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Best Gray Man Backpack [8 Stealth Backpacks]

In this buyer guide we tell you what is a gray man bag, what makes a great stealth backpack and review 8 gray man backpacks that make a perfect gray man bag.

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Being noticed is usually a great feeling. But there are times when staying unnoticed is the real deal. That includes emergency situations when everyone acts irrationally to fight for their survival.

If you are carrying survival gear during a disaster situation, you don’t want everyone scuffling for your survival provisions. You can prevent such a scenario by acting gray man and having a gray man EDC backpack that will not give you away or decrease your chances of surviving the disaster.

The best gray man backpack should be as ordinary as the JanSport Big Student Backpack and have these 5 attributes:

  1. Dull colors and simple design to avoid drawing attention.
  2. An average size, not too big to draw attention or too small to leave out vital survival gear.
  3. A stealth backpack, with multiple and secret compartments.
  4. Made of durable and safe nylon or polyester material.
  5. Comfortable to carry with padded straps and back panel.

You’ll read details about these qualities of the best gray man backpack later in the article. But first, we tell you what a gray man bag is and review for you 8 stealth backpacks that make a perfect gray man bag.

In a hurry? If you just want to get to our conclusions, here are our top picks and recommendations!

Last update on 2024-03-17 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Table Of Contents show

What is a Gray Man Bag?

A gray man bag is a stealth backpack, one that you can carry around without alerting everyone that you are prepared for survival should SHTF or any disaster situation threaten your life and wellbeing.

Carrying a gray man bag goes hand in hand with being a gray man. That means having the ability and skill to blend into a crowd or act normal in any situation without standing out.

Specifically, being a gray man means concealing your survival preparedness by:

  • The way you move in a crowd during an emergency situation.
  • Wearing ordinary clothes that do not attract attention but instead help you blend into the crowd.
  • Taking a normal posture and maintaining a general appearance so you don’t stand out.
  • Carrying a stealth backpack in a way that does not suggest you are an equipped survivalist.

Since we want to help you carry a gray man bag without giving yourself away, we review for you 8 of the best stealth backpacks for the gray man/woman.

Gray man wearing a stealth backpack in a foggy environment.

Best 8 Gray Man Stealth Backpacks

As already said, a gray man backpack shouldn’t stand out as a tactical EDC backpack, even while bearing all that you need to increase your chances of surviving an emergency.

Carrying a tactical or military bag would make you stand out and, therefore, work against your intention to go unnoticed and easily blend in the crowd.

Here are our choices for the best gray man backpacks from Amazon.

Best Stealth Gray Man EDC Backpack

JanSport Big Student Backpack

Who has not seen a JanSport backpack? It’s one of the most trusted backpacks names and one among the most ordinary bags you’ll see around. You probably own one or know someone that does.

Carrying a JanSport backpack will fit you perfectly into the flock. Even if you slipped your survival filter bottle into the external water bottle pocket, no one will think you are prepped for filtering water in case of an emergency.

We are going for the grey color, that way we avoid all the shouting colors that could draw attention.

Last update on 2024-03-17 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Key features of the JanSport Big Student Backpack:

  • Sturdy material: The bag is 100% polyester, which makes it sturdy and highly resistant to the elements. The zippers and straps are made of durable material, great to keep your gray man bag going for years.
  • Comfort: It has ergonomic S-curve shoulder straps, a web haul handle, and a padded back panel, all of which make it comfortable for an EDC backpack.
  • Ample space for organization: The bag has 2 large main compartments, a 15ʺ laptop compartment, 2 front stash pockets (one zippered and another pleated), a front pocket with organizer, and a side water bottle pocket.
  • Average size: A 34L capacity bag in 17.5" x 13" x 10" dimensions, which fits our average size recommendation for a good grey man bag.

Budget-Conscious Best Gray Man EDC Backpack

Abshoo Classical Basic Travel Backpack

The budget-conscious description does not fit this backpack only for its affordability, but most especially for its innumerable features in a perfect EDC bag size.

