Best Military Backpack for Hiking Buying Guide
Military backpacks are designed for specific war-time functions, but that doesn’t mean they leverage or overlook comfort for your time on the trail. These field service rucksacks are often full-featured, endowed with exceptional ruggedness, and cheaper while being stylish and awesome looking.
A competent tactical backpack offers readiness for each survival situation, a ready pack that carries all the essentials for a wilderness sleepover. You’ll be able to maximize storage space while staying comfortable on the trail, even when the terrain gradient or weather conditions become brutal.
Seeing as they’re built for high activity ventures, military backpacks will go the distance, and many have integrated on-the-go hydration options compatibility. There are external ports and fixtures for nozzles, earphones, radio antennae, water bottles, plates, and larger items like sleeping bags.
A military backpack for hiking is made from durable, high-grade materials that are weatherproof and protect the most delicate of your hiking gear. With pads or contours on belts and straps, tactical rucksacks sit even when you’re toting more than 50 pounds of hike-related equipment.
How to Choose the Best Tactical Backpack?
You’ll come across many different sizes and shapes of military backpacks for hiking, and you have to settle for one that best fits your needs. To identify those features of a tactical backpack that you will depend on during your hike, you must consider the items you intend to carry.
A military backpack that has additional compartments is hydration system compatible and sufficient capacity for all your gear.
Possibly all tactical packs feature Molle attachment system patches, and if they’re missing, it’s probably utilizing another such innovative methodology. Compression straps come in handy as they help maintain the bag’s shape while offering ways to attach gear that you can’t hook or loop.
If you are looking to take along your laptop for the hike, say to study and update hiking trails, look for a backpack offering a laptop compartment and computer sleeve. Some military-style backpacks also feature storage options for firearms, many with concealed carry set-ups that can let you hike without appearing armed.
When looking to buy the best military backpack, you must pay special attention to;
Capacity and Size
Value for money translates to frequent usage, and the best military backpack for hiking is going to be right in size and what it can carry. Anything too big or small means you won’t use it as often, and you’ll require a tactical pack that’s flexible for all your hiking requirements.
Before you purchase a military backpack, consider all the gear you’ll be using it for. There should be enough pockets if you have different pieces of items, while a laptop or hydration component is an added incentive.
The overall weight of your tactical backpack, as well as the volume of storage space, must be considered when selecting a suitable hiking bag.
The more features, pockets, and compartments a military backpack will have, the heavier it will be against the volume it provides. Tactical backpacks are made from heavy-duty materials, but that shouldn’t mean they must weigh a tank.
Some military backpack makers use composite components which are lightweight, abrasion-resistant, and durable. Your hiking backpack should be as light as possible to minimize muscle strain without compromising the strength of its construction materials.
When fully packed, the total weight must adhere to the not more than 20% of your body weight rule.
Since you’ll be spending your time hiking in the outdoors, your backpack’s materials must be adept at protecting your gear from moisture at all costs. Rugged and highly durable construction materials are the most ideal. You should also go for something resistant to friction and sturdy to keep delicate items from breaking.
Nylon provides water resistance, abrasion proofing, and excellent durability, and that’s what many military backpacks for hiking are made of. Available in various deniers, nylon weight values of 500 or more are heavier and durable to offer more trail-worthy weatherproofing.
Other than the main compartment, military backpacks for hiking should feature plenty of internal and external pouches. This allows you to organize your hike gear to ensure it’s easily accessible when you’re on the trail.
Even when serving as a functional bug-out bag, your tactical backpack should have comfortable padded shoulder straps, preferably with padding for those long hikes. If you prefer a quick set-up where you’ll be slinging your bag on and off along the trail, then a single strap military-style sling pack will do the trick.
Back Panel Support
An ergonomically designed back panel with sufficient padding offers a much more comfortable hike experience. The best military backpack for hiking also has proper ventilation so that sweat from your back doesn’t wet the back panel.
Tactical backpacks designed to take heavy load feature aluminum. They’ll evenly distribute weight through your hips and shoulders.
Mole Attachment System Compatibility
Military backpacks for hiking benefit greatly from webbing that allows for molle gear attachments. You can have pouches, water bottle holders, or even a sleeping bag attached to your rucksack by the Velcro system.
Molle, PALS, or the older ALICE attachment systems are present on most military-style backpacks. But still, it’s always proper to check the system’s quality and cut.
Hydration System Compatibility
The best military backpack for hiking is compatible with a hydration system if it doesn’t already have one on board. Many of the premium offerings reviewed have a pocket or sleeve where you can carry a water bladder to offer sleeve piping systems for easy drinking on the trail.
The quality of materials and durability of the backpack will affect pricing, varying from one tactical brand to another. The size, shape, and features of a military backpack will affect the price. The priciest ones will have nearly indestructible materials.
Depending on your budget and what level of hiker you are, a price range above $100 should fetch you a tactical study backpack. While cheaper counterparts will replicate many of these features, you can rest assured that the more expensive brand will hold out longer, translating to value for money.
Are Military Backpacks Good for Hiking?
Over the years, the military backpack has evolved from what they used during the Korean or Vietnam operations. Not only do these versatile packs provide every level of functionality, but they are also comfortable and durable for every requirement a hiker could want.
Outside of armed conflict operations, military backpacks are what you need to augment your hiking, as they’re better in terms of performance, durability, and affordability than civilian-designed alternatives. Backpacks, whether from the army or sports outfitters, must be comfortable to carry and designed for functionality.
Some military backpacks for hiking are heavy-duty, weighing more than eight pounds. Still, they are also more rugged and durable. If your tactical rucksack is designed for water resistance, you best believe it’s a tight ship during those on-the-trail downpours.
