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Best Survival Backpack and Tactical Bags of 2021

Army PANS Large Military Backpack

Army PANS Large Military Backpack


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EMDMAK 42L Military Tactical Backpack

EMDMAK 42L Military Tactical Backpack


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Monoki 35L Military Tactical Backpack

Monoki 35L Military Tactical Backpack


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Backpack for survival: Best of the best review

Do you enjoy exploring the wilderness or camping out at the local state campground? If so, your survival bag should be able to contain everything you need to survive for the day or up to five days.

A good option will keep all of your gear organized so that you can easily carry them from point A to B. The problem is, there is an awful lot of choices on the market that it can be challenging to know where to start when shopping for one.

To help you out, we tried and tested five of the best survival backpacks for you.

Product Quick Comparison

G4Free Outdoor Tactical Bag

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Army PANS Large Military Backpack

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Monoki 35L Military Tactical Backpack

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Reebow Gear 40L Military Tactical Backpack

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EMDMAK 42L Military Tactical Backpack

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Backpack Reviews

G4Free Outdoor Tactical Bag

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G4Free sells a wide range of outdoor gear for hiking, camping, and survival enthusiasts.

For instance, this bag would be ideal for those looking for a compact survival bag to store their everyday carry items.

Product Highlights

This survival bag only has a seven-liter capacity, which means it won’t be suitable for overnight adventures.

Still, if you are looking for a survival daypack, then this is a great choice. It has a unique and versatile design that lets you carry it in a variety of ways.

You can wear it across your body, on your back, on your chest as a chest bag, or as a handbag. When carried as a “handbag,” the longer handle fixes onto the back pocket so that it doesn’t get in your way or drag on the floor.

The bag also features clips on both sides, so you can choose which side of your body you want to sling it over. This is a nifty design feature that lets you adapt the bag to your preferences and makes it more comfortable, conforming to your body shape.

The construction is sturdy as it is made from a type of durable, high-density polyester fabric.

The handles are padded and heavy-duty, and the quality stitching ensures that it will last you for years to come. You will find that the pockets are double-zippered for convenience, too.

The bag itself is lightweight, which makes it great for everyday carry, as it doesn’t add any unnecessary weight. It also has an outstanding selection of pockets, so it would be ideal for keeping essential items you need quick and easy access to.

The back pocket is large enough for the average 9mm handgun, and there are also lots of different places to store knives, a first-aid kit, and a flashlight.

To show their confidence in this bag’s excellent quality, every purchase comes with a three-month warranty.

Hence, if you experience any problems during this time, you can ask for a new pack to be sent out to you free of charge.

The Good

We love just how many pockets this bag offers, which means you can organize your stuff easily and find what you need quickly.

We also appreciate the versatility it offers when it comes to how you can carry it. You can carry the bag in three different ways, depending on your preference.

The Bad

This bag will probably be too small for most people’s needs, as it’s more suited for everyday carry items.

Therefore, if you’re looking for a survival backpack for overnight use, one of the other options will surely be more suitable.

Read the full G4Free Outdoor Tactical Bag review


  • Lots of versatile storage options
  • Many carrying options
  • Durably built
  • Comes with a warranty


  • Too small for some
  • Warranty covers just a short period

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Army PANS Large Military Backpack

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This backpack from PANS has plenty of pockets to allow you to keep all of your essentials organized.

Here’s what else you can enjoy from this Army PANS Large Military Backpack.

Product Highlights

What’s really impressive about this military backpack is that it is expandable, offering versatile and superior storage capacity.

It has a 39-liter capacity, but you can expand that to 65 liters whenever you need the extra space. You will notice that the zippers running down the sides of the bag open up, allowing the bag to stretch from eight to 13 inches in depth.

This design choice makes it a fantastic option for people who aren’t sure how big they want their waterproof survival backpack.

If you are only going away for the weekend, the 39-liter capacity will probably be sufficient. Still, the option to expand it gives you so much more freedom, making it suitable for a variety of survival situations and longer stays in the wilderness.

