If you love to spend time outdoors, then you know some pieces of equipment are more important than others. You need things like a good first aid kit, hydration system, and perhaps most important of all, a good backpack. There are plenty of options, but if you are a serious outdoors person, then you may want to invest in a tactical backpack.
A tactical backpack is one that comes with multiple compartments and is usually crafted with durable materials. Even within this category, there are many varieties, so choosing the right one can be challenging. What should you look for? How much do they cost? What size should I get?
These are all questions that you may be asking yourself, so to help you out, we will look at all those questions and many more. We will also look at our choices for five of the best tactical backpacks available right now.
- Best Tactical Backpacks Reviews
- Buyer’s Guide
- Tactical Backpack FAQs
- Final Thoughts
Best Tactical Backpacks Reviews
1. REEBOW GEAR 3-Day Assault Pack
Our first tactical backpack is a high-capacity offering that is perfect for a three-day excursion. It is fitted with features that elevate its performance, durability, and organization.
- Lined with polyester
- Dimensions – 13” x 20” x 11”
- Capacity – 40L
- Built-in MOLLE system
- Front/side compression loading system
- Ventilated back & shoulder pads (mesh)
- Compatible with hydration systems (2.5L)
There is a lot to love about this backpack. This model not only offers great organization opportunities, but it is crafted for durability and comfort. The whole bag is compatible with a MOLLE system, which means you can add even more pouches and pockets to the bag for ultimate organization. It is also crafted in a high-quality durable fabric that is water-resistant and rugged. On top of that, it looks nice, too.
Just because it happens to be awesome doesn’t mean that the backpack couldn’t stand to be improved upon. There are some concerns and issues when it comes to the quality of the straps and zippers. Several customers have noted that they break or fray easily. Also, if you are a larger individual, the hip belt may not be very comfortable, as the length will cause it to be too tight.
- This pack is designed with good capacity
- It is fitted with a MOLLE system for improved organization
- The unit is crafted to be water-resistant
- The design is nice but subtle in appearance
- It is crafted with high-quality, durable material
- There are issues with the quality of the zippers and straps
- The unit may not be as comfortable for larger individuals
2. Tacticon 24BattlePack Tactical Backpack
The next tactical bag comes with the ability to expand its capacity. It is the perfect bag whether you are looking for a bugout bag or just need a good bag for a weekend camping excursion.
- Cotton, waterproof lining
- Built-in CCW, laptop pocket, hydration bladder compartments
- Dimensions – 10” x 13” x 19”
- Capacity – 24L – 40L
- Carrying weight – 100 lbs.
- Weight – 2.7 lbs.
- Oversized zippers
If you need a bag that can handle a simple one-day trek, as well as a three to five-day excursion, then the Tacticon 24BattlePack is a fine choice. It is designed with a build that can expand from 24L all the way to 40L. This gives it an elevated level of versatility.
All of the components, from the fabric to the zippers, are crafted using high-quality materials that are ultra-durable. Then, when you add that to the level of organization possible with this bag, you have a definite contender for the best tactical backpack.
However, there are a few things that we would be remiss without mentioning. The biggest of these is perhaps the hip belt. Just like the model we discussed above, the hip belt is a little short. This may make it uncomfortable for larger framed individuals. Other than that, some might find the lack of side pockets a little worrisome.
- The backpack is designed for versatility of use
- There is a ventilated and ergonomic back panel for improved comfort
- It is fitted with a well-designed organization system
- It is crafted with durable zippers, straps, etc.
- The built-in hydration pocket is nice
- Some may find the lack of side pockets frustrating
- The hip belt could be a problem for some
3. Monoki Military Rover Bag
If you don’t want a backpack but are still looking for a tactical bag, then this next model from Monoki is a great option. It features a sling bag design that is perfect for an everyday carry bag or for a bugout bag.
- Shoulder strap length – 12”
- Dimensions – 12” x 9.5” x 6”
- MOLLE system
- Crafted in 800D oxford/nylon fabric
- Ventilated mesh strap and back pads
- Comes with accessories (USA flag patch, 500mL water bottle, lanyard keychain, four carabiners)
Some outdoor lovers prefer a sling bag to the standard backpack design. If this is you, then we have a backpack that we think you might like. Although smaller than some of the other options, this sling bag still gives the outdoors lover good capacity and organization. On top of the pocket and compartments that come stock with the bag, it is also compatible with MOLLE system additions. The bag is crafted in high-density materials, as well, which improves the durability of the bag itself.
