To find the best bug out backpack, you need to search a whole lot of styles, features, and usability to find the ideal fit for you. Bug out bags are becoming increasingly popular as the threat of an accident or natural disaster is rising. If you’re new to prepping, you may wonder what a bug out bag is. For starters, its the holy grail of bags whenever a disaster strikes.
Whether it’s an earthquake, explosions, floods, violence, or war, being prepared will always be better than not. And by putting together a bug out bag, you will be more than prepared when the time comes. A great bug out bag will have most of the essentials needed to sustain yourself a minimum of 3 days.
In a Hurry? The test winners after 12 hrs of research
If you’re not sure where to start, our guide to the best bug out backpacks for survival is here to help you get going. For every contingency, scenario, and price range, we have looked at some of the largest, hardest, and overall best bug out backpacks out there. Survival backpacks and 3-day backpacks are also similar types of bags that you can use as an alternative.
The 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Bug Out Backpack is engineered to be a full-featured bug out bag that provides ample space for gear and accessories while remaining rugged and reliable enough for extended excursions or tactical deployments. Built from high strength, water-repellant rucksack made with 1000D nylon, this bag is ideal for recreational use or as an operational bug out bag with dual-zippered front and main compartments with molded grip pulls.
Compatible with 5.11 Tier System, and the Rush Tier Rifle Sleeve, the pack features unmatched storage capability, a wrap-around MOLLE and SlickStick-compatible web platform, adjustable shoulder and sternum straps, a 60-oz. hydration pocket, and durable, water-resistant construction. Adjustable dual density closed-cell foam shoulder straps; cinching waist strap and dual compression straps keep your rucksack pack secure and comfortable. Our handy guide to the best tactical backpacks features more great products like this.
Water-repellent & made with 1000D Nylon
Dual compression straps on the outside of the bag
Velcro ports on each side for securing a hydration bladder drinking tube in place
Multiple integrated organization pockets
Adjustable dual density closed-cell foam shoulder straps
Dimensions: 23″ H x 13.5″ W x 8.5″ D
Weight: 5.5 lbs
Lots of space and organization (pockets, zippered compartments, etc.)
Dual compression straps
Main zippers go nearly down to the bottom of the bag, allowing for clam shell opening
The Direct Action Dragon Egg Bug Out Backpack is a lightweight and versatile 2-day pack suitable for the role of a basic assault backpack or larger EDC pack. The Egg shape allows the pack to have a smaller height and width than other packs with similar capacity. It also makes it more comfortable with belt kits or ballistic vests. The front pocket features an internal organizer for GPS, writing utensils and other small essentials
Its 25+ liter capacity makes this 2-day backpack great for both patrol and advanced tactical duties. Designed for military and law enforcement operators, however, the camo/solid color selection also makes it a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts. The low profile look and feel makes it a perfect everyday carry bag.
Daisy chain webbing that runs along the front panel seam for attaching carabineers
Laser-cut MOLLE/PALS system
Patented Combat Vent System provides increased comfort for their users during prolonged use
Made with water-resistant coated Codura 500D fabric with multiple color/camo options
Brand: Direct Action
Dimensions: 18.9″ H x 10.6″ W x 7.0″ D
Weight: 3.5 lbs
Plenty of room for accessories and laser Molle makes it possible for adaptations
The side loops are very handy
Size is optimal for 3 Day trip
Overall good build quality
The green interior makes it slightly more difficult to see what’s pockets. Recommend using a light color like yellow or orange
The shape makes the bag always roll forward when set on a flat surface
The REEBOW GEAR Military Bug Out Backpack can be used as a 3-day assault pack, bug out backpack, hunting backpack, survival backpack, army backpack, trekking backpack or day pack for daily use. It has double-stitched seams throughout, heavy-duty zips and is made from a durable, water-resistant fabric. It works great with a 2.5L hydration bladder
In addition, this pack comes with an adjustable shoulder and waist straps. The shoulder straps have a good amount of mesh padding and there is a chest strap between them, so further adjust where the backpack weight falls on your shoulders. Like most military backpacks, it also has a MOLLE system, Molle webbing throughout for attaching additional tactical pouches or gear. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best military backpacks.
