10 Best Rucking Backpacks for Hiking and Tactical Training [2024]

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Morgan’s Video of the Best Backpack for Rucking + Travel

I put this one to test on a trip to Budapest also. It’s hella sturdy.

I’ve done all the research so you don’t have to – let me walk you through my in-depth reviews of the top rucking backpacks on the market.

Quick Verdict: 3 Best Rucking Backpacks for Hiking and Mountaineering

Overall Best Performance
Kelty Tactical Strike 2300 Backpack 37.7L
9.5
  • Adjustable, padded, shoulder straps B.A.C.S.S. body armor compatible suspension system
  • Large shove-it pocket and main compartment drain holes
  • Adjustable suspension with LightBeamTM Aluminum stays and HDPE frame sheet
  • Removable rain cover is two tone; pack color and desert tan - Pack cover stows away in zippered pocket
  • Breathable backpanel and shoulder straps Padded removable waistbelt
Biggest Pack Most Volume
5.11 Tactical Military RUSH100 60L Deployment Backpack
8.8
  • TACTICAL – Heavy duty 500D Nylon
  • HIGHLY CUSTOMIZABLE – Dual removable side pouches, MOLLE compatible exterior
  • SUPERIOR STORAGE –  60L bag features a 270-degree zip main opening
  • COMFORT ON THE MOVE – The custom-made aluminum fiberglass frame. The adjustable shoulder straps and dual compression straps with Duraflex Autolock buckles keep your gear tight and secure.
Best on a Budget
HUNTVP Military MOLLE Backpack
6.9
  • 900D Nylon, High Abrasion Resistance, High Tear Resistant.
  • Size: 10.63" W x 16.93" H x 8.27" D
  • Capacity:20L
  • Headphone jack at the top of the bag

This review is targeted at people that want the best rucksack to improve their fitness and tolerance to the trail.

Let’s jump in!

🔥 Related Reading:
➡️ Rucking vs Weighted Vest Training


Table Best Rucking Backpacks

I’ve listed where to find them on amazon here, but you can also shop at REI and other stores.

Click on
to See Prices & Purchase
⭐️ Why is it good? 🔥
Buy ➡️ Mystery RanchOverall Best Performance Mid Size
Sandpiper Bugout BagBest Multipurpose
HuntVP Military MolleOverall Best Price
20L FHIOR TacticalBest Lightweight
Best by Type

Next Best Packs:


Not only is the Bugout Bag the best rucksack for rucking, it’s perfect for a travel bag that’s bigger than a carryon.

10 Best Rucking Backpacks

A rucking backpack is probably better than a weighted vest as those who want to carry heavier loads can challenge themselves with more strenuous hikes.

Whether you need something durable for long distance rucking or a lightweight option for cross-training, I’ll break down the pros and cons of the highest rated best rucking backpacks.

Tip: They also are exceptional for airline and train travel as they hold more than a carryon but it’s also a backpack.

1. HUNTVP Military MOLLE Backpack: Overall Best Cheap Ruck Pack

⭐️⭐️⭐️ RATING: 3.5/5 Stars | 𐄹 MAX VOLUME:  20 liter | âœ… Buy it!

HUNTVP Military MOLLE Backpack

If you’re looking for a durable and versatile backpack for your outdoor adventures, the HUNTVP Military MOLLE Backpack might be worth considering, especially if you don’t want to break the bank.

Pros

  • The 900D nylon material provides high abrasion and tear resistance, making it suitable for rugged outdoor use.
  • The backpack has a 20L capacity, which is enough to hold an iPad, A4 size books, or magazines.
  • The backpack has a Velcro area in front, allowing you to customize it with patches or badges.

Cons

  • The backpack might be too small for some users, so make sure to check the size before purchasing.
  • The straps might be a bit short for larger frames, which could make it uncomfortable to wear for extended periods.
  • The water bottle pockets are small, so they might not fit larger bottles.

The HUNTVP Military MOLLE Backpack is a great choice for those who need a compact and sturdy backpack for their outdoor activities. The 900D nylon material ensures that it can withstand rough use and the 20L capacity is enough for most essentials. The Velcro area in front also allows you to personalize the backpack with patches or badges.

The backpack’s small size might be a drawback for some users, so make sure to check the dimensions before purchasing. The straps might also be a bit short for larger frames, which could make it uncomfortable to wear for extended periods. Additionally, the water bottle pockets are small, so they might not fit larger bottles.


2. Sandpiper Bugout Bag: Best Multipurpose

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ RATING: 4.6/5 Stars | 𐄹 MAX VOLUME:  55 liter | âœ… Buy it!

