Putting together an INCH bag is something all serious preppers and survivalists need to do. If things REALLY go downhill, this is the bag that’s going to save you.

But for some reason, it doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

We’re assuming this is because the notion behind them is a lot more extreme. When you put together something like a bug out bag you’re including a lot less gear, and the expectation is that you’ll have a place to return to.

It’s a lot more approachable.

But an INCH bag stands for I’m Never Coming Home. Even among the most pessimistic of survivalists and preppers, that can be an uncomfortable thought to deal with.

Just think about it:

A truly awful SHTF scenario happens, and you need to head out and take your life into your hands (and the lives of your family) for an indefinite amount of time in the wilderness. Doesn’t sound like much of a party huh?

But that’s why you need one.

This post will cover all the essential contents you need to include in your INCH bag. With this checklist as your guide, you’ll be ready if things go south.

Osprey Aether Plus 70L Men's Backpacking Backpack, Axo Green, S/M
Sawyer Products SP126 MINI Water Filtration System, 2-Pack, Blue
Emmrod Brand PackRod Spin 6 Coil Fishing Rod
16,500 Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Survival Garden 40 Variety Pack
Osprey Aether Plus 70L Men's Backpacking Backpack, Axo Green, S/M
Sawyer Products SP126 MINI Water Filtration System, 2-Pack, Blue
Emmrod Brand PackRod Spin 6 Coil Fishing Rod
16,500 Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Survival Garden 40 Variety Pack
Price not available
Price not available
Osprey Aether Plus 70L Men's Backpacking Backpack, Axo Green, S/M
Osprey Aether Plus 70L Men's Backpacking Backpack, Axo Green, S/M
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Sawyer Products SP126 MINI Water Filtration System, 2-Pack, Blue
Sawyer Products SP126 MINI Water Filtration System, 2-Pack, Blue
Price not available
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Emmrod Brand PackRod Spin 6 Coil Fishing Rod
Emmrod Brand PackRod Spin 6 Coil Fishing Rod
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16,500 Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Survival Garden 40 Variety Pack
16,500 Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Survival Garden 40 Variety Pack
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Also Read: The Top 5 Prepper Conventions & Survival Expos

Our INCH Bag Essentials Checklist

Putting together the perfect INCH bag list is all about understanding priorities. While it’s definitely going to be a bit hefty, you’re still trying to find the balance between practicality and weight.

Because you’re not coming home and need the contents of the bag to survive for an indefinite amount of time, you should view your INCH bag as a “home in a pack” (for the essentials at least).

We’ve broken down this checklist into convenient sections you can reference when putting your bag together. All of the gear on the list serves a purpose, and you should include everything if possible.


Having a strong, lightweight, and reliable backpack is square one for putting your INCH bag together. You could have the best gear in the world, but if your bag falls apart on you after a few weeks then you’re in trouble.

It’s also important to have a backpack that can fit everything you need. This is an area where a lot of people misjudge how much space is required.

A common mistake is they get a backpack that’s too small because they don’t realize just how much stuff they’re going to be bringing along, and end up having to return it for a larger bag. Unless you’re a total oddball who loves the process of returning products, it’s probably better to just get it right the first time.

The recommended size of your INCH bag should be somewhere in the 80L range (there’s some flexibility here obviously). It’s going to be quite hard to bring everything you need in a bag that’s much smaller, and potentially difficult to carry a bag that’s significantly larger.

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that whatever bag you get is comfortable. This get’s overlooked quite often, but it shouldn’t be.

Think about it:

Your bag is going to be packed full of quite a lot of gear. Not only that, but you’ll likely be covering some decent ground (especially in the early days after SHTF) in order to stay safe.

Do you really want a bag that’s digging into your collarbones while all this is going on?

Discomfort leads to low morale, and low morale leads to bad decisions. Being in pain will also cause you to take more breaks, which means less distance between you and danger.

There are a lot of great backpacks out there, but this one is our favorite. It’s tough as nails, lightweight, and extremely comfortable.