That being said, there are a few issues that you should know about before you make your final decision. The first is that the zippers seem to be less durable than the rest of the bag. They get stuck and have been known to break easily. The last issue comes with one of the accessories – the carabiners. They are made of plastic, and that means that they are less durable than a steel model.
- The bag offers a good amount of space
- Good quality materials are used in its construction
- The model offers a versatile range of uses
- There is a nice amount of pockets for improved organization
- A MOLLE system is included in the design
- Carabiners included with the bag are made of plastic
- There are some issues with the quality of the zippers
4. LHI Military Tactical Backpack
The next tactical backpack we will be taking a look at is a nicely designed model that can hold between 30 – 35L. The model is perfect for those looking for a weekend bag for all their adventures.
- Comes in multiple colors (x7)
- Polyester interior lining
- Dimensions – 12” x 20” x 6.3”
- Capacity – 30L – 35L
- Crafted in 900D oxford cloth
- Built-in anti-theft closure system
- Breathable strap and back padding
- Weight – 2.9 lbs.
This entry is one of the larger on our list, and this makes it ideal for those long treks through the wilderness. The bag is crafted with high-end, high-density materials. Not only can this fabric stand up to just about anything, but it also offers a level of water resistance that is outstanding.
The backpack is also rich with compartments and pockets so that you can keep all of your stuff organized and easy to access. The overall design is nice and simple, and the straps of the bag are super comfortable. All this combined makes this bag a good investment for just about anyone.
There are some drawbacks to choosing this backpack, though. There is no MOLLE system, which some may find frustrating. This means that the organization and compartments you have are all that you have. The other issue is that, although there are seven colors to choose from, not one of them is camo. Though not a big deal, some may take fault with the lack of this color selection.
- The backpack is crafted with durable, water-resistant material
- It has a clean design
- Shoulder pads are designed to enhance comfort
- Price versus value is very good
- The unit offers plenty of pockets for improved organization
- The unit has no camouflage offered in its designs
- Its lack of a MOLLE system may be an issue for some
5. Samurai Tactical Wakizashi Backpack
If you are looking for a smaller option, then the Wakizashi from Samurai Tactical could be the one. It is crafted to be lightweight, and though it is small, it has features that make it an easy selection for our list.
- Crafted from 100% polyester
- Dimensions – 17.1” x 11.1” x 6.1”
- Capacity – 24L
- Overall compartment dimensions – 1475 cubic inches
- Built-in load compression system
- Ventilated mesh strap and back padding
- Compatible with a hydration bladder (2-3L)
This bag is both durable and lightweight, which are two attributes that are sometimes hard to get in the same product. The lightweight fabric and the extra features included in the design also play a role in elevating the control of the bag. That, combined with the large capacity and the water-resistance of the bag, easily makes this one of the best backpacks on the market today.
Unfortunately, there are some things that don’t quite meet the expectations some may have. The first is with the MOLLE system. It is set up to be used with MOLLE compartments and pouches, however, it isn’t set to specifications. This may diminish its effectiveness. The other issue is with the zipper quality. The zippers are sturdy, but they do tend to stick a bit.
- This unit is crafted with durable, lightweight material
- The overall build of the bag offers a comfortable wear
- The backpack has a very large capacity
- It comes designed with an easy-access water bottle pocket
- The backpack is water-resistant for better usability
- There are issues with the quality of the zippers (sticks)
- The MOLLE system is not made to specification
Now that you have a few options that may have piqued your interest, you may be wondering how we chose them. We crafted a list of five features that we feel make for the best tactical backpack when combined together. Then, we used those features to sift through the plethora of options available.
Below, we will break these features down so that you understand why we chose the models we did. This list of features can also come in handy if you want to do a little more research to make sure you find the right option for you and your outdoor needs.
Here are the features you should consider when looking for a high-performance tactical backpack.
A great deal of the backpacks available for outdoor use are crafted with nylon. Fabric plays a part not only in water resistance (see below) but also in overall weight. If you want a great option for water resistance that is still lightweight and durable, then you may want to look for a bag made of Cordura nylon. Whatever you do, you will want to find one that uses high-density nylon and is lined with either polyester or cotton.
Another factor you should pay attention to when choosing your pack is the capacity. Depending on how long you are planning to head into the wilderness, you will want to choose one in accordance with your needs. For instance, if you are looking for a daypack, then something in the range of 24 – 30 liters is sufficient. On the other hand, if you are going to be gone for more than 3 days, you should go with a larger option, like 55 liters.
