The 10 Best Operator Backpacks
This wiki has been updated 33 times since it was first published in August of 2015. You don't have to be in the military to appreciate the functionality and versatility of these operator backpacks. Any outdoorsperson or tactical law enforcement officer would find they make carting around a lot of gear a whole lot easier. And for style conscious urbanites, they can add a rough and tough look to your ensemble, while also providing you with all that carrying convenience. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 23, 2020:
If nothing else, operator packs must be durable enough to withstand the rigors of field use, so that was one of our top concerns when choosing the models for this list. With that in mind, we felt the need to remove the Grey Ghost Gear Stealth, since its toughness just didn't seem to be up to snuff.
We also took into consideration things like storage capacity, water resistance, organizational pockets, the amount and placement of external webbing, and various other factors. The result should be the best operator packs currently available on the market today.
If you are going on a multi-day mission or hunting excursion, you'll want to look at some of the larger options here, like the LA Police Gear Atlas 72H, 5.11 Tactical RUSH72, LA Police Gear Tactical, which feature a 70-, 55-, and 44-liter capacity, respectively. It is worth noting that despite the name, and while we like the Seibertron 3-Day Rucksack for a variety of reasons, such as the addition of the removable deployment pack, its 40-liter capacity can actually be a bit too small for its intended time frame for some users if they generally carry a lot of gear. On the topic of backpacks with removable deployment packs, we eliminated the 3V Gear Paratus from our list since it has essentially the same exact design and features as the Seibertron and we didn't see the need to include both.
We really like the Direct Action Dragon Egg Mk II because of the addition of a paracord wrap around its top grab handle. Not only does this help reinforce an area that can be prone to breaking on some backpacks, but it also ensures you always have one extra piece of survival gear on hand as long as you have your pack with you. Of course, if you choose not to get this model, you could simply just wear a paracord bracelet any time you head out into the field.
For snipers and hunters who carry weapons with large optics, the Eberlestock G2 is a top contender thanks to its full-width scabbard. It comes equipped with the company's supportive Intex II frame, but this can be swapped out for one of their other frames if you find them more comfortable.
Triple Aught Design Fast Pack EDC The Triple Aught Fast Pack EDC has a full-zip, clamshell opening that allows you to access almost the entire interior at once for quick loading and unloading. In addition to exterior PALS webbing, it also features anchor points on the inside to stop gear from shifting around during intense activities. It strategically reinforced with Hypalon at stress points, too. tripleaughtdesign.com
Warrior Assault Systems Elite Ops Predator The Elite Ops Predator has a padded lumbar support that lets the bottom of the unit rest against your back without causing any additional strain or pulling awkwardly on your shoulders. This should help your posture stay correct even when it is heavily laden, which is vital if you want to stay pain free when carrying it for hours. It features both antenna and hydration ports, and accommodates the company's optional stiffener panel. warriorassaultsystems.com
What Makes An Operator Backpack Special?
Virtually all operator packs feature an incredible number of pockets and compartments, so you can keep items large and small secure and protected in all kinds of conditions.
If you have a lot of gear to haul, consider purchasing an operator backpack. There's no reason you have to suffer, forcing your supplies into an awkwardly-designed bag that wasn't built for performance. These tactical packs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and provide the wearer with plenty of storage space for everything from provisions to clothing.
You can tell an operator backpack apart from its traditional backpack cousin by its rugged look. Virtually all operator packs feature an incredible number of pockets and compartments, so you can keep items large and small secure and protected in all kinds of conditions.
Just because you aren't a Navy SEAL doesn't mean you can't rock a tactical bag. Civilians concerned with the safe transportation of their goods will find these backpacks convenient, comfortable, and pretty darn cool-looking, too. Don't be shy about filling them up with heavy items, because they're built for exactly that purpose. Reinforced seams and padded straps make for enhanced wearability during those long days spent commuting or traveling, so all you have to worry about is getting to your destination — not whether your stuff will survive the journey in one piece.
Speaking of traveling, frequent flyers are in luck: many of the operator backpacks manufactured today meet the carry-on size guidelines listed by top airlines. There's no need to check an overstuffed piece of luggage on the flight back home; simply load up the pockets of your operator backpack with all the souvenirs your heart desires and rest assured it will still fall within size limits.
Features To Look For
Shopping for your first operator backpack can be overwhelming, but the good news is that, with so many options available, you're likely to find one that's perfectly suited to your needs. Here are a few things to consider before pulling the trigger on that purchase.
As mentioned previously, these backpacks sport more pockets than the standard school pack and come in a range of shapes and sizes, all designed to support considerable loads. If you like keeping your sundries safely shielded from the elements, go for a model with more internal pockets than external ones.
Mesh or fabric water bottle slots are a common detail and prove especially important during physically draining activities like hiking or climbing.
Mesh or fabric water bottle slots are a common detail and prove especially important during physically draining activities like hiking or climbing. If you're into even more intense outdoor activities, choose a backpack that has a built-in liquid compartment. With a liquid compartment on hand, it's always easy to fill up a canteen when other sources of water are scarce. Bear in mind how many liters of water your excursions typically require, as capacities vary.
Straps are also central to the operator backpack. Serving a crucial purpose, straps help ensure your goods won't budge even during the most vigorous movement, affording you peace of mind. Most straps can be tightened or loosened to accommodate your stature and whatever you choose to pack.
Compression straps are yet another desirable feature. These straps snap together and are adjustable, so you can easily minimize the size of your backpack whether it's partially filled or completely stuffed.
Those who enjoy outdoor activities will appreciate packs that come with a harness or belt. Often detachable, waist belts are great for keeping the weight of your load evenly distributed across your upper body, reducing the risk of strain or injury.
One of the best parts about picking out a new bag is finding one that complements your personal style. There are tons of designs to peruse. Neutral colors like khaki and army green are common, though there are plenty of black choices available and printed patterns, as well.
Pay attention to the material and construction of the operator backpack you're interested in purchasing, and take into account the kind of conditions in which you'll carry the product. If you enjoy camping in areas that experience unpredictable weather, buy a pack constructed from water-resistant materials that will guard your possessions during unexpected downpours. In terms of durability, thick polyester fabrics stand up well to wear and are unlikely to rip or puncture.
When Should You Choose An Operator Backpack?
Regular backpacks are appropriate for day-to-day life, but sometimes our lifestyles, jobs, or travel plans require something a little bit more substantial. That's where operator backpacks come in.
Some packs even include larger compartments for carrying weapons to further simplify the traveling process.
Those who regularly partake in outdoor activities that extend over days will find the operator backpack extremely useful. The compartments and sturdy construction make this type of product ideal for the outdoorsman. Hikers, fishers, climbers, and adventurers of all kinds need a reliable method for transporting food, water, and other supplies, which is just the job the operator backpack was designed to perform. There's truly no point anymore in struggling with luggage that wasn't created to endure rough treatment and exposure to the elements.
Similarly, hunters who spend long periods of time in wooded areas can benefit from using an operator backpack. Some packs even include larger compartments for carrying weapons to further simplify the traveling process. And hunters needn't fret about being noticed, as camo-print packs abound.
Sometimes just living in the concrete jungle necessitates a tougher backpack. This particular style of bag is an appropriate solution for city-dwellers who have to drag bulky tools into work each day. With one of these, being able to comfortably and safely transport your supplies across town is a given.
Anyone who attends school these days knows that textbooks are just as cumbersome as ever. Avoid suffering a back injury by going with an operator pack, which offers a practical, stylish way to bring your stuff with you, wherever you go.