Is your Bug Out Bag Going to Get You Killed?

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Last Updated on March 6, 2021

A bug out bag is designed in theory to give you everything you may need to live for at least 72 hours outside of your home and should be considered as part of any comprehensive plan for disaster or true preparedness.  The tendency with bug out bags is to throw everything but the kitchen sink in them to cover every conceivable scenario or need. When this happens you have people with Bug Out Bags that weigh more than they do. Not only could this seriously slow you down at the precise time you need to be light on your feet, but having a bag that is overloaded with a lot of stuff you could live without or which, more likely, couldn’t help you at all but could get you killed.

When I started my own prepping journey, a bug out bag was high on my list of priorities. I read a lot of articles and watched a ton of YouTube videos about this subject and as you can imagine, there are as many bug out bag ideas as there are grains of sand at the beach. The bags all share a common goal in that they are supposed to keep you alive if you have to leave your house for some period of time.  I think where the line gets blurred however is what your own idea of the duties of your bag are for. What do you really “need” in order to “live”? If your Bug Out Bag contents look more like what you would pack in a suitcase for a vacation, you may want to reconsider your options.

What is the purpose of a Bug Out Bag?

OK, let’s start with what a Bug Out bag is most typically used for and go from there. A 72-hour bag or kit is usually listed as the standard we as preppers should aspire to and is actually what FEMA recommends on their website. Again, this means that your bug out bag should have enough supplies to get you through 72 hours. What you put in here though should vary by person and need. If you have considered whether you will bug out or hunker down, preparing a bug out bag could be the next step in the process.

Your bag is meant to be something that you can quickly grab and run out the door. Your bug out bag should be pre-packed with the appropriate supplies and ready at a moment’s notice. Ideally, you would have practice with your bug out bag and lugging it around through various terrain and experience actually living off the supplies that you have stored in there. A bug out bag is different in scope from a Get Home Bag, but you may have some of the same types of contents in both.

At a minimum, your bug-out bag should cover the 3 basic necessities you need to live; food, clothing, and shelter. After that, we look at supplies to make your life more comfortable or more secure.

5.11 Tactical RUSH24 Military Backpack, Molle Bag Rucksack Pack, 37 Liter Medium, Style 58601
  • Quite simply the best tactical military backpack on the market. This Rucksack bug out bag features a roomy main storage area, dual zipping side pockets and a stuff-it pocket with integrated draw cord and glove friendly pull tabs
  • Rush24 Tactical Molle backpack has a reinforced grab-and-go handle, hydration pocket, zippered fleece-lined eyewear pocket and wrap-around MOLLE/SlickStick web platform
  • Military Backpack has 2275 cubic inch / 37 liter total capacity with Twin drainage grommets, and self-repairing YKK zippers. Perfect to use as a patrol backpack or trekking pack
  • Also has three mesh admin compartments, zippered side water bottle pocket and a hook and loop area for nametape and flag patches. Water-repellant coating and has two external compression straps and a contoured yoke shoulder strap system
  • The Rush24 tactical military backpack can be used as a multipurpose pack, bug out bag, range bag, hunting backpack, survival back pack, army backpack, sling bag, hiking rucksack, or every day outdoor backpack

Do I need a Bug Out Bag?

Great question! The answer depends on what you are going to use it for I think to a large extent. Bug Out Bags come in two main flavors or types. The first type is the bag that you plan to strap on and head out into the woods or use to hike to a remote location. This might be your retreat hidden away in the woods in a small town somewhere away from your home. This could also be for those who figure they are just going to hike deep into a national forest and live off the land until whatever crisis they are avoiding has passed.

For most people, I think a Bug Out Bag is more along the lines of a pre-packed suitcase so they can get out of dodge quickly without having to stop and pack. These types of bug out bags are very useful for people who may live in wildfire, flooding, or hurricane areas although I would hazard to guess that not many people in today’s society would be able to have a wildfire, flood or hurricane sneak up on them. If you are completely unaware of what is going on around you then you most likely won’t have any bag packed and ready to go in the first place. For the rest of us, fires, hurricanes, and floods are generally forecast and announced with more than ample time to prepare, pack, and get out of the way. Are there circumstances where this is not the case? Of course, but we are talking in general terms here for the most average prepper scenario.

How can my bag get me killed?

