Using an Alice pack as your bug out bag makes sense. Particularly if you plan to make modifications for easier carry, Alices’ can be functional and comfortable. Plus, there is plenty of space inside for your equipment. However, the best bag in the world won’t do you any good if you don’t know what to put inside. Luckily, I’ve been camping and doing survival training for years, and I’m happy to share what I’ve learned about packing for any emergency. You never know when you’ll need to bug out, so your bag needs to be ready for all kinds of weather and circumstances. Opt for multifunctional and necessary gear. I’ll walk you through essential equipment and how to both pack it and maintain it, so you’re ready to go when SHTF and bugging out is the only option.
What to Pack in Your Alice to Bug Out
Your Alice pack bug out bag contents need to include light, water, fire, cooking, food, medical supplies, self-defense, tools, maps, shelter, clothing, and sleeping supplies. Once you have all these essentials, you can bring additional items if you want them.
Survival guides and foraging books are ideal additions. Moreover, a pack of cards to entertain yourself makes an excellent lightweight option. Duplicates are also outstanding options for your emergency supplies.
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Pack Everything On This List
- Light- A good flashlight is essential. Remember to add backup batteries.
- Water- A Lifestraw, water purification tabs, or other filtration tools will keep you safely hydrated.
- Fire- You need a fire-making tool like a magnesium rod makes a good start. I recommend taking a backup like emergency matches or an extra lighter. It would be best if you also packed dry firestarters to get your blaze going.
- Cooking- At a minimum, a pot to cook in, a cup for drinking, and a spork or other eating implement is vital. Knives aren’t included in this category because you’ll be bringing at least two for self-defense.
- Food- I recommend bringing MREs, energy bars, food tabs, or other foods enough to survive a week, at least.
- Medical- You need large and small bandages, bacitracin, iodine, fever, and swelling reducers such as aspirin, a tourniquet to stop bleeding, good tweezers, heavy-duty scissors, a sewing kit for wounds, and cough drops at the minimum.
- Self Defense- Pack two knives of different styles. I also recommend bear spray instead of pepper spray, a super loud whistle, and either a gun, slingshot, or bow.
- Tools- A small emergency card with fold off pieces like extra sewing needles, fish hooks, and small saw blades is essential. I also recommend packing both a multitool ax and a multitool shovel with different features. A camp saw will also help you along. Make sure at least one of these has a good hammerhead included.
- Maps- Choose a map that covers your local region in detail and add a compass if it’s not integrated into your multitools.
- Shelter- A good tent is one option. However, it would help if you always had a couple of tarps. Depending on your level of bushcraft skills, prefabricated shelters may not be necessary.
- Clothing- Bring more socks than you think you need. Otherwise, plan for layers that cover all weather conditions. Bring shirts, pants, extra shoes, a sweater, light and heavy coats, longjohns for under your jeans, and rain gear.
- Sleeping- Hammocks and sleeping pads are both great options. A compact foam pillow may also help. Additionally, a sleeping bag should be on your list.
- Etc- Add essential papers, money, ID, Castiel soap, compressed toilet paper tabs, fishing line, some paracord, a towel, a toothbrush, baking soda (for your teeth among many other uses), a washcloth, two shemaghs or bandanas, compression sack for clothing, duct tape or electrical tape, flares or a flare gun, a hand-crank radio, a knife sharpener, either a cell phone or ham radio with backup batteries and a solar or hand-cranked charger, emergency mylar blanket, a sewing kit for your clothing with string, and some entertainment.
How To Pack an Alice BOB
Before you can pack your Alice bug out bag, there are some pre-packing steps. If you plan to make any modifications, as discussed below, then make sure to do that first. Changes in the bag will affect how you distribute weight and where things fit.
I recommend a large MT Military Rucksack Alice Pack from Amazon. Made from though, dual-layered high-density 1000 D Oxford fabric that is PU coating treated for water resistance. In addition to the three standard front pouches, there are also three smaller ammo pouches, and this model has equipment hangars and a radio pouch. Plus, it can carry a massive fifty liters. See the reviews for yourself by clicking here.
Next, you need to separate things into categories. Some folks say all you need is to sort by weight. I’m afraid I, however, have to disagree. While sorting most things into weight categories is vital, I also think you need to pull out the essential must-reach items so you can pack them where you can grab something in an emergency or on the go.
Must-reach items include bandanas or shemaghs for wiping sweat or staunching bleeding. Please note that you should not use the same piece of cloth for both of these purposes, so you should put one with your food or maps and the other in a medical supplies pouch. Other easy to grab objects are food, water, self-defense, medical and rain gear.
All of these items, or some of each type, belong at the top of your pack, and in pouches, you can reach while wearing the bag. If your bag doesn’t have easy access pockets, consider adding a few. You can also opt for a belt pouch or molle attachments if you prefer. Alternatively, you can pack these things in a multi-pocket vest and put it on top of your bag.
