What’s A “Good” Tactical Backpack?

In case you’re not familiar with the name, tactical backpacks are typically used by our armed forces when carrying their tactical gear when out on a mission. This type of backpacks do stand out from the crowd with their durability and reliability.

At a glance

Tactical backpack are larger than regular backpacks and feature many compartments that organize efficiently your gear. Additionally, these backpacks are also hydration ready, which is why they’re so reliable for expeditions, marches and patrol or any other jobs for the military. This is another reason for which the tactical backpacks are also known as assault backpacks or military backpacks.

This doesn’t mean that civilians can’t use them, though. As a matter of fact, the tactical backpacks are a common choice when hiking, camping, fishing or backpacking.

What makes a backpack “tactical”?

A tactical backpack does come with specific features that makes it tactical and it’s not only the purpose that it serves. Tactical backpacks are compact in size which gives you better mobility when on the move.

  • You know a backpack it’s tactical if it features plenty of separate compartments that take care and organize efficiently the tactical gear that any soldier/hiker would have. A tactical backpack should come with side pockets so they give fast and easy access to some gear in case of emergency.
  • A good tactical backpack comes with padded straps for minimizing the strain on your shoulders and back, taking the weight of your load and increasing the comfort. The back should also be well-padded so that the objects inside the backpack don’t dig into your back, but also for bringing more comfort to your back.

A sternum strap on the backpack is going to give more support for your chest, while keeping the backpack in place, no matter how fast you may be moving.

  • Take a look at your tactical backpack as you want it to come with compression straps so that they compress efficiently the weight of your load. You want the load to be well balanced and evenly distributed so that the risk for pain is lower.
  • Most of the tactical backpacks out there come with hydration compartments and they’re very helpful as you don’t want to worry about not having any water when out in the desert. Look for the drainage holes as well as they ensure easier drainage of the liquid in your pack.
  • Not only a good tactical backpack is waterproof, but it also comes with padded pockets so that your fragile items (sunglasses, laptops) are well protected. Some tactical backpacks feature laptop compartments that safely store your laptop. And if you worry about some precious essentials, you may want a backpack that comes with concealed compartments as well. We talk about a special pouch that is going to hide efficiently the more precious items.
  • A reliable tactical backpack comes with quick-access pockets that give you fast and easy access to gear you may need in emergency or on regular basics. Some tear-out medical pouches are also a nice feature as they give fast access to your first-aid equipment.
  • Don’t forget about the mesh pouches and the attachable pouches that give you more options to organize and store your gear.

For more versatility, you may want to get an ambidextrous backpack that you may use, no matter if you’re left or right handed.

Make sure that your tactical comes with double stitching and reinforced stitches in the stress points, which make it durable and able to take the heavy-duty use.

  • Last, but not least, a good tactical backpack is also MOLLE compatible so you may attach/remove easy and fast more gear.

Even though a tactical backpack may serve you well without presenting all the features that we mentioned, it’s good to know what to look for when in need.

The tactical backpacks come with various designs and it’s not only their capacity, but also the volume they may store that counts when selecting one.

Most tactical backpack manufacturers do list the volume that the pack may hold (in inches or liters). This number refers to all the space in the pack, including the space taken by the compartments or the pockets. If your tactical backpack comes with attachable pouches, you need to check if that volume is included or not.

Just to give you a hint, a 45 liters backpack falls in the category of “large” backpacks and anything less than that is a small backpack.

If you want to make an idea about how much gear a backpack may hold you may fill it up with small plastic balls and then count their volume altogether. It’s difficult to fit nice and easy our gear in a real world, so the backpack is going to hold even less than your count shows.

The material

Most tactical backpacks out there are made with nylon or polyester and each of them comes with ups and downs, so you need to balance things a bit when buying.

Here are the characteristics for nylon:

  • Very resistant to tear and abrasions
  • Absorbs water
  • It dries fast
  • It’s very strong
  • It’s resistant to mildew
  • It has good flexibility
  • It has some sort of UV resistance

Let’s list the characteristics for polyester:

  • Absorbs some water
  • Not very strong
  • Doesn’t resist to tear and abrasions
  • It dries rather slow
  • It’s resistant to mildew
  • It’s highly resistant to UV
  • It’s flexible enough

It’s not only the material that counts for the durability of your backpack, but the weaving method as well. Many backpacks feature a basic diagonal weave which increases and protects the pack from abrasions and tears.

There are other materials used for tactical backpacks:

  • Ripstop fabrics that minimize risk for tear and spreading as the weave is very strong and resistant to tearing
  • Cordura and KOdra fabric that is rough and fuzzy, with impressive abrasion resistance
  • Oxford Weave that isn’t very strong

One last thing to consider

The density of the material also says something about the durability of your tactical backpack. The “denier” unit  is related to the strength, durability and weight and the higher the denier, the greater the strength.

