Best Backpacks for Preppers

Prepper Gear: Backpack

You’ve done an amazing job at finding, and gathering up all your prepper gear and rations, but I doubt you’re considering carrying all that stuff around in a paper bag. When it’s time to store all your survival stuff, you want to find a great backpack so you can just grab your “bug out bag” when the SHTF.

Quiz: What is the one piece of prepper gear that will be used the most? Why your backpack of course! More than just a place to store your survival stuff, your bug out could be on your back a lot, possibly rubbing up against the environment, being set down on damp soil or rocks, etc. For this reason you want to find an extra rugged backpack that can survive all this possible abuse. Skimping on a cheap backpack could mean at some point it gets damaged, and starts leaking your vital prepper gear all over. A bad situation you definitely want to avoid, so make sure you find a rugged backpack capable of withstanding prolonged use.

You can’t actually predict what the environment will be like after a major disaster. Maybe you live in a nice sunny, warm place now. But things could changed and force you to relocated to an area with snow, rain, sleet, etc. For this reason you should plan for the worst, so a waterproof backpack is the absolute only choice for a prepper. The things inside your bug out bag could be the difference between life or death, and you don’t want items that could be water damaged getting wet. If your bug out bag is waterproof, you can take comfort that your survival gear will be ready for use when needed. Even backpacks which are not waterproof can be made so with waterproof covers, or tarps.

When it comes to packing survival supplies in your bug out bag, you want to focus on minimizing weight – that means carrying low-density supplies, especially when it comes to food. You want to avoid food that contains a lot of water, as water is very dense and we already have water filter or water distillers to use purify natural sources. That means we can concentrate on dehydrated food rations, and/or survival food bars which are low-density. So the ideal here is to carry as much of these low-density food packs as possible – which means a large volume backpack. This high capacity bug out bag allows you carry lots of food, which extends survival time.

ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Backpack - 86L (5250 In. Cu)

The ALPS Outdoor Z Commander is a serious contender for best survival backpack. Technically the Commander consists of a 2lb 3oz sturdy aluminum frame, and an 86 liter (5250 Cubic Inches) removable backpack, which is a lot of value for the price.

At 86 liters the Commander’s backpack provides a huge volume to carry more survival food and prepper gear, allowing for extra provisions that could be the difference between life and death in a survival situation. The backpack is not technically water-proof. But it is water-resistant as rain water will just “roll off” the backpack’s surface. Since a water-proof tarp is “almost” an essential piece of doomsday prepper gear, the lack of the Commander’s backpack being water-proof can be compensated for by wrapping a good tarp over the backpack.

The ALPS Outdoor Z Commander has an excellent frame, which is very strong and has plenty of features. Adjustable shoulder, waist and chest straps allows for high load carrying capacity while not sacrificing comfort. A nice feature - the freighter frame has its own system of attached pockets which is great for storing smaller items which are often accessed. Also since the Commander was designed for hunters it also has a very handy rifle holder, which would be perfect for a high-powered air rifle. The aluminum backpack frame additionally has a sturdy bottom “shelf” built-in allowing for carrying even greater loads. There are clevis-pins locations at strategic points on the frame, which makes for attachment of extra prepper gear easy.

The Commander’s frame is also available by itself, for those really concerned about the backpack not being water-proof. In that case, an excellent companion to the frame would be one of the high-volume, waterproof, dry bags below. This might be the best setup with a strong, versatile frame, combined with carrying capacity of a large dry bag.

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5 / 5 stars

CYY Waterproof Backpack - 100L (6100 In. Cu)

At 100 liters (6100 in. cu), the CYY Backpack is one monster of a backpack! For prepper backpacks I believe it is the case that you really need to “Go Big – or Stay Home,” and the CYY backpack is one big, high-capacity backpack. Since most of the survival supplies you should be packing in your bug out should be dehydrated food, those low-density rations will take up more volume. The large volume CYY backpack will allow you to carry more food (and other prepper gear), increasing your survival chances. To help support all this cargo, the CYY has padded shoulder straps, chest strap and waist strap.

