6 Strategies to Lighten Your Bug Out Bag

Is it time for BOB to go on a diet???

One very popular question I get is about Bug Out Bag weight.  Unfortunately, it’s never that there is TOO MUCH space left over in the pack.  I’m always ask for ideas about how to reduce pack weight and eliminate unnecessary items.  Below are 6 tips I’ve come up with for cutting weight from your BOB.  Hopefully, one will work for you or at least help you brainstorm a creative solution.  I’ve found that when you’re really getting serious about cutting Bug Out Bag weight then you must go through your pack one item at a time.  You can’t just look at your pack from across the room and hope to come up with weight saving ideas.  This needs to be a methodical and strategic process that involves deliberate thought and consideration about every single piece of kit in your BOB.  This is a perfect process for a rainy Sunday afternoon.

TIP #1: Trim the Food Fat

By this, I mean cut out everything that has to do with food except for 6 high calorie energy bars (I pack CLIF bars).  The average human can survive for 3 weeks without food and still have no ill effects to the body.  In fact, I read one time that the record human fast was 1 year.  That makes eating less during a 72 hour Bug Out seem more than possible!  I’m not suggesting not to eat at all during a Bug Out, I’m simply suggesting to cut out all the food related items that you don’t need and only pack high calorie energy bars.  Things to remove include stoves, fuel canisters/tabs, pots, pans, silverware, spices – EVERYTHING related to cooking and eating food.  This stuff is bulky, heavy and at the end of the day, unnecessary for a 72-hour Bug Out.  DATREX Rations are another compact calorie dense food option.

TIP # 2: Sleep System


Let’s face it, sleeping bags are one of the bulkiest and heaviest items in our BOBs.  I’ve long experimented with ways to reduce weight and bulk in the sleeping department.  One solution I’ve discovered is to go with a lighter and smaller higher degree bag.  Some of the new 50 degree rated bags are only $30-$60 and pack down to about the size of a small melon.  This alone isn’t sufficient for cold weather Bug Outs.  A way to add about 20 degrees to a bag like this and drop it to a 30 degree bag is to combine it with a reflective emergency bivvy like the SOL Emergency Bivvy (combo seen above).  It’s certainly not as comfortable as a nice fluffy ZERO degree bag but it sure weighs a lot less and takes up a lot less space if you need to drop weight in your BOB.  You’ll probably notice some condensation in the bivvy but a couple shakes and a few minutes in open air and it dries out quick.



TIP # 3: Every Ounce Counts

Take a lesson from ultra light weight backpackers who literally account for every ounce of weight in their pack and weigh it on a scale.  Their motto is “Every Ounce Counts” and if there’s a way to cut out an ounce they will find it.  Some strategies I’ve heard of are:

  • Trimming the edges from maps (I’m not kidding)
  • Cutting down the tooth brush handle
  • Using lighter weight ‘tooth powder’ instead of tooth paste
  • Trimming unnecessary pieces from packs such as removing the sternum strap if you don’t use it
  • Cutting tags out of cloths, sleeping bags and sacks
  • If your electronics use AA batteries then find replacements that don’t use batteries at all or that use lighter weight AAA instead
  • Use titanium where possible; pots, pans, mugs, bottles, stoves, utensils, tent stakes.  It’s expensive but it’s as light as it gets.
  • Put pills and medicines in zip-lock bags instead of prescription bottles
  • Drill holes in stuff.  Anything that you can drill a hole in without affecting function will cut weight.

Along these same lines, try to stay true to the Bug Out timeline of 72-hours.  Try to only pack what you need for that specific timeline.  If you’ve tossed in a roll of dental floss, consider measuring out what you need for three days instead.  Same goes for soap, deodorant, etc.  You may be able to cut down the portions for several items in your pack.  This will certainly reduce weight.