There are two main ways I can see how not thinking logically about your Bug Out Bag can end up hurting you. The first is the weight. Let’s assume that your bug out bag’s purpose of use is that you plan to walk out of town with it strapped to your back before the zombie hordes can breach the city. This will be your bedroom dresser, kitchen pantry, shelter, entertainment center and medicine cabinet all rolled into one tidy package. The average weight guidelines for a fully loaded backpack are no more than 25% of your overall body weight. For a 200 pound person (in good health) that is 50 pounds.

How many of you are used to walking with 50 pounds of weight on your back for 20 miles? How many of you think your bag would actually weigh more than 50 pounds? Do you know how much 3 gallons of water, the recommended amount you need for each person – for 3 days, weighs?

Having a bug out bag that is too heavy can cause injury very easily. Not only that, but it can wear you out much faster and make running, something you may have to do when the zombies are hungry, very difficult to do. Unless your bag is packed the right way, your center of balance will be off and you can just about forget doing any type of tactical movement with a heavy pack like this.

Military style packs are good but obvious options as bug out bags
It ain’t heavy, it’s my Bug Out Bag!

Am I talking about trained Navy Seals? No, I am talking about Mr. and Mrs. Joe Public who are probably just like most of us. We have jobs where we sit at a desk most days and aren’t training daily with 50-pound packs like the 10th Mountain division. What about your children? Will they be able to carry all of the supplies needed on their backs as well? Probably not in all cases.

The second way I can see having a large pack could be dangerous is from the standpoint of a total collapse scenario where massive amounts of society are displaced, scared, hurting, and desperate. With a large pack, you are a greater target. If there are truly desperate people and they see you with a big pack full of supplies and goodies they may be more inclined to relieve you of that extra weight. If their children are freezing or starving and you are walking around with the Walmart camping section attached in a big bright orange pack, they may decide that you need that less than they do.

How can we avoid this problem?

Pack Smarter – A bug out bag should be viewed as a life preserver in most situations, not a convenience store. When I see lists out there that have as their contents miscellaneous hardware and tools, saws, and fishing gear I have to wonder what these people are going to do. Most of us, if there is really some type of disaster won’t have any place to fish at all. You aren’t going to likely be fixing a radiator hose on your car either. If you were, that is a different pack for a different purpose. Think smart about your bag and what needs to go in there.  If all hell breaks loose in your town, what will you really need to survive? Will a change of clothes, something to shelter you from the elements and a means to make a fire be most of what you need? Add in some food and a little water with a backup survival water filter to get filtered water elsewhere, simple first aid and you have the basics covered. Will all of this weigh significantly less than 50 pounds? It should.

There are ultra-light hiking fanatics that try to scrounge every single ounce of weight out of their packs in order to have a much lower weight pack and thus a happier hiking experience. You can see a lot of great ideas for making your gear weight much lower on this site. You can start with these tips, but even if you take 30 pounds out somewhere, you can’t start throwing other items like your books on edible plants in your pack and still save weight. Think about what your bag is for, how you will be using it, and pack accordingly. Remember, this is just to save your life. If you have a bug out bag and you are leaving your world behind, you won’t be staying at the Ritz. Some discomfort should be anticipated so I would plan on leaving the Kindle behind.

Blend In – Packing lighter can certainly help with weight and with less weight should come less bulk. With less bulk, you should have a smaller footprint for your supplies and may be able to pack everything you need to stay alive in a smaller backpack. This will help you look like everyone else out there and not like you are hiking the Appalachian Trail. Just for the record, I am not recommending that all you need is one seriously packed survival Altoids can, but we can think about the bag that we are using to save our lives in a logical way.

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas on packing your Bug Out Bag. I would love to hear your ideas and perspectives in the comments below.

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Freedom-loving American doing what I can to help prepare and inform others. Editor and creator of The Prepper Journal 2013-2017, 2020 -

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Umbrella Man

My compliments on an important issue as it relates to BOB’s. I have briefly commented on this
very concern on a couple blog sites but you have done so much better and hopefully the readers will recognize the wisdom of your message. The only suggestion is for readers to consider putting together mini-paks to grab as they go out the door to compensate for whatever immediate issues that they may be confronted with (i.e. cold weather, shared cooking items, etc).


Thank you very much Umbrella Man!

I have often wondered a similar thing. Could your Get Home Bag, which should have considerably less than most advertised Bug Out Bags do the same job with a fraction of the weight?


