The most popular military style daypack backpack is the SOG Ninja Tactical Daypack by SOG Specialty Knives. SOG started as a knife company in 1986. The founder and knife designer, Spencer Frazer, wanted to reproduce the original SOG Bowie knife that was used in Vietnam by US special op units of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG). MACV-SOG was highly classified, multi-service special operations unit which conducted covert unconventional warfare operations prior to and during the Vietnam War.
This was the patch of the MACV-SOG units in Vietnam. On the SOG Ninja Tactical Daypack you can see the skull and beret on the Velcro Flag Holder (or Organization Patch Holder) on this Military Style Daypack Backpack.
General- This is a Bang for your Buck Backpack! The total capacity of the SOG Ninja Tactical Daypack is 24.2 liters and the dimensions are 13 x 18 x 3.5 inches (WxHxD) or 1,475 cubic inches. This newer SOG Ninja is slightly larger than the ones from a few years ago and thus the price is slightly larger also. You can stuff about a day and a half of clothing in this Daypack. This Backpack is not really designed for heavy heavy loads but it is very durable and capable of carrying heavy loads. The weight of this Backpack empty is 1.94 lbs. Whereas the weight of a very high quality same size competitor Backpack would weigh in at 2.75 lbs empty.
Water Resistant- Although the SOG Ninja is not water proof, it is water resistant being made of a polyester/canvas blend on the outside and basic polyester fabric in the interior. If you are going to be using this Backpack mainly outdoors in the rainy season, then invest in a rain cover. I cannot suggest a rain cover because it depends on what Molle attachments you may be using with this Backpack. Search on Amazon here for Backpack rain covers.
Compartments and Pockets:
The Front Lower Compartment- Unzipping the compartment on the lower front you notice that the two zipper pull cords may be a little long for your taste. Inside this compartment, on the front flap side, may either have a mesh pouch or two small compartments. The mesh pouch appears to be on the newer SOG Ninja Daypacks and the older Backpacks have two long compartments side by side. Both models are still on the market with the exact same name and model numbers. The older models seem to be cheaper in price than the newer models. Opposite of the front flap side are smaller compartments for pens, notepads, and pocket knives, etc and a deep zippered pocket. There is also a Key Ring cord to attach your key ring. In total there are 7-9 compartments in the lower front compartment.
The Front Upper Compartment- where the Velcro Flag Holder is attached, is a small accessory pocket for flat item storage.
Sunglasses Compartment – On top of the Backpack between Top Carrying Handle and the top of the shoulder straps is a Soft Lined Sunglasses and Electronic Device Pocket. This Sunglasses Compartment extends into the Main Compartment. I recommend if you place your glasses in this compartment, then use an eyeglasses case. Because the contents of the Sunglasses Compartment may be pressed against what is in the Main Compartment.
Water Bottle Side Pouch- One one side of the Backpack there is a pouch with an elastic top opening. This is the Water Bottle Side Pouch. The pouch is big enough to fit most water bottles (bottles not included) even a 40 oz bottle. But get this Nalgene 32-Ounce Water Bottle on Amazon for this Backpack. If you do use this pouch to store a water bottle, make sure to find a way to secure the water bottle to the Backpack. Otherwise, there is a risk for the water bottle to fall out of this pouch when the Backpack is turned upside down. Or you may want to get a Molle water bottle holder to attach on the other side of the Backpack.
Main Compartment – when unzipping the main compartment, the zipper on the side of the water bottle pouch does not zip past the lower portion of the water bottle pouch. Thus, the zipper on the water bottle pouch side only zips down about two thirds of the way down. The other side of the main compartment almost zips down all the way. So the main compartment only opens partly like a clam shell. In the Main Compartment you can just about squeeze a 17 inch laptop. For smaller laptops, think about using a laptop sleeve when placing a smaller laptop in this Backpack to give the laptop more protection.
There are two mesh pockets (one on top of the other) on the flap side in the main compartment. Opposite the mesh pockets on the non flap side of the main compartment there is a larger back pocket just a little larger than an iPad. I have an iPad 2 which measures 8 x 10 inches, so this pocket is about 10 x 12 inches. You can store an iPad with other flat objects in this back pocket. You can also use this pocket to store your Hydration Bladder. See Hydration next paragraph.
Hydration- There is no specific Hydration Pouch but it is Hydration compatible. (High end competitor Backpacks have a separate Hydration Pouch, but these Backpacks cost more). In the iPad compartment that I mentioned in the above paragraph, you can store your Hydration Bladder in that pocket. You can squeeze a 3 liter Hydration Bladder into the compartment that I am calling an iPad compartment, but a 2 liter bladder maybe a better choice. Some people refuse to use this iPad compartment as a Hydration Compartment. Then there are two Hydration tube exit ports (old Backpack model) out of the left or right top, hidden under the right and left side of the top carry handle. Just lift up the velcro right or left side of the top carry handle to expose a x cut hydration tube exit port. On the new model Backpack there is one tube exit port that exits out the center of the top of the Backpack by the top carry handle. Both Backpack models are still on the market. So be aware, you may get the older model or you may get the newer model.
