The backpack you choose will be your companion, your number one tool, and hopefully loaded with the right survival gear to keep you safe and having a good time.
Outdoor adventure enthusiasts are always asking the same question: “what are the best survival backpacks?” Let’s find out.
What to Know About Buying a Survival Backpack
Buying the right product is almost always a matter of knowledge. Learn about the criteria below to make the right choice for your survival backpack.
What is a Survival Backpack
The difference between a survival backpack or bug out bag and a regular backpack is not as simple as a school bag vs. a hiking bag.
Survival backpacks are packed with the necessary materials for surviving 72 hours or more in the wilderness or after an emergency situation or any threatening conditions. Whether it’s a hurricane, earthquake, or zombie apocalypse, this will be the first and last thing you grab before running out of your house to safety.
Because of this vital role they play in your survival, the bags need to be durable, lightweight, and equipped with the right survival tools to get you from point A to B unharmed. I keep my survival backpack in my closet right by the backdoor, always ready for my peace of mind.
How to Choose the Best Survival Backpack on the Market
You’ll be using this backpack for survival. Life or death. Whenever putting that much faith into something, there are factors that you need to consider.
Remember to add any extra and unnecessary pounds. If the bag contains metal, this could make it more sturdy and add a lot of weight. A soft bag will be just as useful and weigh much less.
The next thing you’ll want to consider is carrying capacity. The tools you’ll put in your survival bag will depend significantly on the type of surviving you plan on doing. Check to see what survival tools you plan on storing in your bag, and then compare that to the capacity listed on the product. If you’re not sure what survival gear to take with you, here is a good starting point for what to put in your bug out bag.
The recommended weight for a survival backpack (full of tools and supplies) is 10% of your body weight, or 20% maximum. Depending on the type of person you are, this weight will give you enough room to take the supplies you need without killing your energy or back muscles.
If you’re looking for information about how to pack your survival backpack, check this video:
Whether it’s water or mud, you don’t want it leaking into your bug out bag. The type and quality of your bag’s material will determine its durability. Most backpacks are made from canvas or nylon with waterproof interiors to keep them safe from the elements.
Another key to durability is maintenance and treatment. Survival backpacks are heavy-duty and can take a beating, but the lighter you handle it, the less you tug on the straps or let them rub against things, the longer they will last. A good backpack can last decades.
You can add many popular features to your survival backpack, like a compass or a charging station with portable batteries. Choosing the right parts will be dependent on the person you are and the type of surviving you do.
Check the additional features sections on the product info to see if any of them appeal to you.
Why is Having a Survival Backpack Important
Survival is a fundamental element of living. It’s what our ancestors did when they were running through the forests and long before there were skyscrapers or drive-through windows.
Learning how to harness the gifts mother nature has given us won’t only protect you in dangerous situations but also make you feel more connected with the Earth, especially if you have a 3-day backpack with you.
In today’s climate, you can never be too prepared. Natural disasters and even unnatural ones seem to arrive monthly and almost always come with little warning or preparation time.
By having a survival bag, you can keep yourself (and your family) safe for as long as necessary until things return to normal. Consider it the safety net to your stable life. When you feel yourself falling, grab the bug out bag.
Best Survival Backpacks
Look at our suggestions below to see the top survival backpacks on the market in their respective categories.
|Backpack||Weight||Capacity||Best For||Special Features|
|Teton Explorer 4000||5 lbs (2.3 kg)||65 L||3-5 day hiking trips||Customizable TorsoSleeping Bag Compartment Integrated Rain Cover|
|Loowoko Hiking Backpack||2.6 lbs (1.2 kg)||50 L||3-4 day hiking trips||Breathable Mesh Shoulder StrapsRaincover includedEight adjustable straps|
|Tesinll Tactical Backpack||unavailable||45 L||72 hr Hiking, Huntin, Military Rucksack||Extra thick Nylon HandleQuality InspectedExtra Strong Fabric|
|Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack||5.04 lbs (2.3 kg)||31.5 L||Police and Military Hiking||CorduraLong Shoulder DropWater-Resistant|
|SOG Ninja Tactical Day Pack||1.94 lbs (0.9 kg)||24.2 L||Everyday,Hiking, leisure||Polyester/Canvas BlendLifetime WarrantyCompact|
Best Reviewed Survival Pack: TETON Sports – Explorer 4000
There aren’t many bad things you can say about this pack. It’s relatively lightweight, despite its metal frame, and has plenty of capacity. Its design is similar to most hiking backpacks, so you’ll find extra supports around the waist and between the straps at the chest.
Probably the most appealing feature of the Explorer 4000 is the adjustable torso. The straps for extra support are very customizable, and customers raved in the reviews about being able to fit the bag precisely to their size and shape. One larger customer, a self-proclaimed “big ol’ fat guy,” asked other customers in the review section if this was the right bag for him. “The waistline says 70 inches, should fit fine,” they happily assured him. With such an extensive range of customization, I’m sure it did.
Bags like this are great for outdoorsy people who want to use them for more than just emergencies. You can just as quickly take this backpack on a hiking or camping trip, with its sleeping bag compartment and rain protection, as you could leave it somewhere in the house stocked with the survival essentials. It’s my favorite three-day bag on this list.
I would love to take this bag hiking with me because of the way customers spoke about the padded back and shoulder straps. If you’ve been on long hikes, you know those things can dig into your skin regardless of the weight you’re carrying. Padding is essential.
