The 10 Best Operator Backpacks

Updated September 22, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best Operator Backpacks
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. You don't have to be in the military to appreciate the functionality and versatility of these operator backpacks. Any outdoorsman 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 support our work. Skip to the best operator backpack on Amazon.

10. Grey Ghost Gear Stealth

The Grey Ghost Gear Stealth is a low-visibility option that can be used in both civilian and military environments. Its concealed, internal holster has been covertly designed to carry a handgun if you have the license to do so.
  • water-resistant coating
  • top grab handle for easy lifting
  • the front zipper is a pain to use
Brand Grey Ghost Gear
Model pending
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Monstrum Tactical 3-Day

Available in a military green color and made from 1,000D heavy-duty nylon, the Monstrum Tactical 3-Day is extremely durable and resistant to both tears and abrasion. Both its shoulder straps and waist harness are easy to detach.
  • 40-liter storage capacity
  • built-in grommets for drainage
  • shoulder strap stitching can fail
Brand Monstrum Tactical
Model 682017414225
Weight 4.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Mardingtop Tactical 52cm

The water-resistant 600D polyester material that comprises the Mardingtop Tactical 52cm makes it an optimal choice for excursions where encounters with rain can be expected. Its hydration compartment can hold a bladder of up to 2.5 liters.
  • exterior molle webbing
  • chest straps distribute weight well
  • no internal padding
Brand Mardingtop
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

7. Fox Outdoor Products Field Action

The Fox Outdoor Products Field Action is constructed from heavy-duty 1,200D polyester, making it one of the most abrasion-resistant options on our list. Its side compression straps will help keep its overall size at a minimum.
  • lots of internal pockets
  • holds laptops up to 17 inches
  • only accommodates small water packs
Brand Fox Outdoor
Model 56-591-P
Weight 8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. 3V Gear Paratus

With its modular design, the 3V Gear Paratus includes a detachable deployment pack that can be used for rapid excursions when speed is more important than storage space. This model also delivers durable, paracord zipper pulls.
  • comfortable eva foam backing
  • conforms to airline carry-on specs
  • compartments are a bit small
Brand 3V Gear
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Seibertron Military Rucksack

The Seibertron Military Rucksack is completely waterproof, making it a good choice for use while camping, hiking and mountain climbing. Its wide and thick waist belt distributes weight evenly when you're carrying a lot of gear.
  • built-in adjustable chest harness
  • rugged and attractive design
  • shoulder straps need additional pads
Brand Seibertron
Model pending
Weight 4.7 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Tactical Tailor Extended Range

With its six internal storage pockets and external top compartment, the Tactical Tailor Extended Range is large enough to carry up to five days worth of supplies. Its frame provides good stability for any of your long journeys.
  • separate hydration sleeve
  • hidden emergency marker panel
  • adjustable straps
Brand Tactical Tailor
Model 35003-2-P
Weight pending
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Eberlestock G4

Made to be the ultimate scout/sniper pack, the Eberlestock G4 boasts a truly clever design. Its two-chambered main compartment and drawstring central divider provide internal storage flexibility for almost any type of item you may need.
  • extra-strong stitching won't split
  • built to military-quality specs
  • includes a pullout rain cover
Brand Eberlestock
Model G4MM
Weight 11.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Warrior Assault Systems Cargo

The Warrior Assault Systems Cargo is capable of being attached to the back of almost any MOLLE vest or rig. Also, a detachable shoulder strap allows you the option of using the smallest cargo compartment as a standalone pack.
  • webbing accommodates extra pouches
  • stays tight against your body
  • interior hydration sleeve
Brand Warrior Assault Systems
Model W-EO-Cargo-MC-P
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Direct Action Dragon Egg

Built for advanced military and law enforcement applications, the Direct Action Dragon Egg has a patented combat vent system that keeps you cool. Its low-profile and lightweight design make it an ideal choice for extended use.
  • reduced night vision detection
  • snag-free exterior
  • velour-lined external pocket
Brand Direct Action
Model pending
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

What Makes an Operator Backpack Special?

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. 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.

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.



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Last updated on September 22, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.


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