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Best Bug Out Bag Backpack

A bug out bag has to be spacious, comfortable, versatile and durable. Here are our top bug out bags: best all-rounder, budget, stealth and premade backpacks.

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In this article we will cover a few of the best bug out bags on the market.

Before we begin, there are some important distinctions to make between the different types of survival backpacks: 

  • Get Home Bag
  • 72hr Bag
  • Bug Out Bag

There are many similarities across these types of pack, but there are some subtle, nuanced differences that need to be considered.

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

Last update on 2021-05-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Types of Survival Backpacks

Get Home Bag

This is a backpack designed to carry everything you need to get home when SHTF (“Stuff” Hits The Fan!).

They should be relatively small and stealthy with only a few essentials, and carried everywhere you go.

If you want to learn more about get home bags, check out our guides on the best get home bags and important get home bag gear.

72-Hour Bag

This is designed to hold everything you need to survive for 72hrs (3 days) in an emergency situation until you are rescued or can make it home.

They are generally used by campers, backcountry hikers, road trippers, etc. who may find themselves in the middle of nowhere and want to make sure they can survive in an emergency.

Any of the backpacks listed in this article are also suitable as 72-hour bags.

In case you want to learn more about general use backpacks, check out or guide about the best survival backpacks.

Bug Out Bag

The BOB is intended for more long-term survival. Let’s say you are forced to leave your home and don’t know when you can return.

It would be impossible to pack enough food, water and other supplies for an indeterminate amount of time; but you can prepare yourself with some key items and survival gear that will give you a good chance of survival.

This is the type of backpack we’ll be covering in this article.

A bug out bag with survival gear
If you're serious about survival if an emergency occurs, then you need to have a Bug Out Bag prepared and ready to go.

Bug Out Bag Checklist

BOBs are designed to keep you safe and surviving for an undetermined amount of time.

As such, it is incredibly difficult to know exactly how much you will need to pack, and there is no “ultimate bug out bag” checklist.

There are, however, a few things you can pack to maximize your chances of survival when SHTF.

Read our comprehensive article on essential survival gear which includes a bug out bag checklist.

Top Bug Out Bag Backpacks

A bug out bag needs to be spacious, comfortable, versatile and durable. This is a tricky combination of features to master – and there is no one bag to rule them all.

Here are our top bug out bags from the best all-rounder, budget, stealth and pre-made backpacks.

TOP PICK: 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Military Backpack

The RUSH72 features everything you’d expect from a military backpack, and is hugely comfortable as an added bonus.

It is perfect as a 3 day bag or bug out bag, thanks to its spacious pockets, MOLLE webbing and durable exterior.

The 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Military Backpack contains one large central compartment, a front pocket, an inner admin pocket, two large side pockets and a dedicated hydration holder.

There are also internal mesh and zippered areas to compartmentalize your gear, and the double external compression straps help to keep your pack secure and the mass close to your back.

The 55L of storage space should be enough for you to survive indefinitely in the woods, but this pack is covered in MOLLE loops for you to attach other pockets and items on to the exterior, should you need to.

The durable and water-resistant 1050D nylon will stop the pack from snagging, ripping or unraveling and keep the elements out as you travel.

5.11 are one of the industry-leaders in survival and technical backpacks. For good reason!

They make some of the highest quality gear on the market, and their products are extremely well thought-out. For that reason, the RUSH72 backpack claims our top spot.

Last update on 2021-05-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5.11 RUSH72 Benefits

  • Spacious and organized
  • MOLLE compatible
  • Comfortable shoulder straps
  • Durable materials

5.11 RUSH72 Disadvantages

  • Heavy to begin with
  • No integrated rain cover
  • One of the more expensive

Check out this video review of the 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 done by Canadian Firearms Review.

5.11 also make a smaller 37L version, the 5.11 RUSH24, which we reviewed in our best survival backpack article.

STEALTH PICK: Maxpedition Vulture-II Backpack

This Vulture-II backpack from Maxpedition is a survival-style backpack that could easily pass as a hiking or laptop bag.

If you live in an urban area where you want to draw minimal attention to yourself, then this may be the pack for you – especially if you choose the black option.

Anything too obviously military will shout “I am prepared!” and make you a target for those who are getting desperate.

The exterior has plenty of MOLLE compatible webbing loops which you can attach extra gear onto, but these look perfectly normal to the untrained eye.

The Maxpedition Vulture-II Backpack has padded shoulder straps and a thick waistbelt, which helps to take the strain off your shoulders if carrying a heavy load or walking for a long while.