For the Abshoo Classic Backpack we go for the black or gray non-shouting colors to suit our disguise purpose.

Last update on 2024-03-17 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Key features of Abshoo Classical Basic Travel Backpack:

  • Water-resistant material: Its water-resistant polyester and internal fabric lining will keep every item of your survival gear dry and safe.
  • Multi-pocket design: With 4 spaced compartments and 2 side pockets, the bag is great for organizing all your survival items, sorting them by type, and giving you faster and easy accessibility.
  • Easy packing: It has two-way zippers to facilitate packing in the main compartments and reinforced straps to ensure your backpack stays on your back with no risk of giving in to weight.
  • Average size: Our grey choice has a 25L capacity in 12.2" x 5.3" x 16.5" dimensions.

Anti-Theft Best Gray Man Backpack

Business Travel Backpack

Whether you are a professional, a student, or a lover of the outdoor escapades, you’ll carry this bag anywhere without anyone suspecting you are the ‘always ready survivalist.’

The gray and black colors perfectly meet our gray man purpose and the Business Travel Backpack has other special features you’ll love.

Last update on 2024-03-17 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Key features of the Business Travel Backpack:

  • Anti-theft pockets: You have anti-theft pockets in the back storage compartment where you can keep your most important documents and valuables.
  • Sturdy material: It’s made of water-resistant polyester and has strong metal zippers.
  • Convenient carrying: The breathable and padded shoulder straps will shield you from the weight of your survival gear. When not on your shoulders, the foam-padded handle makes carrying your backpack comfortable and convenient.
  • Ample packing space: You have a 15.6ʺ laptop compartment, another spacious compartment for your larger gear items, a front compartment with organizer pockets, and mesh pockets for your water bottle or other easy-to draw items like a foldable umbrella.
  • USB charging port: The bag has a built-in USB charging port that gives you easy access to a portable charger inside the backpack. You connect the portable charger to the internal USB charging cable and you can charge your phone on the external USB port.
  • Average size: You have a 32L capacity in 11.81ʺ x 7.68ʺ x 17.72ʺ dimensions.

Extra-Roomy Best Gray Man Backpack:

SWISSGEAR 1900 ScanSmart Laptop Backpack

The SWISSGEAR backpack could make for the best gray man tactical backpack if that’s what you are looking for.

But its features still work perfectly for a non-tactical backpack: the Swissgear 1900 Backpack does not stand out and attract the eyes of the crowd.

Last update on 2024-03-17 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Key features of the SWISSGEAR 1900 ScanSmart Laptop Backpack:

  • Durable material: The backpack is made of weather-resistant polyester which withstands water and harsh conditions.
  • Multi-pocket packing: The backpack has a front organizational pocket for your small-size gear items, a front large U-zip pocket for quick-draw survival gear, a laptop compartment, and 2 breathable side pockets for your water filter bottle and other quick-draw items.
  • Comfortable carry: The bag has a padded back panel with ventilation, contoured shoulder straps, and a rugged grab handle for easy carrying if you have to run or carry for a long time.
  • Average size: You have a 31L capacity in 18.5" x 13.5" x 9" dimensions.

Best Gray Man Covert Backpack

5.11 COVRT18 Tactical Covert Military Backpack

This military-style bag easily passes for an EDC non tactical backpack.

It is designed to offer great functionality and versatility while appearing subtle and discreet, which makes you blend in easily into the crown.

Of course, we will opt for the non-shouting black and grey colors for the 5.11 Covrt18 Tactical Backpack.

Last update on 2024-03-17 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Key features of the 5.11 COVRT18 Tactical Covert Military Backpack:

  • Sturdy and durable material: It’s made from 500D weather-resistant nylon, Duraflex hardware, and YKK zippers.
  • Roomy storage: The bag has multiple storage compartments including the main and the front compartments, an internal padded laptop sleeve, sunglasses pocket, 2 breathable side pockets, a side-entry Back-Up Belt system compartment that is accessible from both sides, a built-in ID panel, and a Roll-down Assault Compartment (R.A.C.) for concealing your firearm or defense tool.
  • Safe and comfortable carry: The bag has yoke-style adjustable carry straps with an adjustable sternum strap, quick tact accessory straps, and a reinforced grab handle.
  • Average size: You have a 30L capacity with a 19ʺ x 12.25ʺ x 6.5ʺ main compartment.

