Whether you’re just getting started with rucking or have been doing it for some time, having a high-quality backpack specially designed for rucking has tremendous benefits you shouldn’t overlook.
Originally designed for the army, rucking (marching with a heavy loaded backpack for long distances) is an excellent fitness exercise that helps you burn more calories than regular walking and is easier on the joints than running.
It makes sense then that some of the best backpacks for rucking are high-quality military and tactical ones, but that’s not always the case. Military backpacks are uniquely designed so you can access your ammo and water without opening your pack, which is usually not your concern when rucking for fitness.
What you do need though, is a sturdy backpack made of canvas, with wide and padded shoulder straps and a chest strap to distribute the weight load properly. Silent zippers, hip belts, and ruck plate compartments are also some features that will improve your experience.
Let’s take a look at some of the best backpacks for rucking and see what makes them such great choices.
Best Backpacks for Rucking
REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack
What makes it great for rucking is the fact that it’s extremely sturdy but feels very comfortable. It’s double stitched with thick zippers and it has a breathable padded back area. The shoulder and waist straps are wide enough and can be adjusted to distribute the weight load as you prefer.
SOG Ninja Tactical Day Pack
The SOG Ninja Tactical is a great backpack for rucking that can easily be transformed into a ubiquitous daypack. It does not feature as many compartments and accessories as the
It may look small, but it’s very roomy inside and has side compression straps that will keep the backpack compact even when fully loaded. The main compartment holds most of the space, and there are very few pockets by default, but the MOLLE webbing allows you to add additional pouches if the need arises – check our article for dedicated MOLLE backpacks if you love this feature.
NOOLA Military Tactical Army Backpack
For those that prefer a military look and don’t want to hide it, the
It’s one of the most affordable packs on the market but the quality is high. The backpack is spacious and made of lightweight materials, with four compartments and a front and side load compression system. It features both a chest strap and a waist strap, but you can remove them if you’re going for a light rucking.
CVLIFE Outdoor Built-up Military Backpack
The CVLIFE outdoor rucksack is suited for those that are into serious rucking or military style exercises. With a capacity of 60 liters, it’s one of the largest backpacks in our list and you can pack a lot of weight for a serious workout.
The first thing that stands out is the extremely customization that the CVLIFE backpack offers, having three different detachable pouches and bags, one front and two on the side.
The second thing is the price, as the backpack is one of the cheapest for the size and quality it offers. Although our list is comprised mostly of military backpacks which can become very expensive if you’re looking at high-end models, simply for rucking a middle of the road rucksack will do just fine.
ARMYCAMOUSA Military Tactical Backpack
Going into a different direction from our previous model, the ArmyCamo USA backpack is a small backpack, that’s lightweight, robust and ideal for rucking, despite the fact that it has only a 34 Liters capacity.
When buying a backpack exclusively for rucking, if you use ruck plates for weights, you don’t actually need so much extra space, so the ArmyCamo USA is a good choice when keeping that in mind. It has compartments for water bottles and even a hydration pack, so you won’t be feeling something’s missing despite its smaller size.
REEBOW GEAR 34L Military Backpack
Speaking of smaller backpacks, let’s revisit one of our favorite brands, the REEBOW GEAR, this time their smaller capacity model, the 34 Liters backpack.
The smaller size does not take away from the initial qualities that made the REEBOW GEAR our favorite pack: it’s sturdy, double stitched, made of high-density fabric and features heavy-duty zippers, making it suitable for rucking for those that are looking to carry a smaller load.
Mardingtop Tactical Backpack
Stylish is the first thing that comes to mind when you see the cute design that the Mardingtop tactical backpack has. A small backpack for sure, but it’s extremely sturdy can hold a significant load of up to 30-40 pounds when rucking without any issues.
A stitched in waist belt comes in great if you want to expand your rucking exercise with push-ups or planks. Worth mentioning that the backpack is not waterproof so keep that in mind when purchasing.
