Micro bug out bag setups


Newly Enlightened
Jun 6, 2017
Seattle Washington
I've been working on a bug out bag that will keep me alive in the woods for a couple days. Something small enough where it will fit into a normal-looking backpack and still have room for my everyday odds and ends. Keep in mind this photo does not show my waterproof poncho or my down quilt which both would fit underneath the small bag when compacted.



I'm just trying to figure out what I need besides water-resistant bedding for the Northwest here which my Poncho and down quilt will cover. I also don't plan on really hunting I have some food that I can throw in the drop bag I have on the reverse as you can see in the photo.

If anybody else is doing a micro bug out bag or anything of the sort I'd love to see photos :) or if you just have any suggestions on what else I need for inclement Northwest weather. Also I do have a Gore-Tex hat coat and gloves in my bag as well.


Staff member
CPF Supporter
Nov 12, 2010
CONUS, top left
Interesting thread topic, as I have just put together a similar ultra-micro ( nano? ) kit this week ....

No photos, but the Maxpedition TC-5 is an almost perfect fit for an Altoids size tin (main pouch) , and AA torch + small folder (side pouch) , and pen (other side loops)

Still deciding on each of the above gear items, and updating / rearranging tin contents, but overall rather pleased with this setup :)


Jul 24, 2016
Bergen, Norway
Things that might be worthwhile to consider:
- upgrade lighters (but for zippo, keep in mind it needs to be topped up fairly often)
- some amount of something to make it easier to start fires, such as esbit or gasoline
- chemical heat of some kind, either the single use 6 hour ones, or boilable with shorter heat time
- blood sugar. Something fast (sugar), and something slow (fat basically)

Reason behind the focus on food/heat: these types of bags are often most important when things unexpectedly go bad, right? If you’re badly clothed and out for a jog, then suddenly turns for example, it’s easy to end up both cold and “empty”. Getting temperature and blood sugar up can make a major difference in how you bootstrap everything. Better decisions will be made, it’ll be easier to get things sorted out and so on.

Starting from wet, cold and empty, is a common path for things turning from bad to worse, pretty fast. It’s a pretty common part of any “lost in the woods”-type story. Basically “and by then I was cold and wet, missed the turn in the path, and walked in completely the wrong direction” and so on.

I did see you mentioned down quilt and waterproof poncho, and those should be good, just nice to have the other half as well, both in case things turn too quickly, you end up in a river, meet someone already cold, and so on.

Any of the lights have beacon or sos mode btw? If not, I’d consider one with it.


Jun 7, 2017
Good looking nano kit. I often try to think of what can do double-duty when I go small/light. For example, a small container of bug repellent is also a great fire starter (eliminate the lighters, and gain bug repellent). Add some extra fluffy gauze to the med kit, if it isn't already there--also great for starting a fire if necessary. A couple of zip-top plastic bags are always in my kit (hundreds of uses), as well as one item that has only one (very important) use: a tiny water filter (sawyer gravity fed).

Often forgotten is that comfort is important, and hygiene is a big part of that, even on a 2-day jaunt. Some kinds of lip balm are also great fire starters--the ones with sunscreen could be very helpful, too (nose, lips, tops of ears). Another hygiene-related item that I like to stash--toothbrush and toothpaste. They are actually potentially multi-use, besides making me feel more "normal" when I wake up--toothpaste is a great cleaner of some other gear items. More personal protection stuff that might be worth considering--bandana, sunglasses, and hat.

As far as lighting/power, your AAA setup looks pretty appropriate for 2 days. If you started with a full charge on your mobile phone, you'd be golden. The only reason I'd consider jumping up to an 18650-based setup would be the ability to top-off the charge on a mobile phone (which is potentially very important for communication and navigation), and get a bit more light (both brighter and longer runtimes). The overall weight would be higher, but the capability gained might be worth the extra heft in some situations. Of course, adding a solar panel would make the setup even heavier, and probably won't help too much in the first 2 days...

The main thing for me that is important to these kinds of kits--I need to use them. For day hikes, short backpack or bike-pack trips, I try to get out my bug-out kits and use them. When I car camp, I plan on using my "emergency kit" in my car. It is a forcing function that gets me to refresh the food, replace the years-old medical supplies/medicine/tape, find out the key stuff I forgot, and make sure everything works.


CPF Supporter
Dec 20, 2012
Northern New Jersey
I agree with Keitho... double duty items get a big plus.
Some things you might consider:

glue a ferro rod to your knife sheath.
vaseline has multiple uses. chaffing relief, fire extender, first aid, lip balm, can be smeared onto exposed skin to prevent wind burn, and to help keep the heat in.
bug repellent as already mentioned can be a fire accelerant
Mr Coffee paper filter as a pre-filter for any water you may need to boil to sterilize. Who wants chewy water?
Maybe a couple of packets or cubes of beef or chicken bullion after all, this is SHTF scenario, right?
Maybe a packet of hot chocolate?
a few of those very thin plastic bags you can get at the grocery store in the meat section and an extra pair of clean dry socks. IF you are in any thing that isn't a waterproof hiking shoe these plastic bags over a pair of dry socks, and then slipped into wet shoes, can be a life saver. I think you mentioned gloves, but a pair of socks over your hands are better than nothing.

In my altoids tin, I put some iodine water purification tablets. They can be corrosive, so I sealed them into little plastic straw pieces, that I melted the ends together.
a few feet of metal wire wrapped around a bic lighter for hanging the canteen over a fire.
some duct tape wrapped around another lighter.
Change out the strap belt for a paracord survival belt, and maybe add a roll of waxed minted dental floss.
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ma tumba

Flashlight Enthusiast
Oct 7, 2013
I would consider the matter of emergency communications. Basically, how I would call for help. If it is a long solo trip, I normally have an Iridium satphone with me, but this is once a year thing, so I just activate the cheapest prepaid plan, which is good for one month

Otherwise I would consider having an emergency beacon, like acr aqualink. Or a good two-way radio