One of the biggest mistakes that preppers make is packing too much into their bug-out-bag. It’s one thing to fully load your bag, throw it over your shoulders, and walk around with it for an hour or so, but it’s a completely different thing when its day 2 since the actual emergency and stress and fatigue start creeping in.
Things start to “weigh” more the longer you carry them, or at least it seems that way. Adrenaline and a fresh start will only get you so far when you’re bugging-out, but after you’ve been hiking for a considerable amount of time – the weight will catch up to you.
Here are 7 suggestions on lightening your bug-out-bag’s load, so that you can continue to hike it out for a longer duration and distance, furthering your chances at survival.
Break out the scale.
The first step you should take is to take out a scale and weigh each individual item you will be carrying and add them up. A bit of rope here and some batteries there don’t weigh much by themselves, but as anyone with a credit card will tell you – it all adds up. Depending on your build and level of endurance, your bug-out-bag should max out at an appropriate weight (generally 25-30lbs max) that you could consistently carry on your back for many consecutive hours. You do not want to wait until you’re miles from home to realize this.
Choose multi-purpose gear.
An excellent thing to practice is to select gear that serves more than 1 purpose. For example – a flashlight that also has a compass and a thermometer or storage compartment, or a knife that has a built-in sharpener and fire-starting tool in it’s sheath. Pay careful attention when your are packing your gear, and do some actual research when looking up efficient tools. Many sites offer multi-purpose tools that will serve a wealth of your needs. One of the best multi-purpose tools is paracord, which can help tie down shelters, be used as fishing line, shoelaces, clothesline, traps, and anything else your imagination can come up with. Duct tape is another great example.
Shed every unnecessary ounce.
Serious hikers go to extremes when lightening their loads, from removing patches from their gear to drilling holes in equipment, they realize that every ounce adds up towards unneeded pounds. Have a look at your own gear and see what it has that you really don’t need – then remove it.
The bag itself.
There are some pretty impressive survival bags out there, some that have an incredible amount of spare straps and pockets. Unfortunately, these bulky options also add extra weight to your overall load and should be replaced by lighter bags that can save up to 5 pounds sometimes. Don’t overlook this little step – choose a light, efficient bag that weighs little.
Ditch the tent.
Tents are useful, but take up space and weight. Try opting for a tarp and hammock setup to remove even more weight from your bag. Hammocks also take up space, but are ideal in certain areas depending on what animals can be found on the ground. At night especially, it’d be in your best interests to stay away from the ground if poisonous insects, snakes, or scorpions are present.
Did you know that just 1 gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds? Water is highly essential to any bug-out-bag, but make an intelligent decision between balancing the amount you carry and the weight it adds. Carry water – but carry water purification tablets and/or a water filter in lieu of actual extra water. Your back will thank you.
Remove the unnecessaries.
Most preppers pack only what’s really needed in their go-bags, like food and important gear, but there are always those who add to it a little more than they really need. Make sure you set your emotions aside when packing your bag, and discard any comfort items that you honestly don’t need to stay alive. Remember, you’ll be trying to survive in the wilderness, you won’t need that deck of cards or shampoo.
If you follow these suggestions and take time in considering your bug-out-bag’s weight fully loaded, you will easily be able to shed your bag’s extra pounds and save yourself pain later down the road when a true emergency strikes.