As each passing year gets crazier and crazier, being prepared is starting to sound more like reasonable advice rather than the advice of just conspiracy theorists. There are many different ways to prepare for an emergency scenario.
One of the most basic forms of emergency prepping is to have a Plan B laid out so that you can get out of dodge if shit hits the fan. If you have to flee, having a Bug out Bag filled with all your survival gear is what will ensure you will get from A to B. Those first 72 hours are crucial, as most emergency situations change within 3 days. To get you through those 72 hours we have a collection of bags that will see you through any emergency.
21 Best Survival Backpacks
1. Mystery Ranch 2-day Assault Pack
Best Overall Survival Bag
Dimension: 21 x 12 x 11inches
Material: 500D CORDURA nylon, YKK zippers
Pros: Weatherproof, Lightweight, Nice compartmentalized system for storage and for computer, adjustable straps, Comfortable harness
Cons: Not completely waterproof, but as good as you can get
Description: Here we have a Mystery Ranch overnight pack that is a military-style internal frame tactical backpack, that is lightweight, has padded straps and lots of MOLLE webbing to hang any extra gear
The Mystery Ranch 2-Day Assault Pack is a smaller version of its 3 day assault version. We prefer this one over the 3 day as it is more compact and lighter coming in at 3 pounds and with 27L of space with dual water bottle holders as well as extra webbing, and adjustable straps. Though it says its 2 days bag, it will work for 3-4 days easily.
It has self-contained and isolated compartments and a sturdy reinforced Y-shaped zipper. The bag has internally organized compartments that allow you to carry your knife, kit and food along with any tech that you might want to bring with you or even a computer along in a padded sleeve.
Mystery Ranch has been making bags for 20 years and they claim to field-test their bags in different conditions. The bag is waterproof however the seams are not taped, so whether it’s truly and utterly waterproof may be debatable. Though that seems to be the norm in most bags, but with one of the highest ratings, we have seen for a 2-day bag you likely can’t go wrong.
2. Tactical Rush 72 Bug out Backpack
Best Tactical Bag
Dimension: Main compartment: 23 x 13.5 x 8.5 inches; Front pocket: 15.5 x 11.5 x 2 in; Side pockets: 16.5 x 6 x 1.75 in; Hydration pocket: 21 x 13.5 in
Weight: 5.5 lbs
Material: 1000D nylon
Pros: Water repellent, Comfortably straps, Shoulder straps have a quick release buckle, Different compartments for organizing, Several storage areas
Cons: More compact
Description: This bag is a heavy-duty military-grade tactical backpack that features a military design that is water repellent, has dual zippers and several compartments. It can be used for a variety of circumstances and not just “bugging out” whether it’s for hiking, camping, hunting, or as a tactical or survival bag.
The Bag is considered a 72-hour bag, big enough for several days’ worth of essential gear with 37L worth of storage space. It has a few cool features including fleece-lined glasses pockets, a contoured yoke system with specifically designed pockets for maps and quick-grab items.
There is an internal 60oz hydration system and a comfortable dual density closed cell foam shoulder strap. It has superb reviews across the board. You really can’t go wrong here.
3. Condor 3 Day Assault Pack
Best for EDC
Dimension: Main compartment: 22 x 13 x 8 in; Front pocket: 12.5x 6 x 3 in; Side pockets: 9 x 5 x 2.5 inches; Hydration pocket: 21 x 13.5 in
Weight: 2.5 Pounds
Material: 1000D nylon
Pros: Good storage capacity, D-Ring to attach equipment, Chest strap, Removable waist belt, hydration bladder compartment
Cons: Zippers gets snagged easily
Description: The Condor, 3 Day Assault Pack, is designed to be able to carry gear that would last you at least three days, and likely quite longer as it is a 50L pack which is almost double the size of our first pick and 1/3 bigger than the Tactical Rush. This backpack has a total of seven compartments and is big enough for most anything you are going to need for a 3 days bag.
The bag has well-designed compartments, has extra side compartments for carrying 2x water bottles, as well as radio pockets, pen pockets, and mesh pouching. The pack is on the big side and would likely work well for even a week-long bag.
Condor has been making bags for the past 20 years and is a reputable company that has a tradition of making tactical backpacks and survival go bags. If you are looking for some extra space for your gear this is a good choice.
