Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

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Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by Mechphisto » Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:34 pm

Anyone have any recommendations, like specific product recommendations not just "get a hiking backpack," for 30-40L rucksack/3-day packs that are as good and versatile as a "tactical" pack, but doesn't look like one? Doesn't scream "Hey, I probably have a pistol in here and other GBH goodies in here!"?
Thanks for any suggestions!

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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by MPMalloy » Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:14 pm

Mechphisto wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:34 pm
Anyone have any recommendations, like specific product recommendations not just "get a hiking backpack," for 30-40L rucksack/3-day packs that are as good and versatile as a "tactical" pack, but doesn't look like one? Doesn't scream "Hey, I probably have a pistol in here and other GBH goodies in here!"?
Thanks for any suggestions!
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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by boskone » Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:46 pm

As versatile? I think not, since MOLLE is both tactical and really useful for strapping shit onto your pack. There are some nice bags, though.

5.11 has a few that might suit. The Dart24 is 30l and plain. The Havok 30 is 27.5L and pretty plain, with only some MOLLE-compatible mesh stuff on the top (but not typical MOLLE).

The Vertex Gamut's like 35L, and just looks like a regular hiking pack.

Maxpedition's Entity line is specifically non-tacticool, and AGR I think would pass as non-tactical.

Hillpeoplegear have a ton of different packs and are very modular. I'm not even going to try and describe all their options, easier to just go poke around their webpage.

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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by boskone » Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:47 pm

MPMalloy wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:14 pm
Mechphisto wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:34 pm
Anyone have any recommendations, like specific product recommendations not just "get a hiking backpack," for 30-40L rucksack/3-day packs that are as good and versatile as a "tactical" pack, but doesn't look like one? Doesn't scream "Hey, I probably have a pistol in here and other GBH goodies in here!"?
Thanks for any suggestions!
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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by RonnyRonin » Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:24 pm

a bit of a tricky request to parse, "tactical" is mostly aesthetic beyond PALS webbing, so a bag that doesn't look tactical is more or less just a non-tactical bag.

Do you mean a brightly colored bag with PALS? or just a modular bag with lots of organization that isn't tactical?

what capacity and features are you looking for?
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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by MPMalloy » Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:18 pm

RonnyRonin wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:24 pm
a bit of a tricky request to parse, "tactical" is mostly aesthetic beyond PALS webbing, so a bag that doesn't look tactical is more or less just a non-tactical bag.

Do you mean a brightly colored bag with PALS? or just a modular bag with lots of organization that isn't tactical?

what capacity and features are you looking for?
Plain-jane looking. No exterior webbing. Dark, flat color...but not "mil"-looking. A camelback inside would be nice.

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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by RonnyRonin » Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:07 pm

MPMalloy wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:18 pm
Plain-jane looking. No exterior webbing. Dark, flat color...but not "mil"-looking. A camelback inside would be nice.
This excludes very few backpacks in the grand scheme of things.

Budget?

capacity range?

Top entry? panel loader?

amount of internal organization desired? External pockets?
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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by Mechphisto » Fri Sep 06, 2019 11:38 pm

Hmm excellent questions...
Budget is preferably under $50, can go a bit higher.
Definitely more than a couple pockets. 1 or even 2 large main pockets and a couple utility pockets.
Preferably 20-40L, what would be considered a 3-day pack.
Even MOLLE or PALs straps but not so that it looks "tactical."
Not sure what else... Open to any suggestions... Basically I want the utility of "tactical" without it looking pseudo-military

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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by majorhavoc » Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:18 am

You're talking about going "grey man" with an inconspicuous, low visual profile pack. I applaud you for thinking along those lines.

A three-day pack would definitely put you towards the top end of your 20L to 40L range. And it'll be hard to get anything around 35L to 40L for under $50 that isn't junk.

Unless you find a good deal on a used pack, you're going to have to increase your budget if you want to be sure of quality. Look at brands like Osprey, North Face, Kelty, Mountainsmith, Lowe Alpine or Gregory.

