Best Survival Backpack – Buying Guide

You are planning for survival trip or explore the wilderness; best wishes for you, but you probably confused about the best survival backpack?

It's common, there are thousands of different survival backpacks, bug out bags, military or World Disney backpacks available in the market and finding the best one with the purpose isn't an easy job!

I was facing the same problem a few months ago when I was planning a trip. Read this Guide and Hope you will be able to clear your confusion. I want to show you how to choose the right backpack for you.

That's why I have created a list of best survival backpack. I love to research with Backpacking Gear. I spent hours to research; watch review videos; read bug out bag reviews; product ratings; per selling questions and answers from backpackers community. Then I shortened the top 5 survival backpack on the comparison chart.

You can buy which one you choose depending on your budget and need.

Best Survival Backpack 2018 - Comparison Chart

1. TETON Sports Scout 3400 - Best Backpacking Backpack

The TETON Sports Scout 3400 is all-around an excellent Internal Frame survival Backpack both for hiking, camping, and backpacking.

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Performance

In the time of buying a backpack, QUALITY is the first thing you should take into consideration. The TETON Sports Scout 3400 has hundreds of positive reviews testifying to the great quality and design. Above all, this is the top-selling backpack. Made with durable 600D diamond ripstop nylon which stands up after years of rugged adventuring. Capacity with 3400 cubic inches/55 liters; weighs 4.5 pounds just perfect for light backpacking trips.

TETON Sports Scout 3400

Organization

Scout 3400 assembled with a large sleeping bag; several multi-directional compression straps and multiple compartments arranged for strategic packing. The backpack also has gear loops which are easier to hang ski poles ice axe. The Side mesh pockets hold water bottle or provide access to snacks. Front mesh pocket and bungee storage for stashing shoes, jacket or map. External zippered hood pockets offers you plenty of space to keep your important items with you as you travel.

Fit and Comfort

The multi-directional adjustable shoulder straps take some of the weight of  your shoulders and transfer it to your hips. Comfortable for both men and women. The Multi-position torso adjustment fits wide range of body sizes and ensures comfort. Its Padded hip belt helps to attach the backpack to your body and increase load carrying efficiency.

Features You Will Like

Internal frame: It's internal frame is very useful because it holds your bug out gear closer to your back and gives comfort in the lower portion of the body. This backpack is just perfect for light backpacking trips.

Durable shoulder straps: Durable open-cell foam lumbar pad and molded channels provide maximum comfort and airflow.

Multi-position torso adjustment: It's Multi-position torso adjustment fits wide range of body sizes easily. Depending on your torso length this pack will move up or down and that's an awesome feature.

Padded hip belt: TETON Sports Scout 3400 backpack has a padded belt that can be fastened across your belly. Survival experts always suggest having the Padded hip belt in your backpack.

Water resistant rain cover: This backpack includes a safety yellow rainfly which I like most. It stays hidden until you need it. During rainy days it will keep your survival gear dry.

Large sleeping bag compartment: The TETON Sports Scout 3400 includes a large sleeping bag compartment. You need not to open the main compartment for your sleeping bag. It is totally separated from the main compartment but you can access to the main compartment as there has a zippered pocket.

Pros

  • Best budget backpack
  • Best-selling backpack
  • Ensure custom fit and comfort
  • Good suspension
  • Lightweight

​​​​Cons

  • Capacity is too small
  • No separate partition for hydration
  • The rain cover should be in a zippered pocket rather than Velcro

The TETON Sports Scout 3400 is really a great durable hiking pack with sturdy zippers, multiple compartments, and pockets. It ensures excellent built quality with useful features and a reachable price

2.Osprey Atmos 65 AG Backpack - Delivers outstanding ventilation and carrying comfort

The revolutionary anti gravity suspension system the Atmos AG 65 provides an unparalleled balance of breath ability and load ability.

Performance

Osprey atmos AG 65 is a trusted quality backpack having hundreds of customer reviews. It’s also a top-selling backpack. The packbag affirms better performance with plenty of features like Removable Floating Top Lid, Dual Zippered Front Panel Pockets, Stow-on-the-Go tracking pole attachment etc. You can completely remove the top lid with the straps and use it as a lighter pack.

Osprey Men's Atmos 65 AG

Organization

If you like extra pockets for a better organization then you'll love this pack. The bottom compartment is pretty big and you can fit a ton of extra gear into there. Removable Floating Top Lid;  Dual Zippered Front Panel Pockets; one front mesh pocket for quick access and Internal Compression Straps make it more organized.

