Items You Should Never Pack In Your Bug-Out Bag

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Bug Out Bag

Probably every survivalist and prepper out there has at least one 72-hour BOB ready to grab on the way out when SHTF. Bug-out bags should be a part of any plan for disaster if you want you and your family safe. They can save your life in most survival situations, but ONLY if they’re prepared correctly. Unfortunately, many are the cases where the BOB becomes a liability and ends up dragging you down instead of helping you out.

I’ve made up a list of things that, in my opinion, do not belong in a BOB, unless you’re going to camp with the wolves or run from the zombies. So here is what you should never pack in your bug-out bag if you don’t want to break your back, and instead be light on your feet while you “camp” your way back to better times. Adjust it to your family’s needs and choose the things most suitable for your survival.

Perishable products

Perishables such as fruits, meats or other unprepared foods aren’t a feasible option for your bug-out bag. They weigh a lot and you are trying to shave off as much weight as possible and also to save maximum space.

Fresh food products need refrigeration otherwise they go bad quickly and can turn your BOB into a real mess if not properly contained. When it comes to food, I suggest you throw in some freeze-dried foods, as they’re very light and take up very little space.

However, one of the MFSP community members said he doesn’t agree to packing freeze dried foods in the bug-out bag since it’s a 72-hour kit. It’s your choice what you pack, after all, but whatever you choose, make sure it’s light & long-lasting.


Don’t pack knives and other pointed or spiky objects in our bug-out bag if you take safety seriously. Think about the injuries open blades can cause when you or your children are accessing your bag or how they can damage other items packed if not stored appropriately.

Anything beyond a good multiple-use tool is too much for the purpose of the bag. Keep in mind that, as I also said here, you should invest in good quality multiple-use gear or not invest at all.

If you want to take a knife with you, carry it in your pocket or strapped to your belt. Make sure the blade is perfectly covered and cannot harm you or anyone else.

Big guns and ammo

Unless you’re dealing with an alien disaster or extreme wilderness (where you need to shoot large animals for defense or eating purposes), you probably won’t need a rifle. Big guns and ammunition take up a lot of space which you could use to fit in more important items for your survival.

Also, think of how much they weigh, hurting your back and slowing you down while you are walking (you couldn’t even consider running in case of emergency with that extra weight). Not to talk about how dangerous they can be with children around.

iPods and other unnecessary gadgets

These are not items that you absolutely need for your survival. iPods, tablets, netbooks, cameras, more than one cell phone… these just add to the weight of your bug-out bag. You need a device to communicate with family and authorities, to keep in touch with friends and to find out about local shelters or fortified buildings to move to in case of emergency or to ask for directions.

Any other gadget serves no reasonable need for short and even long-term survival. Even if your kids are under the impression they won’t survive without their video games, don’t let them convince you to slip a tablet or a laptop in your bug-out bag. Their comfort and enjoyment is a must, of course, in any crisis situation… but you don’t need Nintendo for that. Invent games, use a plastic plate as a frisbee, adapt along the way.


Potassium permanganate is a great multiple purposes item and I use it as a fire starter (also for water purification and wound sterilization) so I don’t pack lighters or lighter fluid in my bug-out bag. It saves me a whole lot of space and it’s a safer option. I do have matches in my coat pocket, however. I always carry them around with me, just in case.

Duplicate items

A common mistake most preppers make is doubling up on many things. Pack one bug-out bag for your entire family may not be the best choice. It’s best to prepare individual bags for each member and stock them properly so you don’t feel the need to take two of one thing, if not necessary. Don’t pack more, pack smarter!

If you’ve got any other thoughts on what NOT to pack in your BOB, please share them with us in the comments section. We’d love to see your ideas. Stay safe!

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2 thoughts on “Items You Should Never Pack In Your Bug-Out Bag

  1. I have 2 bags. The first is my BOB with every essential tools and items I might need outside. The second is a larger one with shelter and protective gears in it. I have everything packed including multiple knives, ammo, batteries, hat etc. because I might have no time to get my knife onto my belt and choose every piece of my gears before I must leave. Yes, these bags are heavy, but after I bugged out I will be able to throw away any item I consider unneccessary – however it seems unrealistic that I want to do that in a situation when all I have is what I have packed into those BOBs.

  2. The logic is flawed in several points of this article, and the same flaw is repeated by a few of the people who have replied to it. You CANNOT make the unsafe assumption that a 72 hour bag will ONLY be used for 72 hours. Sure that’s all you plan to use it for, and that may even end up being all you actually do use it for… but then again it might not. Your situation could all too easily devolve into something worse than you had originally planned, causing you to rely on the contents of that 72 hour bag for much longer than the 72 hours you’d had in mind when you packed it.

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