If you’re somebody who does a lot of hiking, hunting or enjoys the outdoors, you’ll want to have your own emergency backpack and have it filled with essential items that could save your life.
Even if you don’t fit into any of the above categories but you want to be prepared for a potential emergency, you’ll want a good survival backpack too.
Survivalists or emergency preppers call these bags bug out bags.
So what is the best survival backpack on the market?
Well luckily for you we’ve gone and reviewed a number of backpacks to help you filter through the noise. If you’ve done a quick google search you’ll have found hundreds of options.
Let’s first take a look at why these backpacks are used. The main idea behind them is simple, everything you could possibly need to survive is packed comfortably in your backpack.
Your backpack shouldn’t affect your mobility too much either. How much should your backpack store? Well most people recommend you have a backpack big enough to store supplies for a 72 hour emergency.
Thankfully there are a tonne of options to choose from and in today’s blog we’re going to look at what makes them a great buy!
You’ll also find some useful tips along the way that will help you prep for a disaster type situation.
The Best Survival Backpack
1. Deuter Aircontact 65+10 Survival Backpack
The Deuter Aircontact 65 is a pretty large bag that has enough volume to pack 3 or 4 days worth of supplies into it.
It looks like something you would use if you were off an expedition. The problem with big bags is they can often be unbalanced and affect your mobility.
We were thoroughly impressed with the Deuter Aircontact 65 as it balances the weight very well. It’s also very comfortable, even after a few days of use.
The Deuter Aircontact has some of the beefiest padding on this list. IF you’ve got bony hips you’ll appreciate this the most.
Now for the suspension, the bag is capable of carrying 50 pound loads.
The lid pocket at the top makes it easy for you to search for items.
Overall this is a nice buy if you have some cash to invest. It is one of the more expensive items on this list.
2. Osprey Atmos AG 65 Men’s Survival Backpack
Up next we have the Osprey Atmos AG 65 Mens Survival Backpack. Osprey is a very reputable brand in the backpack industry.
They produce some of the best bags on the market in terms of design, aesthetics and quality. Of course something with that reputation and standard comes with a big price tag.
That shouldn’t put you off though, if you can afford it, always invest in the best equipment when it comes to saving your life.
Seriously, you don’t want to buy from an unknown brand, you’ve no idea what corners they will take to make things cheaper. You need to be able to put trust into your equipment.
This bag offers 65 litres of storage which is more than enough for three days worth of supplies. In fact, you could probably cramb a week’s worth of supplies into this bag.
How comfortable is it though? Well, I’ve found heavy weights with the Osprey Atmos AG 65 to be absolutely fine.
They have an impressive feature called the Osprey Atmos AG 65 called the AntiGravity Suspension. This technology will spread the weight of the backpack evenly across your shoulders, back and waist. This will give the impression of a lighter kit.
Plus it has some of the best padding I’ve seen on a backpack, it’s very comfortable.
3. 5.11 Rush 24 Military Tactical Backpack
The 5.11 Rush24 Military Tactical Backpack is a personal favourite. It’s also one of the most popular tactical backpacks on the market. It’s built to hold 24 hours worth of supplies, hence the name Rush 24.
I really like this one as it allows you to be really mobile. Let’s talk about the design first. The backpack is built using 1050d nylon and has water-repellent PUx2 coating to give the bag higher levels of water repellency.
It’s a very light bag but provides a sturdy frame which is a blessing in tough terrain that requires mobility.
I have found the bag does well at resisting water in bad weather. Does it do well against rips and tears? Yes, the bag is nothing but high quality construction and materials. This has led to a stellar reputation in the backpack community.
Now isn’t 24 hours not enough? It totally depends, for most natural disasters they can take 48 to 72 hours to get back to some level of normallancy.
The bag uses YKK zippers which are self-repairing. Self-repairing? Yep, so let’s say you break it, you can zip it back up and it will close itself again. It’s a really simple feature with a fancy name for marketing. Still, it’s cool and comes in handy.
The stitching used on the bag is fantastic, it has both single and doubled-back edge stitching.
The ventilation on the bag is really good because of the breathable mesh it utilizes on the inside of the shoulder straps.
I’m really happy with the rush 24 bag.
4. Reebow Gear Military Tactical Backpack
So if the 5.11 rush 24 bag is a little out of your budget, this is the next best thing. Trust me, you will not be disappointed either. This is a very well manufactured bag that offers the sort of value you would expect from a $80+ bag at half the price.
