How to Build a Bug-Out-Binder: With Checklist

Why you need a Bug-Out-Binder

John and Jayme Dayton woke to loud banging on their front door. What the heck is that? John asked as he stumbled out of bed. His eyes burned and his head swirled. Jayme also scrambled to get out of bed. She looked at the clock and said, “Wow! It’s only 2:45 — who would be knocking now?”

When John finally made his way downstairs, a firefighter greeted him at the door. “Sir, your house is in danger. There is a wildfire moving this way quickly. We have not been able to get it under control. You and your family need to evacuate in 3 minutes. The possibility that the fire will destroy your home is high. Please gather your most valuable belongings. We will escort you to safety.”

Faced with this situation, would you be prepared?

The time to think about it is now. Maybe it won’t be a fire. Instead, it could be a flood, a gas leak, a hurricane, an earthquake or even civil unrest.

Whatever the case, in addition to your bug-out-bag, it is wise to create a bug-out-binder in advance.

Building a Bug-out-binder

A bug-out-binder is a place where you keep copies (originals if necessary) of all of your relevant documents. I recommend a sturdy, zippable binder like the C-Line expandable binder for this — of course; you can use whatever suits you best.

After a disaster, these materials can help you rebuild your life. They can aid you with insurance claims and help secure assistance relief. They may also contain sentimental value and prove ownership of property.

Of course, if we are talking about an end-of-the-world as we know it situation, these documents may or may not prove all that useful. However, it is better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them.

Quick tip: In addition to a bug-out-binder, create a secondary backup binder at a separate location. Also, scan, or photograph, your documents and save them to a USB flash drive. Make backups of the flash drive too.

The List

Here’s a quick list of suggested things you might want to consider placing in your bug-out-binder.

Health & Welfare

– Medical Records
– List of Prescriptions
– Name, address, and numbers of doctors
– Blood types of family members
– Copies of health insurance cards
– Vaccine Records


– Names, numbers, and address of attorneys
– Binding contracts
– Living wills
– Divorce Papers
– Child custody papers
– Copy of rental agreement
– Lease agreements
– Receipts
– Firearm serial numbers
– Appraisals of valuables
– Photo of valuables for insurance purposes
– Birth certificates
– Marriage certificates
– Passports
– Driver license
– Concealed weapon permit
– Deeds, titles for house and car

Work & Education

– Resumes
– Diplomas
– School transcripts
– Military documents
– Social security cards
– Documents relating to employment
– Documents relating to your businesses

Personal & Nostalgic

– Family photos
– Name, addresses, phone numbers, and emails of all family and friends


– Copies of saving bonds, stocks, and investments
– Contact info of utility providers
– Investing firms handling your investments
– Insurance policies
– Contact info for your banks
– Copies of credit cards – front and back

Here is a downloadable checklist to help you get started.

Well, that concludes the bug-out binder list.

Let’s hope you never need it.

Press on my friends!

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