Top Bug Out Bag Comparison

Best Bug Out Bags Comparison

The first and most important item in every Bug Out Bag List is most likely the bag itself. It doesn’t take long to realize that looking for a bag to use for your bug out bag can be a daunting task. There are plenty of options and an exhaustible list of great choices. At Bug Out Bag Academy, we like to keep things as simple as possible. For your convenience, we’ve dug up reviews and compared several of the best bug out bags offered in the Amazon marketplace. The following bags all have great reviews. You really can’t go wrong with any of them.

For a quick introduction on things you should consider when choosing a Bug Out Bag refer to THIS post first.


Best Bug Out Bags Comparison

The Sandpiper

The Sandpiper

The sandpiper is made of polyester, has the capacity to carry enough gear for several days, contains multiple compression loops, tie downs and attachment points for equipment and accessories. This bag measures 26″ long 15.5″ wide 10.5″ deep.


The Tactical Military MOLLE

The Tactical Military MOLLE

The Molle is made of durable 600 D nylon material. It’s easy to organize with one large compartment and six smaller compartments. This bag is MOLLE strap and PALS compatible, is 20″ x 11.5″ x 11″ plus it can expand another 3″, has shoulder straps and a belt that can be stowed for protection during flights.

The Spec-Ops T.H.E Pack

The Spec-Ops T.H.E Pack

The Spec-Ops T.H.E Pack is made from super durable 1000D Cordura Nylon fabric (by far the toughest 1000D nylon fabric on the market today). Has huge YKK #10 zippers on main compartment and large outer pockets. Double Layer Pack Top eliminates stress failure associated with excessive use of carry/drag handle. CAPACITY: 2550 cubic inches.


The 511 Rush

The Five Eleven Rush

The 5.11 Rush 24 Pack is a full-size day pack with a 20″H x 12.5″L x 8″D (2,000 cu in) main compartment and numerous smaller individual pockets and pouches, several with zipper closures. This pack features adjustable, dual density closed-cell foam shoulder straps with Duraflex(TM) hardware.


The Maxpedition Vulture

The Maxpedition Vulture

This pack is made of nylon. The main compartment is 20.5″(H) x 16″(W) x 7.5″(D) and the bag has a total capacity of 2810 It has a 1″ Sternum Strap, and a 2″ Integrated Belt. The Maxpedition has a solid nylon back, but still has the mesh on the straps. It carries well, even over long distances.


The Condor Three Day Assault Pack

The Condor Three Day Assault Pack

The Condor has a large load cargo capacity compartment with separate pocket to fit up to two 3L hydration bladders, Olive Drab contour shoulder straps with D-Ring for equipment attachment, sternum strap and waist belt, and External side compression straps. It has a heavy-duty carry and drag handle, two double zipper pulls on the main compartment for easy access, and an individual foam pad back panel for extra comfort and maximum airflow.


Now it is your turn

Which of these bags do you think would work best for you? Let us know in the comments below, or if you have any questions feel free to ask away!

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  • stix says:

    honestly, i have one of those slumberjack school bag that i have been using, i try to make it look like a norbal bag.

  • Todd says:

    Sandpiper Of California makes a pack called the Three Day Pass. I’m currently using that pack as my Get Home Bag and it stays with my vehicle. It’s one of the most comfortable backpacks I’ve ever owned, even overloaded. Also I usually carry with me a gas mask bag made of rubberized vinyl for my every day items, things like battery banks and flashlights, multitool, things I bring into work etc. At home is where I have a larger set up for a bug out scenario that consists of a battle belt with canteens and an individual first aid kit attached to a military surplus m98 pack (also made of heavy duty rubberized vinyl). All of my bags have their own purpose but sort of supplement each other in layers.

  • Toni says:

    I’m just starting out. I’m a petite woman. I’m looking for a strong, durable, high quality bag that is also lightweight. Any suggestions?

