Best Bug Out Bags Backpacks: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

Best Small Option

SOG Ninja Tactical Day Pack

SOG Ninja

Best Full Survival Kit
Everlit Earthquake Emergency Kit 72-Hour 2 Person Survival Kit

EVERLIT Survival Kit 

A bug out bag (BOB) is a style of backpack that usually comes either with or without supplies and is made so that a person can survive for more than 72 hours in the wild.

These bags are versatile as well as lightweight and feature pouches and compartments you can use to store essentials from foods and water to first aid kits.

They have risen in popularity in recent years and are now also sometimes considered urban backpacks. It’s common to see them on college campuses and when commuting to work.

Other terms used to refer to bug out bags include Quick Run Bag (QRB) Personal Emergency Relocation Kit (PERK), INCH Bag (I’m Never Coming Home), GOOD Bag (Get Out of Dodge Bag), Go Bag, Grab bag, Battle box, and 72-hour kit.

Why survivalists recommend these backpacks

Preparation is everything in survival situations. A pre-prepared bug out bag will save you time and energy because you have the essentials are ready to go for any situation. Survivalists love the organization and versatility of these backpacks.

These bags are also efficient. A systematically arranged bug out bag has the capacity to store every essential item a person needs to survive. You can enjoy your time in the wilderness when hunting, trekking or camping because all the things you need are strapped to your back and easily accessible.


best bug out backpack

What to Look for in a Good Bug Out Backpack

Size & Capacity

The first thing to look for when it comes to the best bug out bags is size. It has to be big enough to carry all the items you may need. In general, we can split bug out bags into three classes: small, medium, and large.

Small backpacks boast a capacity of approximately 20 - 40 liters, medium ones come with a capacity of around 40 - 60 liters and the largest comes with a capacity of 60 - 90 liters.

If this is your first bug out backpack, a medium sized one is likely to be your best option. A 20-liter volume capacity is too small to hold all the items you may need. Small sized (20-40L) are bets for day hunting trips, everyday use and day hiking.

Medium sized (40-60L) backpacks are better suited to 24 – 72 hours in the outdoors but need to be packed efficiently. The largest sized bags (60-90L) are best for long term survival needs such as 3 + days spent in the wild or when preparing an emergency backpack at home.

Compartments & Carry Options

The arrangement and design of the bug out bag’s compartments is another crucial feature you should look at. A medium-sized backpack with one big compartment might not be able to hold as many items as a medium-sized backpack with lots of small compartments.

In addition to the number of items you may need to carry, more compartments in a backpack make your organization process more streamlined and significantly easier.

The top-rated BOB’s have one big compartment in which you can place large items and multiple smaller and medium-sized compartments on the front and sides for supplies you need to access quickly.

Zippered and mesh interiors help when packing and segmenting your things so always look for those on the inside of the bag too. Many of the brands come with specific protective compartments for carrying your laptop, sunglasses and hydration bladder.

Materials

Obviously, certain materials are more long-lasting compared to others, but the type of weave, as well as the weight of the fabric, makes a huge difference.

Most of us love bags made of cotton, but when it comes to bug out bags, I would stick with Nylon. This is because nylon is durable, lightweight, can take more abuse. This is what most tactical backpacks are made of nowadays.

It’s common to hear the word ‘MOLLE’ when researching these and other backpacks. This is because it refers to ‘modular lightweight load-carrying equipment’ and this accurately reflects the overall style and build of these bags.

For most consumers, however, it’s more important to consider the exact nylon which the backpack is made from as this will affect tear and water resistance levels.

The ‘D’ at the end of a nylon amount actually stands for ‘Denier’ but it’s easier to remember it as density or thickness. The higher the ‘D’ number, the stronger the bag material is. We have included this in our reviews of each bag below.

Water & Tear-Resistant Material

A water-resistant bug out bag is a no brainer. Keeping out unwanted rain is essential in everyday use and for survival situations. In general, most of the bags on our list are water-repellent and not 100% waterproof. This isn’t a serious concern as the nylons used in production are usually constructed to keep the inside of your bag dry.

If you’re worried about fluids or residue getting into the interior of your backpack then I recommend storing any items that are most susceptible to water in the most inner compartments. This will add an extra layer of protection.

