How Much is Too Much: Addressing Problematic Packing in Your Bug out Bag

The old saying, “one is none and two is one”, is probably one of the best adages that prevails those who set out to create their own bug out bag. When packing and organizing supplies for your bug out bag it is all too easy to go overboard and why not? It is you and your loved ones lives you are preparing to protect.

Despite this, it is best to keep in mind the goal of the bug out bag. Bug out bags should supply you with enough to get by for about three days, not an all-inclusive trip, full of all the amenities that you will need. Anything over three days and your start to teeter on the edge of what is a manageable weight and what is not.

Below are some of the most common areas that have the potential to be a bit too over-zealously packed.

Guns and Ammunition

HenryU.S.SurvivalAR-7The most important thing is to keep what you are preparing for in perspective. It’s entirely too easy to have our perception of what could happen be skewed by what we see on television or read about on the internet.

Bug out bags are meant to prepare you for the realistic. Things like hurricanes, earthquakes, fires or flooding. You will not need stockpiles of ammunition to protect yourself from a roving gang of looters bent on pillaging and raping.

Keep whatever guns and ammunition you may pack down to a manageable level. Remember, this pack is only there to assist you in getting from point A to point B, not to make a major assault on an enemy base. Two or three magazines for a high –cap pistol should be more than adequate.

First Aid

small__5754766455Again, the issue with first aid and packing your bag comes down to one of scaling. The purpose of a first aid kit in your bug out bag is to provide minor medical attention to you and a select few who may be with you, not to the entire neighborhood.

I’ve seen a lot of guides on the internet and magazines that can take preparing your first aid kit a bit too far. I’d say when you start seriously considering the addition of IV kits and urine catheters it might be time to re-evaluate necessities.

Also, keep in mind that certain medications have an expiration date. While expired medications and medical supplies do not become completely obsolete once they reach their expiration date they do however become less effective.

While it may be a bit tedious, quickly jotting these best if used by dates can be an easy way to queue yourself into replacing any items that may have lost their touch.


The sheer variety of knives that are available and arguably useful in a bug out bag is quite exhaustive and everyone will have an opinion on which is the best and why one is obsolete to another. A good rule of thumb is again, not to overdo it.

The fancier multi-functional knives that come equipped with a variety of other tools, while an attractive option, usually don’t hold up in terms of quality to other survival knives. Investing in one quality knife over several is the best way to keep the contents of your bag manageable all without sacrificing necessity.


Tools can always pose a bit of a problem when packing them into a bug out bag. For one, they aren’t exactly the easiest to maneuver in-between other supplies and they can often be much heavier than the rest of the items in your bag. Hatchets and machetes are good things to include, but other things like a hammer or a crowbar might be going off into the deep end.

At the end of the day you should always be aware of the objective of a bug out bag. Try to reign in your imaginations and the often romanticized S.H.T.F scenarios that we see being played out on popular television, books and even video games.

If you have any suggestions on what has worked for you I would love to hear from you. Perhaps you have experienced the opposite and bore the burden of over packing? Well, I’d love to hear that story too. Feel free to leave a comment below or email me directly at

Naomi Broderick is a prepper author working with Protect Your Home, who provides ADT Security Madera California. She is a stay-at-home mother with three young boys, and she enjoys promoting the prepping lifestyle among folk from all walks of life.
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