No matter what you do in life, if you are someone that likes the functionality of well-made military gear, then there is no going past military backpacks. They are quality in design, and downright useful with their separate compartments and practical innovations.
For me, I enjoy the sturdiness military backpacks and tactical bags provide, as well as the fact that they come with in-built compartments and linings to keep my gear organized and protected. Having used military backpacks in field environments, as well as in urban office roles, I consider them completely diverse in where they can be used.
There are definitely a lot of them out there too, and one quick look on certain ‘cheap marketplaces’ and you will see that there are a lot of low-quality knock-offs and poorly made military backpacks. So in this post, we take a look at the 8 best military backpacks that you would want to consider using for your everyday carry, a bug out bag, hiking, or just to carry your laptopand gear to the office in.
8 Top Military Backpacks
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Why Should You Choose A Military Backpack?
Many of our readers already have military backpacks. Why? While there are a number of factors as to why they dominate the field, the most important reason is that they are durable, and are made to be relied upon in the most arduous of circumstances.
Sure, you might not be rappelling out of a helicopter or tracking through the desert for days on end, but what you can be sure of is that for anything you do in life these bags will last through. So whether you are carrying a lot of weight in them, need it to protect your laptop as well as your sports clothes, or you want it to serve as a bug out bag that can sit until it needs to be used, then you can rely on a military backpack.
The other, and often forgotten, point about these tactical packs, is that they are designed by, and for, people who master organization in their professions. One of the most important skills you can have in law enforcement or the military is personal organization, and keeping your equipment and tools organized is paramount. This is why you will find a lot of military bags and tactical backpacks have multiple separate compartments – specifically for the professional that likes to keep their equipment compartmentalized.
For me, when I was in the military, this helped a lot. But in the urban setting, as an office worker, this helps just as much as it allows me to keep everything I keep in my bag compartmentalized and in its location. For those of you that use their packs outdoors, or have a bug out bag, this will no doubt be a highly attractive feature.
So with those great features in mind, let’s take a closer look at each one of these tactical backpacks.
5.11 RUSH72 Tactical Backpack
The 5.11 RUSH72 has been a favorite of mine ever since I used it in the military. It holds a lot, can be fastened tight when it is not carrying as much, has sturdy zips that are quiet, and has an immense carrying capacity – everything a good performing military backpack should have.
As a best-seller for 5.11, this tactical backpack has a large front-loading admin panel with compartments for every different piece of gear you own. It also has internally-built compartments that use mesh zipping so you can visually check what is in each compartment. While there are these features, the front panel also uses its own harness strapping to allow you to keep a jacket in between the front panel and the backpack itself. This helps a lot for when you want to tuck a jacket or shelter in there, and pull it out again quickly.
I still regularly use this pack when going outdoors and camping just because it can fit a lot of gear, but when you have set up camp, you can just as easily ditch a lot of the unnecessary contents and fasten the bag to remove the excess space. That, and it stays close to the body when moving fast.
- Water resistant 1050-denier nylon
- Special compartments use meshing as well as elastic pulls to tighten
- YKK zippers
- Fleece-lined sunglasses pocket for zero scratching (also good for phone screens)
- Hydration routing
- Suitable for three days carry
First Tactical Specialist Backpack
This is one outstanding military backpack. First Tactical is a specialist provider to law enforcement and military professionals around the world, and their equipment is relied upon as such. Many use this pack as the choice for their go bag and bug out bag just because it is a highly functional bag that provides everything a survivalist could want and more.
So what is in it that makes it so good? The Specialist Backpack uses dual density shoulder strapping, double layered bottoms both inside and outside for reinforced protection, internal loop platforms, compression straps, and an internal backboard in-built into the bag. On a side note, if you thought that wasn’t enough, the bag’s backboard can be removed and used as a splint, shovel or a paddle.
I currently use this pack for my everyday carry, which you can read about here. Why do I choose to use this pack for EDC? It has a great compartmentalization system that rivals the 5.11 systems and opens right up to fit in more gear for those longer travels.
- Main compartment 13″ L x 22″ H x 8.5″ D/33 x 55.9cm w x 21.6cm D
- 1000D water resistant Nylon
- Completely repositionable or removable straps
Direct Action Dragon Egg MkII Tactical Backpack
The Dragon Egg MkII from Direct Action is an extremely lightweight pack using a dynamic system of elastic for expansion, a combat vent system, and laser cut MOLLE for the bag’s low profile.
Perfect for a two-day bag, the Dragon Egg uses Direct Action’s unique venting system which is extremely comfortable on the back. This is especially the case when the pack is worn with a lot of weight for long durations.
The front compartment of the pack uses a great personal organization system to keep all of your goods organized, making it more like an EDC pack than anything. That, and the top carry handle is made out of intervowen paracord, for those ‘just in case’ circumstances.
- 100% Cordura 500D
- Dragon Egg Mk II have redesigned side pockets that are equipped with elastic for expansion. They also have the new Direct Action logo
- Patented Combat Vent System provides increased comfort for their users during prolonged use
- Unique laser cut MOLLE/PALS system is low profile, lightweight, snag-free and non-water absorbing
- Great side pockets for carrying different sized bottles or anything else and can be tightened to nothing
LA Police Gear Operator Tactical Backpack
LA Police Gear sell a number of well-made and well-functioning tactical backpacks designed to fit the user. Where LA Police Gear differs from the bigger brands in this list is that they provide many of the features you would see in competing military backpacks, but at a much more budget-level price.
