Last month the good folks at 5.11 sent me a couple items to review. I reviewed the TacLite Pro pants last week; this week I've got the 5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Bug Out Backpack to check out. It's designed to be a full day pack, and in a pinch could certainly make do as a weekend bug-out bag- in fact, that's how I reviewed it.
Generally, here in New England, there aren't a lot of reasons to bug out. We don't get the kind of extreme weather that might cause an evacuation - no hurricanes, wildfires, etc. Our weather emergencies are more of the bug-in variety - snowstorms, ice storms, etc. - so this was more of a challenge for me to write. Sure, I've got a bag of emergency supplies in my truck, but it's the kind of supplies intended to last a few hours or overnight at best.
So I sat down with my son the Boy Scout and we talked about what should go into a bag intended to keep two people safe for a weekend. Here's what we came up with:
There's food for two people for two days - there's macaroni and cheese packets that only require 2/3 of a cup of water each for lunches and dehydrated meals for dinner. For drinking and cooking water, there are two 26 ounce water bottles and purification tablets for over six gallons of water - that's a gallon and a half per day per person, which might be tight but workable. There's gear for preparing the food as well as eating; and even basic toiletries.
Keeping a full belly is one thing; being comfortable while doing it is another. There's a tarp and a dropcloth, as well as rope with which to string a basic canopy. A folding shovel works great for trenching around a campsite as well as helping to put out a fire (and can support the pot or pan from the mess kit if no other means of support can be found over the fire); there's a large knife for trimming bark for fire starting or cutting small branches into kindling; a sharp pocket knife for cutting lengths of rope, etc. Matches are stored in a waterproof Ziploc bag, and there's a couple inexpensive ponchos to keep us dry as well.
So we can make fire, have a shelter, eat some food, and have clean water to drink. There are some lights for both being seen as well as seeing at night - they're kept in their original packaging to keep the batteries with the lights and to preserve function as long as possible. There's a crank-activated light and some chem-sticks for the worst-case scenario. A blanket and - my son brought this up - a large towel round out the creature comforts - as well as the bug repellant wipes!
Packing everything into the RUSH 72 was a snap. There are all kinds of pockets:
I tried to keep items we might need first in the outermost pockets; ponchos, rope for stringing the tarp, flashlights, etc. Then it was time to pack the cavernous interior:
There's a 26 ounce water bottle in each outside pocket; two full changes of clothes (one per person; gotta have a dry pair of jeans and socks, and a sweatshirt is a must in anything other than the middle of summer); food, cookware, etc. - everything fit inside this ginormous pack. And when it was all packed up, it was ready to go:
Yes, I know there's a few things that should be included that aren't - a first aid kit, for example - but these things are already in the truck. A fully stocked first aid kit, another tarp, a camp chair, an ax; these are all items that might be needed so therefore live under the seat of the truck (as well as wet wipes, a baseball glove, and other "dad" stuff that could very well come in handy).
I'm sure there's plenty else I forgot, but one thing's for certain - it will still fit in the RUSH72 backpack!
That is all.