Thinking about getting a survival backpack? If you’re browsing this in early 2020, then you definitely have more than enough reasons to think about ditching everything and running off to the wilderness.
And that’s kind of why survival backpacks exist. They’re designed to get you through several days out in the open, whether it’s a dessert or just a popular camping ground. These are usually very durable backpacks, designed to hold enough gear for one to five days, and with plenty of external attachment points for all your bulky survival gear.
At A Glance: Top 5 Survival Backpacks
So, if you want a backpack that will give you a head start in case of an imminent apocalypse, one of the ten best survival backpacks below is just what you need!
Best Small Survival Backpack
5.11 Tactical RUSH24 Military Backpack
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Most Durable Survival Backpack
Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical Backpack
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Best Affordable Large Survival Backpack
WintMing 70L Camping Hiking Backpack
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Most Affordable Survival Backpack
DIGBUG Military Tactical Backpack
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Most Versatile Survival Backpack
CVLIFE Tactical Backpack
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Tactical Era Military 1050D Nylon Black Backpack
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Orca Tactical 1 To 3 Day Survival Backpack
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5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Military Backpack
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QT&QY 45L Military Tactical Backpack
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Maxpedition Falcon-II Survival Backpack
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5.11 is a popular brand that makes rugged outdoor gear. This includes everything, from tough and durable pants, to survival backpacks like this one. The Rush24 pack is one of the most durable options you can get. It is constructed from sturdy 1050D nylon, which has great tear and abrasion resistance.
Plus, the backpack features water repellent coating, so it will keep your survival gear dry regardless of the weather conditions outside. And it has drainage points at the bottom, which will protect the stuff inside the bag in case your hydration bladder ruptures.
It has very thick padding in the backpanel and harness, for premium carrying comfort. The ventilation is also great on this bag, thanks to the breathable mesh on the inside of the padded shoulder straps. And the convenient chest strap will ensure that those straps stay in place, no matter how much you’re moving around.
This backpack has two big areas for storage space, and two smaller compartments on the front panel. But, all of those compartments feature multiple pockets inside, and there is a total of 29 separate pockets/compartments on the pack. If you’re thinking about packing it in your survival backpack, there’s a spot for it!
On top of that, the bag features molle webbing all over the front and the sides, so there’s more than enough space for the bulkier gear you need easy access to. The only downside of this pack is the price point – it’s over $100, so it’s not going to be in everybody’s price range. But if you can afford to get the 5.11 survival backpack, then definitely go for it – you won’t be disappointed!
The Dragon Egg is a two-day survival backpack by Direct Action. It is made from 500D Cordura – a very durable material, which features water resistant coating for ultimate functionality. The total capacity of this backpack is 25 liters, so it will only work for shorter expeditions. If that’s exactly what you need, then this is probably the best backpack for you.
It features laser cut MOLLE panels on the front panel and side pockets (for a water bottle), which function the same as the basic panels, but are a little more durable. And because they are laser cut, they are larger and feature more attachment points. There are also some basic webbing MOLLE webbing on the sides, which can hold some of your heavier gear.
In addition to that, this pack will be extremely comfortable to wear. The entire backpanel and harness feature really thick padding, and they are covered with breathable mesh for excellent ventilation. Even though this is a small backpack, it is equipped with a hip & sternum straps that guarantee you can move around with the pack silently and easily.
This backpack has three compartments total – a roomy main compartment with a hydration/laptop sleeve, a front compartment with an organizer panel for all your smaller items and a hidden compartment behind the backpanel. The hidden compartment is heavily padded, and it’s actually perfect for your laptop. And, all of the zippered pockets and compartments are equipped with sturdy YKK zippers, for ultimate durability.
The side pockets feature elastic bands at the top, which lets them expand quite a lot so they can fit some really bulky items.
If you want a survival backpack for some really long expeditions, the WintMing is a pretty good option. With a capacity of 70 liters, it can hold enough gear to get you through at least five days in the wilderness.
In addition to that, it is made from double-layer 600D oxford fabric that features a waterproof inner layer, which is pretty great. Even if the backpack gets slightly damp on the outside, all the gear inside will stay entirely dry.
This survival pack features a spacious top-loading main compartment, with an abundance of smaller external pockets. There’s MOLLE webbing at the front of the bag, which is great for all that bulky gear you need handy at all times, or even for attaching your sleeping bag (as long as it doesn’t rain).
