The Differences Between a Bug Out Bag and a Get Home Bag

If you have spent any amount of time looking around general survival and prepping websites, forums and in other readiness-centric communities I have no doubt you will have seen several terms tossed around on the subject of luggage, specifically terms like the ubiquitous BOB, or bug-out bag, and GHB, or Get-Home Bag.

Oftentimes, these terms are used interchangeably in prepper parlance. After all, what is the difference from one bag to another so long as they’re full of the survival supplies you need when disaster strikes?

The difference between a BOB and GHB is more than just the size of the pack or its configuration. The two concepts have different missions, and that is what will inform your choices the most when it comes to size, contents and more.

A get-home bag is a lighter, leaner bag or backpack intended to help you get from a remote location back to your home, or resupply point, where a bug-out bag is a larger, more comprehensive one designed to help you survive when evacuating to a secondary shelter location or even in the middle of the wilderness.

Key Differences

FeatureBug Out Bag (BOB)Get Home Bag (GHB)
Weight40 – 50 lbs. (18 – 22 kgs)20 – 25 lbs. (9 – 11 kgs)
Main PurposeTo allow you to evacuate your home.To help you get home in an emergency.
# of Days It Will Help You Survive3 – 7 days1 – 2 days
How much water?One large bottleOne small bottle
First Aid KitLargeSmall
CompassLensatic compassButton compass
ClothesFull change of clothes, 2x underwear, 2x pairs of socks, heavy duty glovesGloves, socks and underwear
Water PurificationWater filter and purification tabletsWater filter
MapsFullsize road atlasCompact road atlas

In today’s article, we will explore the differences between a get-home bag and a bug-out bag and why you should care.

What are You Planning For With Your Pack?

Any survival pack for any purpose will contain a few similar sets of items that you absolutely must have for dealing with a SHTF situation. You’ll need food, and a certain amount of water along with supplies and equipment to filter found water while you are in the field.

You’ll need items for making shelter, things like a tarp or tent or bivvy, cordage, emergency blankets, and so on. To complement your shelter supplies you should invest heavily in fire-starting aids like ignition sources, tinder, accelerants and so on.

You’ll need a variety of tools for helping you deal with problems encountered in your environment and general crafting.

It will also certainly be helpful to have a well-stocked first-aid kit that can help you deal with injuries of all kinds including significant trauma as well as illness, and it’s probably in your best interest if you have some weapons to protect yourself from both man and beast.

In short, you can think of your pack as a sort of survival air tank. Just like a scuba diver can stay underwater for as long as his oxygen supply holds out, your average prepper will be able to remain afield in austere conditions for as long as their supplies and tools contained in their pack hold out.

That makes a pretty compelling argument for loading everything but the kitchen sink into your survival bag- But there is no free lunch! The inescapable trade-off for every single piece of gear and every item you load into your pack is weight.

Your Objective Drives the Gear Train

Even the smallest, lightest items made from the most high-tech weight saving materials will add ounces to the total tally.

Those ounces will turn into pounds, and those pounds may turn into a considerable amount of pain, fatiguing you, slowing you down and even leading to injury. Is for this reason that any prepper must be highly cautious and justify every single thing they put into their pack.

A fact that is overloaded will certainly make your traveling far more difficult, and may become impossible to move if you are injured or exhausted.

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all BOB. Mine won’t look like yours, and yours won’t look like Joe Public’s. There are many factors to consider.

It is entirely possible to extend your time afield, and even replace a significant amount of gear if you have the primitive skills necessary to survive in a given environment.

Also, some individuals’ plans will not rely so much on going out heavy prepared for every, single contingency.

If you are facing a simple hike totaling a day’s worth of travel to reach your bug out location that is well stocked, would you risk carrying a 75 lb. rucksack loaded for bear? Probably not.

This is where the idea of different bags for different purposes comes into its own. Most preppers I know do indeed load their bug-out bags heavily trying to cover every conceivable contingency they could realistically expect to encounter and have to deal with.