This Reebow Gear Military Tactical Backpack is a superior military survival backpack. This bag is perfect for a 24 hour emergency pack. If you’re going hiking or camping, I would recommend this. Some people claim that they use this as a 72-hour pack but I’d say they’re certainly pushing the bag to the limits. Let’s look at the build quality now. It has double-stitched seams and utilizes heavy-duty zippers. The fabric itself is made of high-density fabric–durable and is also water-resistant.
The shoulder straps are equipped with nice thick padding which really do support you if you’re carrying a lot of weight.
The waist and shoulder straps are adjustable so you can tailor the bag to your preference.
You will still need to order a hydration bladder as this pack doesn’t come with one. It is compatible with certain packs though.
The bag also has a nice MOLLE system that can come in handy.
Overall you’re getting a fantastic bag for a very cheap price.
5. G4Free 40l lightweight backpack
The G4FREE 40 liter water resistant backpack is a cheap backpack ideal for someone prepping for an emergency situation.
Although it looks similar to the type of bag you’d take on an hike up Everest, it is far from it.
If you’re a traveller or someone who just wants a cost effective backpack to prepare for a disaster, we recommend buying something like the G4FREE 40L lightweight backpack.
It can put up with some pretty intense weight and distributes the load very well. I was thoroughly impressed with the bag when I received it.
Although I personally prefer the aesthetic of your tactical backpacks. This one functions well and will suit a lot of peoples needs.
6. 5.11 Rush 72 Tactical Backpack
Could there be a better bug out bag than the 5.11 Rush 72 hour Tactical Backpack? If you’re a part of any survival / prepping community you will know this bag is raved about. Why? Well its very similar to the rush 24 backpack but about 3 times bigger.
The bag is made with 1000D Nylon Cordura which if you didn’t know is a very strong material. The material is water resistant and will withstand a lot of wear and tear.
It uses YKK Zippers which are self repairing. There are drain holes and lashing points on the bottom of the bag.
This pack is seriously built like a tank! It’s an absolute unit. It is exactly what you want for something that claims to be milspec.
7. Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical Backpack
The Dragon Egg is a 48 hour survival backpack. Other than the cool name, it has some very lucrative qualities that will catch your eye.
Built with a 500d Cordura, you can be sure this is a durable bag. It has a water resistant coating – which is essential for a survival bag.
There are MOLLE panels on the front and side pockets. The pack is extremely comfortable to wear too – it is covered with breathable mesh which offers really good ventilation.
Even though this is a very small backpack, there are hip and sternum straps which allow you to ensure the bag hugs you tightly. This is perfect for mobility.
Here’s the thing though, this is marketed as a 48 hour survival backpack but has a total capacity of 25 liters. Personally I think this is too small. If you look at the Rush 24 bag, you’ll see its a 37 liter bag.
I think 48 hour is a bit overkill, this bag would function as a 24 hour bag at a push but please remember it’s significantly smaller than others on this list.
It will only work well for short trips. If this is exactly what you’re looking for, it’s a great bag but don’t be fooled into thinking its a 48-hour survival bag.
8. Gelindo Military Tactical Backpack
This high-quality backpack comes in at a very affordable price. Is it better than the Reebow Gears Military Tactical Backpack? Well, lets see. This is a 35 liter backpack, so it works well for a 24 hour bag.
It has a MOLLE system, ideal for attaching loading pockets, water bottle bags etc. The bag is pretty lightweight too – it would work well for a hunting trip or a hiking expedition.
Its lightweight and the weight distribution is ok. Personal preference so far? Definitely still the Reebow gear bag.
The bag is pretty durable and has a good build quality. It utilizes high density fabric and double stitching to give you the quality your after. IF you’re wanting a good backpack, this is worth considering.
9. Orca Tactical 3 Day Survival Backpack
The Orca Tactical military backpack is a sturdy, robust and functional piece of kit. It has double stitching at stress points to ensure the bag can be pushed to the extreme. It has multiple compartments for storage.
You have 2 main compartments, 2 additional front compartments and one on the back panel. The back panel has enough space for a hydration bladder although one does not come with the bag, you need to buy this yourself.
The bag’s design utilizes reliable 600d polyester. It has a waterproof coating and is resistant to tears too. The zippers are YKK zippers so you can be sure there sturdy too!
The shoulder straps are padded which helps with comfort. The bag distributes the weight nicely too which gives you more stability and improves comfort.
