bob items

20 Bug out Bag Items with More than One Use

When the SHTF and your home is no longer safe, it’s time to bug out for your retreat location or another location you’ve deemed as safe. Bugging out is tough because you want to be sure you have the things you will need to survive but no matter how strong you are, you can only carry so much weight. The more weight you carry, the harder your bug out will be, especially if you have to ditch your vehicle and continue on foot.

One way to make bugging out a little easier is to make sure that every item you do carry in your BOB has more than one use. This will greatly reduce the number of items you need to carry and can make room for other things. In addition to some of the necessary supplies for food, water, making fire, and shelter, what to put in your BOB is largely dependent on your skill and experience level as well as how long you expect your bug out trip to be and whether or not you have sufficient supplies stockpiled at your destination.


#1. Multi-Tool

Multi-tool is something that no BOB should be without. Make sure the multi-tool you choose is a quality product. Test it prior to a SHTF event to make sure it will hold up to the rugged tasks you’ll need it for during a bug out. Multi-tools should have a saw, a knife or blade, a can opener, and other things you’ll need for life on the move.

#2. Safety Pins

Safety Pins are great to have in your BOB. In addition to using them to temporarily repair clothing, you can use them as fish hooks, to build a shelter, as a needle, and to attach gear to your backpack, etc. Their weight is negligible and you can simply pin them to your BOB until you need them.

#3. Rubber Bands

Rubber Bands are one of those things to throw into your BOB just in case. They are lightweight, take up very little space and can be used for a host of things in a pinch.

#4. Plastic Tarps

Plastic Tarps can be used for a multitude of things that make it worth carrying at least one. You can make shelter, use it as a stretcher, use it as a backpack cover, or even as ground cover in your tent if you have one.

#5. Bandanas

Bandanas are useful for protecting your mouth and nose from smoke and debris, protecting your neck or head from sunburn, as a tourniquet, for making a sling if you injure your arm, and for filtering water. Throw at least one of these in your BOB.

#6. Duct Tape

Duct tape truly is a wonder product. It has unlimited uses and it never hurts to toss at least one roll of this in your BOB if you can.

#7. Zip Ties or Cable Ties

Zip Ties or Cable Ties are compact and are lightweight. They are great for securing gear to your BOB, for hanging a tarp from a tree to build a shelter, or even securing the hands of an intruder.

#8. Garbage Bags

Garbage bags are one of those things that have many different uses besides their intended use.  Lay a garbage bag down as ground cover beneath your sleeping bag, as a rain cover for your backpack or a dry bag for your gear. You can cut holes in it so you can use one as a rain poncho. You can also fill a garbage bag with leaves, grass, or clothing and use it as a makeshift pillow.

#9. Sheets of Plastic

Sheets of plastic can be used to insulate your shelter, to set up a system to distill water, to catch rainwater, to protect your fire from rain, keep gear dry, and in an extended situation, even create a makeshift greenhouse for growing food.

#10. Super Glue

Super Glue is great to have on hand for its adhesive properties. In addition to using it to repair broken tools or other items, you can use it in a pinch to seal minor cuts or even temporarily patch a rip in your shelter tarp or tent.

#11. Pantyhose

Pantyhose believe it or not have multiple uses. Use them to carry things in, to help filter water, to secure gear, to make a sling for a broken arm, or even as a mask to keep bugs out of your eyes and mouth.

#12. Honey

Honey is a great item to carry in your BOB because it has an almost infinite shelf life and it can be used to sweeten food. But it also has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that make it a great first aid item when other things aren’t available. Make sure to use organic honey preferably local to your area as it can also help with allergies.

Oh, and don’t put it in a glass jar, it’ll be too heavy for your bug out bag. Place it in a zipper bag instead (another item with lots of uses).

#13. Olive Oil

Olive Oil is helpful for cooking, but can also be used to moisturize skin and help heal dry skin and scratches faster. It works as a lubricant and can also soothe sore throats and ear ache pain. It doesn’t have a long shelf life once opened so one bottle in your BOB is plenty. The bottle can be heavy so if your BOB is already heavy and your bug out trip will be short, you may want to leave this out.

#14. Vinegar

Vinegar can be used for preserving food, for cooking, for cleaning/disinfecting, and for a wide range of medicinal purposes including treating a variety of foot ailments which might crop up during a bug out.

#15. Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter is a great thing to include along with the other food items in your BOB. Not only is a great source of protein which you will need to stay moving but it can be used as bait in animal traps so you can catch some dinner.

#16. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great multi-use item to include in your BOB. It can be used for a wide range of things including putting out a fire, brushing your teeth, homemade soap (just mix with water), and as an antacid and as antifungal.

#17. Floss

Dental floss is another multi-use item that is an asset in your bug out bag. It can be used as intended obviously, but in addition it can pinch hit as thread, used to slice bread, and even as a clothesline for lightweight items if you double it up.

#18. Poncho

Rain Ponchos can be used to keep you dry from the rain but you can also use them as ground cover beneath your sleeping bag, as a liner for your backpack, or even as a temporary shelter.

#19. Bobby Pins

Bobby pins are another item worth considering for your BOB. Yes they can be used to keep your hair in place, but they can also double as clothespins, as a money clip, or to replace a broken zipper pull on your BOB. You can also use them to hold a nail while you pound it or twisted to secure gear to your bag. If you sharpen them to a point you can use them as a needle or awl, or a even as a mini screwdriver.

#20. Chewing Gum

Chewing gum makes a great addition to your BOB because it’s lightweight and has several uses. Chewing gum has been proven to help relieve stress, maintain alertness and even stave off thirst. It’s also a great distraction for children on a long bug out trip, it can be used to temporarily fix things, and is a decent alternative bait for fishing.


That’s our list of 20 BOB items with more than one use. Which of these do you carry in your BOB? Necessity is often the mother of invention so don’t be afraid to try practice using everyday household items for something other than their intended purpose.

With a little bit of practice, you’ll be a regular MacGyver who can easily use things around them to accomplish the task at hand, which will go a long way toward helping you survive a SHTF situation. If you have other items in your BOB that you’ve figured out how to use in more than one way, please let us know in the comments below.

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