When it comes to choosing your tactical backpack and packing it, your survival needs and comfort come first. It is not a tactical backpack if we lump each and every item we think we might need into the backpack. It is not also a tactical backpack if it will weigh you down when you need to be moving fast.

Organize a Tactical Backpack for Battlefield
Packing a Tactical Backpack is a Whole Lot of Work!

Your backpack should also not hurt your back because it is not properly balanced. The backpack should be a life-saving kit, not a hindrance.

This is crucial to buy a suitable tactical backpack first. To help yourself select the best one, read our reviews about our top 10 backpacks available in the market. You can buy one of them as they are tough, offer tons of space, durable, and at an affordable rate.

What to pack?

There are many lists online that tell you what to pack. However, the best judge should be you. A survival backpack to be used in the wild should be different from one that is to be used in an urban location. What you need to survive in a wilderness is different from what you need in a hot desert.

The backpack should contain the following:

  • Safety and Shelter items
  • First Aid
  • Water
  • Food
  • Hygiene
  • Tools
  • Items to make a fire

There is one thing that is missing in the above list, and that is knowledge. Ideally, if you knew the challenges you are going to encounter, then you would only need to carry items that would help you tackle those challenges. Since that is not possible, your best approach is to think of possible challenges that you are likely to encounter and take care of them first.

How to pack your tactical bag?

One important principle you should keep in mind is that the first items in, are the last items out. You should also remember that you are more stable when your center of gravity is lowered. Finally, there are things that you will need to keep close at hands such as a flashlight at night or a bottle of water on a hot day.

With that in mind, follow these basic steps when packing your tactical backpack.

  • Heavy items should be close to your back and bottom of the backpack
  • The light items should be at the top while those with medium weight should be packed in between
  • Keep items you need to access often in the side pockets of the backpack
  • You should also keep the non-urgent items at the bottom, followed by the urgent, and finally the emergency items at the top or side pockets.

An example of a well-packed backpack:



  • Food
  • Water
  • Sheltering items
  • Fire starting items

Top and side pockets

  • Communication devices such as radios and whistles
  • Flashlights
  • Defense tools

Remember to save space by packing some items inside others. Plates and cups should, for example, be in the cooking pot. Waterproofing your items is also a smart way to keep everything functional. Finally, the backpack should look as small as possible to be safe from scavengers.


My name is John Winger, I was born and raised in Virginia. I spent a good part of my early adult life in the US military, namely the Army and served in Iraq. I saw my fair share of combat missions and thanks to that experience I have a better understanding and appreciate for what my country means to me and the world.


  1. Would you recommend putting first aid items in the middle or top (or outside pocket)?

  2. Stephen Ryan Reply

    The strategy to pack a tactical backpack is to build a pyramid. At the bottom of the backpack, place the heavy items, like your sleeping bag, clothes, as well as the heaviest pieces of tools and hygiene items. In the middle part, keep the things that are medium-weight, like your food and underwear. On top will be the most lightweight things, like your match and smartphone.

  3. Creating a tactical backpack is like building a pyramid. Make sure the heavy items, like the sleeping bag, clothes, tools, and hygiene items, are placed at the bottom of the load. Food and underwear should be kept in the middle. Those things that are the lightest should be at the top, such as your match and smartphone.

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