Best Tactical Backpacks

10 Best Tactical Backpacks in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

(Last Updated On: September 14, 2020)

One of the most common items of tactical gear is a tactical backpack, as it helps you to comfortably hold your items. Tactical backpacks vary in designs and colors from those in other backpacks such as camping and hiking backpacks. These are constructed of longer-lasting components to resist extreme abrasion during field use. In addition, they also have more compartments and pockets which help you to carefully organize your clothes. They are typically thicker than most backpacks mainly because of the very robust fabrics and various compartments.

Law enforcement, emergency personnel, police staff, rescue workers, and more need a well-built, well-designed tactical backpack. Even experienced climbers realize the importance of carrying a heavy, no-nonsense backpack for the trip since you never know when the environment above the treeline will unexpectedly change south and you will be confronted with a circumstance of survival. Tactical backpacks are built to allow you access to essential equipment and tools, so you can get to the peak of emergencies until they overtake you and remain there until the danger has passed.

In a Hurry? The test winners after 14 hrs of research

Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack

Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack – Premium Pick

Why is it better?

  • The hip belt is detachable and comes with straps that you can attach magazines, holsters, etc
  • The laser cut MOLLE looks fantastic and contributes to the slim-profile
  • The shoulder straps are well contoured and have nice padding
  • The shoulder straps also have D rings and other attachment points to feed a water bladder hose

CVLIFE Tactical Backpack

CVLIFE Tactical Backpack – Best Value

Why is it better?

  • Lots of room, plenty of space for add on pouches
  • Water-resistant in light rain
  • Has wide shoulder straps so doesn’t dig in to the shoulders
  • Sewn well and zippers are stout

Best Tactical Backpacks – Overview

Whether you’re searching for the perfect wilderness bag or regular tactical bag, finding the best tactical backpack can better manage your storage space and keep you satisfied in the most challenging conditions. Tactical backpacks are ideal for long-distance hiking, law enforcement, military deployment, and other activities with high intensity. Most come with the versatility of the hydration bladder and external nozzle, and radio antennae. Their all-weather fabrics and tightly balanced shapes are engineered to safeguard your equipment and to rest securely on your upper body, even while carrying large objects. Check out our picks of the 10 best tactical backpacks for your next adventure trip! Don’t forget to also check our guide to the best small tactical backpacks.

Tactical Backpacks Reviews

1. Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack – Premium Pick

Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack

Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack is a 30+ liter backpack, scalable, and well suited for the role of tactical 3-day pack. It features the main pack with two zippered compartments – first, larger, has an internal hydration sleeve, and an accessory mesh pocket. Second, accessible from the backside of the pack is reinforced and will hold a large laptop computer. The low profile look and feel makes it a perfect everyday bag. If you are looking for a heavy-duty backpack for your laptop, tablet, iPad, hydration bladder, etc. or just a solid base for your bug out bag.

Externally, there are 4 pockets – two side pockets that may be stretched to fit water bottles. Additionally, there is a zippered, soft velour-lined, glasses pocket in the upper portion of the pack and a flat zippered pocket below it. Carrying straps of this tactical backpack is wide, and padded with stiffened closed-cell foam, with side release buckles for quick doffing. Waistbelt of this tactical pack is fully functional. PALS/MOLLE belt that can be detached from the main body and used on its own with included low-profile suspenders. Love MOLLE? Check out our review of the best MOLLE backpacks for our top picks.