Their Operator Tactical Backpack uses a padded back system and fully adjustable shoulder and waist straps so that if you decide to carry heavy loads in this pack, you can do so in comfort. The backpack has space to fit a three-liter hydration sleeve and has routing suitable to be used on the left or the right side.
The bag’s main compartment holds a huge amount of gear, but has the option to fasten down so that the bag remains tight with light loads. In the front compartments, there are numerous pockets where you can organize your gear, as well as a lower pocket and side pouches for further detailed layouts.
- 600D Polyester with PVC Coating
- Adjustable straps to cinch down the bag
- Chest and waist strap
- Can use a hydration sleeve
- Fully integrated MOLLE platform
Apex Tactical Essentials Rogue Military Backpack
This Rogue Assault Pack is a strong, durable backpack with every feature you could ask for, as well as an in-built laptop protector for the tactical office worker.
Aside from the strong make of this bag, the fact that it opens up like a suitcase comes handy when you are trying to perfect the layout of the pack, or you want to pack it well for a trip abroad. The padded strapping and backing on this pack also makes it an extremely comfortable pack to wear on longer walks, or hikes, as it is made to be worn during outdoor activities.
One extra thing I liked most when I trialed this pack was the fact that it uses quick-release straps. This is very handy for when you are carrying a lot of weight and want to avoid doing a dance just to get the pack off.
- Made with 1000D nylon
- Luggage style zipper to open up the pack like a suitcase
- Has a laptop compartment with protector plate
- Quick release straps
Crazy Ants Military Backpack
I have only discovered the Crazy Ants pack recently after I was recommended by a friend who could not stop talking about it. I can see why, this is a great pack and comes with different customizations depending on how you want to use it.
For those that are familiar with MOLLE systems, when you buy a Crazy Ants Military Backpack it comes with separate MOLLE pouches and a back pocket system. The choice is yours whether you want to use them on the pack or not.
For a three day pack, there are a lot of options and features to this setup. The separate pouches are an admin pouch, a first aid pouch and a waist bag that utilizes a number of separate compartments. That, and you also have internal built-in pockets in the bag that make it a very good pack for anyone that likes to organize all of their equipment.
- Made of 900D nylon
- 3 detachable molle pouches attached on front and two sides, EMT First Aid IFAK Utility Pouch, one tactical Pouch and one waist pouch
- Plenty of MOLLE and PALS attachment points
- Port space for bladder hose
- Perfect for 72-hour applications
Orca Tactical Military Backpack
There’s not much more that I can say about Orca Tactical’s Military Backpack except that it is a small, great and diverse pack for a low budget price. In fact, it is one of the cheapest military backpacks I have included on the list, but that does not make it poor quality by any stretch of the means.
In the Orca Tactical Pack, you will find more space than you need. It has a good 34L capacity (the smallest on this list) and has two large compartments for bulky items, and two front compartments to hold all of the external accessories you want to keep. The pack has an impressive amount of MOLLE real-estate space so there’s the option to really transform this pack into something else, should you need to.
The back compartment uses protective padding so it is safe to hold a 15′ laptop, or can be used for a bladder. As far as EDC or bug out bags go, if you don’t have to carry too many supplies, this is one great pack to be using and has a lot of great features. For this price, it is also quite easy to buy four of these for the whole family.
- 34L capacity so suited for a 1-2 day pack
- Made from 600D polyester material
- Water resistant and scratch proof
- Uses high-quality YKK zippers
- Lots of MOLLE space
- Double stitched shoulder straps and belt
- Laptop protector space suitable for 15″ laptop
5.11 RUSH24 Tactical Backpack
The RUSH24 is the little brother to the much larger RUSH72 in the top of this list. Basically, this is exactly the same type of bag bug a smaller version of the 72. While still being able to hold 37L of goods, the RUSH24 measures at 23” H x 13.5” L x 8.5” in size. This makes it the ideal bag for those one-night trips, or for daily use as an everyday carry bag to the office or workplace.
With its water-repellent 1050D nylon make, dual zippers and a very protective laptop holder, I have used this bag in the past as a light travel bag and really do enjoy it. I feel its size is much more suitable for me than the 72-hour pack and as a 24-hour bag it provides just enough space to fit everything I need in an organized way and not have excess space where I am able to fit unnecessary items.
If you are like me and live in an urban area with a city-based job, I would highly recommend getting one of these packs, they are great performers and not too big, but still have that great design and organizational functionality.
- Smaller version of the RUSH72 – holds 37L
- Great for urban life and carrying a laptop
- Made of water-resistant 1050D nylon
- Multiple built-in pocket organizers
Don’t forget you can accessorize a military backpack
Every one of these military backpacks on this list uses either the MOLLE or PALS system to allow you to join any added extras that you feel are important to the layout and organization of your daily gear, or those items you might need in an emergency.
There are countless amounts of styles to choose from when it comes to MOLLE accessories, whether you are after a first aid kit pouch, water bottle pouch, a phone holster or an administrative panel to keep on the front of your pack.
This is one of the biggest benefits of tactical backpacks, and is something that is more commonly used in law enforcement and military areas, but much less in the civilian world.
For me, I see a very practical application of using MOLLE pouches with backpacks as it is just a great way to keep your stuff organized, whatever the occasion may be. So check them out.
Over to you…
I’m interested to know if you have any tips or preferences you’d like to share about any of these military backpacks, or perhaps you have a tactical bag brand you prefer not mentioned here. Drop a line in the comment section below!
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy my posts on military tactics such as: