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What Is the Best Color for a Tactical Backpack?

The best color for a tactical backpack is an important consideration. Beyond aesthetics, you want to choose the bag that best fits its use. Do you want to stand out or remain hidden in the brush? Do you want to be a gray man and blend into an urban landscape? This article will tell you everything you need to know to make a wise decision.

The best color for a tactical backpack depends on its use. For discrete outdoor use, you want a pack that will camouflage well. For outdoor recreational use, a brightly colored backpack would be the better option. For urban use as a bugout bag, go with the “gray man” look with a fairly plain-looking black or gray pack.

While considering which you want to purchase, you will want to deliberate on which backpack configuration is best for you and your use. This includes the color. However, by opting for tactical gear, you are opting for a product designed with function, durability, and strength in mind rather than aesthetics.

Three different color tactical backpacks on a bench

Best Tactical Backpack Colors

A tactical backpack is one that is considered military-grade or inspired by military use. Such gear is rated to survive combat conditions and is, therefore, rugged and designed with functionality as the primary concern.

Consider What the Primary Use Will Be

While they are mostly associated with the armed forces, tactical backpacks are desirable gear for law enforcement, hikers, and adventurists. Tactical backpacks possess features that most packs don’t have. These include a water bladder, specialized compartments, and areas for connectors, radio antennae, or a weapons section. They also tend to have a system that allows for customization by adding other chambers to your backpack.

This isn’t a product that is designed for carting your laptop to and from the office. It is designed to keep you alive and remain intact even after falling down the side of a mountain.

Choosing the Right Color

When considering which backpack to purchase, color is probably one of the last things you will study. However, it may be crucial to your survival.

Assuming you are using the pack in a civilian setting, then camouflage from other humans is underrated, especially in times of strife. You want to avoid attention as much as possible, so traditional camouflage will have the opposite effect. Instead, go with a color that is common to standard work backpacks, like gray or black. Here are two excellent examples of my favorite tactical bags:

However, if you are outdoors and want to be discreet, then you will, of course, want traditional camo colors. Choose a multi-tone exterior for wooded areas or a light tan for more open stone-colored spaces. Many models are available in greens, browns, and a mix of these colors. Pick the one that best fits your local biome. Here are some options, again on one of my favorite tactical bag:

Additional Considerations

For most users, the color of the backpack is more to do with personal choice rather than a functional one. Here are a few things to think about:

  • Black is a standard color as it goes with anything and contrasts well with the background.
  • Charcoals and greys are common colors because they don’t contrast as much as black, yet allow dirt and scrapes to be less apparent.
  • For a survival backpack outdoors for recreational use, there is no discernable benefit of one color over another, other than choosing something bright that could be seen if you need rescuing. However, your visibility can be heightened with clothing or other accessories, so your backpack doesn’t need to have this function.

If you pick the best tactical backpack for your needs and then select the SKU color that you like the best, you won’t go wrong.

Must-haves When Choosing a Tactical Backpack

Choosing a tactical backpack can seem daunting at first glance. There are a lot of considerations and cheap knock-offs that can lead you astray. Having confidence in your gear is vital to survival. So, here are some tips on what to look for to ensure you get a quality backpack that will last you through adventure after adventure.


First and foremost, your backpack needs to made from materials that will last. The two main fabrics which have been military tested for 50 years are ballistic nylon and Cordura nylon.

You will need to look at the nylon denier, which will be represented by a D after a number. The higher the number, the greater the density of the nylon. Hence, the stronger the nylon is.

Ballistic and Cordura nylon typically are sold around 500D. While you can get polyester that is the same denier, it is heavier than nylon, making nylon stronger on a weight-to-weight comparison. The only downside to nylon is that it doesn’t hold its color as well as polyester, so do expect it to fade after a while.


This is a somewhat subjective term and one that you will have to rely on reviews to disseminate adequately. Ask for pictures of other users’ backpacks after it has been used for a while. This is when spending more on a known brand may be worth the extra investment. That way, you can use a brand reputation to ensure you are getting a robust backpack.

Some good things to look for in official descriptions is the use of nylon thread, or zip brands that you recognize, e.g., YKK, TiZip, or AustriAlpin (Amazon Link). Generally, the more the manufacture divulges about the materials and strength tests, the higher the quality of the product. If you can try the backpack out in the store, pull on all the stitching and test the zips repeatedly. The last thing you want on a hike deep in the mountains is a zip to stick or a strap to break.

Modularity for Customization

A key feature of most tactical backpacks is the ability to customize it with accessories and compartments to suit your needs. As the military requires an acronym for everything, they termed this as MOLLE: Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment.

Fortunately, MOLLE products are universal, so you can use various brands to make your kits exactly how you need them. This can include making your pack bigger or adding compartments to organize or protect gear. Such customization is a vital consideration if your backpack will be used for various types of excursions. Your load will be quite different for a two-week hike, versus a two-day hunting expedition in the backcountry.


Unless you are lucky, it is likely that you will need to try several brands to find the right backpack for you. While casual bags tend to use padding around the shoulder to provide comfort for carrying a load, tactical backpacks use dispersion techniques to move the weight bearing away from the shoulders and to the hips instead.

Here is a tactical bag strap, notice how it’s a bit different than mainstream bags.

How well the burden is shifted depends on your body type and size. What will work for one person may feel terrible and cumbersome for the next. Finding a backpack that will not cause you physical pain when carrying a load is essential for a successful outdoor adventure. Take your time and find the right one for you. Always add weight to the backpack and test it out if you can before purchasing.


A tactical backpack should make accessing your gear a smooth operation. Under no circumstances should you be hunting through your pack for something. Are there sufficient compartments to separate your small gadgets from the more significant equipment?

Sometimes, there can be too many small pockets, and you end up with not enough capacity to carry all your gear. Think about how you want to use your backpack and what features are a must. This will help you narrow down what the right backpack is for you.

Final Thoughts

A tactical backpack is a robust, military-grade backpack that will survive the rugged nature of a wilderness adventure. They are desirable due to the lightweight and durable nylon that they are constructed from and their functional design. They are also customizable to carry the gear needed through the MOLLE pack addition system.

Like most products, there are many options available for purchase. Size and weight would be the first two traits you would consider when perusing the available options. Color is something that should not be overlooked.

When considering color, you can get a camouflaged pack that will help with hunting or discreet outdoor use. Conversely, you can choose a bold color to make it easier to rescue teams to find you, if necessary. For urban use it is almost always best to be as discreet as possible with a “gray” man color. However, the color you chose is mostly down to personal taste – just make sure the function is prioritized.

Helpful Related Products

Here are a few of the recommended products that I featured in this article:

You can’t go wrong with either of these bags. You will be able to find the perfect use an color for you in one or of them.

Related Questions

What Should Be In A Tactical Backpack?

When preparing for an emergency or just an outdoor excursion, you need to pack a lot into your bag. Obvious items such as shelter, bedding, and clothing are essential. Here are a few things to make sure you include:

  • First, check your gear is in good condition before packing it – or if it is new, familiarize yourself with your gear before leaving on the trip.
  • Also, pack items to start a fire and communications equipment.
  • Additionally, for safety, pack a first-aid kit, a knife, and flashlights.
  • If you are going somewhere with cell service, pack a charged portable charger in case you need your cell phone to call for help.
  • You will also need enough food to last you during your excursion. Even if you plan on hunting for food, pack enough calories to sustain yourself. High protein, energy-boosting snacks are the best items to put in your pack.
  • Make sure you have a supply of water too.

Your tactical backpack should have enough space to fit everything you need for survival in the wild. While it may be tempting to overpack, don’t add too much weight to your pack – it will only slow you down and make the experience more difficult than it needs to be.

How Much Do Tactical Backpacks Weigh?

Typically, tactical backpacks do weigh slightly more than a standard bag made for hiking, as the materials aren’t as heavy. A 55-liter tactical backpack will start at 6 lbs, whereas the 25-liter model will be around 4 lbs. With reasonable fitness, you should be able to carry a pack that is between 33-50 % of your body weight. Therefore, the lighter you are, the more the small increase in backpack weight will matter to you.

It is always a concern to keep your pack light while hiking. The more you are lugging around on your back, the harder the journey will be.

For more, check out How Much Does a Backpack Cost (By Type With Chart).