Which Go Bag backpack(s) do you like and why?

A couple months ago, I bought myself a 5.11 RUSH72 so that I could get started on my GB. I had spent a couple hours looking through the recommendations in the 45-55L premium section of this article, but gave up after feeling overwhelmed by a combination of the lack of reviews, the prices, and the lack of off-the-shelf internal organization compared to the RUSH72.

Although an OK stop-gap, the RUSH72 doesn’t seem like the right fit for me. I went on a 9 mile hike yesterday, and my back/shoulders were killing me. I originally had attachments set up like in the photo below, and then my partner advised me to move these to the sides of the backpack which was a big help!

However, even after that, I couldn’t get the back to fit right. I think a big part of this is that I cant cinch the waist straps down tightly enough; I’ve got a ~35″ waist, and the tightest these straps went still left some room. Somewhat relatedly, my buddy has the same pack, and the buckle broke just from tightening it! Also, the straps are notably less smooth than my Osprey Atmos AG.

The Best bug out bag survival backpack article isn’t quite as sharply opinionated as others on this site in terms of *exactly* which options people prefer and for what reasons, so I’m opening it up to y’all: Which Go Bag backpack(s) do like and why?



  • Comments (55)

    • 5

      Looking at the 45-55L premium section of this article again, the Tasmanian Tiger Modular Pack 45 Plus is looking the most appealing, because it’s the only option in that section with PALS webbing on the sides rather than only the back (or none at all), which yesterday’s experience shows me is a much more comfortable location for weighty MOLLE attachments, like my FAK.

      • 2

        I just upgraded from an osprey farpoint 40 to a mystery ranch terraframe 50. I kept the osprey to take my go bag on planes but the mystery ranch makes more sense if I ever have to carry it any distance on foot.  The load out shelf is really useful.  

    • 6

      I see your window breakers hanging! 

      • 3

        Hehe aww yay thanks for finding the easter egg! 🥚💝🐣

    • 7

      Love that you’re sharing your personal experience! FWIW, your read on the best backpacks guide is correct — we intentionally didn’t get as prescriptive in that guide (and recommended people try stuff on when possible before buying) due to how much variance there is in backpack fit from one body to another. It’s why I’ve been personally holding off on buying an expensive Mystery Ranch bag until I can get hands on for my weird body/back shape. 

      Curious, when you say “lack of reviews”, do you mean within our article or generally out there in the world for the recommended models?

      Hopefully you’re still in your return window with 5.11?

      Definitely agree that the 5.11 buckles are not as nice as Ospreys. It’s a common difference between tactical and technical backpacks.

      Your partner was right about the gear layout — the more weight you have further away from your back on the x-axis / sticking out behind you like a tail, the more it pulls down on your shoulders via an arc instead of going straight down to your hips.

      • 3

        p.s. this kind of convo would be great for the backpack article’s official discussion thread: https://theprepared.com/bug-out-bags/reviews/best-bug-out-bag-backpack/related/best-bug-out-bag-backpack/

      • 6

        I still need to pick out a bag for myself, so I won’t be much help with a recommendation. But John Ramey’s comment here about not having weight far from your back reminded me of a little graphic I saw the other day that might be helpful to you


        While the different packs strapped onto the molle (I think it’s called) is handy and nice to be able to do, it seems like it is putting quite a bit of weight on the outside of your pack when the bulk of your weight should be as close to your back as possible.

      • 4

        @John – RE: lack of reviews, I mean out on the internet generally — some had more than others, but there were some with very little if any [English-language] reviews, usually one or two youtube videos.

        Unfortunately no longer in the return window for the RUSH72, but it’s an OK stop-gap as I can continue packing gear into it, even if it isn’t comfortable for longer hauls. 

      • 3

        @John & Henry — yep I’ve seen this wisdom before, but wasn’t/am not sure how to square that with (a) wanting my FAK on the exterior of my pack and (b) clipping my EDC sling bag directly to the exterior of the pack. The sling bag has some stuff that isn’t yet in my GB (like a headlamp and an emergency bivvy), but also has stuff that is duplicated like a power bank and multitool, so it’s overkill when I’m wearing them both. Attaching the EDC sling bag to my GB was the most naive / cover my ass solution; with this experience behind me, I’d be keen on committing to a more nuanced approach!

      • 2

        I just bought a mystery ranch terraframe 50 and I love it.  

    • 3

      Good afternoon Lowell,

      You’re on the correct route by testing stuff prior to emergency.  That 9 mile hike provides you with much info.


      What is your “mission”, your purpose re going from origin to destination ? Can you estimate a distance and hours/days of trip ?

      Without intruding on your privacy it would be advantageous to know your geographic area / your topographic area. Packs are like hand tools: many different typres for many different purposes.

