Bug Out Backpack | Best Body Armor for a Family Emergency Kit

Bug Out Backpack | Best Body Armor for a Family Emergency Kit

We will discuss some of the items we recommend (based on FEMA and personal experience), but one of the overlooked items is personal protection equipment (PPE). 

We encourage everyone to consider buying some form of ballistic protection, whether it be a ballistic backpack insert or body armor plates to add to their bug out bag.

ShotStop Level 4 Body Armor

Even with our bias towards our products, the evidence we provide proves we have the best body armor for every family emergency kit. 

What Is a Bug Out Backpack?

A bug out backpack is another name for a go bag that many soldiers and LEOs use to describe their emergency kit. Even in great times, it’s strongly encouraged by FEMA that every family has an emergency backpack that is ready to go at all times. 

For this blog, I want to keep our focus on 2 features of your bug out bag, body armor plates and ballistic backpack inserts. If you’re interested in learning more about how to organize a FEMA Disaster Preparedness Kit, read our blog How to Prepare for Civil Unrest This Summer.

What Type of Backpack Is Best For an Emergency Kit?

We don’t recommend any specific company because there are so many great ones out there that we respect. Personally, I use a Kelty Redwing 50 Tactical Backpack because it has a 50L (3,051”) capacity. In short, I can carry every item FEMA recommends and I can carry at least 6 Level 3 Duritium® plates.

Tactical backpack with Duritium Level 4 plates

Regardless of the brand name that you choose, the important thing about a backpack is the durability, comfort, and functionality. Look for backpacks that are made with materials such as 500 Cordura nylon or stronger. 

Anything rated as 500 Cordura or higher will provide you enough strength and durability for any emergency you encounter. Another great feature to look for in a backpack is rip-stop technology, which is a type of fabric that will protect your bag from tearing if it gets caught on anything.

What Is Backpack Armor?

There are a lot of ballistic protection companies that claim to sell “bullet-proof backpacks.” However, as many of our readers know, there is no such thing as bullet-proof. There are – and will always be – bullets that can defeat armor.

 When purchasing a backpack body armor insert for ballistic protection ask the manufacturer to provide a copy of the independently tested laboratory report. If a company refuses to provide lab results that show validity of their claims, consider this a red flag. ShotStop always provides NIJ-Listed independent laboratory results for all products.


ShotStop®  carries a product known as BallisticBoard®  which can be used as a backpack body armor insert. It is made from the same Duritium® technology as our Level III and Level IV NIJ-Listed plates. 

BallisticBoard®  is independently proven by accredited third party ballistic labs to meet NIJ Level IIIA standards. However, since the NIJ has no standards for backpack inserts (until the 0101.07 standards) we can’t provide an NIJ Letter of Compliance for BallisticBoard® . This is why it’s imperative to obtain a copy of the independent laboratory results from the manufacturer.

BallisticBoard in backpack

Why Should I Choose  BallisticBoard® IIIA Backpack Insert?

BallisticBoard® IIIA is the thinnest, lightest, and most durable bulletproof backpack insert on the planet. Weighing only 1.2 lbs per board, it’s capable of stopping multiple strikes from a 10mm pistol! 

For those who don’t live in the wilderness, a 10mm pistol is what many in the Northern Rockies carry while hiking to defend against Grizzly Bears.

The BallisticBoard® IIA comes in 2 sizes, 10” x 12” and 11”x14”. If you’re not impressed yet, the only other thing we can tell you is that our Duritium® BallisticBoard® IIIA is only 0.26” thick. 

Who Should Use BallisticBoard® IIIA?

We recommend BallisticBoard® IIIA be placed in each one of your bug out backpacks because it takes up less space than most clip-boards. It will also stop any handgun bullet, and comes with an industry leading 15-year warranty. 

Ballistic Board

Level 3 Body Armor

When choosing ballistic protection for you and your family there are 3 main features to consider: durability, reliability, and comfort.

Level III body armor is rated to stop all handgun caliber bullets; it can stop a 7.62x39mm, a 5.56x45mm NATO (M193), and a 7.62x51mm (.308 Win).

