11 Best Bushcraft Backpacks for Wilderness Survival

the best bushcraft backpack

I have to admit, the idea of buying a buy-it-for-life backpack is tempting.

Make no mistake about it, such super-durable bushcraft backpacks exist. They will keep your gear protected from the elements and occasional knocks, and also offer excellent comfort.

But picking the right model from the wide range of options in the market is a tough task.

To make your task easier, we tried out a whole range of “tactical” backpacks, went through their features, and checked out the user feedback. In the end, we have this list of top bushcraft bags for you.

Finally, the numero uno spot for the best bushcraft backpack went to the 5.11 Rush 12 backpack.

So, stick with me here as we check out the top options and discuss the tips for selecting the right bushcraft backpack.

Best Backpacks for Bushcraft: Our Favorites

Pros:

Cons:

This EDC-style assault pack is extremely well-designed and can easily clear any outdoor challenges you might throw at it.

The outer material is 1050D nylon with wrap-around MOLLE webbing. The material is tough and the bag feels sturdy in all aspects. The seams and YKK zippers are strong enough to handle heavy loads.

At 24 liters the overall storage capacity is limited. So, it’s best used for trips lasting a day or two.

The backpack has 16 compartments, along with a laptop pouch that can hold a 15-inch device. There’s also a multi-slot admin compartment that allows you to store miscellaneous survival gear. The abundance of small pockets is definitely a big plus.

What we loved was the attention to detail.

For example, a fleece-lined sunglass pocket prevents damage to your eyewear.

Then again, an internal 60oz. hydration pouch is placed between the compartments to minimize leakage in case the hydration reservoir springs a leak. 

Even when fully loaded, the backpack feels comfortable on the shoulders; thanks to the adjustable shoulder straps and the excellent padding on the back panels.

However, some users may feel the lack of a hip belt.

And if you’re looking for an affordable option, you‘ll need to look elsewhere. This is a pricey backpack.

Overall, this isn’t just one of the best bushcraft bags, but also a solid choice as an EDC or travel pack

Best Budget Bushcraft Backpack

Pros:

Cons:

Anyone looking for a heavy-duty bushcraft backpack at an affordable price will find this product from Reebow Gear a great option. 

Even with the addition of tactical webbing, the design has been kept subtle. That allows you to use it for EDC as well.

With a double-stitched construction and heavy-duty zippers, the backpack is sturdy enough for rough use. The outer fabric feels durable and is water resistant.

On the outside, the bag looks compact. But surprisingly there is plenty of interior space. 

The 40-liter capacity is great for an outdoor trip of 3 to 4 days. In addition, the Molle webbing allows you to attach extra tactical gear.

The interiors have four compartments in total. However, the organization options are limited; especially if you’re carrying a tablet or a laptop. 

The padding in the back and on the shoulder straps is ventilated to offer breathability. There are compression straps and a hip belt too. It’s also compatible with a hydration bladder.

On the downside, some users found the compression straps to be extra-long. So make sure to adjust the straps properly.

Considering the price, the backpack offers excellent value. We recommend it wholeheartedly for budget buyers.

Pros:

Cons:

Do you think what looks good can’t be practical?

The 24BattlePack tactical assault backpack can change your ideas. We found it to be a great-looking backpack with a thoughtful design that’s ideal for bushcraft.

For starters, the overall quality of the material, zippers, and stitching is top-notch. Apart from a MOLLE grid, it has polymer D-rings and a carabiner clip that allows you to attach a variety of additional gear.

Next, the collapsible design allows you to change the capacity from 20 to 40 liters. The interiors contain a bunch of pockets and compartments, including a dedicated one for holding a 17-inch laptop.

To top it off, it has a built-in gun holster. It’s hydration bladder compatible as well.

There’s a chest strap and a waist strap that provide extra support when the pack is fully loaded.

The long-term performance is great. You can expect it to last for a few years without falling apart at the seams.

Some users mentioned that the shoulder straps could have been wider. The padding in the laptop compartment is limited too. But considering the fact that this isn’t an EDC bag, that’s nitpicking.

At this price, the 24BattlePack from Tacticon packs a solid punch. If you’re looking for a premium-grade bushcraft backpack without breaking the bank, go for it.

Best Canvas Bushcraft Backpack

Pros:

Cons:

Personally, I don’t prefer using canvas backpacks as they aren’t waterproof and are on the heavier side.  But if you prefer using canvas for durability, this product from Gootium is worth a closer look.

The backpack is made from high-density canvas that’s soft and durable. With a drawstring closure, it offers a classic look. The combination of leather and high-quality hardware adds to the durability.

Admittedly, it can handle abuse like a champ. And at 1.1 lbs., it doesn’t feel too heavy either

But the buckles can be a pain to open when you need to retrieve something quickly.

Since the material is soft, the backpack doesn’t have much rigidity. If you’re using a canvas bag for the first time you might need some time to get used to this. For other users, this shouldn’t be an issue at all.

The maximum capacity of the pack is 30 liters. The interiors are roomy but there’s only one zippered pocket. Additionally, there’s a front pocket and two side pockets for storing small items.

