Do you have the best bug out bags prepared for when shit hits the fan?
Whether it’s from a natural disaster, fire, or tactical situation, you need to be ready. This isn’t just geared for survivalists either. Every family needs a ready bag in the event of emergency. Simple as this sounds, not all go bags are made the same. You need one that can stand up to whatever challenges are on the way. From waterproofing to specialized Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) compartments, you should have complete confidence in your bug out bag.
Let’s talk about our picks for the best bug out bags you can buy today and heighten your situational readiness. Plus, we’ll help you figure out everything you need inside and how to pack it.
But here’s a heads-up, there are going to be Amazon Associate links inside this article. However, this isn’t going to alter my opinion on the performance of these ready bags. And they aren’t going to cost you an extra dime to use them–if you choose to. Buying through these links just helps to keep my magazines full and guns well-oiled, so I can keep giving you that honest quality content you deserve.
And with that… Here are our picks for the best bug out bags!
The number one position for duffels on our best bug out bags list goes to the Voodoo Tactical Mojo.
This thing is an absolute unit of a bag. It reminds me of my old seabag from my Navy days with its size, but a whole hell of a lot bigger, more comfortable, and convenient. The Mojo has a carrying capacity of right around 170 Liters! If you’re into a having a legit duffle, this is exactly what you need. The amount of things you’ll be able to carry in this thing borders on obscene.
And that’s just the main compartment. There are 11 exterior pouches of assorted sizes that you can use to carry anything and everything. And any Molle compatible equipment can mount right on its PALS webbing. This is the perfect bag to pickup and toss in the trunk of your car. You’ll rest easy knowing that you’re driving around with a portable warehouse in the back.
It’s sheer size–advantageous as it is–may be too much for some. And you just might prefer a back pack. But the Mojo’s got you covered. The duffel can be converted into a backpack or slung across the shoulder via high-grade D-rings and rigging. And if you’re worried about your stuff jostling around too much, don’t be. The compression straps on this bad boy will hold everything in place.
This bag is built like a freaking tank and may be one of the best bug out bags you’ll ever own.
Voodoo Tactical Mojo Specs
|Specialized Compartments||11 Exterior and Molle webbing|
|Dimensions||39″ x 18′ x 15″|
VooDoo Tactical Mojo Pros and Cons
Heavy duty construction, enormous, backpack and shoulder strap conversion kit, lifetime warranty, made in America.
No designated hydration or CCW compartment
When you purchase the Eberlestock Skycrane II, you’re not just purchasing a bug out bag. You’re investing in a whole modular system designed to tackle what obstacles come your way.
The Skycrane II comes standard with its primary J79 pack, the G1 “Little Brother”, and tactical fanny pack. The main pack is supported via a 2400 cubic inch framework and is covered with Molle webbing–not to mention its patented Cam Expansion system that allows it to integrate more packs. The G1 itself is useful with the main pack; however, many find that the G1 is just as valuable or useful on its own. And as far as the fanny pack is concerned… It’s always nice to have handy.
But these three basic modules aren’t the only things that this pack can handle. You can actually integrate different scabbards and another module! While these are sold separately, they are well worth it–particularly the scabbards. There are three scabbard variations. One is designed for a scoped rifle. Another for a bolt-action sniper rifle. The third is simply labeled as a tactical scabbard. But that would work great with a breaching shotty such as the Remington TAC-13 or Mossberg Shockwave.
Eberlestock Skycrane II
|Capacity||Scalable to 8475 cubic inches|
|Specialized Compartments||G1, Fanny Pack, attachable duffels and scabbards|
Eberlestock Skycrane II Rod Pros and Cons
Great module system, G1 is awesome!, three words: tactical fanny pack, additional scabbard capabilities, lightweight, super durable
Accessories sold separate, can be complicated to learn how to use
Often the best bug out bags aren’t for defense and tactical situations. Instead, they’re super important when it comes to helping families and individuals who have fallen victim to natural disasters. Mother Nature can definitely be nasty at times sending hurricanes, fires, floods, earthquakes, and tornados our way. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be prepared.
