It’s not rare for certain military and tactical items to find their way into everyday civilian lives. Built tough and long-lasting, with functionality as a top priority—there’s a solid reason why some decide to make this kind of equipment a part of their EDC or adventure ensembles. But let’s talk about one item that you can’t imagine a soldier or adventurer without—their backpack. Those rugged, purpose-built load-carrying packs, are designed to keep the essentials safe and easily accessible. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a soldier, hunter or just a brave explorer of the great outdoors, chances are you’re going to need a tactical field bag to get you through the rigours of the unknown. When shopping for field packs Australia-wide, you’ll come across a range of materials, features and sizes. Choosing the right pack for the mission or adventure is key for your safety, comfort and convenience on the move. So keep reading and make an informed choice. 

The Purpose of Field Packs

Field pack on the ground

So, what does the military carry in their backpack? It’s a long list of equipment, including but not limited to weapons, ammo, communication devices, sleeping bags, hydration bladders, food, first aid supplies, clothes, and torches, to name a few. Wondering how all these things can fit into one single pack?

Well, they’re designed and built around the MOLLE principles to allow soldiers to carry their gear efficiently without compromising their comfort or ability to engage in combat. MOLLE stands for Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment, and it isn’t a type of backpack per se, but rather an interface system designed to improve the load carriage.

Unlike assault packs which are typically smaller, more compact and used on short missions, field backpacks can store enough gear and supplies to sustain you on ventures lasting 3 or more days. With well-organised storage compartments to keep the gear easily accessible, military field bags offer unrivalled functionality regardless of the situation. Whether you’re dealing with hostile subjects or environments, a tactical field pack will allow you to keep the critical equipment at hand yet out of the way.  

Since these military-grade, battle-proven packs are lightweight and robust, with multiple openings for packing and unpacking, they also make excellent no-nonsense backpacks for longer trips in the great outdoors.

Choosing the Right Pack for Your Needs 

Man wearing a tactical backpack

Out on the field or in the wilderness, things can quickly go from taking a five to taking cover, and you surely don’t want to find yourself taking chances with an ill-suited backpack. Here are some of the things to keep in mind before hitting your local tactical gear store.


In general, army packs are made from robust, hard-wearing materials to ensure above-average durability. Be that as it may, not all of them are created equal, so it’s good to know a thing or two about the fabric qualities. The most popular options material-wise are:

  • Ripstop – highly tear and abrasion resistant with the added benefit of being incredibly thin and lightweight
  • Polyester – durable yet comfortable and easy to wear
  • Ballistic nylon – extremely durable, heavy-duty fabric utilised since WW2
  • Cordura – unsurpassed engineered fabric battle-proven by the American and Australian armies


In terms of size, you can choose from 12, 24 and 72h+ packs to suit different measuring up to 65+ litres in volume with the added option of attaching additional external pouches, which leads us to the next point—the features. 
Oftentimes, larger packs come with bigger compartments, extra pockets and even a detachable mummy-style sleeping bag holder on top. The same goes for small and compact backpacks which, despite their reduced size, are designed to hold the essentials even in the most demanding environments.


Apart from being durable enough to withstand heavy use, your pack should also provide protection against water and dust ingress to maintain gear integrity. Look for waterproof materials such as Cordura 1000D, a type of woven fabric with a polyurethane finish that functions as a water-repellent barrier. 

The next thing you want to look for is MOLLE compatibility. As previously mentioned, this system allows for modular pockets and pouches to be attached or removed as needed, making your pack as versatile as possible. Why is this so important, you ask? Because you can use these external pockets to store frequently used items on the outside without having to go through your pack when seconds matter.

The comfort and ease of carrying aren’t to be taken lightly because they can directly affect your performance and endurance. An ergonomic design with wide, padded shoulder straps can make a huge difference when you’re hauling heavy gear, so keep that in mind when choosing your pack.

Tips on Packing Your Pack 

Packing a field pack

Buying a pack is one thing, and packing it is another. If you want to get the most out of your tactical field bag, you need to master the subtle art of packing. The goal here is to achieve a good weight balance so that your pack sits correctly on your back minimising discomfort. 

Another key thing to consider is the order in which you store your gear—if you need to get everything out to get a hold of your magazine or tactical radio, you’re in a pickle. Make sure that mission-critical gear and frequently used items are the most accessible. 

Your Key Takeaway

Packs with a military or tactical rating as a stamp of approval make great outdoor companions no matter the situation. Not only because they’re heavy-duty and durable but also because they allow you to carry more without breaking havoc on your back.

Since it’s not every day that you buy a military field backpack, and it isn’t a small investment, it’s vital to select a high-quality pack that’ll serve you for years down the line. With that being said, you can now explore some of the military load-carrying packs Australia has to offer.