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Article by: RobRed

Applicable Models: Any Vehicle

Updated: 07/19/2016


Another one… yep another in a stream of Internet look-at-me-I’m-Tacticool articles about a Bug Out Bag. Mines even in a tacticool Multi-Cam Double-Tap (Black/Gray) design. It has all the cool features like a Name Tape and an American Flag. Look at me.

I’m new to this B.O.B. thing. I’m not really any kind of prepper. I’m not a zombie hunter. I don’t see myself as a survivalist. I’m more of a practicalist. A luxuryist. A Organizationalist.

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1960’s U2 Pilot Survival Kit (Smithsonian)

My quest for the B.O.B. started innocently enough. As an avid offroader one tends to acquire things to make an adventure more fun, safer and interesting. We probably all have a well stocked first aid kit with more than basic band-aids. Lots of us have better than average flashlights. We carry an array of fire starting tools. I actually own a shovel now. With all of the gear we carry everyday in our Land Cruisers (because we don’t have another place to put it) we have essentially built our very own B.O.V. (Bug Out Vehicle or B.O.B. on 4 wheels).

I’ve been a camping enthusiast for years. When I got my current Land Cruiser I started taking this to another level. The trips have become longer and more remote and with that, way more fun than posting up in a KOA. I think we probably share the sense of wanting to go farther and do more just based on our shared love of the Land Cruiser and with that comes some challenges and practicalities. When I started bringing my girlfriend Fiance’ on these adventures I had to reconsider some priorities. I’m now responsible for more than just myself.

One of the things I added to the gear list is a personal locator beacon (PLB). Something that anyone could use in a dire emergency to summon help. This device has lived in the center console of the Land Cruiser for 2 years – at the ready to save some lives. I even have a satellite phone (remember luxuryist). Technology is great and we use it everyday but there are limits. With those limits come some harsh realities – it doesn’t always work as planned.

SAT phones need clear line of site to the sky to work. That’s not always available in every situation. The PLB has better performance but if you push that button it better be life or death. So what happens when you are far from help or communication and you have a need. 4 flat tires, 2 blown differentials, out of gas, truck wont start or any of the other million things that can go wrong? You might need to hike it out. That concept friends is how my B.O.B. was born.

Thinking about situations like the above I decided I wanted an organized way to “hike it out” if that became a requirement on a trip. Everything in my B.O.B. was already in my Land Cruiser in one cubby hole or another. My B.O.B. puts all that loose gear in one place.

When I created B.O.B. I wanted to keep things tidy and simple but if you’ve ever done one of these you know it can get out of hand quickly. I made a list of priorities and went to work – The $4000 Backpack was born.

Philosophy of use: 3 Day evacuation bag in case of being stranded. Make it mobile to transfer to any vehicle. Additional capability for extended evacuation with equipment to go beyond 3 days.


– Communications
– First Aid
– Food / Water / Fire
– Navigation
– Comfort
– Defense

As the priorities took shape I began a shopping spree inside the Land Cruiser for the items I needed. I raided the center console for a handheld HAM radio and the PLB. I went to the first aid kit and pulled an extra Garmin GPS for the fun of it. I keep a change of clothes in the Land Cruiser, now part of B.O.B. The Power Bars in the seat back, B.O.B. Extra AA size flashlight, B.O.B. This shopping spree went on for days. After I looted the Land Cruiser I started thinking about what else. I turned into a maniac on a mission.

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BOB with External Bags attached

One thing I hadn’t acquired was a way to carry all of this comfortably. I had bags and packs but I needed just the right tool for this job. I went to Amazon and ordered a 5.11 Tactical Rush 72. What could be more perfect to make a B.O.B. than the tacti-cool-ist rig around. I got the pack and filled it with stuff. The 5.11 Tactical pack was way nicer than I imagined. Incredibly durable, thoughtfully designed and of the highest quality. Wow this thing rocks. As I filled it with my pilfered goods from the Land Cruiser I began to see a theme… there is extra space in the capacious pack. I must fill that empty space.

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Detail of Condor Rip-Away EMT Pouch

Yep it got bloated. I had built a 40 pound monster. But I need everything. What If I get bored and want to play cards. Maybe I want to shave. Shouldn’t I be prepared with a parka? B.O.B. got a reboot. I went back to Amazon and ordered a 5.11 Tactical Rush 24. A much more compact pack than the 72 but doesn’t sacrifice features or construction. I scoured my load out and started a stuff reduction plan. Sculpting and reducing until B.O.B. lost his baby weight.



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Close up of Yaesu VX-8

One of the challenges in creating B.O.B. was organizing inside the pack. I have some smaller sub packs inside so I can easily remove items not required for a particular evacuation situation. For example I keep a complete change of clothes including jacket. These clothing items are compressed (Foodsavers are great for more than leftovers) but add a significant amount of weight. Doubtful I’ll need all of them in an evac. Easily partitioned and can be left behind as desired. The base pack setup gives me choices. It’s loaded for car transport but can easily, on-the-fly, be reduced to what’s needed now.

What I eventually got to was a manageable 28 pounds (CamelBak empty) of top tier survival pack. Clearly my load out is not for everyone. Yours should reflect your own priorities and sensibilities. In the end I feel a bit better about adventures into the back country or on the highway knowing I took the time to think about what could happen, setting up a plan and being prepared.

Tell me about your backcountry B.O.B. / Go Bag experience?

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Detail of Tools Carried in MK7 Pouch


I’ve received a number of PM’s regarding protection (weapons). I intentionally left that “priority” off of this post as it’s a sticky subject for some and I didn’t feel like debating the merits of this or that. I will say that I have a variety of options personally for every situation. You should consider your situation and options accordingly. 

I also carry some hybrid walking / hiking shoes that are loose and not carried in the pack.

I‘ve updated the Inventory list style to reflect categories of gear rather than the location in my specific pack. I’ve included estimated street prices for the items.  I’ve fined tuned a couple of entries on the contents list based on some feedback in forums. It’s a living inventory. Now in PDF format.

5.11 Tactical


20$Bandit / Triple Seven Gear

A provocative thread on Expedition Portal about this article

Another thread, this time on IH8MUD


Click to Open Inventory List (07/18/2016)