ShotStop level 3 Body Armor

Level III body armor is the most universal choice for civilian body armor. The only bullets that can defeat a Level III body armor plate are M855, M855A1, and 7.62x63mm AP M2 (30-06).

The good news about those bullets is they are illegal for civilians to own. Therefore, you and your family should be protected against any threat you face.


Any Level III body armor you choose should be accompanied with an NIJ Letter of Compliance. The materials used to make the body armor have the largest effect on durability. For example, a full ceramic plate might be lightweight, but it cannot be dropped and it will not have multi-hit protection. In contrast, polyethylene is lightweight and offers multi-hit protection.


Many of our competitors, especially those selling AR500 steel plates, claim their armor is NIJ-Listed at Level III+. However, many companies are not referenced on the compliant product list, putting their reliability in question. 

ShotStop Level 3 Body Armor

All ShotStop®  Level III+ plates greatly exceed the current NIJ Level III standards. To provide our customers with the utmost confidence and peace of mind, we offer multiple NIJ-Listed independent laboratory results for each plate.

An often overlooked feature is whether or not the body armor has edge-to-edge protection. Edge-to-edge protection means the body armor plate can be shot along any edge of the armor and will still provide NIJ Level III protection. 


Even though comfort is a relative term, there are 3 characteristics of body armor that determine the level of comfort for the wearer.

First, the overall weight of the plate will have the biggest impact on your level of comfort. Second, the number of curves in a plate will affect how the body armor fits on your chest.

ShotStop® plates are multi-curve to provide more space and flexibility to accommodate different body types. Third, the thickness of the plate will influence maneuverability including running, crouching, or laying prone.

Duritium® Level III+PA

The Duritium® level III+PA Plate is the most impressive plate I’ve ever worn in my life. Hyperbole aside, there is no other stand alone plate with the capability of stopping multiple strikes from a .308 Winchester rifle and only weighing 2.3 lbs per plate (8.75”x11.75”). 

Every American that is concerned with their safety and being prepared, should consider the Level III+PA plate for their bug out backpack.

It’s only 0.7” thick, so you can have one backpack that holds all of the plates for your family and use the rest for the essentials (water, food, sanitation, etc…).

Not only will the Duritium® level III+PA plate provide you with protection from an AR-15, it will stop at least 6 shots without penetration of the armor. 

How Reliable is the Duritium® level III+PA Plate?

ShotStop® provides 5 separate ballistic testing reports for our customers to see, directly on our sales page. We hold ourselves to a higher standard than is always required because when it comes to life and death, we make sure we get it right. 

Is the Duritium® Level III+PA Plate Comfortable?

If you’re concerned about weight, maneuverability, and plate thickness, there is no other plate that offers this level of comfort. All 5 sizes in both SAPI and Shooters Cuts are multi-curve plates to accommodate any body shape. 

Regardless of the plate size, every Duritium® Level III+PA plate is only 0.7” thick. In the ballistic protection industry, we call this a low-profile plate. You can run, slide, duck, crouch, lay prone, and dance without the plate getting in your way of arm movement or restricting side-to-side movement. 

Why Should I buy the Duritium® level III+PA plate? 

There are 5 different sizes for the Duritium® level III+PA plate with the lightest weight per plate at an astonishing 1.8 lbs (8”x10”). I say again, 1.8 lbs for a stand-alone NIJ-Listed Level III plate. If this plate doesn’t exude versatility and durability, I don’t know what does. 

Our competitors will argue that our body armor is twice the cost of the most common AR500 steel. In a lot of circumstances, they’re correct, but just like anything, that’s only part of the story. 

Level III+PA Body Armor

The upfront costs of Duritium® plates are always going to be more expensive than steel plates that can be manufactured in a fraction of the time and resources used to create our Duritium® level III+PA plate. 

ShotStop® offers a 15-year warranty on all of our Level III plates, which is 3x longer than most of our competitors.

The warranty is so important because even though you’ll spend more money upfront on our Duritium® plates, you will have to buy 6 plates by the time you buy 2 of ours. Once you consider the facts, there is no competition on which Level III body armor is best for your bug out bag. 

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1 comment

  • There are a lot of rounds lvl 3 won’t stop and the rounds mentioned are legal for citizens to own

    A on

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