Survival scenarios come in many different forms. If you’re someone who likes to be prepared for a worst case scenario, then owning a survival backpack is a no brainer. Whether you’re an active hiker who wants to have an adequate pack for escaping a wilderness survival scenario or an urban dweller who wants to be prepared for a city wide crisis or natural disaster — we’ve got you covered with some pretty righteous backpacks meant to equip you with everything you’ll need to survive in an effective manner.
If you’re adding safety or survival equipment to your backpacking gear or home survival kit make sure to check out our top lists of the best emergency radios, food rations, mess kits and general items for your home shelter.
Those who wander deep into the great outdoors really oughta be wearing a pack that is capable of enduring and supporting you through a survival situation. On a different note, a lot of households these days are wise to put together an emergency kit for any potential disaster scenario that could arise. If you need to evacuate your home in a hurry, you’ll need a reliable backpack to gear up with your essential belongings and survival gear. Our top ten list has compiled a few different style backpacks for various survival scenarios that could prove pivotal in how you manage to get out safe. The best way to pull through dangerous situations is to be prepared — so consider what you might need a survival backpack for as you read through these carefully selected options.
1. Best Value, All Around Survival Backpack: Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack
This is a great quality backpack by Teton Sports that is a great fit for an array of survival scenarios. It’s one of the highest reviewed internal frame backpacks out there — and is in my opinion, the ideal size. This 55 liter pack has quite a few internal and external pockets, as well as spaces to externally fasten additional gear. It’s only four and a half pounds in weight, so this pack isn’t going to weigh you down too much. Multi position torso adjustments and open cell foam lumbar pad ensures this pack will fit comfortably once fitted properly. It’s a good fit for both men and women, as well as youth and adults. The internal frame makes it a solid bag for really loading up and hiking to safety. If you’re looking for a highly packable, comfortable and affordable survival pack, this could be a good place to start.
Price: $69.15 & FREE Shipping
- Teton Sports offers a limited lifetime warranty on this product and has excellent customer service reviews
- The internal frame makes this a good pack for long treks
- All the compression straps and internal pockets allow for packing large loads and effective organization
- Some complaints about stiffness of the clips and zips
2. Best Survival Backpack for Hauling Large, Awkward Loads: ALPS OutdoorZ Commander
Here’s a seriously tough pack by ALPS. This bag is designed for hunting expeditions, but it’s also perfectly suited as a survivalist pack depending on your needs. It’s a heavier pack at about seven pounds and built to accommodate gear such as firearms and ammunition/arrows. The unique fastening system employed for securing a rifle, crossbow or traditional bow could be used to secure a wide range of equipment, making this a pretty versatile backpack.
There’s an awesome array of pockets, pouches and strapping for packing tons of gear — so if you’re looking for a bag to truly load up then you might consider this pack. The frame can be worn alone without the pack and used as a freighter frame, a pretty neat concept that could be used to accommodate a bunch of different loads. The idea here is to be able to load up the pack with the game you shoot in the wilderness — but having the option to use this pack as a bare frame could come in handy for a variety of reasons. The bag also loads from the top and front so there’s a lot of ways to pack and unpack it. For the expedition, survivalist hiker who requires a rugged, high capacity backpack, this option from ALPS is a great go-to.
Price: $129.99 & Free Shipping (19 percent off MSRP)
- Tons of storage capacity between the interior compartments and exterior strapping and pouches
- This pack is firearm compatible and designed to properly carry guns and ammunition
- Pack can detach and frame can be worn alone and loaded with large, awkward items that will not fit in a backpack
- Lower door and top access to the interior of the bag for easy packing/unpacking and organization
- Lots of thought has gone into the design of this pack — it’s truly designed to accommodate for the storage needs of a serious outdoorsman
- Fairly heavy and large in size, this thing is the real deal so don’t purchase if you don’t require a BIG pack
- The set up, sizing and proper use of this bag take a little practice to master
3. Best Survival Backpack for Long Hikes or Treks: Osprey Men’s Atmos Backpack
This backpack by Osprey is a top of the line product. If you have the funds to spring for a pack of this caliber, then you’ll most definitely feel the difference in how it fits and operates compared to less expensive packs. This bag employs Osprey’s anti-gravity suspension system that’s designed to provide maximum ventilation and carrying comfort. It’s a highly reviewed backpack that is praised for its use as a thru-hiking pack on longer treks. The internal pockets are very well thought out for organization and capable of stashing all sorts of equipment orderly and effectively. I feel that the exterior of this pack could use a few more pouches or some more strapping considering the high price tag — but it’s still a highly capable backpack when it comes to stowing gear.
Customer reviews insist this pack if sized properly has a really great fit and is ideal for traveling long distances. It’s crafted with freedom of motion in mind and meant to keep you highly active. In a survival scenario where moving fast with all your gear is key, this bag is an excellent choice. If you’re looking for a high end backpacking pack for some serious treks, then considering spending the extra dollars on a pack of this quality — you get what you pay for with this one.