CVLIFE Military Tactical Molle Backpack
Nothing says military rucksack than a camouflage color and an American patch, and this is what this model from CVLIFE offers. A way to distinctively stand out while rucking a very solid 40 liters capacity backpack.
It’s smaller in size than the previous model we reviewed from CVLIFE, but all the other features hold true here as well: ventilated mesh back area, adjustable straps and front load compression in a waterproof and compact design.
SOG Opord Tactical Day Pack
Taking a break from listing traditional military backpacks, we found this inconspicuous looking day pack ideal for rucking, for those who prefer a more urban look.
It comes at a very affordable
As a downside, there is no dedicated water bottle compartment and the waist belts are not detachable, but the pack has an integrated pocket in the back where you can hide them.
5.11 RUSH24 Military Tactical Backpack
Now we’re getting into more expensive models, and the 5.11 brand is one of the most reputable providers of high-quality backpacks. The only reason we haven’t listed any of their models so far is that paying over $100 for a backpack that’s used only for light rucking might be overkill for the vast majority of our readers.
But if you’re looking for top of the line rucksacks, the 5.11 RUSH 24 tactical backpack delivers on all fronts. From the high-quality materials that makes it extremely durable to its ergonomic design and internal organization, the RUSH 24 tactical backpack is a great fit for both rucking or urban walking, as it won’t look out of place despite its bigger size.
5.11 RUSH72 Tactical Backpack
The bigger model from 5.11, the Rush 72 tactical backpack is designed for those that are either into serious rucking or are planning multiple days expeditions. This is a multiple days pack (the 72 refers to 72 hours expeditions) built for hard use from high strength nylon.
The shoulder straps are made of dual density closed cell foam and unlike the 24 model it also features a waist belt, so the backpack remains stable and compact despite the heavy load. Rucking with it is a pleasure as the yoke-style straps feel very comfortable.
REEBOW GEAR Small Army Molle
We’ve recommended the larger models from Reebow Gear before, but for those looking for something smaller and cheaper, this 34 liters backpack it’s the perfect fit.
It maintains the same durability and sturdiness as the previous models, with all the features that makes the previous packs such great options for rucking, but the smaller size makes it better for a single day of rucking, unlike the 3 days backpacks we previously reviewed.
ARMYCAMOUSA Army Molle Assault Rucksack
This backpack from ArmyCamo USA has an urban looking design, but don’t let that fool you. It’s designed as a tactical rucksack, made from dense polyester, with heavy duty zippers and a waist belt that can be easily removed, when you’re not trekking or rucking.
The backpack looks small, and it’s not a big backpack by any means, but it can easily expand from its default capacity of 40 liters up to 60 liters, so it’s very versatile in that regard.
ARMYCAMOUSA Expandable Tactical Backpack
Very similar to the previous model, this backpack has a slightly more simplified design, having a couple of accessories removed and making it more suitable as a normal day pack, or for wearing your laptop around town.
It has a removable waist strap, and two small pouches on the straps that can also be removed, so when you’re not rucking if you want to pair it down to its basics, it can fit extremely well even as a carry on pack.
Samurai Tactical Wakizashi Backpack
The Samurai Tactical backpack is a small but robust pack that can get you started with rucking without the bell and whistles that come with the military packs.
It has the core features you’re looking for in a backpack for rucking such as padded back area, padded straps and heavy-duty zippers in addition to being made from durable material. It’s quite small at only 24 liters so you probably won’t be able to use it as an overnight back or for longer expeditions, but its cheap price reflects that.
REEBOW Tactical Army Assault Pack
We’re going to end our best backpacks for rucking selection with the Reebow tactical backpack, which is a solid choice that strays away from the military look of some of the other backpacks and opts for a classic black color.
It has all the standard features that you would expect in a tactical backpack, with both a chest strap and a waist belt, but the zippers are made of plastic which makes them a little flimsy in some situations. Overall, a spacious and durable backpack that can easily be used in your rucking expeditions.
I hope you enjoyed our best backpack for rucking list, and if you have any recommendations feel free to leave a