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The Best Survival Backpack Reviewed (Buying Guide 2020)

How important can a backpack be? Ask a person who is off traveling to a campsite far away from his home town without any food supplies. He’ll tell you the importance of exact expletives! The idea behind a survival backpack is that you have everything you need when you’re far away. 

But there are so many options available in the market today. How to choose the best out of the rest? Don’t worry. Our product reviews and buying guide will help you choose your precious backpack in no time.

1. 5.11Tactical RUSH24

This backpack from Rush 24 is known for its tactfulness. You can use this for hunting, recreational activities & also as a grab-&-go bag! Here are the bag’s specs:

  • The bag has dual zipping side based pockets.
  • It has a water repellent coating along with a hydration pocket.
  • 5.11 is lightweight and is durable through the use of 1050D nylon material.
  • There’s a wrap-around MOLLE & a zippered side water bottle pocket.

Pros:

  • Stronger Shoulder pads
  • Ample of storage compartments
  • Promotes higher airflow

Cons:

  • Not water resistant

2. REEBOW Gear Military

This Reebow bag will give you the feel of being a part of the military. Maybe not literally but the gear does have this look. Here are some of its specs:

  • The bag is double stitched with high-quality zippers.
  • Reebow has a ventilated mesh padding style of shoulder straps.
  • It’s hydration compatible but doesn’t include a hydration bladder.
  • It also has a front and side loads compression system.

Pros:

  • High utility
  • Durable
  • Tons of compartments within the bag

Cons:

  • No compartment for water bottle

3. 5.11 All Hazards Prime

The “All Hazards Prime” bag is better than most average backpacks. What makes it unique is the additional specs that aren’t found in many. Here are some of those unique specs:

  • A “Shove-it pocket” that can store a lot of items like a helmet!
  • There’s a medical compartment with multiple tear-out medical pouches.
  • Hazards prime has a dedicated hydration compartment & padded laptop sleeve
  • The bag also has adjustable compression straps for more comfort.

Pros:

  • Can hold huge gear
  • High-quality zippers
  • Plenty of space

Cons:

  • Better options at the price range
  • Heavier than others

4. Kelty Women’s Coyote 60

With Kelty’s backpack, we bring to you a backpack crafted for the females. This is one of those rare bags that combine comfort and cargo! Yes, it’s an ultra-organized bag that can do a lot of things for the user. Here are some of the specs:

  • The Coyote bag along with shoulder straps is designed as per women’s torso length.
  • This bag has an AMP-Flow ventilated back panel that keeps you cool always.
  • There are two types of hip belt pockets for necessary items.
  • Kelty’s bag is hydration compatible & boasts of dual pick up handles.

Pros:

  • Accessible compartments
  • Highly organized
  • Dual access to the main compartment

Cons:

  • Uncomfortable to reach side pockets
  • Absence of rain cover
  • Heavier than other bags

5. Deuter Air Contact 65+10

Deuter is a century-old company that provides innovative backpacks to each type of user. The Air contact 65+10 is a pure trekking bag that’s termed as “indestructible”. Here are some of its specs:

  • Their air contact system results in 15% less sweat than standard backpacks.
  • Air contact also boasts of an active comfort fit system that allows weight to be distributed evenly. This doesn’t strain your back.
  • They also have one of the best adjustable shoulder straps & padded hip belts.
  • It also happens to be water & dirt repellent.

Pros:

  • Ideal for trekking & camping
  • Carries strong load
  • Tons of pockets

Cons:

  • No rain cover
  • The hip belt is bulky

6. G4Free Lightweight

The G4 Free backpack is the best for every travelling situation right from a day’s hike, camping & trekking. This lightweight bag has tons of compartments and is a perfect companion. Here are some of its specs:

  • It has a large side mesh pocket that can hold a bottle & umbrella.
  • The G4 has ample room thanks to 40 litres spacing where you can store tons of things for your journey.
  • There’s a top double sided pouch that can store smaller items.
  • Portable as you can fit it within an ultra-compact pouch. This means you can carry it in suitcases without losing extra space.

