CAMPING & HIKING

Best Tactical Backpack: For Your Tactical and Survival Needs

tactical backpack featured
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

Don’t you really hate it when you plan on going camping or backpacking, and your old, trusted backpack decides to give up on you? If so, it sounds like it is time for an upgrade. One of the highest quality backpacks for every outdoor venture that you can find on the market today is the best tactical backpack.

The design and production of the tactical backpack are on a higher level than on the regular sporting backpacks. The tactical backpack is designed to withstand some rough use and abuse, meaning that you will be getting a good quality product designed to last you a long time. But how do you buy a tactical backpack when there’s no shortage of options out there? Don’t worry because we are here to help!

In this article, we are going to explain some basic features that you might need to know when selecting a tactical backpack and make a comprehensive review of our selection of the best tactical backpacks on the market today.

Product Name Weight Dimensions Specific Features Price
Condor 3 Day Assault 2.5 lb22 x 17 x 11 inLarge volume can collect a lot of things, enables easy organization and is hydration pack compatibleCheck price on Amazon
5.11 Tactical RUSH72 4 lb23 x 15 x 8 inLarge compartments, nicely padded back and shoulder straps make it very comfortable and usefulCheck price on Amazon
K-Martins Military Tactical 2.2 lb19 x 12.6 x 6.3 inNice volume, padding and good size compartments make it a good choice for everyday useCheck price on Amazon
FlyHawk 40/30L Tactical 3.5 lb19 x 11.4 x 10.6 inWaterproof performance, large pockets and nicely padded back and straps make this a proper tactical backpack.Check price on Amazon
Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical3.8 lb19 x 10.6 x 7.1 inDurable, heavy duty fabric and zippers, good volume capacity and MOLLE system make this one a good tactical, travel or camping backpack.Check price on Amazon
ARMYCAMOUSA 3-Day Tactical
2.9 lb20.5 x 15 x 7.8 in
(20.5 x 15 x 12.8 fully extended)
Large compartments, large volume and expandable features allow this backpack to be used in all sorts of applicationsCheck price on Amazon
Mardingtop Tactical 2.55 lb20.5 x 12.9 x 3.3 inWater resistant performance, compatible with a hydration pack, proper MOLLE webbing and large compartmentsCheck price on Amazon
Direct Action Ghost5.4 lb20.5 x 11.8 x 7.1 inExcellent back and shoulder strap padding, large volume, water resistant, suitable compression straps and it is hydration pack compatible.Check price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

The backpack is the best choice when you are in need of an easy and convenient manner to have all your necessities on your back. The convenience of the backpack is that you carry it on your back and have your hands free to carry or do other things. Below we will explain the basic things you need to know when selecting a tactical backpack.

Cargo Volume/Size

Maybe the most important thing about a tactical backpack is the cargo volume. The tactical backpack needs to be able to fit a lot of things without interfering with your movement. The size of the backpack will determine how it will suit your needs. A tactical backpack usually needs to accommodate a lot of stuff, so this is a situation where size matters.

Compartments and pockets

The way to organize your things in the backpack depends on the design of the backpack. The more compartments and the more pockets the backpack has, the easiest it will be to organize your things in the backpack.

tactical backpack compartments

It is always easier to know what you will need to carry most of the time, so you can plan your purchase accordingly. The organization of the backpack and compartments also make it easier to fit everything and know where you can find the exact thing you are looking for.

Water Resistance

A tactical backpack is intended to be used in rough conditions. This means that most of the tactical backpack on the market today are made from materials resistant to water.

Many tactical backpacks are made from a high-quality nylon or polyester cloth that besides the water resistance, also has wear and tear resistant properties. When you are planning on going on a camping trip or other extreme outdoor activity that requires you to carry many things with you, this property really comes in hand.

waterproof tactical backpack

Image Credit: hiconsumption.com

The zippers are another important aspect, as most of the packs have this closing system in place. The zippers on a tactical backpack are very rugged and durable, and most of them have large, easy-to-grip pull tabs.

Pads and Additional Straps

A nicely padded backpack has the advantage of comfort when you have to carry significant weight on your back. Most of the tactical backpacks have shoulder straps that have nice, thick padding that helps with the shoulder weight.

The padding on the back side of the backpack is also very important as this is where the weight meets your back. This should be anatomically designed and have a nice overall fit that will enable you comfort while carrying a backpack all day long.

tactical backpack

The tactical backpacks on the market today usually have additional straps, one chest strap, and a waist strap. Most of these are specially designed and help alleviate the stress on the shoulders by distributing the weight around your chest and waist. The chest and waist straps also help the backpack stay securely in place on your back.