Osprey Aether Plus 70 Men's Backpacking Backpack

  • Custom Fit-on-the-Fly hip belt and custom Fit-on-the-Fly shoulder strap
  • Removable top lid converts into a daypack
  • Dual zippered hip belt pockets and stretch mesh side water bottle pockets
  • Waterproof rain cover

Author Note: Some people have been recommending duffel bags which we think is a bad idea. While they check the boxes in terms of durability and size, they’re much more cumbersome to carry around. This makes things seem twice as heavy.

Equipment For Water

Water is priority number one when it comes to survival. You can manage without a lot of things, but your journey is going to be a short one if you don’t have drinkable water.

This means you need to make room in your INCH bag for tools to help you and your family stay hydrated.

Because there are a number of options, it’s important to pack efficiently and only bring the most essential gear. A lot of newer preppers go overboard and stuff their bag with dozens of water-related options (which is a mistake).

You can get a lot of mileage out of very few pieces of equipment, leaving room for other important items. Here’s what we recommend including:

Also Read: The Ultimate Prepper First Aid Kit

Filtration Gear

Having good water filtration tools on hand is incredibly important. The best filters will last quite a while and provide you with an immense amount of drinkable water before they need to be swapped out.

They’re also fairly compact these days too. Below is our favorite water filtration product on the market. It’s small, lasts a while, and can take a beating.

Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System

  • 100,000 gallon filter lifespan
  • Filters down to 0.1 microns
  • Removes 99.9999% of bacteria and protozoa
  • Lightweight and portable

Make sure to bring some backup filters as well. These don’t take up a lot of space, so don’t feel bad about throwing a few in your INCH bag.

We know some people that like to bring a few water purification tablets in their bag (they don’t take up much space) but we don’t view it as essential. Between filtration and boiling, you should be able to get drinkable water for yourself. 

Author Note: It’s worth noting that the best long-term option is to rely on boiling your water. As long as you have a fire going and can spare a few minutes (which you should if you took the time to make a fire), boiling your water is the way to go.

It’s just as effective as using your filters and will help make your filtration options last as long as possible.

Stainless Steel Water Bottle

We highly recommend including a high-quality stainless steel water bottle in your bag too. It’s common for people to just throw any old bottle in their bag and think they’re ready, but they’re missing out.

A stainless steel water bottle is more versatile and durable than bottles made from other materials. Not only can it take a beating without falling apart, but you can also boil water directly inside it.

Stainless steel will hold up under a variety of different temperatures and weather conditions as well. Just get one.

Tools To Feed Yourself

Your ability to find food is obviously going to be quite important if you plan on surviving for an extended period of time. This is also an area where tools are quite handy.

The goal is to be as efficient as possible when it comes to feeding yourself. The following items will help you do that.

Bow & Arrow

Someone who’s comfortable with their bow can last in the elements for quite a while. A small survival bow won’t take up a lot of space in your INCH bag but can still pack a punch.

You have some choices when it comes to the kind of survival bow you carry, but our favorite is a takedown bow. It has more than enough power to kill the animals you’ll be hunting and can be broken down to fit nicely in your bag.

If you’re someone who has experience with a compound bow then that’s an option as well. From a hunting perspective, a compound bow is definitely superior. The main disadvantage is that you won’t be able to include it inside your INCH bag, meaning you’ll need to carry it another way.

Don’t forget to bring some spare string, arrows, and arrow points too. You want to get as much use out of your bow as possible, and all of these items don’t take up much space.

Fishing Gear

Fishing is another fantastic way to fuel yourself when you’re trying to survive. Assuming you’re planning your movements and locations around water sources, there should be an opportunity to catch some fish.

The obvious place to start here is with a reliable yet small survival fishing rod. There are plenty of tiny and collapsible options out there that will do the trick and fit in your INCH bag without a problem.

Lightweight Survival Fishing Rod By Emmrod

  • Can be broken down to just 13 inches
  • Utilizes patented locking system
  • Handle is made from anti-slip materials
  • USA assembled

Remember, you don’t need the fanciest rod of all time to get the job done. A well-rounded, small, trustworthy rod is perfect.

Do some planning beforehand and make sure you have the necessary tackle to get the job done. Some all-purpose options are good, but if you know the area then you can specialize a bit based on the fish in the area.

