Backpacks play a seminal role in our daily lives and are the main thing we use to carry all of our stuff around. Some people need a little more out of their bags, and military-styled gear typically can rise to the challenge. These backpacks are tough, versatile, and practical, but which one is the best tactical backpack. Keep reading to see our picks.
1. Mystery Ranch Two-Day Assault
Mystery Ranch’s newest 27L pack is one of the best tactical backpacks available. It is lightweight, weighing only about 3 pounds, and compact, making it ideal for long trips where you must lug your backpack around for an extended period. It also comes with customizable hip and shoulder straps so you can adjust it, so it feels snug, comfortable, and secure.
The padded laptop compartment and sturdy YKK zippers of this tactical pack make it incredibly versatile for both military and day-to-day use. If you need any areas for water, it is also compatible with hydration bladder attachments and its two included water bottle holders.
This backpack is also made from CORDURA fabric, one of the most durable and long-lasting materials around.
Mystery Ranch’s Two-Day assault bag offers a lot of value for $200, and it’s one of our top picks.
2. SOG Ninja
SOG Ninja backpacks are part of the newest line of tactical backpacks with more budget pricing. They cost only about $28-34 and come with adjustable shoulder straps and a padded hip belt that provides you with optimal suspension and comfort. It is made from a breathable mesh material, which will prevent too much sweat build up near your back after wearing it for a long time. These bags are also incredibly durable and come with excellent waterproofing to ensure your bag can withstand the rain.
This small tactical backpack is also made for everyday use since it is equipped with a padded laptop sleeve that is easily accessed using the bag’s long side zipper. There are also a bunch of small-sleeved zippered areas in the central section where you can keep various items organized in specific sections. This bag is also great for fitting water bottles, sunglasses, or other electronic devices in some of its many easy-to-access side pockets.
3. 5.11 Rush 100
These backpacks were designed particularly for hardcore military use and, as such, are both versatile and meant for high-intensity use. Additionally, these tactical bags are best used in hostile areas with scarce water resources, so there is ample storage for your water bottles and compatible attachment areas for varied sizes of hydration bladder.
The 5.11 Rush 100s has a 500-denier nylon construction that’s incredibly tough and durable. Its carrying capacity comes in at 60 liters, making it one of the largest-capacity options on our list. It also has an internal zipper admin section so you can easily organize your stuff. The bag’s aluminum and fiberglass frame support heavy loads by transferring the weight onto a padded waist strap.
Rush 100’s 270-degree zipper make it easy to store and access larger pieces of gear. Plus, it gives you quick access to the bag’s main compartment. The exterior of the bag is also equipped with a MOLLE system for attaching additional gear.
4. CV Life Tactical Backpack
The CV Life tactical backpack is an incredibly spacious bag with 60 liters of storage. Its storage is also well organized with a plethora of specified sections. It was designed to hold roughly three days of supplies and is organized as such. It has a central section, a removable front bag, and two removable side bags.
There are also many sub-pockets in each section of the bag’s storage. These removable features are great for customizing the bag for your preferred use, and you can even convert the front bag to a tactical fanny pack or make the side pouches into first aid kits. The bag can be a bit hefty, but you can quickly shed weight by removing the detachable options if you do not need them.
Like other top-quality tactical backpacks, it’s also equipped with a classic MOLLE attachment grid system that makes the bag incredibly versatile. You can attach any other gear to the outer straps on the shoulders, back, or outer pocket sections.
Some drawbacks to the CVLIFE tactical bag are the low-quality polyester fabric and lack of waist belt padding. It also only has a 12-month warranty compared to the classic lifetime warranty you see with other tactical pack options on this list.
However, it is still a great budget option to look for a reliably spacious bag for a simple hike or emergency kit.
5. Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical Backpack
Direct Action’s Dragon Egg Tactical Backpack is a smaller option but comes with increased durability and a sleek aesthetic. It has laser-cut shots on both the back and side pockets and looks like many backpacks used by law enforcement personnel.
The Dragon Egg has about 25 liters of space in its main compartment, while this is spacious, it may not be enough space for some. It is made from a breathable mesh material and has enough space for a hydration pocket.
There are also many smaller pockets where you can hold small options that should stay safe and secure. It also hosts MOLLE webbing pockets on the front and sides so you can attach additional accessories.
One other benefit of the bag is the comfort you will feel while carrying it even at full capacity. It has nice, padded shoulder straps and extra buckles on its retention straps, so you do not feel like you are just dragging the weight along.
Some drawbacks of the Dragon Egg tactical bag are the limited space in the main compartment and the lack of waterproofing. In addition, while there are many sections in its inner storage, it may not be enough if you need to store your laptop and clothes in the main section.
However, it is still a great bag that comes with an ideal military aesthetic. It comes in 14 different colors like Coyote Brown, Urban Grey, or Pencott Wildwood. This lets you customize your bag for your environment.