It is a very comfortable backpack to wear, thanks to thick padding in both the backpanel and harness. There are also ventilated inserts, which help keep the backpanel breathable, so that you are comfortable even in really hot weather.
However, the harness length is not adjustable, so it’s going to be a gamble whether or not this backpack will fit you well. You can adjust the length of the padded shoulder straps, hip and sternum straps, but you can’t do anything about the position of the actual harness.
Another downside is that the hip strap is just plain old webbing, which isn’t going to feel very comfortable when the pack is at full capacity. It would have been much better if they opted for one that features really thick padding around the waist. But it’s actually hard to complain, considering that the pack is under $50.
That’s another great thing about the bag – it is very affordable, so it’s a good option for most people. Especially if you’re just learning about survival backpacks or going on your first longer expedition.
However, if you’re a pro at long expeditions with survival packs, I encourage you to check out some other, more elaborate multi-day backpacks.
If you’re looking to get a budget survival backpack, the Digbug Tactical pack is a great option. It is made from 600D fabric, which is very tough and durable. On top of that, this backpack features excellent water resistance, so it will keep your gear safe and dry regardless of the weather conditions outside.
This pack has a 40 liter capacity, which makes it a great medium option. It can hold plenty of gear, while allowing you to move freely at the same time, because it isn’t very big or bulky. In addition to that, there’s also plenty of space on the MOLLE webbing, for all the survival gear you need to have easy access to.
With a total of seven external straps, you can easily adjust the shape and size of this backpack. This allows you to tighten it up when it’s not at full capacity, so that the items inside don’t move around.
There’s an internal hydration pocket in this backpack, with a small pass through point for a hydration hose. But you won’t get a hydration bladder with the pack – that’s something you would need to purchase separately.
The Digbug bag is very comfortable to wear, thanks to the thick padding and breathable mesh on the backpanel and harness. It feels soft against your torso, while the breathable materials allow your body to stay cool and dry even in really hot weather.
There are five compartments total in this backpack. The main compartment is extra roomy, for your most important gear. The front compartment has an organizer panel for those smaller items, while the two front pockets are perfect for small stuff you want easily accessible. And there’s an extra hidden compartment behind the backpanel, for some of your most valuable items.
The CVLife survival backpack is an excellent affordable option. It has a 60-liter capacity and a price point around $50, which makes it a great pack for all of you that are on a tight budget, but need a large, 72-hour backpack.
It is made from 600D oxford fabric, which is really rugged and durable. The exterior of the pack is also coated for water resistance, so all of your gear will be protected regardless of the weather conditions.
The cool thing about this backpack is that three of the external compartments are detachable, and you can wear them on their own. This gives you access to three small MOLLE bags at all times, which is pretty cool. Maybe you want to leave the base for just ten minutes – you can take just the essentials with you, and not this entire pack.
The main compartment of this backpack is actually really roomy, and it features a convenient hydration sleeve. There’s also a spacious front compartment, for easy organization of all your gear.
And that should be a piece of cake, considering just how many different external pockets this backpack has. Remember that three of them are detachable – well, each of those has internal pockets as well, and the front pouch even has three additional external compartments.
As if all that wasn’t enough, there’s also the really comfortable harness with thick padding and breathable mesh. The sternum strap and hip belt will ensure that the backpack stays put on your body, so that you’re always able to move around with ease.
The only downside of the CVLife survival backpack is that the backpanel is not covered with breathable mesh. But I think we can let that one pass, considering the price point and all the other features.
The Tactical Era backpack is a great medium-sized option. It is made from 1000D nylon, which has excellent tear and abrasion resistance. The exterior of the backpack is also entirely waterproof, so all of your gear inside will stay dry even if you get caught in a heavy downpour.
Plus, there are drainage points at the bottom of the bag, which will help keep its contents dry if you go through water, or in case your hydration bladder ruptures.
This survival backpack has a total capacity of 50 liters, which is plenty for shorter expeditions. It is best for adventures up to three days, especially since there are lots of external attachment points for gear you need to have within reach at all times. Those are also known as MOLLE webbing, and they are on the front and sides of the backpack.
The thing you will really like about this pack is the abundance of different pockets and compartments. In addition to the roomy main compartment, the backpack also has several smaller ones, which make it super easy to stay organized in your adventures.
It’s also very comfortable to carry, thanks to the elaborate harness and backpanel. There is thick padding all over the back, as well as breathable mesh which guarantees excellent ventilation. In addition to that, the hip strap of this backpack might just be its best part. It is very wide and thick, which guarantees excellent carrying comfort. And there is also a sternum strap that will help those shoulder straps stay put while you’re on the move.