Price: $169.97 – $412.57
- Ideal bag for long treks and thru-hiking — travel far without the backpack becoming uncomfortable
- Awesome internal storage schematic
- Provides a highly sporty fit once sized properly
- Internal compression straps help to stabilize heavy loads
- Quite expensive
- Not a ton of exterior storage space
4. Best Smaller Sized Survival Backpack: Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack
I really dig the design of this backpack by Kelty and feel it’s a great pack to include as a staple in a family emergency kit. It’s comparable to a regular style backpack but has a lot of the features you would want in a survivalist pack. At 50 liters its almost large enough to take backpacking, but probably better suited for slightly lighter loads. It’s a smaller sized pack compared to most of the bags listed here — but it’s a great option to have on hand in an emergency or disaster scenario. It’s a simple and comfortable to wear backpack that could be ideal for loading up with some emergency scenario equipment in a pinch.
The main compartment, side pouches and side pockets all add up to quite a bit of capacity that’s easily organized. The back panel is designed with airflow in mind to keep you cool and the shoulder and waist straps are also ventilated for added breathability. This bag is compatible with a hydration system so you can plan on bringing some water along the convenient and easy way — ready to drink from within the pack! This intermediate sized bag also loads from the front and top, so it’s easy to get in and out of. I personally think this bag is the ideal size for packing a good bit of gear before having to quickly leave the house in an emergency or disaster scenario. At $125, Kelty offers a pretty good deal considering the high quality on this one.
Price: $103.14 — $139.95 & Free Shipping (up to 26 percent off MSRP)
- Hydration system compatible
- Can load from front and top for easy access and organization
- Great intermediate size at 50 liters for use as a high capacity daypack or emergency scenario pack
- Built with breathability in mind
- Complaints that the zippers are cheaply made
- Some customer reviews mention pinching of the neck from the shoulder strapping when heavily loaded
5. Best High Capacity Pack for Long Treks: Badlands Rifle & Bow Compatible Summit Pack
Here’s a top quality hunting backpack by Badlands designed for some rugged trekking. This is an expedition backpack with almost 90 liters of capacity that will fit a TON of gear. You can carry some heavy loads with this pack, so if you’re looking for something that can handle a lot of strain, this one is worth checking out. The Summit Pack has been designed for back country big game hunting — it’s meant for multi day treks and supporting heavy gear loads. Badlands has employed airtrack suspension, a unique anatomically shaped waist belt and some nicely crafted shoulder straps to ensure you can handle the heaviest of loads.
The ultralight rip-stop fabric of this pack is built tough to withstand years of abuse and also is also inherently highly water resistant. This is a pack you can beat on — one of the most important stats for an effective survival pack. The clips, zips and strapping on this unit are all built with superior quality making for a long lasting product. This unit is crafted by a high quality outfitter that supports sportsmen in the field, definitely a wise choice of brand if you’re looking for something long lasting and thoughtfully designed. Carrying your rifle, shotgun or bow is of course no issue with this pack — a potentially pivotal feature for those longer treks in the wilderness. As a high capacity hunting backpack designed for transport of large, heavy loads this unit from Badlands is tough to beat for survival applications.
Price: $299.99 & Free Shipping
- This is a seriously high capacity backpack at 90 liters
- Materials and hardware used are top notch — this pack should last for years of heavy use
- Overall schematic is well thought out for packing a large array of gear allowing for good organization
- Properly equipped to safely and effectively carry a firearm or bow
- At $300 this pack is quite expensive — you pay for top quality with this one
6. Best Highly Packable, Smaller Sized Survival Pack: Pisfun Tactical 40L Camping Backpack
This 40 Liter tactical backpack by Pisfun is a pretty bad ass pack. Pisfun claims all of the stitching and webbing on this pack are military grade, and customer reviews support that this is a tough backpack. There’s a great array of pockets for stowing all kinds of gear when trekking into the wilderness or wherever you might roam. The material of this pack is highly water resistant, so if you want to go out in some rain it shouldn’t be a problem, but don’t plan on letting this bag go directly into any water, it won’t keep its contents dry in the event of a full soak. The material won’t rot or mold if it gets saturated which makes it a great choice for an outdoor bag.
The buckles and strapping are very rugged, so plan on having this pack for years. I like this bag as a survival backpack because of all the external and internal storage spaces — it allows for bringing along and effectively organizing a lot of gear for being such a small pack.
Price: $55.00 & Free Shipping
- Constructed with tough nylon material and good quality buckles and straps
- Lots of well thought out pockets and compartments — high capacity for gear
- Great size for a camping or hiking pack
- Customer reviews claim this pack is capable of carrying fairly heavy loads (30+ pounds)
- Water resistant, NOT truly waterproof
- There is no support strap to clip across your abdomen if you want some help carrying heavier loads
- At 40 liters, this pack won’t fit a TON of gear despite its thoughtful design
7. Best Cheap Survival Backpack: Mountaintop 40 Liter Hiking Backpack with Rain Cover
This 40 liter backpack by Mountaintop is included here for its great value. At just $35 and with free shipping, its hard to find such a solid backpack at this affordable a cost. It’s a pretty standard pack, but well reviewed and silly inexpensive, so I found it worthy as an item to include here. It might not be the greatest pack to truly rely on in a survival scenario — but if your budget is low this bag is pretty adequate for some heavy trekking. For $35 I think it’s a great item to have on hand in case you need it.
