There are a few pieces of outdoor equipment that are given the ‘tactical’ name and what it usually means is that the product is made to a standard that is befitting of the military or rescue services. The best tactical backpack will be one that has high durability and functionality.
When it comes to the best tactical backpacks, they will be held to a high standard as these products should be more rugged than regular backpacks. They should also have features that are going to make your adventure as easy as possible.
Here we will go through those key features and explain why they are important. We have also looked at the tactical backpack reviews to show you the best products on the market. After reading this guide, you’ll be able to know exactly what backpack you need.
How To Choose A Tactical Backpack – Buying Guide
With any outdoor item there is going to be a balance between weight and durability. A compromise has to be made as generally the more durable you are going to make a product, the heavier it is going to be as extra materials and features are going to be in mind.
With tactical backpacks it is a balance which is more favored towards durability than it is with regular backpacks. These backpacks are going to be slightly heavier than other options but you do get a lot of extra features for that weight.
These backpacks are designed to be able to take a lot of weight, which means that a few extra pounds of bag weight aren’t going to be that important if you have a fully stocked 40 liter bag, as it is going to be a small percentage of the overall weight.
Therefore, weight isn’t a huge concern when it comes to this product as they aren’t meant to be lightweight. If you think that you are going to need something lighter, it would be a good idea to look for the best regular backpack instead.
With these bags, the extra weight comes from the fact that they are made from thicker materials throughout the bag and also the number of compartments that they have. Added to that, they will often have extra straps and buckles.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t care about the weight though. It’s always worth it to check, just to make sure that you are not going to be getting something too heavy. You still want to bag to be under six pounds, even with all that extra durability.
As we mentioned there, the material used in these backpacks has to be quite thick. That way it is going to be resistant to abrasions, tears and it will also be able to hold all the weight that is going to be sitting in the backpack.
When it comes to the thickness of the material, this is going to be rated in denier. It is a unit of measurement that is used for the thickness as the differences in a unit such as millimeters is going to be too small to see.
In terms of the denier rating for regular backpacks, this will often be at a figure of around 250 which is a good rating for most uses but doesn’t meet the backpack requirements. For these backpacks, you expect to see a rating of over 500 with most of them being 600.
This will be either nylon, polyester or Oxford cloth and they are all great materials as they can be made very durable but they are also light in weight, so you know that you will be getting a quality product with a high amount of durability.
They are also materials which can be given a water-resistant coating too which is important in being able to keep your contents dry. Some materials can be made waterproof but that just means that water can’t pass through the materials, not that the whole bag is waterproof.
You also want to pay attention to the zips and the buckles too. Is they are weak then you will quickly be frustrated if you can’t secure or fasten your bag. The zig can be a big weak point in cheap backpacks and therefore you want heavy duty zips that are able to take a lot of punishment.
Pockets And Compartments
One hallmark of these products is that amount of compartments that they have. The standard set-up of these bags is to have two large compartments in the middle of the bag and then various other pockets on the front and possibly the sides of the bag too.
This allows you to have a lot of flexibility in terms of where you are going to be able to put your items in order to keep them safe and secure. Often though this is a personal choice depending on how you generally pack away items.
If you are the type of person who just prefers to stuff your backpack without really thinking about it then it’s likely you would want fewer compartments, if you are more meticulous in terms of packing your backpack then extra compartments would make it very easy to store all your items.
One good feature that these bags have is a fleece lined pocket. The material of these backpacks is durable and rough and therefore having such a pocket is very useful. This is ideal for the type of items that you don’t want to be scratched such as glasses or electronics.
Being able to store a hydration pack is also a great feature as this would mean that you wouldn’t have to carry any water bottles when you are on a trip. Some backpacks will simply have a specific space for a hydration pack whereas other will include the bladder.
One thing that gives backpacks a huge amount of adjustability is if they have a MOLLE system. This is a series of closed loops that allow you to attach things to the back of the bag such as a torch. This can help to give your back an increased amount of usability.
If you have ever carried a large backpack that doesn’t have a lot of back support then you will understand just how helpful it can be for your backpack to be able to offer a lot of support in this area. The reason this is required is for two main reasons.
Firstly, if you don’t have any padding on the back of the backpack, this means that anything that is in the bag will be pressed directly against your back. This can not only be highly uncomfortable but it can also quickly be painful too.
Secondly, if you have a backpack flush to your back then you are going to sweat very quickly. Again, this would be very uncomfortable as you back become wet. It can also be dangerous too, as you will overheat and lose a lot of water, therefore needing to constantly hydrate.
In order to get around this, you first want a back panel that has a lot of padding. This will be able to have that barrier of cushioning between you are your backpack so that you are able to hold it tightly to your body without worrying about anything digging into your back.
You also need this back panel to be well designed in two ways. You want it to have mesh padding so that air is going to be able to flow through it but the best back panels will also have channels that let air flow through, therefore minimizing any sweat that you will have.
