Items Under $20 That Are Essential For Bugging Out and Survival

You need to be prepared if you want to survive during an emergency. However, you don’t have to spend a ton of supplies for bugging out or simply making your life easier in case there’s an emergency.

To get a cost-effective bug out bag or kit together, we first need to know about the essentials. From there, we can pick and choose according to our budget and needs. If we live in a hot and humid climate, for example, we might not have to invest much in warm clothing for our survival preparation.

In order to help you out in this aspect, here are some survival and bug out items that can help you get through the tough times. You won’t have to break the bank to collect them all either, as they cost less than $20 for now:

Where to Buy
CATNON Permanent Match, Flint Fire Starter, Set of 3 Fire Starter Permanent Match, Waterproof Emergency Survival Camping Keychain Lighter for Outdoor(No Oil)
uniqwardrobe Survival Magnesium Flint Stone Fire Starter Lighter Kit
Survival Camping Hiking Emergency Fire Starter Flint Match Lighter KeyChain
Tea Tree Essential Oil for Face Hair Nail Acne Lice,100% Natural Premium Melaleuca Therapeutic Grade - Great with Soap and Shampoo, Face and Body Wash
Difeel Mega Care Tea Tree Oil, 2.5 Ounce
Grabber Mega Warmers, 12+ Hours Maximum Heat- 1 Count
Hothands 2 Handwarmer
Durable Pocket Size Pistol Cleaning Kit Hand Gun Rod Brush Professional Tools Ameesi
Hatori Super Small Mini LED Flashlight Battery-Powered Handheld Pen Light Tactical Pocket Torch with High Lumens for Camping, Outdoor, Emergency, Everyday Flashlights, 3.55 Inch
Dorcy 35-Lumen Weather Resistant Glow-In-The-Dark LED Flashlight with Lanyard and Aluminum Construction, Assorted Colors (41-4254)


1. Fire Starters

Fire starters are a must-have in any survival kit. You’d need a fire to stay warm, to ward off any dangerous wildlife, or perhaps for signaling purposes. In any case, a fire starter can help you start those flames even when it’s damp and cold outside. Plus, it’ll save you from having to master the caveman art of starting a fire with sticks or stones.

There are many ways to create an effective fire starter, but my favorite is stuffing dryer lint inside some wax paper. Twist the ends of the wax paper and voila, you have a light-weight, easy to pack fire starter. Of course, there are several commercial fire starters available on the market right now. You can make your life much easier with one of these. Here are some of the best inexpensive options:

Waterproof Fire Starter

This is a fire starter that requires no match stick so it is safer and more convenient to use. You just have to slide up the fire starter and then you’ll have a reliable fire that is much needed when you are camping outdoor.

The CATNON Fire Starter Kit is waterproof, weatherproof, lightweight, and sparks even when cold or wet. With these on hand, you wouldn’t need to carry a lighter, matchboxes, or matchsticks. The fire starter can hang easily on your key ring or the outside of your backpack.

Survival Magnesium Flint Stone Fire Starter

This fire starter produces a high-heat spark easily which you can use to ignite paper, dry grass, or bark. It is lightweight and safe to use anytime, anywhere, and in any condition including moist weather. It is also very durable; in fact, you can use it more than a thousand times.

What’s even better is that this fire starter doubles as a signaling tool. You can use the spark to signal for help or to ward off any predators. According to reviews, this tool might work even better than some more expensive options. However, this doesn’t mean that we should rely on this alone to start our fires. It’s probably best to keep it as a backup in case of emergencies.

Survival Fire Starter Keychain

This is a mini fire starter that is waterproof, lightweight, and easy to carry. In fact, you can also use it as a keychain. It comes in different colors as well such as blue, red, yellow, and black. It can also be a great gift for outdoor enthusiasts.

The material here is stainless steel, though there are a few ABS plastic parts. If you do decide to go with this option, keep in mind that you’d have to add kerosene yourself first to make it work.


 2. Tea Tree Oil

This might sound like a surprising addition to the list, but it’s actually a must-have for your bug out bag. In a normal lifestyle, one could use tea tree oil as a basic in their skincare routine or for hair treatments. It’s also used in aromatherapy and massages. Still, this potent oil has a lot to offer in the survival genre as well.

