If there’s any single item most closely associated with outdoor campaigns such as hiking, hunting, mountaineering, camping, etc, yet also the most overlooked and underrated, it is the best survival backpack.
Because of its unostentatious nature and design, survival backpacks can often be pushed to the back burner amidst the chaos of decisions about shelter, clothing and food for the impending trip. On the contrary, survival backpacks should be a subject of careful deliberation, because they are the essential thread that ties all of these things together.
The best survival backpacks should be at the forefront of your charge through whatever hazardous terrain on that campaign. They should have your back because essentially, they are there to help you survive whatever you’re confronted with in the course of your adventure. Quite simply, the success or otherwise of your trip is closely linked with your backpack of choice.
Due to the large number of backpack offerings in the market today, some of them completely substandard, locating the best backpack for you can be a rather onerous task. But we’ve helped get that particular worry out of the way with this list of the five best survival backpacks for you.
From military and civilian to outdoor backpacks, there’s something for everyone, to help you avoid pitfalls that come with wrong choices.
1. REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack
The REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack is a military-grade backpack designed to be rugged while providing features that make your campaign just that little extra comfortable.
The most instantly recognizable feature of this backpack is the sheer number of compartments and pockets it boasts. It still manages to retain a highly compact and aerodynamic look though.
This backpack is a great choice if you’re interested in durability, its 600 x 600 density fabric is designed to take hard knocks. Its water-resistant attribute ensures the safety of your packed gear, while heavy-duty zippers, cord pulls and double stitches extend the life of this backpack and promote comfort.
Its featured MOLLE system is designed to relieve pressure on you and also make for an overall comfortable experience. The ultimate decision about shape rests fully with you, as the waist and shoulder straps can be adjusted to suit your preferences. Mesh padding in the shoulder straps and a chest strap make for an easily customizable experience.
Storage capacity of 2441 cubic inches and dimensions of 13 x 20 x 11 inches in addition to plenty of pockets offer enough room to store materials essential for the success of your trip.
At the price it goes for, this tent offers real value and if you can find ways to get around the absence of a hydration bladder, this tent is pretty much the complete package.
2. MEWAY 42L Military Tactical Backpack
This tent offers you enough space to pack the essentials you need to get through whatever survival situation you are confronted with, without sacrificing comfort, all at a budget-friendly price.
Offered in black and military green colours, this backpack can contain up to 5 days worth of supplies, which might be enough to guarantee survival and move on to the next phase. Its storage capacity of 42L is a definite advantage.
Completely water-resistant and made with highly durable materials, the backpack helps eliminate the likelihood of accidents with double-stitched, heavy-duty zippers and a side and front load compression system that helps in maintaining balance.
Storage is complemented by numerous storage pockets, while integrated MOLLE webbing grants you enough leeway to design your preferred layout, bearing in mind materials that you consider absolutely essential to your trip.
This backpack also does not come equipped with a hydration bladder, however, it retains the option for it to be installed if you so wish. When you factor in the fact of this backpack’s comparatively low price, it does appear worth a punt.
3. CONDOR 3 Day Assault Pack
The CONDOR 3 Day Assault Pack offers you flexibility, versatility and enough room to hold enough gear that can last the best part of 72 hours.
Boasting a quite astonishing 50L of storage space, this heavy-duty backpack also offers all of seven compartments, ensuring that there’s no shortage of space to load essentials in. To make sure that you’re not bogged down by so much weight, it is equipped with contour shoulder straps with integrated D rings, a sternum strap and a waist belt. These enhancements maximize comfort and support by evenly distributing the weight all over the body. Further, two 3L hydration bladders in separate pockets help you replenish expended energy on the go.
Made with nylon material, this backpack places a huge emphasis on durability and safety of your gear, with each pocket secured by double reinforced zippers. There are also fastenable straps in the main compartment. The backpack gives a germane demonstration of its flexibility and versatility with the next features: handles on the top and sides of the pack, which converts the backpack into something resembling a duffle bag at a moment’s notice.
Also designed to cope with various weather conditions, this backpack introduces individual foam rear foam padding to minimize perspiration and increase airflow and comfort.
With dimensions of 22 x 17 x 11, storage capacity of 3038 cubic inches and 50 litres, this backpack ensures that you have enough wriggle room to take any eventuality into consideration.
On a negative note though, customer reviews indicate that this tent is prone to falling apart after only a few instances of use, and the zippers wear out pretty quickly. Therefore, it may be necessary for you to take this into account before making a decision.
