Preparing Bug Out Bags for Teens

Preparing bug out bags should be a must for any family who’s serious about developing survival skills. There’s a lot more awareness these days about the need for such skills and the correct forms of preparedness. We’ve seen how people of all ages are left stranded and unable to survive properly as a result of natural disasters, civil unrest, and other unexpected events. Whether you’re an adult or a teen, it’s time to get serious and have at least a bug out bag for your survival needs.


What is a Bug Out Bag?

Some might think of a bug out bag as simply being a survival kit, but it’s actually a bit more specific than that. These bags are specifically packed and prepared with a view to surviving for just a few days until you get to a safe place.

The usual items in a bug out bag are packed with the intent of surviving for about 3 to 7 days. The contents are also intended for someone on the go, so there’s no room for larger items like stoves or lots of food supplies. On the other hand, you would need some specific items that will help you stay warm and sheltered no matter where you are. These might include a thermal blanket, calorie-packed rations, and perhaps a tent.

Customizing Bug Out Bags for Teens

When you’re preparing a bug out bag for a teen, you need to consider several factors. Every person is different, so you need to account for their needs and abilities. Whether you’re packing for yourself or your offspring, it’s best to make a list of the essentials according to the individual.

Tweens and teens should be strong enough to carry most of their personal gear. This includes sleeping bags, a change of clothes, rain gear, and even a few tools. This age group is able to handle sharp items and fuel sources as well, but make sure they put in the practice beforehand.

Of course, you also have to make sure that the bag itself is of good quality. It should be sturdy enough to carry all these items and ideally have loops for hanging accessories as well. This way, the wearer can have easy access to items like flashlights, a water bottle, or a hand sanitizer bottle. Below, we’ll discuss the kinds of items that are good for a teen’s bug out bag.

Tools or Weapons

Young kids and preteens shouldn’t be trusted with a knife, but a teen can usually be trained to handle such a tool properly. A knife of some sort will be good for several tasks, such as cutting firewood or marking signals on the way. It will also come in handy if the teen needs to defend themselves or someone else. If need be, a knife will also be of use in killing game and preparing meat or fish for the next meal.

Other sorts of weapons include a bow and arrow, a firearm, or a slingshot. The latter is probably the best choice for a bug out bag, as it doesn’t present much danger to the carrier and is also compact.

First Aid Kit

Teenagers are also capable of administering first aid to themselves or others if the need arises. This is why their bug out bags should have at least a basic first aid kit. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but it’s best if the teen has some training in this area before.

Some bandages, ointments, disinfectant, and other essentials should be enough for a teen’s bug out bag. If they require any medication themselves, such as an inhaler or EpiPen, it’s best if the person carries it themselves.

Shelter Building

Kids in their teens should also be able to perform some simple tasks on their own, such as pitching a tent or building a shelter in some other way. This is why it’s best if they have the equipment for such tasks in their bug out bag.

Some ideas for such equipment might include a tent or tarp, a ground tarp or waterproof sheet, and a type of sleeping bag. In case you have to keep going while it’s raining, teens should also have a waterproof poncho, raincoat, and/or umbrella in their bags.

Food and Water

Younger children might prefer comfort items for their food rations, but teens generally need more solid options and more calories to ensure that they’re at the top of their game. They can also carry most of the food and water needed for the next few days, but they have to make sure that the right choices are in their bug out bags.

When you’re in a survival or disaster situation, water is a very precious commodity. A big out bag for teens should hence have at least a water bottle and a few packets of water. In case you find a water source on the way, you might also consider having a collapsible water bottle or canteen, along with some water purification tablets.

At the very least, everyone needs about a liter of water each day. For a basic bug out bag, the teenager should have 3 liters of water to start out with. They might also take along a small fuel source, some matches, and a pot for boiling water.

As for food, there are some calorie-rich energy bars and backpack meals available that a teen can easily carry around in their bug out bag. Freeze-dried options are a good deal, as you simply have to add boiling water when you want to eat them. Their powdered form is fairly lightweight and will last for quite some time.