Key Features:

  • Front pocket with internal organizer
  • Detachable waist belt
  • Detachable organizer pocket
  • Unique laser cut MOLLE

Specifications:

  • Brand: Direct Action
  • Capacity: 31L
  • Dimensions: 20″ H x 15″ W x 6″ D
  • Weight: 3.49 lbs
Pros
  • The hip belt is detachable and comes with straps that you can attach magazines, holsters, etc
  • The laser cut MOLLE looks fantastic and contributes to the slim-profile
  • The shoulder straps are well contoured and have nice padding
  • The shoulder straps also have D rings and other attachment points to feed a water bladder hose
Cons
  • The water bottle holder could be taller

2. 5.11 Tactical RUSH24 Military Backpack

5.11 Tactical RUSH24 Military Backpack

Quite possibly simply the best tactical military backpack on the market. This 5.11 Tactical RUSH24 Military Backpack features a roomy main storage area, dual zipping side pockets, and a stuff-it pocket with integrated drawcord and glove-friendly pull tabs. This has a reinforced grab-and-go handle, hydration pocket, zippered fleece-lined eyewear pocket, and wrap-around MOLLE/SlickStick web platform.

This pack also has three mesh admin compartments, a zippered side water bottle pocket, and a hook and loop area for nametape and flag patches. Water-repellant coating and has two external compression straps and a contoured yoke shoulder strap system. It’s a backpack built to be ready for anything.

Key Features:

  • Dual zipping side pockets
  • Zippered side water bottle pocket
  • Stuff-it pocket with integrated drawcord
  • Contoured yoke shoulder strap system
  • Self-repairing YKK® zippers

Specifications:

  • Brand: 5.11
  • Capacity: 37L
  • Dimensions: 20″ H x 12.5″ W x 8″ D
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs
Pros
  • Comfortable even with a heavy load
  • Easy access and organization, still have plenty of pockets to fill
  • There is a plastic plate in the back to help keep things from digging into your back
  • Soft lined glasses pouch on top
Cons
  • Side pockets aren’t great for a tall water bottle/tricky to get in

3. CVLIFE Tactical Backpack – Best Value

CVLIFE Tactical Backpack

CVLIFE Tactical Backpack is made of 600D oxford fabric that is water-resistant and durable. This pack has one main large compartment, one front detachable bag which can be used as a tactical fanny pack separately, two side detachable tactical backpack accessories pouches which can be used as first aid bags. This multipurpose backpack can be flexibly regarded as a 50L and 60L backpack.

MOLLE system of this military molle backpack rucksack allows you to easily attach outdoor gear, more pouches, and a sleeping pad. Adjustable dual density ventilated mesh shoulder straps, cinching waist strap, dual compression straps, heavy-duty zippers, and rain diverting flaps keep your rucksack pack secure and comfortable. There’s a hose thru-put from the main compartment on the top of the bag for a water bladder to be used from.

Key Features:

  • Constructed with waterproof 600D oxford fabric
  • Zipper outside pocket
  • 3 detachable molle pouches
  • Hand carry strap and adjustable shoulder strap
  • With adjustable chest belt

Specifications:

  • Brand: CVLIFE
  • Capacity: 50L
  • Dimensions: 19.7″ H x 13″ W x 8.7″ D
  • Weight: 3.85 lbs
Pros
  • Lots of room, plenty of space for add on pouches
  • Water-resistant in light rain
  • Has wide shoulder straps so doesn’t dig in to the shoulders
  • Sewn well and zippers are stout
Cons
  • There is no place to secure a sleep system or anything else to the bottom

4. REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Assault Backpack

REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Assault Backpack

The REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Assault Backpack comes with double-stitched, heavy-duty zippers and utility-style cord pulls, side and front load compression system, comfortable padding back area, ventilated mesh padding shoulder strap. It also has hydration compatible that works great for a 2.5L hydration bladder.

This tactical assault pack backpack can be used as a 3-day assault pack, bug bag backpack, combat backpack, range bag, hunting backpack, survival backpack, rucksack military army backpack, or trekking backpack. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best military backpacks.

