Go Bag Items: The Essentials And Must-Haves

The go bag items you have on hand may be the only thing that you can bring with you if you have to head for the hills in a hurry. It pays to think out in advance what you’re going to need. That way, you won’t stumble into situations you’re not prepared for. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

A hiker carrying his go bag items.

How To Think About Go Bag Items

When you’re planning your go bag items, you have to think a little differently. You want everything to be as light as possible, including the bag itself. The “go” in a go bag means you’re trying to be mobile and agile. 

Survival is also paramount. You’re not trying to assemble your must-have luxuries, you’re trying to stay safe and alive. The best way to make sure you’ve got your bases covered is to remember the Rule of Three’s.

Go Bag Items And The Rule Of 3’s

Air

You can only survive 3 minutes without air. Luckily, Earth is mostly covered in it. Problems arise when something contaminates the air. Many types of disaster might do this. Volcanic ash, tear gas, or even heavy smog can impede your ability to get oxygen in your system.

For this reason, air masks are a must have for your go-bag. You should at least have N-95 masks handy. These are cheap, lightweight, and easy to use. If you’ve got extra space or fear that air quality will be a major factor in your escape, opt for a larger respirator

Shelter

This one surprises a lot of people, but shelter can be more time sensitive than water or food. You can only survive 3 hours in extreme hot or cold environments. Shelter should include your clothing and something you can camp with. 

This depends on your environment. If you’re in an area that experiences extreme heat or extreme cold, you should have a change of clothes that will protect you from this. You should also have a folding poncho. Getting wet can be deadly in a survival situation. It very quickly wicks heat away from your body. Getting a poncho with grommets will mean that with some rope or twine, you can use it as a tent as well.

As for your shelter, your rain poncho and cord should be able to cover you, but what about keeping you warm? Emergency Mylar blankets are cheap, versatile, and very lightweight. You can line your shelter with it, wear it around yourself, and even signal for help with shiny ones. They’re a must-have go bag item.

Water

You can only survive 3 days without water. Because water is so heavy, you can bet that you cant carry enough to sustain you for long. This is where planning comes into play. I’ve already written an article about water purification you can read (HERE), so I’ll spare you the details. More important than having water is being able to clean water you find. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have a water purification straw for the short term, and techniques planned for the long term.

Food

You can make it about 3 weeks without food, depending on the person. While it’s another one that requires renewability, it’s a little easier to carry than water. Emergency rations have a good shelf life, and are easy to carry. You can toss a 72-hour supply of food in as a go bag item that’ll carry you until you reach a safer destination.

Bug Out Items – Tools

There are a few tools you’ll want to add to your list of bug out items in addition to the Rule of Three’s gear.

First off, you’ll want light. If you plan to be traveling at night, or if you will be out after dark, you’ll need to be able to see. Cheap flashlights are lightweight and can be found everywhere, but headlamps are an even better idea. They’re hands-free and also very lightweight.

Additionally, you’ll want a good multitool. They come in a million shapes and sizes but the must-haves are a cutting edge, pliers, and a fire-starter. If you have these bases covered then you’re ready for most everything.

Go Bag Items Wrap-up

Ultimately, what goes in your go bag is up to you. You need to make sure that you understand how to use everything you pack. And you need to make sure that the total weight is manageable for you. Otherwise you’ll be chucking useless items as you go, wasting time and energy when it matters most.

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Bug Out Cooking Kit Shopping List: Point-By-Point

This bug out cooking kit will give you a good baseline to start with. It’s perfect for longer-term bugging out, not necessarily short-term get home bags. There’s a lot of things that you an add to your kit. There are tons of luxury items you can throw in if you’ve got the extra space! But you have to remember to keep weight and the ways to reduce it in mind. 

Someone using a bug out cooking kit.

The first way is with materials. Aluminum and titanium are much lighter than iron or steel! The other way to bring weight down is with the number of pieces. If you reduce the number of pieces then you reduce the total weight right off the bat.