Hydration system

Many tactical backpack manufacturers design their models with the designated place for installing a suitable water bladder. The water bladder and drinking tube are the hydration system that is very convenient to have and use when going on a prolonged hike, a hunting trip or a camping trip and you don’t have to reach for a water bottle every time you need to take a sip of water.

The hydration system is accessible via a drinking straw (tube) that comes from one of the shoulder straps and you only need to turn your head and grab the drinking straw with your mouth and pull a sip of water. The design of the drinking straw is such that does not allow the water to drip on its own, but only comes out when you take a sip.

MOLLE system

A standard on all the tactical and military backpacks, the MOLLE is an acronym for MOdular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. This is used with the PALS system – an acronym for the Pouch Attachment Ladder System.

tactical backpack

The MOLLE/PALS system is actually a heavy-duty nylon webbing stitched to the front of the backpack. This webbing allows for attachment of different pouches and other accessories. This is an improved version of an older system called ALICE. There are many attachments that add to the versatility of the tactical backpack.

Best Products on Today’s Market

We have told you the most important things you need to know when on the lookout for a new tactical backpack. keep reading for our reviews of the best tactical backpacks on the market today.

Condor 3 Day Assault Pack Condor 3 Day Assault Pack

Price: Approx. $80

Weight: 2.5 lb

Dimensions: 22 x 17 x 11 in

Specific features: 50-liter volume capacity, seven pockets, chest strap, waist belt, removable foam back pad, carry and drag handle, hydration pack compatible.

Best use: Heavy-duty field use, military application, camping, hunting.

Description: The Condor 3 Day Assault Pack is a really fine choice for a tactical backpack. Coming in a large 50-liter volume, you can fill it with enough things for a comfortable three-day trip. The design of the inner compartments allows for easy organization of your necessities and have easy access to everything you need. It has seven pockets with different sizes that significantly ease the organization.

The back side of the backpack is padded with shapely pads that help distribute the weight and lower the impact on the back of the wearer. The individual back padding enables air circulation and ventilation. The shoulder straps are also heavily padded and contoured around the body, adding to the comfort while carrying a full backpack on your back without causing damage to your shoulders.

The chest/sternum strap is adjustable in length, accommodating different build wearers. The waist belt is very comfortable, coming with padded side straps. It can also be adjusted to fit different build wearers and can be completely removed if needed.

This backpack is designed to be compatible with a 2 – 3-liter hydration pack. There is also a heavy-duty drag and carry handle that makes it convenient to carry the backpack one-handed. The front is all MOLLE/PALS webbing with thick heavy-duty Velcro strips that you can use to attach all sorts of add-ons.

PROS:

  • Excellent organization and carry capacity
  • Decent price
  • Great quality of build and materials
  • Hydration pack compatible

CONS:

  • Does not come with the hydration pack
  • Zipper gets caught in the protective flap

Related: This nice tactical backpack from Condor is an excellent choice for a carrying three days worth of supplies. But it lacks the hydration bladder, as it is not included in the package. A suitable fit is the Condor Hydration Bladder Olive Drab. This is 1.5 liters in volume, has a large screw top cap and a large bite valve with a lid.

Check the price on Amazon

5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Backpack 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Backpack

Price: Approx. $130

Weight: 4 lb

Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 8 in

Specific features: Rugged nylon cloth, dual-zippered front, large compartments, admin organization pocket, molded grip zipper pulls.

Best use: Operational bug outs, recreation, hiking, backpacking.

Description: The 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Backpack is a tactical backpack that has all that you may need in this kind of product. Featuring a large carry volume of almost 47 liters, it can fit everything you may need during a 72-hour long stay in the wild.

The back padding may seem a bit strange at first, but it is designed in such a manner as to keep the weight equally distributed on your back and also help with the dissipation of the weight on the back. The shoulder straps are heavily padded, also for comfort and not cutting into your shoulders while carrying a heavy load.

There is a waist belt with padded sides. The waist belt can be adjusted in length. The chest straps are also adjustable and can be put at a different height on the shoulder straps, as the shoulder straps have PALS webbing.

There are several compartments that can add to the organizational adjustability of this tactical backpack. The large compartments offer a lot of storage room and the side pockets and compression straps add another layer of organization and adjustability.

There is a hydration pack compartment, but the hydration bladder is not provided and needs to be purchased additionally. The front features a MOLLE/PALS system with webbing and there are several Velcro strips strategically placed on the front that you can use to attach some patches or identification.