Key Features:

  • 600×600 Density fabric
  • Heavy-duty zippers
  • Utility-style cord pulls
  • Side and front load compression system

Specifications:

  • Brand: REEBOW GEAR
  • Capacity: 34L
  • Dimensions: 18″ H x 12″ W x 11″ D
  • Weight: 2 lbs
Pros
  • Plenty of pouches and individual compartments
  • Materials feels nice and tough
  • It compresses well and feels like it has solid construction
  • Inexpensive
Cons
  • MOLLE straps are not spaced as they should be

5. 24BattlePack Tactical Backpack

24BattlePack Tactical Backpack

The 24BattlePack Tactical Backpack is made with only the highest quality, comfortable padded and breathable mesh with double-stitched seams was used in this over-engineered design to last for a lifetime of every day carrying to rugged outdoor hiking. There is a built-in universal CCW handgun holster for use as part of your EDC and a large padded 17 inch (and smaller) compatible laptop storage area. Insulated compartment with hanging clips and drink tube access for your hydration bladder.

Collapsible design with the proprietary compression straps allows the backpack to be cinched down to a small 20L size or expanded out for a 3-Day overnight adventure. There are polymer d-rings located throughout the pack for carabiner attachment.

Key Features:

  • Insulated hydration bladder compartment
  • Laptop compartment
  • Available empty loop velcro
  • Polymer d-rings

Specifications:

  • Brand: Tacticon
  • Capacity: 40L
  • Dimensions: 19″ H x 10″ W x 13″ D
  • Weight: 2.7 lbs
Pros
  • MOLLE loops everywhere
  • Great compression straps
  • Material and stitching appears to be top notch
  • Easy access even to put in a bladder thanks to extra zippers
Cons
  • The shoulder straps are a bit narrow and thin for heavy loads

6. SOG Ninja Tactical Day Pack

SOG Ninja Tactical Day Pack

SOG Ninja Tactical Day Pack has you covered with side compression straps, bottom lashing loops, and heavy-duty MOLLE webbing for attaching a variety of optional pouches, accessories, and modular tactical gear. This Ninja Daypack sits comfortably on your shoulders thanks to the yoke-style adjustable, padded shoulder straps, which feature an adjustable sternum slider for added security and comfort.

The breathable padded mesh back keeps you comfortable over long hauls. Other features include durable water repellent construction, a hook-and-loop patch on the front for added customization, top carry handle, durable plastic buckles and zippers, four points for attaching a sleeping bag or roll, and dual bottom grommet drainage holes to help keep water from pooling around your gear.

Key Features:

  • Small accessory pocket for flat item storage
  • Front accessory pocket with organizer
  • Side compression straps
  • Yoked style shoulder straps with adjustable sternum slider

Specifications:

  • Brand: SOG Specialty Knives & Tools
  • Capacity: 24.2L
  • Dimensions: 18″ H x 13″ W x 3.5″ D
  • Weight: 2.01 lbs
Pros
  • Great water bottle pouch on the side
  • Mesh pockets everywhere which is really great
  • The velcro on the outside is really nice for some moral patches or name tapes
  • Great organization
Cons
  • The shoulder straps are comfortable but they seem to be a short length so if you have a longer torso you will have to extend them out

7. Eyourlife Military Tactical Backpack

Eyourlife Military Tactical Backpack

The Eyourlife Military Tactical Backpack is the ideal companion for the adventure-driven individual. High functionality meets field-grade construction to withstand tactical operations., hunting, travel, hiking, or everyday carry. The hidden back compartment is compatible with a 2.5L hydration bladder (not included). Protective compartments keep your essential items organized while the MOLLE webbing on the front pockets allows for additional gear attachment.

Equipped with military and tactical grade self-healing zippers for their high quality and performance. The zipper teeth seal incredibly tight when zipped up and the nylon fabric is treated to repel water quickly, preventing it from seeping through to your inside contents. The zippers also self-lubricate with continuous usage, ensuring that they never become gummy or sticky with time. They are finished with glove-friendly pull tabs that contain No-Fray technology to withstand heavy usage.

