My BOB (Bug Out Bag)
A couple of years ago I bought a Jansport Colter backpack, they came in two sizes at the time the smaller was 105 litres or 6800 cubic inches and 120 litres or 7300 cubic inches. Since I have a long torso I opted for the larger one. I don't think the Colter is made anymore, but they should offer a similar backpack. It was their top of the line at the time. I have used quite a few backpacks over the years and I have been really pleased with the Colter, so the current Jansport top of the line should be equally, if not better, in quality and performance.
The Colter is an external frame pack, something I wanted for the versatility. An external frame gives you more options to modify the pack by attaching things to the frame. This means if you take a machete you can attach it to the frame. You can also attach pockets which you can buy from camping stores to hold specific items.
I like the Colter because it comes with the following:
- two side pockets
- top pocket (removable)
- sleeping bag compartment (zippered divider)
- main compartment can be divided in two by a zippered divider
- ability to unzipper dividers for one large compartment
- removable day pack
- top load and back U zipper load
- hydration compatible (100 oz / 3 litre)
- two mesh water bottle pockets
- sleeping pad straps
- axe strap
- "ski" sleeves behind side pockets
I have done some customization of the pack. I added a web of 1 inch straps, two from top to bottom and 4 from side to side. This webbing allows me to further compress the load, and make sure that the pack stays stable on the frame. I have allowed enough room on the straps and used double D buckles so that I can attach things to the side of the pack.
The weakest link on any external frame pack are the connecting points of the pack bag to the frame. The webbing I added eliminates this wear and tear, and greatly improves load stability and distribution. The webbing took a good pack and made it a great pack. The webbing also allows me to remove the pack bag, which uses velcro, and attach something else and keep it stable.
I chose the largest backpack I could find because the extra room allows me to pack bulky but relatively lightweight items and not have to worry about being able to fit it all.
To keep things in perspective, the pack is about half full with everything that is shown below. These pictures were taken a while ago and do not show everything in the pack. The sleeping pad will not fit in the cabinet I keep the pack in when it is attached. The sleeping bag section has a fleece sleeping bag and fleece blanket in it year round. My survival kit, food pouch and mess kit sit on the shelf below the pack and are added to the pack before I take the pack anywhere.
Jansport Colter Backpacks:
These pictures are from the internet. The left picture is of the 105L/6800 cubic inch version and the right picture is of the 120L/7300 cubic inch version. If you look at the top of the packs you will see difference in size of the top bar. The packs are the same size from this point down.
My pack from the back, in it's default load state.
With the daypack removed.
Details of the buckle attachment for the "spiderweb" of straps I added.
Details of how the horizontal and vertical "webs" attach to each other. This uses a standard buckle for maximum adjustability.
Left side of pack with Swedish steel hatchet/axe.
Front of pack with hydration tube.
Daypack from rear.
Contents of the day pack:
- Gerber pouch (same as in survival kit)
- Velcro gear wrap
- Bug spray
- Floating whistle/compass/match case
Contents of top pocket:
- Toilet paper
- Nitrile gloves
- Plastic coffee cup
- Silva compass
- Spare 1 inch webbinng
- Another Gerber Pouch
Right side of pack with top pocket removed, the silver tube is a takedown buck saw.
Inside of pack, note the stainless steel/copper bottom frying pan.
Contents of main sections:
- 2 quart nalgene bottles
- 12 cup coffee pot
- fry pan with 3 quart pot and pot holder/fry pan handle
Food in 2 gallon ziplock bag.
Add water noodles and minute rice.
10 instant oatmeal packets.
6 just add water potato packs.
4 boil in bag/heat and eat meals.
- Cotton long sleeve shirt
- fleece sweater
- poly track/sweat pants
- 3 pairs cotton and 3 pairs wool socks
4 poly t-shirts, clothes bags and clothes pins.
Another zipper divider.
Top closure of pack.
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