- Very positive reviews by customers
- Large Capacity with a low overall weight
- Fully Customizable Torso Straps
- Sleeping Bag Compartment
- Integrated Rain Cover
- Good padding throughout
- Metal Frame can be uncomfortable or add extra weight
- Some reviews said the sleeping bag compartment is too small
- Side pockets are non-elastic, making it hard to retrieve things while wearing the backpack
Most Portable Survival Backpack: Loowoko Hiking Backpack
For the survivor on the go, Lookwoko has created the perfect backpack. This pack is my favorite because it has a similar capacity to other hiking models without the overbearing metal frame and offers plenty of room for your survival gear. Metal frames have dug into my back too many times for me to continue enjoying them. With this Loowoko bag, you have the same storage and sturdiness of a metal frame bag without all the hassle of the metal.
Less weight is essential for survival bags because they will limit your mobility if they’re too heavy. Having limited mobility is a handicap when surviving for fun in the forest, but it can mean life or death in an emergency. That’s why I like lightweight bags.
Durable open-cell foam makes up the straps of this bag. Not only is this one of the most durable and long-lasting foams on the market, but it’s also extremely comfortable. The lumbar pad located in the bottom part of the bag also provides comfort and airflow.
This bag has some of the best air circulation you’ll find, which is great if you’ve ever been hiking in the summer and had to peel the nylon off your sweaty t-shirt. With the Loowoko hiking bag as your survival bag, you won’t have to worry about surviving the heat.
- Excellent airflow and durable materials
- Affordable price
- Included rain cover with the purchase
- Many pockets of different sizes throughout the pack
- It fits in most airline storage compartments
- Relatively small
- Intended for shorter hikes
- Some customers have reported early ripping
Best Bug Out Bag: Tesinll Tactical Backpack
When it comes to bug out bags, the most critical factor is durability. The last thing you need is fabric emergencies during your real emergency. That’s why I listed the most durable bag as the best bug out bag backpack.
So why is the Tesinll tactical backpack so much tougher than other backpacks on the market? It has to do with the 900D high-density Oxford nylon. Traditional hiking backpacks are made of 450-600D nylon. The Tesinll is almost double that making it thicker and even harder to tear. Plus, the handle (one of the first parts of any backpack to break) is reinforced with extra nylon so you won’t have to worry about that tearing either. ,
Those straps on the front of the bag are for the MOLLE system. MOLLE is a system developed by the military to add lightweight attachments to backpacks and carrying bags. You can attach smaller bags or containers to any of those straps easily and add even more storage space to your bag.
These bags are also relatively small in size, making them incredibly easy to store in the house. Instead of your survival backpack being big and bulky, you can slip this one easily into the corner or behind a door. You won’t even need to think about it until it’s time to act.
- Reinforced nylon handle
- Extra strong nylon material
- Thirty quality inspection procedures
- Very affordable
- Heavy-Duty Zippers
- Smaller carrying capacity
- Limited padding on straps
Best Luxury Survival Backpack: Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack
If you want to shell out a little extra cash and make sure you have the best bug out bag backpack on the market, then you’re all set with the Direct Action Ghost. This bag is lightweight and has all the features you’ll need to create the perfect survival bag.
It even employs the MOLLE system we spoke about earlier, so it’s easy to add additional storage or compartments.
The Direct Action Ghost is made of Cordura. Cordura is a fabric company that has been in place for a little over 100 years. They specialize in waterproof nylon. While traditional nylon is waterproof, it holds a lot of water on its surface. Cordura nylon causes water to bead up and slide off, preventing long-term damage.
One of my favorite aspects of this product is the detachable waist belt with suspenders. How many backpacks do you know where you can detach the support? This detachability makes it a lot easier to adjust, and the suspenders mean you can tuck things into that will stay with you long after you’ve taken off your survival pack.
Direct Action Ghost is also, in my opinion, the best get home bag backpack because of its fashionable design. Sure, other packs might help you get out of the forest just as well, but none of them will have you looking quite as stylish as the ghost. With its futuristic MOLLE pattern, sleek design, and multiple color options, it won’t just help you survive the forest, but fashion week as well.
- Advance cordura nylon
- Long shoulder drop (15”)
- Zipper closures
- Elastic side pockets
- Low Carrying Capacity
Best Budget Survival Backpack: SOG Ninja Tactical Day Pack
When considering what you’re getting in return, this is the best survival backpack in terms of price. You will rarely find a military-style bag for this cheap. On top of that, they are very stylish and useful for everyday life.
This military design is perfect for a survival bag, in my opinion. Not only is it sleek and easily storable, but it also fits survival thematically. Nothing says I survived a disaster like having the same backpack as John Rambo.
My favorite part of this pack is the side pockets. Too often, hiking and survival packs will try to get fancy with the side pockets and make them thinner, or not elastic, or mesh netted (which can rip easily). The ninja’s side pockets remind me of my old bag from school and fit most water bottles like a glove.
- Most Affordable
- Manufacturer Warranty
- Good side pockets
- MOLLE Webbing
- Padded Shoulder Straps
- Smallest Carrying Capacity
- Not Very Comfortable
As I mentioned earlier, my favorite choice for the best survival backpack is the Loowoko Hiking Backpack. While it might not have the stylish exterior of the military bags, the Loowoko hits all of the criteria we mentioned before while also being comfortable and affordable.
The backpack weighs almost nothing, so you don’t have to worry about the back strain. The material it’s made from is water-resistant, and it even comes with its water cover for extra protection. For its weight, it has a substantial carrying capacity, and it even has some unique features like foam padding on the shoulder straps.
What do you think is the best survival backpack? Use the guidelines above to make the best purchase for your needs, and feel free to write to us about your experiences.