The 10 Best Durable Backpacks (January 2021)

We bring our backpacks with us everywhere, and wherever we go it is important to have a good and reliable backpack to bring with us. Whether we are hiking through the concrete jungle, on our way to and from work, trying to navigate airport terminals with our sanity intact, or hiking out in the backcountry— it is important to have a great backpack to take with us. No two backpacks are built the same, and that is why choosing the right one is important. Choosing a good backpack is like choosing the right beer. People tend to have strong opinions on why their favorite beer is the best. But at the end of the day there is no true right or wrong answer— it all boils down to a matter of taste.

When looking for the best backpacks for heavy-duty usage to support your needs, it is a good idea to do a lot of research into what would be the best fit for you. While it can be overwhelming to choose from all of the great options out there, we have assembled a handy guide to help you choose your next backpack.

Best durable backpacks reviews

1. REEBOW GEAR Tactical Backpack

Rating: ****
Price: $$

If you are looking for an everyday tactical backpack, that will not break the bank than this is a great choice for you. This is our overall best choice, and it is no surprise that it gets consistently great reviews from customers.

It is marketed as a military assault type backpack that is also compatible for everyday use. It is designed to be tough enough for the backcountry, yet keeps the everyday user in mind. It is used by daily commuters, students, airport travelers, and for back country explorers.

It is made of a durable water resistant material, and has a lot of great pockets so your gear can stay organized on the go. It has pocket for a bladder pack (not included), so it is all ready to go if you want to add a hydration system.

Overall this is the best heavy-duty pack when looking for a good mix of value and features. Most of the customer reviews online, cannot believe how much value there is in this bag for the price.

The American Flag patch is a nice touch as well, and can easily be removed since it is a Velcro patch.

Key Features
• 40 Liter
• Durable water resistant construction
• Side and Front Loaded Compression System

• Rugged Construction
• Compatible with Hydration Bladders System
• Molle Straps

• Waist Band Small for Some Customers
• Some compartments are too close together when overpacked

2. Samurai Wakizashi Backpack

Rating: ****
Price: $

This is marketed as, “The ultimate bag to carry all of your daily gear,” and in terms of value this bag something special. With the lowest price tag on our list this is a great bag, and will work very well as a daypack or daily bag.

It is a bit on the small sized coming in at about 24 liters. Now there are a variety of pockets and some Molle straps, but it is not the bag made for longer trips. There has been some concern with the Molle straps not being completely sized correctly, but most people probably will not even notice.

Also it has Velcro strips for customizations, so you can fix your bag up in a way that makes the most sense for you. The Velcro is also great if you want to use it for patches.

If you are looking for a smaller bag that you can use as your daily hauler, then this is your choice. It has an attractive design, and consistent positive reviews from users. It is a great choice for those on a budget, and for those not wanting to spend a lot but still get a great tactical pack.

Key Features
• 24 Liters
• Hydration Compatible (Not Included)
• Front and Side Molle Straps
• Water Resistant Material

• Extremely Comfortable
• Distributes Weight Well

• Little on the Small Size
• Molle Strap Specs

3. Mystery Ranch Urban Assault 24

Rating: ****
Price: $$$$

This is an everyday pack that is inspired by military design with everyday functionality in mind. This bag is built to be tough, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. The separate padded pocket for a laptop or a tablet is great. This makes a great camera bag for those who travel long distances with their gear. Also this bag is also combat ready, with many people using it while deployed in the military.

Its quick rip design (three zippers) may seem strange at first, but after a little while you will wonder how you ever lived without it. It just makes sense. It is surprising that there are not more types of bags in this space that use this type of design, secure and durable.

Though it is on the small side that is not always a bad thing. It has a sleek intelligent design that make it our top premium pick in this category. Whatever your small day pack needs you will not be disappointed with this great pack. This is a bag that is tough enough to go anywhere you are going. It can go to the office, the streets, or deep into the wild. Wherever your adventures will take you this uniquely designed bad would be a great premium choice for a daypack.

Key Features
• 24 Liters
• Durable and Water Resistant
• Quick Rip Design (3 Zip)
• 15 inch shoulder drop
• Padded Pockets for Electronics

• Separate Laptop Section
• Unique Zipper Design

• Water bottle pocket does not stretch

4. G4Free Tactical Backpack

Rating: ***
Price: $

This is a nice large backpack with 5 compartments and a 40 liter capacity. For the price this is a great larger backpack, and its rugged design will be perfect for many. It uses the Molle system in its design, which is a very useful feature. It is a smart tactically inspired backpack. Its shoulder straps are adjustable and detachable, and there are a variety of straps so you have some flexibility on how to customize this pack.

While not waterproof this backpack is made of durable and water resistant polyester. If you are looking for a truly waterproof pack, then this will not be for you. But for most people you will be very satisfied with this 40 litre tactical backpack, which you will be able to use for traveling to your next big adventure.

