Training With Your BOB
May 6th, 2019
3 minute read
Bug Out Bags are common and are typically selected and packed with the intent that should the organic fertilizer make contact with the giant rotary oscillator in the sky, the owner will throw their trusty BOB on and simply walk to where ever it is they’ve planned to go.
If you are someone who throws a BOB in their car as a matter of routine, keep this in the forefront of your mind: Your personal fitness level, more than your BOB, will have the most impact on whether or not you can actually make it to your planned location — home, retreat, etc.
Side note: The term bug out bag is pretty generic, but your kit should be tailored to your specific needs. For most people, the BOB is better described as a “get home bag” as it is intended to get you from your workplace (or wherever) back to your family and the relative safety of your home. Check out Scott Conditt’s article “Building Your 24-Hours Get Home Bag” for a detailed guide on what to include.
If you want to be successful, as defined by arriving at your destination, you must make an objective assessment of where you are on the fitness scale and what your physical limitations may be in carrying a BOB farther than from your house to your car.
A few questions you need to answer to be able to train for walking from, say, work to home:
- How far is it from your place of work to your home? 5, 10, 15 miles or more?
- Have you ever walked that far without a break or stopping?
- Is the route flat, hilly, urban, suburban, or rural? It makes a difference!
- How much weight have you carried on your back and how far did you carry it?
- Do you have good, broken in hiking boots and a few pair of good quality socks?
Great, you’ve figured out how far you have to walk, what kind of route it is, how much you can carry, and have ensured you have good boots and socks in your vehicle. Now go get clearance from your doctor before you begin this or any other physical fitness program.
Start your BOB training with a half-mile walk in your neighborhood with NO pack — just you. See how long it takes you and how you feel when it’s over. Make sure you stretch before and after — your goal is 3 to 4 miles an hour. That means the half-mile should only take 7.5 to 10 minutes. Shoot for 7.5 minutes as your goal — the better shape you’re in, the better you’ll be in the real thing. Do these 2 to 3 times a week until it seems too easy to you — no soreness, not winded, etc. Write down your progress.
The next couple weeks do 3/4 of a mile. Take a week off, then do another 3 walks in a week doing speed mile walks. Walk as fast as you can for one mile. Time it. Get as close to 15 minutes as you can.
The 2nd month, start with 1/2 mile and your BOB (no matter what weight it is). Walk it as fast as you can. Time it and work toward the same goals.
After that, jump to 1.5 miles at no slower than 20 minutes per mile. Take a week off. Then start again increasing distance in half-mile increments until you can do the entire distance from your place of work to your home, with the BOB you’ve packed for real-world situations.
It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get to that distance, just keep at it. What matters is that if you’re ever forced to use your BOB to get home, you’ll be more likely to make it than you may be now. Remember the time-tested rule: “Suffer the pain of discipline, or suffer the pain of regret!”