How To Choose The Right Tactical Backpack For Your Outdoor Journey

I am not gonna say, “Winter is Coming,” or “Summer is Here,” and “You should go on a road trip.”

Nope! Nothing like that.

We wandering souls don’t need a reason to travel. We just take off.

We just need few sets of clothes, our very own hygiene equipment, a bunch of books, a laptop, and we are off!

Oh, to carry all these things, we need a backpack. A Tactical backpack.

But here lies a dilemma! Which backpack to choose? I mean, there are so many!

Before you frown your eyes and get all grumpy, let me help you guys out. I’ve got a buying guide lined up for people like you who are having a tough time deciding between various brands and models.

In this article, we are making it personal and going in-depth into the topic. Let us get into a tactical backpack buying guide for outdoor adventures.

Why A Tactical Backpack and Not any Suitcase or Standard Travel Bags?

Legit question, right? I mean, when traveling or going places with a lengthy vacation in mind, a normal person would immediately come up with “101 Ways I can fit My Suitcase into the Plan.” So, why aren’t we considering them? It is because:

  • The traditional travel bags are bulky. These things gain weight as you put stuff in them. Normally, there’s one single compartment for all the big things. So, these are not all that great in organizing stuff for the trip either. Things might get lost amidst pile of clothes.
  • Suitcases are great when you are considering a getaway trip for a day or two for the weekends. But for a week-long trip, I don’t think a bulky suitcase would serve all that great. These things don’t offer you much flexibility and bulk up quickly. The material is sturdy and can’t adapt. This adds to the weight of the thing. This is where backpacks are saving graces. They are flexible, made of lightweight materials, and can adapt to weather conditions.
  • Quality backpacks come at a lower price than suitcases or travel bags. Plus, they offer a lot of pockets and carrying convenience. This is a win and a vote in backpacks column for me.
  • We get travel backpacks of various types. You get daypacks, backpacks for women, for men, and even for activities like hiking and camping. Traditional travel bags or suitcases don’t come with such perks. You can’t really take them to certain places. One good backpack on the other hand, can even accompany you to the edge of the world!
  • Backpacks have pockets that can be secured and tight-fitted individually. Compared to suitcases or travel bags that have one or two locks, these are more secure.

Factors that can Make A Travel Backpack a “Good” Purchase

Now that we established the fact that we want backpack for our outdoor adventures, it is time to research some brands and models to find the best fit for our requirements. Now the next question would be: How to proceed on our research? Which factors should we consider before hitting the red button? That’s what I’ll discuss in this segment.

I’d Differentiate the Travel Backpack for Male and Female People

Hold on! I am not sexist! Nor do I plan to be! I don’t like to differentiate but when it comes to comfort, I do. Only a handful of people know that there are different travel backpacks for male and female travelers. The main differences are how the material feels on skin and how well does the backpack fit with your body size.

The females have a wider chest size than their male counterparts. The shoulder straps and material surrounding the chest should be adaptive and flexible. This way, the womenfolk can tighten or loosen a model based on how comfortable they are with it.

What Will You Use This For?

For Traveling, what else? Right? Well, even if the backpack is for traveling only, there are different places you can plan your trip to. Based on that, the choice of backpacks can be different as well.

For example You might go out for the weekends, for a week or two, for a month, or for longer. Depending on your trip’s duration, you might need a spacious backpack to pack in more things.

People go for Day packs for a day-long trip. A lot depends on where you are going. Trips to mountainous regions demand a good hiking backpack. If you are willing to go for expeditions, I prefer the best tactical backpacks for the job.

Similarly, hunting trips demand a special backpack that caters to long hours of hauling with moderately heavy equipment. In short, you need to select one that best complements your purpose.

