9 Best Tactical Backpacks In 2020 Reviewed ( Incl. Molle, Military, Laptop Bags )

military man in the forest

Everyone needs a bag in which to carry their stuff occasionally.

Tactical backpacks are like normal backpacks except upgraded. They are more durable and can often be expanded thanks to rows and columns of MOLLE-compatible webbing.

But you don’t have to be a mall ninja to appreciate a good tactical backpack. They’re available in more colors than just black or camouflage and are great choices for everyone from hunters and hikers to suburbanites who have never even seen a gun.

However, their popularity has caused hordes of low-quality manufacturers to crawl out of their holes to produce overpriced packs that can’t handle the coffee store let alone an expedition into the mountains.

How do you tell the good tactical bags from the bad?

And which are the best of the best?

 

The 9 Best Tactical Backpacks: Outdoor Empire Reviews

  1. Best Small: SOG Ninja Tactical Day Pack, 24.2 Liters
  2. Best for the Money: Maxpedition Vulture-II
  3. Best MOLLE: 5.11 Tactical RUSH24
  4. Best Military: Camelbak BFM Mil-Spec Antidote
  5. Best Heavy-Duty: Eberlestock Halftrack Pack
  6. Best Tactical Laptop Backpack: 5.11 Tactical Rapid Origin
  7. Best EDC: 5.11 Tactical COVRT18
  8. Best Sling: Red Rock Outdoor Gear Rover Sling Pack
  9. Best Cheap: REEBOW Gear 3-Day Assault Pack

 

CategoryBest small

Best for the money

Best military
ProductSOG Ninja Tactical Day Pack
SOG Ninja Tactical Day Pack

Maxpedition Vulture-II
Maxpedition Vulture-II

Camelbak BFM Mil-Spec Antidote
Camelbak BFM Mil-Spec Antidote

Capacity24.2 liters34 liters48 liters
MaterialCanvas/polyester blend1000D polyurethane-coated nylon500D corduroy
Weight1.94 lbs3 lbs 8 oz5.5 lbs
MOLLEYesYesYes
Colors- black
- clay brown
- coyote
- desert camo
- olive
- turbulent
- black
- foliage green
- khaki
- OD green
- ABU
- ACU
- black
- coyote
- multicam
CostCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

 

1. Best Small Tactical Backpack: SOG Ninja Tactical Day Pack, 24.2 Liters

SOG Ninja Tactical Day Pack, 24.2 Liters

  • Colors: Black, clay brown, coyote, desert camo, olive, turbulent
  • Capacity: 24.2 liters
  • Material: Canvas/polyester blend
  • Weight: 1.94 lbs.
  • MOLLE? Yes
  • Misc: Hydration bladder pocket, bottom lashing loops, soft-lined accessory pocket, hook and loof flag patch, contoured foam back

Overview

The SOG Ninja Tactical Day Pack is a high-quality backpack that’s on the smaller side. It can hold 24.2 liters, or 1475 cubic inches, of gear.

The back has mesh with air vents to help against sweating, though not all the way along the back. The mesh is in three large sections, which lowers the contact patch against your back.

The front and sides have MOLLE webbing, so you can expand the backpack with pouches. One side has a water bottle pouch.

There’s an integral hydration bladder storage area that can hold a bladder of up to 2 liters. There used to be routing holes to direct that bladder’s tube for easy use, but they seem to have been removed from the current version.

To hold the load tight, there’s an adjustable sternum slider. There are also compression straps on each side.

A small accessory pocket is lined with a soft material to keep glasses or electronic devices from getting scratched.

The bottom has two drainage ports as well as four places to lash on a sleeping roll.

The zippers and fabric are both stiff and long-lasting, though this can make the compartments hard to open at first.

Pros

  • Good weight control for the size
  • Stiff, durable fabric and zippers

Cons

  • The current version lacks hydration tube ports

Recommendation

The SOG Ninja Day Pack is a good small tactical backpack that can still hold everything you need, especially since it’s expandable.

