Hiking Pack

Best Backpacks For Survival

I’m amazed by what some survival blogs will recommend for their best backpacks for survival. Horrid recommendations. I wonder if they have ever gone backpacking. Hiking 20 to 25 mile days, breaking down, setting up camp day-in, day-out, setting up camp in the late hours of the night. 

If you’ve ever done that you’ll know the importance of having a pack that takes all the weight off your back. You’ll also know why it is important to have an organized pack to get to the items quickly, and why it is important your pack is able to store an adequate amount of water, and be able to insulate some of your water.

If I have to leave my home where all my personal possessions belong in order to survive, it is probably for a situation that will not quickly resolve itself. 

So for that reason, the recommendations I give below for best survival packs are based on the idea that you’re going to be outside for some time. 

What To Look for in a Survival Hiking Backpack?

There are a lot of factors to consider in finding the best bug-out backpack for surviving, so I’m going to list some recommendations but the most common things I like in a pack are as follows:

Liter Capacity

Of course hiking packs come in different sizes, liter capacity is a measurement of the space inside the pack, so I’ll have some recommendations for husband, wife, and kids. You’ll want to consider your health and how much you can comfortably carry. Estimate high on how much you think you can carry. When you have a comfortable pack that places the weight on your hips you can carry a lot more than you would think. 


All hiking packs come with an internal frame or external frame. Whether you get an internal or external frame pack doesn’t really matter. It is just a matter of preference.

Internal frames are by far much more popular, several decades ago it used to be the opposite. In fact, you don’t see too many external frame backpacks today. Ingenuity of adding bendable aluminum and other flexible but supportive metals have made internal frames more popular.  External frames are a rectangular rigid shape the pack hangs onto, whereas an internal frame is much more flexible and compact.  

Whether you choose and internal or external frame doesn’t really matter, it is just a matter of preference. 

Internal Frame Pack


External Frame Pack

The best type of frame material for your pack is a carbon-fiber light frame. These are the types of frames used by the military because they offer strength, flexibility, and are lightweight. 

With the right frame your pack is able to hold a lot of weight and place it on your hips towards your center of gravity. 

When the weight is riding on your hips towards your center of gravity it is incredibly easier to haul heavy packs. 

I don’t really consider myself to be a really strong person but with the right pack I can easily haul a 70lb pack for a 20 mile hike without feeling exhausted. 


hiking packYour pack should be able to drop weight and size if possible. When you bug-out there may be times where you have a semi-permanent camp set up and desire to drop some gear as you venture out. 

Your pack should be able to adjust to haul heavier loads at needed times such as carrying additional needed supplies or hauling off a game kill…etc. 

The image to the right gives an example of a pack that can adjust away from the frame allowing you to place an additional bag between the frame and your pack. 

Hydration Pockets

Backpack Water SleeveIf you’ve ever spent days hiking, living out of your pack, you would know that your pack needs to carry water, at least a gallon. So it is good to have a few pockets designed to carry water. 

You go through water quickly especially on a hot day, and when carrying a lot of weight. Water sources can be several miles between one another depending on the terrain. 

It’s always great to have a pack that is able to hold a water bladder inside. Most do and will have a hole in the pack to run a hose from the bladder to your mouth. The pack will provide some insulation so your water will stay cold for a while. 

Outside pockets for carrying additional water bottles are nice but your water bottles on the exterior of your pack will get warm in the summer.  

Best Survival Backpacks

1. Mystery Ranch Expedition Series

Our first recommendation is the Mystery Ranch Expedition Series because it is an overall well balanced pack that should work for the majority of our survivalist audience. 
Mystery Ranch Expedition Series has a about 7 different types of packs now in this series. Because it is a series they are all pretty much designed the exact same way. The main difference between the different model names such as T100, Terraplane, Glacier, and others is the size. T100 = 100 cubic liters   Terraplane = 80 litters   Glacier  =  70 litters

Another great feature with these pack designs are adjustable straps clips at different heights on the pack. This allows you o customize the pack to a person’s height taking the weight off your shoulders and placing it squarely on your hips.

Mystery Ranch provides the video below explaining the benefits of these series of packs so you know what you’re getting. These packs are a well rounded for bug out bags. 

I do like how large these packs are. As a survivalist thinking of bugging out I’m looking for a large pack because I anticipate having to survive off of what I can carry. 100, 80, & 70 liters are large size packs. 

One feature that is missing is an overload shelf. An overload shelf is when the pack can be detached from the frame to through in a additional luggage and be strapped back together. They didn’t include this feature on their expedition series packs because these packs are already fairly large but do have this feature on their Terraframe Series which is my next recommendation. 

2. Mystery Ranch Terraframe Series

The Terraframe Series hiking packs by Mystery Ranch have a similiar design to the Expedition Series above. However, a Terraframe is an ingenious backpack frame design that allows the pack to be removed from the frame and has a overload shelf that allows to insert additional baggage between the frame and the pack. 

Watch the video below to see how the demonstrate this feature. 

As a survivalist I do like the overload shelf feature. There may be the possibility you find something valuable worth taking and the best way to transport it would be insert it between your pack and backpack frame. 

3. Mystery Ranch Trail Series

This next set of packs Mystery Ranch Trail Series has a different layout to them but they are still highly organized packs. They are smaller lighter weight packs. As a survivalist that is considering bugging out, I’m not really looking for a lighter smaller pack. 

However, I realize everyone’s survival plan may be different and you may want a smaller pack to move quicker. You may not have many dependents and not need to carry as much, or perhaps you might worry about your endurance with a heavier pack. If it makes sense to youto get a smaller hiking pack then the below series may be a great fit

The video below will demonstrate all the benefits of these packs. 

The Mystery Trail Series has three different packs. Below are the links to each pack if you’d like to take a closer look at each pack. 

Trail Series Stein @ 65 liters 

Trail Series Ravine @ 60 liters

Trail Series Sphinx @ 50 liters

Hiking Packs For Kids

If you’re a prepper with a family below a few different series of packs for kids of different ages. 

  1. Osprey Ace Series: Perfect for kids. 3 different sizes for ages 5-11, 8-14, 11-17






Another great option for kids. Very similar to the above https://www.rei.com/product/145655/gregory-wander-70-pack-kids

Accessories You May Want To Add

One accessory you may want to add with your pack so you can carry some sort of tactical rifle with your pack would be a gun sling

Other Recommendations Worth Mentioning

Another pack I thought I’d mention worth taking a looking at is Mystery Ranch’s Overload Pack

This pack has an extra large overload shelf with several different straps and packs for carrying awkward loads. It’s design makes it easier for carrying some firearms that may be important to you as survivalist. 

Below is a video explaining more about this product. 


Your Bug Out Pack is a really important piece of gear so please don’t skimp on it. If you have little to no financial resources you might consider the 
Amazon Basics Internal Frame Hiking Pack. The features are not nearly as nice as the above recommendations but it just might get you by. 


I hope you found this helpful and found the pack that will meet your emergency needs. Leave a comment let us know if this was helpful or not. 

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