The tactical bag and backpack industry has exploded. There are dozens of companies out there producing hundreds of bags. How exactly do you find a quality model? Well that’s easy, read our guide. We’ve gathered 4 Backpacks and 4 general bags that are purpose built tactical bags. Our 8 picks come from a place of experience, and are bags designed to last, to function, and to kick ass.
The Vertx Commuter is my absolute favorite tactical sling bag. For me, it fits all the bills perfectly. It’s big enough to carry almost anything I’d need for a wide variety of situations. From a laptop, some water, and admin supplies to an AR-15 pistol and a fighting load. The bag is brilliantly built and designed to put function over everything else.
The bag has four total pockets. The smallest front pocket is a hidden pocket that is concealed very well. In fact, it took me way too long to notice it when I first started carrying the bag. This pocket is outfitted with MOLLE straps and hook and loop material. It’s perfect for a small improvised med kit.
The next two pockets are more significant and outfitted with a variety of different pouches, small and large. The inside of these pockets is equipped with hook and loop material to add extra organizational pouches. Vertx also sells an adaptable MOLE panel that hooks to the inside of the bag and attaches with ease to the material. This extends your ability to add pouches significantly.
The final largest pouch is empty of any pouches but coated in the same material. This pouch is large enough to fit an AR pistol broken down into its respective upper and lower assemblies. You can also squeeze in guns like the Kel-Tec SUB 2K in its folded configuration. There is a small compartment in this large back pocket that allows you to add a thin soft armor plate with ease. This plate would be completely hidden and invisible to the eye.
The Commuter is outfitted with a very wide strap that’s padded to hold a heavy load comfortably. The outside of the pack is sanitized. What I mean is that it doesn’t have a tactical appearance. It’s rather plain and simple. The Commuter is about as big a sling bag as I would go, and it is my primary EDC bag.
Tactical Tailor Concealed Carry Bag
If the Vertx Commuter is a little too big for you, the Tactical Tailor Concealed carry bag may be more your ticket. This bag is much smaller, but still offers a good amount of space. Tactical Tailor is another very well reputed company that builds some fantastic gear. With the Concealed Carry sling bag, you get three pockets, two overt and one covert.
The covert pouch is hidden in the very back of the bag and is small, and accessed by two small zippers. The inside of the bag comes with a universal holster that makes it easy to stash a handgun in the bag. Finding the pouch is a challenge, and it’s basically invisible to the naked eye. You may wonder exactly how you’d get to this pouch, but don’t fret too much. The bag is easy to pull across the body from your back to your front, and when done, you have immediate access to the cover pouch.
The overt external pouches are more significant than they look. The small front pouch has an internal organizer that’s perfect for attaching magazines, or medical gear like tourniquets. The organizer is removable and behind it is a wall of loop material.
The main pouch has its own wall of loop material as well. This main pouch is open and deeper than the commuter. It’s easy to fit a variety of gear inside the pack, including larger guns like the folded Kel Tec SUB 2K. As you can see, I can even fit my KPOS Pathfinder with the brace folded in the bag.
This bag has an oversized strap that helps comfortably distribute the weight. The back of the pack is exceptionally padded as well, this keeps the gun on the inside from hitting your back, which makes it extremely comfortable, and you’ll never feel the gun poke or prod you.
Blue Force Gear Jedburgh Pack
When it comes to backpacks, it’s hard to find one in the tactical realm that’s somewhat medium sized. Large packs with tons of pockets are abundant and serve a purpose. However, a smaller, more straightforward pack can be a bit trickier. The Blue Force Gear Jedburgh pack is perfect for a simpler carry. It’s not a hiking pack for extended periods. It’s much better suited as a daypack.
The Jedburgh gets its name from World War 2 commandos that worked deep behind enemy lines and often traveled light. The Jedburgh pack is worthy of its name. The Jedburgh is split into only two pockets, the main and the smaller forward pouch. The smaller pouch is perfect for the little things in life, and you can easily store the right amount of gear here. This includes admin gear, hygiene gear, or magazines and handguns.
The main pouch in the back can carry all your daily needs, from laptops and textbooks to SMGs and plate carriers. The inside of both pouches is outfitted with loop lining for use with hook and loop pouches. Blue Force Gear also offers dapper pouches, that allow you to organize the pack into several categories. The pouches are easy to remove for quick and easy access to your gear.
