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The 11 Best Tactical Backpacks for EDC in 2021

Jonathan Tayag
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The 11 Best Tactical Backpacks for EDC in 2021

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If you're looking for a bag you can rely on day in and day out, it's hard to beat a tactical nylon bag. They're popular for EDC because their design and construction put them a step above your run of the mill bookbags. Unlike most casual bags, tactical packs are built to last through the most demanding missions, usually for military, law enforcement, or emergency applications. Luckily for you and your EDC, you can find tactical-style bags with the same focus on high performance and longterm durability in a wide variety of styles, from small day packs to large duffel bags. In this guide, we'll go over some key features and qualities to look for in a good tactical bag for everyday carry as well as some of our favorite bags, each with a specialized purpose.

What to Look for in a Tactical EDC Bag

  • Durable materials and fabrics: The most common fabric used in tactical bags is nylon due to its strength and adequate water resistance (some bags feature an even heavier ballistic nylon). You'll usually see manufacturers list a “denier” rating of the nylon to denote how heavy duty it is. Denier (D) is a measure of the mass density of the fibers in the fabric. For example, you might see bags rated at 500D on the low end for a lighter weight and softer feel, to a more common 1000D or above. Generally, higher denier means a stronger fabric at the expense of a heavier bag.
  • Superior hardware and construction: Good tactical nylon bags have heavy-duty zippers and closures that will stand up to constant use and resist breaking when you're packing your bag to the max. They're also stitched together well, lending to extra strength in terms of hard use.
  • Expansion and modularity: Many tactical bags stay compact using compression straps, which can loosened to pack in more gear. Most tactical packs can accommodate additional pouches and attachments to increase the overall capacity as well. MOLLE is a standard that lets you hook modular storage and gear to your bag without falling off easily. Bags with this have tell-tale webbing in and around the bag. Older surplus tactical bags use the ALICE system, which also lets you hook gear up to your pack. Both were designed for heavy duty military applications.

To help you get a better idea, let's take a look at some examples of different styles that feature the hallmarks of a solid tactical bag.


Mystery

Mystery Ranch Rip Ruck 24 Tactical Backpack

Purchase
Key Features
Floating padded laptop sleeve for 15" laptop
Rip zip opening
Low-profile PALS webbing
Specifications
Capacity
24L
Materials
330 Robic fabric
Weight
2.3 lbs
EDC Rating


Price
$$$
The Rip Ruck line from Mystery Ranch finds its design from older ALICE system military packs, with a modern twist and a rip-open design that makes it easy to access the gear inside the bag. With two main compartments and a 24-liter storage capacity it has all the organization and storage you need to get through your day, and the durable 330 Robic fabric construction and low-profile PALS webbing give the bag a tactical edge without being too conspicuous in a crowd.
GORUCK

GORUCK x Huckberry GR1 Slick Tactical Backpack

Purchase
Key Features
YKK zippers
Laptop pocket
Exclusive collaboration design
Specifications
Capacity
21L
Materials
1000D CORDURA nylon
Weight
2.3 lbs
EDC Rating


Just released
Price
$$$$
This exclusive collaboration design of the iconic GR1 features an understated design language that helps this tactical bag operate more discreetly in an urban environment while still sporting the bombproof 1000D CORDURA nylon fabric construction that makes it one of the best “buy it for life” backpacks. In fact, each bag is tested for its ability to carry up to 400 pounds, but you obviously don’t have to test that when it’s being used as a daypack. That carrying capability mixed with its Made in the USA manufacturing chops and lifetime guarantee make it a bag you can use for years to come.
Hazard

Hazard 4 Pillbox Tactical Backpack

Purchase
Key Features
Thermoformed shell
Internal MOLLE webbing
Movable padded dividers
Specifications
Capacity
29.5L
Materials
Invista 1000D CORDURA nylon
Weight
5 lbs 2.5 oz
EDC Rating


Price
$$$
The substantial structure provided by the lightweight thermoformed Invista 1000D CORDURA nylon shell on the Hazard 4 Pillbox makes this a great choice if you’re looking for a durable tactical bag that will let you carry expensive electronics and optical gear safely no matter where you find yourself. The design of the bag helps keep the bag from crushing under pressure, and the external shell is also compatible with Hazard 4’s special extensible pouches. And as an added benefit, the material choice makes it a very water-resistant bag that’s well suited if you’re planning a lot of outdoor excursions with sensitive tech on your back.
5.11

