Everyday backpacks are ideal for travelling the world and going on casual hikes in the Great Outdoors. But one thing’s for sure:
They’re not always cut out for hardcore adventures!
Nope, diehard explorers, preppers, and survivalists need something bigger, tougher, and far more tactical for the job. In other words, they need a backpack that’s purpose-built for survival situations…
That’s where the best backpacks for survival come into play.
These rugged packs tick all of these boxes and more, making them ideal additions to any extreme environments and circumstances you might find yourself in.
First, though, you’ve got to find best backpack for survival for the job. Would you like some help with that all-important endeavour?
Check out this buying guide to learn all about 8 of the best survival backpacks on the market today.
Heads up, this post contains affiliate links.
The Best Survival Backpacks - Summary Table
How To Choose the Best Tactical Survival Backpack
There’s a wide range of military survival backpacks available, with each model having unique features. The sheer number of options available can be overwhelming when you’re on the hunt for the best backpack for survival!
Want some help picking one survival rucksack over another? Here are 5 key considerations that should make it easier to choose the right camping survival backpack for you.
1) Survival Rucksack Storage Space
Let’s start with the basics: how much do you need your survival backpack to carry? This is one of the most important questions to answer before making a purchase.
As a rule of thumb, the best survival backpacks have more space than standard backpacking varieties. Ideally, you’ll pick a survival backpack with enough room to carry all the essential items you may need in a particular situation.
For instance, if you’re looking to go camping with your survival backpack, it should be able to hold at least: two changes of clothes, cooking equipment, a flashlight and other such items, as well as anything else that you’d need- although the exact size will depend on a) where you’re headed and b) how long your trip will be.
Another important thing to remember is that large storage spaces come with their own set of problems. The bigger you go, the heavier your backpack is likely to get when fully packed.
2. Survival Backpack Durability
With that said, let’s move on to point number two: durability. Survival backpacks aren’t always cheap. So, when you’re out buying one, be sure to get something that’s built to last.
It’d be a total waste of your time (and hard-earned money) to purchase a cheap tactical backpack that’d fall apart after the first few uses. Remember, this is a survival backpack, not a break-for-no-good-reason backpack.
For this, you need a backpack with tough, resilient materials that can withstand the standard wear and tear it’s sure to experience. If the fabric tears easily, the backpack isn’t fit to be used on such outdoor adventures.
Ripstop nylon and polyester, leather, and canvas backpacks are especially popular in this regard. So too are those made from synthetic nylon weave. This is not only durable but is also lightweight and waterproof.
3. Survivalist Backpack Comfort Level
In everyday life, many people seem to sacrifice their comfort for style and fashion. But when you’re in the great outdoors for days at a time, everything other than comfort and practicality takes a backseat! Investing in a comfortable survival backpack is essential.
There are various styles of backpacks now available that offer additional comfort to the user. Look for shoulder and back padding, chest straps for additional support, and built-in frames that help distribute the weight (instead of weighing down on your shoulders). These ingenious features can be the difference between an enjoyable outdoor experience and one that you cannot wait to be over.
4. Camping Survival Backpack Waterproof Rating
Most survival backpacks are at least somewhat water-resistant. But when you’re stuck in a forest during a rainstorm, you need fully-fledged waterproofing capabilities to protect your gear. Trust me, a heavy shower can leave you helpless if it soaks through your camping equipment and clothes.
The greater the waterproof rating of your survival backpack, then, the better. It might cost you a few extra dollars, but it’ll be well-worth it. You’ll never have to limit your camping plans to fall in line with unfavourable weather conditions.
That said, if you have your heart set on a particular survival backpack that isn’t fully water-resistant, do not worry. An added rain cover should do the job!
5. Tactical Survival Backpack Aesthetics
The appearance of your survival backpack’s another essential consideration to take into account before making a purchase. And no, I’m not talking about making a fashion statement with it. Far from it.
A fancy fashionable backpack might look cool on a normal day, but you wouldn’t want that kind of attention if you were trying to escape a dangerous situation or hunt down your dinner!
The best survival backpack with gear will tend to be a neutral, camouflaged colour that’ll help you blend into the background. This ensures that you can discreetly get yourself to safety and evade detection.
The Best Military Survival Backpacks - Product Reviews
In the above paragraphs, we discussed some traits that you’d expect to see in a good survival backpack. But there’s never one right fit for everyone!
A backpack that works great for a frequent camper might not be the perfect pick for someone wanting a panic rucksack for emergencies.
Confused about which backpack to get for yourself? Here are detailed reviews of 8 top survival rucksack options. I hope it helps you find the best military survival backpack for your individual needs.
