Should I Buy or Build a Bug Out Bag? The Pros and Cons

Should I Buy or Build a Bug Out Bag? The Pros and Cons

by Brandon Hunt

 No matter whether you choose build your own bug out bag or buy a premade one, just having a bug out bag is a smart decision.

A bug out bag is your go-to kit if you have to leave your house in hurry.

Remember the purpose of your bug out bag is short term. Don’t expect to grab your bag and live in the wilderness for weeks or months if you have to evacuate. You simply can’t carry everything you would need in a single pack. 

A well put together bug out bag should last you 72 hours, about three days, which statistically speaking is the time frame that most disasters are resolved in. 

If you’re undecided on which option is right for you, then hopefully going through some pros and cons will help you in your choice.

Building Your Own Bug Out Bag



– When you’re building your own bug out bag you’re able to inspect packs and bags in person. You can decide if you want to use a tactical pack or a plain, less conspicuous pack. Look at the quality of the material, the zippers, and the stitches.

– You can try packs on for comfort and size. You need one that has a capacity to carry three days worth of supplies. Avoid an overly large pack since you want to keep it light. Conversely, you don’t want too small of a pack.

– Putting together your own bug out bag allows you to prioritize and choose the items you want to carry. 

– You can totally customize your bug out bag to your own liking. Use the four priorities of survival (water, shelter, heat, and food) to help you decide what you want to include in your pack.


– Probably the most expensive item will be the backpack itself. Generally the supplies for the kit, if you’re frugal, can be gathered on a budget. Of course, what you put in the kit is totally up to you, as expensive or budgeted as you want.

– The process of putting together a bug out bag, especially if you’re doing one for each family member, might feel overwhelming. 

– You run the risk of buying too many supplies and making the pack heavier than it needs to be. You want to strike a balance between having essential supplies, while staying mobile.

– There’s always the possibility of procrastination. It’s easy to say that you’ll make your bug out bag tomorrow, or next weekend…and then never get around to it. Don’t stall out on your emergency preparations.

Buying A Bug Out Bag


– A premade bug out bag makes the whole process easier. All of the basic supplies are already included. Plus, some companies, like Emergency Zone, offer urban or stealth bug out bags. Such packs are designed to help you keep a low profile, to not draw attention to yourself and the emergency supplies you carry. Also, family bug out bags are available if you are prepping for your family.

– Typically bug out bags carry enough supplies for one person. So, just like above, you’ll need more than one pack for a family, or even couples. Premade bags can make it a whole easier to prepare for your family for emergency evacuations. 

– Pre-made bug out bags will have enough supplies for three days; however, if you’re the type who wants a little more personal customization — don’t worry. Often the bags have room to spare for you to add more items and personalize the pack. If you get bug out bags for kids, you can still add some of their preferred snacks or toys. 

– A premade bug out bag is ready for use as soon as it arrives. Stash it in a closet if you like, or somewhere else, just keep accessible so you can grab it and go at a moment's notice.

– There’s enough variety out there for pre-assembled bug out bags, you’ll be able to find a pack that suits you and how you want to use it. If you want a tactical bug out bag, 


– Like building your own bug out bag, pre-assembled packs can be pricey as well. It all comes down to whether you decide the convenience of pre-made bug out bags is worth it. 

– One con about buying a pre-made kit online is that you don’t have the opportunity to inspect the quality of the pack: it’s material, construction, strength of zippers and zipper pulls, and other features. And you won’t be able to try it on for comfort until you buy and receive it. If you’re buying online from an emergency preparation company, look through all of their specs and features so you can make the best choice possible.

– Not every pack is created equal. Some might have design flaws, or possibly made with the cheapest materials. In a previous post I went over the most common types of material backpacks are made of. Knowing the different backpack materials will give you an edge as you look at bug out bags.

– Most emergency preparation websites that offer pre-assembled will provide pictures of the contents. I know they’re just pictures, but with close scrutiny you can decide for yourself if the items appear to be quality or not.


The Choice Is Yours

Whether you choose to build or buy a bug out bag, both options have their merits. In my opinion, the choice between making your own or buying a pre-made kit comes down to convenience – the time and money you plan to invest. 

If you want to skip the hassle of gathering all of the items yourself, then a pre-assembled pack is for you. On the other hand if you're the type who enjoys customization, then you're better off putting together your bug out bag.

I do believe a bug out bag, or two, are necessary items to keep in the home. For those who want to start emergency preparations, then bug out bags are a great place to start. 

I hope this post helps and if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll do our best to help you in your preparation journey.


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