Key Features:

  • Back plate and shoulder straps for ample ventilation
  • Includes waist belt and sternum strap 
  • 14 total compartments
  • MOLLE system

Specifications:

  • Brand: Eyourlife
  • Capacity: 20L
  • Dimensions: 20″ H x 13″ W x 3.5″ D
  • Weight: 2.01 lbs
Pros
  • The top of the straps (where your shoulders will be) are connected to the pack with a 3 set of D-rings
  • Weather resistant lining
  • Inside each compartment there are pockets for easy storage of small items
  • Zippers seem to be good quality
Cons
  • Straps come off easily

8. 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Military Backpack

5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Military Backpack

The 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Military Backpack is engineered to be a full-featured 72-hour bag that provides ample space for gear and accessories while remaining rugged and reliable enough for extended excursions or tactical deployments. Compatible with 5.11 Tier System, and the Rush Tier Rifle Sleeve, the pack features unmatched storage capability, a wrap-around MOLLE and SlickStick-compatible web platform, adjustable shoulder and sternum straps, a 60-oz. hydration pocket, and durable, water-resistant construction.

This MOLLE military-style tactical backpack is ready for patrol. Dual-zippered front and main compartments with glove-friendly molded grip pulls. admin organization pocket to store maps, pens, and documents. Adjustable dual density closed-cell foam shoulder straps; cinching waist strap and dual compression straps keeping your rucksack pack secure and comfortable. Our guide to the best 3-day backpacks offers more great products like this.

Key Features:

  • Built from high strength, water-repellant 1050D nylon
  • Fleece-lined sunglass pocket
  • Integrated drainage grommet that’s Compatible with 5.11 Tier System
  • Multiple integrated organization pockets

Specifications:

  • Brand: 5.11
  • Capacity: 54L
  • Dimensions: 23″ H x 13.5″ W x 8.5″ D
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs
Pros
  • High quality construction and materials
  • Lots of space and organization
  • Dual compression straps
  • Separate hydration bladder compartment
Cons
  • Without the waste belt, this bag can push you forward

9. LHI Military Tactical Backpack

LHI Military Tactical Backpack

The LHI Military Tactical Backpack has 3 buckles are set around the main bag zipper, which also has the function of fastening the backpack and anti-theft. There are three reflective strips on the front of the backpack, which can reflect light and make you safer when walking in dark places.

Equipped buckles on the chest and waist to make the backpack more stable and avoid strong shaking. The back of the backpack is not a whole piece of honeycomb sponge, there is a gap in the middle, and honeycomb sponges are installed on both sides. There is a mesh bag on the back of the backpack, which is made of good materials, very soft but with shock absorption.

Key Features:

  • Reflector strap
  • 3 buckles are set around the main bag zipper
  • Three reflective strips
  • Equipped buckles on the chest and waist

Specifications:

  • Brand: LHI
  • Capacity: 35L
  • Dimensions: 20″ H x 12″ W x 6.3″ D
  • Weight: 2.87 lbs
Pros
  • The material feels really good quality and durable
  • Plenty of compartments and easy to carry
  • Straps are adjustable and provide a great level of comfort
  • There are three reflectors on the back for night riding or any night activity
Cons
  • Laptop divider should be higher, at least half way

10. Gelindo Military Tactical Backpack

Gelindo Military Tactical Backpack

The Gelindo Military Tactical Backpack is durable and comfortable to use due to its double-stitches, high-density fabric material, heavy-duty zippers, and the ventilated mesh padding in the back area and shoulder straps. There are also some additional features including the two pockets on the wide waist straps for phone storage and safety reflectors on the shoulder straps.

Gelindo tactical backpack also offers external compression straps for you to expand or compress to your load needs, adjustable shoulder straps, a centered sternum strap to ensure stability, and water-resistant construction to keep your gear dry and secure in any climate. There is a y-strap on the backpack that covers the top of all three compartment layers, prevents items from falling out, and also providing additional structural support when the bag is over-stuffed.