Bug Out Cooking Kit List

  1. A Lightweight Wood-Burning Stove (Optional)
  2. A Cooking Pot
  3. A Cup For Each Person
  4. A Bowl For Each Person
  5. A Set Of Silverware For Each Person (This could be a fork and a spoon, or a spork.)
  6. A Can Opener (This might be on your Multi-Tool.)
  7. A Wooden Cooking Spoon (Can be cut short to save space.)

Now let’s jump to the recommendations. Since this is a short list I wanted to give two choices for each piece of gear. Ultimately, this whole thing comes down to a lot of preference. Everyone cooks and eats differently. The only way to know what you really need is to test it yourself! Below you’ll find my recommendations and also a link to a list of all of them put together.

TOMSHOO Camping Stove

Ohuhu Camping Stove

MSR Alpine Stowaway Pot

GSI Outdoors Halulite Boiler

Life Gear Stainless Steel Mug

TOAKS Titanium Cup

Ecoart Silicone Expandable Collapsible Bowl

Bisgear Lightweight Dinnerware (6 pcs)

Light My Fire BPA-Free Original Spork BIO

finessCity Titanium Spork

Two Sets of P-38 and P-51 Military Can Openers

Gerber Suspension-NXT Multi-Tool

OXO Good Grips Wooden Corner Spoon

Genius Outdoors Titanium Spoon

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Bug Out Hammock? A Bed That Goes With You!

Should you bring a bug out hammock for your bag? When you’re bugging out, there are a few primary goals that rise above the others. You need to keep things light and keep moving quickly to reach your destination. You should keep a low profile when you can. Hammocks are an excellent solution to sleeping. Not to mention that they’re way more comfortable than a lot of other sleep options.

Woman in a bug out hammock.

There aren’t a lot of other items that provide so much comfort with so little weight. Hammocks are just ridiculously comfortable. People use them all the time without it being a survival situation. If you don’t have a hammock your other options are leaves and wood.

Backpackers And Campers Already Use Hammocks

When you think of hammock you may think of the wide woven rope hammocks that you see on a lot of porches and patios. These are very comfortable. The problem with them is that they’re enormous! In come camping hammocks. 

Camping hammocks are usually made of parachute-like materials. When you feel them, they’re quite thin. This might lead you to believe that they’re not durable enough for a serious situation. Despite how light they stay, they can handle it. The nature of them keeps them off the ground and out of harm’s way for most of their use. As long as you don’t wear knives on your belt, you’re not going to hurt them either.

Camping hammocks are still big. They can easily fit any full grown person. That said, they fold down small. Camping hammocks come with compact bags that compress it down to fit in darn near anything. Often, the bag is attached to the hammock. This is important for keeping track of it.

The thing it’s more important for is a pouch that keeps things close in hand at night. You can keep your flashlight, your multi-tool, even a firearm right there with you. This will keep you ready for anything at a moment’s notice.

I’ve personally spent many nights sleeping in camping hammocks. You can even get name-brand hammocks these days for under $30. I can attest that they’re comfortable and very easy to set up.

Setting Up A Bug Out Hammock

Most hammocks come with a carabiner on their end for attaching it to your hanging solution. Mine came with a couple cheap metal-ish S-hooks. They did the job for a while but eventually one gave out. If your hammock doesn’t come with any, they’re worth picking up.

They’re sturdier than other options and aluminum carabiners are light, too. As an eagle scout, I recommend just having a lot of carabiners in general. They’ve got a million uses for hanging on to things and for construction.

You can buy (and some come with) special straps. These elastic straps make setting the hammock up dead easy. These take all the rope work out of setting up your hammock. With these straps, setting up your hammock takes minutes, if it even takes more than one.

Even without them, you just need to tie some knots and play around with them a little to get the right hang. The paracord that I’m sure you’ll have in your pack will serve you well.

Another much needed upgrade is a roof. With another simple line you can throw your tarp or poncho over the top. Boom, for less than the price of your backpack you’ve got a lifted tent. You’ll be more comfortable than you were on the ground, and likely warmer. You can tie the edges of the tarp to give yourself a floating tent that’s sealed from the wind.

