Best Bug Out Bags in 2020 Complete Reviews with Comparisons

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The risk of earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes — you name it — is on the rise more than ever.

Living in times when various emergencies can occur at any moment requires a certain level of preparedness.

In a crisis, you need something pre-packed that you can grab quickly and which will help facilitate the safe evacuation of yourself and your family.

Because of this, having a bug out bag is a necessity. In this article, you’ll learn all about the best bug out bags and find out what to consider when buying one.

Comparison Chart

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Emergency Survival Kit 47 in 1 Professional Survival Gear Tool First Aid Kit SOS Emergency Tactical Flashlight Knife Pliers Pen Blanket Bracelets Compass with Molle Pouch for Camping Adventures
Emergency Zone 2 Person Family Prep 72 Hour Survival Kit/Go-Bag | Perfect Way to Prepare Your Family | Be Ready for Disasters Like Hurricanes, Earthquake, Wildfire, Floods | Now Includes Bonus Item!
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Monoki First Aid Survival Kit, 302Pcs Tactical Molle EMT IFAK Pouch Outdoor Gear EDC Emergency Survival Kits First Aid Kit Trauma Bag for Hiking Camping Hunting Car Travel or Adventures
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Ready America 70280 Emergency Kit, 2-Person, 3-Day Backpack
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First My Family 4FKIT All-in-One 4-Person Premium Disaster Preparedness Survival Kit/Earthquake Kit with 72 Hours of Survival and First-Aid Supplies 4PKIT, FMF4PR

Best Bug Out Bags Reviews

Emergency Survival Kit 47 in 1 Professional Survival Gear

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US military veterans designed this professional bug out bag, so you know it’s going to be loaded with necessities in case of emergencies.

It’s reasonably-priced and perfect even for outdoor enthusiasts.

Product Highlights

Priced at less than $50, this bug out bag will exceed your expectations. When choosing a bag, you should make sure it’s spacious and lightweight, so that it doesn’t slow you down. In that respect, this model’s an excellent choice.

One of the most important things to remember is that the materials used for the bag and equipment should to be sturdy and durable.

They need to withstand different weather conditions and possible damage. The pouch is made out of high-density nylon and is water-resistant. It’s got high-quality, two-way zippers for quick access to the backpack.

All tools here are of superior strength and made to last. The tactical folding knife, the defense pen, and folding pliers are robust and anti-corrosive.

Furthermore, it contains the thermal blanket and waterproof raincoat.

What I Like

This bag comes with a variety of equipment. Since NASA designed many of these items, you know that the materials chosen must be lightweight and durable.

This bug out bag also has a paracord, which isn’t a usual feature in these types of bags.

What I Don’t Like

A lot of people have complained about the quality of the compass and the flashlight. This shouldn’t be an issue when it comes to professional survival gear. Moreover, the first aid kit’s kind of unfinished, as you’d have to add Band-Aids and antiseptic wipes.

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight and durable
  • Sturdy materials used
  • Paracord included
  • A variety of tools included

Cons

  • Cheap-looking compass and flashlight
  • Bare first aid kit

Emergency Zone 2 Person Family Prep 72 Hour Survival Kit/Go-Bag

Emergency Zone is one of the biggest names when it comes to survival gear. All their products are known for being of outstanding quality. This bug out bag isn’t an exception. Although on the pricier side, it’s cheaper than if you put a survival kit together yourself.

Product Highlights

The manufacturer designed the backpack to be almost unnoticeable, so you don’t have to worry about drawing unnecessary attention to yourself. The breathable, padded mesh allows you to walk for hours without retaining the moisture. The backpack’s got additional free space for you to pack any other things you might need.

What’s fantastic about this kit is its 5-in-1 survival whistle, not typically included with other brands. In addition to a whistle, it’s got a built-in compass, a signal mirror, and a ferro rod for starting a fire. What’s more, it can be turned into a container to hold your valuables.

During an emergency, you might not have full access to water and food. For this reason, Emergency Zone included US Coast Guard Approved calorie-dense bars and water pouches with a 5-year shelf life. Plus, you get the water purifying container.

