Question: Hi there. I’m currently in the market for my very first rucksack, or backpack. Whatever you want to call them. I’m getting into bushcraft and camping and I know I’ll need a nice bag in which to carry all of my stuff. The problem I’m finding out there is that there are about a zillion different brands and I’m not sure if there is a specific “type” of bag I need for my uses. I’m getting confused. I’ve been advised to look for bags that don’t have tons of pockets in the inside because if it’s more of a bucket style, I’ll be able to line the sack with a plastic bag or something like that to keep my gear in and then when I make it to camp, I can remove that bag and use the sack to collect firewood, fatwood or whatever. I think that’s good advice, but the thing is, I seem to have a small addiction to lots of pockets and compartments. I’ll have to get over that.
I’ve been doing some reading on rucksacks and here’s what I’ve found to be most important. Overall durability matters. This was pretty much a no-brainer. I already knew this. I love canvas, but I also really like black nylon, so that’s going to be a toss-up. As long as the nylon is strong enough for the abuse the bag is surely going to face. All the zippers, buckles, mesh and straps have to be heavy duty because I’m not messing with light-duty stuff out in the wild. The exterior also needs to be somewhat water resistant. I don’t expect the entire thing to stay dry if I throw it in a lake, but it would be nice if the contents I was carrying didn’t get wet in the rain.
Are military surplus rucksacks any good? Does anyone have any experience with them? How do they actually look in person? I’ve never been inside one of those military surplus stores, so I’m at a loss here. I can imagine that most of those bags are made of canvas. I hear they’re very good though.
What about size? Is 35 liter a good size? I’ve read that 35 liter is perfect for a lot of people and that 40 liter is too big for some. I weigh about 135 pounds and I really don’t want to be carrying something huge on my back.
Okay, so here’s the big question. What about price? What’s not enough money to spend on a rucksack and what’s too much? I hear that Duluth brand bushcraft rucksacks are among the best available, but I just visited both their bushcraft sack page and their Amazon.com page that sells the same pack and the price is the same at $495. I can tell you this right now. I am not spending that kind of cash on a backpack. That’s crazy. I am looking at a very nice mPac military style tactical backpack right now and it only costs $32.99. It looks good to me, although, it has lots of pockets and compartments, which I was advised against. It’s rated highly though.
Other types and brands of rucksacks I’ve heard are good are Swedish Mountain Rucksacks, U.S. ALICE and USMC ILBE sacks. Has anyone heard of these or do you have experience with them? I’d love to know.
Right now, I’m undecided on the waist belt option. As I sit here and type, I’m telling myself that I won’t need that, but I have a strange feeling that one day I’ll be kicking myself for not getting it. I’d love for there to be an option to add a belt if I want. I’ll probably need to try out a bag in person to make this decision. I see a trip to Cabela’s in my future.
One last thing. I would like there to be the option of hanging clips and hooks off of the pack, if possible. I will probably be buying some D-rings to use and I wouldn’t mind some loops on the bag that I could clip to.
And that’s about it! I’ll add anything I forgot later. So please, if you have an opinion on rucksacks, please tell me. I’m ready to buy one and I can use all the help I can get. Thank you!
Answer: I’m somewhat of a rucksack junky. I don’t own many, but I do enjoy watching video reviews on them and then putting those I like in my Amazon cart. So far, these brands and packs are my favorites:
– RUPUMPACK Military Tactical Backpack (33L)
– Tactical Military 1050D Nylon Black Backpack Carrying Rucksack (50L)
– MEWAY 42L Military Tactical Backpack (42L)
– SunsionPro MTB-130 Military Tactical Assault Backpack (43L)
– WolfWarriorX Military Tactical Assault Backpack (39L to 64L)
I believe most of the rucksacks you’ll find on Amazon.com are knockoffs of real brands, but since 99% of them are made in China anyway, you probably won’t see a difference in quality. Also, each of the packs I just listed is compatible with the MOLLE system. I think this is what you were referring to when you said you wanted places to connect clips and hooks to. Look this up and I think you’ll be impressed. Best part is, I don’t think any pack above is more than $40.
Question: I looked at all of the options you suggested and they are pretty awesome. I may go with one of them if I can ever make a decision. I will tell you that I’ve recently discovered the 5.11 Rush24 and I think I’m liking what I see. I just asked a question on this forum about the type of nylon this bag is made of. Do you know about nylon?
Answer: I think you’ll really like either the RUSH24 or the RUSH72, depending on the size you’re looking for. Both are great.