Tactical Sling Bags
Tactical Sling bags are a more well-fitted version of a tactical backpack that is designed for easy access on the battlefield. However, its quick access is also widely used to carry everyday items like chargers, diapers, or textbooks. A military tactical backpack is also an excellent option for travelers since you can wear them both behind your back or in front of your chest to avoid possible theft.
Here are some of the best tactical sling backpack options available below.
1. Vertx EDC Commuter Bag
One great tactical sling pack on the market is the Vertx EDC commuter bag. It’s a compact and efficient bag that allows quick access to the main compartment and zippered side pocket.
These bags come with a separate section for your laptop or tablet and other small sections for specialized storage phones, keys, chains, wallets, and other small items. The EDC Commuter Bag also has a padded, adjustable grab strap for easy hauling when it’s not on your persons. The bag uses high quality, durable materials, so it can take a beating.
One notable downside is the commuter bag’s shoulder strap. It’s not ambidextrous, so it’s somewhat less versatile than other tactical sling bags.
2. Maxpedition Kodiak Gearslinger
This is a great choice if you have a lot of things to carry. This tactical sling backpack has 22.6 liters of space and can even hold a 15.4-inch laptop in its dedicated laptop compartment. It can also support heavier weights with a compression strap that keeps the bag nice and secure around your back. Its design also provides you with 270 degrees of rotation, making it easy to access your gear if need be.
The major drawback of the Kodiak Gearslinger is the insufficient water resistance. Although it does come with a water-resistant coating, moisture sometimes seeps in through the zipper, damaging any electronics you are carrying in the backpack.
However, this is still a great spacious tactical sling backpack option with a nice sleep design and gold trimmings to add a nice touch.
3. BraveHawk Outdoors Tactical Sling Bag
This new model from BraveHawk comes with a slick multi-sectioned design which provides easy reach to all your items.
The BraveHawk sling bag has one main section with a small pouch for your tablet or laptop with a USB port for added charging. It also comes with one smaller pocket pouch at the back and one at the front.
While this may not seem like a lot of space, this sling bag has a great MOLLE grind, so you can attach other compartments as well. The bag is also very lightweight and comfortable to carry due to its water-resistance capabilities and ventilated mesh.
In general, this is a great tactical sling bag, but some users lament the lack of included compartments.
There may not be a standard set of criteria for what constitutes a tactical bag, but there are generally some primary indicators of the best tactical backpack:
Tactical backpacks are generally made from military-grade fabrics for optimal durability. One of the most popular materials is ballistic nylon because of its sturdiness, water-resistance capabilities, and high tensile strength.
The fabric is ballistic since it is built to withstand the type of abuse that only an active warzone can offer. Most bags aren’t made from ballistics-grade nylon, the material used in bulletproof vests, but they typically use a somewhat similar material. However, some bags have pockets designed to accept armor plates that are specifially designed for backpacks. Some of the bags on the list offer this feature, but the armor plates aren’t included.
Ideally, you want to look for high-density materials like 1000 denier CORDURA nylon fabric. Unfortunately, this type of heavy-duty nylon is usually reserved for higher end product. However, 500d nylon is common in more affordable products and it’s also sufficiently tough for most everyday users.
This essentially refers to the fact that tactical bags must be incredibly versatile. Most tactical bags have a MOLLE grid that allows users to attach various types of gear to the bag.
Common attachments include things like med kits, ammo packs, holsters, and more. This makes tactical backpacks incredibly versatile and gives them another edge over regular ‘bookbag’ backpacks.
Even if you have the most durable backpack around, this can be rendered futile. It takes a long time to either store or take out your belongings. The best tactical backpacks will make use of accessible sections. It can help if the bag has many different internal and external sections to properly organize your belongings and do not spend too much time searching for an item. Having more pockets does not always mean that they will be more accessible, and it is also important to be able to find your items as quickly as possible.
Many tactical backpacks come with a lifetime warranty which is often a good indicator of their durability. However, many bags may not always live up to the reputation their warranty implies, and it is best to read up on customer reviews to make sure your tactical backpack has optimal durability.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are answers to some of the more commonly asked questions regarding the best tactical backpack and its uses.
What do you carry in a tactical backpack?
This largely depends on what you plan to use it for, but generally, people carry their laptop, water, flashlights, first aid kits, and whatever else you may need for your expedition. Many options are designed to hold camping gear like tents, food, or clothes. Of course, it’s also a great option for hunting and sporting trips with room for guns, ammo, and other shooting accessories.
What tactical backpacks do the military use?
The military uses many of the options listed here because of their durability. Many of the more heavy-duty and costlier options tend to be the ones used by the military. Companies will usually advertise if military units use their bags, so you won’t have to do too much digging to find out.