A man pulling an item from his 5.11 RUSH24 Backpack

When choosing a tactical backpack it can be extremely daunting as there are a vast array of options available from a huge selection of brands. Here at TacTree we know our backpacks and have put together this guide to help you with what to look out for including some of our favourite options.

Breakdown of Tactical Backpacks

Firstly, we’ve broken down the different features a tactical backpack can have, to make it easier for you to select the right bag for your needs.

MOLLE

Close up of a pouch on a backpack using MOLLE attachments

The MOLLE system is used to describe the attachment between pouches and modules to your tactical backpacks, rucksack, plate carriers and belts. Using MOLLE allows you to totally customise your gear to suit your mission. It’s used worldwide by a wide variety of people to customise equipment and clothing based on their current mission.

Read more about how to get the most out of the MOLLE system here.

HEXGRID – A MOLLE Alternative

HEXGRID® is 5.11’s unique patented multi-directional modular tactical gear system. For the first time you ever you are no longer restricted to arranging gear in simple up and down patterns. You can now tailor your kit loadouts with HEXGRID’s 12 angles of attachment for smooth ergonomic access. HEXGRID can be found on 5.11 AMP Backpacks.

High tensile strength materials

Macro images of backpack materials

Tactical backpacks need to stand up to the harshest environments and need to be strong enough to carry heavy loads. Nylon is the go to material for rugged backpacks, with 1050D Nylon being the ideal material for military backpacks. 1050D nylon is a tough, durable, basket woven fabric. This fabric is certified for the military and first rose to popularity during WWII.

Straps

Backpack straps systems and attachments

Tactical backpacks are designed to carry bulky loads, straps can help keep your bag tight and in the correct shape. A Yoke shoulder strap system can help keep a heavy back in the correct position. A padded hip strap can help keep the weight of your gear close to you and helps to stop moving around during jogging.

Pocket Configurations

Close up of interior of 5.11 backpacks

The pocket configurations on tactical backs are extremely important. You need to have your gear clearly organised, keeping it safe and quickly accessable in time sensitive situations. Backpacks such as the 5.11 RUSH24 2.0 have a internal slip and zipper pockets with admin organisation, allowing you to keep your EDC and important documents in a safe location.

Velcro patch zones

Morale patches on bags and backpacks

Morale patches allow you to personalise the look of your bag, whether it be a country flag or your Airsoft team. Tactical Backpacks will often have a 3” Velcro patch zone for you to stick your favourite morale patch to. This customisation can help you pick your bag from the crowd.

Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW) Compartment

Concealed carry is a US term, that is the act of carrying a concealed handgun on your person. Many modern tactical backpacks have CCW compartments, allowing you to safely store your handgun (or anything you might want to keep concealed such as your passport, wallet etc) in a backpack.

Capacity

Last but not least is capacity, an extremely important consideration when choosing your backpack. Storage capacity versus weight is critical and it’s important to view the specs of your bag before making a purchase.

Some bags feature heavier material so start out heavier and others make better use of the space offering more litre storage compared to the overall pack size.

One final note is to keep an eye out for manufacturer names of bags and not to confuse them with their size! One that is often confused is the 5.11 RUSH Series where the names 12, 24 and 72 denote their intended mission length in hours rather than capacity. Check out our blog on the 5.11 RUSH Series for full details.

Our Backpack Highlights

Now you understand the main components of tactical backpacks we have collated some of our favourite backpacks for different uses and don’t just take our word for it…our customers have chosen some of these too!

The most popular tactical backpack

5.11 RUSH24 2.0 Backpack

  • 20” x 12.5” x 10”
  • 37 Litre
5.11 RUSH24 2.0 backpacks in various backgrounds plus internal shots

There’s a strong case to be made for the 5.11 RUSH backpack series being the most iconic tactical backpack range of all time, with the RUSH24 leading the way. The mid-sized entry into the 5.11 RUSH 2.0 series works just as well as city go-bag as it does going for an adventure. It’s 37 litre capacity can hold enough gear and supplies for you to be out and about for 24 hours without stopping. Like all RUSH backpacks, the RUSH24 features MOLLE webbing on the outside and hidden CCQ compartment on the inside. The shoulder straps are have thick padding to give you plenty of absorption, allowing you to carry heavy gear & equipment without any straps digging in.