4. Maxpedition Falcon III Backpack
Best For Concealed Carrying
Dimension: Main compartment: 14 x 7 x 19.5 in; Front pouch: 12 x 15 x 2 in; Hydration pocket: 13 x 18.5 in
Weight: 2 pounds
Material: 1000D Nylon with Teflon fabric protector
Pros: The exterior of the backpack is made with a strong fabric, Waterproof, Good size, Has a lockable CCW (concealed carry) compartment for gun storage
Cons: The strap buckle is a little weak
Description: The Maxepedition Falcon III Backpack will get you through your 72hrs carrying everything you need and likely can hold supplies for longer due to its size which has the capacity to hold 37L. It is lighter than many of the others, coming in at two pounds though it doesn’t seem to affect its durability. This backpack has a rugged look with several compartments and outside straps to hang extra gear.
The bag is a military tactical grade bag that is ergonomically designed with a 1050 water and abrasion-resistant nylon that comes in at just a bit bigger than our first two picks but smaller than the Condor. It comes in several different colors, has lockable zippers and CCW pockets.
The bag is versatile and can be used if your camping, hunting, fishing or in any other outdoor environment. The design is a big bulky and rugged so may not to be used for casual urban wear.
5. Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack
Best for Bugging Out
Dimension: 20.5 x 11.8 x 7.1 in
Weight: 3.49 lbs
Material: 500D DWR Coated Cordura
Pros: Comfortable, Can easily carry supplies that can last you for at least three days.
Cons: The shoulder straps are on the shorter side
Description: This is another quality backpack that was originally manufactured for the military, so you can expect quality. The Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack is also designed as a 72 hour go bag coming in at 31L capacity. The bag is water-resistant, comes with a patented vent system and has a detachable second pack that is attached to the main compartment.
It comes with a hydration sleeve and is well suited as a tactical, hunting or gear bag. It also has space for laptops and other electronic devices such as flashlights and cords. It offers laser-cut MOLLE on the front and the detachable has tons of extra storage pockets and zipped spaces. The 500D Cordura fabric makes it lightweight yet still maintaining its heavy-duty feel all the while made in the USA. This bag comes in camo as well as 8 other variations. If you looking for a military looking bag, that is roomy, compartmentalized sections, this might be the one.
6. Propper Tactical Range Bag
Best Shoulder Bag For Hunting
Dimension: 15 x 10 x 7in
Material: 100% polyester
Pros: Lots of compartments, Can carry a heavy load, Durable material, MOLLEE webbing, Easily customizable
Cons: A bit small, Zipper isn’t the best quality
Description: Propper is a widely used tactical bag manufacturer based in the USA. It has a rugged design and is a duffel bag that has both a shoulder sling and a carry sling. It has a simple design that is lighter and smaller than the others that we have on the list. This is a bag that is an alternative to the standard shoulder strap backpacks in case you are looking for something different. It does have several compartments and a side zipper pouch that allows for carrying accessories quite easily.
It is often used as a hunting bag as the company markets itself as a maker of makes military-grade tactical bags which is reassuring knowing that it will be durable and able to withstand different harsh environments. If your looking for a side shoulder bag, look no further.
7. 5.11 Tactical 4-Banger Bag
Best Sholder Bag
Dimension: 7 H” x 15.5” L x 3” D
Material: 500D nylon, 1050D reinforcements, YKK zippers
Pros: Waterproof, Has a special pocket for you to store your magazines safely, Adjustable strap, Easy carrying, Secret compartment, Durable
Cons: Nothing bad to say about it!
Description: The Tactical 4-Banger Bag is a shoulder sling bag that can be used for many different environments from urban to rural. It was originally envisioned as a hunting bag and with that in mind it was constructed with many compartments so that it could hold multiple firearms with ammo and accessories.
The bag comes with a reinforced waterproofing treatment that can withstand torrential downpours. It features a concealed compartment, waterproof zipping, adjustable straps and high abrasion zippers. As a tactical bag, this means it was built tough which can be seen in the 500D Nylon material.
The bag was originally marketed by the company 5.11 as a “mission bag” for first responders and military personnel. What works out nicely is that it works great for a home EDC bag for preppers looking for a multi-use alternative bug-out bag.
8. Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical Backpack
Best Compact Bag
Dimensions: 27 x 48 x 18 cm
Weight: 3.4 lbs
Material: 100% Cordura 500D
Pros: Good ventilation, Works for EDC use, Nice design, Tons of inside packet space, MOLLEE webbing, Lots of adjustable straps
Cons: The backpack is a bit on the smaller side
Description: The Dragon Egg tactical backpack is made with water-resistant Cordura 500D material which we find to be sturdy and the exact type of material we look for in high end tactical bags. The Direct Action Dragon Egg backpack was designed with the military in mind, and as we mentioned before they are the perfect type of bags for bugging out, as you can ensure they can withstand a beating.
It has some patented tech that comes in the combat vent system preventing your back from getting drenched with sweat. The bag is relatively lightweight and has a capacity of 30L of space.
