While you may thrive off pop culture media and be anxiously awaiting an impending zombie apocalypse, the chances of that scenario occurring are slim. But there are other real-life scenarios like natural disasters, civil unrest, terrorism, and war that a top rated bug out backpack could help you survive.

A bug out bag or survival bag is essentially a kit that includes the items you need to survive off the grid for a specific amount of time. While a good bug out bag will keep you thriving for a minimum of 72 hours, some are packed with enough gear to survive for weeks. But ultimately, the idea to survive is that you should keep a waterproof bug out bag packed and ready to go at all times.

With options of a pre-made bug out bag or to pack your own, it can be challenging to pick one design and feel confident in your selection. To give you a push in the right direction, we have selected the eight most excellent bug out bags and included a buying guide that will review what makes a quality bag and what you should pack in it to survive.

How To Choose A Bug Out Bag – Buying Guide



Bug out bags and survival backpacks come in a variety of sizes so that you can carry just the right amount of gear for your trip. If you are planning a trip, you will likely know how many days you are gone but in an unplanned or emergency situation it is best to have a 72-hour backpack prepared.

The size of any good bug out bag will be measured in liters and will indicate how much your bag can comfortably hold. A small bug out bag may hold only 30 liters of gear, while a large survival backpacks may hold 60 liters. You will have to decide how much gear you want to take with you or how much you need to be prepared for an emergency.

It is also important to remember that the MOLLE system and attachments will make hold more bug out bag contents and change the size of your backpack. If you use up all the space of the MOLLE webbing, be prepared for a significantly larger backpack.


The number of compartments will affect the size of the backpack. A small bug out bag may only feature two compartments, but still have MOLLE webbing. Larger backpacks may have up to 3 compartments and smaller external pockets.

The best bug out backpack will have compartments with internal organization or straps. While small compartments may be too little for straps, large compartments should have either a variety of pockets or straps. The pockets and straps can help secure your gear and keep it organized for quick access.


Material is important because it will determine the durability and waterproofing of your bag, which we will delve into next. The ultimate bug out bag will feature high-quality material that is usually a synthetic blend. It is better for bug out bags to feature synthetic materials because it increases the durability and saves on weight. Natural materials can be heavy, which becomes overbearing when you load up your bug out bag contents.

The best materials are a durable high denier nylon or polyester. Nylon is extremely popular because of its resistance to damage and water. However, polyester is another synthetic material that may be used with nylon to make a durable military bug out bag.

The material of your top rated bug out backpack should always be listed in the product specifications. It is also important to consider that materials, like nylon, come with a denier rating. The higher the denier rating, the stronger the material will be.


As we mentioned, the material of your top rated bug out backpack will indicate how worthwhile the backpack actually is when it is used in real world scenarios and survival backpacks need to be durable. After all, the ultimate bug out bag is meant to get you through anything, and we mean anything. With your waterproof bug out bag, you should be able to survive during natural disasters, civil unrest, or even a planned trip to the mountains. Survival backpacks are meant for rugged locations and are ready to carry all your bug out bag essentials.

The durability of the most excellent bug out bag will be determined by the quality of construction and material. As we said, high quality material leads to a good bug out bag, but the construction can also influence the durability. The best bug out backpack would have reinforced areas and double stitched seams to ensure that the bag can carry the weight and go the distance. With better construction, you are more likely to find a good bug out bag that will survive through years of rugged trails and abuse.

Bug out bag reviews are an excellent resource that you can use to determine the durability of a design. Whether you’re shopping online or looking to just read some feedback before heading to the store, bug out bag reviews can tell you whether a specific model is durable and reliable.

Water Resistance

Whether you planned to go on an outdoor adventure or found yourself on the run from a potential natural disaster, wet weather can strike at any time, which is why it is important that your MOLLE bag feature a level of water resistance. While the best bug out backpack will be waterproof, not all bags can fully repel water. In fact, you may be wondering what’s the difference between water-resistance and waterproof. The two are not the same and you should be careful when making a purchase if you are looking for a fully waterproof bag.

Ultimately, a waterproof bug out bag will use a water-resistant or waterproof material like nylon. While nylon is not waterproof entirely, it may be treated with waterproofing sprays or another seal to make it fully water repellant. You can find the level of water resistance of a tactical bug out bag in the product specifications.


When you’re on the move, the last thing you want to do is stop and struggle to get out your gear. This is why it is important that a top rated bug out backpack has accessibility built into its design. Features that make your bug out bag contents more accessible include interior organization, exterior pockets, and the MOLLE webbing.

The best bug out bag will have a main compartment feature interior organization in the form of pockets or straps. These can help you organize your gear for a quick retrieval. However, external pockets are a great place to put small bug out bag essentials that need to be ready in a moment’s notice. The MOLLE webbing is another system that can enhance your bag’s accessibility by keeping essential gear on the outer edges.

