You’ve bought your survival blade, hatchet, food, poncho, etc. You’ve poured hours of research into gathering your equipment to ensure you’ve got the best of the best. You’ve spent your money both online and in-store and you’re proud of what you’ve purchased. All your gear is top and you’re feeling like a true survivalist or outdoor recreation enthusiast. But have you forgotten your survival backpack? What even sets a survival backpack apart from a normal one?
If you’re a survivalist, outdoor recreation enthusiast or even a digital nomad enjoying the freedom from working over the internet, you have to have a quality survival backpack. These backpacks differ from regular ones as they are made to last a lifetime and are versatile in design. Survival backpacks are possibly one of the most important items for survivalists, outdoor recreation enthusiasts and digital nomads (or nomadic individuals).
Because of their importance, it would be best to first do your research before purchasing. Not every backpack is made the same and deciding which is best suited for you can be daunting. This is why we’ve done the dirty work for you by compiling a list of the top eight best survival backpacks out on the market today.
In a Rush? The Winner after 19 hours of testing is:
- TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Survival Backpack
- Kelty Redwing 50 Reserved Survival Backpack
- Explorer Tactical Gun Concealment Survival Backpack With Molle Webbing
- MOUNTAINTOP 40L Hiking Survival Backpack
- Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65 Survival Backpack
- Badlands Summit Camouflage Hunting Survival Backpack
- ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Survival Backpack
- Pisfun Tactical Backpack 40L Survival Backpack
1 TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Survival Backpack
The TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack is the ultimate survival backpack. It features a sleeping bag compartment, compression straps, numerous compartments and pockets for strategic storage, adjustable waist and shoulder straps, as well as a padded back panel and lumbar for comfort.
With comfort features such as compression straps, a padded back panel channeled for optimal airflow, padded lumbar and adjustable waist and shoulder straps, the TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack puts comfort first.
The TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack is made for those wanting to pack strategically. This survivalist backpack comes pre-equipped with a sleeping bag compartment and features a multitude of compartments and pockets for a smart packing strategy.
Cost and Value
Because the TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack is comfortable, versatile and smartly designed, you’re getting your money’s worth. This backpack is ideal for frequent outdoor recreation enthusiasts and backpackers alike.
2 Kelty Redwing 50 Reserved Survival Backpack
The Kelty Redwing 50 Reserved is another great addition to this list. It features a PerfectFit Suspension that supplies you with customizable support and comfort without hassle, a top-loading lip that to a sling pack, zippered side pockets, and a stretch front pouch. Calling itself the “fine bourbon of backpacks”, it truly does live up to its name.
The Kelty Redwing 50 Reserved comes equipped with a top-loading lid that converts to a sling pack. Furthermore, it features large side compressions straps for trekking poles, front stash pocket with a closure hook and a dual-sided hydration/laptop sleeve.
The PerfectFit Suspension enables you to adjust the backpack in three simple steps to your body’s unique form with ease. Moreover, this feature ensures the backpack rests on your back and shoulders without pain or discomfort.
Cost and Value
Because of its PerfectFit Suspension, multiple compartments, gorgeous and versatile design, the Kelty Redwing 50 Reserved is an ideal backpack for both outdoor enthusiasts and backpackers.
3 Explorer Tactical Gun Concealment Survival Backpack With Molle Webbing
The Explorer Tactical Gun Concealment Backpack packs a major punch. Made for explorers, it comes equipped with a multitude of interior compartments and exterior pockets as well as the M.O.L.L.E Strap System. This backpack is the perfect addition to bring on your next excursion.
Not only does the Explorer Tactical Gun Concealment Backpack come with 6 zipper pockets in front, 4 side pockets, 2 back enlarged pockets, 2 laptop and tablet pockets, it also features 2 additional pouches for your arms.
M.O.L.L.E Strap System
Perhaps the most favorite feature of the Explorer Tactical Gun Concealment Backpack is the M.O.L.L.E Strap System. This allows you to carry an immense amount of weight without the fuss of discomfort.