 

 

2. Best Backpack for the Money: Maxpedition Vulture-II

 

Maxpedition Vulture-II

 

  • Colors: Black, foliage green, khaki, and OD green
  • Capacity: 34 liters
  • Material: 1000D polyurethane-coated nylon
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 8 oz.
  • MOLLE? Yes
  • Misc: Sternum strap, waist belt, bottom lashing points, 3-liter hydration bladder reservoir

Overview

The Maxpedition Vulture-II is a 3-day backpack, which means that it’s capable of holding all of the equipment and supplies, including food and water, for 72 hours of operation in the field.

It has three large compartments, all of which have pockets and webbing for securing smaller items.

There is also PALS-compliant MOLLE webbing on the sides and front. There’s not a lot compared to some other tactical rucksacks, but there’s enough to add on multiple pouches, holsters, or whatever you want.

The material is very tough, as are the YKK zippers and UTX-Duraflex buckles, which are designed to be quieter than other buckles.

The ballistic nylon fabric has been coated with polyurethane and Teflon to protect the fabric and provide water resistance.

Closed-cell foam padding keeps the contents safe. Retention straps pull the weight close to you, while mesh allows air to flow between the backpack and your back.

Pros

  • Intelligently designed compartments
  • Quiet buckles
  • Very high-quality construction

Cons

  • May be too big for smaller people

Recommendation

The Maxpedition Vulture-II is on the larger side, so if you’re not a large-framed person, it may not fit comfortably. For the larger people among us, though, you will have a hard time finding a better tactical backpack.

 

 

3. Best MOLLE Backpack: 5.11 Tactical RUSH24

 

5.11 Tactical RUSH24

 

  • Colors: Black, dark earth, double tap, Multicam, OD, sandstone
  • Capacity: 37 liters
  • Material: 1050D nylon
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs.
  • MOLLE? Yes
  • Misc: Admin pouches, hydration bladder pocket, sternum strap, waist belt

Overview

The quality that makes a backpack a tactical bag for some people is the amount of MOLLE webbing on the bag.

Well, the 5.11 Tactical RUSH24 is covered in PALS-compliant MOLLE webbing.

The front has one 2×6-inch MOLLE section and a 5×8-inch section. Both sides have 5×3-inch MOLLE below the compression strap and a single row above.

There are also two places on the front with Velcro on the MOLLE, so you can slap on your two favorite ID or morale patches.

The customization doesn’t stop there. Internal organization is a breeze with all of the different options inside the compartments. There’s a hydration bladder pocket, a fleece-lined sunglass pocket, a side water bottle pocket, and three mesh admin pockets.

This makes the RUSH24 good for everything from bugging out to daily college use. You can even comfortably fit a 17-inch laptop!

The shoulder straps and waist belt are padded.

Pros

  • Good internal organization capabilities
  • Lots of MOLLE

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Unpadded bottom

Recommendation

Is a little bit of MOLLE not enough for you? Do you want lots of MOLLE on a backpack worthy of all that PALS webbing? Then the 5.11 Tactical RUSH24 is the backpack for you!

 

5.11 Tactical RUSH24 is also available at:

Basspro

Cabelas

 

4. Best Military Backpack: Camelbak BFM Mil-Spec Antidote Backpack

 

Camelbak BFM Mil-Spec Antidote Backpack

 

  • Colors: ABU, ACU, black, coyote, Multicam
  • Capacity: 48 liters
  • Material: 500D corduroy
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs.
  • MOLLE? Yes
  • Misc: Hydration bladder pocket and ports, radio attachment with ports, NVG pocket, sternum strap, waist belt

Overview

CamelBak doesn’t just make hydration bladders and carriers. They also make mil-spec backpacks. Their BFM Antidote is a massive 48-liter tactical bag that’s made to military specifications.

This makes it more than a 3-day pack. It’s effectively a 5-day pack.

It’s made from 500D corduroy and is designed to work with CamelBak’s 3-liter mil-spec Antidote Hydration Reservoir. You can set the drinking tube for right-handed or left-handed use.

Instead of MOLLE webbing, the front has a patch of laser-cut MOLLE. This works just as well as MOLLE webbing, if not better because it also saves weight.