Sandpiper of California Bugout Backpack Foliage Green

If you’re looking for a durable and spacious rucking backpack, the Sandpiper of California Bugout Bag is a great option.

Pros

  • The tuck away shoulder harness makes it easy to carry and store.
  • The aluminum back stays and compression straps provide added support and stability.
  • The padded waist belt and sternum strap help distribute weight evenly and reduce strain on your back.

Cons

  • The rugged abrasion-resistant exterior may be too heavy for some users.
  • The organizer panel can be difficult to access when the bag is fully packed.
  • The color may not be to everyone’s taste.

This backpack is perfect for those who need ample space for cargo. It’s carry-on friendly, but large enough to pack multiple days of clothing. The tuck away shoulder harness makes it easy to carry and store, while the aluminum back stays and compression straps provide added support and stability. The padded waist belt and sternum strap help distribute weight evenly and reduce strain on your back.

One downside to this backpack is that the rugged abrasion-resistant exterior may be too heavy for some users. Additionally, the organizer panel can be difficult to access when the bag is fully packed. Lastly, the foliage green color may not be to everyone’s taste.



3. Mystery Ranch 2 Day Backpack: Best Overall Performance Mid-Size

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ RATING: 4.9/5 Stars | 𐄹 MAX VOLUME:  27 liter | âœ… Buy it!

Mystery Ranch 2 Day Backpack

If you’re looking for the best of the best without being a budget shopper, the Mystery Ranch 2 Day Backpack is worth considering.

Pros

  • The backpack is designed for urban necessities, making it perfect for travel or everyday carry.
  • The signature 3-zip opening allows easy and rapid access to the pack’s main compartment contents.
  • The backpack has built-in internal organization, including a padded computer sleeve and two detailed zippered pockets.

Cons

  • The backpack has a capacity of only 27 liters, which may not be enough for longer trips.
  • The backpack is relatively heavy, weighing 1.5 kilograms.
  • The backpack is quite expensive compared to other similar backpacks.

The Mystery Ranch 2 Day Backpack is a 27-liter pack loaded with features for travel or everyday carry. It comes equipped with dual water bottle pockets, front compression straps, MOLLE webbing, and an adjustable harness. The backpack is built with the best materials available and the most durable construction methods that exist, ensuring that it will support your mission.

The backpack’s signature 3-zip opening is constructed for easy, rapid access to the pack’s main compartment contents, making it convenient for those who are always on the go. The backpack also has built-in internal organization with a padded computer sleeve, a separate divider for a tablet, and two detailed zippered pockets, making it perfect for everyday urban missions.

Despite its impressive features, the backpack has some downsides. It has a capacity of only 27 liters, which may not be enough for longer trips. Additionally, the backpack is relatively heavy, weighing 1.5 kilograms, which may be a concern for those who prefer lightweight backpacks.

Finally, the backpack is quite expensive compared to other similar backpacks, which may be a deterrent for budget-conscious buyers.



4. Qwakay Tactical Backpack : Best Durable Rucking Gear

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars | 𐄹 MAX VOLUME:  45 liter | âœ… Buy it!

Qwakay Tactical Backpack

If you’re looking for a durable and spacious rucking backpack, the Qwakay Tactical Backpack might be the right choice for you.

Pros

  • With a 45L capacity, this backpack is perfect for a 3-day trip or as a bug out bag.
  • The backpack has multiple compartments, including a dedicated laptop compartment, making it easy to organize your gear.
  • The molle system allows you to attach additional pouches or gear to the backpack.

Cons

  • The backpack is not intended for use by children 12 and under.
  • The backpack might not be the best choice for air travel.
  • Some users might find the backpack too heavy when fully loaded.

The Qwakay Tactical Backpack is made from 900D polyester material, which makes it durable and water-resistant. The backpack is double-stitched and reinforced at all stress points, ensuring that it can withstand heavy use. The backpack has padded shoulder straps and a mesh backing for comfort and ventilation during travel.

The backpack has a hidden back pocket for frequently-used items, and it opens flat to 180 degrees for easy packing and unpacking. The backpack has two front pockets for small items, two large compartments with built-in zippered pockets and mesh pockets for big and important supplies, and a dedicated laptop compartment (17”).

The molle system of the backpack is designed for convenient attachment of additional Molle tactical pouches or more gears. The backpack has molle attachment straps on the front, both sides, bottom, and shoulder straps. The shoulder straps have two D-rings to hang things, and the straps at the bottom can be used to hold a tent or sleeping pad or other outdoor gear.