Cost and Value
Because of its high-quality design, multitude of compartments and pockets, accessible gun concealment pouches, and M.O.L.L.E Strap System, the Explorer Tactical Gun Concealment Backpack is a must-have.
4 MOUNTAINTOP 40L Hiking Survival Backpack
The MOUNTAINTOP 40L Hiking Backpack is of quality. Featuring a water-resistant polyester fabric, adjustable hip belt and sternum strap, breathable foam back panel, and S-shaped shoulder straps, this survival backpack is ideal for outdoor recreation enthusiasts!
The MOUNTAINTOP 40L Hiking Backpack is fully adjustable. The inclusion of an adjustable hip belt and belly strap, as well as an adjustable sternum strap and S-shaped shoulder straps, is ideal for campers and hikers.
With the adjustability of the MOUNTAINTOP 40L Hiking Backpack as well as the addition of its breathable molded foam back panel, this backpack is comfortable. Perfect for longterm hiking or backpacking.
Cost and Value
At first glance, the MOUNTAINTOP 40L Hiking Backpack may seem like your average backpack. However, because of its quality, comfort-first design, and adjustability, it is definitely worth purchasing.
5 Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65 Survival Backpack
The Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65 Men’s Backpacking Backpack is top! With an Anti-Gravity Suspension, Fit-on-the-Fly hip belt with pockets, InsideOut side compression straps with mesh pockets, internal hydration reservoir sleeve, floating top lid and a sleeping bag compartment, this bag is stacked.
The Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65 Men’s Backpacking Backpack features an Anti-Gravity Suspension that allows for continuous support and breathability. This back panel is made of lightweight mesh extending from the top to the hip belt, setting it apart from others.
This backpack was made for optimal storage. The dual access stretch mesh pockets, lowered sleeping bag compartment, zippered hip belt pockets and floating top lid for accessibility is a backpacker’s delight!
Cost and Value
The Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65 Men’s Backpacking Backpack also may seem like your average backpack but it is far from average. Because of its quality, strategic design, and multiple compartments, it is definitely worth a try for outdoor enthusiasts and backpackers alike.
6 Badlands Summit Camouflage Hunting Survival Backpack
The Badlands Summit Camouflage Hunting Pack is another addition to this list for hunting or outdoor shooting enthusiasts. This backpack comes fully loaded with multiple compartments for your gear and rifle or bow, it is ventilated for comfort, made of durable material and versatile to your needs.
Ultralight Ripstop Fabric
The Badlands Summit Camouflage Hunting Pack is made with durable ultralight ripstop fabric and framed with insanely strong polycarbonate to ensure you the best support to haul both your gear and game.
Utilizing a combination of air channeled foam and breathable mesh, the AirTrack Suspension keeps you cool, dry and comfortable. This top suspension system is ideal for long, drawn-out hunting excursions or hikes.
Cost and Value
Because of its design catering specifically to hunting or outdoor shooting enthusiasts, the Badlands Summit Camouflage Hunting Pack truly serves its purpose. This backpack is a great addition for your next hunt.
7 ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Survival Backpack
If you’re a hunting or outdoor shooting enthusiast looking for a versatile survival backpack that can haul your game and store all your gear including your arms, look no further. The ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag is made for you.
Scope Pocket & Rifle Holder
The ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag comes equipped with a spotting scope pocket as well as a drop-down rifle holder, going the extra mile for hunting or outdoor shooting enthusiasts.
Lashing System & Freighter Shelf
With its sturdy lashing system designed for hauling meat as well as its adjustable freighter shelf designed for keeping heavy loads secure, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better backpack for your next hunting trip.
Cost and Value
The ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag was made for both hunting or outdoor shooting enthusiasts. Intelligently designed with top-grade materials, this backpack is one of the best.
8 Pisfun Tactical Backpack 40L Survival Backpack
The Pisfun Tactical Backpack may look small in its size, but it maintains the functions and features of the other backpacks on this list and more. It is perfect for those wanting something versatile and durable without taking on too large of a size.
