How to Choose the Best Bug Out Bag For You

How to Choose the Best Bug Out Bag For You

October 15, 2020

Maybe you’ve never heard of a bug out bag until now. Just like a lot of folks living in northern California or southern Florida, who despite living with the threat of a natural disaster, you’ve perhaps failed to prepare properly for a disaster in your own backyard.

But more-and-more people are realizing that being prepared for an emergency isn’t just the domain of hardened survivalists. It’s instead the responsibility of all of us to make sure we’re as prepared as possible. So if you want to know how to get started read this guide to choosing the best bug out bag for you.

Choosing a Bug Out Bag

When choosing a bug out bag, there are many things that need to factor into your decision. The four most important are: comfort and carry, size, organization, and versatility.

Comfort and Carry

You may need to carry or wear your bug out bag for a prolonged period of time, so you need to make sure that the design is ergonomic and the straps are comfortable. Below are the pros and cons of the different types of bags available.

Duffel Bag
Duffel bags can be a good option because they offer a lot of space but are definitely not the most comfortable to carry. Hand carrying a heavy duffel bag isn’t sustainable over long distances. Even if you have a duffel that can be worn cross body, having the weight shift back and forth can slow you down and be uncomfortable. If you do go with a duffel, make sure there is a comfortable padded shoulder strap.
Backpacks offer the most convenience and comfort. They also offer superior organization to the other types of bags, as well as much more even weight distribution, allowing you to be more swift and agile. With padded straps, backpacks will generally offer the most comfort when carrying heavy loads long distances. 
Rolling Luggage
In case of injury or other disability that makes walking difficult, choosing a rolling piece of luggage may be the only option. If you need to use a roller, we recommend either choosing one that has good organization or opting for a 72 hour supply kit that is already organized for you.


There is a laundry list of items you will need to pack in your bug out bag, so make sure it has a large enough capacity to fit it all. The size you need is obviously highly dependent on your unique situation. Are you prepping for an entire family? Do you have a baby or an elderly parent that will require extra items? Your bag needs to be large enough to fit everything you need, while also being compact enough to easily carry.


In an emergency, you need to be able to find your most critical items easily and quickly. Your bug out bag needs to have plenty of pockets and compartments that will allow you to organize your essentials efficiently. You will ideally want to separate certain items from others, as well as have smaller pockets for items that are small and easily lost. 


Depending on your needs, you may want your bug out bag to be packed and ready all of the time, or your need might be more seasonal - as is the case with wildfires or hurricanes - and if that’s your situation, you definitely want a bag that’s going to serve many purposes. 

Emergency Preparedness 

While it’s statistically unlikely that you’ll need your emergency preparedness bug out bag, the operative word here is preparedness. If disaster does strike, being prepared with food rations with a long shelf life and a well designed first aid kit can literally save you. Remember, having the best bug out bag for you is just one step in preparing for an emergency; make sure you have a complete plan for you and your family. For help thinking through your preparation, read our article on how to prepare for an emergency

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