Which is necessary because the pack weighs five-and-a-half pounds—unladen!

There’s also a hook-and-loop field above the MOLLE.

The sides have multiple unzippable pockets, and there’s also a soft-lined pocket designed for NVGs that can also be used for, say, ski goggles.

Pros

  • High-capacity
  • Used by the military

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Might be too large for daily use (unless you need to carry a lot!)

Recommendation

The Camelbak BFM Mil-Spec Antidote Backpack is one of the backpacks used by the US military. It’s good for when you need to carry a lot of gear at once!

 

 

5. Best Heavy-Duty Backpack: Eberlestock Halftrack Pack

 

Eberlestock Halftrack Pack

  • Colors: Black, coyote brown, dry earth, military green, Multicam, UNICAM II
  • Capacity: 35 liters
  • Material: 1000D nylon
  • Weight: 6 lbs. 7 oz.
  • MOLLE? Yes
  • Misc: Internal frame, two hydration bladder pockets, radio rack, fold-down central compartment divider, sternum strap, waist belt

Overview

The Eberlestock Halftrack Pack is a 3-day tactical rucksack that is heavier-duty than other 3-day packs.

For one thing, it has a polycarbonate internal frame to help support a large amount of weight. That frame allows the bag to distribute the weight better. This is helped by the large amount of mesh padding, which will keep you comfortable and cool.

The sides, front, and waist belts have MOLLE webbing for you to attach more gear. You shouldn’t need to attach much, however, as the Halftrack can carry almost everything already.

It even has a radio rack that can carry a long-range radio transceiver. There are three antenna ports too.

You can install two 3-liter hydration bladders inside side pockets or two 2-liter hydration inside side sleeves. The latter option saves internal space so you can carry more gear.

The main compartment opens by unzipping all three sides in the front, which makes packing and getting to your gear easy.

The Halftrack may weigh over six pounds, but the frame distributes the weight enough for the pack to feel much lighter.

Pros

  • Internal frame
  • Massive storage ability
  • Radio rack
  • Two hydration bladder pockets

Cons

  • Expensive

Recommendation

If you want a heavy-duty tactical backpack that can carry large amounts of heavy gear without causing fatigue, then the Eberlestock Halftrack Pack is your backpack!

 

 

6. Best Tactical Laptop Backpack: 5.11 Tactical Rapid Origin

5.11 Tactical Rapid Origin

  • Colors: Black, coal, TAC OD
  • Capacity: 25 liters
  • Material: 600D polyester
  • Weight: 2.1 lbs.
  • MOLLE? Yes
  • Misc: Laptop sleeve, TacTec-compatible back pocket, mesh padding, sternum strap

Overview

The 5.11 Tactical Rapid Origin is a lighter-weight backpack, but it’s still a good tactical backpack, especially if you need to bring a laptop with you.

It has a built-in laptop sleeve that keeps it protected from impacts and scratches. However, it can’t hold the largest laptops. The maximum size is 15 inches.

The front and sides have MOLLE webbing, so you can easily add more gear. There are also internal zippered pockets for organization and a fleece-lined admin pocket that’s also good for keeping sunglasses safe.

There’s an offset hook-and-loop field good for one patch. The bottom row of MOLLE also has Velcro.

The main compartment unzips almost all the way down, which makes it easy to store or remove your goods.

The back and shoulder straps have thick mesh padding to keep you cool even when loaded down. There’s a sternum strap, but no waist belt, which makes sense since this is a day pack, not an assault pack.

The whole backpack weighs only 2.1 pounds, making it good for everyday use.

Pros

  • 15-inch laptop sleeve
  • Lightweight and comfortable

Cons

  • Larger laptops won’t fit
  • Not good for multi-day use

Recommendation

Whether you want to take your 15-inch or smaller laptop to the coffee shop or for a day hike, the 5.11 Tactical Rapid Origin is a comfortable, lightweight option.

