Tactical Backpack Reviews: Top 7 Tactical Backpacks 2018


Best Tactical Backpacks Review


Best Tactical Backpack Reviews – 2018

Looking for the best tactical backpack for all your outdoor adventures?

There are so many available, it can be hard to know which is the best. That’s why we’ve only chosen the highest rated tactical backpacks among the hundreds on the market.


Our picks

Mike’s Top Pick

REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack Large Army 3 Day Assault Pack Molle Bug Out Bag 

REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack Large Army 3 Day Assault Pack Molle Bug Out Bag

Button to buy REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack Large Army 3 Day Assault Pack Molle Bug Out Bag This backpack is our top pick because it’s sturdy, has great organizational features, and has a large capacity. It’s also waterproof, and is offered in two colors so you can choose whether you want it to be a discreet tactical backpack or not.

ProsCons
With a capacity of 40 liters, you can carry many items in this backpack Straps, buckles, and zippers sometimes come apart or break
Keeps items organized with the MOLLE system and several pockets
Subtle design means this backpack is discrete: it looks more like an everyday backpack than a tactical backpack
Waterproof

Value pick

Gelindo Military Tactical Backpack

Gelindo Military Tactical Backpack

Button to buy Gelindo Military Tactical BackpackThis pack has everything you need in a tactical backpack: it’s durable, large, and has many organizational features.

While this had some quality issues, the durability was still a notable feature, as were the side straps and extra storage packs that come with it.

ProsCons
Side straps compress, expand or add extra storage to the side of the bagStraps and seams come apart after heavy use
Keeps items organized with the MOLLE system, several pockets, and bonus pouches and straps for additional storage
Belt storage available

Premium pick

Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack

Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack

Button to buy Direct Action Ghost Tactical BackpackThis backpack has so many great features, including all the standard features like a hydration bladder and durable fabric, and it comes with additional features for comfort, too.

It’s also quite large and was designed specifically for military and law enforcement officer use. Outdoor adventurers can take advantage of this backpack’s size, durability, and comfort and organizational features.

ProsCons
Two hydration bladder pocketsUncomfortable shoulder straps
Great additional features: made of durable Cordura material and features a CVS-Combat vent system
Comes with outer compartment that can be detached
Keeps items organized with the MOLLE system and several pockets

Contents

Introduction

Our picks

Table of Contents

Comparison Chart

Product Reviews

What to Know Before Buying


Comparison Chart

Water proof

Tan or black color with American flag patch

MOLLE web system

40 liters

13 x 20 x 11"

72 hours suitable time period

Waist belt; side and front load compression

Hydration bladder compartment

Water resistant

Wide variety of colors and patterns

MOLLE web system

35 liters

12.2 x 10.2 x 20.5 "

72 hours suitable time period

Chest and waist straps, compression straps, made with 600D nylon material, 90 day limited warranty

Hydration bladder compartment (2.5L)

Water repellant

Offered in several colors and camouflage

MOLLE web system

34.5 liters with detachable compartment

7.1 x 11.8 x 20.5 inches

AA and rechargeable battery

Made of durable 500D Cordura material and CVS-Combat Vent System, compression straps

License needed

Water resistant

Offered in several neutral colors and camouflage

MOLLE web system

55 liters

13.5 x 23 x 8.5"

72 hours suitable time period

Compression straps, made with 1050D nylon, padded waist belt, "shove-it" compartment

Hydration bladder compartment

Water resistant with rain diverting flaps

Offered only in black with American flag patch

MOLLE web system

60 liters

20 x 16 x 10.5"

72 hours suitable time period

One year warranty, made with 100D Oxford Fabric and four extra detachable compartments

No hydration bladder compartment

Water resistant

Offered in black, tan, and camouflage with option to add American flag patch

MOLLE web system

35 liters

18 x 10.5 x 11"

72 hours suitable time period

Belt storage design, compression straps, chest and waist straps double as storage

2.5L hydration bladder compartment

-

One sling on shoulder instead of two shoulder straps, and is only offered in black

MOLLE web system

not listed

12 x 9.5 x 6"

EDC

Made with 600D polyester



Reviews of the Best Tactical Backpacks

 

REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack Large Army 3 Day Assault Pack Molle Bug Out Bag 

REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack Large Army 3 Day Assault Pack Molle Bug Out Bag

This military style backpack is double-stitched, has heavy duty zippers and uses the MOLLE web system, which features a series of rows of heavy-duty nylon or elastic stitched onto the backpack for attaching and storing gear (Source: Wikipedia).

The material this backpack is made out of is waterproof, ensuring your gear will be kept dry in even extreme weather.

