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
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.
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.
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!"
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
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.
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)_/¯
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.
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.
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.
Typical Price: $99
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 $100 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).
Other Noteworthy Considerations
Typical Price: $429
Size: X-Large - 67 Liter
Specs: This pack is a beast. The king of all Bug Out Bags. Modular system with a configurable load bay. 1000d high strength nylon construction. Compatible with several types of scabbards. This will hold everything you could possibly want it to hold, and do it like a boss. Expensive but worth it. 12"(L) x 23"(H) x 10"(W).
Typical Price: $160
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.
Typical Price: $125
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. This is typically the right sized pack for ladies.12"(L) x 26"(H) x 16"(W).
Typical Price: $200
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.
Typical Price: $165
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).
Typical Price: $200
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 is my next Christmas present, right Santa? 10.5"(L) x 22"(H) x 9.75"(W).
Typical Price: $109
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. 21" (H) x 14" (L) x 10" (W).
Typical Price: $175
Specs: Bomb proof backpack, as are all 5.11 bags. This is a super functional BOB with lots of expansion and organizational options. Works with the Rush Tier Rifle Sleeve. High quality materials and construction yet still lightweight. MOLLE attachments - add an Ignitor for a quick grab first aid pouch. 11"(L) x 21"(H) x 9.5"(W).
Typical Price: $130
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. 10"(L) x 19"(H) x 8.5"(W).