Fit and Comfort

Its adjustable harness (Torso length adjuster) allows you to easily adjust the torso length. Easily adjustable Fit-on-the-Fly Hipbelt and anti-gravity suspension technology; it feels like the pack is trying to hug around you very nicely. Osprey Atmos 65 AG is all around a custom fit backpack.

Features You Will Like

Removable Floating Top Lid: It’s removable top lid can extend to accept over sized  loads or you can simply remove it from the back for lightweight usage. For that, an integrated Flap Jacket is always on board to protect your gear.

Dual Zippered Front Panel Pockets: Osprey Atmos AG has dual zippered front panel pockets that I like most. This provides extra storage to store your readily accessible gears. I have seen a very few backpack having this feature.

Side Compression Straps: Dual side compression straps stabilize loads while the backpack is lower. When you are carrying small gears you can tighten the compression straps and make it lightweight and fixed.

Internal Compression Straps: The internal compression straps helps to stabilize the load and to keep your gear well organized.

Stow-on-the-Go: Its Stow-on-the-Go tracking pole attachment system useful to quickly attach and carry tracking poles.

Fit-on-the-Fly Hipbelt: It’s 5 inch/15cm Fit-on-the-Fly Hip belt pads can be easily adjusted with different hip sizes with different custom fit.

Adjustable Harness: The adjustable harness allows you to easily adjust the torso length of the pack by simply sliding up and down about 3-4 inches.

Anti-Gravity Suspension: This is going to deliver weight carrying efficiency, tons of breath ability, and custom fit that will make you nearly forget that you wearing it on your back.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Good Suspension
  • Highly Adjustable
  • Lightweight
  • Nice flap jacket

​​​​Cons

  • Little expensive
  • No integrated rain cover

This pack is comfortable and well organized and highly adjustable. If you have big budget and looking for a highly featured backpack then you can purchase Osprey Atmos 65 AG for self-satisfaction.

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The Mountaintop is the best budget backpack with full user satisfaction on the market.

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It is a good thing to have a well-featured backpack with a cheap price. Professional bag for camping, hiking, and tracking.

Performance

Mountaintop is made of durable water resistant fabric with smoothie SBS zippered pockets. Korean YKK Buckles are made of high-quality plastic which is durable and strong. It is an internal frame backpack that means the frame is hidden inside your pack; best recommended for survival trips.

Mountaintop 70L+10L Hiking Backpack

Organization

In mountaintop organization is pretty good. It has a main compartment with straw string, one bottom compartment for sleeping bag or tent. On the other hand, you can put your shoes, wet or dirty stuff in this compartment. Side pockets holds water bottles and snacks. You can also use side pockets as an external hydration system. On the main compartment, there has a separated hydration system compartment to store hydration pack, a couple of key rings to hold keys, knives, torches and other emergency kits for easy access in the main compartment. D- Shape attachment on both shoulder straps can be used to attach small items.

The compression straps are very organized. It has total 8 compression straps, On the top of the pack to hold maps, jackets, tent or axes and two compression straps over the bottom compartment to hold sleeping pad.

Fit and Comfort

Easily adjustable shoulder straps with high-density foam fits with different body sizes and ensure comfort. Eight-level torso adjuster makes it highly customize able to accommodate various torso sizes. The internal frame provides great load support technologies and transfers the load to your hips. We found it to be very comfortable.

Features You Will Like

Adjustable and detachable shoulder straps: Easily adjustable shoulder straps with D-shape attachment loops are amazing. Shoulder straps are able to distribute the weight of your pack within your shoulder and give you the ability to carry more weight for extra miles. D-shape attachment is featured for carrying small items easily as well as to attach your hydration sleeve with it.

Adjustable hip belt with pockets:  Adjustable hip belt helps you to tie the backpack with your belly so that when you are running the back is well fitted with your body. It has two pockets for storing easily accessible gears like cell-phone, torches, knife, etc.

Torso length adjustment: Mountaintops easily customize able torso length adjuster helps you to adjust it with your torso. It is able to customize as 8 stage height adjuster at the back. To adjust any backpack with your torso the torso-length adjustment feature is must.

Adjustable top lid:  Adjustable top lid is a common feature on survival or bug out backpack. It has extra 5-8 L capacity to carry with 2 zipped pockets.

Bottom Compartment:  At the down of the mountaintop pack it has the bottom compartment especially called sleeping bag compartment. It’s big enough for your sleeping bag or your tent. You need not to open the main compartment for tent or sleeping bag. Other than that, it has an internal divider from the main compartment with a zippered pocket for instant access.

