Ammo in Pack - Worth the Weight?

This is a discussion on Ammo in Pack - Worth the Weight? within the Bushcraft - Primitive Skills - Survival Skills - Camping forums, part of the Related Topics category; I am testing a setup for a backpacking trip this summer, and wanted to have extra ammo for the trip. I weighed my camping pack, ...

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    VIP Member Array Badey's Avatar
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    Ammo in Pack - Worth the Weight?

    I am testing a setup for a backpacking trip this summer, and wanted to have extra ammo for the trip. I weighed my camping pack, and it came in at 21 pounds. I itemized the contents, and calculated their weight. Ammo was the biggest offender.

    50 rounds 9mm - 1.75 lbs
    50 rounds .380 - 1.25 lbs
    250 rounds .22 lr - 2 lbs

    I have heard some people tout having hundreds of rounds of 9mm or .223 in a BOB. I am just wondering how practical that is, if they actually want to be able to walk anywhere with their pack on.



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    VIP Member Array WrongRecroom's Avatar
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    We talking as having shtf ammo or just plinking in the woods ? Could you store the bulk of it hidden in your camp site or car and take say 3 or 4 mag worth with you .. Should be enoge to get back to camp/car?

    Or get a pmr30 ... 30 round of 22mag dont weight too much..
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    What I have in a BOB and a backpacking pack are two completely different loadouts, with completely different purposes.

    Why 3 different calibers? That would mean you are taking 3 different guns. (a 9mm and .380 seems a bit redundant)

    When I go backpacking I usually take my M&P 9, with 2 spare mags (3x17) which gives me 51 (52 with +1) rounds of 9mm. I am in the Eastern U.S., so I am not really concerned with grizzlies, as such, I think this load is enough for any threats I may encounter on a backpacking trip.

    If I take a .22 rifle with me, I only take a 50 round brick of ammo. 250 rounds is a lot. If you plan on plinking while you are out there, it is a bit more understandable.

    FWIW, my combat load used to be 300 rounds 5.56, with 12-15 40mm grenades, plus a ton of other stuff, you can still move with a lot of weight, it just isn't as much fun.
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    VIP Member Array Badey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckeye .45 View Post
    What I have in a BOB and a backpacking pack are two completely different loadouts, with completely different purposes.

    Why 3 different calibers? That would mean you are taking 3 different guns. (a 9mm and .380 seems a bit redundant)

    When I go backpacking I usually take my M&P 9, with 2 spare mags (3x17) which gives me 51 (52 with +1) rounds of 9mm. I am in the Eastern U.S., so I am not really concerned with grizzlies, as such, I think this load is enough for any threats I may encounter on a backpacking trip.

    If I take a .22 rifle with me, I only take a 50 round brick of ammo. 250 rounds is a lot. If you plan on plinking while you are out there, it is a bit more understandable.

    FWIW, my combat load used to be 300 rounds 5.56, with 12-15 40mm grenades, plus a ton of other stuff, you can still move with a lot of weight, it just isn't as much fun.
    The .22 is for plinking. I usually carry a G19 and a P238, so I want to bring a box for each.

    I know I can probably carry a lot more weight, but each pound increases the suck factor. This revelation (the actual weight of ammo) just got me thinking about how many rounds a person could actually carry in a SHTF scenario.


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    Distinguished Member Array 5lima30ret's Avatar
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    I think I would consolidate calibers. Thats one reason why I have a Glock 35 and a Kel Tec Sub-2000 for my BOB. Both share the same ammo and magazines. For backpacking in the Eastern US I would think that a 9mm and 3 magazines would be adequate unless really big <200lbs hogs are on the agenda. If hiking the AT you will definitely want to pare down the weight, some sections are have a lot of vertical! Good luck!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badey View Post
    The .22 is for plinking. I usually carry a G19 and a P238, so I want to bring a box for each.

    I know I can probably carry a lot more weight, but each pound increases the suck factor. This revelation (the actual weight of ammo) just got me thinking about how many rounds a person could actually carry in a SHTF scenario.


    If I had something witty to say, it would be posted right here _______
    For SHTF, it varies a lot person to person, but 180-300 rounds of 5.56 in a chest rig is probably what I would have. Of course, that is quite variable, and depends on situation/priorities.

    If you are trying to pare weight, I would probably only carry 1 defensive gun, or, if you are going to carry 2, have them be the same caliber.

    The .22 could serve as a back-up gun. Plus when backpacking I usually have a fixed blade knife, and hatchet/tomahawk. The thing is that for general backpacking, a sidearm is a one-use item, for defense. They don't make very good hammers, and can't keep you warm, dry, or hydrated. Each additional one is redundant weight IMO, especially when there are other things in the pack that can be used defensively that have other uses.