      PALS is the sheet of velcro stuff sewn to pack.  MOLLE is the type of pouch (contrast to “Alice” pouches, slide onto the belt pouches, other kinds also). Strips of PALS stuff can be purchased for customized arrangements. Yes, you’ll be introduced to saddle stitching, industrial sewing machines, other methods. Just mentioning this for comprehensiveness … everything’s expensive.

      Must you bag be water proof ? water resistant ? Regardless, can you easily and readily remove bag and “easily” put it back on ?  With gloves ? without gloves ? Will you be wearing a thick coat ? There are some sources to purchase better quality shoulder harnesses to meet one’s specific requirements. All my back packs – no longer used; given to kids – I modified the shoulder straps to be fitted with quality white material in case if needing an air rescue and wanting to make the “X” on ground …… presuming not in snow environment.

      Plastic buckets and other attachments not ideal for chilly places.  They freezeand can break.

      A usual rule is to maintain a low profile.  Red pouches on gray bag allows viewers to get no-cost equipment. Don’t display good stuff.

      Don’t know what these 2 bags currently cost.  Definitely factor in costs. There are other items requiring more * relative * spending of limited funds than the bag.

      I do not use any pach going on back.  My method is a few survival vests, load-bearing suspenders wih pouches and 2 tarps lashed to “H” section of suspenders.  In inside field jacket is some other stuff between the inside of jacket and the add-on internal pockets from a German Army field jacket. Snack pak sized liquors no longer carried in German Army pockets.

      The above kits section is actually real good.  It’s just that you must tailor in your specific requirements like your bod size/weight.

      • 2

        @Bob thank you for your response!

        I don’t have a specific mission in mind, which AFAICT is the way to go, right? I have a Go Bag just in case I need to leave my home quickly to wherever!

        I live in Seattle, and I occasionally do day hikes in the surrounding area. The hike I just did was Ozette Triangle in Olympic National Park.

        A la living in the PNW, water proofness/resistance is certainly nice, but I’ve carried laptops in non-waterproof bags and so far never had a problem.

        RE: Low-profile, are you saying a red FAK attached to the exerior of the pack is a bad idea? What do you recommend instead? I’ve heard this “grey man / don’t stick out with MOLLE” line a few times on the site — is this a recorded phenomenon I can read more on? That looking prepared makes you a target during an emergency?

      • 5

        When looking for a new EDC knife I came across the Benchmade Bugout. What really sold me on getting it was this video talking about the gray man theory and how the Benchmade Bugout was a great knife for that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-eSbqHUvOw 

        I’ve carried the tacticool knives  before and I always seem to get the reaction from people of “WOW! Put that sword away!”. But since using the Benchmade Bugout, I haven’t gotten one comment. I truly agree with the video and that it is a gray man knife. 

        That’s enough evidence for me to switch my entire series of prepping to gray man. I don’t drive the lifted Toyota Rav 4 with jerry can on the back and obvious tactical things on the roof, I drive a plain as can be car to blend in and not draw attention to myself.  Take a look at this picture and tell me if it’s true or not:


        I think it’s extremely true and most everyone will agree that looking like that guy is going to set you aside as maybe having a gun on you. Now that’s not always a bad thing, maybe it will deter some people from messing with you, but for me I don’t want to draw undue attention to myself and I want to be plain ol’ gray man that no one notices.

      • 1

        I don’t follow this — why would looking like you have a gun make you target, wouldn’t it do the opposite?

      • 3

        In normal times I can see people staying clear from the guy who clearly looks like an off duty cop. But there are some situations, especially during SHTF, where I can see this person being a target because they will probably have guns and supplies on them. It’s all about the situation and there isn’t a great answer for all the time. 

        From one of my CCW classes, they taught us not to open carry even though we have the right to in many places. Sure that might be a deterrent from a robber from robbing the place, but if they see you with a gun on your hip, they also can just go straight for you and take you out and then rob the place. I like to stay under the radar and not let people know I carry, and then be able to pop out and defend my family and catch them off guard if needs be. 

      • 5

        This opens up a whole can of worms about “grey man” vs “hard target” strategies and which should be applied when. We could honestly have an entire thread dedicated to it.

      • 3

        I agree. I’ll see if anyone else wants to start a topic, if not I’ll jump in and do it here soon. I’m really curious to see other people’s ideas on the topic and maybe what I’m doing with gray man isn’t the best approach. 

        I know that Canadian Prepper on youtube talks about gray man in a few of his videos. I’ll have to go study up before commenting more about it.

      • 1

        No, people with better training who are more organized than you will see it as a “free stuff here” sign in a disaster.  

      • 3

        Good evening Lowell,

        I didn’t write clearly enough. I actually meant a specific TYPE or CATEGORY of mission. You clearly explained above: an emergency evacuation from home; destination not yet important. 

