What Backpacks Does The Military Use

What Backpacks Does The Military Use- 2023


When it comes to the selection of military backpacks, we don’t mean regular or hiking backpacks but packs with unique features such as durability, comfort, etc. Military packs were specially designed to withstand harsh environments in combat and to be durable and compact, as they were initially intended for soldiers to carry their belongings.

As time passes, military backpacks have become more popular, not only among military personnel but also among civilians, due to their features that make them ideal for everyday civilian use.

Before entering into the discussion of what backpack the military uses, it is necessary to have a look at some factors that should be kept in mind before purchasing the gear.

Things to know before considering the backpacks for military use

Anything can be more effective and efficient if we clearly understand that specific thing. Similarly, different types of military packs and backpacks are available in the market, but the important thing is what backpack can best fulfill your needs. To help you out in this situation, there are certain essential factors you should consider before opting for a military pack. Therefore, the following factors must be considered before purchasing a military backpack.

  • Assess your needs
  • For Military Personnel
  • For Civilian Use

Assess Your Needs

Before choosing the military backpack, you should assess your needs; for instance, if you are a military personnel, then you should consider specific questions on what type of mission are you going to. How long will the mission last? Are there preferred supplies that are being carried by the army in every task? All these questions must be taken into consideration.

Similarly, if you’re a civilian, then you should assess it according to your needs, whether you are going on a rugged camping trip in harsh mountains and need a pack that can bear the harsh environment.

Water resistance

Military backpacks should be water-resistant so their contents won’t get muddy or wet when purchased. A military backpack must have this feature to resist damage from rain and moisture It should also have a waterproof coating and waterproof zippers. 

Finally, the pack should be comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. In this regard, Cordura Nylon is preferred as the best water-resistant pack.

Durable and easy to use

Similarly, the backpack should also be made from durable materials that are resistant to tearing and fraying, because these backpacks must be sewn with a heavy-duty thread and double stitched in high-stress areas like joints, so, therefore, these backpacks last longer than other packs.

Furthermore, the straps should be adjustable and padded for comfort that may be easy to use and easy to carry. 

Withstand in field

In the same way, you should choose a backpack made up of 500d or 1000d nylon or poly because this is the main factor  that differs between military backpacks and other packs, as these materials help the gear to withstand considerable heat and friction before falling

Furthermore, these materials also help in adjustment to a harsh environment and challenging situations.

The specific mission of the personnel

Prior to opting for a military pack, you must analyze the mission on which you going whether it may be a one-day mission or an extended one according to which you will choose your gear.

For instance, if you going on a one-day mission you may need a lightweight pack to accommodate some ammunition, a water bottle, small toiletries, and other necessary stuff but if you going on a long-term mission then lightweight gear may not fulfill your needs

Role and assignment of the personnel

This is an important factor to consider in the role and assignment of the personnel for instance the special forces who are required to patrol or cover extensive distances carry backpacks including rations for meals, water bottles, small toiletries, medical kits, uniforms, other things like a razor, toothbrush, etc.Therefore role and assignment of personnel must be considered before buying a backpack.

For Civilian

For civilians, if they intend to carry military backpacks on their journey then they must also assess their trip where they are going or the nature of the place whether it is a harsh hilly area or a soft plain area so these things must be considered prior to opting for a military pack

Essential items that are carried by military personnel

This is especially for soldiers to consider that pack which can accommodate the following items easily as these all are important for a soldier to carry with himself prior to going for a mission.

  1. Meals, Ready-to-Eat ( MRE) Food
  2. Survival Kit
  3. Hydration pack
  4. Weapons and communication
  5. Personal item

A Good Zipper

Must choose one that packs which have a good zipper system such that may have easy access to your items in a span of time and also has a MOLLE webbing system that contains many additional attachments on the exterior side of the pack.

What Backpacks does the military use

The specific types of military backpacks used by soldiers as well as civilians can vary depending on the branch of the army for the personnel and intended purpose for the civilian, whether going for rugged camping or harsh hilly mountain areas. 

However, there are different brands and models of backpacks used by the military specifically and civilians generally such as  ALICE pack, MOLLE, ILBE, Mystery Rynch Pack, Rucksack Assault, etc 

Following backpack brands and models are used by military personnel as well as civilians for their everyday use, but here we have divided types of military packs on the basis of their purpose and uses which are as follows

Backpacks that carry equipment

The military uses three types of backpacks for carrying equipment

  • Bumbag Pack
  • IOTV Packs
  • Rucksack Pack
  • ILBE Pack


MOLLE stands for Modular Lighweight-load Carrying Equipments.MOLLE is an interface system which does not refer to a specific pack

MOLLE packs are designed to carry a heavy load and improve the soldier’s efficiency. According to its history, MOLLE is an evolution of ALICE packs, which were a previous generation modular pack system of the US Army.

MOLLE is the combination of four different types of gear Rucksack, sustainment pack, mission pack, and assault pack

For Civilians

It is a fact that MOLLE is especially meant for army personnel but it can also be used by civilians during rugged long-term camping in harsh hilly areas without causing any damage to this pack as these gear are made for such like situations.