 

 

7. Best EDC Backpack: 5.11 Tactical COVRT18

 

5.11 Tactical COVRT18

 

  • Colors: Asphalt, black, foliage, ice
  • Capacity: 25 liters
  • Material: 500D nylon
  • Weight: 3 lbs.
  • MOLLE? None external
  • Misc: Hidden CCW pocket, RAC, ID panel, 15-inch laptop sleeve, hydration bladder pocket

Overview

The 5.11 Tactical COVRT18 is a tactical backpack hiding in plain sight as your typical backpack.

There is no MOLLE webbing and no Velcro fields, which belies the tactical spirit of this bag.

However, if you EDC a CCW, this bag is for you. There’s a hidden pistol pocket and something 5.11 calls a RAC.

Wondering what RAC means? It’s short for Roll-down Assault Compartment. You unfurl it and bam! The bag can hold a full-sized rifle or shotgun.

But weaponry is not all this bag can carry. It has a 15-inch laptop sleeve, a flip-down ID holder, a 1.5-liter hydration bladder pocket, and a fleece-lined admin pouch good for sunglasses.

There are two side water bottle pockets. The shoulder yoke is adjustable.

Oh, and I lied about it lacking MOLLE. There’s MOLLE webbing inside the frontmost compartment, complete with a Velcro section!

You can curl up that compartment lid and hold it in place with toggles when you want to show off your cool new morale patch.

Pros

  • 15-inch laptop sleeve
  • CCW pocket
  • RAC can hold a large firearm

Cons

  • Expensive

Recommendation

The 5.11 Tactical COVRT18 is a great EDC bag which can hold a concealed-carry pistol and can open up into a full-on tactical assault pack.

 

5.11 Tactical COVRT18 is also available at:

Basspro

 

8. Best Sling Backpack: Red Rock Outdoor Gear Rover Sling Pack

Red Rock Outdoor Gear Rover Sling Pack

  • Colors: Black, coyote, coyote with olive drab webbing, dark earth, navy, olive drab, olive drab heather, olive drab with red stitching, tornado, tornado with black webbing, tornado with royal blue stitching, woodland digital
  • Capacity: 9 liters
  • Material: 600D polyester
  • Weight:
  • MOLLE? Yes
  • Misc: CCW pocket, tablet pocket

Overview

With a capacity of 9 liters, the Red Rock Outdoor Gear Rover Sling Pack won’t wow anybody with its storage capacity.

What it does with that small amount of storage, though, is impressive.

There’s a large main compartment and two external pockets that can be used to carrying daily supplies. You can even fit a tablet or iPad in one of the pockets.

However, hidden in the back part of this sling pack, below the lone shoulder strap, is a hidden pistol pocket.

Good amounts of padding protect it from digging into your back, but you won’t forget that it’s there. It’s easy to draw if you need it at a moment’s notice.

Pros

  • CCW pistol pocket
  • Good as a light daypack, child’s pack, or go bag

Cons

  • Small capacity

Recommendation

The Red Rock Outdoor Gear Rover Sling Pack is a good tactical bag when you want to carry a small amount of gear. It’s also a great go bag that can be loaded with a pistol, spare magazines, flashlight, medical supplies, and anything else you need to respond to a shooting or intruder.

 

 

9. Best Cheap Backpack: REEBOW Gear 3-Day Assault Pack

REEBOW Gear 3-Day Assault Pack

  • Colors: Black, tan
  • Capacity: 40 liters
  • Material: 600D fabric
  • MOLLE? Yes
  • Misc: Compression straps, waist belt, sternum strap, mesh back

Overview

The REEBOW Gear 3-Day Assault Pack has a carrying capacity of 40 liters. This is large enough to carry plenty of gear but not so large that you’ll have trouble carrying it in urban areas.

The sides have MOLLE webbing, though only two usable columns (technically three). There’s more MOLLE on the front as well as three rows of MOLLE covered in Velcro.

REEBOW tosses in an American flag patch to go on that section of hook and loop, if you like.

The shoulder straps are padded with breathable mesh, as is the bottom two-thirds of the back. There are also D-rings on the shoulder straps, loops for quick adjustments, and a sternum strap.

A waist belt and two compression straps per side help hold your gear close and tight so it won’t shift around on you.

However, the straps and padding are not that large, so this pack can get uncomfortable with too much weight.

