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Ammunition Backpack

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When Public Security saw the figures on Kerberos' workmans' comp payouts for back injuries, their fate was sealed.

A Sub-Trope of Awesome Backpack, the Ammunition Backpack is there if you use More Dakka, but don't have Bottomless Magazines, or just don't have enough space to carry more ammo in your pockets or Badass Bandolier. Depending on the size of the backpack, the wearer may become a Mighty Glacier due to the weight slowing movement.

Common for characters using hand-held miniguns (such as the trope-codifiers for hand-held miniguns, Blaine from Predator and the T-800 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day) or other portable machine guns. Also included are fuel tanks for flamethrowers, quivers for bows & crossbows of the Archer Archetype, portable power plants/generators for heavy Energy Weapons, and the like. In Video Games, an enemy (usually an Elite Mook or Heavy Equipment Class of some kind) wearing an Ammunition Backpack will typically be invincible everywhere else, and can only be defeated by shooting the backpack until it explodes in a spectacular fashion, even though that wouldn't work in real life.

See also Backpack Cannon.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Batman foe Firefly is a Pyromaniac who wears the fuel tank for his flamethrower on his back.
  • Batman and the Outsiders #6, "Death Warmed Over!". The team battles the Cryonic Man, a villain with a backpack full of liquid nitrogen attached to wrist-mounted sprayers that he uses to freeze the Outsiders solid. They got better.
  • The Green Arrow's most famous arrow quiver is a wide rucksack design that covers his entire back.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Between Planets. A Federation trooper with a Reynolds one-man gun wears its power pack on his back.
  • Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash has Reason a fully automatic railgun powered by a backpack-mounted nuclear reactor.
  • Tunnel in the Sky. Johann Braun had a powerful weapon called the General Electric Thunderbolt. He wore its power pack as a backpack. The large metal backpack serves the colony well long after it stops functioning as a power supply for a broken weapon.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the 1960s Batman TV series, Mr. Freeze wore a tank of freezing gas on his back to fuel his Freeze Ray.
  • Red Dwarf had them for the bazookoids in the episode Polymorph. Also, one of the novels had them as the weapon's power source before it was retconned out.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Fantasy Games Unlimited's Aftermath!
    • Main rules Book 3
      • The U.S. Army XLMR-4 is a laser rifle that draws power from a backpack-type harness holding a powerful battery.
      • Flamethrowers carry their napalm fuel in tanks held in a backpack harness.
    • Campaign Pack A2 Sydney: The Wilderness Campaign. Several Fabrique National/Mauser portable laser weapons are powered by backpack battery packs: the FM XLW-2c, the FM XLW-3a, the FM XLW-3b, and the FM XLAR-4.
  • Battlelords of the 23rd Century:
    • The LTX-311 Chain Gun carries its ammo in a backpack.
    • The XM-214 is a Gatling gun with six barrels. Its ammunition is carried in a backpack.
    • K-8 Vaporizer, Rommel and Patton disintegrators use backpack-mounted battery packs.
    • The ME2E1-9, ME2E1-9B and Blazer flamethrowers carry their fuel supply in a backpack tank.
    • The Iceman, Snowman, Big Frosty, BC-Frost Giant and BC-Frost Slayer frost guns carry their super-cold liquid fuel in a backpack tank.
    • The Pulsar and Quasar flux interference generators store their energy supplies in backpack-mounted batteries.
    • Certain lasers (RKM-50G, Shalkon Heavy, Valley Green Assault Gun, Valley Green Express, Viceroy and XR-20 Auto Laser) can use backpack-mounted battery packs.
    • Some omega cannons (OC-1, Balshrom Flux Cannon, Valley Green Ox, Johnson, Able 3, LS-21, Able Ram, Viper XM1, OC-66, Balshrom 2, Cobra XM2, Python XM3 and Devastator) use backpack-mounted battery packs.
    • Some pulse cannons (Able Heat, Plasmatix, M-20 Blaster Cannon, Mentar Reflex Rifle, Shorty, PH-3A, Stecker PC, PT-1 Plasma Thrower, Vector 1, Plasma Precision, Vector 3, Vector 4 "Power Vector", RKM-Showtime, Wax'em Gun, Howitzer, BC-Terminator and M-80 Defender Cannon) have backpack batteries.
  • Champions supplements
    • Gadgets!
      • The Plasma Gun, which is connected to a large backpack that contains its power source.
      • The Ice Sprayer has a supply of compressed liquid gas in a backpack Dewar container.
      • Power Gauntlets use energy supplied by a backpack power source.
      • The Electric Gun has a large, heavy backpack generator/capacitor.
      • The Flamer is a flamethrower with fuel carried in multiple-use tanks worn on the back.
      • The Force Field Neutralizer carries its power supply in a backpack.
      • The Sonic Disruptor has a back-slung power source.
    • Enemies. The supervillain Blowtorch has a flamethrower with its fuel in a backpack.
  • R. Talsorian Games' Cyberpunk 2020. The Pacific Rim Sourcebook has the MicroMortar, a grenade launcher with its magazine of grenades stored in a backpack.
  • GDW's Dark Conspiracy main rules. The Armington ultraviolet Laser Carbine Model 2 that Fred Brody gives to the Player Characters is powered by a set of 12 car batteries carried in a backpack rig. The backpack weighs 21 kilograms. The laser can fire twelve times before the batteries need to be recharged.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • Warhammer 40,000:
