Comfort matters. In logging around a significant amount of weight, your back and shoulders need sufficient support, whatever the weight may be. Regarding a survival backpack, the back panel and the shoulder straps should be comfortable, providing you with the support your body requires. This will ensure that you can enjoy your backpack without fuss or annoyance.
Before purchasing your survival backpack, it’s important to consider what you’ll be using the backpack primarily for. Whether you’re a casual outdoor enthusiast, going on a hunting trip, shooting trip, camping for the weekend or a wanderlust backpacker, our bodies, notably our backs, require sufficient support if weight is being carried. This is why it is important to ensure that you choose a backpack with a proper support system in place.
Value is always one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing just about anything. Regarding survival backpacks, determining whether or not the backpack you’re considering purchasing will bring you the most value is for you first to determine your intended usage for the backpack.
If you are a survivalist or outdoor enthusiast, your needs and lifestyle may differ from a backpacker who lives a nomadic lifestyle on the go with all their life essentials stored into one sack. Due to such, you should determine your intended usages, what you’ll be needing to carry and for how long. From there, you should be able to decide whether or not the survival backpack you’re considering purchasing will bring you value.
Regardless of your intended usage, always purchase a backpack that is made with quality materials. You are guaranteed to get your money’s worth when choosing quality. If a backpack is cheaply made, you will be able to tell immediately by its lifespan or durability.
Not every backpack is made equal as this applies to just about everything in life. Take into account the materials in the fabric, the materials used in the back panel and shoulder straps, and the zippers. At the end of the day, the best backpacks are durable and dependable, two factors dependent on the materials used.
As always, purchase a survival backpack that is meant to last as there is no point in purchasing a survival backpack that is not durable. A quality survival backpack should be weather resistant and rip/tear-resistant. Moreover, the zippers should be made of sound material. Zippers can often be overlooked when scouting out the ideal backpack despite them being one of, if not, the most important feature to put into consideration in regards to determining durability.
It’s smart to look at the backpack’s design if you are unsure of its level of durability. What materials are used for the fabric? What type of materials are used for the zipper? What type of foam is used in the back panel and shoulder straps? What material is the mesh composed of? Does the fabric seem prone to ripping or tearing? Do the zippers seem faulty? Questions like these can be of aid if you are unsure about the backpack’s durability.
There are several factors to be considered in determining the effectiveness of a survival backpack. In creating this list, we consider the previously mentioned criteria to determine the level of effectiveness of the backpacks.
However, keep in mind that effectiveness is another criterion that can be subjective. Consider first your needs, usage, and frequency as previously mentioned, to determine whether the chosen backpack will be effective for you and your unique needs. Nonetheless, if you are still uncertain, at the very least, choose a backpack with a quality back panel and thick shoulder straps to ensure your body is provided with proper support.
What’s the difference between a normal backpack (or daypack) and a survival backpack (hiking/trekking, travelers, hunting backpack)? That’s a fair question as they both differ from one another. Even the various “survival” backpacks differ from one another as well in their forms, features, and functions. While they may look the same in their overall appearance at first glance (despite the differences in the size of course) these two main types of backpacks have one key factor that separates them entirely — support (sophisticated suspension systems).
Hiking/trekking, traveling and hunting backpacks all come with an internal frame to ensure back support. These internal frames come with a sophisticated padding system made of different types of internal foam and external breathable material to ensure back support. This ensures that the wearer of the backpack will have sufficient support for long term wear.
It is also important to mention external frames. Some hiking/trekking and hunting backpacks come with an additional external frame to further ensure back support. These external frames are different from internal frames as they are designed to support the largest weight hauled for a long duration of time. They are a further assurance for the wearer needing additional support for a significant more amount of weight that will be carried on the back.
Hiking/trekking, traveling and hunting backpacks also come with thick, padded shoulder straps. These straps too serve to provide additional support for the wearer. This is because these backpacks are designed to carry heavy or large loads for long treks or durations of time. Some even go the extra mile and come equipped with a hip belt to support your waist as well as a sternum strap around your chest. This keeps the backpack secured on your body and prevents further bobbing while you move during your hike, trek or travel.
Front Loading vs Top Loading
As you’ve read through this list, you may have the terms “front-loading” and “top-loading” and thought, what’s the difference? Maybe you were confused about the purpose these different “loading techniques” serve and why some backpacks were top-loading while the other was front loading. These “loading techniques” both serve different purposes as they are designed depending on the type of survival backpack: hiking/trekking, travel, or hunting.
Front-loading backpacks are open and close from the front of the back, similar to a suitcase for the user to locate and retrieve gear quickly. They too feature additional compartments (both internal and external) as well as front or side pockets. These backpackers tend to be made primarily for travelers.
