Should I Build a Bug Out Bag or Buy One?

Bug Out Bags

Build a Bug Out Bag or Buy One?

What’s the Worst Part of  Deciding to Build a Bug out Bag?

Besides the cost, it has to be the amount of time you have to spend researching items that you need to include and then the quality of those items.

Think About it.

Step One, I need to build a bug out bag, you know, just in case.

Step Two: What the Hell do I put into it? This step involves you Googling “bug out bag list” and weeding through the hundreds of items that each list claims that you must have to build a bug out bag.

Step Three: Information Overload. What’s the best knife for the money? Which backpacks hold up the longest? Water filters, virus vs bacteria? Do I need a tent, sleeping bag? Or, you could just follow the recommendations from the websites that have the “bug out bag lists”, but you know in the back of your mind that they are getting paid big-bucks for pimping out the items that they recommend. So, are these REALLY the best items, could I save money by buying another brand?

Step Four: Realization. Okay, it’s going to be a bigger job to build a bug out bag than I thought, let’s look at pre-made bugout bags. This usually leads you to Amazon or Ebay, where you will find $300 kits that are full of Chinamatic crap packed in China, or $2500 kits that some dude is building in his garage.

Step Five: (You’re on this step) Find America’s best selling, best backed and best made bugout bags. Period. We have been building bug out bags since 2008. We know which items which you don’t need to overspend, and which items you need to invest a little more in. We really do build America’s best bug out bags, it’s not just a slogan.

Should I Build a Bug Out Bag or Buy One?

We sell the bags/packs and all of the contents (Corekits) needed to build a bug out bag. We also sell pre-built bug out bags, they are our most popular items. It’s your choice which way to go. However, the fact is, we can sell complete bug out bags cheaper than you can build one, yes even at Walmart and Amazon. We buy quality items in bulk and if you add up the price of all the items that are contained in our bags, you’re saving around 20%.

A bug out bag, BOB, go-pack or whatever you call it has one major purpose – contain everything you need to survive a significant emergency, such as flood, hurricane, or large-scale terrorist attack – and make it possible to carry this material as far as necessary to get to safety.

In other words, a bug out bag could save your life, but to do that you have to build a bug out bag with the right gear, with the right quality, in the right combination of weight and usability. That means a good BOB is not simple.

It may contain several hundred individual items, each one of which should serve a relevant, prioritized survival purpose, and be good enough to do the job under difficult and stressful conditions.

You may already be getting the idea that building  a good bug out bag takes a lot of time, requires a lot of experience, and is an exercise in judgment. Every single piece of a bug out bag should be scrutinized for relevance, durability, weight-size, and usability. Building the bag also means adapting the list of items for the most likely circumstances (such as climate and terrain) and prioritizing the contents for selection.

Again, these are judgment calls, which are best when based on experience. People who are confident they can correctly make these kinds of judgments are already so experienced; they just assume they should build a bug out bag as opposed to buying one.

Then there is the perennial argument that it’s less expensive to build your own bug out bag. The truth is, it can be. Like many things in the D-I-Y world, it looks less expensive if you don’t factor in your own time.

If building a BOB is partly a hobby, and you don’t mind spending hours scrounging through hardware stores, shopping online, and doing a lot of research – then your own time isn’t part of the price, you should build a bug out bag from scratch.

Otherwise, building a good bug out bag may surprise you with how much time and money it takes, especially if you’re not that familiar with the gear and its use.

We don’t want to look like we’re stacking the deck in favor of buying pre-loaded bug out bags as opposed to someone who wants to build a bug out bag, but there are some very practical points in favor of that approach:

  • Buying your items one at a time (online) probably requires extra shipping costs.
  • As for shipping costs, running around in your own vehicle to get BOB items isn’t free.
  • Retailers of BOBs, such as Survivalist 101, buy items in volume for discounts, don’t assume their cost in a pre-loaded bag is way above what you’d pay yourself.
  • Items in a pre-loaded bag are guaranteed new, fresh, and ready to go.
  • Ready to go is the key phrase, a pre-loaded bag isn’t missing some pieces just when an emergency strikes.
  • Pre-loaded bug out bags may not have everything, personal taste and situations apply. You can always get specialized kits or plugins (for example medical supplies) to compliment what’s already in the bag.

Build a Bug Out BagThe big kicker in favor of buying a pre-loaded bag instead of taking the time to build a bug out bag remains in the planning by experts.

If you buy from a retailer that specializes in survival gear, and more to the point, highlights that people who make the selection of what goes into a BOB are knowledgeable about the gear and actually use it; you can be reasonably sure that what you’re paying for is relevant, durable, the right weight-size combination, and usable.

Especially for your first bug out bag, it’s both practical and helpful to start with one that already has “the right stuff.” It’s a platform you can learn from and build upon. We always recommend that you field test your BOB, get to know it and the process of traveling with your life on your back. As you gain experience, you’re in a better position to assemble some of your own gear.

People who spend a lot of time hiking and camping have a saying (or something like it), “Any happy-go-lucky Joe can have great camping on sunny days. It takes a ready-for-anything Ronny to be comfortable when the weather turns bad.”

This applies, in spades, to survival gear because conditions are almost inevitably going to be bad. Survival situations are inherently more serious than any recreational situation. That means bug out bags and their contents need to be seriously selected for those conditions. That’s what distinguishes buying pre-loaded bug out bags built by experienced people.

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