For the weight, a hammock is the best “luxury” item you can include in your bug out bag. It’ll turn scraping by in a stressful situation into a relaxed backpacking trip away from trouble.

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Best Bug Out Backpack (And Other Bags) [2020]

If you’re planning a BOB, you’re going to want a bug out backpack. Or at least some other sort of bag. One of the most important parts of your bug out bag is the bag itself. You won’t make it far if you’re trying to carry your gear and supplies in plastic shopping bags. 

One bug out backpack next to another.

The biggest rule to keep in mind when you’re picking and packing your bag is to try and keep it at 10% of your weight. Max, you can go up to 20%, but that’s for the most physically fit. This means that if you’re 200 lbs, you should shoot for 20 lbs. This should be kept in mind if your bug out plan involves any kind of walking. 

The list below gives you a variety of bags that are ready for action. These can be bug out bags, get home bags, or even car go-bags. If you’re looking for a bag, you can find one to fit your needs here!

Best General Bug Out Backpack

The first bug out backpack in the list here is a good all around backpack. This bag can roll into pretty much any situation. The company that makes it is veteran owned and they stand by their products being combat-ready. You don’t get a better endorsement than that.

Let’s talk features. Cinch straps allow you to compress or expand this bag into what you need. You can fit this bag to any job you need it for.

It’s got specialized compartments. Close to the main pouch you’ll find a water bladder. This makes this an excellent hiking bag on top of a bug out bag. In the front you’ll find a universal holster. Securing your defense will be an important part of securing your supplies.

All in all, if you’re looking for a general purpose bag that will stand the test, look no further!

Best Big Bug Out Duffle

This bag is beefy. Users love the spaciousness of it. One reviewer even boasts that he can easily carry 120 lbs of gear in this bag!

Of course, a bug out bag shouldn’t be that heavy. That said, this makes an excellent INCH bag, if you can transport it! 

You can fill this bag with a tent, sleeping bags, pillows, all sorts of bulky or luxury items. If you can bug out with your car, having this bag pre-packed will let you take anything you could want!

When bags have enough space for a lot of weight, sometimes they have trouble holding up. This is not one of those bags! This bag is durable, and it’ll stay durable time and time again!

Best Backpacker’s Bug Out Backpack

This bug out backpack blends the strengths of my previous two picks here. It’s spacious, more spacious than you strictly need. But with that, it’s still lightweight and easy to carry.

As far as backpacking bags go, this is an excellent price. You’re getting a lot of value for just $50.

This backpack has a lot of space on the inside. It’s got large pockets and a generous shoe pocket at the front bottom. Even more than that, the side straps allow you to strap in tools or shelter on the outside.

Reviewers agree! With a 4.5 star rating out of over 1000 reviews, this bag is the real deal. Owners rave about the value! This is a $200 value bag that they’re selling for much much less!

Best Bug Out Backpack For Kids

If you’ve got kids, your bug out plan get’s a lot more complicated. They’re small, and their supplies is small, but they still need quite a bit. They can’t carry much themselves. But, getting them their own little backpack will keep the strain off. It’ll also let them contribute to the family’s overall survival.

This bag doesn’t have a lot hanging off of it. Those with kids will know that having less for them to catch on is a good thing. 

Parents all over love this bag for their children. It’s comfortable and still spacious. Kids love it, too! They love being able to carry their own things and having a bag all their own!

Keeping spirits up is an important part of bugging out. Giving your child a job, even a small one, helps them feel important!

Best Bug Out Briefcase

I wanted to include one more type of bag. This bag bridges the gap between your average backpack and a messenger bag.

Designed for police, this bag has many pockets and a lot of space. This will let you organize your gear and keep it all handy.

The uses of this bag seem endless. Some owners use it as a gear bag while they’re in the gym. The low profile and mute colors disguise anything you put inside as being of little interest.

Some owners even use this as a diaper bag! It’s a lot less frilly than the floral diaper bags you see everywhere.