        An emergency foot evacuation means needing a large bag and have long haul amount of stuff ready to pour into/attach to bag, specific situation governing (or pre-loaded and ready to thin out).  You might need to leave due to a weather emergency, a quake, the USN has a radioactive leak from a boat, … Who knows ?! 

        Wasn’t specifically addressing the red FAK; just the highlighting it does to you when the red contrasts with the large gray background of the pack. If you must leave home, others probably will have to also.  There will be additional evacuatees and what could not be easier to snatch than a pouch – or even trying to get your entire backpack ?!

        I haven’t recently checked TP.com nor the web re “Grey Man” doctrine. There must be loads of material on keeping a low profile, a “grey man” blend in with crowd material.  The concept has been around a long time in modern history. One famous WWII era example was in Trieste, (Italy-but believe treated as an international city). Soldiers wearing all khaki uniforms would “blend in”.  No one knew which army they were in – even if a hostile force.  


        Seattle / Pudget Sound area ? What ever is best to keep the water out. Believe your area is called a rain forest even though usually identified with tropical rain forests.


        Grey Man doctrine also has the applicable Louis Lane with pillbox hat Grey Woman.


        Other than photographing clouds in the Boy Scouts, my first weather class was at Fort Lewis, Washington.  On arrival, at intro, was told “If you can see Mt Rainier, it is going to rain.  If you cannot see Mt Rainier, it is raining”.

      • 3

        @Bob are you comfortable sharing a pic of how your FAK is loaded into your kit? 

      • 4

        Good afternoon Lowell,

        I don’t place pictures and related to minimize my screen time.  I’ve got some opthalmological disabilities and had to adjust accordingly.

        My IFAK is just a modified level 3 IFAK as level concepts developed here at KITS section of site. It’s packed in a cargo vest rather than a literal “pouch”.  Due my infirmities and the add-on usual ones of the aging process – I’m 74 – also realize the bod deteriotates with aging.  I’ve got the needed pharma in  kit but still cannot get the newest arthritus RX medicine.

        All the other stuff like anti-fungal foot powder, splints … had been carrying paint stirer sticks … for duel use and my familiarity.

        Here at the shack, am set up with just about all personal needs.

        My group has a dental trailer near here … had to move it due a new county regulation. All this equipment and rolling stock I mention is used and rehabilitated.  We get nothing unless we have the support system in place and the maintenance knowledge. (Ask me about steam cleaning a trailer, researching those new UV lamps that kill some germs) 


        Without my RX pharma stuff, all other stuff to be inherited.

    • 5

      Hmmm.  I thought I posted to this and it’s not here.  So here goes a second time.  I tried a couple and settled on the 2018 or 2019 Kelty Redwing 50L.  I had a fair amount of organization and was comparatively lightweight.  I mention the earlier model because the newer model no longer has the shove pocket behind the front pocket which is where I’ve put the FAK which is in a wider/thinner profile case so it fits and remains closer to the body since it’s one of the heavier items in the pack.  The water bottle (with holder) and knife will move to belt when in use.  

      I see you have some space still in the main compartment.  I suggest you re-arrange to put some items in there for better weight distribution.  Note that my 50L vs. 55L is nearly bursting. Top pocket is empty though. 


      • 2

        With your bags nearly bursting, would you get a larger one next time if you had to replace one of these?

      • 4

        I debate that as it’s already at nearly 40lbs which is pretty much my max – likely already too heavy – and I haven’t gotten protection in there (but did leave the top pocket empty for it!).  I gave feedback for Kelty to do just that – 55L women’s and a 60L or 65L Men’s and bring back the shove pocket.   I had to get the men’s version as the women’s was only 40L and the 50L is already too small for my husband’s identical content as his larger sleeping bag is not in there yet and his clothes are also larger.  I say Kelty because I hadn’t found an internal frame with both the zip access to the main compartment and the external organization pockets at the lighter weight.  

    • 5

      My stop-gap for getting the hip belt to fit more snugly was to shove a sweatshirt between me and the belt as shown below. This was comfortable, but was sub-optimal because taking the pack on and off now has the extra step of dealing with this sweatshirt.

      I’ve ordered this Pair of Shoulder Strap Pads in the hopes that it’ll be a more reliable solution. I’m concerned they won’t be thick enough, but we shall see!


      • 4

        Good afternoon Lowell,

        Review Henry’s post above with color-coded picture of a pack loadout and the mentioned comment by John Ramey on not having weight far from your body.

        Consider placing the black pouch w/ item closer to body eg on a light rigger’s belt on top of your actual belt.

        The Zpak shoulder strap pads will add to comfort but they do not directly address the overall fit of the pack rig.

        Consider having colleague help you place rig on and then mark hip belt.  This should be done with the same type of shirt like in picture. Next, add wearing the field jacket with stuff in jacket pockets you anticipate wearing with season change.  Have colleague mark hip belt with jacket arrangement.

