Good portable hard drive or flash drive for bug out bag?

I’m trying to find a rugged and reliable portable hard drive or flash drive to include in my BOB for my digital data. The official BOB list does not include any recommendations. Has anyone found any that are built tough and worth looking into?


  • Comments (9)

    • 2

      How much data are you needing to store? I have my important files on an micro-SD card. And have that plus a Standard SD holder for it to work in a larger number of devices. Most android tablets will take a micro-SD and most laptops have and SD card reader. I thought about getting a portable hard drive, but the more moving parts something like that has, the more risk of damage. Also, you can’t get much more light weight than an SD. I think the one I have is either 128 GB or 256 GB which was more than enough to store documents, books, and a lot of photos on. 

      • 1

        You ask a good question, figure out how much you are needing to store and then get something at least 25% larger for additional files you will add. 

        The one downside to a micro SD card is just how small it is. Could be easier to lose. The good points about them though are that they can fit in a wide variety of devices without an adapter or can easily be made compatible with an adapter. Small, lightweight, and cheap.

    • 2

      The Sandisk Ultra Fits are very cheap, incredibly small, and work wonderfully. They are made of a completely plastic material though and I’ve had one crack from being used so much. They had a good warranty though and replaced it.

      I would also skip the cruise ones that have moving parts and have it slide in and out of a housing. It just leaves more points open to failure.

      The Sandisk Ultra Flair looks to be good with a full metal body design. It comes in up to 512GB, so should be plenty of space for the essentials for a bug out bag.

      If you do need larger, stay away from mechanical hard drives that are prone to breaking from vibration and movement. Get an SSD. I’ve heard these are pretty solid and come in sizes up to 4tb

      Last note is to make sure you have appropriate adapters to connect it to the devices you would be bugging out with or possibly run into while bugging out. Keep it in a sealed waterproof container.

      • 1

        Another thought that Brekke triggered is to tie some neon pink or orange paracord onto your drive to prevent it from being lost and more easily could attach onto a pack.

      • 2

        That SanDisk portable SSD looks really nice, especially with the drop, water, and dust resistance. Pretty much exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for the suggestion!

    • 3

      Good Evening,

      I’ve been carrying around flash drives by Corsair corp. out of Fremont, California for 5 to 8 years now and have yet to have a failure. I don’t think Corsair is still in production on them. But they are still for sale at Amazon. Corsair made units anywhere from 32 Gig to 1 Terra. I shy from the early units that have a rubber cover around the electronics. But their Steel tube “Survivor” units have always worked for me. And their water resistance has always worked when the unit has its cover screwed on. Be careful about USB 3.0 vs. 3.1, and the throughput issue if you’re storing large videos or the like. And the drives can be formatted any way you like, FAT 32, etc. If you do pick up a unit, be careful with luggage scanners at the airports. I did have one unit set off a scan alarm. The security folks were happy to hand it back to me once they unscrewed the cap and verified no contraband was present. Also, if you are using a laptop that’s on the thin side, be careful about putting these (round) units in the USB jacks of said laptop. When inserted, they can prevent laptops from sitting flat on a countertop or desk. And that creates the potential for damage to USB jacks and the drive itself. I wish you good (digital) hunting!

      • 1

        I avoid having a flash drive on my key ring with my keys. It is more prone to be bashed around and damaged and there is the risk of damaging your thin laptop when plugging it into the port and having it put pressure from the bulk of the keys. Even having it dangle from your computer is dangerous to the port because you have the weight of the keys being pulled down on the flash drive that’s plugged in. 

        So good point about the tube style flash drive. It does look tough, but does come with some additional complications.

    • 3

      I use a Kingston DataTraveler flash drive primarily because it’s encrypted. (It also came recommended by a cybersecurity professional who knows his stuff.) If I ever get separated from it, there’s a really good chance my private data will stay private.

      The access software is built into the drive, so you don’t have to download anything to decrypt and open the drive. You just need to remember your password. 🙂 It’s also pre-formatted to work with Windows, Mac and Linux.

      It lives in my BOB in a mylar ziplock bag. It’s not ruggedized, but it’s small enough to fit inside something like this oversized aluminum match case for protection.

      (As a total aside, the product description for that match case is hilarious: it’s advertised as “smell proof” and “perfect for outdoor seasoning”. I’m sure it makes ziplock bags everywhere jealous.)


      • 3

        From the product description: “Widely Application – Perfect to Store tablets, Vitamins, Money, U-disk, Batteries, matches, Flintstones,…” 

        THATS WHY I haven’t seen The Flintstones on TV lately, they have been locked up inside of an aluminum match case.


        Jokes aside, that does look like a sturdy, waterproof, and good container to store a flash drive in. You don’t need the top of the line military grade rugged flash drive if you just have it in a good case like this. Good suggestion.