If you needed to escape a disaster right now, be it natural or man-made, what would you take with you? Chances are what you carry around everyday in your pockets won't be enough to make it through an emergency.
What you need is an emergency pack full of essentials to help you and those you care about get to safety. In the EDC community, we call this a bail-out bag or bug-out bag (you might also see it as a B.O.B.). Whatever you choose to call it, it's important to have one on hand and ready to go.
Before putting together a bail-out kit, it's crucial to start with a good bag for the job. To help you out, we've put together a list of great options for bug out bag duty.
What to Look for in a Bug Out Bag
The reality is that any bag can serve as your bail-out bag. But because this bag can mean the difference between life and death, it's important to start with a good one.
I recommend a small-to-medium size sling or shoulder bag for this purpose. If you choose a bigger bag, it becomes easy to overpack it to the point it becomes so heavy and impractical that you might end up not wanting to haul it. The increased weight will also slow you down in an emergency situation, both on foot and while digging through it for gear. Go with lighter solutions and carry only what you need instead.
LAPG Tactical Bail Out Gear Bag
A plethora of pockets and storage space define this bag. From large to small, there are pockets for all of your essentials. There are two dedicated water bottle holders on the side, and there's even a hidden storage compartment that can fit a carry weapon if you so choose. This is my personal favorite on this list and I actually have two: one is my bail-out bag, and the other is my personal under-seat bag that I carry with me when I fly.
5.11 Tactical Bail Out Bag
The 5.11 Bail Out Bag has similar dimensions to the LAPG bag, but it ditches the water bottle areas for zippered storage and MOLLE mounts. It also has padding on the body-facing side to make it easier for you to carry when you need it. The strap is a sling style, and has a quick detachment buckle that lets you take it off in a hurry.
Maxpedition Operator Tactical Attache
Maxpedition's option here is slightly larger than the first two. Aside from providing you a bit more storage, it also has a dedicated padded space for you to carry up to a 15.4” laptop. The outside storage areas feature an ID window to display credentials and an organizer that helps you carry along important papers and writing implements.
Hazard 4 Ditch
Modularity is the name of the game when it comes to the Hazard 4 Ditch. Aside from the spacious interior, the exterior is covered in MOLLE attachment points. You can use them to stick on your favorite MOLLE-compatible pouches and organizers and make this bag your own.
Blackhawk Stealth Advanced Battle Bag
All of the options in this list thus far absolutely scream tactical to the outside world. The Blackhawk Stealth Advanced Battle Bag goes in the opposite direction. While it provides a sizable amount of storage and even MOLLE attachment points, it hides these under a flap or against your body. This is a tactical bug out bag that will look as unassuming as a camera bag, and it won't make you stand out in a crowd of people.
Condor 3-Day Assault Backpack
If you find you need a larger bag for emergencies, the Condor 3-Day Assault backpack provides enough space for you to fit just about anything and everything you would need in an emergency situation. It's covered in MOLLE for further customization options, and it even includes space for a hydration bladder.
Do you have a bug out bag? What's your preferred bag to carry your emergency gear? Leave a comment below with your favorite bag for the job!