Backpacks come in all shapes and sizes but sole purpose is to allow you to carry your gear easily and conveniently. Tactical backpacks differ from standard backpacks mainly due to its increase in features and all-purpose ruggedness.

Tactical backpacks are designed to reduce weight, keep your belongings accessible and prevent snags. These backpacks are suitable for anyone looking to get more use from an ordinary backpack. This piece of equipment can be used by all, but especially useful for long-distance hikers, bikers, rock climbers, camping, and any other high-activity ventures.

Tactical backpacks are durable giving them the ability to withstand any abrasions incurred during use. They comprise of external ports for earphones or radio antennae. With its hydration bladder compatibility, your access to water is always within reach. They are made of all-weather resistant materials that can be used in rugged areas where the sun blazes, heavy rainfalls or frosts take over.

While the many features are great, it is important to note that the best tactical backpacks for 2018 have the fewest straps so as to avoid getting stuck to branches etc.

When shopping the market for the best tactical backpack, first and foremost, ensure it is big enough to hold all your necessary equipment. the second and third most important factors are to make sure the backpack is not too heavy in weight yet durable enough to withstand all conditions, so finding one that uses lighter yet stronger material is key.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Tactical Backpack


Choose a backpack that meets your need and specific criteria. Backpacks come in all shapes and sizes meant for a variety of different uses. Some are designed for everyday use while others focus on equipment storage space. If you’re planning on going out camping for a couple of weeks, choose a backpack with a good storage space to accommodate essentials that will last for weeks.

If you’re purchasing a backpack with hiking as the main activity, choose one with a hydration system. knowing the purpose of the backpacks use, will not only save you time from browsing the wrong gear but money as well!


The capacity of a backpack is determined by the amount of gear you wish to carry. for this reason, we recommend for you to have a list of items you wish to carry before you purchase. This will better guide you towards the perfect backpack for you. For instance, if you are purchasing a backpack to be used while you are away on deployment, choose one that is large enough to store clothes, equipment, and supplies for weeks at a time.

While internal storage is vital, backpacks external capacity spaces are just as crucial. These additional storage units will ensure that you are organized yet easily accessible.

When looking for a pack with a good capacity, consider your physical frame and body strength. Remember, if you are 5 foot 2 inches, a hiking backpack that is close to 3 feet when fully stocked, will be impossibly difficult to carry for more than a day. Alternatively, if you are 6 foot 4 inches, a tiny rock-climbing backpack is simply not big enough to carry the necessary supplies you need.

With that in mind, choose a tactical and durable backpack that is comfortable for use even after you have it filled.


While many different materials can be used to construct a single tactical backpack, there are certain materials that perform better than others. Nylon is widely known because it’s strong, light and dries off fast. Polyester is known for its resistance to UV light allowing it to keep its new look for longer.

The difference between polyester and nylon is the fact that nylon is stronger. Canvas is a unique material due to its feel and durability. One thing that makes canvas less popular is the fact that it is heavy to carry.


If you are going to use the backpack for long periods of time, ensure that the pack you carry is comfortable. Check if the backpack you have chosen has straps on all contact points, for instance, the waist or chest. These contact points significantly reduce strain on the back and shoulders which will prevent consequent injuries during high-endurance activities and or long-distance treks.

Straps also allow you to adjust the pack to fit your body contours well. Comfort is key so ensure the pack features air channels. Air Channels will relieve pressure and weight on you back whilst carrying a full pack.


Versatile backpacks are the best and that’s why backpacks with numerous compartments in different dimensions are the best to purchase. Compartments ensure that you organize your essentials in a proper manner.

The most recommended compartment style is the modular lightweight load-carrying equipment which uses the pouch attachment ladder system. This system allows you to attach numerous pouches or gear and offer ease in access.


Of course, all details considered, we advise you to try to stay close to your budget but do not allow the cost to be your determining factor. Choose a backpack that is high in quality. Invest your money in a gear that will work for you for years to come. in the long-run, this small investment will pay you back tenfold. Better quality means a more durable and comfortable backpack.

