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I was on a mission to figure out what the best backpack was for rucking. That’s when I realized that there are probably tons of people who have no idea what rucking is and what differentiates a Rucksack from a Tactical Backpack. In an effort to “put the lead out front”, I’ll just tell you – a tactical backpack can be a rucksack but a rucksack isn’t usually a tactical backpack.
I thought I was being clever when I came up with that saying but it probably caused more confusion then it should have. Let’s unpack it a bit (no pun intended).
What Is Rucking?
So let’s dig into it – Rucking is a term used by many, especially urban hikers, to describe walking, jogging, or going from Point A to Point B with a packed backpack. Usually, the backpack is packed with gear, food, weights or some sort of filler to make it somewhat strenuous. Most of the time, your knapsack is filled with everything you need to help you on the journey. Sometimes, you just pack whatever you can in it to make it heavy enough to carry.
From my perspective, it sounds like something people in the city do to because they don’t have mountains. But let’s explore it a bit more and see if there’s more to it than that. (It should also be noted that “Rucking” in this instance isn’t something that Rugby players do).
How Do You Go Rucking?
Technically speaking you can go rucking by yourself or with a group. You can ruck with a crowd of people, as is sometimes done with an organized ruck, but it does not matter who you do it with – the journey is the goal. The “hike” is what you are aiming to accomplish. And it is important to keep in mind that you cannot ruck without a backpack. Your first job, then, is to get one.
In order to get your knapsack ready you should put in it some necessary essentials like your water bottle, food, extra cash, or whatever you want; but do not overpack it. Only take the necessary stuff you will need. Your next step is to place the rucksack on your back and start walking to your agreed destination – you’re on your way to completing your first rucking session.
Rucking is a fitness thing so when you ruck you are helping yourself to stay healthy. Below are some of the health benefits you can experience when you go on a ruck.
It Builds Endurance:
Rucking is a great way to build endurance. It goes without saying that walking any distance will help you get into shape and build endurance because carrying a weighted pack on your back helps improve your cardiovascular capacity and can train your muscles to go longer distances and increase slow-twitch fibers. Which brings us to the second benefit:
It Builds Your Muscles:
This kind of sporting activity is a muscle builder because of the strenuous exercise you are required to do. When you’re loading up a backpack with essentials (and sometimes filler weight) you’re going to build muscle. Mostly slow-twitch muscle will be built since you’re not going fast or hard.
It Can Trigger Weight Loss:
When you exercise by walking, jogging or “rucking” with a backpack with added weight, unwanted calories that make you fat are burned up, thus, triggering weight loss in your body.
It Can Help Stop or Prevent Back Pain:
Doing a ruck session on a consistent schedule – consisting of rigorous walking or jogging with a pack on can send a positive message to your back. Rucking can lower or stop any pain you might have been experiencing. As you strengthen your back muscles you can start to experience a decrease in chronic issues.
But We’re NOT Here to Talk About Urban Rucking!
I should apologize – I went through that whole definition and explanation about rucking to say that we’re not here to talk about it. Urban Rucking is the popular activity that most people do. However, we’re people who love the outdoors. We like to hunt, shoot and hike outside of the city. Because of that, we’re going to cover Military Rucksacks and not “normal” rucksacks. An urban rucksack could easily be confused with your kid’s school backpack in most cases. The packs we cover below are far from that.
What’s the difference between a Tactical Backpack and a Military Rucksack?
True rucking can happen in an urban environment. So not all rucksacks are tactical. But most military rucksacks are tactical. In reality, is that there isn’t much difference between a tactical backpack and a military rucksack.
Both of these backpacks are easy to carry, reliable, and incredibly durable. Additionally, they can carry all your gear, so you only have to focus on the rucking trip.
Finding the best military rucksack that can suit all your requirements isn’t a walk in the park (okay, in this case, the pun was intended)
Top 4 Military Rucksacks Available in the Market
With all the great options in the market, you can easily get overwhelmed and confused. They come in different shapes, styles, and sizes.
