Bug Out Bag size, it’s a common question. How big or small should your bag be? The answer is “It Depends” which is never the one you’re looking for but it let’s us give you a lot more information.
Bug Out Bags come in all shapes and sizes. There’s really no wrong answer for how big it should. This is true as long as you have an answer to another question: Where are you bugging out to?
Bug out bags are planned with a purpose. They’re designed to get you from Point A to Point B. This is because, for most people, you can’t fit everything you need to survive forever in one bag.
Get Home Bug Out Bag Size
Let’s start with a small form of bug out bag, the Get Home Bag. You can probably guess what it’s designed for. This type of bag should contain everything that you need to get from wherever you are back home. (Bags like this are usually stored in your car or place of business.) This is important so you can get your family and your supplies and either hunker down or bug further out.
These bags aren’t normally designed for extended use. They carry about 24 hours of emergency supplies and quick rations. They’re designed to keep you going as you close a short gap. When you’re considering size for this bag, it can be tempting to go too big. With knowledge of what tools you would need to survive for longer it may feel silly not to throw them in. That’s why the purpose is so important when you’re sizing out the bag.
A Get Home Bag should be lightweight and easy to throw on and move with. Ideally, you can drive home if the worst happens. This is the bag you grab if you have to leave your car behind and move on foot. You’ll want a relatively small and light backpack.
Bug Out Bag Size
Your standard bug out bag normally shoots to triple this timeframe. The ideal goal is that your bug out bag has enough supplies to last you three days, but there’s a balance you have to reach. Studies on hikers have shown that if your bag is more than 20% of your body weight, you become much more likely to hurt yourself. That’s just by carrying it! Others suggest that ideally you should shoot for 10%. This level keeps you healthy but also allows you to run full speed if you need to. Plus you should be able to fit everything you need.
This would mean that if you’re a 200 lb person, you should shoot for 20 lbs of weight. You could carry up to 40 lbs if you’re in peak physical condition. But even then, this weight will wear you out faster. Not only that, but it still carries a higher risk of injury like blisters or even falls. For this purpose the size of your bag is less important than the weight. Prioritize lighter bags over even more durable bags. This bug out bag is only designed to last you three days anyway.
With this bag you should be getting you and your loved ones to a more permanent location. Whether that’s with friends or family far away; a bug out property that you’ve planned for; or even just an area of nature that you can build shelter and find permanent food and water sources at.
The final size “bag” you may want to weigh out is sometimes called an INCH Bag (or tub). The INCH stands for ‘I’m Never Coming Home” and so any bag with that purpose in mind could be considered an INCH bag. I recommend only having a bag larger than the limits described above if you already have another bug out bag. Anything larger can weigh you down or could be unnecessary.
You should be prepared to abandon it and run with your bug out bag if you have to. Anything bigger than the above bags should be taken in a car. For this reason, you can go with larger duffles or even plastic tubs. Just keep in mind that extra weight will take more gas in your car and increase the likelihood of a flat if it’s too severe. Make absolutely sure you’ve got your bug out bag set before filling tubs or duffles with luxuries that aren’t necessary to keep you alive.