With its compact and intuitive design, the Pisfun Tactical Backpack is made for those who want the same experience of a large survival backpack but in a more compact form. Make use of its multiple interior compartments, exterior pockets, and storage.
M.O.L.L.E External Expansion System
The Pisfun Tactical Backpack also features the beloved M.O.L.L.E external expansion system. Designed to be used in combination with other equipment, you can use it for versatile purposes whilst maintaining comfort and support.
Cost and Value
The Pisfun Tactical Backpack is an ideal everyday backpack with a survivalist “twist”. Due to its practical size, durable and versatile design, it is definitely worth giving it a go.
Comfort matters. In logging around a significant amount of weight, your back and shoulders need sufficient support, whatever the weight may be. Regarding a survival backpack, the back panel and the shoulder straps should be comfortable, providing you with the support your body requires. This will ensure that you can enjoy your backpack without fuss or annoyance.
Before purchasing your survival backpack, it’s important to consider what you’ll be using the backpack primarily for. Whether you’re a casual outdoor enthusiast, going on a hunting trip, shooting trip, camping for the weekend or a wanderlust backpacker, our bodies, notably our backs, require sufficient support if weight is being carried. This is why it is important to ensure that you choose a backpack with a proper support system in place.
Value is always one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing just about anything. Regarding survival backpacks, determining whether or not the backpack you’re considering purchasing will bring you the most value is for you first to determine your intended usage for the backpack.
If you are a survivalist or outdoor enthusiast, your needs and lifestyle may differ from a backpacker who lives a nomadic lifestyle on the go with all their life essentials stored into one sack. Due to such, you should determine your intended usages, what you’ll be needing to carry and for how long. From there, you should be able to decide whether or not the survival backpack you’re considering purchasing will bring you value.
Regardless of your intended usage, always purchase a backpack that is made with quality materials. You are guaranteed to get your money’s worth when choosing quality. If a backpack is cheaply made, you will be able to tell immediately by its lifespan or durability.
Not every backpack is made equal as this applies to just about everything in life. Take into account the materials in the fabric, the materials used in the back panel and shoulder straps, and the zippers. At the end of the day, the best backpacks are durable and dependable, two factors dependent on the materials used.
As always, purchase a survival backpack that is meant to last as there is no point in purchasing a survival backpack that is not durable. A quality survival backpack should be weather resistant and rip/tear-resistant. Moreover, the zippers should be made of sound material. Zippers can often be overlooked when scouting out the ideal backpack despite them being one of, if not, the most important feature to put into consideration in regards to determining durability.
It’s smart to look at the backpack’s design if you are unsure of its level of durability. What materials are used for the fabric? What type of materials are used for the zipper? What type of foam is used in the back panel and shoulder straps? What material is the mesh composed of? Does the fabric seem prone to ripping or tearing? Do the zippers seem faulty? Questions like these can be of aid if you are unsure about the backpack’s durability.
There are several factors to be considered in determining the effectiveness of a survival backpack. In creating this list, we consider the previously mentioned criteria to determine the level of effectiveness of the backpacks.
However, keep in mind that effectiveness is another criterion that can be subjective. Consider first your needs, usage, and frequency as previously mentioned, to determine whether the chosen backpack will be effective for you and your unique needs. Nonetheless, if you are still uncertain, at the very least, choose a backpack with a quality back panel and thick shoulder straps to ensure your body is provided with proper support.
What’s the difference between a normal backpack (or daypack) and a survival backpack (hiking/trekking, travelers, hunting backpack)? That’s a fair question as they both differ from one another. Even the various “survival” backpacks differ from one another as well in their forms, features, and functions. While they may look the same in their overall appearance at first glance (despite the differences in the size of course) these two main types of backpacks have one key factor that separates them entirely — support (sophisticated suspension systems).
Hiking/trekking, traveling and hunting backpacks all come with an internal frame to ensure back support. These internal frames come with a sophisticated padding system made of different types of internal foam and external breathable material to ensure back support. This ensures that the wearer of the backpack will have sufficient support for long term wear.
