There are many Bug Out Bag lists posted all over the internet that look at what to include in your Bug Out Bag contents. However, many of these include everything under the sun in an attempt to cover every possible survival scenario but do not account for how carrying around all this weight with affect a person. As highlighted in our How to Make a Bug Out Plan post, a pack should weigh no more than 30% of your body weight. Any more than this will be highly strenuous and will limit a person’s ability to hike over long distances as may be required by your survival situation. To aid in your planning of your Bug Out Bag contents we have built the free tool below to help you approximate how much your Bug Out Kit will weigh, with the option of entering your own body weight to see if your gear is above or below the 30% weight threshold. Additionally, if you enter your email address and press the “Submit” button you will get a copy of your custom BOB list sent straight to your inbox to help you pack.
If all the items that you deem absolutely necessary weigh greater than 30% of your body weight you can consider the following options to reduce weight:
Use multi purpose survival tools
There are may survival tools that can do the job of several individual items. Consider replacing some of the single purpose in your survival kit with something that can do the job of several. Our list of Top 10 Multi Purpose Survival Tools covers many helpful options for slimming down your kit.
Carry less water
Water weighs a lot per volume, 8.34 lbs per gallon to be exact. It is however necessary to our survival. Depending on your locality you may be able to carry less and forage more from abandoned buildings, collected rainwater, or lakes and streams. A water filter or purification tablets are ESSENTIAL for this.
Carry less food
This is the same strategy as above with the water. Carry less and scavenge more. This may mean knowing edible plants in your area, hunting, fishing, or trapping animals, or foraging in abandoned buildings.
Reconsider your bag options
We took a look at how to judge and pick the best Bug Out Backpack for you here. You may decide that a smaller, lighter bag is a better option. A smaller bag will discourage bloat and bringing unnecessary items that will slow you down.
Cache Supplies along your route ahead of time
This is one of the options that we discussed in our Bug Out Plan post. If you are able to plan your Bug Out destination and possible routes, caching supplies is a possibility for you that will reduce weight and greatly improve your chances of survival.
Use items that don’t need batteries
Batteries are heavy enough by themselves but packing EXTRA batteries in your pack is a recipe for overpacking. If you NEED electronics rely on those that are hand cranked or that can be solar powered.
Consider multi-purpose items
There are many items that you can pack that will serve more than one purpose or be combined together to replace another item. Examples include using paracord and a tarp instead of packing a tent or using a combined hand cranked radio flashlight rather than bringing two separate items.
Grow your survival skill set
The basic rule of survival is that the more you know, the less you will need to carry. If you know how to build a shelter, you don’t need to pack a tent or hammock, if you know how to build a fire you can bring a smaller fire starter kit, cook game that you catch, and boil water rather than lugging around filtration equipment. Your mind is by far the most useful weapon in your survival armory and it needs to be honed like any other. For more information check out our post on Basic Survival Skills.
This is meant to be a guide to help you make your Bug Out Plan and aid you when considering your Bug Out Bag contents. For more information on what makes a great Bug Out kit, check out our Essential Items post or our posts on building a wilderness survival kit and urban survival kit. It is important to understand however that a survival scenario is always fluid and you will need to adapt your equipment and plan on the fly. Remember, chance favors the well prepared.