6 Best Bulletproof Backpacks (and DIY Options) On The Market Today
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6 Best Bulletproof Backpacks (and DIY Options) On The Market Today

By Just In Case Jack | Last Updated: August 21, 2020

Bulletproof BackpackIf you’re searching for the best bulletproof backpacks, you’ve come to the right place.

In recent years, the desire to upgrade to a bulletproof backpack has exploded in popularity. And it’s not hard to understand why.

It’s due to the increase in school, office, and event shootings happening all over the world.

Unfortunately, mass shootings have become a part of everyday life.

For example, in 2019 there were more mass shootings in the U.S. than days of the year. By the end of 2019, there were 417 mass shootings in the U.S.

These horrible tragedies injure and kill thousands of innocent men, women, and children annually.

Now, I believe the best defense against an active shooter is a good guy with a gun. But it’s not always a feasible solution due to the location OR whose targeted.

Gun-Free Zones are locations where concealed carry is not legally possible. And children are potential victims not allowed to conceal carry legally.

Worst yet, schools and campuses are places where those two restrictions come together. They are both “gun-free” and primarily filled with young children or youths.

That’s why schools are easy targets for sick, demented humans.

Now, I’m not here today to deep dive into your 2nd amendment rights. That’s NOT what this article is about.

Instead, today, I want to discuss a simple way to add some protection to YOU or YOUR LOVED ONES. I want to go over active shooting protection by investing in a bulletproof backpack.

Now whether your a gun enthusiast or hate guns doesn’t matter. We can ALL agree; any device that adds a layer of protection from bullets it a good idea.

So with that disclaimer out of the way, here are the following topics I will be covering today:

**Note: If you just want our top recommendations, feel free to SKIP AHEAD HERE.

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A bulletproof backpack is a backpack that includes an armor plate. That’s it.

Now some readers might not be familiar with armor plates. These are plates designed to stop firearm bullets from deadly penetration.

These are the exact same plates inside bulletproof vests.

A plate is a mobile, portable ballistic shield that ANYONE can add to their backpack.

Let’s move on to a more important question – WHY?

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Easy answer – to stop bullets.

School shootings, and mass shootings, are the primary concern here. And in today’s modern world, shootings are more frequent – especially in “gun-free zones.”

Unfortunately, “gun-free zones” attract mass shooters. Why? Because these locations have a limited ability to put up any immediate resistance.

If an area is deemed a “gun-free zone,” a shooter assumes they’ll be the only person nearby with a gun. At least until law enforcement arrives (but that can often take several minutes or longer).

So kids become sitting ducks to such horrendous acts of senseless violence.

I recently heard some gun enthusiasts rename “gun-free zone” to “start shooting here zones.”

That’s why you must equip yourself (or your kids) with some bulletproof protection.

AND just think – IF THIS SMALL BACKPACK INVESTMENT PAYS OFF – it will be the BEST investment you could make. And it’s not even close.

It could save your life or the life of a loved one.

How much would you pay to protect a loved one during an active shooter situation? I know I’d give up ALL my wealth to save my kiddos. My guess is you’d do the same.

So what’s a few hundred dollars compared to that?

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Kids Bulletproof Backpack


Yes, they do work (to a point).

However, how well they work depends on several factors. Factors such as the type of firearm used, the caliber of the ammo, and the type of plate inserted.

But in general, most backpack plates will protect against the most handgun calibers.

A few backpack plates can even protect against high-powered rifles. Great! But why not all plates?

Because the plates that can stop a high-powered rifle are usually too heavy for most people to carry. These thicker armor plates are upwards of 10+ lbs.

And that’s a weight you must carry before adding any textbooks or survival gear to a backpack.

So there is a tradeoff between the amount of protection you get and how much weight you must carry.

How Bulletproof Backpacks Are Used

Now let’s talk about HOW bulletproof backpacks work in a real-world situation.

Most people assume a bulletproof backpack will prevent a surprise shot from behind. But this scenario is unlikely.

For a shot to be a surprise, you’d need to be an active shooter’s first target. Possible? Yes. Likely? I have my doubts.

Why? Because I think it’s more likely the person wearing the backpack will hear a few shots before they become a target.

And the first reaction is to flee away from the sounds of gunfire to escape the danger. OR if you become scared, you’re next instinct is to hunker down.

If escape is possible, wearing a bulletproof backpack provides some layer of protection. If an active shooter sees a fleeing target, they may unload a few rounds in that direction.

But this added protection comes with a high cost. Heavy bulletproof backpacks will slow down your escape. Everyone knows you cannot run as fast or be as agile while wearing a heavy backpack.

So wearing a backpack, as opposed to not wear one, could make you a more attractive target (slower) for a shooter.

Which is correct? To ditch the backpack or leave it one? It’s a tough one…

That’s why I think a bulletproof backpack is more useful in a “hunker down” situation.