There’s a reason that 5.11 have sold over 1 million RUSH backpacks worldwide… You can read about the 5.11 RUSH 2.0 backpack range here.

Shop 5.11 RUSH24 2.0 Now >

The best everyday all rounder Backpacks

5.11 RUSH12 2.0 Backpack

  • 18” x 11” x 8.25”
  • 24 Litres
5.11 RUSH12 2.0 backpacks in various backgrounds plus internal shots

Our best selling backpack of ALL time, the 5.11 RUSH 12 2.0 Backpack is arguably the best all-rounder for your needs. Based on the original RUSH12, the 2.0 has 3 main upgrades, a hidden CCW compartment, a large eye wear pocket and a padded 15” laptop compartment. This bag is ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, daily use office use or travel. It’s versatile MOLLE webbing make it ideal for tactical use, allowing you to create the perfect backpack for your needs. The padded 15” laptop sleeve makes it ideal for on-the-go city workers who need to keep their laptop safe and secure. Whatever you mission, job or hobby, this bag is right for you.

Shop 5.11 RUSH12 2.0 Now >

Low Profile Backpacks

Want to blend in? Not all tactical bags have that tactical look, Low Profile Tactical bags (also known as covert bags) are designed to not call a lot of attention and fit in with the crowd, but still offer the features of a serious tactical bag

5.11 COVRT18 2.0

  • 19” x 10.5” x 6.5”
  • 32 Litres
5.11 COVRT18 2.0 backpacks internal shots

As the name suggest, the 5.11 COVRT18 2.0 backpack is designed for those who want to blend in and quickly access their essential gear. This bag features a dual access CCW panel, allowing you to quickly access your most need gear in an instant. On the outside you’ll find contemporary features like dual water bottle pockets and a shove-it pocket, on the inside you’ll find a laptop compartment and slip pockets to keep your essential EDC organised and safe.

Shop 5.11 COVRT18 2.0 Now >

5.11 LV18 30L Low Vis Pack

  • 19.5” x 11” x 5.5”
  • 30 Litres
5.11 LV18 backpacks internal shots

Stay discreet but ready with the LV18 30L Low Vis Pack from 5.11 Tactical. Perfect for office use, the main compartment holds a 15” laptop in its padded sleeve and the secondary compartment with two zippered pockets and a slip pocket.

Want to add one of your tactical pouches? The front pocket has a loop lined laser cut MOLLE mounting system to let you make the bag your own. Stay prepared with the ambidextrous side entry CCW compartment with loop panel and webbing system for holster and mags.

Shop 5.11 LV18 Now >

Slingpacks for Everyday Carry

Slingpacks are a lightweight, single strapped bag designed for daily use, whether that be your commute to work or a day trip out. They’re ideal for storing your EDC essentials, such as your first aid kit, multi-tool, torch and wallet. We’ve hand picked 2 of our favourites below:

VIKTOS Upscale Sling 2 Bag

  • 15” x 7” x 4”
  • Fits up to 1.5L hydration bladder
VIKTOS Upscale Sling 2 Bag internal shots

The VIKTOS Upscale Sling 2 Bag is an ambidextrous, lightly padded, sling pack with a CCW access compartment allowing easy pistol access when worn on either side of the body. The main compartment features elastic webbing and an internal cargo pocket, perfect for holding extra magazines, tourniquet, and medkit. The padded upper compartment is a perfect place for eyeglasses or other delicate items.

Shop VIKTOS Upscale 2 Now >

Check out Moorlander EDC’s thorough review of the VIKTOS Upscale 2 below:

5.11 Daily Deploy Push Pack

  • 10” x 12” x 7.5”
5.11 Daily Deploy Push Pack plus internal shots

The Ambidextrous Daily Deploy Push Pack from 5.11 Tactical is perfect for carrying your essentials, whether it be on a day trip or a walk out in the country. This push pack features a water bottle carrier on the side, making it a great on the go pack when you’re out in the sun. It wouldn’t be a tactical 5.11 pack without a hidden CCW pocket, allowing you to keep your most important items safe and close to you.

