If you’re shopping for a backpack to carry your essentials, consider an everyday carry (EDC) backpack.
As a survivalist and veteran Royal Marine Commando, having yomped hundreds of miles with over 100lb plus on my back, I know firsthand how important it is to have an everyday backpack that’s comfortable and fits your body and needs.
After being asked to check out eight EDC backpacks, I found this 5.11 EDC Tactical Backpack Rush 2.0 to be the best overall on the list, and it comes in two larger sizes, 37 and 55 liter, too.
However, I have provided a complete review below to help you find the best EDC backpack that suits you.
Although they have their roots in the military and tactical environments, the following backpacks are some of the best everyday carry backpacks for essential use.
On deployment, I would need to carry a variety of equipment ready to use in different situations. When I needed to find something, I needed to find it fast!
So it’s always good to remember that the best EDC backpack should have excellent storage capabilities, a well-thought-out organization with various pockets and compartments for easy access and a well-fitting and comfortable design.
It should also have reliable, weather-resistant material and a solid exterior.
Although I’m used to using a pack in the military, for tactical patrols, and now mainly for hiking and survival, you can also use an EDC backpack for things like work, school, or camping.
There are many EDC backpacks to choose from, all designed for various purposes. An extensive selection might be excellent, but it also makes decision-making difficult.
So these complete reviews are for eight specific models I checked out – let’s get to it.
This EDC backpack can be used in many situations. It works just as well for everyday use as it does for tactical purposes.
From the eight packs reviewed, my number 1 choice is the 5.11 EDC Tactical Backpack Rush 2.0. It has a padded laptop compartment, which in today’s environment is highly desirable, as electronic devices are an integral part of people’s lives.
As well as the dedicated laptop compartment, this bag features a hydration compartment that can take a drinking bladder, which is not included. Plus a large pouch for protecting your sunglasses from damage.
The ability to carry water is a must when you’re in the great outdoors. This looks like the best hydration bladder to get if this bag is for you.
In addition, it features a concealed-carry (CCW) compartment so you can safely carry a firearm with you tucked away.
As well as 16 compartments for optimal external and internal organization, the 5.11 EDC Tactical Backpack also features a large main compartment with a total packing capacity of 24 liters, 37 or 55, which is big enough for most circumstances.
This everyday backpack is compatible with a MOLLE wrap-around stick web platform, although this doesn’t come as standard.
MOLLE stands for Modular, Lightweight, Load Carrying Equipment. It’s a great system that allows you to add additional crucial supplies and gear outside your pack.
This 5.11 EDC Tactical Backpack is made of durable 1050D nylon, which means it can handle a lot of weight.
The pack is also water and weather-resistant, so a bit of rain shouldn’t be a big deal.
It even has self-repairing zippers, which means that if you break one, you can simply zip it back, and it will re-close itself.
I found the 5.11 EDC Tactical Backpack comfortable because of the well-padded, adjustable shoulder straps and sternum strap, which help reduce the stress on your shoulders and back.
It also has two external compression straps, an adjustable sternum strap, and a shoulder yoke strap system. These features will help you adjust the pack in different areas to fit your body better and compensate for the load you’re carrying, making it more comfortable.
In addition, the pack weighs under three pounds, which is suitable for an everyday backpack.
All of these great features meant that, from the backpacks that I reviewed, the 5.11 EDC Tactical Backpack is, in my opinion, the best choice.
Another factor is that this EDC backpack doesn’t cost a fortune. No, it’s not cheap, but the price is more than reasonable considering the high-quality design.
If you’re looking for something of very good quality that’s very versatile, durable and comfortable, this could be the EDC backpack for you, especially if you don’t mind spending a little more!
The Vertx Gamut 2.0 Backpack is an excellent bag to consider. And, you also get a good choice of colors. It’s a great bag for women too!
It’s a slightly larger pack than my top pick in terms of the overall size. However, it features a packing capacity of 25 liters, so it is pretty roomy; it should be spacious enough for most daily needs. The main pocket has an adjustable and removable padded laptop compartment, which can also be used for CCW.