This bag is versatile. If you’re looking for a casual bag with a lot of possibilities, this is the bag for you!

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First Aid Shopping List For Bug Out Bags

This first aid shopping list will give you a good versatile first aid kit you can keep in your bug out bag, get home bag, and your car as well.

This can be slimmed down and tweaked to hit size goals, but it covers all of your most likely injuries and forgoes a lot of luxury items that other guides may recommend. I consider everything in here to be necessary and have organized the list based on injuries.

Bug Out First Aid Kit Shopping List all packed up.

The Bug Out First Aid Shopping List

  1. Small Cuts and Wounds
    • 1 Roll Medical Tape
    • 4 Alcohol Pads
    • 1 Tube Antiseptic
    • 3-5 Q Tips
  2. Burns
    • 1 Tube of Antiseptic Burn Cream
  3. Traumatic Injury
    • 5 8”x10” Sterile Heavy Gauze
    • 3-5 Blood-Clotting Trauma PAds
    • Butterfly Strips or Suture Kit
    • 1 Tourniquet
    • 1 Blood Clotting Agent
  4. Infection and Disease
    • 3 Days Anti-Diarrheal
    • Potassium Iodide (Radiation)
    • 2 Course Antibiotics
  5. Mobility Impairment
    • 1 Ace Bandage
    • 1 Moleskin
  6. Other
    • Multi-Tool with Snippers and Tweezers
    • Emergency Blanket
    • Snakebit Kit (Dependent On Location)
    • 2 Air Masks
    • 3 Days Pain Killers
    • 2 Safety Pins

This will give you a robust first aid kit that will cover all your likely injuries without focusing on fancy gear or unlikely scenarios. It can be slimmed down to fit smaller kits as you decide what you think you’re more or less likely to need. Let’s jump into my recommendations. I put together my list based on what I would pick. I value quality, but I also value keeping costs low. My picks are a blend of that.

If you’d like to skip the list here and jump right to the shopping, I’ve put together a full wish list on amazon with everything from the list included!

——–> Click Here For The Full List! <——-

First Aid Shopping List: Small Cuts and Wounds

Medical Tape – Nexcare First Aid Tape

Alcohol Wipes – COVIDIEN 6818 Webcol Alcohol Wipe (200 pack)

Small Cut disinfectant – Neosporin (.5 oz)

Cotton Swabs – Sky Organics Cotton Swabs

Burns

Burn Salve – FAE-7011 SmartCompliance Burn Cream

Traumatic Injury

Gauze Pads – Medline Sterile Abdominal Pads (8″x10″, 18 ct.)

Clotting Gauze – QuikClot Advanced Clotting Gauze

Butterfly Bandages – AM WHT CRS MP60333 American White Cross Butterfly Wound Closures

Tourniquet – Recon Medical BLK-1PAK-FBA Tourniquet

Trauma Packs – CELOX Traumatic Wound First Aid Packets

Infection and Disease

Anti-Diarrheal – Gericare Anti-diarrheal

Iodine – IOSAT Potassium Iodide

First Aid Shopping List: Mobility Impairment

Bandage Wrap – Mighty-X Elastic Bandage Wrap

Moleskin – Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin Plus Padding Roll

First Aid Shopping List: Other

Multi-Tool – Gerber 30-000469 Dime Mini

Emergency Blanket – ANMEILU Thermal Blanket

Venom Extractor – Sawyer Venom Extractor

Air Filtration Mask – SuppyAID KN95 Protective Mask

Pain Relief – Aleve Tablets

Safety Pins – SINGER Assorted Safety Pins

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Get Home Bag: What Is It And What’s In It?

A get home bag is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a prepper bag designed to get you from where you are back to your home. This is important for several reasons, likely you’ve got loved ones that you want to get home to. These loved ones might even rely on you so getting home to them is especially important. You can skip to my shopping list, but this article will help you understand why you need what you need.

At the least, if you’ve got a get home bag, you’ve probably already got a bug out bag at home, likely even more supplies. Your get home bag is the small mobile version of these supplies designed to get you back to your main supply stash. So what kind of things should you put in a GHB, what kinds of things should you leave out?

