Whether you like to go hunting, enjoy hiking, do a lot of traveling, or simply want to be prepared for a potential emergency, the first thing you want to own is the best emergency backpack you can get your hands on. This is also often called a bug out bag by survivalists and emergency preppers.
The idea behind this backpack is that everything you could possibly need while in the wilderness is comfortably situated in a backpack anytime you are on the move. Most people believe that the best backpacks should be capable of holding everything you need for a three-day emergency. But deciding which backpack is right for you can be a little challenging.
The good news is that there are tons of options on the market. Both military, outdoor, and civilian backpacks can do the job depending on your specific needs. Today we’re going to look at the top 11 survival backpacks on the market. We’ll look at what makes them unique and what you can expect from them.
We’ll also share some tips for selecting the bag that best meets your needs. By the time you reach the end of this article, you’ll be knowledgeable and well-equipped to choose the right backpack for yourself or your loved ones. Let’s take a look at the top backpacks first to get an idea of what is out there.
The Best Survival Backpack: Reviews & Comparisons
Mardington Internal Frame Backpack
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 65 liter capacity 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.
5.11 Rush24 Military Tactical Backpack 58601
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.
Reebow Gear Military Tactical Backpack
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.
Teton Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack
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.
5.11 Rush72 Tactical Backpack 58602
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.
Elite Survival Systems Stealth Covert Operations Backpack
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.
AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack with Rainfly
One of the top positives you will find talked about with the AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack with Rainfly is just how durable it is. While it wasn’t designed to hold extreme weight, it works well as a backpack for hiking or camping. It offers many of the features you find on hiking backpacks at a reasonable price.
This backpack comes in a 55, 65, or 75 liter capacity which should be more than enough for nearly anyone. The extra five liters comes from the extendable collar on the bag. The backpack’s durability comes from the high quality polyester used in its construction.
There are many pockets and compartments to carry all the gear you need while traveling. This is one of the best options for survival backpacking out there. It is 35 inches long and offers water repellent coating. It comes in two colors which are black or green.
While hiking or camping, the polyester fabric performs well and is preferred for its exceptional storage space. The many pockets and compartments let you easily organize your gear and clothing before heading out. It also has compression straps with multi-directional feature. This helps keep the backpack firmly on your back without jostling around.
There is a special compartment to hold a sleeping bag, so you can really take everything you need with you when heading into the wilderness. It helps keep the sleeping bag rolled up nice and tight while allowing you easy access to it. In addition, the backpack has a rainfly to double up with the repellant used on the bag.
This is a reliable survival bag which will keep your stuff from getting wet no matter where you go. It makes for a good choice if you are trying to get a great value for your money.
Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical 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.
Drakon Outdoors Waterproof Dry Bag Survival Backpack
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.
Elite Survival Systems Guardian Concealed Carry Tactical EDC Pack
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.
Gelindo Military Tactical Backpack
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.
How to Choose the Best Survival Backpack 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.
If you are considering the best survival backpacks, you may want to look toward the outdoor enthusiast community. 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 else you might need to attach to 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 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.