The Holmes pack features a lumbar/chest sling so it fits in with your morning and evening walk to and from the commuter train. The Holmes pack also rotates around the large padded strap, from the lumbar to the chest, so your gear is always easy to get to. It will also hold your tablet in a padded pocket. On each side are two hard, protective, thermo-formed pods. The large front pocket folds down and has organizers for pens and small tools so you can catch up on your work or figure out your next move when the train suddenly stops in the tunnel. (hazard4.com; 626-344-1454) Specifications / Duration: 24 hours / ExternalDimensions: 15 x 8.7 x 5.1 inches / Volume: 665 cubic inches / Material: Invista 1000D Cordura / Color: Black, coyote / MSRP: $135
You can carry the Unterduffel Adventure Bag as a duffel bag with the built-in handles, use a strap to carry it like a messenger bag or zip out the shoulder straps and tote it like a backpack. With a 2,300 cubic inches in capacity, the main compartment fits whatever stuff you need to bug-out, and the compression straps make sure your gear stays in place. The Unterduffel opens like a clam shell and even features a drainage grommet and PALS webbing. (maxpedition.com; 310-768-0098) Specifications / Duration: 72 hours / External Dimensions: 13 x 9 x 20 inches / Volume: 2,300 cubic inches / Material: 1050D nylon, Teflon fabric protector / Color: Black, OD green, khaki, foliage green, dark brown / MSRP: $182
The Lariat 65 was designed for weeklong treks in the backcountry and to help you escape the aftermath of a catastrophic disaster. The ICS Cup hip belt and Delta Wing Compression system help distribute weight evenly, and that’s important since the Lariat 65 can hold up to 75 pounds of gear. (mountainsmith.com; 800-551-5889) Specifications / Duration: 72+ hours / External Dimensions: 26 x 11 x 9 inches / Volume: 3,966 cubic inches / Material: 420D Duramax nylon in high-abrasion areas / Color: Midnight blue / MSRP: $200
Need a mid-sized, frameless backpack? The 3-Day Assault Pack from BlackHawk features a main compartment that holds 2,000 cubic inches of necessities. A small cargo pouch and cargo pocket fit additional gear using YKK zippers. The back panel is ventilated while shoulder straps and a waist belt are padded and a sternum strap is detachable. The 3-Day Assault Pack also features a reinforced carry/drag handle. If you are a hardcore prepper or hunter, this is a possible solution for your toting needs. (blackhawk.com; 800-379-1732) Specifications / Duration: 72 hours / External Dimensions: 37 x 20 x 13 inches / Volume: 2,000 cubic inches / Material: 1000D nylon / Color: Black, coyote tan / MSRP: $140
The rugged Level III backpack from Voodoo Tactical is made to haul less gear than a three-day assault pack, making it a good choice when you need to travel light after an emergency. Numerous MOLLE attachment points allow a user to customize the backpack with compatible accessories like pouches. The pack has two main compartments and two large exterior pockets, and it is also compatible with hydration bladder systems. A carry handle on the top allows you to tote it by hand when you don’t want it on your back. (voodootactical.com; 877-336-2567) Specifications / Duration: 24 hours / External Dimensions: 18 x 10 x 10 inches / Volume: 1,800 cubic inches / Material: 600D polyester / Color: MultiCam / MSRP: $85
Scout/sniper teams use the Eberlestock G4 Operator because the pack has been optimized for tactical use in the roughest conditions imaginable. A scabbard holds a long gun like a rifle, carbine or shotgun and allows the user to draw the weapon from the scabbard while wearing the pack. Take the pack off and it can be used as a rifle rest; the space between the outer pockets gives a rock-steady hold. (eberlestock.com; 877-866-3047) Specifications / Duration: 72 hours / External Dimensions: 27 x 12 x 10 inches / Volume: 4,700 cubic inches / Material: 500D/1000D nylon / Color: Black, dry earth, military green, coyote brown, MultiCam, UNICAM II / MSRP: $449
The ALICE (All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) pack has been standard equipment in the U.S. military since the late 1960s. The MALICE is Tactical Tailor’s modified ALICE system, updating the pack for 21st-century needs. Accessing gear with the MALICE system is faster and easier. A large main compartment can stow gear while a large upper pocket gives you easy access to the stuff you might need in a hurry. Features include a storm flap, drain holes in pockets and a carry handle. It can use a standard GI ALICE pack frame or the Fight Light MALICE Pack Frame. (tacticaltailor.com; 866-984-7854) Specifications / Duration: 72 hours / External Dimensions: 21 x 24 x 11 inches / Volume: 4,556 cubic inches / Material: 1000D Cordura nylon / Color: ACU, MultiCam, coyote brown, OD green / MSRP: $362