What I Like

You might have bought this go-bag in case of a disaster, but don’t have any survival skills. However, this kit contains an emergency guidebook, which is a lifesaving addition for these kinds of situations. You’ll learn enough about various disasters, how to create an emergency plan, to be able to keep your family safe.

What I Don’t Like

Although advertised as lightweight, this go-bag’s quite big and might be too heavy for smaller people. In case of a disaster, you don’t want the bag to weigh you down because every moment matters. The manufacturer should consider how they can make the equipment and the bag lighter to suit everybody.

Pros

  • Extra space for personal items
  • 5-in-1 survival whistle
  • Emergency guidebook
  • Bars and water pouches included

Cons

  • Big and heavy
  • No face masks

Monoki First Aid Survival Kit, 302Pcs Tactical Molle 

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This bag’s quite spacious, so you can add your own gear. The materials are carefully chosen to make it durable.

Product Highlights

This lightweight, yet sturdy backpack made of military-grade nylon is sure to withstand various conditions. It’s available in black and mud yellow, and has a US flag patch, adding a nice touch to the design.

It comes with a pouch that fits a small individual first aid kit you can take anywhere. The attachment straps allow you to attach it to other backpacks, bikes, etc.

The equipment inside is carefully chosen and doesn’t include a lot of unnecessary items. It’s got everything you’d need to survive in the wild – a tactical folding knife, fishing equipment, a six-inch paracord bracelet, and much more.

What I Like

This go-bag offers the perfect amount of free space to store all the additional things you need. It’s compact and well-made.

The extra pouch is also made of long-lasting materials and allows you to keep personal items in place and secure.

What I Don’t Like

The flashlight doesn’t come with batteries. Although users have tried both AA and AAA, neither of them worked. For that reason, manufacturer should include compatible batteries in the kit.

Moreover, the first aid kit doesn’t come with bandages. Instead, it’s got a lot of Q-tips which won’t do much in case of a severe injury.

Pros

  • Additional space for personal items
  • Portable pouch
  • No unnecessary tools
  • Fishing equipment

Cons

  • No bandages
  • Pliers not robust

Ready America 70280 Emergency Kit, 2-Person, 3-Day Backpack        

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This backpack is a good choice for an individual or a couple. It’s equipped with the necessary tools to survive the first 72 hours after an emergency.

It’s a small-sized backpack that you can quickly grab and feel confident it won’t restrict you in any way.

Product Highlights

Ready America’s one of the leaders in the disaster preparedness industry. They always ensure that their products have the essentials recommended by the American Red Cross – food, water, and blankets. At its price, this go bag is a great starter kit.

The bag itself isn’t bulky, so it’s perfect for smaller people or even those in a wheelchair.

It’s got all the basics you’d need in a bug out bag — emergency blankets and a poncho for warmth, a first aid kit, nutritious food bars, and water packets that can withstand different temperatures.

The backpack also includes a dust mask and nitrile gloves, making sure you stay protected from respiratory diseases and surface bacteria.

What I Like

Not all survival kits are small and compact. For that reason, people who aren’t tall, very strong, or have some kind of disability might have trouble carrying them around.

Therefore, this backpack is a perfect choice. Everything you’d need is neatly organized. There aren’t tons of different knives and tools, just those you’d need to survive during the first three days of a disaster.

What I Don’t Like

The materials used in making this backpack aren’t of high quality. And for a bug out bag to withstand different weather conditions and hazards, it must be sturdy and durable.

Moreover, users have complained of food and water expiring two years before the expiration date. Finally, as it only has the basic tools, you might consider upgrading it.

Pros

  • Small and compact
  • Mask and gloves included
  • Cheap
  • Nicely packed

Cons

  • Materials not of high-quality
  • Food and water often expire

First My Family 4FKIT All-in-One 4-Person Premium Disaster Preparedness Survival Kit

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For the safety of your family, having not one, but two bug out bags is an excellent investment.