PROS:

  • Excellent quality of build
  • Several color choices
  • Multifunctional pockets and compartments
  • Heavy-duty MOLLE/PALS webbing system

CONS:

  • Hydration pack not included
  • Zipper can get caught in rain-cover flap

Related: The 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Backpack is designed to be used in rough conditions. To add to the usefulness of this backpack, it is recommended that you get some additional tiers. The recommended choice is the 5.11 Tactical RUSH Tier System. This is a modular storage enhancement system that has quick connects that fit on the 5.11RUSH and MOAB series bags.

Check the price on Amazon

K-Martins Military Tactical Backpack K-Martins Military Tactical Backpack

Price: Approx. $55

Weight: 2.2 lb

Dimensions: 19 x 12.6 x 6.3 in

Specific features: 35-Liter volume, heavy-duty zippers, compression system, large compartments, durable nylon cloth.

Best use: Assault pack, combat backpack, hunting, survival.

Description: The K-Martins Military Tactical Backpack is a good choice for a tactical backpack. It can hold a volume of 35 liters, which can accommodate supplies for about two or three days.

This high-quality assault backpack is double-stitched, featuring heavy-duty zippers and utility-style cord pulls and has front and side compression system. The back of the backpack is nicely padded, with curved padding that allows airflow and cooling effect. The shoulder straps are ergonomically designed and made with ergonomic mesh padding with appropriate ventilation.

The shoulder straps are connected together via a chest strap for added stability and securing the backpack on your back. To distribute the weight of the backpack, there is also a waist strap that can be adjusted in length.

The design of the pack is such that it has several pockets and compartments. There is a compartment with organizer, and you can easily fit your maps, small laptop, pens and other small necessities. There is a built-in hydration pack compartment that fits a 2.5-liter bladder, but the water bladder does not come with the backpack.

The outside of the K-Martins Military Tactical Backpack is wrapped with MOLLE system webbing allowing additional storage options, by adding clips and carabiners you can carry additional gear.

PROS:

  • Nicely sized to fit different uses
  • Several pockets and compartments
  • Heavy-duty cloth and zippers
  • Hydration system compatible

CONS:

  • Hydration bladder sold separately

Related: If you are thinking of getting a K-Martins Military Tactical Backpack, then you should get a suitable water bladder that will fit the hydration compartment. A suitable choice is the Source Tactical WXP Hydration Reservoir System. This is a high-performance 2-liter water bladder with a patented leak-proof lid, taste-free polyethylene construction, and a Storm valve.

Check the price on Amazon

FlyHawk 40/30L Tactical Backpack FlyHawk 40/30L Tactical Backpack

Price: Approx. $50

Weight: 3.5 lb

Dimensions: 19 x 11.4 x 10.6 in

Specific features: Nylon cloth, heavy-duty construction, multi-purpose pockets, adjustable shoulder, chest and waist straps, waterproof performance, MOLLE system.

Best use: Military, tactical, camping, survivalist, travel.

Description: The FlyHawk 40/30L Tactical Backpack is a good tactical backpack. It has a volume capacity of 40 liters, accommodating most users and applications.

This backpack features a lot of pockets and compartments, simplifying the organization of your items. There is a specialty pocket for organizing your iPod or small laptop, maps, cards and other similar items. The large back compartment is able to fit many larger items or store enough food and clothes for a two to three-day camping trip.

The back of the backpack is heavily padded for added comfort while carrying it in your back for a prolonged period of time. There are also appropriate air flow vents that help with the dispersion of the heat. The shoulder straps have an ergonomic design and can be adjusted in length. These also feature a good padding, adding to the comfort of the user. The sternum and waist straps can be adjusted according to the wearers’ size and build.

The backpack is made from a durable nylon cloth that has a waterproof coating, making the whole backpack resistant to water. There is also a MOLLE system, that can be used for attaching additional pieces of gear or pockets.

PROS:

  • Affordable price
  • Different pockets and compartments
  • Several colors and pattern choices
  • Waterproof, heavy-duty construction

CONS:

  • Not hydration system compatible

Related: Since the FlyHawk 30/40L Tactical Backpack has a MOLLE webbing, you can benefit from owning carabiners. A nice choice is the OneTigris 4 Pack Multipurpose D-Ring Grimloc Lock. These are made from hard plastic, with ergonomic design and a textured quick-release button. Even though these are strong enough to carry a heavy load, they will break with a lot of force, preventing snagging or serious injuries.

