Making the right choice when it comes to backpacks is rather difficult. There are so many opinions and suggestions on what is the right or the wrong way to go. I remember when I started down this road; I was overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information and variety of bags and backpacks out there. Over time I developed my personal point of view on the matter.
Basically, there are two distinct kinds of bags most commonly used as bug-out-bags or go-bags, and each kind has its own pros and cons which then leave you with a final decision on which one best fit for you based on personal preferences.
The point is that if something works well for somebody else, it does not mean it will necessarily work equally well for you. The final choice should be yours, regardless how the authoritative source of information is. In the end, it’s you who’s going to carry that bag on your shoulders up the steep and curvy path.
Also called tactical bags and packs, are high-performance multipurpose bags originally designed for tactical assault, but could also be used in hunting and definitely as an emergency go-bag.
- Super durable
- Easy to organize
- Many attachment points on the outside of the bag
- Water-repellent coating
- Weigh significantly more than hiking bags
1. Sandpiper of California Long Range Bugout Backpack
This backpack is made of 1000d Cordura fabric which is durable, resistant to abrasions, tears, and scuffs. This is a very large backpack, with lots of space, and an awesome padded compartment for a laptop. Has extensive options on how to carry, lots of pockets and storage options inside. It is often recommended as fantastic BOB. It has the capacity to carry enough gear for several days. It is water resistant but not waterproof. Measures 26″ long, 15.5″ wide, 10.5″ deep. The price depends on the color of your choice. And it is made in the USA.
Price: 110$ – 155$
Buy Sandpiper of California Long Range Bugout Backpack here
2. Condor 3 Day Assault Pack
This Condor has large cargo capacity with a total of seven compartments. It has great padding and waist strap which can be easily removed. The main compartment fits 17″ laptop and has gear straps and two extra mesh pockets. Second Compartment contains three map/document pockets, two radio pockets, and penholders. Two large pockets on the back, bottom pocket (12.5″ x 6″ x 3″) with three elastic closure mesh pocket and a zipper mesh pocket. Two side pockets (9″ x 5″ x 2.5″) one on each side. One Compartment for hydration systems. The measures of the entire backpack are 2″ H x 17″ W x 11″ D and volume is 3038 CU IN. It’s water resistant but not waterproof. Price also depends on the color.
Price: 72$ – 135$
Buy Condor 3 Day Assault Pack here
3. 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 Back Pack
Quite simply the best tactical backpack on the market. Features a roomy main storage area, dual zipping side pockets and a stuff-it pocket with integrated drawcord. Has a reinforced grab-and-go handle hydration pocket, zippered fleece-lined eyewear pocket. It has three mesh admin compartments. It’s made of durable 1050D nylon with a water-repellent coating and has two external compression straps and a contoured yoke shoulder strap system. 2275 cubic inch / 37 liters total capacity with Twin drainage grommets, self-repairing YKK® zippers, and glove-friendly pull tab. A 17″ laptop can comfortably fit into the sleeve of the main compartment. The only thing this backpack is missing is a waist belt.
Price: 103$ – 154$
Buy 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 Back Pack here
4. Explorer B5 Tactical Assault Military Backpack
This one just might be one of the best tactical backpacks in its class. It is a good size, reasonably durable and might be the right choice as a starter BOB, GHB or Go Bag. It has a waist strap, 1 mesh pocket, 2 back straps which can be hidden inside and M.O.L.L.E straps in front and at the bottom. Also, has one water bladder compartment. But most importantly, it is affordable. If you are just starting your journey as a prepper we would recommend you start with this backpack. Later on, if you decide on some of the more expensive packs this one can always take over the role of an everyday pack.
Buy Explorer B5 Tactical Assault Military Backpack here
These are ideal for 2-4 days light backpacks trips, very practical and comfortable, optionally with breathable mesh shoulder straps and sponge padding. Many of them are also water and snow resistant. Most of them are lightweight and compact. In general, it’s practicality over durability.
- Very lightweight
- Reasonably durable
- Less conspicuous
- Hard to organize (no compartments)
- No attachment points outside the bag
- Less durable than military
1. Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Durable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack
This hiking backpack is made from water resistant and tear resistant material. It has a sponge padding in shoulder straps and chest strap with whistle buckle, which can be very useful in certain situations. It is foldable which makes it easy to transport and put away. Double-layer bottom is included for extra strength. Venture Pal has one main zipped compartment, two zipped front pockets, and two side pockets. This bag packs 35 l and has Promise-lifetime warranty-Exchange.
Buy Venture Pal Lightweight Backpack Daypack here
2. Mountaintop 40 Liter Unisex Hiking/Camping Backpack-5832
Mountaintop backpack is made from water-resistant nylon and polyester fabrics which do not allow water to easily penetrate. It has a very useful, spacious front pocket with organization slots for tools, cards, pens and your smartphone. Padded internal pouch with an adjustable strap for your laptop is placed inside the main compartment. It packs 40l and also has sternum strap with a whistle buckle. Soft latching loop for your jacket or some lightweight items is placed on the outside. It includes 90 days limited warranty.
Buy Mountaintop 40 Liter Unisex Hiking/Camping Backpack-5832 here
3. OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack 50L – Weekend Pack w/ Waterproof Rain Cover & Laptop Compartment
Outdoor master packs 50l and is great for all kinds of activities for both men and women. This backpack has a dedicated pocket for the included waterproof rain cover, a padded laptop compartment (15.6″) and lots of room for all your equipment and accessories. Has padded shoulder straps and plenty of big and small pockets as well as external attachment points, which can be very useful for carrying additional items. This backpack is made of lightweight materials which then allows you to pack more and not worried about the additional pack weight.
Buy OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack 50L here
4. Mountaintop 40 Liter Hiking Backpack for Outdoor Camping with Rain Cover-5812II
The main feature of this pack is 6 adjustable straps which allow you to mount additional items like a sleeping bag, mat or anything else on your pack. It consists of the main compartment with a sleeve to keep your items separate and organized, 2 front pockets, 1 hidden pouch and 2 mesh pockets. Well-padded shoulder straps and hip belt, as well as 2 long padded areas on the back, make it comfortable to carry, while also promoting air circulation along your back and shoulders. It includes 90 days limited warranty.
Buy Mountaintop 40 Liter Hiking Backpack here
Taking everything into consideration, I’ll tell you what I personally did. I myself have chosen the military tactical bag while my wife is carrying a hiking rucksack. That means that we have weighed all the pros and cons and decided on what suits each of us best. I wasn’t so much concerned with the weight of the empty bag and the potential to add additional gear (which means even more weight). I also went with a plain black bag to make it less noticeable. My wife, on the other hand, she wanted less weight to begin with and has no plans on adding any extra weight so hiking rucksack was her choice. Also, she has mad packing and organizing skills which solved the problem of the one-compartment bag for her.
Like I said, everybody should take all this information into consideration and decide on their own. The one important truth is that more expensive bags from well-known manufacturers are usually a better choice. However, I have started with some very old and very cheap bag myself before I decided on a permanent, more costly solution. Also, it is very important to make sure you have all your supplies before you even start considering the kind of bag you need, simply because the size of the bag depends heavily on how much stuff you want to carry with you as well as your fitness level and other variables. As you keep going down this road and more and more information come your way you will be able to make better decisions regarding your personal circumstances.