All of the seams are double-stitched, and the zippers are heavy-duty metal, so they should last a long time.

The buckles are plastic, though, and are not made to the same quality. Many people have had no complaints, but several users reported broken buckles.

Pros

  • Good weight compression
  • Very roomy for the external size

Cons

  • Potentially uncomfortable straps
  • Weak buckles

Recommendation

The REEBOW Gear 3-Day Assault Pack can carry three or more days’ worth of gear, but it is a budget pack and may not hold up as long as others on this list. What do you expect for under $50?

 

 

Why Buy a Tactical Backpack?

man walking with tactical backpack

Some folks will naturally gravitate toward tactical backpacks at the mere mention of the word “tactical.” Other people will stand to the side, wondering what all the fuss is about when normal backpacks carry books and laptops just fine.

So, what is all the fuss?

Tactical backpacks have several advantages over regular backpacks, which make them good not only as “cool guy stuff” at the shooting range but also for school students, hikers, and people who take the bus to work.

For one, they tend to be more customizable than regular backpacks. MOLLE webbing comes standard on tactical bags. You can use it to attach more pouches, holsters, first-aid kits, and other tactical supplies.

There’s more you can do with MOLLE than add on pouches, though.

You can attach a Nalgene bottle to MOLLE with a carabiner, insert pens and pencils through the webbing, strap on a compass, hang sunglasses, thread your watch band through the slots so you don’t damage it in the water, and more.

MOLLE tactical backpack

Your imagination is the limit when you have MOLLE webbing on your backpack!

But that’s not the only advantage.

Tactical backpacks are designed to hold heavier equipment for their volume than regular backpacks. This manifests in several ways.

Compression straps, mesh, padding, and other features help distribute the weight so it won’t fatigue you as easily as with a simple backpack without sternum straps, waist belts, and tension straps.

Even if you never fully load the pack, it should last longer than a similar non-tactical pack.

Oh, and some people think tactical backpacks just look sweet.

 

How to Choose Tactical Pack?

tactical backpacks in store

Now that you’ve decided you want a tactical backpack, you need to decide which one you want to buy.

Let’s look at some of the factors which can make or break a bag.

Materials and Durability

Tactical backpacks are supposed to be durable enough to handle a warzone. So, I’d be wary of any cheaply manufactured bags because they’ll fall apart on you at an inopportune time.

There are several signs of high-quality materials:

  • High-density fabric
  • Metal zippers, preferably made by YKK
  • Quality buckles
  • Even, close stitching reinforced at stress points

You’ll always want the latter three. The first point though, high-density fabric, is a bit of a give and take.

Denser fabric will last longer, provided that all other materials are the same. However, it’s rarely the fabric itself that tears first. Stitching and zippers are the most common weak spots.

Also, the denser the fabric, the heavier the backpack.

This tends to be exacerbated by the fact that larger backpacks have more storage capacity, which increases the weight they can hold. This means that the fabric needs to be able to handle more stress, which necessitates denser fabric.

Do note, however, that fabric is rarely the most expensive part of tactical gear. Most of the expense comes from the other components and workmanship.

Cheap knock-offs can be made with the same 1000D polyester as the real deal but will have weaker stitching and fragile zippers, so don’t make your decision purely on how high that fabric number gets.

 

Storage Capacity

tactical backpack interior

One of the biggest factors is the amount of storage capacity you need.

Tactical backpacks have a leg up on normal backpacks of the same volume. This is because they tend to have more internal divider and pockets, which allows you to put items exactly where you need them without worrying about everything ending up in a disorganized pile at the bottom of the sack.

Tactical backpacks also tend to be boxier than other backpack designs. This is a more efficient use of space, so tactical bags are sometimes smaller than non-tactical bags with the same storage capacity.

The amount of storage capacity you need is determined by how long you’ll be living out of the gear in your backpack.

Are you just going to use it for day trips into the city or for short hikes? They you can get by with a backpack that’s 25 liters or smaller.

If you don’t need to carry much at all, then a 12- or 9-liter tactical pack is enough for you and will still be able to carry electronics and snacks.

