1. What is a very “tactical” EDC backpack?
You must have heard this term before: tactical backpack. “Tactical” bags are a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s not even a trend, but a massive system. As long as there is an army, there are people who want to use these military equipment in their daily lives (T-shirts are a good example, a piece of equipment popularized by military design and application). You can enjoy the benefits of these military-purpose backpacks and gear.
There’s a reason people are drawn to this sturdy gear. Backpacks, clothing and gear designed specifically for the armed forces are designed for war. Literally. They focus on strength, durability, modularity, high activity and quality materials/hardware. Fashion isn’t even considered, these are the essentials. At the same time, some might find the tactical pack a little less appealing, so they’ll want something more understated. Everyone has their own preferences, so various gods have developed different tactical backpacks.
Let’s take a deep dive into how a functional everyday tactical combo is constructed for fashion’s sake, rather than a simple and cheap copy.
2. Military backpacks that have been on the battlefield are the best, right?
The army used this bag in combat, so it must be the best in real life scenarios? Not necessarily.
Military backpacks are great. But sometimes other brands and design teams do better. One of the problems is that these military backpacks are actually made for war. They’re meant to hold an M18A1 clay explosive, or a single-channel ground and airborne radio system…so you don’t have to carry this bag to a coffee shop, or even a Spartan clay figurine competition. These military backpacks have no place for your iPhone or your VR headset.
Not to mention, we all know that government budgets are limited. The government manages the armed forces. They pay for equipment. Sometimes they cut back (imagine it), use heavier materials, cheaper hardware, etc. Military backpacks sometimes can’t do well because they need to make 20 million instead of 200.
I used to have a lot of military surplus (backpacks) of various ages. One of my favorite backpacks is the ones made in Switzerland for soldiers during WWII. To this day, the material is still rainproof. While the pack was bulky and ugly, it was super light at the time (there were some of these packs made from Swiss pony fur during the Winter War). Another favorite is the leather WWI map bag. There are also several vintage backpack accessories in East German “Rain como” fabric.
These packs are cool, I could fit all my gear in these packs, but it’s not ideal. Generally, they are too large due to the large amount of equipment to be carried into the battlefield. Also too heavy, since soldiers are usually young men/women with strong bodies. Long story short, military backpacks aren’t always the best. So, let’s take a look at what to look out for when shopping for a new tactical EDC backpack.
3. Matters needing attention when buying a tactical backpack
Generally speaking, military tactical bags should be made of high-quality fabrics. As a general rule, they should be made of 500D-1200D Cordura nylon fabric (or better). It’s not 200D, it’s not Kodra (a kind of bag material, see the content posted before by the Outdoor Gear Party), it’s not a polyester fiber material. Some packages can even use better materials, like x-pac. Usually these fabrics are heavier (but not all), but they can handle bad weather and won’t break if you roll 20 meters down a mountain.
Look for these brand names on the bag, YKK, TiZip, ITW Nexus, AustriAlpin, UTX, and more. If you don’t find the logo (or it’s been removed on purpose), the bag may not be of good quality or a bargain. These parts are an important part of what makes up a tactical EDC backpack, so you need something you can trust. If you’re out into the wilderness and you’re constantly worrying about your backpack, you’re out of luck.
This topic is difficult to explain. Anyone can say that their pack is “sturdy” or has “high quality construction.” But these details, novice eyes can not see why. “Brand reputation” may give some protection. If you can find out what nylon thread they use, research the best third-party factories the brand uses or the brand’s own factory. All of this information is usually not public, so your best bet is to look it up on our website and other sites that can help you learn more about a product and a brand’s reputation for quality. Take this seriously, and you’ll know all too well. Finally, a solid product quality guarantee will never let you down!
One of the “tactical” things that make it intuitive is the MOLLE webbing (the new MOLLE is laser cut). MOLLE is an acronym for “Modular Light Loading Equipment”. The whole purpose of the MOLLE system is to connect external equipment and accessory bags. If brand A has a MOLLE system backpack, you should be able to load accessories from brands B, C, X onto it. MOLLE is the standard that brands follow worldwide. MOLLE is great because you can build your package according to your needs. A 10-day trip to Southeast Asia can make all the difference in your backpack. MOLLE webbing can also be built inside the backpack if you want to keep less used or expensive gear in the bag.
