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Best Tactical Gear Bags Reviewed & Rated for Comfort

last updated Feb 21, 2019

You can put on just about any backpack and head out to enjoy the many aspects of nature; but if you're planning to head along where the wilderness takes a toll on you, you need something heavy-duty like a  tactical backpack to be able to do battle with the worst that the natural world might throw at you. We looked for low weight, tough enough to withstand thorns or sharp edges and stay together,  big enough to carry supplies, and strong enough not to pop a seam even when the most OCD hiker stuffs it with his "better bring this too" list. Add easy access and we're getting somewhere. We've set a high bar with this list and the packs we're suggesting aren't an accessory, they're a necessity; specifically designed to withstand the toughest and most difficult conditions while still being comfortable.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 10 hrs of research

icon
SHANGRI-LA Tactical
95.2/100 our score
Size
96
Capacity
94
Comfort
95
Features
95
Materials
96
SHANGRI-LA Tactical
Why is it better?

Made from quality Oxford nylon fabric

Comes enhanced with more exterior PALS webbing

Sturdy bag with quality material zippers

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
SHANGRI-LA Tactical
Test Winner: SHANGRI-LA Tactical
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
13
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
9k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
10
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Kevin Enochs
By Kevin Enochs:

We've done an update on tactical bags that includes some changes to our top three products. We've also updated our features with an eye towards the tactical bags that are going to give you room to outlast anything nature might throw your way.

Sorting Options
Size Capacity Comfort Features Materials By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.2
Size
96 %
Capacity
94 %
Comfort
95 %
Features
95 %
Materials
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.07.19)
Amazon Link
$43.88
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Size
94 %
Capacity
94 %
Comfort
96 %
Features
93 %
Materials
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.07.19)
Amazon Link
$26.31
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Size
94 %
Capacity
91 %
Comfort
93 %
Features
92 %
Materials
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.07.19)
Amazon Link
$47.50
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Size
92 %
Capacity
93 %
Comfort
91 %
Features
93 %
Materials
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.07.19)
Amazon Link
$39.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
Size
89 %
Capacity
90 %
Comfort
91 %
Features
88 %
Materials
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.07.19)
Amazon Link
$29.50
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Size
88 %
Capacity
85 %
Comfort
89 %
Features
90 %
Materials
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.07.19)
Amazon Link
$69.11
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86
Size
89 %
Capacity
87 %
Comfort
85 %
Features
84 %
Materials
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.07.19)
Amazon Link
$23.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.2
Size
84 %
Capacity
82 %
Comfort
81 %
Features
83 %
Materials
81 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.07.19)
Amazon Link
$46.85
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.2
Size
82 %
Capacity
79 %
Comfort
77 %
Features
78 %
Materials
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.07.19)
Amazon Link
$70.36
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75.8
Size
77 %
Capacity
75 %
Comfort
72 %
Features
81 %
Materials
74 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.07.19)
Amazon Link
$55.95
In Depth Review Top 10
  • SHANGRI-LA Tactical SHANGRI-LA Tactical
  • Red Rock Outdoor Gear Red Rock Outdoor Gear
  • Explorer Tactical Explorer Tactical
  • Reebow Tactical Reebow Tactical
  • NPUSA 18” Duffle NPUSA 18” Duffle
  • Rangemaster Rangemaster
  •  G4Free® Tactical G4Free® Tactical
  • Red Rock Outdoor Gear Assault Pack Red Rock Outdoor Gear Assault Pack
  • Monkey Paks Monkey Paks
  • 3V Gear 3V Gear
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Tactical Bags

1. SHANGRI-LA Tactical

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.2
SHANGRI-LA Tactical
Amazon Link
Size
96
Capacity
94
Comfort
95
Features
95
Materials
96
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$43.88
Pros:

Made from quality Oxford nylon fabric

Comes enhanced with more exterior PALS webbing

Sturdy bag with quality material zippers

Cons:

Comes in different sizes

Made of heavy-duty Oxford nylon, which is stronger than most fabrics on the market, the SHANGRI-LA Tactical Assault Gear Sling Pack is a great tactical gear backpack with more interior and pocket space than others out there. It’s a really good sturdy bag with quality material zippers, plus the snaps are heavy-duty, too.