Price Vs Quality

If you should ever find yourself in a survival situation, you need something you can rely on, so quality should be your primary consideration and the price a second consideration. Ensure you bag that will best serve you in any sort of situation that you encounter.

When you’re shopping for the best bug out bag, it’s crucial that you don’t cut any corners. The last thing you want is your backpack to disappoint or underperform when your life depends on it.

That said, this doesn’t mean that you should go for the most expensive bug out bag out there. Just ensure you look for something with impressive reviews, high-quality supplies, and a reasonable price tag.

Build Quality & Ergonomic Design

A big distinction between the best bug out bags and their mediocre counterparts is the build quality. Mediocre bug out backpacks have common issues such as water leaking, bad stitching, broken zippers, and many more.

It’s worth investing in a quality bag, especially if your life may one day be dependent on the bag’s supplies. The third backpack on our list goes the extra mile with spacing of the MOLLE being close to ½ an inch apart. Other build features across all these bags include double heavy-duty zippers, double stitching, compression systems and padded areas.

Ergonomic design is a general term that many retailers use. For BOB’s, many come with hip straps which adjust to your needs. On top of this, some bags like the 5.11 tactical bags come with hip straps that fold away when not in use. Combine these with padding in the shoulder straps and you get an ergonomically designed bag.

The backpack’s construction should be tough enough to combat abuse. Most hiking backpacks are designed to be ultralight and are made of extremely thin material. A bug out bag should be made of similar material that won’t rip or snag when you walk by a branch or a sharp corner.

Appearance

Your bug out backpack needs have the ideal color balance for the situation you’re in, but your choice will also be down to your personal preference. A camouflage design is a decent option to go for, but perhaps not if you’re going to be using it as a commuter bag, as it will definitely stand out in the city.

On the other hand, you want to ensure you’re able to easily hide with your backpack in the wilderness. If you’re a hunter, for instance, hiding from your targets is a must for successful hunts, and a bright color such as red, orange, or yellow is going to make it almost impossible to stay hidden.

Hydration Bladder

When in the wild for long periods it’s important to have access to clean drinking water. This can be the major difference between survival and death. We always consider room for a hydration bladder when reviewing our bags and so should you.


10 Best Bug Out Bags & Backpacks Reviewed

If you want to find the best bug out bag for your needs, you should look at lots of different models. This is because there are hundreds of designs to choose from, and each design comes with different features and fabrics.

Unsure where to start? Don’t worry; we’re here to help. Here are 10 of the best bug out backpacks we could find online, so you can easily work out which bag is best suited to you and your needs.

Without Supplies

1. Rush 72 Tactical Backpack

5.11 RUSH72 Tactical Backpack For Military

Quick Look - Bag Features

Size

55 liters

Number of Compartments

N/A

Supplies Included

No

Material

1050D Nylon

Price Range

$$$$

Warranty

Yes – 2 Years

The Rush 72 Tactical Backpack is designed specifically to help you through the first 72 hours of a disaster situation. That may seem like quite a while, but the backpack is pretty big. It has a maximum capacity of 55 litres, as well as lots of space for external storage.

This is because the backpack is covered with exterior webbing, which means you can attach lots of different things with clips – and the backpack is also expandable. So, you should be able to fit everything you need inside it!

The backpack is also very comfortable to wear. It has wide, padded shoulder straps to relieve pressure, as well as an adjustable sternum strap to make sure that the bag doesn’t move around when you’re walking or running.

This is perhaps the best bug out backpack for families. This is because the backpack is extremely spacious, so it can provide for multiple people.

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Pressure relieving shoulder straps
  • Good quality
  • Water-resistant
  • Comfortable to carry

Cons

  • The sunglass pocket cannot fit sunglasses of certain sizes
  • A bit too heavy for some people

2. REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack (Large)

Reebow Gear Military Tactical Backpack Large 3-Day Assault MOLLE Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features

Size

40 liters

Number of Compartments

N/A

Supplies Included

No

Material

600x600 Density Fabric

Price Range

$$

Warranty

Yes – 2 Years

If you’re looking for a large bug out backpack that’s suited to couples or small families, you may be interested in the REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack. This is because the backpack has a 40L capacity, so it can provide for two or three people.

The backpack is also extremely durable. It has Molle webbing over the bag so that you can attach more pockets or items, as well as an internal Molle system.