Key Features
• 40 Liter
• 5 Compartments
• Molle Straps
• Water Resistant and Durable Polyester

• Plenty of room for all your gear
• Fully adjustable shoulder straps
• Removable chest and hip belt

• Some zipper issues reported

5. Gootium 21101 Rucksack

Rating: ****
Price: $$

For those who are looking for more of a traditional rucksack kind of design this may be a good fit for you. This is a strong and sturdy bag, and will be good for most purposes. It is made of 100% cotton so it is nice and soft. Forget about it being water resistant though as the material loves to soak in water.

Rucksacks are popular for their simplicity, and the large main compartment is where you will keep most of your stuff. At a 30 liter capacity this pack will holds a surprising amount of stuff. This is a great substitute for a purse, or to use it as a daily commuter pack. It will easily hold everything that you will need. It’s inside zippered pocket is good for smaller items, and the outside pockets are great for items that you may need on the go.

It is tough enough though to be great for hiking and other day trips. Most customers reported being extremely happy with this pack, and there were not a lot of complaints about it. The only common concern was the buttons that keep the pockets closed easily snapping open. But as long as you are not in a situation where your pack is getting thrown around you should be fine.

Key Features
• 30 Liters
• 100% Cotton (Very Soft)
• Drawstring Design
• One Large Main Compartment
• One inside zippered pouch
• Three Outside pockets

• Long Lasting and Durable
• Fashionable Design

• Buttons Don’t Stay Snapped
• Not water resistant

6. Oakley Kitchen Sink Backpack

Rating: ***
Price: $$$$

From the people who brought you Oakley sunglasses, welcome to the Kitchen Sink. This backpack by far as the most unique name of any on our list. It is a good midsized backpack that is ready for the urban landscape. Though it would do fine for an outdoor excursion, it definitely has the city dweller in mind for its design.

It is very sleek and good looking, and has many accents that are inspired from other types of tactical backpacks. It is made from durable and abrasion resistant fabric. The bottom shoe compartment provides spacious storage. It has cool metal clips on the front that can be used to clip on a variety of things like a water bottle.

The biggest complaint with the pack is its hard media compartment. This seems like a great idea at first, and it makes the bag look unique. However, many users complained that since it was on the front it made getting things from inside the compartment difficult.

Key Features
• 34 Liter
• Durable Abrasion Resistant Fabric
• Bottom Shoe Compartment
• Hard Shell Media Compartment

• Great for carrying around electronics and books
• Clip Mounts
• Great Storage Space
• Extra Shoes Kept Separate

• Front Cover Inconvenient
• Needs more compartments

7. Outdoor Canvas Rucksack

Rating: ****
Price: $$

The outdoor canvas rucksack is a great choice for those looking for a no thrills type of backpack. These types of backpacks have a simple time tested design and are highly versatile as backpacks go. They can easily accommodate a laptop, tablet, and anything else the urban dweller might need.

However, it is also a great hiking backpack. Though this is not the pack you are going to want for trips longer than a day, or where you will be expecting some rough weather.

Key Features
• 34 Liters
• Paraffin canvas and leather accents
• Durable and Sturdy Materials
• Comfortable Shoulder Straps

• Great lightweight for hiking
• Very stylish
• Large Capacity

• Pockets don’t close well
• Not machine washable

8. Carhartt Classic Backpack

Price: $$

This is a great backpack with the commuter or student in mind. While this would also make a great day back, its sturdy compact design is more for those lugging around their computer and a books. This is not going to be your go to pack for trekking into the outdoors.

However it has a great design and the shoulders are nicely padded for comfortability. If you are looking for a great backpack for work or school, you really cannot go wrong with this pack.

Key Features
• Made from durable water repellent material
• Main compartment has a padded laptop pocket
• Tablet Sleeve

• Fells more like a stand backpack
• Attractive design
• Front Zippered organizer pocket

• May be too small
• Sturdy Design Hard to overpack

9. 5.11 Tactical RUSH24

Rating: ***
Price: $$$$

The 5.11 tactical rush24 is everything that most people think of when they think military backpack. This is a tactical inspired pack with the city dweller considered. This is a pack that can be used literally anywhere. While the camo might be better for the outdoors the black version is nice enough for the boardroom.

As all tactical backpacks this one has a great Molle straps and a host of clever compartments and pockets. This is a great overall backpack, though it on the higher end of the price range, if you have the money to spend this would be a great backpack over all for all of your needs.

This is the type of backpack that can literally go anywhere and do anything.

Key Features
• 37 Liters
• Molle Straps and Velcro
• Compression Straps
• Comfortable Shoulder Straps

• Extremely Well Made
• Comfortable Shoulder Straps

• No Hard Bottom
• Some reports of zippers getting stuck

10. Osprey Porter 46

Rating: ***
Price: $$$

The Osprey porter 46 is a great bag for traveling long distances when you need to bring a lot of stuff with you. Its clamshell design has a suitcase feel to it so you do not need to dig around in your stuff to find something at the bottom. Combine this bag with packing cubes and its organization is unbeatable.

However, this is not the pack to buy if you are looking to lug it back and forth between work and school. This is a great hiking pack or to use to take a trip, but as a day pack it may be a bit to over powered.