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Holds Everything You Need
This tactical bag features exterior PALS webbing strips for your smaller equipment, internal division with key retention, and cushioned hip support for extra protection. The pack rides comfortably on your hips, making it ideal for all-day hikes and hunting expeditions. It’s also great for light day hikes when you need something to hold water, snacks, jacket, and other bare necessities.

Spacious Design
This sling pack is spacious to fit everything that you need. Its main compartment measures 10” x 7” x 4” so it has plenty of room. Even though it is spacious, it is not hard to carry. With an adjustable and removable shoulder strap, you’ll find the best way to carry it for yourself.

Cost and Value
This tactical gear bag is heavy-duty and quality made. For the price, you cannot go wrong about the SHANGRI-LA.

2. Red Rock Outdoor Gear

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Red Rock Outdoor Gear
Amazon Link
Size
94
Capacity
94
Comfort
96
Features
93
Materials
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$26.31
Pros:

Very durable

Surprisingly lightweight

Padded

Adjustable shoulder sling

Cons:

Seam tears

The Red Rock Outdoor Gear Rover sling pack is one of the most popular concealed carry tactical gear backpacks and is equipped with a sling attachment which allows for quick, easy access. It is ideal for both right-handed and left-handed users. This tough, military-style backpack is very durable and sturdy. What makes it a great option for consumers is the amount of space on the inside and in the external pockets. Despite everything, this tactical pack still feels lightweight and comfortable.

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Large Main Compartments
The main compartments on this Rover tactical gear bag are spacious enough to put basic survival gear in. You can easily fit a flashlight, ammo, smartphone, tablet, and even binoculars alongside your other essential survival kits such as food and clothing and even supplies for first aid.

Comfortable To Carry
This bag features an adjustable and padded sling shoulder strap. Not only does the padded strap help keep you comfortable carrying this bag, but the sling design keeps your hands free to go about your adventure.

Cost and Value
The Red Rock Outdoor Gear Rover sling pack is incredibly affordable and can fit everything that you need in order to survive your next adventure. Take it out camping, hunting or on whatever your journey calls for.

3. Explorer Tactical

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Explorer Tactical
Amazon Link
Size
94
Capacity
91
Comfort
93
Features
92
Materials
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$47.50
Pros:

Ultimate all-in-one tactical backpackAmple room for extrasMade with 600-Denier polyester

Range Bag Exterior Dimensions: 18" x 14" x 10"

Interior Main Compartment Dimensions: 12" x 12" x 9"

Cons:

Claims to be durable but could use more reinforcement

The Explorer Tactical Range Bag is the ultimate all-in-one tactical backpack that gives you exactly what you need when you head out for a day on the range. This tactical pack lets you carry multiple pistols to the range with all the necessary accessories and tools. It offers ample room for ammunition, magazines, pistols, cleaning supplies and other tools. This is specially designed to withstand the rigors of fully loaded range duty.

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Long Lasting Material
This tactical range bag is made out of 600-denier heavy-duty polyester throughout to give you a long lasting bag that can handle almost anything. The carrying handles and straps are heavy-duty nylon so that they don’t fail under a heavy load. Plus the quality is top-notch, the best in its class.

Customizable Inner Partitions
Another great thing about this range bag is that you can customize it to your liking. The inner partitions are adjustable so that you can keep the main compartment organized the way that you want it.

Cost and Value
This Explorer Tactical Range Bag offers customizable organization, durable material, and comfortable straps to carry it with you to and from the range. For all of this, the price is completely reasonable.

4. Reebow Tactical

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Reebow Tactical
Amazon Link
Size
92
Capacity
93
Comfort
91
Features
93
Materials
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$39.99
Pros:

Great tactical gear pack

Very sturdy and rugged

Made of high-density fabric

Cons:

Side strips not well spaced for some needs

This military style backpack from Reebow Tactical is a great tactical gear pack with a ton of nooks and crannies to put stuff. It’s very versatile to use, with a lot of space and a lot of pockets that offer better organization for all of your tactical gear. Its use is virtually endless.

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Features Built To Last
This backpack has a very sturdy and rugged build. It is made to go with you virtually everywhere, aid you and last a very long time. Plus, it has thick zippers and each pocket has two zipper pulls. The pocket for the water bladder is a bonus. The zippers for all compartments are all smooth and they don’t get snagged.