TIP # 4: Clothing Items

Extra clothing is a luxury, not a necessity.  From a hygiene standpoint you should only be concerned about an extra set of underwear, socks and t-shirt.  Consider the clothes you’re wearing when you leave the house to be your only set (so dress in weather appropriate clothing BEFORE evacuating).  Then, for the sake of hygiene, pack only one SKIVVY ROLL.  A military friend of mine introduced me to the phrase SKIVVY ROLL.  It’s a way of neatly folding your socks, underwear and t-shirt into a nice compact bundle.  Folded this way, these items are easy to pack and easy to find and pack down into a surprising small little bundle.  Below is a photo tutorial about how to make a SKIVVY ROLL.


TIP # 5: Replace Your Tent Shelter with a Tarp Shelter System


I personally pack a lightweight backpacking tent in my BOB – actually strapped to the outside as you can see in the photo.  However, a tent is a luxury.  You can really cut weight if you decide to pack a couple sil-nylon tarps instead.  Of course, constructing a tarp shelter certainly takes more skill than assembling a tent.  This reduction in pack weight does come with sacrifices.  First, tarp shelters are not as good as tents – I don’t care how you set them up.  I’ve slept in both many, many times and I’ll always prefer a tent except for the occasional perfect 40 degree fall night in October.  Tarp shelters always have at least one open wall which allows for the entry of a variety of nuisances – moisture, insects, snow, light, smoke, etc.  Below is one of my favorite tarp configurations that I call THE WEDGE.  A tarp can be erected this way in under 1 minute and provides excellent protection from the elements.  NOTE:  Wind direction comes toward the back!


TIP # 6: Replace Gear with Knowledge

You’ve all heard it before: Knowledge weighs nothing.  But boy does it takes up time!  Some would rather pack the weight than spend the time.  

Knowledge takes time.  Some would rather pack the weight than spend the time.  -Creek Stewart

 However, the more you learn about shelter, water, fire and food, the less gear you’ll need to pack – period.  I’ve long been a fan of redundancy in the CORE FOUR Survival Needs: SHELTER, WATER, FIRE and FOOD.  I often recommend that people carry a back up fire starter, or a water filter or emergency shelter in addition to their tent but these redundant items become less necessary as your level of practice and experience increases.  Is there an area where you can replace weight with knowledge?

Yo, you gotta tip?

What have you guys done to cut weight in your BOB?  I’m sure there are some really creative ideas out there that others can learn from and implement as well.  Don’t be shy, do tell.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,



  1. ben blizz says:

    one thing that could lighten pack weight is the type of cordage you pack. I keep a 100ft of paracord in my BOB. in my BHB (bug home bag) I keep 100ft of Kevlar. Kevlar is a lot stronger than paracord so it can be made into a cord with a smaller diameter and still be extremely useable. the smaller diameter allows for you to pack the same amount of cord with about 5x less weight and size.

  2. Louise Dockerty Cross says:

    extra cordage can be fashioned into a belt and worn, poncho/tarp tent is dual purpose, find clothes with multiple pockets, I even have a hat with a pocket in it, socks come with pockets too, get a vest with pockets or use an existing vest and put pockets inside out of sight, you don't wanna look like you are combat ready better to look like a tourist than a soldier.

  3. Replace gear with knowledge. A computer tablet and a solar charger holds a shitload of info and weighs as much as a note book. Can also replace your map, compass, flashlight, insect repellent, radio, etc, etc,,, all in one little gadget.

  4. In the event that I need a bob, its a good chance you wont be connected to anything computer oriented , who knows why. but Ill keep my maps and compass . they don't fail. replace your gear with knowledge, not gadgets.

  5. In the event that I need a bob, its a good chance you wont be connected to anything computer oriented , who knows why. but Ill keep my maps and compass . they don't fail. replace your gear with knowledge, not gadgets.

