Buying a Survival Backpack: Military & Tactical vs Hiking & Hunting Backpacks


When it comes to buying a survival backpack, the options are endless. From military and tactical style backpacks to hiking, ultralights and hunting bags, it’s sometimes hard to know which style is perfect for your unique situation.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are some pros and cons to each type of bag that you should consider. But before we jump into the specifics, first, you need to figure out exactly what you’ll be using your bag for.

  • Are you planning to use the pack regularly?
  • Is it something you plan on carrying in and out of work, school, or wherever you travel?
  • Is this bag’s primary purpose bugging out?
  • How much gear do you plan on carrying, and how important is storage/organization?

We are going to look at three primary styles:

Outdoor Hiking Backpacks

Hiking Backpacks

When looking at backpacks geared toward the outdoor community, the top reasons to consider a hiking pack usually comes down to the overall weight and the construction of the bag. For the most part, hiking packs are typically designed to be lightweight, comfortable to carry, and most of them are designed and built to hold up longer than your average school bag from Walmart.

But when it comes down to picking a bag, it often comes down to what you need to carry, how much you need to attach to the pack, and how long you will need to depend on the gear inside. Some people want to cram in every piece of gear they can fit, but lighter is faster, so you need to decide just how much you have to carry.


Since lighter is faster and a hell of a lot easier on your back, let’s take a look at ultralights.

Over the last ten years, these bags have taken over the industry; they are lighter and much more comfortable to carry. In the past, these bags suffered from performance issues; keep in mind that to make them light means sacrificing durability. That being said, the latest generation of ultralights have come a long way from their predecessors. If you plan on traveling over long distances, where fatigue will become an issue, these bags will probably be one of the best options to consider.

The downside to buying these types of packs:

Unfortunately, the light hiking craze does have a few downsides. For every ounce you lose in pack weight, you sacrifice organizational tools like MOLLE, pouches, durability, and other methods of carrying extra gear.

One of the biggest drawbacks to these kinds of packs is their lack of compartments and organization. Since every bit of extra material can add weight to the bag, many of these companies have slimmed down the amount of storage space in favor of one large compartment. While that might be perfect for light hikers, it’s a negative point for those who want an easy-to-organize bag.

The Best Ultralights

Traditional Hiking Packs and Thru-Hike Bags

Because these companies cater to hikers, these types of bags are designed to be carried on long hauls – which usually equates to durability and better overall construction of the pack.

Hiking packs can also be divided into three types; frameless, internal-frame, and external-frame.

  • Frameless packs will be the lightest, but they don’t transfer weight very effectively from your shoulder to your hips.
  • Internal-frame bags have a stiffer build and use flat aluminum rods or plastic frame sheets. The way they are constructed helps transfer weight from your shoulders to your hips, making the bags easier to carry on long hauls. If you plan on climbing, then internal frame packs start to show their utility
  • External-frame is rarely used anymore: They are more of a hold-over from an earlier day, and to be honest, they will be hard to find. That being said, I think they transfer weight better than most hyperlight internal frame bags and generally allow you to carry more weight over longer distances with less pain and misery than a comparably sized internal frame pack.

The downside to buying these types of packs:

If you carry a lot of MOLLE-style gear or are looking to carry tactical gear, weapons, and knives, then these bags are probably not going to be what you are looking for. Another consideration is attention; depending on the look of the bag, they may raise a few eyebrows during a bug-out situation.  A big bag usually means lots of gear inside to the bad guys!

The Best Hiking Packs

Hunting Backpacks

Hunting backpacks bridge the gap between outdoor and military packs. They
have most of the features above, with the following exceptions:

  • They are usually camo or designed to blend in with your hunting environment. This
    can be good or bad depending on who or what you are hiding from
  • Many have load lifters or suspension systems to help haul your meat out after the
  • They often have the ability to strap on a hunting rifle or bow.
  • If you are looking for an external frame, then chances are you will find it in the
    hunting variety.

The downside to buying these types of bags:

Just like hiking bags, and even more so in the case of camo bags, they could
attract unwanted attention of the human type! During a disaster, these bags
scream “LOOK AT ME” and will probably mean you are the first one stopped at
police checkpoints.

