The Best Bug Out Bags

The Best Bug Out Bags

The Best Bug Out Bags

So you've collected all your Emergency supplies but all you have is an old gym bag at the bottom of the closet to hold it all. Will it work? Maybe. Is there a better option? Definitely. We've put together a list of choices for you from the Best of the Best Bug Out Bag so you can make the right decision.

If you are getting started, check out our Bug Out Bag learning and tutorials page first. Figure out what you need, then get the bag that will fit it all.

And if you aren't in peal physical condition or like carrying 50lbs on your back then seriously consider building a rolling bug out bag.

FYI if you buy anything with the links we provide on this page we might get a small percentage of the sale. For more info click here.

Our Top 3 Bug Out Bag Picks


Hazard 4 Air Support Bag Front and Back Images

Hazard 4 Air Support

Typical Price: $250  Size: Large - 38.5 Liter

Pros: The Hazard 4 Air Support takes the number one spot for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, it has wheels which means it will be much more manageable for folks who need to carry more than 25lbs of gear.

You can add pouches to the outside thanks to the MOLLE attachment points. It will fit into an overhead compartment on a plane should you need to fly with it.

1000D Cordura and ruggedized wheels and base means it is durable. Supplement your space with a small backpack if desired.

External Size: 22.8"(L) x 14.2"(W) x 9.1"(D).

Cons: Not a fan of the laptop sleeve - we cut it in half and use it as a smaller storage pocket. Reciprocating handles sometimes make me nervous, I've seen them break on other suitcases.


Kelty Coyote 85 Backpack, a great bug out bag

Kelty Coyote 85 Backpack

Typical Price: $180  Size: XX-Large - 85 Liter

Pros: One of our favorite packs got a really nice upgrade for 2020. Relatively inexpensive, lots of storage space, well-built, low profile. Bottom zipper for quick access to sleeping bag. 

Check out our review of the older Kelty 80. Adjustable internal frame fits nearly all body sizes. Fairly water resistant but could use a rain cover. 

420d polyester. 19"(L) x 32"(H) x 13"(W) at 5.8 lbs.

Cons: Not as durable as some of the other bags we like, we wish the buckles we're a little bit stronger.


The venerable 5.11 Rush 72 image. One of the best backpacks of all time.

5.11 Rush 72

Typical Price: $180  Size: Large - 55 Liter

Pros: Lookup bug out bag in the dictionary and you'll see the 5.11 Rush 72. It essentially defines the category. Great price to performance ratio. Easy to use, easy to pack and organize.

Lots of MOLLE options to add stuff to the outside. Comfortable yolk-style harness. Reinforced webbing and stitching throughout. Water repellent. Hydration pouch.

My favorite feature is the "shove-it" pocket to stash wet stuff or a helmet.

13.5"(L) x 23"(H) x 8.5"(W) at 5.5 lbs. Easy to find used packs in good shape on eBay.

Cons: Military style might be too on the nose for some - it screams "I've got MRE's yo!"


Maxpedition Tiburon Backpack is an awesome bug out bag. Front image.

Maxpedition Tiburon Backpack

Typical Price: $200 Size: Small - 32 Liter

Pros: Maxpedition makes the some of the best bags and packs on the market, and the Tiburon is their top-of-the-line. It's big for a backpack, a little small for a bug out bag, but if you know what you are doing and keep your packing tight then this is a killer option.

You get all the features and durability of a military-style pack in a more discreet looking package. Lots of organizing options and very comfortable to wear for long periods.

Cons: As mentioned, a little on the small'ish side. 


Top Runners Up

5.11 RUSH100 Backpack

Typical Price: $250 Size: X-Large - 60 Liter

5.11's first foray into larger long-term pack design is a win. The Rush 100's side pouches can be quickly detached and converted to a shoulder bag for easy use. A first-grabs pocket keeps readily needed items quickly accessible and includes a fleece-lined eyewear pocket.

Adjustable shoulder straps and gear belt helps when carrying heavier loads.

The custom flat internal aluminum frame provides rigidity, ergonomics and load transfer while the horizontal fiberglass rods provide torsional rigidity.

28.5"H x 11.0"L x 10.25"


Osprey Xenith 75 backpack. Slick, high end, a dream of a backpack.

