How To Choose Your Survival Bag
In other articles, we looked at some options for the essentials that should be in a survival bag and we also looked at how to customize your survival kit for survival in the forest or urban areas.
But how do you determine which is the best survival bag for you? This is an important element to consider and the most appropriate choice for you is the first step towards preparing a bug out bag for dealing with disasters.
Should you choose a backpack, a travel bag or a shoulder bag? What qualities must be taken into account when choosing one? Are all features especially useful?
We’ll take a look at these points in this article, but check out my other article if you’re looking for the best survival bags.
TYPES OF BAGS
A survival backpack can range from a school backpack to a tactical storm bag. This category includes the broadest options and is the most commonly used because they have a good balance of size and variety. It is optimal for 1 to 2 people or if you are outside with a group where everyone carries their own provisions and survival equipment.
They are usually larger, but without the ease of movement. This is a good option if you have decided to drive and you have a destination in mind as a second home or designated camp. You would not want to wear this guy for a long time to survive in the forest.
This combines the best features of a backpack and travel bag since it will be great and will have ergonomic transport options. You will be able to carry a lot more hiking gear in this one than in the backpack, which is optimal if you are in a survival situation with a family.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER
1. Comfort and fit
You may be required to wear your survival bag for days. You need a bag that can be worn comfortably without limiting your movement, which will cause you discomfort. Pay attention to the following characteristics when choosing your bag:
Does the bag have hip adjustment straps and hip padding?
This is the most important thing when evaluating a rescue bag, which is something that is often difficult to understand by someone who has not used a heavy bag over long distances. The hip straps close the pack tightly to your hips allowing the weight to be carried by the strong muscles in your thighs and hips rather than through your shoulders. This improves balance by lowering the center of gravity and preventing your back and shoulders from supporting all the weight. This makes it easier to carry a heavy load in this way.
Width of the straps
Are the straps narrowing and will dig in your shoulders and hips or are they wide to cushion attachment to your body? I repeat: you have the ability to carry all the necessary to survive long distances, if you are disturbed by the discomfort, you will not be able to travel as well or as fast.
Does it have a sternum attachment?
This allows you to secure the shoulder straps in a comfortable position and use the bony portion of the chest as a counterweight to the strength of the bag that leans back.
Does it allow the airflow on my back or does it adhere directly?
Walking all day with a sweaty back can lead to discomfort and friction. Most bags have channels or straps that face your back that allow the flow of air.
Are there any hard elements in the bag that can rub you or sting?
Some bags have rigid frames or hard plastic tips to help them retain their shape or to allow you to attach things. There is no need to avoid them, but it should be considered when choosing a backpack. Once, I ignored this when choosing a hiking bag that had a metal frame at the height of the back of my head. It made me lean slightly forward, otherwise I hit my head … for miles. Please, do not make the same mistake.
Is the bag designed for a man or a woman?
Many bags are sold for men or women. These have the straps cut and with a shape making them better for the body of the sex for which he has been designated. Also, it’s important to measure yourself to help you find the best and most appropriate survival bag.
Are the straps and fasteners adjustable?
The best bags include several customization options so you can get the best fit backpack for your body. This leads to more comfort and economy of movement to go as far and as fast as possible. In a survival situation, this equates to a greater probability of success.
2. Volume and mass
Beyond comfort and fit, the most important consideration when choosing the best survival bag is the space provided and the number of compartments. There is hardly enough space to store the equipment. With multiple pockets, zippers, buckles and straps on your bag, you’ll be better organized. In a survival situation, the organization can make the difference between life and death. At one point, you want to be able to access the equipment you need when you need it.
How much space do you want in your survival backpack? This is determined by:
- Are you carrying survival gear for how many people?
- You will be alone or with a family?
- Do you consider packing in your survival backpack a lot of material or just the essentials?
Obviously, the more things you bring, the bigger the survival bag you will need to be, and you will have to carry more mass on your back. This is one of the most important tradeoffs you will have to make.
I prefer to stick to what is essential in my survival bag that I have to go out and search and improvise on the way. Versatile items are a gift from heaven to get the most out of your gear.
If you have a decent sized list of survival gear, you will have a wide variety of sizes, shapes and utilities. Putting all this into one large compartment is the ideal recipe for inefficiency and frustration. Imagine that you have slipped and cut yourself and now you have to dig through all your clothes, tools and rations in order to get your medical kit. This is clearly not the ideal and can easily be better thought out.
What we want for an effective emergency bag is a large compartment for storing general items and several smaller, separate compartments for storing small groups of items. The most modern bags have several options and compartments to attach small satellite bags (it’s the MOLLE compatibility I’m talking about below). This is the ideal. Before packing, you will want to organize your equipment with these compartments in mind. You will want to put larger items in the main compartment and smaller ones in the secondary pockets, organized by type of item. This will make you find things in the emergency a lot easier and your survival backpack more useful overall. We will discuss how to pack your survival bag in a subsequent post.
4. Useful features
While you have your survival backpack meeting your basic needs, what are the best advanced features you should look for that will increase your chances of survival in a disaster situation?
Compatibility of the water bag
Integrating a hydration system like a Camelbak is a huge bonus to any survival bag. This makes it much easier to transport large amounts of water over long distances. Since you know it, being well hydrated is essential to keep moving as fast and as far as possible.
Many bags come with a built-in rain cover. This is usually hidden in a velcro compartment and then pulled over and over the bag when needed. This will keep your material dry and will preserve it optimally when you need it.
MOLLE (pronounced “molly”) is an acronym for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment and is a term with which you should all become familiar if you are serious in terms of quality survival equipment.
It is used to define the current generation of equipment carriers and packaging used by a number of armed forces. This generalization means that there are a large number of compatible options for adding accessories to a MOLLE compatible bag.
The features and pockets available for this system are really endless and include things like:
- Gourd pouch
- Knife Sheath
- Ammunition cover
- Hunting cartridge case
- Ax sleeve
- Pocket Radio
- Medical pocket
The interesting thing is that, with MOLLE, you can customize your backpack to exactly what you want it to look like. Do you want to wear a machete on your back instead of your hip? No problem. Do you want easy access to your water bottle without having to search your bag? Easy.
The beauty of the system is that if you’re like most people, you do not have the budget for everything you want in a survival bag all at once, and some of the bigger bags can be quite expensive if you just use it in a real survival situation.
Buy a small bag with MOLLE and start with the essentials. Then over time, as your budget allows, slowly add more pieces of equipment with easy-to-grasp pockets. There is no need to buy a new bag or take out items to make room. MOLLE allows you to have a survival bag fully customizable and ready to go at any time.
There are a lot of bags that meet the above requirements, we took a look at a few for your convenience, here in this post. I hope you have taken from this article the items you need in order to look for a survival bag that suits you. This is an important step in your disaster preparedness journey and choosing the right one vastly improves your ability to survive in unforeseen circumstances. If you’re ready to plan what to put in your survival bag, check out my survival guide to compose your survival kit and bug-out bag .
Remember, luck only smiles on well-prepared minds.