Other Factors

Once you’ve covered the basics, you should think about what a teen would specifically need in a bug out bag. Some examples of these could include:

  • Sanitary Items: Some teens absolutely need a stick of deodorant or something similar to stave off the body odor. If they’re going to be sleeping in a tent with other people, this is an essential that should go in their bag.
  • Period Preparation: For female teens, the preparations should include any possibility. Even if it’s not that time of the month just yet, stress levels in disaster situations could play havoc with our hormone levels. This is why they should pack up their preferred items-pads, tampons, or menstrual cups.
  • Chargers and Devices: Teens usually have their own smartphones now, so be sure to make room for them in a bug out bag. Solar power chargers are also a good idea, but one should make sure that both device and charger are places in a waterproof bag or covering.

We should now discuss some of the actual items that will come in handy for a teen’s bug out bag. You might want to customize according to the person, but following are some good examples of some basics:

Where to Buy
D-STIL Lite(tm) Do It Yourself Emergency Survival Water Distiller
KIND Protein Bars, Crunchy Peanut Butter, Gluten Free, 12g Protein, 4 Count, Pack of 6
PALEO Friendly - PRIMAL Protein Bars by MariGold Bars (6 Coconut Rage, 6 Macarooned)
K-Cliffs Basic Emergency Survival Backpack Classic Simple School Book Bag Student Daily Daypack 
Peak Refuel | Freeze Dried Backpacking and Camping Food | Amazing Taste | High Protein | Quick Prep | Lightweight


1. D-STIL Lite Do It Yourself Emergency Survival Water Distiller by SHTFandGO

Water is one of the most important factors to consider when you’re preparing for survival situations. With this light water distiller, you can purify about 8 to 10 cups of water in about an hour. The whole system is quite compact, so you can stow it in a bug out bag if there’s a chance of a water crisis.

According to the reviews for this distiller, it has a simple design and can easily set your mind at rest about getting pure water for survival. It’s well worth the investment, so you might want to consider at least one for your family’s survival preps. However, make sure your teen knows how to operate this equipment before it’s needed.

2. KIND Protein Bars

These protein bars contain about 12 grams of protein and come in several flavor options. They’re also gluten-free, so teens don’t have to compromise on their diets when they’re on the go. The ingredients inside are whole and of premium quality, while the crunchy and creamy textures will offer a lot of satisfaction.

This option is also kosher and has a low glycemic index. The calories count is quite high, and they’ll keep you full for a long time due to the larger sizes.

3. PALEO Friendly – PRIMAL Protein Bars by MariGold Bars

These paleo-friendly bars give a teenager the option to refuel when they’re out in the wild and fighting for survival. There aren’t any chemical sweeteners here, or even sugar alcohols which may cause health problems in the long run. The ethically sourced ingredients and local production also make this a responsible choice.

Each bar is individually wrapped, with personal notes from the provider and a very high quality. They also have options that don’t contain nuts, so these will be sure to fulfill most dietary restrictions. 

4. K-Cliffs Basic Emergency Survival Backpack Classic Simple School Book Bag Student Daily Daypack 

This is a classic backpack of a discreet design, which is what you usually want in emergency situations. Your teen can easily pack this up and be ready to go at a moment’s notice, with no worries about the fabric splitting or a lack of room.

The bag itself is lightweight and could be suitable for both males and females. The shoulder straps are adjustable and padded for the most comfortable position. Its main compartments are designed with a double zipper for utmost protection. The dust-resistant factor is another attractive feature, while the construction is overall durable enough for most activities.

5. Peak Refuel | Freeze Dried Backpacking and Camping Food

This freeze-dried food is perfect for storing in a bug out bag for the long term, as long as you’re careful about using it before the expiration date. With all the moisture removed, this powdered meal is light to carry around but very fulfilling when you need it.

There are several meal options inside these packets, including ‘Breakfast Skillet’, ‘Chicken Teriyaki With Rice’ and ‘Strawberry Granola Breakfast”. Once you add water, the taste is reportedly very authentic. Plus, users appreciate the fact that you have to add less water in these packets than you need for competing brands. When you’re in survival mode, every drop of water is precious.


The case of a bug out bag for teens is quite different from preparing one for kids. Teens are able to take on more responsibility and can safely handle several items that kids cannot. Some teens might also prefer to pack their own bug out bag according to their preferences.

It might seem like a bug out bag for teens requires a lot of monetary investment. This might not be true, especially if you’ve done the research beforehand. There are even several bug out bag items under $5, which you’ll easily be able to find online. Start searching today, and you can have a fully prepared bag in a short period of time.