  6. Every item should try to serve at least 3 functions, my fork,knife,spoon is one piece, (made by light my fire) wood burn a ruler, sundial, and needed conversions and like info on knife handle. ditch shovel handle, you can make a better one in the field. Pre fab guylines on your tarp for easy setup in dark. Knowledge weighs nothing. Do your homework. Sil-ny tarps rule (pricey though), they get smaller and weigh far less. Carry dehydrated foods, never cans, they weigh like bricks.

  7. Every item should try to serve at least 3 functions, my fork,knife,spoon is one piece, (made by light my fire) wood burn a ruler, sundial, and needed conversions and like info on knife handle. ditch shovel handle, you can make a better one in the field. Pre fab guylines on your tarp for easy setup in dark. Knowledge weighs nothing. Do your homework. Sil-ny tarps rule (pricey though), they get smaller and weigh far less. Carry dehydrated foods, never cans, they weigh like bricks.

    • James B says:

      When packing dehydrated food you have to consider the water you carry (or a way to purify found water). This is often the case for and against MREs. When you add the weight of a Mountain House meal with the water needed you are almost equal to a MRE. Plus the MRE generally would provide more calories.

  8. Northeastern prepper says:

    I have to disagree I tend to pack more weight than I can carry on my back I figure I will have my BOV with me family of five needs more items than I can carry most of which is food I couldn’t leave the comfort of home with only 3 days of food not knowing where the next meal is coming from six cliff bars will make you a desperate refugee very quickly take unnecessary chances very quickly I figure in worst case scenario if I can’t use my BOV that there are alternative methods of travel will use a large duffel bag on ruff terrain wheels to carry more food/ammo/guns than I could carry in addition to bobs you could always use bike trailers carts hand truck and many other configurations and you could always ditch what u don’t truly need at any time weight is too much plus as time goes by you will consume a lot of the weight by traveling all the food is as lite weight as possible dry food no canned goods to heavy
    Just remember must must adapt to every situation differently but don’t cut yourself short on basic necessity or you will become what you are trying to avoid be coming a desperate refugee very quickly.

    • This article is about cutting weight in your BOB. Would love to hear any suggestions you have about doing that.

  9. Jason Powell says:

    Which works fine until it gets wet (very likely depending on your scenario), or until you run out of wifi or cellular service (or if the service goes down).

  10. Chris Varnadoe says:

    Jason Powell Which is why you 1) Have it in a relatively waterproof case and 2) Download everything to the tablet so that it is available without the Internet.

  11. Jason Powell says:

    Chris Varnadoe Then what happens if it breaks or crashes?

  12. Chris Varnadoe says:

    Jason Powell Then you better have a Plan B, lol.

  13. I lived out of a ruck for weeks at a time in the Army as an Airborne RECON Scout. Lighter is better! However, there are some items that are worth the weight & aren't a consideration to do without, such as plenty of water & water purification, food (real nourishment) MRE's weigh nothing, I carried a (clean) sock full of minute rice, high energy bars, a few pieces of hard candy, etc; and a canteen cup (stainless steel) with a Nesbit stove, scouts should know what I'm talking about. It was an issue stove to German troops during WWII, and has negligible weight. In a temperate climate; desert, sub tropical & tropical climate, I carried a poncho & poncho liner (woobie) to use as a sleep system. Now there is a lightweight four part sleep system that weighs nothing and can be bought surplus for about 100 to 150 dollars, well spent money, and is good, complete, down to -140 degrees. As for clothing, it depends on the climate, but I always carried 3 pair of clean socks, and climate determined undergarments & outerwear, usually I went commando except in the artic. I did not carry extra clothing other than that. Since we're talking a 3 day BOB, that is not much weight, less than 25 or 30 lbs at most. If you can't handle that amount of weight, stay home! The rest of my weight to carry is made up of a IFAK, fixed blade knife, stout pocket knife, .45 auto (SIG), rifle or shotgun & ammo, head light & backup flashlight. & personal items such as toothbrush & paste, deodorant, wet wipes & tp, plus some type of communication gear, mine is my Iphone & walkie. Of course, you need a topographical map (probably) & compass. Carrying a computer, reference material, etc. is crap. All you need is a US Army Survival Manual. It covers basic first aid, edible plants, poisonous reptiles, on and on. All of the above should be stowed in ziplock bags & placed in waterproof bags inside of your ruck. As for a tent….why?