There are four main packing sections inside this backpack so that you can organize all of your gear.

Plus, all of the different sections feature practical pockets, clips, and sleeves to further sort and divide your belongings. The backpack comes equipped with MOLLE webbing on the front and sides so that you can add extra attachments if needed.

You also get a water bottle mesh pocket on the side and choose to add a hydration pack in the back pocket if you prefer.

You get two pockets on the back straps where you can place easy-access items such as walkie-talkies.

Adjustable buckles on each side of the bag also mean that you can compress and streamline the backpack.

When the bag is used at its 39-liter capacity and compressed down, you can fly with it without checking anything in.

The Good

We love the expandable nature of this backpack and that it has an amazing variety of pockets for different storage options.

It is also comfortable to wear because the adjustable chest and waist belts help distribute the weight evenly.

The Bad

Unfortunately, the quality isn’t quite as good as the other backpacks on our list.

We’re worried the seams might not last too long.

Army PANS Large Military Backpack video review


  • Plenty of versatile storage options
  • Offers multipurpose use due to expandable storage
  • Streamlined footprint
  • Option to attach extra items and storage


  • Not as durable as some other options
  • Not as lightweight as other backpacks

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Monoki 35L Military Tactical Backpack

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This Monoki tactical backpack has plenty of pockets for storage and is large enough for overnight survival expeditions.

It will be ideal for people looking for something bigger than a daypack but don’t need a bag quite as large as our other options here.

Product Highlights

This tactical backpack is similar to the EMDMAK bag with its highly durable, double-stitched Oxford and nylon fabric construction.

The ergonomically designed back area is comfortable, thanks to the ventilated padded fabric.

The shoulder straps also have thick padding to add to the backpack’s overall comfort.

You will find a significant number of pockets in this bag, both small and large.

These pockets all come with extra mesh or zippers inside to help you locate items quickly in emergencies.

Like the EMDMAK pack, it also features MOLLE webbing on the front and sides for extra pouches and attachments.

Plus, it has straps at the bottom, which you can attach to a sleeping bag or tent, and compression straps to tighten and streamline your load.

That’s where their similarities end, as this backpack is slightly smaller than the EMDMAK at only 35 liters.

It also doesn’t have the extra Y-strap at the top of the bag.

The other main difference is the free accessory package that comes with it, with Monoki throwing in even more free gifts than EMDMAK.

You’ll receive a MOLLE water bottle pouch, a paracord lanyard keychain, four multipurpose D-rings, and two USA flag patches.

On top of these, you’ll also get a large black drawstring bag and a handy stainless steel saber card.

The Good

We think this bag presents excellent value for money, especially if you’re able to make use of all the free accessories that come with it.

This bag also features an adjustable waist strap that you can remove if you prefer not to use one.

The Bad

The buckles and zippers aren’t very heavy-duty, so we don’t think they’ll stand up to a lot of heavy use.

Read the full Monoki 35L Military Tactical Backpack review


  • Lots of versatile storage options
  • Most affordable overnight bag on this list
  • Streamlined footprint
  • Plenty of webbing and straps
  • Allows you to attach extra items and storage


  • Zips don’t look or feel very durable
  • The buckles aren’t very durable either

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Reebow Gear 40L Military Tactical Backpack

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Reebow Gear specializes in supplying outdoor adventure gear and equipment for military enthusiasts.

For a three- to five-day adventure in the wilderness, you might want to check out this tactical backpack. It is a sizeable military-style survival backpack with a capacity of 40 liters and measures 13 x 20 x 11 inches. It features MOLLE webbing and offers users incredible quality and durability.

Product Highlights

The fabric used in the construction of this tactical bag is high density and durable, so it will withstand a lot of use before showing signs of wear and tear.

This material is also water-resistant and helps keep your gear dry in light rain.

The zippers are very heavy-duty, and the entire backpack is double-stitched, which will help lend you years of use. You will find several different storage compartments, both small and large, to keep all of your gear organized.

