What you should look for in a Bug Out Bag

What you should look for in a Bug Out Bag

Mar 26, 2020 8:30:00 AM

A bug out bag should contain the essentials you'll need to survive for at least 72 hours. The bag should, therefore, contain supplies such as water, food supplies, clothing, shelter, fire-starting gear, first aid supplies, personal hygiene items, and other survival tools. With such an extensive list, you will need an extra-strong bag.

Bug out bags come in all shapes and sizes, but they share a few common traits. In this article, we explore the features that make the best bug out bag.

Choosing the correct bug out bag is usually the first step to making it through the evacuation period. We are faced with various decisions at this stage, including the form factor (should we choose a duffel bag or backpack), comfort features, price, to name a few.

A Bug Out Bag Should Be Made Of Strong Material

tactica ladies bug out bag

Given the amount of supplies you'll be carrying, your bag should be made of robust and durable material. This material should withstand giant loads for extended periods in harsh weather conditions. The material should also be waterproof to shield the bag’s contents from rain and snow. While strong, the material should be lightweight so as not to increase the burden on you.

You should look for at least 600D nylon. Canvas is also good, though it’s a little more susceptible to the elements.

A Bug Out Bag Should Be Comfortable

Comfort is usually the top priority when buying a bug out bag. When bugging out, you will be carrying your backpack for days on end. Some bags could cause discomfort, limiting your movement. When shopping around for your bug out bag, be on the lookout for features that enhance comfort and fit.

Anyone who has carried a pack for extended periods of time understands the need for ergonomic straps. Wider straps create a cushion, so the weight of your bag doesn't dig into your body. Narrow belts are uncomfortable and significantly reduce the distance over which you can carry your survival kit.

The ideal bag should include a sternum clip that properly secures the shoulder straps and counters the weight of the bag as it pushes backward

Good go-bags also include a hip belt. This will distribute the load over your hips, taking some of the weight off your shoulders. This also helps reduce fatigue on your back and shoulders.

A Bug Out Bag Should Be Made Well

bug out bag closeup

Beyond straps, good bug out bags come with a host of other design features that make them ideal for bugging out.

Good bags limit the use of rigid elements that may cause severe discomfort while walking around. Some of these frames add on to the bag's weight and may rub against you during your journey. A good bag also ensures proper ventilation around the back to reduce the discomfort that arises due to sweating.

A good bug out bag also considers the gender of its user. Bags that come in male and female variations are shaped in such a way as to make them fit for their assigned body types.

Bug Out Bag Features

Your bag should be big enough to carry all your essentials without you having to rely on extra storage. The amount of space you'll need in your backpack depends on many factors. The number of people who'll rely on the supplies largely determines the amount to be carried. Hence it dictates the size of the bag.

Carrying more essentials would require the use of a larger bag. The user’s strength also determines the amount of supplies they carry, which also influences bag size. So you need to consider how many people will be with you, and how many of them can’t carry any gear of their own.

Generally, we would want a bag whose capacity is above 40 Liters for the average, 3-day excursion, but you may want to go up to about 65 liters if your circumstances warrant it.

Once you have determined the size of the bag you need, you should also consider how you can separate and access your supplies. Survival gear comes in different uses, shapes, and sizes. It would be highly inefficient to place all these supplies in one compartment. The best bug out bags often have one large compartment for larger items and several smaller compartments smaller items. This makes it easier to store and retrieve your supplies.

Useful Bug Out Features

Beyond comfort, size, and compatibility, there are other aspects of a bug-out-bag that increase your bugging efficiency. These features may help you stay hydrated, keep your contents dry during the rain and increase your bag’s capacity by creating additional compartments. Let us explore some of these features:

The best bug out bags include an integrated hydration bladder, for instance, the Camelbak. These reservoirs help you carry water over large distances. Coming with the reservoir itself is nice, but the compartment should be there at minimum. This way, you don’t have to stop to retrieve a water bottle to stay hydrated.

Good go-bags come with an integrated rain hood. These hoods are usually stored in a small compartment, ready to be brought out as soon as you need them. It is important to keep your supplies moisture-free as this prevents them from going bad.

Bug out bags should have PALS webbing for MOLLE compartments, which shall facilitate the addition of segments to carry special supplies such as medical kits, pouches, and other tools. Webbing on the hip belt will allow you to attach a MOLLE holster, so your sidearm isn’t obstructed by the waist belt.