With its ballistic weave, waterproof coating and super padded straps and back, the Dragon Egg Tactical Backpack won’t be taking any prisoners.
9. Reebow Gear Military Tactical Backpack
Best Budget Survival Bag
Dimensions: 13” x 20” x 11”
Weight: 3.02 Pounds
Pros: Affordable, Quality material, solid zippers, A lot of space, Double stitching
Cons: Some of the molle in the backpack are poorly spaced.
Description: The Reebow Bag is a rugged water-resistant bag with double stitching that runs along all the seams together with a 600×600 fabric makes sure you won’t have to worry about the bag quitting on you.
It also comes with side and front compression straps, has space to include a hydration bladder (though it doesn’t come with the bag). You will notice that the bag is not very rigid, while it does provide some support and padding it is easily collapsable.
If you’re looking for a backpack that will be able to serve as your one and only – this is it.
10. SOG Ninja Survival Day Pack
Best EDC Bag
Dimensions: 17.1 x 11.1 x 6.1
Weight: 1.94 Pounds
Pros: Lifetime warranty, Cost-effective, Heavy-duty molle webbing, 7 colors
Cons: Stitching isn’t the greatest
Description: The Ninja Survival Day Pack is a 24L bag as much edgy day-to-day bag as a survival bag. It has a few noteworthy features such as it being water resistant, it allows for hydration compatibility and has contoured foam that gives a layer of padding for your shoulders and back.
The multiple air channels in the back combined with airy mesh enhances air flow to help prevent heat build-up and sweating. Side compression straps give the pack a compact look when fully loaded.
This is a simple bag, but coming in at the cheapest on the list we won’t say anything bad about it.
11. 24BattlePack Tactical Backpack
Best Budget Survival Bag
Dimensions: 10″L x 13″W x 19″H
Weight: 2.7 pounds
Pros: Waterproof, Multiple compression straps, Seams are double stitched, Over sized zips, Great value for money
Cons: Not the best design
Description: The Battlepack Tactical Backpack is a 40L military backpack that may not be visually appealing but it makes up for it with a few cool little features.
It has the standard padded straps and back with breathable mesh, double-stitched seams and a few nifty pockets for your laptop or tablet.
What makes this bad a bit different is that it is waterproof. While most other bags only claim to be water-resistant, these guys go the whole way.
We’re going to start off our list with this military survival backpack, the Mardington Internal Frame Backpack. The reason for that is because this backpack has an excellent variety of features that make it ideal for nearly anyone who is shopping for a survival bag.
It has a huge 50-75 L liter capacity depending on size which means you can easily store your survival gear, like a plate carrier vest, as well as days’ worth of food. If you have awkward items that don’t fit well in a bag, there are many MOLLE loops on the exterior as well as a rain cover to keep your gear from getting ruined in bad weather.
When using the Mardington, it feels nice on the frame. The load tends to sit high up and the waistband helps allow your hips to hold some of the weight. There are detachable pockets to hold things like compasses, headlamps, flashlights, and camping stoves.
This backpack is the epitome of a survival backpack. It’s versatile, dependable, large, and touch. Even if you need to stuff it full of gear, the shoulder straps, waistband, and chest strap keep the weight distributed to avoid excess fatigue.
This backpack has great stitching and a detachable pocket on top for things like energy bars, first aid kits, maps, or other things you need to get to quickly. It utilizes an internal frame to keep your gear from getting smashed and destroyed while in use.
Another perk of this bag is that it comes in several colors including camp, army green, navy blue, and black. It’s a great bag that can hold whatever you need and won’t leave your back aching at the end of the day. A solid choice for most people, this is one to watch for.
- Features water resistant 600D polyester throughout
- Large amount of MOLLE webbing on exterior for extra gear
- Adjustable chest strap prevents loaded pack from moving around.
- May not be as big as expected
The 5.11 Rush24 Military Tactical Backpack is an extremely popular tactical backpack that is made to hold 24 hours’ worth of supplies when out of your home. It was built to be a waterproof backpack for survival that offers tons of space while letting you easily go long distances.
The backpack is created out of 1050D nylon and has PUx2 to create a higher level of water repellency. This leads to a material that is lightweight but sturdy and works well for use in tough environments. It will resist water well when in bad weather while also resisting wear and tear.
The stitching used on this bag is top-quality to prevent you from slowing down due to damage. The storage compartments were also created to be the best you can find. There are YKK zippers, which are self-repairing, which is another aspect of this backpack that shows how durable it really is.
As far as the storage does, this bag is one of the best you will find. It has plenty of storage room along with a large number of pockets so you can easily organize all your gear. The main compartment is 20 x 12.5 x 8 inches and has a 2070 cubic inch capacity.
