Bug Out Bag List

You should arm yourself with a bug out bag list before you head out shopping for your first bag, so that you've got an idea of what you're looking for and what you can get for your budget. The cheapest option is to buy a simple backpack for $20 and load it to the brim with all of your bug out supplies, but the chances are that if you're buying a bug out bag, you're taking your survival preparations seriously. In this scenario, you're going to need a tough bag that will get you out of dodge and into your base camp with all supplies dry and intact.

What to Look For

Your bug out bag list should only have bags on that meet the following criteria:

  • Waterproof - the most important feature of any bag on your bug out bag list is that it be waterproof. You can't be sure what the weather will be when the apocalyptic event comes, and most of your survival equipment will be items that will be easily damaged by rain. Make sure you find bags that are waterproof, in that they remain dry in heavy rain, rather than water resistant, which will shield the contents in light showers but will become porous in heavy rain.
  • Extendable - you'll want to take as much stuff with you in your bug out bag, so you need to be looking at the top end of the capacity of each bag. The best buys will come with straps and a lid that allow you to extend the capacity by an extra 10 percent or so. 
  • Breathable - in the case of a disaster that wipes out your vehicle, or if you've planned to carry everything by bike or on foot, the chances are you'll be carrying your bug out bag for several hours before you reach your base camp. Bags on your list should therefore come with back stays, typically made out of aluminum or tungsten to keep them light weight. These poles keep the bulk of the bag away from your back, meaning that you'll lose less water in sweat.
  • Comfortable - this seems to be the most obvious criteria, but many people focus on the capacity and strength of material before thinking about how comfortable it will be to carry. You'll use your bug out bag day in, day out so you need to find one that has padded shoulder straps and a wide waist strap to help distribute the weight across your upper body.

Best Buys 

If you want to save time, the following brands should be at the top of your bug out bag list:

  • Sandpiper - this company has been making military-strength bags for over 25 years and specializes in comfortable, breathable bags. For less than $100, you'll get a bag with thick padded straps that will carry your first three days worth of clothes, food and survival equipment.
  • Bugout Gear - if you're looking for a bag with lots of compartments and sections for your equipment, look no further. The basic model comes in at $80 and you'll get a bag that opens up with numerous spaces to help you find exactly what you need as quickly as possible.
  • SOC - the best thing about SOC bags is that you can get an empty pack for just over $70, but if you're willing to pay more, you can get pre loaded bags with one, two or three days of equipment that is perfectly packed and ready to go.

To be fully prepared, you should check out every bag on your bug out bag list ahead of time. Take along some heavy weights so that you get a feel for how the bag distributes weight across your shoulders and torso.

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