5. FHIOR TACTICAL Backpack 40L : Best Heavy Duty Backpack

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ RATING: 4.3/5 Stars | 𐄹 MAX VOLUME:  40 liter | âœ… Buy it!

FHIOR TACTICAL Backpack 40L

If you’re a heavyweight and want a durable and versatile backpack for your outdoor activities, the FHIOR TACTICAL Backpack 40L might be worth considering.

Pros

  • The backpack is designed to be durable and versatile, making it suitable for various outdoor activities.
  • The Molle webbing system allows you to attach different types of gear, including pouches, flashlights, and tactical medical kits.
  • The hydration system compartment works great for a hydration bladder, so you can quench your thirst whenever you roam.

Cons

  • The design of the main compartment zipper might not be ideal for daily use, as it opens almost all the way and requires laying the bag down.
  • The bag might be too large for some users, as it has a capacity of 40 liters.
  • The backpack doesn’t come with a hydration bladder.

The FHIOR TACTICAL Backpack 40L is a great option for those who need a durable and versatile backpack for their outdoor activities. The backpack is designed to be tough and versatile, making it suitable for various environments. The Molle webbing system allows you to attach different types of gear, including pouches, flashlights, and tactical medical kits, making it a perfect direct action backpack, army assault backpack for hunting, camping, hiking, tactical, and outdoors.

The backpack has a hydration system compartment that works great for a hydration bladder, so you can quench your thirst whenever you roam. However, the backpack doesn’t come with a hydration bladder, so you’ll need to purchase it separately. The backpack is compact and suitable for both men and women, making it perfect for outdoor activities, crossfit, survival in the wild, camping, hiking, trekking, hunting, military exercises, and travel.

The design of the main compartment zipper might not be ideal for daily use, as it opens almost all the way and requires laying the bag down. Additionally, the bag might be too large for some users, as it has a capacity of 40 liters.



6. Oakley Urban Ruck Backpack : Best Style Backpack

⭐️⭐️⭐️ RATING: 3.5/5 Stars | 𐄹 MAX VOLUME:  29.5 liter | âœ… Buy it!

Oakley Urban Ruck Backpack

Another massive size for serious gains, the Oakley Urban Ruck Backpack is a great option.

Pros

  • The backpack is made of durable, water-resistant ripstop fabric that resists tears, abrasions, and scuffs.
  • The comfortable mesh shoulder straps distribute the load evenly, making it easy to carry heavy loads all day without pain.
  • The backpack features dedicated interior pockets for all your necessities, including a padded laptop sleeve, an innovative shoe pocket, and an exterior water bottle pocket.

Cons

  • The backpack may be too large for some people’s needs.
  • The zipper could be larger for easier access to the main compartment.
  • The backpack lacks organization options, with just open pouches.

The Oakley Urban Ruck Backpack is perfect for those who need to carry a lot of gear. Its durable ripstop fabric ensures that it can withstand tough expeditions, while its comfortable mesh shoulder straps make it easy on your shoulders. The backpack’s ample storage space and dedicated pockets make it easy to keep everything organized.

The backpack’s shoe pocket is a unique feature that separates footwear from the rest of your gear, keeping everything clean and organized. The backpack’s exterior water bottle pocket is also a great feature, making it easy to stay hydrated on the go.


7. FHIOR TACTICAL Backpack 20L : Best Affordable Rucking Backpack

⭐️⭐️⭐️ RATING: 3.7/5 Stars | 𐄹 MAX VOLUME:  20 liter | âœ… Buy it!

FHIOR TACTICAL Backpack 20L

Buy this one for a durable, yet small rucking backpack. The FHIOR TACTICAL Backpack 20L might be a great option for you.

Pros

  • The Molle Webbing System creates numerous attachment points for different types of gear.
  • The hydration compartment allows you to quench your thirst whenever you roam with a hydration bladder pocket.
  • The compact design makes it easy to organize your outdoor activities for maximum performance, comfort, safety, and convenience.

Cons

  • The main zipper likes to open up with bulk added to the main pocket.
  • The zippers may not be well-constructed.
  • There could be more places to stash small items.

This backpack is perfect for outdoor activities, crossfit, survival in the wild, camping, hiking, trekking, hunting, military exercises, and travel. It’s suitable as a daypack for men and women, laptop backpack, and police backpack.

The FHIOR TACTICAL Backpack 20L is designed in Scotland where rugged mountains and dense forests meet the hard-edged urban city. It’s constructed and checked to perform to the highest standards, so you can buy with confidence.

However, the manufacturer has you covered for 12 months should the product let you down due to manufacturer defects.