MOLLE- Molle, pronounced “Molly”, there is Molle webbing on the front, sides and bottom of the Backpack. Technically it is not Molle webbing, but PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System) webbing. PALS webbing is a horizontal grid of repeating fabric webbing strips spaced 1 inch apart, and sewn to the backing at 1.5-inch intervals. So in Military Style Backpacks it is really PALS webbing that is MOLLE-compatible. But everyone in the industry calls it Molle webbing. Molle is an acronym for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. Molle is the stuff you attach to the PALS webbing. Molle equipment comes in various sizes and types of pouches. Pouches for ammo, pouches for first aid, pouches for knives, pouches for water bottles, and even pouches made for your type of smartphone. Molle on the Front Bottom Compartment consist of 4 rows of 6 loops on each row. MOLLE on the Front Top compartment consist of 2 rows with 4 loops on each row. Be aware that the outer loops on each row maybe a little small to fit Molle equipment. Molle on the water bottle pouch side consist of 3 rows of 4 loops per row. The other side of the Backpack has 6 rows of Molle of 4 loops per row. Molle on the Shoulder Straps consist of 2 single loops on each Shoulder Strap.
Shoulder and Sternum Straps- The Shoulder Straps are a Yoked Style with mesh padding. The U shape of the Shoulder Straps disperses the weight of the Backpack across the shoulders. Another nice feature of the Shoulder Straps are the quick release buckles. This makes dropping your Backpack quicker and easier. There is an adjustable Sternum Strap that attaches to both Shoulder Straps. You can adjust the Sternum Strap up or down. The Sternum Strap also has a little elasticity for better comfort. Shoulder straps can be uncomfortable under heavy loads, however using the Sternum Strap under heavy loads will make the shoulder straps more comfortable. If you are big chested, the shoulder straps have a tendency to open up, thus you will need to use the sternum strap with the shoulder straps.
Compression Straps- There is one compression strap on each side of the SOG Ninja. Compressions straps are used to squeeze the Backpack smaller so that you can fit the Backpack in tight spaces. The compression straps also have quick release buckles but if you want to fully get into the main compartment you need to unbuckle the compression straps. There is some elasticity in the compression straps.
Bottom of Backpack- On the bottom of the SOG Ninja are 4 bottom lashing loops. You can attach a bed roll to these loops. Also on the bottom of the backpack are dual grommeted drain holes. The drain holes are to allow water to exit the Backpack.
Top of Backpack- On the top of the Backpack is a Grab and Go Handle.
Padded Mesh Backing- The padded mesh back adds comfort to the Backpack and the separation of the padded mesh back adds air flow between you and the backpack.
Colors- There are six color choices for the SOG Ninja Day Pack: Black, Coyote, Desert Clay, Digital Camo, Olive Drab, and Turbulent Blue.
As an Airline Travel Bag- You can carry this bag on any airline. Will fit in overhead compartment. No one has had any issues with TSA agents with this Backpack. A note about TSA approved: TSA approved means a bag that has a laptop compartment that can open up flat and the part of the bag with the laptop is not block by other items in the bag. Thus, you do not have to take out the laptop of a TSA approved bag. Thus, this not a TSA approved bag, but you can carry this Backpack on any airline.
Cons- I tried to mention most of the cons during the detail description of the Backpack. Here are some additional cons. Few people have a problem with at least one or more of the zippers of the Backpack. The zipper pulls may also be a little to short for your taste. Some people replace the zipper pulls with 550 cord so they can custom the length of the zipper pulls. The skull emblem in the Velcro Flag Holder may not be the right look for Business Professionals, thus you will need to buy a patch to cover this up. I with the Backpack also had a Velcro strip for a nametape. There are two versions of this Backpack on the market. The older version is slightly smaller and has two hydration exit ports. The new version is larger and has one hydration exit port. There are many different retailers for this Backpack, so be sure which Backpack you will receive.
Final Word: The SOG Ninja Tactical Daypack is the best Military Style Daypack for the Money. You get Bang for your Buck with this Backpack! Great Backpack for everyday use: as a Gym Bag, School Backpack, Travel Bag, Bag to carry your stuff for drill weekends, Hiking Bag, Hunting Bag, Trips to the Zoo, Disney World, Camping. Speaking of camping, if you are a camping family then this Backpack is great for children. Even for children as young as 4 years old.