The outside of the bag features a small section of MOLLE webbing that’s laser cut and low profile in nature. The bag is made from Cordura with a bit of ULTRAcomp intertwined where necessary. This makes the it lightweight, but durable and even water resistant.
This backpack lacks the pizazz of most tactical packs, but it’s perfect for the urban jungle. It fits in almost anywhere and is well suited from both school and the battlefield. Blue Force Gear makes some of the most robust gear on the planet, and the Jedburgh pack is a perfect example of the quality they use in their products.
- INVISTA Solution Dyed CORDURA fabric
- MOLLE compatible MOLLEminus field
- ULTRAcompTM high performance laminate
Blackhawk Diversion Gym Bag
If discretion is the better part of valor, then Blackhawk has a bag for you. While most of these bags hide their intentions well and are covert, the Blackhawk Diversion bag takes it a step further. It’s not a mysterious bag, its a boring one…but I mean that in the best way possible.
The Diversion bag looks like a gym bag, but it does a bit more than your typical gym bag. This bag is made to carry guns, preferably large firearms. The Diversion bag packs a pretty big punch.
Inside the bag is a padded divider that turns the Diversion gym bag into a dedicated gun bag. The divider separates two long guns, or a full sized AR-15 (split into two pieces) with ease. This keeps the kit organized and prevents the weapons from bumping into each other avoiding scratches or any other kind of damage. The Diversion Gym Bag is a large bag, much larger than most of these bags.
It does accommodate AR and AK pistols with ease, as well as short shotguns, bullpup rifles, and SMG sized weapons in general. The bag is very plain and does look like a gym bag. It can fit a full fighting loading, including a chest rig, a small plate carrier and a gun of course. The Blackhawk Diversion Gym Bag has two side pockets for small gear, and these small pockets actually allow access to the central part of the bag.
There are little things that set this bag apart, and you’d have to have a trained eye to spot them. One of them is the nice, thick strap with a heavy pad for total comfort when carried. This helps you support the heavy weight of a rifle and fighting loads, or of multiple guns. The bag itself is reliable and robust. It can take a beating and just keep on coming.
- Constructed of 420 Velocity Nylon
- Two end pockets with hidden handgun compartments
- Large main compartment with adjustable dividers
Tactical Tailor Bantam Backpack
You are going to see the same companies on here more than once. It’s just the nature of the best. The best gear is made by mostly the same companies over and over. The last one we played with was a slingback, but this is a dedicated concealed carry backpack. I will say right off the bat this is a tiny backpack. Smaller than average so its quite low profile. The Tactical Tailor Bantam backpack is named after a little chicken with a big attitude. This is an appropriate name.
The Bantam packs a hidden punch though. Like the Concealed Carry sling bag, it features a very similar hidden pocket that allows you easily conceal a handgun well out of plain sight. This pocket allows you to stash a full sized pistol without much difficulty. The hidden pocket is easily accessed by a set of ambidextrous zippers. The pouch is also well padded both inside and out. This keeps you from feeling any hidden guns while wearing the backpack as well as protecting the weapon inside the pack.
The Bantam has two additional pockets, one large and one small. The small one is outfitted with a panel of loop material as well as an internal mesh pocket. The main pocket has two walls of loop material. The insides of the pack are very easy to organize, and you can fit a wide variety of gear in the bag in an organized fashion.
The outside of the Bantam is also covert, and it looks like a pack I’d buy at REI, not a bag I’d carry a Glock in. The outside offers two mesh pockets for water bottles and other similar gear. The straps are small, but comfortable, and do feature a sternum strap. The Bantam is a handy little pack and it’s one that can go almost anywhere at any time.
- The Bantam pack was created as a lightweight smaller alternative for times when you just don't need a full size tactical backpack
- The inside of the main compartment is fully lined with soft loop material for attaching hook and loop Backed pouches
- The secondary compartment features loop material as well as a zippered mesh organization compartment
Red Rock Outdoors Defender
If you want an affordable backpack that is packed with quality features, then the Red Rock Defender is for you. Red Rock is well known for producing quality gear at a low price, and the Defender is no different. Now from the get-go, the Defender doesn’t try to hide its purpose. It’s a survival and tactical backpack designed for non-permissive environments. The outside is covered with laser cut MOLLE webbing that will accommodate a wide variety of different gear.
