The 10 Best Deployment Bags

Updated April 30, 2018 by Chase Brush

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We spent 46 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you're shipping out on your first tour of duty, allow us to salute you -- and also recommend one of these heavy-duty deployment bags, which will let you carry and protect as much gear as you need in as little space as possible. The options in this selection are tough enough to go anywhere you do, while keeping all your stuff organized at the same time. Adventurers may want a look at them, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best deployment bag on Amazon.

10. API USGI Sport

Aside from a few upgrades, the API USGI Sport is like the kind of classic duffel bag that our nation's finest used to receive to haul around all their gear. You may want something a little more high-tech down the road, but for your first deployment, it should do the job.
  • side-loading design
  • shoulder straps
  • can be awkward to carry as backpack
Brand API
Model pending
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Red Rock Outdoor Gear Traveler

The Red Rock Outdoor Gear Traveler features a three-way divided interior compartment, so you can keep dirty and clean items separate, plus MOLLE webbing for customized attachments. Its reinforced exterior offers solid protection, though its zippers are pretty cheap.
  • 2 soft internal pockets
  • large 55-liter capacity
  • plastic clips break easily
Brand Red Rock Gear
Model 80260ACU-p
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. 5.11 Tactical CAMS 2.0

The wheeled 5.11 Tactical CAMS 2.0 is loaded with tough features that help it stand up to some serious abuse, such as rugged corner guards, bottom skids and reinforced rigid ends. It has a few more refined features, too, like a transparent business card and flag holder.
  • self-retracting handles
  • customizable interior
  • can be difficult to maneuver
Brand 5.11
Model 50159-019
Weight 18.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. UTG Ranger Field Bag

The UTG Ranger Field Bag is designed to be battlefield-ready, incorporating ergonomic backpack straps and padding on the top that makes it comfortable to carry even when it is heavily loaded. It's fairly affordably priced, though still manages to be of decent quality.
  • strong wraparound carrying handle
  • interior documents folder
  • does not have a shoulder strap
Brand UTG
Model PVC-P807B
Weight 5.5 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Maxpedition Doppelduffel Adventure

The Maxpedition Doppelduffel Adventure comes in 4 military-inspired colors, and is finished with a triple coat of polyurethane and 1 coat of DuPont Teflon fabric protector, making it supremely resistant to weather and damage. It is a little pricier than other options.
  • military-grade nylon webbing straps
  • genuine duraflex hardware
  • tapered ends make it hard to open
Brand Maxpedition
Model 608
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. OneTigris Tactical Modular

The compact OneTigris Tactical Modular is constructed of fully waterproof, lightweight nylon, making it a good option for users who are constantly on the go and don't need much space. Plus, its thickly padded straps make it comfortable enough to carry over long periods.
  • can be worn around the waist
  • can be attached to molle vest
  • too small for extended expeditions
Brand OneTigris
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Voodoo Tactical Mini Mojo

If you're a stickler for organization, then you'll love the Voodoo Tactical Mini Mojo. This "load out" bag is covered with pockets large and small, so you can stow your clothes, ammo, guns, etc., in a clear and easy-to-access fashion.
  • 11 exterior pouches
  • metal d ring attachment points
  • zipper tabs don't accept locks
Brand VooDoo Tactical
Model Mini Mojo
Weight pending
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Forceprotector Collapsible

The Forceprotector Collapsible is the ideal travel companion during your next tour of duty. Most of its components are built to military specifications, including a ballistic nylon base and stainless steel wheel housing, and it's cushioned throughout with FoamTech padding.
  • ykk zippers with locking capability
  • collapses for easy storage
  • very durable but also pricey
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Condor Colossus

The Condor Colossus can be used as a shoulder bag, handbag, or backpack, depending on your needs. As its name suggests, it's pretty huge, with an exceptionally large main compartment that accommodates all types of gear easily, including a water bladder.
  • pvc-protected bottom
  • compression straps keep things tight
  • great value for price
Brand Condor
Model pending
Weight 4.2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Code Alpha Mini Monster

Functional and affordably priced, the Code Alpha Mini Monster has a large main compartment with an internal divider, and includes a zip-off accessories bag for day trips or for storing your toiletries. It's suitable for both service personnel and business travelers alike.
  • heavy-duty reinforced handles
  • interior mesh pocket
  • oversized ball bearing wheels
Brand Code Alpha
Model MRC9133-BK
Weight 10.7 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

A Brief Look At Historical Tactical Gear

Little is known about prehistoric combat. Based on contemporary descriptions of and archeological evidence left by the so-called barbarian tribes that remained extant well into the Iron Age -- the era when other civilizations were rapidly developing into ordered societies -- it is safe to assume that the weaponry and gear used by the earliest groups of warriors was anything but uniform.