The pack features several compression straps, including a Y-style strap which wraps over the top of the pack, bringing the weight closer in and making the load more comfortable.

This pack is also made from nylon – 1000D – but with an added Teflon coating which improves its water resistance and puts it above most other packs in that regard.

At 37L it is on the smaller size for a bug out bag, but the option for additional MOLLE pockets sorts the issue of extra space, should you need it.

All in all, this is a good quality bug out bag which will help you stay under the radar in any doomsday scenario.

Last update on 2021-05-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Maxpedition Vulture-II Benefits

  • Stealthy design
  • Option for additional MOLLE storage
  • Superior water resistance

Maxpedition Vulture-II Disadvantages

  • Smaller than most
  • Not as many compartments for internal organization

Check out this video review of the Maxpedition Vulture-II made by TheTacticalDefender.

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BUDGET PICK: Orca Tactical Backpack 40L

At a relatively low price, this survival backpack from Orca Tactical packs a surprising number of features into its budget price.

It is reassuring that you don’t need to splash out on the most expensive gear to get prepared – especially good news for those with several family members also wanting bug out bags!

The Orca Tactical Backpack 40L features two large main compartments, with two more roomy pockets on the front.

The interior features further mesh and zippered pockets to help with organization, and the whole pack can be cinched close to your body with the external compression straps, minimizing fatigue as you travel.

The exterior is covered in MOLLE webbing to give you extra space should you need it. The 600D nylon isn’t quite as durable as some other models; but it should still be good enough for general wear-and-tear when out in the woods.

The heavy-duty YKK zippers and double stitching around the seams also help to reinforce this pack, keeping your belongings safe inside and the elements firmly out.

There is even a sleeve for a hydration bladder or laptop down the back. The shoulder straps have a good level of padding, and the sternum strap is thick and strong – again helping to relieve the stress on your shoulders.

The main downfall of this pack is the lack of padding around the waist belt, so it could get a little uncomfortable with a heavy load over long distances (but you can’t expect too much from $50!).

All in all, this is a massive pack at a small price, from a brand you can trust.

Last update on 2021-05-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Orca Tactical Backpack Benefits

  • Huge storage capacity
  • MOLLE compatible
  • Great price for the quality

Orca Tactical Backpack​ Disadvantages

  • Waist belt may be uncomfortable with heavier loads
  • Not as durable material as other similar packs

PRE-MADE BACKPACK PICK: Tactical Traveler Tactical Survival Kit

If you’re new to the art of survival or have limited time to get prepped, then you may want to consider a pre-made bug out bag option which includes the backpack and all essential supplies.

This pack from Tactical Traveler has all the supplies you’ll need for the first 72 hours, plus some handy tools to help should you need to stay out of dodge for a few weeks.

The backpack itself is made from sturdy nylon, and features heavy-duty zippers as you’d expect. It has PU-coated lining and pockets for enhanced water repellency – a nice touch – and even has a pouch for your hydration bladder.

The Tactical Traveler Tactical Survival Kit is not the most technical backpack available, but does have padded straps, compression straps and MOLLE style webbing for external fixtures.

It comes with food, water purifiers, emergency blanket, a radio, first aid kit, bivy bag, multi-tools and more. In fact, the list is almost endless. This is a tried, tested and top-rated kit and weighs in at less than 20oz.

The backpack may not be the best quality on the market but it has been at least designed to handle all of the items that come with it, so would suit most amateur preppers very well indeed.

Various survival items for the bug out bag
A Bug Out Bag should be able to carry all your essential survival gear.

Tactical Traveler Tactical Survival Kit Pros

  • Contains all bug-out essentials
  • Has the basic features that a bug out backpack should have
  • Reasonable price for the amount you get

Tactical Traveler Tactical Survival Kit Cons

  • Not as good build quality as other backpacks on the market
  • Only tested to fit the items it is sold with, it may be uncomfortable with more weight

Final thoughts on Bug Out Bags

Remember that a bug out bag is only as good as you are! This means that the preparation and packing of your bug out bag is just as important as the backpack that you choose.

There is no use buying a top-of-the-line backpack only to fill it with non-essentials or do a rush job when SHTF.

Keep it simple. If you are new to prepping or the world of survival, don’t buy a super technical military or tactical backpack without understanding how to use them.

Many features of the more elite backpacks are lost on people who do not know how to make the most of them – and will just cost you more money and maybe even slow you down when on the move.

Stick to what you know!

That being said, if you want to start practicing with a more technical backpack in advance of a global disaster – then absolutely go ahead.

Good luck, survivalists!

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Hi, I'm Russ!

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