The 3 types of Bug Out Bags

Bug out bags can either be internal framed, external framed, or just day packs. Picking which type you want is a matter of personal preference and intended use.


1. Internal Frames. These are usually narrow (about as wide as your shoulders) and longer. This is so that your center of gravity remains closer to where it is normally and won’t throw you off balance as much if you have to traverse rough terrain. My top choice for this type of B.O.B. is the High Sierra Tech Series 59404 Titan 55 Internal Frame Pack.


2. External Frames. These are basically the old style military Alice Packs. I like these better than the internal framed packs in some ways. You can usually carry more gear, and the higher center of gravity allows you to not have to bend forward as with the internal framed packs. The external frame also keeps the pack itself off your back allowing better airflow to cool you down on those long days. They can almost always be found at Military surplus stores as well.


3. Day Packs. These are typically what comes to your mind when you think of backpacks. Some are smaller and only designed for a single day, but the Sandpiper of California Long Range Bug Out Bag is far from small. This is is the bag I ended up buying for myself. I like it because it has plenty of room for all of my supplies, yet looks inconspicuous enough for people to possibly not target me for my supplies. The shoulder straps can also be tucked away, and the bag can be carried by a side handle making it look like just a piece of luggage – great for airports, cruises, or other public places.

Here are some shopping tips while trying to find your next B.O.B.

Try to physically get your hands on any type of bag you want to buy. Maybe go to a Bass Pro Shop, WalMart, or Cabela’s to try some on and then find a deal online (Amazon is usually always cheaper for the same item). Depending on the manufacturer, the capacities will either be listed in cubic inches or liters.

  • Here’s a few quick conversions of common sizes if you’re strictly comparing based on size: 2,500 cubic inches = 40 liters; 4,000 cubic inches = 65 liters; 6,000 cubic inches = 95 liters.

Also, read reviews online of any B.O.B. you’re considering buying. For example, some people reviewed the bag I bought saying that the shoulder strap stitching isn’t the greatest (still survived 2 tours in “the box”), but it’s still a great bag. I’m willing to accept that deficiency for everything else that bag offers.

Good luck and happy shopping!

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