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Best Lightweight Tactical Pack Review

In the not-too-distant past, tactical packs used by the military were “Mission specific”. The Alice system, with its three sizes, gave way to the massive MOLLE and then to several other hybrids. These hybrids were dreamed up using well-known hiking pack standards and newer fabrics. Hopefully our due diligence will help you in your buying journey of Best Lightweight Tactical Pack Review.

Here is a list of Best Lightweight Tactical Pack

With our days in Iraq over and not much time left in Afghanistan, our servicemen and women are finding that a best-fit pack works better than the standard one-size-fits-all. Below are five of the best tactical backpacks in their respective classes (Day Pack, 72-Hour Pack and Long Range Pack).

#1 – 5.11 Rush 12

Construction & Durability

The Rush 12 from 5.11 is made of 1050 Denier nylon and uses standard YKK zippers. All of the zippers are protected by a fold-over inseam that keeps dust and rain out of the zippers’ teeth as well as the pack itself. The zippers all have closed loop pulls for easier use and locking.

Weight & Capacity

The Rush 12 weighs in at 2.75 pounds. The pack is 18” x 11” x 6.5” and it’s internal capacity is 1296 cubic inches or 21.2 liters. If that’s not enough room, you can always attach additional external pouches to its many strips of Pals Webbing.


This pack fall into the 12 hour, or “Day Pack” category. It’s included in the name of the pack, “12”. Each 5.11 backpack is designated by a number corresponding to the number of hours the pack is designed to be used for. With its 16 separate pockets this pack has plenty of functionality.

I particularly like the large front pocket that opens into two makeshift pockets that can easily fit two 5.56 magazines for reasonably quick access. A lot of work was done to allow for the hydration system to be ambidextrous, as well as separate from the main interior of the pack. If you do manage to get water inside the pack it has several drain holes in the bottom and the back that will allow any water to easily escape.

Overall Feedback

The pros: this a very durable pack that will last through several deployments.

The cons: it’s a specialty pack that isn’t designed to carry more than a day’s worth of supplies.

Buy 5.11 Tactical Rush 12 Pack here

#2 – Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon II

Construction & Durability

The Pygmy Falcon II, manufactured by Maxpedition, is also made of 1050 Denier nylon and uses standard YKK zippers. The quality of both the material and the stitching is very high. A favorite of rock climbers, this pack has been dragged across rough rock and keeps going.

Weight & Capacity

The Pygmy Falcon II measures 18” x 9.5” x 5.5”and weighs in at two pounds. Its internal capacity is 1520 cubic inches or about 25 liters. It also has Pals Webbing on its main outside zipper compartment so you can easily add extra pouches.


This pack is definitely a 12 hour or “Day Pack”. It has two large water bottle pouches on each side, with cinch tops, so your one-liter Nalgene bottles or canteens will fit easily and stay put. Adjustable shoulder straps with both bottom and top adjustment points ensure a comfortable fit.

The bottom of the pack contains a nylon shock cord that allows you to keep a wrapped-up raincoat or poncho for quick access, as well as a 1” web strap similar to the ones found on old Alice packs. The main pouch opens all the way to allow the same access you would find in a larger tactical trauma kit (clam shell).

This pack also sports a standard hydration system compartment and several compression straps to keep things from bouncing around in the pack while on the move.

Overall Feedback

This pack’s design is optimal for radio operators. RTOs won’t have a problem with their radio floating around the interior of the pack.

The pros: its size. This pack is perfect for a raid, assault, or short day patrol.

The cons: it is only good for those missions.

Buy Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon II here

#3 – Condor 125 3-Day Assault Pack

Construction & Durability

Although made of only 1000 Denier Nylon, this multi-use pack is exceptionally durable.

Weight & Capacity

This 3-Day Assault pack is 22” x 17” x 11”and weighs about five and a half pounds. Its internal capacity is 3038 cubic inches or about 50 Liters.


This pack fits into the 72-hour category. This pack has MOLLE/MLCS compatible webbing on all of its external pouch faces. This pack is capable of holding two 3-liter hydration bladders and, like the Rush 12, it has ambidextrous openings for a single use hose on the left or right, or dual use left and right hoses.

This pack has four external pouches of different sizes. Inside the upper outside pouch I noticed two 5.56 magazine pouches with shock cord retention bands, as well as two radio pouches. The interior of the pack has many straps for keeping gear in place as well as two large mesh pouches for quick viewing of the gear inside them. It also opens similar to the Pygmy Falcon II.

It has three beefy carrying/drag handles instead of the standard top handle. All of the straps have an elastic & Velcro strap retainer so you they won’t flap in the wind. Grommets placed across the bottom of the pack virtually guarantee that this pack will not retain water and is perfect for jungle or riverine operations.

General Feedback

The pros: this was one of the best packs I have ever rated. This is truly a “Best fit” pack.