Even if the other person carrying the bag has some problems, you’ll be able to assist them quickly because both bags are well-equipped. Perfect for a smaller family, this kit has most of the things you’d need when a disaster is about to strike.

Product Highlights

With sturdy construction and large, extra compartments, this survival kit’s an excellent choice for a family.

When you’ve got kids, small injuries happen every day. But in an emergency, even the most minor injuries can soon become a big problem. For that reason, this kit is equipped with 85-piece first aid kit containing alcohol pads, bandages, gloves, masks, and even a first aid guide.

When bugging out, you don’t want to worry whether the food supplies you’re carrying are going to be a problem for a child with nut allergies.

Moreover, you want food to be non-GMO to prevent any additional issues. Fortunately, this kit comes with nut-free food produced with non-GMO ingredients and a shortbread taste.

What I Like

This kit is a terrific choice for a family because it has two convenient backpacks. They’re both sturdy and equally well-equipped. So in case something happens to one bag, you won’t have to worry.

What’s more, the first aid kit is filled with all the things you’d need to prevent minor injuries from becoming more serious. It’s also got nut-free bars, which is rare, given that most bars in survival kits contain some sort of nuts.

What I Don’t Like

This kit may be too heavy to carry. This can be a problem for some as they don’t want their bug out bags to be restrictive.

Some users might not like that there’s a logo with the inscription on the backpacks, advertising exactly what you’re carrying. When you don’t want to draw attention in case of an emergency, this can be problematic.

Pros

  • Two separate backpacks
  • Excellent first aid kit
  • Nut-free bars
  • Well-equipped

Cons

  • Too heavy
  • The discernable inscription on backpacks

Buyer’s Guide

When buying the bug out bag, there are key features you have to consider.

Since it’s going to be your companion for a couple of days at the very least, it must include everything necessary for you and your family’s survival. Here’s what you should consider when looking to buy the bug out bag.

Size

One of the most significant factors when choosing the bug out bag should be its size. Although they contain many essential tools, they shouldn’t be too big and bulky. If they are, they’ll hinder both your speed and movement.

Most manufacturers suggest you measure the bag by your torso, so basically from your neck to your hips. There are bags specifically made for men, women, and children, based on the torso size. But always make sure to check this before buying one.

Here are some standard sizes:

  • Extra small (torsos up to 15 ½” )
  • Small (16-17 ½” torsos)
  • Medium (18-18 ½” torsos)
  • Large (20” and up torsos)

Moreover, these are the levels:

  • Level 1 – Fits in bags over 25 liters
  • Level 2 > Fits in bags over 45 liters
  • Level 3 > Fits in bags over 50 liters

Generally, most people can carry a bug bag in the 45-55L range, as that’s the size of most common carry-ons. Bulkier items like a sleeping pad and a tent are in that case usually striped on the outside.

Note: If you choose to get a bigger one, you have to be in prime physical condition.

Durability

When choosing the survival bag, make sure the materials are durable and sturdy. Your bag should withstand various conditions and keep your equipment secured, even if it has a couple of tears. Look carefully at the stitching around joints as bad stitching can be a critical failure point.

As a general rule, nylon, preferably 500D-1200D CORDURA, is used for good bug out bags. This fabric is used in the military and is known for its tear and abrasion resistance features. Always stay away from the bags made of polyester.

Cheaper bug out bags usually don’t have hip belts. But even if they do, the material is paper-thin. You should look for something that’s going to be sturdy even years from now.

Easy Access

In case you need to bug out, you want your bag to be within arm’s reach. What’s more, you want the design to be intelligent, so that you can quickly access everything you need. In an emergency situation, every minute counts. Therefore, spending it on looking for a particular tool in your bug out bag can be life-threatening.

The perfect bag should have pockets where everything’s neatly stored. It shouldn’t be cramped because you won’t be able to get what you need as quickly.

Another critical thing is the two-way zipper, which is the best option for these bags. It allows you to reach everything without having to open the whole zipper.