        It’s not only you.  We all must experiment, adjust, readjust. 

        Again, the Zpak pads will help with the comfort but not solve problem of sweatshirt need.  In rain, the garment can be called a sponge.   

      • 3

        Are you saying you think the pads won’t be thick enough to make the hip belt snug enough? That’s my concern too, but I figure I won’t knife until I try it. So far I haven’t seen another pack that looks appealing AND I can try on in store or at least return, so I’m gonna try and make this set up work until I have more clarity on that front. 

      • 2

        Good afternoon Lowell,

        No, not at all. The shoulder pads look OK.  There are even belt pads for hip belts.

        The picture looks like you’ve got heavy items too far from your body – your “center of gravity”. The red pouches and black pouch with tool out too far from you and this arrangement might be the contributing factor to load problem.

        Even if having thicker shoulder strap pads and a belt pad, the comfort could increase but not your endurance and range.

      • 6

        my BOB at the moment is is a Direct Action Ghost pack (because I already had it), overall it’s a good pack (the internal organisation is amazing), the waste belt is too big though. It has a removable belt so my plan was to get a wide tactical belt that actually fit’s me to thread through the pack instead, but stuffing a shirt in the strap looks like a good hack to fix the belt size problem for now, I’ll try it

        It will likely only be temporary anyway because I haven’t finished collecting all the gear I need yet, the ghost will probably work out too small (even with all the fastenings to tie gear to the outside of the bag) so I’ll have to shop for something else eventually, and I’ll try to properly fix the waist belt size problem then

    • 3

      I’m going to take this opportunity to confess to the TP community that my BOB is not a tactical bag. For a long time, I kept a North Face daypack (the Angstrom 30) in the trunk of my car as an “earthquake kit,” but I eventually outgrew it, and when I did, I bought an Osprey Kyte 36 to use as my BOB. Why not something more tactical? Part of it is just brand loyalty: I like Osprey packs generally and have always felt that they hold up well (sounds like maybe we’re in agreement about this). I also know (from long experience, including backpacking in an Ariel 55 and 65 and run commuting in a Daylite) that they fit me really well. The real deciding factor for me, though, were the comfort and ergonomic advantages of technical (as opposed to tactical) packs (as discussed in TP’s bug out bag guide/review article). I’ve got some shoulder/neck problems, so the really well-padded shoulder straps and hip belt and my own confidence that the pack is going to put its weight on my hips and be gentle on my shoulders is a high priority for me.

      If 36L seems small, well, so am I. My pack is about 27 pounds right now, which is technically more than I should carry if we go by the 20% rule. I don’t feel like the Kyte is ever going to fit evvvverrrrything I want in there, but the volume of the pack isn’t the limiting factor for my BOB loadout— my bodyweight is.

      Another nice thing about the Kyte is that it isn’t a pure top-loader. I find it pretty easy to get in and out of the main compartment. Most of the stuff in there are “set up camp and eat some food” items; I use the brain of the pack for things I would want to access quickly and the top of the main compartment for my IFAK. I was having trouble fitting all my first aid supplies into my IFAK, and even ordered (and returned) a larger bag (that also didn’t fit everything), but at some point I realized that most of what was in there was not actually for true emergencies. Like, no one will EVER die because I had to unclip two buckles and pull a drawstring in order to get to the Ibuprofen. Once I had that insight, I started keeping a few key items (e.g., the tourniquet) in the pack brain and most of it in the IFAK in the main compartment.

      That got long, but my point is… if you like Ospreys already and they’re good to your back, I don’t think it’s nuts to use one for your BOB.

      • 6

        There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a non-tactical bag as your bug out option. Take a look at Alicia’s bag up above. Whatever works for you, holds your gear, and is comfortable when you are hiking a few miles to your bug out spot. You don’t want to have a tactical bag that cuts into your shoulders after 1/2 mile and you would rather toss it and lose your gear than continue to carry it after mile 5.

        That’s good that your bag isn’t a pure top loader, those bags are annoying and you have to practically throw everything out to get to something at the bottom. 

        Is your bag packed to the brim like Alicia’s bag is since you have chosen a smaller bag?

      • 3

        Aw, thank you for not laughing me and my Osprey out of the forums! 😀 (I jest; TP is good for not behaving that way!) And you get it: I’d happily sacrifice some of the advantages of a tactical bag for something that I know I can hike in for 15-20 miles without issue.

        Also: I got a bunch of ultralight ditty bags and heavy-duty large-volume Ziplocs for storing things by category inside the pack, and I unpack it and repack it so much as I maintain my preps, that I’m pretty efficient about finding what I need in the main compartment. It’s not just digging through gobs of survival stuff. 

