CAMPING & HIKING

Best Bug Out Bag Backpack: Meeting Your Outdoor Camping and Hiking Needs

BOB backpack review
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

Your bug out bag is your go to kit that can carry all the essential items necessary to survive for at least 72 hours after evacuating a major disaster or something of similar nature. This key feature is what separates it from a survival kit because the goal of the bug out bag is focused mainly on immediate evacuation and not long term survival.

There are of course so many things that you need to factor before choosing your best bug out bag backpack.

People load up their bags in a variety of ways and as such some people have gear that will last them more than 72 hours but it is important to know the limitation of your bag and of yourself before loading up more than you can carry.

The best premade bug out bags all come with different specifications and it is important to note them. This piece is focused on the bags themselves and their features and we shall not be concerning ourselves with the gear they carry.

BOB in the wild

Overall there are 3 different kinds of bug out bags from which you can choose from:

  • Backpack
  • Duffel bag
  • Hiking bag

This article will be focused on the bug out backpacks. We will look into what you need to look out for when selecting a bug out backpack and take a close look at the best bug out backpacks in the market today.

What to Look Out for

There are so many different choices to make when selecting a backpack and so many things to look out for when picking just one. The things you have to look for in a backpack are slightly different from those features of a hiking bag or duffel bag, and some of them are highlighted below.

Tactical style or civilian style

This is just down to style and look. There are some Features in the design of the tactical type which you can’t find with the civilian style such as more pockets, thicker fabric, sturdier design and more color combinations. These features are available for the tactical style because it is designed for military like use.

Bug out bag ready

Whereas the civilian design is focused on everyday use and does not really require all of the extra features. As a result the tactical style bags are more expensive. Whatever style you do decide to go for, ensure that you buy an established brand name.

Size

This is another very important thing to look out for. Do you want to go with the light bug out approach or do you want a more massive bag? Perhaps you are a single person and you only need stuff for yourself or you are a family man and you want to have a little more gear in there to supplement what your family might need. This will inform your decision on what size of bag to go for.

Color

Color is something that a lot of people are particular about. And this choice of color is primarily down to user preference. However black is a very common choice as it blends in well in an urban environment. For people who are in a snowy area, perhaps a white bag is a better choice. The main consideration here is to choose a color that blends in well with your environment.

Frames: internal and external

You want a backpack that has either an internal or an external frame. Something that will give you an extra layer of support.

Bug out-bag comparison

Some backpacks don’t have this frame and this makes it difficult to carry the bag for extended periods of time. Most bags that have this frame have the internal frame.

Best fit

Choose a backpack that fits your torso very well. You don’t want it to be too loose or too tight. A backpack that fits your torso perfectly is going to help balance load and help you carry more gear for extended periods of time.

Shoulder straps, chest straps and waist straps are also key features to consider for best fit. These straps will help fit the bag on your body in the best possible way. The waist strap is very important because it allows you carry the majority of the weight on your hips and allows you go greater distances as it is much easier to carry weight on your hips than it is on your shoulder.

Air flow

The best bag packs these days are designed with an air flow structure that prevents the bag from building up pockets of air when you are moving around with it on your back.

Water reservoir area

Select a bag with a dedicated area for water storage that will give you quick ad immediate access. Side pocket areas for storing water bottles is also a very important feature to look out for.

Bug out bag water area

These are just some of the main considerations to look into when selecting a bag. You can add other key features that are important to you or that you wish backpacks are built with in the comment section and we can get a dialogue going to that effect.

Top Bug Out Backpacks

In no particular order of ranking, these are some of the best bug out backpacks you must consider.

Osprey Packs Atmos 65 Backpack

Osprey Packs Atmos 65 Backpack

The Osprey Atmos 65 bag is a very comfortable backpack with an adjustable foam harness built into it alongside a hip belt which gives it an excellent torso fit. It is designed with a ventilated mesh back panel and airspeed suspension which gives it a great carry.

Features:

  • A floating top pocket
  • Zippered front pockets
  • Sleeping bag compartment with a detachable divider

Specifications:

  • The bag is available in Glacier blue
  • Built in chest, hip and shoulder straps for fit
  • Dimensions of 6 x 14 x 27 inches
  • Weighs in at 3.55 pounds
  • Volume of 62 litres
  • Equipped for use in backpacking, climbing and hiking.

Pros and Cons:

Anybody who has used this bag have all had good things to say as it meets all of their expectations. There is no real issue with the quality of the bag at its price point. The only reported problems are always shipping and product defect-related.

Sandpiper of California Long Range Bugout Backpack

sandpiper-of-california-long-range-bugout-backpack

Sandpiper of California Long Range Bugout Backpack was designed to carry more gear than your average backpack and with the built in padded lumbar area and mesh lined back, you can carry the bag for extended periods of time comfortably.

The main compartment of the bag is designed to carry your hydration, survival and communication gear.