This reasoning is generally sound, because if they are grabbing their bug-out bag they are dealing with some serious shit. Also, most of those same preppers do not even bother carrying their bug out bags with them when they leave the house.

Why not? Does that seem curious to you? Could disaster not strike while they are on their way to or from the office, or some other errand that would prevent them from heading home?

Of course it could. And the onus is still on them that they must be prepared for just such an eventuality. Nonetheless, hauling a huge rucksack in and out of the house is for some of them highly laborious and also highly conspicuous with neighbors around.

But they avoid this problem entirely by keeping a separate bag packed with survival supplies with them at all times when they leave the house; a get-home bag.

A get-home bag is not necessarily a replacement for a full-featured BOB, but it does replace it in certain circumstances and, most importantly, it can enable you to get home to your BOB as the name suggests.

We will dig into the primary differences and concepts between BOBs and GHBs in the following sections.

Main Differences between BOBs and GHBs

While I don’t think anyone will misunderstand what you mean if you drop any or all of those terms in casual conversation, not all survival bags are intended for precisely the same set of circumstances.

I would further argue that there are, in fact, differences in the way you should approach packing your survival bag that you keep at the ready for dealing with an SHTF situation, and so we should tighten up our use of labels accordingly.

a green backpack with molle webbing
a green backpack with molle webbing

The Bug-Out Bag

BOB Hallmarks:

  • Large pack format, typically with waist belt, occasionally with solid frame.
  • Designed to carry all kinds of survival gear for extended duration away from home stash.
  • Enables intermediate-term to long-term sustainment afield.
  • Typically on heavy side.

The bug-out bag is a concept you are probably familiar with already. Typically a large backpack, oftentimes one with a waist belt, that is kept loaded to the gills with all the survival accoutrement you need for an extended foray away from home in case of disaster or emergency.

This is either in support of movement to a bug-out location or to enable you to survive in the wilderness away from whatever troubles are plaguing your home area.

As a rule, almost any bug-out bag will focus on the essential survival necessities, but will place a heavy emphasis on shelter material, shelter construction, fire starting, procuring water and food and other intermediate- to long-term sustainment concerns.

Generally, a bug out bag is not used when you think you’re never coming home, or at least hopefully not, but you do rely on it when things are bad enough to send you fleeing for your life.

Because your BOB is supposed to protect you from many different threats and supply you for many different situations, it is often more generalist than specialized in nature.

Many seasoned preppers rely on their BOBs to give them a jump-start on either making it to or setting up their home away from home in a SHTF situation.

While the pack itself might only have enough supplies for 3-5 days, it allows the prepper carrying it to set up their shelter location or camp and begin foraging, hunting or harvesting water. This is dependent on a certain amount of skill, obviously, but the more skill one has the lighter their BOB can be.

A bug-out bag may come in a variety of sizes and weight categories, but the average seems to be between 40 and 50 lbs., and heavier is far from out of the question.

open get home bag
Here’s a sneak peak into my GHB. Notice the dark color of he backpack so it doesn’t stand out from the crowd while I’m on the move.

The Get-Home Bag

GHB Hallmarks:

  • Small to medium pack format, often lacks belt and frame.
  • Intended to carry gear that will expedite emergency movement homeward by foot.
  • Carries bare-minimum of shelter gear for season/climate.
  • Maximizes items necessary to keep you energized, moving and safe.
  • Typically lightweight to increase speed and comfort.

Think of a get-home bag as a smaller cousin to a bug out bag. But, just because it is a smaller bag with less room for all of your survival necessities, that doesn’t mean you’re going to grab it, take off into the woods, and then take your chances at surviving a major disaster with your leaner kit.

No. In a way, a get-home bag works sort of like a bug-out bag in reverse. You’re grabbing this bag so you can go home and hopefully to your bug-out bag!