        But yes, I am pretty well maxed out on space. I’m going to be able to fit a tarp (which is my last major outstanding BOB item) and that’s about it… and I may have to take out the bulky respirator I bought for other purposes (but store in the BOB) to make that fit. I don’t have a full sleeping bag in there, either— just a woobie. But my weight fluctuates between 120 and 125#, and (as mentioned) I have neck/shoulder issues, so even though I’m athletic and strong and can probably go a tad over 20% of my body weight, I can’t realistically handle a 40# TP Level 3 loadout— at least not in a “get out NOW” situation.

        We also have a ton of backpacking and camping stuff in our house (including a 55L Ariel and a bug out/adventure vehicle), so the stuff in the BOB is not everything I have to draw on in an emergency. I see it as the answer to the question, “What will keep you alive and reasonably okay for a few days if you have to get out fast on foot?” rather than some be-all, end-all survival kit.

      • 4

        Looks like you have put more thought into your bug out bag than 99% of people, that is admirable. And I wouldn’t strive to go for a full Level 3 loadout if you are nearing max or slightly above your max recommended weight. Sure you will be missing out on items that could be very handy and useful in an emergency, but if you fall behind or get injured because you are dragging your 100 pound pack (bit exaggerated…) and you weigh 120, then you missed the boat. But you are balancing your capabilities and what you have available and making it work for you! Great job!

      • 3

        I couldn’t agree more with this 🙂 as I said above my BOB is tactical (Direct Action Ghost) but only because when I started getting everything together last year, that was the best pack I already had on hand. I also had a 40L unbranded backpacking pack left over from teenage adventures (when I had no money LOL), it’s both larger and lighter than the tactical pack but the quality is so poor I don’t think I would trust my life to it in an emergency, it already had two broken zippers  😮

        Tactical packs do have certain advantages; good internal organisation, durability, molle/palls (very useful), cammo colors, easy access, lots of straps on the outside etc…

        …but I’ll need to replace my BOB soon with something a bit larger (I’m non quite sure what yet – probably in the 40-50L range) and I’ve already decided I won’t be getting a tactical pack. Mainly because the fit of a technical pack with a light weight frame is so much better. And there’s the weight to consider, last time I had my BOB (the ghost) empty I weighed it, at 2.3Kg, most good modern 40-50L technical packs are around the 1.5Kg mark, and the ghost only has a 31.5L capacity

        Durability is the only thing that makes me wonder if I should go back on this decision, all that modern lightweight stuff must sacrifice some build quality? and you can’t go wrong with thick nylon, but on thinking about it, my BOB tent is already made from “all that modern lightweight stuff” so maybe I shouldn’t worry about it?


        Disclaimer: For writing this I only have experience of testing two tactical packs, the Direct Action Ghost and a 5.11 (can’t remember which one) belonging to a friend. So I can’t be sure there aren’t other tactical packs out there that solve these problems

      • 4

        That’s good that you are weighing the pros and cons with each style of pack. My advice with the lightweight stuff that may compromise on durability is to have a small repair kit with you. This can just be a small roll of duct tape and safety pins, or a real repair kit from something like REI that is meant for fixing these ultralight materials. 

        And when getting a bag, look for ones with a YKK zipper as mentioned in one of The Prepared’s blog posts. I’ve been making that a big deciding factor on all of my gear since reading about it. Zippers can be replaced, I don’t know how, and it would be hard to do in the field, but you don’t want to have the whole side of your bag just hanging wide open because you compromised and cheaped out on a bag with inferior zippers.

      • 3

        Probably obviously (given my post) I totally understand and endorse using a technical as opposed to a tactical pack if you want to go up to 40-50L. Maybe I’m spoiled from backpacking, but I just can’t imagine carrying that kind of volume on the frame and suspension of the typical tactical pack.

        One thing that might give you some confidence in your choice to go technical (of which you may already be aware, so sorry if this is obvious) is that there is a distinction between technical packs generally and ultralight backpacks. I mention this (in spite of the fact that you may very well know already) because sometimes in the prepping world people seem to equate “backpacking gear” with “ultralight gear”— maybe because it seems ultralight compared to tactical gear? Or because ultralight has gotten so popular among backpackers in the last 15 years or so? Also, many packs incorporate UL fabrics and features without going totally minimalist, which makes things seem more confusing, but that also means that on heavier models, designers are choosing to use lighter fabrics on parts of the pack that don’t need to be as sturdy, like front pouches, and using the heaviest fabric on the parts that take the most abuse, like pack bottoms.

        Much of the fabric on my packs is 400-600D, which overlaps with the low end of the tactical range and is similar to the “sweet spot” TP identifies. They also feel super different than your average Gregory, which I remember as a brand that used lighter-weight nylon. That said… I haven’t walked around an REI scrunching pack fabric in my hands for a while, so forgive me for perhaps misremembering and improperly impugning other brands. 🙂 

      • 5

        I had the same observations in my search for a BOB as well as lighter options for contents. There’s a lot of middle ground between tactical and ultra-light packs (some are basically cuban fiber fold top sacks with a hip belt and shoulder straps). The tactical bags are not only heavier but also not sized for smaller or curvier females. The eliminating factor for nearly all of the technical bags in my search was access and organization. The standard design is top loading with little internal or external organization or pockets.  

