I get TONS of e-mails from people asking me what pack to choose for their Bug Out Bag. I wish I had a BLACK & WHITE answer to these questions. The fact is that we (people) come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and quite frankly, different packs work best for different people. My 92 lb. Mom would never carry the same size/make/style BOB as I would or as my 200 lb. Dad.
If you’ve read my book you already know that I cover some important Pack Selection Criteria but I don’t get into specific pack names/brands/etc… Because this is such a popular question I’ve decided that when I see a good Bug Out Bag Pack I will do a post about it. I think this will help people select specific packs. I will only mention packs that are Bug Out Bag worthy.
My first featured Back Pack in this series is the Crestrail 70 by REI
I recently had an opportunity to try one of these packs on and was really impressed. It has everything you need for a BOB. I normally suggest a pack in the 4000 cu.in. range so this pack even in the SIZE M is a little larger (4271 cu.in.) but, wow, is it a solid pack. Below is a list of features directly from the REI web-site:
- Sculpted FreeFlow back panel has multiple peaks and valleys to reduce sweaty contact areas and allow warm vapor to escape; soft foam conforms to your back for a stable fit
- ActivMotion® hipbelt pivots to follow the natural motion of your hips, helping keep the pack balanced and stable on your back when hiking on uneven terrain
- Hipbelt webbing tightens with a forward pull for easy adjustment; 2 zippered pockets provide handy access to snacks
- Tubular aluminum perimeter frame is lighter than HDPE/stay frame sheets; it transfers weight to your hips and stabilizes the pack, helping prevent unwanted side-to-side sway
- Top-loading main compartment also features 2 zippered access points to the main bag, plus separate access to the sleeping bag compartment
- Large zippered front pocket, stretch stash pocket and lightweight lash points provide storage and organization for often-used gear and clothing
- Side bottle-locking pockets secure bottles or other items, helping prevent them from falling out when bushwacking or taking your pack off
- Speed Hook ice axe attachments are strategically positioned to avoid interference with pockets and access zippers
- Over-the-top and dual side compression straps pull the load closer to your back, minimize bulk and provide external attachment points for gear
- Floating top lid extends, allowing the pack to handle large loads
- Cordura® fabric resists abrasion and tears; Durable Water Resistant finish repels moisture
- Water-repellent zippers help keep your contents dry and eliminate the need for fabric zipper flaps
- The REI Crestrail 70 pack features a hydration-ready design that allows your reservoir’s drink tube to be routed over either shoulder (hydration reservoir sold separately)
At $239, the Crestrail is a little on the pricey side but for the size and quality I don’t think you’ll get a better deal. REI also has an awesome return/replacement policy should anything ever fail you. You might even be able to find a used one on Ebay or Cragislist – don’t forget those options.
I like that the Crestrail comes in muted earth-tones. Remember, you don’t want to be a beacon. Bright colors are good for signaling but save all your bright colors for INSIDE your pack. Give yourself the option to be discreet if you need to be.
It’s also hydration compatible and although I don’t use a hydration bladder, this is a nice feature for those who do. The bottle pockets on the side are a huge PLUS for me. Your standard Nalgene or Klean Kanteen will lock right into place and save primo space inside the pack.
I’ll also bet the Ice Axe Strap system would work for all you guys who can’t leave home without your Kukri machete or Tomahawks. That’s right – set this thing up Bug Out style
Remember how I mentioned that we all come in many different shapes and sizes. Well this pack adjusts in more ways than most that I’ve seen and I was able to quickly adjust it to my liking with no hassle at all.
REI has also filmed a really nice video on the Crestrail which can be seen here: http://www.rei.com/product/809761/rei-crestrail-70-pack#video-inner
Here is also a Women’s Version: http://www.rei.com/product/809763/rei-crestrail-65-pack-womens
For those of you who are looking for some specific pack suggestions I would recommend considering this pack.
Anyone out there currently using this pack? If so, share your thoughts….? Myself and 1000′s of others who read these posts would love to hear them.
Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,