My only other budget alternative for you is to look very carefully at some of the off brand day packs sold on Amazon. Look for large numbers of positive user reviews. And double check at a site called Fakespot.com, which helps identify bogus user reviews posted by company shills. Those will all be packs made overseas, but then again, most packs are these days, even from the higher end manufacturers. I've occasionally been surprised by the quality of off brand products sold on Amazon.

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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by woodsghost » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:03 am

For $50, I have found some good gear at Goodwill type places (I think my local place is St. Vincent?). But one is completely dependent on the donations of others. I waited 4 years to find a good pack for $40. I think a local Prepper donated a bunch of stuff that day.

So, do you have time to shop around? Or do you need it today? If you have time to shop I think you can find good deals on used gear. My pack is gray with some yellow trim. It cannot accept any MOLLE gear.

On the other hand, how do you see yourself using your pack? My plan is to throw the pack in the car and get out of Dodge. Land at a hotel in a safe area, or land on the couch of friends or family. For that, one does not need a "non-tactical pack." Otherwise, if one is walking out with refugees and landing at a sports stadium/refugee center, I think the look of ones pack might matter more, but I suspect all packs will be searched, regardless.

Could you sketch out some possible scenarios? If not, that is cool. My basic point is your situation might not require a gray-man pack. But then, sometimes it is nice to have the option in case it is needed.

Just some of my thoughts and my buying experience.
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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by MPMalloy » Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:06 am

I'm looking around. Budget -- I'll start w/$75.00 or less. I need to measure the capacity of my current bags. I've never got that specific, I've kind of 'eye-balled' things so far. I've had top-entries so far. They've worked. Two main pockets, a camel is not a deal-breaker. Acouple of smaller pockets. I'll keep looking.

I don't want a name brand embroidered on the outside. I don't know how to get around that. Manufacturers like to advertise.

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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by CG » Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:08 pm

I have a London Fog laptop backpack that sounds like it would meet your requirements if you're looking for something you can wear around a city with nobody giving it a second thought. I bought it at TJ Maxx for about $40, I believe.

Black, and the label on the outside is a piece of black stamped leather, I believe, so it isn't highly identifiable. Now, I could probably fit 3 days of clothes in there as long as I'm not wearing jeans, but food might be a bit iffier. If I had none of my techie toys, maybe. One big compartment, one laptop compartment (that I fit a 15" MacBook, iPad, Kindle, and dongle in), a top compartment, and a front compartment for pens and such. It's made to go over a luggage handle, but that area could probably be sewn up at the bottom and maybe partially at the top to make a concealed area for a handgun or wallet.
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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by moab » Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:46 pm

You might try Kelty Redwing packs on the used market. I think they used to come in subdued colors. And are a half assed combination of military pockets with civilian looks.

Maybe it's the sniper training I received in the Marine Corps. Or the simple cover, concealment and camouflage training I received as a Marine. But personally I don't think it's gonna matter what your backpack looks like. It's gonna be whether you have one or not. If you have one, no matter what it looks like, your going to be a target. Just like if you have a rifle you're going to be a target. Assuming you're talking about baddies trying to take your stuff.

This argument of always going gray man has never made sense to me. As if you don't have the stuff your going to die. And if you do have the stuff - you need a backpack to put it in - and if someone is going to try take it it's not going to matter whether it's in a civilian pack or a military one. Stuff a bad guy needs is going to run the gamut from water to food to ammo. Which you might find in anyone's civilian or military backpack. If I'm looking to steal from people. I'm going to simply try every person with a pack on. As those people prepared and have the stuff I need. I'm not going to be looking at packs and thinking "man that pack has MOLLE webbing! I'm going to avoid all these civilian packs and just hit the people with MOLLE webbing! As they are going to be the only ones with the stuff I need!". No. Anyone with a pack is going to be a target.

