Premade Bug Out Bags? No Thanks!

There are two types of preppers when it comes to the way they spend money on preps. Both of them have a lot in common, though. They both see the mess we’re in, the numerous natural and man-made dangers that can affect us, and both categories want to prepare.

The difference is in the way they spend their cash and in what each group does to ensure the long-term survival of their families.

three backpacks a 45 liter frameless day pack a large 7-day pack, and a smaller 2-day pack
three backpacks a 45 liter frameless day pack a large 7-day pack, and a smaller 2-day pack

There are preppers who carefully research, compare, and assemble their own gear, tools, and stockpile. And then there are preppers who just buy pre-packed stuff from the Internet.

Are those who buy pre-packed kits safer than if they didn’t buy anything at all? Sure. But by how much? I cringe every time I see people buying stuff out of fear alone. They end up paying 2 or 3 times as much than if they had taken time to research and make informed decisions.

Fear is good, it motivates us to take action. But buying solely out of fear (well, coupled with lack of information) is a complete waste of time and money.

Let me prove it to you by giving you my reasons as to why buying those pre-packed bug out bags (or pre-made get home bags or even pre-packed first aid kits) is a bad idea:

Reason #1: You spend way too much money

Did you know some of these bags cost as high as A THOUSAND BUCKS? That would make sense if it also includes a firearm, but that’s obviously not the case. I’m looking at one right now (I won’t give you the link because I don’t want anyone buying this) and the seller actually has the audacity to tell me I’m saving $100!

Save your money. With less $300 (way less, depending on how much time you have on your hands) you can make the best bug out bag ever, and it will be customized to your needs. This doesn’t include guns and ammo, of course, but neither do these pre-made BOBs.

You can build a nice starter BOB for under $100 if that’s what you can afford. The 300 dollar price tag is more of an upper limit that only a seasoned prepper would spend.

Reason #2: You get to buy stuff tailored to your own needs

Premade bug out bags have a little bit of everything. They’re one-size fits all solutions and never take into consideration the individual needs of the buyer.

Age, gender, location, climate, medical conditions, whether or not you have a bug out location, and the type of disasters you prep for, all these factors have a lot of weight. But since they’re casting a wide net with a pre-made bag, they have no choice but to market one size fits all solutions.

Well, they do have a choice because, they could make customized bags the way they make bespoke suits. I have a feeling their businesses would go to the next level if they did. But that’s just my opinion.

All in all, even if you do buy a premade bag “because it has the basics”, expect to invest extra money in missing essentials such as:

  • vitamins
  • thermal pants and underwear
  • bandannas
  • an extra pair of reading glasses
  • alternative ways to start a fire!
  • an extra cell-phone battery
  • toilet paper
  • various medicine and medical gear for whatever condition you have (asthma, diabetes, etc.)
  • and other essentials (read the full list here)

As you can see, not having some of these items in your bug out bag could cost you your life.

Reason #3: Not enough room for extra items

Since these manufacturers want to keep their product lightweight and compact, they’re not gonna leave too much empty room inside.

So when you want to add more stuff to your premade bug out bag, stuff that you need, you realize you just can’t get it in there.

Sure, if the bag is MOLLE compatible, you can attach smaller pouches to it, but then you have to pay extra for those! Best to get one bag from the get-go and save yourself time, money, and frustration.

Get a backpack suited to your needs and keep these tips in mind when you purchase one.

striker sparks from ferro rod in fatwood shavings
striker sparks from ferro rod in fatwood shavings

Reason #4: You learn how to use it

People who buy pre-made bags usually throw them somewhere in the closet and forget about them. They feel safe in their own minds so the extra effort to open them is unjustified. But when you assemble the bag yourself, you get to learn so much about each item and how to use it.

You first have to compare several brands of every item, which means you have to read the specs. That’s quality information right there because by reading it in more than one place, it fixates in your mind.

You get to read reviews of people who used each product and see the pros and cons. Most people who write product reviews, write from their own experience. You’d be amazed how much you can learn by reading the comment section on

If you buy some of this stuff offline, you get to open the packaging and hold it in your hand. That may not seem like a lot but your subconscious mind is already getting used to each item.