Key Features
• 46 Liters
• Clamshell Design
• Carry On Compatible

• Storable shoulder and waist straps
• Can bring on most airplanes
• Well Designed

• Not great as a daily bag

Durable Backpacks Buyers Guide

When choosing a backpack it is hard to know where to start. Taking a trip into a store or shopping online, can easily overwhelm you with a host of options. There are all of these straps, compartments, and other features, that can be confusing to decide whether or not you will need them. So whether you are going with one of our recommended backpacks, or are shopping around for something else, here is a helpful guide to choosing your next great backpack.

What Do You Need Your Backpack For?

This is the single most important question that you need to ask yourself. What will you be using your backpack for? There are a lot of reasons why people buy a backpack. Some need it primarily for commuting to and from school or work. Some use it to travel either by car, boat, or plane. Others will use their backpack for camping, hiking, or hunting. Whatever your use is it is good to have a clear idea of what you will be doing with it.

Some people have different backpacks for different activities. They keep their backpacks stocked and ready to go for whatever activity they might need it for. Whether it is fishing, hunting, backpacking, camping, commuting, or traveling. If you have the space and like to plan ahead, then this is perhaps the right approach.

However, most will probably have just a few backpack, and one main one. So getting a good idea of how you are going to use that backpack will help you figure out what is a good fit for your needs.

Day Packs

Day packs are smaller, and are really just meant for small trips. They may or not have room for a hydration pack, and usually only have a few main pockets. These are useful when you need to take some stuff, but you do not need a lot of stuff. Nothing is more annoying than taking just a few items with you on a plane, but all you have is a larger backpack.

So having a few day packs around is useful for short hikes, or trips that will last no more that a few hours to a day. If you do not want to lug around a large backpack then this is the right choice for you.

Tactical Backpacks

Are mid-size to large packs that are inspired by gear that the military uses. Many of them are actually used by officers deployed in the field, but are smart and effective enough to be used in the office or out in the backcountry. These are great backpacks for people who want great storage, top notch organization, and the ability to customize their backpack to meet their specific needs.

Rucksacks are the no thrills type of backpacks for those who just want to pack their stuff and go. Many are very stylish and can be used daily as a purse or a man-bag. They have a classically designed look and functionality with a large center compartment with a drawstring, with some pockets on the sides. There is usually some inside pockets either for a tablet of laptop, or other small items.


Choosing the right size backpack is also very important. You will need to understand how much you will want to carry, and what is the right capacity for your needs. If you have too much capacity, then you will be lugging around a lot of extra baggage for no purpose. However, if you do not get enough capacity, then you will not be able to lug around all of your gear.

So here are some standard options in terms of capacity which is usually measured in liters, but also occasionally in cubic inches. This will give you some idea of how much stuff you should be able to lug based on the capacity listed on the backpack.

Backpack Fit

When selecting the right backpack for you nothing beats comfortability. Whether you are using to get to and from work, or to go up and down mountains, you will be wearing your bag often. It can have all of the super cool features in the world, but if it is not comfortable to wear it is worse than useless.

Shoulder Straps

Shoulder straps should be made of good material and be well padded. They should not be digging into your shoulders, and they also should be adjustable. Some even are used as part of the bags suspension system to adjust the weight of your backpack as you go.
Ventilated Backrest

Back Material

The material that your back leans on should allow some air flow. This will reduce sweeting on longer trips, and make for an overall more pleasant experience. If you have ever had a backpack without proper ventilation, then you will know how important it is to keeping your back as cool as possible with proper ventilation. While this will not be an option for a rucksack, backpacks with a more modern design will all have some type of back ventilation in their design.

Torso Size

When choosing a backpack it is more important to take into consideration your torso size then how tall you are. You want to insure that your backpack will fit you properly, and this means that the waist strap needs to fit around properly. So make sure that you take into account the size of the waist strap.


If we had to pick out one clear winner it would be the 5.11 Tactical RUSH24 in black. It is a great bag that has the power to be at home in the office or out somewhere in the backcountry. It is versatile and would be a great all around backpack for where ever life had us going. It is a backpack that is very customizable so that it can be easily adapted for any task at hand. So even though it is not the cheapest backpack on our list, it is one that is the most useful for anything that may come our way.

So even though it was extremely difficult to pick just one, in terms of versatility and aesthetics this would be our top choice. Otherwise you really can’t go wrong with any of the packs on our list. Choosing the right backpack for you is a tough job, and hopefully you have found a few here that you really liked. In our ranking for this best backpacks, we gave you our pick, our choice on a budget, and our premium pick. These would all be great heavy-duty backpacks to choose from as well as any of the others form our top ten list.

Related links

> The best fishing backpacks
> The best bow hunting backpacks
> The best hunting day packs
> The best backpacks with lots of pockets

This is me, Steve Coffman. I'm the Chief Editor of IGFA. I'm retired military personnel who is now into shooting and hunting. As an outdoor expert, I have experience in dealing with all kinds of guns, from light to heavy firearms. Currently, I'm spending my time hunting, shooting and writing on my blog.