Storage
This backpack is spacious. It has a large main compartment, tons of pockets and MOLLE webbing system for extra storage, too. You shouldn’t ever feel like you are running out of room for your survival gear with this pack.

Cost and Value
Since this Reebow Tactical backpack has so many uses, it is highly valuable to the avid adventurer. The best part is that you can get it for the same price as any other standard backpack on the market, except this one, will blow them out of the water.

5. NPUSA 18” Duffle

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
NPUSA 18” Duffle
Amazon Link
Size
89
Capacity
90
Comfort
91
Features
88
Materials
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$29.50
Pros:

Interior waterproof PVC lining

2 side hook & loop closure pockets

Molle strap system on the side

Cons:

Some of the closure pieces, like the buckles, are made of plastic, which can crack if you are not careful

This NPUSA military MOLLE shoulder strap duffle bag is ideal. It’s so small and portable that you can literally carry it anywhere you want. Storage is a big advantage with this tactical duffle bag and it is made of materials that allow for durability during daily use.

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Water Repellent Pockets
This tactical duffle bag is all about keeping your gear organized and protected. Even the pockets have perks, which provides water repellent protection from the various conditions so that your gear stays dry in wet weather conditions.

Convenient Features
This duffle bag also has other convenient and easy-access features such as an adjustable flashlight keychain with an effective slide feature. Plus, it has a hook and loop closure which creates one handle for carrying.

Cost and Value
This duffle bag highlights practical and convenient organization, protection and handling. The best part is that you can get it for almost less than your average backpack on the market. The only exception is that this bag will outperform a standard backpack every time.

6. Rangemaster

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Rangemaster
Amazon Link
Size
88
Capacity
85
Comfort
89
Features
90
Materials
88
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$69.11
Pros:

Wider backpack straps

Zippered exterior pockets for additional gear

A customizable section on top to support a lot of stacked ammo

Cons:

Some threads may come loose

The Rangemaster Gear Bag Explorer has been in the bag game for a long time, so it could be the master. It has superb quality and storage solutions and is a bag for made for law enforcement personnel, military personnel, medical personnel, and explorers. This Rangemaster backpack is very versatile and offers an innovative, unexpected way to protect and transport your shooting equipment and tactical gear.

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Dividers For Organization
The interior of the main compartment on in this Rangemaster backpack is divided into two sections with separate access for both. Plus, there’s a divider in between that you could leave out for even more space. In this backpack, you can easily fit survival gear, handguns, ammo, and a laptop.

Comfortable Straps
With everything that you can hold within the Rangemaster backpack, you’d hope for it to be comfortable to carry. It is! The straps are wider than normal to balance out the weight of the bag and they are padded to add even more comfort.

Cost and Value
The Rangemaster Gear Bag Backpack is very reasonably priced and the value is unquestionable. You definitely get what you pay for with this bag.

7. G4Free® Tactical

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86
 G4Free® Tactical
Amazon Link
Size
89
Capacity
87
Comfort
85
Features
84
Materials
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$23.99
Pros:

600D high-density nylon construction

Features 5 zippered compartments for organized storage

Surprisingly lightweight and portable

The material is sturdy and the construction relatively high-quality

Cons:

Zippers get stuck

This Gear4Free Tactical Assault Messenger Bag backpack is a double-stitched modular bag with MOLLE and/or L.I.C.E webbing system throughout the bag. It also features a shoulder strap, additional pouches, and room for additional other tactical gear. The 5 zippered compartments for organized storage plus 1 hidden compartment are all ideal for storing documents and small items. The G4Free Tactical Assault Messenger Bag is your all-in-one tactical backpack for all your outdoor expeditions such as hiking and camping. For storing documents and small items – the G4Free Tactical Assault Messenger Bag is your all-in-one tactical backpack for all your outdoor expeditions such as hiking and camping.

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Long Lasting
This tactical bag backpack features superior 600D nylon construction with heavy-duty dual zippers, slide buckles, and uniquely coated pockets with PVP materials. All of this is great for helping the longevity of the bag and to avoid any major water damage.

Comfort Straps
This product features high-quality shoulder straps, which are padded so that you can wear the bag however you want and as comfortably as you want. The straps are also wider so that they relieve stress easier.

Cost and Value
We believe that comfort sells, so this product basically sells itself. That and its awesome features and incredibly affordable price point.