The pack is divided into three different pockets. One small front pockets, and two moderate sized pouches. The first pouch is tall and wide but thin. The second is divided into several sections with over a dozen small admin pockets to sort out your gear. This makes organization a snap. On the opposite side of this pouch is a couple of mesh pockets for storing equipment. The main pouch has a wall of loop material as well as a pouch to contain a hydration pack. The hose from the hydration pack can be run through the top of the bag allowing to be used efficiently while wearing it.
The Red Rock Outdoors Defender pack, is very comfortable to wear, even over extended periods of time. It’s a great bag for hiking since the thickly padded straps and thick back pads are an excellent touch for those extended trips through nature. This is a magnificent outdoors pack and one that’s well designed for the role. It’s perfect for training ops, deployments, and camping in the backyard.
The Defender pack is well designed, and durable as well. The 600D polyester construction makes it water resistant as well as gives it the ability to dry quite fast. It’s an excellent all-around pack that’s modular, easy to organize and comfortable to wear.
- 22 liters of total storage
- 600D polyester construction
- Quick-release buckles on main straps and sternum strap
Elite Survival Systems Covert Operations Bag
Sometimes you need to hide an SMG sized weapon in a laptop case. Why? Hey man, I’m not here to judge you.
Sometimes it’s more comfortable to be low profile, and if you are dedicated to concealed carry, you know what concealed means. The Elite Survival Systems Covert Operations bag comes in a wide variety of sizes, although the smallest model is the one I’m highlighting. It’s clearly the most covert and allows you to comfortably carry a weapon the size of an MP5 with a collapsing or folding stock.
I like to keep my KPOS Gen 2 with a Glock 17 equipped with the folding brace. The bag itself sports two internal sets of straps that allows you to secure a weapon in the bag. You can secure a solid weapon or a broken down AR pistol. The bag also sports a padded divider to keep your guns protected. On the opposite side of the bag is a section of loop paneling and a magazine pouch that can accommodate three SMG magazines. It works perfectly for Glock magazines as well.
What’s handy is that this magazine pouch is easy to detach and when combined with the covert bags detachable strap you have a very handy bandoleer. The Elite Survival Systems Covert bag is wholly sanitized on the outside and rocks barely any identifying features. You do have a large front pocket that fits a med kit, a small armor panel, more magazines, or really anything else you want.
- 1000 denier nylon construction with wrap around handles, full length, heavy-duty zippers and hardware
- Padded exterior accessory pocket
- Padded with removable 3/8 inch closed cell foam and adjustable weapon tie downs
If you want to go a little bigger than the Vertx Commuter we have the Vertx Gamut. The Gamut packs 5 liters more storage capacity than the Commuter and is a backpack instead of a sling bag. The Gamut is best described as low profile when it comes to backpack design. It doesn’t come with any telltale signs of it’s hidden tactical nature and looks like something Oakley would design for skateboarders, and not like the modern tactical bag it is. However, when push comes to shove this bag performs.
The inside of the Gamut features a generous amount of loop material for interior organization and pouches of all kinds. The Gamut is a nice sized pack, and it grants you plenty of room for a wide variety of EDC gear. This includes laptops, admin gear, a set of gym clothes, soft armor, extra magazines a chest rig, and even a big handgun or small PDW. You know all the usual stuff.
Like the Commuter the Gamut rocks a small hidden pouch up front with a section of webbing ready for mounting additional small pouches. The rear of the pack has a semi-hidden pouch that sports more than enough room for a full sized handgun with light and red dot sight, as well as plenty of spare magazines. The main pouch has a laptop compartment and a small number of preset admin pouches for easy organization.
The Vertx Gamut is exceptionally well built and designed to last after years and years of use. It is a bag made to last and to last in the worst places in the world. As an EDC, concealed carry, or emergency bug out bag the Vertx Gamut is hard to beat.
- Size of bag - 22"H x 14"W x 7"D, Maximum capacity 28 liters, Sized to fit a 15" laptop in addition to a full sized hand-gun
- Front of pack opens completely for mass accessibility, Insert compatible reinforced internal pocket
- Full fold, loop lined concealment draw frame enables quick access to arms and opens flat for customized organization, Dual-sized pockets feature additional storage capacity and cinch-down side pockets with elasticized straps
In the End
So these are the 8 bags I love and trust on a personal level. These bags work and stay in my rotation for a reason. I want to turn it over to our readers though. What are a few bags we missed? What works? What doesn’t?
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