8 Compression Straps: 8 highly organized compression straps are able to tie sleeping pad, tent, hammock, maps and other gears outside the bag, which will increase extra capacity to carry.

Hydration System Compatible: This is a modern feature of survival backpack. A separate hydration system compartment is right there to easily store hydration pack on the bag. It is essential If you want to reserve water in an internal refillable bottle in your back and drink it through a tube without the hassle of opening it. When you are surviving in a hot temperature desert areas the hydration system compatible is very helpful as you need to drink water frequently.

Top-Ranking Material: This backpack made of smoothie SBS zipper, durable YKK buckle and Korean water resistance nylon. Perfect for camping, hiking, and traveling.

Rain Cover: It includes a separate detachable rain cover in the bottom pocket. When it comes rain you need to just cover the backpack with it. Bearing this you can protect your gear from foul weather.

Pros

  • Budget Backpack
  • Comfortable
  • Highly Adjustable
  • Lightweight
  • Good Customer Service

​​​​Cons

  • No Bungee Straps
  • Insufficient Pocket
  • No Mesh Packet

The good news is that mountaintop is the cheapest backpack with all needed features. Though being cheapest Customer satisfaction is pretty good as like as big brands. The worst thing is; they have no website. But their social presence and customer service is pretty good.

4.Osprey Aether AG - High Capacity Backpack; Perfect for Bigger Trips.

If you one of those people who like innovative features and planning for longer trips this backpack is absolutely for you.

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Performance

Osprey is the best brand on backpacking industry and Osprey aether is the bestselling backpacking series on the market. They famous for combining clean design, custom fit and outstanding load carrying comfort of their backpack. They bring the most innovative features on backpacking pack and I am really a fan of their innovative features. The Aether 70 of osprey is an incredibly capable pack that is perfect for backpacking, hiking, or camping and even mountaineering expeditions. The pack featured with an interchangeable harness and hip-belt. Zippers are very strong and durable. The nylon is very thin, lightweight and durable. 

Osprey Aether AG 70

Organization

Osprey Aether has a great organization system with one removable top lid that converts into daypack. Two zipper hip-belt pockets to store cell-phone, flashlight, knives digital cameras, GPS, snacks, etc for instant access.  Stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment to hold trekking pole; additional main compartment access with strong waterproof J-zipper also provides quick access to gears from top to the bottom of the main compartment. A large elastic mesh front panel pocket along the front of the pack can be used to stash extra gears. Several ice tool loops with adjustable bungee ties are very useful in wilderness situations and mountaineering expedition.It has External and internal Hydration Compatible to reserve water. Two mesh water bottle holders on both sides of the pack allow you to access two different ways.

Fit and Comfort

The anti-gravity technology mesh back panel and hip-belt naturally fold inwards which hugs your body and makes feel like you are carrying simple weight.According to the manufacturer, osprey aether builds with IsoForm5 harness and CM™ hip-belt to provide great load lifting efficiency and ability to carry longer miles. They also provide outstanding fit and comfort. Compression straps are highly customizable

Features You Will Like

Convertible TOP-LID lightweight day pack: The most innovative feature is its convertible top lid day pack that can be used for short day hikes or base camp backpack. You can simply detach the top lid; unzip the main compartment; pull out the harness straps and connect them to the base of the pack; fill with whatever you need, zip it up and you ready to go.

Anti-gravity technology suspension system: A lightweight mesh extending from the upper torso through the lumbar area of the pack. It means; the backpack will hugs the hiker’s body automatically and hip belt will distribute weight as well as increase comfort. The good thing is that the pack remains stable even when you traveling, hiking, running or even jumping.

Additional main compartment access: Additional main compartment access with J-zippered pocket from top to bottom so that you instantly have your gears from all over the pack.

Dual upper side compression straps: Dual upper side compression straps can compress the bag whether it full or empty and can keep it stable. When you are carrying small gear you can make it lightweight.

Easy to fit hip belt: Highly customizable hip belt with zippered pockets keep snakes, essential tools for wilderness e.g. Knife, flashlight, and camera.

Trekking pole attachment: Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment; ready for any adventuring activities.   

Mesh front panel pocket: Large stretch mesh front panel pocket is there to store shoes and wet clothes.

Zippered sleeping bag compartment: Zippered sleeping bag compartment with removable divider is really awesome. You can access to the main compartment through the divider.

Removable sleeping pad straps: For obvious reasons, such a big sleeping pad is annoying to pack it in your backpack rather than tie it outside of the bag. And that’s why the removable sleeping pad straps come to solve this. You can tie your sleeping pad outside the pack with these straps.