All in all, there are many things to consider when looking for a tactical backpack and the more you’re willing to spend, the better the chances for you to get a great deal.

Staying Clean in the Outdoors- the Ultimate Survival Tip

Staying alive in the wilderness is one thing, staying dry and clean when in the outdoors is another, especially if you’re not having any soap or toothpaste on you anymore.

Staying clean helps you survive

Keeping yourself nice and clean isn’t going to save your life, but it may keep germs at distance so…that’s something to consider. Having a routine while trying to stay alive can give you a reason to continue and helps you stay sane, especially if you haven’t seen any other human for more than a couple of days. Making sure you’re having a good hygiene helps you better control the risk of failure as well.

Additionally, if you get a cut on your filthy body, the risk for an infection is way higher. Sure enough, we’re not talking about keeping yourself clean as you’d do it at home, but you should try your best when in the outdoors.

Eating with properly cleaned hands after you built your shelter keeps any stomach infections at distance as well.

And if you find yourself in the situation of losing all your hygienic products, you’re going to have to use whatever nature offers you to prevent any infection.

Scroll down to see some natural alternatives that can help you stay nice and clean when trying to survive in the outdoors.

The healthier you are, the better the chances for you to focus on the best ways to get back home or to let your rescuers know where you are.

The camp soap

Most of us don’t know that many plants do contain saponins and beans are a very good example. When in the outdoors, you may find various plants that contain high level of saponins which makes them really good for washing and bathing.

If you got the time and the will, you can make your very own soap with some lye.

Saponin are toxic glycosides that are quite common to be found in plants and when you crush the plants with some water, inside a container, you may notice the lather they form. You may use that lather later as an efficient cleanser.

A very popular plant containing saponins is soapwort, a wildflower that is quite common within Europe. You may find it in moist areas (streams) or in hedgerows.

Saponin is an important chemical and we’ve been using it for centuries until we created the modern soaps. So, when you’re lost in the woods and want to find what to bathe with, look for the plants that have saponins in them.

This gets us to an essential tip for surviving: try to know about the plants in the area you’re going to hike/camp or get a plant identification book with you.

DIY toothpaste

Just because you’re lost doesn’t mean you shouldn’t brush your teeth three times a day. Not only you may get cavities when you get home, but you may even worsen some current tooth problems. Last thing you want when trying to survive is to deal with a terrible toothache when there’s no pain killer around.

Our mouth is a delicate part of our body so we need to keep it well clean all day (and night) long so that we can minimize risks for health issues later on.

You may use some willow bush when in the outdoors and you have no toothpaste around. Willow bushes are very common so it shouldn’t be a problem for you to get some.

Building a brush of one end of a branch is quite easy and you may simply brush your teeth when you’re done. The willow sap is able to clean your teeth by removing soft tartar and minimizing risk for building up along your gum line- a common cause for cavities.

DIY deodorant

It’s not easy to keep your body fresh in the wilderness, but it’s important as you do want to keep predators at distance. Even though smelling nice may not be fundamental when you’re actually lost and trying to build a fire, you should keep yourself clean, as well.

It’s no news that our ancestors managed to stay nice and clean even when there were no deodorants, which means it’s not mission impossible for you either.

Some betel leaves may get you out of the trouble and may be the solution for keeping your body nicely smelling.

You do need to boil at least five leaves with two glasses of water and…drink it until you don’t smell that bad anymore. If this doesn’t do it for you, you can always put the mixture under your arms daily to put the BO under control.

Bandages made from leaves

Getting cut in the woods is a major problem as bacteria may get into your cut, causing infection and various health problems.

An improperly treated cut may get painful, itchy and lead to more serious problems.

Now that we all know you’re lost in the wilderness and have no bandages on you nor your first aid kit, taking care of a cut is a bit more challenging.

There are many natural ways to bandage a wound, but the most common solution it the plantain leaf which is very easy to find.

The plantain leaf has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory abilities so it’s very efficient for the minor cuts and stings.

You simply chew it up and place it on the cut area carefully. You put another intact plantain leaf over it so that is stays in place. You may also tie a string or a cloth over it, to fasten the healing.

The conclusion

Staying nicely smelling, with clean teeth and clean hands may not look important to you when trying to survive in the outdoors.

But in order to make it, you do need all your strength and you can’t get it if you have a toothache, a stomach bug or you can’t move some fingers because of some cuts. Now you see that staying nice and clean does count for your survival, after all.