Key Features:

  • Leakproof 2.5 water bladder
  • Zippered closure pockets
  • Water-resistant fabric material
  • Safety reflectors on the shoulder straps

Specifications:

  • Brand: Gelindo
  • Capacity: 35L
  • Dimensions: 18.5″ H x 11″ W x 10.5″ D
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs
Pros
  • Strapping is amazing, lots of connection areas
  • The adjusting areas are many so you can customize your fit
  • The MOLLE strapping is way cool to hook carabiners and such to
  • Hydration specific area, with hose hole
Cons
  • Would be better if it has rear reflective piping for dark or night visibility

Buying Guide

MOLLE

MOLLE webbing is a feature that will attach attachments to your bag, allowing it to hold more equipment. This webbing allows you to add straps, compartments, and other customized features to your tactical backpack. The military is heavily dependent on MOLLE webbing as each task will call for a somewhat different configuration. A tactical backpack with MOLLE webbing has a major benefit that it will shape to suit your needs. When you’re an outdoor lover who may be going out for an elk hunt one weekend and a snowmobile ride the next, it’s worth getting a do-it-all type pack that can be personalized to fit any adventure you want.

Size

Tactical backpacks can range in size from a daypack to a large 3-day pack. The packs usually max out in the region of 35 to 40 liters and are designed specifically for 72-hour use. There are however much larger tactical backpacks. Such bigger packs help you to hang out without needing to resupply for a week or longer. Whether you want to chase very reclusive game during different seasons or love long-distance trekking, you may want a pack that can hold approximately 55 to 65 litres. Essentially, the ultimate decision on pack size depends on whether you are searching for a daypack, one for quick getaways or one for prolonged hiking trips.

Pockets

A tactical backpack should have lots of external and internal pockets in different sizes, in addition to the main compartment. Pockets and compartments allow you to organize your gear very easily. It’s important that you know where each piece of your equipment is at every moment because this helps you to easily adapt to various circumstances. In this review, all backpacks have a lot of internal and external pockets.

Compression Straps

Compression straps on a tactical backpack are specifically designed to help compress the equipment and secure until it’s packed. The compression straps often help compact your kit into a denser box in your bag. By doing so, you can comfortably focus the weight on your back and chest. When you’re planning to use your tactical backpack specifically for long-distance trekking, compressing equipment and centering the pack weight on your back would go a fair way towards minimizing exhaustion and helping you to travel more miles per day.

Hydration System

Hydration system compatible backpacks have a water reservoir/hydration bladder pocket and a drain opening at the top. A hydration system enables you to hydrate without even needing to pull off your backpack and unpack bottles of water.

Materials

In general, you should aim for a tactical backpack of at least 500 to 1200 denier counts. Cordura nylon fabric is a well looked after product for which you can always hold an eye out. X-Pac (or XV) fabric is also a decent choice, but packs made of only polyester or Kodra should usually be avoided.

Frequently Ask Questions

What is a tactical backpack?

A tactical backpack is a type of bag designed for military personnel, firefighters, first responders, hunters, climber, and even people who carry a laptop. We even created a guide for the best tactical laptop bags and backpacks.

What is a rucksack?

A rucksack is a term synonymous for backpack interchangeably. A rucksack will usually only have the main compartment where a backpack would have loads of different pockets. A tactical backpack wouldn’t typically be called a rucksack due to having lots of pockets.

How to use a tactical backpack?

This style of backpack is designed to handle great tension, to survive a multitude of natural threats, to allow you the opportunity to think on your feet, and to have immediate access to the items you need to subdue emergencies. You would do well to think carefully about the delivery in your bag of resources and other emergency and other items, with prime consideration being given to access and the possibility of usage.

Which tactical backpack is best for me?

This will really depend on your personal needs, there are tactical backpacks built for a day and 3 days. What you need to figure out is where you plan on using the backpack. Are you going on a camping trip? Day trip? Thru-hiking? Or maybe you simply want an everyday carry that has some tactical features.

Conclusion

We hope this guide was helpful for finding the best tactical backpacks as well as our guide on features to look for in a tactical backpack. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this guide, feel free to let us know in the comments section.