Your survival bag is just as important as any other piece of gear. After all, it’s what holds all your equipment together and keeps it organized.
You might think any regular backpack is good enough, but that’s a big mistake. There are a few things you want to consider when finding the right one for you, so in this post I’m going to talk about what to look for in a survival bag.
Finding the Right Size
The first thing to consider is the size of the bag, or rather, its carrying capacity. Get one that’s too small and you won’t be able to fit everything you need. Get one that’s too big and it’ll be hard to travel with for any significant distance.
Let’s split survival bags into three groups: small (40 Liters), medium (60 Liters), and large (80+ Liters).
In general, a medium sized bug out bag is best. It offers enough room while also being light enough to haul around without a problem.
Small bags can be used by filling them with non-critical gear and having a child carry it. That way you can bring extra gear without burdening yourself with the load.
Preppers should avoid using large bags. Campers can use them because they can take their time and travel at their leisure, but as a prepper you don’t have that luxury. If we move it’s because we have to, and we don’t want bulky gear slowing us down.
Keeping Things Organized
If your survival bag only had one large compartment, you’d be in trouble.
Sure, it’s the same amount of space either way, but it’ll be much harder to grab a specific item when you need it. That’s why the ideal survival bag should have plenty of compartments.
Compartments give you a way to keep similar items together and give you easy access to things when you need them.
Try to find a bag that has a large main compartment, and then several medium and small compartments on the side and the front.
One thing that usually gets overlooked is that every compartment needs to be fully closable. If it can’t be sealed then all sorts of undesirable stuff will find it’s way into your bag. Water, dirt, and bugs are all things you want to stay out of your bag.
Plenty of Support
Your survival bag will be heavy when it’s fully packed, probably around 30 to 40 pounds. That might not sound like much right now, but you’ll definitely feel it after you’ve been carrying it for a while.
That’s why your survival bag needs to at least offer basic support. The first thing to look for are extra straps.
A normal backpack only has two straps, one for each shoulder, but a bag with extra support will have more than that. Look for a bag that also has a chest strap and a waist strap. These extra straps will spread the load more evenly across your body and give your overworked shoulders some rest.
That takes care of support for your body, but the bag itself will also need support if it’s really heavy. This is where frames become useful.
Some bags have internal or external frames that offer support to the bag. The frame spreads the load through the bag so it doesn’t tear. As a bonus, it’ll also make it easier for you to carry.
A frame isn’t strictly necessary, but if your bag is over 40 pounds it’s worth the investment.
Rock Solid Durability
Most likely, you’ll be using your survival bag in rough conditions. It doesn’t matter whether you’re bugging out in the city or out in the woods. If you’re in a survival situation, your bag is going to get abused.
It’s going to be a real pain if a strap tears or it can’t hold you gear properly. That’s why any bag you choose should be durable enough to withstand lots of abuse. Look for things like thick straps, water resistance, heavy stitching, and durable materials.
Ordinary Civilian Appearance
Bet you didn’t think appearance would be an important factor! It’s true, the appearance of your bag is an important factor to consider.
Other people will perceive you differently based on how you’re dressed and what you’re carrying. This is important to remember, because in a survival situation you absolutely don’t want to stick out.
If you’re carrying a military-looking camouflage bag, people are going to notice that. Some people will realize that you’ve got gear they can use, and are willing to take it from you…by force if necessary.
I know those military style camo bags look really cool. I get it, but this isn’t a fashion show. It’s more important to stay under the radar when it comes to survival. The less attention you draw to yourself the better.
Camo means you have gear worth stealing, and bright colors draw too much attention. The best way to stay under the radar is to choose a backpack in a solid “boring” color like dark green, brown, tan, or gray
So, which survival bag should you choose? There are plenty of them out there, and you can spend days searching for one. The one I recommend is the LifeShield Bug Out Pack. It checks off all the important points for a survival bag, and it isn’t too expensive either.
Is there anything you look for in a survival bag that’s not on this list? Let me know in the comments section below and share your knowledge with other readers.