Your emergency gear is only as good as the bug out backpack you keep it in. When you’re ready to throw everything you need to survive an unforeseen calamity into a single backpack, you’d better be confident that you’ve chosen the right pack.
A good bug out backpack has to be durable and comfortable. It has to be lightweight and compact. Most of all, it has to be reliable. If you’re looking for best survival backpack on the market today, be sure to consider these 11 options.
Bug Out Backpack #1 – Mystery Ranch Scree 32 Backpack
An all-around solid day pack with a multitude of uses, this is one of the most versatile out there. Its rucksack-style design more closely resembles a hiking bag than a typical tactical backpack. But, the Scree 32 is equally at home in the field and on the trail.
The pack tips the scales at a trim 2.8 lb, and it’s 32L capacity is just spacious enough for all your essentials. But, not so big that you can overpack it. The Scree 32 is made with tough, abrasion-resistant 210D Robic nylon fabric. While not quite waterproof, it’s water-resistant enough to take along on any outdoor adventure.
#2 – Maxpedition Kodiak Gearslinger
Sling-style packs aren’t for everyone. But some survival experts swear by them. There’s no doubt about the utility and versatility of a fixed sling bag like this one. Its 22.6L capacity is just right for your survival essentials. It weighs a svelte 3 pounds. This is also one tough pack.
It’s made of 1,000D abrasion-resistant lightweight ballistic nylon fabric. It also has a triple polyurethane coating for extra water resistance. The straps, handles and modular attachment points are made with military grade nylon Webbing. The Kodiak Gearslinger is also extremely comfortable. Also, its single-shoulder design makes it easy to throw on and go in a heartbeat.
Bug Out Backpack #3 – Goruck GR3 Backpack
The Goruck GR3 Backpack is spacious, rugged and adaptable. It has padded handles and straps, and a removable integrated hip belt and two compression straps. So, you can pack it to the gills and carry it in whatever way feels most comfortable. It has a separate, reinforced laptop compartment close to your back for extra protection.
The GR3 has a spacious 45L capacity—the largest possible carry on bag, as the folks at Goruck love to point out. This makes it plenty spacious for all your survival supplies and gear. It also has four rows of MOLLE on the front and two on the bottom. The latter of which is compatible with the GR3 Tough Bag for sleeping bag storage.
#4 – 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Backpack
With a capacity of 55L, the 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Backpack is at the larger end of what you might want for a bug out backpack. Anything bigger would likely be overkill. The RUSH72 is just the right size to pack everything you need for a 72-hour period (hence the name). The pack weighs 5.5 lbs, which is a little on the heavy side, but not surprising, considering its size.
A wrap-around MOLLE and SlickStick-compatible web platform and 60-oz. hydration pocket add to this pack’s versatility. The straps are comfortable and adjustable. The bag’s outer shell is high strength, water-repellant 1050D nylon.
Bug Out Backpack #5 – Eberlestock F5 Switchblade
A great pack for hunters, law enforcement and military use as well as everyday carry, the Eberlestock F5 Switchblade is a great all-around survival backpack. It weighs just 3.6 lb and offers 24L storage capacity. The design is simple and effective, offering easy access to all your gear.
Concealed carry pouches are accessible from either side of the pack, and the main compartment includes two magazine pouches and several other organizing features. With optional MOLLE webbing, the pack maintains a low profile, and is compatible with add-ons like a hip belt, hatchet holster and rain cover.
#6 – Osprey Stratos 34
Osprey is known, first and foremost, for making great hiking packs. That’s essentially what the Osprey Stratos 34 is, but it’s also tough enough to get you through any scrape, on or off the trail. With a 34L capacity and weighing just a hair over 3 pounds, it’s also lightweight and roomy.
The Stratos 34 also has the comfort of a pack that was made with hikers in mind. The ventilated suspension mesh harness is breathable and comfy, and the pack’s light alloy frame helps it hold its shape. An integrated and removable rain cover is also a nice touch. This bag has a lot of creative storage options too, including zippered hip belt pockets.
Bug Out Backpack #7 – Arc’teryx LEAF Assault Pack 45
A rough-and-ready pack made to take a lot of punishment, the Arc’teryx LEAF Assault Pack 45 will stay strong in any situation. Built with rugged HT 500D Cordura and a sturdy 8 mm composite frame, this pack offers the perfect balance of comfort, durability and a simple design. It’s fully padded, and its single 45L compartment is easily accessed by a reinforced clamshell zipper.
The main pocket is also equipped with Velcro for adding additional storage options, and the external zip pockets are compatible with a 3L water bladder. Another nice thing about the LEAF Assault Pack 45 is its inconspicuous design. This is a backpack that doesn’t call attention to itself as a tactical bag, despite its advanced construction.
A scaled-down version of the classic Mystery Ranch 3 Day Assault Pack, this new design shares a lot with its larger predecessor. That includes Mystery Ranch’s innovative three-zip opening, which makes it incredibly easy to access all your gear once you’ve filled this pack to the brim.
The Mystery Ranch 2 Day Assault Pack has a 27L capacity, which, depending on your personal preference, might be a little small for a bug out backpack, or it could be just right. But despite its slight profile, this pack is loaded with features and storage options (including exterior MOLLE) that really let you stuff a lot of supplies into its many pockets and pouches.
Bug Out Backpack #9 – Kifaru 357 Mag
One of the toughest and most well-built backpacks on the market, the Kifaru 357 Mag deserves a place among the best survival backpacks. The 357 Mag was designed as a lightweight addition to Kifaru’s Magnum line of backpacks. And despite having a whopping 54.75L storage capacity, this pack weighs just 3 pounds.
This 357 Mag has numerous compartments and generous modular wedding on the outside, and is especially popular among hunters. The folks at Kifaru sew all their backpacks in small batches, and size them based on each customer’s measurements. That gives you a level of quality craftsmanship and customization that’s truly hard to come by.
#10 – 5.11 COVRT18 2.0 Backpack
There’s something to be said for not calling attention to yourself. The COVRT18 2.0 is among the latest additions to 5.11’s impressive lineup of tactical backpacks, and one of its chief virtues is that it doesn’t look anything like a tactical backpack. It’s tough and lightweight, and works just as well as a bug out backpack as it does for everyday carry.
Made of hard-wearing 500D and 840D nylon, the 5.11 COVRT18 2.0 has a capacity of 32L, which includes hidden pockets as well as a TSA-friendly laptop compartment. Weighting just 2.64 lb, it’s a light, convenient pack that ensures that you’ll always be prepared.
Bug Out Backpack #11 – Condor 3-Day Assault Pack
Who says you can’t get solid tactical backpack for less than $100? The Condor 3-Day Assault Pack is a great, affordable bug out bag for the budget-conscious survivalist. There’s nothing fancy about it, but at the end of the day, your pack isn’t supposed to be fancy; it’s supposed to be reliable. In that regard, the Condor excels.
With a 50L capacity and external modular webbing for attachments, it’s just right for 72-hour excursions. The Condor 3-Day Assault Pack also has a separate internal pocket that can accommodate up to two 3L hydration bladders. The material on this pack is a little on the thin side, which helps keep it lightweight, but you may find it vulnerable to tears if you take it into really hairy situations.