Design

The best bug out bags are inconspicuous. When fleeing, you don’t want it to be bright because you might draw attention to yourself.

You want to stick to black or earth tones. These colors allow you to move safely without risking somebody stealing your bag or supplies.

Backpacks should also have multiple compartments for storage and latches for carrying various things. Since you’re going to walk a lot, you might consider the one with additional padding and proper air ventilation.

Weight

Your bag should be heavy enough to house all survival tools, but not heavy enough to both weigh and slow you down. You shouldn’t go overboard with gear because a backpack that’s too heavy will put additional strain on your body.

Moreover, the heavy bag can cause back pain, blisters, and tiredness. So, the ideal bug out bag weight is 10% of your total body weight. Although it might not seem much, you shouldn’t store clothes and equipment in these bags for a week. As a rule of thumb, only include items to help you survive the first 72 hours post-disaster.

FAQs

What is a Bug Out Bag?

A bug out bag is a portable backpack containing all essential things you’d need to survive the first 72 hours in case of an emergency.

Its primary purpose is to help you flee and reach a safe destination. It’s usually pre-packed so that you can just grab it when bugging out.

When Should a Bug Out Bag Be Packed for an Emergency?

You should prepare bug out bags in advance so that you can leave in a hurry. You never know when a disaster may occur, so you must have it ready.

If you have one on hand at all times, you’ll feel safer and prepared.

What Do You Need in a Bug Out Bag?

Most bug out bags go by the rule of threes. This means you can survive three minutes without breathable air, three hours without shelter in the harsh environment, and three days without drinkable water.

So basically, they should all contain some kind of breathing masks, space blankets or tents, and water packets.

However, there are other factors you should consider. Here’s the list of everything your bug out bag should have:

  • Water packets
  • Space blanket
  • Tent
  • Masks
  • Some calorie-dense bars
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Clothes
  • Knives
  • Paracord
  • Toilet paper
  • Navigation tools
  • Whistle
  • Water filtration system

Usually, they have everything you’d need in a state of emergency. However, when you buy one, see if you can upgrade it. Customization is key, so make sure the bag suits you and your needs.

You might want to add prescribed medications or anti-allergens if you use them. Check the first aid kit to see if it needs more bandages and pack them.

How to Pack a Bug Out Bag?

Mobility is essential when packing a bug out bag. Although they are heavier than regular camping backpacks, there’s still a way to make most of the space.

Generally, larger, heavier things should go way down in your bag and close to your back.

For lighter things, the opposite works. You should pack items such as clothing or hygiene first. Urgent items such as shelter, water supply, food, and fire-starting items should go afterward.

Finally, emergency items you need to reach quickly, such as knives, communication gear, or flashlights, should be in the side compartments or at the top of the bag.

Where to Keep a Bug Out Bag?

Ideally, you’d want three storage spaces, meaning you’d need three bug out bags. If you can’t spend much money on them, then having one in your house, preferably in the hallway, would do.

However, if you have enough money to spend on the bags, you should have one at home, one at work, and one in the trunk of the car. Children could, for example, have their bags in their school lockers.

Final Verdict

As the risk of emergencies and natural disasters increases, a certain level of preparedness is necessary to save yourself and your family.

Investing in bug out bags will provide peace of mind, knowing you’ll be ready to escape. Make sure you check the buyer’s guide to learn what to consider when buying one.

Our recommended option is the Emergency Survival Kit 47 in 1 Professional Survival Gear. It’s lightweight, and durable. The materials used for tools are sturdy and sure to withstand various falls. You might want to buy a new compass, and upgrade the first aid kit. Other than that, this bug out bag has got everything you’d need and it isn’t expensive.

Alternatively, you could check out Ready America 70280 Emergency Kit, 2-Person, 3-Day Backpack. It’s cheaper and a great starting survival bag. For an affordable price, you’ll get the basic gear you need to survive.    

To sum up, always examine all the equipment to ensure everything’s working correctly and isn’t broken. If the bug out bag has food or water packets, check the expiration date and any linkages. And always be prepared!

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