1. NOOLA Survival Backpacks Assault Pack
The Noola Tactical Military Backpack is manufactured with heavy-duty 600D oxford fabric. This resilient material will power you through countless camping trips without suffering any damage! The tough fabric can withstand harsh weather conditions and stand up to any rough treatment you throw at it.
Although it’s not fully waterproof, the Oxford material still has an average water-resistance that can bear light rains without the water soaking your possessions. It might be worth taking a rain cover, though, just in case. Throw in the extra stitching at stress points and you’ve got a high-quality, durable survival backpack.
This survival backpack features several removable compartments to keep you organized on the go. In addition to the large main compartment, there are multiple pockets and pouches of various sizes. These allow you to individually store any essential equipment you might need in case of emergency.
These compartments are easy to access too, which is important if you need to quickly find your flashlight, or take a drink from your water pouch. On that note, there’s a useful hole at the top through which you can thread a water bladder tube (and an internal pocket to hold the bladder).
The Molle system makes it possible to customize the organization as well. You can add more tactical pouches, sleeping pads, and so on.
Full of Useful Features
The little details on this Noola tactical backpack are what make it a favourite among frequent campers. This backpack has various small features that make your life easier and more comfortable.
These include a water tube hole (as discussed), rain diverting flaps, cinching waist straps for additional support, and a fold end weaving belt for comfort. It also has dual compression straps and adjustable, ventilated mesh shoulder straps that make it easier to carry heavy loads for large distances.
Molle system allows you to add or subtract accessories as needed
Versatile and well-made backpack
The main compartment measures a generous 13 x 19.7 x 8.7 inches
Lots of useful features
This backpack is not fully waterproof
2. 24BattlePack Tactical Survival Backpack
The 24 BattlePack Tactical Backpack has many useful characteristics that earn it a place on this list of the eight best survival backpacks to buy today. One particular attribute that made it a favourite of mine is its unique flexible design.
Thanks to its proprietary compression straps, the 24 BattlePack's expandable design allows it to transform from a one-day camping backpack to a full 3-day assault pack. It can go from having a storage capacity of 20 litres to a maximum capacity of 40 litres.
That’s by no means the biggest survival backpack you’ll come across, but the added versatility makes it a great choice for use in an array of situations- including everyday life. A chest strap, removable waist-strap, and padded shoulder straps help spread the load and make it more comfortable to wear.
The 24 BattlePack Tactical Backpack has a dedicated compartment for almost anything you might want in a survival situation.
For instance, it has a padded laptop storage area and a pocket for your hydration bladder (as well as hole though which you can thread the tube)
It even features a built-in universal handgun holster to keep a weapon safe and quickly accessible in case of emergencies. The front and side Molle systems mean you can play around with your set up too- adding further pockets, compartments, and items as required.
This backpack has several security features in place to ensure that your belongings do not suffer any damage on a hard-wearing trip:
The bag’s made with rugged, heavy-duty material that does not tear or scratch easily.
It includes extra waterproof lining on the inside, which makes the backpack fully waterproof.
Double-stitched seams and reinforced zipper closures guarantee that no water will seep through these areas and damage belongings inside.
A 1-year warranty and 100% satisfaction guarantee means you can buy with confidence.
Made and guaranteed by a combat veteran-owned company
Comes with a one year warranty period and 100% customer guarantee
Large zippers allow quick and easy access to the numerous dedicated compartments
Versatile design with Molle system
The waist straps can run a little short for people with a larger build
3. Gelindo Military Tactical Small Backpack
Numerous Practical Features
The Gelindo military tactical backpack offers a host of useful features.
For instance, it boasts the same waist and chest straps to help distribute weight and create a comfier fit. However, those straps are designed to be extra wide and have zippered pockets for keeping important small items (keys, passport, flashlight, switchblade, etc) close to hand.
There’s also an insulated compartment for your water bladder to keep the fluid colder/warmer for longer, a y-strap to secure and compress the upper compartment, and compression straps on the side.
Diverse Functional Compartments
With 35L of capacity, this isn’t the biggest survival backpack by any means. However, it still has a host of diverse compartments and pockets to keep your items organized.
These include internal elastic belts and mesh bags in the main compartment itself, that spacious insulated pocket for your water sack or lunchbox I mentioned, and an auxiliary pocket in the front pouch.
Once again, you’ve got Molle mount points on the front and size of the Gelindo pack for added customizability.
Lastly, the Gelindo should be nice and comfortable to wear.
Not only is it smaller than others on this list (keeping it more lightweight in the process), the backpack can be fully adjustable to your body and the load you’re carrying.
The shoulder straps are well-padded to keep the weight from cutting into you and the mesh fabric allows breathability and comfort during long periods of use. At less than $34, it’s also an absolute steal in terms of price.
