Tactical backpacks are everywhere these days. And they’re not only worn by military folks, either. You’ll see corporate warriors walking around with tactical gear on their backs. Your buddy has probably showed off his sweet backpack and got you feeling envious.
You’ve got to get a tactical backpack of your own! But how do you pick the one that’s right for you? Just go with a bag that looks really good to you? Of course not! You’ve got to consider a variety of factors before making a purchase. You don’t want to buy a tactical backpack and find out that it doesn’t meet your most important needs.
Why Should You Get a Tactical Backpack?
Let’s start with the foremost question on all our minds: why use a tactical backpack? What’s the point of having one?
It’s a backpack, for starters. And backpacks are extremely useful items if you’re gonna be carrying around your stuff. Maybe you intend to travel, maybe you’re going camping, or maybe you simply want to carry all your stuff with you all day in the city. Whatever your purpose, you can surely benefit from using a backpack.
Tactical backpacks refer to bags that replicate the appearance and features of combat packs worn by military personnel. They’re a great choice of bag for outdoors enthusiasts, adventure travelers, hikers, hunters and people who work security jobs.
How Does a Tactical Bag Differ from a Regular Backpack?
Tactical backpacks have the look of combat equipment. They have strong military associations. That makes these bags appealing to soldiers, veterans and fans of military design. These bags come in subdued military colors, sometimes camouflage. You won’t see them in rainbow patterns or anything overly flamboyant.
Of course, regular backpacks can come in military colors or camouflage. But it’s often easy to tell whether everyday carry bags are tactical ones or ordinary backpacks trying to mimic a military style.
Quality is one of the big factors. Combat packs are very hardy, able to withstand hours of rugged outdoor conditions. Commercial tactical backpacks offer the same level of sturdiness. They’re built out of heavy-duty materials that can stand up to dust, dirt, rough weather, wet conditions and strenuous use.
The tactical backpack signals a warrior mindset. They tell people they need to think twice before messing with you, as you absolutely will defend yourself. You’re very likely carrying, as well.
What to Consider Before Making a Purchase
Before you even start looking for a backpack, stop to consider the end-use you have in mind. There’s a wide variety of tactical backpacks to choose from, so deciding what you want out of a bag will help you narrow down your options.
Are you planning to get an Everyday Carry (EDC) backpack? Then you’ll want a bag that supports the common functions of your daily life. Things like holding your wallet, keys, mobile phone, sunglasses, water bottle, writing supplies and personal care items. Everyday Carry bags need to be light, convenient, spacious and well-organized. We’ve got a guide to choosing the best tactical backpack for EDC, if that’s the functionality you want.
Do you plan to be outdoors for long periods, but still want to bring your laptop with you? Then your priority is to find a tactical laptop backpack. That is, a laptop backpack with all the form and functionality of tactical gear. It will protect your computer equipment while retaining all the features you want from a pack.
What if you want a multi-purpose tactical backpack? You might want something customizable, capable of adding or removing sections depending on what you need at any given time. If that’s what you’re looking for, check out the MOLLE system for backpacks and gear. It’s superbly adaptable due to the ability to attach pouches and compartments very securely, or detach them if you should want any alterations.
What Is the Best Style for a Tactical Bag?
Generally, you don’t see a ton of stylistic variance when you’re talking about tactical bags. Every one of them will have that combat-ready, utilitarian look. That’s a huge part of their appeal to the customers who love these bags.
You may notice a few stylistic differences, however. The main one being the color of the bag. The majority of these backpacks come in either a monochromatic or camouflage design.
How do you decide what color your backpack should be? This mainly comes down to personal preferences. But the bag’s primary function does influence the choice of color. For multi-purpose and Everyday Carry bags, a plain monochromatic design is suitable. It doesn’t stand out.
Camouflage designs are best suited to hunters and outdoorsmen who want to blend in with the environment. Hikers and mountain climbers may prefer backpacks in striking colors such as orange or yellow. The bright colors make them easier to spot in case they’re in need of rescue. But such colors don’t carry “tactical bag” associations.
Different Kinds of Tactical Bags
Along with color, the type of bag will be a major consideration for your purchase. This article focuses on backpacks, but tactical bags also come in other forms: sling packs, messenger bags, lumbar packs and range bags. You might decide that a backpack would not fit your needs as well as one of these other options.
Sling packs are bags secured by a primary strap across your chest. They’re smaller than backpacks and don’t offer as much storage capacity. But they are convenient, as you can quickly shift the pack to your front to let you access your things more easily.
Messenger bags are associated with bike messengers, who popularized their use. They don’t look like combat gear, but on the other hand, they offer a classic, stylish look that applies to any social situation. They make great Everyday Carry bags. Just don’t expect to carry everything you own in them.
Lumbar packs are similar to backpacks, but they sit lower on your back. The weight of your carry is distributed so that your hips and overall musculature contribute to supporting the bag. You’ll also find lumbar waist packs that look like oversized fanny packs. These bags are a great choice for anyone who requires lumbar support from their equipment.
Range bags are used to carry guns, ammunition and shooting accessories. You’ll want one if you expect to go to the shooting range. A good range bag is one that is convenient, customizable, and safe and secure.
Use a Tactical Backpack to Carry All Your Stuff
Have you decided on what tactical backpack to purchase for yourself? Or for a friend? Can you see yourself wearing the backpack of your choice? Can you get all your stuff to fit in the bag?
Let’s see if the backpack has space for all the things you want to carry! For this scenario, we’ll use the 14er Tactical Backpack as our model. At the very top of the backpack, you’ll find a handy zip-up pocket that you can use to store sunglasses or other eyewear. The bag has a CCW pocket with two-way zippers for convenient access, whether for a weapon or something else.
The main compartment features an inner sleeve that can store your laptop. It can also hold a hydration bladder. Interior zip compartments can be used for small items such as your wallet, keys, smartphone, medication, first aid kit, etc. Of course, the main compartment can hold a variety of things. A water bottle can ride in the external side pocket.
The 14er Tactical Backpack is a great option for Everyday Carry, and also makes a fine day pack for camping and outdoors activities.