Overlooked Bug Out Bag Items (12 things that often get forgotten!)

There are a lot of things that you need in your bug-out bag that go without saying. When you get survival gear together, food, water, and shelter are no-brainers.

These items are the items that are most often overlooked when putting together a bug-out bag:

  • Multi-Tool
  • Sewing Kit
  • Fishing Kit
  • Snare Wire and Traps
  • Waterproof Bag
  • Emergency Radio
  • Entrenching Tool
  • Pry Bar
  • Lock Picks
  • Signal Mirror
  • Survival Whistle
  • Duct Tape

What about those things that you don’t normally think about? This list should help get you thinking about the commonly overlooked bug-out bag items you probably should have with you in an emergency.

Items You Should Include in Your Bug Out Bag

I’ve been prepping for a long time, and over that time, I’ve started to see a trend in the items that people seem to overlook or dismiss as unnecessary. That’s the primary thing that drove me to come up with this list.

It isn’t all-inclusive, and some of these items aren’t required depending on your scenario, but these tools are useful in nearly any situation. They should be considered when you’re putting together a bug-out bag.


This is a must-have for any survival kit. A good old-fashioned Leatherman could be worth their weight in gold in a survival situation. Multi-tools will give you access to a knife, pliers, screwdrivers, etc.

I recommend either a Gerber or Leatherman multi-tool.

LEATHERMAN, Wingman Multitool with Spring-Action Pliers and Scissors, Stainless Steel with Nylon Sheath
  • ONE OF OUR BEST: A classic, designed and assembled with premium materials; The Wingman is your go-to...
  • 14 TOOLS IN 1: Equipped with 14 tools to handle almost anything: knife, pliers, screwdrivers, wire...
  • OUR GUARANTEE: We’re proud to stand behind every product that leaves our factory in Portland,...
  • ONE-HAND OPENING: Open all the tools with one hand, even the ones that aren't accessible from the...
  • ALWAYS ON HAND: With its compact size, lightweight design and removable pocket clip, your Wingman is...

The Leatherman Wingman is a great option. I like the route that they’ve taken in their newer designs.

The more rounded edges and the addition of scissors make the Wingman one of my favorite Leatherman varieties, but you’ll be good with just about any model out there.

Gerber Gear MP600 14-in-1 Needle Nose Pliers Multi-tool - Multi-Plier, Pocket Knife Set, Screwdriver, Bottle Opener - EDC Gear and Equipment - Stainless Steel
  • 14-IN-1 MULTI-TOOL: Features needle nose pliers, wire cutter, crimper, standard metric ruler, file,...
  • SURVIVAL GEAR AND EQUIPMENT: Made from stainless steel that will stand the test of time and...
  • SLIM DESIGN: Opens with just a flick of the wrist with one-handed opening sliding jaws; Fits...
  • TACTICAL GEAR: American made and proven on the battlefield; Fully functional toolbox that fits in...
  • CONVENIENT SIZE: ‎2.81 x 1.5 x 5.69 inches length; 9 oz weight; Backed by the Gerber Guarantee, a...

The Gerber MP600 is a good option if you prefer Gerber multi-tools. I’m not a fan of the looser design of their tools, but many people love the external locks.

What tools should you look for on a multi-tool? At least one knife blade and a pair of pliers usually come standard on multi-tools. It would be best if you tried to get these tools on your multi-tool as well:

  • Can Opener
  • Various Screwdrivers
  • File – Often overlooked, it’s great for sharpening knives and axes that get dull.
  • Serrated Blade

Sewing Kit

RAINE Tactical - Military Sewing Kit Army - Survival Gear and Equipment - Sewing Scissors - Sewing Pins - Sewing Kits for Adults - Survival Kits - Needle and Thread Kit for Sewing - Army Kit for Men
  • TRUSTED FOR 30 YEARS: The Raine Army Sewing Kit has been used by the US military for 30 years.
  • DURABLE SEWING CASE: Our survival sewing kit features a three pocketed zippered, compact nylon case...
  • TACTICAL SEWING KIT: Our field sewing kit comes with the appropriate military buttons, 3 large...
  • USE ANYWHERE: Whether you're hiking, camping, or in the field, the Raine Tactical compact sewing kit...
  • MADE TO LAST: As always with Raine gear, our outdoor sewing kit is affordable and made for very...