Loading Design

Tactical packs are offered to you in front loading and the top loading. The top loading design comes in with few compartments but it is used mostly for long trips providing optimal space to carry larger items. They are light in weight and in terms of capacity they are flexible making them comfortable. The front-loading design provides optimal organizing and accessing your most needed supplies.

Our 7 Favorite Tactical Backpacks

5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack

5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack

Why it’s great

This is a great tactical backpack that can be used as a travel bag or tactical backpack due to its large capacity. It contains a large front shove-it pocket that allows you to store oversized gear. While it may not be able to fit some gear like helmets, it can easily accommodate a jacket.

Made of a heavy duty nylon construction it is water repellent to keep all your gear safe and dry in any kind of downpour or humidity. This 5.11 Tactical Rush Backpack is the latest in the market with Molle attachment straps that are slightly wider, an upgraded closed-cell foam shoulder strap, and a hydration integration system.

Features and Benefits

Thick nylon construction help to keep the backpack in shape, essential for proper weight distribution. It comes with a rigid support plate allowed to fit the curves of the pack. The standard adjustable height sternum strap gives you stability and helps to reduce pressure on the shoulder. Thinking about the avid outdoor man/woman they designed and installed a fleece-lined sunglasses pocket that protects your phone or glasses. You can now carry those sunglasses without fear of losing them in the bottom of the pack or dropping them every time you reach inside.

Hydration is important that is why 5.11 tactical rush 72-backpack houses a closed-cell foam back padded hydration pocket.  The hydration pocket comes in with two zipper tabs and a bladder hanger making it possible to fit most hydration bladders. You may feel you can never run out of storage with its internal ‘Admin Panel’ to organize small accessories such as maps and pens. For the businessman the pack sports a  multi-purpose stow it pockets large enough for a 15” laptop.


Users have raised issues about the shoulder straps producing strain because of the yolk system. While 5.11 views the yolk system as positive users tend to disagree.

5.11 3 Day Rush Backpack, Black
953 Reviews
5.11 3 Day Rush Backpack, Black
  • Full-featured 72 hour backpack
  • Ideal for recreational use or as an operational bug out bag
  • Dual-zippered front and main compartments with molded grip pulls

Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical Rucksack

Brown Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical Backpack

Why it’s great

The Direction Action Dragon Egg Tactical Backpack is a low profile looking rucksack that makes it a great EDC bag.  Originally designed for military and police use they added a ton of features to allow this rucksack used by everyone. It is considered a two-day backpack with a 25+ liter capacity and ability to integrate a hydration bladder you are ensured you to always hydrated in the Amazon Rainforest or concrete jungle.

Features and Benefits

Direct Action has contained a combat ventilation system that provides you with more comfort while carrying the Dragon Egg. Contoured foam contains multiple air channels with a mesh that keeps the entire weight of the rucksack off your back and provide air movement between your back the nylon material. The front pocket and side pockets are able to carry small essentials and when the side pockets are unzipped they carry a standard military canteen.

The small height and width combined with large capacity make this a great alternative to much heavier, larger packs from competitors. One unique feature of this Rucksack is the daisy chain webbing along the front panel zipper.

The webbing makes it possible for a user to attach carabiners or other items to the front and side without restricting the use of the Molle straps. Standard water resistant coated Codura 500D Nylon fabric that makes it durable, waterproof, and UV resistant. Direct Action offers a few color options for personal needs, use, or operations.


Direct Action did not think of organization first when designing this Rucksack. Accessing your gear or positioning items becomes more and more difficult the more items are added.