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Backpacks for Hiking and the Outdoors

We’ve hand picked below two backpacks that make great backpacks for Hiking and Mountaineering for longer overnight trips. A lot of the packs mentioned above are ideal for shorter hikes or walks up hills or rough terrain with a particular favourite the RUSH24 2.0 from 5.11.

5.11 RUSH72 2.0 Backpack

  • 23” x 13.5” x 8.5”
  • 55 Litre
5.11 RUSH72 2.0 backpack plus internal shots

The RUSH72 from 5.11 Tactical makes an ideal mountaineering backpack with it’s 55 Litre storage, 3L Hydration pocket and reinforced back panel with an aluminium stay bar. Don’t worry about getting caught in the rain either as you can easily access your jacket with its ‘Shove it’ compartment on the front. It wouldn’t be a RUSH backpack without MOLLE and web pouch compatibility, giving you full customisation for your needs, You can view our full range of Utility pouches here. The RUSH 72 2.0 features a padded hip belt for load stability & comfort on long hikes. If the RUSH 72 2.0 is too big for you, you can get the smaller RUSH12 2.0 and RUSH 24 2.0 backpacks.

Shop 5.11 RUSH 72 2.0 Now >

VIKTOS Perimeter 40L Backpack

  • 19” x 15” x 10”
  • 40 Litre
VIKTOS Perimeter 40L Backpack plus internal shots

The VIKTOS Perimeter is ideal an 48-72 hour backpack with a tactical edge. Built around an aluminium reinforced frame sheet, a feature found in high end mountaineering bags. The British weather can be unpredictable, that’s why this backpack has a water-resistant coat to protect your gear from the elements. You can add your accessories to this backpack with your pouches with it’s laser-cut MOLLE, giving it a tactical edge over the usual mountaineering backpacks.

Shop VIKTOS Perimeter 40L Now >

Check out Moorlander EDC’s YouTube review of the smaller VIKTOS Perimeter 25 EDC Backpack below:

Bags for army deployment

Deployment bags (also known as ‘Operational Travel Bags’ or ‘Military storage bags’) are large bags designed to carry army gear, armour and heavy equipment needed for over seas operations. These bags are built from heavy duty materials and are designed to be used in the harshest environments.

5.11 CAMS 3.0 Bag

  • 40” x 20.5” x 16.25”
  • 186 Litre
5.11 CAMS 3.0 bag plus internal shots

Whilst we know this isn’t a backpack, when you mention Army deployment there is simply no beating it. There are no two ways about it, this bag is a beast! CAMS stands for ‘Carry All My Stuff’ and 5.11 mean it. With a massive 190L of storage, the 5.11 CAMS bag is the ultimate deployment bag. With multiple, secure compartments and pockets, you can safely transport everything from documents to your armour to your rifle.

Shop 5.11 CAMS 3.0 Now >

5.11 RUSH LBD Duffle XRAY Bag

  • 15” x 31” x 14”
  • 106 Litre
5.11 RUSH LBD Duffle, multiple angles

This bag is the largest in the 5.11 RUSH LBD series, built from heavy duty, tear resistant, waterproof 1050D nylon. This versatile bag converts to a heavy duty Duffle with grab handles, to a backpack with comfortable straps, freeing up your hands to carry more gear!

Bartacking has been added to all major stress points, giving you peace of mind to load up this bag to the max. Internal compression straps help to keep everything in one place and where you want it.

Shop 5.11 RUSH LBD XRAY Now >

Bags, Backpacks and more…

We have a huge selection of bags available from market leading brands. If this guide hasn’t quite helped you enough then please give us a call on 01952 56 56 70 and one of our experts will be happy to help. Alternatively, drop us an email to [email protected]

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