A small sewing kit is good for repairing rips and tears in clothing or equipment. Having the means to repair clothing is a great way to stretch the minimal amount of clothing you may have access to after bugging out.

If you have to, you can also use this sewing kit to close a wound. I prefer to use steri-strips for wound closure, and I don’t recommend just going to town sewing a wound closed unless you know what you’re doing.

Fishing Kit

PLUSINNO Telescopic Fishing Rod and Reel Combos Full Kit, Carbon Fiber Fishing Pole, 12 +1 Shielded Bearings Stainless Steel BB Spinning Reel
  • 🎣 Warm Prompt: Full Kit with Carrier Case include 1 FISHING ROD + 1 FISHING REEL + FISHING LINE +...
  • 🎣 Full Kit with Carrier Case is special made for novice, including necessary accessories for...
  • 🎣 Perfect elasticity, high density Carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass make your fishing pole hard...
  • 🎣 Instant anti-reverse; Power drive gear equipped for high strength. Deep aluminium spool with...
  • 🎣 It's the best gift to send father, husband, fiancé, boyfriend for the upcoming Father's Day....

Adding a small fishing kit and a collapsible fishing pole to your bag is a great idea if you’re near natural bodies of water. Fishing like this has the added benefit of not using a lot of energy, making it a very efficient way to hunt for calories while expending very few calories in return.

You can add some fishing lines, hooks, and weights to make a small fishing kit that weighs almost nothing.

Snare Wire and Traps

Having snares, traps, or wires that you can use to build them can give you another way to collect food. Something as simple as a few rat traps may get you a meal when needed.

Traps are a lot like a fishing kits. They allow you to set up many traps at once, increase your chances of catching something, and it takes almost no energy once you have them set.

Waterproof Bag

MARCHWAY Floating Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack 5L/10L/20L/30L/40L, Roll Top Sack Keeps Gear Dry for Kayaking, Rafting, Boating, Swimming, Camping, Hiking, Beach, Fishing (Grey, 30L)
  • Durable and Compact: Made from ripstop tarpaulin with sturdy welded seam which is designed for years...
  • Waterproof Guarantee: Solid roll-top closure system provides secure watertight seal. Keeps your gear...
  • Easy Operation and Cleaning: Just put your gear in bag, grab top woven tape and roll down tightly 3...
  • Multiple Sizes: 5 Liter to 40 Liter to meet your demands on different occasions. 5L, 10L include one...
  • Versatility: The dry sack can float on water after being rolled and buckled, so you can track your...

Waterproof bags are great. Some are so good that you can completely submerge them in water and keep everything dry. You can also use them as a floatation device if you need to cross a river or lake.

Remember, anything that keeps water out can also keep water in. An empty dry bag is an awesome way to collect water and should be a strong contender on your bug-out bag list.

Emergency Radio

Weather Radio (Brown)
  • emergency radio

Staying up to date on whatever event forced you out of your home is extremely important. Most emergency radios allow you to listen to NOAA and AM/FM channels. Make sure you plan to have the means to recharge your radio or carry extra batteries.

Many emergency radios have included solar panels and cranks to help charge them in emergencies. You can also get models with USB ports so you can charge your phone or other electronic devices off them.

Entrenching Tool

Tri-Fold Entrenching Tool (E-Tool), Genuine Military Issue, with Shovel Cover
  • STRONG AND LIGHT: Steel Blade with Aluminum Handle
  • GREAT FOR CAMPING OR MILITARY: Genuine US Military Issue - Made in USA
  • ATTRACTIVE DESIGN: Black Powder-Coat Finish
  • CONVENIENT: Tri-Fold Design Collapses for Easy Carry/Storage, Comes with Case
  • MULTI-USE: Sharpened Ax Edge / Serrated Saw Edge

Entrenching tools are pretty heavy, but they’re also a lifesaver if you need to do some digging. Nothing else you can put in your bug-out bag can replace an e-tool. They’re also a very effective last-minute melee weapon.