Get home bag on mountain.

The first thing you need to consider is the weight. The primary goal of your get home bag is to get you home, this means you’re going to be mobile the whole time you’ve got it. Especially if time is of the essence you’re going to want to move fast. Keeping that in mind, you also want to plan to have about 24 hours of supplies with you. 

Get Home Bag Rations

Water is one of the heaviest things that humans need to survive. Fortunately, you really only need about a liter of water in your GHB. To hit the 24 hour mark, you’re going to want some food in there too. About 3-6 protein bars will do the trick. They may not be a long term solution alone for food but for getting home, they’re light and they’re all you need. Being able to slim down on the rations part of your bag is going to leave valuable space for everything else. This is especially important as GHB’s need to be as versatile and as light as possible.

Clothes

A full set of survival ready clothing is a must. You don’t want to go bugging out in a suit and tie and you’ll be a lot slower if you try. You’ll want a good camping shirt and pants but most important is a good pair of shoes. If you try to go a long distance in dress shoes, you’ll regret it. You’ll want a pair of tennis or hiking shoes that you can stay on your feet in. In addition to those, your set of clothes should include a shady hat and a pair of gloves. If you find yourself bushwhacking, you’re going to want to be protected.

Get Home Bag Shelter

If you’ve got to hunker down you’ll want a poncho and a tarp. They even sell ponchos that have grommets in them so they can double as additional shelter. Hopefully you won’t need to stay overnight anywhere but in the case that you do, you’re going to need to stay dry and warm. Between the two of these fabrics, you’ll have an overhead cover and a ground cover. Additionally, an emergency blanket is another fabric that’ll serve you well. Especially so if it gets cold. Of course to construct your shelter, you’re going to need some rope, too. About 100 feet of paracord should be enough for anything you need to get through.

Fire

If you’ve got to camp out you’re going to want to want fire. It keeps the bugs away and it may be crucial to your survival if it gets cold out. A good firestarter is important. (Bic lighters are cheap and effective.) Some pre-prepared fire gel will get your fire going easily. For a DIY option, Some petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls will also work. 

If you’ve got to be out in the dark you’re going to want a headlamp, too. The headlamp is better than a normal flashlight too because being hands free keeps you ready. It’s also a versatile tool. Speaking of versatile tools, a multi-tool is always important. Frankly, a multi-tool is something worth keeping on you at all times, it just comes in handy all the time.

Get Home Bag First Aid

A First Aid Kit is always a good thing to have around. This is another item that even if you don’t have a get home bag, it’s still worth keeping around. Now more than ever we’re sure you know having hand sanitizer around can come in handy. Along with the first aid kit, having some extra hygiene supplies will bring some comfort. A toothbrush or some moist towelettes are a good example of these. An N95 respirator mask can also keep you healthy if there’s smoke in the air. And if there’s a serious disaster, there’s likely to be smoke.

Communication

As far as emergency communications, it’s a good idea to have a crank-powered emergency radio. This will keep you in the loop if situations change and can’t run out of charge. You’ll also want some sort of emergency signal (like a flare gun). If you end up in a situation you can’t get yourself out of it may be the difference between life and death. Finally, you’re going to want a map and compass of your local area to help you navigate. 

Finally on the interpersonal front you’re gonna want some cash. Whatever amount you have, keep the bills small and spread it out throughout your pack. Never put yourself in a situation where you have to show all of your money at once. If things go really south, you’ll want some protection, too. Mace is a must. It’s cheap, effective, and allowed almost everywhere. Additionally if you know how to properly keep and use one, a small handgun will serve you well if you have to use it.

This should pretty much cover the things that you really need in your get home bag. If you think of other things to add, as long as you follow the golden rule of keeping the weight down, you can expand the range of things you’re ready for. Remember, all the prepping you do won’t do you any good if you can’t get back to it!