Osprey Xenith 75

Typical Price: $350 Size:  XX-Large - 75 Liter

Pros: Osprey is one of the premiere backpack companies in the world. You would be hard pressed to find a finer pack than whats in their Xenith line.

Lightweight, durable, and wonderfully designed. Keep your gear organized in the easiest possible way, with tons of access points so you can get to it quickly. Comes in 3 sizes.

Large: 36 (H) x 16.14" (W) x 14.57 (D).

Cons: Maybe a little too cool looking. Not as durable as some military style packs. 5.56 lbs empty.


Mystery Ranch Terraplane Backpack. One of the best expedition packs ever made.

Mystery Ranch Terraplane

Typical Price: $400 Size:  XX-Large - 82 Liter

Pros: This pack set the bar really high for all the other backpacks ever made. Durable, stable, impeccably designed. If money is no option then this is the pack you want.

It's an expedition pack that is meant for the long hauls. Big enough to hold more than you'd ever really need.

External Size: 36 (H) x 17" (W) x 16 (D) at 6.8 lbs.

Cons: None, Mystery Ranch makes perfect backpacks. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

$400Mystery Ranch$400eBay

Maxpedition Ironcloud Adventure Travel Bag in Grey image. A duffel backpack hybrid built like a tank.

Maxpedition Ironcloud Adventure Travel Bag

Typical Price: $250 Size: Large - 48 Liter

Pros: The Ironcloud and its big brother the Ironstorm (62L) are duffel bags that can convert to backpacks via integrated straps that can be tucked away when not in use. Built to withstand years of abuse.

Hydration bladder compatible. Compression straps inside and out. Reinforced handles whee you need them and some MOLLE for extras.

External Size: 14" (L) x 10" (W) x 22" (H) at 4.0 lbs.

Cons: Limited built-in organization, more like a duffel than a backpack. Top flap is heavy and over padded if you aren't packing a laptop.


Best Budget Bags

Backpacks can be expensive, sometimes they cost as much as all the stuff inside them, and it in my experience it takes a few tries to find a bag that really suits your needs.

That's why I think its a better option to try to find used bag on eBay from a premium bag manufacturer rather than buy a new bag from a brand that makes entry level products. You'll often wind up paying about the same amount, and if you don't like the pack you can usually sell it for the same amount you bought it for.

Read our article about it, which explains how to see what pricing you can get the bag for and how to navigate eBay if you aren't familiar with it.

5.11 COVRT18 Backpack Front Image. The best covert greyman bug out bag out there?

5.11 COVRT18 Backpack

Typical Price: $130 Size: Small - 30 Liter

Pros: High quality low-key OPSEC sensitive pack, which is a fancy way of saying it looks like a plain old backpack. We've been abusing ours for year, and love it -  we use it daily, see our 5.11 COVRT18 review here.

Tons of organized storage helps you know where your stuff is at all times. Padded laptop sleeve, hydration pocket, padded handle, CCW compatible. Comfortable padded straps for long-term wear.

500d nylon is durable and water resistant. 12.5"(L) x 19"(H) x 7.5"(W) at 3 lbs.

Cons: The elastic water bottle cinch straps on the sides tend to break over time. Not a deal breaker but be aware.


High Sierra Loop Backpack

Typical Price: $26 Size: Small - 29 Liter

Specs: The best bang for your buck. Tons of space, well designed, low-profile. A huge variety of colors available. It has all the functions some of the high-end packs have for a tenth of the price.

Our first choice for beginner Bug Out Bag Builders. Definitely a contender for your kids bags.

13.5"(L) x 19"(H) x 8.5"(W) at 1.4 lbs.


Condor 3 Day Assault Pack

Typical Price: $95 Size: X-Large - 50 Liter

Specs: A moderately priced backpack. It's very popular and a lot of people swear by them, although I have some concerns about the durability and I think that $95 is better spent towards a more substantial pack. But to each his own.

The design is great though and is very functional and serves well for a 72-Hour kit.

13"(L) x 22"(H) x 8"(W).


Noteworthy Considerations

Eberlestock F4 Terminator Pack

Typical Price: $430 Size: X-Large - 68 Liter

Specs: This pack is a beast. The king of all Bug Out Bags. This will hold everything you could possibly want it to hold, and do it like a boss. Expensive but worth it.

