Tactical Backpacks That Don’t Look Tactical: Be Smart, Not Obvious


You are looking to step it up and bring your survival game to the next level. Luckily, you can upgrade some of your gear with a simple, tactical backpack that doesn’t look tactical. By doing this, you are making a smart move that keeps you low-key. Flying under the radar and avoiding notice is a fantastic way to help keep your survival plans intact. Hence, a covert tac pack is an ideal choice for a bug-out bag.

You can take it everywhere without looking like a target for a mugging in an emergency. Although you may be prepared to defend yourself, wasting time when you need to escape is going to hurt your chances of getting out unscathed. Resultantly, anything you can do to look less prepared is an advantage. I will walk you through the best tactical backpacks that look more like a fashion choice so you can stay safe.

Tactical Backpacks That Hide in Plain Sight

You never want your tactical backpack to look tactical, but why? It is common knowledge that soldiers and emergency preppers often carry a tac pack. Regrettably, that means the average thief or desperate person will spot that pack a mile away and target you as the one to pick. Unfortunately, your survival gear is only useful if you can hold on to it.

So what do you do about thieves and troublemakers? Trick them, of course. Do whatever you can to make them look somewhere else. One of the best examples of hiding in plain sight I have seen in recent years is the Netflix show Altered Carbon. Long story short, the main character is an expert at infiltration and working with what he has. So when he wants to get away with carrying a huge quantity of illicit substances, he uses a little kids pink bag. 

It is ingenious! Instead of looking like the big, powerful guy he is, he becomes funny. At first glance, he either looks foolish or maybe like a dad who works out a lot and needs to get his kid her PJs. Unfortunately, you will need a bigger bag to bug-out, but the concept is the same.

Go grey with a WolfWarriorX Men Expandable Tactical Backpack from Amazon. Greys blend into the shadows well, and they don’t stand out in a crowd. Additionally, grey is not camo, tan, or otherwise associated with survival. The chest strap will help you disburse weight while you’re on the move. Plus, the low-key mountaineering hook will help you hang an extra pouch. To find out more on Amazon, click, here

Dead Giveaways

Police are often under the microscope for looking to militaristic. However, civilians and even off duty or retired military members could benefit from the lessons they’ve learned. People like to rebel against perceived power. Hence, looking like you come from a large organized body of soldiers is not a good plan, whether you do or not.

What “looks too tactical?” Sadly, the first thing you need to do is ditch the camo. Olive drab, flags on your bags, and other conventional military accessories are a dead giveaway. Unfortunately, there is more to it.

A square bag with squared-off pockets looks like it belongs to a soldier. Probably because that is what we see on films and TV, the association is automatic. More often, in real life, you will see a soldier carrying a duffel bag, but it does not matter. How others perceive you is what makes you a target.

Additionally, when the front of your bag is all MOLLE loops, it looks like what it is, a tac-pack. Sacrificing some of the attachment points for better stealth in a crowd is a worthy trade-up. Luckily, you do not need to give up everything that makes a tactical backpack useful, only alter it enough that it no longer elicits that reaction.

Do Not Look Tactical; Be Tactical With a Backpack

Those who have zero survival skills might benefit from wearing a tactical looking backpack. It might give a small boost in street-cred. That might help for a few minutes. However, as a serious preparedness focused individual, you can do so much better than merely looking at the part.

Just as a soldier or firearms instructor takes their skills with them in any outfit, you should strive to do the same. Dress down or dress up, but don’t ever dress too obviously. Like any proper gear, your backpack needs to blend in with your look.

When You Cannot Help Standing Out Own It

If you are incredibly tall, broad, handsome, beautiful, or otherwise noticeable, you probably already understand how to dress down. However, you can also play on your noticeability by making yourself look goofy or approachable. Sometimes trying to stand out is the best way to be unnoticed.

Consider the extreme example of clowns. At a circus, they are nothing special, so blend into a crowd of highly noticeable people. Alternately, a birthday party clown doesn’t stick out much as a target either. Sure, you see them, but you never think about how much they could stash in their pockets.