      • Several weapons are linked to a backpack, such as Imperial Guard hellguns, Ork deffgunz, and various Space Marine weapons (heavy bolters, meltaguns, plasma cannons). Space Marine missile launchers are not linked to the backpack, but in some cases, it contains a reloading mechanism. Strangely enough, the massive Terminator assault cannon, a Gatling Good weapon so huge only the Terminators can carry them and fires even faster than the heavy bolter, doesn't need one.
      • Kaptin Badrukk deserves special mention: his Rippa gun is nuclear-powered, and the only protection from the badly-contained reactor leaking radiation is a lead-lined Badass Longcoat.
    • In the 1st and 2nd Edition in Necromunda, the models for Heavies equipped with high rate of fire heavy weapons, such as heavy stubbers or heavy bolters, are sculpted with backpacks bulging with ammunition for their massive guns.
  • Gamma World: in 1st Edition, the fusion rifle is connected to a backpack that contains the atomic energy cell that powers it.
  • BTRC's Guns! Guns! Guns! generic supplement (1996). Battery packs for man-portable laser and particle beam weapons can be carried in a backpack, connected to the weapon with a short power cable.
  • GURPS Technomancer:
    • The Portable Mana Disruptor has a backpack ERTG power pack and the Manpack Necrolaser is connected to a 20 lb. backpack battery pack by a heavy cable.
    • Flamethrowers have a backpack fuel tank.
  • The Hot Chicks RPG has an Ammo Backpack available for all belt-fed firearms. It holds 20 times the weapon's normal ammo capacity.
  • Iron Crown Enterprises (I.C.E.)
    • The Cyberspace RPG has a number of ranged weapons with backpack power sources: the Gauss Rifle, Laser Rifle, Assault Laser, and Heavy Laser.
    • Role Master, Spacemaster Privateer campaign setting. Backpack energy cells can hold 35,000 energy units and are often used to power large weapons.
  • In Nomine: Belial, the Demon Prince of Fire, often appears wearing a flame thrower with a fuel tank backpack.
  • Laserburn Sci-Fi Combat Rules (1980): the Sungun carries its chemical fuel in a backpack which holds enough for six shots.
  • Manhunter. The Particle Accelerator Rifle is attached to a heavy backpack that stores the small metal pellets which are the P.A.R.'s ammunition and the energy that propelled them.
  • Men in Black Tabletop Game: the Plasma Rifle has a backpack power pack.
  • The Morrow Project main rules. The Fusion Pack is a backpack fusion reactor. It can provide power for weapons such as the Manpack Laser Mark 2 and the Mounted Laser Mark 3.
  • Mutant Future: most ranged energy weapons can have a Power Backpack as their energy source. It weighs four pounds and has a power cord that plugs into a weapon.
  • Paranoia
    • Flamethrowers and plasma generators. On the downside, a malfunction means they're about to explode, and the wielder must spend time unstrapping themselves before trying to outrun the blast radius. Hand flamers avoid it, but hold less fuel (and are only legal starting at Violet clearance, same as plasma generators which are absurdly more powerful when they do work).
    • The adventure "Send in the Clones" has an Ice Gun with its water supply in a large backpack instead of inside the gun as usual.
    • White Dwarf magazine #81 adventure "The All New Computer Horror Real Action Show". The Magnetic Induction Hand Cannon is a pistol-type weapon attached to a backpack power supply.
    • XP supplement Stuff
      • The B-E Condensate Projector is connected to a backpack filled with helium gas at a temperature just above absolute zero. The projector sprays the helium on opponents, freezing them solid.
      • The Crowd Control Sonic Screamer has its energy supply in a backpack. It sprays out intense high frequency sound that stuns and partially deafens its targets.
      • The Magnetic Flux Cannon is a man-portable weapon with a backpack powerpack. The beam it fires has a devastating effect on electronics, such as robots, computers and vehicles.
      • The Slipaway Liquified Inhibitor Pack fires out a spray of foam that renders surfaces frictionless. It stores the foam in a container/compressor backpack.
  • Phoenix Command: Battlepacks for Power Armor infantry serve as an ammunition rack and reload system for the armor's weapon, such as 30mm grenade launchers.
  • Shadowrun. Some heavy and directed-energy weapons like flamethrowers and lasers require lots of fuel/energy. If they're man-portable, the wielder is likely carrying all that fuel on his back.
  • Star Frontiers. The Alpha Dawn expanded game rules has the Power Backpack, which can supply energy to fire weapons such as laser pistols/rifles, electrostunners, and sonic disruptors.
  • Terran Trade Authority RPG: the Power Backpack can be used as a power source for all portable energy weapons. It doesn't just store energy, it actually generates it, so it provides effectively infinite shots.
  • Traveller
    • The PGMP/FGMP (Plasma/Fusion Gun, Man Portable) and laser carbine/rifle have backpack power packs.
    • The Dragon magazine #116 article "Aim and Burn" has several flamethrowers, each with their fuel supply in backpack tanks.
    • Rogues in Space Volume 1: Letters of Marque (from Cargonaut Games) has a laser pistol which is powered by a battery backpack.
    • The Space Gamer magazine #18 weapons article: the laser pistol can be altered to use a backpack power pack, the same as laser carbines/rifles.
    • White Dwarf magazine
      • Issue #11 article "Fire-Arms 3000 A.D.". The Plasma Blade is a Laser Blade made of plasma. It is powered for up to one hour by a power pack worn on the user's back. When the power pack runs out of energy, it takes eight hours to recharge.
      • Issue #24 article "Laser Sword and Foil". The laser sword is connected to a backpack power pack by a power cable. The power pack provides energy for 50 combat rounds of use.
      • Issue #33 article "Weapons for Traveller". A flamethrower has a backpack that carries its fuel, and the Shock Disabler is a taser-like weapon connected to a backpack that supplies energy to shock the victim.

