The Prepper Journal

Best Bug Out Backpacks for Women

Selecting, testing, and taking care of your bag out backpack should be a real priority when it comes to being prepared. There is a lot of tactical gear out there and bug out backpacks are not created equally.  In this article, we will discuss the criteria for selecting the best bug out backpack for women. Beyond helping you choose the right item, I will share some essential criteria I discovered when selecting my own bug out backpack. Primarily, these are self-awareness and common sense.


γνῶθι σαυτόν – gnothi se auton – know yourself


This ancient Greek aphorism fits perfectly in many cases where you are making a decision that will impact you in some way. It is useful also as the first step we need to consider while selecting our bug out backpack of choice. No one is going to carry your bug out backpack but you, so you need to pay extra care when it comes to deciding which bug out backpack to purchase.

While bug out backpacks can also be used for less dangerous activities, like backpacking, that should not diminish the care you take in their selection. For gear like this where you could be depending upon it to save your life, you should not focus first on trendy colors or unnecessary details. Stay focused on the details that will really matter in your intended use-case for this item.

Best Bug Out Backpacks for Women - The Prepper Journal
The author practicing her tracking skills.

Read More Bug out bag checklist and first aid checklist.

When shopping for bug out backpacks, carefully observe the shape and pragmatism of each backpack. Remember, that every bug out backpack is designed differently with various intended uses. When you consider your scenario for packing this bag, strapping it on, and walking away from your home, the bag you chose should be unique to you.

Your own personal situation is fluid; therefore, your body and your mind must adapt to that as part of the decision-making process. This is especially true when you are carrying a load which contains gear and tools which could save your – and your beloved ones – life.

Choosing and, consequentially, testing the perfect bug out backpack can take months, sometimes years. Over long periods of time, in fact, you may lose or gain weight, you will indeed get older or you may suffer from an unexpected physical issue that affects your abilities. All these factors must be considered when you are looking for something which should be 100% adaptive to your body.

Criteria beyond any purchase

In less than six years, I honestly admit I changed more than twenty bug out backpacks.

It is an impressive number, and I am well aware of how that might seem unrealistic to the average woman shopping for a bug out backpack. I would find myself feeling disappointed shortly after trying a new bag out and using them in real-life uses. If it wasn’t one thing it was another. Some backpacks would give me backaches, others put too much pressure on my waistline. Many backpacks I tried would fatigue my shoulders too quickly. Some bug out backpacks just didn’t work well for my intended use, much less the comfort issues I was having.

I tried many different versions in the search for the perfect backpack for me. I tried backpacks with or without waist belts, with thin or thick shoulder straps, with a unique central pouch, or with lots of pockets.

In the end, I realized the main issue was not with the backpacks I was choosing, it was me. Time after time, my body, as well as my mind, went through several changes and this impacted how I was able to carry a backpack in the first place. Some of the changes I went through were:

By saying that, I can tell you that testing various products is not only good, but essential to know more about yourself and the requirements your bag out backpack should have according to what I define “the three a”: acknowledgment, acuity, and accuracy.

Choose the bug out backpack that works best for you

Once you have considered your current physical condition and have accounted for any chronic physical debilitation, you can start to refine your focus of what you are really looking for in a bug out backpack. Generally speaking, bulky and tall men’s backpacks don’t work well for many women. I am 5’ 5” tall and 114 pounds.

Typical men’s backpacks are much more cumbersome, and they do not allow you to fully raise your head because it is hitting the pack. This hurts your neck especially on steep slopes and makes seeing ahead of you more difficult. The poor visibility is exacerbated by the difficulty to get to your side pockets in an easy way on some backpacks. You necessarily must drop your pack on the ground before you can get what you need out of the pack.

For this reason, I moved from a Tasmanian Tiger range pack MK II (100-liter capacity) to a Berghaus (Military line) Vulcan II Military Rucksack. These two backpacks have an opposite design.