A comfortable back panel is an underrated part of a backpack, especially a tactical backpack due to the weight that they are designed to carry. If you didn’t have a back panel on a long trip, it would quickly make it very miserable.
Hydration System Compatibility
Some people will prefer to simply take a water bottle on their trip but others will see the merits of a hydration system which will be able to make your life very easy and give you a constant access to water whenever you need.
Most companies don’t provide you with the system that you need in order to have your water and therefore you will usually need to buy this separately. Most tactical backpacks though will give you a section in which a hydration pack can be placed.
A hydration pack will essentially be a large bladder that will be placed in your bag and a drinking straw is able to come from this to the top of the bag to give you easy access to your water. It is a very useful way of staying hydrated.
If you have too much weight on the side of your backpack then this can affect your momentum which will make the bag harder to carry. This is the same reason that these bags have compression straps in order to keep everything as close as possible.
One of the great aspects of a hydration pack is that it will be placed centrally in the bag. That will make your bag easier to carry than having large water bottles on the side of your bag. This adds a lot of convenience.
One negative though is that users may prefer to use this space for something else as the hydration pack can take up a significant amount of space in your bag. This is a personal preference based on how you want to take your water and how much stuff you’re going to be putting in your bag.
These bags are called tactical backpacks as they are made to a military standard. That means they are going to be highly rugged and made for the extreme environments that military personnel might find themselves in.
It’s unlikely that you are looking into using these backpacks to go to war though, but their durability and usability make them brilliant backpacks for a larger variety of different activities, even for simple activities and everyday use.
These backpacks are going to be brilliant on hiking trips as they will be able to contain everything that you need. The bigger ones are going to be able to give you enough items for a good few days while the smaller products will be ideal as day packs, but regular daypacks are also great for this.
A tactical backpack would also be very good for traveling too where you are likely going to have to carry a lot of items. When traveling too, you are likely to be putting the backpack through a lot of use and the extra durability of a backpack will be very useful.
As well as these uses, the backpack is also going to be ideal for everyday use whether that is simply going to the gym or going out on a day trip with their family. Their build quality means they can be used all the time and will last for years.
It’s part of what makes these backpacks huge value for money as you will always have a great use for them and be able to use them all the time. Where other types of backpack might fail after a while, your tactical backpack is going to be able to last for years.
The storage capacity of these bags is going to be very important to the type of activity that you want to be able to complete. Obviously the use that you are going to have for your bag needs to reflect the size of the bag.
If you are going on a multi-day backpacking trip in the wilderness then you are going to need a bag that has a high capacity. In these situations having a bag that has a capacity of around 35-40 liters is going to be ideal as that will be able to hold a lot of items.
If you are going to be going out on a day hike then you wouldn’t need as much capacity and therefore having something like a 20 liter bag is going to be able to do the job, as you’ll be able to get everything that you need to carry in the smaller space.
It’s worth bearing in mind though that it’s probably going to be a good idea to get a backpack that is on the larger side as you don’t want to end up with a bag that is too small and having to leave some important things behind that you otherwise would have wanted to take.
The way these bags are designed, it doesn’t really matter if they are going to be under filled as you would still be able to have a highly compact bag. The reason for this is due to the compression straps that these bags have. They will ensure that there is little movement, even if the bag isn’t full.
On the other end of the scale, if you want a large backpack and are worried about running out of space, having a backpack with a MOLLE system will mean that you are able to attach various items to the back of your bag, even when it is full.
If you have a full packed 40 liter tactical backpack then you know it is going to be very heavy. In that respect, you want to make sure that it is will going to be comfortable even when the weight starts to add up.
When this is the case, just having shoulder straps aren’t going to be enough. The shoulder straps though have to be good enough to take most of the weight and this is going to be where most of the pressure of the bag is going to be placed against.
Due to this you want to have wide straps that are going to be heavily padded to be able to give you that layer of cushioning. Like with the back panel, you want this to be made out of breathable mesh so that you are not going to get too hot and sweat too much.
One aspect that back makes backpacks difficult to carry is if there are too loose. This will mean that you are constantly fighting against the movement and momentum of the bag. Having a sternum strap will help to take some of the weight off your shoulder but also help to keep your bag tight to your body.
Holding a weight with a stretched out arm is a lot more difficult than holding it close to your chest. These same physics apply to your backpack and you want it to be held as close to your body as possible. Compression straps will help with this as they will help to make your bag a lot more tight and portable.
Being able to have easily adjustable straps is also important in this. Another strap which will be very useful is if you have a waist strap. Like with the sternum strap, this will help to take some of the weight off your shoulder but also help to keep the bag held tightly to you.
The carrying capacity refers to how much weight the backpack is going to be able to hold. This is where tactical backpacks excel as they are going to be able to hold a significant amount of weight before breaking, which adds to their usability.
