Seasoned Preppers “Bug Out Bag”

The following post was originally published over at It can be scene in its original format HERE.

by The Coach”

I am not ashamed to say that I am 63 years old. I have been a prepping since I have been 17 years old. This is a long time before “Prepping” was fashionable.  I was in the U.S. Military, Law Enforcement and worked for a number of years as an E.M.T. I have many stories and have written articles about many of those experiences.

Until two (2) years ago, my bug out bag was a large back pack loaded with everything I thought would be useful in case I needed to bug out in an emergency. My bug out back pack weighed a little more than 74 pounds. Then I had a series of medical emergencies that changed everything.

I had a heart attack and now have a heart condition called “A. Fib.” About six (6) months after that I fell and blew out my entire left shoulder. I now have more screws, pins and plates in my left shoulder than I have in my tool box. The strength and range of motion, in my left shoulder, is greatly reduced.

I tried to put on my Bug Out Back Pack and learned quickly that it was NOT going to happen. Also I doubt that I could carry it very

Bug Out Bag Piv


I then tried a large black duffle bag. When I placed all of the gear that I had in my Bug Out back pack in the black duffel bag, I could not lift it and carry it for very long. I had to find another solution.

One day, I went to pick up a friend of mine at the airport. While waiting for him to arrive I observed the solution to my dilemma, a large, wheeled, soft sided piece of luggage. I could put whatever I wanted in the piece of luggage, no matter what the weight. I could then wheel it to my truck and put it in the bed of my truck for transport. If I had to evacuate by foot, for whatever reason, or abandon my truck, I could pull it on its wheels wherever I needed to go. Yes, I know, pulling it off of a sidewalk or street would be a challenge.

I have purposely not hung anything on the outside of the roller bug out bag so it looks just like a piece of luggage and not a bug out bag. This is very important so you do not make yourself more of target than you have to. What is nice is that I have even placed my M-4 rifle, disassembled in two (2) pieces, upper and lower halves and the ammo and magazines for it, in this wheeled bag. I can walk down the street pulling it and I look like a tourist.

So now I have everything that I would normally have in a bug out back pack plus extra firepower.


“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.”            

       Martin Luther King, Jr.


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16 thoughts on “Seasoned Preppers “Bug Out Bag””

  1. Coach: I have learned from experience, I have used these bags for years to haul my racing gear around (helmet, fire-suit, shoes, gloves etc.) The wheels on even the best of them will not hold out for long, even on pavement, and will become a boat anchor with a handle. I am in a similar boat and have been shopping deer carts (used to haul tree stands in, and a deer out of the woods) Many have a 500 lb. capacity, fold up, and use a large rugged wheel. Easily manages a large Alice pack and med bag and other gear strapped to it, with a zero weight balance. The prices are reasonable also. Sportsman’s guide carries a few. Regards, D.

  2. Coach: I like the blending in quality of this type of bag. You dont “look” like a Prepper with this bag. No offence, but the average 60 year old look rather silly with a hiking bag of sorts in an urban environment. Good choice. Blend in, be gray, look and act your age and you generally wont be bothered or draw attention. I will however consider investing in a smaller, lighter bag that can be stuffed up somehow in this bag if the wheels start coming off literally or if you have to drag your stuff over heavy terrain.

  3. Coach,

    I love how you have improvised, adapted, and overcome your own set of obstacles, and I agree with both D and Aves responses. If you ever have concerns about the durability as D has mentioned, I have seen and used some foldable luggage dolly’s that have larger, more durable, wheels that could handle terrain a little better. They are also a little more stable due to their stronger construction than the typical light aluminum frames in soft sided luggage. With one of these, you could organize, or compartmentalize, your BOB if you so desired. You would still look the part of a stranded motorist, or could even look the part of some poor destitute soul if you so desired to help become even more a part of the shadows. Either way I love your input and the ideas you offer here. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Being the same age and having similar physical issues. I came up with a similar, but more heavy duty approach. I divided my 75 lb main kit into 3 bags–one for inital use, one to extend my kit to a week, and one for long term. Each can be carried on my back easily. To cart them I use a deer carrier–a two wheel cart with high, solid bicycle type wheels, and sturdy construction. It folds for carrying in my bov. In areas of rough country, I can break it down and make extra trips over rough areas. My AR 15 rides on top, near my hands, covered with a jacket.