  14. Ryan Lockwood says:

    Jason Powell The same thing that happens when your map gets wet and tears. Take care of your gear and you don't have a problem.

  15. Don't forget paracord & duct tape. I don't care for the idea of having to unravel a belt, bracelet or sling to get my paracord. I like the items, but I don't want to sacrifice them for the paracord, so I carry 100' in my BOB, and 10' of duc tape on an old credit card, gift card, hotel key card, etc. Also, if you have a Gore-Tex rainsuit you don't need a tent.

  16. Bull! If you want peace, prepare for war. Tourists get mugged all the time because they are soft targets. Nobody but a fool would tangle with a soldier, as you describe it.

  17. Jason Powell The same thing that happens to your gun when it breaks, you do without until you can replace it.

  18. Chris Varnadoe says:

    I liken it to what I saw from Jim Gilliland one time. Someone asked him, "Why does a seasoned Army Ranger still carry around a well-worn copy of the SAS Survival book?" He replied that he liked having it around just for those times when he is tired and might not remember exactly how to do something. It's not that he couldn't survive without it, but he liked having it just in case. I have a ton of stuff on my iPad that I can access offline, plus a solar charger. If one of those two let me down, I have one or two books that I can use for reference when I can't remember something off the top of my head. So yes, something as important as knowledge also needs redundancy.

  19. I keep mine in a water tight ammo box which will also act as a Faraday cage and I have many military manuals and medical manuals downloaded onto it. as well as books for entertainment. I consider it my portable library. The whole thing, including solar charger, hand held dynamo, and a fire piston, is smaller than a pair of shoes and weighs about the same.

  20. High tech “kite string” is both strong and light weight. You can get it from 50 to 300 pound rating. It may be a little pricey but its good cordage…

  21. Never rely on technology. It will fail you. Then all that access you had, is no longer at your digital fingertips. I can't even count how many times technology failed in the Army. We had the most high tech gadgets money could buy, but one little blurp messed up the whole system. Wires split, screens break, and no matter how "water proof" your gear is, your stuff will get wet. Your mind can store far more information than a tablet. And you'll never lose that information. However, if you are just trying to memorize things without ever practicing, it won't do you any good either. Train like you fight, fight like you train.

  22. Devin Morse I highly agree with you but I need a reminder once in a while. I'm not saying a tablet is the ultimate information source. I'm just saying that in my humble opinion, it deserves a place in my bob. I know that the moment you depend anything is the moment you will find faults in it, sometimes the hard way. My personal experience in the U.S.Army is that the biggest enemy is the cosmic boredom.

  23. Thomas Smart I hear you for sure brother. I was always inclined to a deck of cards. And I think in a bug out situation, the boredom factor might be a little less than the hurry up and wait of military life we know.

  24. Christopher de Vidal says:

    Great article. Yet before you cut calories from your pack, please try it. Go out three days with only 6 high calorie energy bars. (I estimate that’s about 1200 calories.) Make sure you’re not relaxed, but are running for your life, or imagine that you are lost, or are in some other high emotion mode. These are the sorts of extreme conditions that a 72 hour bag will likely be used in. Now, try to perform the complex and/or draining tasks you might need to perform: First Aid, climbing hills, finding firewood, signalling for help, swimming, walking for miles, etc.

    Can you do it? Can it be done with the peak mental capacity which might be required in a crisis? If so, congratulations, you’ve saved lots of weight. Food is heavy! If not, consider the commonly-recommended 2400 daily calories a minimum, and I agree, do use the Datrex or Clif-type bars. My goal is at least 120 calories per ounce, which is close to what extreme ultralight hikers go for:

    (That’s a great site by the way, with other excellent ultralight advice and gear lists.)