It is also important to mention external frames. Some hiking/trekking and hunting backpacks come with an additional external frame to further ensure back support. These external frames are different from internal frames as they are designed to support the largest weight hauled for a long duration of time. They are a further assurance for the wearer needing additional support for a significant more amount of weight that will be carried on the back.
Hiking/trekking, traveling and hunting backpacks also come with thick, padded shoulder straps. These straps too serve to provide additional support for the wearer. This is because these backpacks are designed to carry heavy or large loads for long treks or durations of time. Some even go the extra mile and come equipped with a hip belt to support your waist as well as a sternum strap around your chest. This keeps the backpack secured on your body and prevents further bobbing while you move during your hike, trek or travel.
Front Loading vs Top Loading
As you’ve read through this list, you may have the terms “front-loading” and “top-loading” and thought, what’s the difference? Maybe you were confused about the purpose these different “loading techniques” serve and why some backpacks were top-loading while the other was front loading. These “loading techniques” both serve different purposes as they are designed depending on the type of survival backpack: hiking/trekking, travel, or hunting.
Front-loading backpacks are open and close from the front of the back, similar to a suitcase for the user to locate and retrieve gear quickly. They too feature additional compartments (both internal and external) as well as front or side pockets. These backpackers tend to be made primarily for travelers.
Top-loading backpacks require the user to have to dig deep in the backpack to retrieve items. Because of this, they also come with additional side pockets for small items and accessibility and sometimes an additional bottom compartment to store a sleeping bag. Hiking backpacks tend to be top-loading. Hunting backpacks can come as either top loading or front loading.
Types of Survival Backpacks
As you’ve seen so far, we’ve mentioned three types of survival backpacks: hiking/trekking, traveler and hunting backpacks. While these are only three of a wide range of backpacks, these are the three most common types within the survival backpack category. They are similar in their ability to carry a range of capacities and most come with sophisticated suspension systems (be it internal or external frames), each of these backpacks too serves its own purpose as seen in their name.
Hiking/trekking backpacks are backpacks made specifically for hikers or trekkers. They vary in capacity from 30 to 70 liters or larger, depending on the trek. Weekend packs (1-3 nights) are normally 30-50 liters, multi day packs (3-5 nights) are about 50-80 liters, and extended trip (5+ nights) packs can be 70 liters or larger. While they vary in size, hiking/trekking backpacks are normally top-loading (as previously mentioned) and come with ventilation and suspension systems for support (either internal frame, external frame or both). Most feature a bottom or top compartment for a sleeping bag, a variety of external and internal pockets, compartments, and pouches and some an additional removable daypack or top lid. These backpacks also typically come with an additional hip belt and sternum strap.
Travel backpacks too come in a variety of sizes and capacities. This range is similar to hiking/trekking backpacks (refer to the section above) as they are typically built for backpackers or nomadic living. These backpacks tend to be front loading as previously mentioned and support various internal and external compartments, pockets, and pouches for strategic packing. They too come with sophisticated ventilation and suspension systems for support as they are designed for prolonged wear. Some come with an additional hip belt and or sternum strap.
Hunting backpacks are a hybrid of a hiking/trekking backpack and a travel backpack with additional compartments for hunting gear or concealment for carrying. These backpacks too typically come with an additional external frame to support the haul of game post-hunt. They also come with sophisticated suspension systems similar to hiking/trekking backpacks for additional support and the multitude of compartments seen in both hiking/trekking and travel backpacks.
Other Factors to Consider
Survival backpacks should be portable. Whether the backpack comes in a small size and capacity or large size and capacity, every survival backpack should be portable for it to serve its purpose.
Furthermore, if the survival backpack comes in a larger size and capacity, it should have additional features such as a sophisticated suspension system to ensure that the backpack can properly distribute the weight in the backpack accordingly.