Top-loading backpacks require the user to have to dig deep in the backpack to retrieve items. Because of this, they also come with additional side pockets for small items and accessibility and sometimes an additional bottom compartment to store a sleeping bag. Hiking backpacks tend to be top-loading. Hunting backpacks can come as either top loading or front loading.
Types of Survival Backpacks
As you’ve seen so far, we’ve mentioned three types of survival backpacks: hiking/trekking, traveler and hunting backpacks. While these are only three of a wide range of backpacks, these are the three most common types within the survival backpack category. They are similar in their ability to carry a range of capacities and most come with sophisticated suspension systems (be it internal or external frames), each of these backpacks too serves its own purpose as seen in their name.
Hiking/trekking backpacks are backpacks made specifically for hikers or trekkers. They vary in capacity from 30 to 70 liters or larger, depending on the trek. Weekend packs (1-3 nights) are normally 30-50 liters, multi day packs (3-5 nights) are about 50-80 liters, and extended trip (5+ nights) packs can be 70 liters or larger. While they vary in size, hiking/trekking backpacks are normally top-loading (as previously mentioned) and come with ventilation and suspension systems for support (either internal frame, external frame or both). Most feature a bottom or top compartment for a sleeping bag, a variety of external and internal pockets, compartments, and pouches and some an additional removable daypack or top lid. These backpacks also typically come with an additional hip belt and sternum strap.
Travel backpacks too come in a variety of sizes and capacities. This range is similar to hiking/trekking backpacks (refer to the section above) as they are typically built for backpackers or nomadic living. These backpacks tend to be front loading as previously mentioned and support various internal and external compartments, pockets, and pouches for strategic packing. They too come with sophisticated ventilation and suspension systems for support as they are designed for prolonged wear. Some come with an additional hip belt and or sternum strap.
Hunting backpacks are a hybrid of a hiking/trekking backpack and a travel backpack with additional compartments for hunting gear or concealment for carrying. These backpacks too typically come with an additional external frame to support the haul of game post-hunt. They also come with sophisticated suspension systems similar to hiking/trekking backpacks for additional support and the multitude of compartments seen in both hiking/trekking and travel backpacks.
Other Factors to Consider
Survival backpacks should be portable. Whether the backpack comes in a small size and capacity or large size and capacity, every survival backpack should be portable for it to serve its purpose.
Furthermore, if the survival backpack comes in a larger size and capacity, it should have additional features such as a sophisticated suspension system to ensure that the backpack can properly distribute the weight in the backpack accordingly.
It may be important to consider the brand when purchasing your chosen backpack. As always suggested, do a quick search on the brand online if you’re unsure of their reputation. Online backpacking, outdoor recreation, and hunting communities are very vocal in their favorite and most trusted brands. Review their online community forums if desired (some do require you to register first, however). If you couldn’t be bothered, read through the brand’s Amazon reviews to save time.
Also, keep in mind that there will always be countless knockoffs posing as popular brands, so be aware of this when making your purchase. Still, keep this into consideration and properly vet the brand before purchasing your product.
The size of a survival backpack is another factor to put into consideration before making your purchase. As we’ve seen, survival backpacks can come in a variety of sizes (or capacities). As previously stated, they vary in capacity from 30 to 70 liters or larger.
Weekend packs (1-3 nights) are normally 30-50 liters, multi day packs (3-5 nights) are about 50-80 liters, and extended trip (5+ nights) packs can be 70 liters or larger. Some can even go up to 150 liters. Depending on your intended use, the backpack’s size (or capacity) should be considered.
Weather resistance (and water resistance even) is another factor you should put into consideration. The weather is unpredictable. You may think you’ve planned your hike, camping trip, day of departure or hunting week getaway on a nice sunny forecast until a small sprinkle becomes a downpour. It’s always smarter to ensure your backpack is weather resistant or at least water-resistant.
Check out the materials, see if they are made of ripstop, nylon or polyester material. These are normally water-resistant. It would be the worst-case scenario for an unpredicted downpour and an ill-designed backpack resulting in your completely ruined belongings.
The bottom line considers all the criteria mentioned above into one final bottom line. Comfort, value, effectiveness, durability, brand, water/weather resistance, size, portability each together are what determines the item on this lists’ bottom line. The bottom line considers all the criteria mentioned above into one final, bottom line.
Is it truly valuable? Is this product effective? Is it time tested and durable? Is it portable? Does its size suit my needs? Will my belongings be safe from the elements? Is this a trustworthy brand? Is the backpack comfortable giving me the proper support needed for my use? If you believe that your desired backpack has answered all or the majority of these questions positively, then you may have found your ideal backpack.