There are three mesh pockets in the main pocket for storing small items without losing them. One of them features a pull cord which makes it ideal for batteries, keys, and other small items you might need. There are also pockets at the top of the bag to hold loose items like fire starter and loose change.
The bag has a huge amount of padded areas to take pressure off of your back as well as comfortable shoulder straps. There are even compression straps to compress the bag when it’s not completely full.
- Many pockets available for storage and organization
- Dual compression straps help keep your gear nice and secure
- Offers comfort and excellent weight distribution
- Some may find there are an excessive amount of pockets
When looking at the Reebow Gear Military Tactical Backpack, you are looking at a superior military survival backpack. It offers 34 liters of capacity, which is plenty for a day walk or even an overnight trip camping or hiking. Some say that is works as a three day pack, but it might not be the best for that much gear.
This bag doesn’t have the largest dimensions at 13 x 20 x 11 inches but once you open it up, it has more space than you would expect. It’s also made to last a long time. It has double stitched seams, heavy duty zippers, and the material is both durable and water resistant.
While this backpack doesn’t come with a hydration bladder, it is compatible with a 2.5 liter one from top brands like Platypus or CamelBak. That means you can easily drink while traveling without having to slow down. Just keep in mind that you will need to pick up the hydration bladder separately if you want that functionality.
As one of the top survival backpacks for sale, this backpack offers adjustable waist and shoulder strips. There is plenty of mesh padding in the shoulder straps and a chest strap between them. This lets you really customize where the weight falls onto your shoulders.
Just like other waterproof survival backpacks, this backpack offers a robust MOLLE system. However, it has spacing that is a bit different from standard military spacing. There is a bit less than a half inch between the MOLLEs. However, for most people, this won’t be a serious problem.
This backpack offers a large number of compartments and pockets, enough for even the most serious gear collector. All in all, it offers all of the best features and a good quality at a reasonable price.
- Offers tons of pockets for extra gear
- Features great quality and craftsmanship
- Comfortable for all sorts of activities
- Side MOLLE strips are spaced awkwardly
Just as those who enjoy going out into the wilderness to explore need strength, they also need a durable and well-made survivor backpack. The Teton Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack is a tough bag that is made of sturdy materials.
This backpack has a sturdy internal frame. This not only helps keep all your gear where you put it, but it also gives you a boost in keeping your balance. This backpack weighs less than five pounds, which might seem heavy for some, but it has the structure you need for long excursions in the forest.
This is one of the larger capacity survival backpacks on our list. It has a capacity of 65 liters or 4000 cubic inches, which is more than enough to stuff all your gear into. In fact, you can easily get everything you need inside even when you’ll be away from home for a few days in a row.
This backpack offers many exterior pockets for packing weirdly shaped and bulky items that might not work well in the interior. It also lets you have easy access to items you might need from time to time without delving into the confines of the backpack.
Most people prefer an internal frame tactical backpack which is just what you get here. The frame is created of a flexible aluminum to give both comfort and strength when hiking. It also fits the contour lines of the body so carrying all your items is a breeze.
This backpack also features padded shoulder straps to take some of the weight from the backpack away from you for easier movement. It also comes with a hydration system that can hold up to a three liter bag so you can drink as you walk or travel.
- Light backpack with tons of storage space
- Easy to use compression straps great for beginners
- Adjustable for all sizes of torso heights
- Some users find sleeping bag compartment too small
A great backpack is essential for camping, hiking, or survivalists and the 5.11 Rush72 Tactical Backpack 58602 is one of the best burg out bags survival backpacks. This backpack offers a PUx2 coating for water repellency and is created of 1050D nylon.
This backpack comes in an assortment of colors ranging from black to flat earth dark, TAC OD, multicam, black, and sandstone. It comes with #8 and #10 YKK nylon zippers which are self-repairing and created for heavy duty outdoor use. The pocket flaps also include water repellent coating to prevent getting your gear moist.
This is the largest of the 5.11 Rush backpacks and is created to offer space for three days’ worth of gear. It is designed to be used by campers, firefighters, survivalists, law enforcement, and military personnel.
The shoulder straps have an oval design that goes over the shoulders and neck. The middle area has a curve and is attached to the straps on your shoulders. This helps create the best weight distribution across your shoulders and back. There is also a handle at the top so you can grab the bag and go quickly.
The main storage compartment in this bag is 47 liters or 2894 cubic inches. That’s without taking into account the pouches and side pockets of which there are many. One pouch is lined with fleece to store items like smartphones and glasses while preventing them from getting scratched.
