In this showdown we pit 2 of the most solid backpacks on the market against each other. The Rush 72 and the Camelbak BFM represent the best in military grade backpacks. Both of these packs are built for long term use and have seen extensive applications in the military. Both are versatile and have similar features – but both also have significant differences that will surely sway the decision of those with specific requirements. Let’s take a deep dive into both of these packs and discover the core differences and features of both.
Comparing features side by side
**Note** I have individual reviews of each of these packs. Use them to gain a deep dive into each pack and see a comprehensive breakdown of what both bring to the table.
Starting off with the raw carrying capacity of each pack we see the Rush 72 can cram a few more liters of storage. The Rush 72 supports up to 55 liters while the Camelbak BFM clocks in around 51 liters. 3 liters is quite a bit of space but not quite enough to make or break a decision. An extra 3 liters could easily be added to the externals of both packs by making use of MOLLE compatible pouches. Speaking of MOLLE, it’s visually obvious that the RUSH 72 has much more MOLLE than the Camelbak. You can barely find a section of the Rush 72 not completely covered in MOLLE webbing. On the BFM, MOLLE is only seen on the front of the pouch and in some versions there’s MOLLE on the side pockets. The Rush 72 is the obvious choice if you rely on MOLLE.
Pocket configurations on both packs are extremely comparable except for the side pockets. The BFM has 4 side pockets (1 big and 1 small pocket on each side) while the Rush 72 has 2 large pockets. The large side pockets on the Rush 72 are slightly bigger. Personally I would rather have the single larger pocket on the Rush 72 than the 2 pockets with the smaller bigger pocket on the BFM. The mini pockets are basically useless for storage. Each admin pocket (the large front pockets on the packs) boast a versatile arrangement of storage options. Each backpack also has a top pocket designed for sunglasses or NVG’s (night vision goggles.)
Both packs are also hydration ready but this is where the Camelbak BFM delivers a crushing blow to the Rush 72. The BFM supports not one, but 2 hydration bladders in the designated storage compartment with multiple spots to feed the drinking tubes. The Rush 72 is compatible with any standard Camelbak bladder but the feeding system runs through the top admin pocket, getting in the way and taking up pocket space. Not a major problem but a slight annoyance.
The Rush 72 and BFM also come fully equipped with a hip belt and chest strap. The Rush 72’s padding is much thinner but the chest strap is adjustable. Using the C-Clamps you can adjust the strap up and down the shoulder straps. This makes getting a solid fit very easy. The BFM does take the cake for ultimate comfort. Everything on the BFM is extremely well padded and comfortable. If you’re doing extremely long hikes comfort is key. While both offer ample padding, the BFM goes an extra step to deliver the most comfortable experience.
As of this writing (Jan 2018) the Camelbak BFM is significantly more expensive than the Rush 72.
Overall these are 2 very comparable packs in terms of features. With all that said, can you truly justify the hefty price tag of the BFM? This might be the case if you value Camelbaks top of the line hydration system and superior padding. However, if you simply need a durable pack and don’t care about the hydration system, the Rush 72 is the obvious pick. It has more space, much more MOLLE, and it’s much cheaper.
My choice? I have to go with the Rush 72.