Bug Out Bag Documents: Best Guide On How To Make Them

Bug Out Bag Documents: Best Guide On How To Make Them

Bug Out Bag Documents: Best Guide On How To Make Them
Bug Out Bag Documents: Best Guide On How To Make Them

Bug Out Bag Documents

Today we’re going to talk all about bug out bag documents. It is maybe the most neglected prep but one of the easiest and most important. 

Bug out bag documents are all the important documents you will need in a disaster stored in a binder usually ready to go. 

I’m talking about things like copies of your driver’s license, bank account numbers, and phone numbers to your local utilities. 

In the event that you need to bug out, you do not want to be wasting time trying to find these documents. And you definitely do not want to be without them. 

After hurricane Katrina, many were left without ID’s, insurance cards or banking access. That caused some major headaches. People could not access their bank accounts without their debit cards or Id’s. 


With these bug out documents, you will have these with you. You my prepper friend do have your bug out documents ready right?

If the answer is no I’ll help get you squared away. I am by no means perfect. My own documents need to be updated. So this is a good time to go through what needs to be done.



Personal Identification

Personal identification is I believe the most important bug out document you can have. In many cases being able to prove who you are is invaluable. 

There are several ways to carry backup identification. Some will work better for different uses. You won’t be buying beer with a picture of your driver’s license on your phone for example. 

For many of the official documents, like a license, I prefer to have an official duplicate. Most places will not accept a photocopy of an id. Although there’s no reason to not also have photocopies. 

I put birth certificate first on the list for a specific reason. It is the one id used to get all the others. 

Years ago when I read the anarchist cookbook I remember the part about getting a false Identity. It went like this. Get the death certificate of someone about the same age as you that died at birth. Use the death certificate to obtain their birth certificate. Take the birth certificate to get a social security card. Once you have the Social security card and Bith certificate go get a photo ID. 

So with the actual copies in your Bug Out Bag documents, you will need to be careful they are not stolen. They would be an identity thief’s wet dream. 

  • Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Card
  • Drivers License
  • Concealed Carry Permit
  • Passport
  • Mail From A Bill
  • High School, College, GED or any other diploma or certifications. 
  • Titles to your car and home


Financial Info

In the event of a disaster, you are going to want to be able to access your financial institutes. We’ve already covered the ID part of the equation. 

The easiest way to do this would be to have spare debit/ credit cards. But I can’t bring myself to tell you to keep spare debit cards in your car. Unless you have the best identity theft protection on those cards. Even then it’s not a great idea. 

You should keep the bank account numbers, routing info, and phone numbers to the branches. There are a million different ways to encode the numbers to keep them from being stolen. The easiest is to increase or decrease all the numbers by one. 

You can keep the debit card numbers, pin, expiration dates and security code. This can be used in online shopping, like ordering a hotel room online. Also, you might need that info to cancel a card. 

Without a debit card, you can still go into a bank with your ID and banking account numbers and withdraw money. 

I added having the info on local coin shops on my Bug Out Bag documents list. I’ve never seen this one another site and don’t know why. In a disaster, there are a few reasons to know where your local coin shops are. 

In a disaster, you might want to convert your precious metals into cash. During my move to my tiny house, I had a cash shortage and had to sell some coins to cover the move. I would rather hold onto coins for the long term but in an emergency, you can sell them.

In a situation where you don’t want federal currency, you can go convert it to precious metals. If the economy was tanking or we went into hyperinflation this would be necessary. 

  • Paystubs
  • Income Tax Return
  • Contact Info For Banks
  • Info For Any Debt you have
  • Info On Local Coin Shops

Important Phone Numbers

On this bug out bag documents we’ve covered a lot of phone numbers already but let’s add a few more. 

  • Friends and Family
  • Hospitals
  • Local Emergency Numbers
  • Your Work
  • Utilities
  • Hotels
  • Kids School
  • Insurance Providers
  • Legal Counsel



Bug Out Routes

I like to have three places to bug out to in an emergency. And three ways to get there.  

There are several ways to do this.  I like to use Google maps.  

Map the directions, choose show satellite view and print .  You can even use a highlighter to mark the route.  

Have  the directions in written form too. 

Put the maps in plastic sheets or have them laminated .  

Having maps of your nearby cities and state are nice to have.  

I  usually grab maps of the nearby states if I pass through them.  

Checklist Of Things To Do In A Bug Out

One of the things I add to my bug out bag documents is a checklist of things to do and remember.  

Mike and I did an entire podcast on bug out checklists. worth a listen to go deep on the subject.  

The items on the checklist are time sensitive .  If the pyroplastic flow from a volcano is heading your way forget the checklist and go.  

If you have more time you can spend more time going over the checklist .  

Some of the things to go on there are cutting off the gas to your home.  

If you’re not coming back ever grabbing any food you can eat from your refrigerator is worth it.  

If you do plan on coming back and power is out you will want to empty your fridge. 

Anything left will become a toxic mess. 

If your anything like me you always forget something when leaving for a trip. 

Having a checklist will help ensure you don’t bug out and forget something vital to your survival.  

Condensed Survival Info

Having  condensed survival info is great to have. Yes, You can carry small survival books like the SAS Pocket survival guide

Even better is to type out important info yourself on a page or two. Things like how drops of bleach to sanitize water for drinking. 

A few wild edibles in your area can be included with pictures. 

Basically some of the easily forgotten bits of info you might need. 

Digital Version

I have been talking about making a physical binder for your bug out bag documents. Another way to have them is on an encrypted thumb drive. 

A few years ago I showed you how to build your own to save a ton of money. Check out how to make an encrypted thumb drive. The thing looks bomb proof too. 

With digital copies, you can carry backups to your backups. 

Using Your Phone

 While writing this article I realized that a smartphone could easily replace all of the bug out bag documents. 

You can store all the contacts info in there. As well as multiple ways to actually contact them. When the  phone lines  are down  you can get a text or a Facebook msg through. 

You can take high definition pictures and scans of your id and documents. 

You can map your bug out routes and download them to be available offline. 

With downloaded pdf and kindle books, you can have all the survival knowledge available. 

Best of all you always have your phone with you everywhere you go. Once locked thieves can’t get your info. 

I would still recommend having physical copies but there is no reason to not have your smartphone be your bug out bag documents as well. 


Bug out bag documents are not the flashiest thing.  Documents are not cool. 

But they just might keep you alive.  

Having the right items in your Bug Out Bag documents is one the most important preps to have.  

And most of it can be put together for free.  So It just takes a little time on your side. 

I’ll be updating mine and showing it off in the survivalpunks group on facebook.  Go join the fun and show off your documents too. 


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3 thoughts to “Bug Out Bag Documents: Best Guide On How To Make Them”

  1. On that list, dont forget a DD-214 (if you have one) and in addition to the Diplomas you need the transcripts, showing what courses you have taken.

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