Like a BOB, a get-home bag also focuses on the survival fundamentals, but places emphasis far more heavily on items that will keep you fueled up, environmentally and physically protected, and moving on foot towards your destination (which is likely your home or another resupply point where you have stashed more substantial supplies).

These items are typically things like lightweight, shelf-stable and calorie-dense foods that you can eat for regular bursts of energy, a water bottle and a flyweight water filtration system, footwear, socks and other clothing items appropriate to long movement on foot depending on the climate and terrain where you live, and, usually, a self-defense implement.

Extra emphasis might be placed on clothing items like socks and underwear, anything that may need to be quickly changed while working hard and moving fast in order to prevent blisters, rashes and any other friction or movement related ailments that could hamper your progress.

Survival items like a fire starting kit and shelter gear will be kept very minimalist in nature.

It is not out of the question that you might have to shelter overnight or halt temporarily while making your way home with your GHB and so you will pack accordingly, but you will prepare for a very spartan campsite.

Ideally, a GHB will weigh no more than 25 lbs, and hopefully less than that.

Comparison of BOB and GHB Loads

Wondering what practical differences there are in get home bags and bug out bags loads? Wonder no more. Below you can see what they might look like based on my own choices.

Shelter – My BOB contains a full-thickness sleeping pad, a lightweight bivy, stuffable hiking blanket in addition to emergency blankets, and an inflatable pillow. A tarp and cordage is included to form an additional windbreak if needed.

My GHB has only the tarp and cordage along with an emergency blanket; most insulation is provided by carried clothing.

The tarp with the GHB is used as a ground cover, simple tent, windbreak or even camouflage screen. The nights will likely be uncomfortable compared to the relative luxury of the BOB’s kit.

Food – BOB carries three MREs broken down into individual components for compactness along with several energy bars and energy gel packets for quick consumption on the move. MREs are jam-packed with calories and entirely stable, and edible through all kinds of climates.

One MRE can supply a couple of days’ worth of calories used conservatively.

The GHB is much leaner in this regard since weight is a major concern, and also since I am not anticipating being in transit so long that I need a substantial amount of calories. It carries energy bars, peanut butter packets and high-calorie crackers along with electrolyte powder mix.

Remember that most people, including your author, have enough fat storage on their body that starvation is of no near term concern. The intent is supply constant energy for the hard march ahead.

Water/Water Filtration – The BOB complement features a pair of 1-liter metal bottles suitable for heating over a fire, one with an integrated filter in the top. These are backed up by a Katadyn high-efficiency water filter, steri-tabs, and iodine.

I take no chances here with purifying water. The GHB, by comparison, has a single plastic Nalgene one liter bottle with wide mouth (for easy filling) and a LifeStraw water filter that will allow me to drink directly from suspect sources so long as they are not contaminated with sewage or certain chemicals.

Defense – The BOB has a long gun kept with it, a rifle or a shotgun depending on where I am living and also ammunition for that long gun. Three magazines for a rifle or 40 shotgun shells plus what is kept on the gun.

I include a couple of extra pistol magazines for my daily carry handgun with the expectation it is already on my person.

The GHB is radically different, containing a flyweight .22 LR revolver with 50 rounds as a dedicated break-contact gun if it is all I have to work with, and I include a pair of spare pistol magazines for my EDC gun.

Navigation – BOB holds local and regional maps in various scales as well as a complete road atlas, fullsize lensatic compass and robust standalone GPS unit.

The GHB contains a pocket road atlas, near-region topographic map, button compass and compact GPS with power bank, preloaded with waypoints to get me home again.

Clothing – Our BOB is a veritable wardrobe with a windbreaker shell, wide-brimmed hat, watchcap, spare pants, spare shirt, gaiter, two pair of gloves, 3 pairs of underwear and 3 pairs of socks.

The GHB is a pauper’s chest by comparison, containing only a pair of gloves, pair of socks and a pair of underwear along with an outer shell garment suitable for nighttime temperatures, along with a single hat chosen for the same reason.