Debbie Matheny Cox

When folded properly, a camouflage tarp can act as a BOB. Mine is MINIMAL. Of course I am a 50 yr old woman,(albeit in pretty good shape as I am a farmer) fish tank filters(activated carbon for water filters) dried fruits,peanuts and jerky, socks, pants and shirt, small med kit with gauze,band aids,triple antibiotic creme,ibuprofen,suture kit(sewing kit too), strike anywhere matches, small fishing accessories.Knife,various string/rope. Everything can be put into pill bottles. Compact…light, and keeps you from over packing.An old “military style” PITH helmet can act as a “pot to cook in” A GOOD pair of leather gloves, and of… Read more »


Thanks for your comments Debbie!

It’s obvious you have already given some thought to reuse and re-purposing some of your gear to keep it light.




unless your a surgen your much better off with super glue than suture kit.
sutures are prone to enfectiion, super glu works well on wet skin, keeps wound clean. on bigger wonds, i glue the gauze right accross.


Super glue isn’t a great idea… if you’re concerned about infections from suture, then gluing a wound shut will glue bacteria inside the wound. Your best option is to wash, keep it covered, and let it drain, that will leave an “out” for bacteria… just keep it clean as it heals…


Isn’t a “pith helmet” made from cork or some Indian plant? Not good for cooking methinks.


1 other topic I wish he would cover that ties in with this is, your vehicle can also lead to you getting killed. If its outfitted ; you stand out & your a target.


Thanks Chris and I like your idea for a discussion around Bug Out Vehicles. The diesel 4×4 with a warn winch and knobby tires filled to the brim with MREs would be a great target too. Maybe I can write about that in a future post.



Well…the main thing is to keep a low profile, the only obvious accessory being a walking stick, nothing fancy, and to look sick and beat-up and already robbed maybe, any equipment you may have in pockets,under your shirt, down your pants, maybe a belly-bag under your jacket….you should look like everybody else, only worse. As far as equipment goes, water and a method of purifying more is the first priority, protection from the weather, simple plastic sheeting has a lot of uses…my” everyday carry” is a pocket full of different sizes of string in six foot lengths, multy tool, magnesium… Read more »


Thanks for the comments gsgshepard!


Walking sticks are high on the “city wise, not woodsy wise” list. Looks cool to the other noobs, but uses more calories that just walking. Must be why no military uses them. Might be OK as a Bo (fighting stick).


I agree, but with 2 small children, it changes everything. With the new baby, we are planning to fortify in place. We can hold off a small army and can last 3 weeks in complete isolation and never have to leave the house. The only way we are leaving is if the house becomes unlivable; then pack the Suburban and run over anything or anyone in the way.


Thanks for your comments Jonny,

I completely agree with your motivation to stay put and actually plan to Bug In myself for anything short of a flood or something you can’t fight off. This was more for the people who do plan to Bug Out. Even if you only going a short distance, packs that are too heavy can be a big detriment to your success.



I see your reasoning for wanting to hunker down, Jonny. I’m sure you’ve already thought of how you’d do it, but for other readers who may be considering the same thing, I’d like to make a mention to… Be sure you fully think out and provide for your fire protection. If you plan to fortify in place and bunker in, then all it takes is one out of control fire to destroy your entire set up leaving you destitute and starving…if not dead. Any savage group who wants to take what you have and realizes that you aren’t giving up,… Read more »

Andrew St Aubin

Fortitifying is a solid strategy but don’t neglect a bug out plan as well. The suburban is a great “best scenario” option but especially with an infant you need to have a plan for fire, earthquake, etc. that makes bugging in and driving impossible. If you are holed up in a bunker and the burb is scavanged for fuel and parts when the house becomes compromised are you able to run?

Jennifer Delaney

Thank you, what a good article reminding (or notifying, perhaps for the first time) us of what is really important. I carry water and my BOB in my truck all the time, as well as walking shoes and extra socks. The purpose of MY bag is to get back HOME in one piece. I carry a lot of dehydrated food in there, enough for about 3-4 people for two days. I only carry that much because I am often out and about with my kids, (I have 5) and I want to be able to get back home without having… Read more »


Thanks for the comments Jennifer!

Yes, we took our kids backpacking for a couple of days to try the same things out you mentioned. We got to see what worked and what didn’t and were able to adjust. Now, our kids have experience lugging some weight around so the concept isn’t new and we had a great time.


Sari Csollany

That’s a really good idea Jennifer about the kids. Maybe regular hiking/camping trips to get the kids used to roughing it could be key here. Not only would they work in their ‘hiking’ shoes preparing them for the main event, but they’ll learn various skills that will do them good when the time comes. If I had small children I’d worry about them making noise and alerting potentially unfriendly passer-bys to our presence. Regular stealthly hiking/camping would give them practice for when it becomes real.


