One of the things that separate newbies from preppers is that the experts realized at some point just how heavy their backpack had become. The more they thought about the various bug out scenarios they will have to face, the more they realized many of the items will not be useful. This is why newbies keep adding pound after pound in their survival bag: “because you never know”.
Well, here’s the problem: bugging out with a 60 or 70 pound bag on your back is just not possible. That’s how much a military backpack can weigh. It’ll slow you down, you won’t be able to sprint if need be and good luck jumping with that thing or throwing it over a fence. Even worse, after 2 or 3 weeks post-collapse, much of your muscle mass will be gone, meaning you’ll be able to carry even less weight.
In what follows I’m going to give you a few suggestions of things to remove from your BOB. In most cases, you can get rid of them right away; the only case you should think twice is if you’re not assembling a BOB but an INCH bag, which stands for I’m Never Coming Home. INCH bags are oversized bug out bags designed to keep you alive without permanent shelter for an indefinite amount of time and, as you might expect, they have mores tuff in them.
One more thing before we begin. If you already have a car bug out bag, an EDC bag or even a get home bag, consider storing some of the things there. You’ll probably be able to take your other bags with you.
#1. CondomsOK, so it’s cool and funny when those guys on survival reality TV shows carry water inside condoms. But is this what you really think you’ll be doing in a survival situation? Unless you think you’ll “get lucky” while bugging out, I would skip them. Don’t let the fact that they’re small and light fool you. When you’re looking to build the perfect bug out bag, every ounce counts.
#2. VitaminsI can assure you you won’t develop any vitamin deficiencies over the course a bug out. Keep them at home or at your bug out location.
#3. A copy of the SAS Survival GuideThat thing is heavy! If you expect you’re going to eat wild edibles, I suggest you get the pocket edition. You may also want to download an app on your phone that can show you the same thing. If you want, you can keep a copy of the pocket edition, though.
#4. PajamasOk, I know you’ll want to be comfortable but pajamas take a lot of space. They aren’t light, either, particularly if you opted for something thicker.
#5. CondimentsOK, I get that you’ll be in a stressful situation but packing bouillon cubes and tabasco sauce is pointless. I suggest you pick one comfort food and stick to it as opposed to getting a variety of them. Coffee, tea, hard candy... you’ve got plenty to choose from, just watch the weight.
#6. A gun cleaning kitYou probably won’t have to clean your gun during the bug out so you might as well keep it at your BOL.
#7. An alcohol stoveI’m not saying no one should have one but if you’re expecting a short bug out, you might want to consider a solid fuel tablet stove. It’s a lot lighter, which means you can carry more fuel!
#8. Too many pairs of socks and underwearIf you’ve got 4 or 5 of each, consider keeping at most 2. You can wash the ones you’ve worn while camping if need be.
#9. A Swiss army knifeWhat sorcery is this? You shouldn’t have a Swiss army knife in your BOB? Not if you already have a good fixed blade survival knife and a good multitool (like the ones made by Leatherman). Keep the folding in one in one of your pockets and, while you’re at it, consider putting more items form your bob inside your cargo pants pockets (if that’s what you’re wearing) to take weight off your back.
#10. Batteries of various sizesIf you have 4 battery-powered devices and they all use batteries of different sizes, then you have to keep spares from each size. But if you stick to a single size (say, AAA), you don’t have to do that.
Final WordIf you’re reluctant to throwing away from your bag some of these things, let me show you all of this from a different perspective: the more you pack, the more calories you’ll have to burn to carry them, thus the more food you’ll need.
Here’s what you should do next. Take everything out from your bug out bag and, before you put it back together, try to imagine all the various scenarios you’d need it. If you can’t think of anything, leave it in a separate bag until you figure out whether it belongs in your BOB with the rest of the essentials or not.
Can you remember some of the items in your bug out bag you ended up removing? Share in a comment below.