Best Rucksacks For Living In The Wild – 2020

| Last Updated: October 23, 2022

If something is already done for you then it just makes things easier, am I right? So let's first look at which brands have produced the best rucksacks for long term survival in the wild.

Comparison Chart of the Best Rucksacks




Mountain Hardwear Unisex BMG 105 Backpack

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Best Overall

CiloGear 75L WorkSack


The Choice is Obvious

Clearly our opinion isn't gospel to anyone, but Detuer has out performed other brands consistently when it comes to quality of packs and waterproofing the interior. One down side is the weight of this pack is a little more than would be recommended.  But it's not an obscene amount.

Even if the price of Detuer were higher, we're positive that the quality of their products are well worth the investment

Even though there are packs like the Hardwear 105L, which has a fantastic spot in second place with little to no flaws, we just couldn't justify not giving the recommendation for Detuer.

Hardwear does have an astounding line of products though

Hardwear is the go to brand for most everything mountain man related. And for good reason. They have everything for the urban adventurer and the bearded backwoods mountain man. Mountain Hardwear is one brand that the people love and are willing to be raving fans for. And for that we solute them!

Quick Take: 
Our Top 2 Choices

In a hurry? Here's a snapshot of the Best Rucksacks:

Reviews of the Best Rucksacks

Time for review - let's learn a bit more about these products:

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  • Increased capacity
  • Contoured back support


  • A bit bulky for short trips
  • Not entirely waterproof


  • Crampon friendly
  • Minimal suspension stress


  • Thin Straps
  • Hip belt built for men's hips

How to Build Your Own Durable, Waterproof Rucksack

Enough of this done for you mess, if you're a real man like we know you are, then you're going to want to make something that is fully customized for your climate and YOUR needs.

Building Your Durable, Waterproof Rucksack

So you want to waterproof your rucksack but don't want to spend the big bucks to get a name brand pack. We can't really say that we blame you in that regard. Most "designer" packs are over priced and under delivering unless you go with one of the above mentioned packs.

To get started on your perfect ruck sack you'll need to decide which style of pack you like. There are 3 popular styles.

Lightweight (0-50L)

Expedition (50-80L)

Summit (80-100L+)

Decide Which is Best for Your Needs

Once you have the rucksack picked, then it's basically a matter of deciding how you want to water proof the pack. Do you want to go the traditional route and put some strings through a tarp and call it a day, or do you want to invest in a liner and proper cover for your pack?

Making your own waterproof cover for your rucksack, from Grant and Nicky.

  • Stuff your pack to its fullest capacity – that way you will be able to make the pack cover fit to size

  • Lay out your Ripstop fabric on the floor and place your pack on top for measuring. Pull the Ripstop up around your bag toward the pack frame – be sure you wrap up and over the top of the pack to the shoulder strap and under the bottom of the pack as far as possible.

  • Using the pencil, try to trace the best you can the oval shape that shows where the Ripstop would tightly tuck around your pack.

  • Once you have this line drawn, trace a larger oval approximately 3 inches larger than the first – this will allow for the overlap that the drawstring will be within.

  • Cut the Ripstop along the newly drawn line.

  • Time to do some sewing! You will be folding over the perimeter of the Ripstop by 1.5 inches to create a pocket where the drawstring will be housed. In the following diagram, the black line represents where you need to sew (leave about a half inch of fabric beyond the stitch). Note that you need to leave a gap for drawstring access. It is most convenient to have the drawstring on the top of your pack for easier access. Plan the gat in stitching accordingly. When you sew around the perimeter, special care needs to be taken on the corners. Use pleats to maintain a consistent overlap.

  • Once Parachord is treaded though, you can pull the chord to a tightness that you would allow you to just fit the cover over your pack (this prevents an excessive amount of slack in the drawstring once it is pulled tight). 

  • Cut the parachord once you're satisfied with the length. Melt the cut ends with a lighter to prevent fraying

  • Install the plastic cord locks by feeding the two ends through the holes. Tie parachord ends and you're done.

Now You Have a Perfectly Waterproof Outer Shell

To protect the contents of your pack, should the unthinkable happen and you drop it in the river or get washed out of your kayak, we're going to go over the most popular ways to line your pack for waterproofing on the inside.

This process is pretty straight forward. And really can be as simple as putting your stuff in a trash bag before loading it all in your pack.

Now if you want to ensure that you're not just blindly hoping that a flex seal bag will protect your stuff we can recommend some companies that have made it their business to protect the contents of your bag.

And Now Your Bag is Safe on the Inside and Out!

So there you have it! Whether you want to buy a ready made pack or customize one for yourself, you now have the knowledge to go forth and conquer the wild!

If this information was helpful please let us know, and if there are more resources you would like to see from us leave a comment with that information as well. Like if you would like for us to walk you through how to LITERALLY make a pack from scratch for full customization.

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1 thought on “Best Rucksacks For Living In The Wild – 2020”

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