These compartments include a designated pocket for you to store a hydration bladder and access the drinking hose. This feature assures you have convenient access to water, making it an excellent pack for hiking and camping.

For those who prefer lots of pockets to organize their stuff, you will find much better options out there for you, several of which are on this list.

On the plus side, this backpack does haves MOLLE webbing all over the front and sides, which means you can attach a lot more gear if you need to. As such, this backpack becomes highly versatile and suitable for even longer trips and survival situations.

It also means that you can keep emergency items, like your knife and first-aid kit, clipped onto the outside so that you can find them easily and quickly.

This pack is thoughtfully designed with a padded back with mesh for ventilation. You will also find that the shoulder straps are breathable and comfortable.

Even when you have a heavy load, they won’t pinch on your shoulders, an important consideration, especially on longer journeys.

The side and front load compression systems also mean that you can adjust the straps to streamline the bag down to fit your load.

The Good

More than anything, we like the quality and size of this bag.

It can fit a lot of gear inside and compresses down when you’re not using it at full capacity.

The Bad

Overall, the bag is very comfortable to carry. However, the chest strap feels pretty flimsy, and the waist strap is also a bit snug.

If you always use these straps when carrying your backpack, it may not be the best option for you.

Read the full Reebow Gear 40L Military Tactical Backpack review


  • Durable construction
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Streamlined footprint
  • Plenty of options to attach extra items and storage


  • Waist strap runs a little small
  • Chest strap isn’t very strong
  • Not as many pockets as other tactical bags

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EMDMAK 42L Military Tactical Backpack

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More than anything, you will love that this survival backpack offers a generous capacity.

Considering the features and accessories that come with it, it also presents excellent value for money.

Product Highlights

Compared to similarly-sized bags, this backpack is one of the cheapest options on this list.

With a capacity of 42 liters, it would make a fantastic survival backpack for camping, hunting, and hiking in the wilderness for three days or more.

It has lots of handy compartments so that you can organize all of your gear and belongings well. You get two large main compartments, two smaller compartments in the front, and a pocket in the back for a hydration pouch.

These compartments also feature extra mesh or zipper pockets to help you find smaller items with ease. There’s a Y-strap across the top of the bag and straps at the bottom.

You will also find a generous amount of MOLLE webbing on the front, bottom, and sides.

All of these combines and provide you with plenty of space for extra attachments and pouches, freeing up more room inside the bag.

EMDMAK also includes an eight-piece accessory pack as a gift with each purchase.

This includes a MOLLE water bottle pouch (500 ml), a paracord lanyard keychain, four multipurpose D-rings, and a couple of USA flag patches.

To get you through your many adventures, you’ll appreciate that this backpack is also durable and comfortable to wear.

It has a high-density, double-stitched 900D Oxford and nylon fabric construction, making it tough and water-resistant.

You will notice that the back of the pack has a padded mesh design, allowing airflow on your back while you’re out walking.

An adjustable chest strap helps spread the backpack’s weight, and compression straps on the side and bottom will help streamline your load.

The Good

This backpack has a great number of pockets to make packing and finding things more manageable.

With everything that it can do for you, there’s no denying that it offers excellent value for money.

Lastly, EMDMAK boasts a reliable customer support team to assist you in case you have any questions or problems with the backpack.

The Bad

This item comes vacuum-sealed, so when it arrives, the bag looks a bit wrinkled, but these wrinkles drop out with use.

Also, you might notice that the zips don’t look as heavy-duty as they do on some of the other packs here.

Read the full EMDMAK 42L Military Tactical Backpack review


  • Plenty of versatile storage options
  • Great value for money
  • Streamlined footprint
  • Plenty of webbing and straps to attach extra items and storage


  • Zips don’t look or feel very durable
  • Takes a bit of wearing in for the wrinkles to disappear

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What Should I Look for in a Survival Backpack?

Despite survival backpacks all having the same function, they can vary quite massively from one to the next.

Keep reading to find out why durability, weight, storage, size, and comfort should be important factors in your decision-making process.

1. Durability and Materials

Buying a durable backpack is essential when it comes to survival situations.