Insulated compartment to hold your hydration flask or lunchbox
The expandable and collapsible design
Molle system provides customizability
Good value for money
Size and style make it suitable for general use too
The velcro patches on the bag tend to lose their performance with frequent use
Small in size for a survival backpack
Unclear how waterproof the backpack would be
4. REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack in Large size
Molle System Customizability
The Reebow Gear military backpack has a storage capacity of 40 litres and is marketed as a 3-day assault pack, making it fairly spacious in and of itself. If you need extra room, compartments, and pockets, though, the Molle webbing design has you covered.
Like the backpacks before it, you can use this to attach additional pouches, belts, and bags in accordance with your individual needs. As a result, this backpack could be built up to a much larger capacity to keep your gear safe on a multiday trip.
This backpack sturdy and well-made as well. It features double-stitched, heavy-duty zippers to lock your belongings in their separate compartments securely; the utility-style cord pulls can withstand the snags you can expect from using a backpack on outdoor excursions.
The high density manufacturing fabric is also extremely durable and water-resistant, with an additional polyester lining inside.
The Reebow Gear survival backpack is another versatile option. It can adapt to suit your needs for any occasion, including daily use.
Of particular note in this regard are the compressions straps on the side, the ventilated mesh back section, padded shoulders, and its compatibility with a water bladder. Oh, and I also like the velcro across the top pocket, which would allow you to attach your badges and patches onto the pack.
All told, this seems like one of the best survival backpacks on this list, which explains the thousands of 5-star reviews it has online!
Has a hydration compatible pouch for your water flask
Comfortable, versatile and secure design
Good storage capacity of 40 litres
Highly-rated and reviewed
Good value for money
Ticks all the right boxes
May be too large for hang luggage on a plane- unlike other 40L packs.
5. MT Store Alice Pack Military Survival Backpack
Military-Style Design; High-Quality Materials
This ALICE Pack is a true survival backpack that’s designed for rough treatment and rugged outdoor use.
The manufacturing material is two layers of 1000D oxford fabric that’s PU coated and fully weatherproof. The UTX and Mould metal buckles can bear heavy loads with ease and the army olive green colour will help you blend in with your surroundings.
Other noteworthy features include the quick-release assembly mechanism on your adjustable shoulder straps and a pouch flap that extends over the top for added waterproofing.
Huge Storage Space
The main compartment of this large military backpack measures 23”x 14.5” x 10”.
That should be big enough to carry everything you’d ever need in the outdoors! The maximum capacity is a generous 50 litres and has a wealth of pockets and compartments for your survival gear. These include 3x ammunition pouches at the top, a separate pocket for a radio, 3x buckle-drawn utility pouches on the lower side, and a main central compartment with draw-cord closure.
In other words, it’s a true survivalist’s backpack.
Detachable External Frame
What’s particularly novel about the Alice pack is its detachable LC-1 field pack frame.
This adds to the pack’s versatility, facilitates weight-bearing, and can be attached and taken off at will- the process for which is nice and simple. The multiple straps included ensure that it won’t fall off either; adjustable shoulder straps and a ‘kidney waist belt’ should make it comfy to carry on long pack marches/hikes.
Emphasis on should. These straps won’t be as comfortable as others and may even need to be swapped out for padded alternatives- especially if you’re planning on carrying heavy loads around.
Likewise, it’s lacking a chest strap, which is sure to impact comfort-levels on longer, heavier rucks/hikes.
Novel design; military-style rucksack
Multiple straps and buckles to ensure a secure hold and optimum weight distribution
Tie-down cords and D rings inside can shorten the pack when it is not full
Versatile, spacious, no-nonsense design
At 6.5 pounds self-weight, this backpack is definitely on the heavier side of the spectrum
Lacks a chest strap and shoulder straps could be uncomfortable
More expensive than others on this list
6. Mardingtop 65+10L/65L Camping Survival Backpack with Rain Cover
Waterproof & Durable
Switching gears a bit, the Mardingtop tactical backpack bears greater resemblance to traditional backpacks versus others on this list. Don’t be put off, though. This survival pack’s made of sturdy stuff and boasts an array of features that’d come in handy.
For one thing, it’s made from water-resistant 600D polyester and comes with an additional rain cover to ensure maximum protection from the elements.
You’ll also benefit from the padded shoulder straps and waist belt (complete with zippered pockets), ergonomically designed carrying system (s-shaped straps fit your body better than traditional alternatives), and the ability to adjust the torso length.
With a breathable mesh back panel to boot, it should be a comfy pack to carry by anybody’s standards.