Heavy-Duty Best Gray Man Backpack

Carhartt Legacy Standard Work Backpack

The strength and design of the Carhartt Legacy have won this bag a spot in our list of the best gray man backpacks.

As with all our choices, the black and gray colors work best for our gray man intent with the Carhartt Legacy Standard Work Backpack.

Last update on 2024-03-17 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Key features of the Carhartt Legacy Standard Work Backpack:

  • Strong and durable material: It’s made with 100% 1200D polyester, making it water-resistant. The Duravax sturdy base is made to resist the elements and is resilient to use abrasion.
  • Ample room: You can enjoy organizing your survival gear in the different compartments including the large main compartment with a laptop sleeve and the front organizational pockets. You also have a mesh pocket on either side for your water bottle and other quick-draw items.
  • Safe and comfortable carry: The bag has a padded breathable back panel and padded adjustable shoulder straps.
  • Average size: You can carry 38.9L in 11ʺ x 12ʺ x 18ʺ dimensions.

Lightweight Best Gray Man EDC Backpack

JanSport SuperBreak One Backpack

The Jansport SuperBreak backpack is fit for EDC due to its size and sturdiness. Its simplicity makes it perfect to carry around all day and every day without worrying that it will announce your emergency preparedness.

The grey color has a neat but discrete look but a black option would also work perfectly with the JanSport SuperBreak One Backpack.

Last update on 2024-03-17 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Key features of the JanSport SuperBreak One Backpack:

  • Durability: It’s made with 100% 600D polyester which is both weather and abrasion-resistant. The interior coating and strong zippers add to the bag’s resistance to the elements and the strain of the survival gear weight.
  • Easy packing: You have a single main compartment for stuffing your less urgent larger gear items and a front organizing pocket for the quick-draw gear items.
  • Comfortable carry: The straight-cut shoulder straps are padded for comfortable carrying. You also have a web haul handle and a padded back panel.
  • Average size: The ‘not too big not too small’ JanSport SuperBreak has a 25L capacity in 16.7" x 13" x 8.5" dimensions.

Best Messenger Sling Gray Man Backpack

Nicgid Carry on Backpack Travel Bag

This sling chest shoulder backpack allows you to be a stylish gray man without necessarily attracting attention.

We’ve opted the Nicgid Carry-on Backpack on our list to cater to survivalists who may not like the traditional double-strap backpack.

Last update on 2024-03-17 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Key features of the Nicgid Carry on Backpack Travel Bag:

  • High-quality material: The bag is made of durable water-resistant nylon material and has a strong internal lining and sturdy zippers.
  • Versatile carry: The adjustable shoulder strap lets you carry this sling bag across your right or left shoulder or on one shoulder. You can also opt to carry your gray man bag using the ‘easy grab and hang’ top handle.
  • Multiple compartments/pockets: Despite its apparent small size, this messenger sling backpack has plenty of space: a large main pocket, a 13ʺ laptop compartment, an open iPad pocket, an anti-theft pocket, 2 zipper pockets at the front with flap, and two side pockets.
  • Average size: You can fit all your survival gear items in the many pockets in this 5.0ʺ x 5.0ʺ x 0.7ʺ bag.

Now that you know what options you have for your gray man backpack, we’ll give you details on the attributes of the best gray man backpack, some of which have already been mentioned in the review.

Attributes of a Good Gray Man Backpack

When purchasing a gray man bag you should keep in mind the two purposes it must serve:

  • Carry your survival gear without giving in to the elements or abrasion.
  • Fit into your gray man plan and not draw attention from those around you.

To meet these functions, the best gray man backpack must have these 5 attributes.