Pros:

  • Versatile
  • Reasonable cost
  • Larger compartments

Cons:

  • Not completely water-resistant
  • Less padding on shoulder straps

7. TETON Sports Fox 5200

Teton wishes to give its users the best outdoor experience. Whether you’re backpacking across countries or off trekking to higher altitudes, the Sports Fox 5200 is the best travel buddy you could ask for. Here are some of its specs:

  • The Fox 5200 has hip pads and a contoured shoulder for supreme comfort.
  • Their height-adjustable shoulder straps are perfect for anybody’s size.
  • One of the rare bags to provide a lifetime warranty!
  • This bag also has a big side & weather guard zippers.

Pros:

  • User-friendly design
  • Sturdy & Durable

Cons:

  • Quality issues
  • Heavier than other bags

8. TETON Sports Scout 3400

Like the Fox 3200, the Scout 3400 goes one step further with comfort in mind. With extra airflow and padded lumbar, you can expect your bag to make your life easier during travel. Here are some of its specs:

  • The Scout 3400 sports a multi-position torso adjustment that can fit any body size.
  • They also boast of a separate sleeping bag compartment
  • It is hydration ready and holds a lifetime warranty.
  • Keeping comfort in mind, the bag holds weight well with wide locking hip straps.

Pros:

  • Ergonomically advanced
  • Customizable
  • Sleeping bag compartment

Cons:

  • Heavier than other bags

Buying Guide for the Best Survival Backpack

When it comes to purchasing a backpack, multiple factors determine whether a backpack is suitable for survival or no. Yes, you cannot just shortlist based on price and quality. There are tons of requirements a backpack must possess. 

An ideal backpack is one that can help you survive any environment, be durable and provide immense value. Now choosing a bag might be difficult. Hence we have crafted a buying guide for you. This guide will mention each factor that we would look at and research to find the best backpack ever! 

Capacity

When you wish to purchase a good bag, the capacity must be your first concern. When you think of capacity, what we mean is the gear your bag can hold. This is defined in litres. Ideal bags are anywhere between 30-40 litres that can help you last for a 3-4 day trip. 

Usual survival bags above 40 litres will help you with enough room for your tent and sleeping bag. Don’t worry about space as these bags are designed in such a way that there are specific compartments to store your essentials. 

List of bag capacities for your trip:

  • Less than 30 litres – 2-3 days
  • 30 to 45 litres – 3-4 days
  • 45 to 75 litres – 4-5 days
  • 75 litres and above – 7-8 days

Size

The second most important thing for you to check would be the size of the backpack. Yes, the size is different from the capacity of your bag. But how would you know what size fits you? It’s straightforward. All you have to do is use a tape and measure the length from the base of your neck until your back ends. 

Once you know the size, it becomes easier to shortlist survival backpacks. There is no ideal size here, as each individual has a different body type. If you cannot measure with a tape, visit a store and try dummy bags. This can help you understand your size very quickly.

List of bag sizes:

  • Extra Small – Less than 16”
  • Small – 16”
  • Medium – 16 to 19.5”
  • Large & Extra Large – 20” and above

Weight

After you’ve found out what size and capacity fit you well, let’s move on to the most crucial factor. The main factor deals with the weight of the bag. 

Yes, weight is different than size and capacity. The weight of your bag can be one of the deciding factors while you wish to purchase one.

We say this because bags that come with additional features might increase the weight of the bag. An ideal bag, however, will balance the features and ensure the bag is lightweight. 

You might also wish to consider your buying patterns as per the area you’re travelling in. If a bag has an excellent internal frame and won’t stress your back, then you can always opt for that option. Try avoiding a bag with external frames.

Quality

The reason why we mentioned quality so below in the list is that size, weight, and capacity are more important. Quality of backpacks can be considered after you adjudge your comfort. Look for a bag that has been made with high-quality materials.

We say this because high-quality bags can be water-resistant and more durable than remaining backpacks. They must be built to last, which means no issues with the straps or zippers. 

Your bag is supposed to make your life easier and not complicated. An ideal backpack would be one that’s made of the highest quality and has fantastic reviews to support that claim.