8. 5.11 Tactical Rush Backpack: Best Adventure Pack

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ RATING: 4.8/5 Stars | 𐄹 MAX VOLUME:  60 liter | âœ… Buy it!

5.11 Tactical Backpack

If you’re looking for a durable, tactical backpack for your outdoor adventures, the 5.11 Tactical Backpack is a great option.

Pros

  • The 5.11 Tactical Backpack is made from durable 1050D nylon and is water-resistant.
  • It features 16 individual inner and outer compartments, including a padded laptop compartment and a CCW Conceal Carry Weapon compartment.
  • The backpack is Molle compatible and features a wrap-around molle/5.11 slick stick web platform.

Cons

  • The backpack is on the heavier side, weighing in at 2.6 pounds.
  • The backpack’s design may not be suitable for everyday use.
  • The backpack is relatively expensive compared to other options on the market.

The 5.11 Tactical Backpack is a great choice for those who need a durable and versatile backpack for outdoor activities. The backpack’s numerous compartments and Molle compatibility make it ideal for military, patrol, and first responder use. However, the backpack’s weight and design may not be suitable for everyday use.


9. Best Performance: Kelty Tactical Strike 2300 Backpack

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ RATING: 4.8/5 Stars | 𐄹 MAX VOLUME:  37.7 liter | âœ… Buy it!

Kelty Tactical Strike 2300 Backpack

If you’re looking for a durable and reliable tactical pack, the Kelty Tactical Strike 2300 Backpack is a solid option.

Pros

  • The adjustable, padded shoulder straps and B.A.C.S.S. body armor compatible suspension system make for a comfortable fit.
  • The pack offers ample storage with a large shove-it pocket and main compartment drain holes.
  • The adjustable suspension system with LightBeamTM Aluminum stays and HDPE frame sheet allows for customizable support.

Cons

  • The removable rain cover is two-tone, which may not be to everyone’s taste.
  • The pack is on the heavier side, weighing in at 3.8 pounds.
  • The pack is only available in desert tan.

The Kelty Tactical Strike 2300 Backpack is designed and developed with NSWF operators in mind, making it a true tactical pack. The adjustable suspension system and multiple compartments make it versatile and customizable to your needs. The pack also comes with a removable rain cover that stows away in a zippered pocket.

The breathable backpanel and shoulder straps, along with the padded removable waistbelt, make for a comfortable fit during extended use. The pack also features a twin LightBeamTM aluminum stays and HDPE frame sheet for added support.



10. Best for Rucking Your Kids: Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Signature Series

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ RATING: 4.8/5 Stars | 𐄹 MAX VOLUME:  26 liter + kid | âœ… Buy it!

Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Signature Series Child Carrier Dark Shadow

If you’re in the market for a child carrier backpack that can hold your little one comfortably while you’re out rucking, the Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Signature Series Child Carrier Dark Shadow might be worth considering.

Pros

  • The Kelty PerfectFIT Suspension System is adjustable, making it easy to find a comfortable fit for both you and your partner.
  • With an integrated sunshade, you won’t have to worry about your child getting too much sun exposure while you’re out on the trail.
  • The 5-point safety harness and padded aluminum roll cage provide peace of mind and safety while trekking on any terrain.

Cons

  • At 7.13 pounds, it’s not the lightest child carrier backpack on the market.
  • Some users have reported difficulty adjusting the seat height for their child.
  • The lack of side entry may make it harder to get your child in and out of the carrier as they get older.

The Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Signature Series Child Carrier Dark Shadow is a reliable and safe option for those who enjoy hiking with their little ones. The adjustable suspension system ensures that both you and your partner can comfortably carry the load, while the sunshade and safety harness provide added protection for your child.

The backpack also features a wide seat base and adjustable foot stirrups, which mirror your child’s natural rest state and help keep them comfortable during longer hikes. Additionally, multiple grab handles make it easy to lift, shift, and set down the carrier as needed.

While the carrier is on the heavier side, it’s worth noting that it also comes with plenty of storage options, including a large zippered pocket and internal stretch pockets for extra layers, toys, and other essentials. Zippered hip belt pockets also provide easy access to water, snacks, and your phone.



Buying Guide

rucking backpack by fire

When shopping for a rucking backpack, there are several key factors to consider to ensure you get the best product for your needs.

When looking for the best rucking backpack, there are a few key factors to consider.

➡️ The first is size – you want a backpack that is large enough to carry all of your gear but not so large that it becomes cumbersome.

➡️The second is durability – you want a backpack that is made from high-quality materials and can withstand the wear and tear of regular use.

➡️ Finally, you want a backpack that is comfortable to wear – look for features like padded straps and a breathable back panel.