The Orca survival backpack is another excellent affordable option. It’s under $50, so it’s perfect for those of you that can’t afford some of the pricier backpacks featured here. But it is still a great survival pack – it is made from 600D polyester, with water resistant and scratch proof coating. All of the zippers on the bag are YKK, and they feature nylon pullers that will survive pretty much anything.
This backpack is also very comfortable to wear, with the really thick padding in the harness and backpanel. Everything on the back is also covered with breathable mesh, for excellent ventilation during really hot days. And the sternum and hip straps ensure that the pack stays put on your back, no matter how much you are moving around.
Of course, it is equipped with MOLLE panels, so there’s plenty of attachment points for the bulky gear you want easy access to. There are panels on the front and sides of the backpack, and you can even attach some items to the shoulder straps. The only thing I don’t like Molle for is hanging a water bottle.
And there’s also plenty of room inside the actual backpack, for all your other gear. It features two main packing compartments, two zippered front pockets and a hidden sleeve behind the backpanel. These two compartments have several internal pockets, for easy organization of all your survival gear.
This pack also features several compression straps, which allow you to tighten it when it’s not at full capacity. By doing that, you’re ensuring that the stuff inside won’t move around, and just making the bag more compact overall.
There are no side pockets on the Orca backpack, and that is pretty much its only major downside.
This 5.11 backpack is very similar to the one I talked about earlier, but with one key difference – the Rush72 bag has a much larger capacity, so it is best suitable for longer expeditions. It can fit 55 liters of survival gear across its 30 different compartments, so it is best for people who need something to carry at least 3 days worth of gear.
But, the larger capacity means that the backpack is going to restrict your freedom of movement a bit, so keep that in mind.
In addition to the roomy compartments, this pack also has several MOLLE panels over its front and sides, for all that bulky gear you need extra handy. And it features a hydration sleeve that can fit 60 oz bladders, which is pretty great for multi-day expeditions.
The backpack is made from exceptionally tough and durable 1050D nylon, and it has really good water resistance thanks to the external coating.
One of the best things about this survival pack is that it is extremely comfortable to wear. It features really thick padding in both the harness and the backpanel, as well as ventilated panels that will allow your back to breathe. This helps keep you cool and dry in really hot weather, and it is great for summer expeditions.
On top of that, the Rush72 is equipped with both a sternum strap and a really thick and comfortable hip belt, which will help keep you comfortable when the backpack is at full capacity. The hip belt transfers the load away from your shoulders, so that you don’t actually feel the entire weight of the backpack.
The pack also features multiple compression straps that let you cinch it in when it’s not filled to capacity, so that it easier to move around with it.
The QT&QY survival backpack is a great medium-sized option with an affordable price tag. It is made from tough and durable 900D polyester, which is waterproof and rip proof. The zippers aren’t YKK but they are heavy duty, and should be able to withstand frequent use.
This backpack features two main packing compartments and two smaller front pockets. It is quite similar in design to the Orca survival backpack, but there are some key differences. One is that the packing compartment of this particular pack opens flat to 180 degrees, which actually makes it TSA friendly. Not a feature you expect to have in a backpack, but a useful one nonetheless.
There are several slip and zippered pockets inside this compartment that allow for easy organization. The front compartment also has some slip pockets, for the smaller items you want to keep well ordered.
And of course, the backpack has several MOLLE panels for all the other gear you need extra handy. There are panels on the front of the pack, the sides, and even some attachment point on the shoulder straps. Which are heavily padded by the way, just like the entire backpanel.
That’s another great thing about this pack – it is surprisingly comfortable to wear, considering the affordable price point. Not only is the entire back system heavily padded, but it is also covered with breathable mesh for excellent ventilation. And there’s a hip belt and a sternum strap, which will ensure that the backpack stays put while you’re moving around.
The Falcon II backpack is another great option if you want something with a small capacity. It’s great for 24-hours expeditions, but not so much for anything longer than that, due to the 25-liter capacity.
Of course, you can attach plenty of other gear to the front, sides and back of the pack, thanks to the presence of multiple MOLLE panels. And with top and side compression straps, everything inside the backpack will stay put until you decide otherwise.
This backpack features thick padding in the harness and backpanel, but only the shoulder straps are also covered with breathable mesh. Which is mostly okay – it’s a rather small backpack, and the shoulder straps are the only part that really needed to be ventilated.