External hydration reservoir sleeve: You can slip a hydration reservoir outside of the bag to carry water with an easily refillable bottle and drink it through a tube.

Integrated Flap-Jacket cover: For lidless use, Osprey Aether has a Flap-Jacket to protect your gear from foul weather.

Dual ice tool loops to hang ice tool with bungee tie-offs. It is useful for mountaineering expedition.

Pros

  • Custom Fit
  • Comfortable
  • Anti-Gravity Suspension System
  • Convertible Top-Lid Day Pack

​​​​Cons

  • Little expensive
  • No included rain cover 

When you need a pack that can carry heavier loads for up to a week or more Osprey Aether is the better option; perfect for bigger trips or alpine expeditions.

5. 3V Gear Paratus - Best Military Style Survival and Tactical Backpack

Performance

The 3V Gear Paratus would be your first choice for any backpacking trips if you usually want to lead a military lifestyle. Its versatile modular design made me curious at the first sight of. 3V Gear Paratus built from heavy-duty 600D PVC nylon, extreme duty self-healing coil zippers with paracord pulls, heavy-duty drag handle; makes it extremely durable.

3V Gear Paratus

Organization

The Paratus  overall size: 2890 cubic inches with one main compartment;one top front and two large MOLLE pouches attached to each side. On the main compartment, it has two double zipper pulls for easy access. On the main compartment it has also a separate hydration bladder to store water and to drink through hydration sleeve tube. A versatile modular design is implemented on this backpack for better and systematic organization.

Fit and Comfort

Fit and Comfort: Its body contoured shoulder straps with D-Ring, adjustable padded waist belt, external side compression straps and side-release buckles are all about to ensure fit and comfort. Heavy-duty military nylon coil and zipper pulls threaded with paracord for durability and noise reduction.

Features You Will Like

Versatile Modular Design: Extra large main compartment with 3 pack on both sides that means 3 Packs in 1.The Main pocket will organize things well; one side pouch become a designated medical bag to hold your first aid kit and the other pouch is just fit with a 16oz stainless steel camping mug. The modular design is really great and perfect for backpacking, camping and hiking.

Rugged Weather Resistant 600 PVC D Nylon Material: Paratus made of 600 PVC D Nylon which usually called rugged weather resistant nylon. It protects the backpack and interior gears from rugged weather.

Includes Detachable Deployment pack: It has the mechanism to use the side pouches as detachable deployment pack. You can simply detach the side pouch and can carry it with shoulder or waist strap as a daypack or hunting pack.

Extreme Duty Zippers: Extreme duty self-healing coil zippers with paracord pulls are durable, smooth and noiseless.

Body contoured shoulder straps with D-Ring: Body contoured widens shoulder straps with D- Ring makes you feel more comfortable by spreading the weight throughout your shoulder.

Adjustable padded waist belt: To stabilize the backpack with your back this adjustable padded waist belt is essential.

External side compression straps: Whether you are carrying less or lot you can fit the backpack with side compression straps and keep it lightweight.

Hydration compatible: A separated hydration reservoir is in the main compartment to drink water with hydration sleeve tube whenever you need.

MOLLE and PALs attachment: PALS webbing and molle compatible are the main features of the tactical backpack. MOLLE is a type of modular gear that attaches with PALS webbing. The more molle compatible you have in your backpack the more chance to attaching deployment packs.

Pros

  • Rugged, quality materials
  • Useful modular design
  • Hydration bladder fits well 

​​​​Cons

  • Not designed for prolonged hiking
  • Waist band loosens frequently
  • No integrated rain cover

3V Gear Paratus is really a handy and versatile backpack, perfect for hiking, camping, biking and other outdoor activities.

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Survival Backpack Buying Guide

Before spending money on buying survival backpack you should have a clear idea of it, as you know backpack comes with different types and categories; E.g. survival bags are different than EDC backpacks.

​By considering these three things, you can have a  perfect size and best features backpack within your budget.

  1. CAPACITY
  2. FEATURE
  3. CUSTOM AND FIT

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1.Capacity


Depending on size there are 3 types of backpack available in the market. This differences are based on capacity measured on liter.

Weekend: (35-50 L) The 35-50 L backpack is called weekend or lightweight backpack in the industry. Weekend packs are usually for shorter trips like trailing, hiking, and rock climbing. This backpack has some limitation to carry extra gear.


Multi-Day: (50-70 L) The multi day pack in 50-70 L category is more popular. It’s easy to pack for a weekend and by proper planning, you can use it for longer trips.

Extended: (70+ L) A pack for extended trip is usually 70 L or larger. These types of backpack are for mountaineering expeditions and cold circumstances. You can carry lots of food, emergency kit, and cloth.