The cons: it is very MOLLE friendly and if you decide to go crazy, adding pouch after pouch to this pack, you will probably have back problems when you are forty.

Buy Condor 125 3-Day Assault Pack here

#4 – Snugpak Endurance 40

Construction & Durability

The Endurance 40 from Snugpak is made of 500D heavy duty nylon, which makes it exceptionally light. I wouldn’t expect this bag to survive the mountains of Afghanistan but it would work well in arctic or jungle conditions. This is a bucket-style, top-loading pack. It reminds me of a super lightweight British Bergen without the zip-on side pouches.

Weight & Capacity

The Endurance 40 weighs 1400 grams or 3 pounds, nearly half as much as others in  the 72-hour category. This is pack measures 19” x 12” x 8.5”and its internal capacity  is 3038 cubic inches or about 40 liters. This is a narrower and taller pack than normally used.


This pack is unbelievably MOLLE compatible. It has 150 MOLLE attachment points with 8 rows of Pals on the side and 9 rows on the front of the pack. This pack has all the benefits of the original Vector pack with none of the drawbacks. The lid has both an inner and outer zipper pouch. This lid uses the cinch-style storm collar opening at the top of the pack that allows for quick closing and opening of the pack’s main storage area.

Inside the cavernous main storage area is an elastic, ringed pouch for a 100-ounce hydration bladder. Outside the pack and on top of all those MOLLE points are six plastic D-Rings with shock cord threaded through them. These are for anything that you might want to put on the back of the pack for quick access, like a poncho or rain suit.

On each side of the pack are pockets that allow for storage of everything from water bottles to tomahawks. Each side has two compression straps that allow you to shrink the pack and/or strap gear to its side, like a tripod or a sleeping mat. This pack also offers removable chest straps, whereas most 72-hour packs have chest straps that can’t be removed. Inside the pack, it also has its own roll-away, waterproof cover that tucks away and can be accessed quickly if it starts raining.

General Feedback

The pros: it walks the line between a 72-hour pack and a long-range pack.

The cons: this pack sits very high and makes your silhouette much larger and easier for the enemy to see.

Buy Snugpak Endurance 40 here

#5 – Eberlestock V69 Destroyer

Construction & Durability

The V69 Destroyer from Eberlestock is, oddly enough, made of 420 Rip-Stop nylon. The nylon allows the pack to remain strong while being exceptionally light for its size.

Weight & Capacity

The Destroyer weighs in at about seven pounds. The pack measures 29” x 12” x 9” and it’s internal capacity is 3600 cubic inches, or 59 liters. If you feel you need to carry even more gear, you can try out its big brother, the V90 Battleship.


This pack easily fits in the “Long Range” category. On the outside, the Destroyer has both a top drag handle as well as carrying handles positioned on each side. The Destroyer has large mesh pockets on each side of the pack that come in handy if you have something wet and you don’t want to put it inside the pack. It also has large side pockets near the bottom, allowing you to strap a weapon to the pack by placing the butt of the weapon in the side pocket and strapping it to the pack with the compression straps.

This pack has straps nearly everywhere. It uses both compression and grapple straps that allow you to attach items or to compress the pack in two different directions to ensure it stays close to your back and that the gear in it doesn’t shift. The Destroyer’s frame is made of internal aluminum stays that you can remove and adjust to precisely fit your back.

The pack’s pack strap and harness are very robust and adjustable. This pack uses an adjustable ladder-type shoulder harness that allows you to raise or lower the shoulder straps to fit your body. This pack is also covered with MOLLE points so if you want to carry more, have at it. The Destroyer has both front-loading and top-loading features. What this means is that you can access or load the pack like a traditional rucksack from the top via a cap-and-storm collar, or you can access the pack via a full frontal zipper opening in the pack.

Looking inside the Destroyer you will find a traditional radio pouch and retainer strap in the rear of the pack large enough for a PRC-117A. You will also find large sundry pouches inside on the sidewalls of the pack. At the bottom of the pack you will find another front-loading entrance. This space can easily hold a sleeping system or, if you need the entire space inside the pack for a larger item, you can un-cinch the pack’s internal diaphragm system (divider) that segregates the top from the bottom of the pack. This pack also comes with a rain cover hidden in a bottom zipper pouch that can be accessed quickly and placed over the pack.

General Feedback

The pros: its quality and its ability to haul gear. Having multiple access points to the inside of the pack is always a plus. This is a battle-tested pack used by US Special Forces.

The cons: you will spend a large amount of money to own one of these packs.

Buy Eberlestock V69 Destroyer here

Final Thoughts

Every pack reviewed also had very durable carry handles, drain holes, and chest straps, and came in a multitude of colors or camouflage patterns that would suit any branch of service. With any pack you decide to purchase, stay focused on the needs of the mission and how well the pack will support the mission. This will serve you well by keeping you from trying to stuff three days’ worth of gear into a little day pack, or walking around with one day’s worth of gear and supplies in a giant, long-range ruck.

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