The Dollar Tree Bug Out Bag

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

We’re all on a budget these days and prices seem to be rising. Even the Dollar Tree is now the five-quarter tree, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find good bargains geared towards survival there. With an eye toward preparedness and a mind toward what’s possible, you can find items that are necessary for a bug-out bag even at the Dollar Tree. For approximately $40 you can have a very basic bug-out kit to throw in the car, keep stashed in a closet, or keep at your bug-out location so that you can get to a third location.

Containment and Waterproofing

  • Bag: A nice drawstring bag to carry all of your items.
  • Trash Bags: This goes into your drawstring bag to make it waterproof. They can also be used to make a flimsy shelter or a poncho.
  • Ziplock Bags: Each kit of items should be placed in a gallon Ziplock to further waterproof the items.


  • Flashlight: A small handheld flashlight to see by and to signal distress at night.
  • Headlamp: This is helpful when navigating in the bush at night while keeping the hands free to work on various tasks.
  • Lantern: Excellent light source for camp and in your trash bag shelter.


  • Matches and Lighters: They are excellent for lighting fires.
  • Candles: They can be used to light cook fires, for a small amount of heat, and to cook small amounts of food over its flame.

Kitchen Set:

  • Small Pan: Even if it is a loaf pan, it can be used to boil water, so it is safe to drink.
  • Spoon: An eating utensil and digging tool.
  • 1 Liter Water Bottle: This can either be pre-filled with water or not, but the sturdier ones do not have water in them already.
  • Gatorade Packets: These can be added to any water that is found and boiled to replace electrolytes lost through traveling.
  • Canned Chili: This is great if it has a pop-top, but still useful if it doesn’t. You can top up on two of these and have a two-day supply of meager rations.

Tool Set:

  • Pocket Knife: This works as a utensil, but also has multi-functions. These have a can opener, nail file, and pliers too.
  • Paracord: This will help to make your trash bag shelter.
  • Sewing Kit: Take the needles out of this and magnetize them so that you can make your own compass. It’s also very helpful to fix any mending emergencies.

First Aid Supplies

  • Ibuprofen and Tylenol: These both work as pain relievers and fever reducers. If you can only afford one, get ibuprofen because it is best for sore muscles. If you need a bug-out bag, you might be walking a lot and have some sore muscles.
  • Premade First Aid Kits: These typically have bandages. Some at the dollar tree also have tweezers, scissors, and cotton swabs. If you need to, buy the tweezers separately because they are essential for removing splinters and ticks.
  • Multivitamin: This is just to cover your basics in case you need to hike more than a day or two with your preps.


  • Hand Sanitizer: Although this will be in your hygienic Ziplock, for cleanliness, it is also an awesome fire starter.
  • Antibacterial Wipes: They are for keeping germs at bay. If you can’t find antibacterial wipes, baby wipes will work as a stand-in.  




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