Things to Consider When Choosing The Best Survival Backpack For You

Backpack on a piece of wood in nature

When it comes down to needing to survive a disaster, be it natural or man-made, you don’t want to be unprepared. You can’t predict when something tragic could happen and you are going to have to do whatever you can to make sure you make it out alive.

Because life is so unpredictable, it's always a good idea to have a survival backpack packed and ready to go.​

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You might be wondering what should be in a survival backpack and even how to choose the best survival backpack for yourself and your family. Never fear!

We are going to talk to you today about characteristics you should expect out of an ultimate survival backpack.

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The Qualities to Consider When Choosing a Quality Survival Backpack

You may think that when it comes to a survival backpack, any old bookbag you pick up from your local big box store will do. You can pack stuff in those backpacks, sure, but you aren’t going to be able to put as much in there as you need.

There are a lot of different types of backpacks out there on the market, so it’s understandable if you don’t know what to look for. Well, first you have to ask yourself a couple questions:

  1. How large of a backpack can you carry?
  2. How long are you going to be planning for?
  3. What type of environment will you encounter?

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Geek Prepper recommends that we first consider the volume that your pack will be able to carry. This is so you know how much stuff you can put in it.

Keep in mind that the total volume listed on the backpack’s information sheet probably will not include pockets that aren’t enclosed by a zipper, like pockets for shovels, bottles, and compression pockets.

General sizing for backpacks typically are as followed (as described on Geek Prepper):

  • Daypacks tend to be under 2,500 cubic inches (40 liters)
  • Weekend packs range from 2,500 to 4,000 cubic inches (40 to 65 liters)
  • Weeklong Packs range from 4,000 to 6,000 cubic inches (65 to 95 liters)
  • Expedition packs start at 6,000 cubic inches (95 liters) and up

By choosing the size of the pack you are preparing for, you are going to take into consideration what you are preparing for. You don’t want to get an expedition pack if you’re only going to put a day’s worth of stuff in it.

Survival Backpack in Sand Color

Also, as Zombie Guide says, you will also want to consider the size of the bag and what other people can and will carry if you aren’t going to be alone.

Frame Structure

Your ultimate survival backpack should feature a strong internal frame that will be able to support the pack from the inside. This frame is usually made of aluminum or composite, and it helps to distribute the weight of the pack on your hips.

The pack with an internal frame is going to be narrower, and it’ll be stiff with a bit of giving. These bags will help you keep your balance, no matter how much weight you shove into it.

A survival backpack with an external frame is basically an aluminum tube frame. It is going to be really strong, but really rigid. They tend to be heavier than an internal frame pack, however, thanks to the improvements over the years, you can find lightweight external framed packs, too.


You do not want to buy a cheaply made (or cheap cost!) survival backpack! You want a pack that is going to be able to withstand lots of use, or at the very least be able to survive the survival experience! Sure, you may find some packs that look structurally sound, but if you are paying very little money, then chances are the manufacturer isn’t using top quality materials.

Backpack as part of survival gear in brown color

Ideally, when you are going to purchase a bag, you’re doing it in person so you can feel and see how the bag is made. However, if you decide to choose to purchase your bag online, choose a company that has an excellent return policy, should you not be satisfied with the construction or the quality of the material used to make your backpack.

Also, we recommend that you choose a waterproof survival backpack because you don’t want the contents of your kit to get wet if you run into a storm or have to cross any rivers or streams.


You might think that the color of your pack isn’t going to matter, and in most instances, it doesn’t. However, if you plan on using the bag for hunting adventures or other instances where you need to stay hidden, then you might want to choose a neutral colored bag or even one that features camouflage design.

Support And Comfort

Survival Mastery points out that you want to choose a survival backpack that is comfortable to carry, which makes a lot of sense, especially if you’re going to be carrying it for extended periods of time. When you are testing out a survival backpack, you will want to:

  • Make sure the straps don’t dig into your shoulders, so they should be fairly wide.
  • Make sure the bag has hip straps to help distribute the weight of your pack.
  • Make sure the straps can be adjusted to fit your body type.
  • Check to see if your pack has a sternum clip to optimize the weight distribution.


No one can tell you how to choose the best survival backpack for your needs. Only you can make that decision.

Black backpack as part of survival gear

We do hope that when you do start shopping for your survival backpack, you remember the five aspects of a bag that you should pay attention to the volume that the bag can carry, the frame structure, the material and construction, color, and the support and comfort of the bag when in use. When you have a proper backpack, it can make a difference in your survival situation!

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