Direct Action Dragon Egg Mk II Tactical Backpack Coyote Brown
289 Reviews
Direct Action Dragon Egg Mk II Tactical Backpack Coyote Brown
  • Dragon Egg Mk II have redesigned side pockets that are equipped with elastic for expansion. They also have the new Direct Action logo
  • Lightweight and versatile 2-day backpack designed for advanced Military & Law Enforcement operators
  • Patented Combat Vent System provides increased comfort for their users during prolonged use

Monkey Paks Tactical Backpack with Hydration Bladder

Monkey Paks Tactical Backpack Bundle with Hydration Water Bladder

Why it’s great

The Monkey Paks tactical backpack is perfect for an unexpected emergency, mission, or outdoor activity.  It allows you to have total control of your gear with 3 included Molle attachments regardless of its large capacity which already allows you to carry all the essentials you require.

Features and Benefits

It features a removable 2.5 liter BPA-free, wide mouth bladder and 3 molle attachment that allows easy organization of your essentials in different pouches. This modular design is common in tactical Backpacks now but this Backpack gives you immediate options by allowing you to enjoy a removable waist or shoulder bag that you can use alone with the belt or shoulder sling included right off the shelf.

The backpack’s straps are compressional keeping your center of gravity intact. 600D Nylon and zippers with paracord that offers you quiet operation.


This Backpack seems to be made fairly short so users over 5’10” have complained about the waist strap being as high as their ribcage.

Tactical Military MOLLE Backpack Bundle with 2.5L Hydration Water Bladder & 3 Molle Bags By MonkeyPaks (ACU)
756 Reviews
Tactical Military MOLLE Backpack Bundle with 2.5L Hydration Water Bladder & 3 Molle Bags By MonkeyPaks (ACU)
  • 2.5 LITER BPA FREE WATER BLADDER INCLUDED - Some of those other packs require you to buy one separately. Now you can sip without stopping, because MonkeyPaks always come fully equipped with the complete water bladder hydration system, so there's no need to buy anything else. Simply fill the bladder, strap on your pack, and you're prepared for anything.
  • STOW GEAR FOR YOUR 3-DAY EXCURSION * US Army style backpack has a huge capacity plus a ton of MOLLE webbing for all your gear requirments.
  • 3 MOLLE BAGS INCLUDED * With a detachable bug out bag that can be used as a waist, fanny or shoulder pack & removable side packs, you get triple the options to configure for your mission.

5.11 Covrt18 Backpack

5.11 Covrt18 Backpack

Why it’s great

5.11 Covrt18 backpack features a TacTec system that acts as a weapon pocket. This feature makes it unique compared to other tactical backpacks.

Features and Benefits

It comes in with water resistant 500D nylon construction making it durable and suitable for wet conditions. As a covert backpack, it contains a large capacity due to its main and secondary storage pouches. The TacTec System contains a roll-down assault compartment that has the capacity to store a full sized firearm although 5.11 hasn’t stated if that firearm can be a full-size rifle or only a full-size pistol we can verify it will easily fit a Colt 1911 or comparable pistol.

All zippers are YKK design and feature duraflex hardware. The sternum straps are adjustable and attaches to compression arm straps and yoke style straps providing you with comfort and easy mobility. The rear of this backpack is cushioned to ensure that you do not feel the pressure of the weight. It doesn’t end there and features a flip-down identification panel, grabs handle, a padded laptop sleeve, and a sunglass pocket.


The built-in water bottle holder cannot carry a 20 oz. bottle because the straps are not strong enough. If carrying a lot of extra items the main compartment is a bit small.

5.11 Tactical COVRT 18 Backpack
346 Reviews
5.11 Tactical COVRT 18 Backpack
  • The COVRT18 is a full-featured covert backpack with roomy main and secondary storage areas including an ambidextrous side-entry Back-Up Belt System compartment
  • This backpack also has R.A.C. (Roll-down Assault Compartment) that can house a full sized firearm and QuickTact accessory straps at the shoulder integrate with other 5.11 tactical gear
  • Also has other features like reinforced grab handle, a padded internal laptop sleeve, sunglass pocket and a flip-down ID panel

Explorer B99 Patrick Tactical Backpack

Explorer B99 Patrick Tactical Backpack

Why it’s great

Coming standard with Molle webbing, extra compartments, and a concealed carry pocket makes this bag stand in a field of its own.

