Best Bug Out Bag of 2019: Complete Reviews with Comparisons
A disaster can strike at any moment. Floods, earthquakes, wildfires, and hurricanes can happen pretty much anywhere, anytime.
Therefore, being properly prepared can save your life and the lives of your loved ones.
The best way to prepare for an emergency is to buy or make your own bug out bag.
Keep reading for the best bug out bag recommendations and reviews, as well as a thorough buyer’s guide.
Top 5 Bug Out Bags Comparison Chart
Best Bug Out Bag Reviews
1. Emergency Zone 840-2 Bug Out Bag
A discreet bug out bag is the best bug out bag. The Emergency Zone 840-2 is a simple, nondescript backpack designed to sustain two persons for 72 hours. It is FEMA-compliant and comes jam-packed with useful tools and accessories.
The 840-2 by Emergency Zone is designed to be low-profile and efficient. The backpack has one main compartment, four side compartments, and six more compartments in the front. All pockets use a combination of zippers and Velcro, and they are easily accessible should you need to grab something quickly. Black is the dominant color, with gray details.
This BOB kit can support two persons for a period of 72 hours or a single person for twice as long. The food rations are approved by the US Coast Guard and contain around 1,200 calories per person a day. You won’t need to reheat or rehydrate them, a feature that will save you precious resources and keep you mobile. The supplies have a shelf life of 5 years.
As for the equipment, the 840-2 is compliant with FEMA guidelines for BOB and survival kits. It contains sanitation and hygiene, food and water, first aid, light and communication, weather protection, and water purification equipment and all the basic tools.
What's to like about the Emergency Zone 840-2 Bug Out Bag
The 840 bug out bag kit is FEMA-compliant and offers enough water and food for two persons for a period of 72 hours. It has a lot of storage space, a big main compartment for the essentials, and several large pockets on the outside.
What's not to like about the Emergency Zone 840-2 Bug Out Bag
On the other hand, it doesn’t have any frame, meaning it will be somewhat harder to carry around for longer periods of time.
2. Everlit Survival Kit
Tactical backpacks are the most popular type of bug out bags by a wide margin. They’re purpose-built to carry heavy loads and can take a lot of punishment. If that’s your style, you might want to check out the Everlit Survival Kit. It’s a 72-hour kit for two.
The Everlit bug out bag is a tactical backpack designed in cooperation with veterans, meaning it is built to last. The backpack has a large primary compartment for the essentials and a myriad of pockets for specific equipment and tools. The secondary big compartment is somewhat smaller but can still hold plenty of supplies.
This backpack sports a desert brown color scheme with a prominent US flag on the upper front pocket. While immensely cool and good-looking, this backpack might make you look like a soldier or a well-prepared civilian and make you a more probable target.
You will get enough food and water to last two adult persons for a period of 72 hours. There are 24 125ml packs of drinking water and a pair of 3,600 calorie food bars. All of the food is approved by the US Coast Guard and has a shelf life of 5 years. The pack also contains enough purification tablets to clean 25 quarts of water.
The package contains a 200-pc first aid kit that includes a military tourniquet, hand-crank flashlight, thermal blanket, emergency shelter, and N95 respirator. The backpack is made of super-durable 600-denier polyester and has wide and padded shoulder and hip straps.
What's to like about the Everlit Survival Kit
The Everlit bug out bag kit offers a strong, durable backpack with lots of storage room, enough supplies for three days for two adults, an extensive first aid kit, as well as other essential tools and equipment.
What's not to like about the Everlit Survival Kit
The only major downside of this otherwise fantastic BOB kit is the fact that it may draw unwanted attention with its military styling.
3. Wise Food 5-Day Survival Backpack
Having enough food and clean water is of paramount importance when a disaster strikes. While the standard BOB kits offer enough supplies for two to three days, the Survival Backpack by Wise Food can sustain a single person for five days. The backpack also contains essential tools and equipment, as well as a well-rounded med kit.
