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Building a Better Bug Out Bag: Tips and Tricks

Alright, fellow preppers! It's time to talk bug out bags (BOBs). Whether you're preparing for the zombie apocalypse or just want to be ready for a weekend in the wild, building a better BOB is essential. So, let's dive into some tips and tricks that will help you create the ultimate bug out bag.

Organizing Bug Out Bag

Bag Color and Style Selection

First things first, let's talk about bag aesthetics. You want a bag that screams "blend in," not "look at me!" Neutral colors are your best bet here. Picture it: you're sneaking through the woods like a survivalist ninja, and your neon orange backpack gives you away. Not cool. However, if you want to be easily found, bright colors might be your jam. Just make sure your bag matches your plan. If you're heading to a hotel, who cares about the color? But if you're hiding out, avoid the "tacticool" look—it might just attract unwanted followers.

Weigh Your Bag

The great debate: how much should your BOB weigh? Some say 10-15% of your body weight. But let's be real—it all depends on you. Can you carry a 50-pound bag like a beast, or do you struggle with your grocery bags? Find a weight that works for you and practice hiking with it. And remember, weigh your bag regularly. If you add a fancy new gadget, make sure it doesn’t turn your BOB into a backbreaker.

Balance Your Bag

Imagine carrying a lopsided bag on a hike. Ouch, right? Balancing your BOB is crucial. Put the heaviest items close to your spine and in the vertical center of your backpack. This way, you won't feel like you're tipping over with every step. Trust me, your lower back, hips, and feet will thank you.

Keep a Bag Inventory List

Keeping an inventory list of what's in your bag is a game-changer. When you’re eyeing that shiny new gear, check your list first. This way, you won’t end up with three can openers and no food. Plus, if you borrow from your bag, a quick inventory check ensures you don’t forget to put stuff back.

Bug Out Bag Inventory

Stick to the Essentials

When packing your BOB, stick to the essentials. The 5 C’s of survivability are a great guide: Cutting tool (knife), Combustion device (fire starter), Cordage (paracord), Container (water bottle/filter), and Cover (shelter). Don’t forget a first aid kit (FAK) too—let’s call it the 6th C for Care. Remember, this bag isn't for a permanent wilderness retreat. It's for a 72-hour window, so keep it simple and effective.

Organize Your Bag

Ever tried to find something in a cluttered bag? It's like a survivalist's worst nightmare. Use organizers, tins, ziplock bags, or pouches to group similar items together. Your FAK, water purification kit, and fire-starting gear should each have their own pouch. This way, you’ll find what you need when you need it, without turning your bag inside out.

Pack by Urgency

Prioritize accessibility. Keep items you'll need quickly—like water, a knife, FAK, and fire-starting gear—easily accessible. There’s nothing worse than digging through your bag for a lighter at the bottom when you’re trying to start a fire.

Leave Some Room

Overstuffing your BOB is a rookie mistake. Leave some room for additional items you might pick up along the way. Plus, you don’t want to put extra stress on your zippers and seams. If your bag is bursting at the seams, it’s time to reevaluate what you’re carrying.

Reduce Noise

Silence is golden, especially when bugging out. Secure cookware, tools, and other noisy items to prevent clanking and rattling. Trust me, the last thing you want is to sound like a marching band while sneaking through the woods.

Add Some Ready-to-Use Food and Water

Freeze-dried meals are great, but having some grab-and-go food and water is a must. You never know when you might need to stay mobile. Having a hydration bladder beats water bottles hands down for ease of access. Plus, inline filtration makes purifying water a breeze.

Update and Rotate Your Gear

Your BOB isn't a set-it-and-forget-it deal. Update and rotate your gear at least twice a year. Swap out clothing for the appropriate season, replace expired food, and refresh your supplies. This way, you'll always be ready for whatever comes your way.

Waterproof Your Gear

Rain can ruin your day—and your gear. Invest in waterproof bags, rain covers, or even a trusty garbage bag. Keeping your essentials dry is crucial, especially when you need to start a fire or stay warm.

Quick Access and Removable Pouches

Having quick access to certain gear can be a lifesaver. Consider using removable pouches for your FAK and other essential kits. This allows you to grab what you need without unpacking your entire bag.

Hike with Your Pack

Don't just pack your BOB and let it gather dust. Take it out for a hike and get familiar with its weight and contents. This will help you identify what works, what doesn’t, and what you might need to adjust. Plus, it’s a great way to test your physical fitness and improve your skills.

Duct Tape and Repair Kits

Duct tape is a prepper’s best friend. It can fix almost anything. Carry a repair kit for quick fixes on the go. Whether it’s patching a tent or fixing a zipper, being able to repair your gear can save you from a lot of trouble.

Multi-Use Items

Maximize your gear's potential by choosing multi-use items. A tarp can be a shelter, ground cover, or water collector. A survival knife can handle fire-starting, self-defense, and food prep. Get creative and keep your pack light and efficient.

Important Documents and Cash

Don’t forget to pack copies of important documents like your driver’s license, passport, medical info, and some cash. In an emergency, your cards might be useless, so having cash on hand is vital.

Building a better bug out bag is all about planning, practice, and preparation. Follow these tips, and you'll have a BOB that's ready for anything—whether you're escaping zombies or just heading out for a weekend adventure. Stay safe, stay prepared, and happy packing!


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