One thing that stands out about the Vertx Gamut 2.0 Backpack is that the zippered main compartment can open 180 degrees with a hot pull tab, making it easy for quick access when you are on the go. Dual snap buckles ensure that it doesn’t fully open every time you undo the zipper.
In addition, this pack has several exterior pockets for increased carrying capacity. These help with organization. Although it doesn’t have nearly as many individual pockets as the EDC backpack in my number 1 spot, it still holds its own.
You also can add a soft or hard armour panel behind the foam back. The back also has a passthrough compartment so you can use the bag as a shield.
More loop panels and zippered mesh pockets are strategically located for easy access. The zippered side pockets open towards you, too, for increased safety and security. The front panel also folds to expose a MOLLE System so that you can carry further equipment.
It has a concealed-carry compartment (CCW) to store a firearm securely.
The Vertx Gamut 2.0 Backpack is high-quality nylon material with reinforced seams for added stability, making it a peak design everyday backpack that’s reliable and comfortable.
In addition, the 3D molded mesh back panel provides good support and softness for your back. You also get size-adjustable padded shoulder straps and an adjustable waist strap for further comfort.
The Vertx Gamut 2.0 is a fantastic pack, and one of the best everyday carry bags in this review, so you might wonder why it doesn’t take first place.
The reason is simple: The price.
The Vertx Gamut 2.0 Backpack costs twice as much as my first choice.
This Reebow Gear Military MOLLE Backpack might be the bag on the list for you if you’re looking for the best EDC that’s a large backpack with greater packing capacity at a more competitive price.
It has a total packing capacity of 40 liters; it’s got enough room for all your needs, whether you’re using it for a bug-out bag, camping, working, on patrol, or anything in between.
This military-style tactical pack is also an excellent option for longer hiking trips, combat, and hunting. It comes with a large main compartment with plenty of organizational capabilities.
In addition, it features a secondary zippered compartment and two smaller zippered compartments, so it’s got enough room. And it’s hydration compatible, which means you can add a hydration bladder.
This backpack is a MOLLE backpack. It has a complete MOLLE webbing and loop system for all your most important gear.
You can hang and attach a ridiculous number of items to this bag. This military-style backpack is 600 x 600 density material which is solid and water-resistant.
Based on the price, you may not think it’s as solid and lasting as the two previously reviewed, but I feel it’s good value for money and will hold its own.
I like that this backpack is double-stitched and has heavy-duty zippers with utility-style nylon cord pulls, making for easy access.
Plus, a well-padded shoulder strap system is adjustable for maximum comfort, and the ventilated, breathable mesh-padded back has a soft surface.
You also get a side and a front-load compression system to help make the bag smaller, which will help adjust the weight you carry on your back.
Surprisingly, this backpack comes at a very reasonable price, making it ideal for those on a budget.
It might not be the best EDC backpack on this list, but there’s nothing to complain about for the price.
This EDC backpack is more straightforward than the typical survival and tactical packs I have reviewed here with MOLLE strap systems. However, it does have a good design for everyday carry use and includes a laptop and tablet pouch.
The Carhartt Legacy Classic Backpack is reasonably priced, making it an ideal bag for a day pack hiking or even as a Bug Out Bag for young adults that would be accompanying you.
It’s great for school, work, or around town. I like that it is made out of 1200D polyester and has a strong exterior with great rip and tear resistance material.
It’s also capable of holding a good deal of weight. It might not be made out of ballistic nylon material, but it’s far from the worst.
It has an abrasion-resistant base, so you can easily stand it up without worrying about the bottom wearing out quickly. This type of base also means that the backpack can balance on its own without tipping over.
A rain defender water-repellent coating has also been applied to the outer layer, meaning the backpack should not let water through even with heavy rain.
Although it’s not the most enormous backpack in the World, it has an adequate 20-litre capacity, which should be enough for most people’s needs.
The good thing about not having a huge backpack is that it’s smaller and lightweight. This model weighs just over 1 pound, making it one of the lightest backpacks on the list.
When it comes to everyday carry, I do appreciate a lightweight backpack.
Although it’s important to note that this is not the best EDC for tactical or Bug Out Bag purposes or if you’re the primary person yomping, hunting, or travelling in the backcountry.
This backpack has a large main compartment, a laptop, and a padded tablet pocket. There’s also a secondary front zippered organizational pocket.