Extra tackle and fishing line are important too. These will keep you in the game longer and don’t take up much space.

But there’s more:

A lot of the INCH bag checklists we’ve seen don’t mention nets. We recommend a cast net for most preppers, but if you’re in a different area where a gill net makes more sense then go with that.

Nets can also be rigged in some creative ways to snag fish passively while you’re collecting water or working on your shelter. They barely take up any room when you know how to pack them properly, and are yet another valuable tool to help you stay fed in the wilderness.

Traps And Snares

Having some traps and snares on hand is never a bad thing. They don’t take up a lot of space and are a low-calorie way to get something to eat. Conserving energy is key.

You’ll be far more effective with them if you spend some time learning how to trap, and know the kind of animals that live in your area. Research ahead of time will make every piece of equipment in your INCH bag more effective.


Knowing how to use a survival slingshot is something that we can’t recommend enough. While we won’t rave about the benefits here (we’ll save that for another post), let’s just say you should definitely find room in your bag for one.

They’re light, intuitive, and can still be used after you run out of standard ammo. Buy one, learn how to use it, and have it handy in your INCH bag when SHTF.


Seeds are another easy thing to include in your pack that can turn into a massive amount of food if you know what you’re doing.

This is obviously something you’ll think more about once you’ve found a location where you’re comfortable settling down in for a while, but it’s not a big deal to carry some seeds around until then.

Here’s a pack we recommend:

16,500 Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Survival Garden 40 Variety Pack

  • 40 Strains with Guaranteed High Germination Rate
  • 100% Heirloom, Natural & Non-GMO Strains
  • Comes with 64 page instruction booklet to ensure successful growth
  • Great for long term storage due to high-quality seal

Tools To Prepare Food

Now that you have the necessary gear to acquire food, you’ll need to be able to prepare it. The items in this section shouldn’t take up too much space in your INCH bag, but they are necessary.


You don’t want to fill up your bag with too many of these, so one all-purpose pot to cook in should be enough. If you’re planning on leaving with others you can coordinate for them to bring a different type if you wish.

Bring something not too deep (for the sake of space) but large enough that you can cook a reasonable amount of food. Remember, an INCH bag is a hybrid pack that is supposed to be mobile but facilitates long-term living.

That means a good cooking pot is necessary. Titanium or stainless steel pots are both great choices.


This is an obvious one that a lot of people tend to forget. Some simple, light, and easy to clean utensils (you only need one of each) are necessary to handle some of that hot food that you’ll be preparing.


It’s absolutely essential that you’re able to consistently and reliably make a fire if you’re going to your INCH bag. Fire will keep you toasty, allow you to boil water, cook food, and generally keep up morale.

This means you need to be sectioning off some space in your pack for tools that will help you. While it’s important to be able to make a fire without any gadgets, having some equipment will make your life a whole lot easier.

Here are some essentials to include:

Also Read: The Best Prepper Water Filtration Tools For Survival


A trusty windproof lighter is a piece of gear that will come in very handy when you’re in a survival situation. While we’re including it in the fire-making section, there are a number of other uses these tools can bring (like with first-aid).

A lot of preppers run out and pick up a bunch of BIC lighters and call it a day. While we definitely aren’t knocking these lighters, you need to be aware of the downsides. They have limited use and can be easily broken.

If you can afford it, a high-quality electric lighter is a great option. They’re reliable and can be recharged if you have the proper tools (more on that later). We recommend a tesla coil product since they’re not too expensive and are built to last.

Outdoor Waterproof Tesla Lighter 2.0

  • Touch the top-facing dual arcs to anything flammable for instant fire
  • Works effortlessly in rainy or windy conditions.
  • Up to 300 uses per charge
  • Comes with 6 Month “any reason” refund guarantee and a 3 year product warranty.

Ferro Rod

No INCH bag is complete without a ferro rod. These simply sticks are about as durable and reliable as it gets when it comes to fire-starting.

A good one will get you thousands of fires once you know how to use it properly. Having two of these in your pack will bring you peace of mind when it comes to your ability to stay warm and prepare food for yourself.

