Whether you’re planning a month-long expedition through harsh terrain or an afternoon’s hiking in the hills, few decisions will be as important as finding the right backpack.
You will need the right amount of space for carrying equipment, enough support to take the weight off your back, and padding to ensure a comfortable hiking experience.
The military backpack is especially designed to meet these criteria and serve as the indispensable accessory to any hiking adventure. Produced from tough, durable materials and created to offer multi-purpose storage space, they will prove to be one of the most dependable and versatile items in any hiker’s inventory.
Here is a guide to the best military backpacks currently on offer, ranked according to comfort, durability and convenience.
Best Military Backpack for Hiking
Tactical Military Backpack – RUSH12 – Molle Bag Rucksack Pack
The Rush12 is ideal for hiking.
Built from tough 1050D nylon and sporting self-repairing zippers, this backpack is water-resistant and can endure all weather conditions.
It has contoured yoke shoulder straps for comfort and an adjustable height sternum strap so you can tailor your bag to fit your frame. These features are designed to take the weight off of your back and shoulders so you can move with maximum ease and efficiency.
Its 16 individual storage compartments, hydration pocket, and zippered fleece lined pocket for glassware make this product one of the most convenient and versatile for any hiking trip.
With a capacity of 24 liters, this backpack is compact and light to carry. It is perfect for speedy hikes and small escapades in the country.
Tactical RUSH72 Military Backpack
This is a strong and reliable backpack for long distance hikes.
Its 1000D nylon fabric makes it one of the most durable products on the market. Water-resistant with glove friendly molded grip pulls, it can be used in all climates.
It has adjustable closed-cell foam shoulder straps as well as waist and dual compression straps to redistribute weight for your comfort.
This is a large 55 liter capacity backpack with front and main compartments as well as a small admin pouch for keeping items such as maps, pens and pencils. It is ideal for carrying heavy, bulky items. While it clearly has a greater capacity than the smaller Rush12 model, it does not have as much storage variety.
This military backpack is designed to function optimally in any hiking environment and is very versatile.
REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack Large Army
This backpack is made from 600 density fabric. While it is not quite as tough as the previous two products, it is nevertheless still water-resistant and highly durable.
It has double stitched, heavy duty zippers and a side and front load compression system that make it an ideal choice if you expect to be carrying heavy equipment.
Ventilated mesh padding on the back and shoulder straps are breathable and very comfortable. They prevent the straps cutting into your shoulders and a build up of sweat which could lead to chafing.
With a capacity of 40 liters, this is a large-sized backpack that will be useful if you need to bring bulky items. Although it does not come fitted with a hydration bladder, there is space for one if you so wish.
Hannibal Tactical 36L MOLLE Assault Pack
This military backpack stands out for its organizational versatility and storage space.
It has a medium to large 36 liter capacity with two main compartments, two smaller compartments at the front, and a pouch for a three liter hydration bladder.
Each compartment has a variety of pockets to help with organization. The large compartment can open all the way around like a suitcase and has an elastic strap to hold in place any valuable items such as laptops.
It also features padded and adjustable shoulder straps and an expandable waist belt to help take heavy weight and provide comfort. A thick padded mesh area helps your back to breathe and eases the load.
This backpack is ideal if you travel long distances in planes or buses with a lot of items on the way to your hiking trails.
Orca Tactical Backpack 40L Large Military 1 to 3 Day
The Orca Tactical Backpack can meet all of your essential hiking needs.
The 600D polyester fabric is reinforced with double stitching at stress points. It has rust resistant zippers and is water resistant and scratch proof too.
It also boasts contoured straps and is padded at the shoulders with mesh at the back for ventilation and comfort. Sternum and waist straps redirect weight away from the back to ease any discomfort over time.
At 40 liters capacity, this is a large backpack with a pouch that can fit a 1.5 liter hydration bladder or laptop. It is convenient for camping trips or long expeditions where you will need to accomodate a bunch of items.
HDE Tactical Military Backpacks 20L MOLLE Bug Out Bag Survival Backpack
This is a lightweight and breathable backpack designed for the hiker’s daily use.
Adjustable chest and weight belts help you carry heavy loads and tailor your bag to fit the contours of your body. Fast release buckles and padded straps help relieve the weight on your back and are an efficient way to monitor your comfort without having to stop and fiddle around.
With four zippered compartments, one padded rear velcro pouch and a 20 liter capacity, this pack is an ideal choice if you want a lightweight, versatile product for optimum efficiency over short distances.