However, if you need to live out of your bag for several days, then you’ll want a larger capacity.

Some people recommend at least 40 liters for a 3-day pack. However, smart packing and utilizing MOLLE can get you that much gear in a smaller 34-liter pack.

 

Accessories and Features

hydration storage in tactical backpack

These are the little things which can make you love or hate your bag.

One of the most common features of a tactical backpack is a slot for a hydration bladder.

Hydration bladders are efficient uses of space for storing water. They save weight over a canteen and use a tube, meaning you can drink from the bladder without having to remove the water sack.

Tactical backpacks typically have a pocket for these, though not all can hold the same amount of water. Mil-spec hydration bladders are 3 liters, which is 100 ounces. That’s more than what’s recommended for you to drink in a day, but it’s good for multi-day hikes or traveling in hot weather. However, it can get heavy!

Not all tactical backpacks can carry that much water, though. Two liters is the most common size, which is a day’s worth of water.

At least one bag can only carry 1.5 liters, which is good if you’re in an urban or suburban environment and aren’t exerting yourself as much.

Think carrying water like this is a silly idea? It’s easy to misjudge how much water you need during a long day at something like a renaissance festival during the summer. I’ve seen people drop from heat exhaustion at various events, but none of those people had a hydration pack.

Water storage is not the only handy feature of tactical backpacks to scope out.

Fleece-lined accessory pockets are a good idea if you want to carry around eyeglasses or sunglasses without having to wear them all the time. You can put them in these pockets without worrying about scratches.

Bottom lashing points can be helpful if you want to camp overnight because then you can store your sleeping bag outside your pack. Drainage holes are good in case you take an accidental swim in the river.

Finally, good long-range radios can be pretty bulky and weighty. Some tactical backpacks have places for you to put your radio to carry it hands-free, safe, and out of the way. They even have holes so your antenna can stick out and receive a radio call.

 

Fitting

man with tactical backpack side view

The best backpack in the world won’t do you any good if it doesn’t fit you.

Most tactical backpacks are very adjustable, so they can fit a wide variety of body types.

However, particularly large or small bags won’t fit particularly small or large people.

The Maxpedition Vulture-II is the only tactical backpack I’m aware of that calls out this potential issue.

For the others, you’ll need to check out the reviews and see if anybody has personal experience about a bag being too large or too small for them.

 

How You’ll Use the Backpack

variety of tactical backpacks

An argument could be made for owning multiple bags.

After all, you won’t want to use a daypack for a multi-day hike, and a 40+ liter bag is overkill for biking to the coffee shop with your laptop.

If you have several bags, then you can set some up as specialty bags. For example, a 3-day pack makes a good bugout bag, which you can use in an emergency to get you someplace safe.

A bugout bag (BOB) is prepared with everything you’ll need to survive until you can reach a predetermined safe place. You don’t want your BOB to be your everyday bag, because then you’ll have to load it when the emergency hits, wasting precious time.

A go bag is another good idea, especially if you need to be able to respond to a situation, such as a shooting, at a moment’s notice.

Go bags are typically small bags, so you can store them in your vehicle or next to your bed. They often include a handgun, several magazines, a flashlight, and some medical supplies.

This lets you grab one small, light bag and be prepared to stop a threat or make your way to your proper bugout bag.

Then, you have your everyday bag with non-emergency supplies you use every day. You know, stuff like notepads, sunglasses, water bottles, allergy pills, and maybe even a concealed handgun.

These should be light yet durable since they’ll see daily wear.

 

Top Tactical Backpack Brands

5.11 Tactical

5.11 Tactical

Visit any website forum or any police equipment store, and you’ll see plenty of to-do about 5.11 Tactical.

5.11 is one of the go-to brands for anything to which you can append the word “tactical.” It’s even in their name!

This may seem a little odd because 5.11 Tactical didn’t start as a tactical equipment manufacturer. In fact, it was originally formed to produce pants good for rock climbing.

However, rock climbing gear has to be durable, lightweight, and versatile. FBI students noticed that 5.11’s rock climbing pants were good for, well, tactical operations, and started buying them en masse.