Essential tea tree oil can soothe sore muscles, clean wounds and even effectively repel insects. You can easily find a bottle of tea tree oil for under $5 at most department stores, though the premium grade ones might cost a bit more. It’s still a worthy investment, as you may use just a little to achieve your purpose. This way, bugs won’t be much of a problem when you’re battling the outdoors. Check out some of the best options below:

Lagunamoon Tea Tree Essential Oil

This tea tree essential oil can help in giving you healthy digestion and it can also support muscles and joints. Most importantly, it can repel insects as well, so you don’t have to worry much about getting harmful bites.

Difeel Mega Tea Tree Oil

This tea tree oil can be used on different skin types and can effectively repel insects as well. Aside from that, it can also be used on hair to eliminate itching and dandruff and to prevent hair loss. While we might not always be able to look out best when in survival mode, we can take steps to prevent lice and other nasty conditions.

3. Hand Warmer Packets

If it’s freezing cold outside, you probably won’t be able to use your hands too easily. Even gloves might not help much, especially if you need to handle and operate certain items. Fortunately, there are these light, portable hand warmer packets that can help out your stiff digits.

These little gems can be purchased at the dollar store or on Amazon for a very low price. They will not only keep your hands and feet warm but can double as a heating pad to soothe those aching muscles.

Grabber Hand Warmers

These are non-toxic, odorless heat sources that use all-natural ingredients. They are air-activated for an instant heat source. They are also very easy to use. You just have to simply open the outer package and expose it to the air. It is also pre-mixed, so there’s no need to shake it. To get the most out of this warmer, use it within an ensiled space such as your pocket or a glove.

Hot Hands Hand Warmer

This hand warmer can provide up to 18 hours of warmth. It is air-activated and environmentally safe. It’s also a must-have for any outdoor trip. This item provides two portable heat sacks, which are compact and easy to use as well. Overall, you can get about 18 hours of warm 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit with this option.

4. Portable Gun Cleaning Kit

You need a gun when you’re in survival mode, at least according to several experts. A gun will cost a fair bit of money, but you can invest in a cost-effective cleaning kit to make sure it lasts a long time. This way, you’d be sure that your gun is working in case you need it for protection.

You can easily purchase the cleaning solvent and some cotton packs for a reasonable price. Even though many kits can run up a high cost, we found several sales online with the basics for gun cleaning that should be within your budget:

Ameesi Pocket Size Pistol Cleaning Kit

This gun cleaning kit includes a plastic tube, a rotating rod, a rolled cloth, a wool brush, a bristle brush, and a brass brush. It will help you remove rush and clean corroded surfaces. It is also great for cleaning smaller surfaces without messy abrasive blasting.

5. Flashlights

Flashlights are also a must-have for any bug out bag. You can’t have a fire all the time, so flashlights will come in handy for signaling and finding your way in the dark. Every member of the family should have their own flashlight, as you never know when you might get separated. You may also want to check out the best batteries to stockpile for prepping:

It is always smart to bring more than one flashlight, as they are easy to lose or break. You won’t get the highest quality flashlight for under $20, but it’ll probably be close enough. There are also mini LED flashlights that can slip easily into any bag or hang on the outside. Check out these options that are available now:

Mini LED Flashlight

This is a super-small flashlight that still gives off a very powerful beam. It’s perfect for camping outdoors as well as slipping into your survival kit for emergencies. Even if you get four pieces of this 13.3-inch torch, the cost would still be less than $20 for now.

There are several convenient features on this torch. These include a clip, which you can use for your cap. This way, your hands are free while your path is still lighted up. The flashlight is also under a satisfaction guarantee, so test it out a few times and ask for a refund if it doesn’t work properly.

Dorcy LED Glow Flashlight

This flashlight contains super bright 5-millimeter LED bulbs that can give out an intense beam of light. It also glows in the dark for added visibility and comes with a nylon wrist lanyard for easy transporting.

Dorcy is a well-known name when it comes to survival flashlights, and this offering serves to prove the brand’s worth. You can choose your favorite shade from assorted colors and be assured of at least 8 hours of light. The handle glows in the dark, so you don’t have to hunt around for it when on the go.

Magic Tactical LED Flashlight

This is an ultra-bright and waterproof flashlight that is compact but durable. In fact, it is small enough to fit in your pocket. It also has a comfortable hand rope so you can easily carry it anywhere. It is great for outdoor activities and emergencies as well.

