A bug out bag is one of the items that needs to be carefully put together in order to provide comfort for the owner. This bag is intended to keep you alive for 72 hours or more. Its organization is as important as the items it holds. The bug out bag packing tips listed in this article will help you better organize your survival bag.
Every time I have a discussion with preparedness like-minded people about the bug out bag, I notice that many of them know very little about how to properly organize a survival bag. The bug out bag packing tips I’ve picked up over the years helped many of them to get rid of the carrying pain and improve their travel distance. Every time I need to put together a bug out bag, I follow three simple steps.
Bug out bag packing tips:
Get rid of the weight and bulk
Many people will carry their bug out bag in their vehicle. They will do so until it is no longer possible to follow the bug out path using their method of transportation. However, the real struggle begins when you have to carry your bug out bag while solely relying on your strength and physical condition. A serious bug out trip requires the lightest and most effective gear you can put together. This means that you have to bring along only multi-purpose quality survival gear. This may be expensive, but you also have to consider the advantage of having such gear. Besides providing you with weight savings, the multi-purpose survival gear has many reliable functions, all packed in a single item.
For example, when you buy a survival knife, try to get one that has various other items incorporated, such as a ferrocerium rod, a whistle and even sharpening options. You can start by making a list with all the items you need. Then group them together for an online research session. You can even check your backpacking supply store and ask them about multipurpose items and compare them with your list. One of the first bug out bag packing tips I’ve learned is to sort all the survival gear you got on the living room floor. This will help you understand the big picture and spot the bulk counts. You will also how to figure out how all these supplies should fit on your back.
Related reading: Choosing a backpack for your Bug Out Bag
Managing the load
This is one of the bug out bag packing tips that should be a no-brainer, but most of the time it is blatantly ignored by many survivalists and preppers. Why does this happen? After many years and countless debates I can tell you that there are two main reasons behind this thinking. First, we as human beings have a hoarding mentality that is deeply engraved in our gene pool. As history thought us, the abundance periods of humans never lasts and we learned to put the worst before the best as a precautionary measure. We lived through harsh times and we learned to stockpile as to never experience those scarcity situations again.
The same goes with the items you put in your bug out bag. You follow the same old rule of: it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Second, we are able to push ourselves when desperate times are upon us and we are going to do everything we can to survive, including carrying a few extra pounds on our backs. While I can somehow understand these human characteristics, exceeding the recommended carrying weight for your physical build is not recommended. It will cost you more than a few supplies being left behind. After a long walk through difficult terrain, you will have to deal with sore shoulders and legs and possibly a back injury.
When it comes to bug out bag packing tips, always remember the following:
- For on-trail, the recommended body/carry weight ratio should be between 30 to 40 percent.
- For off-trail, the recommended body/carry weight ratio should be 20 to 30 percent
To put it simple, if you weigh 180 pounds, you should never exceed 72 pounds of weight for your on-trail bug out bag and 54 pounds of weight for off-trail. This will help you avoid serious injury and it will make it possible to reach your safe haven. This of course, also depends on your physical condition. You should test your bug out bag once you have packed the proper weight for your body type. You can also reduce the total weight if you can’t carry it for more than 3 miles without having to take a break.
Recommended reading: Items that should be in your 72 hour Bug Out Bag
Here is where things get really interesting and how the bug out packing tips can save you a headache. Most preppers agree that the most efficient way to load your pack would be to store the lightest items at the bottom and near the top of the pack. The heaviest items should be placed closer to your spine, at the center of your backpack. This will help you spread the load evenly and will maintain a good body posture for longer distances.
However, the way you pack your backpack is greatly influenced by the trail you need to follow. When it comes to bug out bag packing tips, the on-trail and off-trail factors will dictate how items get stored in your backpack. For on-trail, it is recommended to place heavy items higher up the pack, behind the shoulder-blade region. This will assure weight distribution more into your hips and will create a stable, on-trail posture.
As for off-trail, the heavy items should be placed lower in the back in order to lower your center of gravity. This is very helpful when navigating up and down terrain, where good stability is needed. The side weight should be balanced as well. The items you place side by side should have the same weight. Bulky items that are relatively light, such as sleeping pads should be placed on top of the outer area of your pack. When it comes to sleeping bags, these should go in the main compartment of your pack and not lumped into a stuff sack.
Consider an EDC
Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to bug out bag packing tips is that you should have some items on you at all time. The type of items that would keep you alive if you get separated from your bug out bag. Make good use of the jacket or pants pockets your clothes have to store your backup survival gear. Once your backpack is fully loaded you will need to snug everything down using the compression straps. This will help you reduce the bulk. It will prevent the load from shifting around as you follow your bug out bag path.
The other pockets of your backpack should be used to store often-used items. Use them for items such as maps, phone, medicine, lantern and so on. It’s better to have these survival items at hand rather than unpacking everything. Going through the entire bag just to retrieve a small item should be avoided. It will only cause frustration when reassembling your pack and you will lose precious time.
If you are serious about your bugging out plan, pay attention to the bug out packing tips listed in this article. They will help you better organize your pack. Each bug out bag should be personalized based on the owner who uses it. The items bought and packed, the way they were pack and how they will be used should provide comfort and peace of mind, rather than frustration and lose of time.
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