Best Tactical Backpack Reviews and Buying Guide

Every kid’s played the survival game at some point in their lives – at least they did when I was growing up. We all had backpacks and we’d like to pretend that we were hiking Mt. Everest trying to survive the harsh conditions.

Even back then at such a young age we had a vague notion of how important a backpack could be to our survival. Of course we weren’t facing a real life or death situation, but that doesn’t change the fact that we had something right as kids.

A good tactical backpack is essential when you’re heading out on a challenging hike.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that a military style pack may be the single most important piece of gear that you need to take with you on a trip that involves an overnight stay in an outdoor setting.

They come in all different shapes and sizes and the right choice for your needs may vary depending on the length and distance of your trip.

It’s important to think long and hard about how you’re going to use it as it will be too late once you’re two days into a seven day hike to reconsider your decision.

The type of pack you’re going to use on a light day time hike on the local trail will be very different from the packs a Special Forces team would use on a mission lasting several days.

Those packs typically have lots of pockets for various gear and tools that may be needed at a moment’s notice. You may not have the specialized needs that a soldier will have on a mission, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need lots of compartments.

The point is you have to understand that needs may vary depending on the use and if you’re an avid outdoors enthusiast you may even own more than one pack for different adventures.

In this article we’re going to take a close look at tactical backpacks that you would typically use on a trip lasting at least two or three days.

We’ll go through the various features you’ll want to look for in a good pack first and then we’ll review our top choices.  Any of the items reviewed on this site will suit the needs of most serious survivalists.

Condor 3 Day Assault Pack

If you’re heading out on a long adventure the Condor 3 Day Assault Pack is one of the best companions you can take with you. This pack has everything you need.

With a 50 Litre capacity you will be able to fit all of your essential gear into it and with those extra pockets you’ll be able to keep your important items such as tactical knives, a compass, and a flashlight within easy reach.

This pack is easy to secure on your person with adjustable straps that also have clips for quick release when necessary and the shoulder straps have extra thick padding for comfort.

The only thing that this pack could use that it’s missing is a waist strap. This is a large capacity bag and the extra security of a waist strap would make it more comfortable to carry.

Where this particular pack really shines is in its rugged durable construction. It’s made from a strong durable nylon material that will not tear or damage easily.

Each compartment is completely water tight and tightly sealed. Even if you use this pack hiking through a torrential downpour you’re gear will come out on the other side completely dry and ready to use.

Condor 3 Day Assault Pack Summary:

  • 50 liter capacity
  • Adjustable straps
  • Water tight compartment
  • Rugged durable construction

5.11 Tactical Rush 24 Back Pack

One of the most popular tactical backpacks on the market is the 5.11 Rush 24. This is a practical and no nonsense pack that equipped with all the essentials. This has compartments for everything.

You can store knives and flashlights in the side pockets and there’s ample storage in the main backside pocket to keep a raincoat close at hand for emergencies.

It has a hydration pocket as well so you don’t have to dig out a water bottle to rehydrate. There’s even a pocket near your neck designed to hold your sunglasses.

There’s even a special water repellant coating applied to the outside that literally makes the rain bounce of your pack. When you go hiking with this pack on your back your gear will remain bone dry.

The Rush 24 is lightweight in nature made from a durable nylon. Its rugged design is perfect for use in all types of situations and you’ll find it difficult to damage this pack at all.

Comfort wasn’t an afterthought for the manufacturers of this tactical backpack either.

It has two external compression straps and a contoured yoke shoulder strap that keep it firmly in place while you walk. It’s an impressive gear bag that’s suitable for any type of overnight outdoor activity.

5.11 Rush 24 Summary:

  • With hydration pocket
  • Waterproof coating
  • Lightweight design
  • Durable nylon material

Bukm Outdoor Tactical Shoulder Hiking Daypack

If you’re in the market for an affordable backpack that still has all of the essential ingredients of a capable tactical pack the Bukm 40 Litre Daypack definitely fits the bill. This pack has compartments everywhere.

In fact, it will probably take you a while to figure out what all of them are for. It’s quite versatile and compact enough to be used as an everyday carry bag while still having enough capacity to use on overnight hikes.

The straps are easily adjustable so that anyone in your family can use it no matter how big or how small. It’s also quite comfortable to carry with a breathable mesh backing and extra back support.

There’s foam in the padding to prevent the straps from digging into your shoulders and causing unnecessary discomfort a well.

You can also use the optional chest built for extra support or you can remove it all together if you prefer. This bag is water resistant so you don’t have to worry about any inclement weather ruining your hiking plans.

It also has a padded back panel that can be used for storing a hydration bladder and it does have a feed tube management system so that you don’t have to miss a step while you’re walking.

This pocket is also large enough to use as a laptop storage compartment as well.

