How to Choose an Urban Survival Bag

Choosing an Urban Survival Bag is a lot different than choosing your Bug Out Bag. In some ways it is easier because you probably don’t need to worry about having a MOLLE system or an internal or external frame.

However, there are some things you need to consider before choosing your urban survival bag. There are generic qualifications you would look for in any backpack; sturdy, pockets, comfort, and I trust most people will be able to figure those out for themselves. The one thing you really want to ask when choosing an urban survival bag is, does it blend?

Why Blend?

If you are in an urban survival scenario do you really want to be the person with an olive drab rucksack full of gear walking through the streets of a chaotic city? You would absolutely scream “Prepared!”

Urban Survival Bag

People will see you and think “Hey that guy probably has some gear or food.”

Law Enforcement will see you and think “That guy might have a weapon I need to stop and search him.

Survivalists always talk a lot about camouflage in the bush. We have camouflage for everything. Why should urban survival be any different? Being prepared is about bringing the tools for the job.

In an urban survival situation you want to blend. Go with the flow. Look like just another scared sheep trying to get home. So you should choose an urban survival bag that works for you.

Choosing a Bag

So what do you look for in an urban survival bag? Simple: Dark colors and no camo.

When you walk around your city how many hundreds of people carry a backpack that you never even notice? Be one of those people.

Camo screams prepared and survivalist. Bright colors are generic in backpacks but can draw attention.

Buy a dark colored generic backpack that fits your needs and doesn’t look overly outdoorsy and fill it full of lifesaving gear. No one will ever notice in the aftermath of an urban emergency.

Other Considerations

Don’t Overpack

We tend to pack our survival bags as full as possible because having more supplies gives a sense of being more prepared. Overpacking an urban survival bag can present two problems.

  • When a bag is packed full, it is obvious to see that it is full of something, which could draw attention to people with “sticky hands”
  • A large heavy bag can make it more difficult to quickly move through crowds, stairways, doorways, etc.

Generally speaking, having more supplies is better than not having enough, but keep the above in mind when packing your bag.

Don’t Advertise

This is a continuation of blending in and probably goes without saying, but do not put anything on the outside of the bag.

Having a bag that blends in color and style wise is not going to do any good if there is gear hanging on the outside or patches displayed. Displaying patches can be a sensitive subject because people are proud of their accomplishments or whatever the patch indicates.

Anything that is put on the outside of the bag can advertise what is inside, who you, and can draw undue attention. When in doubt, don’t advertise!

How Will You Blend?

I am interested to know if any of our readers have other ideas for blending in during an urban crisis? Leave a comment a let us know.

Written by Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here. Read more of Joel's articles.