Best Hunting Backpacks:

Tenzing 2220 Daypack Features:

  • 2,400 cubic inches of space with 11 compartments.
  • Air mesh suspension system for improved breathability.
  • Five horizontal compression straps to secure your load.
  • Fold-out bow and gun carrying boot.
  • Hydration compatible up to 2 liters.

You can find the Tenzing 2220 Daypack here on Amazon

Some of our other Favorite Bags:

Military Style Backpacks

Military Backpacks

If you’re not especially concerned with the weight of your pack, then a military pack can be a good option – especially if storage and organization are concerns. While these packs are usually on the heavy side, they are super durable, made to be carried through harsh conditions, and are generally easy to organize. They also typically offer an attachment system that allows you to clip gear directly to the bag.

The main benefit of choosing a military-style bag is the ability to attach utility packs, accessories, and magazine pouches right to the bag, using a MOLLE system (or ALICE system on older style packs). However, since most modern accessories are designed to be used with MOLLE-style bags, I would avoid the older ALICE packs.

What is MOLLE?

molle panel

MOLLE Packs use the Pouch Attachment Ladder System or PALS as a way to attach extra gear to the bag easily.

MOLLE (pronounced Molly) is an acronym for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. MOLLE packs use the Pouch Attachment Ladder System or PALS, a grid of webbing that allows you to easily attach and detach pouches, slings, gear, or other items to your pack or vest. Most modern tactical equipment, like knife sheaths, holsters, magazine pouches, and radio pouches, are designed around this system.

DIY TIP: For all the Do-it-Yourself guys out there, who want to add MOLLE to their traditional hiking packs: The PALS grid system uses horizontal rows of 1″ Mil-W-43668 Type III nylon webbing (commercial vendors use Type IIIa), spaced 1″ apart, and reattached to the backing at 1.5″ intervals.

The downside to buying these types of packs:

The real downside to these packs is their weight. If the backpack is going to be carried by someone with back issues, or someone who has a hard time carrying large amounts of weight, then a hiking backpack might be the better option since it is usually much easier to maintain.

One word of warning on buying military backpacks: If you do decide to go with a military pack, make sure it’s an actual military pack or a pack built by a reputable company – not some cheap Chinese knockoff that’s going to split open the moment you start stuffing it full of gear.

The Best Military/Tactical Style Packs

SOC Backpack

On the top of our list of tactical packs is the Sandpiper of California Bugout Backpack. This is one tough ass bag that comes standard with multiple compression loops, tie downs, and the ability to strap on MOLLE / PALS pouches.

When they designed this bag, they built it to take a beating and hold up during an extreme bug-out situation. As a result, this is an extremely popular bag with military and contractors and has sold over 1 million units since they introduced it back in the 90s.

The SOC Backpack features

  • MOLLE/PALS panel
  • Hydration Compatibility
  • Expandable main compartment
  • Rugged, abrasion-resistant exterior 600 Denier material
  • A padded waist belt and Compression Straps
  • Aluminum back stays

You can find the SOC Pack here on Amazon

CONDOR 3 Day Assault Pack

This is another extremely popular and well-built bag designed for extreme situations. There is plenty of storage, it’s hydration compatible up to 2x 3-liter bladders, and if you really need to strap on the gear, it’s MOLLE compatible as well.

A word of caution, the pull-tabs on the zippers are notorious for breaking off. It’s an easy fix with a bit of 550 paracord, but it is a bit irritating that they couldn’t have just added a better cord themselves!

CONDOR 3 Day Assault Pack Features:

  • Has 7 different pocketed storage areas
  • Adjustable body contour shoulder straps with D-Rings for equipment attachments
  • Total dimensions: 22″ x 17″ x 11″; 3038 cubic inches; 50 Liters

You can Find the CONDOR 3 Day Assault Pack here on Amazon

A couple of our other favorite Tactical Bags

Discreet Survival Backpacks

Discreet pack

In a crisis situation, where you may have to get the hell out of Dodge in a hurry, you need to consider how much attention you attract. In times of crisis, there will be desperate people willing to do just about anything to secure extra supplies, including robbing you of yours.

