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Old April 29, 2002, 01:03 PM   #1
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BOB Comparison

OK I'm trying to decide on the best BOB bag. Most of my disaster preparedness plans consist of holing up in my apartment. I would, however like to have a little bug out kit. My 'bug out' scenarios are mainly getting stuck on the freeway (if that counts as one), or evacuating my apartment during a fire, earthquake (structural damage?). I wouldn't be going far as I wouldn't last a minute in the romantic 'head for the hills' type scenarios. I below average strength, so cannot carry a huge 40 pound pack. It was recommended that I take ALL the stuff that I plan to have with me when I bug out and put it in a corner BEFORE I purchase a pack, so I don't get a pack that is too big or too small. Also, I may join a volunteer ham radio operator emergency comms group, so I would like to have a survival pack with me while I am serving.

First some preliminary questions,

1, So if I DID bug out, where do poeple usually go? A shelter at a high school? In that case I wouldn't need a MASSIVE type bag?
2, Are hydration units overrated?

Here are my options, from basic to most fancy.

Jansport Big Student:
Pro's: Cheap, common, inconspicuous, decent amount of pockets.
Con's: No hydration unit, no internal frame option

Jansport Mozambique (or something similar):
Pro's: VERY large capacity, crapload of pockets for organizing junk, detachable daypack. Massive size allows for bulky but light items such as extra changes of clothing.
Con's: Expensive, no hydration unit or internal frame option.

Camelbak Motherlode:
Pro's: Decent size, doesn't look TOO tactical and different from a student's daypack to the casual observer. Hydration unit.
Con's: Size may be limiting for those who don't travel light. Expensive for size. While not too conspicuous, is borderline tactical-looking. No internal frame (that I am aware of)

Eagle AIII pack:
Pro's: Lots of accessory options, large capacity, hydration unit. Accomodations for extra stuff like a sleeping bag.
Con's: Conspicuous. Expensive, ONE big pocket instead of a bunch of mid-size ones, makes difficult to organize junk.

Eagle Becker (or Becker Large) pack:
Pro's: Large, lots of pockets for organizing smaller items. Accomodations for sleeping bag and other cargo. Hydration unit.
Con's: VERY expensive. Extremely conspicuous, although military-style packs are popular with Socal youths such as skateboarders.

I don't have much in my pack other than water and 3600 calorie blocks of survival rations. I may go Camelbak as the best compromise, but still considering others.
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Old April 29, 2002, 02:28 PM   #2
Jay Baker
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Skunkabilly, I'll not address the brands of packs you listed as I'm not that familiar with them, but I strongly suggest you not try and carry "the farm" with you.

That said, it seems to me your main problem living where you do, is what I and my wife considered our main problem when we lived for 35 years in Los Angeles. MASSIVE EARTHQUAKE!

For many, many years, we carried "earthquake kits" I'd made up, in the trunks of our cars. We both believed that unless badly injured, the most important thing was to GET HOME. Our plan always was to drive as close home as possible, and if then unable to go farther, lock and leave car, and walk with our earthquake kits to get on home. Here's what we considered necessary. Others, I'm sure, might add or delete from our list.

1. Good NON-camo day pack.
2. Maps of area and good compass!!!!!!!!!!
3. Power bars & four MREs (replaced each six months). Hard candy and some crackers.
4. First Aid Kit, with compresses. (We've both had EMT & Red Cross F.A. courses.) Foot powder and moleskin. Small bar soap. Baby wipes.
5. Poncho or lightweight rainsuit. (I like Helly Hansen).
6. Safety pins.
7. Camillus A.F. Survival knife & good pocket knife. (SAK).
8. 25 feet 550 paracord & 25 feet nylon surveyor's twine.
9. Toilet paper & some folded paper towels in Ziplok bag.
10. Mini-Mag flashlight and extra batteries (replace each six months).
11. Strike anywhere matches in waterproof case, Bic, and Magnesium firestarter. One long burning candle.
12. Space Blanket.
13. (CLOTHING) Good, tough gloves, non-descript hat or cap, old wool sweater, two pair wool socks, good walking/hiking boots, lightweight wind breaker.
14. Water. We carried two, one quart plastic canteens, with one stainless canteen cup. Also had two extra quarts of unopened Sparkletts water. Drink bottled water first: save empty bottles.
15. Iodine tabs & coffee filters to purify water if necessary.