Don’t fall for the low-quality ones that fall apart on you. These are cheap enough that it’s smart to get the best one possible.

Tinder Grate

We really like tinder grates because they take up hardly any size and will make the process of starting a fire significantly easier. The ability to quickly and reliably get fine tinder for starting your fire can be a lifesaver when you’re pressed for time.

We’re not too picky about what to look for here. This isn’t a piece of gear that you should overthink. Get something small that works and move on.

Equipment For Shelter

Shelter is obviously something you’ll need to think about in a SHTF scenario where you’re relying on your INCH bag. Depending on the situation, you’ll likely need to spend a few nights on the move before you can set up a long-term survival shelter for yourself.

This means you need to have equipment on your list that is versatile and reliable. You won’t last long if you can’t stay out of the elements.

Sleeping Bag

A well-made sleeping bag can’t be undervalued. We view this as one of the most important pieces of equipment on this checklist and something you should put a decent amount of thought into.

Depending on your area, you might not need to rely on an ultra-warm sleeping bag for most of the year. But you should still take this seriously. It only takes one bad night to get into trouble.

The trick when it comes to finding the right sleeping bag for your INCH pack is figuring out the balance of weight and warmth. There are plenty of sleeping bags that can roll up into the size of your fist, but they’re not as warm as other options.

Do some research into the possible areas you’ll be heading and plan accordingly. We recommend being a little bit conservative and going for warmth over weight if you’re unsure.

Here’s a bag we highly recommend:

Marmot Trestles 30 Mummy Sleeping Bag

  • Mummy style 30 degree sleeping bag for backpacking, camping, and survival
  • Locking YKK two-way zipper and compression stuff sack
  • Anatomically shaped footbox for more wiggle room and less heat buildup


Having some tarp in your INCH bag is always a good idea. Tarp is one of the most versatile and useful pieces of survival equipment out there (along with paracord), so we always recommend making some room for it.

It can be used for quick shelter when you’re on the move or used to insulate and fortify a more permanent setup. It’s also doesn’t take up a lot of room and can be packed in a number of creative ways.


A tent is a no-brainer item to include in your bag. The ability to quickly pop up a shelter so you can get some rest and stay out of the elements is why you’ll see them included in almost every INCH bag checklist out there.

Make sure you’re familiar with the area you’ll be traveling through before choosing your tent. If you’re going to be somewhere warmer, then you might do fine with a three-season tent (which are lighter and easier to store). If you anticipate cold weather, then go with a four-season tent instead.


A good survival shovel is an absolute must. It will be your best friend if you’re building any kind of creative shelter. From digging holes to place foundational pieces of wood, to utilizes dirt or snow for insulation or water protection, a shovel will make your job a lot easier.

You can also use it to help you build discreet fires when necessary if you don’t want to attract attention. The best survival shovels can collapse and fit nicely in your INCH bag.


Having a hatchet is another essential item on our INCH bag checklist. The ability to chop and trim wood will help you quickly build shelter and also create wood-based tools when needed.

Having a hatchet handy is never a bad thing when it comes to self-defense too. We recommend a well-made stainless steel or carbon steel head since those will stay sharp and last for quite a while.

Power And Illumination

Power and illumination are two areas that you need to take seriously.

When it comes to power, you’re probably not going to be worried about getting internet access on your laptop in a SHTF scenario. However, there are other pieces of helpful gear that use power (such as the lighter we recommend).

You’ll also need to light the area around you. There will be situations where you might need to be on the move in the dark (although that’s not ideal), or simply see what you’re doing around the shelter at night.


Anything in this group should be solar-powered. You don’t want to be in a situation where you can’t see what’s going on because you ran out of batteries (since that will happen eventually).

Our preference is a good headlamp for when you’re on the move, and an LED lantern for illuminating things near your shelter. Both of these won’t take up a lot of space in your bag and will get the job done.

Author Note: It’s important to note that you’ll likely be relying on fire as your primary source of illumination around your shelter at night. That’s why we don’t recommend getting a high-powered beast of a lantern.

