LAST UPDATED: April 13, 2021

Keep your gear close with the best tactical backpacks

Best Overall Reebow Gear Military Backpack Reebow Gear Military Backpack

Useful in all situations, this large backpack incorporates MOLLE throughout for improved storage. Everything from the seams to the zippers is made with a focus on durability.

Best Value Samurai Wakizashi Backpack Samurai Wakizashi Backpack

Balancing cost-effectiveness with quality, this 24-liter bag offers ample storage. Coming with a MOLLE system and multiple pockets, this is a resilient tactical backpack.

Honorable Mention WolfWarriorX Military Backpack WolfWarriorX Military Backpack

Featuring a massive storage capacity of 39 liters, this bag comes thoroughly equipped with a MOLLE setup. Made of rugged polyester, this backpack is made to withstand the elements.

Once primarily used by military and law enforcement professionals, tactical backpacks have become more prevalent (and popular) among civilians in recent years. Often used for lengthy hikes and other heavy-duty outdoors activities, tactical backpacks set themselves apart in a lot of ways. It’s more than just tough material and solid construction; finding the right tactical backpack is about storage, comfort, and the ability to accommodate all the supplies you’ll need. Depending on the style of the backpack, it might have a built-in water bottle and sections to keep your communication devices close. Each different tactical backpack has unique features, making it better suited to a specific purpose. 

So how do you find the one that’s right for you? Well, that’s why we scoured the internet for reputable tactical gear for every situation. 

Want something that covers both for work and recreation? Then the REEBOW Gear Military Backpack is worth looking into. It features a robust MOLLE system throughout the backpack to enhance storage. On top of this, it also has multiple pockets, each closing with reliable fine-tooth zippers. The buckles are equally as high quality, helping you keep a good posture as you move around. These traits pair with the included hydration system that sits in a position where it won’t interfere with the backpack’s function. Sturdy and durable, this versatile backpack is a fantastic choice.

If you want to balance the features of a standard hiking backpack with tactical benefits, the Samurai Tactical Wakizashi Backpack is a great option. The design is sleek and simple enough to integrate into any setting. Despite the subtle design, it actually touts a lot of storage opportunities. Front and side pockets close with reliable zippers. It offers a spot to store your water bottle along with a 24-liter capacity for storage in the main compartment. Made out of polyester, a naturally durable material, this backpack is sure to last over the long term.

Those who want tactical gear with that iconic appearance will appreciate the WolfWarriorX Tactical Backpack. For starters, it features enormous storage opportunities in the main section. In addition to this 39-liter space, it also touts pockets at the front of the pack. There is an elastic part to keep your water bottle close while the MOLLE system at the front of the pack helps you store whatever else you need. It’s made out of high-grade polyester that offers both ripstop technologies and is entirely waterproof. The beige color and classic design make it a well-fitting piece of gear for wherever your tactical needs take you.

Is finding the right material at the top of your priorities list? It makes sense since, without sturdy textiles, all your gear would fall to the ground. Those who need a backpack that can hold a lot of weight can get a lot of benefit from the SOG Ninja Day Pack. It comes in a wide range of colors, with each bag made out of blended canvas and polyester. Together, the materials provide good ventilation and a firm hold on your supplies, however heavy. With strong straps for a firm hold and a MOLLE system across the front of the bag, this tactical bag makes on-the-go storage easier.

Are you looking for something that can accommodate longer trips? If that’s the case, then the Hannibal Tactical Backpack has a lot to offer. It offers 36 liters of storage capacity in the main pocket alone. Since the main feature of any tactical bag is the ability to safely store a lot of gear, the MOLLE lining and multiple pockets add a lot of value. Another draw is the strong straps and clip support that help disperse the weight properly. It’s designed to limit the strain on both your shoulders and the seams of the bag itself. Made with quality, this water-resistant polyester bag is an excellent example of effective tactical gear.

If you’ve ever traveled with a bag that wasn’t waterproof, then you know just how important it is to look for environmental resistance in your tactical gear. The 24BattlePack Tactical Bag is a popular selection since it has a waterproof lining and a reliable zipper system. The 20-liter main storage compartment might not be the largest, but it is paired with a lot of extra storage as the large front pocket and MOLLE components let you store whatever gear can be exposed to moisture. Featuring a hydration pack and a laptop storage compartment, this bag offers tactical advantages both in the great outdoors and in everyday situations.