To make things easier for you, I’ve shortlisted the top 4 military rucking backpacks that are available in the market. This way, you can pick your ideal rucksack based on your own preferences!
REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Rucksack – Best Product
Let’s start the list with one of the best military rucksacks that you can find in the market.
The military rucking backpack comes in a charcoal black finish that gives it an unmatched touch of elegance. It has a generous 34-liter capacity, which makes it ideal for all kinds of outdoor activities.
The military rucksack is made of an exquisite fabric, which gives it a great level of durability and thickness.
The backpack is fortified with double stitching throughout its linings. The stitching adds an extra layer of protection and prevents the military rucksack from all kinds of cuts and tears.
This means you won’t have to worry about the backpack if it catches on sharp branches and bushes.
The military rucksack is designed to give you easier access, including hydration. You can easily fit a hydration bladder in the backpack up to 2.5-liter capacity. However, you should buy the hydration pack separately as it doesn’t come with a built-in one.
Besides being sturdy and tough, it’s also a breeze to carry. The rucksack has a ventilated mesh padding on the shoulder and back straps. This allows you to wear it comfortably for long distances without being annoyed.
The military rucksack has a MOLLE system. This system allows you to attach extra pouches to the backpack. This way, you can turn the simple rucksack into a full camping unit!
- Extremely durable with double stitching and a high-density fabric
- Spacious 34-liter interior and comfortable to wear
- Multiple compartments for organized storage
- A bit heavy compared to other backpacks
CVLIFE Tactical Backpack Military Army Rucksack – Runner Up
The second item on the list is a backpack that comes in multiple colors. You can get a CVLIFE military rucksack in black, green colors. Additionally, you can get them in CP and ACU camouflage finishes.
The backpack has a spacious interior of about 30 liters. However, you can add more compartments and pouches to it thanks to its MOLLE compatibility.
The bag is made of 600 x 600 Oxford fabric, which is a super-high density cotton fabric that offers endurance and resistance for years.
In addition to the strong fabric, the CVLIFE is reinforced with high-quality stitching. This prevents it from cuts and tears from the inside or the outside.
The heavy-duty fabric also resists water splashes. This means that you can keep your gear dry in rainy environments while allowing for air to pass.
One of the most versatile features of the rucksack is the detachable pouch. You can use this pouch as a separate fanny pack, which adds to the versatility of the backpack.
Although the backpack doesn’t come with a hydration pack, it has a dedicated compartment for it.
- Durable 600 x 600 oxford fabric
- 3 detachable pouches that double as fanny bags
- Available in a wide variety of colors
- Limited space compared to its price
5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Military Backpack – Premium Pick
5.11 makes great assault and military rucksacks. However, its top-notch backpacks are the RUSH72 Series. These military rucksacks are known for their unmatched durability and features. However, these excellent qualities don’t come cheap.
The premium backpack offers extensive features that make it one of the best in the market. The rucking backpack has a gigantic capacity of about 55 liters. This space is enough to fit all kinds of equipment you might have.
This includes your food, rucking gear, electronics, and much more! Not only that, but it also has a MOLLE system compatibility.
This allows you to extend its 55-liter capacity up to 20 more liters! This means that you can fit in food rations and gears that are enough to sustain weeks of rucking and camping!
As for durability, the military rucksack is made of 1050 denier nylon. This gives it the ultimate level of sturdiness and durability you could ever ask for. Moreover, nylon is a great fabric for repelling water.
This means that it can efficiently protect the content of your military rucksack from rain and water splashes.
The RUSH72 comes with several straps for your shoulder and back. These straps are padded and highly ventilated to provide you with comfort while marching for long distances.
Additionally, the rucking backpack is equipped with a hydration pack compartment for quick access to water on the go. This way, you won’t have to stop for rehydration.
