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Bug Out Bag | How Heavy Should It Be……Really

Bug out bag weight
Do you pack everything you can, or do you go light for speed and ease of movement. We talk about how heavy your bug out bag should be.

One important thing to know before you bug out is how much your bug out bag (BOB) should weigh. Most people lean toward the “more is better” type of thinking when it comes to supplies, but in this case it could mean and putting you in danger.

A bug out bag that’s loaded to the brim with everything but the kitchen sink is more of a burden than a help and could end up costing you time when seconds and swiftness matter. The heavier it is, the more strain it puts on your body and it will slow you down as you’re walking or running to safety.

Not only that, but if a bag is too heavy, it will act as a gravitational pull that could cause you to fall backwards in certain activities. There are different mindsets when it comes to the right weight. Some people say a ballpark estimate is less than 50 pounds – while others think along a much lighter amount of about 15.

Botanist making notes in his notepad
Botanist making notes in his notepad

The truth is a lot of it depends on your conditioning. However in general your bag should be packed only with survival necessities and should weigh around ten to fifteen percent of your body weight. While that might seem like an impossible goal and really light, you have to remember that a bug out bag isn’t a catch all solution.

It’s intended purpose is to help you survive for 72 hours – not weeks or months. If you fill it up like that, you’re going to end up with a bag that’s too heavy for you to safely bug out with. Knowledge is the most valuable thing you can travel with, and the more knowledge you have the less gear you need! Additionally, the more effectively you can use what you carry.

If your bag is too heavy, not only is it going to prevent you from bugging out with speed, but it can wear you out and even end up causing shoulder or back strain, which could impact your safety in an ambush or animal attack.

Your bag should only be loaded with about 3 liters of water and purification methods for obtaining water after that, if needed. You’ll need 3 days’ worth of food. Though it can be tempting to pack more, that would be a mistake and weigh your pack down.

Bug Out Bag

You need to follow the same 3 day rule when it comes to clothing, but I don’t necessarily endorse packing three full outfits, rather those that soil such as underwear, socks, and some t-shirts and a spare pair of pants.

Carry a means of shelter with you, but keep it minimal such as an ultralight tent or tarp. Learning how to build natural shelters gives you alot of leeway here and is much more discrete. Take a first aid kit, flashlights, fire starter method, and a camping cup or pot.

Carry any knives you brought along in the bag, but keep your gun on you so that you can get to it quicker and in general I like to have a knife quickly accessible on my body as well. Some preppers think of packing a bug out bag the same way that they pack groceries.

They put whatever is bulkiest and heavier on the bottom of the bag then load the lighter stuff on top. This is backward for a bug out bag. You want the bulk of the weight at your shoulders to avoid strain on your lower back.

You’ll want any shelter items like a tent or a tarp on the bottom – because these items fill out the bottom of the bag and help support other items that you pack on top of them. When packing a bag with outside pockets or Molle straps, make sure that you have items of equal or close weight on either side so that you don’t end up with an off balance weight.

A final point of consideration here is discretion. You may want to consider having multiple styles of bug out or 72 hour bags. I personally have a very discrete bland looking backpack for urban environments, while my woods bag is much more of a hiking/tactical style. If you have the means you can certainly pack both and store them or you can simply have both ready to be packed with the contents near.

I hope this simple walk through gives you a little guidance and points for consideration while putting your bag together next time.

Move Out Tactical Bug Out Bag

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