Your best bet is to remain hidden as much as possible. And have the means to defend yourself. Type of backpack isn't going to save you. But a bright color is going to stand out in any environment - so I applaud you on your choice of color. Camouflage or at least a subdued color is your friend. Unless you intend to stay in an urban environment. Which I would avoid. Nothing good happens in an urban environment in a disaster or a PAW. And trying to play greyman in the countryside is sort of worthless. I personally will be staying off of roads and even trails. And will remain hidden from 95% of the general population that has never had any military training.

But again, I understand and can deploy cover and concealment. Certainly while trying to get out of the city you don't want to wear camo fatigues and look like the military. I'd save those for when you get out of the city and into the countryside. And it doesn't have to be military camo. It can be civilian camo if that makes you feel more comfortable. I have civilian clothes to get me out of the city. And camo to blend in to a brush or woods environment. And light packable civilian gear for if I ever have to reenter a city.

If someone wants to take your stuff. They're just going to shoot you from a hidden place as you walk down the street or a wooded trail or road. Like from an ambush position. And you're going to walk right into. If I was you I'd get some training and learn how to move thru the countryside unseen as much as possible. It's a real eye opener as to what you can and can't do to keep from getting shot.

When I say "means of protecting yourself" I come back to the old axiom "don't bring a handgun if you can bring a rifle". And if you have a rifle there's no hiding that. So whatever backpack you choose doesn't matter anyway. Unless you conceal the long gun in a backpack. Which isn't very deployable. (Having said that - I can fit a full sized AK in my backpack with a strong folding stock. But that would only be to conceal it while in town or something. Or someplace I wanted to pass thru. That I felt safe enough to do so without a long gun. But that you don't want to advertise that you have one. A very finite situation. Think trying to get out of town during martial law. You might sneak out with your long gun in your backpack if necessary. Otherwise you're traveling by the cover of night. At which time I'd want a rifle at the ready anyway.)

If it's gotten so bad that people are out trying to steal your stuff. I'd want a rifle at the ready. Not in my pack. Or a trashbag that's gonna break open. Or a crusty old duffle bag you can't carry for very far. I say don whatever is going to carry your stuff. Move like a recon unit - hidden as much as possible - and avoiding as much as possible. And if you run into people bad enough that they are going to try to steal your stuff. Be ready to avoid or engage. Otherwise you're just going to be a victim. As they're going to be robbing or killing anyone with a pack. It doesn't matter to them.

That's my two cents. I know you didn't ask for it. But... lol. :)
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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by MPMalloy » Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:38 pm

24k pennies. Thanks moab. :D

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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by moab » Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:20 pm

MPMalloy wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:38 pm
24k pennies. Thanks moab. :D
LMAO!!! :) Sorry to much coffee.
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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by JeeperCreeper » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:06 pm

LA Policegear Atlas series.

https://lapolicegear.com/lapg-bg-12h-pack-atlas.html

They make 12, 24, 72 hour sizes in a bunch of colors.

I use the gray 12hr for work daily. Used it for over a year. Still doesn't have one seam ripped or any noticeable wear. It's heavy, though.

But, in that last 18 months or, only 1 person has remarked on it being tactical, and that was to say he liked the "hidden" MOLLE webbing. Any other average Joe won't notice stuff like that.
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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by moab » Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:08 pm

JeeperCreeper wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:06 pm
LA Policegear Atlas series.

https://lapolicegear.com/lapg-bg-12h-pack-atlas.html

They make 12, 24, 72 hour sizes in a bunch of colors.

I use the gray 12hr for work daily. Used it for over a year. Still doesn't have one seam ripped or any noticeable wear. It's heavy, though.

But, in that last 18 months or, only 1 person has remarked on it being tactical, and that was to say he liked the "hidden" MOLLE webbing. Any other average Joe won't notice stuff like that.
That's a good pick. I would recommend those too.
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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by drop bear » Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:55 am

Really good travel style bags are kind of neat. And do a few tricks and traps that your tactical bag probably won't like lockable zips.

And you het them the right size for planes. Mabye with some solar panel hooks and other just cool stuff.

