How to Organize a Bug Out Bag?

how to organize bug out bag

The primary consideration when assembling bug out bag is how to pack and organize it properly. Today, manufacturers and preppers have found a way to make them smaller, lighter and cheaper. This way, they reduce the weight and maximize chances of survival in a dangerous situation.

But, if you are not careful with packing, it may lead to a bad organization and an overloaded pack. You probably know which equipment you should bring and what to leave behind. But, the most important thing is how to organize a bug out bag.

Here’s the deal:

Weight, accessibility, and mobility are the crucial things to consider when putting together your gear. But, don’t worry; it’s not difficult as it may sound. The basic principle is to have quick access to your stuff.

What’s the bottom line:

It should be no more than 1/3 of your total body weight and comfortable for you to carry it. A good organization leads to a well-balanced bag, which will reduce the strain and stress on your back. It is crucial if you need to carry it for an extended period.

Keep reading to know more:

1. The Bottom

The things you are going to need less frequently and those bulky items, should be placed first, in the bottom of your bag. For example, sleeping bags, hammocks, cushions, blankets, tarps, or stakes. You can also tie it on the outside of your pack.

Some users, attach their sleeping materials to the bottom of the bag on the outside. It is a better option than placing it inside and an excellent way to organize your gear for a smaller sized bag.

ultralight tent

2. The Core

The core is the part between the top and the bottom of the bag. Store it, after you place your heaviest items and sleeping material. Pack your tools such as handsaw or hatchet, cooking stove, food and extra clothes.

These items go to the core of the bag because they are lighter than the previous ones. Also, you will need easy access to them more often. It will save you the time; you won’t have to take everything out when you need to use tools or want to prepare a meal.

survival cooking stove

3. The Top

The top of the pack is the part you will be organizing and packing last. The things that go here are the one that you will need frequently and quickly throughout the day. For example, rope, maps, first aid kit, fire starting materials and snacks.

Because they are important, you should have easy access to them. That’s why you are putting these things last, on the top of the bug out bag.

bike first aid

4. Side compartments

These bags which are perfect for bugging out, will have side compartments for small things and easy access without taking off your bag. They are ideal for carrying water. It is simple to find it and easy to access it.

In these compartments, you can also store that critical and light stuff like maps, cell phone, paper, and pen, or matches. They are sometimes designed to hold a particular item such as water bottle or a mobile phone.

water bottles

5. Containers

The best way to organize your gear is to store them in containers. Your food, personal hygiene items, some articles of clothing, first aid kits and fire-starting materials should all be placed in Ziploc plastic bags. So, if you need to start a fire or treat a wound, all you have to do is pull out the storage from the bag with the particular item inside of it.

For storage, you can use, stuff bags, nylon organizers, MOLLE pouches, or smaller packs to keep stuff well-organized. It also provides extra protection against moisture and water. Even though your bag should be waterproofed, but sometimes it can’t resist completing immersion in water or torrential downpours.

You don’t want your food and spare clothes to get wet, so storing your stuff is an excellent idea. It is comforting to know that you have one more protection against water beside your bag. If it is easier for you to find your things, you can label your packs.

These containers are an excellent way to organize your gear. In some dangerous situations, it is crucial to know where everything is. Try to avoid stuffing your pack, because knowing where to find some particular item could save your life.

ziplock bags

Some Additional Tips

  • Don’t fill your bug out bag to the maximum. Try to leave some extra space for extra stuff that you will need. Leave behind every item that you won’t be using.
  • Before organizing your bag, make a list of stuff you will bring. Check it carefully and remove all the things that are not necessary. Your primary goal is to pack essentials for every dangerous situation you might get caught.
  • Bringing duplicates of most important things would be wise. This way if you lose some item, you will have another one to use in a critical position. These only apply to some lighter and important stuff like fish hooks, water filters, fire starting materials or knives.
  • Don’t duplicate bulky things; this will only overload your bag. If you find yourself in a critical situation, it is crucial to have a bag that is ready to go at any time. That is why a good organization is so important, because in that critical moment you will not have a chance to think clearly.


With our simple guide, you will easily learn how to organize your gear properly. It is important to have everything in its place when you find yourself in some dangerous situation. Keep your bag ready to go and well-organized to avoid danger.

Try to use smaller and lighter gear so that you could be comfortable while on the trail. Keep in mind that it all depends on your personal preference and what will work best for you. You might never reach the perfection, but following these steps, you can get close to it.

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