Features:

  • Larger capacity for extra gear
  • Multiple attachment points for extra equipment
  • Easily customisable to suit your own specific needs

Specifications:

  • The bag is available in 3 different colours. Black, brown and camo.
  • Dimensions of 10.5 x 26 x 15.5 inches
  • Weighs in at 7 pounds.

Pros and Cons:

The good and the bad of this bag all centre around the size of it. People who are looking for a lot of space will only have good things to say about this bag, whereas others who finally receive it and discover it’s a lot bigger than what they need. So it’s really down to user preference and making the right choice for you.

Explorer Tactical Assault Military Backpack

Explorer Tactical Assault Military Backpack

Explorer Tactical Assault Military Backpack is a budget backpack that gives you so much value for the money you spend. It is robust with one large compartment, six pockets and three handles.

The backpack has also been designed to expand a further three inches if you happen to have filled it up. This backpack is excellent for all your camping trips, excursions and paintball gear. It is a very good choice for your 72 hour go pack.

Features:

  • Adjustable compression straps
  • Padded adjustable shoulder straps
  • 3 handles and 6 pockets
  • Expandable feature
  • Durable 600D polyester

Specifications:

  • Bag dimensions of 20 x 11.5 x 11 inches
  • Main compartment is 20 x 11.5 x 6 inches
  • Two side pockets of 5 x 5 x 1.5 inches
  • Front top pockets of 8 x 4.5 x 2 inches
  • Front bottom pockets of 9.5 x 9.5 x 3 inches
  • Weighs in at 5 pounds

Pros and Cons:

The biggest complaints have been from people who are bigger or weigh more than the average. The bag doesn’t seem to be able to fit them as well as they’d like and this is a concern if you weigh a bit more. The waist belts will also be of no use in this case. Also the side pockets aren’t as deep as they should be and the zippers sometimes can get stuck.

However this bag is very roomy with a deceptively large main compartment and the small pockets makes it easy to organise your stuff very well. If you are looking for a budget bag bag pack to serve your 72 hour needs, you really should consider this bag.

Spec-Ops Brand T.H.E. Pack

Spec-Ops Brand T.H.E. Pack

Spec-Ops Brand T.H.E. Pack is made from Cordura nylon fabric which is one of the toughest fabrics of the super durable 1000D category. It is designed to withstand all the stress impact of excess use of carry and drag handle. Essentially this bag was built to last.

Features:

  • Removable 2 inch waist belt with easy adjustments.
  • Dual external access port covers
  • Dual compression straps with integrated load loops on pocket faces.

Specifications:

  • Total capacity of 2550 cubic inches
  • Main compartment dimensions of 19 x 13 x 7 inches
  • Top pocket dimensions of 8 x 10 x 2.5 inches
  • Bottom pocket dimensions of 10 x 12 x 3.5

Pros and cons:

The bag is water resistant and very roomy at 2550 cubic inches. It also has a very durable build with heavy duty zippers installed. Overall this is a great addition to the military pack line. The only real con of this bag is that it comes at a relatively higher price but you get what you pay for.

5.11 Tactical Rush 24 Back Pack

5-11-tactical rush 24 back pack

The Rush 24 tactical backpack is more of an everyday carry bag as it is designed to carry enough gear that will last you 24 hours hence the 24 in the description. It has been specially designed to provide excellent storage capacity and organisation with it’s over 20 compartments.

This backpack has been designed to go with you wherever you go regardless of the climate or situation with its excellent mobility features.

Features:

  • Extensive wrap around platform
  • Adjustable height sternum strap
  • Reinforced grab handle for better grip
  • Eyewear pocket
  • Mesh pockets

Specifications:

  • Full dimensions of 20 x 12.5 x 8 inches
  • Total capacity of 37 litres
  • 1050D Nylon with water repellent coating

Pros and cons:

This bag is very well designed with a look and feel that is very appealing and it has a lot of room for organising all of your things. It also has the self-repairing zippers which makes it easier for you when it seems the zips are falling out of place.

Some of the most notable drawbacks of this bag is that it has no waist belt and it is not built to carry as much load as other bags are. Also there are some minor issues with the stitching as it can sometimes start to unravel.

Maxpedition Vulture-II Backpack

maxpedition-vulture-ii-backpack

The Maxpedition tag of this bag is apt because it is guaranteed to give you the best support for maximum expeditions. The main stand outs of Maxpedition Vulture-II Backpack is the water resistant finish with a triple coating of polyurethane and a final coat of DuPont Teflon fabric.

The nylon 1000D fabric used in its design also gives it excellent sturdiness.