Where to Buy
MAYGIC 1-Pack Tactical Flashlight Tac Light Torch Flashlight - Emergency Camping Hiking - Brightest LED Flashlight with 5 Modes - Adjustable Waterproof Outdoor Flashlight by MAYGIC
Oodles Monster 55 Inch x 3.5 Inch Jumbo Pool Noodle Foam Multi-Purpose
General Medi Emergency Blanket (12-Pack),Emergency Foil Blanket– Perfect for Outdoors, Hiking, Survival, Marathons or First Aid
SINGER Small Travel Sewing Kit
Portable Household Sewing Box,Sewing kit Sewing,eedle and Thread to sew Stitches Hand,Tool Kit (Blue)
Mini First Aid Kit,92 Pieces Small First Aid Kit - Includes Emergency Foil Blanket,CPR Face Mask,Scissors for Travel, Home, Office, Vehicle,Camping, Workplace & Outdoor (Red)
First Aid Kit - 200 Piece - for Car, Home, Outdoors, Sports, Camping, Hiking or Office | Red case Fully Packed with Emergency Supplies


6. Pool Floats

This is another surprising entry, but pool float or pool noodles might be just what you need to get across a water obstacle. You may not always find a branch or trunk strong enough for that purpose, and you might not have time to waste on the search either. Fortunately, both pool noodles and floats are lightweight and easily portable.

Again, the Dollar Store or similar place can sell these from $1 to $5 for the basic round donut floats. This is all you need to get across most small rivers or large creeks. You might also consider this option:

Extra Long Deluxe Pool Noodle Floats

These pool noodle floats are great for both children and adults and they will surely keep you safe in the pool while having fun. They are also great for emergencies if ever you will need to cross a body of water. All of these noodle floats are non-toxic, lightweight, and portable. You can get them in a variety of colors.

7. Thermal Blankets

Thermal blankets are light and easy to carry, so make sure you have some in your kit. These might also be forgotten very easily, so make sure you make a list of bug out bag items that are often overlooked. Check out this cost-effective deal below:

General Medi Emergency Blanket 

This thermal Mylar blanket is perfect for any emergency when you’re in the outdoors or caught without power. It can help you in several survival situations, especially if you’re in freezing weather. For under $20, you can get a whopping 12 emergency blankets in premium quality. They’re packaged small, so you should be able to carry them easily.

Having such a blanket on hand could help you stave off frostbite, hypothermia, and shock. It can effectively reflect or retain around 90% of a human’s body heat. They’re also moisture-proof and windproof, so you can even use them for sleeping on the ground.

8. Small Sewing Kit

A sewing kit will help you in making the most f your clothes. Even a tiny rip can extend into a gaping hole if it’s not handled properly. You’ll need all your clothes in decent shape when you’re in survival mode, as they might have to last you a long time.

These kits can also be purchased at a Dollar Store and will come in handy for repairing holes in socks, hats, shirts, etc. They can also be used to stitch wounds if there was an accident requiring stitches:

Singer Small Travel Sewing Kit

This is a small and portable sewing kit that is perfect to bring when you travel or even to use at home for quick and simple repairs. It includes 26 different colored threads, a thimble, 3 hand needles, and a foam pin cushion. It is a compact and lightweight sewing kit that is very easy to store.

Portable Household Sewing Kit

This portable sewing kit will definitely help you for those quick on the go repairs such as missing buttons, ripped seams, or for a quick hem. It is the perfect sewing kit for beginners and as well as for those who love to travel.

9. First Aid Kits

It’s inevitable to get small injuries and wounds when on the go, especially when you have kids along. Those bruises, cuts, and scrapes could get dangerously infected if you don’t treat them the right way. Since a doctor will probably not be available in such situations, prepare a first-aid kit beforehand to avoid feeling helpless.

You can get a first aid kit online quite easily. Check out these options from Amazon and add a few of your own medicines to customize them for your family’s use:

General Medi Mini First Aid Kit

This first-aid kit has an emergency foil blanket, scissors, and even a CPR face mask along with several other essential items. You can keep it in your survival kit at home, work, or in the car. While it may be small, this compact choice can make all the difference when someone’s hurt or ill.

200-piece First Aid Kit

This handy kit is perfect for all sorts of emergencies as well as recreational needs like camping and hiking. You can also simply have it in the home as a go-to option in any emergency.

The pieces here are customized for dealing with several kinds of injuries. The case is a high-quality, portable option that you can easily store away in a car or a backpack.


These are some of the essential items for bugging out and survival which you can get for less than five dollars. We hope the products we shared will help you in effectively for emergencies and disasters.