Known in survivalist circles as ‘bug-out backpacks’, having the best survival backpack is one of the most important pieces of gear you can own. Whether you’re a camper, hunter, hiker, or a prepper, your pack will set the tone for your survival plan, as once you have it, everything else falls into place.
A decent survival pack should be comfortable to wear and run with, not hurt your shoulders, fit everything you need, have room for a 72-hour emergency kit, and allow you to organize your gear as effectively as you want. When it comes to being prepared for anything that comes your way, a survival pack will safely store and transport your gear, and in emergencies, having the right gear can be the difference between life and death for you and your family.
How to Choose the Best Survival Backpack
There are many options when it comes to backpacks these days, and survival packs are no exception. From civilian to military, there are hundreds of packs on the market. What it comes down to is which one’s best suit your needs, wants, and budget. Some important features to consider include weight, comfort, straps, design, color, durability, airflow, and carrying capacity.
An important factor to consider is that emergency wilderness situations require a lot of movement, so you will want your pack to be as lightweight as possible so the bulk of the weight you’re carrying is from the gear and not the pack itself. Backpacks with internal frames are great as they help with support, function, and weight transfer to your hips.
You will only be able to carry your pack for as long as it is comfortable to do so. Your pack should sit comfortably on your shoulders with all your gear in it. The straps should be a good width for your body type and be adjustable. Once that pack is filled with your gear, it will press down on those shoulders, so make sure the pack straps are nice and wide. Sternum straps are also a good idea to take some pressure off your shoulders and keep the pack well-balanced.
Straps are key to a pack’s comfort. Look for wide padded straps. Hip straps share the pack’s weight between your shoulders and thigh muscles for a more comfortable carry.
When it comes time to select your survival pack, get all of your gear together beforehand, and don’t forget to include absolutely everything, including your 72-hour emergency kit. Once you see the gear and know how much it weighs, it will be much easier to select the right-sized pack for your survival needs. Ideally, in addition to your gear, your pack should still have some space for extra items you might pick up along your travels.
When it comes to color, this is often a personal choice, but when it comes to survival packs, you will want one that does not attract attention. Camouflage or neutral greens and browns are always a good option.
Your backpack will need to be durable enough to withstand the wilderness and all that comes with it. It will need to be rugged, weatherproof, and strong.
While many survival backpacks are made of nylon as it is waterproof and lightweight, it is not particularly breathable, and during a long carry, your back can start to sweat and overheat. A great feature to consider is ventilation technology. Mesh back panels provide decent airflow, allows your skin to breathe, and stops you from overheating.
Perhaps the most important feature is the size. The larger a pack, the harder it is to move freely; The smaller it is, the less gear you can take with you. No matter what the situation is, you will need to be able to move and move quickly with your pack fully loaded. Most recommended are 20-to-50-liter backpacks which offer substantial carrying capacity but aren’t too large to hamper movement.
Top 5 Survival Backpacks Review
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The Condor 3-day assault pack checks all the boxes. They design this pack for easily accessing your gear, has a large-load carrying compartment, and 7 additional pockets for organization.
It is compatible with a hydration pack with a 2-or-3 liter bladder and features contoured shoulder straps with a handy D-ring for easy equipment attachment, a sternum strap, and a removable waist belt for proper weight distribution and balance.
This bag can carry up to 50 liters and features a foam pad back panel to facilitate airflow, prevent overheating, and for added comfort. With a drag handle and available in black sand, brown, or camouflage, this pack has an impressive list of features.
The ArcEnCiel military backpack is an impressive pack suited to a variety of situations. It features a computer compartment, PALS webbings for adding additional cargo, top-to-bottom zipper construction, and has numerous pockets for storage and organization.
It features an ergonomic design, an X-Lock bungee system for attaching extra items to the outside, an adjustable water-resistant cover, MOLLE system, comfortable padded shoulder straps, carries strap, top zipper pocket, and is an affordable option delivering a lot of impressive and useful features.
Amongst survivalists, tactical packs are often the best as they are designed for ultimate durability and functionality. The Rush72 tactical military pack fits the bill. It is constructed from 1000D nylon, with 55-liter carrying capacity.