    I also do generally agree that stoves, fuel canisters/tabs, pots, pans, silverware, spices, etc. really aren’t necessary in a BoB. However, one mustn’t overrate the immense morale-lift of a hot cup of tea. It’s been said that in a crisis where you might need to use your BoB, the very first thing one would be advised to do at your very first opportunity is to sit down and have a cup of tea. Get your mind at rest, calm down, think, and have a warm cup to lift your spirits. So while I don’t currently have a stove in my BoB today, that site linked above has me considering adding a super ultralight alcohol beer can stove.

    I can also tell you of a recent camping experience where I went without a stove. I had all kinds of luxuries, but no stove. After three days I was climbing the walls for something hot. I’m really beginning to believe that it will be a good idea to carry 5 ounces of stove + fuel, plus some herbal tea bags and stevia drops.

    In summary: These are great suggestions, but please try them in a simulated crisis.

  25. Louise Dockerty Cross says:

    I am an overweight, short middle aged woman, my chances of resembling anything like a soldier are next to nothing! I need to use my brain, be open to different ideas, be prepared to change strategy at a moments notice. About 5 years ago I was in a foreign city where I didn't speak the language, I found myself at night with nowhere to stay, in a very dangerous part of town, I took on the persona of a mentally ill street person, I took some clothing from my back put it on inside out over my head, sat and rocked and generally looked like I wasn't worth bothering with and the potential problems moved away from me moving to another location at the time was not going to work and there was no law enforcement available. Looking like a combat ready person is not viable for many of us I'm afraid, but there are other ways to look like you are not worth tangling with. Different survival situations require different techniques and there's never going to be a one size fits all for everyone. I like the Gray man concept and don't believe it creates a soft target indeed I think it's a brain centred approach http://www.defensivecarry.com/forum/concealed-carry-issues-discussions/57607-good-explanation-grey-man-theory.html

  26. Check out the JERVEN Bag from Norway

    For 4lbs it replaces :- Tent,Sleeping bag,poncho,tarp,bivvi bag.hammock and hanging tent

    It can also be used to make a bath.

    Second item:- the Delta sleeping kip mat sold by BrigadeQM

    The use of these takes out all the above items

    • Christopher de Vidal says:

      Jerven bag looks intriguing. Can’t find the Delta sleeping kip mat, link please?

  27. Travis Jones says:

    never rely on electronics in a survival situation , far to long a list of things that can render them inoperable . not saying you cant have one, just be prepared with a plan b

  28. Anonymous says:

    AIRBORNE 2/235 vet, 43 years old, and can still hump that old ruck. ALL THE WAY!

  29. Anonymous says:

    Old paratroopers never quit. Still Humpin' that old ruck at 43. AIRBORNE ALL THE WAY!-2/325 AIR 82nd ABN DIV

  30. Karla Trux-Schrit says:

    Louise Dockerty Cross — Excellent strategy!! It's not all about bigger is better or a show of power – that can get even the most well-armed, trained, "ready" person in trouble quickly in a post-disaster scenario as well as any dicey situation. Slipping under the radar is not cowardly but brilliant.

  31. Karla Trux-Schrit says:

    The Grey Man (from Louise's link)

    The Grey Man is always invisible in plain sight.

    The Grey Man is totally aware of his environs, his own capabilities or lack thereof, his weaponry and his levels of competence with that weaponry. He constantly strives to improve upon both his capabilities and competence. In public, he is always respectful, even to the point of obsequiousness if the situation calls for it. He always appears to be just a little confused by what is happening around him, while in reality he is alertly doing a tactical assessment.

    The Grey Man NEVER draws attention to himself by word, dress, action, or mannerism. The Young Grey Man is dismissed as a wimp, the Older as a doddering old fool. The Grey Man derives great inner satisfaction from having this portrayal of himself accepted by all he meets, for it means he is succeeding in his disguise of his actual persona.