    Just my opinion, you can obviously take 3 guns with you if you want, but there is going to be an increase in weight.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5lima30ret View Post
    I think I would consolidate calibers. Thats one reason why I have a Glock 35 and a Kel Tec Sub-2000 for my BOB. Both share the same ammo and magazines. For backpacking in the Eastern US I would think that a 9mm and 3 magazines would be adequate unless really big <200lbs hogs are on the agenda. If hiking the AT you will definitely want to pare down the weight, some sections are have a lot of vertical! Good luck!


    This... unless you are hiking in the bad lands or big freaking bear land a 9mm and a sub 2000 or sub 9 with say 3 or 4 33 round stick mag and say 3 or 4 17 round or 15 round mags you should be more then ready for anything short of a running gun battle with a outlaw biker gang ..

    Now we talking bear land then at least a 44 or bigger and bear spray
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    Quote Originally Posted by WrongRecroom View Post
    This... unless you are hiking in the bad lands or big freaking bear land a 9mm and a sub 2000 or sub 9 with say 3 or 4 33 round stick mag and say 3 or 4 17 round or 15 round mags you should be more then ready for anything short of a running gun battle with a outlaw biker gang ..

    Now we talking bear land then at least a 44 or bigger and bear spray
    It is in central PA. There are black bears, but I figure a judicious use of 9mm +P will get the job done in a pinch.

    I thought about bringing a. .357 (I don't have a .44), but it weighs more empty than my Glock does loaded.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badey View Post
    I am testing a setup for a backpacking trip this summer, and wanted to have extra ammo for the trip. I weighed my camping pack, and it came in at 21 pounds. I itemized the contents, and calculated their weight. Ammo was the biggest offender.

    50 rounds 9mm - 1.75 lbs
    50 rounds .380 - 1.25 lbs
    250 rounds .22 lr - 2 lbs

    I have heard some people tout having hundreds of rounds of 9mm or .223 in a BOB. I am just wondering how practical that is, if they actually want to be able to walk anywhere with their pack on.



    If I had something witty to say, it would be posted right here _______
    Your post starts out testing a load for an upcoming backpack trip. Then you mention BOB in the same post. Then in another post you mention a SHTF bag. Three totally different bags/scenarios to pack for?!

    Going off the original question assuming I'm packing for a week long or weekend backpack trip....

    First I would analyze the area/terrain I'm going into. What are the threats? Animal? If so how big, dangerous, run in packs or alone? Shouldn't take much ammo but caliber would Definitely come into play.

    If the threat is more two legged then ask why? Known drug activity/other illegal activity? If so how many could you run into? Now caliber would not be as important as how many rounds your weapon holds and how many spare mags you would carry.

    If I were to plan an outing in my neck of the woods dangerous animals aren't at the top of the list. We have Coyotes and sometimes they run in packs of two to three but they don't bother humans too much. Two legged creatures wouldn't be a huge threat, no drug or related activity around my woods.

    Given this I would carry my 3" SP101 with full house 357 mags. Have four speed strips with same ammo and maybe 25 more rounds in my pack. I would take 38spl rounds just for small game etc. maybe 25/50 rds. I also usually carry a 380, P3AT to be exact. But I would probably opt to pack my Ruger 22/45 Lite instead because I have lower power 38's for the wheelgun to make up for leaving the 380 behind. And I could carry 100/200 rounds of .22 and not take up the room or weight the 380 would. The .22 would be a plinker/small game pistol and if I needed it as a BUG I could put 10 rds into a very small spot as fast as I could pull the trigger.

    Just my .02, based on a backpacking trip, not my BOB or SHTF bag. :)

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badey View Post
    I am testing a setup for a backpacking trip this summer, and wanted to have extra ammo for the trip.
    If a short-duration camping trip, that's one thing. I'm all for having extra ammo around for defense and, if needed, hunting.

    If for both SD and hunting, I'd want something like this: 50rds .357 or 9mm, and 50-100+ rds .22LR or better (if not a lever-action). Depends on duration, the degree to which I'd be relying upon hunting for the food source. One of the nice things about a .357 or .44 revolver is the beauty of adding a lever-action rifle that'll use the same ammo. Same could be said with a .22LR pistol, too, I suppose.

    For bugging out, that's an entirely different issue. I'm all for caching various stores and for having a good amount that I can take with me. Depends on whether I'm able to only carry on my back (which limits things), carry in a wheeled bag (ie, towed behind a bicycle), or take along in a vehicle. Depends, too, on the likely duration of doing without. Ammo might well be like gold, for all its practicality in the event "factory" ammunition isn't made any longer, or gets hugely expensive. Might well want to take lots with me, but very possibly won't be able to for whatever reason.
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    VIP Member Array Badey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jjxj View Post
    Your post starts out testing a load for an upcoming backpack trip. Then you mention BOB in the same post. Then in another post you mention a SHTF bag. Three totally different bags/scenarios to pack for?!