I do though always, always keep a pair of shoes or light boots, well broken in, with the GHB to don when trouble breaks out in case I am wearing suboptimal footwear.

Do BOBs and GHBs ever Overlap?

Yes, of course. Some preppers would rather have a mid-sized BOB and take it with them everywhere they go.

For people that do not have much waiting for them back at their house, be that family or material supplies, this could be an ideal solution since you are ready to push off towards your bug-out location from wherever you happen to be so long as you have your BOB with you.

Others may lean towards a larger GHB and pad its contents with more survival and sustainment items in case they travel or work regularly very far from their home.

It is far from inconceivable that one might be dealing with a situation that could see them stranded tens or even hundreds of miles away from their home, and facing a very long march to get back.

If that was the case, it is foolhardy to think you can go straight through; you’ll need to stop to rest, or avoid bad weather or just to take the measure of the situation as it progresses.

A GHB that has supplementary shelter and sustainment supplies inside it will allow you to do that, even if it takes you a couple of days or longer to get home.

Just because the various types of survival luggage you can come up with are intended for different tasks and survival problems does not mean you cannot hybridize the two or come up with your own concept, for lack of a better term.

What matters most is not what you call your bag and is not making the bag and gear you have fit into a specific category, either.

What matters is that you have the equipment you need in a bag that will not make your job of surviving harder than it has to be while it carries all that stuff.

Don’t be afraid to prep and pack “outside the lines” so long as you have done your own risk assessment and are equipping yourself accordingly.


Get-home bags and bug-out bags are very similar on the surface, but are intended to specialize in certain survival tasks.

A BOB is the ubiquitous, go-to choice for preppers who are taking off to escape a bad situation and either make their way to their bug-out location or rough it in the wilderness until the situation blows over.

A GHB is a lighter, leaner and less broadly equipped bag designed only to give you what you need to make your way home on foot when a crisis has cut you off from speedy transport back.

It is not a matter of which you should get; you should have both!

GHB vs. BOB pinterest

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16 thoughts on “The Differences Between a Bug Out Bag and a Get Home Bag”

  1. just today I saw some clown on some blog saying a BOB shuld be held to 10% of your bodyweight. I can just see whow far he’d get on 18 lbs. That’s not even the rifle, body armor and night vision. it’s not even food for a week and a day’s supply of water, either. I do think, tho, that it should be held to 40 lbs and even then, you have to be really hardened into it, or you wont cover 15 miles of hills brush, mud, or snow in TWO nights.

  2. if you’ve never been to poverty parts of Asia, you may well be ignorant of the tremandous advantages of the “long pole” A frame pack. This packs poles extend down to about 8″ from the ground when the user is standing erect with the pack ready for him to move. So, all you need to do in order to rest is squat and lean back a bit. If you’ve ever “cheated” at the squat exercise, you know that moving the weight that last few inches is easy. You can move about 50% more for that segment of the move than you can with the weight which you can do the full 90 degree bend of your knees. Which is why the judges watch so carefully to see if your thighs actually touch the marker-stick on your downward move on a “record” squat. To get into or out of the harness of the long pole A frame pack, the user just squats and leans forward or backward. In 1973, I saw a 110 lb Korean man TROTTING down a stone road with a 55 gallon drum of diesel fuel, which he had stolen from the US Army. That’s 330 lbs plus the weight of the empty drum.If a 6 ft tall, 200 lb man was as relatively strong man as that Koean, he could walk off with about 700 lbs. Think about that. The Viet Cong put 2 men on a bicycle and pushed 220 lbs thru swamps and jungles in order to supply their war vs the US. Bicycles make it easy for one man to push 100 lbs of gear, meat, etc, but the tires leave tracks. When you lay aside the bicycle, you want a long pole A frame pack available, so that you can move the same amount of stuff, without leaving the bicycle track., at least the last 100m. It can be made out of PVC pipe, guys.