This particular bug out bag is something that I would recommend to any family who lives in an area prone to forces of nature. The 4 Person Survival Kit prepared by Survival Prep Warehouse comes pre-loaded with essentials that your family would need for 72 hours following an emergency situation. And these items are actually of a decent quality. Have you ever gone to Walmart and picked up one of those Emergency Kits for cheap? I guarantee that dynamo flashlight is just one errant crank away from snapping.
I also really like the red duffle. Aside from being useful as a standalone pack, it’s the color that really stands out. While many ready bags come in colors designed to blend in, this does the exact opposite. The bright red color allows you to locate your emergency kit in a pinch. Just keep in mind that you aren’t going to be really “buggin’ out” with this bag. Fully loaded, it weighs around 40 pounds. But that’s 40 pounds of supplies when your family needs them most.
4 Person Survival Kit Specs
|Capacity||Family of 4 for 72 hours|
|Expiration of Items||5 years from Date of Purchase|
|Weight||Approx 40 lbs Loaded|
4 Person Survival Kit Pros and Cons
Comes with food and water purification tablets, stove and dry fuel, first aid kit and accessories, windup flashlight
Can be heavy for some individuals
Not every bug out bag needs to be super big or complicated. And this is definitely proven true with the Maxpedition Vulture II. The Vulture is a practical pack that toes the line between comfort and practicality. It comes equipped with foam-padded double shoulder straps, adjustable waist belt, and sternum suspension system that helps you to bug out and minimize weight drag.
But besides the comfort of this pack, it’s got a bunch of other things going for it as well. While it’s far from the largest pack on this list, it has a carrying capacity of up to 46 L–which is definitely ample for an individual 72-hour ready bag.
This bag also gets two thumbs up from us due to its specialized hydration and CCW compartments–not to mention the numerous Molle attachment points. The entire pack is teflon coated which means it’s water-resistant as well to help keep your gear dry. However, this does not mean the bag is waterproof so avoid submerging it in any bodies of water. Our biggest gripe about this bag is actually about how well the bag is made. The Vulture is constructed out of high-quality materials with great zippers and hardware. But the downside to this is that it’s a little stiff and scratchy when you first get it. Don’t worry though. Like a good pair of boots, it will break in. Eventually.
Maxpedition Vulture II Specs
|Specialized Compartments||CCW Compartment, Hydration Compartment|
|Dimensions||20.5″ x 16″ x 7.5″|
|Weight||3 lbs 8 oz|
Maxpedition Vulture II Pros and Cons
Hydration pocket, CCW compartment, Molle attachment, comfortable to wear
Not the biggest bag, material is rough at first and for a little while after.
You may hear some people comparing this Condor 3 Day Assault pack to the Vulture II above. And that may have to do with the fact that this Condor takes it comfort level just as seriously. Complete with sternum straps, adjustable waist band, and body contour shoulder straps, the Condor doesn’t sacrifice when it comes to its easse of carry. However, what we really love about the Condor’s construction is the rear foam pad that not only provides maximum relief to the wearer but optimizes air flow. Not saying it’s going to eliminate a hot, sweaty back…but it sure will help.
However, comfort isn’t the only focus of the Condor. It’s a 50 Liter ready bag that can hold pretty much everything you need for a 72-hour bug out. The main compartment is relatively cavernous and has two compression straps within to help hold everything in place. Its second compartment has some pretty neat features as well such as document holding pockets, radio pockets, and even pen holsters. And those of you laughing over pen holsters… it’s always pertinent to have something to write with in the event of emergency. Perhaps one of the nicest features of the Condor is its capacity for hydration. The Condor can hold two 3-liter hydration bladders!
There are some things we’re not too keen on though. While durable, the Condor has some reported issues with its zipper pull tags. They aren’t the most dependable and have broken for some. Mind you, these aren’t the zippers themselves–just the tabs. And along with the zipper tabs, the fabric covers for the zippers tend to get in the way of actual zipper operation. To me, this is a a bigger issue. But if you aren’t too rough on your pack, this could be a perfect bag for you. However, if you need something with a bit more durability and size isn’t too important…opt for the Vulture II.