Run a Raincheck on the Material

This is the next logical thing to do. You are making a potential long-term investment on backpacks when buying one. Naturally, you’d want one for yourselves which can last the test of time. For that, you’ve to know the material intricately. Usually, travel backpack manufacturers use three popular materials to come up with a product. I’ll just touch on them briefly:

  • The first material that comes to mind is “Polyester.” It is pretty standard. Backpacks that use polyester are cheap. Although cheap, these are water repellent and functional as well.
  • If you are going somewhere with lots of water around and you are likely to meddle with water yourselves, be sure to take backpacks made of Canvas. It doesn’t let water stay on the surface for too long. Plus, your backpack won’t get wet thanks to the material.
  • Now, the third kind is Nylon. This one has many varieties with subtle differences in quality and looks. The most popular among them is “Rip-Stop Nylon.” This one is super strong when it comes to durability. I could hardly strain it and put a tear on it. Plus, this thing is water-resistant and repellent. Other variants of Nylon are “Environment-Specific.”

The choice of materials depends on where and for how long you plan your trips. My advice would be to take a lightweight yet condition-proof backpack that is able to carry the load and comfort you at the same time.

I Advise you to Check the Capacity of the Ideal Backpack

In other words, count the pockets and see how deep the pockets go. Not figuratively but in real life. If your backpack has deep pockets, your vacation will be a long one. Why? Well, because you can pack in a lot of stuff. As a result, you can stay a day or two more than what you planned.

Do check for the number of pockets. The more the better it will be for you. Go for products that have at least 10 pockets including organizers or more. There should be dedicated pockets for hygiene products and electric gadgets.

I’d advise you to check on the overall carrying capacity of your choice of product too.

For example: If I want a tactical backpack for a day-long trip, I’ll choose one in the range of 25 – 30 liters of capacity. This is a minimum. If you want to go on a 3-day tour, a backpack with 35 – 45 liters’ capacity will do. For longer trips, please opt for 55 liters or larger backpacks with more room inside.

Make Sure the Product is Cozy and Comfortable and Not Overwhelming

Honestly, I wouldn’t move an inch if my backpack isn’t comfortable enough. I prefer a product that lets me breathe naturally. For that, I want the shoulder straps to feel comfortable around my neck.

People with average height have upper torsos that measure from 15 inches to 20 inches. Make sure you buy a product that puts your back at ease and doesn’t cause any pain.

The weight should go to your waistline. Even there your backpack should gently hug you. It shouldn’t push back too hard on your spine and body. Feeling lightweight is the key to long walks in the mountainous region and along steep paths.

Check for Foam Padding on Straps

While we are discussing straps on shoulders and waists, make sure these straps have foam paddings. Foam padding relaxes the shoulder and waist muscles. A comfortable foam padding allows you to walk for long hours during trips. You’ll not sweat and the neck joints won’t stress too much.

While we are on the topic, make sure you have breathable mesh or fabric on your backpack. This will allow the bag to remain fresh. You’ll not find any strange odor that’ll liquid seep out from the inside materials.

The fabric will soak any liquid from inside and outside making the backpack impervious to gradual degradation’s. Plus, air pockets make demanding conditions easier on your body while walking for long hours under the sun.

Last but Not the Least, The Price

Name one person who wouldn’t want a sweet deal, the best thing in the business, and the sweet-ass features. Yup, all of us want these things. You won’t find these in standard backpacks. You’ll have to sweeten the deal with a few cubes of sugar AKA few hundred dollars.

If you don’t have that much depth in your wallet, go with the best one matching the Price vs. Performance graph for you. It is called compromise.

Don’t fret when you see a hefty price tag with a decent bag. Sometimes products are overpriced. Also, on occasions, these come with features that we seldom need. Be wise to choose a product that is a bang for your buck. Ask around, read some reviews, and monitor ratings to narrow on a good enough product.

Final Thoughts on This Guide

While you have lots of options when looking for the best tactical backpack, not all options will fit your bills and necessities. Make sure to make a wise choice regarding the product you are buying. Look deep into features.

For example: Consider front-loading system and internal loading system before choosing a backpack. Ones with front pockets are easy to open and load with stuff than ones with internal products.

Do check the zipper quality of your products. I prefer bi-lateral zippers to unilateral ones. These are easier to close and open again. The tracks should be good enough and hold for years to come. Your backpack should have quality locking and internal safety mechanisms in place.

Do check with the factors I mentioned in this post as well. I hope you’ll have a product perfectly tailored to your needs.

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