What’s in a Bug Out Bag (BOB) – Part 1

This is an ever familiar question among survivalist and preppers that often comes up in conversation. We just want to touch on the general points of the BOB itself and try not to get too deep in the weeds since, as most of you know, this is such a dynamic part of our survival kit that it should be updated and modified seasonally and per the individual’s skill-set and load-out. Today I’m going to discuss just the bag itself.

We have numerous acquaintances who would just assume skimp on a bag then do some simple research and buy a quality bag that is comfortable and built well. There are numerous options out there nowadays for a solid pack that will do the job. One thing that I have noticed while discussing this with folks is that individuals who have never been in the military seem to have the hardest time making the right decisions on their pack. Most of that is attributed to the lack of having to lug around ridiculous amount of gear to and from the field or operational environments. Most of these folks tend to lean on the mantra, “if it’s good enough for the troops then it’s good enough for me”. This is a common misconception. Not everything the military uses is truly the best for those in the field. Yes, it’s been through the rigors of military testing and R&D, but keep in mind that in many cases the lowest bidder will get the contract. For a bug out bag we feel quality is as an important aspect as comfort and cost. You can have the most comfortable pack, that wears great with your load out for a day or two, but if it starts busting apart at the seams or, worse yet, where the straps attach to the pack itself, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening and I hope are creative enough to MacGyver the pack into a serviceable state to get you through the SHTF scenario that caused you to bug out. With that said, there’s also the other side of that coin. The prepper who has all the money to spend, who buys everything they’ve heard that the Delta or SEAL operators have. Kudos to them, but for the common prepper that’s a bit silly as well as unattainable in most cases. So let’s talk about a couple of our recommended bug out bags that we would like you to consider.

The Snugpak Sleeka Force. This is a damn near bullet proof pack that some of our staff have used extensively for up to 8 years. For the average preppers BOB this is the perfect pack for any short term SHTF situation. One of its best features are the contoured, thick shoulder straps, back padding and kidney pad. The pack itself is composed of a large compartment, 2 smaller side compartments and a quick access zipper on the top of the main flap. The main compartment is closed via draw string and covered with the main pack cover and finally secured with compression straps. The pack is also equipped with a zipper on the bottom that houses a Snugpak Aquacover which can be pulled out and over your pack to protect it and its contents during inclement weather. On the shoulder straps it is equipped with a sternum strap to keep the shoulder straps in place and off the fronts of your shoulder which causes the dreaded “dead shoulder” while under heavier weight. The kidney pad is also equipped with the standard hip belt that will keep your load-out positioned on your hips and well balanced. One of the downsides to this pack is the lack of a bladder compartment. We fixed this problem rather easily by simply packing the bladder into the right side of the main compartment. And at $85 for 2,135 Cubic Inches, it’s a pack that’s hard to beat. Snugpak is a standard issue to most British SAS soldiers and has been proven the world around.


Another great pack we recommend is Maxpeditions Xantha internal frame pack. This is a great bug out bag option that will withstand the rigors of field use and will remain solid for whatever else you decide to put it through. The most notable difference in this pack is the internal polypropylene frame that has a single aluminum stay to assist with the heavy loads. It’s comprised of a large primary compartment and a smaller zipper compartment overlaying the main compartment for quicker access to equipment. It’s also outfitted with 2 side pouches which are designed to hold the large 32 oz. water bottles or smaller items that can be cinch down with the draw cords. It also comes with the very comfortable, contoured shoulder straps with sternum strap as well as the adjustable hip belt. Now, the Xantha does come with a built in bladder compartment which compliments a 100 oz. bladder easily, unlike the Sleeka Force. For water and dirt resistance the Xantha is finished with a Teflon coating. The Xantha retails for $245 and is 2000 Cubic Inches, so comparably, you’re paying quite a bit more for the Xantha, but like any Maxpedition item you’ll know why you paid what you did once you use it. Maxpedition is known for their general, overall quality construction specifically, their stitch work.


Having read all of this please keep a few things in mind. We know beyond the shadow of a doubt that there are no one size fits all solutions and that our recommendations are just that, but if we had to recommend a couple of bug out bags to friends or family members, these are the two we would offer up. All-in-all, at the end of the day, YOU have to carry your BOB. It’s extremely important not to fall into the complacency that so many survivalist and preppers fall into by not testing your equipment extensively. Ideally, we hope we never have to use the gear you’ve set aside for a SHTF scenario, but if it does, it’s a damn good idea to know that you can trust your gear to make it through the long haul if necessary.

Nomad Survival Solutions

Tested. Reliable. Practical.

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