2. Features


Backpacking Frame Type

Internal Frame: In Internal frame backpack, frame is internally hidden in the pack for load carrying efficiency. The frame is connected with shoulder straps to transfer load to the hips. These are the majority of pack sold on the market. Nowadays these types of backpack are the top of the customer satisfaction; and most preferable.

External Frame: This backpack is assembled with a simple exterior frame; have reputation to carry heavier load. It is quite annoying to carry such an exterior frame in wilderness circumstances. Try to avoid external frame backpack.

Frame-less Backpack: Frame-less Backpack is the cheapest backpack for its simple design. This backpack has limitation carrying heavier load. If you want to hike fast or climbing rock, frame less backpack is the best option. I will suggest you to choose a removable internal frame pack so that you can use it as a heavier pack and can remove the frame for lightweight use.

Pack Access

Top Loading Access: Top loading access with drawstring is common feature of survival backpack for better and careful organization. Whenever you need to access the pack you have to just use the drawstring to open the pack.

Panel Access: In top loading access if you need something from the bottom of the pack then you’ll have to put out all the gear you stored in the pack. This is very annoying. That’s why the Panel Access has come to solve the problem. Having a Panel access you can simply access to the top to the bottom of the pack with zipper.


Ventilation: Modern backpack features well ventilation technology that prevents you feels warm on your back as well as prevent you from being sweat. The technology assembled with mesh back panel surface also called mesh suspension system to flow air on your back.

Pockets: Backpack has different types of pockets. Elasticized side pockets also called mesh panel pocket have a technology; when it empty it lie flat and putting gear it will stretch out. Hip-belt Pockets are easy to access. This pocket is for keeping smartphones, knives, cameras, etc. And there are Shovel Pockets, Front pockets and main compartment with drawstring are available in survival backpack.

Removable Top Lid: Some backpack has removable top lid which can convert as a day pack. Some of them have shoulder straps and few have hip belt.

Sleeping Bag Compartment: It would be on the bottom of the pack divided from the main compartment with a zipper. It is basically for storing sleeping bag outside of the main compartment for better organization.

Pads and Straps: Now come to the most important part, pads and straps which strengthen your bag and transfer loads to your shoulder form different part.

Padded Bag: Pads are made up of durable foam to ensure pain- free journey. It also prevents you from being soaked by ventilating air.

Padded Shoulder straps: The main task of backpack is to transfer the load to your shoulder through shoulder straps so that you can carry more weight; miles after miles without trouble.☺

Hip Belt: Hip belt helps to keep the pack stick with your body when you walk, run or jump.

Adjustable Straps and Attachment points: There are several types of adjustable straps on a pack like compression straps for keeping your pack fit and stable with your gear, internal compression straps is to keep your gear well organized. Trekking pole attachments are useful for hang trekking pole. Sleeping pad can be easily attached with sleeping straps outside of the bag.

Rain Cover: A detachable rain cover is really important in case of rainy or wet weather. Water can easily access into your bag through zipper and can soak all of your survival gear. If such thing happens, it would be hazardous for you and even you can’t think of it. So choose a backpack that has detachable rain cover to protect your gear.

Hydration Reservoir:  Through hydration reservoir, you can store water in a refillable sleeve into your pack and drink it through a tube; no need to open the pack. If you have plan for trip in desert or hot countries my suggestion is to choose a bag which has additional compartment for hydration reservoir as you have to drink water frequently.

3. Custom and Fit


For survival trip, you have to carry all of your survival gears; and have to walk with it miles for miles in your shoulder. For that, we have to take special consideration on custom and fit of backpack.

Torso Length: Torso is just vertical distance from the nick of your body to the center of your back at the hip bones. For easy and comfortable carrying you have to have such a backpack that can easily fit with your torso. The good thing is that the backpacks we have comparison above all have torso length adjustment feature, you need not worry so much as you are getting around 7-8 steps torso length adjuster. For choosing the right size you have to know your torso size. Don’t worry it’s not a rocket science; you can measure it in your room with your friend.

Waist/hip Size: The hip line is slightly higher than your beltline. To measure it, take a measuring tape and measure it around the top of your hips. Measuring the hip Size is also important as hip belt carry some of your weight on your hips. In hipbelt, there will be compression straps to customize easily with your hip size.

Now that you know how to choose the best survival backpack; share it with others.

If you want to know more about backpackers gear you can read our Best Backpacking Gear 2019 Guide. Have a very nice day and enjoy your backpacking and outdoor activities.

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