A rear hydration pocket is available with a tube opening as well as deep pockets and mesh pockets to store different sorts of gear. In addition to having many pockets, they are designed well to prevent friction if your items start moving around. There are also pull strings for tying the zippers so your bag will not open on accident.
- Offers excellent comfort and distribution of weight
- Compression strap system helps keep your gear secure
- Plenty of pockets for storage of gear.
- Features no ergonomics for extra comfort
If what you are looking for is a backpack that is well-thought out and designed, the Elite Survival Systems Stealth Covert Operations Backpack is one of the top options on the market today. It’s durable and low-key in appearance for the perfect backpack for an urban environment. It’s also well-priced so you don’t need to break your bank.
This backpack is created from 500D nylon and includes a chest strap that includes a built in whistle. The backpack straps are well padded and there is a removable waist strap along with zippered pockets on each side of the bag. There is also a rubber handle at the top so you can grab it and go without any issues.
Each side of the backpack along the bottom offers a mesh water bottle holder. It is designed for the standard 16.9 ounce size. There is no hydration system as many users of this backpack use it to transport their firearm and having a water bladder nearby could get messy.
The main use of this bag is to hold a short-barrel rifle in a discrete manner. The main storage compartment is lined with loops of Velcro so you can customize the fit to your firearm. The compartment in the middle has PALS webbing and Velcro for accessories. The final outer compartment is small and has many pockets for tiny pieces of gear.
This backpack is about the same size as a three day pack but is largely created for carrying weapons. However, it can also double as a hiking pack. However, there aren’t a lot of attachment options on the outside so use of the compartments will have to do the job.
- Comfortable to use on long distances
- Easy to use buckles and zippers that don’t snag
- Features water bottle holders for easy access to hydration
- Some survivalists may prefer a larger backpack
This military survival backpack works well for someone hiking, those who enjoy backpacking, or even people going on a day trip. The Direction Action Dragon Egg Tactical Backpack comes from a well-known company that sells many military products like knives, apparel, and pouches. They have numerous backpacks on the market but this one is a head above the rest.
This is a survival backpack made of 500D Cordova which is covered in waterproofing. It weighs in at about three pounds, which is pretty reasonable. This backpack can handle a capacity of 25 liters of belongings and comes in several colors and patterns. While it might look small, it can easily get you through a day long excursion no matter where you are.
The inside of this bag is where the real magic happens with several high quality features. There is laser cut PALS webbing for all your bulky gear which helps prevent snags and cuts down on the weight of the backpack. It also has a paracord handle for easy movement even if you’re grabbing the bag and leaving.
This backpack uses heavy-duty invisible YKK zippers as well as quick-release buckles for the carrying straps and a rear panel with extra ventilation. There are two exterior zippered pockets as well as a back compartment that can hold a hydration bladder or a laptop of up to 15 inches. There are also zippered pockets on the interior for easy access to small items. D-ring attachment points are available for specialized gear.
This survival bag has everything you need for a short trip and it performs very well when used as expected. Those who aren’t looking for a multi-day backpack will likely find it fits their needs perfectly.
- Features a comfortable back panel for long travels
- Offers a large number of compartments and pockets
- Lightweight two-day backpack is versatile
- Belt around hip is not padded
Those who are looking for durability, a large amount of space, and a backpack that is robust enough for all sorts of activities will want to be aware of the Drakon Outdoors Waterproof Dry Bag Survival Backpack. This backpack comes from a provider known globally for offering high-quality products. This backpack itself is no exception to that rule.
This particular backpack is made of sturdy materials that are also lightweight. This makes it an excellent choice for camping, hunting, hiking, and many other outdoor activities. It has plenty of space while allowing you to keep important items at the ready for when you really need them. As such, this is a backpack that is worthy of its place among the best backpack for an emergency kit.
In addition to the large interior compartment, this Drakon survival bag has six different compartments on the exterior. That means you have no need to open up the bag, dig through your belongings, and find what you’re looking for. Just put the things you need on the outside and grab them at your leisure.
This is a highly user-friendly survival backpack for sale both because of the additional compartments and because it’s created in a way where it keeps strain and stress off of your back and shoulders. It also comes with a warranty so if there is an issue, you can easily get it handled without stress or worry.
- Durable and sturdy construction to last
- Huge storage capacity and able to be used for various purposes
- Lightweight to prevent fatigue
- Some would prefer longer hydration sleeves
This wilderness survival backpack has a very unique design that is sure to be appreciated by a wide range of individuals. The Elite Survival Systems Guardian Concealed Carry Tactical EDC Pack offers the internal features wanted for a daily carry backpack while giving you the versatility of a modular backpack. What really sets it apart is that it also includes a concealed carry compartment.