Check the price on Amazon

Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical Backpack Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical Backpack

Price: Approx. $150

Weight: 3.8 lb

Dimensions: 19 x 10.6 x 7.1 in

Specific features: Durable fabric, heavy-duty zippers, detachable waist belt, paracord drag handle, padded laptop sleeve, 25 liters volume capacity, hydration pack compatible, MOLLE/PALS system.

Best use: Military, outdoor activities, survival, everyday use.

Description: The Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical Backpack is an excellent choice for a tactical backpack, especially if you do not require a very large volume backpack.

This model is made from a durable Cordura fabric and with heavy-duty YKK zippers that can be opened with gloved hands. There are a lot of pockets and compartments, making organizing your things easy and simple. There is the front pocket with separate compartments for storing a small laptop, pens, cards and other small items.

The back is heavily padded, making it very comfortable on the back of the person wearing the backpack for a prolonged periods of time. The shoulder straps also feature heavy padding that alleviates the stress on the shoulders and these can be adjusted in length. The sternum strap is also adjustable in length and height. The waist strap is adjustable and can be completely removed if needed.

The back of the backpack has a padded pocket for keeping a laptop. There is also a hydration pack compartment, but the hydration pack needs to be additionally obtained. The front of the backpack has laser cut MOLLE/PALS style system openings, and a Velcro strap for adding patches or tags.

There is a drag handle that is made from paracord, and if there is a necessity, this handle can be unraveled and you get two 2.5 meter cords. There are also side pockets that can fit a standard water bottle.

PROS:

  • Multiple pockets and compartments
  • Heavy-duty nylon cloth and YKK zippers
  • Hydration pack compatible
  • Excellent MOLLE/PALS system

CONS:

  • Relatively high price
  • Hydration pack sold separately

Related: If you are considering getting a nice Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical Backpack, you should note that there is a Velcro strip on the front where you can install some patches or tags. In the spirit of true patriots, you can get a nice embroidery US flag patch like the Gadsden and Culpeper Tactical USA Flag Patch. This one comes in multi-tan hues, is 2×3 inches, and has a Velcro backing for easy attaching it to your backpack.

Check the price on Amazon

ARMYCAMOUSA 3-Day Tactical Backpack ARMYCAMOUSA 3-Day Tactical Backpack

Price: Approx. $25

Weight: 2.9 lb

Dimensions: 20.5 x 15 x 7.8 in (20.5 x 15 x 12.8 fully extended)

Specific features: Heavy duty materials, MOLLE loops, 3 compartments (one large expandable compartment), organizer pocket, back padding, side parachute claps.

Best use: Tactical use, hiking, camping, survival, three-day trips.

Description: The ARMYCAMOUSA 3-Day Tactical Backpack is a very interesting product. It can fir a volume capacity ranging from 40 liters when not expanded, to 64 liters of volume when fully expanded.

This backpack is made of durable nylon material. It has heavy-duty zippers with nice large paracord zipper pulls. The main packing compartment is extendable, and it can be extended from 5 to 10 inches in width to accommodate some extra space to fit all your necessities or extra gear. There is an organizer compartment with mesh pockets where you can easily store small important items.

The back of the backpack is nicely padded for comfort. The shoulder straps have a comfortable, ergonomic design and nice padding. There are an adjustable chest strap and a removable waist belt to ease the load on the wearer’s back.

The expandable backpack is an excellent choice when you need a backpack for a prolonged trip, a camping trip or a weekend away. The compression straps on the sides also help keep the backpack compact while traveling. Another good feature is the heavy-duty drag handle on the top which is very practical when traveling with this backpack.

PROS:

  • Affordable price
  • Large volume capacity
  • Practical pockets
  • Adjustable padded shoulder straps

CONS:

  • Not hydration pack compatible

Related: The 40L-64L Outdoor 3Day Expandable Tactical Backpack is a proper backpack to take hiking or camping. But you should be prepared for every occasion, and that means that you should always carry a suitable first aid kit with you on trips like this. A suitable choice is the First Aid Only All-Purpose Essentials Kit. It has 299 pieces of physician-recommended first aid supplies packed in a compact vinyl soft pack.

Check the price on Amazon

Mardingtop Tactical Backpack Mardingtop Tactical Backpack

Price: Approx. $40

Weight: 2.55 lb

Dimensions: 20.5 x 12.9 x 3.3 in

Specific features: Water resistant polyester cloth, hydration pack compartment, adjustable chest strap, adjustable waist belt, MOLLE webbing, large pockets, and compartments.