Condor 3-Day Assault Pack Specs
|Specialized Compartments||Hydration compartment, document pockets, radio pockets, pen holsters|
|Dimensions||22″ x 17″ x 11″|
Condor 3-Day Assault Pack Pros and Cons
Huge hydration capabilities, decent size pack, document holders, radio pockets, pen holsters
Zipper tab issues, zipper cover issues
The Red Rock Large Assault Pack is by far one of the most budget-friendly options on our list of best bug out bags. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t carry its weight–pun intended. It’s a reliable pack made out of durable material that can carry just about everything you need.
And while not as showy or tactical comparatively, the Red Rock has some pretty neat features that help it make our list. First, we always love a good hydration or CCW pocket. The hydration pocket along the back of the bag can carry up to a 2.5 liter bladder depending on bladder style or be easily converted into a CCW compartment. There’s also the Molle attachment webbing along the outside. It doesn’t have as many Molle points as other bags, but do you really want too much stuff just hanging? And I’ve just got to mention its unique clamshell style main compartment. This is is nice for ease of pack/loadout.
This being a budget bag, it’s not without it’s criticism. The Molle webbing isn’t stitched quite as well as other packs and has a tendency to break when put through some wear. It is a tad bit smaller than we’d like and the material just isn’t as durable as it could be. You’ll see instances where this bag has started to fall apart. However, these are mostly from those who use this bag as a daily driver not a bug out bag.
Red Rock Large Assault Pack Specs
|Specialized Compartments||Hydration or CCW compartment|
|Dimensions||11.5″ x 18″ x 12″|
Red Rock Large Assault Pack Pros and Cons
Decent pack for the price, hydration or CCW pocket, Molle webbing
Molle webbing has several reported issues of breaking, smaller size, material could be more durable
The Mardingtop rounds out our list of best bug out bags, and it’s a beast of a bag with its huge carrying capacity.
Aside from its ability to carry all of your necessary gear and provisions, the Mardingtop comes equipped with numerous Molle loops that you can use to attach just about anything. Thankfully, the whole rig is supported via an internal frame so you don’t have to worry about your bag caving in on you. Another great attachment is the rain cover. A rain cover is provided for the Mardingtop to keep all of your gear dry.
The biggest gripe I have about this bag is the lack of included hydration system. I do know that many folks prefer their own water bladders to built-in systems. However, it would have been a nice add-on. But if you downgrade to a smaller version of this pack, Mardingtop does provide a built-in hydration system. So, that could be an option if you so desire.
Mardingtop Molle Hiking Backpack Specs
|Specialized Compartments||2 detachable side pockets|
|Dimensions||11.4″ x 7.1″ x 35.4″|
Mardingtop Molle Hiking Backpack Pros and Cons
Molle webbing, two large detachable side pockets, bottom zipper access
No water bladder storage or CCW, few complaints about shoulder straps being too thin
Who Needs a Bug-Out Bag?
Contrary to popular belief, bug out bags aren’t just for military snipers and survivalists.
You never know when disaster will strike. Whether it’s an Act of God or a man-made catastrophe, you need to be prepared. And this is doubly important for those with families. It can be difficult to acquire supplies in the event of an emergency. There’s no reason to be unprepared. We’ve all seen the news reports and pictures of those Walmart shelves come time for a hurricane to make landfall.
They’re barren. So why wait to fight over necessary supplies and provisions when you can be sufficiently prepared for whatever may come?
What is a Bug Out Bag?
A bug out bag (aka go-bag, ready bag, BOB, etc.) is a pre-packed bag that carries everything you or your family would need to survive for a full 72-hours in the event of an emergency such as natural disaster, outbreak, war, or other emergency.
How to Choose the Right Bug Out Bag for You
When determining what type of BOB you need, you should focus on some key criteria when choosing.
- What size bag do you need?
Typically, you want to pack enough provisions for three full days. This includes everything from food and water purification tablets, first aid, and even toiletries. And this might seem relatively simple–until your you start factoring the number of people who will be using this pack. As far as individual backpack styles, I would recommend each person has their own. That way you know every body will get what they need. But if you would like to prep a bag for your family, I would recommend a duffel bag style BOB such as the Voodoo Tactical Mojo above.
- Do you need a CCW or Hydration Pocket?
