Best 14 Backpacks for Rucking Reviewed

The best rucksacks for rucking and ruck marching are:

1.MT Military ALICE Rucksack with Frame
2.US Military Molle II Large Rucksack
3.US Military Molle II Medium Rucksack
4.5.11 Tactical RUSH 72 Military Backpack
5.5.11 Tactical RUSH 24 Military Backpack
6.5.11 Tactical RUSH 12 Military Backpack
7.Molle II (ACU) Large Rucksack
8.Molle II (ACU) Large Rucksack
9.Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical Backpack
10.Eagle FILBE Coyote Brown Rucksack
11.Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack
12.Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack
13.ALICE Pack Military Surplus Army Survival Pack
14.US Military Surplus Molle II Standard Pack

1. MT Military ALICE Rucksack with Frame

LightweightWould be more comfortable with thicker shoulder pads
Large Capacity
Strong Material
Water Resistant
Used by US Military Corps & some US Army National Guard

The ALICE rucksack is one of the most recognizable military packs out there. It was issued to US soldiers for many decades. It is made of high-density polyester that is thick enough to repel water. The double layers and stitching make it a great choice for rucking in wet weather.

This rucksack has one interior compartment, two side pockets and three front sections. There’s plenty of room to carry ruck weights and supplies. One of our favorite features is the handy drop clasp. It takes less than a second to unfasten the clasp and drop the rucksack to the ground. Great for an emergency.

If you’re interested, check it out on Amazon (link to Amazon).

2. US Military Molle II Large Rucksack

Spacious (4000 cubic inch capacity)May be too big for everyday non-military users
Lots of Additional Features (pouches, hip belts, straps etc)
Great for Military personnel

The MOLLE II is the newest iteration of the ALICE pack. It is now used by US soldiers in place of the older rucksack. It has a flex frame that bends beneath its own weight to increase load bearing comfort for the wearer. This feature increases the users’ range of motion by enabling them to twist their chest and torso, as opposed to moving their entire body when they want to turn with the rucksack on their back.

The MOLLE II comes with a large capacity sleep system for carrying sleeping bags, air mattresses or other overnight equipment. We liked this particular feature because, it makes it useful for other outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and more.

If you’re interested, check it out on Amazon (link to Amazon)

3. US Military Molle II Medium Rucksack

Durability (Made from 1,000D Nylon)Not the lightest rucksack on the list.
Water Resistant
Quick Release Buckle
Great for Military personnel
Hydration Tube Exit Holes

This rucksack is comfortable to wear because of the adjustable shoulder and sternum straps.

The nylon webbing on both sides of the rucksack is very useful. We love the tough oversized zippers on the MOLLE II. There’s nothing more annoying than breaking a zipper while rucking. The ‘alligator’ teeth on these zips are extremely durable.

If you’re interested, here’s a link to Amazon.

4. 5.11 Tactical RUSH 72 Military Backpack

Large storage capacityNot Military Compliant
Water Repellant
Durable (made from 1,000D Nylon)
Internal dividers in compartments to keep your belongings organized
Can also be used for other outdoor activities

The Rush 72 is the largest in the Rush range of military style rucksacks. It is designed to allow you to pack for a three day journey. Firstly, we’ve got to mention the superb fleece lined pouch on the rucksack’s interior. It’s an uncommon and very useful feature.

The compartments and pockets are well designed, it even has a soft pouch for your smartphone. While it isn’t as lightweight as the other rival rucksacks, there’s actually a mini pack that detaches from the larger unit to bring down the weight. It’s also great for outdoor activities other than rucking.

Here’s a link to Amazon if you’re interested.

5. 5.11 Tactical RUSH 24 Military Backpack

Spacious storage capacityNo Hip Belt
Water Repellant
29 Compartments
Can also be used for other outdoor activities

It’s made out of 1050D nylon with PUx2 for super water resistance. The use of such high quality materials makes it very strong, highly waterproof and resistant to all kinds of wear and tear. The stitching is impeccable and, after throwing this rucksack around for a few hours, we didnt see a single scuff or frayed edge.

Here’s a link to Amazon if you’re interested.

6. 5.11 Tactical RUSH 12 Military Backpack

Minimal straps for clean, tidy aestheticSmaller Storage Capacity than the RUSH 72 & Rush 24
Water Resistant
16 Compartments
Durable Material & Zippers

What we love about the Tactical Rush 12 Backpack is its versatility. This neat little rucksack is compact enough to be used for everyday functions, like carrying school or work essentials. Yet, it’s also durable enough for prolonged, intensive rucks. The body of the rucksack is made from 1050D nylon so you can trust it on extended rucks.

The long zipper on the main compartment is a useful addition. It opens the rucksack all the way to the base at the back. The well padded shoulder straps focus on comfort. The straps are widely spaced to distribute weight evenly and make heavier loads more tolerable.

Check it out on Amazon (link to Amazon) if you’re interested.