For that reason, we recommend finding a pack that draws the least amount of attention. Stay away from overly tactical-looking bags, and try not to strap gear to the outside of your bag where people can see it and guess what else is inside. Check out what bags we recommend here.

The downside:

These are not usually built for long hauls. Mostly, they are temporary and short-term bug-out bags that will allow you to get from point A to B.

Best Covert Backpacks

5.11 Tactical COVRT18

We are big fans of 5.11 bags, but if you are trying not to look “tactical,” you usually start looking at other brands. Recently 5.11 started releasing covert options, and one of those options is their COVRT18 backpack.

The COVRT18 bag is designed to give you many of the features you will find in their tactical lineup, but the pack looks like something that any ordinary college kid might tote around.COVRT18 Features:

  • Built from rugged 500D and 420D water-resistant nylon.
  • Hidden R.A.C. (Roll-down Assault Compartment) that stores a full-sized firearm and MOLLE or web pouches.
  • QuickTact accessory straps at the shoulder that integrate with other 5.11 tactical gear.

You can find the COVRT18 Here on Amazon

Some More of Our Favorite Discreet Packs

The Survival Backpack you choose depends on your unique needs.

If you’re buying a pack specifically for long hikes, buy a hiking backpack; they are generally more comfortable and designed to be carried for hours. On the other hand, if you’re buying a bag that’s primary purpose is for bugging out, then a military bag is probably the way to go. The military pack is generally a bit cheaper, easier to organize, and easier to carry gear specifically made for bugging out.

A few things to keep in mind when choosing a backpack

  • The manufacturing of military gear often goes to the cheapest bidder, so mil-spec doesn’t always mean top quality.
  • Beware of cheap Chinese knockoffs. Gun shows and military surplus stores are notorious for selling cheap knockoff gear that may look like military gear but is far from real.
  • Test, test, and then test some more. Try on several different bags and make sure you find something that fits your specific body size, frame, and unique needs. There is no one-size-fits-all bag; what works for me might be horrible for your particular needs.
  • Make sure it fits. Like a properly fitted pair of boots, a properly fitted pack is barely noticeable when it’s on. But, trust me, a poor-fitting pack will be hell on your back, so you need to pay close attention to how it feels.
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  1. I have something of back pack habit/problem my wife tells me

    By far, the best pack I own is a Goruck GR1. It is the most expensive (at least relative to size) and the best built pack I’ve ever owned. I use it to ruck in, so its full of bricks and sweat. It cost more, but has a 100% lifetime guarantee, and they mean it.

    I have a $20 walmart bookbag I use for frequent and light use (i.e. to and from work on the motorcycle) that is about worn out after 18 months – I feel like it was a good value for what it was used for. I’m going to replace it with a second GR1 that can stay clean.

    I have a 5.11 Covert series backpack that looks less ‘tactical’ on the outside but has molle and velcro in all the right spots on the inside that I use for travel and weekend camping. Historically I used the single or double-compartment packs from North Face (and still own them) for camping, but they’re just not organized enough. The GR1 (or larger GR2) would be good for camping too, even though it’s more minimalistic, it allows for attachments to organize your stuff in.

    Then, to your point, I have a half dozen molle style packs in various colors that were in the bargain bin over the years. The best built one I use as a range bag, but it’s too bulky for serious use (i.e. walking through the woods it would stick outside your normal body frame and hit every twig). The rest are holders for my 72 hour kits for the family – I have the kits organized in plastic bags inside the bags, so I can yank them out if I have to (and put them in more reliable bags), but can also just grab the molle bag and walk if there is no time. I strongly agree with your statement on buying quality – I won’t throw these bags away, but they also were a waste of money for any serious user.

    • Spending 300.00 is crazy. I went to Kmart and bought a killer bag for about 25 bucks. I cut up a pool noodle and reinforced the shoulder straps with it. Most comfortable thing ever.

        • I’m a bag junkie. I collect bags like some gals (and guys) collect shoes. I almost got the Mystery Ranch, but in the end, it was the mil connection and the dog that got me to the GR1 and yes, it costs, but hell, it’s the best pack I’ve ever worn in almost 35 military years and you name the number of trails and cities I’ve packed in.

        • I’ve heard of pool noodles being used to form a DIY sleeping pad, but never thought to use as cushion on backpack straps – GOOD IDEA !