We have both Bug Out Bags and Survival Backpacks for each member of the family. Although there are a few tools in the Bug Out Bags, they are mainly clothing and food for 3 days. Their primary mission would be to throw in the vehicle if we had to evacuate out home ahead of a storm, or chemical spill on the highway. The assumption would be that we will be staying indoors. The Survival Backpacks contain mainly camping items that would be required for an extended stay outdoors. I keep a few smaller makeshift survival kits in my vehicle. I… Read more »


Thanks Irish,

Your survival kits sound just like my Get Home Bag. My “home” is normally only about 10-15 miles away so something small with the basics (little food, water, survival blanket, blood stopper, energy drink) and I can easily grab and go.


William C

A good thing I have considered is a cart that is used for a golf bag. It’s lightweight and is designed to have something strapped to it. It my be an option for people that can’t carry a heavy bag.

Marine FO

IF you do that I promise someone will take it from you. They’ll see it as something you have that they don’t, they’ll ambush you, you won’t have time to fight back, and they’ll win. If the first guy loses the second or third or fourth won’t. The idea of a heavy bag is a bad idea. Stay light, stay mobile, stay fast, stay alive.

Michael Sarkisian

A BOB should have enough gear in it to get you to your BOL (Bug Out Location) which is where your other supplies are. Worst case scenario, how long will it take you to get to your BOL? Then that is what your BOB should be set up for. Also expect to travel no more than 10 miles per day not 20. While you might be in great shape, not everyone in your party may be. Also an injury may slow you down. I modified an old jogging stroller to carry our BOBs. This takes a load off us and… Read more »


Thanks for your comments Michael!

I think that most people don’t have any location to go to. They are planning to walk out into the great wide open and live off the contents of their packs. That is why they throw everything they can think of in there.

Your idea for a baby jogger is a great way to mitigate the extra weight though.



Perhaps something to keep in mind–especially if your BOL is rather far from your home–is that someone else may have planned to use the same location, or may have found the location before you get there. Especially if you have stored supplies somewhere, you should be open the possibility that someone else has found it before you get there. If things are bad enough, EVERYONE will be searching and scavenging for anything they can get and they “won’t leave any stone unturned”. Any building or vehicle in any condition will eventually be searched by someone. This all depends, of course,… Read more »


you guys are NUTS. If the end comes it will be nuclear or asteroid and you puss’s with your backpacks will be killed with the rest of us. And the idiots who have all those stockpiles of guns just waiting to kill their neighbors are just murderer
s. In case you missed 9/11 in a disaster where people didn’t even know what or what was next, they reached out to help the next person, NOT to kill them. Shame on all of you


People don’t necessarily prep for “The end of days” although a lot do (if you’re prepared for the end of the world you’re prepared for almost anything) It could be for any situation where you need to leave your house for a few days and be prepared, Say your house has been flooded or some sort of other natural disaster where the area you live in is uninhabitable then a BoB would be useful. And what makes you so sure that it would be a nuclear strike or an asteroid that would be “the end”? There are infinite possibilities of… Read more »


I have to say I agree now that I see what you say, looking weak is not the best idea, on the other hand I am 71 years old and 270 pounds fat, and probably look pretty vulnerable any way….your idea of traveling with a group is good,especially staying on the road….I am afraid I am past the cross country alone effort and maybe my “life experience” would be valuable in a group…..


Please don’t take offense because I don’t mean to sound rude, but you can’t do anything about being 71 years old. You might be able to do something about being 270 lbs of fat. The harsh reality is, even if you’re 21 years old, if you’re 270 lbs of fat…you probably are not going to survive long…even without predatory humans around. I’m sorry. That sounds harsh, but it is a harsh reality. There is a reason that the Army was very strict about keeping us physically fit all the time. A person simply can’t survive the rigors of a catastrophic… Read more »


As a former Marine and retired professional firefighter, I would just like to make a few comments. First, many people (the majority) will do nothing to prepare. These are the people who will immediately end up in shelters or in line behind a National Guard truck (if one shows up at all) taking whatever they can get as it falls off. Shelters are notoriously ugly places and your BOB should be designed to KEEP YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES out of one. Those who do nothing when things are easy will do NOTHING when things are hard. Speed, stealth, and… Read more »


Thanks for your comments Michael.



