Although military use is probably the first thought that comes to mind when you think about modern backpacks, anyone who regularly camps, hikes, or hunts knows just how important it is to have a high-quality pack.
Regardless of whether it’s for day use or overnight, a rugged, no-nonsense backpack can make all the difference in how prepared you are for trekking through environments that, without warning, can force you to transition from taking in the scenery to taking immediate shelter.
Even among professions like first responders, or in the mining and construction industries, backpacks are regularly used to safely and conveniently carry radios, tools, and other equipment that would otherwise need to stay in hand at all times.
Backpacks are the ideal platform for anyone who has the gear to carry but still needs freedom of movement to perform other tasks. There’s one type of backpack that lets you have more freedom than others though, and here’s a quick intro to why they’re so popular.
The Tactical Backpack Advantage
If you’re in the market for a backpack, then you’ve probably noticed that there’s no shortage of types and models to choose from, especially military-inspired variations. That’s because when it comes to simpler and better bags, a modular mil-spec tactical assault backpack is the best type of equipment there is for carrying your provisions, without getting in your way. These sturdy, lightweight bags are as dependable for storing fresh socks and warm clothes on the inside, as they are for securing a knife and first aid supplies on the outside, making them the perfect choice for balancing a carrier’s weight with its carrying capacity.
That they’re able to perform this balance so well indicates just how adaptable these backpacks are when compared to either contemporary, or previous generations of military backpacks. Modern assault backpacks reflect how load carrying equipment has evolved to emphasize simplicity and scalability over all other design factors, and they’re the characteristics that you can’t afford to neglect when you’re shopping for a backpack.
The Attributes of a Top Tactical Pack
Modern tactical assault packs are based on the MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) system, which is designed to facilitate better integration with other bags, pouches, and attachments. Modularity is as important as durability with tactical packs, and their reinforced webbing and laddered stitching make it possible to:
- Fasten gear to the outside of the pack quicker and more securely;
- Eliminate conventional fastening straps that can come loose, make noise, or become entangled; and,
- Position gear in a way that it’s easier to reach and simpler to deploy.
A modern, MOLLE-style tactical assault pack allows the wearer to provision themselves either as lightly or as heavily as their task requires, without sacrificing any of the robust qualities needed to finish the job. At the core of it all, however, is a simplified bag whose features include:
- Water-resistant 500 or 1000 Cordura fabric construction;
- Air-mesh back face, and waist and shoulder straps; and,
- High quality buckles and zippers.
Today’s tactical assault packs have all the operational and organizational attributes you need when you’re headed to the field. And when it comes to the variety of tactical pack types and models, you’ll be impressed by what’s available.
Tactical Backpack Types
While most tactical-style backpacks are designed to serve multiple functions, some are more specialized than others. That’s because genuine military assault backpacks are used for mission-specific functions. Some bags are inherently better suited for a narrower range of tasks than other, and it’s helpful to apply the same level of minimalist thinking when you’re looking at backpack.
Remember, even a lightweight tactical assault bag will start to get heavy after a while, and you’ll quickly appreciate choosing a backpack that can meet your needs without feeling like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. Fortunately, there are 3 main types of assault backpacks that can satisfy that objective.
- Day packs. As their name implies, day packs epitomize minimal cargo for short trips; and a typical tactical day pack will have a streamlined tubular interior, up to 30ltrs. internal capacity, and a dry bag styled top to keep water and moisture out.
- Strike packs. With a 32ltr. internal capacity, strike packs are slightly larger than day packs, and are designed to accommodate more pouches and attachments, for use under marginally tougher conditions. Hydration Helmet Carriers (HHCs) are similar to strike packs in capacity and are designed to carry radios or helmets.
- Scavenger bags. These ultra minimalist assault bags feature a clamshell-style opening, a 2ltr. hydration sleeve, and 8ltrs. internal capacity. Compact, 15ltr. torrid-bags are similar to scavenger bags, and can be folded up, stored, and brought out when needed for use as auxiliary bags.
Tactical backpacks are also available in either multicam, black, or coyote brown camouflage patterns, making them perfectly suitable for a full array of environments and scenarios.
Tactical Bags are Easier on the Wearer
It’s not difficult to see how heavy duty modular construction is what makes military assault packs the hands down favorite for minimalist outdoor use. Their operational advantages are clear, but you’ll also welcome the long-term benefits they have over contemporary, or heavier-weight backpacks, including:
- Relief from general neck and shoulder discomfort;
- Less back pain and muscle spasms; and,
- A reduction in postural stress.
Compact size, ergonomic support, and highly adjustable strapping make tactical packs easier on the wearer. These traits don’t take away from the fact, however, that the real measure of a MOLLE-styled assault bag is still in the amount of gear it can carry. That’s why fortunately, there’s no shortage of pouches and attachments that’ll let you carry all the gear that you need.
Storage Pouches for Tactical Backpacks
While contemporary backpacks lack any appreciable degree of modularity, the range of MOLLE-styled pouches that can be attached to a tactical-type assault backpack is virtually limitless. There’s a MOLLE pouch for almost any tool or instrument you could hunting, hiking, or camping, the most common of which are:
- Hydration pouches. These integrated pouches come in different configurations and are ideal for holding up to a single 3ltr. bladder or two 2ltr. bladders of fluid.
- Multitool pouches. These pouches are available in a range of sizes and ideal for holding either multitools or folding knives.
- Knife sheaths. Both fixed blade knife sheaths and bayonet holders for blades up to 7” are standard pouches for tactical assault bags and backpacks.
- Medical pouches. A full assortment of medic-specific pouches, ranging from MediKits to tourniquet covers can be attached to tactical bags.
- Accessory pouches. These general purpose pouches can be used to hold everything from flairs and flashlights, to radios and rations.
You can rest assured that no matter what you need to take to the field, there’s an assault pack storage pouch that’s designed to attach it to your tactical pack.
The Final Word
At the end of the day, while there’s no shortage of technology and terminology surrounding military-styled gear, the reality is that some of the best gear ever developed for military use stressed simplification above everything else. It’s no surprise that this has even proven to be the case with backpacks.
A high quality modular tactical assault backpack will give you all the carrying capacity you need when you’re headed outdoors, but without becoming a backbreaking burden. They’re designed strictly to help you get the job done when you’re in the field, and it just doesn’t get any more tactical than that.