Several years ago when I sat back on my porch, looking out into the woods, I came to the realization that if I got lost in there or was dumped off, I would not know the basics for me to survive. I quickly went to the all knowing internet and found the idea of a “bug out bag”. Watching and reading I quickly latched on to this idea. A bag that would contain the essentials of survival. Something that if things got rough and I had this bag I could leave the dangerous area and be able to survive for at least 72 hours. Countless videos and blogs laid out all the items one would need to optimize your bug out bag but one thing the majority failed to convey was the importance of Walking Your Bag.
Everyone is telling you what to put in your bag and how much of those items. Some are stuffing it in an old high school book bag, others in some tacticool pack with or without a frame. Is the type of pack important? Yes. Are the items inside important? Yes, but what good are either of them if you cannot get them to your safe area. When I first started being a survivalist I went with a well built bag from Triple Aught. No frame and I loaded it up with all the gear that I thought was necessary. My shoulders quickly found out that 20 to 25lbs of gear was all they could take for a multi mile hike. I also found out that where I lashed or stowed equipment mattered. Many of these lessons I learned by walking my bag so now let me explain.
Walking Your Bag is like a test run. Not everyone has the time or place to go out and bug out, camp, or practice a survival scenario, that’s life. I do believe everyone has some time to pick up their bag, strap it on, and go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a hike in the woods. If you are trying to leave a city it will be many miles before you see woods. Put on your pack and walk the distance that you feel is necessary for you to find a safe area for your particular scenario. Mind you I would suggest you don’t have arrows, bullets, and knives hanging off of you but pack all your food and especially water. Water is very heavy at roughly 9lbs a gallon. Feel how the bag/pack sits on you. What aches? What chafes? Does something get caught, rattle or make you off balance? Can you achieve the distance that you intended? These are all discoveries that you can make, adjust and fix long before you have to set out on a real and unforgiving survival situation.
Since my early bug out days I have changed my pack once and I have walked it many times. Each time making adjustments and learning. Will everything be perfect when I go out on my next Bug Out trip? No, but at least I know what to expect and what can be mitigated. I know where to stow things to minimize fatigue. I know at roughly what mile the hips or shoulders will start to ache. I know how much weight I can carry for a particular distance. Knowing these things gives me the power to make informed decisions and how to adapt and endure in an ever changing survival situation. So do yourself a favor and Walk Your Bag.
Link to Video