Even a simple hike requires a surprising amount of gear — especially if you’re the kind of person who likes to plan ahead. The Mosiso Tactical Military Backpack offers 30 liters of storage, letting you bring whatever you could need. With multiple pockets that close tightly with a fine-tooth zipper, you can keep all your gear protected. The molle at the front and sides of the bag help you store extra supplies like a sleeping bag or other bulky gear. The straps are padded for comfort; and, since the entire bag is designed to disperse weight evenly, tears aren’t an issue. The water-resistant polyester it’s made out of is tough against abrasion; so, no matter the circumstances, this is a bag you can rely on.

Related: Stay high and dry with these waterproof backpacks

Why should you trust us

Bringing to the table three years as a news correspondent, followed by five years as a product reviewer, I offer reliable, accurate analyses of essential supplies. Keeping my focus on tactical gear, survival necessities, and automotive products, I provide actionable advice on important items. Using my academic background in the sciences, I objectively assess products to determine their real value to consumers. My work is featured on Narcity Media, Car Bibles, and The Drive. Some of my most recent pieces for Task and Purpose include reviews of tactical gloves and headlamps, two items that work alongside your tactical backpack. 

Types of tactical backpacks

While all tactical backpacks have a fair bit in common, there are a couple of different types. Most of the criteria relate to the demand that’s going to be placed on the backpack. For instance, something you’re using as a day bag won’t need as much storage. It also isn’t likely to have to accommodate as much weight as a heavier-duty model. On the other hand, something you plan to take on an overnight trip needs a lot of storage in the main part alone. It must be waterproof and have reinforced seams with quality stitching. Larger bags also need to disperse more weight through straps that clip around the waist. Regardless of the type, the most important thing is that the bag is durable and accommodates your needs.

Key features of tactical backpacks

  • Storage: Perhaps the most important feature of tactical backpacks is the storage they offer. Ranging from 20 to over 35 liters, the amount of storage space cited refers to what can go in the main compartment. The more the bag can hold, the better the tactical advantage it offers. 
  • Straps: This part of the backpack is necessary for you to be able to carry it safely and comfortably. Well-constructed bags have padded straps that are stitched properly and prevent shoulder fatigue. Larger models also have straps to go around your waist and spread out the weight more evenly. This is important to avoid back strain. 
  • MOLLE: A system that vastly enhances storage, this mesh is used to add on supplies to the outside of the bag itself. It makes more frequently-used tools easily accessible. The molle also lets you tow items that would not otherwise fit in the bag. It’s highly durable and can support a fair bit of weight. 
  • Zippers: The ability to close reliably is an essential part of any tactical advantage. Without it, everything from bugs to debris to rain can get into your bag. Most tactical backpacks come with fine-tooth zippers. These provide the tightest seal and help keep your supplies in good condition. 
  • Material: Lastly, the material used in the construction of a tactical backpack makes a huge difference. These bags spend a lot of time outdoors, exposed to dust, debris, impact, and abrasion. Strong textiles like high-grade polyester are resistant to environmental damage and are waterproof. Often, the bag will include canvas to reinforce the strength of the polyester. 

Benefits of tactical backpacks

There’s a lot to gain when using a tactical backpack. It never hurts to be prepared, and that’s precisely what these bags are designed for. Since it’s better to have supplies that you don’t need than the other way around, the storage of a tactical bag offers a lot of advantages. The other draw is accessibility. These bags let you store some supplies on the outside of the bag so you don’t have to constantly take off the backpack to get your water or check the compass. Ultimately, it’s a matter of ease-of-use. The storage benefits are one thing, but the well-designed straps of quality tactical backpacks (like the ones on this list) make all the difference. 

Tactical backpack pricing

One of the best things about tactical backpacks is that, for all the benefits they offer, they are actually pretty affordable. While you can get some really intense tactical backpacks for over $200, if you’re using the gear for regular hiking and trekking, a less costly model should work. You can find relatively inexpensive selections for less than $50, complete with all the most important features. The heavier-duty the material and the more space the bag offers, the higher the price tag. Basically, as long as you aren’t trekking to the arctic, you can get a quality tactical backpack for competitive prices like those on this list. 

How we chose our top picks

In order to pinpoint the best tactical backpacks on the market, we started by investigating the different types available. Armed with a thorough understanding of what features are most important tactically, we made a shortlist of the top backpacks. From there, we factored in backpack design, consulted user feedback, and assessed the materials used in construction. Using this data, we whittled down the list to accurately highlight the best tactical backpacks on the market. The result is a list of high-quality survival gear with options for any budget.

Related: Grab one of these 6 range bags before your next trip to the firing line

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