        With the recent validation of preparedness (wildfire and hurricane evacuations, pandemic) and the press that this site has started to garner, we may have some influence in the marketplace eventually.  

      • 4

        Alicia, my suspicions that it would be hard/impossible to find a tactical pack that decently fits a woman is part of the reason I never even went there. I do hope you’re right that the validation of preparedness (I like the way you put that!) will lead the market to serve our priorities. So far it mostly seems to have produced (1) even more tactical stuff, and (2) products like Judy and Preppi, which seem to be designed for people who want to be prepared but don’t want to have to think about it— and, you know, better than nothing for people in that camp, but definitely not a case in which the market is solving MY particular problems… yet.

        @Alicia and @LadyKaos, I’m really struck by the importance that both of you and TP give to internal compartments and organization as a priority in a BOB. I don’t say this to criticize or argue; mainly it’s just interesting, and it makes me wonder if I’m missing something about the value of that internal organization.

        I also wonder if I just don’t care because the whole thing with internal frame backpacking packs is that it’s mostly just one giant compartment, and if you’re going to go backpacking and enjoy the benefits of an internal frame pack, that’s something you just need to tolerate. When I started backpacking, it was mostly in the High Sierra with my dad on established trails, and I loved that my external frame Kelty had several different compartments. Later, I started doing more overland stuff in brushier country and on rocky terrain, and it was totally worth the loss of internal organization to have the load closer to my center of gravity, and stored in one big blob without a lot of protrusions and attachments to snag on things. So, I converted, and now I just don’t care about compartments (and again, I sort of make them with ditty bags). But I can imagine that anyone with a military (or police?) background who was used to purpose-built compartments and being able to molle stuff all over the place would look at a technical pack and be like, “Oh, hellll no.” 

        All this to say, I’m curious if either of you have more thoughts on what the internal organization component offers you— not because I’m challenging it, but because I want to evaluate what I might be missing!

      • 3

        Sorry for the late reply

        Quote pnwsarah – “@Alicia and @LadyKaos, I’m really struck by the importance that both of you and TP give to internal compartments and organization as a priority in a BOB. I don’t say this to criticize or argue; mainly it’s just interesting, and it makes me wonder if I’m missing something about the value of that internal organization….

        …But I can imagine that anyone with a military (or police?) background who was used to purpose-built compartments and being able to molle stuff all over the place would look at a technical pack and be like, “Oh, hellll no.””

        Internal organisation..?  I’ve used tactical bags as school bags, work bags, hiking day bags for nearly 10 years because they look cool, well before I started thinking about prepping

        I’ve never been military or police but I feel what you say about molle/palls, once you get use to using a system like that, everything you might want access to regularly goes in a pouch on the outside of the bag so you don’t need to open it to get them, in some cases you don’t even need to take it off, it just becomes easer especially when know by feel where everything always is, even in the dark, but I’m willing to give it up to save weight and have a bag that properly fits me

        I guess the compromise is to have a few internal pockets/external pockets and divide things in the main compartment, I got use to bags with internal organisation so I should be able to get use to living without it

      • 3

        @pnwsarah you have a good point about the difference between a technical pack and an ultralight pack, I haven’t ever tried out an “ultralight” pack, but I had a good look at one owned by a friend on a hiking trip once, it had no frame to save weight and the fabric was soooooo thin I would never trust it. I personally also think that the addition of a decent frame makes the pack feel lighter even if it adds 0.5Kg so I don’t think I would ever go down the “ultralight” route

        However you are quite correct that an ordinary modern technical pack is lightweight compared to anything tactical, or even the old cheap backpacking bags I have used in the past. so I did use that terminology incorrectly, sorry for any confusion I caused 😮 

        on a different note, I recently acquired a Granite gear perimeter 35L pack. It was second hand (for a very reasonable price) because it’s owner didn’t get on with it, and although I wouldn’t consider it to be an option for my BOB for the following reasons; it’s only top loading, it has virtually no internal organisation, and it’s a little on the small side. (although I don’t think I would ever carry more than 35L, I like the freedom of having a little unused space in case I need to carry something extra)

        I couldn’t refuse the price so I bought it as a research exercise, it’s interesting to get a proper look at a decent quality modern technical pack, and to give it some testing. The main thing I have confirmed is that the fit is indeed much better than that of any pack I’ve ever had (it will certainly see some use on the hiking trail if not as a BOB), and I was pleasantly surprised by how hard wearing the fabric seems even though it’s thin. It’s first owner used it on two quite long trips and they aren’t the most careful of people, there is no visible snaggs etc…

        so now I think I have a bench mark for what to look for in a BOB. That is everything the Granite gear perimeter has with the addition of slightly more volume, better access, and maybe a harder wearing method of adjusting the torso length (I might edit the post to add some photo’s if anyone is interested)