There’s not much padding on the shoulder straps. Even so, they feel comfortable. But the lack of a waist strap can be an issue for some users.

We wouldn’t recommend this backpack for multi-day field trips for its lack of practical features. But it works well for overnight trips.

Best Bushcraft Rucksack

Pros:

Cons:

The V90 Battleship from Eberlestock is a mountaineering-style backpack that’s ideal for multi-day bushcraft trips. It’s loaded with multiple practical features that make it one of the best rucksacks in the market.

The outer material is 1000D Cordura nylon fabric that offers solid durability and is waterproof.  

The capacity is 6100 cubic inches or around 99 liters. Quite simply, you can easily pack all the essentials needed for extended bushcraft journeys.

What else?

One great design feature is that you can separate the internal compartment into two halves by using a drawstring closure. That allows you to isolate items as needed. In addition, there are multiple internal pockets for storage.

Other features include heavy-duty compression straps and internal, as well as external PALS webbing.

The padding is great too. Users mentioned that even when carrying the fully loaded rucksack, the shoulder straps offered sufficient comfort.

With a weight of over 8 lbs., this is a heavy rucksack. But considering the superior quality and the volume, the weight is within the acceptable range.

Since the pack is designed for both top and front loading it also works great as a camping backpack. Moreover, you can remove the top compartment and use it as a wearable fanny pack

On the downside, it’s an expensive rucksack. But if you want a bombproof rucksack that can carry tons of gear, this is a great pick.

Best Bushcraft Daypack

Pros:

Cons:

Not many backpacks offer the right balance of casual everyday use with the right tactical features needed for day trips in the wild. SOG has done a good job with the design of the Ninja from that aspect.

The daypack offers an understated design along with ample MOLLE webbing that establishes its “tactical” credentials. 

The capacity of this daypack is 24.2-liter- good enough for regular bushcraft trips. It has a large main compartment and three smaller pockets. 

The front accessory pocket also comes with an organizer. It also includes a hydration bladder pocket.

SOG uses a high-quality polyester material on the outside that’s water-repellent.  By using the adjustable straps and the sternum strap slider you can tweak the fit. 

Beyond that, the ergonomically contoured foam back makes it a compatible backpack to carry.

Admittedly, we have no complaints about the quality. You can expect this pack to hold up for a few years. That said, some users mentioned issues with the zippers.

Bottom line: SOG has designed one of the best bushcraft packs that’s ideal for day trips. And even if you need to pack a few extra items, you’ll find it ready for heavy lifting.

Five Other Bushcraft Backpack Picks

If you want a rucksack that’s durable and affordable, check out the Explorer 4000 from Teton Sports.

The outer material is a combination of 600D ripstop nylon and 600D Oxford canvas. The overall capacity is 65 liters. It has multiple side pockets and webbing at the sides for additional gear.

There are aluminum stays to provide rigidity to the bag. In addition, it also has a torso adjustment feature to fit various body types. The shoulder and waist straps are ergonomically designed for optimum comfort.

The open-cell foam in the back also has channels to ensure airflow. Quite simply, the overall comfort levels even when it’s fully loaded are first-rate.

Anyone looking for a backpack for hard use will find this one a solid option.

Considering the capacity of 40 liters, the Zulu seems to be a pricey option. But it’s a great lightweight option for one-day bushcraft missions.

Firstly, it has a 3D comfort cradle system that hugs the body to provide a super-comfortable fit. The dynamic suspension system used by Gregory works like a charm.

Next, the combination of high-density nylon and polyester makes it a durable option. There are plenty of features like an integrated hydration clip, multiple access points, large hip-belt pockets, comfort-grip zippers, and more.

In terms of design and features the Zulu stands somewhere between a day pack and a backpack. It comes in two sizes and has 10 centimeters of vertical adjustability.

If you want high-end features and don’t mind the hefty price tag, go for it.

This large rucksack backpack from WintMing is ideal for a 4-to-6-day trip. And the affordable price tag makes it a great value for money option.

The bag is made from 900D oxford fabric that’s tear and scratch-resistant. Besides, it comes with high-density three-cord-thread stitching for long-lasting durability

Surprisingly, even with the larger size, the WintMing has kept the weight restricted to 2.86 lbs.

There’s plenty of internal space with multiple compartments and pockets. The external MOLLE system adds to the overall versatility. Some users added that this bag will fit everything except the kitchen sink.

In short, if you’re specifically looking for a large backpack, this one is worth a closer look.

This system comes with a freighter frame and an 86-liter backpack. The external frame comes with a shelf for carrying additional gear.

On the downside, you can’t separate the pack from the extra elements and use it.

The overall construction is great and you can depend on it as a heavy hauler. The aluminum frame is well-designed and can be adjusted to fit your body type.

Apart from the main pocket, there are lots of smaller pockets to store items. It has a middle divider and bottom entry zipper for better access and organization. There are webbing loops and a daisy chain for more flexibility.

Comparing the features and carrying capacity to the price tag, we feel the bag offers great value. Overall, a good solution for anyone looking for a spacious and versatile backpack for outdoor adventures.