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Get Home Bag Shopping List: Point-By-Point Guide

This bag is like a slimmed down version of a bug out bag designed to keep you mobile and support you for 24 hours as you make your way back to your loved ones and supplies at your home location. The name of the game here is speed and agility. You can add more but any extra weight will slow you down, and the point of the GHB is speed. For this reason, I’ve only listed items I believe are necessities.

A get home bag on a mountain.

The Get Home Bag Shopping List

  1. Food and Water
    • 3-6 Protein Bars
    • 1 Liter of Water (In a Nalgene or Collapsible Bladder))
  2. Clothing (Change Into This Before You Depart)
    • Lightweight Camping Shirt
    • Lightweight Camping Pants
    • Hiking Shoes
    • Work Gloves
    • A Shady Hat
  3. Shelter
    • Rain Poncho with Grommets
    • Tarp
    • Emergency Blanket
    • 100 ft of Paracord (Many Uses)
  4. Fire and Light
    • Firestarter (Bic Lighters Are Cheap and Effective)
    • Prepped Fire Kindling (Petroleum Jelly Soaked Cotton Balls)
    • Headlamp
    • Good Multi-Tool
  5. First Aid Kit
    • Can Be Slimmed Down For Weight But Follow First Aid Kit Guidelines
    • Air Filtration Mask
  6. Emergency Communication
    • Hand Crank Weather Radio
    • Whistle
    • Compass
  7. Interpersonal
    • Cash (Spread Throughout Bag)
    • Bear Mace
    • Gun (Only If Trained and Able)

This covers everything you should need to close the gap between you and your loved ones. The only thing on this list I wouldn’t consider a necessity is the gun. If you keep your Get Home bag at work then this likely can’t be included. If you’re not already a gun owner don’t consider getting one unless you’re prepared to learn how to safely handle and maintain one.

Let’s jump into my recommendations. I put together my list based on what I would pick. I value quality, but I also value keeping costs low. My picks are a blend of that. I’ve also scooted the “not required” items to the bottom of the list here.

If you’d like to skip the list here and jump right to the shopping, I’ve put together a full wish list on amazon with everything from the list included!

——–> Click Here For The Full List! <——-

Food and Water

Emergency Food Rations – S.O.S. Rations Emergency 3600 Calorie Food bar – 3 Day/ 72 Hour

Water Bottles – TOMNK 9pcs Collapsible Water Bottles

Clothing (Change Into This Before You Depart)

Bug Out Shirt – Naviskin Men’s Long-Sleeve Shirt

Bug Out Pants – Postropaky Men’s Hiking Pants

Sturdy Bug Out Shoes – Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes

Sturdy Gloves – Ironclad General Utility Work Gloves

Shady Hat – Cooltto Wide Brim Sun Hat

Shelter That Fits in a Get Home Bag

Reusable Poncho – AGPTEK Reusable Rain Poncho with Hood

Sturdy Tarp – Terra Hiker Camping Tarp

Emergency Blankets – ANMEILU Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets

Cordage – GeGeDa Paracord

Fire and Light

Fire-starter – bayite 4 Inch Survival Ferrocerium Drilled Flint Fire Starter

Emergency Fire Fuel – Phone Skope PYRO Putty (Emergency Fire Starter)

Hands-Free Light – Soft Digits Headlamp Flashlight

Mutli-Tool – Gerber Suspension-NXT Multi-Tool

Get Home Bag First Aid Kit

This can be slimmed down to the necessities for weight, but generally follow my other bug out first aid kit guide.

Air Filtration Mask – SuppyAID RRS-KN95-5PK KN95 Protective Mask

Emergency Communication

Weather/Emergency Radio – RunningSnail Emergency Hand Crank Solar Weather Radio

Utility Whistle – Woodcovo 10 Pack Aluminum Whistle

Magnetic Compass – AOFAR AF-5C Orienteering Compass for Hiking

Get Home Bag Interpersonal Gear

Self-Defense – Mace Brand Self-Defense Triple Action 3-in-1 Formula

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Bug Out Bag Size: How Big To Go?

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.

Backpacker with a large bug out bag size.

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.

INCH Bag

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.

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