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The Best Gear for Your Bug-Out Bag

Updated Dec 17, 2022
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In the event of a wildfire, a hurricane, a flood, or any number of other emergencies, it’s essential to have a fully stocked go bag (also called a “ready bag,” “go bag,” or “bug-out bag”) of emergency gear. This way, you and your family can quickly evacuate to a shelter or other secure location armed with basic survival supplies and tools.

Hydro Flask Standard Mouth with Sport Cap (21 ounces), the best water bottle

Hydro Flask Standard Mouth with Sport Cap (21 ounces)

The best water bottle
This Hydro Flask model is completely leakproof, durable, and pleasant to sip from.
We recommend
Survivor Filter Collapsible Canteens, the best collapsible water bottle

Survivor Filter Collapsible Canteens

The best collapsible water bottle
The Survivor Filter Collapsible Canteens are easy to hold, compatible with filtration systems, and designed with a lanyard that connects the cap to the bottle so you don’t lose it.
We recommend
Sawyer Mini Water Filter, the best personal water filter

Sawyer Mini Water Filter

The best personal water filter
You can use the Sawyer Mini, which filters out bacteria and protozoa, directly with the water source or attached to a water bottle. It requires little maintenance and is the smallest filter we tested.
We recommend
Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets, the best water-purification tablets

Potable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets

The best water-purification tablets
Potable Aqua’s tablets rid water of viruses, but they take four hours to work and must be used in conjunction with a filter.
We recommend
Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets, an identical option

Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets

An identical option
The Katadyn tablets have the same effectiveness as the Potable Aqua ones; buy whichever is cheaper.
We recommend
UST Survival Blanket 2.0, the best heavy-duty emergency blanket

UST Survival Blanket 2.0

The best heavy-duty emergency blanket
This emergency blanket reflects heat, offers enough durability to serve as a makeshift sleeping pad or shelter, and has a more clothlike feel than crinkly competitors we tested.
We recommend
Titan Emergency Survival Blanket, the best lightweight emergency blanket

Titan Emergency Survival Blanket

The best lightweight emergency blanket
The Titan Emergency Survival Blanket is the largest lightweight one we tested, so it kept us the warmest—the others always left some body part exposed to the elements.
We recommend
Survive Outdoors Longer Thermal Bivvy, the best emergency sleeping bag

Survive Outdoors Longer Thermal Bivvy

The best emergency sleeping bag
A lightweight emergency bag that doesn’t weigh a lot or take up much space, the SOL Thermal Bivvy is durable, easy to get into, and designed with ventilation to reduce condensation.
We recommend
Bic Lighter, the best lighter

Bic Lighter

The best lighter
A Bic lighter is a readily available and reliable way to start a fire—it’s hard to find an easier and simpler method.
We recommend
UCO Titan Stormproof Match Kit, the best weatherproof matches

UCO Titan Stormproof Match Kit

The best weatherproof matches
The UCO Titan Stormproof matches burn for nearly 30 seconds and stay lit even underwater or in front of a window fan.
We recommend
Clif Bar, the best energy bar

Clif Bar

The best energy bar
These widely available energy bars taste relatively good, last a year, and often cost about a dollar each.
We recommend
First Aid Only 299 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit, the best first aid kit

First Aid Only 299 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit

The best first aid kit
This kit has everything you need for minor scrapes, cuts, and burns. It’s organized, and it comes with a nice first aid booklet.
We recommend
Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer, the best hand sanitizer

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer

The best hand sanitizer
Using Purell is an effective and easy way to clean your hands without water.
We recommend
Seventh Generation Free & Clear Baby Wipes, the best emergency-bag baby wipes

Seventh Generation Free & Clear Baby Wipes

The best emergency-bag baby wipes
Seventh Generation wipes are cheap, plentiful, and effective for freshening up when you have limited water access.
We recommend
Husky 42-Gallon Contractor Clean-Up Bags (50-Count), the best heavy-duty garbage bags

Husky 42-Gallon Contractor Clean-Up Bags (50-Count)

The best heavy-duty garbage bags
These durable Husky bags can hold trash and double as makeshift ponchos.
We recommend
Custom Leathercraft 124 Flex Grip WorkRight Gloves, the best gloves for emergency use

Custom Leathercraft 124 Flex Grip WorkRight Gloves

The best gloves for emergency use
These lightweight and inexpensive gloves protect hands without sacrificing manual dexterity.
We recommend
3M 8511 N95 Cool Flow Valve Particulate Respirator, the best disposable respirator

3M 8511 N95 Cool Flow Valve Particulate Respirator

The best disposable respirator
Relatively comfortable, this mask filters out 95% of airborne particulates.
We recommend
ThruNite Archer 2A V3, the best flashlight

ThruNite Archer 2A V3

The best flashlight
This ThruNite model offers high-end features at an entry-level price, with a wide range of brightness settings, an easy and versatile two-button interface, and an overall satisfying design.
We recommend
Black Diamond Spot 350, the best headlamp

Black Diamond Spot 350

The best headlamp
Bright, durable, and long-running, the Spot 350 offers the best mix of the most important features.
We recommend
Midland ER210, a great weather radio

Midland ER210

A great weather radio
Offering excellent reception, NOAA early-warning notifications, and a hand crank that effectively revives it, the ER210 is durable and compact. And it doubles as a flashlight and charging station.
We recommend
Shoreline Marine Emergency Survival Whistle, the best emergency whistle

Shoreline Marine Emergency Survival Whistle

The best emergency whistle
This cheap, brightly colored whistle proved louder and easier to hear at a distance than more expensive models.
We recommend
Leatherman Skeletool CX, the best multi-tool

Leatherman Skeletool CX

The best multi-tool
A favorite of tool aficionados, the Skeletool CX has all of the essential implements you’re likely to need, but it’s also easy to carry and use.
We recommend
Titan SurvivorCord, the best paracord

Titan SurvivorCord

The best paracord
The Titan SurvivorCord is a strong nylon rope that you can unthread to reveal a wire, a fishing line, and a strand of waxed jute, which can help start a fire.
We recommend
G4Free 50L Hiking Backpack, an inexpensive to-go bag

G4Free 50L Hiking Backpack

An inexpensive to-go bag
This pack doesn’t have the greatest organization, but otherwise it fits the criteria for a low-investment emergency bag.
We recommend
5.11 Rush72 Backpack, a premium emergency bag

5.11 Rush72 Backpack

A premium emergency bag
The Rush72 is loaded with pockets and compartments that make storing and accessing emergency gear really easy. It’s comfortable, durable, and large enough to hold a lot of extras like clothing.
A better upgrade

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