> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Reader Question: Backpacks



Reader Question: Backpacks


I have been working on my 72 hour bags for a while, trying to make them as complete and efficient as I can. My problem is the bag itself, when I search for reviews I have a hard time finding a review I trust on a bag. ....Lot's of billy bad a-s on the web will tell you what they think, but they have no idea what they are really talking about. I looked on the T blog, but did not find a review of a backpack. I am looking for a heavy duty bag that will hold everything I need, and I am traveling light. Just the essentials- but in Arizona one of the essentials I feel is water. At 8lb a gallon and 3 gallons a pack- the bag is heavy. I have 3 small children, ages 6, 4 and 2. So they can not carry much.

I bought a backpack from Emergency Essentials, but the straps busted rather quickly. 

I know I am going to have to spend some decent money and looking at my green bag from Emergency essentials- I realize it should be grey like you recommend in one post on the blog. I am always learning from your blog.

Thanks for your help,


Alex's Response:
First up, have plenty of water ready to load into your vehicle if you do have to bail on the homestead. Have lots (lots) of water on hand for the more likely scenario of hunkering down at home. Also know where water is - have some good maps - because AZ is unlivable without it!

Second, 24 lbs of water is really too much for a pack. 6L is more reasonable. It is the desert...you should not go to go wandering off into the wastelands, especially with 3 little kids in tow. Stay with your vehicle or move to known water sources. 

Specifically to packs, I am a huge fan of Camelbak's military line of packs, at least for daypack in size. They are well made, come with their excellent reservoir, have a good warranty and are just built around carrying water. The Camelbak HAWG, for example, comes with a 3L bladder - add a few water bottles and you will be at the weight you want to carry in water. I do not keep the reservoir full, but store water to fill it nearby.

You can certainly pack a warm-weather bug out kit in a HAWG sized bag...you have to be efficient and pack the essentials, but that should be the name of the game anyways. You should be able to move quickly and without too much exertion with the pack.

If you are worried about drawing attention from others, a black Camelbak is pretty low profile. You will love it and probably press it into double-duty for hiking and day excursions.

If you need more space or want to spend less, the old school military ALICE packs would be worth a look. They are clunky, 'Nam era gear, but they're also durable, functional and inexpensive.

Along similar lines of bigger n' cheaper, check out this Teton bag from Amazon - $65, completely generic looking and decent for the price.

And a note on the kiddos - REI and other stores sell child size packs, designed to hold a small hydration reservoir and a little bit of cargo. The 4 year old and 6 year old could certainly carry these with a liter of water, some snacks, etc.

Readers - comment away! What would you recommend?