After all, how will you carry all of your survival gear if your backpack straps or seams fail on you?

Make sure the pack you buy is made from tough materials with solid stitching and closures.

Depending on the conditions you may be facing, you may also appreciate a backpack made from at least water-resistant material.

2. Size

Pack size is important because it will dictate how much gear you can take on survival expeditions.

The size also plays a role in how easily you can move about when carrying a heavy load.

The smaller the backpack is, the better freedom of movement you’ll have, but you won’t be able to fit as much gear in it.

If you’re physically fit and strong, you will be able to handle a larger pack size than the next person.

However, you still won’t be as fast on your feet as you would be with a smaller pack.

If you want to stay as agile as possible, try to limit your pack size to 50 liters.

A backpack this size should give you plenty of space for a two- to five-day adventure.

3. Weight

You should also consider how much the backpack weighs when it’s empty.

It can be challenging to find a good balance between tough and durable materials, which tend to weigh more, and a reasonable weight that you can carry.

This becomes especially true when you have all of your gear packed inside and strapped to the bag.

4. Storage

Good survival backpacks will feature plenty of storage options, so you can locate and access exactly what you need at a moment’s notice.

In our opinion, the more pockets the backpack has, the better it will be for keeping your gear organized.

It would be best to look out for extra straps and MOLLE webbing, too, which will allow you to attach and hang belongings from the outside.

This design choice frees up even more space inside the bag.

5. Comfort

Finally, your survival backpack must be comfortable to wear on long journeys.

The back should be padded and ventilated for comfort, and the straps must be thickly padded so that they don’t pinch with a heavy load.

Survival Backpack FAQs

1. Do you really need a survival backpack?

Survival backpacks are usually designed to be more durable than other backpacks. They also often have superior storage options for you to find emergency items quickly.

Whether you really need a survival backpack is a personal decision that you must make. Think about what you want the backpack for and how often you’ll use it so that you can decide if it’s worth the investment.

2. What are the top 10 survival items?

Your top 10 survival items may differ slightly from the next person’s.

After all, what you bring depends on what terrain and conditions you might face in a survival situation.

The items that tend to be most popular include:

  • Pocket knife
  • Map and compass
  • First-aid kit
  • Firestarter
  • Water purification system or tablets
  • Signal mirror or whistle
  • Cord or paracord
  • Flashlight
  • Solar blanket
  • Fishing line and hooks

3. What should be in an emergency survival backpack?

As mentioned previously, the items you need in an emergency survival backpack will vary depending on what terrain and temperatures you might be facing.

It will also depend on how thorough you want to be and how long you want to prepare for.

Generally speaking, the most important things to consider when packing your survival backpack are:

  • Items to keep you warm and sheltered
  • Things to keep you hydrated
  • Items to make fire
  • Food
  • Tools
  • First aid
  • Navigation and communications

4. What backpacks do the military use?

There are a significant number of backpacks used by the military, depending on the branch and mission.

Alice packs are still widely used in Navy Seals training.

US Army Rangers are apparently now being issued with Mystery Ranch backpacks.

And the first choice among many special ops personnel is the 5.11 Tactical Rush 12 Backpack.

5. What is MOLLE webbing?

MOLLE webbing is often found on military-style backpacks, vests, belts, and other gear.

You use it to attach extra equipment to the item in question, allowing the user to personalize their load with precisely what they need.

MOLLE attachments include water bottle holders, straps, D-rings, weapon sheathes, and other utility pouches.

Our Pick

EMDMAK 42L Military Tactical Backpack

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What’s the Best Survival Backpack?

From the choices we looked at, our pick as the winner of the best survival backpack is the budget-friendly 42L Military Tactical Backpack by EMDMAK.

We think it’s a great size, offering you sufficient space to pack survival gear for around three to five days.

It has excellent storage with plenty of pockets to stay organized and lots of extra straps, D-rings, and MOLLE webbing to add more gear if you need to.

It’s also comfortable to wear and is available at a great price.

Good Luck and Happy Survival Prepping!

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