- The enormous 55-liter capacity offers plenty of room for everything you have
- Made of top-quality 1050 denier nylon for durability
- Water repellant and excellent for matching under the rain
- Comes at a luxurious price tag
SOG Ninja Tactical Day Pack – Best Budget Rucksack
This incredible backpack is made by SOG. SOG is well known for making knives, hatchets and other survival/tactical gear for your “outdoor pleasure”. We found that this pack is great for a one day or two-day hike. You can fit the essentials and you can do it for a reasonable price.
One tip that was left by a reviewer was to rub some wax on the zippers as they’re hard. They also recommended this smaller pack to go with it – it’s a small molle pouch that you can pack inside or attach to the outside of the bag.
The SOG Ninja is certainly a bag you should consider.
G4Free Outdoor Military Rucksack – Best Sling Rucksack
Last but not least. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, this smaller backpack is your way to go.
If you don’t carry a lot of equipment while rucking, the G4Free won’t hinder your movement. It has a small capacity of about 7 liters only. As a result, the military rucksack weighs less than 14.1 ounces!
Despite being extremely lightweight, the backpack offers a great level of durability. It’s made of 600 denier polyester. While polyester isn’t the best material for larger backpacks, it’s great for smaller ones!
Even with the maximum load, the polyester can endure the support the weight easily. Additionally, G4Free stitched the bag carefully to extend its durability against cuts and tears.
Thanks to the high density of the fabric, the rucking backpack can resist water to a very decent level. This makes it an ideal choice if you’re taking the rucksack into a wet environment, such as rain forests.
The backpack also comes with dual zippers. This adds to its reliability and endurance. Moreover, all the buckles are highly durable for the maximum level of security while carrying the rucksack.
The rucking backpack has easily adjustable padded straps. These straps make it comfortable to carry in weighted long marches. Additionally, these padded straps are highly ventilating to avoid the formation of sweat spots where you wear them.
The military rucksack also supports the MOLLE system. This means that you can extend the 7-liter capacity of the backpack. You can attach pouches, compartments, and loop whenever you want
- Featherweight and comfortable to wear
- Comes at a Budget-friendly price
- Can extend its capacity thanks to the MOLLE system
- The single strap design puts all the load on one shoulder
Things to Look for While Buying a Military Rucksack
There are some aspects that you need to consider while buying a military rucksack. Let’s have a look at them.
The material of the backpack tells a lot about the backpack. Good materials offer the following:
- Extended durability
- Resistance against cuts and tears
- The price of the bag
- The maximum weight limit
On the other hand, polyester is affordable but it’s not ideal for large bags. The choice depends on your budget. However, oxford fabric offers excellent durability for a decent price!
If you’re going to nylon or polyester, make sure that you’re going for a 600 denier or higher.
This depends mainly on your requirements. If you’re going for a 3-day rucking trip, you need a rucksack of 30 liters or more. However, if you’re planning to go for a one-day trip, you can settle for a 7 to 15-liter bag.
To make sure that your backpack serves for a long time, you need to make sure that it has quality stitching.
Always opt for backpacks that have double stitching. These types offer the best resistance against strain and weight pressure.
MOLLE is short for Modular and Lightweight Loading Equipment. This system extends the storage space of backpacks by adding loops, pouches, and other compartments to the rucksack.
Smart buyers always look for MOLLE computability in their rucksacks. This feature gives you the ability to expand your bag beyond its maximum capacity.
Wrapping it Up
Throughout the years, military rucksacks have seen a lot of changes to become the absolute units they are today. This includes innovative designs that allow for extended storage. Also, there are new materials that provide extra durability.
For that reason, I pick REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Rucksack as the best military rucksack. It has everything you might need in a military-grade backpack. This includes the large space, the MOLLE compatibility, and the tough Oxford fabric.
However, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, you should go for G4Free Outdoor Military Rucksack. It’s durable, comfortable, and elegant.
This makes it ideal for anyone who doesn’t need a huge amount of space while rucking. However, you can extend its space using its MOLLE compatibility.