I am in full agreement with R.S. As a backpacker, the thought of a 60lb bug out bag for even a three-day hike is pretty laughable. Also, no matter what your ability to carry a load, you’ll be limited by the suspension system of the bag. Some of the better packs out there have beefed-up suspension pads that better distribute the weight to your hips and off your shoulders. With relatively lightweight compressible gear, I can get down to about 3500ci for a pack size and 35 lbs for a 3-day pack, not including food, water, or ammunition. I agree with R.S. that most of the cheap military type bags have poor stitching and often poor suspension. Molle straps are worthless if your bag rips or you can’t carry it.
If you’re not wearing body armor, I think a muted color REI Crestrail, REI XT85, Gregory Baltoro, Kelty Redwing 50, Kelty Coyote, or Arcteryx Altra are great relatively new internal frame packs that could support a 40 to 50lb load with good weight distribution. If you are wearing body armor, the Mystery Ranch mystery cinch allows you to wear a regular pack comfortably. Also, don’t forget the hiking poles. Your knees will thank you, and you can use them for a makeshift shelter in a pinch.
My current get home bag/weekend backpack is a Mystery Ranch SATL. It has great suspension that adjusts to your body through the futura yoke, and unlike other military packs such as the ILBE, it’s lightweight at just under 5lbs. It also has removable “bolsters” that allow you to wear armor comfortably. It has a relatively high price point, but as they say “spend once, cry once”. – G.G.
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BRAVO! It’s good to see common sense applied to B.O.B. thinking. From the demo’s I’ve seen at B.O.B. “show & tells” I’ve often wondered where the Bug-out Wheel barrow was hiding.
Pioneer wagon train routes often had piles of “unnecessary cargo” at the base of the first mountain. Everything from furniture to bath tubs were packed into wagons headed west, but only essentials arrived at the destination. When getting to the destination is imperative, only what’s needed to get you there is important.
Thanks for a well-written article. – T. in Texas