It has contoured straps for your shoulders and a padded air mesh back panel, making it good enough for an everyday carry backpack at a low price.
It might not be loaded with many pockets for your organization as other backpacks reviewed, but, as mentioned, that’s not always necessary.
Whether it’s weight, the material, the front pocket, or the ability to carry a 15-inch laptop and water bottle – pick the best EDC that matches your needs. For example, I would not be looking to take this on exercise!
It might not have compression or sternum straps, but it’s still a reasonably priced and comfortable pack.
This is one of the best EDC bags I reviewed if you are looking for more of a tactical pack designed for concealed-carry purposes or a survival bag.
Even though it’s the second-most-expensive pack on the list as far as price goes, the investment is well worth its high quality and functionality.
I can see why it made this best EDC list. Plus, there are four great colors to choose from.
This backpack will enable you to conceal carry safely. It comes with a zippered compartment with an internal holster that can be accessed from either side, which is great if you’re either left or right-handed.
A separate dedicated padded laptop compartment, a zippered document front pocket, and a hook-and-loop panel for attaching various patches are all excellent additions for more organization.
There’s a large main compartment with a mesh pocket and a MOLLE attachment system. Plus, a dual water bottle/accessory pockets on the sides.
The forward organization pocket features the laptop sleeve, dual mesh zippered pockets, a variety of flat accessory compartments, and a key hook, which makes this bag one of the best everyday carry packs on the list if you’re looking for organization capabilities.
This peak design everyday backpack is also made with 1000 denier nylon, an extremely strong material that makes for a sturdy exterior. It shouldn’t rip or tear easily and can handle a fair bit of weight.
The material is also water-resistant, which will help to protect your belongings. It also comes with heavy-duty zippers with a covered zipper chain for an even greater water-resistant exterior.
I would say that this is probably one of the most durable bags reviewed.
Finally, there’s a vented mesh back panel that is soft yet supportive, and at the same time, it’s very comfortable and breathable. Plus, the fully adjustable shoulder and waist straps are well padded, breathable, and adjustable.
As mentioned, this is not the cheapest backpack, but as far as being functional and durable, it’s one of the best EDC backpacks for the organization on the go – I think it’s well worth the investment.
After reviewing the top five everyday carry backpacks, I wanted to look at one specific model ideal for children.
Ok. So this would not be a typical choice of mine for everyday carry in a military, tactical or survival sense. This pack, however, is one of the most affordable and serves a purpose because it’s a bare children’s bag.
It’s a relatively simple pack intended for going to school, and it comes in about two dozen colors and designs. It can also serve as a multi-purpose bag, such as a Bug Out Bag or hiking bag if needed,
For standard use, color isn’t an issue, but when it comes to an EDC pack for emergency use or a bug-out situation, it’s always a good idea to stay under the radar.
So, if you purchase this bag for your child, stick to black, grey, dark green, or brown if you purchase this bag to cover all bases and avoid bright colors.
This bag is large enough for a child to carry schoolbooks and other equipment. And there are two small mesh pockets on the side for a water bottle or similar item.
It is also reasonably lightweight. It weighs just over 1 lb, which is not too heavy for a smaller person.
This backpack has padded shoulder straps that are pretty breathable and adjustable.
The bag is made of relatively durable material. And although it’s not of the highest quality, it should have a tough enough exterior to resist any punishment a child will throw in its way. The material is also water-resistant.
In addition, the bag comes with a small lunch bag that attaches to the exterior and is made of the same material and design. This is handy if you want to double up, and instead of using it as a school lunch bag, you can add food and supplies while trekking together.
If you’re on an extremely tight budget, the following bag could be an excellent option.
This pack is a highly affordable EDC backpack designed for multiple uses.
The OTDSEEKER Tactical EDC Sling Bag costs around $14 (USD) plus tax, making it the most affordable everyday carry backpack on the list.
No, it’s not made of ballistic nylon at this price but a decent 600D polyester, a durable material that will resist easy tearing and ripping. It can also hold a good deal of weight.
This bag is not as sturdy as other military-style EDC backpacks reviewed, but it should still hold its own. There is a nylon lining for added durability, making it water-resistant too.