    • Peter says:

      I do not suggest a “tactical” style backpack due to your petiteness. However, I do suggest a hiking backpack like an Osprey or Deuter. These are lighter and although not as heavy, I have known people to have these branded backpacks for many years. I have a Rush 5.11 12 and 72 backpacks, and ounces = pounds, and the more durable the bag the heavier it is. As you are starting out, I suggest you get a used bag – you are better off getting a used decent brand bag rather than a cheaper brand new bag that falls apart, the minute anything goes in there.

  • John says:

    I found the Maxpedition Falcon III during a BOGO and hooked a friend to purchase. Both of us have made this our BOB and love the flexibility and slightly larger size. Very comfortable while busting brush or humping trails.

  • Jax says:

    Currently rebuilding my BOB after an ex stole the last. Stumbled across your BOSS kit and I have to say, I wish I’d found this sooner. Being raised by a Vietnam Veteran, I was brought up with the knowledge and know how to survive and live off the land for an extended amount of time, but my BOB has always been a bit bulky for my petite yet tall frame, and until now, I thought that that was just an inevitable, so it was slightly dreaded to go out on adventures. Now though, I can’t wait to get my first BOSS kit and to go out for my first adventure with a lighter, yet still prepped pack!!! And if by chance you’re looking for someone to try items/kits and give honest reviews of said items, with tried and true, first hand, real life, unmediated judgement and honesty, I am, most indubitably, the woman for the task!

    • Andrew says:

      Thanks, Jax! Sorry to hear about your BOB getting stolen (it must’ve been pretty sweet!), but I’m glad you’ve seen this as an opportunity to improve upon the one you had. The BOSS Kits are a great way to do just that! Please let us know how they work out for you!

    • Sandra says:

      What bob you finally decide on.

  • Drew greenwood says:

    I have the camelback H.A.W.G and I’m really likening it so far, adjustable molle bag.

  • […] Best Bug Out Bags Comparison […]

  • Cliff says:

    Eberleastock Battleship backpack is going to be your best over all Bug out bag.

    PROS: Military grade backpack.

    Can carry one of, a 2 or 3 L bladder bag of Water hydration system ( sold separately ).

    It features all the bells and whistles, while still coming in at remarkably low weight – 8 lbs 12 oz.

    Comfortable and adjustable:
    The pack features extremely comfortable and well-ventilated back padding, optimized Shooters Harness, and an ample, plush, load-bearing hip belt. The yoke is adjustable to virtually any torso length, and contourable aluminum stays complete the comfort and support package. Frame-to-interior links bring the load right against the wearer’s body. Versatile
    Made of tough 420 denier ripstop nylon, the packs feature upper and lower main chambers with front-door opening panels, a large expandable sleeve in the top- loading section, weapon / ski / ice-axe / miscellaneous equipment tie-downs, MOLLE panels, large mesh side bags, and a perfect array of built-in compression straps, which allow you to control the load as well as allow you to quickly and easily attach gear to any surface of the pack.

    CONS: Expensive $495
    But you’ll never need to buy another backpack again!!!!!!

    • Andrew says:

      Thanks Cliff! Eberlestock is certainly “top shelf” when it comes to packs. For those that have the budget, it’s definitely worth the consideration.

  • Cory says:

    Do any of these have waterproof compartments?

  • Christina says:

    I am VERY new at this survivalist movement, and needed a place to start. I have no idea even what is most important to carry. Hoping to figure it all out.

    • Andrew says:

      We’re here to help, Christina! Reading what we have on the site here is a great place to start.

  • Tim says:

    I decided to take a different approach for my new BOB. Some areas have concerns with tsunamis or hurricanes. The PNW has extended periods of rainy weather when everything can get wet. I decided to focus on keeping the BOB contents dry. I wanted something a bit more waterproof than just a slip on backpack cover. I made the expensive investment in a YETI Panga 75 waterproof submersible duffel bag. The 50 might have been enough, but I wanted extra space so I could carry things for my wife. The extra capacity allows for adding more items in future or holding bulky items like a sleeping bag. It has shoulder straps like a backpack, but opens for quick access like a regular zip duffel. Most important, it helps ensure that anything I put in it is likely to still be dry and usable when I need it.

    • Andrew says:

      Sounds like a great idea for your area, Tim. Thanks for sharing!