  5. My comment from ReThinkSurvival, when this article appeared earlier this week:

    We plan on Bugging In, largely because of our mobility issues. Right now, I still plan on carrying my ruck on my broken back. However, I bought a few small, collapsible hand trucks. I keep one in my SUV at all times. I even experimented with the hand truck while we were camping. I bought firewood and hauled it about a mile. The hand truck worked pretty well, but I have serious reservations on how long the small wheels would hold up on a longer trip. I looked at game carts at Cabelas, as a potential “Bug Out Mover”. They hold up to 300 pounds and the wheels are designed for rough terrain. Before I picked out a model that folds down flat, my wife purchased a 4 wheeled outdoor cart as a Christmas present, so I gave up on my idea. Realistically, I don’t think anyone would want to bug out on foot! Even if they were strong, healthy and had a method of pulling extra gear and supplies. When I look at the hills and mountains surrounding my area, I realize that it would be a monumental task to walk away with NO GEAR, yet alone with camping equipment, food and water.

  6. It’s unfortunate, but here in Florida I see the newly homeless seniors walking down the road this way all the time. When they first go homeless you will see them trying to manage 3 or 4 bags down the road 50 yards at a time. I’ve even seen them carrying their golf clubs still. Within weeks you will see them down to one bag with all kinds of tape and string wrapped around the bag. You also notice a dramatic change to their appearance from exposure to the sun and their clothes are already 3 to 5 sizes to big for them. I say this to say that most luggage just will not hold up to 74 lbs and daily use. Hell every time we go back to Italy 2 or 3 bags get destroyed. Years ago due to the amount of money I spent on luggage I bought rolling Storm cases and never had a problem till the weight limits all changed at the Airlines. I still have the Storm cases and use them to store all my gear, but I would never use them as a bug out bag unless I had some type of big wheeled cart.

    One of the best designs I’ve ever seen is the Chinese Rickshaw. It can easily handle a lot of weight, you can push or pull it, it works in a variety of terrain and they are very easy to fabricate out of some old bicycle tires and a steel rod for the axle. The favorite cart for the homeless is a shopping cart because it works!!

    If you sustain an injury it not only restricts what you can carry, but also where you can go. Lets face it your not going over the river and through the woods with a piece of luggage. But seriously, even without an injury pulling a piece of luggage around puts a lot of strain on your shoulder and lower back especially if you are over 6 foot tall.

    Like everything else though, if the SHTF you will do what you have to do even if its a piece of luggage. My purpose was not to mock the luggage idea, but to make you think it through. Good luck and I pray we never have to use any of this stuff!!

  7. I’m in a similar situation/condition. Try a golf bag cart and use a duffel bag. The large wheels will allow you to negotiate uneven terrain much better than wheeled luggage and the load capacity is much better.

  8. Coach, I can feel your pain as over the years abuse has made my body more pain full as less able to lift or carry heavy objects, and D that is a great idea on the deer cart.

  9. There are several good to great ideas here.

    A thought on my part, Water is HEAVY, but using one of the ideas above, maybe the deer cart or the rickshaw or even the golf club cart, you can get a 3-5 gallon water container and reasonably move that with you, too.

    25-40 pounds of water would be too much on your back, but on a cart or wagon it is much more manageable. That would possibly get you a substantial distance without risking dehydration, and it gives you more options / time to find more on the way.

    The carts also give you the ability to move much quicker than you could if you had the extra weight on your back.

    One more thought, the golf bag cart has too thin of wheels if you have to move through soft ground. So, while there is time, find some fat tires / wheels to replace them before the SHTF moment arrives.

    The heavier duty and carrying capacity of the other options should also outlast luggage style bags that were never designed for much beyond airport and hotel environments.

    Good idea, though. Trying the pack after your medical issues is not something a lot of people would think to do.

  10. Make sure you have practiced using the wheeled packs. It was hysterical when I went back to school earlier this year. I had a backpack with wheels, but had never wheeled it before. It kept flipping over on me! So make sure the weight is evenly distributed, but practice, practice, practice!

  11. I would like to thank everyone for pointing out the problems with the wheels on this type of suite case. I did not know of the problem.
    The Coach writes articles to hopefully inform and give other preppers ideas. I am NOT a professional writer and surely still learning.
    I think a follow up article is in order with some of the ideas that you guys have given me. I always appreciate any and all information that can help.
    The more I look into “Bugging Out” the more it looks like “Bugging In” is a good idea.
    Thanks for all of the help.
    Kevin Mains ask, what is in my Bug Out Bag?
    That is to long of a list to go into here. But if you like, I will write an article on what I have in my Bug Out Bag and why I have decided to pack them.
    Thanks again guys and gals.
    The Coach

  12. Coach, it would be my thought that unless you are bugged in at a prison with a lot of heavy weapons like “Walking Dead” that you should always entertain a bug-out option. Circumstances change.
    Regards, D.

  13. Enjoyed the article, My suggestion would be to explore the yard carts. Some that I have seen come with the rugged oversize tires and with the sides, one can pack multiple bags. I have thought of one and then deploy a ramp for either my truck or suv, eliminating the need to lift/pick up excessive weight.


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