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The 10 Best Tactical Bags in 2021
Maybe you need a quality pack to keep your clothes and laptop safe and dry on your way to catch the train, or maybe you need a bug out bag for the day you have to go all “Survivorman.” Either way, the importance of a well-made tactical backpack is undeniable.
There was a time not too long ago when tactical bags were seldom used by anyone outside the military and law enforcement professions. But these days, they’re becoming more and more common for emergency preparedness and everyday carry.
With that in mind, if you’re looking for a good tactical bag, you’ve probably aware that they aren’t all of uniform quality. There are a lot of cheap backpacks out there trying to pass themselves off as tactical bags.
It helps to eliminate all that nonsense so you can choose from only the best. These are the top tactical backpacks of 2021.
Best Buy 5.11 makes some of the best tactical bags on the market today. Which one you choose depends on your specific needs, but for my money, it doesn’t get much better than the 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Military Backpack. Rugged, dependable, and with a spacious 55L capacity, this is a great pack for outdoor adventures. It also makes a perfect bug out bag you can pack with all your emergency/survival essentials. The Tactical RUSH72 bag is made of water-resistant 1050D Nylon and has a versatile front and side web MOLLE. Dual-zippered front and main compartments along with a rear hydration compartment offer lots of easily-accessible space. The pack comes in several colors, including camo and desert tan, as well as grey and black if you prefer something a little more inconspicuous. Overall this is a great bag that’s equally suited to tactical and everyday use.
1. 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Military Backpack
5.11 makes some of the best tactical bags on the market today. Which one you choose depends on your specific needs, but for my money, it doesn’t get much better than the 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Military Backpack.
Rugged, dependable, and with a spacious 55L capacity, this is a great pack for outdoor adventures. It also makes a perfect bug out bag you can pack with all your emergency/survival essentials.
The Tactical RUSH72 bag is made of water-resistant 1050D Nylon and has a versatile front and side web MOLLE. Dual-zippered front and main compartments along with a rear hydration compartment offer lots of easily-accessible space.
The pack comes in several colors, including camo and desert tan, as well as grey and black if you prefer something a little more inconspicuous. Overall this is a great bag that’s equally suited to tactical and everyday use.
2. Eberlestock Halftrack Pack
The Eberlestock Halftrack Backpack is a sturdy, rough-and-tumble pack that will give you a lifetime of use. Its capacity is just over 35L, which makes it just right for a three-day tactical pack.
The Halftrack has MOLLE-style Padlock webbing inside and out, and several interior tuck-pockets of varying sizes. It’s a great pack for anyone who likes every piece of gear to be in its place rather than thrown together in one big compartment.
The pack has a Gossamer polycarbonate frame that makes it extra lightweight and is padded with deep-cut airmesh foam for comfort and ventilation. It comes with a small rain cover that packs into a pouch on the bottom.
The Halftrack is one of the more popular packs in Eberlesock’s lineup, and arguably the most versatile. If you’re looking for something bigger and badder, check out the Eberlestock F4 Terminator Pack.
3. Red Rock Outdoor Gear Assault Pack
A lot of budget tactical packs feel flimsy and are made of cut-rate materials. Not so with the Assault Pack from Red Rock Outdoor Gear. It’s made of tough 600D polyester, with padded shoulder straps and a reinforced carry handle.
The Red Rock Outdoor Assault Pack has a simple and well-thought-out design. It has a spacious main compartment with a clamshell design, and two smaller exterior pockets for quick access to essentials.
Comfort is important too, of course, and this pack rests nicely on the shoulders and feels well-balanced. The back panel is well ventilated. Overall, this is a solid two-day tactical bag.
This pack has a capacity of 28L, which is plenty for some folks, not quite enough for others. Red Rock also makes a 35L version if you want to scale up. Both packs are tough to beat in their price range.
4. Mystery Ranch 2-Day Assault Pack
Mystery Ranch makes some all-around solid tactical packs in a variety of sizes. With a capacity of 27L, the 2-Day Assault Pack is a great choice for a bug out bag. It has just enough space for all the essentials without any risk of over-packing.
One of the great features here is Mystery Ranch’s signature 3-zip opening, which gives you fast and unfettered access to all the contents of the main compartment. A padded laptop sleeve is part of the design.
The 2-Day Assault Pack also includes MOLLE webbing, front compression straps, dual water bottle pockets, and an adjustable harness. It’s great for tactical missions and urban adventures alike.
5. Condor 3 Day Assault Pack
The Condor 3-Day Assault Pack is a bag that’s built to go through some tough scrapes. This thing offers ultimate utility, from hydration bladder-compatible pouches to D-rings on the shoulder straps for gear attachment.