A hooded Gray Woman staring at a gray wall

1. An ordinary look (should not draw attention)

The obvious statement that ‘eyes were made to see’ makes us put this attribute first. If you are walking in town with a brightly colored backpack, one with innumerable external pockets, one with a rare design, or a huge one that completely covers your back, you will certainly draw the attention of those around you.

A good gray man backpack is the most ordinary one that you see around often. The commonness of a backpack may be defined by:

  • A trending brand, which means a lot of people are going for it and no one will consider your bag as out of the ordinary (consider our JanSport top pick).
  • Dull colors that don’t attract people’s attention as would shouting colors.
  • Simple designs without MOLLE straps, ALICE clips, or military colors such as ACU (Army Combat Uniform) and MARPAT.
  • Neatly packed without gear items such as paracords or sleeping bags hanging in the outside.

2. Average size

Like other backpacks, the size of gray man bags is measured by its volume (the capacity it can carry in Liters) and its external dimensions.

A 60L (around 27ʺx14ʺx9ʺ) gray man bag that covers your entire back will suggest to everyone that you have survival supplies during a time of emergency and will also be extremely weighty to carry around.

Also, a 10L (around 11ʺx8ʺx5ʺ) gray man bag may carry a few personal hygiene items but leave out other essential items that may be vital for your survival.

We advise you to go for an average size bag, between 25L and 35L (around 17-20ʺx12-14ʺx5-7ʺ). This will carry all you need for survival without looking and feeling cumbersome.

An average size bag will also fit all the items that you need in a gray man EDC backpack including:

  • Bottled water and canned/freeze-dried food
  • A smartphone and portable charger
  • A wallet (with cash)
  • A watch cum compass
  • A multi-tool
  • A folding/fixed blade knife
  • A water filter
  • A flashlight
  • A mini first aid kit
  • A self-defense tool

Read our article on Gray Man Gear for a more comprehensive list of what you should include in your EDC gray man gear list.

3. A stealthy backpack (with multiple and secret compartments)

Part of carrying a gray man bag is to conceal crucial survival tools so that no one guesses you have them. Besides, it’s important that your backpack is well packed and does not look bloated as this could attract attention.

A multi-pocket/compartment bag allows you to do this in several ways:

Concealment and organization

Multiple internal pockets, main compartments, front and back pockets as well as elasticized side pockets allow for easy and organized packing so that your survival gear items are evenly distributed and your gray man backpack does not look stuffed.

Anti-theft pockets

A gray man bag with anti-theft secret pockets like the reviewed Business Travel Backpack will let you carry valuables and personal/family documents without the risk of losing them or having them stolen.

Firearm and valuables’ pockets

Other stealthy pockets include the Roll-down Assault Compartment (R.A.C.) for concealing firearms as with the 5.11 COVRT18 Tactical Covert Military Backpack or the secret back pockets that keep valuables safely lying on your back.

Some essential items any gray-man minded prepper should have in their gray man backpack are self-defense tools. Check out our guide for the best non-lethal self-defense tools for preppers.

Gray woman carrying a concealed firearm in a gray woman backpack.

4. Durability and safety

A good gray man bag should be made of high-quality material that can withstand the elements, the strain of carrying the weight of the survival gear, as well as the test of consistent use with time.

Durability should be weighed on backpack material and hardware.

Backpack material

Nylon and polyester readily pass the test for heavy-duty backpacks and are recommended for gray man bags. Even though leather is also used, it is stylish and can draw the attention that you are trying to avoid, and so could a canvas bag for its rarity.

Nylon and polyester are majorly water-resistant (not necessarily waterproof). Additional waterproof quality is provided by the waterproof lining that is placed in the interior of your backpack.

Backpack safety is also about placing padding inside some of the compartments so that delicate items are protected. Such is the case with the laptop compartment included in all the reviewed backpacks.

Backpack hardware

Most people throw away ‘good as new’ bags because of broken zippers, shoulder straps, and O/D rings. It would be unwise to buy an extra-strong nylon bag with weak zippers or loosely stitched straps.

