Are you tired of the city? Do you want to venture into the wild and become one with nature? Believe us, we get it. The daily grind of everyday city life can prove to be too much to handle. More often than not, you just need some time to yourself without the distraction of work, traffic, or electronics. There is no better way to do this than to go on a hiking or camping trip or try your hand at some mountain climbing. However, before you go on your great odyssey, you need to be thoroughly prepared to overcome any obstacles that you might encounter. You need a sturdy backpack to hold all your essentials while you enjoy your time and take a breather without worrying about being stranded in the wilderness, with no food or shelter. However, such backpacks are not like your everyday ones; they are specially made for this purpose and are called “survival backpacks” or “bug-out bags.” So, if it is your first camping, hiking, or mountain climbing trip, we got you covered.
The most essential features of a survival backpack
Not all survival backpacks are alike; they vary in specs, pros, cons, purpose, and price. You need to determine the kind of trip you are going to take, and the environment you will be in on your trip. Take into account the weather, the span of your trip, and of course, the place you are going to. If, say, you are going climbing, you will definitely need a different survival backpack from the one you would need if you were going on a hiking trip. Moreover, you need to know how much you want to carry. After you figure out all these details, here is a list of the most important features in any survival backpack.
This means the extent to which your backpack can endure extreme conditions. It must be durable to handle the wear and tear of your trip. Any good survival backpack must endure sun exposure, rain, snow, hail, accidental drops, and severe impacts with hard objects.
This is really self-evident and does not need much explanation. Your survival backpack needs to be capacious enough to carry food, water, and shelter, like a tent, that can last you for days. It should also be able to carry all your heavy gear in case you need any. Having a survival backpack that does not have enough space to carry all your essentials definitely defies the purpose of “survival.”
You will be carrying this bad boy around all the time, so it must not feel like a chore. Choose a backpack that can be easily carried—padded shoulders will provide the support your back needs to carry your heavy luggage.
This might sound a bit paradoxical but bear with us. You want a backpack that is made from a lightweight material; this means that the backpack is light without whatever contents you throw in it. If it is heavy in the first place before you put anything in it, just imagine how heavy it will be with all your gear. After all, you are going on a mountain-climbing trip, not a “mountain-carrying” one.
A hydration pocket
You might think this is unnecessary but trust us when we say you will need this feature when you are sweaty from exertion. Having a dedicated pocket or net that holds your water bottle will be of great help when you desperately need hydration. It will allow you to easily access your water bottle, instead of looking for it inside the bag that is full of hundreds of other things.
Your backpack is your best friend, and it should help you in tight situations. This feature is extremely underestimated. You need to choose a backpack that has reflective colors to help you stand out to drivers if you are walking near a road; this will also be helpful if you find yourself stranded or injured. It will help others to find and assist you.
Price and customer reviews
Yes, a survival backpack that has many storage compartments, padded shoulders, and a dedicated hydration sleeve sound great, but what do the customers who have already purchased it really think? You should seriously do your research and check tactical gear review pages that display customers’ experience and ratings. This way, you can find the best survival backpack and make sure that you get the best deal available, instead throwing money on a backpack that looks great but might not survive your trip.
Our top picks
Do you now know the essential features you should look for in your survival backpack? Awesome! Now, it is time to tell you about our top 10 picks for 2020. These 10 survival backpacks are sure to please the pickiest of buyers!
1. MOUNTAINTOP 70L+10L Internal Frame Backpack
Our first choice is a very highly rated, flexible survival backpack that is perfect for any heavy-duty usage. It has a huge main compartment to store your essentials in addition to a secondary one in the rare case that you find yourself running out of space. It also has a dedicated sleeping bag compartment to give you more space in the main and secondary compartments. Furthermore, it has a hip belt to help you access small stuff like your phone in a second. Fortunately, its huge capacity does not come at a cost to your comfort because it distributes the weight between your shoulders and midsection through its padded straps.
- Padded, adjustable shoulder straps
- A 3L hydration pack
- A rain cover
- Lightweight and durable
- Extra pockets on the hip belt
2. Teton Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack
This beast features 65 liters of space to stuff everything you might need on your journey and then some! This one is perfect for adventurers who want to take absolutely every essential out there on their trip. It also offers a separate sleeping bag compartment, padded shoulder and waist straps, and an airflow system that reduces heat. Moreover, it is more affordable than other backpacks, so it is a win-win option for those who do not want to break the bank.