In the final few centuries before the Common Era commended, many armies began to adopt more standard armaments and gear, an approach that led to easier planning and execution of tactics on the field and easier logistical management of troops on the move, in camp, and in training. No military force of the ancient world better displayed this orderly approach to equipment than the legions of Rome. During the peak centuries of Roman power, roughly the years 200 BCE through the 4th Century CE, Roman soldiers dominated much of the known world, in no small part thanks to their high quality and uniform equipment.

The typical Roman soldier carried weaponry including the famed Gladius (a short sword) and a Pilum (a spear). The soldiers also wore nearly uniform armor, usually consisting of chain mail worn beneath segmented armor over the torso, with greaves often protecting the legs. The larges shield carried by a Roman warrior was perhaps the greatest key to the success of the Roman army en masse; when grouped together, the shields produced a formidable wall.

One of the lesser known but no less important pieces of gear carried by the Ancient Roman soldier was his sarcina, a Latin word simply meaning "pack." Within a soldier's would have been, at a minimum, a cloak, a pot for cooking, a tin plate, a satchel for holding rations, and rudimentary utensils. The sarcina, therefore, contained everything a soldier needed to make a bed and to cook and eat a meal; it was the forerunner of the modern soldier's deployment bag.

Soldier's have carried their gear in a variety of ways throughout the centuries separating Ancient Rome from the 21st Century. A knight riding off to the crusades in the 13th Century would have a loose leather satchel in which he carried likely carried a wooden cup and bowl, a piece of flint and steel for making fire, and often some devotional objects. During the American Civil War, soldiers carried their gear in a haversack which was usually made of canvas treated with tar to help it resist water. The haversack would hold cooking gear, rations, correspondence, tobacco, and more.

A soldier's gear carrying options improved throughout the 20th Century, with the principles ergonomics and weight distribution marching in lock step with the adoption of new and better materials. Today's soldier can bring his or her equipment toward the front line in a range of different deployment bags, and civilians too can benefit from them gear carrying advances made throughout the long years of military endeavor.

Using A Deployment Bag For Travel

There are many reasons the recreational (or business) traveler might opt for a deployment bag instead of a more standard piece of luggage, such as a roll aboard suitcase or a duffel bag. Unlike most duffel bags, which tend to feature only a few pockets, most deployment bags feature multiple compartments, making it easy to keep your belongings sorted and organized.

And unlike many rolling bags, most deployment bags are easily slung over the shoulder or even worn as a backpack, features you will appreciate when the smooth, paved roads and sidewalks end and you're hiking over varied terrain.

For the traveler who will pass through and over everything from the airport to the city to the sandy beach during his or her travels, a deployment bag with wheels, a handle, and a shoulder strap is a great idea. These varied options allow you to always carry your gear in the most convenient manner.

While not suitable for multiple day, multiple mile hiking trips, many deployment bags are a great choice for the camper with a relatively short trek into their campsite. Their divided compartments can be used to separate clean clothes from dirty clothes, and they can carry enough gear, including provisions, flashlights, first aid kits, and so forth, for many days in the field.

Choosing A Deployment Bag For Tactical Use

If you're a solider packing your gear prior to an actual deployment or a first responder readying your kit for emergency response (or you're a survival-minded person looking to have a kit ready in the event of a disaster), it's a good idea to first consider all the gear that's essential to your situation, then to choose a deployment bag into which to pack it.

Deployment bags vary widely in size and storage capacity, and many that look large may feature smaller actual cargo space than you think based on how many pockets and compartments they have. Make sure you consider the size of each slot or pocket in a bag and consider the gear you need to stow rather than looking at a deployment bag's overall size.

Also consider which is more important to you given the situations you might face: ease of access, or ease of carrying. If you're an emergency responder, chances are you will only be carrying your bag a short distance after exiting an ambulance, helicopter, or other vehicle, thus a bag that is easy to open and access is crucial. For the solider likely to march for miles with all their gear, a bag that can be worn comfortably and which features multiple easy adjustment points is critical.

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Last updated on April 30, 2018 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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