The outside of the bag is double-stitched to prevent ripping, and the back is ventilated so that you don’t get too warm when you’re wearing it. This is ideal for disaster situations, but it’s also useful for people who love hiking!

There’s also an internal hydration system that can hold a bottle or a hydration bladder – but it’s important to note that there isn’t a hydration bladder inside, so you will need to buy one if you decide to buy this pack.

Pros

  • Excellent quality and craftsmanship
  • Plenty of pouches for your essentials
  • Comfortable for all activities
  • Easily blends in
  • Extremely versatile

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a hydration bladder
  • No bands to lock the straps

3. Gowara Gear Military Tactical Backpack

Gowara Gear Military Tactical Backpack, Small Army Assault Pack

Quick Look - Bag Features

Size

34 liters

Number of Compartments

N/A

Supplies Included

No

Material

High-density fabric

Price Range

$$

Warranty

Couldn’t find any info

If you want to find the best budget bug out backpack on the market, you may be interested in this model. The Military Tactical Backpack only costs $30, but the bag isn’t basic or poorly made. It has straps on the side to make sure that it doesn’t move around when you’re walking, and the material is very durable.

It even comes with some external Molle webbing, so if you can’t fit everything you need inside you can attach it to the outside. Inside the backpack, you will find a 2.5-liter hydration bladder pocket, which is ideal for one or two people.

One of the only downsides to the backpack is that it doesn’t have a solid backplate, so if you don’t pack it will you may notice that items are poking you in the back. This isn’t ideal, but you can avoid the problem ensuring that the bag is packed properly in advance.

Pros

  • The chest straps and waist straps are removable
  • Compatible with a 2.5L hydration bladder
  • Adaptable
  • Comfortable
  • Nice design

Cons

  • The clip on the chest strap easily falls off during use
  • Does not include a hydration bladder

4. Orca Tactical Backpack

Orca Tactical Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features

Size

40 liters

Number of Compartments

5

Supplies Included

No

Material

600D polyester

Price Range

$$

Warranty

Yes – Lifetime Warranty

The Orca Tactical Backpack is a high-quality backpack that can be used for survival – but it can also be used in the field, which shows how high quality the backpack is.

It’s made from a tough 600D material that’s very durable, and it’s also covered with a scratch proof, water-resistant coating to make sure the contents of the bag are extra-safe. All of the zippers are dual zippers with nylon pulls, which means every pocket is completely secure.

Inside the bag, you’ll find two large pockets that are well padded, as well as two external compartments that can be used to hold extra items.

Finally, there’s a large elastic band that can be used to secure extra items to the outside of the bag (such as extra pockets, or a sleeping bag). This means that the bag is suited to both individuals, couples and families, as you can easily customize it to hold more items.

Pros

  • Water-resistant
  • Scratch proof
  • Comes with a hydration bladder compartment
  • Large storage compartment
  • Durable

Cons

  • Straps tend to fall off
  • The MOLLE strap size is not standard

5. SOG Ninja Tactical Backpack

SOG Ninja Tactical Day Pack

Quick Look - Bag Features

Size

24.2 liters

Number of Compartments

N/A

Supplies Included

No

Material

Nylon

Price Range

$$

Warranty

Yes – Lifetime Warranty

The SOG Ninja Tactical Backpack is a small bug out backpack with a 24.2-liter capacity. This means that it’s ideal for individuals, but it can also be used for college, school or hiking trips.

While the backpack may be smaller than most of the other models on this list, it’s still high quality. It’s fully modular, and it’s made from a tough water-repellent fabric to keep the contents of the bag safe.

There are even two grommeted drain holes on the bottom of the backpack, as well as attachment points that can be used to hold a sleeping bag.

So if you’re asking yourself “what is the best bug out bag backpack for my teenager?”, this backpack is an excellent option. This is because it’s lightweight and comfortable to wear, but it’s still a durable, high quality bug out backpack that’s made to last.

Pros

  • Comfortable to carry
  • Durable
  • Nicely large
  • Great design
  • Lots of compartments for extra gear

Cons

  • Not for heavy-duty use
  • Does not come with a hydration bladder

6. Sandpiper California Bugout Backpack

Sandpiper California Bugout Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features

Size

47.5 liters

Number of Compartments

N/A

Supplies Included

No

Material

600D nylon

Price Range

$$$

Warranty

Yes – Lifetime Warranty

The Sandpiper California Bugout Backpack is another backpack that’s designed to get you through the first 72 hours of a disaster (such as an earthquake, a hurricane or a flood).