Features and Benefits

One of the largest bags we have come across it adds an additional 4 compartments to the sides for an eye-opening carry amount. It has a wide carry (items can be packed in the pack fairly far from the body of the user).

While it isn’t too deep the items that you do store can easily be located by unzipping the openings. There is no need to rummage underneath a few items to find what you really need. Many users find this more than adequate as a 72 or 96-hour pack.


It looks gigantic but really does not have the height to support the needs of all essential tactical or camping gear. While having extra pockets makes it easier to organize the construction and quality is spotty.

Explorer Tactical Backpack, 20-Inch
492 Reviews
Explorer Tactical Backpack, 20-Inch
  • Material: 600D x 600D polyester
  • 6 zipper pocket in front, 4 side pockets, two top handles
  • Two back enlarged iphone & sunglass pockets

3V Gear Velox II Large Tactical Assault Backpack

3V Gear Velox II Large Tactical Assault Backpack Rucksack


3V Gear Velox II Large Tactical Assault Backpack

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Why it’s great

The 3v gear Velox II is a stylish yet rugged backpack that can suit both normal and harsh conditions. It is a heavy duty pack featuring a 600D PVC-backed nylon. With this form of design, you will never worry about durability. 3V cuts the middleman and sells their products directly to consumers, saving money for everyone involved.

Features and Benefits

1628 cubic inches of storage in four storage compartments which can accommodate tons of items for any activity, mission, or hike; all of which are easily accessible. You can easily access compartments and sub-compartments with its clam-shell opening system. Featuring molle compatibility for pouches and attachments, 3v understands that all activities require different gear and gives you the option to expand.  

Room for a hydration bladder to ensures you never get dehydrated. Adjustable, contoured shoulder straps offer you more comfort when carrying fully loaded and the zippers are threaded with para-cord to increase the backpacks durability while also offer you whisper-quiet operations.


It does not comprise of an internal divider in its main pocket making organization a bit difficult. Additionally, the side straps are not well sized for adding extras.

3V Gear Velox II Large Tactical Assault Backpack Rucksack, MOLLE Compatible for Military Gear, Outdoors, Hiking, Bug Out Backpack
538 Reviews
3V Gear Velox II Large Tactical Assault Backpack Rucksack, MOLLE Compatible for Military Gear, Outdoors, Hiking, Bug Out Backpack
  • TACTICAL ASSAULT BACKPACK RUCKSACK CAPACITY: Large 1628 cubic inches of storage for tons of gear for any mission, operation, or day trip; not to mention that you can use it for hiking, travel or bug out preparedness bag.
  • EASY TO USE: The large self-healing zippers give easy access. The clam-shell wide opening system allows simple entry to various compartments and sub-compartments.
  • HEAVY DUTY: Made with 600 D PVC backed nylon which gives the large backpack some rigidity, makes it weather resistant, and super rugged

Mardingtop 50 Liter Tactical Backpack

Mardingtop 50 Liter Internal Frame Tactical Backpack


Mardingtop 50 Liter Tactical Backpack

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Why it’s great

Mardingtop tactical backpack stands out from the others with large storage capacity, increasable main compartment, and internal frame system.

Features and Benefits

Made of water-resistant 600D polyester and featuring molle webbing which allows the internal backpack to utilize separate MOLLE pouches to handle small gear or attach additional gear. All zippers allow quick access to the backpack’s main compartment and hydration system which is made up of an internal hydration bladder and an exit port in the tube on the side.

The hydration compartment is also big enough to accommodate three-liter bladders and is usable while attached to your back which is a function many other internal frame packs do not have. Lightweight load carrying straps allows you to carry other gear such as a sleeping bag, tent, or hammock.


The internal frame makes it a bit uncomfortable to wear over long periods of time, especially under heavy loads. Users have reported seam splitting after normal and light use of the backpack.