The construction of this backpack is a 1000D nylon which is lightweight while being capable of carrying a large amount of gear. The zippers are heavy duty and use a covered zipper chain to increase water resistance. There is also an additional zippered pocket for documents on the front as well as a Velcro panel to attach patches and other items.
There is plenty of room to hold your small and bulky items on the backpack through the use of laser cut MOLLE on the sides and front. Those who wear glasses can make use of an eyewear pocket that has a soft lining to prevent any scratches. There are also accessory pockets that can hold water bottles on each side of this model.
Just as there is an interior pocket to hold plenty, there is also a mesh pocket on the inside to hold smaller items. There is also an organizational pocket with a key hook, table pocket, zippered pockets, and flat accessory compartments. The laptop compartment is apart from other areas and has soft nylon to keep your electronics safe.
This backpack comes with a concealment compartment with a zipper with an internal holster. This allows you to access is from either side of the pack depending on whether you are right or left handed.
- Thoughtfully designed and well made for long term use
- Plenty of interior MOLEE webbing included
- Well padded for the ultimate comfort
- May be more expensive than some options
Our final best survival backpack is the Gelindo Military Backpack. This is a high-quality bag that offers many of the top features while being extremely affordable. Those who are looking to save money should certainly give this product a look before choosing a more expensive option.
The backpack comes with a camouflage design that is aesthetically pleasing and utilizes the MOLLE system. This means that you can easily combine it with other equipment using accessory kits, loading pockets, water bottle bags, and much more. There is very little likelihood that you won’t be able to carry whatever you want using the system.
This has a 35 liter capacity which is pretty reasonable for most people. It can be used for a hunting trip, hiking expedition, survival backpack, bug out bag, three day assault pack, and more. While it’s not the largest bag out there, the size is enough for me and leads to a backpack that is very lightweight.
There is an insulation compartment included that can facilitate a water bladder if you don’t mind picking one up separately. It also features a waist belt that is extra wide and can be used to store small items. Phones, cards, and keys will be right where you want them even while in the midst of traveling.
This bag is durable and reliable with high density fabric, double stitching, safety reflectors, and high quality zippers. It makes a good choice for someone who wants an inexpensive backpack.
- MOLLE and belt strap let you customize the bag to your needs
- Lots of padding on straps for extreme comfort
- Offers a bladder compartment for hydration
- Material not as premium as rip stop nylon
Buyers Guide for Best Survival Backpacks
For those of you that are new to survival prepping, a bug out bag or ‘BOB’ is a backpack that can be grabbed at the drop of a hat containing all your necessary survival gear so you can “bug out” or leave the place in a hurry and get to some safe space in times of emergency.
The focus here is on preparing yourself in response to an emergency. Bug-out bags are used more for evacuation and should contain anything you might need for 72 hours in comparison to long-term survival kits that may contain more longer-term gear.
Originally the term “bug out” was used in the Korean Way back in the 1950s in wartime when your position was threatened to be overrun by enemy combats and you needed to bug out or survive in the field with minimal gear.
Since then it has been used primarily by the military and special forces who often have go-kits that allow personnel to survive on missions carrying essential emergency gear should trouble arise and they get stuck behind enemy lines. Since then survivalists and the larger prepping community started using the term as the subculture became more popular in America.
Other terms such as ‘go bags’ or ‘prep bags’ are all roughly synonymous. Other terms that are often used are and can be found and used interchangeably are:
- 72-hour bag
- Emergency bag
- Survival bag
- Battle Box
- Go Bag
- Evacuation bag
- Survival bag
- SHTF bag – Shit Hit The Fan bag
- GOOD bag -Get Out Of Dodge bag
- INCH bag- I’m Never Coming Home Again Bag
Although there is a difference with an INCH bag, as these usually contain gear you are going to need for a longer duration. The idea is that it’s a bag used when you are ‘running away’. Other than that all the other bag terms may be used slightly differently depending on the context.
What are These Types of Bags Used For?
Bug out Bags are emergency bags used in different emergency scenarios that can help you get from one place to another – fast. There is no perfect bag out there, as each type of bag and what you put in it will be depending upon the situation.
For instance, you might have a go-bag in your car, just in case you have to drive long distances in remote terrain and if your car breaks down you have some supplies to help see you through.
Originally a go-bag is used as a bag containing emergency supplies that is kept in your home that is already packed and ready to go that it can be grabbed if you have to run out of your house at a moment’s notice. This might be for any number of reasons, from natural disasters such as a tornado or flood to man-made disasters such as riots or the rise of the zombies.
Jokes aside, there is more to being prepared than just throwing some things together in a bag and calling it a day. Before buying a bug bag, you should first plan why you need a go-bag. Planning will allow you to decide what type of bag you need and more importantly, what you need to put in it.