A lot of the time, when you are looking to buy a tactical backpack, it is because you have a lot of gear. Because of this, the number of pockets and compartments is a very important feature to look at. A good tactical bag will have multiple pockets both on the front and some on the side, as well as in the interior. You will also find handles and straps that can help the bag have more versatility of use.
Another feature that some bags come with is a MOLLE system. This allows you to attach extra compartments and pockets that you buy separately. The more room you have or space there is to grow, the more organized you will be able to be on your adventures.
This feature has a lot to do with the fabric that the bag is crafted in. You won’t find too many bags that have 100% waterproofing, but you can find quite a few that offer different levels of water resistance.
If you are someone who likes to get off the beaten path where you may need to trudge through streams, then you should look for a bag that offers as much water resistance as possible. By getting a higher level of water resistance, though, you may have to give up a bit of breathability in the backpack.
When we talk about design, it falls under two categories – comfort and aesthetics. The aesthetics have nothing to do with the performance of the bag. However, some people want a functional but cool-looking option, so you may want to consider this.
Where design really plays the most significant role in the bag’s performance is in the ability to adjust and find the right fit. When looking at the design, you want to choose an option that works with the contour of your back. Finding one that has a mesh, ventilated padding system will also be helpful. You also want the same level of comfort in the straps. This will help with comfort when it comes to long hours of wear.
You also want to make sure that the belts and straps are all adjustable. This will ensure that you have the perfect fit for your frame. It will also help distribute the weight of the bag you will be carrying.
Tactical Backpack FAQs
You now know what to look for, but you may still have a few questions, so we have gathered together a few of the most commonly asked questions and answered them for you below. We hope this helps you with your decision-making process.
What is a tactical backpack?
A tactical backpack is a bag that is designed to meet the needs of those who are in the wilderness on a regular basis. The backpacks are usually designed with varying sizes of pockets and compartments.
These can be used to house a whole slew of different pieces of equipment that the individual will need when roughing it in the outdoors. Some of these backpacks also come designed with places to store water so that the user can stay hydrated.
What is the difference between a regular backpack and a tactical backpack?
There is not a lot of difference when it comes to a regular backpack and a tactical one. Both will come with a reinforced structure and some level of water resistance. Along with this, the bags will be made of durable materials.
The real difference is in the design and the level of organization possible. A tactical bag will have more compartments. The layout of these bags tends to be lighter so that the wearer can move easier than they would with a standard backpack.
How do you properly wear a tactical backpack?
Even if you get the best option, you could still end up miserable if you don’t know how to properly wear the bag. The first thing you want to do is try it on and make sure it feels comfortable.
Then, you will want to make sure that you don’t overpack when you are getting ready to head out. You will want the bag to fall centered along the top of your back. Make sure that the weight is centered so that your shoulders are working with your back.
Definitely make sure that your backpack is then cinched tight so that there is no chance of it slipping and drooping when you are out and about. You will want all the straps to be snug but not uncomfortable. The same goes for your shoulder straps.
How do you tighten the straps on a tactical backpack?
One thing that is different with a tactical backpack is all the straps and belts. Understanding how to tighten them will help you when it comes to comfort and fit. Start with your hip belt. This should be fastened tight. When done, it should actually sit a little above your hips.
Then, you will want to adjust the shoulder straps. You should be able to pull down the tabs. You will want them to be tight, but not so tight that your shoulder is bearing the brunt of the weight.
Some bags will also have load lifters. These should be tightened until they sit at about a 45-degree angle to the backpack’s main body. If you have a sternum belt, then this is when you will fasten and tighten it. This strap takes some of the weight off of your shoulders. The belt should end up a little below your collarbone.
How do you clean (wash) a tactical backpack?
Cleaning a tactical backpack is a little more involved than a standard backpack. The first thing to note is that most people who deal with tactical backpacks would tell you that they need to be cleaned daily. If you want this bag to last for a long time, then proper upkeep is essential.
There may be some bags that are washer-friendly, but for the most part, the cleaning process will be done by hand. The most recommended routine would be to mix water, soap, and baking soda together. Scrub the bag with a toothbrush. Let it air dry for a little bit.
There you have it – our guide on how to find the perfect tactical backpack, along with a few suggestions. No matter what level of experience or amount of time you put into your outdoor activities, having a good tactical backpack is a smart idea.
Of course, you should shop around and have a list of what you plan to put in the bag so that you can make sure all of your items will fit. Once you have done all of that, you can use the features in our buyer’s guide to help you narrow down your choices.
Hopefully, one of the five models we discussed above will be the best for you. If not, we certainly hope that all the information we have conveyed above helps you in your hunt for the right tactical backpack.