The central feature of this affordable bug out bag is its huge food supply. It is designed to sustain an adult person for five days. There are 32 gourmet meal rations. The backpack also contains a portable stove on which you can cook the meals. Also included are 24 fuel tablets. A set of five 1-gallon water pouches is also there.
The backpack is medium-sized and somewhere between an everyday and a tactical backpack. However, it features a light/dark brown digital camo color scheme. While it certainly looks great, it might also attract unwanted attention.
The Wise Food backpack also includes a 42-piece first aid kit that includes tissues, an N95 dust mask, wet napkins, bandages, and a waste bag. The tools section contains a squeeze flashlight, waterproof matches, and a 5-in-1 whistle.
The backpack has one main compartment for the essentials and five external storage compartments. The hip, chest, and shoulder straps are of decent quality. All food and drink rations are factory sealed, with expiration dates printed on the packages. It is recommended to keep the backpack in a cool place, preferably at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
What's to like about the Wise Food 5-Day Survival Backpack
The Wise Food 5-Day Survival Backpack comes jam-packed with tasty food. Along with extensive rations, it also boasts a decently equipped med kit, ample storage room, and essential survival tools.
What's not to like about the Wise Food 5-Day Survival Backpack
The backpack, while well-made and sturdy, comes with a digital camouflage color scheme. Therefore, it might make you look like you’re well-prepared or a member of the armed forces.
4. Guardian Survival Gear Elite Emergency Kit
The main advantage that standard backpacks have over the tactical variety is that they don’t draw nearly as much attention. With an everyday backpack, you can rest assured that you won’t stick out. The Guardian Survival Gear Elite Emergency Kit is a standard backpack filled with all the necessities for survival.
A regular day backpack that looks like every other is a great choice in times of crisis. The designers at Guardian Survival Gear know it and that’s why this great backpack looks like your average high school backpack. However, under the plain looks, it hides all the essential things a well-prepared person must have.
The backpack is medium in size, with a spacious main storage compartment. On the outside, there are additional pockets and compartments for storing the non-essentials. Owing to its regular design, the Guardian Survival backpack can’t match the robustness of a tactical backpack. However, it is far from fragile or flimsy.
The Elite Emergency Kit contains 12 400-calorie food bars, 24 4oz water pouches, and 20 tablets for water purification. The food has a shelf life of 5 years, which is on par with the best BOB kits out there.
Other important features include a 65-piece first aid kit, a 24-piece hygiene kit, and an extensive set of tools and survival equipment. The highlights also include an AM/FM radio, 5-in-1 survival whistle, a pair of N95 masks, 2 sleeping bags, emergency ponchos, and a squeeze flashlight.
What's to like about the Guardian Survival Gear Elite Emergency Kit
The Elite Emergency Kit by Guardian Survival Gear is a well-rounded BOB kit. It covers all the important bases, and the highlights include an extensive first aid kit, plentiful food and water supplies, and durable survival tools and equipment.
What's not to like about the Guardian Survival Gear Elite Emergency Kit
While far from your ordinary school backpack, the Elite Emergency Kit backpack can’t compete with thoroughbred tactical backpacks in terms of sturdiness and resilience.
5. Redfora Complete Earthquake Bag
Of all designs, biker messenger and duffel bags score the highest in the discretion category. With a duffel bag, you won’t stand out and it is highly unlikely someone will think of you as well prepared. The Redfora Complete Earthquake Bag is a large, well-equipped survival bag made to sustain 4 people for a period of 3 days.
The Complete Earthquake Bag comes in the form of a standard travel bag, even featuring wheels and a pull handle. It offers a huge amount of space – people might think you’re planning to pack the dishwasher. On the other hand, the lack of shoulder straps means you won’t be able to carry it on your back.
This BOB kit contains enough supplies to sustain four people for a period of three days. The food and water section has four 3,600-calorie food bars, 48 water pouches, 40 purifier tablets, and four hydration bags. If you’re going alone, this kit might last you almost two weeks.