Weight of our kits WITHOUT the water, about nine pounds, +/-.
The water weighs about eight more pounds, but you'll be drinking that. We never found 18 pounds to be a burden.

That's about it. We still carry the "kits" here in Idaho, but have modified them a bit. More heavy clothing, a folding saw, more shelter material, wool blanket, etc. More food. Have to deal with possibility of being stranded in really cold weather. We weren't too concerned with being caught in a snow storm around L.A.

Oh. Almost forgot. In my wife's trunk was her Ruger Security Six 4" with 24 .357 Mag. rounds: 12 in HKS Speedloaders, and six in a Hunter belt slide, Davis high ride holster and good belt. (Six in the S.S., of course.) One of the stong reasons for the thigh length nylon windbreaker jacket!

I carried anyway so that was of no consequence to me.

That's what we felt worked for us in "earthquake country." Obviously there are other scenarios. main thing is to remain calm, and THINK AHEAD. Common sense is mandatory!

Hope you never need that kit....

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Old April 29, 2002, 02:42 PM   #3
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For the love of God, get the Eagle AIII already!!! This is like 1911forum deja vu.
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Old October 1, 2002, 12:05 AM   #4
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Conspicous? Expensive?

the AIII is hardly conspicuous in this day and age - no one ever notices my AIII and I lug it to work everyday. LARGE? no quite, theres enough room for me to pack a laptop, notebook, supplies and misc cabling. In fact the size keep me from packing too much at any one time.

Full MRES?? have you thought about stripping these down and keeping only the essentials? 25ft of 550? bump that to no less than 50' personally I would go no less than 100.

buy whatever works for your situation. not only that a BOB is not a be-all end-all solution, more to the point its a state of mind, and it seems that a LOT of folks tend to overlook this, especially at

at any time beyond my office stuff, my AIII holds 100' of 550, LM wave, FAK, small mirror, blastmatch.

Ask and I shall TAUNT you a second time!!!!
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Old October 1, 2002, 07:28 AM   #5
Billy Sparks
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Are hydration packs neccessary? Being on a local USAR team one of the first things I double check when we get put on standby is my hydration pack. When I took my original 40 hour structural collapse class the first weekend everyone laughed at me wearing a hydration system. After two days in the boiling NC summer sun the laughs were a little less. On the second weekend of the class, fun thing nearly everyone had a hydration pack.
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Old October 1, 2002, 11:57 PM   #6
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Pardon my ignorance...what should I get the 550 for? Repairing stuff (a la duct tape)? Rescue? Never was sure why, in an urban environment.

Ended up getting a Camelbak Motherlode. All I have in it right now is 2 gallons of water (for 3 days), 3600 calories of emergency rations, all the spare power bars I have on hand (I just cache them in there), a spare pair of glasses, printed contact information of friends and coworkers nearby, and backups of my hard drive. Oh yeah, a first aid kit. The water is stored in boxes and will be poured into the hydration system. Space should still be pretty tight with the bladder full.

All that water sure is heavy...that Camelbak is heavy enough as it is, not sure if I need a bigger bag as I'm not a strong guy and while I can lug it, I won't be able to move THAT quickly. It's more of a 'bug to my car' bag than anything else anyway. I don't think roughing it in the burbs will do me much good
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Old October 2, 2002, 01:23 PM   #7
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Aww, you didn't get the AIII?

I have one sitting right next to me right now.. filled up with textbooks and binders.

Yeah, it has one big pouch, the mid pouch, and the really teeny one. However, I bought a Pack-Rat from It nicely organizes the mid-sized pocket; provides pencil holders, can hold my Palm Pilot and Zip Disks, stapler, eraser, Altoids, and other necessities of school.

I have the internal frame in mine. It keeps the pack comfortable, but greatly restricts the use of hydration systems, in my opinion, especailly if you are carrying rigid items (like textbooks). A 100oz Camelbak barely fits. I think a 70oz bladder would fit much better, but it still takes up a bit of room.

