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.