It’s not something that you are going to have to worry about with these types of bag as they will be reinforced in the weak areas. A tactical backpack is going to be able to carry a whole load of heavy camping gear without any issue.
The point where the bag breaks will be much higher than the load that you will physically be able to carry and therefore you can have confidence that this is a bag that you will be able to use in any situation as they will take a lot of stress.
These backpacks are made to be highly durable which is why the material they are made from is very thick when compared to other bags. As well as the durable material, the buckles will about be able to take a vast amount of weight.
Q: What Are The Benefits Of A Tactical Backpack?
The biggest benefits that you are going to get from a tactical backpack are usability and durability. Their various segments and pockets will allow you to take a vast range of different items out on your adventure and be able to easily store them away in a precise order.
Then there are other key features such as most of these bags coming with a MOLLE system to allow you to attach even more items to the bag. Also having things such as a hydration compartment can be highly useful too.
The durability of these packs is one area where they really excel as the material will be thick and highly strong. That material will generally be about twice as thick as what you would find on a regular backpack. It will also be reinforced in the right areas meaning it should last you for a very long time.
Due to their size and the potential weight that they have to carry, these backpacks are also going to be highly comfortable. They will have a high amount of padding on the straps and usually have three straps for the shoulder, the sternum and the waist. The back will also have a lot of support and they are very easy to wear.
Q: How Heavy Is A Military Backpack?
There are a few considerations to take in when considering the weight of a backpack as it’s not as vitally important as it is with other backpacking products as this is a bag that purposefully carries a bit of extra weight.
If you were ultralight backpacking when you will want to count every pound but if you are getting a 40-liter backpack when the difference one a pound in a bag is going to be a very small percentage of the weight of it fully loaded with all your tactical gear.
It’s also worth considering the size of the bag, as a 20-liter bag is going to weight a lot less than a 40-liter bag as there are more materials. Generally, all these bags should be less than 3 pounds in weight which is not going to be too heavy.
These bags generally don’t compete on weight, unlike a lot of different outdoor products. The reason for this is that you will not be getting one of these bags because you are focused on weight, instead, you will be getting them for their size, durability, and usability.
Q: What Is The Difference Between A Regular Backpack And A Tactical Backpack?
As we have just discussed there, one of the key differences between the two products is the weight. Regular backpacks will often compete on weight whereas it is not something tactical backpacks do as other features are going to be more important.
Part of that extra weight comes from the thickness of the materials. Tactical backpacks just feel a lot more solid and durable. The extra material gives it a huge amount of strength where you will be able to carry a huge amount of weight without worrying about it.
A regular backpack also won’t have the same level of compartments as a tactical backpack can carry a whole host of different items. The MOLLE system on the back of the backpack isn’t going to be a feature you’re going to find on a regular backpack either.
Q: How To Use A Tactical Backpack?
The MOLLE system stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment and is a way to securely add extra items to the back of the backpack without having to place them inside any compartments. Attaching your extra gear to the loops can give you an extra level of usability as you will have instant access to important items.
The compartments of the backpack need to be used well in order to get the most out of them. Randomly putting your gear into a backpack can end up being very frustrated when it comes to getting them back out again. It’s important to plan ahead and work out which sections are going to carry which items, that way you will have instant access to everything.
Due to the weight that you could end up carrying on these backpacks, comfort is going to be of vital importance. You want to be able to keep everything tight to your body but also keep the backpack as close to your body as well. Tightening the adjustable straps is always going to be important but also using the compression straps is vital too.
Most of these backpacks come with a hydration pocket within them. This can be a very easy way to get your fluid and involves getting a bladder and feeding through a straw. This might be unusual for some but it can end up being much easier than carrying water bottles.
Globo Surf Overview
Tactical backpacks are a great invention as even though they are built with military use in mind, they are perfect for a number of different activities. Their strength is highly appealing, especially to those who enjoy a more rugged hiking or camping experience.
For those who want to make sure everything is well organized, they are a great product too. The multitude of pockets and compartments allows you to easily store everything away and quickly have it to hand when you are out there.
The first thing that you need to bear in mind before buying one of these products is the size of them. If you are going out for a day then a 20-liter bag but if you are planning on camping or traveling for much longer, then using a 35 liter+ bag is probably what you are going to be looking for.
It’s also worth noting how you are going to use your bag and what you need to get from it. Planning ahead will be important as you need to make sure it has everything that you need for your trips, such as hydration pockets, soft pockets for electronics or anything else you might need, you need to make sure the backpack is working for you.
Once you have been able to cross off everything on your checklist, you’ll then be able to get out there and enjoy all the great benefits that using the best military backpack has to offer. Hopefully, this guide has given you all the information you need to pick the perfect tactical backpack for you which will allow you to enjoy your favorite activity, whatever that might be.
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