When cornered with a shooter, our natural reaction is to get small and hide behind something (a desk, a table, etc.)

Well, if you have a bulletproof backpack, you could take it off and use it as an incognito bulletproof shield.

The hope being, the shooter, will unload the rounds into the backpack and move on. Hopefully, the panel stops the bullets from penetrating saving the life of the one behind it.

Either way, carrying a bulletproof backpack gives you some level of added protection. More security and options than NOT having one – that’s for sure!

And while it’s far from “perfect”, it’s way better than having nothing at all.

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Closeup view of closed zippers on a bag.


First off, the backpack should be of high quality. It doesn’t matter if it’s a survival backpack, office backpack, bug out bag, tactical backpack, or school backpack. In general, you want your backpack to have the following key features:

High-Quality Fabrics

There are many different fabrics a backpack manufacturer could choose from. For example, there are cotton, nylon, polyester, or even unique blends of each.

And fabrics have comparison metrics such as stretch, abrasion resistance, tear resistance, etc.

So you’ll want to choose a backpack that won’t rip or tear easily. You’ll want one that can withstand the daily toils of use (whether it’s at school, work, or outdoors).

Strategic Use Of Double Stitching

Backpacks are designed to carry loads on your back. And backpacks are not made from a single piece of fabric.

Backpacks are stitched together using separate swaths of fabric.

These stitches are always the weakest point on a backpack. We’ve all seen packs where seams have popped.

That’s what happens when the load on the joint/seam exceeds what the stitching can handle.

That’s why a bulletproof backpack must have DOUBLE STITCHING at the high load points.

High load points are where the back and shoulder straps meet or where the haul handle meets the pack.

Why not just use double stitching everywhere? Because that requires more materials and more time than necessary. This strategy makes such a backpack unnecessarily more expensive.

So look for quality double stitching at the high load points.

Lots Of Compartments (for better organization)

I prefer my backpacks to have lots of separate compartments. This separation helps stay organized. I can keep any books or survival gear, or spare clothes, in their own compartments.

I also prefer to have a special compartment near the top of my backpack for a pair of sunglasses.

The total number of compartments is a personal preference. But I recommend staying away from cheaper single-compartment backpacks.

These packs leave you without any organization options, and all your stuff sits in a jumbled mess. No Thanks.

Quality Zippers And Zipper Tabs

The zippers and zipper tabs are an often overlooked aspect of a quality backpack. And it’s a shame.

Because if the zippers fail, the entire pack becomes completely worthless.

So look for thick chunky zippers.

Zippers that can take some abuse and are not prone to separation issues under the intense weight.

Quality Armor Plates (not too thick or too thin)

There are lots of armor plates on the market today. Heck, I wrote an entire post of plate carriers, and I went into some details about different armor plates.

But in general, the thicker the plates, the more protection they offer. But, the trade-off is, the thicker the plate, the heavier it becomes.

So you’ll want to settle on armor plates strong enough to stop the penetration of all common calibers. Yet, still, keep the weight of the armor plates in a reasonable range.

Now, this extra weight depends on the age and health of the person who intends to carry the backpack.

For example, little kids can only take so much weight.

So it’s a delicate balance between protection and weight. It’s a tradeoff you’ll have to decide for yourself.

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Finding the best bulletproof backpack solution for YOU can be tricky.

  • It depends on if your searching for your small child, your teenager.
  • Or perhaps you’re a college student looking for more protection.
  • Or maybe you want something you can take with you to the office.

Each of these scenarios presents different needs. Different pack designs and different weight requirements also come into play.

DIY BulletProof Backpacks – Adding An Armor Panel For Backpacks

So let’s start with a few DIY bulletproof backpack solutions. Why? Because you can DIY MOST packs into a bulletproof backpack by merely adding an armor plate.

That way, you can buy the plates and then add them to whatever backpack you’d like.

This strategy works exceptionally well for kid’s bulletproof backpacks. Because they can quickly grow out of their smaller Paw Patrol backpack or Dora backpack by next year.

So by getting the plates separate you can future proof your investment.


AR500 Level III Backpack Armor Panel

The AR500 Armor Level III Backpack Armor is designed to slip into any backpack. It will fit in nearly any backpack on the market.

So it can fit easily into school bags and laptop pockets capable of accepting 15.1″ laptops. Many times with the laptop in the pocket as well.

It not only stops all handgun rounds but it also is designed to stop rifle calibers up to 2,780fps! But this extra level of protection comes at a price – it weighs 8 lbs!

If you’re an adult and can handle the excess weight, then perhaps this is right for you. But for most small kids, carrying an 8 lbs. panel on top of books and school supplies starts to get unreasonable.

