A List Of The Best Survival Items To Pack For Your Urban Bug Out Bag

Many preppers and survivalists are experienced in dealing with the dangers of being out in the wild, but what happens when disaster strikes in an urban area?

Being exposed to an emergency situation in a busy city can bring new challenges and you’ll want to make sure that you’re fully prepared to help both yourself and those around you. Knowing about what you’ll need in an urban bug out bag will help you to pack all the essentials and to help you avoid being caught unprepared in a big city. 

We’ve researched and analyzed the must have essentials for your urban bug out bag so that all you need to do is read on and get packing. 

What is An Urban Bug Out Bag?

Just like a standard bug out bag, an urban bug out bag is designed as a survival kit to contain essential supplies that you may need. These supplies will be enough to cover approximately 72 hours after a disaster. The essential items in an urban bug out bag range from food and water supplies to survival sleeping gear. 

How Is An Urban Bug Out Bag Different From A Regular Bug Out Bag?

The difference between an urban bug out bag and a regular bug out bag is that it will be packed with a city disaster situation in mind. Although some of the basic survival gear may be similar, it’s inevitable that the items you need in an emergency in the middle of a city will be different to those you need in the wild. 

It’s important that the exterior of an urban bug out bag blends into a city situation so it may look different compared to a regular bug out bag. It may be slightly more compact and lightweight and in toned down colors such as black or gray. 

Special Urban Considerations To Note

Shelter Considerations

Whereas in the wild you’ll need to be aware of different types of survival shelters that you can make and how to use the natural resources around you, it’s likely to be very different in an urban setting. 

Depending on the type of emergency situation you are in with your urban bug out bag you may find that the most important items are simply a sleeping bag or mat. You are likely to be able to find shelter (in the form of a roof over your head) much more easily in an urban setting. 

Try to find somewhere that is well lit (if there’s power) and that is safe and dry. You may want to go in a disused building although you need to be sure that it is structurally safe and that the roof and floors are stable. 

Shelters such as bus stations, under a bridge or gazebos in parks or community areas could also be good places to sleep or protect yourself from wind and rain.

Organizing the contents of your urban bug out bag 

It’s really important that you have easy access to the contents of your urban bug out bag – but you want to ensure that others don’t. 

Security will be much more of a consideration with an urban bug out bag than with a standard bug out bag so make sure you take precautions such as using a small exterior padlock or having secret compartments. Try to avoid having anything hanging on the outside of your bug out bag as this could easily be taken by someone in a city. 

The contents of your urban bug out bag should be securely stored but well organized. You should always make sure that the items you’ll need most frequently, or most urgently, are easiest to access or even have their own compartment.

Try using a modular pack system to help you get organized with your urban bug out bag. You can do this using the following process:

  • Gather all the items you want to store in your urban bug out bag
  • Try to group the items into categories such as ‘food supplies and snacks’, or ‘medical supplies’
  • Package the items from the same categories together in Zip Loc bags so that they are separated from other categories. The clear bags will enable you to quickly visually identify the contents. 
  • Lay out the separated bags and work out which ones you’ll need most urgently and most frequently. Start to pack your urban bag out bag with these at the top or in places within the bag that are most accessible. 

Ziploc 347 Variety Total Bags

Keep Your Stuff Organized

An urban bug out is designed to provide you with the supplies you’ll need for the first 72 hours after a disaster or emergency situation. During this time, you may pack and unpack it multiple times so it’s essential that you keep your things organized. 

Don’t be tempted to just shove items back in. Always replace items from their original location so that you know where to find them. If you do have to pack your bag quickly, try and reorganize it when you get a chance. 

Items to include in your urban bug out bag

Bag. Your urban bug out bag should be a sturdy, well designed backpack that isn’t too obvious or distinguishable. You may want to blend into the background.

REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack

Hydration Bladder 2L Leakproof Water Reservoir

P&G Purifier of Water Portable Water Purifier Packets


Jack Link’s Beef Jerky Variety Pack

Mask. A respirator could be a good investment as the air in an urban setting can quickly become polluted and potentially harmful for your lungs. At the very least you should have a pack of good quality dust masks to protect yourself from particles in the air. 

KN95 Face Mask 

3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6300

First Aid. As with any emergency bag, your urban bug out bag should contain a well stocked First Aid Kit. Go with the best quality version you can afford.

Surviveware Survival First Aid Kit for Outdoor Preparedness 

Pepper Spray. Your safety may be threatened by other people. If there has been an urban disaster on a mass scale, be prepared for the fact that people may be scared and panicked. This could lead to violent behavior. Ensure that you’re always well protected with pepper spray to deter others. Only use this in extreme circumstances of self defense.

SABRE Pepper Spray Keychain

Tactical Knife. You may want to consider a tactical knife for cutting materials or opening containers. Folding options are good for storage as they are most compact. You should always make sure you clean your knife well to keep it in good condition, and exercise extreme caution when using it.

Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S 7.1in S.S. Folding Knife 

Flashlight. There may be power outages in an urban setting following a disaster so having a good flashlight is essential. Another good option is a Flashlight Head Lamp as this allows you to have light whilst keeping your hands free. Always remember to turn it off when not in use to preserve battery and stay unnoticed.

Lylting Flashlight High Lumens

Vastfire Rechargeable Headlamp 2000000

Sleeping Bag. Survival sleeping gear is really useful in an urban setting where you may find shelter but still struggle to keep warm and get rest. A sleeping bag that condenses into a small, compact bag is ideal in these situations.  You may also want to think about packing emergency blankets or using a thermal bivvy sack as a blanket.

Delmera Emergency Sleeping Bag

DIBBATU Emergency Survival Sleeping Bag

Walkie Talkie. Technology may be much more accessible in an urban disaster setting than in the wild. It’s definitely worth packing your cell phone and an emergency walkie talkie if you have one. You may struggle to charge your electronic devices if there are extensive power outages so taking your own battery pack can be really helpful.

Midland 50 Channel Waterproof GMRS Two-Way Radio

2-Pack 10000mAh Dual USB Portable Charger


Putting together an urban bug out bag is cheap and quick yet it could save your life. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that urban settings require less resources or tools and get prepared today. 

An urban bug out bag has the potential to keep you safe in challenging situations in dangerous city areas. We’ve done extensive research to provide you with this guide to everything you’ll need for your urban bug out bag to be ready to go when you need it. 

Making sure your urban bug out bag is fully stocked with everything you need will give you the ultimate peace of mind as and when you have to use it.

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