How to Lighten a Bug Out Bag (BOB): Top 8 Tips from Survivalists

To be as prepared as possible, it is easy to overload and overweight the exit bag. I have found that a good rule of thumb is that the “Bug Out Bag” should weigh between twenty-five and fifty pounds.

In my opinion, the BVG may be too light, which is already close to ultralight backpacks. Carrying an ultralight backpack has become a kind of sport for some people who want to challenge themselves or push their limits.

This article is not focused on this particular sport, if you will, but I have seen some of this ultra-light mentality spill over into the preparation subjects, particularly the listening subjects.

Not too light, not too heavy, but just right.

I want to talk a little bit about the weight range of the Bug Out Bag.

If you want to make an ultralight backpack for competitions and adventure, that’s fine and noble. But I don’t think this mindset should apply to a backpack, and here are my reasons.

I think ultralight packers are experienced at what they do and train often. That means they should be able to handle minimal supplies better than the average person. I’m not saying it’s a good idea, but they can do it.

The average BOB stays in the car, garage or closet for a long time without really being used. I don’t think the average guy trains often enough to maintain his driving skills outside with minimal equipment.

After all, it is downright dangerous to work in unfamiliar situations with minimal equipment. The idea behind PDO is that equipment should be made available in such a way that the person can get from point A to point B within a certain amount of time.

Most people agree that the time frame is about 72 hours. However, if possible, I would recommend scheduling a longer period, such as a week.

This is because plans never end well and people greatly underestimate the speed at which they can move through a SHTF, especially while hiking.

Unfamiliar scenarios and timetables mean that we must equip ourselves to the maximum to cope with whatever comes our way.

On the other hand, a heavy bag of bugs has its own problems.

First, the weight of the bag can cause physical problems, such as back, shoulders and knees. If someone is not in shape and does not exercise often with their bag, it is unrealistic to think that they can suddenly put on a bag that weighs over fifty pounds and be ready to go. This will not happen.

The second problem is that a heavy bag causes mobility problems, slows a person down and makes it difficult for him to move around in a certain area.

Even a physically healthy person will eventually have trouble maintaining a certain rhythm when carrying a heavy load. It’s just exhausting, no matter who you are.

In addition, a large package wrapped in a border is difficult to navigate in certain areas, such as areas with dense vegetation and trees.

I think the weight of the bug out bag should enter this area, not too light, not too heavy, but just right, without sacrificing safety to a lack of equipment.

Basic Troubleshooting of the Pocket Configuration

Before going into softening the sleeping bag, I thought it important to go over a few basic principles. The first draft of a bug out bag should begin with an introduction to these basics. Once the basics are in place, you can decide what items to add or leave out depending on your weight requirements. You can use Rule 3 to get you started.

Three minutes without air

This first rule is sometimes immediately hijacked by the idea that “there is air all around us.” But don’t forget first aid related to breathing and the fact that breathing can be difficult under certain conditions. Not to mention wearing masks in contaminated areas.

Homeless for three hours

Shelter can certainly be important, but we are talking about more than three hours without maintaining body temperature. This can be achieved by wearing weather-appropriate clothing in conjunction with heating and cooling technologies.

Three days without water

We all know how important water is to our survival. Every pocket must have a way to collect, filter, purify and transport water.

Three weeks without food

Since the carrying case is designed for a short period of time, about three days, it can be said that the food does not need to be handled by the PDO.

Still, it is important to maintain our energy levels, and you may very well need to rely on the reserves in your bag for more than three days. For these reasons, you should bring food, as well as tools to gather food, such as a small fishing tackle.

First aid and navigation

First aid and navigation are not part of Rule 3, but they are important categories that are part of the basic first aid bag.

A first aid kit with appropriate medical supplies should be packed. Knowledge of how to deal with various medical problems is also required.

A compass and a physical map of the entire area should be packed, as well as knowledge of some basic navigation skills.

A word of caution

Below are suggestions and ideas on how to facilitate BOB, not actions you must take. Please consider your situation and the region in which you live when reading.

For example, I discuss the possibility of replacing the tent with a tarp. But depending on the climate in your area or the time of year, this may not be the best option for you.

The bag of lightening the bug

When it’s time to use a tote bag, you need a bag that can be carried with as little effort as possible and provides you with the equipment you need.

If you find that your BOB is too heavy, here are some ways to lighten the load and still stay prepared.