7. Molle II (ACU) Large Rucksack

Official US Military IssueFrame Not Included
Great Storage Capacity (3000 Cubic Inches)
Can Carry up to 60 lbs of weight

This MOLLE pack has undergone rigorous combat testing and assault training. It’s got a semi rigid frame to allow for flexible movement and integrated compression straps for even weight distribution.

This MOLLE is a reliable three day assault style pack that’s ideal for rucking, camping, hiking and other outdoor pursuits. 

If you’re interested, here’s a link to Amazon

8. Molle II (ACU) Large Rucksack

Made from US Government ManufacturerFrame Not Included
Poly stiffener fully functional.
Water Resistant

If you want the authentic military ruck experience, you need a genuine US military surplus rucksack. These rucksacks are real military leftovers. This MOLLE pack has undergone rigorous combat testing and assault training.

Check it out on Amazon (link to Amazon) if you’re interested.

9. Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical Backpack

The Dragon Egg Tactical Backpack is smaller than some of the rucksacks on our list and it weighs 3lbs, yet, it packs like a much larger rucksack. The volume of the storage capacity is 1520 cubic inches (thats more than enough for a casual ruck). The egg shaped shell – broad bottom, thinner top – is filled with loops, pockets and hooks for extra gear.

It’s also worth mentioning the Dragon Egg’s superior load positioning and distribution. The adjustable cinch straps are a delight. They provide a smooth, snag free cinch in seconds to pull the load tight against your back. It’s great for weight distribution.

10. Eagle FILBE Coyote Brown Rucksack

Huge Storage Capacity (5000 cubic inches)May be too big for the everyday rucker
Can carry up to 200lbs
Comes with Hip Belt
Durable and is currently used by the marines
PALS webbing for attaching modular pouches

The Eagle FILBE Rucksack is easily one of the biggest rucksacks we’ve seen. It is specifically designed to carry military equipment. While it’s likely overkill for casual ruckers, anybody interested in taking military style rucking to the next level should check it out. It can hold up to 200 lbs of weight.

One interesting feature is the segmented interior. On the bottom, there’s a sleeping bag compartment. The two sections in the main compartment are divided by a flexible shelf. You can slip the shelf out and create one huge interior.

Check it out on Amazon (link to Amazon).

11. Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack

Durable (Made from 500D Cordura)Fewer pockets than other Direct Action packs
Comes with Hip Belt
Water Resistant
PALS webbing for attaching extra gear

Check it out on Amazon (Link to Amazon)

12. Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack

Adjustable back systemSide mesh pockets may get scuffed when on the ground
Unique side pocket attachment
Comes with Hip Belt
Includes load lifters

Check it out on Amazon (link to Amazon).

13. ALICE Pack Military Surplus Army Survival Pack

Complete Survival PackMay be too overwhelming for a casual rucker
Military Focused Rucksack
Comes with Hip Belt and other essential accessories
Durable (Made from 1000D High Density Polyester)

If it’s the full military experience you’re looking for, we’ve got to recommend this very comprehensive as it comes with a full ruck kit. It includes ten pieces (accessories). Among them are a sleek aluminium water container, a compact butt bag, a pair of yoke suspenders, a canvas duffle bag, a case for field dressings, green webbed belt, and more.

Check it out on Amazon (link to Amazon).

14. US Military Surplus Molle II Standard Pack

Heavy duty zippers and cord pullsBack ventilation is not optimal
Military Focused Rucksack
Quick release buckles
Waterproof flap protects against rain

This medium MOLLE rucksack provides up to 3000 cubic inches of volume in its interior. It is constructed of super strong cordura nylon and has been combat tested by the US military. In addition to the primary compartment, there is a top and bottom pocket. Both sections are secured with heavy duty cord pulls and zippers.

There are plenty of compartments, loops and pockets here for even the most ambitious ruckers. We liked the addition of a rainproof flap on the bag’s top to safeguard against wind and wet weather conditions. If you’re looking for a strong, weather and combat tested rucksack that does its job simply, we’d recommend this sturdy rucksack.

Common Features to look for in a Rucksack

Adjustable StrapsAdjustable back systems allow wearers to increase or decrease the length of the straps to fit the length of their own body. This feature ensures that the rucksack fits you and helps you ruck with proper posture.
Back VentilationVentilation prevent the back of the rucksack (the surface pressing against the back) from becoming overly sweaty and uncomfortable. Some use a mesh insert to wick moisture away from the body. Other rucksacks have a rigid frame which creates space between the back of the rucksack and your back allowing for proper air circulation.
Hip BeltHip belts help you distribute the weight more evenly. It takes away pressure from your shoulders and distributes the weight evenly across your body. Typically recommended for larger rucksacks.
Chest StrapsThey are particularly helpful for balance when moving fast or across uneven terrain. They help keep the rucksack stay sturdy and prevent it from moving around when moving quickly.
Hydration SystemSome rucksacks have a hydration slot which allow for immediate access to water while on the ruck.

Depending on the size of the rucksack, some features will be more important than others. For example, a hip belt may not be necessary if the rucksack is small.

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