This backpack has a huge capacity, so all of your gear will likely fit inside. The many pockets (“but not too many”) and MOLLE web system make it easy to organize your gear, too.

Its comfortable fit and capacity made it stand out. It also has a subtle design: even though it is a very functional and effective tactical backpack, it appears almost just like a regular backpack, with color options of black or tan.

The price of this backpack varies around the $45 mark, which is a reasonable price considering that the low end pricing of tactical backpacks is $30, while higher end pricing is $350+.

ProsCons
With a capacity of 40 liters, you can carry many items in this backpackStraps, buckles, and zippers sometimes come apart or break
Keeps items organized with the MOLLE system and several pockets
Subtle design means this backpack is discrete: it looks more like an everyday backpack than a tactical backpack
Waterproof


“I
love this bag. I bought it as a go bag* and it holds a TON of stuff. The zippers are really strong and the fabric is very durable. I will definitely be buying another one!”What buyers said

*survival kit with supplies to last 72 hours”

Button to buy REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack Large Army 3 Day Assault Pack Molle Bug Out Bag


Mardingtop 35L

Mardingtop 35L

This small tactical backpack, with a capacity of 35L, is slightly smaller than the REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack, but it has many other similar features. Although it doesn’t come with a built-in hydration bladder, it is fitted for one, with the capacity for a 2.5 liter bottle and a hole for the drinking tube.

The backpack easily expands if more storage space is needed, and has many pockets and compartments for storage and organization. It also uses the MOLLE organization system.

This model offers several color and pattern options: if you choose a solid color, like solid black, it is a discreet tactical backpack: it appears to look like a regular backpack. If you prefer the military look, you can choose from a camouflage pattern in a few different colors. We really liked the number of color and pattern options that go along with this pack.

Another notable feature of this backpage is the lumbar support offered in the back padding of it. This makes the backpack comfortable to wear, and the back padding also provides a place to hide the waist belt if you don’t want to use it, or if you want more back support.

This backpack is sold for around $50  and comes with a 90 day limited warranty.

ProsCons
Durable Not waterproof
Back padding support
Several color and pattern options
Keeps items organized with the MOLLE system and several pockets

What buyers said

“I can’t think of anything I don’t like about this bag! The stitching, buckles, and straps are all very durable. The bag still looks brand new after 4 months of carrying 40 pounds of gear. There are tons of pockets and the bag can fit so many things inside it! The lumbar belt is also a great feature. Would buy again!”


“I love this bag. The color is great, and it seems very high quality with lots of storage compartments. One thing to note is that this bag isn’t waterproof. When I was in heavy rain with this backpack, my laptop and everything else inside got wet.”

Button to buy Mardingtop 35L


Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack

Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack

This backpack has a higher price than the others on the list so far, but the quality matches the price.

This was specifically designed for military and law enforcement officer use, but can also be used by outdoor adventurers. It’s  made up of 100% 500D Cordura material which is made to stand up against rough usage. It’s tear, abrasion, and water resistant (Source: Cordura Fabric).

With a capacity of 31 lbs, this pack has a smaller capacity than the others. However, this is made up for by the 3.5 liter detachable compartment that can be attached to the front of the pack. Like the others, it comes with a hip belt, but this one is detachable.

This tactical backpack also features the patented CVS-Combat Vent System. It’s made up of several air channels that are attached to one another by mesh. This system keeps the backpack off the users back and enhances air circulation. It also prevents heat build up, and the foam offers additional comfort (Source: Direct Action).

Along with all these great features, it also has everything our previously listed backpacks have, including hydration bladder pockets (2) and a MOLLE system and of course several pockets and compartments to keep things organized.

ProsCons
Two hydration bladder pocketsUncomfortable shoulder straps
Keeps items organized with the MOLLE system and several pockets
Comes with outer compartment that can be detached
Great additional features: made of durable Cordura material and features a CVS-Combat vent system

What buyers said

“I was looking for a backpack that I could use for school during the week and for hunting and camping on the weekends. I’m a veteran and wanted a backpack that was as durable as a military assault pack, but also be suitable for a casual or professional setting, and this backpack suits that need! I also love that there is space for two water hydration bladders. I use both these compartments when I’m out hunting, and re-purpose them as a laptop holder and book holder when I’m at school.”

“I really like this backpack but the straps start to feel pretty uncomfortable after a long hike. This bag works great as a tactical or bug out bag, but it’s not great for long hikes.”

Button to buy Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack


5.11 RUSH72 Tactical Backpack for Military Bug Out Bag Large

5.11 RUSH72 Tactical Backpack for Military, Bug Out Bag, Large

This backpack holds 55 liters, it’s a huge jump in capacity in comparison to the tactical backpacks we’ve listed thus far. It’s made of 1050D nylon, which is heavier than the 500D Cordura material of the Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack, but also may make it more durable than the 500D Cordura (Source: Wikipedia).