- A padded water bladder pocket
- Plenty of room
- Extra pockets all over
- Adjustable for different heights
- A yellow rainfly to protect it from drizzle
3. 5.11 Rush24 Military Tactical Backpack 58601
This survival backpack is a very popular choice among hikers. It is made from a waterproof material that is sturdy and water repellent all at the same time, making it perfect for extreme weather and tough environments. However, it is somewhat smaller than its peers, as it has 34 liters of space, but do not let that fool you. It has many pockets to compensate for that. For your comfort, this backpack features compression straps to give you a tight and stable load and help you easily carry it.
- Many pockets
- Durable, waterproof material
- Superb weight distribution
- YKK zippers that are self-repairing
- Padded areas to ease back pressure
4. Red Rock Outdoor Gear Assault Pack
If you have a short, petite frame, then this survival backpack is for you! It is great, especially for women who like to hike or climb because it is very lightweight with expandable compartments. In addition, it is crazy cheap, as it costs under $50. Nevertheless, you cannot have your cake and eat it too—you have to compromise a bit when it comes to storage. It only has 28 litres of space. It might not be much if you are a seasoned hiker, but if you are someone who packs light, you will enjoy it.
- Padded shoulder straps
- A mesh back panel that can be used as a concealed pocket and can accept a water bladder up to 2.5L
- Water-resistant material
- Four compression/expansion belts
5. Mardington Internal Frame Backpack
On the other hand, if you are not a fan of smaller bags, you should check out the Mardington Internal Frame Backpack. It is very convenient with its 65 liters of space. This versatile piece can carry food and water that will last you for days. Not only that, but it also has MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) straps to attach your gear into it.
- Detachable side pockets
- A rain covers
- An optional waistband to evenly distribute the weight
- An adjustable chest straps
- Water-resistant material
6. Maxpedition Falcon-II Backpack
It might not be the biggest with its 25L storage space, but it is sturdy as any survival backpack should be! What is special about this one is that it has dual-directional YKK zippers that let you expand the main compartment into a clamshell opening to neatly pack your items. You do not have to worry about your poor back with this bag because it has sternum and waist support, which makes it easier to carry around for extended periods of time.
- A crazy number of pockets and pouches
- Self-repairing zippers
- Two 3L water reservoirs
- Nylon stitching for a durable backpack
- Water-resistant material
7. 5.11 Tactical Rush 12
You cannot go wrong with the 5.11 Tactical Rush 12. You will not believe how spacious it can be, as it offers not 7 or even 8 compartments but an outstanding number of 16 compartments. You can seriously pack for the apocalypse with this one! The great features do not end here; this sturdy backpack has a pocket for your charger and another for other accessories. It even has an eyewear pocket, niche, right?
- Water-resistant material
- Self-repairing YKK zippers
- Hook and loop name-tape and flag patches
- Compression straps
- 1.7L hydration system
8. Gonex 100L Survival Backpack
This backpack is for real hikers who do not compromise. It offers a huge storage space of 100L; you can even take your dumbbells in it if you want. It also offers an extensive MOLLE webbing to attach the essential to the outside of the backpack. Moreover, you do not have to worry if you are short, as it literally got your back with its adjustable shoulder straps.
- Huge storage
- A lightweight, resilient internal framing that holds everything in place
- A waist strap with two extra pockets for easy access to small items
- Highly water-resistant
- Loops on its top and bottom for a sleeping bag
9. Sandpiper of California Bug Out Backpack
If you want a backpack that you can travel with on buses or planes, then the Sandpiper of California Bug out Backpack is the one. It is comfortable to carry, precisely thanks to its waist and shoulder straps that even out the load and ease back pain. The zippers are also sturdy, which is always a nice touch, so do not be afraid to stuff it with everything you need.
- Rugged outer material for maximum durability
- Versatile and does not take much space
- Can be used as a duffle bag
- Aluminum back stays
10. LA Police Gear Operator Tactical Backpack
Our last pick is true to its name. It makes you feel like a policeman on a mission with its design. It has a main compartment to hold all your things in addition to an antenna and radio pockets. Featuring sternum and a waist strap, this beauty, cares about your comfort. You will also find an adjustable hook and loop tie-downs to eliminate any loose straps.
- A MOLLE system
- A 3L hydration reservoir
- Many ways to carry it
- Padded straps
Even though it’s an exciting idea, going on a hiking or camping trip is not as easy as it sounds; you need to be fully prepared for any emergencies or surprises. In this case, your survival backpack becomes your best friend in which you store all your essentials. Before starting your excursion, make a list of the gear and essentials you might need, and do not forget to bring plenty of water with you. Whether you are an expert or a newbie, this guide will help you every step of the way. Just choose your backpack, store your stuff, and you are ready to go!
Featured image: maxmann/Pixabay