  3. I dont see any point in having cooking gear in the BOB, or for that matter, food that requires cooking. CACHE that stuff at the BOB. You’re going to need, very badly, at least 15 lbs of guns, ammo, accessories, night vision, armor, etc, You’re going to have a lot of trouble and pain hiking with more than 30 lbs of gear if on rough terrain and you dont practice with such a load, at least weekly. If you figure on covering 20 miles of such terrain in 2 days, you’re going to need a lot of painkillers, anti-inflammatories, sedatives, stimiulants and the like. The only way to hold that “war gear” weight to 15 lbs, instead of 20 lbs, is by using a Marlin Papoose .22lr as your longarm. That leaves only 10-15 lbs, including food and water, (5 lbs mininum) pack (3 lbs) that’ leaves almost no space at all for EVERYTHING else!. So you either have to train with a heavier pack, have a bicycle, dont figure on going very far or fast, or kid yourself about it (which is what 99% of preppers do, believe it.

  4. why would you EVER be away from home in “sub-optimal’ footwear? I do have a spare set of footgear in the BOB. It’s a pair of Tekna water-sandals, to protect my feet when I have to wade water or mud. I see no point at all in getting my socks and shoes wet when I dont have to do so. They are then ZERO help vs the cold. With the sandals ,I can at least stop wading and put on DRY socks and shoes, getting my feet warmed up, before again donning the sandals and subjecting my feet to that crap! I then dont have to try to dry out or thaw out my shoes and socks, without a fire, or risk having the fire call in my killers. I dont see any need (or room) for spare pants and shirt in the BOB. I am just barely willing to carry the balaclava, glove liners, spare sock liners, ‘breathable” mylar booties and drawstring hood, cause of the nearly immediate degradation of shooting ability from the cold.

    • Have you never had a boot fail? The entire idea of a GHB is your not at home because you are doing what you would do every day and something dramatically changed in a “life-changing” manner instantly. If it were an event we saw coming I likely would not have ended up as far from home base as I did. The gear is an effort to get home not evac from home. I have a wife and children to get to. I don’t want 15 pounds of Ammo as my goal is to avoid conflict and seriously think about how long a gunfight lasts. say you are approached by 3 armed men and miraculously you kill them and are not shot yourself. How many rounds did you expend? At most 30? are you gonna have this same gunfight every day for 10 days straight? How many of those does your luck hold out? I would rather have food and water and a way to prepare or purify both I know how much of that I need. I am not scoffing at the idea of defense I am saying all of the extra weight mentioned in the gear you want to carry is useful but more useful than a full belly and a way to get water? Pack a bag that is mission-specific this includes where are you located what are your biggest threats to survival. I certainly do not pretend to have every answer and I love these conversations because they invoke thought and discussion.

  5. Good article and definition of BOB and GHB.
    Your pack and load out should be mission focused.
    Rotate contents every six months, spring and fall to fit
    Weather conditions. Keep additional items in vehicle
    that you can add prior to abandoning it. Cover the basics;
    Shelter, water, food, security, fire, medical (IFAK),
    Commo, transportation( alternative). KISS principle,
    Cash is king for a few days.

    • If I’m bugging out, there’s nobody that I want to talk to. I’d want the downloaded info on the phone, tho. Cash might be ok in some cases, others might require gold coins and mostly, I think it best to have nobody at all notice you, cause you’ll probably get shot. Stay hidden in daylight hours.

  6. This is an article that is very near and dear to my heart! For several years I was a Mobile Building Engineer so I was doing all of the facilities maintenance and repair on 15 sites some of which were over 300 miles from home. My Get home bag actually had to be much more well planned stocked and organized than my BOB. Not every time is the need the same and what I needed was very specific. This may not help everyone as it is overkill in most instances but for the case of an OTR trucker or someone who at times has to drive many miles for work this may be helpful.