8. Red Rock Outdoor Gear Assault Pack

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.2
Red Rock Outdoor Gear Assault Pack
Amazon Link
Size
84
Capacity
82
Comfort
81
Features
83
Materials
81
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$46.85
Pros:

Equipped with an ambidextrous sling

On-the-go style carry handle

Large master compartment with the internal Velcro closure sleeve

Cons:

Can't handle too much weight

The Red Rock Gear Outdoor Assault Pack backpack is one of the most popular and reliable concealed-carry backpacks. It is an ideal choice among seasoned hunters and outdoor enthusiasts alike. An easy-access sleeve securely and comfortably conceals your firearm for safekeeping while on-the-go and the inner compartments are a great fit for your everyday essentials such as first aid kit, keys, mobile, GPS, tablet, knife, flashlight, and more. Although extremely lightweight, it packs everything including your survival gear and food and clothing with ease.

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Comfort
It doesn’t matter if you like to sling your bag over your right or left shoulder, this Red Rock Gear Outdoor Assault Pack backpack is made to be comfortable for everyone. The straps and handles are easy to carry and they are comfortably padded, too.

MOLLE Webbing & Storage
This bag is made to carry everything that you need to survive out in the field, on a hike or adventure. The MOLLE webbing offers multiple storage points along with the 9-liters of total storage throughout the entire bag.

Cost and Value
This backpack offers an abundance of storage and it is built to last a long time. It doesn’t cost too much so its value is incredibly high. You only have to invest a small amount for a long time of companionship.

9. Monkey Paks

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.2
Monkey Paks
Amazon Link
Size
82
Capacity
79
Comfort
77
Features
78
Materials
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$70.36
Pros:

Affordable pricing available

Easy-to-carry

Ultra-durable design

Hydration backpack comes with a high-quality water bladder

Cons:

Straps might seem problematic

This Monkey Paks tactical backpack is a military-style backpack that combines the best form and function with the most affordable pricing available. If you are looking for a heavy-duty tactical backpack that will empower you when carrying your personal belongings, this is the one. It has tons of storage, is easy to carry and will last you many years.

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Tough and Reliable
You obviously want your gear to be as tough and reliable as you are. This Monkey Paks tactical backpack is for sure. It is the one that outperforms any other in all types of weather conditions and terrain.

Equipped
The Monkey Paks tactical backpack ensures you have the perfect military backpack at your disposal for every mission, adventure, and unexpected journey. That is why it is equipped with a ton of storage and even comes with a high-quality water bladder features for hydration.

Cost and Value
The price of this Monkey Paks tactical backpack is so reasonable that it feels like a no-brainer to purchase. Especially because of all the storage, comfort, long-lasting material and features that come with it.

10. Gear

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75.8
 Gear
Amazon Link
Size
77
Capacity
75
Comfort
72
Features
81
Materials
74
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$55.95
Pros:

Plenty of storage space

Large self-healing zippers

Multiple compression straps strategically placed to compress any load

Cons:

MOLLE straps size issues

This 3V Gear Velox tactical backpack is specifically designed for the outdoor enthusiasts who live for the great outdoors. With plenty of storage space, several compartments and large self-healing zippers, these bags are definitely one of the most versatile tactical backpacks to get your stuff in and out of. You will feel fully prepared with this backpack on your back.

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Compression Straps
While being spacious enough to carry your gear with ease, this versatile backpack settles effectively with the various compression straps that are precisely designed to pack any load for an optimal organization.

Strong Material
Additionally, this Velox tactical backpack makes for an effective storage solution for your outdoor needs while keeping it comfortable and less bulky. Also, the strong 600D PVC-assisted nylon that it is made out of withstands the daily wear and tear with ease.

Cost and Value
This tactical backpack is a little pricier than others on this list, but it is not outlandish. Since this bag provides so much, the price and value make sense with one another. If you are an avid outdoors person, gear up with this backpack.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Size

Spacing was a big one when we ordered the list, and that is why a lot of the higher priced items may have sneaked into the top five. More space means a higher price, and there is no disadvantage to having more space than you’ll use, providing the company handled the ergonomics correctly. The bigger bags on the list were also more likely to carry water bladders, guns, and more ammo. Any of the bags at the top of the list should provide more than you need when it comes to packing, even on longer trips. We felt that no one should have to go through picking and choosing which important accessory to bring on a trip. The one time you leave something important behind to make space, well that will be the one time you need it. It’s always a tough decision to make the choice on which supplies are more important, with a good chance that you’ll get some of them wrong when needed. So extra space is a must and one of the most important features we looked at when organizing the tactical gear bags on the list. Buyers will always be prepared if they don’t have to randomize the tools they work with.