The material is extremely high quality. It’s abrasion resistant to stop it from tearing, and it also has an aluminium backstay that’s lightweight so you don’t feel it inside the bag. This means that it’s very comfortable to wear, even if you pack the backpack quickly.

This backpack also uses straps and harnesses to make sure that the backpack is secured to your body, so it won’t move or shake when you’re walking or running.

It’s also possible to carry the backpack as a duffle bag. All you need to do is tuck away the straps into a thin external compartment and then you can use the shoulder strap to carry the bag. This is a cool, unique feature that’s very handy!

Pros

  • Versatile with lots of gear space
  • High quality
  • Durable
  • Made of water-resistant material
  • Tough
  • Abrasion-resistant

Cons

  • Unnecessary MOLLE straps
  • A bit heavy for some

7. Rupumpack Military Tactical Backpack

Rupumpack Military Tactical Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features

Size

33 liters

Number of Compartments

5

Supplies Included

No

Material

High-density fabric

Price Range

$$

Warranty

Yes – 1 year

If you’re looking for an affordable bug out backpack, you might be interested in the Rupumpack Military backpack.

This is because the backpack is fairly cheap if you compare it to the other models on this list, but it still has some useful features. This includes a hydration pocket that can hold a three-liter water bladder, and there are lots of external tags that allow you to hook on extra items.

One of the only downsides to the backpack is the weight. It’s quite heavy when it’s on, even though it isn’t a large backpack, so it isn’t ideal for slim people or young people.

It can also be quite difficult to get a water bladder inside the hydration pocket, as the pocket is quite large but the zipper entrance is smaller. So it might take you a few minutes to get the water bladder inside – but you should be able to do it with a little patience.

Pros

  • Comfortable to use
  • Durable
  • Multiple compartments
  • Adaptable
  • Includes a hydration insulation layer
  • Boasts the MOLLE system

Cons

  • The water bladder changes shape when filled to its capacity which is uncomfortable for some.
  • Zipper tends to break easily

With Supplies

8. Everlit Earthquake Emergency Hurricane Backpack

Everlit Earthquake Emergency Kit 72-Hour 2 Person Survival Kit

Quick Look - Bag Features

Size

35 liters

Number of Compartments

N/A

Supplies Included

Yes

Material

600D Polyester

Price Range

$$$$

Warranty

Yes – 1 Year

If you want to buy a bug out bag but you’re unsure about the best things to put in a bug out bag, you may want to buy a premade bag.

This means that the bag is already filled with everything you need, so you don’t need to worry about packing it yourself – and the best pre-made bug out bag might be the Everlit Earthquake backpack.

The bag is fully prepared for any disaster. It contains drinking and food rations for a few days (both of which come with a five-year shelf life), as well as water disinfectant tablets to ensure you have water for at least a week.

The bag also has a medical kit for bug out bag, as well as emergency shelter, blankets and even a few tools (such as a wire saw, a fire starter, a glass breaker and a tooth saw). So, this kit really does have everything you need for an emergency situation.

Pros

  • Multi-functional
  • Easy to organize
  • Lots of compartments
  • Comfortable straps
  • Great zippers
  • Padded back area and shoulder straps

Cons

  • A bit expensive
  • A bit too small for some users

9. Survival Earthquake/Hurricane/Tornado Backpack

Zippmo Bug-Out Bag For Two People

Quick Look - Bag Features

Size

40 liters

Number of Compartments

N/A

Supplies Included

Yes

Material

Nylon

Price Range

$$$$

Warranty

Yes – Lifetime Warranty

If you’re looking for the best ready-made bug out bag for two people, this backpack could be just what you're looking for.

It’s a high-quality emergency backpack that’s already packed for an emergency. Inside, you’ll find food and water rations, shelter, water tabs, heat pads, survival equipment, light sticks and a first aid kit for bug out bag. There are even a few sanitary supplies inside the bag, so you should be safe for at least 72 hours!

