How to Choose the Best Bug Out Bag for You
The best bug out bag there is, is one that is accessible and lightweight and tailored to suit your individual needs. Many people automatically assume that if a crisis ensues, they’ll be able to get far away from the scene easily by car.
In a true “bug out” situation though, you can’t rely on roads to get you where you need to go. That’s where everyone else will be, causing all sorts of traffic jams and mayhem.
Simply recall the news clips portraying miles and miles of backlogged cars at the gas stations and on the highways around the time of Hurricane Katrina.
Hoofing It To Safety
Your legs are the most reliable form of transportation you have in a time of crisis. Because of this, it is important to choose the best bug out bag – one that is comfortable and lightweight.
Soldiers are conditioned to carry as much as 70 pounds on their back for 10+ miles. I know I couldn’t do that, and I’m guessing you can’t either. If you can, then more power to you! But for us normal folk, the weight of our bug out bags is critical to surviving a life-threatening scenario.
Give Your Bag Some Personality
I’ve mentioned before that in order for your bug out bag to be the best, it should be very personalized according to your life situation. Your bug out bag will very likely have several items that another person’s might not. For this reason, it is crucial you get a bag that “fits” your specific needs.
Most people build a bug out bag starting with a backpack like this. There are dozens of types to choose from that come in various sizes. A good test to determine the right size for you is to determine the weight you will be carrying. If you can carry it while hiking for an hour or more, you should be okay. Most likely this test alone will have you re-evaluating what are necessities versus what we call “like to haves.”
We’ve included our best bug out bag list below which have all been reviewed and approved by a survival expert. Again, these are just guidelines, but any of these will do great for a custom bug out bag. Find the one that works for you.
As you can see from the backpacks below, we have selected ones that have plenty of padding along the straps and belt-line. We have also tried to take into consideration people of different sizes and build as well. Again, we stress, you will want to make sure your bug out bag is as comfortable to wear for long periods of time as possible. This might mean a little more money, but trust us, it’s worth it.
Get A Bag With Space
You can almost never have enough places to store your gear. The more pockets, zippers, loops and straps you have on your bug out bag, the more organized you’ll be. In a severe emergency, organization can mean the difference between life and death.
Aside from comfort and fit, the most important consideration when choosing the best bug out bag is the space provided and the number of compartments. You can almost never have enough places to store your gear. The more pockets, zippers, loops and straps you have on your bug out bag, the more organized you’ll be. In a severe emergency, organization can mean the difference between life and death. At a moment’s notice, you want to be able to access the gear you need when you need it. We’ll go into this in more depth later on.
Avoid Drawing Attention
The last consideration you’ll want to factor into choosing your best bug out bag is the appearance and color.
If you are planning for the most common of emergencies this might not matter much in the grander scheme, however, if you’re planning for a SHTF scenario, appearance and color could matter indeed.
At first, you may be tempted to choose a military-style backpack because you can get one from the surplus store for relatively cheap and it would most likely have everything you need in regards to space and compartments, etc. However, in extreme scenarios, one of the keys to a successful bug out bag is…that it doesn’t look like one.
But it makes sense if you think about it. In an *extreme* bug out scenario, you don’t want to look like you’re bugging out! Otherwise, other people may take notice and want what you have. There’s no telling what people will do in times of desperation. For this reason, you may want to blend in with your surroundings the best you can and choose your bug out bag accordingly.
Keeping a low profile could be a critical key to survival post-disaster, so think about how you can best blend in to your particular surroundings if the situation calls for it.
Consider using a concealed tactical vest to hold the most critical items. This way if you should ever be separated from your bug out bag for whatever reason, you still have the most important items on you.
There are angler’s vests that work great for this, or if you need something a little more heavy duty, you may want a tactical-type vest like those used by law enforcement and military personnel. For those of you who are especially concerned for your safety, there are vests that are made of Kevlar. You know, just in case.
Again, blending in could be important should things go from bad to worse. So while a vest is handy, make sure you have an extra layer to throw on to conceal what you’re packing.
So what should you do if you already have a bag that “sticks out” in your particular environment?
Consider getting a rain cover for your bag!
As we’ll be utilizing all of the bag, including the exterior, where we’ll be hanging and strapping gear, the rain cover can be a cost effective way to conceal what’s underneath (and keep your belongings dry at the same time).
But Also, Don’t Overthink It…
All that said, personally I don’t get too hung up on extreme scenarios.
I instead prefer to spend time planning for the most likely of events such as short-term power outages, natural disasters, etc.
Even though I addressed those more extreme concerns above, I’m not too worried about what my bug out bag looks like. Maybe that’s foolish of me, but the molle webbing that comes attached to “tactical” looking bags are still my go to for convenience and versatility.
If you prefer to stay “grey man” and blend in, that’s awesome too. Do what you think is best for you.
The Right Bag Could Make All the Difference
With that, below you’ll find some of our favorite bags for bugging out. Each of them have their own unique characteristics that make them very versatile in a bug out scenario. Take a look around and see if one is a good fit for you.
CLICK HERE to see these bags compared
So what do you think?
Building the best bug out bag for you is a very personal endeavor. Chances are yours and ours might look quite different from each other on the inside and out and that’s okay.
The bag we choose is one of the many ways we can inject our personality into it and have a little fun at the same time.
So if you already have a bag, which one do you use and why? If not, do any of these appeal to you more than the others?
We’d love to hear your thoughts! If you enjoyed this post, please share us with your friends. We’re trying to build a great community of like-minded individuals and we can’t do it without awesome people like yourself. We’ll see you in the comments below!
Categorized in: Bug Out Bags