The 107-piece first aid kit is another highlight feature of this excellent bag. It can cover you in case of bruises, sprains, cuts, and scrapes. Four hygiene kits, four waste bags, and four packs of tissues are also included.
What's to like about the Redfora Complete Earthquake Bag
The Complete Earthquake Bag is a huge bug out bag, jam-packed with supplies and survival equipment. It has a solid first aid kit, enough food to sustain four grown-ups for a period of three days, and all the essential tools and accessories.
What's not to like about the Redfora Complete Earthquake Bag
Due to being a duffel bag, it is fairly larger and heavier than your standard backpack option. This means it might slow you down in case you’re on foot and need to move fast.
The best bug out bag has to contain all the tools and items you might need to survive in a state of emergency. The most important aspects to consider include the number of hours of supplies per person, shelf life of the packed food, overall weight, comfort, and fit. Also, a proper bug out bag should be packed according to FEMA guidelines.
Number of Hours of Supplies per Person
Bug out bags come in various shapes and sizes and can sustain you for different periods of time. The most popular variety, however, is the 72-hour bag. This type contains enough food and water to last for three days.
Nowadays, many commercially available BOB kits include 72-hour supplies for two people. Some expensive models may even pack enough supplies to sustain four or more people for the same period of time.
Along with 72-hour kits, some manufacturers make five and seven-day bags. These bags, depending on the number of people they’re intended to sustain, can have various quantities of food and water. They also might feature more tools and other equipment.
Another notable variation is the 24-hour go-kit popular among radio amateurs. These bags contain basic supplies for a 24-hour period and a portable radio station.
The shelf life of the included supplies is of vital importance. In this category, more is, without exception, always better. The current standard for commercially available bug out bags is five years. If you opt for a bag with a shorter shelf life, make sure to replace the rations before the expiration date.
If you’re DIY-oriented and want to make your own BOB kit, go for dry and canned foods. Always check the expiration dates and go with the options that have the longest shelf life you can find. The thing about canned goods is that they might last way beyond the best by dates.
You should avoid foods that need water and heat to prepare, as they might slow you down or deplete your water supplies unnecessarily.
It goes without saying that having a FEMA-compliant bug out bag is a must. Partially or inadequately equipped BOB kit can potentially be very hazardous when disaster strikes. You might run out of food or water in the middle of nowhere and without a means to obtain them fast enough.
Therefore, buying or building a FEMA-compliant kit is paramount. Visit FEMA’s official BOB kit preparation website for more info on the recommended items for various types of kits.
The overall weight of your bug out bag is immensely important. If it is too light, there’s a good chance that something important is missing. On the other hand, if it’s too heavy, you’ve probably packed more than you need.
While there are no hard and fast rules here, a BOB backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 10-15 percent of your body weight. Excessive weight will slow you down and quickly wear you out. A bag that’s too light might not sustain you long enough.
The things to consider here include the number of people you’re packing the supplies for, your needs and the needs of others, as well as your physical condition and size.
Comfort and Fit
While it might seem unimportant to some, comfort and fit play a huge role when it comes to bug out bags. In case of disaster, you’d like to have a bag that’s easy to carry and lets you move freely. Things to consider here include:
A good bug out bag has wide and padded straps that won’t dig into your skin and potentially cause excessive discomfort. Along with standard shoulder straps, your bug out bag should also have hip and chest straps. These will allow for better weight distribution, making your bag easier to carry.
You should go for a backpack that has either webbing or channels in the back to prevent excessive sweating and possibly chafing.
The presence of a frame can help stabilize the backpack. On the other hand, it also adds weight. The external variety can potentially be uncomfortable, especially if it has insufficient padding. Internal frames offer a good balance of weight and efficiency.
Bug Out Bag F.A.Q's.
What is a Bug Out Bag?
A bug out bag is a bag filled with all the supplies, tools, and items needed for survival in the event of a natural or other disasters. More specifically, a bug out bag contains everything you need to survive for a period of 72 hours. It is focused on evacuation and escape, rather than long-term survival.
Other commonly used names for a bug out bag include:
- GOOD Bag – the acronym for “Get out of Dodge.”