Actually, considering the size of this backpack, the fact that it is equipped with a sternum strap and a hip belt is quite surprising. But those are convenient features that you could use on pretty much any backpack, so they’re definitely a bonus.
The Maxpedition survival backpack has two main compartments, two zippered front pockets and a hidden compartment behind the backpanel. They’re all rather small, but there’s more than enough space for all your one-day necessities, and you can even organize everything however you like.
The hidden compartment in the back is compatible with hydration bladders, and it has a pass-through hole for hoses. It could also work for your laptop or tablet, if you were to wear the pack in a more urban setting.
Survival backpacks were initially designed for the military and police on long missions. Therefore, these backpacks are exceptionally durable, and they are able to withstand much more than your casual everyday pack. But, there’s not one perfect backpack for everyone – depending on your needs, any one of those packs above could be the best one for you. So, here’s what you should look for, if you want to make sure you’re getting the absolute best survival pack for your adventures.
There isn’t an ideal size of a such a backpack. But there should be an ideal size for you – it heavily depends on the length of your usual expeditions.
This really isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of situation. And that is why I included so many different sizes of backpacks, from smaller 24-hours packs, to beasts that can get you through a week in the wilderness.
There is one rule to keep in mind though – smaller backpacks allow for greater freedom of movement, while larger backpacks tend to be quite restrictive. The bigger the pack, the harder it will be to move around quickly with it.
If you’re looking for a survival backpack that will let you stay agile, you should look for something smaller, up to 50 liters of capacity. These survival packs can usually hold enough gear for up 2-day expeditions max, but they are small and light enough that you won’t be slowed down by your bag.
On the other hand, if you’re prioritizing capacity over freedom of movement, then look at some of the larger bags I’ve featured. There are some really big backpacks here, which can easily get you through expeditions of 5-7 days, but you won’t be able to move quickly.
Durability is one of the key features of a good survival backpack. These packs are designed to go through hell and back, so it is essential that the materials they are made from are able to withstand even the harshest conditions.
This is true of all the survival packs featured in this review. They are all made from tough and durable materials, and all feature some sort of water resistant coating. Some backpacks are entirely waterproof, and these are the best options if you want to keep your gear 100% dry in really wet weather.
In addition to that, the durability of the backpack isn’t conditioned just by its materials. Zippers also play an important role here, and the best packs are equipped with sturdy YKK zippers. But, these are usually some pretty pricey bags, so you will settle for something that’s not as tough, if you’re looking for a budget survival backpack.
The one thing all these backpacks have in common is the presence of MOLLE panels. Some have them just on the front, and other will have various MOLLE panels all over the backpack.
This feature is a necessity in survival backpacks, because it allows you to have certain bulky gear handy at all times. So, you should look for a backpack that has enough space for all the gear you need easily accessible. If that number is low, then a single MOLLE panel on the front will be enough.
But if you’re always carrying a lot of bulky gear, then you should look for a survival backpack that has panels on the front, sides, top and maybe even the back. There are a few of those in this review, but I have to warn you that they’re not at all cheap.
If you’re having a hard time choosing just one survival backpack, go with one of our top three choices. They are the best of the best, and you definitely won’t regret getting them!
The Dragon Egg backpack by Direction Action is definitely a top option, provided you’re fine with the smaller capacity. It is made from extremely durable materials, and features premium waterproofing. This backpack also features laser cut MOLLE panels on the front and sides, and it has the most different attachment points by far. And it has enough pockets and compartments that all your other gear can be neatly organized.
If you want something bigger and more versatile, pick up the CVLife survival backpack. It has three detachable compartments, which effectively means that you’re getting four bags for the price of one. And the total capacity of the pack is 60 liters, which is enough for multi-day expeditions. This pack is made from sturdy and water resistant fabrics, and it features a hip belt and a sternum strap, for excellent carrying comfort.
Those of you that want a really big survival pack that can get you through five to seven days outside should go for the WintMing backpack. With a total capacity of 70 liters and MOLLE attachment points on the front panel, this backpack can hold everything you need for a week out in the wilderness. It’s also comfortable to wear, thanks to thick padding in the backpanel and harness. And the back system is ventilated, so you will stay dry even when it’s really hot outside.
Head over to Amazon to see the prices of these survival backpacks. And if you’re looking to make a decent survival kit, be sure to check out our related posts as well!
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