Tactical Backpack – Civilians Love This Rugged Gear; Is It For You?

A tactical backpack is simply a term used for a backpack that has multiple outdoor uses and is able to pack gear in an organized manner.  Hikers and everyday folks are taking to the military inspired design and functionality of a tactical pack.  The style of a tactical bag is very trendy right now, but what makes it so popular?  How do you know if this type of backpack bag will meet your needs and be right for you?

Are You An Organized Pack Carrier?

Tactical backpack users create survival-ready bags or every day carry (EDC) backpacks with amenities like hydration packs or Molle webbing.  Many folks are drawn to the looks of a tactical pack because the military look and feel is attractive to civilians who want to honor veterans or feel part of history. It’s really a matter of what activities you’d be using a tactical pack for.  You just may want to get to your gear quickly without hunting for it in a disorganized backpack.

Functionality Is At The Top Of The List                   

Since these types of backpacks were designed originally for armed forces heading off to war, their focus was on strength, durability and modular capabilities. Their use was during high activity in extreme conditions and required premium quality materials and hardware.  It was never about style or good looks.   Tactical bags are made with pure function in mind.  The user wants a no-frill means of carrying their essentials in the best possible organized way. That may mean during a hike, or usage in your daily life.

So Authentic Military Is The Best Backpack?

So, should you buy an authentic military backpack to get the best durability?  Not necessarily. Sadly, over the years, the government has cut corners. They are the ones who run the armed forces and write checks for the gear.  Decisions may be made to use heavier material, yet choose cheaper hardware to save money.  Manufacturers who bid cheaper on government contracts often win out. Then, it become impossible to make quality a priority when they need to make 20 million units versus 200 units. So what are the most important features you should look for in a tactical backpack?

What Should It Be Made Of?


A tactical backpack that will be durable should be made from a quality fabric that can take a beating in extreme outdoor weather conditions.   Fabric at least 500D – 1200D Cordura Nylon is preferable. These fabrics are heavier duty and can withstand rugged ground terrain and gear weight.  YKK zippers are an example of excellent quality.

Concentrate On Construction

Not everyone understands fabrics or construction of a backpack.  What you may understand is how annoying and inconvenient it would be to have a shoulder strap break or a seam rip apart while you’re in the middle of a long trek.  Nylon thread is most dependable.  When all else fails, trust brand reputation or feedback from reviews on a reputable site.  Reviews can be tricky though, because there are people who misuse products or simply love to complain.  A quality backpack will be backed by a manufacturer warranty.

Molle Is A Must Have In A Tac Bag

A tactical backpack often has MOLLE web straps on the exterior.  MOLLE is short for “Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. It is used to attach bulky external gear, pouches, carabineers and backpacking tools that are oddly shaped or too large for the bag. The molle straps allow you to attach accessories from other brands to the exterior of your hiking bag.

Tactical Backpack Comfort:

If your hiking backpack is not comfortable, you will be miserable. That’s a fact. Many brands have their own proprietary suspension system to transfer weight from your shoulders down to your hips. Depending on what types of hikes you do, from daypack hiking to long treks, comfort is key to eliminate sore backs, hips or shoulders.  Well padded shoulder straps help take the strain off of your shoulders and neck.  Some backpacks have ventilated padding to allow air cooling, which is very helpful in summer months.

Accessing The Tactical Bag's Contents


A tactical backpack, depending on the style, may have a large main compartment and several easy-to-access zippered pockets to store your smaller items. How you access your packed gear can make the difference between mayhem and quick entry to the items you need then and there. Some hiking bags offer a clamshell design while others have multi-zippered areas on the top and sides. Choose what works easiest for you.

What Size Tactical Backpack?

If you are looking for in an EDC (everyday carry) style pack to use for office use, light hikes, errand running, and day trips, 15-30 liters is most suitable. A small tactical backpack can accommodate this scenario.  For weekend or multi-day treks, you’ll need to carry more items, so 40-60 liters would work better.

How Organized Is Too Organized?

I used to want hiking packs to have multiple zipped pockets and several small hidden compartments.  Unless you have super memory skills, you may be searching longer than necessary to discover which pocket had the item you‘re looking for. Consider this; by using color coded organizer pockets, which you can attach to your tactical pack’s molle system, you’ll easily recognize which color holds the item you need. You can then use the remaining interior or exterior pockets of the pack for bulkier items or the gear you use less frequently.

A Tactical Backpack IS For You!

Civilians are using tactical backpacks more than ever before. They prefer the design for carrying their cargo, even though they are not military. It's becoming a matter of style preference.  The molle webbing can indicate military to observers, but some people may want to stay more incognito, so you can differentiate by color choice if you don’t want to look like a soldier. You may prefer black, but tan or olive are also popular for tactical packs.

A tactical backpack is no doubt an organized hiker’s dream, capable of sorting gear and essentials in a great modern way.  This type of pack is no longer just used by military or law enforcement personnel.  Every day people are seeing the multiple benefits from using a tactical hiking bag.  Why not give it a try?  Above all else, happy hiking or happy EDC easier day!  


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