Mil-Tec Military Army Patrol Molle Assault Pack Tactical Combat Rucksack
This military backpack is simple and modest. Made from 600D polyester, this product is flexible and although not quite as strong as some of the previous products – it can dry faster.
It has two large compartments: two smaller compartments at the front and a built in velcro pouch for fitting a water bladder.
It can meet all of your essential needs without overcomplicating things.
Military Tactical Backpack, Army Molle Assault Rucksack, Travel by ARMYCAMOUSA
While this backpack does not have the padded shoulder straps or ventilation systems that some of the previous products possess, it compensates for this with its wide variety of storage space. You can organize your items according to function and priority.
Not only is this a large backpack with space for tools, admin items, laptops, and a hydration pouch, but it also shrinks down to a smaller size or expands 5 inches deeper if you need the extra space.
It features an adjustable sternum strap and removable belt to redistribute the weight. It also has a walkie talkie compartment for if you are going hiking with friends or family and want to keep in touch remotely.
Luckin Packin Military Tactical Backpack Large Army 3 Day Assault Pack Molle Bag
This backpack is tough, durable and reasonably priced. It is made of strong 900D nylon, and is water-resistant with a front and side load compression system.
It is not as padded on the shoulders as some of the products above, but it does have sternum and waist straps as well as a ventilated and padded back area so that it is breathable and comfortable to wear.
It offers two main compartments and two smaller compartments for your gear and has a large 45 liter capacity.
Best Military Backpack for Hiking Buying Guide
When buying the best military backpack for hiking the three main things you want to look for are comfort, durability and convenience.
If you are hiking for long periods of time in unpredictable weather conditions, the last thing you want is straps digging into your shoulders, sweat dripping off of your back and your bag falling to pieces or getting swamped in water.
Generally, you’re going to want to look for backpacks with padding on the shoulder straps and ventilation mesh on the back to keep the bag and your skin light and airy.
Adjustable sternum and waist straps are advised if you expect to be carrying heavy weight as it will fit to the contours of your frame and redistribute the load across your whole body.
The next thing you need to consider is material. For military backpacks, the best material is typically nylon ranging from 600d to 1200d. The optimum thread count will depend largely on your needs.
The higher the denier count, the tougher and more durable the bag. So, generally speaking, a 1000d bag is going to fare better than a 600d one.
However, it will also be a little heavier. If you are looking for a small, light and compact backpack for hiking in temperate weather, then a lower denier count would work well. Otherwise, if durability and reliability in tough weather conditions is needed, the higher the denier count, the better.
The convenience of your military backpack is, of course, going to be measured chiefly on what kind of hiking adventures you seek. Some of the bags on this list offer a range of accessories, multiple storage spaces, hydration bladders and adjustable sizes.
These features are going to be very useful if organization and versatility are paramount. On the other hand, if you intend on doing light excursions with a minimal inventory, sometimes less is more.
In general, the advantage of a versatile storage space is not only that you can keep on top of a diverse range of important items, but that you have a better means of controlling unforeseen and unpredictable situations.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best material for a military backpack to be made of?
For hiking, the best material for a military backpack is 600d to 1200d nylon fabric. Nyon is stronger and more resistant than other materials, such as polyester or Kodra.
The higher the denier count, the tougher the backpack. So, generally speaking, if you want a resistant, durable product, look for a high nylon denier count.
What is “tactical” or MOLLE webbing?
MOLLE stands for “Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment”. It is an external webbing system that lets you fasten gear to your backpack as you’re moving around. It is not brand sensitive, so you can fix any items to it that you want.
The advantage of the MOLLE system is that you can personalize your backpack to whatever situation you find yourself in.
What is ventilated mesh?
Ventilated backpacks have a mesh system suspended off of the back of the bag. This keeps a layer of air between the bag’s material and your skin, which helps to dry any accumulated sweat.
What features should I look out for if I have neck pain?
If you suffer from neck or back pain, you should look out for padded shoulder straps and adjustable sternum and waist straps. These features move stress away from your neck and redistribute the weight across your whole body.
In this way, you can carry heavy loads with minimal discomfort.
What is the difference between a military and a non-military backpack?
Unlike the average backpack found in fashion retail stores, the military backpack is geared towards high performance practicality. Rather than focusing on whether the bag fits in to the recent trends, they are designed for durability, comfort and convenience.
Special features that are proper to the military backpack are: high quality endurance materials, variable storage space, and MOLLE webbing for versatility.