INCH Bag Checklist

Assembling an INCH bag is something that all serious preppers and survivalists should do. If things are really going downhill and you need to get out of Dodge and possibly never turn back, an INCH bag will definitely help you and probably save you. Imagine what it would be like if you were forced to leave your home and survive on your own for the foreseeable future. That is the precise situation an INCH bag should prepare you for.

INCH bag is not as small as an inch! INCH means “I’m Never Coming Home” and the bag is packed with a serious set of tools that will help a group of people survive. The INCH bag will prepare you for the worst emergencies that you don’t know what kind of natural disaster might happen in your area that would enforce you to survive outside your comfort zone.

INCH Bags are basically larger than bug out bags because they contain more tools and essentials. If you are one of those people who never thought about leaving your home, then now is the time to think about getting outdoors a bit more.

Many people think that the best way to prepare is to buy a pre-packaged INCH package, and while that may seem like a great plan, there are many things to consider for being comfortable as possible during times of stress. There are many ready-made bags that you might want to buy, but this might not be the best choice for you and your family.

Inch Bag Essentials Checklist

Creating the perfect INCH bag list is all about understanding priorities. You should treat your INCH bag as a house in a bag with a lot of essentials. Since you are not going to return home, the contents of your bag are needed to help you last for indefinite amount of time.

We’ve made a checklist into handy sections that you can refer to while packing your bag. Everything on the list has a purpose and you should include everything if possible.


A durable, lightweight and reliable backpack is essential for packing up your INCH bag. You may have the best gear in the world, but if you’ll be in trouble if your bag breaks after a few weeks.

A common mistake of novice backpackers is that they get a backpack that is too small because they don’t assess how many things they are going to carry. The recommended size for an INCH bag should be about 80L. It would be quite difficult to carry everything you need in a much smaller bag, and potentially difficult to carry a much larger bag. Also, make sure that any bag you’ll purchase should be comfortable. Bags with frames can be helpful since INCH bags are inherently larger.

Equipment for Water

When it comes to survival, water is the top most priority. You can survive without many tools, but if you don’t have clean water to drink then your journey will be cut short. You should leave space for water container in your INCH bag to help you and your family stay hydrated. Many beginners go overboard and stuff their bag with dozens of water bottles. You can go a long way using few pieces of water equipment, and here’s what we recommend:

Filtration Gear

It is imperative to have good water filtration tools on hand. The best filters will last long and give you plenty of clean water before you need to change them. Be sure to bring spare filters with you. Spare filters won’t take up a lot of space, so don’t be discouraged putting it in your INCH bag. In some situations water purification tablets can come in handy.

Stainless Steel Water Bottle

We highly recommend putting a high quality stainless steel water bottle in your INCH bag. Usually, backpackers just throw bottled water into their bags and think they are good to go. Stainless steel bottles are more durable than other materials; stainless steel also withstands different temperatures and weather conditions quite well. An insulated bottle is best.

Tools to Feed Yourself

Obviously, your ability to find food is vital if you plan to survive for an extended period of time, and this is where the right tools come in handy. The goal is to feed yourself as efficiently as possible, and the following items can help you with this.

Bow & Arrow

A small survival bow won’t take up much space in your INCH bag. When it comes to the type of survival bow we recommend using the Takedown Bow because it has enough power to kill animals that you will hunt and can be split into pieces to fit perfectly in your bag. Don’t forget to bring extra rope and arrows.

Fishing Gear

Fishing is another way to feed yourself while you try to survive. You can be in a place where there is a water source and this is the chance for you to catch fish. Obviously, the best place to start is with reliable but little survival rod. There are many small foldable options to fit in your INCH bag. Remember, you don’t need the fanciest rod to get the job done.


Nets can also be set up in some creative ways to catch fish while collecting water or working in your shelter. They take up almost no space if you know how to pack them properly, which is another useful tool to help you stay fed in the wilderness.

Traps and Snares

It’s never a bad idea to have some traps and snares on hand. It will be useful if you learn how to trap and familiarize with the animals in your area. These tools will take up little space and provide a low-calorie source of nutrition.

Tools to Prepare Food

You already have the equipment to acquire food and now you can prepare it. Below items are necessary and should not take up too much space in your INCH bag.


Don’t fill your bag with too much cookware, one all-purpose pot can do. Bring something that is not too deep, but large enough for you to prepare a fair amount of food. We recommend using Titanium or Stainless Steel pots, both are excellent choices.


Some of the hot dishes you will be preparing require simple, lightweight and easy-to-clean cookware. Just bring one of each and you’re all good.


