It’s Time to Spring Clean Your Bug Out Bag ~ Here’s How To Do It!

by Tommy Grant

If you live in a multi-season climate like many Americans, you are more than familiar with the term “Spring Cleaning.” We pack the flannel sheets away for lighter linens, tuck away the sweatshirts, and pull out our tank tops. But do you ever spring-clean your bug-out bag? If not, you could be missing out on a simple prepping task that could save you major inconveniences in a survival situation. Not sure where to begin? Let’s get right to it!


The first thing I do is check the expiration dates on the food items I keep in my bug-out bag. I’m not fanatical about dates for most things, but if items are getting old, it just makes sense to replace them with fresher versions and put the old ones into the regular pantry to be used shortly. Make sure any wrappers are in good condition. Re-evaluate your calorie choices based on the knowledge you have acquired since the last time you revamped your bag. Think about if there are any items you may want to add or remove based on the warmer season. Swap out soup mixes for freeze-dried fruits or pre-packaged tuna salad. You won’t want to eat hot, steamy items when it’s the middle of August and you are on the go.


Much like your food supply, I recommend removing any water you have packed in your bug-out bag and refreshing it with a new supply. While the old water is probably just fine, why not keep it as fresh as you can? It may be a while before you actually need to use your water in an emergency situation.

Look over any water filtration systems you may have packed. Check for cracks or damage to water bladders, filters, and containers. If you have water filtration tablets, make sure they are still securely packaged. This is also an excellent time to add any new water-preparedness items you have acquired since you last inventoried the bug-out bag.

Dehydration is more likely in the hotter months, so be sure to keep some electrolyte packets to add to your water if needed.

Keep any Rx medications up to date

Medical / Hygiene

This is one of the most important areas to update in any bug-out bag. To begin, swap out any prescription medications you have in your medical kit. Put at least one week’s worth of everything you are prescribed in a waterproof container. Label the jar with the contents, dosages, and date. Use the expiring pills in the current month to replace the ones you updated your kit with. Be sure to make adjustments for any new dosage or medication requirements. Once you are finished, repeat the process with any over-the-counter medications.

Now is also a great time to make sure your bug-out bag medical kit is ready for the warmer months ahead. Add some sunscreen along with a way to treat sunburn if it occurs. Where there is heat, there will be bugs, so pack several bug-repellent wipes as well. Also consider some poison ivy wipe packets if that is common in your area.


In my opinion, there isn’t much to change seasonally in my fire kit. In winter, I would need to rely on fire for warmth. But in summer, I will still need to cook meals, boil water, and perhaps even fend off wildlife. I want a well-stocked fire-making kit in my bug-out bag no matter what season I’m grabbing it during.

Things to Remove

The idea behind a bug-out bag is that you will carry it on your back during a SHTF situation where you can not remain at your primary location. Therefore, we try to keep them as lightweight as possible. If things are being added in during a summer customization, then more than likely, things will also have to be removed.

Obviously, if you live in a climate where you feel that you personally need to keep any of the following things in your bug-out bag due to your individual circumstances, please do so. For most people who live in a four-season climate, however, here are some of the items you can remove from your bag during the summer months.

  • Ice cleats
  • Handwarmers / Toewarmers
  • Mittens / Fuzzy gloves
  • Thick, knit scarves
  • Long underwear
  • Earmuffs

Keep in mind that no matter where you are located, you don’t want to eliminate all of your items designed for warmth. Nighttime in summer can get quite chilly, so keep things like bivvy bags and dark beanie hats close at hand year-round!

Other Summer Items To Add

Here are another few items I like to keep in my bag once the weather starts to warm up.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to review our bug-out bags a few times a year to ensure they are well-equipped to serve their purpose in a SHTF situation. The change of seasons is the perfect time to do so. Now is also the ideal time to check out your vehicle emergency kit. There are lots of seasonal updates that make sense there as well!

Do you update your bug-out bag with the change of seasons? What are some other items you switch out based on the temperature? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

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