Thanks for your comments Lou! Your comment was locked away in comment purgatory unbeknownst to me so I apologize for the very long delay in getting this posted on the site and in responding. You have added a lot of great ideas to how you carry your BOB and it is similar to an article I will be writing in the next few weeks about how to think about Bug Out Bags as systems. I think too many times, a BOB is viewed as something like Santa’s sack, filled with goodies and not a lot of thought goes into what… Read more »

Cincinnati Prepper163

Yes. planning a bugout bag was daunting,yes I watched a lot of U-tube videos to get ideas just as the author has done. Maxpedition and Tactical 5.11n make/sell durable pack products.Harbor frieight and Wal mart sell very inexpensive tools and prepper gear most people can afford.Start early, planning and persistence over time you/your readers can be prepared for that disaster or economic collapse.


Fantastic post. I do a bit of blogging and I always try to do what you did by incorporating some sort of source like Most emergencies aren’t the end of the world, but they do disrupt your world. It’s a well rounded way of thinking like you’ve displayed here that really helps people from all walks of life. You have stated a lot of interesting things here and I’ll be sure to share this article when I talk about bugout bags. Thanks.


Thank you very much!


the also has some good ideas on how to cut weight.


Take you bug out bag out for a spin. The first few bags I
made I could not walk around my block with them on my back. When you walk the
dog put on your BOB. Go for a long hike and just take it, make your lunch, from
only what you have in it. Try to go camping with it for a weekend. You will quickly find out what you forgot and may
be some things that you do not need.


Great advice!


Thank you for the info. I’ve been tryin to figure out why my bug out bag never seems right. Your article has given me much to concider to make it better.


if i was desperate, i would be LOOKING for people with bugout bags to kill. Its basically a survivalist treasure pack ! Its like wearing a big kick me sign on your back.


Can’t just rob ’em, huh? Gotta kill ’em?


Robbing is dangerous. However a subsonic suppressed shot and then wait, observe, wait a bit more and then go collect your supplies 🙂 Sick, but this is what one must actually be prepared for. Walking around with supplies is just not a good idea after the first 24 hours, most folks have a long gun turning anyone into a potential sniper, and it is near impossible to protect from a sniper (unless you never lift your head out of your bunker.) Get where you are going and disappear, don’t walk around advertising your supplies or someone WILL take them.


That’s why groups with common goals and security–perimeter details for the groups are always a good thing. In any emergency there will always be those unprepared, some you can help, that will help in return, while others just can’t be helped. I think that is why people like the “walking dead” series so much–it is more a survival series in some really horrid conditions, but the group thing seems to work well in such a situation. Hence, don’t be the “governor” psycho and a “liability” to yourself and others, but join with like minded “stable” groups to help each other… Read more »


Those who needlessly kill, will be killed needlessly.


Also, usually those with forethought to bug out for an emergency–are also highly protected. Those who kill needlessly–may well be killed needlessly by others. Karma


This is an article I really needed as I am re-packing all our bug out bags now. My son went camping and took them all apart to use the bags :(. For water, I got a small water purification system, for cooking, I have a small stove that works with just a can of propane. I plan to get a mess kit so I am not lugging heavy pots and pans. I am making up bags of food for meals that will feed 6 for our family. I sell a high end of dehdrated foods and I am building up… Read more »


Thank you very much for the comments! It sounds like you have really thought about your bag situation. I agree on the tents and I don’t think you can get one for that many people that won’t be a heavy beast. Unless you are spending thousands of dollars on some type of Mt. Everest expedition tent. Sadly those don’t come with your own Sherpa to haul them for you either. Sleeping bags are probably an item that I could conceive spending more for. To get a lightweight bag that is small enough you are going to spend several hundred dollars.… Read more »


You can buy space blankets for around $1-$2 each if you buy a 10 pack, they are lightweight and hardly take any room at all. They also double for shelter and are waterproof. They could also be used to collect water. Good to have as back up in case you need to ditch the bulky items.


Thanks ready4,

I agree, they have many uses and are a great back-up, but I wouldn’t want to use those as my primary shelter. They are very thin, tear easily and you can see those shiny bags from a mile away.



