BOB Creep – The Easy Way to Gain Weight

It’s that time of year again when I move from my summer BOB to my winter BOB.  My winter bag is somewhat bigger than my summer bag and when I put my winter gear in I still have some extra space left.

For those of you who are interested I’m currently using a MOLLE (MOdular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) type pack that I bought at my local Army/Navy store.  It’s very similar to this one and what I read in the reviews falls in line with my experience.mollepack_

Now, having a bug-out-bag with a little extra space in it is a dangerous thing.  Being a minimalist I like to keep a few basics in it, but I find that over time I’ll see some gadget or piece of equipment that would be really useful and I’ll think, “That’s not too heavy and it won’t take up too much space in my BOB.”  So I throw it in.

The next item to go in might be a poncho liner.  “What happens if I have to spend the night out and all I have is a poncho?  It sure would be nice if I had a poncho liner in there.”  In it goes.

Pretty soon I’m struggling to get the bag closed and it’s gained six pounds.  What started out as a lightweight, lean, mean, bug-out kit (actually a Get Home Bag in my case) has suddenly got some bloat.

Keep in mind that I carry this bag with me everywhere.  It’s never further away than my car in the parking lot and often times sits right next to me where I work.   During the work week I try to walk at least three miles with it every couple of days.

If you’re a gear head and don’t mind carrying around a heavy bag then I suppose this doesn’t pertain to you, but if you’re like me – a minimalist – then BOB creep is something you have to watch out for.

What’s the solution?  Ahhhh yeah.  Well, every few weeks I go through the bag and simply get rid of the stuff that I might have thrown in there that I really don’t need.  Sometimes pulling out gear is tough, but I’ve said this again and again:  the best thing you can have in your arsenal is knowledge and experience.  Gear is great, but you’ve got to test it.  If I go on three or four campouts and I find there’s a piece of equipment I don’t use I pull it out of the pack no matter how much that inner gear head whispers to me, “What are you doing, man?  You’re going to need that.  Put it back in there!  You’re screwed without that.”

You know what I mean.

Like I said, if you don’t mind humping a big pack all over the country side then this probably doesn’t apply to you.  But since I like to keep my pack lean and mean I have to watch out for BOB creep.

Do you have BOB creep?

-Jarhead Survivor

15 comments… add one
  • Spook45 November 7, 2011, 8:52 am

    Mine gains just a lil weight, bt not much. IT gets heavier when I add my British Commando sweater, wool scarf and long sleeved shirts but other than that, everything stays the same. The size s the same, I dont change bags only contents. I using a blackhawk 3 day for the truck bag. My Regular bag is a UTG Assault pack in marpat. I know, its cheap Chinese import ,but its very well constructed, well organized and very confortable. IT also works with a load bearing rig and a rifle.

  • Leon November 7, 2011, 9:44 am

    My BOB must go on regular weight reduction programs. Since I do survival training with Boy Scouts, I frequently take along extra stuff, depending on what skill is being emphasized. Before you know it, my BOB is way too heavy. Paring down is important if you plan on being able to carry the backpack!

  • carl November 7, 2011, 10:05 am

    Well there is BOB 1, which is an ALICE external frame back pack. Then there is BOB 2 which the wifes’ little back pack, then there is BOB 3 which is an old good sized athletic bag, I think I may have BOB 4 around someplace. I really, really need to get better oragnized, There is no way I could carry all this stuff. BOB 1 is so heavy I can barely pick it up. Oh and I forgot about the Rubbermaid storage bins ,that are up stairs as well, not to mention the Huge cooler I have filled with stuff in the Van,,,

    I have got to do this better…

  • Gewamser November 7, 2011, 2:37 pm

    I think “experience” is the teacher here. The more time you spend afield using the gear the more you learn to do without, or “what works”…then you pare it down. I have literally lived out of my pack for months at a time, and you learn real quick what ain’t worth humping. Most “survivalists” never go anywhere. I recommendthe Minnesota Boundary Waters Canoe Area for ten days living out of the pack as a real teacher.

    • Jason November 8, 2011, 12:44 pm

      That is an excellent point Gewamser & most tend to over think or over anticipate needs.

      It reminded me of a scene from the movie Platoon where Charlie Sheen & the other cherry went out in their first night patrol. Willem Defoe emptied their packs of useless, non combat items to boil things down to the essentials for the coming event.

      When I was 14 I took a long distance road bike trip with 2 of my friends – went 70 miles one way. We filled our packs with probably 40 lbs of useless stuff & paid the price for humping it that distance. We came back with nearly empty packs needless to say.

      Experience, especially bad ones is the best teacher.

  • Jarhead 03 November 7, 2011, 3:04 pm

    A solution to the heavy pack if you can’t shoulder it has two simple solutions. You can use a shopping cart from a local grocery or hardware store or a 2 wheel fold up cart carrier designed to carry boxes or files.
    The grocery cart allows you to push your pack home and if necessary add items such as extra water, material for shelter etc. You can throw news paper, your empty water bottles to blend in and camo your pack.
    The fold up cart takes minimal room and will allow you to pull the pack along freeing up one hand in the event you need to make phone calls or defend yourself.

  • millenniumfly November 7, 2011, 4:29 pm

    BOB creep… I like it. You should trademark that.