While this isn’t a backpack, Helikon-Tex has created an ideal field bag for one-day field trips. At 

1.06 lb., it’s super light, but the 17-liter capacity is good enough for carrying all the essentials.

The Cordura 500D nylon fabric offers great durability and the overall quality is top-notch. The well-designed shoulder strap makes carrying it extremely comfortable

While the design is simple, it can hold a sufficient amount of gear. There are dual internal drawstring pockets for water bottles as well.

Moreover, it has PALS/MOLLE side panels along with dual external sheaths for carrying knives or an ax. There are compression straps as well.

If you want something smaller than a backpack for a day trip, this product is definitely a great choice.

bushcraft

Choosing the Best Bushcraft Backpack

The choice between daypacks, rucksacks, travel bags, and minimalist backpacks can leave any shopper confused. The fact is, the type of backpack you choose matters. 

Since there’s a wide range of backpacks in the market, choosing the right one is closely related to understanding your needs and preferences.

And when you are choosing products for bushcraft, special attention should be paid to the details of a pack.

Purpose

One of the first points to keep in mind is choosing a backpack that suits your purpose. Basically, you’ll need a pack that suits your range of activities.

Think of all the utilities and survival tools you need to carry and whether they will fit in the backpack. 

The design of the pack will also depend on whether you settle down in one location or move around between various points. If you need to carry a lot of electronic devices, think of their size and weight. Not all backpacks are designed for carrying gadgets that need extra padding for protection.

For any outdoor trip, the weather is a major factor. So, take into account the weather protection the backpack offers.

Also, you might want to pick a versatile backpack that can be used as an EDC bag too. So, choosing the right design is important.

Material and Waterproofing

The material plays the most important role in determining the durability of a backpack. Ideally, robust nylon or polyester materials and YKK-grade zippers are the best combinations for outdoor use.

Here are some common materials that are used in backpacks.

Canvas– Canvas is a cotton material that’s durable and inexpensive. Traditional canvases are heavy and not waterproof. However, some modern canvas fabrics are mixed with synthetic elements to reduce weight and improve waterproofing.

Rip-stop Nylon-  This is a lightweight nylon fabric that’s specially woven in an interlocking pattern to prevent rips and tears. In addition, it’s lightweight and water resistant.

Cordura- Cordura is a woven nylon fabric that’s tough and was first used for the military. The Cordura fibers have a high tensile strength that makes them resistant to wear and tears. There are various forms of Cordura used for different types of survival gear.

Let’s not forget, durability and waterproofing not only depend on the material but also on the quality of the stitching. Since the seams are most susceptible to tears, double stitching is the best option.

Generally, most backpacks are water-resistant and not waterproof. You can apply water repellents and seam sealers to make the material waterproof. Otherwise, pick a backpack with an integrated rain cover.

Capacity

Quite simply, the capacity of the backpack you need depends on the amount of gear you need to carry and the duration of the trip. But keep in mind that the higher capacity will also increase the weight of the pack.

For day trips, backpacks between 25 to 35 liters should do the job. When you need to carry items for a multi-day trip, a backpack with a 50-to-60-liter capacity is the best choice.

In case of longer trips (think of more than 5 nights) that need more gear, pick rucksacks that have a capacity of around 70 liters.

But that’s not all…

The size also determines the fit and the overall aesthetics of the backpack. While aesthetics is all about personal preference while the fit depends on the pack design.

For the right fit, check the torso length and hip size of the pack. In general, medium or regular-sized backpacks are ideal for torsos between 18 to 20 inches.

Weight

For some outdoor gear, weight isn’t a factor. But that’s not the case for shoulder bags.

Obviously, large-capacity backpacks will have more weight. Beyond that, the weight also depends on the material you pick. 

Longer rucksacks with a higher capacity come with an internal frame for stability and load support. While that increases weight, these backpacks are more comfortable.

If your trip is short and doesn’t involve extensive hiking, you can choose a frameless design. Otherwise, it’s best to choose synthetic fabrics that are lighter.

Comfort 

Last but not least, you need a comfortable bushcraft pack that won’t bite your back with every step. The three main aspects of that are backside design, shoulder straps, and the amount of padding.

In other words, padded shoulder straps and waist belts add to the overall comfort factor. The back of the pack should be contoured as per the natural arch of the lower back along with sufficient padding. That said, too much foam padding can make the backpack uncomfortable.

And make sure that the back area is ventilated to allow sufficient airflow and provide better thermal comfort.

Ideally, most of the backpack weight should be concentrated on your hip and the leg muscles. Go for adjustable straps that allow you to do that. The other important step is to ensure that the weight inside the pack is evenly distributed. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re planning to learn the basics of bushcraft, spending extra bucks for a superior backpack makes a lot of sense. However, there are backpacks that offer solid reliability and durability at reasonable prices.

In the end, it’s all about your needs, design preferences, and budget.

We have marked the 5.11 Rush 12 backpack as our top choice as the best bushcraft backpack. Even though it comes at a higher price, the design, quality, and comfort make it worth the price tag.

If you want something larger to carry more bushcraft gear, check out the Eberlestock Battleship pack that offers a solid combination of high capacity and comfort.

Time to give it a go.

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