 

Consider the size of tactical backpack you’re looking for before purchasing this one: it is large and heavy! It uses the MOLLE system, like all the others, and has lots of small and large pockets for organization and expansion and compression straps.

This tactical backpack has another organizational feature that the others haven’t had so far: a “shove-it” compartment in the front. This is an area with expandable straps where you can store large items like a jacket or helmet.

For comfort, this pack has a padded waist belt, but is not as padded for back support as some of the others listed.

ProsCons
Works great for people who want a very large backpackThe backpack is quite heavy
Keeps items organized with the MOLLE system and several pocketsCollar strap tight on people with broad shoulder
“Shove-it” compartment allows you to carry large and oddly shaped itemsStraps and seams come apart or stretch with heavy use

What buyers said


“I’m in the army and bought this backpack as an assault pack, and it works perfectly for that. It’s very large and heavy, and may not be the best option for a short-term camping backpack. I’m planning on buying one of the lighter, smaller backpacks by this company as an everyday bag.”

 

“I bought this backpack for rucking and found that it was way too big for me (I’m 5’6, 130 lbs). I really like this bag and now use it as a travel backpack. I bought another pack for rucking.”

Button to buy 5.11 RUSH72 Tactical Backpack for Military, Bug Out Bag, Large


Trekking King

Trekking King

With the capacity to carry up to 60 liters, this is the largest tactical backpack we’ve listed yet. The pack is made with durable 1000D Oxford Fabric, but in case it does rip or break, there is a one-year hassle-free return warranty.

At around $50, this is also one of the less expensive tactical backpacks we’ve listed, but it has tons of great features. For example, not only is this bag water resistant, but it also has rain diverting flaps that help keep rain off the backpack.

Another feature of this backpack is the removable side and back pouches that can be taken off for less storage, or added for more. The back pouch can even be used as a fanny pack for separate storage.

Surprisingly, it has no space for a hydration bladder or tube to feed through the top. This has been standard in all the backpacks we’ve listed so far.

The quality is also lacking; the seams and straps don’t seem very sturdy. Especially many issues with the straps falling off were reported.

ProsCons
Detachable compartments allow for more or less storage Not compatible with a hydration bladder or hydration tube
Has extra features to repel water: in addition to water resistant fabric, it has rain diverting flaps Straps and seams may come apart easily
Keeps items organized with the MOLLE system, several pockets, and bonus pouches and straps for additional storage

What buyers said

“I used this as an EDC backpack for a short trip I took which involved  short hikes each day. The backpack wasn’t completely full or even very heavy, but still, one of the straps ripped out from the backpack at the end of the fourth day!”

 

“This backpack is bigger than I thought it would be, and it works great for when I need to pack for working away from home. It seems really sturdy and durable, and attaching the additional compartments is easy. I really like that the bottom pouch can be worn separately as a fanny pack.”

Button to buy Trekking King


Gelindo Military Tactical Backpack

Gelindo Military Tactical Backpack

This tactical backpack, coming in at only around $30, has many of the same features as the other backpacks listed but for a lower price.

This pack holds 35 liters, which is quite a bit less than the Trekking King and 5.11 RUSH72 backpacks, but is on par with the others listed.

It has compression straps, a waist and chest strap, and additional storage in the waist belt. The straps on the side of the backpack are both compression and expansion straps, and can be used as additional storage to hold large items on the side of the backpack.

It’s also water resistant and is equipped for a hydration bladder of 2.5 liters and a hydration tube. The hydration bladder storage compartment also has an insulated liner that helps keep water cool for up to 4 hours.

ProsCons
Belt storage availableStraps and seams come apart after heavy use
Keeps items organized with the MOLLE system and several pockets
Side straps compress, expand or add extra storage to the side of the bag
Insulated liner to keep water in hydration bladder cool

What buyers said

“This is a fantastic backpack! I love how durable it is, and the fact that it has so many storage compartments. It’s also super comfortable to wear. I can fit 50 lbs in this pack, and I can barely feel the weight on my back. This is great as an EDC backpack, a bug out backpack, or for hiking and camping!”

“I love the look of this backpack, and I was able to fit lots in it. The side strap wasn’t very sturdy, it broke after just one use! The zippers don’t align properly, either.”

Button to buy Gelindo Military Tactical Backpack


REEBOW GEAR Tactical Sling Bag

REEBOW GEAR Tactical Sling Bag

This backpack is different than the others listed, as it’s smaller and has one shoulder sling instead of two shoulder straps. It may be more of an everyday carry bag (EDC) but we thought we’d include it as it is used as a tactical backpack by some.