The owner of 5.11 saw the virtue in this new market segment and whole-heartedly threw himself into making gear good for people who run them rough both in the cities and in the wild.

Today, 5.11 Tactical makes many clothes, gloves, boots, and other gear used by everyone, from government wildlife agencies and police forces to security guards and competition shooters.

They even had tactical “kilts” at one point, though they are currently discontinued.

5.11’s tactical backpacks are just as good as their shirts and pants. In other words, they are good enough to handle daily wear, even if you put harsh demands on them.

 

CamelBak Products, LLC

CamelBak Products, LLC

CamelBak is known the world over for providing high-quality hydration bladders and systems to civilians and soldiers.

And it all started at a bike race.

EMT Michael Eidson, the future founder of CamelBak, was racing in the Hotter’n Hell 100 1989 bicycle race in Wichita Falls, Texas.

A summer race in Texas will dehydrate you quickly.

He had the brilliant idea to fill an IV bag with water and drink out of the IV line. He stuffed the IV bag into a sock pinned to his racing jersey and clipped the tube near his mouth.

Thus was born the first hydration bladder.

He started selling a professionally-designed version a few months later, the ThermalBak.

The ThermalBak was a popular cyclist item until some soldiers brought their personal CamelBaks into the first Gulf War. That’s when the Department of Defense took notice and started outfitting soldiers with CamelBak hydration bladders and carriers.

The CamelBak is still the gold standard of hydration systems today, though the company is now owned by Vista Outdoor.

CamelBak spread into the gear-hauling business with backpacks, rucksacks, and load-bearing harnesses. Soldiers often look fondly on their assigned CamelBak equipment and buy their own when they are out of the service.

While many tactical backpacks are designed to work with hydration bladders, CamelBak knows how to do it best.

 

F.A.Q.

What should you carry in a tactical backpack?

things to be packed in tactical backpack

This depends on your intended purpose for the backpack.

A bugout bag, for example, will carry everything you need to spend several days getting somewhere safe. That’s obviously too much to carry to school or to work.

Personally, I always carry a small amount of EDC supplies in my backpack that’s redundant and supplementary to what I carry in my pockets.

So, there’s a knife, flashlight, medical supplies, pen, pencil, lip balm, mints, a bandana, sleeping mask, earplugs, and even a pair of cufflinks stored away in my backpack. Hey, you never know when you’ll be invited to a fancy event! Tactical backpacks let you be prepared for all eventualities.

 

How do you pack a tactical backpack?

unzpping tactical backpack

There are certain tips and tricks you can use to pack a backpack intelligently.

Basically, there are three areas in your backpack: the bottom, middle, and top areas. Outside pockets should also be considered.

  • Bottom – This is where you should put rarely-used bulky items which can survive weight above them.
  • Middle – This is where you should put heavy items you’ll need occasionally.
  • Top – This is where you put lighter items you’ll use frequently but at a low priority, as you’ll need to drop the bag to get to them.
  • Outside pockets – These are where you’ll put items you need to be able to find in a hurry or, sometimes, without taking off the backpack

The weight should be centered on your back and low in the bag, otherwise it’ll bounce around and cause fatigue.

 

How do you clean a tactical backpack?

tactical backpack on floor

Your backpack will last longer if you keep it clean. Dirt can rub at the fabric, causing it to degrade faster than it otherwise would.

Some backpacks are machine washable. Their label will say so. You can remove all of their contents and toss them in your washing machine.

Make sure to follow any directions on the tag!

Not all backpacks are machine washable, though. You’ll need to spot clean those.

You can use a brush to remove most of the dirt. Then, wipe it down with a soft, clean, damp rag.

If you keep your backpack clean, then it will be able to carry your load for a long time!

 

If you think tactical backpack is too much for you then you might want to consider:

Hunting backpacks

 

Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson learned to walk in the mountains and has spent much of his life exploring the outdoors. He is equally at home in the woods, at the range, or on the gunsmithing bench, and loves to build guns almost as much as he enjoys shooting them. His travels have taken him to the four corners of the United States. Though his favorite hunting spot is in Alaska, Kansas deer taste better.

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