- Go bag
- Grab bag
- Battle box
- 72-hour kit
Bug out bags are related to the famous bail-out bags administered to US pilots and airmen in the Korean War. Among radio amateurs, “Go-kits” are popular. These are usually designed for 24-hour periods and pack a portable radio station, along with food, med kits, and tools.
Nowadays, five and seven-day bug out bags are also commercially available.
What to Put in a Bug Out Bag?
If you’re considering building your own BOB kit, there are many things you need to take into consideration. First, you need to pack at least 72-hour supplies of food and water.
Along with food and water, a properly built 72-hour kit should also contain a radio (hand crank or battery-powered), NOAA weather radio, well-equipped first aid kit, duct tape, whistle, flashlight, dust mask, maps, can opener, moist tissues, extra batteries for electronic devices, pliers, wrench, screwdriver, and a cellphone with spare batteries and charger.
How to Pack a Bug Out Bag?
If you decide to build your own bug out bag, you must also learn to pack it properly. Since its purpose is to keep you alive during a disaster, it must be packed methodically.
Generally, you should aim to maximize your mobility and go as lightweight as possible. You should also aim for good weight distribution. This means that you should pack heavy stuff as close to the bottom of the backpack and as close to your back as possible. Put lighter items on top.
Another approach is to pack the contents according to their relevance. Non-urgent items go on the bottom, urgent items in the middle, and emergency items topmost.
The first category should be made up of hygiene items, bedding, additional supplies, and extra clothes. Food, water, shelter, and fire-starting utensils are good candidates for the urgent class. Flashlights, self-defense items, communication equipment, knives, and rain ponchos should be in the emergency section.
It is important to compartmentalize your gear and pack it in an organized and logical manner. That way, you’ll always know exactly where to find what you need.
How to Choose a Bug Out Bag?
When buying a bug out bag, there are several key aspects to consider. They include:
Size and weight
Here, you need a bag that’s big enough to fit everything you need, but not too big that you can’t carry it for longer periods of time.
You should pick a sturdy and resilient bag with heavy duty stitching, sturdy zippers and Velcro, and wide and generously padded straps. If you’re going for a big and heavy bag, it should have either an internal or external frame.
The ideal BOB backpack has a big main storage compartment and a number of pockets and other compartments of various sizes. A backpack with side and front pockets is easier to organize than a standard backpack with only the main compartment and one or two small pockets.
Here, you should aim for a plain-looking backpack, one that won’t stand out and draw attention. You don’t want to look like you’re a prepper or a member of the armed forces. Black, grey, dark blue, and dark green colors are your best options.
Where to Keep a Bug Out Bag?
There are three main places to keep your BOB kits – at home, at the office, and in your car.
Your home BOB kit should be kept in its designated place, preferably somewhere cool and dark. All household members should know where it is. Make sure it is easily reachable in case you need to leave quickly.
Your BOB kit at work should be kept in a grab and go case. Make sure it contains a med kit and enough water and food for at least 24 hours.
It is also a good idea to keep one BOB kit in your trunk in case a disaster strikes while you’re on the road.
The time has come to conclude the best bug out bag review. If you want a standard BOB kit, the Emergency Zone 840-2 and the Guardian Survival Elite Emergency Kit might be your best options.
The 840-2 is discrete and has ample storage, padded shoulder and waist straps, and a 5-year shelf life. The elite Emergency Kit by Guardian Survival Gear offers versatility, a big med kit, and a shelf life of 5 years.
If you need extra supplies, the Wise Food 5-Day Survival Backpack and the Redfora Complete Earthquake Bag might interest you. The former offers gourmet meals, a portable stove, and affordability. The latter is very spacious, can sustain four people for up to three days, and has an excellent first aid kit.
Finally, if tactical backpacks are your style, then the Everlit Survival Kit might be the one for you. It is very sturdy and resilient, can carry a lot of weight, and the food lasts 5 years life. Also, the Everlit comes with a fantastic first aid kit.