Very useful article! I “rethink” my BOB, GHK, and EDC, all the time. Been through multiple variations, starting with a very heavy Alice Pack. Now I have everything devided into three packs. I have two shoulder bags, and a smallish back pack. One of the shoulder bags serves as my GHK. It has a series of Kits. There is a Fire Kit, is a Hygene Kit, a Money Kit, with enough cash, and a few silver coins to get me home. There is a pack of 8 Nutrition Bars with about 300 calories each. There is a knife and tool… Read more »


In response to GSGSheppard’s advice to look exausted and beat up, to be safe,… Among other things I’m a certified Refuse to be a Crime Victim Instructor. Sounds like good advice, but understand that human preditors exibit the same behaviors as animal preditors, they seek out the weak to pray upon. I can see the advantages of looking like you have little of value. But looking strong, even seeming to be to bad ass to mess with may do you more good. Remember, situational awareness ALWAYS, and avoidance, avoidance, avoidance. If you’re talking about a 72 hour event, the chance… Read more »


I’ve just started assembling some items for both my Get home Bag and my BOB. I appreciate all the ideas of everyone here and for sharing. I’m still in the planning stages of designing both so these are some great ideas to keep in mind.


Thanks for stopping by 5150! There are lots of great ideas in the comments on our site and I hope you will return again.



I am a little behind on this article coming out but I just had to comment. I have been really prepping for a couple years now. I started blind and this is the really the first website I have found (wasn’t looking, I had some good books). Lot’s of great idea’s here. We live in central NC and where as I was starting to make BOB’s ( I have been carrying the well stocked and unexpired IFAK I purchased in my truck), I never thought about a GHB! It never really occurred to me since I drive in a truck… Read more »


Thanks for the comments Faith and I am glad you found us!

Good idea on the water bottles and they even make collapsible bladders you can use for the same thing. They fold down really compact and take up less space. The kind we use for camping are from Nalgene and we got them from a local camping store.


Jon Cherba

I have a subscription to Backpacker magazine because of all the great helpful info it contains. I also love Recoil and Offgrid magazines for the same reasons. I have my B.O.B. with me on hiking trips even if its for just afew hours, I want to know that I can carry it when the time comes and it helps keep me in shape. I am always looking for ways to improve my bag.


Thanks for the comments Jon!

I just picked up both Recoil and OffGrid the other day and really like them both. I am looking forward to the next installment of Off Grid and it gave me several ideas for posts of my own.

Your comments remind me that I need to pour my bag out and get it ready for the winter months. Thanks for stopping by!



I went on a hiking trip in the mountains last month. I’m in really bad shape. My backpack weighed 30 lbs and I was very unhappy about it! I’m working on getting in shape but I’m going to have to limit my BOB to 20 lbs or less. That hike was a good test run! Lot of things I didn’t need. Having a water filter means you can save a LOT of weight carrying less water if there are water sources available.



Thanks for your comments. Yes, its much better to learn this now I think and its good you are working on getting in shape.


Dawn Bogle

i am so overwhelmed by all the incredible information on your site. I just dont know where to start. Im just trying to prepare for the worst, whether thats war, or an earthquake or a famine. My husband doesnt believe anything will happen so I have to prepare for him too, and our toddler. Our home/condo is as equipped as I can make it, and so is our vehicle which is parked in the under ground parking on the 3rd floor lol Not very useful. Im focusing on a bug out bag. Does everyone need the same things in each… Read more »


Thank you very much Dawn! I can completely appreciate where you are coming from. I was in the same boat about 5 years ago with my wife and she humored me for the most part. Now though she believes that we are headed for some rough times and can appreciate my efforts and the need to prepare for a wide range of things. Your husband will come around at some point if he is paying any attention at all. I like to think that each bug out bag should be designed for the person carrying it as well as what… Read more »

Dawn Bogle

Makes perfect sense! Thank you so much! I have been reading a lot on your site. You have some of the best info out there!

Brian H

Great site and article/comments. My challenge is that I travel every other week from home in the Midwest (Mich) to my condo in the southwest (Nevada) for work. My concern of late is how to get back home if a SHTF scenario unfolds without much notice while I am traveling. It would be nice to think that auto transport (and fuel availability) would still be an option if I react quickly enough (in which case the GHB is obviously simpler to prepare, and yes I already keep spare gas cans at the ready to fill up), but I certainly can’t… Read more »


Thanks for the compliments and comments Brian,

I can certainly understand your challenge. Even though I don’t travel as much as you we talked about this in another post I wrote a while back. It may give you some ideas.


zah the nomad

One thing to consider. I’ve seen recommendations of from 18 to 25% of body weight for bobs, but this presumes that a person who may not be in great shape is still relatively weight proportional. But what if you are 20 or 30 or more pounds overweight? You are going to have to pack even LESS because if you are out of shape and significantly overweight, you are going to have to contend with hauling that additional body mass along with your kit. Again, just something to consider.


