Modular backpacks are all the rage lately, thanks to their versatility. Borrowing inspiration from military and survival gear, these backpacks are designed to allow the safe and comfortable carriage of numerous items.
In addition to having a larger storage capacity than standard backpacks, they come with numerous compartments and pouches to allow you to not only carry your items safely but also to access them easily.
What’s more, modular backpacks are built to withstand heavy-duty use. This is one of the main reasons why they are extremely popular in the outdoorsy community.
Unfortunately, this popularity has seen flocks of low-quality manufacturers crawling out of the woodwork to take advantage of the demand.
This is why you must research a brand first before purchasing their product. Good news! We have saved you the hassle. Read on to find out the best modular backpacks on the market today.
Buying a Modular Backpack: What to Consider
The hallmarks of a good modular backpack include a large storage capacity, numerous compartments, durable construction, and comfortable wear.
But modular backpacks can vary significantly in design and quality. As such, different models suit different groups of people. To find a backpack that suits you best, consider the following factors.
Considering that you are most likely going to be loading this bag with lots of stuff, you do not want it falling apart on you without warning. Therefore, avoid cheap modular bags, as they are likely made from low-quality materials.
Some of the tell-tale signs of a high-quality modular bag include:
- High-density fabric
- Reinforced stitching
- Quality buckles
- Metal zippers
If you are planning to use this bag for outdoor ventures, check out its water-resistance rating first. Additionally, ensure that it features multiple layers of stitching, as that means that it can comfortably handle heavy loads.
As mentioned, one of the main reasons people seek out modular backpacks is their larger storage capacity. However, as they come with different capacities, the amount of space you need should influence your choice.
If you need a modular backpack for single-day use, a backpack with a storage volume of 25 liters or less is a good choice. However, if you are looking to live out of your rucksack for several days, you will need a bag with a storage capacity of at least 40 liters.
Modular backpacks get their name from the fact that they come with a wide selection of pockets, pouches, and compartments to allow you more storage options. As such, ensure that the bag that you are evaluating comes with numerous modules.
Start with checking whether it comes with multiple compartments in both the interior and exterior. Also, check if it features loops on the exterior that allow you to attach extra bags or pouches when necessary.
While most modular bags come with numerous internal pockets, a good number of them tend to be too small for practical use. Therefore, ensure that your bag not only comes with plenty of pockets but also that they are deep and functional.
Chances are high that you will be carrying a lot of luggage in your modular backpack. As such, it should feature a design that distributes the weight evenly across your back to avoid straining certain parts of your anatomy.
For starters, a good backpack should have adjustable straps to allow for a custom fit. However, make sure that the straps are not too tight around the shoulders, as this will increase upper back fatigue dramatically.
Preferably, get one with shoulder, chest, and hip straps. This design helps distribute weight across the torso.
An excellent way of identifying comfortable modular backpacks is that they feel like an extension of your body, allowing you to move freely regardless of the load you are carrying.
Modular backpacks come at different prices, with renowned brands tending to cost more. The benefit of buying from well-known brands is that you get an assurance of quality. Therefore, you would be better off saving up for a premium modular backpack rather than risking a bad purchase simply because of an attractive price tag.
7 Best Modular Backpacks 🎒
Ready to hit the road? There are lots of great backpacks, but modular backpacks are in a league of their own. The following are the best-rated modular backpacks of the year.
The SOG Ninja isn’t a high-end backpack, but it is as practical as they come. And nobody will demand a premium for it. Weekend hike? Daily commute? This will be a faithful partner.
This rucksack has a total of 24.2 liters of space. While you might not be able to fit the kitchen sink into it, that space is more than enough for holding a day or two’s essentials.
Don’t you hate how regular bags make your back soggy with sweat? Me too. The SOG Ninja comes with mesh and air vents to promote adequate airflow between your back and the bag, thus keeping your skin cool and dry.
Another thoughtful feature here is the MOLLE webbing. Covering its front and sides, this webbing tremendously enhances the bag’s versatility.
Modular lightweight load-carrying equipment (MOLLE) refers to systems that allow you to attach pouches and other equipment to backpacks. This means that you can expand the SOG Ninja’s storage capacity by simply attaching more pouches to it.
Aptly named the “Ninja Tactical Pack,” this knapsack comes with a host of convenient features. The water bottle pouch on one side, as well as the hydration bladder pouch that can handle up to 2-liter bladders, are some good examples here.
Space and convenience do not mean anything if a backpack is uncomfortable to carry. The SOG Ninja features an adjustable sternum to allow you to adjust the pack’s configuration to suit your stature. What’s more, it even has compression straps on each side that distribute the weight evenly across your back and shoulders.
This not only enhances your comfort when carrying but also allows you to carry more than you typically could with a run-of-the-mill rucksack.
Don’t worry about carrying your delicate items because this bag’s pockets are lined with soft material to prevent scratching or damage.
Despite its relatively smaller size as compared to other modular backpacks, the SOG Ninja’s strength lies in the fact that it is expandable. And yes. It’s made of a canvas/polyester blend so it won’t give in easily.
The whole premise behind modular backpacks is to maximize storage space without compromising convenience. The Vulture-II has that aspect nailed to a T.
Its inside is divided into three large sections, with all having numerous pockets, as well as webbing for holding smaller paraphernalia.
All the pockets feature closed-cell foam padding to provide cushioning for your items. To allow you even more storage space, this rucksack has MOLLE webbing on the front and sides.