    Location matters my sites were all in South Dakota, North Dakota, And Minnesota. This is not exactly a wonderland 5 months a year! Very cold and nights still below freezing often into April. This changed the way I had to think about my GHB. I would not want to waste too much time making the entire list but just some things to think about if your in my situation that may require you to walk over 300 miles home where:

    A small dome tent- Invaluable to keep the rain\snow off of you and some heat trapped in.

    A-Good lightweight sleeping bag- The one I had was rated to 20 degrees and was only slightly heavier than a pound.

    I carried a 9mm pistol and a Mini-14 with a folding stock. I really vacillated between this and a Rugar 10-22 but I didn’t own a take-down and this folded into a smaller package. If I had to do it all over again I would have spent the money and bought the take-down.

    Spare clothes and an extra pair of boots. Include multiple changes of socks.

    Lighters, matches, and a flint and steel. (yes I have made fire with a flint and steel.)

    quick easy eats like granola bars, canned proteins (foil packs of tuna fish, spam etc.)

    10 Freeze dried meals enough that I could eat 1 pouch a day for the estimated 10 days walking these are multi serving so plenty of calories for 1 person for 1 day even under these circumstances of a lot of activity.

    Warm hat, gloves, and spare sunglasses.

    A lifestraw and water containers

    Cooking kit Coleman made a light weight on fit in a 12*12*3 inch box took less room unpacked.

    AM\FM Transistor radio pocket sized with earbuds (news is as important as food in a disaster)

    A Map of all three states I covered much lighter and more detailed than an atlas. I took care when on trips to mark out abandoned homesteads, Cell tower sites, county sheds anyplace that could offer me cover and shelter for a night. I made milage notes so I had an idea how far in between each bivouac would be. This could help plan the next day’s hike.

    This is really the bulk of the “Specialty” things I packed when I was a road warrior. The rest of the pack contained the usual stuff blades, flashlights, batteries I could go on. Now that I work from home this plan doesn’t fit anymore but I made the bag a BOB now. Fully loaded it packed a lot of weight over 60 pounds and I am sure glad I never had to use it. I would guess 10 days would not have been enough if I were honest at least 12 to get home from the farthest run.

    • I did forget 1 important item. In my work van I kept a 2 wheel cart with inflated tires. The idea being at least early on if I was sticking to backroads I wouldn’t have to Mule pack the load the entire way. as it wore on more than a couple days I would have to dump the cart and go more overland.

  7. If you watch Naked and Afraid a bit, you’ll realize how vital it is to have proper clothing for your climate and season. So you’re wearing, every day, quite a bit of your needed survival gear and you certainly can have a lot of of same in your vehicle. There’s no reason not to. it’s not that expensive, bulky or messy, So just get it, put it in a daypack and put it in the vehicle and leave it there. Dont take it out or take anything out of it, unless you immediately replace same. Then you’ll have it when needed. It will probably only be direly needed once in your lifetime, but the same can be said of the fire insurance on your house, or the pistol in your holster. Both of those cost you more $ and are a lot more hassle than the get home stuff in the car. I dont believe in much gear for the medical kit, in the BOB less than half a lb total, cause I dont know how to use very much of it and I dont think you’ll survive needing much of it if you have to bugout. There’s more cached and more in the vehicle, tho, mostly in case of a wreck. I have a couple of Ace bandages for the knees, which can of course be used for whatever. I’ve got the trekking poles to try to PREVENT injuries. There’s a bit of gauze, moleskin, Vasoline, crazy glue, butterfly bandages, some Liquid Bandage, some sedatives, pain killers, “go” and “no-go” pills, stimulants, anti-inflammatories, Neosporin, if you need glasses, you need prescription sport goggles, guys, and tinted prescription lenses as your backup set of “eyes”. You can easily have to run thru the brush at night and that’s almost a guarantee of an eye injury.