The pack has a ton of storage options, including two main storage areas with sorting pockets, two side packs, and numerous external zipper pouches. In total, it has seven pockets with 50L of total space.
It’s comfy too. The Condor 3-Day Assault Pack has a foam pad back panel, body-contouring shoulder straps, and a removable padded waist belt. It makes a great bug out bag and is perfect for 72-hour excursions.
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6. Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical Bag
A versatile and lightweight two-day assault pack, the Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical Bag is designed for military and law enforcement but works equally well for outdoor adventures and everyday carry.
This pack has a capacity of 25L and includes some very cool storage features, including internal organizers in the main pocket that fit tools, electronics, and other essentials. It also has MOLLE and daisy chain webbing on the exterior.
The Dragon Egg’s outer shell is 500D Cordura fabric with a water-resistant coating. It’s an excellent minimalist pack with a surprising amount of utility. Quick-release shoulder straps are also a nice touch.
7. Hazard 4 Plan-C Dual Strap Day Pack
The Hazard 4 Plan-C Dual Strap Day Pack has a slim profile that makes it easy to store, and ample pockets that you can stuff with all kinds of gear. It’s made of 100% water repellent-coated Nylon Cordura.
This is a dual-strap version of the Plan-B, Hazard 4’s classic sling-style pack. It offers the same unique slim design, but the two straps distribute the weight more evenly on your shoulders, making it arguably better suited for tactical use.
The Plan-C is Sturdy and has a capacity of about 12.5L, making it a perfect day pack or a solid bug out bag if you like to pack light. It’s great for what it is, but don’t think of it as a pack you can live out of for a week.
8. Blackhawk 3 Day Assault Pack
The 3-Day Assault Pack from Blackhawk has a beautifully simple design that offers comfort as well as functionality. It has a 37L capacity, and the exterior is covered in S.T.R.I.K.E. webbing to attach any number of accessories.
This is without a doubt one of the most durable tactical packs we’ve seen. It’s made of 1,000D Nylon with reinforced stitching to withstand the rigors of frequent use and harsh conditions.
The Blackhawk 3-Day Assault Backpack is also a great choice if you’re looking for something that doesn’t announce itself as a tactical pack. It’s discreet and low-profile, but when you need a great bug out bag, this one is more than up to the task.
9. GoRuck GR3
Spacious, rugged, and adaptable to a wide range of situations, the Goruck GR3 Backpack is useful when you’re on-the-go. It has padded handles as well as straps, so you can wear it on your back or carry it like a duffel bag – whichever you prefer.
It has two rows of MOLLE on the front and two more on the bottom. The bottom row is compatible with the GR3 Tough Bag for sleeping bag storage. Compression straps keep the pack balanced and stable.
This is also a perfect choice if you need a tactical bag for air travel. Its 45L capacity makes the Goruck G3 the largest allowable carry-on bag. It also has a reinforced laptop sleeve inside.
10. Maxpedition Falcon II Backpack
The Maxpedition Falcon II is a trim pack at 23L, but you can pack a lot of gear into its well-designed space. It’s one of the toughest and most water-tight packs you can get too.
The pack is made of 1050-Denier water and abrasion-resistant lightweight ballistic nylon fabric, triple-coated with polyurethane sealant for extra water resistance. It has YKK high-strength zippers with paracord zipper pulls, and all its stress points are double stitched.
The Falcon II is also a pleasure to wear no matter how much weight you fill it with, thanks to padded shoulder straps and sturdy sternum and waist support. It comes in five colors, from Wolf Grey to Foliage Green.
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Tactical Bag FAQs
Tactical backpacks are more sturdily built than ordinary packs. They are often designed for military or law enforcement use and are intended to withstand the rigors of high-intensity activities.
They are also used by some for long-distance hiking, everyday carry of sensitive equipment, or as emergency bug out bags.
The most important quality of a tactical bag is that it’s durably made. Look for features like double stitching, reinforced seams, and heavy-duty zippers. Most quality tactical packs offer some degree of water-resistance, and many include specialized storage compartments for hydration bladders and various gear and equipment.
Some tactical packs look very much like “military” packs, while others appear no different from an ordinary backpack on the outside. Tactical packs typically have a capacity between 25L and 50L.
What you put in a tactical pack depends on your needs. Some people use them to carry their laptop and everyday essentials or pack them with hiking gear for weekend backpacking trips.
But tactical packs are especially well suited to being used as bug out bags, or emergency bags that are filled with survival essentials. Your bug out bag might include a fire starter kit, water and food rations, a flashlight, emergency radio and batteries, first aid and sanitation supplies, a few items of clothing, copies of identification, and other important documents.
The price of a tactical bag often reflects its quality. That being said, there are solid choices to fit any budget, including a few good entry-level packs under $100. Spend an amount proportional to the use you expect to get out of your pack.