Battery And Electronic Charger

As we said earlier, this isn’t something you’ll likely be using a lot. But when you need it you’ll be happy you have a charger in your bag.

Something simple that’s either solar-powered or has a hand-crank (or both) should be more than enough. You’ll be able to charge radios, GPS tools, your electric lighter, and anything else you come across on the road.

First Aid

When it comes to medical supplies, you obviously don’t have room in your bag for a massive prepper first aid kit. Instead, you’ll need to pare down what you bring so you have the absolute essentials.

This isn’t an ideal situation of course, but if you’re going to your INCH bag then that’s something you’re going to become familiar with. There are also other items on our checklist that we’re not including in the first aid section that can be used in a medical emergency (know your gear).

Compact Kit (easier to get one of these than build it all yourself)

To keep things easy, we recommend starting with a done-for-you compact first aid kit. These won’t take up much space in your bag and will allow you to deal with most of the likely and serious issues you’ll face.

Surviveware Small First Aid Kit with Labelled Compartments

  • Comes with 100 essential life-saving item
  • Weighs only 1 pound
  • Made from 600D Polyester that will last for years
  • Waterproof inner storage

SAM Splint

If the kit you buy doesn’t include one you absolutely need to get a SAM splint. These are incredibly compact yet versatile splints that allow you to stabilize a variety of joints so they can heal, and you can keep moving.

Antibiotic Cream

There’s a good chance the kit you purchased has some of this included, but it’s never a bad idea to bring a little extra. These tubes are small so another one will definitely come in handy. You can’t afford to get an infection when you’re out in the wilderness!


Bringing the right clothing is incredibly important, yet many people do it wrong. You want to look for the most essential and versatile pieces of clothing you can get.

If you’re in a situation where you need your INCH bag, you’ll be faced with a range of different weather conditions and situations. You need to have the right garments for the job if you want to survive.

Base Layers

Get something that can keep you warm but also dry out fast when needed. The common suggestions are wool and synthetic, and we prefer synthetic. It’s a little more versatile and will last for quite a while. Only bring one or two of these.


A good pair of socks is worth its weight in gold. Not only will they keep your feet warm when needed, but they’ll also help prevent blisters if you have to cover a lot of ground on foot.

We recommend including two in your INCH bag. One for the warm weather and one for cold.

Hiking Boots

A good hiking shoe or boot will be essential if you’re going to be out in the wilderness for a while. We tend to prefer boots because you’ll get more use out of them before being forced to make repairs or fashion your own.

The functionality and durability hiking boots provide is significantly greater than your everyday running shoe. Also, the additional traction will help you avoid slipping and injuring yourself.

Convertible Hiking Pants

These are great because of the versatility they offer, leading to less clothing in your INCH bag. Look for something in the middle in terms of warmth. This will give you flexibility no matter what season you’re in.

Breathable Quick-Dry Shirts

A good breathable long sleeve shirt is super handy to have. It will keep the sun off you and dry fast if you get sweaty or get rained on. We don’t recommend having more than two of these on you.


A breathable and flexible hat with a 360° brim will make your life a whole lot easier. Keeping the sun off of your head will help you stay sun safe and cool, which means you’re going to be able to get more done throughout the day.

It doesn’t matter if you’re someone who rarely wears hats, this is different. Nothing can sap your strength and energy like getting blasted by the sun. Get yourself a good hat.

Rain Gear

Some good rain gear will keep you safe more than you know. A lot of people who are new to the survivalist scene don’t realize just how dangerous rain can be when you couple it with other factors.

A high-quality rain jacket and rain pants don’t take up much room when you pack them properly and can be also be used to cover parts of your shelter that you want to keep dry. Look for an 80+ denier rating at least.


Every INCH bag needs a good jacket. We recommend bringing two jackets if possible so you can swap them out depending on the conditions (or if one gets wet).

We recommend something like the Nano Puff by Patagonia (one of our all-time favorite jackets) in addition to a fleece jacket. These can be layered together if needed but also cover a wide range of different temperatures on their own.


Some warm gloves will keep you from losing too much heat in cold weather and allow you to maintain fine motor control as well. This means you can get more work done faster, with less chance of an accident.