It is imperative that you can build your flame consistently and reliably. The fire will keep you warm, allowing you to cook food and boil water. While it is important to be able to put out a fire without any equipment, there are several devices that will make your life a lot easier. Here are some for you to include:


A reliable windproof lighter is a handy in a life-saving situation. We recommend purchasing a high quality electric lighter since they are reliable and rechargeable if you have the right tools.

Ferro Rod

A good Ferro Rod will give you thousands of flames if you learn to use it correctly. Having them in your bag will help you keep warm and cook food for yourself.

Tinder Grate

This one is often overlooked. A Tinder Grate will make the process of starting a fire a lot less energy-intensive, which is key in a survival situation. Its capability to quickly and reliably get fine tinder for starting a fire can be a lifesaver.

Equipment for Shelter

You will most likely have to spend several nights on the move before you can create a permanent survival shelter. This means that you should have versatile and reliable equipment on your list.

Sleeping Bag

A well-made sleeping bag should not be undervalued. This is one of the most important pieces of equipment on this checklist that you need to think carefully about. Explore the possible areas you will be heading and plan accordingly.


Tarp is one of the most versatile and useful survival equipment along with paracord. It can be used as cover, or insulate when you’re on the move.


A tent is an indispensable item in your bag. The ability to quickly open a hideout so you can rest is the reason why you’ll find them included in every INCH bag checklist. Before choosing a tent, make sure you are familiar with the area you will be traveling in. If you are going to be in a warmer area, a three-season tent is a good choice while in colder weather, choose a four-season tent. Take a look at these snowy tents below and you’ll get an idea of just how important a good tent can be!


This will be your best friend if you are building any kind of shelter. From digging holes for foundation to using mud or snow to insulate or keep out water, a shovel will make your job much easier. Also use it to light a discreet fire if you don’t want to draw attention. The best survival shovels can collapse and fit very well in your INCH pocket.


The ability of this tool to chop and trim wood will help you build shelter quickly, and craft tools from wood when needed. When it comes to self-defense, it is never bad to have an ax in hand. We recommend using a well-made stainless or carbon steel tip to keep it sharp and durable.

Power and Light

You’ll also need to light the area around you since there will be situations where you might need to be on the move in the dark or simply see what you’re doing around the shelter at night. Here are the things that can help you with it.


A few pieces in this group must be solar-powered or hand crank-powered. You don’t want the battery to run out and not able to see anything. Have a good headlamp when you are on the go and a LED lantern to illuminate objects near your hideout. Both won’t take up much space in your pocket and get the job done.

Battery and Electronic Charger

Something as simple as solar powered or with a hand-crank is more than enough. You will be able to charge radios, GPS tools, electric lighters, and anything else.

Compact First Aid Kit

To make things easier, we recommend starting with the compact done-for-you first aid kit. They will not take up much space in your bag and will allow you to deal with most of the serious and likely problems you will encounter.

SAM Splint

If the First Aid Kit you purchased does not come with one, you will need a SAM splint. These are extremely compact yet flexible splints that stabilize various joints so they can heal and you can keep moving.

Antibiotic Cream

The kit you bought most likely includes some of these, but it’s always good to bring a few extras with you. These tubes are small, so purchasing an extra tube will definitely help.


Base Layers

Buy something that will keep you warm but can easily dry quickly. Popular recommendations are wool and synthetics but we suggest synthetics. It is a little more flexible and should last for quite some time. Just bring one or two of them.


A good pair of socks is worth their weight in gold. They not only help keep your feet warm when needed, but they also prevent blistering. We recommend that you include two in your bag, one for hot weather and one for cold weather.

Hiking Boots

If you want to go outdoors for a while, you will need a good pair of hiking boots or shoes. We suggest going for boots because of durability and practicality. In terms of functionality and durability, hiking shoes are vastly superior over casual running shoes. Plus, boots can help you avoid slipping and injury.

Convertible Hiking Pants

These pants are great because they offer versatility, resulting in fewer clothes in your INCH bag. Look for something in between in terms of warmth since it will give you flexibility no matter what season you are in.

Breathable Quick-Dry Shirts

It is very helpful to have a good breathable long sleeve shirt. It will protect you from the sun and dry quickly if you sweat or rained on. Just bring a two of these with you.


The breathable and flexible 360​° brim hat will make your life so much easier. Keeping the sun out of your head will keep you cool which means you can do more during the day.

Rain Gear

A good raincoat or poncho will keep you safe for longer than you think. Many people who are new to the survival scene do not realize how dangerous rain can be when combined with other factors. They don’t take up much space if packaged properly, and they can also be used to cover parts of the shelter that you want to keep dry.