High-density fabric-durable and water-resistant
Molle webbing throughout for attaching additional tactical pouches
Double-stitched, heavy-duty zippers and utility-style cord pulls
Ventilated mesh padded back area & shoulder strap
Brand: REEBOW GEAR
Dimensions: 16.6″ H x 14.7″ W x 4.8″ D
Weight: 2.82 lbs
Very spacious. 2 main compartments, and back compartment for a hydration bladder, and 2 smaller compartments
The rugged design holds up well against abrasion and other forces
Its waterproof design makes it good for carrying electronics or books on campus or out on trails
Breathable and comfortable shoulder straps
Not the best strap quality, so this pack is not recommended for putting a heavy load
The Maxpedition Vulture-II Bug Out Backpack is built for larger individuals and is designed for hauling lots of gear. Endowed with 2100 cubic inches (34 liters) of carry capacity, 3 generous compartments, and a wide bottom design; this is the backpack to pack it all into. However, like all Maxpedition bags, size does not infringe on comfort. Great for longer hikes, deployment, or buggin’ out.
A coating of 1000 denier ballistic nylon is the secret to the incredible toughness of this bag and the bag’s rugged surface makes it a real-world survival and bug out backpack that holds up to tremendous abuse. PALS webbing is included across the side surfaces of the case which provides incredible strength of the stitching used to keep these nylon strips in place.
3 spacious main compartments
Concealed Carry Pocket
Base of the bag features a non-slip and abrasive finish
External PALS Webbing for attachments
Internal Pockets and loop fields for customization
Dimensions: 20.5″ H x 16″ W x 7″ D
Weight: 3.5 lbs
Plenty of straps to compress your bag
Water bladder/laptop pouch
Awesome quality: durable teflon-coated, 1000-denier Nylon – double stitching – and quality zippers with paracord pullers
Three-layered compartments for convenience and organization
Initially, outer material is abrasive to bare skin
The Direct Action Ghost Tactical Bug Out Backpack is a 30+ liter backpack, scalable and well suited for the role of a tactical 3-day pack. This makes the ghost perfect as a bug out backpack that can adapt quickly to changing situations on the ground while performing well in a number of roles. It features the main pack with two zippered compartments – first, larger, has an internal hydration sleeve and an accessory mesh pocket. Second, accessible from the backside of the pack is reinforced and will hold a large laptop computer.
The low profile look and feel makes it a perfect everyday bag. If you are looking for a heavy-duty backpack for your laptop, tablet, iPad, hydration bladder, etc. or just a solid base for your bug out bag. Additionally, there is a zippered, soft velour-lined, glasses pocket in the upper portion of the pack and a flat zippered pocket below it. Carrying straps of the Ghost MK II backpack is wide, and padded with stiffened closed-cell foam, with side release buckles for quick doffing. Waistbelt of the Ghost MK II pack is a fully functional PALS/MOLLE belt that can be detached from the main body and used on its own with included low-profile suspenders.
Cordura 500D laminate construction
Laser-cut PALS/MOLLE on front and sides
Hydration bladder compatible
Heavy-duty YKK zippers
Padded computer sleeve with separate access
Brand: Direct Action
Dimensions: 20.5″ H x 11.8″ W x 7″ D
Weight: 5.04 lbs
The hip belt is detachable and comes with straps that you can attach magazines, holsters, etc.
The laser cut MOLLE looks fantastic and contributes to the slim-profile look
The shoulder straps are well contoured and have nice padding
The buckles themselves are made of duraflex and the zippers are all YKK
The water bottle holders are secure enough for biking and walking but not for running or jumping
The Exos Bravo Tactical Bug Out Backpack is the perfect choice for people looking for a bug out backpack on a budget. With a 34L capacity, the five zippered compartments provide plenty of space to secure large tools and gear as well as compartments and pockets to organize small components. The rearmost zippered compartment is great for carrying a water bladder as it has an output for the drink tube, or it could be used to carry a standard size 15″ laptop instead. Built with a focus on quality and functionality, the Bravo’s outer shell material is durable 600D polyester with extra reinforcement at load bearing seams and strap connection points.
Ventilated mesh padding on the shoulder straps and back area provides superior comfort and airflow. Each side has a Velcro loop pad to attach any standard embroidered or PVC Velcro patch. For security, the cord pulls can be cinched together by zip tie, cord, or through the suspension straps to deter would-be pickpockets. External MOLLE webbing is stitched according to military specifications, with 1″ tall webbing and standard 1″ spacing. This webbing is compatible with MOLLE pouches and accessories, creating the ability for the user to build a fully modular pack system.