    The Grey Man is a private man. He practices with his weaponry in private, or only with his fellow Grey Men, always in a secluded location. If he must resort to use of a public facility, he schedules his practice for times when he is likely to be the only one there. At such times he would probably wear bright clothing, to be remembered only as ‘that guy in the red jacket and sunglasses’, a quite different person from his usual persona. If right-handed, he would always occupy the leftmost station on a NRA bullseye pistol range, with his back to an observer, or the rightmost one for riflery or combat pistol practice. He would not have his name emblazoned on clothing or equipment, nor would he have any noteworthy affiliation proclaimed on his cap. “He’s just a guy. Comes every Wednesday morning for his coffeebreak. Always pays cash.”

    The Grey Man does not drive a pink Cadillac with steer horns on the hood, NOR does he drive the biggest mutherin’ 4X4-with-all-the-bells-and-whistles BOV in the lot. The older his vehicle is, the rustier, the less likely it is to draw attention (or to be stolen, for that matter). This vehicle is, under its exterior, scrupulously maintained and in excellent running order. If pulled over by authority on the basis of appearance, it can be shown to meet or exceed all requirements under licensing laws, and an obsequious co-operative manner precludes a search under the seats. The Grey Man does not speed on the highway: cruise control is his friend. So is the Highway Patrol: he waves to any he sees. If he travels the same route constantly, at the same times, The Grey Man becomes a ‘fixture’ and can be dismissed from conscious observation.

    It helps the Survivor to build up this persona of The Grey Man gradually and over time. The anti-gun sheeple neighbors will quickly rat out the ‘Patriot’ who is always loudly declaiming about his ‘Rights’ and ‘what will happen if they try to take my guns’. The Grey Man goes far out of his way never to offend anyone, imitating the duck which appears calm on the surface of his pond whilst paddling like hell under the surface.

    Be seen as conservative in all you do. A Survivor is a Grey Man, and that little old grey man alone over there in the corner is probably a Survivor!

    And that young guy next to him? Just another wimp? Or are they both watching each other’s backs?

    Making the other guy waste precious time in assessing the situation is a big part of staying alive. Practice being grey now, while there's time to build your skills.

  32. Soldiers look like threats and might well be treated as such. Your looking to evade, not fight. That's the last option.

  33. We have ‘snuggie’ blankets and bivvy bags in our kits, along with extra space blankets instead of sleeping bags, and we can always snuggle in them together. If you have children who will be bugging out with you then going light on food is not a good plan. Not only do you need to replenish your glucose levels in your own body in order to keep thinking clearly, you need to stop hungry tummies from shutting down the evac progress. However, you can make some pretty good chicken soup out of freeze dried chicken, carrots, celery, noodles/rice, and soup base and keep it in plastic ziptop bags. The added benefit of only having to heat water to put in the soup is even better. We also have just-add-water pancake and biscuit mix, in addition to some jerky and cookies. We have rocket stoves that we made out of #10 cans and two large soup cans, and the children all know how to light a fire in them and cook in them. We don’t put the insulation in, just put some dirt/sand/rocks inside to keep them still while we cook on them, then dump it out later so they weigh very little. We all have our water pans that came with our military canteens and we each have a lightweight mess kit. After water, I think our knives are the heaviest, and they are pretty light.

  34. My BOB is a 39' bug out sailboat prepped and I can get to walking in 20 minutes, 10 on my bike and 15 driving and be good for way longer then 3 days….If you live by an ocean or a huge lake that is always a great option and you can pick up a boat for cheap its just the upkeep but it gives me great piece of mind….

  35. Gretchen Kent says:

    I keep my eyes open for miniatures of whatever I think I need in the bag. Small sizes of hygiene items, lights, etc. I carry 2 yards of black netting from a fabric store, compressed in a foodsaver vac bag for that shelter opening to keep out the bugs. I keep my BoB below 20 lbs this way, not including water and weapon. I also use walking stick designed by a Ranger friend that incorporates some basic survival items for redundancy. It can also be used as a weapon.