Best use: Hiking, camping, travel, school, hunting.

Description: The Mardingtop Tactical Backpack is a very good tactical backpack. It is designed to hold a volume capacity of 35 liters, which is a good size for most daily applications, camping or hunting trips or even as a school backpack.

This one is made from water resistant polyester cloth that is also resistant to wear. The back is made with ergonomically designed padding that fit on the back of the wearer, without causing difficulties in carrying the backpack.

The shoulder straps also have an anatomical design and are made with comfortable padding to help with carrying heavy things. There is an adjustable sternum strap that helps with the balance of the backpack. To distribute the weight of the backpack, there is an adjustable, removable waist belt that really helps with the weight distribution and comfortable wearing of the backpack.

This backpack is designed to hold a hydration pack, with a 2.5-liter water bladder capacity. The same compartment can easily fit even a 17-inch laptop. The pockets are a decent size and some feature organizer compartments for easy storing and finding your things.

The front of the backpack features a heavy-duty MOLLE webbing that is able to accommodate extra load. There are also elastic straps and bottom compression straps that also are able to accommodate some load like a sleeping bag or a similar load. The buckles are all made of hard, durable plastic that can withstand heavy field use. The top of the backpack has a drag handle and a Velcro strip for attaching patches or identification.

PROS:

  • Affordable price
  • Excellent back padding and adjustable shoulder straps
  • Nice, large pockets and compartments and compression straps
  • Hydration pack compatible and external MOLLE system

CONS:

  • Hydration pack sold separately
  • A little big for smaller persons

Related: When getting this nice Mardingtop Tactical Backpack, you should also get some nice patches to go with it. A nice choice is the Prohouse Tactical USA Flag Patches. These come in an embroidered black and grey combination, are 2 by 3 inches and have Velcro backing to attach to every backpack or cap with a Velcro patch.

Check the price on Amazon

Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack

Price: Approx. $170

Weight: 5.4 lb

Dimensions: 20.5 x 11.8 x 7.1 in

Specific features: Combat Vent System, laser cut MOLLE/PALS system, water-resistant Cordura fabric, multiple pockets, compression straps, hydration pack compatible.

Best use: Military and law enforcement, camping, hiking, hunting, travel.

Description: The Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack is an excellent, albeit an expensive choice for a tactical backpack. Able to fit about more than 31 liters of cargo volume, this backpack can pack enough supplies for a three-day camping or hunting trip.

Designed with comfort and practicality in mind, the Ghost Tactical backpack is made from a water-resistant Cordura fabric, with heavy-duty YKK zippers. There are several pockets and compartments. Especially interesting and useful is the organizer compartment that has several smaller compartments that can fit everything from your iPad, small laptop, phone, cards, pens, maps and other small necessities.

The back is padded with a contoured foam with a patented Combat Vent System to keep the wearer comfortable and prevent heat build-up. The shoulder straps are also nicely padded to protect the shoulders. There are an adjustable sternum strap and an adjustable waist belt with padded sides for added comfort.

The top of the backpack has a heavy-duty drag handle. The front and sides have a nice MOLLE/PALS system that is laser cut into the fabric so it doesn’t retain water. There are also two large Velcro patches for attaching different patches or identification.

The backpack is hydration pack compatible, with a separate compartment for a 2.5-liter water bladder. This backpack has some strategically placed compression straps and an additional, detachable 3.5-liter external pocket.

PROS:

  • Durable, water-resistant Cordura fabric
  • Several compartments and pockets
  • Compression straps and a detachable pocket
  • Hydration pack compatible

CONS:

  • Relatively high price
  • Water bladder sold separately

Related: The Direct Action Tactical Backpack is a very, very good choice for a tactical backpack, and has some amazing features. However, even if it is hydration pack compatible, it does not come with a suitable water bladder so you should get one separately. A proper choice is the RIQIK Military Hydration Bladder. This water bladder holds 3 liters of liquid, has microbial properties and does not leak tastes in the water. It is also surprisingly easy to clean or add ice cubes to your water reserve.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrapping Up

Above we have made a comprehensive review of the best tactical backpack on the market today. There is something for every budget and need, so choose wisely. Always consider your needs, available budget, and intended use before you make a final decision.

Owning a good tactical backpack is not just for the outdoorsy people, but also for people who travel a lot and value comfort and quality. If you already own a tactical backpack or have any experience, please share it with our readers in the comments below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Foster

Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.

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