  • Lou Carrasquillo says:

    I have a BOB for my various weapons, ammo and mags knives and such. Unrelated…I also have a huge duffel bag I put together with a lot of the essentials mentioned on this site while on stand-by for Katrina. Is there a weight or size limit for a BOB to hold all that stuff. I plan on making a stand for as long a I can… if and when all else fails, wifey and I will hit the road. It’s 18 miles to Ft. Knox. As a federal employee and an ex-Army medic… hoping they let us in… that is if the shit hasn’t hit the fan there or Marshal Law is initiated. Sorry folks, rambling again. But what would be an ideal size and weight limit for an 18 mile trek?

    • Jon C. Perry says:

      The ideal size would depend on just how much gear you plan on packing. Should be big enough to fit everything you think you will need.

      As for weight limit, I heard that a good rule of thumb is no more than 25% of your body weight. i.e. – you weigh 200# than no more than 50#.

  • Ray says:

    I liked your chooce of bags all very good. I prefer a good haevy iehght bag that can take a lot a wear and tear and keep on going.

  • Kevin says:

    You bag snobs are crazy. If it works for you , then great. I’ve had a great experience with maxpedition bags. They’re high quality and can take a beating. I have one that gets tossed around in my work van and it’s still kicking. No rips or tears. I also have milspecmonkey adapt pack that works well, but is lower quality nylon. It’s great for a day long hike. Use what you like and F everyone else.

  • Pierre says:

    The choices are all great ones. I gave my Condor 3-Day Assault Pack to one of good friends and he’s had it for over 4yrs now. He loves it. Me? My choice is the Blackhawk SOF Rucksack. It’s a tough mother and then some. It’s been discontinued, but I cannot say enough about this ruck. Solid. Durable. The amount of space it has is seriously impressive. Very reliable. I wish we had these rucks in the Marine Corps back in the day, but we had ALICE rucks, those are functional, but the Blackhawk SOF Rucksack is great for bugging out. Glad I got mine when I did.

  • Tom Stickney says:

    In this day and age, there are more people wearing backpacks than I can ever remember. Even with that, I still look at them. I think the only colors that are really stupid are neon colors, or blaze orange. I think features and quality are the only thing that really matters to me, and price.

  • […] Best Bug Out Bags Comparison […]

  • Jeff Hyatt says:

    Marine corps ILBE GREAT pack very comfortable . Walked 23 miles with 42 lbs over a weekend

  • Christine says:

    I love reading suggestions for a bug out bag.I’ve done a lot of wilderness canoe trips using canoe packs. Basically a large bag with carry straps for portaging. Most travel was by paddling so comfort carrying a pack was no concern. My bug out bag will be comfortable to carry and likely weigh 50 lbs of gear to allow me to live comfortably including 2 weeks of mostly dry food. My thought is to make my way to the forest and live comfortably for a few weeks or until it is safe to come out. To suplement my dry carry food I can hunt, fish,and snare . There’s also quite a bit of edible vegetation To be found.
    I had a wilderness canoe trip outfitting business for 9 years in Northern Canada and experimented with many survival products and techniques. I presently live in Illinois but not in a large city and a 15 min drive to a national forest. I’m bringing a few good friends with. later I’ll post a list of my items which might be helpful to some people. I love camping so living in the forest would not be a hardship to endure.

  • Ian Rees says:

    by the way Maxpedition bags are not junk or rubbish they are more water resistant than most because they use 1000-1050 denier which is better for water resistance ,yes they are expensive but you get what you pay for

  • Ian Rees says:

    a Tactical bag does not have to stand out it depends on the colour if your going to use a camo colour of course your going to stand out but if you get solid colours like black or dark brown you will blend in also dont get a monster bag if your 5ft and a fart like me it will be too heavy and could injure yourself 25L should be big enough if your of small stature

  • Does anyone think a mesh back pack would make an ok B.O.B.? I mean I can get a Tacpack, but I already a mesh net one, and I was just wondering if that would be ok?

    • someone says:

      Can you also make a list of non military style hideous covert innocent brave matte non reflective nonshiny black grey dark 15 – 20 L waterproof rolltop backpacks? Real camouflage that helps you to blend in and be forgotten in a second.