It isn't really THAT large - in fact, I think it's smaller than my older Jansport backpack that I took to school. When I opened the box, my first thought was that I should've gotten the Large AIII. As it is, I can fill up this one with just about enough stuff to carry comfortably. If I had the larger one.. I think I'd put too much stuff in it and weigh myself down and tire myself out quickly.

There are a few complains I have about it though:

1. It is HOT. I put it on and my back is sweaty in a few minutes.

2. The hole at the top is worthless if you have the Camelbak thermal control kit. The insulated cover won't go through it, and can barely fit through the d-rings on the shoulder straps. It's a pain to disassemble your camelbak every time you want to take it out.

3. The side accessory packs block access to the main pouch, and are kind of awkward to put on/off.

It's a pretty darn good pack though. I'd buy it again if I had the chance. I just hope it doesn't wear out anytime soon
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Old October 2, 2002, 01:42 PM   #8
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Nah I have my's a REALLY good pack...I likes it a lot but I had to cut off the belt loops to fit my scrawny 30" waist.

Doesn't look too tactical so that's good...not sure if I want a Becker Large or AIII large ...I think I see one in my future.
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Old October 2, 2002, 01:43 PM   #9
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Given your urban environment, reduce the amount of water you carry, and invest in a good water filter. Don't bother with a purifier which protects against virus, they are not a problem in CONUS. The problem in urban areas is not that there is no water, but that the water is contaminated. A Sweetwater (my choice) will do about 25 gallons before the filter needs to be replaced.
Iodine tablets are counter-indicated for those with high blood pressure. If you must, use the clorine liquids found at camping stores. Look in the same place for a filter.
Otherwise, looks like you have a good plan.
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Old October 2, 2002, 03:11 PM   #10
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Although I feel that the RAID pack pictured above just made all other 3-day packs obsolete, some other good choices are:

Tactical Tailor 3-day pack
Eagle 3-day pack (note that the Lightfighter RAID is made by Eagle)

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Old October 2, 2002, 05:38 PM   #11
David Park
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Good thread - I don't have a BOB yet so I'm always looking for tips. My current plan is to finish gathering the desired survival gear and then figure out how big (or small) the BOB will need to be.
Pardon my ignorance...what should I get the 550 for? Repairing stuff (a la duct tape)?
Well, my car's muffler is currently being held on by 550 cord. I consider it more useful than duct tape (but I have some of that too).
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Old October 2, 2002, 07:17 PM   #12
Join Date: September 30, 2002
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if you ask why - then you've never HAD to use it.

550 cord is one of the best things to come out of Unca' Sugars brainy boys. you can use it to rig up all sorts of doohickys, not to mention lace up truck bed doors, strap down items when needed. and search for Bug out bags?

have you checked out

I remember someone posting up the yazoo about building a BOB and then always buggin folks to look over his contents list to see if he missed anything. Then it came out that he lacked basic land nav skills and other basic tenets of outdoors skills - also he admitted to not being able to carry his BOB. To give you an idea of what he had, he had spare changes of clothes including TWO pairs of levis, 6 cans of campbells soup, wool jacket, a 12" frying pan... among other things

do you have a small personal kit? Cause what good will a BOB do you if you get separated from it?

AIII large will look as though you are wearing a parachute pack, the becker large I find wanting, but there are those who will swear that its the next best thing to sliced MRE bread. There are better options than these. IMO.

Enough of my rant - just think smart and survive!
Ask and I shall TAUNT you a second time!!!!
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Old October 5, 2002, 05:18 PM   #13
Join Date: July 28, 2002
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My BUG OUT BAG consists of the Eagle Becker Patrol pack loaded with all kinds of goodies I feel I need to make it in the wilds of Arizona , from the deserts to the mountains ! And this gets loaded into a nylon USGI flight bag . There is enough room in there for all sorts of extras including other bags you may need for other missions .
Exanple , I have one small bag for various optics and another for communications gear . You can load & unload the Becker for any mission you have at hand !
Just take some time & analize your missions' gear requirements and pack accordingly !
Never bring a boxcutter to Jihad , you might get more than you asked for ...
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Old December 16, 2002, 11:57 AM   #14
Join Date: April 27, 2002
Location: Columbia, SC
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a good gps?

