My first bugout bag was actually a large army box that I had acquired in my many years in the military. I’m not sure how much that weighed but seemed like a hundred pounds. Most of the gear that I used back then was surplus army gear, actually the gear I was issued. I believe that most army gear was designed during The Inquisition. Any of you who have carried it know what I mean. Even my civilian pack topped out at 60 pounds, I didn’t know any better. In the last few years I’ve gotten into lightweight backpacking. There is a sect of backpackers that use the term “Ultra light” to describe their style of packing. Base weights of as little as 9 pounds are not uncommon if you have the money to buy them. 15-20 pound base pack weights are not too uncommon and fall into my category of light weight backpacking. Your base pack weight consists of everything you need to survive except expendables such as food, fuel, or water. Now understand that I’m not talking about a bug out bag at this point but shaving weight in some areas will shave weight for your bugout bag as well.
To start off with, I like to use civilian gear, for a few good reasons. The first is camouflage. If you go walking around in the city with a military rucksack on you are either a nut or a terrorist in the eyes of the sheeple. Not too many people would think twice of a person in clean clothes walking around with a nice internal frame backpack or even a duffle bag. Just think, you could carry around your bug out bag to work every day and just tell people that you are getting in shape for an upcoming backpacking trip. Secondly, it’s just so much more comfortable. That reason alone is enough to change for me. A good internal frame pack from any backpacking store will do fine. A balance in the volume to the weight of the pack should be looked at if you really want to reduce weight. I went for a 2900 cubic inch pack, to intentionally limit the volume that I have available. A lot of people buy a pack that is way too large for them and fill up the empty space with useless junk. I know, I’ve done it and went over a mountain with that pack, and I felt like a mule.