This pack has some good internal dividers and also has a space that is suitable for holding a water bladder and tube. Mountaintop includes an adjustable hip belt on this bag that fits waist sizes 25–55 inches. If your torso is longer than 52 centimeters, then Mountaintop recommends you seek a different pack. An adjustable sternum strap, breathable molded foam back panel and S-shaped shoulder straps ensure you can properly carry the weight of your gear. It comes in nine different color options so there should be one for you. Mountaintop also includes a 90 day limited warranty on this item — so don’t let the super small price tag scare you out of checking this bag out it — it’s worthy!
Price: $38.99 & Free Shipping
- Very reasonably priced — great pack to own as a spare or to tuck away in case of emergency
- Wide range of color options
- No internal smaller pockets
- Side pockets are inadequate for stowing a water bottle
- Likely won’t last as long as most of the other packs listed here due to the materials used
8. Best Survival Backpack for Carrying Handguns and Ammunition: Explorer Tactical Gun Concealment Backpack
This backpack is a great option for the survivalist who wants to safely and effectively carry handguns and ammunition. If you frequent wilderness that is home to dangerous predators, or want to prepare for emergency or disaster scenarios where other people might be a threat to you or your family, then this backpack offers an effective way to carry your sidearms. It’s a polyester pack with a six zipper pocket in front as well as four side pockets. There’s an additional two back pockets for stowing smaller items. This is an excellent bag for stashing a plethora of smaller items and survival gear, as well as some bigger pieces of equipment or larger belongings.
At 56 liters this is a pretty decent sized pack you can really load up. The strapping is nice enough and the pack itself is built tough, so it should be able to handle some fairly heavy abuse. Whether you have a need to pack hand guns and ammo in your survival pack or not, this is an excellent backpack for the highly organized survivalist.
Price: $65.36 & Free Shipping (29 percent off MSRP)
- Provides effective storage and easy access to hand guns and ammunition on the waist straps
- This pack has a Ton of smaller sized pockets and compartments as well as an adequately sized main pocket
- Handles and fabrics are built tough
- There’s no rigid support to this bag, so heavy loads may cause it to sag
9. Best Waterproof Survival Backpack: Phantom Aquatics Premium Waterproof Backpack
This roll-top backpack by Phantom Aquatics is a great option for a dry bag survival backpack. A pack like this could REALLY come in handy when things get wet and it’s easy enough to fold and store with an additional, larger capacity survival pack. This bag is designed to safely float, so it’s a good choice for traveling by boat. The large outer elastic storage space as well as the mesh side pocket allow you to store some gear on the outside of the pack. This bag also has two methods of sealing depending on what you’re trying to do with your pack.
The back panel is constructed with an air flow design to minimize the uncomfortable heat and stickiness that some waterproof packs can generate. Adjustable sternum and waist straps make this bag as comfortable as possible. I think the quality of the straps on this pack is what makes it the best waterproof option — as well as its low cost of just $39. If you want to be prepared for wetness and need to keep electronics and other sensitive items bone-dry, then consider adding this pack to your survival gear.
If a waterproof backpack is a little excessive for you, then maybe consider purchasing a highly packable dry bag to include in your larger capacity survival backpack. If you like the idea of a waterproof backpack but this one doesn’t quite fit the bill than make sure to check out our top list of the best waterproof backpacks.
Price: $36.95 — $55.58 & Free Shipping
- Solid, well built shoulder straps
- Sternum and waist straps for added support
- Truly waterproof pack that will float if dropped into the water
- Has reflective accents as an added safety feature
- The elastic exterior storage space is of course not waterproof and may or may not be suitable for your needs
- Only a 25 Liter pack
10. Best Cheap, Military Style Survival Backpack: Orca Tactical 40L Military Survival Backpack
Here’s one more smaller sized backpack that could function great as a survival pack. It’s a pretty standard military style backpack, but it has a few features that make it suitable as an item to include in your emergency scenario kit. It’s ruggedness is really why I chose to include this pack — it should be able to handle the abuses of being heavily loaded and knocked around. It’s made from 600D polyester material with water resistant and scratch resistant coating.
The zippers are nice quality and designed not to rust. This is a pretty no-frills bag that isn’t terribly impressive as a piece of survival equipment, but is also everything you need in an emergency pack. There’s a solid amount of external pockets and the pack is also hydration bladder compatible. The strapping is definitely nice enough and although there’s no internal frame this bag carries weight well. At 40 liters you should be able to pack most of or all of what you need. Another solid option for adding to the family emergency kit for when you might need it.
Price: $44.99 & Free Shipping
- Built tough with durable fabrics, clips and zips
- Nice intermediate size for use in an emergency kit
- Nice external and internal storage schematic — plenty of pockets for effectively organizing gear
- Very reasonably priced
- Although this is a well built bag — there’s no internal frame for supporting particularly heavy loads
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