Mardingtop 50 Liter Internal Frame Backpack Tactical Backpack Military Backpack Molle Bag with Rain Cover for Hunting Shooting Camping Hiking Trekking Traveling
54 Reviews
Mardingtop 50 Liter Internal Frame Backpack Tactical Backpack Military Backpack Molle Bag with Rain Cover for Hunting Shooting Camping Hiking Trekking Traveling
  • MATERIAL- This 50L tactical backpack is made of Water-resistant 600D polyester. If you want smaller tactical backpack (35L/40L), you can please check this product B01KYYJ0QG/ B01F88FD8W at our store.
  • MOLLE WEBBING- This internal backpack can hang on small items, or for attaching additional tactical pouches or gear.
  • QUICKLY ACCESS- The internal frame backpack has large zipped access at front that can quickly access to the main compartment,opend as a luggage.

Best Military Backpack for Hiking

5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack

The 5.11 tactical RUSH 72 backpack is rated as the best due to the outstanding features it contains. The 15D nylon construction with a PUx2 coating makes it water repellent and highly durable. We have chosen the 5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack to be our choice for the best tactical backpack for the money.

A reliable backpack it offers you the ability to transport all of your clothing, food, supplies, gear, and other essential items without compromising the quality or design. This is a large-enough pack that will comfortably and conveniently accommodate gear for a well-planned out backpacking expedition.

Unlike most packs that you will have to struggle to pack your items, this particular model does not require you to have any special skills to successfully pack all the items.

The following features make 5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack our best choice:

This specific pack is designed to take you anywhere and under any climate or conditions. It is a multipurpose bag that fits so many outdoor applications. Build quality and design are one of the factors that distinguish this backpack from others.

The design incorporates superior mobility along with enhanced storage. It will, without a doubt keep your belongings secure, stable, and organized through rough trails and terrain. If your mission is to buy the best tactical backpack for the money, then you should look no further than the RUSH 72.

It offers you internal features that you will hardly find in other packs. To begin with, there is a well-spaced out ‘Admin’ panel that measures 15.5 by 11.5 by 2 inches, situated at the front. You can use the panel to consolidate small items such as documents, pens, and maps. The hydration pocket measures 21 by 13.5 inches with a capacity of 3 liters that will ensure you stay hydrated for as long as possible. The side pockets measure 16.5 by 6 by 1.75 inches, providing you with enough room for storing smaller gear.

In addition, there is a spacious main compartment that measures 23 by 13.5 by 8.5 inches. This compartment folds conveniently to provide you with a few other internal pockets along like a laptop stow-it pocket. This particular feature makes RUSH 72 the best tactical laptop backpack.

The resourcefulness and reliability of RUSH 72 in extreme conditions are attributed to the external design. The very first thing that you will observe is the reinforced handle which offers you the perfect grip when you need it the most. In addition, there are ports fitted on both sides for hydration hoses. You will never feel the pressure of the loadout on your shoulders because of the contoured yoke straps. The strapping system spreads the load pressure evenly along your shoulders and back ensuring that you are not straining. Along with the contoured yoke, the bag is incorporated with compression straps (dual compression and cinching waist straps). This compression strapping systems ensures that your RUSH 72 backpack stays put despite what you are doing, especially a climbing.

Along with the contoured yoke, the bag is incorporated with compression straps (dual compression and cinching waist straps). This compression strapping systems ensures that your RUSH 72 backpack stays put despite what you are doing, especially a climbing.

Best Tactical Backpack Under 100

3V Gear Velox II Large Tactical Assault Backpack

You do not need to have a bigger budget to buy the best rucksack. While the market is filled with expensive backpacks that claim to offer you the best of features in backpacking the 3V Gear Velox II also have all the features you will possibly need.

It is our preferred pick because of what it offers in terms of resourcefulness and versatility. The following are the features that make it qualify as the best pick under $100:

Offering you 1628 cubic inches storage capacity for organizing a significant amount of items. The ideal pack for long distance packing, including day trip, operation, and mission. It is just what you need for thru-hiking and bug-out-bag preparedness. You get what most rucksacks cannot offer you for less than $100.