The Range Pack MK II, in fact, has a much slenderer outline.

The Vulcan II, instead, has a traditional alpine design, with two roomy side pouches for canteens and medical kit. I do personally prefer this design due to the breathable back, the adaptability to my body, and the necessity to have a singular, central room and two spacious lateral ones.

Having the additional pockets allows me to keep my gear divided according to my needs and to the features of each situation.

Bug Out Backpack packing list:

Main Room:


  • Dry and clean clothes
  • Raincoat
  • warm clothes
  • proper shoes
  • scarfs
  • hats

Protection and shelter


  • Purifying tablets or Water Filtering Systems
  • Betadine
  • energy bars
  • MRE
  • aluminum cutlery
  • canteens
  • collapsible bottles
  • jerrycan

ID Documents and stationery

  • Personal documents and licenses
  • Pen/pencil
  • colored pencils
  • permanent marker
  • Rainproof notebook

Tools and weapons

Side pouch #1

Hygiene products and First Aid

  • First Aid Kit
  • Duct Tape
  • Tourniquet
  • Tooth products
  • menstruation items


Side pouch #2


  • Mobile Phone
  • Compass
  • maps of the area
  • GPS
  • Batteries
  • charging station
  • pace counter
  • watch
  • adequate marking items

Energy bars

What is the best bug out backpacks for women?

Sometimes it is not all about fixing the shoulder straps or the waist belts in the right way. And you better get familiar with these inconveniences while testing, instead of getting caught up in distress during a bag out situation.

I am not saying that the Vulcan II is the best item on the market for women. If you are looking for some reliable products, which feature waist belt, flexible shoulder straps, and a good, once again, adaptive and breathable back I would suggest great bug out backpacks for women are:

Helikon-Tex Matilda

Helikon-Tex Bushcraft Line, Matilda Backpack
Three external buckled pockets with drawstring sleeves. Hydration systems compatible

Tasmanian Tiger Modular Tactical Backpack 45l

Tasmanian Tiger Range Pack Mk II, 100L
With gear capacity for most 4-7 day trips, the Bora AR 61 backpack leverages hybrid materials and advanced hipbelt technology.

Arc’teryx Bora AR 61 Backpack Women’s

No products found.

Please note that the Arc’teryx is pretty expensive and it doesn’t have any side pouch. Just do not forget that every gear has pros and cons, and our decisions actually depend on our budget influence as well as on our needs and preferences.

Additional considerations

Put yourself into the right mindset: opt for durable gear, pay more for lightweight construction. Take great care to consider some conditions that you could face that the choice in bug out backpack would effect. What visibility do you want to have? In some scenarios, camo patterns could help you stay less visible than others but in the wrong situation, it could paint a target on your back.

Avoid flashy colors (very climbing-traditional) like fluorescent ones. Look for reliable zippers as well, and go for the most silent ones or give a try to buttons: they work perfectly in an escape and evasion context. Avoiding unnecessary noise, in fact, is mandatory in case you won’t get detected.

Developing a sharp mind is pretty essential and it weighs nothing. In fact, it will help us to face and overcome any hardships a SHTF event may involve. Our bug out backpack should be a reflection of our knowledge, attitude, and skills.

Let me stress out that every single piece of gear must be stored in if it has at least one purpose. In case it has several, then we should carry at least two pieces. By that, do not stuff too much your bag out backpacks.

While selecting the best bug out backpack for you, please also consider the possibility:

  • to carry processed wild game meat
  • to bring new items we find
  • to carry someone else’ gear

and so on. Having additional room in your bug out backpack always makes sense.


By selecting the right bug out backpack for your needs and personal situation, you choose a lifesaver. Check it periodically to assess if the gear itself and the contents are in good condition. Excessive humidity or heat can damage them. Test it, overstress it, and become familiar with it in any weather conditions or terrain.

Make your bug out backpack a natural extension of your body and it will be a piece of gear that will always work for you.

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