How to pack a BOB
I’m new to this forum so please bear with me. I have been following the BOB by priority kit, working all the way through to level 3. I am new to prepping so I am having trouble figuring out how to pack everything in. I’d appreciate advice or even better a tutorial or guide. If this has been asked before I do apologize.
Gideon ParkerStaff - November 1, 2020
First off, I want to say welcome to the forum! I hope you are enjoying it and i’m glad to hear you are going through the BOB kit.
This is a great idea to do some kind of guide or video about how to pack a bag! Thank you for the suggestion, I will bring it up to the team and see if we can get to it sometime. It may be hard to make a specific guide or video about this topic however, as every bug out bag should be different, but talking about some of the key ideas can help guide you in the right direction. Let me try and help give you some pointers in the meantime.
How to pack a bag is very important. Doing it correctly can prevent injury and make things easier to get to.
When I was in Boy Scouts, I learned many valuable tricks to loading a pack. If you look up the Boy Scouts of America Backpacking Merit Badge booklet, it has many great ideas that can probably apply to you.
Here are just a few things from the booklet that may help you, but I encourage you to read more of it, because there is more tips.
Have rain gear, first-aid kit, sweater, dry socks, water, and snacks easily accessible. You don’t want to have to dig all the way to the bottom of your pack looking for your first-aid kit if you cut your hand open. But something like your cooking kit probably could go towards the bottom of your pack because you won’t need to get to that until you set up camp at your destination.
I always have my rain gear on the very top of my bag. It is waterproof, so if it starts raining, hopefully the rain gear will provide a layer of protection for my other gear.
Make sure that most of the weight of your pack is high and towards the center of your pack. You don’t want all your heavy stuff to just be strapped onto the outside of your pack or near the bottom, that can make you tippy and might bring you down.
Tighten down all the straps, use the belt and chest strap to hold the bag securely to your body. You want this thing to feel like a part of your body, if you go one way, it goes the same way too. Don’t have it all loose and flopping around.
Have things like your water bottle and filter in one of the outside pouches so if it leaks it won’t soak all the rest of your gear, it is easily accessible, and will make it easier for you to stay hydrated.
A sleeping bag and pad usually go near the bottom of your pack, and if you have a tent, putting that near the top. Going back to that idea of heavier things near the top (heavy tent with all the poles and fabric) and lighter things near the bottom( light fluffy sleeping bag). A tent usually will be wrapped up with the waterproof rain fly around the tent, which will give you a waterproof layer at the top of your bag to protect the rest of your gear. Your sleeping bag will be all the way at the bottom of your pack and will be protected from rain from all the rest of your gear.
Something I personally do in my BOB is organize my gear in gallon ziplock bags. I’ll have my fire starting bag, my first aid bag, my cooking bag, etc… This keeps all my gear waterproof and together. Do I need my communication devices? Just pull out the communications ziplock bag. Just an idea if that works with your setup.
My last advice is to get out there and try out your BOB. Go on a 5 mile hike with it and try using and become familiar with your gear. Is your pack evenly weighted? Can you get to the things you need to when you need them? After a good 5 miles, even if your bag is slightly heavier on the left vs the right, you should be able to tell.
I hope this has helped! Feel free to ask any questions you have and I’ll see if I can answer them.
I would love to hear from others too! How do you pack your BOB? Do you have any tips or tricks?
isaiah cruz - November 7, 2020
This was extremely helpful, thank you!
Alicia - November 8, 2020
I’ve had to stuff/wrestle my 50L Kelty Redwing to get it to all fit. But it did eventually but only because it has a shove pocket for the first aid kit. Not quite as well for my husband’s as he’s taller and needed both a tent and raingear where I got to combine. My first advice is to compress as much as possible – with organization items and when packing. My sleeping bag came with a compression sack, if it didn’t, I would have gotten one of the waterproof versions. I use color coded Eagle Creek Spector sacks for some organization – blue for water, red for fire. They are water resistant, strong, light and easy to identify in the cramped pack. They compress better than ziplocs as well but more costly for sure. A Sea-to-Summit 4L ultrasil dry bag that rolls down to a very small size is used for electronics that need waterproof protection. It also can do double duty as a bucket or laundry sack. I have some pack add-ons for additional storage and convenience: Outdoor research Water bottle tote that velcros to my hip belt (have used these for decades), a shoulder strap for phone, and hip pouch for snacks. I try to follow the guidelines mentioned above but also don’t want my dehydrated food completely crushed so it’s up top. One of the last items in was a fleece hoodie that got shoved into every nook and cranny – around the food pouches, tools, etc. If I could x-ray the pack, that hoodie would look like a wrinkled mass hugging the contents of the pack. It’s how a large piece still fit into a basically full bag.
Jonnie PekelnyContributor - January 18, 2021
Thanks for the great ideas!
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