Here’s a good video testing and reviewing all AR500 plates – if you want to know more about different armor options:

2. Premier Body Armor Panels

Premier Body Armor Backpack Panels

Premier Body Armor Backpack Panels

Maybe you’d like even more choice in selecting the “ideal” body armor panel for your backpack. Then look no further than Premier Body Armor Panels.

Each of their panels is unique in its size, shape, weight, and protection level. Yet they ALL have one thing in common – they are all designed to fit into most backpacks.

First off, they have a small/medium/large “Universal” sized panels option.

But many premier panels are specifically sized for the best backpacks on the market. For example, they feature plates for packs from brands such as:

Eberlestock, Vertx, Haley, 5.11, Under Armour, The North Face, Maxpedition, Nike, L.L. Bean, GoRuck, Adidas, etc.

They even have bundles where you can purchase BOTH the panel and the backpack together!

So feel free to browse any of Premier Body Armor’s Bulletproof Backpack Inserts OR Bundles!

Shop until you find the one that offers the perfect combination of weight and protection.

Here’s an excellent video discussing how Premier Body Armor Panels work:

Full-Featured Bulletproof Backpacks

Next up are full-featured bulletproof backpacks that come with plates.

These plates part of the design of the backpack. So these panels fit perfectly and won’t shift around when you’re running.

Making these bulletproof backpacks are ideal for older youths, college students, and adults.

Some of them are more focused on a casual office setting. But others are geared towards tactical features such as camo and MOLLE.

3. Phoenix 2.0 Armored Backpack

Phoenix 2.0 Armored Backpack

Phoenix 2.0 Armored Backpack

The Phoenix 2.0 Armored Backpack is built to stop bullets used in 95% of gun-related homicides.

This lightweight backpack is suitable for either kids or adults.

The backpack is always well designed for the office or school. Because it’s a generously sized primary compartment that features a laptop sleeve.

The backpack also features durable zippers, padded backing and padded fully adjustable straps.

Finally, you have several customizable options to choose from, including

  • Color (Blue, Gray, Mauve)
  • Threat Protection (Pistol 3 lbs. / Rifle 13 lbs.)
  • Armor Size (10″ x 12″ OR 11″ by 15″)
  • Add Trauma Pad? (Yes / No)

4. The Firebird Armored Backpack

Firebird Armored Backpack

Firebird Armored Backpack

The Firebird Armored Backpack has many similar features to the Pheonix.

But it comes with a few more technical design features such as additional pockets and an 11″ x 15″ armor system.

This backpack only has one color option, Black. But you have a choice between Pistol Rated Soft Armor (sub 3lbs.)

OR Rifle Rated III” LW Steel Armor (10 lbs.).

You can also add a trauma pad or an Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) if you’d like.

And here’s an excellent video showing both the Phoenix and the Firebird bulletproof backpacks from AR500:

5. Spartan Armor Systems AR650 Backpack Level III


Spartan Armor Systems AR650 Backpack Level III+ Package

This Spartan Armor System Ballistic Backpack offers excellent protection at a great price.

It combines the popular condor assault backpack with a 10″ x13 AR650 Level III+ Plate Insert.

The backpack is of very high quality. It includes lots of compartments, padded adjustable straps, and double stitching throughout.

The panel is rated to stop 7.62 M80 Ball, as well as Special Threat Rated to stop 5.56. This bulletproof backpack weighs 9.5 lbs and carries a single 10″ by 10″ panel.

6. Spartan Six Backpack Body Armor Carrier

Spartan SIX Backpack Body Armor

Spartan SIX Backpack Body Armor

The Spartan SIX Backpack offers discrete ballistic protection. It comes with a Level IIIA Flex Fused Core panel.

Now, instead of sewing the panel into the backpack, the Spartan SIX uses a Velcro pouch to hold the panel in place.

This setup allows you the flexibility to wash your pack or replace your ballistic panel.

Backpack features:

  • 420 Denier nylon
  • YKK Zippers
  • Adjustable Sternum strap
  • Padded and lined laptop pocket
  • Haul handle

Panel features:

  • Rated to stop .44 MAG SJHP, as well as Special Threat Rated to stop.357 SIG FMJ
  • 35″
  • Weight 1lb 9.4 oz.

Here’s a helpful video explaining the different protection levels in Spartan Bulletproof Backpacks:



Do you (or your kids) plan to wear a backpack to work or school ANYWAY? Then why in the world wouldn’t you upgrade that tool to make it better?

Why not add an extra layer of protection – just in case.

To me, it’s a no-brainer. It’s extra safety with minimal sacrifice. It’s taking a tool you already use and turning it into a legit defense mechanism.

The risk/reward analysis says – you risk a few dollars and a few ounces in weight to save a life. That’s why this is NOT a hard decision – do it now.

“Just In Case” Jack

P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?

There are a lot of natural nuclear shelters in the US that are absolutely free. And one of them is near your home.

Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.
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