      • Ian Rees says:

        I use a Lowepro highline 400 Backpack for Traveling by plane its a great carry on backpack has high water resistance and has its own waterproof cover if the weather turns really bad you can carry 2 or 3 days clothing with no problem and has a 15″ laptop compartment and other well thought out compartments and a water bottle holder both sides

    • ddaniel727 says:

      Hello Nissa,
      I would not recommend a mesh back pack during a Bug-Out-Situation. You will find that they get caught up on limbs, thorny bushes, etc. and they will tear easily. Nothing like having to carry everything in your arms until you can repair the bag. I was a 22-year Special Ops guy for the U.S. military who used his bag in several skirmishes and I would not trust a mesh bag for any SHTF scenario. Just my humble opinion.

  • guy says:

    Is it just me, or am I the only person that thinks that using a tactical looking bag in ANY non-tactical situation is going to draw the wrong kind of attention. The kind that gets you in trouble. Can’t there be a super tough bag that doesn’t have molle all over it? A bag should blend in and look innocent in any situation. I took a maxpedition bag to a fair once, just to take in snacks and drinks, and the police there doing security were all over my bag. They thought I was armed. Well, I wasn’t, except with Doritos and Dr. pepper. Not only that, at the prices that some of these bags sell, you’d get robbed just for having them. What’s inside is just the bonus stuff for the thief.

    • Robert says:

      I think a BOB needs to be more low key I was thinking Osprey or Northface…hiking bags…since some situations can lead people to the woods. A hiking pack makes more sense and will draw less attention

    • Craig says:

      Check out the Map 3500. It’s the handed out to the SEALs but it’s designed to look not too tactical.
      You can’t find it on Amazon. It’s sold at Amron Intl.

  • Dave says:

    I wouldn’t choose ANY of these bags. These are all fine for little day trips. but for most people “bugging out” would involve a muliti-day trek over possibly rugged terrain. And you NEED a sleeping bag and at least a bivy sack or something. If you doubt that, you’ve never been camping. Try camping in the mountains for a few days with nothing but a cheap tarp or a so-called emergency blanket. You would freeze overnight. When bugging out, you would be trying to move fast. No time for building a log cabin. You need the necessities to fit into your pack. These packs would get you a few miles, at most. Seriously, you need much more than this. When bugging out, there’s no time for bushcraft. No time for building shelter. And no time for hunting. It all has to go into your pack. These packs would get you dead within a day or two.

    • Ian Rees says:

      The average Joe is not fit enough to carry Huge amounts of gear also people live in different countries and climates so if you live in say the Philippines you would not freeze overnight it is better especially if there are two or three of you in a group to carry their own bags rather than to have a huge backpack looking like a Royal Marine Commando weighing over 50ibs

      • Micheal says:

        Unless you’ve trained to carry that much weight over extended periods of time…

    • Kenn says:

      I’m inclined to agree with your opinion of the pack suggestions, Dave, especially if they’re used as is. Modifications could somewhat enhance their capabilities, I suppose, but why limit yourself when there are so many others that are great “out-of-box” selections.

  • Shane Edwards says:

    If I bugout, my plan it to blend in with nature and avoid people. With that in mind, I use a tactical backpack due to their durability being superior to say a hiking, camping or mountaineering backpack. My current backpack is a Dragon Egg by Direct Action. This is the best tactical backpack on the market and the only people who don’t think so have never seen one in person or owned one. It’s very high quality and intelligently designed. It’s made to be a 24 hour Pack but I have packed it with more than enough to survive indefinitely. I will be buying an Eberlestock V90 Battleship soon to carry even more gear and items for comfort and convenience to better accommodate my family should we need to survive for an indefinite period of time which I will leave at home and then using my Dragon Egg for my daily carry, taking it in my vehicle at all times. I can only assume these companies had no backpacks on this list due to the author’s unfamiliarity with them.

