Best Bug Out Backpacks of 2020 – Large Bags for When the SHTF

| Last Updated: October 23, 2022

This question is sort of a-kin to asking "how long is a piece of string?", we won't know which is the best backpack for a bug out bag until we know your situation and limitations. So let's get into that and make sure you're ready to bug out when the shtf or teotwawki or maybe just to get away from the know what I mean.

In all seriousness though, we need to know your unique situation to decide which backpack is best for you.

Odds are that you'll need multiple go bags for different scenarios, because it's highly unlikely that pandemonium will strike when you're most ready and have your bag at your side. So we will go over the best bags for each situation, and if you have a scenario that's not accounted for or you just want to start out, you'll now have the info you need to be seriously prepared in all situations!

Comparison Chart of the Best Bug Out Backpacks




Explorer Tactical Gun Concealment Pack With Mobile Webbing

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Best Overall

5.11 Tactical Rush 24 Hour Pack

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What is a Bug Out Bag?

Aren't bug out bags, go bags, 72 hour bags, and all that jazz the same thing??

Thanks to our buddies at knowpreparesurvive, we know the answer is NOPE

A bug out bag, or backpack in this article, is something to get you and your family to a predetermined safe point to either bug in underground or relocate to a safer location. This isn't a long term survival bag, it's just a tool to start you on your journey.

And something to keep in mind when preparing these bags for your escape plan make sure you're not strapping an anchor to your boat instead of a sail. You don't want this bag to exceed 40 lbs., unless you've drilled your plan and route over and over. Most of all you don't want to pick out a bag that's got military grade written all over it.

Even a street thug can tell the difference between a common dude walking down the street with a backpack, and a person who has some potentially life saving supplies in their kevlar, mollar, artillery compatible ruck sack, ya know. Think GREY MAN when looking for the best bug out backpack

Bug Out Backpack for the Home/Family

In this situation the backpack you use for a bug out bag will be a bit larger than others, especially if you have family. Unless you plan on abandoning ship and starting over.

So with this in mind you'll want a pack that has ample room, durability, and the option to make last minute additions. Because you know that you'll be walking out of the house and realize you forgot SOMETHING or just want that one more special thing. So you might as well plan for it and get a backpack that will accommodate such last minute changes.

Quick Take: 
Our Top 2 Choices

In a hurry? Here's a snapshot of what's below:

Review of the Best Bug Out Backpacks

Now we're going to take a look at each bug out bag and why they made our list:

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  • Divided pockets make for easy separation to keep organization easy.
  • Top load straps to increase the load capacity. You'll be able to add large objects without taking up pocket space.


  • Rides low on the back, straps will need adjusting for comfortable ride.
  • Screams military preparedness, which places a huge target on your back. Proceed with caution in crowds.

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  • VERY spacious interior.
  • Pockets within pockets make for exponential storage in a already large pocket space.


  • Stitching that holds it together is hit or miss, but company is willing to replace.
  • Not very compatible with blending in unless the grey material is used. Looks "military", which makes you a target.

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  • Not suspicious at all, blends in well with crowds.
  • Molle style material will lend to more durable wear and tear.


  • Unbalanced when left to sit up on it's own.
  • Long handles makes swinging an occassional  problem.

Types of Bug Out Bags

Below are the main types of bug out bags:

Mobile Bug Out Backpack Option

We spend at least 40% of our lives in a vehicle, so planning to bug out from your vehicle is a must for anyone with a brain. 

However, you're going to be limited on space and capacity for a mobile bug out bag for your car, because you still want to be able to use your car and not have 40 lbs. of equipment rolling around all the time.

So the backpack for your vehicle will need to be a minimalist pack that is just enough to get you to the rally point you hopefully already have set up with your family or comrades.

Now it should be known that we have a bit of partiality to this bag in general, thanks to the amazing in depth review by He took the time to go through the ins and outs of this pack with his usual high standards, and since it passed we can rest assured that this backpack is worth it's salt as a bug out bag!

Workplace Bug Out Backpack

This is an area of your life that demands you be present for 60% of your day, so you'd do well to have a go bag at work just in case. Catastrophe doesn't send a save the date to warn you when it's coming so you'd better be ready in all situations!

But being ready at work means balancing preparedness with grey man tactics

Because the last thing you need is to have co workers eyeballing your supplies and looking to you to share when the SHTF. So a more casual approach to a bug out backpack is in order when preparing one to keep at the office. Think business casual with durability on the side.

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