9 best military backpacks
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9 Best Military Backpacks

One of the options you can pursue when picking a backpack is a military style backpack.

A good military backpack is going to offer the storage space and portability of a standard backpack, but include a number of specializations and tactical advantages.

Jump to our Top 3 choices for Military Backpacks below: 

#1 – RUSH72™ Backpack 55L

#2 – Badlands Superday Hunting Pack

#3 – Cabela’s Multi-Day TrueTimber Strata

What to Consider When Shipping For a Military Backpack

There are actually a fair number of options available when it comes to military backpacks, so making the right choice is important.

There are a few things you should consider when picking out a military backpack.

They include:

Purpose

What you’re planning on using the backpack for makes a difference in which one you should buy.

If you’re going to be using it for hiking and camping, you’ll need different features than if you’re using it as a Go Bag.

If you’re using it for outdoor sports you’re going to have different needs than if you’re using it for military deployment.

Consider the specific demands of the activity (or activities) you’ll be using it for.

Make sure you have the correct amount and type of space.

If you’re going to actively be using it for extended periods, make sure it fits correctly.

There are a wide range of options on this list, and while we have some clear favorites, the best backpack for you is going to depend mostly on what you need to use it for.

Durability and Ruggedness

In a lot of ways, durability and ruggedness are going to go hand in hand.

One of the main appeals of a good military backpack is that it’s going to be at the peak of both.

Durability

Durability refers to how long your pack is going to last for the intended use and conditions.

An item can be durable and still have a limited range of uses or break under excessive strain.

For example, tires are durable, because they last a long time, but might not be suited for mud or ice, and will puncture against sharp items.

Ruggedness

Ruggedness is how well your pack is going to hold up to intense conditions, strain, or other events that might damage it.

Something can be rugged, but only withstand the extreme conditions it’s designed for once or twice.

As an extreme example, helmets and body armor would be considered rugged because they’ll withstand extreme damage, but need to be replaced shortly after.

So, a backpack can be rugged, but not durable.

Or it can be durable, but not rugged.

You want one that’s both, meaning it will withstand extreme and potentially damaging conditions over and over.

Functionality

Do you need a lot of pockets? Netting?

Something to hold a GPS receiver or a rugged laptop?

A built-in scabbard or holster, or the ability to attach one? A hydration pack?

Do you need the ability to access items without taking it off?

Do you need a backpack that holds in place, or that you can take off quickly?

Are you planning on carrying out more weight than you carried in, or vice versa?

Consider not just what you’re using your backpack for, but the specific items you’ll need.

Size

Size is always going to be a factor, but not necessarily in the sense that bigger is better.

Of course, you need to make sure that your backpack is big enough to carry the things you need.

However, past a certain point, size is going to start affecting the fit and mobility of the pack.

You should get a backpack that’s going to fit the essentials comfortably, but nothing more.

9 Best Military Backpacks

#1 – RUSH72™ Backpack 55L

rush72 55l military backpack
Image: 511Tactical.com
  • Ideal for: Recreational use, Hiking, Trekking, Camping, Bug Out Bag, Operational Use, Military Deployment
  • Main compartment size: 23” x 13.5” x 8.5”
  • Weight:5 lbs.
  • Total capacity: 3342 cubic inch / 55 liters
  • Price: $179.99

The Rush72 is the largest of three military backpacks available from outdoor supplier 5.11.

As such, it’s the best all-around option for long-term use.

It’s made of high strength and waterproofed nylon and features dual-density closed foam shoulder straps.

This also makes it the most rugged and durable entry on this list.

Check out this great review we found on YouTube for the Rush 72 below: 

It has a 60 oz. hydration pack and a netted helmet compartment.

It also has dozens of pockets, including specialized pockets for glasses or goggles, pens, maps, and more.

You can also purchase specialized carriers for medical or radio equipment and the Rush Tier rifle sleeve.

In terms of pure, overall effectiveness the Rush72 is the clear choice for the number one spot on this list.

Where to buy: Click Here to buy the Rush72 from the official 5.11 website.

#2 – Badlands Superday Hunting Pack

badlands superday military pack
Image: BassPro.com
  • Ideal for: Recreational use, Hiking, Trekking, Bug Out Bag
  • Main compartment size: 21″ x 16″ x 11″
  • Weight:94 lbs
  • Total capacity: 1,950 cubic inches / 32 liters
  • Price: $99

The Badlands Superday hunting pack is a medium-capacity pack, which makes it excellent for short to medium excursions, but is a little small for extended deployments or operations.

It’s constructed of waterproof durable nylon, that’s also formulated to minimize noisy friction.

It offers adjustable waist and chest straps, as well as a ventilated memory foam back pad.

It includes a bow or rifle sling and a handgun holster.

It also includes straps for a bedroll and carrying space for a hydration pack, though one is not included.