You can pack a whopping 65L of stuff into the Mardingtop backpack, with an added 10L if you need it.
However, the entire external surface of it is also covered with that Molle webbing I’ve mentioned on other backpacks in this article. As I’ve noted, this system allows you to latch on any extra pouches, camping gear, or security straps that you might need- including sleeping bags, boots, and small tents. In other words, it’s a versatile, tactical backpack too.
Detachable Side Pockets
Another noteworthy features includes the two detachable pockets on the sides. These useful additions can carry plenty of gear in them, including 1000ml water bottles, tools, clothing etc.
You could take them off for a lighter load on shorter trips, or add them whenever you wanted extra space for longer outdoor adventures.
Versatile, multipurpose backpack
Water-resistant 600 D polyester material with rain cover
Breathable waist belt can be expanded to accommodate large builds
Large, durable, and well-made
Can be adjusted to fit most body sizes
YKK zippers mean they won’t snag or get caught
Weighs over 5lbs!
No apparent water bladder pocket
7. CVLIFE Tactical Backpack Military Army Rucksack
Durable and Long-lasting
Here’s another durable, well-made, study backpack made from water-resistant 600 x 600 oxford fabric.
The CVLife tactical survival backpack would bear a lot of rough treatment without letting your down. Heavy-duty zippers and extra stitching at stress points add to its strength and general functionality in survival situations.
This pack’s sturdy, resilient and should be able to withstand anything you throw at it. I also like the inclusion of a water bladder pocket and a hole through which to thread its tube.
The CVLife backpack has several detachable pockets that allow you to adjust/customize the capacity as per your needs. This includes a detachable front pouch and two detachable side compartments. The Molle webbing system also allows for easy add-ons to the original backpack.
Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from using these compartments separately as well- you could attach the side pouches to other Molle gear you own, for example, or sling the front pouch across your shoulder a small carry bag.
Secure and Comfortable
The dual-density ventilated mesh shoulder straps might not be the best-quality you’ll find, but they’re fully adjustable and have decent padding for comfort.
A cinching waist-strap provides additional support as well. Heavy-duty zippers and rain diverting flaps serve to keep your belongings secure at all times too.
Oh, and there’s a Velcro patch- a nice touch that makes it possible to add your own patches to the top of the pack. All told, this is a practical, no-nonsense survival pack that’s sure to do the trick. At under $50, it isn’t too expensive either.
Can be built up to have a storage capacity of 60 litres
Molle webbing system
Not fully waterproof
Shoulder straps could do with extra padding
8. PANS Large Military Backpack for Men
Great All-Round Survival Backpack
The PANS Backpack’s hard to fault, boasting basically everything you’d need in a survival backpack: solid water-resistance, durable build, quality materials, sufficient space (3-day design), handy pockets/compartments (including one for a water bladder and another for walkie-talkie), and padding/straps where you need them.
Everything about it screams quality- especially the thousands of 5-star reviews it’s got from happy customers!
Versatile Pack with Multiple Compartments
In terms of how it’s setup, the PANS pack has four large loading spaces to store all of your belongings.
The front compartment’s perfect for smaller items that you need frequent access to. The middle compartment’s big enough to hold a laptop (if you’re carrying one) and other flat items such as a tablet; the main central compartment will store the bulk of your contents.
With some Molle webbing on the front and sides, you can customize this pack to your personal needs as well. An elasticated draw cord (AKA the ‘bundle band’) on the front would prove useful too.
To top it off, this survival backpack features a dedicated mesh compartment to hold your water bottle on the side. This gives you easy access to fluid when you’re thirsty on the move.
A final feature of this backpack that’s worth mentioning is its expandable nature.
Thanks to two compression straps on either side, you can alter the depth of the pack between 8 and 13 inches deep. This feature allows you to use the backpack in multiple settings and bring more gear along for the ride if you need it.
Thanks to this attribute and the Molle webbing, you can increase the capacity of the PANS backpack to a maximum of 64L.
Velcro patch for customized labels
Lots of useful pockets and compartments
Durable, high-quality design
Molle webbing system
Buckles on compression straps may give in after prolonged periods of rough use
Find the Best Backpacks for Survival
Survival backpacks boast an array of crucial attributes that set them apart from everyday travel varieties. They’re the bulls of the backpacking world- big, burly, practical packs that have everything you need to survive and thrive in the great outdoors.
However, with so many tactical survival backpacks on the market, picking the best one for your specific needs can be a challenge. Know the struggle?
Well, I hope this guide to the best backpacks for survival has helped narrow down your search. Keep these suggestions in mind and you should be a few steps closer to choosing the best survival rucksack possible.
Still looking for the best survival backpack? Click here to see more top tactical backpack options.