Carrying a heavy backpack can be a real pain in the BACK!
The last thing you need in a bug out situation is to be carrying any unnecessary weight. When it comes to Bug Out Bags, I take a minimalist approach to what I carry, and tend to use a lot of lightweight hiking gear.
Six ideas to cut down the weight in your Bug Out Backpack
Break out the scale
When I’m light hiking, I rarely carry over 15 pounds of gear, including my food and water. It may sound a little crazy, but I actually calculate how much each piece of gear weighs on paper before I ever add it to my pack. Trust me, when you’re a couple days into a long distance thru-hike you will be wishing you would have put a little bit more thought into your packs weight.
Pick backpacking gear that is multipurpose
To cut your packs weight try to select gear that can be used in a number of situations. Items like Bandanas and tarps are great multipurpose pieces of gear that are not only lightweight, but can be used in a variety of survival scenarios.
Shed those ounces….
Ultralight hikers are notorious for going to extremes to shave off even a few ounces from their packs weight. From drilling holes in equipment to removing tags, patches and other emblems from their gear, light hikers will do just about anything to shed those extra ounces!
While some of the things they do may seem extreme, every little ounce eventually adds up.
Don’t forget the actual Pack!
One thing that’s often overlooked when trying to cut pack weight is the actual weight of the backpack. Ultralight backpacks have gotten so light that you can often shave over 5 pounds from your total weight, just by switching to an ultralight pack.
Ditch the tent
If you’re carrying a tent, you can cut your weight in half or more by switching to a tarp and hammock setup. While you can save even more weight by ditching the hammock, I like to carry one in certain areas of the country. They are a great for keeping you off the ground, and away from dangerous little critters.
Carry Less Water
A gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds. When hiking, I try to carry the least amount possible without running the risk of dehydration. When planning your bug out or evacuation routes, make sure you map out as many watering holes as possible. Knowing where you can find water can help you cut down on a significant amount of water weight.
I usually carry a hiking water filter, one full canteen and one empty one. The empty one allows me the option of carrying extra water if I’m in an area where water is scarce. It also serves the dual purpose of being able to cook food, or boil water over a campfire.
The canteen that I use is made by Klean Kanteen and is pictured on the left. They are one of the most well-made canteens that I’ve found, and are a great multipurpose survival item to carry. Click here to check them out on Amazon.