Why Tactical Backpacks Have Loops?

Admit it. Tactical backpacks are awesome pieces of outdoor gear!

As you may know, any top-grade backpack will have various parts. These include the compartment, straps, and hardware like the zippers. But another thing that most tactical backpacks have are loops or tie points on the pack’s external surface.

So, why do tactical backpacks have loops?

Backpack loops are additional load-bearing points that allow you to attach extra gear to the backpack. They are designed to give you more flexibility in using the backpack. Using them, you can securely attach items like pouches, magazines, trekking poles, axes, shovels, etc., to the backpack.

While the loops give you a lot of exciting options for using your backpack, you need to know the methods of using them correctly. For first-time buyers, it can be a bit confusing.

In this article, we will tell you all about backpack loops and the best ways of using them.

What Are Backpack Loops For?

When you are heading for an adventure, there can be some gear that you will prefer not to carry inside the backpack.


The reason is, there are items that you need to access easily. These can be a tool like a knife, a flashlight, or a GPS that you will be using during the day. 

In addition, the loops increase your backpack’s capacity and help in carrying extra supplies. Many tactical backpacks come with special buckles or bungee cords for attaching climbing gear or ammunition. You can also use the loops to secure a heavy backpack to prevent it from falling.

Moreover, by attaching larger items like a sleeping mat to the loop, you can free space inside the backpack’s compartment. This way, you will be able to store fragile items that need more protection on the inside. These include clothes, food, or a first aid kit.

The loops are also a good way to separate dirty, smelly gear from clean ones. For example, if you’re carrying a small pack, the loops are a great way to carry wet and dirty clothing or shoes. With the material exposed to air, it will dry up quickly.

Keep in mind, you will need webbing straps, cords, clips, or carabiners to attach the gears to the loops. That way you will be able to keep the items secure and prevent them from swinging. If an item is too large, you can attach it to multiple loops to keep it stable.

What are the Different Types of Backpack Loops?

Here’s a quick look at the different types of loops used in tactical backpacks.

Gear Loops

These types of loops are designed for carrying items like axes, trekking poles, or picks. They are usually found on the front end of the backpack. You can simply place the tool’s handle in the loop and they are held in place by an elastic hook.

While attaching items to these loops make sure that they don’t hang too low. That way they might hit your thighs and make walking uncomfortable. 

Daisy Chains

These are webbing loops attached to the front of the backpack in a vertical line. The material can be elastic so that the loops can stretch if needed. These can be used to attach a variety of objects like wet clothing. lightweight gear, and additional pockets by using clips or carabiners.

You can also use some quick ties to connect items to the daisy chain. Daisy chains are more effective in distributing the weight of an item evenly and preventing it from swinging.

Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS)

This special grid webbing system was invented by the United States Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center. The material used for the webbing is Mil-W-43668 Type III nylon. They are used by the USMC for carrying gear like holsters, magazines and grenade pouches, medical kits, radio pouches, etc.

Many of the top tactical backpack manufacturers have adapted the PALS system due to its excellent versatility. 

What’s the difference between PALS and MOLLE?

The term MOLLE stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. MOLLE isn’t a type of webbing, but the type of accessory that can be connected to the PALS webbing with an attachment. In fact, connecting a MOLLE pouch to a PALS webbing is a simple process. That means all PALS webbing is MOLLE compatible.

That said, the terms PALS and MOLLE are often used interchangeably. So even if the term “MOLLE webbing” isn’t technically correct, people will usually get what you mean.

Tie Out Loops

The loops are simpler than a daisy chain arrangement and are very effective for attaching gear. They are found on the top, sides, and back areas of a tactical backpack. They are great for hanging solar chargers, boots, and wet clothing.

Other Loops

Some tactical backpacks come with hip belt loops for attaching quick-draw items like carabiners, water bottles, knives, or bungee cords. Backpacks also come with shoulder and sternum loops. These are mostly for hanging small and lightweight items that won’t swing while walking. Bottom loops for attaching heavier items like cylindrical tent bags, tent bodies, etc. are also common.

How to Use a Backpack Loop?

Keep in mind, the heavy items should be placed in the inner compartment of your backpack. They should be packed in the lowest portion of the pack, close to your lower back and the body’s center of gravity. While using loops, make sure you distribute the weight evenly on both the right and left sides of the backpack. 

Attaching heavy items to an external loop can put extra stress on your shoulders and cause discomfort in the long run. At the same time, longer and heavier items should be secured properly to the loops to prevent any swinging. 

Loosely secured items can affect your stability and distract you. This can be risky while moving through steep descents, narrow tracks, or over loose rocks. 

Sharp, pointy items that are loosely attached can also get stuck in vegetation while moving through heavily wooded zones. This can damage the gear, as well as the backpack.


To sum up, backpack loops are a practical feature that’s immensely beneficial to those who can use them correctly. Not only do they increase the flexibility of your tactical pack, but they also help you to keep it more organized.

There are many outdoor lovers who don’t make full use of the loops in their tactical backpacks.

Don’t let this be you.


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