The build is engineered from 600D PVC backed nylon. This is a highly durable material that offers you the firmness you need when you extend your adventures into harsh environments. The nylon material is waterproofed, guaranteeing that your items will stay dry regardless of the humidity. The same PVC backed nylon is designed to be super rugged for rough terrain, especially when mountaineering.

The incorporated self-healing zippers offer you effortless access into the bag. You can easily gain entry to the different compartments and sub-compartments quickly, thanks to the clam-shell opening. The reinforced grab handle makes it easy for you to lift the bag from one position to another and over-built shoulder and compression straps make it easy for you to wear and secure the bag for involving activities.

Why Do I Need a Tactical Backpack?

We may all have different reasons for wanting a backpack/rucksack. A tactical rucksack is an easy and comfortable way to carry outdoor items for camping, mountaineering, sightseeing, hiking, and college. Need for a backpack may vary with respect to an outdoor activity and the space required for packing items.

There are some activities that may require less volume. For instance, day trip backpacking may require 1,000 cubic inches or else; while military/ survival may require 2,000+ cubic inches.

  1. Backpacking

This is the most popular reason why most people go for tactical backpacks. The ideal rucksack for your trip will accommodate what you need without compromising space. The capacity of most tactical packs is enough for your desired adventure.

There are many designs that differ with size, features, capacity, and pricing and each and every backpacking activity has a specific pack that you can buy. You can only enjoy trips of varying lengths if you own a multi-purpose backpack.

Capacity is also an important feature to consider when backpacking. day hikers you should settle for a lighter pack with a capacity of 1,000 cubic inches, or less. Too much weight may cause back pain and unnecessary straining.

However, an overnight backpacker can go for a more spacious sack, especially when you will be carrying sleeping gear such as tents and hammocks. The ideal capacity should be 2,000 + cubic inches.  

  1. Bug Out Bag Preparedness & Military

Many people are unaware how different the needs of regular backpacking and bug out bag preparedness are. For backpacking, you can limit the space to suit your outdoor adventure without a worry of packing long-term necessities. For instance, you can choose to settle for 1,000 or less cubic inches if you are planning a day trip. However, a BOB or survival situation requires a resilient rucksack that comes with all the bells and whistles necessary to house survive gear for an imminent disaster. There are tactical rucksacks that offer the much-needed space for bug out bag preparedness and military use.

However, a BOB or survival situation requires a resilient rucksack that comes with all the bells and whistles necessary to house survive gear for an imminent disaster. There are tactical rucksacks that offer the much-needed space for bug out bag preparedness and military use.

Military backpack designs do offer the durable construction you need for BOB. Most high-end models are well-constructed and have double stitching, reinforced seams, roomy compartment for laptop carry, side pockets, admin panels, compression straps, reinforced grab handle, and durable shoulder straps.

These packs do not have cheap zippers. Any included zipper systems are watertight and long lasting. They are compartmentalized; defined compartments allow you to organize gear and facilities for quick and easy access.


Organization is extremely important in time-sensitive situations and tactical backpacks offer you the much needed space. It has been proven by backpackers, survivalist, and outdoorsmen/women that the level of organization can change the course of a person’s entire experience and survival.

One of the features that make tactical bags unique is their water-resistant nature. The 7 best picks reviewed in this guide were chosen after a conclusive assessment of the most important features.

Expect the best performance regardless of what you choose and if you have a positive or negative experience with one of these reviewed packs, please, share it in the comments below.

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Jonathan Kilburn is a Martial Arts Instructor, Special Needs educator and businessman. He focuses on self-reliance and survival in difficult urban and sub-urban areas. Natural disasters have pushed Jonathan to teach about urban farming, homesteading, and survival. As a Special Needs Educator, Mr. Kilburn has developed a neurological approach to executive function. This means: pushing the boundaries of human needs vs human wants. This mindset and philosophy assists in training himself and others in self-reliance and survival. Mr. Kilburn has also studies martial arts which include but are not limited to: Aikido, Combat Sambo, Judo, TaeKwon-Do, Haidon Gumdo, and various other sword arts.


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