MOLLE Attachments

MOLLE stands for modular lightweight load-carrying equipment and it normally comes in the form of small pouches that can be used to hold your gear because not all your bug out bag contents can fit inside the main compartment. The system uses the MOLLE webbing on the outside of your bag as anchor points to attach the smaller pouches and keep them secure. With a variety of attachments sold, you can customize your 72-hour backpack to hold exactly what you need and keep it where you can gain easy access.

While there isn’t a specific MOLLE attachment company, you can instead find a variety a variety of brands that provide their own MOLLE system. Some of the bug out bags feature their own compatible system that matches the brand of the bag and others are cross compatible with other brand’s attachments.

Hydration Bladder Compatibility

Anytime you are on-the-go, planned or unplanned, it is important that you have water. While carrying a water bottle can be helpful, it is unlikely to carry the amount of water that you need for your journey. The best bug out bag will have hydration bladder compatibility so that you can easily carry 2 or more liters of water with you.

A top rated bug out backpack will likely feature a hydration bladder pocket and holes for the tubing, so that you can easily carry and incorporate it into your bag’s design. This means you can sip as you walk and carry a large amount of water to stay hydrated.


Straps should be near the top of your bug out bag checklist because they can help you organize or secure gear. Internal straps may be used to keep items from shifting as you move, but external straps may work to compress your gear and make it more manageable to carry. Other straps include the ones that are part of the MOLLE system, which can be used as a secure anchor for attachment and other bug out bag contents.

Back Padding

For comfort, a padded back panel can really increase the distance you can travel in a day, which may be important in an emergency situation. A top rated bug out backpack will feature a thickly padded back that ensures the weight of your gear rests comfortably against your back. However, the thick padding should feature a mesh material or deep grooves to increase the airflow so that you don’t sweat too much.


Zippers are the key to securing your pockets and any good bug out bag will include multiple zippers in the design. Actually, the best bug out backpack will use a zipper closure on any pocket or compartment to keep your gear secure from falling out.

However, the ultimate bug out bag will have easy to use zippers with large pull tabs. These tabs can make access quicker and even compatible with gloves so that you don’t have to stop to access your gear.



Q: What is a bug out bag?


A bug out bag is essentially a backpack that you load up with your survival gear. Bug out bags and survival backpacks can be used for planned or unplanned occasions. For planned trips, you will likely know exactly what you need to bring and don’t need to stress to much about your bug out bag contents.  

However, if you are looking to prepare a 72-hour backpack for an emergency, it is important that you narrow down your bug out bag checklist and pack only the essentials. In the event of an emergency, items like first aid kits can be important to pack in your waterproof bug out bag.

But if you are entirely unsure of what to pack and don’t want to stress with a bug out bag checklist, you can purchase a pre-made bug out bag. The difference between a pre-made bug out bag and just survival backpacks is the contents the bag comes with. Pre-made bug out bags will include all the gear you need to survive, whereas purchasing just a bag means you have to fill it yourself with the right bug out bag contents.

Q: Why do I need a bug out bag?


If you worry about the end of the world or stress about any unexpected situation, a good but out bag will ease your stress because you know that you have a few essentials packed and ready to go. Ultimately, a top rated bug out bag will ensure that you can survive off the grid, whether you planned to for a set amount of time or are facing an emergency.

But the great thing about bug out bags is that they are versatile. While we suggest you always plan for an emergency and choose to make your own bug out bag or purchase a pre-made one, you can use a bug out bag for anything. Some people love the organization, accessibility, and storage that a bug out bag provides and will want to use it for planned outdoor activities like camping and hiking.

Q: What do “SHTF” and “TEOTWAWKI” stand for?


“SHTF” and “TEOTWAWKI” are both acronyms used during bug out situations. “SHFT” stands for when “stuff hits the fan”. While most people tend to use a different word – you get the idea. “TEOTWAWKI” stands for “the end of the world as we know it”. Both of these are used to describe a situation where you should grab your bug out bags and run. However, “SHFT” is generally considered to be small scale compared to “TEOWAWKI”.

Globo Surf Overview

Ultimately, the best bug out backpack will have you prepared to anything, whether it’s “SHFT” or “TEOTWAWKI” level. With a top rated bug out backpack, you can carry all your bug out bag essentials without struggling. The additional MOLLE webbing can increased your load and keep your sane with organized gear. With our list and buying guide, we hope that you have found the information you need to find the ultimate bug out bag to keep you going in hard times.

More Backpacking/Hiking Reviews:

More Bag Reviews:

Do you own one of the bug out bags that made it onto our list? Has it saved you in an emergency situation or do you just love to use it for your planned adventures? Let us know how versatile your bug out bag is in the comments section below.

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!