How To Pack a Book Nerd’s Bug-Out Bag

Posted by Margaret Dunham

Planning for the coming apocalypse? Whether it’s a societal meltdown or zombies you fear, a well-stocked bug-out bag is going to set you up for survival in any situation. Since one of the biggest dangers of the end of days is boredom, here’s a packing list for a bug-out bag that’s bound to keep any book nerd occupied!

The Bag Itself

The bag. The source of everything you need. Choose the bag that’s right for your needs, but keep in mind there’s no way to re-charge that e-reader when the grid goes down. Make room for a few books. And after you’ve read them, you can trade them with other bookish survivalists. Keep a notebook handy as you go too; take notes as you travel. You could be the one whose story the read years from now as a source of inspiration!


Shelter for Yourself (and Your Books)

Whether you live in a city or a more rural environment, it’s safe to say that you’ll be traveling and will need to survive out in the wild as you make your way through the ravaged country. While it might be tempting to get a tent for just one (that would be smaller to carry, after all) packing a tent with a little more room in it will ensure you have space for your gear, your reading material, and any rogue book club members you pick up along the way. Show the undead you’d be happy to live out your days between the pages of a book with this tent that’s perfect for readers.


Weapons for Defense

Unless you’ve already got weapons training, opt for something simple and functional that you’ll be able to handle well. Since you’ll be carrying everything you need with you, the more compact it can be the better, so look for something that will have a variety of uses. A multi-tool hammer or tactical backpacker’s shovel could be a great choices, as they’ll also help you with all your survival needs! (Swords and firearms are nice and all, but it’s tricky using them to help stake down a tent or dig a latrine)


Provisions: Food and Water and Reading Material

Food, water, and books – what more could a survivor of the apocalypse want? Pack away enough clean water to last you a few days and a filter/caplets for purifying water, as well as some preserved shelf-stable foods that you’ll be able to eat without preparation. The good old granola and water diet is bound to have anyone bored after a while, so in addition to your other books grab a copy of Campfire Cuisine or a pack of Mark Bittman’s Cook’s Cards and you’ll have flavorful meal ideas for all the meals you have left.


Fire and Light

While you’ll want to conceal your presence whenever possible, a bookish survivor still needs to cook food, stay warm, and curl up with a good book once in awhile. While this tiny firestarter is built to attach to a keyring, loop a ribbon through it instead and you’ve just created a bookmark that can help you stay safe and warm during the coldest nights and the scariest stories. Just need light for a little light reading? Get your hands on a solar book light like this one that’s easy to power. No outlets or batteries necessary, just expose that tiny solar panel during the day and you’ll get charged up for a page turning evening.


First Aid Kit (for You and Your Survivalist Book Club)

After natural disasters, starvation, and hordes of the dead, the next biggest killers in disaster movies are injury, disease, and infection. While you can buy first aid kits these ready-made, it’s best if you assemble your own with quality supplies that match your needs – allergy medicines, prescriptions, or extra band aids for all those page-turning paper cuts. Put your own kit together following a few simple guidelines!

Build your bug out bag with the essentials you need – do plenty of research and planning now, and you’ll be ready to go if the shambling dead ever come knocking at your door. For more resources on prepping for all kinds of disasters check out these guides from the Center for Disease Control and

Stay safe, be ready, and keep reading!