My BOB is heavy and not even fully stocked

Hey everyone-

I have been prepping in my head for years, but it was usually #badprepper ideas like I’ll just loot things I need as soon as SHTF. I started really getting worried leading up to the election and was googling and found this site. I went on a crazy spending spree and now I feel like I have a mostly complete Level 3 BOB. 

The problem- it weighs in at over 30 lbs and I still feel like it needs some moderately heavy items to get it all the way there (sleeping bag, tent, etc.). I’m interested in feedback on what the most cost-efficient way to upgrade some gear to make it lighter or what things I can ditch/ replace. 

Really love this site and am excited to continue to learn and improve!

Here is the link to my kit:


  • Comments (18)

    • 7

      Jesse, without intruding on your privacy, a basic area knowledge of where you’re at (climate, weather, area’s previous perils) and anticipated bug out place would guide much of the requested feedback. 

      For a short journey, perhaps an internal frame pack not needed. Would a sleeping bag be needed ? My short nap is in daylight and am up all night due the cultural environment I’m in.

      For the loadout; funds permitting, consider warm work gloves.  Industrial suppliers carry these as a matter of routine.  Minimizing loadout items means less carried weight – especially if your area is cold and you’re wearing gloves. A 12 X 16 poly tarp is big.  Consider trading it in for a small ripstop nylon (minimal weight) tarp. There are multi-tools with a crossgrain saw blade that could meet minimum requirements for an short duration bug out evac. 

      More water; more medicines and the related like blister pads !

      • 8

        Thanks Bob!

        I am looking to buy one of the recommended tarps as one of my next purchases to reduce weight. I also didn’t include my IFAK, which is mostly level 3 and includes all of the medicines (minus prescriptions) and moleskin (it also adds about 3 lbs). 

        I live in Philadelphia, PA, and we actually have a nor’easter headed our way tomorrow. Possible BO scenarios would be pretty close to SHTF. I wonder if there was a widespread evac whether even if we got started early if we wouldn’t get caught in jams. 

      • 10

        Well received, Jesse,

        Less specifics, Phila has a complexion like Baltimore, metro D.C. and Hampton Roads, the major mid-Atlantic population centers.  Since my first choice evac method is launch the inflatable into thr Chesapeake, I follow the status events of thre InterCoastal Waterway.  Phila’s section is like the Chesapeake: priority keeps private citizens away.

        Am following the mentioned nor-easter.  As an emergency responder, NWS sends me updates.

        Re a rip stop tarp;  2 ideas we use down here: Seek a white tarp for versatility. Not specific to an evac but if ever stuck in a wilderness environment and need help, if appropriate to situation, cut the tarp into wide strip to make an “X” on ground (not snow-covered, of course). A white X is a sign aviation SAR units look for in search.  Other idea is not not pack the tarp.  Consider wrapping it around the backpack’s shoulder straps/harness and lash it in place.  It serves as additional cushioning and volume displacement is saved in the storage section of pack.  I don’t use a back pack but rather a large flight bag.  My tarp is lashed to my shoulder strap with 107 lb test fabric braided fishing line.

        Easy to reply – with accuracy – to a widespread evac from the mid-Atlantic population centers.  It won’t happen.  Roads, motels, gasoline stations, garages, medical facilities, already pre-allocated to the national response personnel.  

        Here, whether in shack if no forest fire or on Zodiac, will be listening to WPHT AM radio.

      • 6

        Bugging out in response to a storm?  Doesn’t seem like the most rational tactic.  Usually, it is better to hunker down in a well prepped swelling.

        That is what has worked for me through the years.

      • 5

        Here, it’s less about storms but rather forest fires.  On the water is safer than remaining in this well-stocked shack.  It’s a delicate decision to consider hiking over to the boat or to shelter in place.

    • 8

      Looking at your list something immediately caught my eye: the SAS book is 2lb! I think you can get a pocket size version for you BOB (and maybe keep that one at home?)

      • 7

        I was going to suggest the same thing! I have that book, I think it’s great, and I wish I could put it in my BOB, but that’s just not a thing that is going to happen.

      • 5

        Yes, I already took it out. I’m thinking about buying a newer Kindle and putting my older one in the BOB. 