Many brands have their own dedicated carrying systems that transfer weight from the shoulders to the hips. They are all brainy design geniuses. Some only have super comfy shoulder straps, which is fine if you’re not going to pack a very heavy pack. When you have your own preferences and want to buy a bag according to your body type, it is best to do some errands. Go and try these bags and see how comfortable they are when they are heavier. Find the best backpack for your needs, body type and comfort preferences.
Open and withdraw:
How do you access the pack and its compartments? Does the pack have a huge compartment? Are there some handy zipped pockets to store your gadgets? Does it have quick access to everything inside? It has A 3-zip (3-zip) style? All of these have pros and cons. I tend to have a full quick open inverted U and Y zipper as I find they provide opening and easy access to everything inside. If you open the pack and stretch out your arms and try to reach with your fingertips for small items on the bottom, there is something wrong with the design of the bag.
This is a difficult problem. Some people swear to only buy backpacks that use the brand’s origin, like Made in USA. Some people want a bag made in their own country. Some people don’t care. The simple answer is…it doesn’t matter. I know of some factories in Vietnam that are better at making backpacks than dozens of factories in the US. In the opposite case, I know of some American factories that are better than those in Vietnam. It is a hard requirement for the US military that these military backpacks be made in the US (see Barry Amendment). So unless you’re a real soldier, the place of origin doesn’t matter to you. It all depends on how each foundry and foundry sees their product and brand reputation.
Yes, I talked about how military/tactical packaging is made for function. But you are likely to be a commoner who pretends to be in the city. How noticeable do you want to be? It’s up to you. These bags generally have the MOLLE system, which allows most people to see your “military” taste. Most of these bags are my favorite color, black. Black is the best, in my opinion, with an understated tactical style. But tactical backpacks also come in a wide variety of colors and camouflage patterns. Soft olive greens also look beautiful, and MC or MC black can be fun too. Think about this before you decide to buy. Even when I go to airport security with my all black TAD fast pack Litespeed on my back, people ask me where did you serve?
Also, do you like magic badges? These are often called “morale badges”. Inspired by real armed forces, then improved for civilianization. Some people think they are cool and funny. Many manufacturers are producing these fun or serious morale badges.
4. What to do with a tactical backpack?
Now that we’ve figured out the basics, what can you do with a tactical backpack? Do you want to buy a military bag for the battlefield and take your laptop and office supplies to the office? This is totally fine. Others use tactics just for outdoor challenges. When it comes to the question of purpose, the answer really comes down to the capacity and organization of the pack.
Generally speaking, 15-26 liters is what most people need in EDC (Every day carrying, daily carrying), including office use, one-day excursions, going to cafes, shopping, fitness running, 1-3 days of travel. If that’s what you need, get a 15-26 liter pack. Although there are some perverts who may want an EDC backpack over 30 liters.
However, if you want a tactical backpack or 3 weeks of hiking, a larger capacity pack is obviously better. More gear = more capacity. Of course there are a lot of trends now, some people can carry backpacks as low as 26 liters capacity on long trips, but most people want 30-60 liters. It’s all up to you, your ultralightweight knowledge, your gear, and your activity.
Storage organization function:
Here’s what to do really “for yourself”. In the past, I liked more pockets, more zippers, more hidden compartments. I can put A gear in this pocket, B gear in this separate compartment, and C in another pocket. The thing is, separate pockets and compartments mean extra structure = extra cost, extra material/hardware = extra weight/cost, which requires some long-term muscle memory tricks if you’re changing packs as often as I am to find access to these equipment at any time.
Personally, I prefer to use the method of sorting and packing storage bags of different sizes (Inception packing), placing different equipment in different colors, which can be directly identified visually. I prefer the large main compartment with 1-2 small pockets so I can quickly access things. I recommend this packaging to most people.
But maybe you already have a bag with dedicated storage pockets for specialized gear. But remember, technology is always improving. Advances in technology affect the size and function of equipment.