Gear, Parts and Accessories

The Best Backpacks for Everyday Carry and Bugging Out

The medical tactical trauma kit works well as is or as a stand-alone backpack.

As someone who used to travel half way around the world twice a year, I know how onerous a task it can be picking a pack. The wrong size or shoddy construction can spell disaster with a capital D if your pack does not stand up to its intended purpose. Bags come in all different shapes and sizes; you have simple two-pocket backpacks, large duffel bags, load-bearing tactical backpacks, and messenger-style shoulder bags. They aren’t created equal either. Your Jansport backpack from high school won’t work for a hiking trip in the Rockies. Whether you are picking a bag for your bug-out gear, a weekend camping trip or for every day carry—you must consider size, shape and capacity. You’re bound to find one that fits your needs from everyday carry to a weekender from CheaperThanDirt.com’s five top selling backpacks.

Everyday Carry

For an everyday carry pack, size is the most important. If you work in an office or remotely, you will want a pack that protects and holds your laptop, folders, a notebook, pens, and other office supplies along with your various personal items. Unless you are in school, carrying it comfortably for extended periods is not as important as if you were hiking, traveling or backpacking. A backpack that measures 18-inches tall will hold your 15-inch or 17-inch laptop and both letter and legal size papers, notebooks and folders. The Drago Tracker backpack, ModGear sling bag, and Medical Trauma Kit backpack all measure 18-inches tall. All three have features that make them comfortable to carry, with a variety of pockets and pouches to organize all your gear.

Drago Tracker Backpack

The most affordable of the packs is the Drago Tracker backpack. It measures 18 inches by 11 inches by 11 inches with four main compartments. The adjustable shoulder straps are padded and curved for maximum ergonomics. A padded back panel adds some cush while you carry it. A quick-release simple waist strap helps stabilize and evenly distribute the weight. Inside each compartment are different sized nylon and mesh pockets that hold knives, pens, your cell phone, a calculator, handgun magazines, and various other items. With plenty of webbing and a pouch for your hydration pack, the Drago Tracker backpack is an excellent choice for an every day carrier or overnighter.

Specifications and Features

  • 4 main storage areas
  • Back- relief panel
  • Internal organization system
  • Reinforced Velcro webbing
  • Heavy-duty non-rust zippers
  • Hydration-pack compatible
  • Made of 600D Polyester
  • Dimensions: 18″x11″x11″
  • Black

Medical Tactical Trauma Kit

Packed to the brim with almost everything you need in an emergency medical situation, the medical tactical trauma kit works well as is or as a stand-alone backpack. This bag has three main compartments and two smaller zippered pockets on the front. Covered in soft material, the shoulder straps are wide and adjustable. Like Drago’s Tracker backpack, the tactical trauma kit has a simple, quick release waist strap. MOLLE webbing and Velcro cover the backpack. The large main compartment has full-length zippers, enabling you to lay the backpack out flat to access your gear. Designed to hold first aid gear, different sized internal mesh and nylon pockets keep everything organized. A sewn-in web handle at the top of the bag makes it easy to grab and go. Keep it as a first aid kit or use it for every day. If you remove the first aid supplies, this backpack will work as a bug out bag packed with just the essentials for an overnight trip. It includes over 230 first aid items.

Specifications and Features

  • Level III Assault backpack
  • Five main compartments
  • Mesh back
  • Hydration-pack compatible
  • PALS webbing
  • Contoured, adjustable shoulder straps
  • Dimensions: 18”x10”x11”
  • Army digital camo
  • Filled with 230 first aid items

ModGear Sling Bag

My preferred bag is the ModGear sling bag. The sling bag has one padded shoulder strap that sits crossways around your back and has two quick release buckles to secure the strap around your chest. It has MOLLE webbing around the front and side and a 4 by 6-inche Velcro area for patches. It has three main compartments with different sized nylon, mesh and zippered internal pockets in each main compartment. A concealed zippered side pocket will hold a full-sized handgun. The slightly padded largest compartment protects a laptop or other sensitive gear. For added security, there is an adjustable strap with a quick-release plastic buckle to tighten it down. A convenient Velcro web handle at the top of the bag makes it easy to grab quickly. For school or every day carry, this bag holds everything. Personally, because I’m not a light packer, I wouldn’t carry it for the weekend, but it does just fine as an overnighter.

Specifications and Features

  • Specifications and features
  • 3 main storage compartments
  • Padded, mesh back panel
  • Internal organization system
  • PALS webbing
  • Hydration-pack compatible
  • Ambidextrous padded shoulder strap
  • Dimensions: 18”x13”x7”
  • OD Green

Three-Day Packs

For hiking, camping, backpacking, bugging out or for field/duty use, you need a pack that holds all your gear and that is comfortable to wear for extended periods. You want a pack with padded, ergonomic shoulder straps, plenty of adjustments to fit different size torsos, and a supportive waist belt that evenly distributes the load’s weight. Close to the same dimensions and features are the Drago Gear Assault and the ModGear Combat backpacks—both designed as three-day packs. These bags work perfectly for field or duty use or as bug-out bags. Specifically sized pockets hold high-capacity rifle magazines and other weapons gear.