  36. When I did my first deployment to Afghanistan, I left with about 99% of my unit never having deployed to that country. We were always looking to the “older” guys and the ones in country who could give us tips on staying as light as possible. The biggest pro about being very light in a combat zone (especially when you’re the mighty US military), is your ability to stay well supplied without much matter of where you are. However, there were those times, especially in the winter months, when it was hard to stay supplied and lightweight. Wanna stay very warm when it’s -20 degrees out? Wear women’s pantyhose underneath your pants and cut them to fit them on your arms. That cuts down on wearing long johns, pants over that, Goretex trousers over that, and then cold weather pants over that! Wanna keep your face as warm as possible? No joke, grow a beard! As far as lightening your bag load, the biggest thing is stuffing your gear in dry sacks or lining your bag with heavy mil trash bags. Water in your pack will kill your back! There’s a million different ways to cut down weight, which obviously depends on your situation and your area of operation. Stay dry, stay light. That’s the best advice I can give. Semper fortis.

  37. Came across a neat trick to shrink both the weight and bulk of most liquid and powder items you carry. Won’t work for potable water (unless you want to drink shots of it 😉 ), but pretty much anything else.

    Crimp the end of a drinking straw with pliers, leave about 1/16 of an inch sticking out, and melt that 1/16″ end with a match. When that 1/16″ disappears into the pliers, one end of the straw is sealed water tight.

    Fill the other end of the straw with whatever you want in your pack — from sugar to antibiotic oinment — cut the straw to length, crimp, and melt/seal.

    Works to keep small dry items together and waterproofed, like strike anywhere matches, q-tips, and needles, too.

    Very portable, light weight, impact resistent, easy to pack, and waterproof.

    Wrote an article with a video if you want to see it in action.



  38. You hear the whole "you can go days without food" thing a lot, but watch the survival shows, and those people get pretty loopy when they go without food for more than a couple of days. You may not starve to death, but you won't be useful, especially if you have to walk.

  39. Danielle says:

    My BOB consists of 4 light bags, as I have to bug out with 3 kids, and everyone can carry something we absolutely need, since bugging out here likely means being in the woods in 40 degree temps (or lower), unless it is between June 1 and Sept 10. Instead of water bottles, we carry Platypus collapsible bottles and a small Katadyn water filter. We have one titanium cookpot and a foldable Bushbox stove that burns anything and weighs a little over 9 ounces (since going without food isn’t an option with the kids). We all have paracord bracelets or keychains, and the girls each have a small keychain multitool on their bags (I carry the “big” knives). Instead of toilet paper, I carry a small refill bag of biodegradable “sensitive skin” baby wipes that can perform hygiene duty (they’re heavier than TP, but eliminates the need for other personal care products except for toothbrushing stuff).

  40. Kenny Young says:

    Some people are going to disagree with this, but rechargeable batteries combined with a solar kit. Most people have battery operated something, and will pack spare batterys. Flashlight, walkie, ipad, weather radio, lantern, whatever it is. Some of the most efficient flashlights still only get 100 hours? 200 hours? So limit carrying extra batteries and use rechargables. Also have shared batterys for all your gear. Everything uses AAA’s in my bag. So I only carry one size battery. And with the solar panel, I greatly limit the number of spares I need to carry. It also greatly extends the usefulness of your bag. Because 72 hours in my opinion isnot nearly long enough. Katrinas disaster area lasted weeks. And relief took longer than 72 hours to show up.

  41. Instead of a tent or tarp consider a hammock with tarp. Very lightweight and you'll be off the ground. +1 on knowing how to use a map and compass.

  42. pockets just carry weight.

  43. I like your style Gretchen. Duel use items.

  44. Any suggestions on the sleeping bags? I haven’t kept up with developments and am interested in the inexpensive but packable bags that were mentioned…

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