    • Why use a backpack at all. I use saran wrap. I wrap item several times then simply wrap it around my neck, chest, shoulder, or stomach. No need for backpack.

      • By “items”, do you means little bags of white powder? That some sketchy dude convinced you to transport from someplace to another? If so, please stop doing it. It’s illegal, man!

    • I have the GoRuck 1 also but it for the stan and used it for almost 10 years in-country and love it. The thing looks new still even though everything has been thrown at it. I also have a backpack issue!!!!! 2 backpacks another bug out 72-hour bag and a shoulder get the hell home bag in the cars

  2. There is a time to wal mart and a time to just pay the money for quality. Purchasing a pack is a Quality moment. This is going to carry your life and your family’s life, better get this one right. I remember hiking Grand Canyon, my friend no shit brought his Marlboro mile gear on the trip. His thin pack straps by the second day were cutting into his shoulders. Long story short, “DONT DO IT”. Get yourself a comfortable pack.

    • Very True. Your bugout pack should have a lot of thought put into it. I am a Veteran and I can tell you, your backpack is your life. Your main pack should have a really good frame whether internal or external. The shoulder straps should be a padded nylon strap all the way up the pad and have break aways to instantly drop the pack without struggling with the pack when seconds counts. Break aways are a two piece shoulder strap held together with a plastic clip. If your main backpack don’t have break aways on the shoulder straps then you need to get the older padded Alice Pack Straps and incorporate them on your main pack. In a combat scenario, you will need to dump your main pack instantly so you can maneuver quickly without all the extra weight.

    • Buying a walmart bag for any type of serious use is just crazy. If you’re in the middle of nowhere and your bag breaks you could be in a world of pain.

  3. Living in sunny southern communist California I am at least lucky enough to be able to ride my motorcycle almost year round. By far the most comfortable and useful pack I’ve ever owner has been my 5.11 rush 24. Plenty of storage and plenty of molle to add whatever you need for whatever the day may call for. The yoke style straps are the most comfortable things I’ve used even when loaded over 80 pounds. What started out as a bug out bad has turned into my EDC.

    • The rush 24 is well built, and has plenty of organising pockets, but it’s very short and squat – so if you’re tallish, it sits at an uncomfortable angle with the bottom of the pack in the small of your back – rather than resting on top of your hips.

      It also sits far out from your back – so the weight is magnified rather than minimised.

      It’s actually painful to carry with any weight in for any length of time.

      I’m not sure why so called military packs are always short and stick out so far from the centre of gravity – good ergonomics is one of the things civilian packs do really well.

      A well built but poorly designed pack.

      • Military backpacks* are usually built like that so a soldier can carry his belt kit, or other carrying system, as well as a backpack. Ergonomics are often secondary to utility.

        See the Danish M84 or the British DPM webbing and rucksack system, for instance: A great pack that comes in two sizes. The shorter one was popular, because it could easily rest on your back pouches of your webbing kit. The taller one, while “better”, did not work as well with your belt kit. You ALWAYS had your belt kit on, while you often put your pack down. So the ergonomics and comfort of the pack was secondary to carrying your fighting load.

        Also, military packs often have some sort of overpacking, lash-on or add-on capability. Someone will *always* show up and give you something big and bulky to carry, on top of your own stuff. So again – ergonomics are put aside for utility.

        Unless you have a specific reason for wanting a military backpack, you can get along just fine with a civilian one. Hiking packs are usually nicer to wear than military ones, in my experience. One thing I really, really hate about civilian packs though, is that they often come in highly visible colours.

        (* In this instance “military style” backpacks. The 5.11 Rush pack is a civilian product, and I doubt that any real military considerations went into the design. It looks military, though!)

    • I have owned the Rush 24 for over 5 years. It has been overseas twice with me as well as many day hikes including a week in Utah earlier this summer. The only spot that it does not still look new is one of the shoulder straps show some rubbing on it.

      I currently live in the Pacific NW, and it is still my daily carry bag.