10. Mardingtop 65+10 Internal Frame Survival Backpack
The Mardingtop 65+10 internal frame backpack is an excellent piece of kit. It is a 65 liter bag which is ideal for 3-4 days supply. You will be able to pack tonnes of food, water and equipment into the bag. And if the item is a bit awkward for inside the bag (like a collapsible shovel) you can just attach it to the MOLLE loops.
There is also a raincover to protect the bag from heavy rainfall.
Now if you’re planning on putting a lot of weight into this bag, you’ll be concerned with weight distribution and how it affects your mobility.
The bag divides the weight evenly around the bag which helps the load sit nicer and gives you better balance and mobility.
This survival backpack is one to seriously consider. If you’re preparing for a family of 4, you need a big bag to hold more items. This is what you’re looking for.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A SURVIVAL BACKPACK (a.k.a key features)
To some, a bag is just a bag. You’ve got big bags and you’ve got small bags. If this is a thought process you can relate to, you need to read this section. Do not skimp out when it comes to survival.
Here’s another thing that will probably annoy the untrained eye. Most of these survival backpacks look very similar. However there are some important points you need to watch out for.
Sorting through all of the survival backpacks on the market can be a total drain of time. Consider these features to help you filter through the noise.
What size is your backpack?
Now I am not referring to how the backpack sits on your back. I am talking about how many litres of volume can it hold. This number will give us an idea of how long the bag can be used for. I.e a 65 litre bag could probably be used for a 48 to 72 hour emergency trip. Whereas a 40 litre bag may only be useful for a 24 to 48 hour emergency.
It’s worth noting that they measure this by stuffing every single nook and cranny until the bags full to the brim. Your gear won’t and shouldn’t be filled as tightly as the manufacturers tests. So we need to keep some wiggle room.
But here’s the thing, bigger isn’t always better. A larger bag will affect your mobility and will drain your energy faster because it’ll most likely be heavier. So get rid of the impulse that’s telling you to get the biggest survival bag you can find.
Remember you’ve got to carry the bloody thing! You do not want to overload your backpack or you will look like an overworked mule!
I personally prefer the 30-40 liter backpacks. They fit on my back perfectly, they are light enough and very comfortable. I can move around easily without it affecting my mobility.
With a 30-40 liter backpack you just have to ensure you’ve got it filled with the bare essentials.
If you’re a big guy that can easily carry 100lb loads on his back then sure. If you’re a father that needs to carry supplies for his 2 kids and wife, then sure. Sure the bigger bags are going to be a better option for you.
Padding and Comfort
You’re not buying this bag for comfort. You’re buying this to prepare yourself for an emergency and when there’s an emergency, comfort is the last thing on your mind.
In an emergency, you need to be resilient and strong. You are being challenged, there’s no air conditioning, hell there might not even be any electricity.
If the bag does not fit properly or if it isn’t comfortable, this will act as a distraction to you. You need focus in times of emergency so we highly recommend you invest into a quality bag that fits.
In fact if your bag is more comfortable you’ll find your endurance and speed will likely improve.
So look for a bag that has padded shoulder straps, these will be bearing most of the weight so it’s really important to get padded shoulder straps.
If you’ve decided to get a big bag, make sure you have hip straps too. This will help distribute the load.
I would recommend looking out for shoulder straps that have good risers too. These are the adjustment straps that are above your shoulder. They will help you keep the bag packed snugly to your back and improve your balance.
If the bag has an adjustable sternum strap, then great! This is a fantastic little bonus as it will help the bag sit more comfortably on your back, arms and shoulders.
Durability – you need it.
If the bag can’t be put through extreme amounts of stress, there is no point in having all of the above. You need a bag that has:
- High strength webbing straps
- Heavy-duty zippers like YKK
- Abrasion-resistant materials
- Double stitching in key stress points
So for the main material you will want Cordura or Ripstop nylon.
Obviously you will need a waterproof bag but I am yet to see a bag that doesn’t leak. In fact you’re better off just wrapping with heavy duty trash bags instead.
Or if you want to be fancy, Quick Retrieval Systems.
No seriously, you need some exterior pockets that allow you to grab gear quick.
This could be used to stash some extra ammo, a lighter, suncream, a map or even some snacks.
Most bags come with a MOLLE system too so you can customise the bag to your liking.
A hydration system allows you to drink water on the move. Most bags can carry 2 to 4 litres of water in a hydration bladder.
There is a little hose that comes from the bladder and allows you to drink on the move. It’s extremely convenient.
Normally this bag will sit at the top of your bag in a special containment pouch. You obviously want to keep sharp objects away from this too.