Comparison Between Bug-Out Bag Vs. Hiking Backpack

How many differences between a bug-out bag vs. hiking backpack can you tell? If you are still confused, this comparison will get you covered. Let’s see!

Top 3 Good Budget Bug-Out Bag

Top 3 Good Budget Hiking Backpack

#1. Bug-Out Bag Vs. Hiking Backpack: Comparison Table

A bug-out bag is a survival kit that carries survival essentials for at least 72 hours. We mainly use it to evacuate and flee our houses.

Meanwhile, a hiking backpack has compartments and pockets to keep your stuff tiny in a tight space. It helps a lot with your trekking and hiking.

This comparison table will give you a rundown of how different these bags are. Please check it first, and we will discuss each difference in the following section.

Criteria  Bug Out Bag Hiking Backpack
Designed For Sudden events Hiking and trekking
Capacity 40 to 50 liters 60 to 70 liters
Weight 2 to 6 pounds 3 to 7 pounds
Durability Excellent Good
Style Simple Varying
Materials  Multiple options Multiple options
Packing Unplanned Planned
Price  Less expensive More expensive

#2. What Is The Difference Between Bug-Out Bag Vs. Hiking Backpack?

Simply put, we use the two kinds of bags for different purposes. Hence, they differ in capacity, weight, durability, comfort, materials, packing, and price.


The ideal size for a bug-out bag is 40 to 50 liters. Try to leave some extra space in the bag if you find something helpful.

The problem is that you don’t know how long the unexpected events will last. Hence, you need a big bag to carry all of your essentials.

A hiking backpack often has a larger capacity, about 60 to 70 liters. It keeps your belongings during your trips in the wild.

The gap in size between these bags is minimal. You should choose the right size for your requirements. Make sure that your bag can accommodate your stuff.

Besides, consider your ability to carry a heavy bag for days. You may want to get rid of some items to reduce the pressure on your back.


Because of the larger size, a hiking backpack is often heavier. However, it doesn’t mean you pack less in a bug-out bag.


Both hiking backpacks and bug-out bags must be durable. This feature depends on the materials and construction of the bags.

Those bags keep your belongings. They will lose their function due to the tear during your trip, failing to protect your stuff.

Hence, carefully check the materials, zippers, and threads before purchasing any bag. A high-quality backpack will be your reliable companion on the tough road ahead.

Pay more attention to your bug-out bag, as it works in sudden scenarios. You can’t tell what will happen. Hence, equipping yourself with a sturdy bag is a must to stay safe.


The bug-out bag is an essential survival kit. So we primarily focus on its functionality when shopping for one.

Meanwhile, hiking backpacks come in more styles, allowing you to mix them with your favorite outfits. Moreover, you don’t have to rush before heading out for the trails; feel free to find the best design to your taste.


Hiking backpacks and bug-out bags can be made of multiple materials. The manufacturers claim this information clearly on the label so you can find the best one to serve your particular purposes. Your options include the following:

  • Nylon: This material is the most popular choice because it’s strong, durable, and abrasion-resistant. Moreover, its lightweight will make it simple to carry around.
  • Polyester: Like nylon, polyester is a plastic-based fabric. These materials have the same benefits of being sturdy and wear-resistant.
  • Polypropylene: This fabric has a high melting point and is extremely resistant to chemicals and water. Plus, it won’t tear easily.
  • Canvas: Canvas is the most eco-friendly material on this list. You will also be impressed with its sturdiness and aesthetics.


Packing is a headache for all backpack users. We have to think of the best way to pack most things while making our package as lightweight as possible.

Packing your hiking backpack is easier because you plan everything in your mind. You can prepare well if you have a detailed strategy during your adventure.

Things are not the same as packing a bug-out bag. Since you are preparing for something you don’t expect, you must include everything in the bag.

Moreover, hiking is for entertainment, experience, and exploration. Meanwhile, evacuation or sudden events occur in different ways. As a result, you must carry survival kits carefully to protect yourself.


Hiking backpacks are available in multiple styles and designs, offering more options in terms of price. Hence, the average price of a hiking bag is a little higher than that of a bug-out bag.

#3. Bug Out Bag Vs. Hiking Backpack: Which One Should I Go For?

Both hiking backpacks and bug-out bags are helpful in extreme conditions. You can also use them interchangeably if handling two bags simultaneously annoys you.

If you have to choose one over the other, there won’t be a clear winner. Both bags shine in their own way. So when do you need each?

If you live in dangerous regions, such as places with frequent disasters or crises, go for a bug-out bag.

On the other hand, you will prefer a hiking backpack if you are a regular hiker or trekker. It comes in more styles, so you can pick one that matches your outfits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a bug-out bag necessary?

Yes. The bug-out bag is one of the most critical items you should always have at hand. It helps carry essential items in case you leave home due to an emergency.

What size backpack do I need for a bug-out bag?

The best size for bug-out bags is between 40 and 50 liters. Go for a 30-liter bag if you are lighter and smaller.

What kind of bag do you use for a bug-out bag?

You need a bag that is lightweight, strong, and fire-retardant. A 72-hour bag, Get Home Bag, or BOB will be what you need.

How much cash should be in a bug-out bag?

Putting some cash in your bug-out bag is a brilliant idea. You should keep at least $500 in your bug-out bag just in case you need to buy supplies to survive.

What should a bug-out bag contain?

It’s important to plan for 72 hours. This checklist will help you a lot to survive during that time:

  • Water
  • Food
  • First aid kit
  • Shelter
  • Light
  • Hygiene items
  • Weapons
  • Protective gear
  • Axe
  • Cordage

This video will show you more tips to pack your bug-out bag:

Is a 40L backpack too big for a day hike?

No. These big backpacks are suitable for trips requiring extra gear and clothing, such as mountaineering and climbing. If you only have a one-day hike, a pack of 20 to 35 liters will suffice.

Is a hiking backpack worth it?

In fact, you don’t need a special bag for hiking, while a regular backpack can still work. However, if you hike often or need a lot of gear, a hiking backpack with add-on features will make your trip easier.

What size backpack do I need for a 5-day hike?

A 5-day hike calls for a backpack of 70 liters or more. You need a big bag to accommodate your extra clothing, sleeping bags, and additional cooking tools.

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