When I first got into prepping, I started stockpiling water and food thinking that if the SHTF, we’d just batten down the hatches and stay put. My wife would buy an extra couple of cans of food and an extra jug of water on every grocery run, and we’d freeze foods before they went bad so we’d always have something ready to go in the freezer. We were getting prepared to survive at home.
Then, I started thinking more about what we’d do if we had to leave the house. We couldn’t take all this food with us… and what about our clothes? …and how would we make it if we didn’t have some way to communicate with our family? We would need a good bit of gear to carry us through an emergency situation. If SHTF, we’d need some kind of kit to get us through a few days. Maybe we should put together a 72 hour kit – a bug-out bag!
Now I know there are certain necessities you want to have in your bug-out bag. You’ll need a good knife, some sort of fire making tool, and a container, just to name a few, so you’ll need a good bit of room. After doing a little time in the military, it occurred to me that one of the old A-frame style rucksacks might be the best thing. But I figured that might be a bit too big and bulky for what I would want. After all, I’ll most likely be carrying my special needs child, too. After some research, I found one that would serve my purposes even better. I found the SOC 5016 Bug-Out Bag on MilitaryLuggage.com that would be perfect! It looked pretty roomy, and what’s more is, it looked like it would take a beating.
It’s sold on Military Luggage’s website, but it’s actually made by Sandpiper of California (hence the SOC). The bag is made of 600 Denier polyester canvas. What does that mean? Denier is a unit of measurement for yarn and other fibers. If you want that sciencey-techy type stuff, Wikipedia has all that information. If you just want it in layman’s terms, it means it’s sturdy and strong, and a little heavy. When I opened the box to pull this bag out, it was heavier than I expected! It weighs about 5 pounds (literally)! As heavy-duty as it is, I figure it’ll hold up to anything I’ll ever have to put it through and then some. A lightweight bug-out bag may not have the stamina to hold up to being stuffed, let alone carried around for any amount of time (especially in an emergency SHTF scenario).
I said before that the bag looked roomy, and I’d say it is – 23″ tall, 14″ wide and 6″ deep! But wait, there’s more! There’s a zipper along the back of the bag that – when unzipped – adds another 2.5″ to the depth! You can almost fit a tank in here! Ok, maybe not a tank, but you get the picture. It’s got a LOT of room.
Features of the SOC 5016 Bug-Out Bag include:
- 3 main cargo pouches with multiple inner pouches and tie-down straps for carrying lots of cargo – large and small.
- MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) compatible panels and rings on the front, sides and the shoulder straps for attaching and carrying accessories.
- Capable of carrying a 2 liter hydration pack in the back pouch.
- Shoulder harness and waist belt tuck away in hydration pouch so backpack becomes an attache case that is airline ready – complete with an adjustable shoulder carrying strap that extends to 56″ and a luggage tag.
- Expandable main compartment with compression straps so you can pack it tight no matter how much or how little you put inside.
It might not be waterproof, but it is water resistant. How do I know? Funny you should ask. I know because I’ve been keeping it beside my bed, and the other morning as I was getting up, I accidentally knocked a cup of water over onto it. I went and got a towel to clean it up, and while there was a little water on the outside, the inside of the area where I spilled on was totally dry on the inside. It resisted the water. If I dunked the bag in the lake, I’m sure it would soak water into it – not waterproof. Even still, you could probably work some beeswax into the fabric to help make it even more water resistant. I’m pretty confident that you could carry it in light rain without much worry, but you might want to cover it with a plastic bag if it gets to be a torrential downpour. You DO have some plastic garbage bags in your bug-out bag, right?
Here’s a video straight from Sandpiper of California’s YouTube channel about the bag:
What I like about the SOC 5016 Bug-Out Bag:
- I love the fact that this bag seems to be pretty tough. I’m confident it can carry anything you need to survive for a minimum of 72 hours – probably much longer.
- The straps are comfortable, and it even has aluminum backstays to keep the pack rigid to help support heavier loads.
- I really like all the MOLLE straps, too – with enough carabiners and 550 cord, I can attach any extra accessories I want to my bug-out bag.
What I don’t like about the bag:
- It’s heavy. I know, it’s made of durable material, but you need to be in GOOD shape to carry this thing – especially if it’s fully packed out. I guess I shouldn’t be too worried about it, though – it’ll be motivation for me to get into better shape.
- The clips for the attache shoulder strap are plastic. If these things snap, I’ll have to buy a new strap. I don’t look for that to happen, but it’s almost guaranteed not to happen with metal clips.
- The front pouch has an organizer panel, which is good, but it’s not the one in the picture I saw on the website. I was expecting something you can put business cards and other cards into, but mine doesn’t have that. I was a little disappointed by this – not necessarily because I want to stick a bunch of business cards in there, but just because I expect to get what is advertised.
Other reviews of the SOC 5016 Bug-Out Bag:
I checked all of the reviews on the Military Luggage website (177 reviews), the Sandpiper of California website (21 reviews), and Amazon (94 reviews), and most were 4/5 stars or better. Most were 5 star reviews, but there were a few complaints.
Amazing Bag (5 stars) February 27, 2014 Reviewer: Nicholas Adam Ter Doest Website: MilitaryLuggage.com
Ever since I received this bag, I use it at any chance I get. It’s amazing in every way, it can be used as a backpack or like a duffel bag. It can expand if you need it to and also has a convenient storage space for the straps. Comes with a chest buckle and waist buckle to help support the wait across your body! If your looking for an everyday durable backpack that can fit your bedroom and the fridge then this is the correct bag for you! Get Your BLACK S.O.C. BUGOUT BAG TODAY!!!
Great Bag (5 stars) January 1, 2014 Reviewer: Shel W. Website: SandpiperofCA.com
I bought this bag in 2001 (I think) from the PX while in the Army National Guard. It was USED and ABUSED until about 2009/2010 when I retired it due to the bottom stitching coming undone. I am in no way complaining. As I stated, it was severely abused. It went with me in the desert and was used as anything from a pillow to a rifle rest. I did the same to it in sub-freezing temperatures. Rain, snow, mud, and muck. Desert, swamps, and woodlands. It handled the abuse through all of it, overstuffed and with all sorts of things hanging from it (body armor, rifle, sleeping gear, ammo, etc.). It finally failed on a civilian camping trip and went into storage. Until now. I’m bringing it out of retirement and stitching it back together for a hiking trip. I’ve heard the new design isn’t quite as sturdy as the old but still top notch. I will be looking into one of the new style for my wife to use on our trip.
I like the bag so much, I’ve already started packing it and tweaking it a bit. I’m cutting off the thin cord zipper pulls and replacing them with the grey and black 550 paracord I wrapped the handle of my machete with. I’ve also made a keychain fob to use as a zipper pull, too. I have the rest of the cord in the bag in case I need it for any further customization… or you know, to tie things up with in the wild.
So what’s my final word on the SOC 5016 Bug-Out Bag?
I really like this bag and will be stuffing it with tons of stuff. I can’t wait to go camping to really give it a good run through (and will add to this review if needed when I do). Would I recommend it to someone else? Absolutely. The price point is great for the bag, too. Even with the few problems I had with the bag, it’s well worth the money. You actually get more than you bargain for – it’s a great deal! Granted, it’s not as big and roomy as this one, and not as affordable as this one, but it’s good middle ground – which is exactly what I was looking for.