How to Build the Best Bug Out Bag Under 25 lbs

Occam’s razor essentially says that the simplest, easiest solution is almost always the right one.

Well at MiliTactical, we love our Occam’s razor. And when it comes to building the best bug out bag, we think the best is the lightest.

Here’s how you can build the absolute best bug out bag you’ve ever seen that will clock in under 25 pounds.

Best bug out bag tip 1: cut your food

Food can be both pretty thin and pretty light, and making it both for your best bug out bag under 25 pounds is going to be essential.

You can actually survive 72 hours without food with absolutely zero ill effects.

So to get your pack weight down, it pays to cut it back to almost zero. Firs to off, get rid of anything you have to heat and get rid of your stove and canister.

There’s plenty of dried and dehydrated food that a stove is simply extra weight. Even a state of the art camping stove will weigh you down with critical ounces.

Because it’s more than just the stove. Fuel canisters are heavy and bulky, pots are heavy and bulky, and you’ll be tempted to bring food and dishes you would otherwise leave at home.

Keep it as simple as you can with no stove and a couple of calorie dense energy bars. For the TRUE lightweight enthusiast who wants not only the best bug out bag but also the tastiest, you can always make your own.

Best bug out bag tip 2: Re-evaluate your sleeping bag

With any of the best bug out bag setups, they all involve a few key components.

Those key components, that are apparently above reproach, are usually the heaviest ones too. If you want to get the best bug out bag to under 25 pounds, you need to start evaluating those big ticket items.

For example, your sleeping situation.

The basics of a sleep setup in a bug out bag are pretty clear and standardized – you want to get the MOST warmth from the LEAST weight.

Now, most people think a sleeping bag and stop there. Maybe a down or synthetic down number that’s going to run you anywhere from 16 ounces or more.

But for the “under 25” objective, we need to rethink that.

First, consider your environment. Your bug out bag shouldn’t be an all-purpose solution for every possible environment. After all, what you need in the Alaskan winter is very different to what you need to survive 72 hours in southern California.

So consider your specific environment. Ask yourself:

How cold does it get overnight? How warm do I have to keep myself? What is the absolute worst case survival situation that I’ll be in given my current environment?

That forms the start of your search for the perfect sleeping solution.

Regardless of your environment, your first stop should be a reflective emergency blanket. Not only is it good to carry regardless, it is the easiest, lightest way to improve your sleep temperature limit.

Next, look at ditching your big, beautiful sleeping bag and swap it out for something lighter and thinner. It might not be quite as warm as your initial option, but you can always combine it with your emergency blanket for improved warmth.

A reflective emergency blanket will create an additional layer of warm air between itself and your outer sleeping bag, which is basically weightless insulation.

While this might not quite as comfortable as your normal sleeping bag, it’ll likely clock in at significantly less weight and help you achieve your 25-pound objective.

Best bug out bag tip 3: Get a lighter pack

Cargo weight is a HUGE source of additional poundage that you can shed quickly and effectively.

The combined weight of a heavy duty combat backpack that can live through anything, internal nylon or even dry bags to keep stuff organized, heavy water bottles, and compression sacks, it can quickly eat up eight to ten pounds of your 25.

Fortunately, just as cargo weight adds pounds fast, it’s also one of the absolute easiest and no-brainer ways to shed your extra poundage. For example, just switching a steel water bottle for a bladder is a great start.

First, a lighter pack can save you four to five pounds right off the bat. Look around and read a few reviews but the basic story is that modern fabric technology has advanced so far that the thinnest nylon is extremely robust and hard wearing. Even a pack built ten years ago will be using now outdated technology in its textiles.

So if you’re using an old canvas pack because it’ll go forever, it might be time to switch it out for a newer model.

Second, dry bags. Dry bags are brilliant. Long loved by kayaker zealots and mariners, not to mention backpackers and cold-weather adventurers for their ability to keep everything inside them dry as a bone, they are fantastic.

But that excellence comes at a cost. Some bags, for SealLine dry bags, can be a tremendous weight for your bug out pack.

So here’s what we recommend.

First, lay out everything in your pack.

Then, separate it into what can get wet and what can’t. For example, does it matter if your hatchet gets wet? No. Does it matter if your socks get wet? Yeah, probably.

… and that’s it, It’s a one step process.

What you’ll notice is that most of your stuff can probably get wet without any problem to you. So to reduce your weight as much as possible, just use one SMALL dry bag and put everything that absolutely, positively can’t get wet in it.

Then, just switch out all your other dry bags for thin mesh numbers with tiny lightweight zips to keep your stuff organized with almost no addition to weight.

It might seem frivolous and needless weight, but the ability to separate and keep your pack organized is, in our opinion, worth the extra couple of ounces.

Wrap up

There’s no step by step guide to creating the best bug out bag. But hopefully, these tips will help you evaluate what you NEED in yours and what you WANT, thereby helping you get your total weight to under 25 pounds.

Think we missed a key weight saving measure for the best bug out bag? Let us know in the comments!

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