Everything you need to know about tactical backpacks

Tout ce que vous devez savoir sur les sacs à dos tactiques - Phil Team

People who need to carry survival gear, hard metal tools, weapons and other EDC gear are sure to benefit immensely from the use of a high quality tactical backpack.

A proper tactical backpack will withstand the force of rugged objects and a harsh environment. Plus, it offers smart pockets, advanced organization, and easy access in emergency situations.

What is a tactical backpack?

Tactical backpacks are the toughest, most durable, and best designed to hold a wide assortment of EDC gear. They are normally intended for outdoor activities and therefore have a high level of resistance to the environment.

Also, tactical backpacks are mostly for very active people. As such, they also provide a great fit and stabilization to stay in place during all sorts of movement and activity.

The origin of tactical backpacks

The term "tactical" is popular today even among ordinary users. However, all tactical gear, including backpacks, is derived from military gear, even though at the time it was not referred to as "tactical".

With that in mind, you would think that military backpacks must be the best tactical models, right? Well, it's not that simple. Of course, military backpacks cover many aspects perfectly, but they also have their drawbacks.

For example, military backpacks tend to be designed to accommodate special military equipment, which is not of interest to the average user. Additionally, military equipment is funded by the government, which tends to operate on a tight budget. This means that the equipment is not always of the best quality.

That said, exploring the use of classic military backpacks is definitely an option. However, users looking to get the most out of their tactical backpack are advised to look to reputable commercial brands.


main Features

Unlike many other EDC backpacks where appearance and fashion play an important role, tactical models focus more on functionality. Everything should have its purpose. For a backpack to qualify as "tactical", it must have a set of characteristics listed below.


Each element of a tactical backpack must be very strong. The base material, the lining, the padding, the drawstrings, the zipper... all must be able to withstand high forces, whether they come from inside or outside the backpack.


It's not enough for a tactical backpack to be tough, it has to be tough for the long haul. Even when exposed to increased external forces and harsh environmental conditions, it must retain its strength and functionality.

Weather resistance

The main purpose of tactical backpacks is their outdoor use. They must therefore have weather resistance characteristics. Water, dust and sand resistance shouldn't be an issue for a high quality tactical backpack. In addition, it must be able to be cleaned very easily. So having mud on it is not the least of the problems.


Tactical backpacks should offer top notch organization options. This means that they should have multiple compartments, external pockets, internal pockets and internal dividers. This way they are able to perfectly accommodate any EDC gear while keeping things tidy. Good organization is also essential for easy access.

Perfect fit

Tactical backpacks are for active users. This means that they must be able to adapt perfectly to the user's back and offer a harness that allows detailed adjustment for a rather tight fit.

Comfort and ergonomics

Tactical backpacks are often used for an extended period. As such, they must offer a high level of comfort and ergonomics. It can be quite difficult to strike the perfect balance between sturdiness and comfort; however, with proper material selection, many reputable brands manage to strike the right balance.


Modularity is a more advanced feature, but extremely practical. It includes adjustable internal compartments as well as external MOLLE options. In general, modularity is obtained by the use of the Velcro system. The advantage of modularity is that it often offers possibilities for universal use. It is definitely considered a must-have by military personnel.

Other Important Features

Here readers will find a list of other extremely important features they should look for in an ideal tactical backpack.

  • Top-loading main compartment
  • Expandable side pockets
  • Removable accessory board
  • Media pocket
  • Carry handle
  • Drainage eyelets
  • CCW Compartment
  • Chest straps
  • Yoke suspenders

The best materials
Considering the key characteristics of a good tactical backpack presented in the previous section, readers can see that many of them are conditioned by the choice of appropriate materials. Of course, users rarely have to worry about the choice of materials, because the manufacturers take care of that. However, it is always recommended to know what the best materials are, especially when buying a new tactical backpack.

One can find many different opinions on which type of material is most suitable for tactical backpacks. But after careful research, it's clear that high-quality nylon comes out on top. But not just any nylon - 500D-1200D CORDURA nylon delivers the best results.

500D-1200D nylon beats 200D nylon, Kobra and polyester in every important aspect. Of course, some materials are considered even more advanced. For example, the X-Pac (VX) is even tougher and offers a higher level of water resistance, but it's not as light.

The best sizes

When it comes to sizing for tactical backpacks, the guidelines follow the same principles as any other EDC backpack. Thus, a size between 15 and 26 liters is quite standard.

However, since tactical expeditions often include outdoor adventures that can last several days, larger capacities may be considered more often than not.

Must fit these items

The required size always depends on the needs of the user and the items he wants to carry in his tactical backpack. Of course, many users have different plans and daily commutes, so it's nigh on impossible to list all the items that will suit everyone.

Certain items tend to be carried in many tactical backpacks. The following list covers these items and can serve as a guideline for non-experienced users looking for ideas on what to pack in their tactical backpack.

Items commonly carried in tactical backpacks:

  • Wallet and cash
  • Flash light
  • Knife
  • Multi-tool
  • IFAK
  • Extra socks
  • Extra T-shirt
  • Deodorant
  • Fire starter kit
  • First aid kit
  • Bottle of water
  • Pens and notepads
  • Essential snack (protein bar or similar)
  • Sunglasses
  • USB storage
  • Battery packs
  • smartphone
  • Keys
  • Laptop/tablet (urban users)

The best brands of tactical backpacks

Nowadays, there are countless manufacturers of backpacks. And while many of them try to come up with at least a solid tactical EDC model, many fail to do so. Fortunately, some manufacturers specialize in tactical gear and therefore offer reliable tactical backpacks. They are listed below.

  • 5.11
  • Amabilis
  • Phil Team!
  • Oakley
  • SOG
  • mardingtop
  • Red Rock
  • Lowepro
  • HDE
  • Victorinox
  • Live Action
  • Mystery Ranch
  • REEBOW Gear
  • Prometheus Design Werx
  • Goruck
  • Triple August Design
  • Kifaru
  • Colfax Design Works
  • Arc’teryx
  • Matbock


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