There are certain words that we expect to see when shopping online or in stores for gun related gear. Of those terms no word gets over used more then Tactical. I nearly spit out a perfectly good cup of coffee when I found ads on my Facebook feed for not 1 but 2 tactical energy drinks now on the market. Don’t worry we will review those soon ;)
Lets start with what is Tactical?
tac·ti·cal adjective \ˈtak-ti-kəl\ : of, relating to, or used for a specific plan that is created to achieve a particular goal in war, politics, etc. So it is something used by warriors or in the art of war. I am pretty sure 90% of the stuff labeled tactical does not fit this guideline. If it did then it would be called Mil-Spec another way overly used word to sell products.
Tactical has begun to be replaced by hard operators with the word tacticool when worn by the guy standing in line at Starbucks with a Maxpedition bag, his Spyderco or Benchmade knife who the expects to out live us all in a zombie apocalypse, but has been to the range once in the last 3 years.
In fact though I am hard on the term many products that are marketed as tactical are really great products. We will go into 5 reasons why tactical bags specifically have advantages over standard bags.
Did you know that most tactical packs have specific features such as extra comfort, durability, and convenience that you will not find on the average Target bag.
1) Strength and Durability-
Tactical and military packs are designed to be more durable. This means you get more bang for your buck! Normal backpacks are typically constructed of lighter grade polyesters that wear out or tear more quickly.
Tactical packs are constructed of heavy-duty polyester specifically intended for rugged use. In the long run, the cost of buying a second and third backpack when the first one rips or tears will be far greater than paying the extra for the one tactical pack you wanted to begin with. Remember this is not true for all bags just because of the name. Look for quality brands like Maxpedition, 5.11, BLACKHAWK and others that have been really tested in the market.
2) More Compartments-
Most regular backpacks have only two compartments, three if you’re lucky. But don’t we all have more than just a couple things? No one likes looking around frantically for their keys or cell phone, only to find out later they were buried in the abyss of random stuff at the bottom of their backpack.
On the other hand, it is not uncommon to find tactical packs containing ten compartments and a multitude of other accessory pockets. This is an obvious benefit to anyone, no matter what the pack is being used for. At the end of the day, the more pockets and compartments your pack has, the easier it will be for you to stay organized.
3) Extra Comfort-
A couple great features found in many tactical packs, but not in every day backpacks, translate into extra comfort for you. Tactical and military packs have more padding in the shoulder straps as well as breathable, padded backing and a padded waist belt.
A padded waist belt helps distribute the weight you are carrying through your shoulders and your hips. This is a great benefit since our hips are stronger than our shoulders. The waist belt makes carrying heavier loads easier, which will leave you with more energy to focus on the real task at hand – not your aching back.
The superior design of a padded waist belt is a clear advantage to the thin nylon straps seen on most backpacks. Those flimsy little straps are more like gut-cinching devices than they are load distributors.
4) Hydration Pocket-
Many tactical packs contain hydration systems and if your going the tactical route I suggest you only consider bags that do. With a typical back pack, you’ve got to fumble around and contort your arm behind your back trying to get your water bottle out. Tactical packs make it easy to drink all the water you need; you’ve got a soft bite valve connected to your water supply that’s brilliantly tucked away within your pack. What’s more is that your hydration system won’t spill and leave your stuff more hydrated than you are. Another advantage I have found is that if your hydration pack is against your back fill the pouch with ice and you can give yourself a nice way to reduce your body heat in the summer.
5) Modular Connectivity-
With the ability to attach ALICE, MOLLE, PALS or other military grade connection systems you can grow your bag as needed. My range bag for example has a medical pouch that I attach to it but that same medical pouch often gets connected to my Maxpedition when going to amusement parks and outdoor events. Based on several modular pouches I keep loaded I can either head out fully loaded or packed light based on what is needed without having to take anything in or out of my main compartment.
We hope that this article has cleared up some of the myths about tactical gear and encourages you to look at your options before your next purchase.