After researching and testing various rucking backpacks, we have identified the top options on the market. Whether you’re a serious hiker training to avoid plantar fasciitis, foot pain or just looking for an outdoor workout, these backpacks will meet your needs and exceed your expectations.

Also think about why you ruck?

Are Rucking Backpacks Worth it?

Not everyone needs a rucking pack. But they are good for 👎🏻

  • 🥾 Mountaineers, Trekkers, Hikers
  • 🚴‍♀️ Multi-sport Athletes
  • 🌏 Group Leaders
  • 💗 Outdoor Fitness Enthusiasts

Final Verdict: Best Performance Overall

Overall Best Performance
Kelty Tactical Strike 2300 Backpack
9.5

Based on my personal experience as a hiker, prior Navy and physical therapist, the Kelty 2300 Tactical backpack is the overall best rucking backpack.


Here are the top 4 things to keep in mind:

1. Capacity

The first thing to consider when choosing a rucking backpack is its capacity. The size you need will depend on what you plan to carry in it. If you’re just using it for day trips, a smaller backpack with a capacity of 20-30 liters should suffice. However, if you plan to use it for longer trips or to carry heavier items, you’ll want a larger backpack with a capacity of 50-80 liters.

2. Material

The material of the backpack is another important factor to consider. Look for a backpack made of durable materials that can withstand wear and tear. Nylon and polyester are popular choices, but make sure the material is also water-resistant or waterproof to protect your gear in case of rain.

3. Comfort

A rucking backpack should be comfortable to wear, especially if you plan to use it for long periods. Look for backpacks with padded shoulder straps, a padded back panel, and a sternum strap to distribute the weight evenly and reduce strain on your back and shoulders.

4. Features

Lastly, consider the features that the backpack offers. Look for backpacks with multiple compartments and pockets for organization, as well as MOLLE webbing for attaching additional gear. Some backpacks also have hydration bladder compatibility, which is a great feature for staying hydrated on long hikes.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key features to look for in a rucking backpack?

When selecting a rucking backpack, you’ll want to look for a few key features. First, the backpack should be durable and able to withstand heavy loads. Look for backpacks made from high-quality materials such as nylon or polyester.

Additionally, the backpack should have a comfortable and adjustable harness system to distribute the weight evenly across your shoulders and back. Finally, look for a backpack with multiple compartments and pockets to organize your gear.

How much weight can a rucking backpack typically hold?

The weight capacity of a rucking backpack can vary depending on the specific model. However, most rucking backpacks can hold anywhere from 30 to 60 pounds of weight.

What is the difference between a rucking backpack and a weighted vest?

A rucking backpack is a backpack designed specifically for carrying weight while walking or hiking. A weighted vest, on the other hand, is a vest that you wear on your body to add resistance to your workouts. While both can be used to increase the intensity of your workouts, they are designed for different purposes.

Can any backpack be used for rucking or do I need a special one?

While any backpack can technically be used for rucking, it’s recommended to use a backpack specifically designed for rucking. Rucking backpacks are designed to distribute weight evenly and comfortably across your body, making them a better choice than a standard backpack.

What are some of the best rucking backpacks available on Amazon?

Some of the best rucking backpacks available on Amazon include the Oakley Urban Ruck Backpack, the 5.11 Tactical RUSH72, and the Mystery Ranch 3-Day Assault Pack.

Is the Kelty Redwing a good choice for rucking?

While the Kelty Redwing is a popular backpack, it may not be the best choice for rucking. The backpack is not specifically designed for rucking and may not distribute weight as evenly or comfortably as a backpack designed for rucking.



Why Trust?

woman hiking

At Crave the Planet, I’m all about honest and relatable reviews of outdoor products. As a physical therapist, hut to hut hiker, downhill skier and mom, I’m constantly trying new gear to make my outdoor experiences more comfy and fun but with science in mind.

I’ll be real with you, I don’t do every outdoor activity. But, who does? I’m just a regular person who loves exploring the planet. Perfectionism is my enemy and I hope to help you ditch that vibe too.

My review process involves testing each product in real-life outdoor situations, but if it’s a really horrible day I’ll probably find a hotel in the valley. I’ll let you know what worked for me and what didn’t, so you can make informed decisions about your gear choices.

I don’t do sponsored reviews or take payment for my reviews. All comments are based on my personal experience. Sometimes I’ll test something and then send it back for a refund. Usually there’s a hefty fee. Bummer. So, if you’re looking for a relatable and honest take on outdoor gear, you’re in the right place.

I hope you enjoyed this review of the best rucking backpacks and you’ve got the information you need to get training.

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Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.