Military backpacks are made to leave no stone unturned. The high-end options take no prisoners in terms of compromise on materials quality or features. A tactical backpack offers you better survivability options when on the trail since you’re coming in contact a lot with the environment.
When determined to walk the miles, covering the distance, military backpacks offer molle webbing for attaching exterior pouches or securing internal gear.
What Brand Makes the Best Tactical Backpacks?
Tactical backpacks are the best hike companions since they’re outdoors-ready and designed for the most demanding situations. They are manufactured from all-weather, rugged, and high abrasion-resistant materials that keep gear protected while maintaining comfort even under heavy loads.
You may be heading out on the trail for an afternoon hike, or your expedition will take an entire week. The best military backpack is an innovative tote. Brands that make the best tactical backpacks include;
They design backpacks with unique features such as the Y zip design that improves gear access while on the trail. Their tactical backpacks are made in the USA.
This popular brand is visible across the spectrum, and you’ll find their Rush series model with law enforcement, school-goers, and military personnel. Their backpacks are durable while offering all the right features for your hike.
This brand maker is known for lightweight, water-resistant, and made outdoor carry-all selections from extreme sports to hiking. Their triple coated fabrics are further treated for above-shower precipitation. They also offer unique features like rain straps.
This manufacturer specializes in ergonomically designed bags that eliminate strain and let the hiker venture anywhere. Diamond Candy uses materials like ballistic nylon for backpack make-ups.
After hiking with one of Direct Action’s Dust series backpack, you’ll also want to hit the town, go to school or work with it. This brand has an egg-shaped design that clings to the body’s shape, resulting in a lighter, less strenuous load.
Professionals and amateurs alike highly regard hiking backpacks and particularly military ones from this sports accessory manufacturer. CVLife backpacks are also the choice of law enforcement agencies, hunters, skiers, and college goers, proven for materials durability.
What Should a Hiking Backpack Weigh?
Military backpacks for hiking aren’t the lightest of the pack, but it’s possible to balance ruggedness and lightweight. A tactical rucksack for a day hike shouldn’t weigh more than 3 ½ pounds, seeing as you’ll only be packing necessary gear.
The materials will largely determine the weight of a military backpack for hiking. Whether it’s frameless, the weight has an internal or external frame. While frameless rucksacks are light, they’re less adapted to transferring weight from your shoulders to your torso and hips.
Internal frame backpacks use plastic frame sheets or aluminum rods to achieve a stiffer build. These backpacks will weigh a bit more than their frameless counterparts, but they’ll feel lighter due to weight distribution.
External frame tactical packs are dinosaurs in the hiking fraternity, as you’ll barely see anyone carrying them. However, they do a better job at weight transfer than internal frame bags. You’ll be able to carry more for the same strain and effort compared to the internal frame or frameless backpacks.
Buying a Tactical Backpack; What Is Important?
Not only should you choose a military backpack that looks great, but one that has enough compartmental space to pack all your hiking gear. The best tactical rucksack also has pouches dedicated to food or water, even coming with a complete on-the-go hydration system.
Your backpack must have waterproof capabilities, protecting your gear should the occasional downpour catch you on the trail. For a day of hiking, a tactical backpack with 30 liters of space is more than sufficient, providing you with capacity for all your needs.
You’ll also get to choose between front and top-loading military backpack varieties and packs that have multiple side pockets to keep stuff easily accessible. The advantage of top-loading backpacks over their front-loading counterparts is the number of straps and zippers is kept to a minimum.
The last factor to consider when buying your military backpack for hiking is fitting. However, most tactical bags are adjustable to fit even smaller hikers. Unless you have an above-normal torso in height or width, you should go with a standard size ranging from 15.5 inches to 20 inches.
Your shoulder strap adjustment should be snug and not tight, as this will cut off your neck circulation. Wearing a backpack loosely hung may appear comfortable but will result in fatigue and muscle strain along the trail.
Why Has the Tactical Backpack Become So Popular?
Military backpacks for hiking act as a bridge for the gap left by civilian options, such as the capabilities to strap on multiple items using the molle webbing system. Mole is the acronym for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment; this webbing lets you easily attach or detach pouches, gear holders, or slings.
Many holsters, knife sheaths, radio, and other tactical equipment pouches use PALS or Pouch Attachment Ladder System to attach to the molle webbing grid.
Tactical backpacks also come in styles and colors that best-fit hikers’ environment. Some have suspension systems that distribute weight evenly on your back. The best military backpacks for hiking feature excellent storage and organization capabilities. They are super rugged and durable for the harshest of conditions.
Conclusion: What’s the Best Military Backpack for Hiking?
Are you considering a military backpack for your hiking expedition? There are many benefits from a versatile tactical pack like the Explorer U.S. Military Level 3 Tactical Backpack.
This bag was designed to take a beating and hold up to anything thrown at it during a hike. An extremely popular option for hikers, the Explorer U.S. Military Level 3 rucksack takes all the best features of our other excellent considerations.
The second-best military backpack for hiking is the 5.11 Rush Moab 6 Tactical Sling Pack, a utility pack that’s well built and easy to carry. This ambidextrous tactical pack allows you to switch shoulders. Besides a concealed carry holster, there is enough room in the two pockets for your hiking gear.
Mystery Ranch 2 Day Assault Backpack takes third place on our review due to its straightforward access and comfort during use. This pack has a signature 3-zip combo that works well to keep gear handy during a hike and a padded computer sleeve vital when using navigation technology on the trail.