Padded strap and back areas
Front-load compression system
Heavy-duty zippers and D rings on the shoulder straps
Zippered hydration compartment
PALS webbing on the outside of the bag allows MOLLE attachment
Dimensions: 18″ H x 10″ W x 5″ D
Weight: 2.4 lbs
Double-stitched grab handle as well as ventilated padding around the areas which matter most
The hip and chest straps really help transfer weight to prevent neck pain
Plenty of compartments and sleeves
The zippers do not get caught in fabric and do not unzip on their own
The Paratus 3-Day Operator’s Tactical Bug Out Backpack is a great choice if you’re looking for a high-capacity pack that includes everything you’d like from a comprehensive bug out backpack. The Paratus tactical backpack makes long-distance hiking or walking easy and comfortable, while the detachable deployment pack and MOLLE pouches allow you to ditch the larger pack for rapid excursions. This makes the Rapid Deployment Pack perfect for keeping your med kit and other essentials.
The Deployment Pack is fully MOLLE compatible and will attach to any MOLLE pack, vest or other gear. This compact pack has a convenient grab handle or it can be carried with the concealable waist/shoulder belt. Padded shoulder straps, double-stitched seams, self-healing zippers, and heavy-duty 600D PVC backed polyester make the Paratus tactical backpack weather-resistant, strong, and lasting. Our guide to the best MOLLE backpacks offers more great products like this.
All zippers are threaded with zipper pulls for durability and noise reduction
All MOLLE webbing is reinforced
Four large pockets give you plenty of room to haul your gear
EVA Molded Back Panel with Vented Channels
Padded grab handle, double stitching, large zippers, and nylon reinforced webbing throughout
Brand: 3V Gear
Dimensions: 20″ H x 12″ W x 5.5″ D
Weight: 4.55 lbs
Rugged, quality materials
Modular design is actually useful
Hydration bladder fits well, despite the hole for the drinking tube being extremely snug
Plenty of compartments for most essentials
Not designed for prolonged hiking (heavier, lack of chest strap, frame and skimpy waist pads)
The Drakon Survival Bug Out Backpack is a revolutionary survival backpack option that incorporates a high-performance waterproof bag with a high-capacity protective bug out bag The result is a bag that is practically designed to work under all circumstances. A large durable top latch was integrated to add extra protection and keep your roll-top seal in place. This bag has been tested to store up to 10.5 gallons of water using only the backpack itself without leakage. It can be filled at the water source and carried back to camp for processing.
The Drakon is constructed from 500D PVC Tarpaulin sheets with each seam hand-welded and checked to ensure a completely watertight seal across the whole of the bag. Equipped with a full MOLLE system, this pack offers more customization than any other dry-bag on the market. Attach your own MOLLE pouches for quick access to your specific gear or use the 6 included pouches that come with your purchase.
Made from ultra-durable 500D PVC material
High Frequency welded seams provide full protection from water, snow, mud, and sand
Brand: Drakon Outdoor Equipment
Dimensions: 20″ H x 16″ W x 2.5″ D
Weight: 4.45 lbs
Made from thick waterproof material
MOLLE straps allow easy customization
External mini packs add a lot of storage with quick access
Strong construction and very adjustable for comfort
If you’re looking for a bug out bag that can be carried as either a duffel style holdall or on your back via traditional backpack strap, then the Voodoo Tactical Mojo Load Out Bag is a great choice. An impressive footprint allows the Mojo to incorporate 11 outer pouches of different sizes alongside a huge main compartment to literally carry anything you might need if an area is evacuated for up to 72 hours.
MOLLE webbing on the side of the bag further extends the Mojo’s capacity and allows additional bags such as or a medical kit to be attached and free up space in the stock compartments and bags. The main compartment’s capacity makes it ideal for carrying larger equipment such as a tent, sleeping bag or other similarly sized pieces of larger stuff, while the external pouches can be allocated to accommodate the smaller items that you need to carry.
11 assorted sized exterior pouches
Lots of webbing all around the bag
Use carry handles or removable adjustable, padded shoulder strap
Double compression straps on each end
Brand: VooDoo Tactical
Dimensions: 31″ H x 15.5″ W x 14″ D
Weight: 6.6 lbs
It has a lot of rooms
The D-rings are steel not plastic, the zippers are of excellent quality and there is plenty molle webbing to attach other molle comparable gear
The shoulder harness is plenty strong to carry this bag fully loaded and are fairly comfortable to use
When not in use the harness can be unhooked and tucked away nicely out of sight
The Eberlestock Halftrack Bug Out Backpack is an extremely versatile and popular 3-day pack. It features two levels of varying-sized tuck-pockets lining its interior, MOLLE-style Padlock webbing racks inside and out, and a fold-down shelf that can be used to divide the main compartment into upper and lower chambers.