Being that this is Gun University, I’d imagine that a CCW pocket is a big deal. However, what makes a good CCW pocket? It should be easily accessible to you (not others), concealable, secure, and comfortable to wear. These pockets are often integratead as part of (or are one in the same) as the hydration compartments. A hydration compartment on a bug out bag is where you’ll store water bladders to carry enough water for you to find safety. They won’t necessarily provide you with as much water as your body needs for three days. But it’s absolutely better than not having them at all. If you’re looking for extra hydration capabilities, check out this Molle compatible Camelbak system over at Brownells.
- What’s the reason you’re using this bag?
This might seem like a stupid question. For an emergency, right? But what kind of emergency? Most of us aren’t actually confronted with the threat of nuclear holocaust or all-out zombie apocalypse. In all reality, your bug-out bag may just be more emergency wildfire, earthquake, or hurricane evacuation. And once you’ve left the evacuation zone and settled into your hotel or other shelter… you might not need those 700 water purification tablets or pre-sharpened machete. This being said, you don’t necessarily want to get the most expensive, fully-loaded bag you can find. However, if you do plan on buggin’ out to wilderness for an extended period… go ahead and get something waterproof. And don’t forget the lifestraw.
- Keep comfort and fit in mind.
If you’re actually going to have to wear your bug out bag, you’re going to want a bag that fits your body and is comfortable. And sometimes, that doesn’t necessarily mean go with the one with the most padding. While all that foam padding does help, it only helps if the bag fits you. There’s no sense in buying a bag three times your size or one that’s way too small. Measure your torso and compare that with the dimension of the actual bag you’re looking to get. Also, pay attention to where the shoulder straps, waist belts, and sternum straps will rest on your body–particularly the waist belt. In an ideal bug-out situation, your hips should actually be supporting the weight of your pack–not your shoulders. Look for a bag that’s got a secure, padded belt that’ll rest along the top of your hip bones.
- Internal Frame vs External Frame Bug Out Bags
When shopping for a backpack-style bug out bag, you’re going to run into two different types. Those with internal frameworks and support systems and those who have external frames. The major thing you need to consider when deciding between these two is how much stuff are you going to carry? External framed BOBs can normally carry much more than ones with internal support structures. They also help to keep the actually actually off your back giving you more comfort and breathability. But…good luck stuffing that just anywhere. They big, bulky, and heavy. Bags with internal support may not be as robust, but they have a distinct weight advantage. Plus, they’re more likely to be able to be stored in a closet or the trunk of your car.
What Should Be Included in Your Bug Out Bag?
The best bug out bags are always properly prepared ahead of time in event of emergency. But what really goes into one?
Here’s what the SensiblePrepper has to say about that:
How to Pack the Best Bug Out Bag
Properly packing your bug out bag is just as important as what goes in it. A poorly stuffed go bag is going to take a toll on your body when carried–possibly causing undue stress and injury–and preventing you from bugging out the best you can.
So, you need to know how to put together your bag.
You’d think it’d be pretty simple right? Just put the heavy stuff in the bottom, bigger things in first, and pray for a place to put that necessary 10000 yards of paracord. Not even close. There are two things you should keep in mind when packing. Your bug out terrain and your sex. Let’s start with the latter.
For those of you unawares, men and women have different parts. And with those come different bone structures and more specifically centers of gravity. Women actually have a lower center of gravity than men do meaning that they should set up their bags differently than men for optimum load bearing.
Next, consider where you’re going to be buggin out to. Are you going to be in a wooded mountinous area? Or are you going through primarily flat ground? In rough terrain, you’ll find that you’ll want to keep your heavier items low and close to you whereas your heavier items may be higher up your pack on flat ground.
Bug Out Bag History
I’ll go ahead and conclude this article with a bit of a history lesson.
Do you know where the term Bug Out Bag actually came from?
It supposedly started back in WWII. Allied aviators often wold put together “bail out bags” or BOBs just in case things went south. But it wasn’t until the Korean War where the terminology Bug Out Bag became popular.
During late 1950, the Chinese openly intervened in the Korean War forcing General MacArthur and his command to reroute. Doing so ultimately led to the Battle of Ch’ongch’on River. When the forces engaged the Chinese, the South Korean troops accompanying MacArthur men turned tail and scattered. Akin to roaches scattering under the light, the term “bug out” was born.