Bukm 40 Litre Daypack Summary:

  • 40 litre capacity
  • Versatile and compact
  • Adjustable straps​
  • Padded back panel

3V Gear Velox II Large Tactical Assault Backpack Rucksack

The 3V Gear Veloxx II Large Tactical Assault Backpack is a great pack for a day trip with numerous compartments and it’s also MOLLE compatible so you can easily add pouches and attachments depending on the type of trip you’re embarking on.

It’s made from a PVC water resistant nylon that handles heavy rain no problem. This type of material is also difficult to rip which makes it perfect if you’re hiking in rugged terrain.

What’s really great about this pack is that each pocket is designed to open nice and wide for easy access to your gear and they seal tightly when not in use.

One of those pockets is equipped to hold a hydration bladder and you can feed a straw for simple access. There are large storage compartments as well that can hold sensitive equipment such as tablets and laptops.

There’s nothing worse than hiking for miles with an uncomfortable and poor fitting pack on your back, but you don’t have to worry about that with this pack.

It has extra thick padding around the shoulder area and the straps can be adjusted with a simple pull mechanism. It’s also equipped with a chest strap and a waste strap.

Once this pack is secured it will remain firmly in place until you’re ready to unload it. The only real issue with this pack is that the capacity is only slightly more than 26 litres making it unsuitable for long trips.

3V Gear Veloxx II Summary:

  • Made from PVC water resistant nylon
  • Large storage compartments
  • Simple pull mechanism
  • Extra thick padding

Mil-Tec – US Assault Pack Large (Rucksack)

The Mil-Tec – US Assault pack is a nice sized tactical backpack that’s well suited for two or three day trips through the backwoods.

It has several large front storage compartments although it could use a couple of side pockets for quick access. On the flip side it does have MOLLE attachment points o you can add that type of access if you really want to.

It does have a pocket for a hydration which is a nice feature and there’s good padding on the straps for comfort. This is an affordable pack with good storage capacity and some nice features.

This bag is 100 percent polyester which is a fairly rugged material, but probably not the ideal material for a tactical backpack.

It’s also a little surprising that the pockets don’t have covers over the zippers to prevent water from getting at your gear.

By most accounts it will protect you in light rain – I’m just not convinced it will do the job in heavy rain. It could use some upgrades in some areas as we’ve pointed out though.

Mil-Tec – US Assault Pack Summary:

  • 100% polyester material
  • Comfortable padding
  • Affordable pack​
  • Good storage capacity

Key Features in Tactical Backpacks

Types and Sizes of Compartments

One of the things I have a hard time with when I’m heading out on an overnight trip for camping or hunting is deciding which gear I really need. If you’re like me you’ll probably need a pack with a lot of different storage compartments of various different sizes.
It’s a good idea to look for a pack that has some easily accessible side pockets as well as some larger pockets on the back for items that you won’t need immediate access to, but you may still want to get at without having to unpack all of your gear.
Some backpacks are also equipped with extra compartments such as hydration pockets and laptop capable ones.

Comfort

A tactical backpack should be capable of carrying everything you’ll need for at least a two or three day trip. The problem with carrying that much gear is that I can be quite heavy and cumbersome.
You may have steeled yourself to this fact, but that doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable while you’re carrying that pack.
The ideal pack will have lots of extra padding on the shoulder straps where most of the weight is placed, but it will also have a chest strap and possible a waist strap for extra support.

Materials (Durable)

Most backpacks these days are made from highly durable nylon, but some of them are made from polyester. The main thing is to make sure you find a pack that has a reputation for durability. Don’t just take the manufacturers word for it though.
Reading reviews like the ones you’ll find on this page is a good idea to make sure the pack you’re looking for is really up to the job.

Capacity

Apart from durability, storage capacity is probably the next big consideration that should be at the top of your list. At a minimum an overnight tactical backpack should have a 30 litre capacity and a 40 or 50 litre capacity is even better.
Your pack should be large enough to carry all of the gear you really need, but not so big that you can’t manage it. Everyone has different physical limitations and this should also be in the forefront of your mind when you’re in the market for a backpack.

Closing Thoughts

A tactical backpack is one of the most important items you’ll take with you on any camping, hunting, or hiking excursion. This is the bag that will carry all of your gear so it’s important to make sure you choose one that’s capable of carrying it.

You should also pay close attention to your comfort and the protection of your gear from inclement weather. At the very least your pack should be water resistant and a waterproof backpack is an even better idea.

MOLLE packs are great because you can add items to them as needed and you should also strongly consider a model that includes a hydration pack so you don’t have to stop and take your pack off your back every time you want to take a drink.

There’s a lot to consider when you’re in the market for a tactical backpack and this article is a great resource to help make that decision easier.