And the CYY backpack is also considered waterproof. Since some of your prepper gear could be susceptible to water damage, being water-proof means your vital survival gear remains safe. The CYY also has extra internal padding, which was originally designed to protect computer gear. While it is unlikely a doomsday prepper would actually pack a computer in their go bag, that doesn’t mean the extra padding is useless. In fact, some prepper “kit” could be slightly fragile (like communications radios, Geiger counters, etc.) so the extra internal padding in this backpack would also help protect this sensitive gear as well.

This CYY backpack is also a great value as you could easy spend twice as much on other backpacks, but that doesn’t mean this bug out bag isn’t tough. Made of PVC nylon, the CYY backpack should be durable enough to survive extended use, provided it is treated with care. This backpack also has plenty of extra pockets with nylon zippers, to allow easy access to frequently used items like water, energy bars, etc.

5 / 5 stars

OverBoard Ultra Light Waterproof Backpack - 50L

For people that love to hike and be a part of the great outdoors, you'll definitely be needing a quality backpack that can handle anything you throw at it. Hiking can be a long and physically demanding exercise, requiring that you pack with you food, changes of clothing, and other critical supplies as well. So, when shopping for a backpack you'll genuinely be happy with, consider the OverBoard Ultra Light Backpack.

The OverBoard Ultra Light Backpack is 100% waterproof and will even float without sinking if dropped in a large body of water. The construction of this backpack/rucksack is designed in a way that protects the internal contents from dust, debris, sand, and water. And here's a feature you don't see in backpacks everyday: The back panel can be removed and used as a convenient seat wherever it is in the great outdoors you are. That's a pretty smart design feature.

The shoulder straps are adequately padded, and with this backpack you get complete lumbar support. That means long hiking excursions without excessive wear and tear on your back. The capacity of this backpack is a full 50 liters, which makes it ideal to pack all kinds of camp supplies. In fact, there's numerous mesh and other pockets on this backpack so you can have quick and easy access to your smaller items (think digital cameras, snack bars, and phones).

Overall, this seems to be a high quality backpack that's able to withstand some engaging outdoor use. However, people who go through sustained outdoor periods, meaning longer duration outdoor hiking trips, may need a larger internal capacity than this backpack has to offer. But for most hikers, this backpack is priced affordably enough and should work well.

5 / 5 stars

Aqua-Quest 'The Rio' Waterproof Backpack Dry Bag - 40L / 2440 cu. in

Here's another backpack that really "made the grade" with us. The Aqua-Quest 'The Rio' Waterproof Backpack Dry Bag - 40L / 2440 cu. in. Charcoal Model might be just what you're looking for in terms of internal capacity and ease of use. It's 100% waterproof and highly durable, making it an investment you'll be proud you made years into the future. With proper care, you'll be able to get many years of service out of this backpack with no problems whatsoever.

To give you a better idea about the strength and ability of this backpack to withstand aggressive use, it's abrasion resistant with a Dupont DWR coating, offering waterproof impermeability that every hiker and outdoorsman will be sure to appreciate. And for those who believe road safety is always an issue, don't worry! This backpack comes with fully reflective logos on the outside that will be sure to alert passing motorists that you're close by.

The shoulder straps are both thick and contoured, providing you with a truly comfortable hiking experience. The mesh pockets give you fast and easy access to your small items that you need frequent access to. It even has an internal pocket that make the most of the 40 liter internal capacity. Convenient clasp hook ups that wrap around your mid section ensure that you get a perfect fit and that the backpack stays stable when worn.

Overall, this backpack meets high quality standards set forth by Aqua-Quest, and for times when you're only out for 1-2 days/nights, it's a great option to use for all the supplies you'll be needing. This backpack gets our full approval as far as features and options are concerned, as well as affirmation that the internal capacity is large enough for a 1-2 day outdoor excursion.

5 / 5 stars