When the time comes to bug-out, you will undoubtedly be in a rush. The Rush 72 Backpack allows you store and carry your gear so you can concentrate on escaping from the emergency and not what to pack. The bag is water repellant so your gear stays dry during travel. Numerous MOLLE attachment points mean you can add pouches as needed. A Shove-It pocket allows the user to keep small items easily accessible. The Rush backpack also features an internal hydration compartment, a waist strap, dual compression straps and padded shoulder straps. (511tactical.com; 866-451-1726) Specifications / Duration: 72 hours / External Dimensions: 23 x 13.5 x 8.5 inches / Volume: 3,342 cubic inches / Material: 1000D Cordura nylon / Color: Black, double tap, Flat Dark Earth, MultiCam, sandstone, storm, TAC OD / MSRP: $180
The Altra 75 pack from Arc’teryx has a Load Transfer Disc that pivots to increase agility and stability on rough terrain. The C2 suspension and GridLock shoulder straps adjust for a custom fit on the go. The fabric is tear-resistant and long lasting. The Altra 75 pack comes in men’s and women’s models as well as for regular and tall statures. The pack is made to be loaded for a three- to seven-day trek, much more than the typical 72-hour bug-out bag. (arcteryx.com; 866-458-2473) Specifications / Duration: 72+ hours / External Dimensions 7.9 x 1.8 x 26.8 inches / Volume: 4,577 cubic inches / Material: 210D nylon / Color: Azure, carbon copy / MSRP: $479
The 45L Tactical Backpack seems almost cavernous in terms of space, and with smart packing you can stuff three day’s worth of sustenance inside. The large main compartment has a drawstring closure and an elastic top cover with quick-release buckles. Two easy-access side pockets are included to store small items. The bag features padded shoulder straps and additional back padding. (rothco.com) Specifications / Duration: 72 hours / External Dimensions: 26 x 13 x 11 inches / Volume: 2,000 cubic inches / Material4Polyester / Color: Black, coyote brown / MSRP: $60
Consider this your basic pack for an emergency 24-hour bug-out situation. The large flap on the Cavern makes it easy to load and unload. The straps are padded and the sternum and waist straps adjust for custom user comfort. This is a discrete-looking pack so you’ll blend in with the crowds as you make your way to safety. (mountainsmith.com; 800-551-5889) Specifications / Duration: 24 hours / External Dimensions 19.25 x13 x 6.75 / Volume: 1,464 cubic inches / Material: 600D Poly Melange / Color: Camp green, inky blue, anvil grey / MSRP: $90
The Get Home Bag is a mid-sized disaster preparedness kit to keep on hand in an office, vehicle or dorm room. Packed with name-brand gear and provisions to help you make it home during an emergency, the bag is pre-configured and ready to use. Included is a Compact Assault Pack and a 2.5-liter hydration system, provisions for one to three days consisting of six food ration bars and 2.5 liters of drinking water with a five-year shelf life, a compass, an emergency whistle, an emergency blanket, a lighter and a magnesium fire-starter, duct tape, a first-aid kit, an LED flashlight, a tent, a respirator mask and more. You can also custom order the pack; a variety of flashlights, knives, camp tools, hydration systems and more are available. At 16 pounds fully loaded, the Get Home Bag won’t break your back when you need to keep moving. (echo-sigma.com; 424-241-3246) Specifications / Duration: 24 hours / External Dimensions: 18 x 10 x 10 inches / Volume: 1,362 cubic inches / Material: 1000D nylon / Color: Red, coyote brown, black, MultiCam / MSRP: $245
When an emergency or survival situation strikes, you want to be prepared. This means having a reliable bug out bag packed and ready to go.
While many people focus most of their attention on the contents of their bug out bags, from food supplies to personal defense weapons, the bag itself is just as important as what’s inside of it.
When shopping for the right bug out bag you should be looking for something that is lightweight yet durable. It should be able to hold all of your survival essentials, making sure that they are secure and accessible when you need them most.
Bug out bags are not one-size-fits-all. That’s why we have provided you with 12 of the top bug out bags and survival packs on the market.
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This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE ™ Winter 2015 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.
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