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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by Asymetryczna » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:58 am

Maybe it's the sniper training I received in the Marine Corps.
Wow, I don't remember reading that before MOAB. Which school, what class? I may know you.

Regarding bags, and modern tacticalnessity, one could simply buy a backpack that is not black, OD, or one of the browns. Or one could be creative and add something that does not look threatening but also does not stand out. Maybe a small, stuffed puppy strapped to the side. In some places and situations it's best just to assume that everyone is packing something and 9 times out of 10 a well-trained observer is going to notice who is who.

I think that you can find a dozen that fit your needs with a quick search. My experience suggests that the $75 - $100 range opens up the most options, and there are other carriers which fit in just about anywhere. See this for instance, and wait for a holiday sale:

https://vertx.com/tourist-sling

or if cost is the key, this is fairly benign for less than $20:

https://www.eddiebauer.com/p/82300168/s ... ize=ONESZE

Good luck. You'll find something you really like and then you'll see something else. It's the nature of the backpack world.
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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by Stercutus » Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:09 pm

Alternatively, you could just buy whatever you want and get a brightly colored rain cover to go over it. They are even available with flashing safety lights and ironically enough solar panels. If you have flashing safety lights no one will be thinking tactical unless they served in the US Army who are well known for their tactical reflective PT belt.

If you had to you could also ditch the rain cover and go back to a subdued pack at a moments notice.
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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by Asymetryczna » Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:19 pm

I wore my reflective belt this morning. The safe feeling it adds is amazing ;/
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by Evan the Diplomat » Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:07 pm

A few years ago there was a fellow on here going to Liberia for a college class. He wanted to know how to hide his daypack.

I suggested he visit the girls in his dorm and collect denim scraps from their cut off shorts projects and use some duct tape and burlap to wrap his pack. He said it worked too well with many locals asking who sewed it for him. Too bad he never posted pictures.

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Re: Tactical bags that don't look like tactical bags?

Post by moab » Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:23 pm

Asymetryczna wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:58 am
Maybe it's the sniper training I received in the Marine Corps.
Wow, I don't remember reading that before MOAB. Which school, what class? I may know you.
Let me be clear. I did not go to sniper school. But did have extensive training. I was in a STA platoon (Surveillance and Target Acquisition) in 1/7 at San Mateo - Camp Pendleton. In the early 80's. I trained stateside and various places in Asia. Philippines mostly with Filipino Marines in the Zimbali Mountains outside Subic Bay. I did JEST school there too. (Jungle Environment Survival Training) Also spent some time in Hong Kong and Okinawa, Japan. At Camp Hansen for almost a year. Got swim qualified there. And came very close to deploying to Lebanon.

I was crossed trained as a scout/sniper, radar, ground sensor, night observation device operator and in 35mm photography. STA was like a small 12 man recon platoon on the battalion level. They would attach teams of 2 or more of us to a company. And we would do all their recon patrols, LP's and OP's. But mostly we just went on training missions deployed by either S2 (which we were part of) or the battalion command. As we had the equipment and training.

I trained for 2 years with snipers. Prior to my school starting. But never got to go to sniper school over an altered contract dispute between my Senator and command. My military contract literally had entire sections scribbled out that you could still read through by (I assume) my recruiter sometime after I signed it and before I left recruit depot in Spokane WA for MCRD San Diego. I won the contract dispute. And the bonus I had been promised. But forfeited my opportunity to go to sniper school.

I was initially recruited because I shot an almost perfect 249 rifle score. And had a high score on the mental test. It was called ASFAB or something like that. That and the hobbies I listed were hunting and fishing. I was meritoriously promoted to NCO at 18 months. And got to do a lot of stuff normal Marines don't get to do.

I then turned that into a 20+ year career in vehicular and on foot surveillance. All over the western states in urban and rural settings. (would have been longer but I spent 10 years acting in theater, TV and film.) I own a PI firm in Los Angeles now. That specializes in surveillance - both urban and rural.
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