It will carry two 3-liter hydration kits, mounted in side pockets, or two 2-liter bladders in side-sleeves if you want to keep the main side pockets free for other gear. The waistbelt features a 5 x 2 Padlock matrix on each side. A radio rack with large antenna portals is fitted to the back wall of the upper chamber. The pack has a Gossamer polycarbonate frame, is comfortably padded with deep-cut airmesh foam, and is well ventilated.
Padlock webbing tie-points all over the pack
Upper back wall radio rack with 3 antenna portals
Made with 1000D nylon finish
Padded shoulder pads and a longer waistbelt to maximize comfort
Dimensions: 24″ H x 11″ W x 7″ D
Weight: 6.2 lbs
Very sturdy pack
Plenty of MOLLE. On the top, bottom, sides and the inside
Internal divider is removable, and actually functional
Most of the best bug out backpacks tend to be advertised as having a length of 72 hours, and what this actually means is mainly how much equipment you will be able to carry on as well as realistic use-related comfort requirements over this period of time. The right bug out backpacks will provide enough space to carry everything from adequate shelter to emergency food supply, water filtration, protection, and other necessary tools and equipment for survival up to three days.
For every kind of survival backpack, internal organization and separation is something you’re going to want to search for when you think about the perfect bug out backpack for your needs and most bags can provide some sort of separating system to keep your equipment apart when inside.
Pockets can vary by type and size across most bug out backpacks, but usually, you can look at a combination of open and zippered pocket space inside and outside the bag. Within the best bug out backpacks, map pockets and hydration bladder pockets are popular and are an ideal way to distribute and differentiate these components of your survival gear while traveling and on the trail.
In general, comfort is essentially a balance between ample padding and a lighter weight so that the ability to move comfortably is not hampered by the pack. When you consider a given bug out bag’s comfort, you will also want to pay extra attention to how the hip belt of the pack is made. If properly loaded and put on, your hips should carry the bulk of the weight of your pack. That’s why extra padding can make a lot of difference in the hip belt.
Most of the best survival backpacks and bug-out backpacks tend to be built from some very hard-wearing and durable material like nylon or Cordura. Generally speaking, the best bug-out backpacks display the material properties of a metric called ‘ denier ‘ or ‘ D ‘ (e.g. 1050D nylon). A backpack’s denier rating does not specifically refer to the ‘ strength ‘ of the material used in the bag but refers to the weight. Strength is typically derived from the fabric’s actual weave, but in terms of abrasion resistance, a 500D bag will be less abrasion resistant than a 1000D bag.
Frequently Ask Questions
How big should a bug out backpack be?
A decent bug out backpack should have enough room to fit your equipment without being too bulky to make it uncomfortable. Small backpacks mean you’re leaving behind valuable life-saving tools. And too large bags don’t keep gear well inside, making them unstable and hard to handle when you get out of range. If you prefer a quick and light approach, you can choose a bag with a capacity of around 5-10L. A fuller go-bag intended to last you a whole 72-hour evacuation period could be about or greater than the 30L mark.
What is in a bug out pack?
It can seem difficult to pack a bug out bag as the challenge of not losing anything important can be challenging. There are a lot of checklists out there that tell you the important things you should always keep out of your bug bag. Hydration bladder, food and storage, first aid kit, clothes, tent, lighting, and other survival equipment are some examples.
Do you really need a bug out bag?
If there is any tragedy and a mandatory evacuation happens, it would obviously be nice to have a kit. Obviously voluntary evacuations are up to you though. If living in your home is unbearable because of incidents such as gas explosions, fires, nuclear catastrophes, floods, etc.; you’ll definitely need a bug-out pack.
When should a bug out bag be packed?
The whole idea of a bug-out bag is it’s packed and always ready to go. You may not have the time in a real emergency to throw the last few things into your bug-out bag that you really need. And the short answer to this question is that the bag should be always packed and ready to go. But you do need to be vigilant to check periodically any things in your bag that may expire or need replacement.
We hope this guide was helpful for finding the best bug out backpacks for travel as well as our guide on features to look for in a bug out backpack for travel. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this guide, feel free to let us know in the comments section.