here is a list of the food one of my current packs contains.

1 x Tomato Pasta Salad

1 x Spaghetti Bolognese

1 x Muesli – Fruitful

1 x Rice Pudding

1 x Isotonic Drink Powder Orange (Slzgr)

1 x Hot Chocolate Regular

1 x Isotonic Drink Powder Exotic

1 x Isotonic Drink Powder Cherry

1 x ED Powder Apple

1 x Beef Jerky Original

1 x Boiled Sweets Cherry

1 x peanut Butter

1 x Fruit Puree Kiwi /Passion Fruit/Apple

1 x Just Fruit 1 x Menthol Chewing Gum (2x)

1 x Bar Castus Pear

1 x Ginger Crunch

1 x Caramel Bar

4 x Wet Wipes (each)

1 x Tissues (10x)

1 x Teabags (each)

1 x Tabasco Green

1 x Sugar Sticks

1 x Spoon

1 x Coffee Sticks

6 x Bev. Whitener Sachets

Even though these are 24 hour ration packs they can be stretched to last longer.

Food Preparation

To heat up the water for my food and hot drinks I have a multi fuel stove. This means that when I am out of fuel I can use whatever I find, such as white gas, paraffin, and unleaded petrol. My stove (an MSR Whisperlite) is lightweight and boils water in around 4 -5 minutes depending on the fuel used. I have tried a number of different stoves in the past including Jetboil gas stoves and feel that this one fits my needs perfectly.

To cook my food in as well as make hot drinks I use a metal mug which fits onto my 58 pattern water bottles. I can boil my meals in the bags they come in, and then stick a teabag into the boiled water and have a nice hot drink afterwards. When it comes to actually eating my food I have a titanium spoon which is sharpened on one side for cutting food up.

On top of these things I bring a fire lighter and some solid fuel blocks to make fire lighting easier if I have to start a fire.


The clothing I have is both lightweight and warm as well as keeping me cool. As with all outdoor activities it is important to use a layering system to regulate your body temperature. This is what I take with me

2 xLightweight Long Sleeve Shirt

2 x Convertible (Zip-Off) Pants

Underwear and thermals

Wool Hiking Socks (Qty 3 pair)

Medium Weight Fleece

Down Jacket or buffalo shirt


Working Gloves

Rain Jacket

Poncho – can double as emergency shelter


Shelter and Sleeping Equipment

Once again I like to be comfortable when outdoors but I know this isn’t always possible. My bug out bag just contains a sleeping bag, a bivvie bag, and a tarp for cover which I have attached bungee chord to so that I can tie it to a tree. The idea behind this lightweight sleeping system is that I can take it out and get my head down quickly especially if I am tired. It also means that I can sleep wherever I like from a barn to a forest floor.

My sleeping bag is a snugpak softie elite 2 which is comfortable down to 2 degrees and is very lightweight and packs down to a tiny size. When packing my sleeping system together I don’t use the stuff sack but rather pack the sleeping bag inside the bivvie bag and stuff them into one of the side pouches of my bergan. This allows me to quickly take it out and get my head down after a long day.

First Aid

The topic of first aid is a huge one and warrants a post of it’s own but it is important to have one that is personalised and waterproof including medication, antibiotics as well as dressings, antiseptic and the all important survival blanket.


Hygiene will not only keep you healthy but is great for moral, when you are tired and dirty after a long day trying to just survive, something as simple as cleaning your teeth can improve moral greatly, ensure you have a minimum of the following in your bug out bag.

Wet Napkins

Hand Sanitizer

All-Purpose Camp Soap

Hygiene/Signal Mirror

Small Pack Towel

Travel Toilet Paper (Qty 2)

Survival Tools

The shiny things that all of us go wild for at trade shows and camping shops. I like to keep things simple with a multitool, which gives me everything from a pair of pliers to a small saw. I also like to keep a survival knife with a 5inch locking blade. It is said that a knife is the most important part of your kit so make sure it is sharp and kept in good condition.


It may seem obvious but make sure you have at least two torches, I like to keep a head torch as well as a hand held torch such as a maglight. I also keep chemical light sticks of various colours for signalling and also for lighting my camp site. some people take candles but I don’t see the need.


The nature of the emergency will determine what communications you will be able to use. I always take a mobile phone incase mobile communications are available, and an emergency radio. This should hopefully enable me to pick up anybody in the area who is in the same situation. Once again I will cover communications in a future post as it is a huge topic.


I live close to quite a wild area of the UK which is where I plan to bug out to if the Shit really does hit the fan, I have walked Dartmoor for years and know the areas I would head for quite well but having a map of the area you are headed to is important along with a compass. However being able to read it is the most important part, regularly taking yourself out and practicing your navigation skills is an important part of your prepper training. I also have a GPS system in my bag simply because it may work in some situations and I would rather have it than not.

Survival Tin

This tin has been with me for about 10 years, the contents of it have changed over that time but its function remains the same. I always keep it in the top pouch of my bag, or in one of my pockets and it serves as an escape and evasion kit in an emergency. It is based on the classic SAS combat survival tin and includes.

Safety Pins (x4)

Electrical Tape

Button Compass

Match Book


Purification Tablets



Snare wire

Small candle

Flint and Steel

Folding knife

Fishing kit


Sewing kit

Wire saw

All of this fits into a small tobacco tin which fits easily in a chest pocket and keeps it all dry.

Odds and Ends

Finally a few items which I keep in my bag but I couldn’t fit anywhere else in this list.

550 Parachute Cord x 15mtrs

Cotton Bandana

Duct Tape – 1 roll

Heavy dutyGarbage Bag (Qty 2)

Resealable Bags (Qty 5, Various Sizes)


Face Mask

Latex Tubing (3′)


Face Paint

Gold and silver coins

£200 in various denominations (well it was two hundred a few takeaways ago)

My bug out bag has been personalised to fit my own circumstances and you may want to carry different kit. I keep adding to it all the time and changing pieces around after a weekend out on Dartmoor if I find that something isn’t working.

Can you think of anything I have missed? You can download a free bug out bag list PDF by clicking here and filling out your email address.

Source by Chris J Hall

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