4. PANS Military Expandable Travel Backpack
The PANS Military Expandable Travel Backpack is a lot of things to a lot of people. This adaptable backpack is perfect for every outdoor activity known to man and depending on your needs, can be compressed or expanded to provide less space or even more space.
With a weight of 3lbs 6oz, this backpack can reach a monstrous capacity of 64L when expanded. It offers 4 main compartments which are secured with oversized zippers for extra protection of your materials. This backpack’s water-resistant design also increases its compactness and suitability for outdoor activities.
Also boasting the MOLLE System, which enables the addition of several other features, a water bottle mesh which enables you to keep hydrated on the trail, this tent is also equipped with a handle if you’d rather slip the backpack off your shoulders and carry it with your hands.
This backpack can be carried easily over the longest of distances, and this is made possible by the adjustable sternum strap. The backpack’s removable belt feature also contributes to its relative weightlessness by evenly distributing the weight.
The inclusion of two walkie-talkie pouches on the backstrap of the bag is another innovation that makes this tent intriguing. Further, the option to switch side thickness between 8′ and 13′ and the presence of side buckles help in controlling the weight of the backpack.
This backpack is loaded with a whole lot of features and amenities that make it stand out among the rest. Purchase one of these and you can get the feeling that you’ve just made a rewarding, long term investment.
5. Maxpedition Condor-II Backpack
With superior resilience to withstand whatever is thrown at it, this indefatigable backpack is the perfect apparatus for every trip.
This backpack has a hardy appearance designed to inspire confidence in users. However, that is not just for show, it really is one tough customer. The backpack gives off a compact look and feel which is perhaps aided by the absence of multiple compartments. Nevertheless, despite being medium-sized, this backpack can comfortably support a whopping 1350 cubic inches of gear in addition to a 100oz/3L hydration reservoir.
This backpack was built to haul serious weight across the most difficult terrains, in an assortment of unfavourable and harsh weather conditions and it achieves this successfully, without sacrificing your comfort. The backpack straps are padded, soft padding alleviates the pressure on your back and sternum support redistributes the weight equally around your upper body. This has the effect of leaving you still raring to go, even after eating up the miles. Despite this, this backpack can be made to bear considerably more weight with TacTie Attachment Straps that can be used with other Maxpedition products.
The Maxpedition Contour-II Backpack is made with highly durable, high-quality nylon stitching and self -repairing YKK zippers that greatly reduces the likelihood of gear spillage due to a technical failure. To provide you with even more confidence and calm, this backpack is completely water-resistant, so even in the event of a downpour, your essentials are kept protected.
This backpack scores top marks for its unique features and subtle practicalness which ensures that you cannot go wrong with this choice. Be that as it may, if you’re going for a longer trek, you might want to consider choosing a bigger backpack that offers you more room for extra gear.
What To Look Out For When Selecting A Survival Backpack
The ultimate concern, the importance of picking out a backpack that makes considerations for your comfort cannot be overstated, because hauling gear over tough terrains with a backpack that bogs you down can quickly sap your energy and drain the joy from any hiking or camping expedition.
You must carefully examine the weight of your gear, clothes and food in relation to the backpack. Unnecessary items will only increase the bulk of your backpack and cause discomfort, therefore, it is imperative that you streamline your gear.
Always pick out backpacks that offer padded straps to reduce the pressure on your shoulder blades and back. Further, look for straps that can be adjusted to suit your needs and preferences.
Backpacks that evenly distribute weight over your upper body are also a good choice. Sternum straps might also be a necessary consideration.
There is no one size fits all rule when it comes to specifying the appropriate volume of your backpack. These decisions are arbitrary and should normally rest on two factors: your size and your gear.
That said, the backpack should have, on average, a storage capacity of between 40-50 Litres. The clearest indicator that you’ve gone beyond the appropriate volume for you is if your backpack begins to weigh heavily on you after just a short while.
The best survival backpacks are those that are able to cope with anything thrown at them, including inclement weather. Some are water resistant, some are even equipped with a waterproof rainfly to protect your essentials from unfavourable climatic conditions. Before making a purchase, be sure to check the denier rating of the backpack, as this will give a fairly accurate representation of how equipped to handle adversity the backpack is.
Your backpack should possess the resilience to adapt to whatever challenge you’re faced with and this translates to the freedom and ability to affix necessary items to the exterior of the backpack that are suitable for certain situations. The biggest consideration here is the MOLLE feature of the backpack.