How to Pack Your Survival Bag

Contents of professional survival kit bag

Whether you are preparing for a zombie apocalypse, a natural disaster, or you are going on a survival expedition, you are going to want to have a well-stocked survival bag. We’ve created a survival bag checklist that will talk about what you should include in your kit, but why you want to include them!

Before we can get into the list, we first must mention that the type of survival bag you have is a critical component to ensuring that you have the best survival bag that you can afford.Ready America Deluxe Emergency Kit 4 Person Backpack

The Survival Bag

For those who are unfamiliar with preparing for survival situations, you may be under the assumption that any old bag will do. This is definitely not the case! You want to choose a survival bag that is made to withstand the weight of the items you pack inside it.

Let’s face it, survival bag contents can easily get quite heavy, and you want to make sure your bag can handle it. Not only that, you want to make sure your bag is comfortable to carry. Look for a bag that has wide shoulder straps, an internal aluminum frame, hip straps, and even a sternum strap.

You can also look for a bag that features mesh lining so that air can circulate between you and the bag—this will keep you from getting too hot and sweaty while carrying your pack. Bug Out Bag Academy recommends that you choose your bag after you have all the items.

Your Survival Bag Contents

The items you are going to put into your survival bag may vary depending on where you are and what your needs are. However, these are the essential items that every kit should include.

1. Water

Water is a crucial element for our survival. A person generally only needs one liter of water per day. However, Survival Cache recommends you carry at least three liters.

You can increase your odds of wilderness survival by bringing a water purification system, a water bottle with a LifeStraw incorporated into the design, and you also have the option of using water purification tablets.

LifeStraw Go Water Bottle With Integrated LifeStraw Filter Design

A cool little tip from Survival Cache is that you can extend the life of your filtration system by using a coffee filter or two.

2. Food

Food and ways to prepare said food are going to be another important thing you have to consider when you are going to start packing your survival bag.

Bug Out Bag Academy recommends that you stock up on store-bought, dehydrated items. Some of these may require water while others don’t. You don’t know how readily water will be, so you should also keep that in mind.

We also recommend that you pack an all in one cooking kit that includes a metal pot, a plate (or bowl) and utensils. Also, plan to take a portable camping stove and a can opener if you are going to be bringing canned goods with you.

3. First Aid Kit

In a survival situation, you’ll want to be able to treat any injury that could occur. This includes cuts, scrapes, infections, dislocated joints, and more. By packing a first aid kit, you can be better prepared to deal with this sort of injuries.

Ready America Deluxe Emergency Kit 4 Person Backpack First Aid Kit

We also recommend that you become certified in first aid so that you will know how to set a fractured or broken bone properly or how to identify symptoms of dehydration or other illnesses you may encounter while in a survival situation.

4. Knife

Among all the items in your survival bag, your knife is going to be that tool that is going to handle a lot of jobs. You’ll want to choose a strong and sturdy fixed blade knife.

This knife will be able to cut through the wood for a fire or build your shelter. You can make weapons, use it to start fires, open packages, and cut the rope. Like Instructables says, you will find more uses for it with experience.

5. Fire Starters

Whether you choose lighters, cotton pads soaked in wax, matches, or starter logs, you’re going to want something that will make it easier to start a fire. Your fire will cook food, act as a signaling device, keep you warm, and ward off animals. Your fire is going to be crucial for your survival!

Man Trying to Start a Fire

6. Shelter

When you are trying to decide what kind of shelter you want to carry, be it a survival tarp or a survival tent, you want to make sure that you are choosing a weatherproof and waterproof. Along with shelter, you’ll want to pack parachute cord, especially if you choose to bring a tarp, as the cord is what you’ll use to hold the tent up.

7. Navigation and Signaling

Packing navigation items like a map, compass, and a GPS device will help you find your way back to safety. You should also plan on packing signaling items like a flare gun, a flashlight and/or a strobe light, and a signaling mirror.

These items will help rescuers find you. You can also use your fire to alert others of your whereabouts.

8. Clothing

The clothing that you pack in your bag should include items like a sleeping bag, wool blanket, thermal underwear, long sleeve shirt, extra pants, sturdy boots, and warm socks.

Man Wearing Monkey Paks Tactical Backpack Bundle

It might seem like a lot, in a survival situation, especially during the colder months, you’ll be grateful for the extra layers.


Everyone’s survival bag is going to be slightly different depending on the region and time of year it will be when you go out on your adventure. However, we hope that every bag at least has these basic items.

Your survival in the great unknown can be greatly affected by how well you are prepared. By planning your bag and keeping these 8 basic necessities in mind, you’re going to increase your chance of survival, regardless of the situation.

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