While it might be tempting to go out and get some chunky arctic-style gloves, we recommend something lighter. Fairly thin gloves can still keep your hands quite warm, can be stored easily, and enable you to perform all the various tasks you need without getting in the way (try aiming your bow with massive gloves on).

Additional Items

This is a catch-all section for all the random items that didn’t fit within any of the sections above. These will help round out your checklist and prepare you for anything.


A good survival multitool is can’t be undervalued. There are a million little situations where having one of these in your INCH bag will come in handy.


A carbon steel or stainless steel fixed blade knife is absolutely essential. You can use it for preparing meat you catch, crafting new items, carving wood, and more. Since this is a tool you’ll be using quite often we recommend avoiding the bargain bin when getting yours.


A rifle that you can break down to fit in your bag is something that a lot of survivalists and preppers swear by. The most common recommendation is a 22 caliber rifle since it drastically reduces weight and storage size.

This is an item that some people might not be comfortable including in their INCH bag. When it comes to hunting you can definitely make do with some of the other pieces of gear we mentioned (bow, slingshot, etc.) but you’ll be making a sacrifice when it comes to self-defense. It’s important to understand that compromise if you decide not to take one.

Tools For Repairs

Knife sharpeners, sewing needles, patches, and more will all extend your ability to use the various items in your bag. Don’t go overboard aim for as much versatility as possible. Think of the most important pieces of gear you have, and what you would need to replace or repair them.


A survival radio is great for staying informed and communicating when necessary. If you’re in a SHTF scenario where the situation is still developing, you’ll want to know what’s going on.

Obviously a battery-powered radio doesn’t make sense. Get one that’s either powered by solar or a hand-crank (or both).

Solar Watch

A reliable watch is an essential piece of gear. Knowing what time it is will help your overall awareness of your situation and help you coordinate with other people when necessary.

A solar-powered survival watch from a reliable company will last you quite a while and be able to take a beating. While some can be very pricey, you can get a solid watch without breaking the bank.


A good survival machete can make all the difference. You can use them for bushwhacking, building shelter, and defending yourself.


A solid survival saw will save you a lot of time and energy when it comes to cutting wood that you’ll need for shelter or a fire.


A good old fashioned compass should always be in your bag. Your ability to accurately navigate to a safe location (away from others) is crucial if you want to survive long-term.

Topographic Maps

It’s smart (aka necessary) to have some topographic maps of your area as well. Do some research ahead of time to understand the likely areas you’ll be heading, and get maps for those regions.

We recommend a mix of higher level and detailed maps so you can cover your bases. That will allow you to get a wider view of potential places, but also scout out the little things to aid your search of shelter and water.


We (and any other survivalist) can’t say enough good things about paracord. It’s one of the most versatile items you can have in your INCH bag and you can bring a bunch of it without compromising space in your pack.

A couple hundred feet of 4mm nylon paracord and another couple hundred of 2mm will cover your bases for a wide range of uses.


This is an item that some preppers think is unnecessary, and others think is a must-have. Personally, we’re in the “if you have room then why not” camp.

A gas mask or at least an N95 respirator can help protect yourself from breathing in harmful airborne chemicals and substances. Depending on the kind of SHTF scenario you’re dealing with (and your location) this might come in handy.

We would lean more toward including one in your INCH bag if you live near a large city. If you’re living in Montana then the likelihood of needing to use one decreases significantly.


A couple of carabiners are easy to bring along (just clip them to the outside of your bag if you don’t have room inside) and are worth their weight in gold. They’ll give you the ability to rig various contraptions that might come in handy depending on the situation.

Some standard-strength climbing carabiners from PETZL are a great choice here. We’ve trusted this company’s gear with rigging countless times over the years and can’t say enough great things about their products.

Duct Tape

Duct tape is incredibly versatile and easy to use. It can help you with first aid, constructing a shelter, and repairing various items along the way. No need to get anything fancy, a standard roll should be just fine.

Energy Bars or MRE

While most of the food-related equipment in your INCH bag exists to help you find food out in the wilderness, we believe it’s important to have some basic fuel in your bag to help you get out of the mess initially.