The F4M Terminator is an extremely versatile full-format load bearing pack. It is an excellent all-around rucksack, is easy to live out of, and is a great load hauler.

It has a unique articulating rear interior wall that allows a weapon carrier to be inserted and carried near the wearer's back.

Eberlestock side scabbards can be attached inside the sleeve, to tailor quick-access.

A tailored rain cover is included and is stored in a zippered bottom pocket.

1000d high strength nylon construction. 12"(L) x 23"(H) x 10"(W).


ALPS Mountaineer Zion External Frame

Typical Price: $160 Size: X-Large - 64 Liter

Specs: External frame packs are great. They keep the pack off your back which is more comfortable in warmer climates. 

Easily adjust its telescoping frame from 13-18" and its waist belt from 28-40" for a customizable fit.

Side pockets, lower stretch side pockets, large front pocket and top-loading main compartment make it easy to organize all of your gear.

$160Sportsman's Guide

Kelty Redwing 50

Typical Price: $130 Size: X-Large - 50 Liter

Specs: A top pick for beginner Bag Builders. The Redwing 50 is a very popular and easy to find pack.

Doesn't stand out in the crowd.

Lots of external organizing options, and admin pockets. Can be top loaded or panel loaded.

The bigger Kelty Coyote 80 gives you more space - see our comparison review here. 

There is a ladies Redwing 50 version specifically designed for women which is available.

12"(L) x 26"(H) x 16"(W).


Spec Ops T.H.E. Ultimate Pack

Typical Price: $200 Size: Medium - 40 Liter

Specs: 100% made in the U.S.A. Super tough 1000D Cordura nylon fabric. Extra large zippers. Heavy duty stitching. Built like a tank.

Holds all the gear you could want and then some, and wont fall apart on you when you need it most.

High viz interior. If you are going to pack more than 30lbs into it consider getting the T.H.E. Pack Frame.

12"(L) x 19"(H) x 13"(W).

See our review of the older but still current model of T.H.E. Pack here. 


Spec Ops Recon Ruck Ultra

Typical Price: $200 Size: Medium - 37 Liter

Specs: A modern take on an old classic. ALICE pack styled pack with high-end materials and reinforce stitching.

Made in USA and guaranteed for life.

Removable harness if you want to attach to a standard issue LC-II ALICE pack frame.

Accessory gear loops on the bottom.

1000d nylon fabric makes it bomb-proof. 10"(L) x 17.5"(H) x 14"(W).


Maxpedition Gyrfalcon Backpack

Typical Price: $167 Size: Medium - 36 Liter

Specs: This is a serious pack. Very modular, easy to keep organized.

Bottom of pack can be detached as a day bag/fanny pack. Removable and/or adjustable internal frame.

Reinforced stitching, zippers and waterproofing makes this a tough bag to break.

This versatile pack is perfect for hikes, traveling or bugging-out. This pack is thoroughly constructed with 1050-Denier water & abrasion resistant nylon, its ergonomic shape, padded shoulder straps, and sturdy sternum & waist support make it comfortable to wear even when hauling heavy gear.

10.5"(L) x 22"(H) x 9.75"(W).


JanSport Driver 8 Core Series Wheeled Pack

Typical Price: $100 Size: Medium - 36 Liter

Specs: Backpacks can get heavy fast, especially when you are loading them up with emergency gear. And since most of us don't train with weight like that then having a backpack with wheels and a handle could be a lifesaver.

Even if you are a tough-guy, having the option to not have to carry a pack around could be a relief. 

The JanSport Driver 8 rolling backpack converts from backpack to roller with tuck-away shoulder straps. This wheeled laptop backpack features a padded 15 inch laptop sleeve, side water bottle pocket and front organizer pocket.

21" (H) x 14" (L) x 10" (W).


Maxpedition Falcon II

Typical Price: $130 Size: Small - 25 Liter

Specs: See our full review here. One of the most trusted names in outdoor gear.

Exceptionally well designed bag and copied by many other manufacturers.

It can compress down to a small day bag size, or inflate out with 3 different levels of capacity.

This medium bodied pack is thoroughly constructed with 1050-Denier water & abrasion resistant nylon; yet its ergonomic shape, padded shoulder straps, and sturdy sternum & waist support make it comfortable to wear even when hauling heavy gear!

10"(L) x 19"(H) x 8.5"(W).


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