Bug out Bags

Just wanted to show a couple of packs I have that will be used in a bug out situation. Please don’t make fun of my bed spread! Yeah I’m a guy but I like my old quilt.

I will start out by saying that you get what you pay for and the bags on the far left and far right are not cheapo’s. I really don’t want to come across as they are the only options available and my choices are best for everyone. Having said that I also understand that everyone has different requirements, different number of family members to buy or supply a pack for, and the biggest; budget considerations. These are what work for me. Again I spent allot of time reading and researching about packs and you should also. I know that the ones chosen for me have survived the field in real life.

The packs on the left and right are Voodoo Tactical Tobago assault packs. The one on the right I have had for over a year is bigger than the Army issue types and so far has held up pretty good. The one thing about the Army 3 day assault pack is that it can be piggy backed onto the issued ruck sack (I’ll try and get a pick later of that setup). I haven’t tried to attach the Tobago to the ruck yet. Ok, so if you clicked on the link for the Voodoo I am sure you now have sticker shock. The comparison I am trying to make in the pic below is the middle pack cost only $35 at a surplus store (total impulse buy). There is a night and day difference between the Voodoo’s and the generic packs. The left pack is in a Ranger Green, the center is a Coyote tan and the left is the standard Army ACU pattern.

Its hard to tell from the pics but I will try and explain the differences. First of all the tan pack is of a cheaper quality cordura, cheaper strap material and connectors. Some parts are double stitched, but the thread is a lighter weight cotton type. The pic below I am trying to show that the left connector on the chest strap has already cracked and doesn’t stay connected. It just feels cheaper.

Here is a pic of the Voodoo’s chest strap connector, heavier strapping material, heavier cordura material. Stitching is from a stronger thread and all the zippers are double stitched with small flaps that cover each zipper to keep water and dust out. I would not be concerned that my gear would be wet after a day or two in the rain with the Voodoo packs.

Here is an interior view showing hold down straps on the left and two zippered mesh pockets on the right.

Here is a view of the front of the pack. Small lumbar padding, well padded shoulder and waist straps. I have humped at least 20 miles with this on my back (a water bladder inside), all kinds of junk wearing full battle rattle (helmet, vest, rifle, etc) and it was fairly comfortable considering the physical misery I was already enduring at the time.

The next two pics show how a water bladder can be installed with a cheap $1 carabiner from WalMart.

I didn’t show it but there is another compartment between the pack and the lumbar support that holds a plastic stiffener board that can be bent to contour to your back. A water bladder can be tucked in there to free up more space in the main compartment and adds a bit of cushyness to your back also. Kind of like a water bed for your back.

When the main compartment is used for a water bladder the precut holes in the pack allow you to feed your bite tube through. There is a hole located for either left or right access of the bite tube with a velcro tab to seal and keep the elements out when not in use.

There are two main compartments, two zippered side compartments or pockets, and a large zippered compartment along the bottom or running the width of the pack. Perfect for a pair of shower shoes if that gives you a reference for size.There is also a large amount of MOLLE on the back to add other MOLLE accessoriers.

I think these packs (the Voodoos) are good for a 3 day bug out bag or longer and the ACU patterned one has survived the last year getting knocked around.  The smaller coyote tan pack would be good for a small bug out bag for the car or our Suburban. I won’t rely on it for heavy duty use.

Summary:

Just do your homework, read reviews and if you have a store that carries a cross section of brands i.e. Blackhawk, 511, Voodoo or the myriad of other manufactures, touch them, feel them and put them on your back and see if they adjust to your body. One size does not fit all.Check the padding of the shoulder straps, the stitching (is it double stitched through out), the zippers, the quality of the materials used.

Think about having to wear a pack for a couple miles loaded with 30 lbs or more of gear. Make sure it fits high on your back, put the lumbar padding right in the middle of your lower back. Snap that chest strap and adjust it. Use and adjust the waist strap. You want your heavier gear to sit high in the pack and not at the bottom. This is contrary to common sense but I can assure you the pack will feel like its pulling your shoulder blades together after any sort of lengthy wear, I speak from experience.

As a side note. Even though there is a large amount of MOLLE located on the back of the packs you have to keep in mind that for every 1 lbs. you add to your kit with a cool little MOLLE bag loaded with cool stuff, is another 1 lbs that you will have to carry on your back. And after a few miles 1 extra pound can feel like 10 lbs.

Hope this helps.

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