You are very right. I guess we should start looking at this a different way and say up to X pounds the rule of thumb is no more than 25% of your weight. I personally think that is too much to carry regardless but it is manageable for short periods like a weekend trip to the woods. In that case, carrying around 50-60 pounds of gear for a 200 pound guy isn’t that big of a deal, its a workout. If you are a 5’7 200 pound woman, I seriously doubt you are going to want or be able to… Read more »

zah the nomad

Well this is where body mass index comes into play. Two hundred and fifty pounds at 9% body fat is not the same as 250 at 28%. We need to find a ratio that works with your body fat percentages. Muscle earns a living, fat, not so much (though it does insulate, and can be fuel).

la lower alabama

Fat does not matter much. I am 29% body fat 5’9 and farm outside most days old school stle wo heavy eqipment. I would run circles around most gym rats amd young people and have on numerous occasions. Trick, get your stamina up. You cant get that with a fifteen minute gym workout evem if you have abs of steel. I have seen so many people that think they are in shape not do near what they tgought they could do. Keep hydated and use salt packs when youve got adequate water or are dehydrating due to sweat. Work ouside… Read more »


I think that a bug out bag is an essential for anyone. You can argue against it all you want, but when it all comes down to it; if SHTF in one or several of the variety of ways it can happen, wouldn’t you like the option to carry a portable survival/self defense/whatever else you may have built into you BOB? I would. If the weight is too much, I can either get rid of the pack entirely, or get rid of certain items. Also, as you had mentioned carrying gallons of water, why not carry a water purification system… Read more »


Thanks for your comments Gabriel and I agree with you. I guess what I am saying though is to seriously consider what you need now, before you walk out the door so that you don’t have to leave anything behind. A water filter is a perfect idea and can do probably more than anything to reduce weight, but what if you live in the dessert? Every person’s circumstances are unique and knowing what this gear will do, how to use it and what you can live with can make huge differences in what you bring and how much it weighs.… Read more »

Bob Eubanks

I’ve seen many, many BOBs over the years, some weighing as much as 70 lbs that include a MBR, hundreds of rounds of ammo, etc. Give me a break! The first question that needs to be answered is: “Where are you bugging out to?” Just having a BOB will only keep you alive for a week or two,assuming you can find water. Then what? Do you plan to live off the land or acquire food as you pass by towns? You could set up a system of caches, but you have to sleep sometime, and who is going to pull… Read more »


Great thoughts and comments Bob! I agree with pretty much everything you are saying and even wrote about that in our Bugging Out vs. Hunkering down post which you can read here


I plan on getting my us army dufflebag packed too the top. To set up base camp. And use a tactical bag to be fast on feet


Excellent points about both the weight of a BOB and how it impacts ability to travel long distances. Many people just throw in everything and the kitchen sink and do not account for this. Thanks.

Pat Henry

Thank you very much Chris!


3J55 – Lately I would be so very lacking in money and debits were eating me from all sides. That was RIGHT UNTIL i decided to make money on the internet! I visited surveymoneymaker point net, and started doing surveys for straight cash, and doing so, I’ve been greatly more able to do my things!! i am very glad, I did this!!! With all the financial stress these years, I really hope all of you will give it a chance. nPWC


I’ve done extensive hiking/backpacking in the military and I can tell you 1.) Pack light 2.) expect to have to run 3.) stick with the basics (as the article says). Think like a rabbit. Small, fast and nimble. In and out. No one should know you’re there.
-Semper Fi

Pat Henry

Thanks for the comments E5USMC!

Marine FO

I keep seeing people talking about bringing the most ridiculous items in their BOB and it drives me crazy! People pack things that make no sense to me was road flares, whistles, 3 flashlights, and a headlamp. You need 1 extra set of clothing for the weather you’re in. Socks, socks, and more socks, your feet will keep you alive. In terms of gear you need remember, lighter is better, don’t make yourself a target.

Pat Henry

Thank you very much for stopping by and your comments!


Old Marine

The previous comment about road flares being a negative for a BOB I have to disagree with. Being an old elk hunter, I ahve found that if you have to build a fire in the snow, pouring rain ect, tha absolute easiest way is with a road flare- bar none- and we have started fires in severe conditions with other means. If you can’t carry a couple of road flares ( I prefer the short ones if you can find them), you need help.


Great article.