      As fare as the way it fits, I am 6’1″ about 200lbs and I have had it loaded down with over 35lbs of gear on many of my hikes and even had my 5 year old(35-40lbs) tossed on top of it and it fits perfectly and has never made my back hurt. In contrast, I was lazy a couple weeks ago on a day hike and used one of my cheap packs. With about 15-20lbs in that pack after about 2 hours into our 5 hour hike, my neck and back started hurting. Was not an enjoyable hike!

    • I’m with you on the Rush 24. I have six backpacks – each organized for various purposes, but my 5.11 Rush 24 is the go-to pack of preference. I’ve never found anything more durable or functional under a wide variety of conditions.

  4. lord have mercy…………time money and durability …I have but just one pack…not to go in to a long story.. This is a madden pack made in boulder colo. in it’s day it was top of the line military issue late 70’s …I purchased it in 1979..45 years of tried an tested heavy and comfortable it suite me find ..A hundred dollar investment worth it’s weight in gold…stuffed full of what it takes to survive in a world gone wrong …the old girl has taken care of me through cold hell and high water….I wouldn’t trade her for all the molle in the world… have at it with your new high priced gear I ‘ll stick to the old tried an true … 58 years of living on this rock….to the bitter end…

  5. Eberlestock packs are what I rely on. After reviewing all the rugged/military type packs out there I’ve come to the conclusion that Eberlestock are the best bang for the buck! Specifically the Destroyer. Stay clear of the Battleship unless you are at least 6’2″ tall as it’s a very large pack. 6’4″ would be better.
    I am 6′ tall with a large build, and though I can make the Battleship work with proper loading, it’s really a tad too big for my INCH needs.

    I hope this helps!

  6. I spent 10 years as a special operator and I loved a traditional ruck sack frame. I would use the frame with tactical tailor kidney straps and shoulder straps. Then for the bag I would use a medium sized camelbak. My point is: don’t be afraid to mix and match to find whats best for you. Also, when buying a “milspec” backpack, just make sure its Berry Compliant. That way you’ll avoid all those cheaply made rigs.

  7. ok.. i’ll admit my moment of shame for packs.. I got the wally world special S.O.G. 3 day pack with Molle.. But so far it has held up to quite a bit of abuse without so much as a hiccup.. and it has a lifetime warranty..

  8. A great pack I don’t hear many people mention is the T.H.E. Pack by Specopsbrand. It is made in the US, and mine has been fantastic over the 5 years I’ve had it. Molle all over, including the entire sides, front, bottom. Comfortable straps-they have molded to my body shape. They are frequently on sale for $99, and that is what I paid for mine. I can’t imagine these $300+ high end military packs are made any better.
    It’s only downside is that it’s overtly military looking. Certain situations, that is not what I want (think airline travel, cities, overseas). For that reason I am considering the GoRuck Gr1 in addition. Pretty pricey however. And some people say even that is military looking. What the heck am I supposed to use then, is my only choice a bright red pack from REI? eh

    • I have a Spec-Ops T.H.E bag and LOVE it. I’m in EMS so it holds all my gear, and when deer season comes it does double duty for that as well. I also keep my “EDC stuff” and other gear in it. Best pack I’ve ever bought.

    • I’m a bag junkie. I collect bags like some gals (and guys) collect shoes. I almost got the Mystery Ranch, but in the end, it was the mil connection and the dog that got me to the GR1 and yes, it costs, but hell, it’s the best pack I’ve ever worn in almost 35 military years and you name the number of trails and cities I’ve packed in.

      • That shouldn’t have double posted– this reply is for John, although I bet you’ve already grabbed another bag. I didn’t want an overly military bag only. Although I deploy a lot (currently in Afghanistan) and I travel for the military, I don’t necessarily like to go all MOLLE’d up. The GR1 has minimal MOLLE on the side. It fits into the I didn’t buy this at REI category which a lot of folks tend to buy.

  9. 68 pattern external frame Jump Ruck, with canadian 82 pattern shoulder straps and waist web, i can use it to hump a mortar dismounted,after jumping from a c-130 and its my go to bug out now that i dont jump any more.

  10. I definitely agree that you don’t want a poor fitting pack. You don’t want to be too cheap either or it won’t be very durable. None of the military packs I’ve tried have been as comfortable as the civilian ones I’ve tried/owned but packs are one area where I don’t skimp.