Comfort

Next up is comfort. Now imagine yourself on a trek that has a lot of uphill climbing. With each step, if you feel your back being stressed and shoulders painting, then your body surely hates your backpack…. and so should you! With a bad backpack, you might not be able to enjoy treks & vacations as you’ll be struggling and uncomfortable wearing this bag.

Hence you must look for 2-3 things when it comes to finding comfort in a backpack. You can look out for padded shoulder straps & padded hip belt (mentioned below) for added comfort. Just remember that comfort in a bag equals the amount of fun you can have on your trip.

Padded Straps

Like we mentioned above, padded straps are vital as they can provide extra comfort and exceptional performance too. With the help of these pads, you won’t realize the excess weight being carried. This will help you walk those extra miles without any extra effort and save energy.

Padded straps are designed in such a fashion that the weight of your bag gets distributed evenly. This reduces the impact on your shoulders, and you can continue walking!

Padded Hip Belt

Now while we feel this isn’t that big of a deal, you can add this in your list if comfort is your priority. Like the padded straps, a well built padded hip belt helps in managing stress on your lower back and hips. When you have a padded hip belt, it will provide a cushion and stabilize the impact of your bag on your lower body.

Padded hip belts are usually present in survival backpacks, but not every bag needs to have it. Hence check out the specs beforehand, so you aren’t disappointed later.

Ventilation

Lastly, in the comfort sector, what you must also look out for is the ventilation factor. Survival backpacks are usually crafted with high-quality materials, and one of them happens to be nylon.

While there are many positives, the downside is the warmth you’ll feel on your back. This results in excessive sweating that can be frustrating. (It rhymed!!) Hence look for a backpack that would have fantastic ventilation technology through a mesh back panel. This will keep your back cool no matter how extreme the weather is.

Waterproof

Rains can make life difficult for trekkers in 2 ways. Firstly, the trail becomes muddy. Secondly when the bag soaks water and becomes heavy! Hence it is ideal for a waterproof backpack. With the help of a waterproof bag, you can save all your essentials like clothes, food, camera equipment from spoiling further. 

Most of the options from our list here and products in today’s market are created using waterproof materials. What’s great is that they also provide ventilation, so you don’t end up sweating at all.

Hydration Sleeve

Now let’s spoil ourselves a bit. It’s too much to wear a bag and keep walking all day. What if you could just use a tube and have your favourite drink without using your hands? Yes, you know what we’re talking about is a hydration sleeve. Most survival backpacks created in the past 2-3 years have a unique sleeve where you can store a hydration reservoir. 

While this is not a requirement, it certainly can be useful for those who want additional comfort and having their favourite drink all day. Like the padded hip belt, this too isn’t much of a requirement. But with its help, you can add them in case you want it in your bag.

Rain Cover

Now your bag can be waterproof. But even then there are chances that moisture might seep in partially through small cracks or zippers. In such cases, you can opt for a rain cover. This can be seen as additional protection over the waterproof design.

In case you are visiting locations that have a lot of rainfall, then it is wise for you to go for a waterproof backpack. Apart from that, ensure that you carry extra rain cover!

Colour

Surprised checking this factor? We just happened to pass on some valuable information that might help you avoid unwanted trouble. The majority of folks would prefer to opt for the camouflage design. But there’s a huge possibility. With this bag colour, you might come across as a person who is a hunter or has outdoor skills.

This might attract unwanted attention and hence its best to avoid such colours along with hot pink, bright colours and move to the basics. Basic colors like black, dark blue and green are considered to be appropriate backpack colors. 

Conclusion

We know it’s not easy to choose a survival backpack, but we have tried our best to give you an informative article. With this information, we hope you can shortlist a few backpack options and choose the right one as per your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions about Survival Backpacks

What is a survival backpack?

A survival backpack is a backpack which has multiple features like a compass, water-resistant, space for tent and sleeping bag. In short, anything you would need to survive outdoors alone!

What is the best bug out bag backpack?

The best bug out bag backpack is one that’s modular, comfortable & huge. It also will have multiple compartments so you can store your stuff effectively and should be water-resistant as well.

How big should a bug out bag be?

A bug out bag must at least be of a standard range of 45-55 litres. In easy words, ensure that it doesn’t surpass more than 20% of your body weight!

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