*Taking the Bug Out Bag Ultralight*
By: Bulldog6
15 November 2002

In the world of backpacking, some are paring down their equipment to an absolute minimum.  The goal is a fully equiped pack that weighs less than 10 lbs, not including food, water, and fuel.  Some have gotten their packs down to below 8 pounds.

One day after reading about this, I took my empty large ALICE pack and frame and weighed it.  It came out at over 7 pounds.  Empty!  These back packers are carrying gear that weighs less than my empty pack.  So I knew I had to make a change.

I started looking for a suitable pack.  I wanted to use the pack for my National Guard drills, so it had to look "military".  I found a reasonably priced "3 day assault pack" on line, and decided to try that.


I then had to pare down the rest of my gear.  The sleeping bag I chose was the liner part of the army sleeping bag system, which includes the medium weight bag and goretex bivy sack.  Total weight of that sytem is over 10 pounds.  Its a compromise that I intend to remedy at some point, but it will do for now.

The foam pad is a standard GI pad that I cut down.  My goal was to put everything inside the pack, so I cut the pad into four pieces, each shaped like the pack, so it fits neatly in the outside compartment.  I lay these pieces down, side by side, alternating directions.  Small pieces of velcro glued to the pad keep it from sliding around too much.  It gives me a pad that is just about long enough to go from shoulders to knees.  To keep my lower legs off the cold ground, I use the pack itself, since it has a padded back already.

For shelter, I use my standard GI poncho.  Compared to silnylon tarps used by the ultralight packers, the poncho is heavy.  Again, a compromise to maintain a  military look.  A little 550 cord, and I can construct a suitable shelter for most weather I would encounter.

The pack supports a hydration system (eg Camelbak), so I have included that.  I keep several liters of water in bottles in the pack to begin with.  I'll transfer it into the bladder when the time comes.  Food is a mix of MRE and civilian no prep / low prep foods.

For my situation, working in the center of a city, I consider a police scanner critical to picking up intelligence about what is happening.  I have a two meter amateur radio (handheld) that also can pick up the local PD.  A good map of the area helps me locate the trouble spots and plan my movement.  And just in case I do run in to trouble, I have my pistol and extra magazines and ammunition.

Total weight for everything, about 20 lbs.  Enough to get me home, without slowing me down much at all.

Pack Gear Layed Out (Not including food)  This is the winter configuration.  For summer, the sleeping bag, sweater, and headover is left out and extra water is carried.

Component Weight (in Ounces)
Pack 43
Sleeping Bag 35
Foam Pad 6
Poncho 21
550 Cord 1
Headover 4
Polypro Sweater 10
Polypro Long Underwear 7
Wool Socks 3
Camel Back Bladder 5
Aluminum Pot (3 cup) with lid 4
Stove, stand, and windscreen 2
Plastic Spoon 1
Water Purification Tablets 1
Compass 2
Map 3
Mini Mag Flashlight 4
First Aid Kit 4
Lighter 1
Total Base Gear 159oz  (9lbs, 15oz)
GPS Receiver 9
2m Radio/Scanner
Mini Binos 10
Extra Pistol Mags/Ammunition
Optional Gear


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