Go for bags with YKK-grade zippers and ensure any O/D rings used on your bag are good value. Also, check that the shoulder straps are reinforced and that the thread used on bag seams and strap joints is strong enough to resist weight. Double or triple stitching is recommended.

5. Comfortable to carry

Carrying your backpack with comfort has a lot to do with:

  • The pressure that its weight exacts on your back and shoulders.
  • Your daily activities (whether you are walking a lot or sitting in an office or class for the better part of the day).
  • The possibility of changing the carrying position if you need to.

If your gray man bag feels uncomfortable on your back, you are not going to persist carrying it daily as an emergency readiness gear bag, which means limiting your survival chances in such situations. Besides, you could hurt your back carrying an uncomfortable backpack.

There are two major features to a comfortable backpack carry:

Padded and contoured shoulder straps, a grab handle, and hip belt

A backpack with adjustable padded shoulder traps feels comfortable and reduces the strain of the bag’s weight on your shoulders and back. If the straps are also contoured, they’ll take a natural shape that makes carrying your backpack even more comfortable.

A padded or rugged grab handle gives you a strong grip if you have to ‘grab and hang’ your bag in a hurry or need to rest your back and shoulders when walking for long distances.

Padded hip belts also cushion your back and shoulder from the weight of your bag, distributing the weight to the leg muscles. This is especially recommended with larger volume backpacks, which is not necessarily our case.

Padded and breathable back panel

A padded and breathable back panel enhances comfort when carrying your backpack because it not only feels soft but it also lets your back breathe, excluding the discomfort that could come with perspiration during the hot seasons.

If you would like to know more about stealth in emergency situations, check out our guide on how to be a gray man.

Best Gray Man Backpack FAQs

Now you know what to consider when ordering your gray man backpack. To complete your backpack carry and shopping knowledge, check these 3 FAQ:

Must a gray man’s backpack be grey?

The gray man is a concept used by survivalists to describe how blending into a crowd or the surroundings is key in helping you conceal from everyone that you are carrying survival gear during an emergency situation.

Gray is considered a neutral non-shouting color and is, therefore, used to imply that your clothing, actions, posture, and backpack should not stand out, but should instead make you look like everyone else. As such, any ordinary dull and non-shouting color is a gray color.

Who can be a gray man?

Anyone can be a gray man. That includes children and women.

Everyone can learn and apply the knowledge and skills of being always ready for emergency situations and blending into the crowd to avoid being noticed as someone who has survival gear on them.

In the end, surviving an emergency is everyone’s concern.

What characteristics does a gray man have?

A gray man has these 7 characteristics:

  • He/she dresses in muted dull-colored clothes or those that look like everyone else’s.
  • He/she avoids tactical/military wear and gear.
  • He/she walks, moves, and carries a natural posture.
  • He/she does not appear to be threatening or defensive.
  • He/she goes with the flow of the crowd.
  • He/she keeps firearms or self-defense tools concealed.
  • He/she does not panic but remains calm during an emergency.

Final thoughts on the Best Gray Man Backpack

Everyone hopes to come out alive and unscathed from any SHTF situation. But not everyone may be keen about maximizing their chances of survival by having their gray man backpack handy all the time.

While carrying a gray man backpack can be lifesaving, carrying one that announces to everyone that you are prepared for survival should SHTF is counterproductive. You run the risk of redirecting everyone towards you to share or even forcefully take your survival gear items and save themselves.

To avoid such a scenario, carry a stealth gray man backpack, one that has neutral colors, and without designs that make it stand out from the rest. Also, ensure your gray man bag is sturdy and comfortable to carry since you do not know for how long you’ll have it on your back.

In a survival situation, “being my brother’s/sister’s keeper” is a sham. So work on your chances of survival by jealously carrying your survival gear in a stealth gray man gear. Then thank us later!

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Hi, I'm Russ!

I've been prepping for a long time, but 2020 convinced me that I need to take it to the next level.

This website started as a way to keep me going forward on the path to being better prepared.

Now, I’m turning it into a complete blueprint for anyone else looking to do the same!
Russell M. Morgan
Telson Survival

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