The straps have several pockets and connect points for binoculars or other tethers.

Overall, the Superday is an excellent choice for hunters and those who may not have the same tactical demands of their backpack, but would still benefit from a military pack.

Where to buy: Click Here to buy the Badlands Superday Hunting Pack from the official Bass Pro Shops website.

#3 – Cabela’s Multi-Day TrueTimber Strata

cabelas multi day truetimber
Image: BassPro.com
  • Ideal for: Recreational use, Hiking, Trekking, Camping, Bug Out Bag
  • Main compartment size: 24″ x 11.5″ x 6-9″
  • Weight:94 lbs.
  • Total capacity: 2500-4000 cubic inches / 41-65.5 liters
  • Price: $219.99

Cabela’s Multi-day TrueTimber Strata features an expandable main compartment, which can drastically increase its carrying capacity, making it suitable for both short and long trips, and easy to switch between.

The backpack features several external storage options as well, including buckles and compression straps, a sidearm holster, and a sling for a rifle or bow.

The chest and waist straps are highly adjustable, to accommodate the changes in carrying weight and center of gravity caused by the expandable main compartments.

In addition to being waterproof, the pack includes a built-in rain cover.

Where to buy: Click Here to buy Cabela’s Multi-Day TrueTimber Strata from the official Bass Pro Shops website.

#4 – 5.11 Tactical RUSH 24 MultiCam Backpack

511 tactical rush 24 multicam tactical backpack
Image: DicksSportingGoods.com
  • Ideal for: Recreational use, Hiking, Trekking, Camping, Bug Out Bag, Operational Use, Military Deployment
  • Main compartment size: 20″ x 12.5″ x 8″
  • Weight:2 lbs.
  • Total capacity: 2275 cubic inches / 37 liters
  • Price: $129.99

The Rush 24 is a smaller version of the tactical Rush 72 also offered by 5.11.

It features the same construction features, with a durable water-resistant shell.

The straps are a contoured yoke system.

It features a 60 oz. hydration pocket, which can be removed, allowing the space to be converted to a laptop pocket.

Like the Rush72, it includes over two dozen pockets (29, to be exact) with spaces for eye-wear, administrative items, and external water bottles.

Some of the pack add-ons including the rifle sleeve can be added on as well.

It’s smaller size makes it a more portable option than the Rush 72, and is the more popular of the two.

It may not have the pure size and adaptability of its larger cousin, but it’s still an excellent pack.

Where to buy: Click Here to buy the Rush 24 from the official Dick’s Sporting Goods website.

#5 – LL Bean Maine Warden Day Pack

ll bean maine warden day pack military backpack
Image: LLBean.com
  • Ideal for: Recreational use, Hiking, Camping
  • Main compartment size: 18″ x 11.5″ x 5″ -or- 20″ x 13″ x 6″.
  • Weight:25 lbs -or- 2.5 lbs
  • Total capacity: 1,526 cubic inches / 25 liters -or- 1,648 cubic inches, 27 liters
  • Price: $119

The LL Bean Maine Warden day pack is designed with lightweight versatility in mind.

It’s meant to fit extremely closely and well, so it’s available in two sizes.

It might not be useful for extended excursions or deployment, but it’s excellent for recreational day trips.

The body of the backpack is made from water-resistant ripstop polyester, while the bottom is also made of ripstop polyester, and features a fully waterproof TPU coating.

This makes it one of the best military backpacks for not just hiking, rucking, and camping, but also canoeing and kayaking.

The back includes cushioned and ventilated panels for support and cooling.

It includes pockets for eye-wear, hydration packs (which are not included), as well as a tunnel-style pocket meant to hold a rod, ax, or other tools typically too long to fit in a backpack.

The name comes from the fact that Maine game wardens were consulted in the design and construction of the pack, and also carry it as a standard-issue part of their gear.

Where to buy: Click Here to buy the LL Bean Maine Warden Day Pack from the official LL Bean website.

#6 – Under Armour Men’s Project Rock 60 Gym Bag

Under Armour mens project rock 60
Image: DicksSportingGoods.com
  • Ideal for: Recreational use, Bug Out Bag
  • Main compartment size: 10’’ x 10’’ x 22’’
  • Weight:48 lbs
  • Total capacity: 1342 cubic inches / 22 liters
  • Price: $80

Under Armour’s Project Rock 60 bag is designed for high capacity and durability.

It’s made of heavy polyester canvas and features padded and adjustable shoulder straps, made with a specially ventilated moisture-wicking material.

The bag features metal hardware, including its strap adjuster and carabiner clips.

There are also molded rubber handles, allowing the bag to be loaded easily or used as a duffel.

The main pocket can either be accessed via the drawstring top or side zippers and can be divided through its several collapsible mesh pockets.

It also includes several side pockets, including a large padded pocket for laptops.