Excellent article. I am always examining and re-examining my Get Home Bag and Bug Out Bag, trying to make both lighter and more practical.

Thanks again. I LOVE THIS SITE!


Thank you very much Erik!


In all your planning and communications with other people always remember, there are people who love and adore the Tsarnaev brothers. Security at all times is essential, BOB or not.

Survival Prepper Joe

We usually think in terms of our current physical abilities. But we may have to balance our immediate BOB needs vs what we can carry if we’re injured, or are helping another injured person. Came across a neat trick to shrink both the weight and bulk of most liquid and powder items you carry. Won’t work for potable water (unless you want to drink it in shots 😉 ), but pretty much anything else. Crimp the end of a drinking straw with pliers, leave about 1/16 of an inch sticking out, and melt that 1/16″ end with a match. When… Read more »


I think you should bring your kindle or tablet and a way to charge it. This is how you bring your survival books along- ebook form on your tablet. The perfect library.

Michael Williams

Great article. I think one of the key thing you mentioned is to get out and use your bag. As a long time outdoorsman I have found this to be the main reason rookie backpackers have a hard time there first few times out in the field. All the gear in the world will not help you survive if you don’t know how to use it.

Pat Henry

Thanks Michael!

Yes, that is the true test isn’t it? We even threw on our packs before for a day trip to a local mountain just for a dry run. You never know what you will find out once you actually put these plans to use.


Richard M Barrios

Great article. All the comments about BOBs and options gave me a lot to think about. This article and comments also confirmed some of my concerns that I had about prepping like being a obvious target when you got a expensive back pack on your back. Our bags are setup to get us home in 48 hours and reduce our visibility (old but comfy laptop back packs). If our cars have to be left at work my wife is to walk home in group that she trusts. Our rally point is our home or kids school. I have been prepping… Read more »


Thank you for the article. One other thing to think about is consumables. Matches are only good as long as you have them. Lighters are good as long as you have fuel. You might want to get a fire piston and practice using it. As for the bit of materiel you need to operate the fire piston, try lint. Every time you do the laundry their is lint in the dryer. Put it in a zip lock bag, compress the air out, close it, put in your B.O.B. Don’t wast you money on fire excelerant or you might come to… Read more »


I meant to say humor.


Howdy fellow preppers! Need yall’s feedback… like most folks I work at least 40 hrs a week away from home (30+ miles one way) so its possible that in a SHTF situation there is a good chance I could very well this distance from home. I’m currently working on my “get home bag” which would be a bag to get me the 30+ miles to my wife and kiddos anyone have any ideas on some must haves? I think I have most everything I could need, but giving the SHTF situation I’m pretty sure there will be something that will… Read more »

Ben Grimm

Been looking for articles on anyone that has actually used their bug out bag in a real world situation and can’t find any….all this theory is great, but what about real world?


Thank you for this article….I guess I am what you would call a beginning beginner! Lol!I have made it my goal to have these made up for each family member in the next month or so, It is so overwhelming! I have 3 children, so I am thinking about how to provide best for them.

Pat Henry

Thanks Tracib! So glad you found our site and hope you continue to find useful articles here.

Trek Warrior

This is a great article and you really hit home hard on an issue that most people are either oblivious to or simply choose to ignore: weight of your bug out bag.
I like the approach of starting with bare necessities for survival, and then building layers of comfort on top of that. Then the weight of the bag can be managed smartly.
Well done article!

Andrew Light

I see my old BoB in one of those pics, and yes, it was waaay too heavy. I ditched all my Kifaru packs for Ospreys because of weight.


Great article! I love the fact you cover an angle not enough people think about. There are plenty of articles about creating a bug out bag, but your comment “How many of you are used to hiking 20 miles with 50 lbs on your back?” is dead on. When I lived in Alaska one of my friends took me hiking to his favorite glacier with a small group. I’ve never been in bad shape, but everyone there was far more athletic than me. But I hiked all the time, so having a large backpack on my back wasn’t a problem… Read more »


Most “preppers” and “survivalists” could take some hints from our hippie friends who ultra light. I began hiking in 2004 when I began working for a SoCal kayak company and it was part of corporate culture. Since then I have segment-completed the PCT three times, through hiked the PCT and the ADR, and have done numerous eco and rescue hikes in SoCal. Today I carry 12 lbs three season and 18 lbs in the winter–if I will be somewhere snow packed. For a backpack? Get an Osprey or ULA in 30 liters or so. If it is not waterproof get… Read more »

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