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Here’s Why Your Bug-Out Bag May Fail You

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A survival kit or bug-out bag is designed to serve as an evacuation pack for you to survive a minimum of 72 hours after a crisis. Contrary to a few myths, it is not designed for long-term survival, but instead is a limited bag of survival gear to get you from Point A to Point B, and perhaps from Point B to Point C and beyond.

Natural disasters, chemical spills and terrorist attacks are all viable scenarios where “bugging in” would pose a greater risk than “bugging out.” To bug out, you need to have the right survival gear, and just as importantly, you need to have the right bag to carry all of that gear.

Unfortunately, far too many people make the mistake of picking out any backpack that simply looks good.

But there are specific elements you need to look for. The first is the capacity of the backpack. Your bug-out bag should be designed to hold as much gear in as little space as possible. To do that, your chosen backpack must have a variety of compartment sizes, where every compartment can be sealed off to keep everything in it secure.

Since bug-out bags are designed to get you through a minimum of three days, look for a backpack that holds a volume of around 60 liters with an internal frame. Internal frame backpacks are backpacks that are supported from an aluminum frame that’s placed inside the backpack. This makes the backpack significantly more flexible and lightweight than backpacks that instead feature an external frame.

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An internal frame backpack is also designed to take weight off of your shoulders and transition it over to your waist, so it makes long-distance trekking much easier. The majority of backpacks available on the market are internally framed due to their weight and flexibility.

If you want a bag that can last you longer than three days, you can increase the volume to around 90 liters with an external frame, but you’d really need to practice carrying that much weight over long distances. An internally framed backpack is simply not designed to hold more gear and supplies than can last you three days.

External frame backpacks are the types of backpacks that are used often by backpackers to carry additional items such as extra clothes, a sleeping bag, a tent and blanket. Because the backpack is supported from a frame on the outside, it can hold considerably more weight. The frame places space between the backpack and your back, meaning that you won’t perspire nearly as much as you would with an internal frame.

All in all, if you want a traditional three-day bug-out bag, your best option is the internal frame.  For a heavier backpack that can hold more equipment and can last you longer than three days, the heavier but more durable external frame is a superior option.

When looking at specific backpacks, only buy reputable brands and make sure that the pack is made out of high quality materials. You don’t want zippers breaking and water soaking all of your gear. To give you an idea of the backpack you should be considering, give a look at military-grade packs.

Finally, the appearance of your bag is also important. You’ll definitely want to avoid bright colors that stand out, such as orange, red or yellow. Neutral colors such as green, gray or dark blue are better choices.

What advice would you add for choosing a bug-out bag? Share it in the section below:  

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