Features:

  • 1 inch sternum strap
  • 2 inch integrated belt
  • Triple coat of water resistant material

Specifications:

  • Main compartment dimensions of 20.5 x 16 x 7.5 inches
  • Front pouch dimensions of 15.5 x 12 x 2.75 inches
  • Slip pocket dimensions 15.5 x 12 inches
  • Total capacity of 46 litres
  • Weight of 3 pounds
  • Available in 4 colours

Pros and cons:

No matter the climate, be it rain or snow, this bag is ready to go with you anywhere and you can rest easy knowing that all of your gear is safe. The only real issue is that this bag is a bit smaller than some of the other backpacks of its category and it lacks organising compartments. Overall though, it is a very good backpack.

Monkey Paks Tactical Backpack Bundle with Hydration Bladder

Monkey Paks Tactical Backpack Bundle with 2.5L Hydration Water Bladder

Monkey Paks Tactical Backpack Bundle with 2.5L Hydration Water Bladder is a must have for any unexpected emergency or impromptu camping trip or mission.

The monkey backpack comes with an ultra-durable design that allows you carry so much in an organised fashion with its removable waist, fanny and shoulder bag attachments and two detachable zippered side pockets.

The monkey backpack is built to last in any weather and terrain and with its double stitched seams, you worry less about tears and rips.

Features:

  • Innovative hydration water bladder that allows you sip water on the go.
  • 3 MOLLE attachments
  • Big teeth zippers with paracord to make them silent

Specifications:

  • 600D nylon fabric
  • Main pack dimension of 20 x 12 x 5.5
  • 2 double zippered compartments.

Pros and cons:

The modular lightweight load carrying equipment design is excellent with plenty of room for a few days trip. Excellent stitching and zippers too and the hydration bladder is craftily placed. The notable issue here is that the bag was not designed to carry a lot of weight so you have to be careful how much you load into it.

Paratus 3 Day Operator’s Pack Military Tactical Backpack

Paratus 3 Day Operator's Pack Military Tactical Backpack

The Paratus 3 day tactical backpack is designed to be your travel companion whether you are going around the world on a black ops mission or just embarking on a personal journey of sober reflections.

Staying organised is easy with its rugged 600D nylon build with 2 large zippered compartments and additional interior pockets and two MOLLE pockets. This bag is also easily customisable with its compression straps and fasten belts.

Features:

  • Double stitched seams
  • Adjustable padded waist belt
  • Body contoured shoulder straps
  • MOLLE attachments
  • Side release buckles
  • Heavy duty nylon coil zippers

Specifications:

  • Main compartment dimension 20 x 12 x 5.5 inches
  • MOLLE pouches 5 x 2.5 x 8 inches
  • Overall capacity of 2890 cubic inches
  • Top front 13 x 12 x 3 inches

Pros and cons:

For the price, it is incredibly rugged with a great modular design and enough room to pack 3 to 5 days’ worth of gear. However with its lack of a chest strap, frame and skimpy waist pads, it is not so suitable for prolonged periods of hiking.

This drawback becomes more evident after having utilised all the massive capacity and you have a heavy bag on your back. Overall this bag remains one of the best bug out backpacks and you get value for money spent.

Conclusion

When it comes to finding the right bug out backpack, it pays to be prepared. Hopefully, with this wonderful list to choose from and the various features that have been provided, you’ll be able to find one that is most suitable for your needs.

BOB inside

Have a great bug out backpack that we missed out on? Be sure to share your recommendations in the comments below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Foster
Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.

  • Elliot Giles

    To be honest, the Sandpiper of California Long Range Bugout Backpack is the best that I could find until now. This is a very large back pack , great space , awesome padded compartment for laptop , you could put at least 5 days worth of clothing , plus extras . Straps and waist band tuck in to their own compartment . I would suggest this for soldier and civilians that want a lot of backpack. More than happy with my purchase.

  • Mark Foster

    Check out the straps and see if it doesn’t feel comfortable for you. A good bag backpack must have wide straps so you won’t have any aches and pains. Do try not to overload your backpack since there’s going to be a lot of walking involved. You don’t want to feel as though there’s a huge boulder on your back, you know what I mean?

  • Carl Thompson

    I’m an officer in a mountain town that bought one of the Maxpedition Vulture-II Backpacks to double as my EDC and Bug-Out-Bag. First off, this bag is bomb-proof. Gotten snowed on, rained on, placed on wet ground picked up, put down and thrown around daily. Super comfortable straps too. The outer compartment also seems to be the only one on similar bags that can fit a standard metal work folder. This is priceless for easy carry along with my gear. I didn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars, but I’m so glad with my purchase.

  • Mark Foster

    The material of this backpack is water resistant and will save you a lot of trouble when there’s a sudden downpour, which happens frequently. It’s a great backpack to use when you plan to go on short trips, since it’s really a bit small. For longer trips, you might want to choose a backpack to hold all your gear.

  • Mark Foster

    The Tactical Military MOLLE is such an amazing backpack by Monkey Paks. This bag will serve you well in the toughest terrains. It also comes highly recommended by most users.

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