It may be important to consider the brand when purchasing your chosen backpack. As always suggested, do a quick search on the brand online if you’re unsure of their reputation. Online backpacking, outdoor recreation, and hunting communities are very vocal in their favorite and most trusted brands. Review their online community forums if desired (some do require you to register first, however). If you couldn’t be bothered, read through the brand’s Amazon reviews to save time.
Also, keep in mind that there will always be countless knockoffs posing as popular brands, so be aware of this when making your purchase. Still, keep this into consideration and properly vet the brand before purchasing your product.
The size of a survival backpack is another factor to put into consideration before making your purchase. As we’ve seen, survival backpacks can come in a variety of sizes (or capacities). As previously stated, they vary in capacity from 30 to 70 liters or larger.
Weekend packs (1-3 nights) are normally 30-50 liters, multi day packs (3-5 nights) are about 50-80 liters, and extended trip (5+ nights) packs can be 70 liters or larger. Some can even go up to 150 liters. Depending on your intended use, the backpack’s size (or capacity) should be considered.
Weather resistance (and water resistance even) is another factor you should put into consideration. The weather is unpredictable. You may think you’ve planned your hike, camping trip, day of departure or hunting week getaway on a nice sunny forecast until a small sprinkle becomes a downpour. It’s always smarter to ensure your backpack is weather resistant or at least water-resistant.
Check out the materials, see if they are made of ripstop, nylon or polyester material. These are normally water-resistant. It would be the worst-case scenario for an unpredicted downpour and an ill-designed backpack resulting in your completely ruined belongings.
The bottom line considers all the criteria mentioned above into one final bottom line. Comfort, value, effectiveness, durability, brand, water/weather resistance, size, portability each together are what determines the item on this lists’ bottom line. The bottom line considers all the criteria mentioned above into one final, bottom line.
Is it truly valuable? Is this product effective? Is it time tested and durable? Is it portable? Does its size suit my needs? Will my belongings be safe from the elements? Is this a trustworthy brand? Is the backpack comfortable giving me the proper support needed for my use? If you believe that your desired backpack has answered all or the majority of these questions positively, then you may have found your ideal backpack.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose a Survival backpack?
A: Choose a backpack that will serve your needs. There is a large variety of backpacks on the market and each is designed to provide the buyer a specific function and purpose. If you need something to carry items every day casually, consider a daypack. If you’re a backpacker, consider a hiking/trekking backpack or a travelers backpack with large capacities and sophisticated suspension systems and ventilation.
Q: How do I choose a backpack for traveling?
A: The best backpack for traveling is travelers' backpacks. They are referred to as such or sometimes backpacker backpacks. They are designed with front-loading (the main zipper is placed on the front of the backpack for easy retrieval) and have various internal and external compartments for smart storage and easy accessibility.
Q: How do I choose a backpack for backpacking?
A: As previously stated, backpacks for backpacking are normally travelers backpacks and sometimes hiking/trekking backpacks. It depends on whether you want a front loading or top loading backpack. Top-loading backpacks are typically found in hiking/trekking backpacks. They require a bit more effort to retrieve items whereas travelers' backpacks are front loading with the main zipper placed on the front of the backpack for easy retrieval. Keep this in mind when choosing between a hiking/trekking backpack or a travelers backpack.
Q: How do I choose a backpack for hiking?
A: Hiking backpacks are typically called hiking or trekking backpacks. When deciding which type of hiking/trekking backpack is best for you, consider your needs in terms of capacity. Weekend packs (1-3 nights) are normally 30-50 liters, multi day packs (3-5 nights) are about 50-80 liters, and extended trip (5+ nights) packs can be 70 liters or larger. Some can even go up to 150 liters. Depending on your intended use, the capacity of the backpack should be put into consideration.
Q: How do I choose a backpack for hunting?
A: The best hunting backpacks come with a compartment for concealment or a compartment to securely hold a rifle. They too are designed similar to hiking/trekking backpacks or travel backpackers in that they can either incorporate a top-loading feature or a front-loading feature. It is up to you to determine which feature you would prefer for hunting. Furthermore, consider choosing a hunting backpack with an external frame for extra support for hauling your game.