5.11 COVRT18 2.0 Tactical Backpack

Purchase
Key Features
Concealed carry compartment
TSA-friendly laptop compartment
Tuckable logos
Specifications
Capacity
32L
Materials
500D nylon
Weight
2.64 lbs
EDC Rating


Price
$$$
As its name implies, 5.11 designed this tactical bag to run a little more covertly. It mixes heavy duty 500D construction with urban commute essential features like dual side water bottle pockets and a TSA checkpoint friendly dedicated laptop compartment. It also tosses in more tactical elements like hydration bladder compatibility and a discreet quick secure access area for CCW use, while doing away with loud conspicuous webbing and logos as part of the design.
Triple

Triple Aught Design Axiom 24 Tactical Backpack

Purchase
Key Features
YKK water resistant zipper hardware
PALS webbing compatible interior
6" of expansion in the side pockets
Specifications
Capacity
24L
Materials
VX-21 ripstop shell
Weight
2.3 lbs
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
With a technical VX21 ripstop shell, this tactical bag is far lighter than most bags in this category, boasting thinner yet still durable and water-resistant construction without all of the bulk. The end result is a bag that weights just 2.3 pounds while providing a full 24 liters of highly-organized space, with a main compartment that features webbing attachment points and an admin compartment with dedicated pockets for a tablet or notebook and your stationery. There’s also a dedicated laptop compartment that features ambidextrous access and which will fit up to a 16" laptop with full padding for protection.
Maxpedition

Maxpedition Prepared Citizen Deluxe Tactical Backpack

Purchase
Key Features
Low-profile bookbag appearance
Dual expandable bottle holders
Stress points double-stitched and bar-tacked
Specifications
Capacity
~32L
Materials
1000D nylon fabric with Teflon coating
Weight
2.64 lbs
EDC Rating


Price
$$
The Prepared Citizen Deluxe is designed explicitly to not draw unwanted eyes. Its aesthetics are firmly in the school bag range, but unlike the cheap and flimsy bookbags you probably sported as a kid, this bag is made out of super-durable Teflon-coated 1000D nylon fabric with YKK zippers that won’t fail even if you load it up full of books today. And unlike that bookbag of old, the Prepared Citizen Deluxe features a rear CCW compartment with security lockout strip and dual size accessible concealed carry openings for ambidextrous access. And while you can fit up to a 15" laptop, the compartments in this bag are actually designed to carry an armor plate if you need it.
EVERGOODS

EVERGOODS Civic Half Zip 22L Tactical Backpack

Purchase
Key Features
Ergonomic harness and straps
Hydration bladder ports
Loop logo patch
Specifications
Capacity
22L
Materials
500D HT nylon with PU coating
Weight
2.25 lbs
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
A lot of tactical bags have all the durability and space you need but they just aren’t designed to ride on your back well as you move about. The EVERGOODS Civic Half Zip is designed to provide that missing link with an ergonomic harness that lets it ride high for active carry and a comfortable fit even if you carry a laptop inside, which usually messes up the profile of other bags in the market. The half-zipper opening allows for structure and easy access to your gear inside for loading and unloading, and there’s webbing at the top of the bag’s interior to let you customize your bag with a pouch. The dual side utility stretch pockets allow for secure water bottle carry, without breaking up the low-profile streamlined exterior devoid of loud branding or telltale webbing.
Helikon-Tex

Helikon-Tex EDC Tactical Backpack

Purchase
Key Features
EDC organizer
Velcro ID panel
Comfortable carrying handle
Specifications
Capacity
21L
Materials
500D CORDURA nylon
Weight
2.4 lbs
EDC Rating


