When selecting a bug out backpack — particularly if you’re in the market for a “bug out brand” backpack — you’ll be shown recommendations for a range of tactical backpacks manufactured by Sandpiper.
I’ll be honest: I used to have a Sandpiper pack. It worked fabulously for carrying all of the little trinkets that I could fasten using MOLLE pouches.
However, after doing some more reading online and considering overhauling my bug out bag system, I decided: a camping backpack would be much, much better than a bugout brand backpack.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Bug Out Brand Backpack
It’s a big, HUGE tell that you know what’s going on. If you should ever have to put your bug out plans into practice, there isn’t a faster way to attract attention by having a tactical-looking bag strapped onto your back. You become a target — simply because you’re advertising that you may have military experience, or that you’re a survivalist with a plan (which is more than the majority of the population can say).
Bug out brand backpacks are not all that comfortable for hiking. My Sandpiper just didn’t retain its shape that well once I loaded it up, and it strained my back after awhile. The lumps cut into my back unless I packed it just right; the waist straps just didn’t cut it for weight distribution, especially when hiking several miles. I much, much preferred using my North Face camping backpack.
Why You Should Buy a Camping Backpack Instead of a Bug Out Brand Backpack
It’s easier to strap tents/sleeping bags to a camping backpack. My bug out brand backpack didn’t have the system in place for strapping a tent and/or sleeping bag to the bottom, which is key for my bug out strategy. A camping backpack, on the other hand, is designed to haul everything you may need, including a tent AND sleeping bag.
Better support and framing. This is just in my experience, but the breathability of camping and hiking backpacks really adds to comfort when you’re trekking several miles. Due to the better frames of hiking packs, they also retain their shape better.
If SHTF, camping backpacks don’t raise curiosity. Even now, I don’t notice camping backpacks as much as I notice tactical backpacks. I often wonder why people carry tactical packs out in public places, for example — maybe they just like the design, maybe they’re former marine, or maybe they, too, are survivalists.
Camping Backpack Brands to Consider for a Bugout Bag
Osprey – Cream of the crop. You won’t find a more durable bag, or a bag that is capable of storing more stuff while still distributing the weight evenly. (My current bugout backpack is an Osprey Farpoint.)
Kelty – I’ve never used one, but Kelty has been making packs for years and fall at the more affordable end of the hiking backpack spectrum.
Note: Ordinarily, I would only include packs designed for a woman’s build as this website is called girls prep guide — however, packs for women tend to be bright colors not found in nature, so I’ve also included men’s/unisex packs that tend to be more subtle in color.