Every INCH bag needs a good jacket and we recommend bringing two layers with you if possible so that they can be changed depending on the conditions. We suggest to purchase an insulation jacket in addition to a flee jacket. They can be combined in layers but they can also cover a wide temperature range.


Some warm gloves will help you from not losing too much heat in a cold weather and will also allow you to maintain good motor control even if you are doing something. You still might be tempted to buy thick gloves, so we recommend buying something lighter since it will keep your hands warm and easy to store.

Additional Items

This is a trick for every one of the arbitrary things that didn’t fit inside any of the tools above. These will help balance your checklist and set you up for anything.


multi tool

A decent survival multitool can’t be underestimated. There are a million little circumstances where having one of these in your INCH bag will prove to be useful later on.


A carbon steel or tempered steel fixed cutting edge knife is significant. You can use it for getting meat ready that you get, crafting helpful handmade tools, cutting wood, and many more. Since this is a tool you’ll utilize frequently we suggest staying away from the bargain bin while getting yours.

Tools for Repairs

Blade sharpeners, sewing needles, patches, and more will all stretch out your capacity to utilize different things in your bag. Try not to get carried away focus on however much flexibility as could reasonably be expected. Think about the main pieces of tools you have, and what you would have to supersede or fix them.


A survival radio is incredible for remaining in the know and imparting messages when vital. In case you’re in a SHTF situation where the circumstance is as yet growing, you’ll need to know what’s happening.
Clearly a battery-powered radio doesn’t bode well. Get one that is either solar-powered or a hand-crank powered (or both).

Solar Watch

A dependable watch is a fundamental piece of tool. Realizing what time it is will help your grasp to your circumstance and assist you with planning with others when vital.

A solar-powered watch from a trusted company will last you a long time and will be resistant to any pounding. While some can be exceptionally expensive, you can get a sturdy watch without burning through every last dollar.


A decent machete can have a significant effect in your survival situation. You can utilize them for building roof on your head, and shielding yourself.

More Equipment to Think About Putting in Your INCH Bag


A typical compass ought to consistently be in your bag. Your capacity to precisely explore to safe areas (away from others) is critical, assuming you need to survive.


A sturdy saw will save you a great deal of time and energy with regards to cutting wood that you’ll require for cover or a fire.

Topographic Maps

It’s very important for you to have a map of your location too. Do some examination early to comprehend the conceivable areas you’ll head to, and get maps for those areas.

We suggest a blend of more elevated level and nitty gritty guides so you can cover your bases. That will permit you to get a more extensive perspective on potential spots, yet additionally investigate the easily overlooked details to help your hunt of shelter, food and water.


We (and some other survivalist) can’t express sufficient beneficial things about paracord. It’s perhaps the most flexible things you can have in your INCH bag and you can bring a lot of it without compromising space in your bag.

A few hundred feet of 4mm nylon paracord and several hundred of 2mm will cover your bases for a wide scope of utilizations.


Two or three carabiners are not difficult to bring along (simply cut them to the outside of your bag, in case you don’t have space inside) and are out of this world valuable. They’ll enable you to fix different contraptions that may prove to be useful relying upon the circumstance.

Some standard-strength climbing carabiners from PETZL are an incredible option here. We’ve confided in this company’s tool on many occasions throughout the long term and can’t express sufficient extraordinary things about their products.

Duct Tape

Duct tape is unbelievably adaptable and simple to use. It can assist you with medical aid, building a shelter, and fixing different things en route. No compelling reason to get anything extravagant, a standard roll ought to be okay.

Energy Bars & MREs

While the vast majority of the food-related hardware in your INCH bag exists to assist you with discovering food out in the wild, we recommend to have some fuel in your bag to help you making out of trouble first thing.

MREs and energy bars store pleasantly and will give some basic energy when you probably can no longer hunt. This is something that a ton of other INCH bag checklists don’t include for reasons unknown.

Mull over everything:
The initial 24 hours of a SHTF occasion where you’re anticipating never getting back home will be insane. There will be disarray and regardless of whether you’re brilliant and steps ahead of most people. Putting distance between you and everyone else is paramount.

That is the reason having some ready to eat food in your bag to assist you with getting past the initial 24-48 hours is important. We additionally suggest keeping some water jug close to your bag that you can either immerse your jug or convey independently until you’re parched.

Remember: Be Mindful of Weight!

As you presumably noticed, weight is something you will be extremely mindful of with regards to assembling the fundamental items 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?

Likely not.


In the event that you can keep your bag in the 50-60 pound range (strength dependant obviously) then, at that point you’re in the ballpark of what’s reasonable for max weight. From that point we strongly suggest going for some test climbs to perceive how it feels.

You don’t want the first occasion when you put it on is to be in an emergency.