    Going off the original question assuming I'm packing for a week long or weekend backpack trip....

    First I would analyze the area/terrain I'm going into. What are the threats? Animal? If so how big, dangerous, run in packs or alone? Shouldn't take much ammo but caliber would Definitely come into play.

    If the threat is more two legged then ask why? Known drug activity/other illegal activity? If so how many could you run into? Now caliber would not be as important as how many rounds your weapon holds and how many spare mags you would carry.

    If I were to plan an outing in my neck of the woods dangerous animals aren't at the top of the list. We have Coyotes and sometimes they run in packs of two to three but they don't bother humans too much. Two legged creatures wouldn't be a huge threat, no drug or related activity around my woods.

    Given this I would carry my 3" SP101 with full house 357 mags. Have four speed strips with same ammo and maybe 25 more rounds in my pack. I would take 38spl rounds just for small game etc. maybe 25/50 rds. I also usually carry a 380, P3AT to be exact. But I would probably opt to pack my Ruger 22/45 Lite instead because I have lower power 38's for the wheelgun to make up for leaving the 380 behind. And I could carry 100/200 rounds of .22 and not take up the room or weight the 380 would. The .22 would be a plinker/small game pistol and if I needed it as a BUG I could put 10 rds into a very small spot as fast as I could pull the trigger.

    Just my .02, based on a backpacking trip, not my BOB or SHTF bag. :)
    I was testing a load for a hike. It got me thinking about people saying you should carry much more ammo (in a BOB) than I am testing for my hike. It made me wonder what was practical in a SHTF situation (using a BOB), since with limited ammo, my hiking pack is already heavy.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badey View Post
    I was testing a load for a hike. It got me thinking about people saying you should carry much more ammo (in a BOB) than I am testing for my hike. It made me wonder what was practical in a SHTF situation (using a BOB), since with limited ammo, my hiking pack is already heavy.
    Well, a BOB presumes portability via "enhanced" means ... plane, bus, car, bicycle. But, those things can break down or even be rendered useless if damage and/or lack of service or parts comes calling. Which could render most of us relying only upon what we can actually put on our backs and take with us. In that sense, I'd say the "hiking" load-out is a very good indicator of when S truly HTF beyond use of "vehicles" to assist in porting such stuff. You're right, the weight can be a killer limiting factor. So can utter lack of further components being made in the near future, which could render ammo pricy beyond reach.
    Last edited by ccw9mm; January 19th, 2014 at 03:08 AM. Reason: grammar
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    My guns have evolved over the years. As a kid I carried a .22 single action six gun in the woods, because that's what I had. Good thing I never shot a bear with it, because at first I didn't really understand the difference of calibers. Later I carried a .38 snub nose, because it was light, and was what I had, and it was a lot better than a .22.

    As I got older and wiser I moved up to a .357 snub nose or a .45 1911. In the woods I like real steel. (They rust better than Glocks... )

    After my share of run ins with black bear I got a Blackhawk .44mag and since then evolved to a .44 mag Alaskan - same wallop, more compact. That's my maximum caliber, my old bones won't take any more recoil than that. If I need a bigger gun a shotgun will have to do.

    If I go to polar bear or elephant country someday - well, can someone loan me a bazooka?

    I have never carried a 9mm hiking, and unless that's all you have I think there are better options - for the wild lands. Questionable if a 9mm will take down a cougar or hog, certainly not a bear of any sort without a good deal of luck. A deer, maybe. 9mm good against gang bangers who got lost in the woods while tending their pot farm.

    Carry what you have. I'd leave the .380 home, it isn't good for much besides urban bangers. Unless you are expecting trouble a 9mm high capacity with three mags ought to cover most situations. If you need more than that take a rifle. If you need a rifle in the wilderness, take something bigger than a .22, unless you are in an area of small game, then take a 250 round brick and you should be in squirrels for awhile.

    My usual hiking gun is the old Winchester 94 in .30-30. But remember you often can't carry a rifle unless you have a hunting license, in season - if you do it's is just assumed you are a poacher in some places. Probably less so in places like Alaska, but I wouldn't know.

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    FWIW, my combat load used to be 300 rounds 5.56, with 12-15 40mm grenades, plus a ton of other stuff, you can still move with a lot of weight, it just isn't as much fun.
    Amen...Brother Buckeye. It isn't very much fun.
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    I can't imagine humping more than a pistol and one magazine, especially on a long distance run which is highly unlikely these days. It would be nice to have more. Hell I'd like to have a chest rig with six, thirty round mags. Lol. I always carried a Coleman one burner stove. It was heavier than most other backpacking stoves but it never failed. For me the little things really made a difference away from civilization and something hot was very comforting. I know I'd be using that stove at least twice, more likely three, times a day. I'd be a world of hurt if I needed to use ammo 3x/day.
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