Plan your bag with a defined time period in mind. 72 hours is a good starting point as this is approximately how long a person can survive without water. Once you start planning for weeks out you will have added too many complications to your list of Bug Out Bag essentials. Have a look at our post on Making a Bug Out Plan to see what you need to consider as a part of your survival preparedness.
Note, many non-perishable foods such as several listed here don’t have a long shelf life, usually just several months. You’ll want to have a system in place in order to “cycle” your non-perishable food before it expires: When non-perishable food nears it’s expiration date, either eat it or even donate it to a local food bank (food banks usually give food away within a short time of receiving a donation). Then, once again purchase fresh non-perishable food and add it to your emergency food stores. With a system like this in place, you’ll have a continual supply of fresh non-perishable foods. That way, if a catastrophic disaster strikes, you’ll have a variety of non-perishable foods for at least the first few months following the disaster and you or your family won’t have to rely solely on freeze dried food, as so many people are stocking up on today.
For personnel who are flying over large bodies of water, in additional to wearing a survival suit over cold water, a survival kit may have additional items such as a small self inflating raft to get the aircrewman out of cold or predator infested waters, flotation vests, sea anchor, fishing nets, fishing equipment, fluorescent sea marking dye, pyrotechnical signals, a survival radio and/or radio-beacon, formerly a distress marker light replaced by a flashing strobe, formerly a seawater still or chemical desalinator kit now replaced by a hand pumped reverse osmosis desalinator (MROD) for desalinating seawater, a raft repair kit, a paddle, a bailer and sponge, sunscreen, medical equipment, a whistle, a compass, and a sun shade hat.
In addition, the kits may contain typical individual "survival kit" items, such as nylon tarps, extra clothes and coats, blankets, sleeping bags, matches or other fire starting equipment, a compass and maps, flashlights, toilet paper, soap, a pocket knife and bowie knife, a fishing kit, a portable camping stove, a power inverter, backpack, paper and pencil, a signaling mirror, whistle, cable saw, bleach, insect repellent, magnifying glass, rope and nylon cord, pulleys, and a pistol and ammunition.