The ideal backpack for my general bushcraft is a mix of a backpacking design and a tactical bug out bag… but we’ll get into that soon enough when I reveal it. These types of backpacks are quite versatile and make an excellent choice for EDC, camping, hiking, hunting, bug-out and general wilderness survivalist training.
The Main Factors When Choosing A Backpack:
You’ll need to decide if you want a military style tactical backpack, or one that looks as though it’s designed for civilians. Both types of backpacks have pros and cons depending what you intend to use the bag for.
Popular Backpack Styles:
- Internal-frame backpacks – This popular style is used to help keep you stable on un-even terrain, it does a great job transferring the weight off your back and into your hips.
- External-frame backpacks – This style is used when you need to carry a very heavy load over a long distance. It’s especially good at keeping you comfortable while you haul gear.
- Frameless backpacks – For anyone who wants an ultralight backpack that’s very mobile this maybe the option for you. This style is very common in climbing and hiking backpacks.
The best bushcraft backpack is typically an extremely durable, tactical style pack with many handy storage areas, especially ones you can access quickly. However, there is no set rule. You may want to use your backpack for multiple things, so consider what works best for your own situation. You want to make sure your pack can easily store and organize your various modules like first aid kit, fire starting materials, cooking and hygiene gear etc.
If you’ll be using your backpack as a bug out backpack it’s important to consider the style you choose. One of the hottest topics among preppers is the “grey man concept”. When you wear tactical gear you draw attention to yourself. People may look at your clothing and backpack and wonder if you have military training, if you’re carrying weapons or valuable equipment. By using a civilian style backpack you will get much less unwanted attention and be able to effectively fly under the radar.
The style of the backpack also greatly affects the design, functions and features. All the points we discuss below vary quite a bit depending what kind of pack you go with.
Weight isn’t really the biggest concern unless you plan on covering very long distances. It’s still an important factor for some folks, especially if you enjoy backpacking.
What material is your bag made out of? Is it resistant to cuts, tears and burns? Will your bag resist water? Will it resist mold, mildew and odors? These are all important questions you should have the answer for.
YKK zippers and tracks are renowned for their strength and durability. I’ve had several cheap bags get zipper problems within the first couple of days of heavy use, and it SUCKS! You don’t necessarily need YKK brand, but make sure the zippers are solid.
The minimum capacity I would recommend is 30L but if you’re really a minimalist you may want to go lower. Certain wilderness survivalists I know sometimes go out weeks in the woods with no backpack at all.
The higher your skill level the less gear you need to bring. That being said, if you’re
Most backpacks have a top-loading design and don’t have many exterior pockets or any kind of panel access. This is problematic for many survivalists because there are many items we want to be able to access quickly, without digging deep into our bags.
Elasticized side pockets allow for water bottles and other gear to be securely strapped onto your pack.
If your backpack has a hipbelt there maybe pockets on it which is very handy because it allows you to access gear without having to take everything off your back.
Having front pockets, a raincover, a hydration reservoir, shovel pockets, a removable daypack area, a sleeping bag compartment, gear loops and tactical attachment points are all optional functionalities that not all backpacks offer. It’s really important to consider what type of gear you’ll be carrying and what the main purposes of your bag are.
A strong, robust grab handle on the top of your bag can be handy in certain situations.
Comfort will depend on many factors, but it mostly comes down to the style of your backpack. If your wearing a frameless pack and you’re carrying loads of heavy gear it will eventually take its toll on your back.
Make sure your pack fits well and secures comfortably to your torso. A large backpack should cover from the top of your shoulders down to your waist.
Ventilation is key to stop you from getting a sweaty back, it also helps to keep your pack clean, hygienic and odorless. Airflow and breathable materials are key to making sure your backpack circulates air efficiently.
Padding is very important – it does a lot to help you stay comfortable while wearing the pack for extended periods of time. Thick padding along the back, shoulder straps and the hipbelt are very nice to have. Most people forget to make sure the hipbelt has adequate padding. If it’s just a thin strap and it’s pulling into your stomach it will start to get very uncomfortable.
The price will range anywhere from $40-700+ depending on what it is you need. You can get a cheap but decent made in China no name pack for $40 and it may suit your needs. Many brand name tactical backpacks can run over $500.
Everyone wants a quality backpack at the best price. First try to identify what it is you’ll use it for, then you want to find a few packs that meet your needs, compare prices and shop around.
The Kelty Redwing 50 Pack is a perfect example of a mixture of a tactical backpack, a civilian backpack, and a backpacking backpack. It’s a good middle grounds pack that’s suitable for just about every use. You may want a pack that has more tactical features, it’s really up to you!
Other brands and packs you may want to look into: Coyote, Red Cloud 90, Kelty MAP 3500, Kelty Eagle 128, VENOM 48 Hour