As the second criteria, we looked at space again but expanded on that feature a bit. Plenty of bags in the industry provide a lot of space, but how well do they use it? Bags that didn’t utilize their space properly were left completely off of the list and were often the choices that had the most bulk. There were also large bags that provided average space but were large on the outside. That is a perfect example of a bag not utilizing its space and size properly. All of the bags on the list had to pass this check, which was based on the organization of pockets, ease of use with the pockets, and overall spacing. It’s something that really shouldn’t be taken lightly since it affects how well you travel with a full load. Speaking of carrying a lot of weight, durability was a special case with a lot of the bags. While there are some that tend to be stronger than the others, the priority leaned towards how much punishment the bag could take. Bags that could take a lot of punishment but had short lifespans were dropped further down the list, while the higher ranking bags proved to be the better investment. They could take a lot of natural damage and still last for years without any rips, tears or problems with weight. A good example of this is in the top three, and that is where you will find the toughest choices on the list. None of the bags in the top ten have bad or even average protection. It was vitally important that they all be above average grade, regardless of the materials they used.

Capacity

The capacity of a tactical backpack refers to the gear you wish to carry on your trip. The storage space also depends on the number and size of compartments and inner divisions. Remember, the bigger the better. The normal capacity for the best daypack hiking is around 30 liters. This is enough for a tactical daypack gear as it can be able to carry all your essentials and personal accessories with ease. That being said bigger isn’t always the better option when it comes to finding the best tactical backpack. The more volume a bag has, the heavier it gets when full. You need to consider beforehand how much volume you really want to carry with you while on-the-go.

Comfort

The best tactical backpacks are designed for heavy-duty use – but they need to be equally comfortable. In fact, when you’re out on a hike or week-long expeditions, it’s vital that your bag is comfortable to carry. Also, look for hip padding and straps, as they make it easier to carry a backpack for long distances. Other things to consider include wire straps and air channels. It always makes sense to go for additional comfort despite everything else.

Features

Your gear bag needs to meet your personal requirements – doesn’t matter if you need one for a daypack hike or for long hunting trips. Assess your needs and consider the things you need to carry and accordingly choose the compartments to match the gear. It’s a good idea to buy a tactical backpack with multiple compartments of different sizes. In addition to the main compartment, a tactical backpack should have enough outer and inner pockets so that you can compartmentalize your gear easily and comfortably.

Materials

When materials came into play we didn’t play favorites, although polyester and nylon types were the most reliable. This was the hardest part of the list since it tied in so closely to comfort. Buyers that are looking for comfort will find the polyester bags to always come through. Buyers that want higher durability will settle on nylon, although it is no slouch in the comfort department. This is an interesting match between the two since there are a lot of mixed fabrics and variations of the originals. The way the list is ordered balances out the comfort and durability features, so materials weren’t really at the forefront of this decision, but rather their intended effects were looked at. Rip-stop Nylon is great for long-term durability but may offer less comfort than a polyester mix.

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expert tips icon
The Skinny on Tactical Backpacks

As in all high-end pieces of equipment, the old rule of thumb applies when it comes to tactical backpacks: you get what you pay for. What we mean by that is that these are professionally made pieces of equipment meant for professionals so you're going to pay for them. And that's okay because what you should be getting for that money is a really sturdy, well created, well thought out piece of equipment that does what you need it to do almost instinctively.

Other Factors to Consider

Value

Your budget is always a factor, but it’s advisable to go for a high-quality, heavy-duty tactical backpack that best meets your tactical requirements than to compromise on the quality. Note that it’s not just the number of compartments you need the most in your tactical backpack, you have to factor in the quality of the material being used in the process too. And quality is never cheap. Just because you’re on a budget, it doesn’t mean you cannot get a good quality tactical backpack.