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        I didn’t think you used the terminology incorrectly! I had just revisited the TP guide to BOB packs and was struck by the misalignment between how they were describing technical packs and how I perceived them. The first time I read the guide, I was like, “Oh, that’s just by comparison to tactical bags” (which, for the record, is what my partner has for his BOB), but on the re-read I started thinking about how much backpacking has changed since I was doing it a lot and working in the industry, and I was wondering if maybe this durability tradeoff looks more pronounced when you either don’t backpack at all, or got into it in the last 15 years or so, when everyone started trying to cater to the “ultralight” and “fastpacking” subcultures by touting how lightweight their products were. That possibility was on my mind when you mentioned durability, so I brought it up!

        (Also, funnily enough, my partner has an ultralight technical pack for backpacking, also acquired second hand— not because he was really stoked on UL gear. So we’ve got one of those in the house, too, and I have seen him rip it trying to stuff a tent in there!)

        I’ll be really interested to hear what you end up getting based on your experience test-driving the Granite Gear, so update us, please, when you make that purchase!

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        @pnwsarah, to answer you question about organization. First of all, I’m a bit of a organophile if there is such a thing. See Falcon’s thread on FAKs. When I read Marie Kondo’s books, I related to her childhood as I got cranky with my Mom when she messed up my underwear drawer system – I was 9yo. My backpacking pack is an original Dana Design Glacier (who co-founded Mystery Ranch) because nothing else fit my curves and I figured out how to get it affordably. Even then, I chose it because it was one of the only brand/models that had a couple external pockets that fit me well. I got the Outdoor Research bottle holsters for it as there was nowhere except inside to put a water bottle – and still really like them for hip packs, the BOB (I digress). Having given you a glimpse into my psyche, it’s the external organization that I prioritize (although I appreciate some of the internal) and access to the internal cargo compartment. I don’t mind the limitations on a backpacking trip, but in an emergency situation for which a BOB is employed, I don’t want to nearly empty the contents to get to one of the several items that need faster access: cell phone, radio, headlamp, sanitation kit, raingear, FAK, PPE, weapon, etc.; much of which I wouldn’t include backpacking.  The internal compartment must also be packed with weight management in mind, so I can’t put many of the items where they are easy to get to (at the top) which is where the easier access comes into play. In my BOB Kelty Redwing, I have zipped it open to update/replace items several times and took out far fewer items than would have been required for a single top loader.  The current version of the Mystery Ranch Glacier has bottle holder pockets and side zip access to the main compartment, and was too pricy and heavy for me to get for a BOB. 

        Like I think you mentioned, I use bags for internal organization both inside and in the outer pockets.   I use color coding by function and also between my husband’s and my own for items we shouldn’t share or are individual like medications.  Otherwise, I made them as identical as possible so if we end up with only the other’s BOB, we know where items are (including the storage pockets)

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        I like that idea of having matching organized bags so you both know where things are at all times. 

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        Thanks Alisa and pnwsarah.   

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        I like the idea of matching organized bags, too! And I remember Dana Designs! Such good packs. 

        Your post confirms my sense that, when it comes to packs, a big filter for women tends to be, “Which brand fits ME well?” As I said above, that’s why I get Ospreys. Mine actually has a ton of exterior pockets— a sleeping bag compartment on the bottom, two water bottle holsters (one of which I use for water, the other not), two surprisingly generous hip belt pockets (one of which holds my headlamp, with lots of room to spare), a shove pocket (heavy gloves go there), and the brain has two pockets, one of which is easy access from the outside (that’s where I keep my trauma stuff) and the other of which isn’t but it’s mesh, so if you unclip the brain, it’s easy to see what’s in there. There’s also one of those side access zippers, and I regularly extract and replace things through that opening rather than going in through the top.

        So I feel like the answer to my question isn’t so much that there is utility to more separate pockets that I hadn’t imagined; it’s that I have a technical pack that has most of those features, and that’s why I don’t miss them! 😀 Thank you for answering my question and telling me more about your system and priorities!