This backpack is also well suited to a survival practise weekend or hiking, as it has all of the core survival items that are recommended by the Red Cross and FEMA.

So it’s very unlikely that you’ll need to pack any additional items – but there’s a little room, so if you want you should be able to put a few personal items inside the bag if you want to.

Pros

  • High-quality accessories
  • Premium quality toiletries and first aid items
  • Spacious compartments
  • Includes all essential items
  • Hygiene supplies

Cons

  • Not very ergonomic
  • Hard to carry for long distances if fully packed

10. Emergency Zone 849 Survival Backpack

Emergency Zone 849 Survival Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features

Size

N/A

Number of Compartments

N/A

Supplies Included

Yes

Material

Nylon

Price Range

$$$$

Warranty

No

The Emergency Zone 849 backpack is perhaps the best pre-made bug out backpack for families. This is because the backpack is designed to help multiple people, rather than just one or two.

The backpack is also FEMA compliant, which means it meets the national guidelines for emergency survival for 72 hours. This may not seem important, but the majority of pre-made survival backpacks do not meet this standard.

The backpack is also very discreet; all of the supplies are conveniently packed into a nondescript backpack, so the bag itself won’t draw attention to you and your supplies, and it’s also very compact and lightweight.

So even if the backpack is full, it should still be comfortable to wear for a long period of time.

It’s also worth noting that the food in the kit has been designed to have

Pros

  • Long lasting supplies
  • Premium tools
  • First aid items included
  • Spacious compartments
  • FEMA compliant
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Needs more supplies
  • Not for heavy-duty use

Survival Essentials

Air Filtration Mask

You can only survive for less than five minutes without clean air so ensure you bring an air filtration mask to help you breathe easier in dusty areas.

Tent and Sleeping Bag

ID case you’re stuck in a storm or in the middle of a natural disaster, immediate shelter is necessary.

Water Bottle or Bladder

To ensure you keep drinking water on the go, you’ll need a strong water bladder or bottle to keep your water protected from contamination.

Food

When a disaster strikes, you’ll need to have food for at least three days. Food supplies will keep you energized to tackle anything you may encounter. In addition, don’t forget to include a portable stove for bug out bags.

Clothing

The clothing in your backpack could mean the difference between life and death sometimes. Make sure you pack cold weather gloves, a waterproof jacket, change of clothes, and headgear.

Lighting

It’s essential to have lighting essentials for when the sun goes down. Ensure your lighting equipment can help you navigate from sundown to sunrise.

First Aid

Simple bacteria can turn a small cut into an extremely life threating wound. Ensure your first aid kit is filled with every essential supply you may need, including anti-bacterial wipes, painkillers, gauze pads, sunscreen, medical gloves, instrument kit, band-aids & bandages, burn gel, sling, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, rourniquet, and most importantly, first aid instructions.

Navigation Tools

Regardless of the area and survival situation, it’s crucial to keep your navigation tools close at hand. Ensure you have a compass, a map of the area, and a GPS tracking system.


Frequently Asked Questions

How heavy should a bug out backpack be?

The ideal weight of your bug out backpack should be 10% of your total body weight or a third of your body weight (if you’re physically fit.) Whichever you prefer, just remember you’ll be walking long distances so you should be able to carry the bag comfortably.

How many items do I need for 24 hours in the wild?

You’ll need at least five essential items to survive in the wild for 24 hours. These items include a tent and sleeping bag for bug out, water source, food, a lighting source, and navigation tools to ensure you don’t get lost.

How many items do I need for 72 hours in the wild?

For 72 hours, on the other hand, you will need at least ten items, including a water filtration/catchment system, food, source of heat & light, material to keep you warm, a versatile knife, a tent & sleeping bag, self-aid kit, navigation tool, and a cooking pot.

What’s the price range of these bags?

Bug out backpacks can be quite expensive if you don’t know what you’re looking for but a really good, workable, and reasonably complete bug out bag with supplies should cost you from $100 to $300. A good bug out bag without supplies, on the other hand, will go for $30 to $90.


Conclusion

Finding the best bug out backpack is no easy feat, but this list will set you on the right path by giving you an idea of some of the best quality bags out there.

Better yet, this guide’s “what to look for” section will also help you make a well-informed decision as you choose a backpack that best suits your needs.


  • Updated March 13, 2019
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