In this article, we’re on a mission to find the top rated bug out bags (and backpacks) for 2018. Bug out bags have become very popular over the last decade or so. These types were originally used by military members and the aviation industry.
The term “bug out” dates back to the Korean War when soldiers were told to “bug out” or retreat when there was no hope of staying in the conflict and winning. Some experts attribute the term to a bastardization of the term “bail out bag” from the aviation industry.
Bug out bags are backpacks and a key component to any survivalist’s arsenal. Whether you are a prepper, hiker, hunter or just want to be able to survive a natural disaster, a bug out bag is an absolute must. These can hold all your essentials that are needed for you to survive. The bug out bag can come in many shapes and sizes.
Bug Out Bag Comparison Chart
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Table of Contents
- 1 Bug Out Bag Comparison Chart
- 2 Buying Frustrations
- 3 Our Top 3 – Best Bug Out Backpacks
- 4 Our Selection Process
- 5 Food For Your Bug Out Bag
- 6 Conclusion
- 7 More Survival Articles
Anyone that knows anything about being prepared knows that their bug out kit starts with the bag that is going to hold all their supplies. So why hasn’t everyone got theirs already?
The problem that most people face when they are searching for the perfect bug-out bag for their needs is that the choices are extensive, and it can be overwhelming to narrow down the choices. The price points also range greatly. Finding the right one to suit your needs can be very difficult and frustrating. No one should wait until they need the BOB to find out that they made the wrong choice. Most common issues that consumers come up against are:
- Price point – How much should I spend?
- Size – How much room do I need?
- Brand – Is there a “best” brand?
Size is a big bone of contention because some are listed in metric units. Others list the square inches of space inside while others list the actual dimensions. Figuring it all out can be a study in frustration.
We understand that you want to find the best bugout bag for your needs, so we have taken the liberty of reading reviews and making a checklist of requirements narrow down your options. All of these are highly recommended, and you cannot go wrong with any one of the choices.
Our Top 3 – Best Bug Out Backpacks
Choosing the best bug out tactical backpack is important to you if you have to get out of a place in a hurry. You cannot be laden down with one that you cannot carry on your frame. That said, you want it to be large and roomy enough to hold three days of essential supplies like food, water, clothing and other necessary survival items.
1. Maxpedition Vulture II Backpack
- 1000-Denier water and abrasion resistant light-weight ballistic nylon fabric
- 20.5″(H) x 16″(W) x 7.5″(D) = the main compartment
- 15.5″(H) x 12″(W) x 2.75″(D)=the front pouch
- 15.5″(H) x 12″(W)=slip pocket
- Has a 46-liter capacity
- Unpacked weight is 3lbs 8oz
What Buyers Are Saying
This model has gotten major props from most reviewers. It’s durable, strong, and sized to perfection. Some have even called it the ultmate 72-hour bag. While it’s not the cheapest option available, it’s well worth the investment.
What We Love
It is a great size for everyone. It offers a rubberized bottom so you can lay it down anywhere. It has correct size fit shoulder straps that are nicely padded and easily adjustable for different heights. It also offers a chest buckle and a waist belt to nicely divert the weight, so it is not all on your shoulders.
It offers plenty of Molle components to hook on gear. It has an 8oz water bladder pocket and more than enough straps (without being too much) to compress the pack nicely.
2. Paratus 3 Day Operator’s
- Modular design that is versatile works like three packs in 1
- 600 Denier Nylon material
- Shoulder and waist strap with detachable deployment pack
- “Self-healing” zippers with Paracord pulls
- 20″ H x 12″W x 5.5″D main compartment
- 2 attachable/detachable Molle packs (one on each side) 5″x 2.5″x 8″,
- 100 cubic inches
What We Love
If you want comfort, this is the pack for you. It offers super padded shoulder straps that are ergonomically designed. The straps are complimented with padded hip straps that help to even out the weight. Both the shoulder and the hip straps are easily adjusted to fit any size.
It also has EVA foam backing. It offers plenty of room for all your gear and has interior organization pockets. This durable pack has a heavy duty drag handle that is double stitched all the way around. It is water resistant and a well-made product.
3. Patrick Backpack – 56L
- 600 denier polyester material
- Eight front pockets
- Coil zipper closure
- Velcro covers
- 20″ x 11.5 x 11″.
What Buyers Are Saying
This bag is not for the shorter set because some folks had difficulty with adjustments. At this price point, its unlikely you will be able to find another bag that can rival it.
What We Love
We also love all the roomy pockets. It has a double drag handle which is great when you are on the go and have no other choice but to drag your bag behind you. The room in this one is tremendous and can easily pack anyone up for 72 hours and beyond.
The gun pouches are a nice touch. The look is great, the material is durable and overall it is one of the best bug out bags on the market.
Our Selection Process
We decided beforehand what the main obstacles that people have in making the choice and what the features or “must have’s” that makes one better than another are. We reviewed bug out bags that we thought would help overcome the obstacles that consumers faced and made a list of what we felt were absolute necessities to make a bug out bag best.