Why is planning so important you may ask? Good question. In any type of emergency scenario, you will be unable to plan as the emergency begins to unfold in real-time your only focus will be reacting to the circumstances, there will be no time to think of what to bring as you will only have minutes before you will need to leave.
Planning out the scenario of what you are going to do when disaster strikes - ensures that you will be ready.
With all that being said, the type of bag will depend upon what type of circumstances you are preparing for.
For more>> Check Out Our post on Bug Out List: Things You Need in an Emergency
Checklist of What to Look for When Selecting a Bug Out Bag
One of the most important things to consider when buying a backpack is what material it’s made with. The best materials are: nylon, polyester or some form of synthetic fabric; which make for water-resistant and durable backpacks.
Have a look at the type of fabric that the bag is made out of. Getting thick nylon is often what most of the bug-out bags are made of usually 500D or 100D material which will ensure they will not rip easily.
Many people believe that a backpack made of military-grade materials would be best because it is extremely durable and water-resistant, but there are also some pros to buying backpacks with more lightweight fabric like nylon or polyester; these fabrics can breathe better than heavy duty cloths which means that then when they get wet they dry easier.
2. Storage compartments
Having some extra compartments is always nice, especially if you have gear that is important to be able to get to quickly in an emergency. Having separate compartments to put things like your compass, flashlight, lighter, knife etc will definitely come in handy.
Having straps and back support that are thick and padded will make it comfortable enough so that you will not be cursing each time you strap the bag on.
Not all backpacks are created equal. If you need a bag for day trips then 20 liters should be enough, but if your looking for a multi day bag for hiking or camping gear then 40+ liters would be better. There are much larger bags of course but going any bigger for a survival bag would just be overdoing it. If you were going to be using a backpack to go hiking and let’s say scale Mt Everest, then ya I would go for a 100L backpack or the biggest on you can find!
A bug-out backpack should be big enough to fit in all necessary supplies, which means that it is kind of up to you. We have a range of bags on here going from 27L to 50L. While 27L is enough for some, it might be a bit too small for someone who has to carry extra gear for their family or if they need to carry extra warm clothes as well as tech gear.
The size of your backpack is a very important decision. You want the bag to be big enough for everyday needs, but not too bulky that it becomes difficult to carry around with you all day long.
How much a survival backpack costs will depend on a number of factors, such as the size and material. The cheapest generally go for $25-$75 while more expensive models can be anywhere from 100- 400+.
The key thing to remember is that your backpack will probably last you at least one or two decades so it’s worth investing in something high quality right off.
For More>> If you are Looking to Spend Less Check Out How to Get a Free Tactical Backpack
Different Types of Backpacks on the Market
The reality is that there is no one survival gear backpack that will fit the needs of absolutely everyone. There are pros and cons to every type of backpack out there and you’ll have to consider your own preferences before buying a survival rucksack. There are a few things that you want to consider before going forward with a purchase.
- While using the backpack, how much gear do you plan to typically be carrying?
- How important is organization to you when it comes to storing your gear?
- Is this bag going to be only used for survival purposes or is it a bag for everything?
- Will you be carrying your survival back pack while at work, school, or traveling?
- Are you going to use this bag on a regular basis or only when needed in an emergency situation?
There are a few types of survival backpacks that we want to go over. The three main styles are discreet bags, military packs, and outdoor backpacks. We’ll look at what you can expect from each of these so you can decide which best fits your needs.
One of the biggest positives of this style is that it tends to have a rugged construction without being overly heavy. This sort of outdoor pack is designed to be comfortable to wear, lightweight on long hikes, and will tend to have a better construction than a random bag you pick up at a big box store for your kid to wear to school.
However, the bag you choose is also going to come down to how much you need to carry, how long you want the gear to last in a survival situation, and what you need to fit into your tactical survival backpack. Some people want to fit everything under the sink in but going lighter can be faster so making some hard decisions might be in order.
Since light bags are a positive thing, it’s worth considering an ultralight backpack. These are very popular and easy to find. They are going to be the most comfortable to carry and will be the lightest. Many of these bags used to have performance issues, but that has changed in recent years. If you plan to travel over a long distance, this bag can prevent fatigue and may be a good option.
However, these bags do tend to have limited organization and compartments available. Because all of these things add to the weight of the bag, extras are at a minimum. Most have only a large compartment which can be difficult to organize. This may or may not matter to you, but it’s something to consider.