    • 9

      A part from optimizing for lighter options of any item, I think there’s also to consider that having a fully-kitted, level 3 BOB will be heavier. My BOB is not fully kitted (and it’s a mix of items, from L1 to L3) and it’s already 30 lb, which is more or less what I would be comfortable carrying on foot for a longer period of time. 

      It sure is still a work in progress and would love to both complete it as much as possible, as well as swap some items, but I also think that I am already covering most of the basics as it is and I know that it wouldn’t make sense for me to make it a lot heavier. So maybe you could consider to pioritize (i.e. instead of adding a tent, can you just do with a tarp, a sleeping bag, and a mat, perhaps?)

    • 5

      I first want to say that I love that you used the kit builder to show us your BOB. It sure helps lay things out well and is easy to read. 

      A few years ago I made a BOB, before I started working for The Prepared. I had used The Prepared’s BOB guide to make it, but just assembled it out of things that I already had around the house. So it wasn’t very optimized for weight or too well planned out. Fast forward a couple years and now I’m actually working for The Prepared. I learn some more things, and need to get into my BOB, so I go check it out and guess what… It is HEEEAAVVVYY!!!

      I don’t have a bathroom scale, but i’d guess it is a good 40, or 50 pounds, and there really is so much more room that I could fill up. I looked inside and am actually quite impressed with myself a few years ago, I have some good stuff in there. And I realized what younger me was thinking and why I put certain things in there. But it needs to get an overhaul, because this thing can barely be picked up.

      In a few weeks, I want to post a forum thread on here about “Putting your BOB on a diet” as everyone else will be making their new years resolutions and going on a diet themselves. 

      As for your BOB, I think it is great! Well rounded and you have all your needs met. I need to pick up one of those Rumpl stuffable pillow cases, I didn’t know about those, but that is a great idea. Another question that I have, do you like the inflatable Luci lantern? Is it one that you need to blow into to inflate? I would think that the water vapor of my breath would get trapped in there and fog it up and build up overtime, does that happen?

      Here are some things that you could possibly do if you really want to cut down the weight:

      • Read over the SAS survival handbook and really learn what is in there. If it is in your brain, then you don’t need it in your BOB. If there are some pages that are very helpful to have, like a diagram on how to make a certain snare, you can just photocopy that page and have that one page instead of a whole book.
      • Although dryer lint is free and a good fire starter (I have some in my BOB), there are better options out there. I say this because I started to think about what dryer lint is made off. If the clothes you are drying are mostly synthetic or a mix of synthetic and cotton, the lint made from those clothes won’t burn as well as if you had all cotton dryer lint. Tinderquik Firestarting tabs are really great, as is cotton balls and Vaseline. And instead of a pill bottle (which may not be 100% waterproof) just a ziploc baggie would be lighter and is waterproof.
      • Although the Lifestraw Go is our #1 rated water bottle with filter and the Lifestraw Go + Hydroblu Versa is recommended on there as a good combination for a BOB, I personally would do something different. (may not save you weight, but just want to throw out an idea to see if you like it). I personally would have a single walled stainless steel water bottle.  A stainless steel bottle can be used to boil water, which adds another method of purifying and is tougher than plastic which can withstand drops better. Although it looks like you will be boiling in your Stanley cook pot. I want my tough rigid bottle to hold my clean water, and maybe a collapsible bag (for dirty water, and two are included with the Versa) used with the Hyrdroblu versa to purify. With your Lifestraw Go, your rigid and most durable container only holds dirty water. You do have the purification tablets, the Hydroblu, and cook pot so you technically have three ways of purifying water. I’m sure the Lifestraw Go is built well, but I am just not a fan of it in a survival scenario, it feels like if it broke then i’d be stuck with a semi decent plastic water bottle. For EDC, yes! The Lifestraw Go would be excellent for that. This all is just my opinion and preference, what you are doing is great and better than 99.99% of the population!
      • With the 50 stormproof matches, two bic lighters, and ferro rod, you have lots of fire starting capabilities. I would maybe just cut back the matches to 25 or so. That will save you half of your weight on those, and the weight of the pill bottle it is in. Not much weight loss, but everything adds up.
      • Last thing, if you really want to minimize weight, is to look at your bag itself. Great bag by the way, but when you have gathered all the items together that you want, think about if that bag is too big for what you have. This is something that I am running into. I have a huge bag, and everything I need in there, but tons of extra room in the bag. I need to get a smaller and lighter bag that only has a little bit of extra room.
      • 5

        I never realized that about dryer lint, but I am sure you are right. Most of my clothes are synthetic, so my dryer lint may not be the best.