The backpack is ideal for various purposes with excellent organization and has a large interior pocket with a padded laptop compartment. It will double up as a good bag for school or work too.
The pack also comes with a dedicated pocket for your smartphone and a headphone cable hole, so you can keep your phone in your backpack and still listen to your favorite songs. Or audiobooks in my case.
There are many exterior pockets and a fully functional MOLLE strap-and-loop system so you can hang your most crucial gear from it.
Although it’s not an enormous backpack in terms of overall capacity, it should do just fine for a smaller Bug Out Bag, tactical, sports, or work pack. You could also use it for hiking and short camping trips.
It’s important to know that this backpack is a sling backpack, which would also account for the price, so it has only a single strap instead of two like most preferable EDCs.
Some people find a sling pack more comfortable and convenient, but others, like me, find that it puts too much weight on either shoulder. So it’s something to consider.
Even so, the strap, which is switchable, is adjustable and very well padded.
Now, let’s look at the best EDC backpack on this list for young girls. This bag is another relatively spacious backpack that can be used for various purposes.
As a former Royal Marine Commando, it’s safe to say that I wouldn’t be turning up on exercise with this lovely little number. However, it is a very functional backpack for young girls.
It comes in six colors and styles and has a compact and sleek design, so it doesn’t take up too much space.
Because of this compact design, it’s relatively lightweight and highly portable. Being lightweight and portable doesn’t mean it’s not spacious.
On the contrary, this bag has a large interior packing capacity with enough space to fit a 15-inch laptop.
The padded laptop sleeve helps keep it safe, and the main compartment is ideal for other essentials.
One of the coolest features is the dedicated pocket for a power bank. You can connect a power bank to the interior of this backpack and use the included cable to charge your phone from the outside, as there is a small USB port on the outside of the pack.
It also features three zippered exterior pockets for even greater organization. There are two side pockets for smaller items as well.
There is even a small hidden pocket on the back panel for keeping your valuables safe, as other people cannot get into it when you wear the backpack.
This pack is quite durable and made with waterproof and scratch-resistant nylon material. This is the only backpack on the list that is 100% waterproof! So it’s easy to clean if it gets dirty.
I’m not one to worry about the less practical things on my pack, but there are some decorative pieces and a leather handle buckle if that floats your boat.
This backpack is relatively comfortable, and many will love it. It has adjustable thick and well-padded shoulder straps and a soft and well-padded back.
For the reasonable price, I think that it’s a great option. Again, I would shoot for the black and brown option from a tactical and multipurpose perspective.
So, in summary, if you’re looking for the best EDC backpack, my top choice from this review is the 5.11 EDC Tactical Backpack. It’s spacious, durable, multi-purpose, high capacity in 3 sizes with excellent organization features, is comfortable, has a MOLLE System for expansion, and is reasonably priced.
If you’re looking for something slightly larger with additional features, a high level of comfort, and don’t mind the added expense, the Vertx Gamut 2.0 Backpack is an excellent choice too.
The Reebow Gear Military MOLLE Backpack is a good, more budget-friendly, genuine military-style tactical EDC backpack with a large capacity.
The Elite Survival Systems Guardian Concealed Carry Tactical EDC Pack is the option if you want a survival or tactical pack that’s comfortable with excellent capabilities for organization, a fully functional MOLLE System and a specific concealed carry compartment.
While it may not be your typical EDC backpack, the Carhartt Legacy Classic Work Backpack with a laptop sleeve meets many requirements. It’s affordable, comfortable, durable, and spacious.
If you are looking for something smaller and more oriented for school, work, and basic carrying needs and a single shoulder strap, the OTDSEEKER Tactical EDC Sling Bag is another good EDC pack to consider.
The LOVEVOOK Bookbag for Women is an excellent, unexpectedly good pack to keep in mind for women and young girls. It’s comfortable, spacious, and 100% waterproof with a laptop sleeve and built-in USB port.
Finally, I recommend checking out the PUMA Unisex Evercat Backpack and Lunch Kit Combo for young kids. It’s a great price, lightweight, roomy and sturdy.
What you carry in your EDC pack depends on what your purpose is.
