Best Tactical Gear Bags Reviewed & Rated for Comfort
The purpose of this update is to provide more information to interested consumers about the latest information on the best tactical gear bags. In this update, readers can find more information about how we evaluated each tactical gear bag. They can also find additional frequently asked questions that most consumers ask. This guide will help bring clarity to your research and purchases.
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. The bags we’ve reviewed below are ones that we thing might just be the ones that you’ll remember as the bag that saved your life in the unfortunate possibility that your best laid plans just deteriorate into an A1 cluster.
We picked these bags with an eye towards what we think are the essentials when in comes to beating the odds. 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.
- Nylon Fabric
- Red Rock
- 9L Storage
- Extra Protection
Tactical bags and backpacks aren’t tarted up book bags, they’re specifically designed to carry all your tactical gear.
Why Do You Need One?
Gone are the days when tactical backpacks belonged exclusively to military personnel. The same with the new era of combat boots, civilians who make the outdoors, or hunting a priority are latching onto these military spec equipment simply because they’re tough, practical, and lightweight. Tactical backpacks are mostly designed to carry your stuff with ease while keeping without being too bulky. Plus their design allows you to efficiently organize and compartmentalize all your personal stuff without any frustration. They also come with dedicated spaces where you can store additional items such as your surviving essentials, pens, first aid kits, pens, water bottles, sunglasses, power banks or binoculars.
They are designed to provide comprehensive storage in any environment or setting. Unlike your regular backpacks, tactical bags usually come enhanced with several features such as wider shoulder straps, modular heavy-duty design, an internal frame, multiple compartments and inner divisions for efficient organization. The compartments have enough room to accommodate your intricate items such as batteries, maps, radio equipment, flashlights, magazines, small weapons, food and water, and warm clothes for desperate times.
Things to Consider
The bags of today greatly differ from the earliest backpacks due to the heavy-duty materials that allow packs today to be much sturdier and comfortable than before. When choosing the best tactical backpack – whether for a day hike or long hunting expeditions – the most important thing to consider is the size. It’s important to choose an option that best suits your needs. After all, there’s no point buying a sold, high-volume backpack if you’re never going to fill it or if you don’t have the strength to carry it when full.
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.
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 the additional comfort despite everything else.
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.
Material and Durability
The fabric and materials used to make your tactical bag affect its durability and performance. It’s equally important to check for fabrics that are lightweight, waterproof, sturdy, strong, and highly durable. Each fabric has advantages and disadvantages, making them suitable for different conditions and situations. Some of the most common and best materials include Nylon, Rip-Stop Nylon, Polyester, Cordura Nylon, and Canvas.
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.
Ease of Reach
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.
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.
10 Best Tactical Gear Bags
1. SHANGRI-LA Tactical Assault Gear Sling Pack
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.
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.
This tactical gear bag is heavy-duty and quality made. For the price, you cannot go wrong about the SHANGRI-LA.
Made of high-density Oxford nylon fabric
Comes enhanced with more exterior PALS webbing
Sturdy bag with quality material zippers
- Comes in different sizes, so be sure to select the one that is best for you so that you do not get a bag that is too big or too small for your needs.
2. Red Rock Outdoor Gear Rover Sling Pack
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.
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.
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.
Padded, adjustable shoulder sling
3. Explorer Tactical Range Ready Bag
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.
Another great thing about this range bag is that your 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.
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.
Ultimate all-in-one tactical backpack
Ample room for extras
Made with 600-Denier polyester
Range Bag Exterior Dimensions: 18" x 14" x 10"
Interior Main Compartment Dimensions: 12" x 12" x 9"
Claims to be durable but could use more reinforcement
4. Reebow Tactical Military Day Assault Pack
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.
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.
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.
Great tactical gear pack
Very sturdy and rugged
Made of high-density fabric
Side strips not well spaced for some needs
5. NPUSA 18” Duffle Molle Bag
This tactical duffle bag is all about keeping your gear organized and protected. The pockets are lined with PVC which provides water repellent protection from the various elements so that your gear stays dry in wet weather conditions.
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 wrap-around strap to form one main handle for convenient and easy handling.
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.
Interior waterproof PVC lining
2 side hook & loop closure pockets
Molle strap system on side
Some of the closure pieces, like the buckles, are made of plastic, which can crack if you are not careful
6. Rangemaster Gear Bag Explorer
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.
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.
The Rangemaster Gear Bag Backpack is very reasonably priced and the value is unquestionable. You definitely get what you pay for with this bag.
Wider backpack straps
Zippered exterior pockets for additional gear
Customizable section on top to support a lot of stacked ammo
Some threads may come loose
7. G4Free® Tactical Assault Backpack
This tactical bag backpack features superior 600D nylon construction with heavy-duty dual zippers, slide buckles, and a 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.
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.
We believe that comfort sells, so this product basically sells itself. That and its awesome features and incredibly affordable price point.
600D high-density nylon construction
Features 5 zippered compartments for organized storage
Surprisingly lightweight and portable
Material is sturdy and the construction relatively high-quality
Zippers get stuck
8. Red Rock Outdoor Gear Assault Pack
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.
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.
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.
Equipped with an ambidextrous sling
On-the-go style carry handle
Large master compartment with internal Velcro closure sleeve
Can't handle too much weight
9. Monkey Paks Tactical Backpack
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.
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.
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.
Affordable pricing available
Hydration backpack comes with a high quality water bladder
Straps might seem problematic
10. 3V Gear Velox II Large Tactical Backpack
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.
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.
This tactical backpack is a little pricer 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.
Plenty of storage space
Large self-healing zippers
Multiple compression straps strategically placed to compress any load
MOLLE straps size issues
Criteria Used in Evaluating the Best Tactical Gear Bags
Our criteria for ordering the list was effective in finding the top models that were most likely to please the majority of customers. Since tactical gear bags have different uses depending on the buyer, organizing them in this way led to a better experience when looking for big-time features. Some of these features can’t be found in other products, and that is why they are higher up on the list. As the market gets filled with a lot of similar items, only the selected few that differentiate themselves can rise to the top of the list and garner attention.
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.
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.
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.
The last thing we checked for when ordering the list was pricing, which was directly tied to the size of the bag. We evened things out a bit where needed, using a pricing structure that was the fairest to customers that were in the beginner to an intermediate category. That meant bumping down some of the professional range gear that would have been out of the price range of the average consumer.
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. The main components of MOLLE pack are the tactical assault panel, the rucksack, a hydration bladder, and numerous modular pouches.
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 a 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.
Whether you choose a casual daypack or a full-fledged tactical backpack, it comes down to your personal preference. Once you determine what you need your tactical backpack for, you’re on the right path. It’s obvious to get confused over the multitude of options when buying your first tactical backpack. However, your hunt for the best options to choose from starts with your basic needs, your budget, your tactical requirements, and so on. Once you know exactly what you need in your backpack, then you would be able to best determine what brand and price will best suit your needs. Fortunately, we’ve narrowed down the list to a best few to help you with your hunt.