        Maybe i’ll start separating my clothes between cotton and synthetic. 

      • 2

        Thank you for the positive affirmation and helpful feedback!

        Luci Lantern: It is very compact and you do have to blow it up. I got it on sale from REI and blew it up and tested it with no issues, but I haven’t tested it enough over time to see if the fogging would be an issue . I’m thinking about switching it out for the Powerex USB rechargeable power bank lantern (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0758KZM4D/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1). I 

        SAS survival book: I already took this out as it is the most common feedback everyone is giving me on this thread. I’m thinking about getting a newer Kindle and putting my older one in the BOB (that way I can load it up with all kinds of books and not have to worry about excess weight!). 

        Dryer lint: You’re absolutely right about this, and I will add those tabs to my list of future purchases. 

        Lifestraw bottle: Good feedback- I’ll definitely keep that in mind. I tossed around whether to buy a single wall metal bottle or a cookpot for boiling water, but this gave me some other things to think about as well. 

        Matches: Good tip! I’ll throw the extras in my partner’s bag.

        Bag size: Good point. I have a tendency to think bigger is better, but now that I put everything in a bag and went for a 2 mile hike on terrain I realized the importance of downsizing. 

    • 7

      I smiled when I read the title of this thread.  Yes I do have a bug out bag, as it’s the basic start for prepping.  But honestly I’m pretty much standing my ground here unless it’s the worst possible situation.  I’m not too old yet and am in ok shape still but I’ve accepted the reality that I couldn’t carry too much on foot anymore.  I’ve spent a lifetime accumulating supplies, tools and such and at this point I couldn’t load it all into a single vehicle if I tried.  Yup, I’m here for the long run at this point.

      • 6

        Staying put is usually the best course of action as that is where you are established and where all your supplies are. Bugging out is hard, and I would not leave until it is no longer safe for my survival to be in my current location. A bug out bag is the worst case scenario last straw option.

    • 4

      So I don’t have much room to talk, as my BOB is almost 40 lbs. But if I were you, I’d cut the paratinder. That’s an object that’s trying to be two different things, and probably isn’t very good at either. You could also probably cut some weight by replacing cotton shirt etc. with lightweight hiking type clothes that are just as warm or warmer. Echoing what others have said, I would also definitely cut out the book and replace the tarp with a  lighter, stronger nylon one. Between all those things, you could probably save 3 or 4 lbs, which would be enough for a warm sleeping bag to put under your tarp at night (do you need a tent if you have a tarp?). 

      If possible, I highly suggest taking your gear camping to get some real-world testing. Also, take it on a road trip (after Covid is done), since you would likely be bugging out to a hotel or stay with family etc. That may reveal that some gear is much less useful/necessary than you thought. 

      Two other suggestions: 1. De-prioritize some items in advance. I know if I have to go a long ways on foot with my bag, I will drop about 3 lbs of tools and other gear right off the bat. If you bag is very well organized, it not only makes it easy to find things to use, it makes it easy to find the irrelevant items for this particular situation and get rid of them. 2. A bugout that involves having to hike the AT for 300 miles is pretty unlikely. So don’t beat yourself up too much about how heavy your bag is. 

      • 5

        Thanks! I am really excited to go on a camping trip and test out all my gear! I have everything in either ziploc bags or color coded waterproof bags, so creating a priority system for dropping gear if on foot will be easy. Also, I think you’re right about not worrying too much about weight. 

      • 6

        I had a friend that hiked the AT trail years ago.  One thing that stood out is he said at the beginning he started seeing gear on the ground.  For the first few days as people got tired of the extra weight they had and started lightening their loads.  He said most was brand new stuff and it was hard to resist picking it up but he chunked some stuff he really didn’t need too

      • 3

        Great suggestions!