- Most people are working within in a budget.
- What is a fair price for a well-made bag?
- Choosing the right size is another factor that people struggle with.
- What is the perfect size?
- What material is the top bug out backpacks made of?
A good size gauge is this standard (we are going to stick with liter size). For someone that is 5 feet to 5 feet 4 inches (give or take an inch or two), they would be comfortable carrying a pack that is in the 55-liter range (max). Someone that is over 5 feet 5 inches would be comfortable carrying the larger 75-liter range (max).
Material questions are also something that has to be addressed. The material should be water resistant (waterproof or with a rain cover is best). Click here to check out our top-rated waterproof backpacks.
Supply and demand have really affected the prices at which bug out bags are being sold for. There are some over the top models that are just outrageously priced. There was an ad for a bug out bag (it was loaded with necessary survival gear) for almost $3,000! You can purchase a great bag and load it with the necessities for less than $500 and that will give you a well-stocked bag. You do not have to spend a small fortune to get a great product that will serve you well.
A bag that fits your height is going to make a difference should you have to leave in a jiffy. While a bigger one may feel fine walking around the apartment, you will feel the pains of carrying a bag that is too big for you. In a real emergency, you may be tempted just to drop it and move along.
Durable material is a must. Something that has a little give and stretch will serve you well. Narrowing down the choices to find the best that fit into the price range, which can accommodate different heights and that is made of high-quality material is no easy task.
There is probably 500 different types to choose from. We decided once the minimal standards were met that there were some extras that would also make the bag climb the ranks from the short list to the best list:
- Secure straps with extra padding
- Have convertible features so that it can be used for more than one thing
It all seemed rather reasonable but oddly enough many of the bags out there can meet the minimum standards but fall short on the extras. We listed the top 3 best on the market that met all the minimums and had most or all of the extras.
There are many times when you feel like you just want to bug out and get away from it all. Then there are more serious times when you don’t have a choice but you have to. As a result, it is a good idea to be prepared.
If you live on the Gulf Coast or the eastern seaboard, hurricanes are a seasonal danger. For those on the west coast, the ‘big one’ can shake your whole world at any moment. Meanwhile in tornado alley, a twister can destroy everything you own with the most limited of warnings. Wherever you live, it is a good idea to be prepared for an emergency.
Thankfully, since the end of the Cold War we don’t have to worry about the imminent threat of a nuclear winter, so a bunker in the back garden is not as popular as it was fifty years ago. You do however need to have enough food and water in your house to last at least 72 hours. Plus, a bag ready for yourself and everyone else in your house in the event of having to leave at a moment’s notice.
Food For Your Bug Out Bag
Your bug-out bag should be kept with your emergency preparedness kit, your emergency water and food provisions. That way you know it will be there when you need it.
The importance of water
Water is your friend when it comes to a survival situation. You honestly can’t have enough. You should have some purification tablets and a small water filter on hand incase the supply goes down or gets contaminated.
We are very spoiled in this country to have clean water coming out of a tap whenever we want. And we only truly recognize this fact whenever we are deprived of the privilege.
What To Pack?
A varied mix of foods is undoubtedly your best bet. One of the best items to start with is a good stash of protein bars. These need no water or heat to prepare and can be eaten on the go if you find yourself on a journey and there is no time to get a fire going. They are full of energy and can make a tasty treat during a quick stop. They are also well known and highly valued by others and so could, at a pinch, be used to barter for other necessities.
Freeze dried meals are a favorite amongst hikers and climbers as they can replicate the feeling of having a good meal at the end of a hard day. They have gotten to the point where, while they may not able to replicate your Friday night Spaghetti Bolognese, they might just taste even better when you are cold and hungry. Trail mix and peanut butter pouches are also tried and tested for those who want something tasty and filling to eat while they are on the move.
For breakfast, there are few better options than oatmeal or porridge, which can be stored in waterproof containers. With powdered milk and drinking chocolate, all it needs is a little heat and water to prepare a hearty and sweet tasting breakfast that will set you up for what is likely to be a long day ahead.
Don’t forget the little treats. Low morale can be as dangerous in a survival situation as the weather. If things do get tough and your group starts to feel down, or even worse starts to turn on one another (this can happen to even the best of friends in tough times), a chocolate bar can literally be worth its weight in gold. You can’t eat gold in the mountains anyway.
On the same note, coffee and tea shouldn’t be overlooked and not just because people ‘need their morning cup.’ Coffee and cookies in the evening will stave off the chills and the social aspect of sharing a communal brew should help your companions to regroup after a hard day. It can also help as you figure out which is the best way to proceed when the dawn breaks on a new day.
The Maxpedition Vulture II Back Pack wins out overall. The rubberized bottom is a big plus, and it is made from the most durable material out of the three. It is fully adjustable for any height which is a huge selling point.
If you are in the market for a new bug out bag (or EDC bag), its time and the Maxpedition Vulture II Back Pack is a great choice. You will be prepared for anything. It is the highest costing of the three, but you will get your money’s worth for years to come.
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