    I’ll take my internal frame pack over an external unless I’m hunting and need to pack out some meat but that’s just me. I do have a nice external frame pack.

    In my opinion, military packs are for young really fit guys carrying 80+ lbs into battle. That’s not me. I also don’t need to jump out of a C-130 with a mortar. I wouldn’t even know where to buy a mortar. ;) Military packs are durable no question… if you don’t mind the weight.

    As for color, there are plenty of grey, dark blue, dark dark green, tan, black, etc… packs. REI is definitely not known for these colors nor are certain other manufacturers. Color selection often changes year to year so grab the color you like when it’s available.

    Molle adds weight. If you are planning on going into battle I can see it, but just for a 72 hour or bugout pack I don’t see the need. Ultimately it’s a question of how much you need to attach to the pack. Some people want to carry everything but lighter is faster so decide just how much you really must carry.

    IMHO, Mystery Ranch packs are the best but you’ll pay more. They make military packs (SOCOM issue and or Berry Compliant) and non-military packs. They aren’t cheap though.

  11. BTW, instead of pockets use ultralight stuff sacks to organize your pack contents. They add way less weight than by adding extra pockets.

  12. My son tells me that I am “a backpack aficionado.” I have been a scout leader for over 15 years and have a collection of backpacks full of backpacks; all different sizes, materials, and designs from low end to high end. I have any backpack I need for any purpose I could put it to use. I probably have over 100 packs in all.

    Most of the ultra light packs, while quality made are really only good for a few through hikes as long as you do not do any trekking through the thick brush, aka bushwhacking. They are lightweight, but will not stand up to much, if any abuse. I have turned most of these into stuff sacks or organization sacks in my primary bags.

    When it comes to military style packs, IMHO the external framed ALICE pack is by far the best option; a huge dump pack for the main compartment, with good sized external pockets which use buckles and snaps… no zippers to break, a huge benefit! The problem with military style packs is that they could put a target on your back giving the impression (false or not) that you know what you are doing and may have additional or specialized gear, which could be of value to any marauder thinking they could get ahead of the game by taking your stuff. You should try to blend in with the population, not stick out.

    First put together everything you plan to carry, and then get a bag that fits the gear. If you buy a bag too small, you will not get everything you wish to carry. If you get a bag too large, you will have a tendency to overload it.
    Second, make sure the pack properly fits your torso; what is good for you may not be good for your spouse or child, and vice versa.
    Third is to get the best quality bag you can afford that meets your needs. Avoid zippers, as they can and will break, even the so-called self-repairing zippers; remember Murphy’s Law.

    Internal Frame versus External Frame… both has their pros and cons. And external frame typically allows you to be able to carry more weight, but can be bulky to maneuver with, especially if you start strapping stuff to it. It also allows better airflow so your back does not become as sweaty. An internal frame pack offers a more streamlined profile, allows better maneuverability, but not the airflow so your back will most likely be wetter.

    To make a long story completely endless… If I had to do it all over again, knowing what I know now, and having used every pack I own multiple times I would only have purchased the following two packs (I am not employed by these vendors, nor do I receive any type of compensation from them for reviews):

    For my primary daily pack, I use the Duluth Pack Wanderer. It is a frameless pack with one main dump pouch and three external pockets. All pockets close with a buckle and leather strap. I had mine customized with padded straps and a pouch added inside the main flap. It is a bit expensive, but they have a lifetime guarantee, and you only cry once rather than multiple times.
    For my long term hiking / camping (BOB if necessary) pack, I use my Gregory Palisades expedition internal frame pack. It has some adjustments so you can make it better fit to the torso, a solid hip belt with water bottle holder, loops for axe, poles or similar, and even though it has some zippered compartments, for the most part they are never opened and the straps keep everything tightly in position. It is large enough to carry everything I must have and then some; particularly sleep system and layered clothing. I purchased this pack from REI, which also offers a no questions asked guarantee.