  • Ry says:

    You couldn’t at least one quality pack? What’s with all the Chinese made garbage that will surely fail and fall apart when people will need this item the most to hold it all together. Also not even mentioning the comfort ability of having a good pack. Wearing your listed packs will make you more tired more quickly carrying heavy loads. I have used China made bags before. Always sore backs causing exhaustion and poor decision making. Then I found Kifaru. I’m not rich by any means. But they are worth every penny. American made. Happy 4th of July. Buy American, be American. End rant.

    • Adrian says:

      LOL I own 2 of the listed packs – condor 3 day assault and rush 24 and both are better than the crappy American maxpedition condor II sometimes pal, American just isn’t the best, it’s as simple as that!

      • Bill says:

        I agree with you Adrian. I’ve used expensive, American made bags, and cheap Chinese bags. Typically, the Chinese bags are well worth the money if you get ones that a little bit more expensive than other Chinese ones. If your back is hurts, your bag isn’t packed properly, you don’t have it adjusted properly, or it’s not designed to handle the amount of stuff you put in it. Any good hiker/camper knows that having a bag properly packed makes a huge difference. I’ve done several 2 week long hiking/camping trips in Arizona and New Mexico, on top of countless weekend long camping/hiking trips. You quickly find out if you didn’t pack your bag correctly, and need to stop and redo it (or you’re not going to have a fun time). I’ve used my current BOB on several weekend hiking/camping trips, and it’s handled great. And it’s from China. Just as good quality as any of the bags listed here at 3 times it’s price. Look for a taller bag, and try to find one that doesn’t expand out from your back that far. Wider side-to-side and taller will allow you to hold the weight closer to your back, reducing the stress on your body while still being able to hold a good amount of stuff.

      • Ry says:

        Maxpediton is American? I wouldn’t use that to save my life.

        Obviously you have never heard of Kifaru, Hill People Gear, Tactical Tailor, or even Mystery Ranch.

        Your lose in the long run I guess. Go Chinese if you wish.

  • Trek Warrior says:

    Great comparison Bug Out Bag Academy! I like your selections.

    We put together a review of the top ones too, and for our findings, the Condor 3 Day Assault Pack is the major winner. It has fantastic quality, superb layout, great size, and is extremely cheap for what you get.

  • Steven says:

    Great replies from Lands and Kyle. You took the words right out of my mouth. I will also add that tactical bags are heavier due to the nature of their construction. Maybe my eyes aren’t so good, but the shoulder straps pictured don’t look particularly good for load bearing.

  • Kyle says:

    Just a friendly heads up, Sports Authority & Sport Chalet around the country are going out of business. I picked up the Wife and I two North Face Terra 40’s for under $99. These sell for $150-$170 depending on the site.
    The Bages are true Hiking packs and have the proper straps and padding for actually carrying a bag of this fill for that time frame. Came with rain cover as well. Look into the chances and good luck.

  • Lands says:

    Why are all of the B.O.B choices here look tactical? What about the idea of blending in, going unnoticed? I like tactical gear as much as the next guy or gal but I do not want to draw unwanted attention.

    • David says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you’re bugging out, won’t most other people be doing the same? And regardless if your bag is tactical or not, you’re gonna stand out in a crowd. Especially if you somehow have secret knowledge that is causing you to bug out. You’re gonna be the only person in your area rolling around with a hiking pack packed to the gills set for a cross-country expedition. Tactical or not, at least you’re prepped. You’re either going to blend in (everyones bugging out) or not (you’re the only one).

      • Ian Rees says:

        the 511 bag is a Brilliant bag also Direct Action Egg mk 2 one thing to remember the higher the denier the more water resistant your bag will be also look for zip flaps which cover the zips and help keep water out

    • Dave says:

      If you’re bugging out, it means something really bad is happening. If so, it won’t matter if you’re wearing a “tactical” bag or a pink Hello Kitty backpack. Anyone with food or supplies would be looked at as someone to rob or kill. Blending in is a stupid idea – the idea is to AVOID other people.

      • Kenn says:

        I agree, Dave. There’s undue concern about blending in & that camo [of any pattern] is bad. Kids in primary school use camo book bags! As you wrote, if you’re bugging out, others are too. Avoiding strangers when prudent is key.