For instance, if you use it mainly for school or work and want to take books, a laptop and tablet, or other electronic devices, you’ll want a sturdy pack with suitable organization compartments and a laptop sleeve.
However, if you’re camping or hiking, bringing along food and water, weather-appropriate clothes such as rain gear, first aid equipment, and other items, you’ll want a pack that’s robust, comfortable, adjustable, of relatively large capacity, with several compartments and pockets for organization.
The gear you need will be significantly more sophisticated if you use a pack for tactical, military, or survival purposes.
You’ll want a good sturdy, say robust nylon material design that’s high capacity with a central pocket or compartment, top pocket, and many compartments for organization, including a MOLLE System so that you can carry further equipment.
Adjustable comfort features, a laptop pocket and a pocket for a hydration bladder are also beneficial.
For survival, here’s a great Bug Out Bag Check List.
There are several factors to look for when buying an EDC backpack, including but not limited to:
Let’s look at a few crucial factors to consider before buying an EDC backpack.
The first consideration should be the size of the EDC backpack and its overall capacity, ensuring it’s fit for the purpose you need it for.
Some examples I reviewed in this article hold less than 20 liters, for example, whereas others hold over 40 liters. Consider how much you plan to put inside the bag.
When it comes to the best everyday carry backpacks, you want something with good organization features.
Every good pack has a large main compartment, now with a small padded laptop sleeve for a laptop or tablet if needed.
Consider an EDC pack with various other pockets if further external and internal organization is required. The more compartments the backpack has, the easier it is to stay organized.
For military, tactical, survival and hiking activities, look for the bag to have pockets for, say, concealed carry, a hydration bladder or MOLLE System.
There are various choices of EDC packs if a laptop pocket or camera compartment is essential.
Think about the type of electric devices you are looking to carry safely, like a laptop and tablet.
One laptop backpack, for example, may have a fleece-lined laptop sleeve. Another laptop backpack may be ballistic nylon with a laptop and tablet pocket. Or your preference may be a good grain leather with a pocket for a camera backpack.
MOLLE means Modular, Lightweight, Load Carrying and Equipment.
A MOLLE system allows you to attach additional items and gear outside your pack.
If this is a requirement, look for an EDC pack with a Molle System to maximize carrying capacity and organization capabilities. Usually, you can attach various items using a MOLLE loop or strap.
This is a tactical feature that the armed forces use as we always needed to carry more items on exercise or when deployed.
You should also look for an EDC backpack that doesn’t weigh too much empty.
As you can see from the reviews, most will top out at around 3 or 4 pounds.
Remember, though, something too lightweight may indicate a lack of durability or capacity, if that’s important to you, so pay attention to the weight.
You want an EDC backpack that is durable, water-resistant or waterproof if needed.
There are Cordura nylon and ballistic nylon packs, some even with a lifetime warranty!
Any high-grade nylon or thick polyester is ideal. Some people like canvas and leather as they are more rugged.
Pay attention to the weight capacity too. The higher the weight capacity, the more durable the material of your EDC pack should be.
The best EDC backpacks need to be comfortable for you to carry.
Therefore, you want to look for broad and well-padded shoulder straps that are adjustable for size.
You are on the right track if you can find a backpack with an internal frame too. A chest, waist, and sternum strap for added support will also help.
Compression straps and a back that is padded are also beneficial for comfort.
The best EDC backpacks may have additional features depending on their intended purpose.
For instance, those made for hiking and other activities will often have hydration pouches or exterior pockets for a water bottle.
Everyday carry backpacks designed for military and tactical use may have sections explicitly designed for concealed carry.
Bags for work or school will have a laptop pocket.
Once again, before making a purchase, consider first and foremost what you want to use the backpack for every day.
When it comes down to it, the top pick for me from this list, considering everything, e.g. capacity, weight, organization features, durability, ergonomics and price, the best EDC backpack had to be the 5.11 EDC Tactical Pack.
For the price tag, it’s loaded with beneficial features and will suit many everyday carry purposes.
I am a 12-year Royal Marine Veteran who has spent the last 15 years living in rural Canada. I love being in nature and spend a vast amount of time in the backcountry, maintaining and continuing to learn new survival skills.