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        Quote pnwsarah – “when it comes to packs, a big filter for women tends to be, “Which brand fits ME well?” “

        After all the research I’ve done of late, I totally get this 😮 and I wish it wasn’t the case, on backpacking trips I just made do with what I had (usually the cheapest thing I could find) and when it didn’t fit quite right I wasn’t that bothered, in a SHTF situation it would matter more though…

        I’m still new to prepping, and the learning curve for me is realizing that this is the difference between prepping and everything else I’ve ever done in my life, things have to be right and if they’re not there could be worse consequences than having to abandon a camping trip a few days early because something didn’t work out

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        I just got lucky.  I had a local, awesome, but now sadly defunct, outdoor sporting goods store fit me.  I think REI would do this too.  I was seeking an external frame pack because they were cheaper.   I stumped the fitters as they saw the frame solidly sitting on my butt instead of bypassing it and transferring the weight to the hip belt and I was like 115lbs at the time so it’s just my shape.  They sent me home with info on internal frame packs so I could do more research.  Getting a proper fit made all the difference. 

        Interestingly, I’m OK with a lesser pack for a BOB because the most likely scenarios I have in my threat analysis don’t include going on foot – at least not initially. 

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      I really like the Vertyx Gamut & Gamut plus packs, they are low profile and easy to build in survival kit modules, first aid, survival, fire shelter water, tools, firearms etc….

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      I’m going to throw my hat in the ring. I am young and potentially inexperience compared to most here but I would not utilize tactical packs for a Bugout Bag. I have a Rush 72 hour and it was miserable to carry plus all the attachments for the outside was annoying. A technical pack tends to be much more comfortable to carry long distances. Being able to carry 40lbs-50lbs comfortably will do wonders for your mental and physical health. You might lose some of the toughness with a technical pack but the amount of pain you save will be worth it if you get a good one.

      I ended up getting a Mystery Ranch 3-Zip because I liked the shelf function. I used with a Sea to Summit 65L dry bag on said shelf to store more gear. With the exception of a few items everything is in the bag and not sticking out too much.

      I used different color dry bags for organizing my gear.image0image4image5image6

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        Good morning Darkworld XI,

        You’ve got a good philosophy starting off with for loadouts. Most all of prepping starts with thinking.

        Do consider a lighter load than the mentioned 40-50 lbs.  Emergency evacuations and injuries are common enough to factor into equation. Then, must consider a lighter load – when out in the sticks, thorns, city streets or elsewhere.

        I use a method like Bill mentions nearby. Travel light(er) specifics determining. Place more emphasis on pockets, belt pouches, etc.Keep back in decent shape for the unknown.

        Consider pre-“threading” the hatchet with some paracord.

        Looking forwrd to your later posts…..

        *** Keep up the thinking component. That’s what makes your post important. ***

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        Thanks! I have looked at opportunities to reduce weight, I have a list of my current bag (in progress) of the items I have

        I do need to add a lanyard to my axe, I did so with my field knife recently with some para-tinder cord.

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        Would you like some friendly feedback? 

        Things I liked:

        • Great choice of pemmican over lifeboat rations. I think you will thank yourself later. Have you tried the pemmican yet? Is it good?
        • Good that you packed a sharpening stone and oil cloth for maintenance.
        • I really like that nano stove! Hadn’t seen that one before.
        • I like to see a solar panel and power bank in a bag.
        • Have you used one of those coin cloths as toilet paper before? Just curious how well they actually work.
        • Overall, great bag! You seem to know your stuff and have planned well

        Things I think you could possibly do without if you really want to save space and weight:

        • You could possibly get rid of your silky saw or axe. Both have great use purposes, but either or could possibly substitute the other.
        • While two is one and one is none, you could possibly go down on your stoves and get rid of the alcohol stove and fuel. This will save you weight and space. You have many ways to cut wood in New England so I think you could probably find some wood scraps to be used as fuel in your nano stove as your secondary stove option instead of the alcohol.
        • I love fire as much as the next guy but you have five different fire starting ways. I would stick to the bics, ferro rod, and storm matches and get rid of the peanut and tesla. You still will have three ways to create more than enough fires.
        • You could just stick extra clothes in a dry bag as a pillow to save extra space.
        • I would go down to just one power bank, you can charge your devices straight from the BigBlue if needs be.
        • Is there really anything in the SAS survival guide that you will be referencing while bugging out? Maybe over time you can just practice those skills and have them in your brain so you don’t have to carry this.
      • 1

        I have had pemmican, I don’t particularly mind the flavor over lifeboat rations but the main reason I picked it was nutritionally it is far better, and works with my diet better (Keto/Paleo).

        The coin clothes as I referred to, are really good. I keep a few in my schoolbag because of their many uses.

        You made a lot of good suggestions. I was already thinking about removing the alcohol stove as my Firebox Nano can utilize solid fuel cubes for boiling water if for whatever reason I can’t use wood (the main reason for the alcohol stove). I think removing the SAS book makes sense if I can get as much of that info in my head as possible. I can also get a kindle version I can read off my phone which I will most likely have in an emergency. I should start a form post about Axes vs Saws and see the responses I get, as it is really such a big debate on which is better for a Bug Out Bag.

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      I travel light, my extra gear goes in a Rush 12, my EDC goes in my pockets, on my belt etc