Know Your Gear: Picking the Right Military Backpack

Those of you living an active, outdoor lifestyle will already be quick to tell others how an average backpack you pick up off the shelves of Walmart just won’t cut it.

If camping, hunting, survival, and an all-around outdoorsy expedition is in the works then it’s apparent that the pack needs to be durable, comfortable, and offer the flexibility to carry the right items: this calls for a military-grade backpack.

A military-grade backpack is one based on the design and durability of that found in our armed forces. These packs need to survive harsh conditions.

Get used to the term “MilSpec” when doing your research.

This article will help you get an understanding of what to look for when purchasing a tactical military backpack.

First, we must think about…

What are your needs for a military backpack?

You will want to consider both needs and wants when choosing your tactical gear; there is a fine balance but a good rule of thumb is to find a middle ground (but don’t get too bogged down in the gritty details) by comparing all features, those needs/desires, and considering the overall utility.

Are you into (or a):

  • Survivalist?
  • Camping junkie?
  • Just getting away to bug-out?
  • Law enforcement?
  • Hunting?

If any of these are your type then you’re already one step closer to a military backpack since your typical civilian wear won’t handle the abuse.

Think of what you’ll need the gear to do for you:

  • Will it be tossed around?
  • Stuffed with sharp items (such as axes, shovels, knives)?
  • Look good but also stay practical?

There’s no “best bag” — only one that fits you the way you need it to be.

Make a checklist of the activities, think about the abuse you’ll place onto the pack, and keep this off to the side when you’re comparison shopping.

Take your time when doing this. There’s no need to jump to conclusions just yet until you’ve read the reviews and gained a better understanding of the brand quality, support, and design has to offer.

Let’s jump over to looking at what goes into a military backpack now that you have an idea of what you’ll be using your tactical pack for…

What are the factors to consider in the pack?

There are dozens of high-grade military backpacks on the market; new brands and offers are appearing each year as survivalism and the outdoor lifestyle continues to grow in popularity.

But before you begin adding them to your wishlist — consider these factors that make up the design, comfort, and overall value:

Appearance

The look isn’t everything, but be honest with yourself: You want a pack that looks good and fits with the rest of your gear.

Some may not care as long as it has the features they need but if you’re going for a pack you’re using daily then you may want to check out the various design and styles, colors, and extras (like paracord extensions, straps, etc).

Comfort

Comfort is a major factor that should most likely be on the top of your list.

A pack that’s able to hold all your tactical gear is nice and all but if your body is hurting from lugging it around the mountain then it’s not doing much good.

It would be best to give the pack a try in the real-world but the next best thing is to read as many reviews as you can and ask current owners what they think about the comfort and design.

Capacity

The number of items you plan to carry will depend on your activity (such as a day trip doing a bit of hiking versus a weekend survival expedition).

Capacity should account not only for your current activities but also if you choose to do more as your interest grows in areas such as MilSim, airsoft, and other fun outdoor excursions.

A few of the many items you’d consider bringing in your backpack would be:

  • Containers
  • Food & utensils
  • Clothing
  • Tools
  • Bedding

It all depends on how much you plan to carry so do compare the capacity between the brands and weigh out the pros and cons.

Material

Remember that term MilSpec?

MilSpec is a loose term that generally refers to the quality and functionality of a piece of equipment typically associated with the military.

The reality is this: Military hardware is generally sold to the lowest bidder so it’s not always accurate to think that military items are at the top of their quality.

However, it does mean there are certain standards that lead to the durability and design (so watch out when you’re doing your shopping comparison).

You have options when it comes to the material:

  • Nylon (regular and rip-stop)
  • Polyester
  • Canvas

Consider your environment (and the weight the material may add to the design) so you can find the balance in durability.

Budget

Money comes to mind (always).

Again, it depends on your activity and lifestyle. You can find bags for under $30 that fit your needs or spend $250+ for a pack that will do it all.

Budgeting may actually be the last on your list, though, since these type of packs last for years and years — it’s worth the premium investment when you factor in how often you’ll be using the pack.

However, it’s up to you. Just make sure you set a budget.

All of these factors depend on your lifestyle and requirements. Find the right balance that fits each of these criteria.

Over and Out (and Over to You)

Military backpacks are tough. The one you settle one is one you’re likely to use for many years to come due to their high-grade build so it’s a smart decision to do thorough research and sit on the idea (at least for 72 hours) before pulling the trigger and making the purchase.

Do:

  • Choose the reputable, tried-and-true brands
  • Take into consideration your needs and desires
  • Weight out all the options

Don’t:

  • Fall for cheap, Chinese knockoffs
  • Forget to give them a try before purchasing
  • Mull over the finer details (such as warranty)

MiliTactical specializes in military backpacks. We have a wide selection to start your foray into buying the last pack you’ll ever need.

You are always welcome to contact us to hear our suggestions and guidance on finding the right pack for you else you’re always welcome to read our blog to see the tough demands you’re in for when choosing one of these military backpacks.

Are you into outdoor survival, police training, airsoft, MilSim, and other high-endurance, challenging activities? Do you use tactical gear?

Leave a comment. We’d love to talk about gear and the lifestyle!

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