When it comes to sheer toughness, this backpack is in a league of its own. Made from 1000D polyurethane-coated nylon, it will take something as heavy as Thor’s hammer to compromise its structural integrity.
Additionally, it is water-resistant. Couple that with UTX-Duraflex buckles and YKK zippers, and you will quickly realize that the Vulture-II is designed to withstand punishment. And it’s easy to carry thanks to the retention straps that secure the weight close to you. Moreover, it has mesh on the back to ensure the proper flow of air between the bag and your back.
The Maxpedition Vulture-II, however, might not be a good fit for smaller-framed people, as it is quite large.
For some, MOLLE webbing is everything when it comes to modular backpacks. And this is what you get with 5.11 Tactical RUSH24. What’s more, this backpack has two points with velcro to allow you to attach IDs or patches.
The RUSH24’s inside does not disappoint either. It is configured to promote optimal practicality and convenience through several compartments, three admin pockets, a fleece-line sunglass pouch, a hydration bladder pocket, and a side water bottle pocket.
Made from 1050D nylon, the RUSH24 can take a beating. Despite its ruggedness, however, this backpack is quite comfortable to carry. Its padded straps and belts will do a great job at relieving stress off your back and shoulders.
The RUSH24’s relatively large storage capacity of 37 liters makes it a good option for people who love the outdoors. Nonetheless, weighing in at around four pounds when empty, this bag is rather heavy.
With its 47-liter capacity, the BFM by CamelBak is what you need to be away for some time. That enormous amount of cargo space is enough to hold supplies for a 5-day outing. What’s more, this bag is designed to military specifications and is one of the most practical modular backpacks out there.
For starters, it is made from the exceedingly tough 500D corduroy, an extremely tough material. Additionally, it features a large patch of MOLLE on the front to allow you to expand storage space should you need it. You will also appreciate the hook-and-loop section that is directly above the MOLLE.
And you won’t easily run out of water while in the wild because this backpack comes with a dedicated and insulated 3-liter reservoir. What’s more, you don’t have to rummage through your bag to find your stuff. You can access the internal compartments via multiple access points thanks to the four strategically-placed zippers.
Weighing over 5 pounds when empty, this backpack can feel heavy. Fortunately, it comes with a Futura harness that adjusts to fit various torso sizes.
With its 35-liter capacity, the Eberlestock Halftrack modular backpack provides you with enough space to hold supplies for a 3-day mission. Additionally, its 1000D nylon construction makes it one of the most rugged 3-day packs out there.
The Halftrack is comfortable to carry even when fully packed, thanks to its polycarbonate internal frame. This frame promotes efficient weight distribution, allowing you to carry more without straining. Additionally, it comes with lots of mesh padding to ensure you stay cool and comfortable.
In case you need to attach more pouches, you are welcome to do so on the front, sides, and waist belt. Going into the wilderness? You will appreciate the radio rack that provides you with convenient storage and access to your long-range radio receiver. It even has several ports for the antenna.
Inside, the Halftrack is extremely well designed. It has two rows of tuck-pockets of various sizes, a fold-down shelf to allow you to divide the central compartment into two, as well as MOLLE padlock webbing.
For water storage, its side pockets can hold two 3-liter hydration kits. In case you want to keep the side pockets free for other items, you can utilize the side-sleeves instead, as they can hold two 2-liter bladders.
Weighing in at over 6 pounds, the Halftrack is one hefty pack. Fortunately, its polycarbonate frame does a good job of distributing its weight evenly across the back, thus improving comfort.
The Rapid Origin comes with a maximum capacity of 25 liters. While it might be smaller than some on this list, it is still a great modular pack, especially if you are looking for a day backpack.
We know that you would appreciate a built-in laptop sleeve, and that is what this backpack offers. But your laptop shouldn’t be larger than 15-inches.
You also get a MOLLE webbing plus velcro so you can conveniently attach more stuff. But what many people love more are its numerous zippered pockets and a fleece-lined admin pouch to hold delicate instruments or sunglasses.
You won’t be getting bruises even when carrying heavy stuff because the shoulder and back straps have thick mesh padding. It even comes with a sternum strap for more comfort. Don’t forget that it weighs just slightly over two pounds.
The Rapid Origin is a great choice for someone looking for a modular backpack for everyday use.
The Mosiso 30L Tactical Backpack is a great option for those on a budget. It comes with 30 liters of storage space, which is sufficient for most people. Additionally, it comes with a remarkably convenient design.
Unzipping the main section reveals a large chamber with numerous sturdy pockets for accessories and documents, as well as the main compartment for housing larger items. It also comes with a hydration bladder port and bottle pouches.
A particularly convenient feature is the secured sealed compartment, which allows you to keep your dry and wet stuff separate. And yes, you get a compartment for your laptop.
To prevent discomfort, this backpack is lined with mesh panels at the shoulder area.
Modular backpacks are the SUVs of bags. They are rugged, spacious, comfortable, and reliable. However, not all feature superb quality. Therefore, you must do your homework on a product first to avoid making a regrettable purchase. Fortunately, you cannot go wrong with any of the options on this list.
If you are looking for a practical backpack that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, the SOG Specialty Knives & Tools Ninja Tactical Day Pack is your best bet. Not that the Eberlestock Halftrack Pack will cost you a limb, but you’ll dig deeper in your pocket. But without a doubt, you will get more from it.