Anyone thought about putting a GPS with built-in maps in their bag? I know it would a little weight, but the benefits appear to outweigh the weight issue to me.
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Old December 16, 2002, 04:39 PM   #15
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BTW, I have the AIII pack. Used it when I climbed Long's Peak in CO and it worked awesome!
First some preliminary questions,
1, So if I DID bug out, where do poeple usually go? A shelter at a high school? In that case I wouldn't need a MASSIVE type bag?
2, Are hydration units overrated?
1 Do not, I repeat do not become a "refugee" in a SHTF situation. You need to figure out a realistic destination if circumstances dictate that you have to "bug-out". As for myself I have several options depending on what's going on. I also have topo maps, compass, notepad and pencil (among lots of other things) to help me get there.

2 Hydration units can be great. I sure liked mine when I climbed that mountain. I wouldn't store water in it though. At least not for more than 24-48 hours unless absolutely necessary.

Several months ago, myself and a couple other TFL members worked on the TFL "Go" Bag page. I think there's some good ideas on it that can be applied to your own specific situation.
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Old December 16, 2002, 04:42 PM   #16
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Sniper, do you have the Becker or Becker large and how heavy does the sucker get fully loaded?

David, you build that kit yet? It's kinda fun, actually, though I am somewhat of a SHTF hobbyist.
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Old December 17, 2002, 12:57 PM   #17
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Sleuth, I need to correct one of your statements, "Don't bother with a purifier which protects against virus, they are not a problem in CONUS." That wrong, there are plenty of viral bugs in U.S. waters that can make you sick.

SweetWater even discusses the problem with waterborne viruses:

The idea that most areas visited by backpackers are free of viruses is not supported by science. Viruses have a low infectious dose (1-10 viruses), and a long-term survival rate in water (months). This insures that any water source downhill or downstream from where people may have defecated will be contaminated.

If you go with the SweetWater purifier, pick up their ViralStop solution.

VIRUSES (.004-6.0 microns) such as Hepatitis A and Polio

Hepatitis A is a virus that can occur in undercooked shellfish and water polluted with human waste. It can be spread by sharing water bottles and utensils, improperly washing hands, and by intimate contact. Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and loss of appetite show up 15-50 days after ingestion. Severe cases may cause jaundice and dark urine.

Hepatitis B produces similar, more severe symptoms but is transmitted almost exclusively by contact with blood and body fluids.

Norwalk virus causes more food and water-related, noninvasive diarrhea than any other viral source. It spreads easily from one person to another, and though it may last a week, the vomiting and diarrhea that follows are mild and rarely require a physician's care.

"Viruses are the smallest agents of disease, and perhaps the most problematic. Because they are as minute as 0.004 microns, they can pass through the smallest filter. They are also widespread: according to Herbert DuPont, Chief of Internal Medicine at St. Lukes's Hospital in Houston who has spend his career studying waterborne pathogens, "Protozoa-giardia and crypto-are the number one threat, then viruses, then bacteria." Waterborne viruses include hepatititus A and E, Norwalk virus, rotavirus, echovirus and poliovirus. Since there is no treatment for viruses, they are particularly dangerous, especially among immuno-compromised populations."
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Old December 17, 2002, 01:30 PM   #18
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10-4, for those of us with high blood pressure, pre-treating the water with a clorine mixture (or even a few drops of Clorox) is safer than the iodine treatment, which raises BP. That is, clorine the water, then run it through your filter.

Last edited by Sleuth; December 17, 2002 at 02:00 PM.
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Old December 17, 2002, 04:01 PM   #19
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Trust me, you need rope. Charlie Bronson always needed rope.

In my van, I've got a pretty comprehensive tool kit, etc... Not "luggable," but if something is modestly broken, I can probably fix it.

Stainless wire is a good thing. So is epoxy, krazy glue, etc...

In winter, I toss in a couple of sleeping bags.

Not so worried about SHTF situations - my car basically relies on the cell phone in the event of trouble. But if things look possibly nasty ("dark orange" alert days), I drive the van.
Job hunting, but helping a friend out at - and learning the finer aspects of becoming a precision machinist.

And making the world's greatest bottle openers!
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