Effectiveness

Ease of reach is one of the most deciding factors when looking for the right backpack for your outdoor needs. The pack should be spacious enough to carry all your daily essentials including food and clothing while keeping everything within reach and easily accessible. The inner pockets and compartments should also be easily accessible so that you could instantly get your hands on your essential gear when you need them the most.

Water Resistance

We've all been there. You've spent a good amount of time getting ready to head out. It's a good day for a hike, or a hunt until the bottom drops out of the sky. Sure your outer shell is waterproof but your backpack isn't. Plus it's too big to fit under your parka, and that means everything in that backpack is now soaking wet. Now we know you're smart enough to keep things like matches in plastic bags just in case, but as to your change of clothes, and some of your equipment, it's now unbelievably damp, and possibly ruined. Let's avoid this, shall we? That's why waterproofing or at least water wicking packs are something we're keeping an eye out for. Weather happens! You plan for it with your clothing, You plan for it with your shoes and boots. We'll make sure your pack is waterproof as well.

Brand

Brand effectiveness had a huge impact on the list, and the lack of exposure left a lot of lesser brands completely out of the top ten. That doesn’t mean smaller companies aren’t included, it just means companies with a bad reputation were not allowed to crack the top ten. This is important when dealing with tactical gear bags since they are made for punishment, so models that don’t hold up to standards could very well damage all of your supplies. The end result could cost you more than the actual bag, and even cause a fatal injury if something sharp is dropped. A good tactic for ordering brands would have been to go with models in a proven line, yet we chose to avoid that based on the great new products that haven’t established a name yet. There are too many bags on the market with must-have features that would have been left off if we stuck to only a specific series, so instead, we leaned towards brands that were the most effective with the specifications, quality control, and customer support.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What does denier stand for?

a:

Denier basically defines the durability of a fiber as a unit of fineness of some artificial fibers such as nylon. The greater the denier count, the more the durability of the fabric. However, this does not mean that higher denier is always better. For example, a 420D nylon fabric will perform better and is more durable than a 600D polyester fabric. So, it’s the material that counts.

q: What is rip-stop?

a:

Rip-stop means special woven fabrics that are often crafted from nylon. The way that a fabric is woven affects a backpack’s strength and durability. The rip-stop fabric has heavier double threads at regular close intervals, which prevent the backpacks from the daily wear and tear. Rip-stop fabrics are woven in a way that makes a diamond or box pattern and the weave is quite strong and resistant to tearing. Rip-stop fabrics are specially woven to provide utmost protection so that your pack stays durable in the worst of conditions.

q: What does MOLLE stand for?

a:

MOLLE or Molle is short for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. The MOLLE packs are the current standard for most military units. They are specially designed to provide a modular and comprehensive storage solution for your backpacking needs.

q: When was MOLLE Introduced?

a:

MOLLE was introduced in 1997 and gained significant market share after the 9/11 attacks. Troops began to use it on missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and through years of feedback, the system was improved to do away with the initial criticisms. Newer model MOLLE systems are much better equipped from top to bottom, and it has officially replaced ALICE as the best system for tactical gear. ALICE is still used in some professions like the police force, but even in those cases, the sides are split between the two systems. With the yearly improvements on MOLLE, it will continue to increase its adoption rates.

q: Why should I choose MOLLE over ALICE?

a:

 Alice is considered old technology while MOLLE is considered the new kid on the block, one that has continually surpassed it for almost a decade. So newer features will always be found in MOLLE first, and it is currently the most widely used system by professionals. ALICE is still considered the more rugged of the two, and it took a couple of years of tinkering for MOLLE to shed its reputation of breaking easily. Even with improvements, ALICE is still superior on the durability side, especially when it comes to carrying large loads. In every other category, MOLLE wins, and over time it will even beat ALICE in durability.

q: What volume is ideal for everyday use?

a:

Backpacks can be of varying sizes and depend largely upon the gear you plan to carry on your trip. Many backpacks are ideal for daytime trips which cannot be used for weekend backpacking trips or as overnighters for that matter. So it’s important to assess your needs before making the purchase because the right volume makes all the difference to your backpacking requirements. Most daypacks can be anywhere between 20 to 35 liters. While a smaller sized pack is great for 2-3 days trips, but it doesn’t hurt to carry a bigger one which can easily accommodate all your daily essentials and gear including food and clothing. The volume constitutes the entire space area in the backpack including the main compartment and the inner pockets and compartments. However, small-scale manufacturers mention the volume without the extra storage which can be a little misleading. So, it’s advisable to take note of the volume before making the purchase. Anywhere around 45 liters is ideal for everyday use.