  • Steelheart November 7, 2011, 6:46 pm

    I’ve got both a basic Get Home Bag as well as a second sustainment bag with extra gear & supplies in case I have to hunker down with my vehicle. I’m still in the process of figuring out what needs to ge where. Plus my winter gear has it’s own bag. I’m aiming for 3 seasons worth of stuff in primary bag.


  • nate6022 November 7, 2011, 8:08 pm

    Up north a heavy BOB or GHB is really hard to avoid. If you don’t pack enough cold weather gear, you’ll freeze before making it home. Great points on walking with your gear…if you can hump a 40lb pack then that’s great. If I have to walk home from work, that will be a 35 mile trek. So I try to keep the weight of the pack below 15lbs. I believe speed and agility will be key.

  • Michael November 7, 2011, 10:00 pm

    I typically have a small messenger bag with me that I could cram full of stuff and clip a water bottle to and walk up to maybe 10 miles comfortably. But, I’ve kinda given up on BOBS. Since I’m single and don’t have kids I figure the best thing for me to do is to turn where ever I’m at into home.

    I keep a fair amount of kit in my car and I might wind up sheltering in place and then having to make the trek anyway, but the chances of something that bad happening are pretty slim. If bad weather or an earthquake snarls the roads I can camp out for half a day or over night and than head on home in the car. I can’t see me getting stranded to a point where I had to abandon my car and make some epic trek.

    I do need to go get my heavy coat and add it to the gear in my car. It’s getting cold outside.

  • Joe November 9, 2011, 6:56 am

    Your BOB is a lot like packing for a backpacking trip. For my first few trips, I took everything and the kitchen sink. My pack weighed a ton. As I gained experience, two things happened. First I realized just how little I truly needed to take with me. And second, my gear did get smaller and lighter.

    Going through you BOB periodically to make sure that you’re not carrying too much and to make sure that you really know what’s in there is a great idea.


  • izzy November 12, 2011, 10:48 pm

    I try to keep it light so I can move on foot fast after a quake. (Picture cars floating in the Japanese tsunami, or roads washed out in floods). Right now my bag is handy by the door… which is good cuz every time I move it out of the way,the I’m surprised it isn’t lighter…
    For me it isn’t the sensible stuff like poncho liners – it’s tiny gadgets, convenience-size, extras, etc. (If you think, “you never know when you’ll need-” or “you can never have too many-” odds are you don’t need it.)

    Most of the weight is first aid, so I’m thinking of putting that as a separate official bag, since I think everyone will tend to grab it if I’m not there. (They won’t grab the pack if it’s “heavy” !) Trying to establish a water-bottle habit so that ideally there’d always be a freshly-filled bottle ready to grab. (Might go for less-tasty food to discourage snacking, though it did get them familiar with bag’s contents.) Would like to have boots sitting next to it… but don’t want to have anyone stop to grab more than 1-2 things total.

    Currently I have two small light “cold night” knapsacks with the down/fleece/knit blanket/coats/hats/gloves/wool socks/long undies , and a main small knapsack with 1st aid, food packets, tarp ponchos, emergency bivvy &c. But thinking in a real emergency I might rather have an ultralight sleeping bag & tent than anything else… so I’m reconsidering the whole setup…

  • jceremic November 13, 2011, 8:55 pm

    A lot like back country camping – that’s the key. Just think of your needs (not comforts) and you will be set.
    1.) Shelter (a tarp or light weight tent w/fl, para cord)
    2.) Water (filter/tablets/fire maker & pot to boil), canteen/storage
    3.) Clothing/footwear: waterproof & lightweight, but warm, durable (chemical heat packets, for extreme cold, no fire situations)
    4.) Tools: multi-tool (screwdrivers/pliers/knife/file), folding saw/hatchet, spork 5.) 1st aid kit 6.) Hi cal. dry food packets (5 days, use only when necessary). 7.) Snares 8. ).22 auto pistol (500 rds), .357 or larger pistol (50 rds.) 9.) anything else you think you can carry

  • jceremic November 13, 2011, 9:16 pm

    The above comes with some assumptions.
    1. You may have to spend a long time traveling on foot.
    2. You might have to live off the land for sometime (snares &.22)
    3. You might have no option but to defend yourself (.357)
    My optional stuff might include: book on edible plants/survival, sleeping bag/pad, compass/appropriate maps, camp towel and a bar of soap ( a true luxury), folding stove, lock pick tools, pepper spray. Holster the fire arms. Pack Limit: 40-50lbs for guys, 30-40 lbs for gals (approximately).

  • CZ223 November 26, 2011, 9:13 am

    I am fairly new to this whole Survival/Prep thing. I have been buying and gathering “stuff” for my BOB for months. The hardest part was figuring out which Bag to buy that would be large and durable enough for all my gear. I settled on a Kelty Red Wing 50. I went with a civilian pack so as not to raise too many eyebrows in a SHTF situation. It is large enough to hold all of the gear I need and small enough that I have to be picky about what goes in it. It is currently at 25 lbs and I don’t have a sleeping bag or tent yet. I will have to take a couple things out to fit in a sleeping bag but the tent will have to be lashed to the pack. I am getting there. I walked to and from my shop with the BOB a few days ago. It is 4 miles each way for a total of eight miles. It was not overly heavy and the trip took me an hour and 15 minutes in the morning and 5 more minutes in the evening. It has snowed here in Maine since and I have not yet had the opportunity to do it again but I am thinking that I want to do it once a week or so. I am sure that the local cops thought I was a homeless person.


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