It is MOLLE compatible, has a dual-zippered front, and zippers are glove-friendly for use in colder weather situations. There are numerous compartments for organization, a large front pocket, the main compartment, a hydration pocket, and dual-side pockets.
This pack is highly versatile and durable enough to suit a variety of uses and emergencies.
What we like:
• 55-litre carrying capacity
• Foam dual-compressed straps
• Waist strap
• Numerous pockets
• High-quality zippers
• MOLLE compatible
• Available in numerous colors
• 1000D nylon
What we don’t like:
• No reflective pulls on the zippers made them hard to find in the dark
The Maxpedition Gyrafalcon pack has a carrying capacity of 36 liters and a removable and adjustable frame for ultimate comfort and balance. It features a wide load-bearing waist belt with PALS attachments, 5 compression straps, and webbing tie-downs for attaching additional cargo.
This pack is designed with ergonomics in mind and is made from 1050-denier water and abrasion-resistant nylon. Designed with durability and comfort in mind, this is an excellent bug-out bag option.
The ARMYCAMOUSA military tactical backpack is a versatile pack ideal for every-day use, travel, outdoor pursuits, and survival situations. It features a hydration compartment and is water-resistant. This pack is small and compact to easily carry with comfort, yet still has enough room for a 3-day venture.
Made from 600D polyester, the pack is tear-resistant, has comfortable padded straps, high-quality zippers, and a mesh padded back area for airflow and ventilation. With a 34-liter carrying capacity and a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee, this tactical survival backpack is a great solution for those on a budget.
What we like:
• 34-litre carrying capacity
• Padded shoulder straps
• Mesh padded back for airflow
• Hydration compartment
• High-quality zippers
What we don’t like:
• MOLLE attachment points are not the best quality
5 Additional Survival Backpacks you have to consider.
This ARMYCAMOUSA military tactical backpack features a handy D-ring, MOLLE, padded back, meshed back panel for ventilation, and comes with a hydration system. The padded shoulder straps, sternum and waist strap, multiple compartments, and 34-litre carrying capacity makes this backpack an excellent option.
The PANS military tactical travel backpack is a versatile pack ideal for a variety of situations and uses. Featuring MOLLE, a large front compartment, several separate compartments, mesh water bottle pocket, and mountaineering hook, this pack is comfortable to carry for long periods. With a carrying capacity of 64 liters, this pack is a versatile option for those on a budget.
The Orca tactical backpack has a 34-liter carrying capacity with 2 larger compartments and 2 front smaller compartments. This is a tough and durable pack made from 600D polyester and a waterproof and scratch-resistant coating. MOLLE system and air ventilation make this another great choice.
The CamelBak Rubicon tactical hydration pack has an impressive 100oz hydration reservoir. This pack is recommended for a variety of uses. Made from 500D Cordura, this pack is ultra-durable and has a 47-liter carrying capacity. While some reports find that the pack is not padded enough to support the extra weight of the hydration system, this is a durable and versatile pack in emergencies.
Another great option for survivalists wanting a built-in hydration system, the Camelbak hydration backpack offers more than just hydration. It features durable 500D corduroy fabric, is lightweight, and padded for comfort. This is an excellent survival pack to invest in.
When it comes to planning for extreme situations, survivalists have it down to an art. From carefully selecting the most important gear to the best survival backpack to store and transport it in, being prepared can save lives. The winner of our roundup for the best survival backpack is the Condor 3-day assault pack.
They designed this backpack to easily access your gear and has multiple compartments for organization. It is compatible with a 2-to-3 liter hydration pack and features padded shoulders, a sternum strap, and a removable waist strap for ultimate comfort and pack balance.
With a carrying capacity of up to 50 liters and a foam back panel to promote airflow and prevent overheating, the Condor is a pack that can be worn comfortably for the long haul. While there are many packs with a more extensive list of features, they also come with a higher price tag, and the Condor 3-day assault pack rates high on the most important and useful features for survival backpacks.