Traditional Hiking Bags
This sort of bag is going to be durable and have a great construction because it is designed to be carried over a long distance. They come in three types:
- Frameless packs are the lightest bags, but they don’t do well transferring weight from your shoulder to hips
- Internal frame bags used rods to create a stiffer build. They can more easily transfer weight to make them easier to use on a long hike. They also tend to work well if you end up needing to do any climbing
- External frame bags are uncommon nowadays and can be hard to find. They transfer weight well and let you carry more items over a distance. Some people prefer them to internal frame bags
All in all, those who carry and have a lot of tactical gear like knifes, weapons, and MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) gear, the bags may not be the best choice. They can also be very noticeable to others, which may be a plus or a minus, depending on your preferences.
If you want something between an outdoor survival backpack and a military bag, the best survival backpack for you may be a hunting bag. They are often camo or another color that blends in. They often have suspension systems or load filters for ease when hauling large amounts of gear. Many allow you to attach a bow or rifle. These also most often have external frames.
That said, camo bags can stand out among other people. In a disaster situation, that may not be what you’re looking for. If you’re just looking for a rugged bag, that shouldn’t be a real issue.
Military Style Backpacks
If you aren’t super concerned about how much your survivalist backpack weighs, a military backpack might be the right choice for you. This is especially the case if you want the utmost in organization and storage. These backpacks tend to be heavy but are extremely durable and created to handle harsh conditions. Many have an attachment system to clip gear to your bag.
The largest benefit of this kind of bag is that you can attach accessories and utility packs using a MOLLE system. MOLLE Packs use something called PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System) to allow you to attach gear to the backpack. There will be a grid made of webbing so you can attach nearly anything you want. Many radio pounces, knife sheaves, and magazine pouches are made for this system.
The biggest disadvantage of this sort of bag is that it can weight a lot. Someone who isn’t able to carry a lot or who has a bag back will find a hiking backpack is much more reasonable to use.
Related: Best Survival Watch
Discreet Survival Backpacks
Those who are most concerned with having a bag that is discreet and not flashy are likely to enjoy survival bags that do not cause people to take a second look at you. If you are in a crisis situation, you might want to avoid people noticing you have a bag filled with survival items.
This is why many people prefer a bag that does not draw any extra attention to you. Tactical bags will stand out, as will strapping extra items onto the bag which can give an idea of what is inside. The only real issue with this sort of bag is that they are typically not made for long distance.
Buying the Right Size of Backpack
You’re going to find out pretty quickly that backpacks come in a wide range of sizes. Even if that comes down to a choice between small, medium, and large – you might wonder which will best fit your body. The good news is that taking a couple of measurements can answer this question quickly.
Measuring the Length of Your Torso
If you have a buddy who can help you do the measuring, that’s ideal for this. What you want to do is measure vertically from your neck (the bony bump at the base of it) down to the center of your back where your hip bones are. A small survival backpack works for those whose measurement is 16 inches or small, medium works for those up to about 19.5 inches, and large is needed if your measurement is over 20 inches.
Measuring the Size of Your Hips
Measuring the size of your hips is not as important as having an accurate torso length but it should still be done. What you want to do is measure around your hips, from the belly button to your side and to the hip bones. Many of the backpacks you see are going to be suited for many hip sizes.
When you use the belt of your backpack, it should straddle your hips around an inch above and below the place you just spend time measuring. You want it to wrap around the pelvic bones you find in front. This will give weight relief as well as the best possible comfort.
Understanding How to Pack a Survival Backpack
In most cases, your survival rucksack is going to load from the top. That means whatever you put in first should be items you will rarely need. This might include things like sweaters, t-shirts, extra socks, and the like. After that, you might add items like food preparation supplies and food. At the top you can add the tent and stakes.
If your backpack has outside pockets, this is a good space to put your GPS device, tactical flashlight, compass, and other items. The MOLLE mesh can be used for everything else that won’t fit inside your backpack easily.
Your Needs Matter Above All Else
If what you want is a bag that you can take on extended hikes, you may want a hiking backpack as it will be designed to make that comfortable. If you want a bag to grab and go in an emergency, a military bag might be the best option. They tend to be inexpensive, easier to carry gear, and simple to organize.
That said, you want to really look through your options when choosing the right survival bag. Look at the capacity of the bag and what materials it is made from. It’s also important that the bag fits you. Anything that doesn’t will hurt your back and make moving around a real drag.
Consider all of these things before buying the best survival backpack kit. The options above are the best out there, so you can trust in their quality and abilities. However, even if you choose another bag, think about all aspects of it and whether it meets your needs. This will be the difference between a backpack you love and one that you might want to trade in.
These days it can be worth it to be prepared. You really never know what might happen. Having a bug out bag with some life savings gear can be relatively inexpensive and is totally worth it. Getting a bag is just one step in the process.
There is no one size fits all. If there was we would have the Mystery Ranch at the top.