q: How do I spot the best tactical backpack?

a:

If you’re looking for something perfect for short day trips, hikes, or weekend outings, the first thing you probably look at is what it’s made of or how comfortable it’s going to be while traveling. Finding the right backpack seems like a daunting task for some but the tough part is to actually pick one. You need a sturdy, not so heavy-duty tactical backpack that gives you up to 40 liters of capacity to fit your daily essentials including food and clothing.

q: Should all bags come with a bladder?

a:

A water bottle holder or a bladder are essential parts of a tactical gear bag, and it should always include one of these. The bladder isn’t going to always be included for reasons of space, but shouldn’t be a huge knock on the bags sales numbers unless a customer is specifically looking for that feature. Think of the bladder as an optional feature that is great if included, but not entirely necessary for all users. There are plenty of bags on the market that omit the bladder and still maintain a healthy amount of sales.

q: Are natural or in-house materials better?

a:

Natural materials are good if you have a specific material that you tend to go with. Purchasing a tactical gear bag with natural materials will give you a sense of comfort if familiar with the quality and plan on using it often. In-house materials are common, and shouldn’t be overlooked when they are done right. Some of these materials only make up a portion of the bag rather than the entire thing, so always check to see what the major and minor bag materials are. You may already have a mixture of both and not even realize it.

q: How do you clean a tactical gear bag?

a:

Thankfully the cleaning instructions for a tactical gear bag are pretty straightforward, lacking the sometimes complicated cleaning instructions for other bags. When you have a lot of dirt and other outside materials sticking to your bag, the safe way to clean it is with a brush to get rid of any debris. If the debris is tough to get off, use a dull tool to do the trick. That means staying away from sharp things that could puncture the bag like a knife. Buff it clean with a microfiber cloth, then finish it off with warm soapy water or even a mild detergent.

q: What are the feature differences in the price ranges?

a:

 You’ll notice that bags with a bladder attached will be more expensive by default, so if that is a must-have feature, then prepare to pay a little bit more for it. Other than the bladder, the only differences in the bags if you go by price is space and toughness of the materials. Tougher materials will cost you more since they are usually upgraded versions, and even when they are the first generation, durable materials will still run a bit more. In some cases, you can get away with getting a lot of space in your bag at a lower price, but at the cost of lower durability.

q: Are shooting bags the same as tactical bags?

a:

Shooting bags are in a completely different field than tactical bags, which are meant for overall supplies. Although some tactical bags are equipped to carry guns and ammo, their true nature is being a jack of all trades for supplies. They carry your essential and non-essential items and protects them from the harshest environments. Shooting bags are more straightforward and are meant for carrying guns like rifles and ammo. They protect to a certain extent but are not meant to handle harsh weather and climates. Shooting bags also don’t concentrate on the comfort features of tactical gear bags, which for many is a high priority feature when you’re carrying that much weight.

q: Do tactical gear bags have separate accessories?

a:

There are plenty of optional accessories that can be purchased for a tactical gear bag. Their function falls into additional or backup accessories. Backups will replace worn out parts on your bag, or lost parts. On some bags, they can even be considered an improvement, which is the case for a pack of D rings. This multipurpose add-on is usually included with bags, so having a reinforced option when your original breaks is a smart choice. Additional accessories include decorating pins, pouches, bags and anything else that adds to the functionality of the bag you purchase. Even a small style add-on is good for adding a little personality to your tactical gear bag.

q: Do larger bags have an advantage?

a:

Larger bags only have an advantage for individuals that run out of space often and have to carefully choose what to pack. When you find you have to leave a lot of important items behind, a larger bag is the better choice. No one should have to leave important supplies behind due to their tactical gear bag being too small, and it defeats the purpose of having one. Try to do a good estimation of all the supplies you bring on your trips and look at the size of the bag, including all of the pockets. Brands are really good about listing size specifications accurately online, so there won’t be any surprises once you make a final purchase.

Sources

  1. Tactical Gear, Bags and Packs, Website
  2. 5.11 tactical, FAQ, Website