MREs and energy bars store nicely and will provide some simple energy when you might not have the ability to go hunting. This is something that a lot of other INCH bag checklists don’t mention for some reason.

Think about it:

The first 24 hours of a SHTF event where you’re planning on never coming home are going to be crazy. There’s going to be chaos and even if you’re smart and move ahead of the crowd, it’s not going to be smart to stop. Putting distance between you and the madness is absolutely essential.

That’s why having some quick food in your bag to help you get through the first 24-48 hours if you don’t have the ability to catch any food or set up a solid shelter is huge. We also recommend keeping some bottled water near your bag that you can either pour into your primary bottle or carry separately until you’re thirsty.

Weight Mindfulness

As you probably noticed, weight is something you’re going to be very aware of when it comes to putting together the essential contents of your INCH bag.

By nature, these bags will be a little bit on the heavier side. There’s no way around it.

You’re planning on bringing everything you need to sustain yourself for an indefinite period of time out in the elements. It’s impossible to do that with a fanny pack.

We recommend running some tests with your bad until you get it right. This is something that might vary a bit based on your age and fitness level, but be realistic about what you can carry.

A 100 lb pack might not seem like a big deal for a few minutes if you’re in good shape, but will you want to carry that for 10-15 miles a day? Especially with danger nipping at your heels?

Probably not.

If you can keep your bag in the 50-60 pound range (strength dependant of course) then you’re in the ballpark of what’s realistic for max weight. From there we highly recommend going for some test hikes to see how it feels.

You do not want the first time you put it on to be in a crisis.

Is Having An INCH Bag Really Necessary?

There are some people who are skeptical about the practicality of having an INCH bag. They either say they’re not that useful, or you’re unlikely to survive a situation where you need one (sure sounds like a survivor’s attitude to us).

Obviously, we disagree. Here are some of the reasons why having an INCH bag is important:

Your Bug Out Location Isn’t Available

One of the common arguments we hear from people who are anti-INCH bags is that your chance of survival is lower than it is when you’re at your bug out location. And we think any knowledgeable survivalist would agree.

But what if you can’t get to your bug out location?

This is something that a lot of people don’t consider because it’s definitely not an ideal situation. It would really suck to spend a bunch of time and money planning and setting up the “perfect” spot only for it to not be an option.

It could definitely happen though.

Whether it be due to suboptimal planning or just bad luck, there’s always a chance that your bug out location won’t be accessible. Maybe there was a nuclear strike nearby (missiles and bombs can miss you know), or a natural disaster devastated the area.

If that happens, you’ll be glad you have an INCH bag.

A Bug Out Location Isn’t Affordable

From what we can tell, a lot of the people who criticize the usefulness of an INCH bag don’t consider the fact that not everyone can afford their own bug out location.

We know plenty of preppers who are actively saving up for their own piece of land but won’t be able to buy it for a couple of years. What if something catastrophic happens in that two-year saving window?

They’ll turn to their INCH bag.

Even if you have a spot set aside on public land, you’ll still need enough supplies to keep yourself going for an extended period of time if you’re not coming home.

General Preparedness

If you’re truly committed to having a prepared mindset and being able to secure the safety of you and your family, why not set up an INCH bag?

Even if you have twenty pieces of property where you can retreat to, is the extra bag in your basement really that inconvenient? You never know when it might come in handy.

Maybe your bug out spot is totally fine and you’re confident that you have the supplies you need to survive, but your best friend (who isn’t as prepared) is in a rough spot and needs to cover ground to meet up with family. You could give your bag to him!

While we’re definitely not the kind of preppers who go overboard, we think having an INCH bag is easy and affordable enough to put together that everyone should do it. Simple as that.

Also Read: Prepping On A Budget


Putting together an INCH bag is something we believe all preppers and survivalists need to do. If things get really bad and you don’t have a getaway spot, this bag will save your life.

Not only that, but the process of deciding on essential contents is great practice. It will help you think about what you really need and give you better prioritization skills in a SHTF situation.

We hope you found this INCH bag checklist helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions for items we should include (or cut) feel free to let us know.

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