Price
$
The Helikon-Tex EDC backpack features a 21 liter capacity and a comfortable carrying system with a hip belt for added stability. The two chamber construction lets you carry bigger gear like a laptop or a hydration bladder in the first part. The second compartment gives this bag its name, as it features organization spaces that let you literally carry your everyday carry gear in an easily accessible manner, including your knives, flashlights, and other gear that would normally clutter your pockets absent this bag. And with its 500D CORDURA shell, Woojin buckles, YKK zippers, and MOLLE/PALS webbing configurable exterior this bag can roll with the punches and expand for the missions that you need to accomplish.
SOG

SOG Surrept/24 CS Tactical Daypack

Purchase
Key Features
Locking zippers
Covert storage
Padded laptop compartment
Specifications
Capacity
24L
Materials
4200 nylon ripstop
Weight
2.01 lbs
EDC Rating


Price
$$$
The Surrept series is SOG’s new line of tactical bags that offer low-profile but sleek and attractive styling as well as high durability. The 4200 nylon ripstop shell is highly water resistant, and the zipper hardware keeps moisture out as well. This daypack pulls double duty with travel-friendly features like TSA-compliant zipper lock compatibility and a modular design that lets this bag work with SOG’s smaller Surrept bags if you want to use them as organizers. The organized design lets you store your gear in a manner that’s easy to remember, and the padded laptop pocket helps keep up to a 15" laptop or tablet safe and sound. There’s even a CCW compatible hidden compartment that you can also use for your most essential travel documents when you’re on the move.
Filson

Filson Alcan Tin Cloth Tool Backpack

Purchase
Key Features
Dedicated structured tool carrier
MOLLE/PALS webbing
Interior zippered security pockets
Specifications
Capacity
37L
Materials
500D CORDURA ballistic nylon and 14 oz cotton oil tin cloth
Weight
1 lb 14 oz
EDC Rating


Just released
Price
$$$$
If your everyday carry needs require you to carry tools around, consider the Filson Alcan Tin Cloth Tool Backpack, which is designed to give you a high-strength backpack that will carry your unique EDC without fail. The highlight of the bag is the large structured front pocket that has internal slots for various sized tools like wrenches, hammers, pry bars, and screw drivers. The main compartment has a top-loading design that lets you bring a change of clothes and other daily essentials along for the ride. The 500D CORDURA ballistic nylon and cotton oil-finished 14 oz tin cloth make for an attractive mix of modern tactical backpack style and heritage aesthetic all in one bag, and you can further customize the exterior with the D-rings and MOLLE webbing on the exterior as well.
Prometheus

Prometheus Design Werx S.H.A.D.O. Tactical Backpack

Purchase
Key Features
Removable admin panels
Exterior hook and loop and morale patch panel
Closed sell foam and ripple air flow padded back
Specifications
Capacity
24L
Materials
500D CORDURA nylon
Weight
3.8 lbs
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
This award-winning backpack has become a community favorite, offering a mid-size adventure-oriented design with the durability that a tactical edge provides. The interior features a high visibility orange lining that makes gear easily identifiable, and the removable Gear Trap and EDCO panel organizer sheets features webbing for extensibility and easy loading and unloading especially with the clamshell zippered opening. Depending on your needs you can fit a hydration bladder compartment or a laptop into the mix, and the outdoor-oriented features continue with dedicated ice axe loops and shock cord keepers on the outside. 500D CORDURA nylon offers great tensile strength without being too bulky, and the laser-cut PALS webbing on the exterior gives a sleek look that isn’t as obvious as a tactical bag in an urban environment.

Do you prefer tactical bags for your EDC? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

#prometheus-design-werx #filson #sog #helikon-tex #evergoods #maxpedition #triple-aught-design #511 #hazard-4 #goruck #mystery-ranch #bags-pouches #tactical #buying-guides #edc-tactical see all



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Discussion (8 total)

Iktma Mafo ·
Why Grey Ghost Gear is never mentioned on this site, I'll never know.
Adam DeHaven ·
What’s the gray pack in the article’s primary photo?
Maclain Silvey ·
That's the Chz 22L from evergoods in gray instead of black
Gerald Woller ·
In my 30 year career as a US Navy Combat Photographer I’ve never seen a Hazard or Go Ruck while on deployment. Blackhawk and Camelback were the most widely used.
Richard Battin ·
Considering that every bag listed is a backpack (even the so-called day pack), shouldn’t the headline the best EDC Backpacks?
3 more comments