  8. The war gear adds at least $1000 to the cost of the BOB, as vs the GHB. Given the bicycle, I dont feel the need for a shelter/sleep set up in the GHB, altho there is a throw away sort of poncho in it. There’s normally quite a bit of survival type stuff in the van, too. which could be added to the GHB. I dont feel the need for food in the GHB, but there’s some in the van. Before you leave, “camel up’ on water and food, so that you dont have to carry it. My BOL is not far away, One night’s long hike, or an easy evening pedaling the bike. However, I’ll be delayed a bit by the need to move the perishable/expensive stuff from the storage to the pre-buried (but empty) drums. I might not get to where the other empty drums (and cattle) are early enough to take a cow that first night of shtf. There might, however, be time to use the bike to move a couple of 100 lb sacks of stolen grain a mile or so from the grain bin and hide them. 🙂 With what’s buried, what gets buried that first night and what WILL get buried in the first week, I can easily hole up for 6 months, as 90% of the population dies off. Then it will be reasonably safe to grow some sprouts and plant the root veggies. If this lock down continues past 1 May. I’ll re-consider things. There’s still some stuff that needs to be bought and tested.

  9. the diff between my ghb and the BOB is the latter has the silenced rifle, concealable armor, night vision, solar charger, rechargable batteries, and the passive IR scanner in it, while I dont believe I need all that “war-gear” for a GHB. I rarely am 10 miles from my home, but I keep the bicycle in the van anyway..I can be home in an hour or less, almost always, even if the roads are full of stalled cars.. I would not bugout until it got dark anyway. I dont want anyone seeing me en-route and following/ambushing me for my gear.

  10. 99% of the public and 90% of preppers have no IDEA how much work has to go into getting and keeping the ability to hike even 15 miles in one day over hills, brush, mud, snow (and not be totally crippled the next day) with a 40 lb load. You absolutely MUST (if you’re over the age of 25) hike with that pack one day during the week for a couple of hours, AND all day one day of every weekend, or you’ll find that you CANNOT do it. If you “think” you can do the same thing with 60 lbs, I’ll bet a year’s pay that you either do so 2 full days per week, or you can’t do it.

    For the get home bag, if you commonly are more than 10 miles from home, you’d better have a bicycle in your vehicle. You have to get home in half a day, before everyone goes crazy. If you have to detour around groups of people, that can mean it takes you a week to get home and by then, your house might well be burned to the ground or stripped bare by looters. 15 miles on a bicycle, on pavement, is one hour, with 30+ lbs of gear. On foot, it’s all damned day and you’ll be so sore, chafed, blistered and tired that you can’t do diddly squat the next day.

    • Having spent the first six-years of my military time in the Marine Corps, hiking around with only 40-lbs of gear is not too bad. However, we often carried much more. In Infantry Training Regiment (School of Infantry these days), at Camp Pendleton, taking a walk up Mount MF, fully loaded, was a common occurrence. I should more accurately call it taking a RUN up Mt MF. We didn’t walk anywhere in ITR. Our packs were at least 40lbs alone, add your war belt with canteens, bayonets, first aid kits, ammo pouches, a C-Rat, and a rifle (an M16A1), helmet, and flak jacket. Now you’re pushing 80-lbs plus. Consider that I wasn’t even a grunt. They carried more.

      It takes time and training to work up to carrying even 40-lbs worth of gear on reasonably flat land. For us, boot camp pretty much had us in shape for that much. However, add hilly terrain and more weight, and training takes longer. We were in much better shape after ITR than we were after boot camp.

      I will say, that these days load carrying systems are much more efficient than they were back then. We still used the World War II stuff (the M1941 pack system) until about a year before I got out, then we started using the ALICE gear. The bad part of ALICE gear, is it could let you carry more stuff than the M1941 system. And, yes, “they” found more stuff for us to carry.

      Anyway, the upshot to all of this is carry as little as you can get away with. Your body will thank you for the consideration and you will be able to move faster.


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