How to Distribute Weight in Your BOB
When you don’t know how to pack a bag, then every style, Alice, rucksack, hiking framepack, or even a school bag is going to weigh you down. Hiking, survival, or just going to school, I have seen more people pack carelessly than I want to think about. Lousy packing can injure your muscles and cause unnecessary fatigue.
The trick to proper packing is to keep the weight centered. You want heavy items near to your spine and hips. By doing this, you are keeping your center of gravity closer to the middle of your body. Otherwise, weight at the front, top, or bottom of your bag is going to throw you off one direction or another.
If your weighty items are inclined to poke you in the back, then wrap them inside pieces of clothing. You could also opt to pack the bag by laying it flat, face up on the ground, and slide in a folded jacket or pair of jeans. Padding against the back will help prevent this problem.
Similarly, you may want or need to fold other items inside clothing as well. For example, an excellent folding shovel is weighty. It goes in the middle. Moreover, many shovel multitools come with at least one serrated or sharp edge, which can damage goods inside your bag. If the edge also pokes holes in your clothing, then put a layer of duct tape over it instead.
Carrying or using non-attached rain gear means you should always pack that at the top. Rain can happen unexpectedly, and you may want to use a rain cover when it looks like it will rain rather than after the downpour begins. Likewise, when temperatures are likely to drop quickly, your extra layers, warmer gloves, and firestarters need to be on hand.
Modifications for an Alice Bug Out Bag
The best thing about an Alice bug out bag, or any equipment, is that once you own it, you can mod it out to suit your needs and taste. I strongly recommend making adjustments and additions to your pack before you go anywhere.
A basic Alice is a good start. However, it would be best if you considered it a clean slate rather than a finished product. There are a million tutorials on how people have made these modifications. Moreover, you can find discussion boards with plenty of tips and tricks.
Ultimately, it is always up to you whether you go the extra mile and make your equipment better. That said, you should consider the ten items below carefully. These modifications each add an essential element that a base model Alice pack is lacking.
- Add a Molle waist belt for more accessible and more comfortable weight distribution.
- There is room on the side or inside the top closure for a hydration pouch.
- Always reinforce the stress points on any survival gear, whether it’s your Alice, a molle pouch, or even your pants.
- Add straps or loops to the bottom so you can carry a sleeping pad and sleeping bag.
- Chest straps and extra shoulder padding will help ease fatigue.
- Consider adding a divider for the main compartment to aid in organization.
- Cinch straps allow you to compress the bag. Doing this helps keep it from shifting and catching on things as you move around.
- Opt for one of these: A stitched on rain cover, wax, or water sealant. Alice bags tend to absorb water, and you need your gear to stay dry.
- Add a simple, durable carry handle on top so you can grab your bag in a hurry.
- Padding on the frame, especially around your kidneys, will make long treks more bearable.
Maintaining Your Alice BOB
Your Alice bug out bag is useless if you don’t maintain it properly. Although most survival gear is indeed rugged and long-lasting, you still need to perform necessary checks, drills, and maintenance tasks. Inspecting seams, reapplying water sealant, and checking metal buckles for rust is critical.
At least once per season, you should unpack the entire bag and inspect the contents. Anything broken, damaged, or even moldy has to go. Look at the expiration dates on foods and medicines. Furthermore, check the inside of your Alice thoroughly with a flashlight for any signs of problems.
After you repack, put the bag on. Assure yourself that the straps are still set correctly for your current size. Walk around and see how the weight is distributed and whether there are any new issues. You may want to rotate some items out like clothing that needs washing or food and medicines that are nearing expiration.
Starting with a high-quality MT Multi-cam Alice Pack and Butt Pack will help you fit everything you need in a bug-out bag. With anti-skid buckles, kidney padding, and a quick-release assembly, this waterproof Alice can last for years. Moreover, the Alice clips and a pair of D-rings are included so you can easily clip the bonus butt pack on. Click here to have Amazon deliver to your door.
Keeping Yourself Bug Out Ready
Merely having an Alice bug out bag is not enough. Proper weight distribution helps, but without running actual drills and maintaining your equipment, you are not ready to bug out. You need a plan that has more steps than ‘get my bag and escape the area’ or ‘live in the woods.’
In addition to carrying your bug out bag on long trips regularly to stay in shape, you need other drills as well. Putting on and taking off your bag quickly is a start. Do it one-handed, in the dark, and while wearing gloves. Then, do the same drills only with opening and closing the pockets and reaching items you need.
A well-packed Alice bug out bag can easily be the difference between success and failure in a survival situation. Knowing when to leave and how to get somewhere safe is equally vital. You need to run drills several times a year at least, to make sure you and your Alice pack are both ready when things go sideways.
Remember that checking your gear over monthly will keep you from ending up with broken or non-functional equipment. Additionally, taking the time to modify and personalize your Alice bag is well worth the effort. You shouldn’t have to worry about whether your gear is ready when you are.
Make sure you don’t overload your Alice bug out bag. Equipment you can’t carry is called garbage, and you should leave it behind.