Drago Assault Backpack

Drago’s Assault backpack has padded, slightly curved, adjustable shoulder straps, as well as a padded and adjustable waist strap. Measuring 20 inches by 15 inches by 13 inches there is plenty of room for all your equipment. For communicating, the Drago Assault backpack has three Velcro antennae ports and is hydration-pack compatible. The specially designed back support is comfortable when carrying the pack for an extended amount of time. MOLLE webbing surrounds the front and sides of the backpack if you need additional gear pouches. A sure-grip rubberized handle sits at the top of the bag for a quick grab and go option.

Specifications and Features

  • 3 Velcro antennae ports for communication equipment
  • Premium back- relief panel
  • Internal organization system
  • Hydration-pack compatible
  • Made of 600D Polyester
  • Dimensions: 20″x15″x13″
  • OD Green

ModGear Combat Backpack

The slightly larger ModGear Combat backpack measures 20 inches by 19 inches by 12 inches and has various pockets and pouches for tools, weapon accessories, survival gear and personal items. The shoulder straps are adjustable, padded and curved, while an extra padded lower back panel makes the combat backpack ultra comfortable. There are two additional padded areas on the back. It is hydration bladder-compatible with a covered Velcro loop for the drinking tube. Internal pockets include mesh, nylon and zippered compartments of varying sizes. The front of the backpack has MOLLE webbing and there are two additional smaller pockets on either side of the pack. The middle compartment is full of extras; bungee cords to tighten down and secure gear, a sewn-in gear clip, a Velcro panel, and pen and small tool pockets. The main compartment has four straps with quick-release buckles to secure a laptop or other important equipment. A web handle is on top of the combat backpack. In my opinion, the combat backpack fits taller people better. My torso measures 19 inches and is considered small. I had to make quite a few adjustments for the backpack to fit flat in a comfortable position on my back. However, it makes the perfect bug-out pack as it holds all your essential survival gear for three days.

Specifications and Features

  • 3 main storage compartments
  • Padded backrest
  • Padded lumbar support
  • Internal organization system
  • Hydration-pack compatible
  • Made of 1000 Denier nylon
  • PALS webbing
  • Self-healing zippers
  • Antenna port
  • Top carry handle
  • Adjustable waist support
  • Dimensions: 20”x19”x12”
  • OD Green

 Backpack Specifications Comparison Chart

Drago Tracker Drago Assault ModGear Ultimate Combat ModGear Sling Bag Medical Tactical Trauma Kit
Price $38.29 $47.42 $69.97 $52.97 169.97
Color OD Green OD Green OD Green OD Green ACU Pattern
Material 600D Polyester 600D Polyester 1000D Nylon Nylon Nylon
Size 18”x11”x11” 20”x15”x13” 20”x19”x12” 18”x13”x7” 18”x10”x11”
Contents None None None None 230 First Aid Items
Shoulder Straps Padded, Adjustable Padded, Adjustable Padded, Adjustable Single, Padded, Adjustable Padded, Adjustable

 

What makes the perfect bag for you? Tell us about it in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (12)

  1. I use the 5.11 12hr pack in black for my everyday. I love it. When my wife uses my multicam 5.11 12hr pack everyone wants it and asks her where she got it.

  2. as a climber, backpacker, and rigger in the entertainment industry, i am used to seeing packs and (most) duffles defined by their volume, not their outside dimensions. the dimensions given do not necessarily factor directly to volume– do your manufacturers provide volume measurements? this is a really common reference for pack size, and is easily translated between english and metric; one litre equals 61 cubic inches. i think most folks in the recreational outdoor community translate pack volume into roughly how long they can stay out. as an example, 41 litres or 2500 cubic inches can accommodate enough crap to see me through three days or so if the S has not HTF, and i strap the sleeping bag on the outside of the pack (gotta leave room for the bourbon inside the pack). if i have to carry guns and ammo, and other SHTF gear, three days just went to 4500 cubic inches (partly because when THAT happens, three days could easily turn into six months– and six months means a lot of bourbon).

  3. I’ve been carrying the Drago Tracker to work for a few months. Really like it. I carry my laptop back and forth and it protects it pretty well. I have traveled a couple of times with it and it has served very well. On those trips I carried my laptop and iPad. I picked up a few molle pouches to add a little more capacity and organization. I had a Swiss laptop backpack previously; carried it for about 6 years. It was a great pack, but was wearing out and I wanted to try something a little smaller.

  4. I’ve been looking for a small bag for EDC (Every Day Carry). I still have my large frame rucksack from the Airborne Infantry that I use for camping or survival. I also have a camouflage gym bag packed with some food, clothing and ammo in event of Bug Out. I need something smaller, with compartments, mainly for my EDC handgun and a few urban survival supplies. Maxpedition bags look great, but I’m not paying over a hundred bucks. Right now, I’m using a military map/photo case (we called them “fag bags”). It is stretched to the limit. Do you have anything roughly 12x12x6?

  5. You should really include customer reviews in your recommendations. The ModGear Ultimate Combat looks great, but if you read the customer reviews, it’s junk. Maybe if they learned to build a better quality pack…

  6. Seriously CD, Drago and Modgear are your top picks???
    Cheap Chinese made gear, that few self respecting professionals would beat their lives on. And that’s exactly the purpose of a BOB, not a day playing Airsoft.

  7. Elberstock Gunslinger II not mentioned either. Come on…One of the best packs rated anywhere, even Amazon it is 5 stars. Also surprised Maxpedition is off the list…

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