It is made with 600D polyester, which matches the fabric weight of the 5.11 RUSH72. This backpack is really durable despite its price and size.

Unlike the other bags, this one doesn’t have a suitable time period listed along with it. This backpack is good for use everyday, but probably not for long trips if it is the only backpack you’ll be carrying with you.

Unsurprisingly this is also the least expensive backpack on our list, coming in at around $25. This pack does still have elements of the MOLLE system, and many small pockets to hold your gear.

This doesn’t have space for a hydration pack or tube, but as it uses the MOLLE system, you can add an attachment compartment to fit a regular water bottle.

Depending on your needs, this smaller sling-style backpack might be perfect for you.

ProsCons
Inexpensive and durableFits small on people with larger frames
Keeps items organized with the MOLLE system and several pockets

What buyers said

“This bag is really durable, I’ve been carrying it with me for awhile now and it’s held up great. I use this as an EDC bag, and it works perfectly for that purpose. This isn’t a full size backpack, for sure, but it’s great for electronics and everyday items.”

“It’s smaller than I thought it would be, it’s only 12” and looks like it’s made for a kid. Despite that, I like the amount this bag can carry and the fact that it has so many different compartments and uses the MOLLE system.”

Button to buy REEBOW GEAR Tactical Sling Bag


What to Know Before Buying a Tactical Backpack

What makes a good tactical backpack?

Unlike a regular backpack (also called an everyday carry or EDC backpack), which is meant for using mostly indoors and for carrying few items, a tactical backpack is meant for extended use outdoors, and is often used to carry many items at a time, sometimes all the items we need to survive for days at a time.  

Many people do use tactical backpacks as EDC packs, though, so if you’re looking for a sturdy and large backpack for everyday use, a tactical backpack could be suitable, so don’t rule it out.

Based on standard usage, we’ve reviewed the best tactical backpacks based on:

  • Durability e.g. quality of material, water resistance
  • Style features
  • Organization features e.g. pockets
  • Capacity and size
  • Suitable time period
  • Other features
  • Price

Durability

The best tactical backpacks are durable, as they need to be able to survive long outdoor treks in possibly extreme weather. High quality materials and water-resistance are important features to ensure the backpack will last throughout the trek, and keep whatever you’re storing inside dry.

Durable materials can also be heavier, though, so take that into consideration when choosing a pack.

Style features

Sure, the main purpose of a tactical backpack is to carry your gear. But we also took some time to consider the aesthetic features of each backpack, too. This includes color or pattern options as well as any other visible style features like patches.

Organization

Pockets and straps are a bonus feature of regular backpacks, but for tactical backpacks, they are vital. These features help organize the items in the bag, which makes it easier for you to find important items, such as first aid kits, in the dark, in extreme weather conditions, in any kind of situation you might find yourself in.

Organizational features also mean you can fit more items into the backpack, because all of the space in the backpack is being used to maximum efficiency. This means you can carry more of what you need.

Many of tactical backpacks use the MOLLE organization system. MOLLE is an acronym for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. This organization system is used by the British and US Armies, among others. It uses the Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) webbing equipment: rows of heavy-duty nylon stitched onto the pack for storage. This webbing system allows you to attach additional MOLLE compatible pouches, which can expand the capacity of any pack. This is the standard for tactical gear, like tactical backpacks. (Source: Wikipedia)

Capacity and size

Your tactical backpack needs to be portable! This goes without saying. That’s why we’ve highlighted capacity and size in our selection criteria.  Analyzing these features will allow you to choose the right backpack for your needs: you don’t need something bigger than is necessary for your purpose.

Suitable time period

Most tactical backpacks list a period of time, e.g. 72 hours/3 days. This time frame corresponds to the number of items the average person will use during that time frame. If the time frame is 72 hours, for example, you should be able to pack enough supplies to last you for 72 hours.

Time frame is important to consider when choosing a tactical backpack because the size and capacity will correspond with that time frame.

Price

We’ve also considered price in our reviews because everyone has a budget. We also considered price as a way to compare certain features in different price ranges so you can get a better idea of how much you would like to spend.

Other features

Other important features include:

  • Fabric weight
    This is reflected in the deniers (D) used in creating the fabric; for example, 1050D fabric is heavier than 500D fabric, although it doesn’t always mean that the fabric is more durable. This is important to consider because it contributes to the weight of the backpack, and, generally, the heavier the fabric the more durable the bag is.
  • Hydration bladder compatibility

A “hydration bladder” is a plastic pouch that carries water. This comes with a “hydration tube” for drinking out of the bladder. Most good tactical backpacks, and even EDC backpacks, have a compartment that fits a hydration bladder, as well as a hole for the hydration tube to feed out of.

Check out our other reviews.


 

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