Hence, if you cannot blend in normally, then use a different tactic. Distract from what you look like by directing attention elsewhere. Flaunt your good looks as a way to make sure no one is looking too close because they assume you are shallow.

Go Bold, Not Crazy

Whatever you do, do not dress like you have a ton of money. That never goes well. Even if you are wealthy beyond belief, that look will get you killed first when things go sideways. Do Not bedazzle your tac pack! Too much of the wrong attention is a significant problem.

I recommend the MediTac Tactical Assault Pack in the bright orange to stand out individuals. This plays well toward the tac pack as fashion with its bold color, but the MediTac is fully functional. Moreover, it is easy to find in an emergency or low light situation. You will love the double-stitched, reinforced heavy-duty 600D polyester. Check the excellent Amazon reviews here

Sneaky Disguises

Your too-tactical looking tactical backpack can dress down too. There are four super simple ways to give it a facelift without any special skills. Depending on how much time you have, any or all of these will help disguise your tac pack.

  • Rain Cover- Get one of those neon bicyclists backpack covers. Sure, people will see that you have a backpack, but that is the only thing they will know.
  • Patches- Give your tac pack a whole new, counterculture look. Order a half dozen cool patches (nothing military, no flags, etc.) and grab some witty buttons to add flavor.
  • Spray Paint- In a pinch, a can of blue, pink, yellow, or even brown spray paint can change your bag’s look. If you have to use brown, tan, dark green, or black, do not go for a solid coat. Instead, try to make it look dirty like a hobo pack. They do not tend to carry high-value goods or cash.
  • Jacket- If you are caught out in an emergency with a super-obvious tactical backpack, grab a coat or sweater. Tie it over your pack and get out fast.

Anything that distracts attention or covers a tactical backpack makes it less noticeable. Sometimes you have to work with what you have. Fortunately, as an emergency prepper, that is a skill you have already.

Escaping with Your Tactical Backpack

Having a tactical backpack that does not look tactical is just part of ending a dangerous situation. To get any use out of that pack, you have to get it to safety. Moving fast at the first sign of trouble is the first step, but what about when that is not possible?

If you are stuck in a congested area like a city, try to blend into the crowd. Keep in mind that looking sloppy is fast and easy. Moreover, messy people are not the first thing most folks notice because city dwellers are self-programmed to ignore the homeless.

It is sad but true. That means you can use it to your advantage when SHTF. Smear some mud on your pack and your clothing. Or go as far as dumping a beer over your head to look and smell undesirable.

Additionally, make sure you know several routes you can take on foot to get to your bug-out location. Even if you have an outstanding bug-out vehicle, you will not always be able to reach it. Pack that rain cover at the top of your tac pack.

Better Backpack Security

Adding two simple extras to your tactical backpack will help you keep it in an emergency. First, attach a personal safety alarm to one strap and clip it to your shirt. If anyone tries to grab it and run, the whole bag will scream the second it detaches from your back.

Secondly, add small locks to the zippers. These little locks will not keep out a determined thief. However, professional bag snatchers do not often waste time on a pack they need to break into. The visual deterrent is usually enough to get you a pass.

You can get the high-quality XWLSPORTS Military Tactical Backpack in dark grey as well. This expandable tac pack can hold up to sixty liters. You will get plenty of use out of the mesh water bottle holder, and elastic paracord drawstrings in an emergency. Order yours from Amazon right here

Final Thoughts

With the rise in tactically-styled gear, a lot of people use blatant tactical backpacks, and it is a big mistake. Even if you were a clueless fashionista, opting to appear tactical has limited benefits. You want to blend in, not stick out.

When you carry a standard military-looking tac pack, people jump to conclusions. Sure, the savvy folks know the difference, but not everyone will. Who said thieves were always smart? Assume you are playing to an audience when you dress and make sure they see what serves you best.

Choosing a tactical backpack that does not look tactical is a superb survival strategy. By looking less like a survivor, you can increase your survival chances.