When people think about a BOB, they tend to forget about the actual bag. I mean, they don't forget, but it's generally not as talked about as the contents of the bag.
The picture above is what one of our BOB's look like. We got the suggestion to buy that bag from one of our team members, Noel, who loved the bag. It's a cheap bag, too, it was only $30 (but it looks like it'd cost more, right?).
We've had that bag for years now and it's been one of the best bags that we've ever had. It can take a beating and it still looks brand new. It's really well made and has the perfect amount of pockets (not too many, not too little).
The $30 bag is just proof that the bag you choose doesn't have to be expensive to get quality.
Before we bought that bag, we had a messenger bag, which was absolutely terrible as a bug out bag. It might work for some people, but it just didn't work for us and we knew we had to change it.
It's OK to experiment with different bags to see which ones work best for you.
Here are some tips on finding the right bag for you:
Size: Size is a huge thing to look for when deciding on a bag. If you're a bigger/taller person, you'll possibly be able to carry a bigger bag than someone who's more petite or short. Don't try to carry a bigger bag if you're a smaller person, because then you'll want to carry A LOT of stuff which means the bag itself will overwhelm and exhaust you.
Price: Of course, price is always an issue for the majority of us. Just keep in mind that just because something is cheap, doesn't make it bad. But on the flip side, just because something is expensive, doesn't mean it's great. Don't disregard buying something just because it seems cheap to you. We were skeptical about our $30 bag, but it's the best bag we've ever had.
Recommendations: Do your due diligence in reading reviews, going to forums and asking for reviews, Googling for reviews, get recommendations from friends, etc. Just keep in mind that everyone will have their own opinion and their opinion may not directly relate to you. For example, they might say that the bag felt too small for them, but they're a bigger person so that review may not relate to you. Just keep an open mind and in the end, make an informed decision based on what feels right to you.
Buy from someone reputable: When you go to gun shows, you can find bags galore. But are they good bag? Are you buying from a reputable dealer? If you're looking at a bag from someone you're unfamiliar with, really look at the bag. Look at the stitching, make sure the zippers are fully functional. Make sure the clips don't look like they're half-assed put on their. Make sure the fabric is thick. If you buy the bag from a reputable dealer who sells quality items, then the price won't matter because you know that you won't get a crappy product.
Outside Accessories: Make sure that the outside has the appropriate amount of pockets or clips or hooks or straps or whatever you feel that you'll need in order to feel comfortable with your BOB. The outside of the bag is almost as important as the inside, because a lot of times you'll be wanting to attach things to the outside of the bag.
Those are our basic tips on how to find a bag for your bug out bag. When it all comes down to it, it's all about personal preference. It's A-OK to buy a bag online, but it's nice to actually be able to feel and look at the bag before purchasing. If you can find the bag in person before purchasing online, then that's highly recommended. You don't want to have to spend so much money on going through so many different bags trying to find the right one, ya know?