E-tools are so effective and important they’ve been part of the standard loadout for soldiers for a long time.


This could be a lifesaver for anyone bugging out from the city. Accessing a secure area could mean the difference between finding food and going hungry. If you carry a full tang axe or tomahawk, it will be almost as good as a pry bar.

If you’re interested in a great full-tang tomahawk, you should check out our review of the Smith & Wesson Extraction and Evasion Tomahawk.

Lock Picks

Along the same lines as the pry bar. There are plenty of YouTube videos out there demonstrating how to pick locks. Bosnianbill is my favorite YouTuber for lockpicking lessons.

If they’re legal in your area, they weigh very little and make a great addition to any bug-out bag. Be sure to practice ahead of time.

Lockpicking techniques are easy enough, but you’ll only ever get a feel for it if you practice on a wide range of locks. Focus on the types of locks that are most common in your area first.

They’re often sold under the name of lock maintenance kits if you’re trying to find them online.

Signal Mirror

UST StarFlash Floating Signal Mirror with Compact, Lightweight Design, Targeting Star and Lanyard for Hiking, Camping, Backpacking and Emergency Situations
  • DIMENSIONS: 2.25” H x 1.3” W x 0.5” D and weighs 0.4 oz
  • EASE OF USE: Ultralight signal mirror with built-in precision aiming system making it ideal for any...
  • VERSATILITY: Features a mirrored surface with vacuum deposition metallization and a targeting star...
  • DURABLE: Virtually unbreakable mirror works in overcast conditions and floats if dropped in the...

Adding a signal mirror to your bug-out bag list makes great sense. They’re light and are one of the best ways to signal to another person or vehicle during the daytime.

Signal mirrors are also effective in inspecting facial injuries and could even be used to peek around a corner if you didn’t want to expose your head.

Survival Whistle

S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer Slim Rescue Howler Whistle (2-Count), Orange, Model:AD0010
  • Emitting a piercing 100-decibel signal, this slim single-frequency whistle is audible from over a...
  • Pea-less design ensures that the whistle works in any outdoor conditions without jamming or...
  • Weighing less than an ounce, this ultra-portable whistle fits in any pocket and attaches to zipper...
  • These whistles are ideal for signaling for a variety of outdoor activities, whether you are on the...
  • Each pack contains two whistles to share or distribute among gear like a rain jacket or go bag.

The survival whistle is another great tool to have around. Sound is a great way to signal your position to help people find you at night or in dense vegetation.

You can keep a whistle hanging on one of the straps of your pack, so it’s always available.

Duct Tape

Gorilla Black Duct Tape, 1.88" x 35 yd, Black, (Pack of 1)
  • Heavy duty and double thick, Gorilla Tape offers over-the top results; It's like duct tape on...
  • Great for indoor or outdoor use and made to stick to Rough, uneven, unforgiving surfaces like wood,...
  • Double-Thick adhesive; grips smooth, Rough and uneven surfaces
  • Tough, reinforced backing; the tight weave contributes to the heft, but Gorilla tape can still be...
  • Rugged, weather-resistant shell; withstands moisture, UV rays and temperature extremes

Who doesn’t love this multi-use wonder? You can carefully unroll the duct tape and then re-roll it back onto itself to get it down to a manageable size.

If you’re going to pack something like Gorilla Tape, you have to understand that having something that strong sometimes has drawbacks. If you want to remove the tape afterward, a super-strong adhesive isn’t always the best bet.


This list was focused on overlooked bug-out bag items, but everything on this list could easily find its way into any survival kit. Make sure you think about the scenarios you’re most likely to encounter before considering your survival kit or bug-out bag complete.

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