Bumbags are very small packs and attach to a soldier belt for keeping their daily routine items in it. Bumbags usually have one strap that is worn over the shoulder of personnel and is easy to remove. Bumbags do not open unlike other backpacks it had just a zipper to open along the top to easily allow for access

For Civilians

Further, this pack can also be used by the civilian for any type of trip to easily access their small items during their journeying.

IOTV Packs

IOTV stands for Improved Outer Tactical Vest Carrier. IOTV is a military standard backpack having numerous pouches both on the front and sides for carrying ammunition, water bottles, medical kit, optics, and other necessary items

Since the 1990s, the US Army has been using the IOTV backpack, which has a proven design and a very effective weight distribution.

Rucksack Packs

The equipment is used on long-term missions to allow soldiers to carry additional equipment in addition to their combat load. In order to keep its shape while being worn, the rucksack has an internal frame that distributes weight more effectively across the chest, back, and shoulders of the wearer

Furthermore, it has also shoulder straps along with a sternum strap to help secure it against the body.

Civilians Use

The shoulder strap and sternum strap features of this pack make it accessible for common civilians also because this feature can avoid their back pain and helps them to easily carry stuff on their back without any difficulty during their camping or other journeying.

ILBE Packs

ILBE stands for Improved Load Bearing Equipment. This module is used for carrying a heavy load of equipment. This is basically used by the US Marine Corps and includes a large main compartment and various pouches for organization It is made from heavy-duty materials and has multiple straps and buckles for security. The bag is also water-resistant and very durable.

For Civilians Use

Marine color and marine backpacks have nowadays become the favorite of every citizen because of the many compartments and pouches attached to ILBE packs making them a favorite pack for their camping or hiking journeying, so this feature attracts the citizen towards this pack.

Backpacks that carry Food, Clothing, Water, and other items 

  • Assault Pack
  • Duffels Pack

Assault Pack

An assault pack is a small gear used for quick strike mission,s unlike the other gear which are used for long-term mission. The assault pack supplies for one one-day short mission.

Assault gear is used by military personnel to carry their essential items depending on mission but some of the more common include food, clothes, water, t-shirts, underwear spare batteries for night vision goggles, medical kits, and other spare clothes.

Mostly assault packs are carried on the front of IOTV so they are easily accessible.

Duffels Packs

Duffel packs are also used for carrying different items ranging from clothes to food. These are very durable and strong enough to beart any tough situation and may not easily face tearing or fraying because it’s made up fa a Cordora Nylon fiber which helps it in such situations.

Uses of Duffel Packs

These packs are used for storage and transporting items as they have two compression straps on the top which make them easily store and transport the items

Duffel packs also have shoulder strap attachment points which can be easily attached to a motorcycle or airplane.

These packs also provide MOLLE webbing on the outer side of the gear for attaching additional packs such as first aid kits etc

For Civilians Use

Duffel pack features also attracted civilians to use for any tour or trip purposes because of their durability and comfortability.

Tactical Backpacks

Basically, this pack is considered standard for the military in other sense these gears are specially made for army personnel because these packs are durable, functional, modular, and have a very good organization setup.

Uses of Tactical Backpacks

Tactically packs are used for carrying equipment and it had an internal frame that helps them provide support to the body and gear

This pack also has an additional attachment point for carrying a hydration bladder and fleece-lined for sunglasses

For Civilians Use

Tactical packs have also made it space in the civilian market due to their multiple-compartment features.

Bonus tips before buying military backpacks

Here are some practical tips that we observe in our daily lives that must be considered before opting for military packs

  • Must choose those packs that are made of Cordura nylon and have dual compression straps.
  • It’s important to choose a pack that allows easy access to the pack. Some packs offer top-loading access, while others provide side or front access.
  • If you want the ability to lower your loadout, then must consider backpacks with MOLLE webbing that helps you to attach additional pouches and accessories to the backpack


I hope that profoundly looking into all the factors, types of military backpacks, and the bonus tips which are been given will give you the answer to your query about what backpacks the military uses. Can military backpacks be used by civilians or not? What factors one should consider before opting for the best military backpack?


What’s the best military backpack?

 Our Picks of Tactical Backpacks

  • 5.11 Rush 72.
  • Kelty Raven 2500.
  • Blackhawk Stingray 2-Day.
  • Maxpedition Falcon II.
  • Direct Action Dragon Egg MK II.

What backpack do Marines use?

The ILBE was designed during the Law Enforcement and Armed Forces (LEAF) program by Arc’teryx, and later manufactured by Propper. The backpack is made from 725 Denier Cordura material (725 D), with the MARPAT camouflage pattern printed onto it.

What backpack does the British army use?

The MOLLE system is hugely popular with British Army Rucksacks. Popular attachments onto MOLLE rucksacks are two-way radios, water bottles, lights, and D rings

Do US soldiers wear backpacks?

There are virtually no photos of soldiers who walk around without a backpack or assault pack on their backs. These bags are designed to last the harshest weather conditions and to carry equipment and essentials that are needed to survive.

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