And if you take the extra step to actually test your gear, that’s fantastic. Yet, it’s not something “accidental preppers” usually take time to do.

Reason #5: You still have to rotate food and meds

Something tells me a lot of the people who buy prepacked bug out bags have no idea about the need to rotate their stockpile. Food will spoil, particularly if it is stored someplace warm, such as in their closet (where a lot of people keep their bug out bags).

I’m willing to bet a lot of the food these people store spoils and a lot of the medicines lose potency because they never think to rotate it. Smart preppers, on the other hand, know that rotating their stockpile is essential.

Tip: to make it easy for you to remember, you can do it twice a year during daylight savings time. Rotating everything every 6 months is more than enough.

Reason #6: They don’t give you the tools to get more food and water

Most likely because their target audience doesn’t know or care about how to do that. You need ways to purify water, several ways to start a fire, gear to catch fish, etc.

Even though they might tell you these bags are designed to save your ass for 72 hours max, you could still wake up with the need for more food or water. Just imagine the amount of water you’d need if you or a loved one got a deep cut.

Who buys pre-made bug out bags, anyway?

There’s a huge number of people who want to prepare but don’t want to put in the effort. They typically spend a lot of time on political sites, ranting, but when it comes to actually being prepared, they fall short.

Why? Because they haven’t been taken in by the prepping community (most of them, at least) so they don’t know about these things.

They fall victim to those pre-made products advertised directly on those political websites (or on their newsletter) and they never get to read survival websites like mine and articles such as these.

Clearly the companies that sell pre-made bug out bags and pre-packed food are doing well, and I’m not saying there’s no value to these BOBs.

In fact, they might be a good idea to give as gifts to loved ones who won’t prepare. When disaster or an emergency strikes, they’ll be glad they had one of those in the back of their closet.

But we know better. Pre-made stuff is, in fact, for the lazy. We realize that we have much more to gain if we take some of the time we’d spend browsing the Internet to learn new things and use it to pre-pack our own bags.

3 thoughts on “Premade Bug Out Bags? No Thanks!”

  1. I was just about to purchase a pre packed bug out bag, and was amazed at the prices. Some of the bags were almost as expensive as one of my guns! I was scrolling down through the websites such as eBay, Amazon, and Craig’s List, when I saw your article, and now, I’ll be sure to assemble my own, and follow your tips for advice. Thank You!

  2. Hi there. Even though your information seems valid it makes no sense.
    There are bug out bags that do address the needs that you claim are not considered.

    There is a 4-person bug out bag that not only provide sealed pouches of water and food for each person for 3 days, but the food and water have a 5 year shelf life, so there is no need to ‘rotate’.

    There is also purifying tablets, a life straw to filter, a stove with saucepans and the list goes on.

    You also need to be reasonable, why would a bug-out bag contain vitamins and cell phone battery? You can’t expect them to put every single thing that YOU can think of.
    The items are supposed to help you to survive for a few days. Who thinks about whether or not they have taken vitamins during a disaster?
    Most people end up packing a bag that is too cumbersome and heavy when they opt to do t themselves. I am not saying that you shouldn’t, because that is an option too, but I am really saying that you shouldn’t dismiss all bug out bags.

    1. Hi Celine,

      If you want to buy your own, then go for it. Both are options, of course, but the #1 reason sell these pre-made BOBs is so they make a higher profit margin by offering you convenience.

      In addition, consider that some of them may have items that you:

      a) don’t need
      b) already have in your house that you can throw in your BOB and avoid buying new ones as part of the kit.

      Yes, I know they have all the survival essentials, but they can’t cover every scenario, and again, you end up paying more. Besides, someone living in Alaska will have a somewhat different kit than someone living near the desert.

      People packing too much – this can happen with pre-made kits as well, the problem there is that those kits are already almost full, so if you have a special item you think you’ll need, it might not fit in the bag.

      I agree that not everyone wants go into this much level of detail, but that’s primarily because people are comfortable, and that’s not something I’m necessarily in favor of 🙂

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