  13. On my own opinion I learned that the money you invest in pack should be like when your buying your work boots it should be durable enough to withstand the tests of time plus a couple of years but yet like a few of the commenters mentioned mix it up civilian/military surplus although i can say on the spectrum of Military surplus i do agree that the molle rucksack system is awesome as far as load capacity and weight distribution with a 100lbs load actually walked 8 miles with it no stitching or bending of polymer frame the only down side with military surplus is the color ACU specifically stick out like a sore thumb and i suggest that you personalize said camo configuration with patches or what you feel would make it your own since most people both civilian military personnel active and retired and i mean no offense or disrespect when i say this mistake you for active duty or retired ive even had a couple of ret military folks accuse me of playing solider when im just a gearjunkie who values the durability of military surplus equipment just thought id offer food for thought to those of you who are new at buying military surplus gear and also check it out thoroughly for holes tears stitching missing components or zippers that wont work or are broken usually a good haggling /barging point to save a few dollars before you buy for any surplus gear and if your at a store that has enough staff to take the time to help you out ask them and ask for advice on adjusting the pack accessories pouches etc basically if your one of those tall muscular guys who wants to carry the kitchen sink id recommend the Molle 2 Rucksack in ACU good support system any puinishment you feel that can break the frame try and see itll prolly ask for seconds and laugh at your feeble attempts to break it i dont recommend the woodland camo unless youve got an extra current issue molle rucksack polymer frame all i can say is that it beats the sharp edges of an alice rucksack frame toodles have fun

  14. A lot of info, but not very specific. In the debate in picking a backpack between civilian and military the bottom line IMHO is:

    What are you planning on carrying?

    What can you carry terms of weight? Age / fitness / distance …

    How much do you need to blend in? Standing out as Rambo is not a benefit.

    Will it be specifically for SHTF situations or regular hiking?

    Here are my thoughts. Don’t go too cheap. Don’t go too big or too small. The molle has benefits in adaptability not to be found in a sports backpack for starting smaller and adding on.

    So .. in sorting out my needs… (this is a need I’ve recently been looking at) I need to be able to bugout, so one purpose, always packed, ready to go. I like the molle system, even though never used it. being a military style it needs to be ‘weathered / dirtied up some’, to help with blend in. My perspective – If it looks old you are not probably not rich, if new looking, you must have money. I’ve looked at a couple of 38 liter size on Amazon with molle, but found online a made in USA about 30 liter I like from an independent company. Being older, and I’m not a pack mule, so smaller to start. I’ve not had luck in locating used so far, so looks like need to go new.

    Thanks for listening to me sort out my I just need to place the order…

    Anyone else care to share their decision process?

  15. Military backpacks offer strong grip and extensive life as compared to civilian backpacks. Military backpacks are also comes under different styles which attracts everyone towards them.

  16. Being older with health issues bugging means by vehicle or not at all. I gave up my beloved larger military packs. BOB has become a 2 wheeled luggage bag to go in our vehicle. I just purchased a hiking Deuter Airlite 28 for EDC. And given the present controversies/conspiracies of government vs veterans I will blend in with the Deuter pack. I hate to get rid of my modified Alice packs, Multicam issue ruck and others but if I can’t physically use them they are just taking up space. I enjoyed them.

  17. My goal is to not have my Deuter 28 weigh over 8 pounds total which contains daily health maintenance supplys. Water and PSK pouch is carried separate from the bag. If I had to I could walk a good distance, say to get home with this pack weight. So it is an EDC bag or GHB. BOB is now an organized luggage case.

  18. I agree with a lot of the comments and points made in relation to carrying a military style pack, you do stick out in a crowd… but one of the things that we have to remember in a bugout situation is that you want to avoid crowds and mobs of people. Imho, i have tried a lot of civilian style backpacking backpacks, but i find that they are not made with the same type of.material or offer the same amount of organization as a military style pack. in my situation, I will need to be able to carry enough rations for myself and two kids which will put me at about the 30 something pound limit that i will have to carry.

  19. I have a couple friends who swear by their packs from Hill People Gear. Watching them in use makes me think they are currently the best combination of a ruck/military/hiking pack. As soon as I can afford it, I’ll be getting one of their systems.

  20. If you want a high quietly pack MADE in the USA, look at Mystery Ranch packs there made in MT. By the guy that started Dana pack back in the 70’s, the have both hiking an military packs. Not cheap but top quietly. Do a web such they sell thur the web.

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