This bag is going to be best for people looking for a grab-and-go option for carrying a large number of items, making it an ideal bug out bag.

Where to buy: Click Here to buy the Under Armour Men’s Project Rock 60 Gym Bag from the official Dick’s Sporting Goods website.

#7 – CamelBak M.U.L.E. Low Rider 15 Hydration Pack

CamelBak MULE LR 15 military backpack
Image: DicksSportingGoods.com
  • Ideal for: Recreational use, Hiking
  • Main compartment size:9″ x 9.8″ x 9.1″
  • Weight: 2 lbs.
  • Total capacity: 750 cubic in / 12 liters
  • Price: $149.99

The advantage of CamelBak’s MULE LR 15 hydration pack is that in addition to its built-in 100 oz. (roughly 3 liters) hydration pack, it has an excellent capacity for additional gear.

The pack is built to ride low on your back and keep it close to your center of gravity.

This is further aided by a dual wing belt that compresses the weight and allows it to be mostly carried through the hips.

The straps are widely ventilated, as is the back panel, which allows air circulation and prevents overheating.

The gear pockets include a roll-up tool organizer and lined pockets for eye-wear or electronics.

The hydration pouch uses natural compression to keep water-weight from shifting or sloshing.

The tube is held in place by a magnetic catch, allowing you to easily access and store while in motion.

Where to buy: Click Here to buy the CamelBak M.U.L.E. LR 15 Hydration Pack from the official Dick’s Sporting Goods website.

#8 – CamelBak Quantico Backpack – MultiCam Black

camelbak quantico military backpack
Image: BassPro.com
  • Ideal for: Recreational use, Hiking, Trekking, Camping, Bug Out Bag, Operational Use, Military Deployment
  • Main compartment size:9″ x 11.4″ x 7.9″
  • Weight:6 lbs.
  • Total capacity: 1400 cubic inches / 23 liters
  • Price: $189.99

CamelBak’s name may be synonymous with their hydration pack, but they also offer a serviceable deployment bag.

The interior is meticulously sorted, with compartments for laptop and mobile devices, as well as assorted pockets of other sizes.

There is an external sleeve for a water bottle and a padded pocket for eye-wear.

The back includes MOLLE webbing for further customization.

The straps have both padding, and a sternum strap for extra control and security.

The Quantico backpack is a lightweight and purely functional option for those looking for a true-to-form tactical backpack.

Where to buy: Click Here to buy the MultiCam Black CamelBak Quantico Backpack from the official Bass Pro Shop’s website.

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#9 – Alps OutdoorZ Extreme Commander X with Pack

alps outdoor extreme commander
Image: BassPro.com
  • Ideal for: Recreational use, Hiking, Trekking, Camping, Bug Out Bag, Operational Use, Military Deployment
  • Main compartment size: Uses an internal frame, not a compartment
  • Weight:6 lbs
  • Total capacity: 4000 cubic inches / 66 liters
  • Price: $399.99

The OutdoorZ Extreme Commander is unparalleled in its carrying ability.

It uses a lightweight aluminum frame to provide the core structure, rather than an internal compartment.

This frame can be carried solo, or with the added pack, which attaches with a series of compression straps.

This construction allows large or heavy loads to be packed first, and then other items to be carried around it.

This allows you to prevent items from being trapped under the main load and prevents you from having to re-pack your entire kit if that happens.

The body itself is made of an incredibly high strength nylon ballistic fabric, and covered in a water-resistant coating, as well as scent shields for hunters.

The straps and external pack includes numerous pockets, as well as clips for holsters, and straps to attach a bow or rifle sling.

The bag also includes a hydration pack and port, allowing easy re-hydration while carrying heavy loads.

Overall, the OutdoorZ extreme commander is an excellent backpack.

The only reasons it’s not higher on this list are the price and the fact that it actually has more carrying space than many users are going to need.

Where to buy: Click Here to buy the Alps OutdoorZ Extreme Commander X with Pack from the official Bass Pro Shops’ website.

Conclusion

There are numerous options for military backpacks, and to repeat what we said at the beginning, which one is the best for you is going to depend most heavily on what you need to use it for.

Consider the specific needs and challenges of the situations you’re going to find yourself in, and select the features and size accordingly.

The items on this list are all excellent choices when it comes to ruggedness, durability, and functionality, but if you choose to do your own shopping or buy local, be sure to consider those factors as well.

A good backpack should last you for years to come, and still leave you sad when it finally breaks down or wears out.

References

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/backpack.html

https://www.ems.com/how-to-choose-a-backpack-expert-tips-for-finding-the-right-size-fit-and-features

 
Rob V.
Latest posts by Rob V. (see all)
Best Military Backpacks

Best Military Backpacks

4.9 out of 5 (71 Ratings)

These military backpacks are perfect for everything from hiking, to rucking, to camping, and even military deployment. See our list of the best military / tactical backpacks here.
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