The weight of the bag is an element to consider. For most people, the weight of the bag is probably negligible, but when you are carrying gear on your back, there is an old saying that goes, “grams become kilograms.”

And we don’t want those pounds to pile up by the bag we put all our stuff in. A regular school backpack doesn’t weigh that much, while a military backpack or a real road backpack with a frame system will weigh considerably more.

I’m not saying you should prefer a school backpack over other options just because it’s lighter. I’m just pointing out that there can be a noticeable difference in weight between different backpacks, and to find a sturdy backpack that isn’t too heavy, do your research.

Plan to eliminate search errors

Bug fix plans are an area to prepare for when I discover bugs in detail. When people ask me what your plans are for fixing bugs, a common response is, “I’m going to grab my bag and go to where my bug-out is.”

Here are a few questions I’ll look at later.

  • Exactly how far are you from your home, your work, or another place you frequent?
  • What are the alternative routes to get to the fallback site and how far do they go?
  • What alternative means of transportation are available to you?
  • What is the weather like in your area?
  • How many people are in your group?
  • Do you or anyone in your group have health problems that need treatment?

I ask these questions because the answers will help someone pack their bag well, rather than fill it with as much as they can.

For example, someone 160 km from home in a hilly area will not be supplied in the same way as someone 15 km from home in a more urban area.

Use a versatile gearbox

Items that can be used for multiple purposes are a good way to put less stuff in a bag and reduce overall weight.


One example I like to give people is the use of a good quality multi-tool. Without going into all the subtleties of its use or even whether you like it, the fact remains that a multi-tool can replace many larger and heavier items in your pocket.


When it comes to court, remember that a hearing is no cakewalk and you will have to forgo many conveniences.

It reminds me of a conversation I once had in which someone described the contents of his LS, which he and another person used.

They started with the list of dishes and I think my jaw dropped. They had pots, pans, skillets, lids, plates, utensils, cups, grills, and the list seemed endless.

Outdoor cooking utensils have become very compact, and I’d be lying if I said I’m not a fan of some of them. But there are still a lot of things that could have been made smaller.

For example, I suggest limiting everything to a small pot, utensils and maybe a cup.

Everything can be cooked in the pan and the food can be eaten directly from the pan, eliminating the need for plates. The pan can even be used as a cup, eliminating the need for a mug. Do you see where I’m going with this? Limit your equipment to items that can be used for multiple purposes.


I’ve never been a big fan of tents, although they certainly have their place. This is mainly because they can only be used as tents, unless of course you are willing to empty and tear them down.

Tarps, on the other hand, I’m a big fan of them, and here are some of the reasons why:

  • They are very cheap.
  • Can be set up in a variety of configurations.
  • Easier to set up and pick up.
  • Can be used for purposes other than protection.
  • And in the context of this article, they’re not that hard.

Choice of different materials

Another way to reduce weight is to be careful about the material from which the appliance or tool is made.

I will use cooking programs as another example. Kitchenware can be made of stainless steel, copper, cast iron, aluminum or titanium.

A titanium pan will be extremely light, while a cast iron pan will be extremely heavy.

It may take a little more time to find and compare materials, but by choosing accessories made of lighter materials, you are making a difference.

The ultimate compassion

I often suggest putting things in first aid kits and bags that are not essential, but rather for comfort. It could be a book, a deck of cards, chocolate, whatever you like.

I think these items can play a role in the morale of the troops and bring some comfort. But at some point I noticed that the number of comfort items in my bag had increased significantly without me really realizing it.

They took up unnecessary space and even weighed a few pounds more. After reorganizing my bag, I allowed myself only one item for this category.


A bag at either end of the weight spectrum has its advantages and disadvantages. But as long as your basic needs are met, the bag can be as heavy or as light as you like.

I hope this article has been informative and has given you some ways to reduce the burden of a heavy PDO.

Thanks for reading and be ready!

How have you reduced the weight of your backpack? Tell us in the comments below and let us know!

Frequently asked questions

How do I turn on my emergency bag?

To make things easier for you in the awning category, you can always switch from a hiking tent to a tarp. This can easily take 4 or 5 pounds off your BOB. Another tent change would be from a sleeping bag to a thick fleece blanket. This can save you one or two pounds, depending on the volume of your sleeping bag.

What color should my backpack be?

A military-style backpack can hold something more useful for any environment and will be a godsend for hoppers at night. Other good color options include blue, navy, olive, brown or beige.

What’s in the bug bag?

List of error points – 50 point checklist – [PDF download].

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