  • The G.I. Joe figure SAW Viper came with a machine gun nearly as big as he was and a backpack with an easily-lost rubber ammo belt that attached the two.
  • The Super Soaker CPS3000 and CPS3200 both feature backpack water reservoirs with significantly higher capacity than any other water gun out there.

    Video Games 
  • Certain enemies in Borderlands have ammo tanks that can be blown up, which is convenient since these enemies tend to be the insanely powerful ones.
  • Call of Duty: World at War adds flamethrowers to the game. This being World at War, shooting enemies that are carrying flamethrowers, even if you don't hit the tank, often causes them to explode.
  • Javelin's backpack in Dirty Bomb is a unique example in that it doesn't load ammo directly into the gun you're using. Rather, it acts as a mobile ammo dispenser that resupplies you and your nearby teammates.
  • The Division has both the Cleaners with an ad hoc flamethrower attachment for their assault rifles with the fuel tank carried on their back and various machinegun-toting Mooks and bosses with a backpack full o' bullets. Shoot their backpacks and hilarity ensues.
  • Doom:
    • The Backpack in the classic games allows the player to carry double the ammo for all weapons. This is very useful for weapons with a high ammo consumption rate such as the rapid-fire chaingun and plasma rifle or the BFG.
    • Backpacks make a comeback in Doom³, though they have no effect on ammo capacity; rather, they serve as a single pickup for various ammo types.
  • In Evolve, Markov and Hyde's jetpacks incorporate the ammo sources for their primary weapons, with tesla coils for the former's lightning gun and fuel tanks for the latter's flamethrower.
  • Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas features an ammo backpack for many Big Guns, like the minigun or flamethrower, as well as a motorcycle gas tank for a Flaming Sword melee weapon. The Minigun has the ammo pack as well as motor, while the Gatling Laser has a huge battery pack. The Flamer has a fuel tank, but not the Incinerator, which has the tanks mounted on the chassis with a blast shield protecting them (and the user). The design marches on. However, Fallout 4 avoids this design concept, and the redesigns of existing weapons either move the magazine to the weapon itself or get rid of them entirely. According to the artbook, this was because they considered it an unreasonable limit on what clothes and armor could be like.
  • Jorge in Halo: Reach has one for his minigun. It doesn't slow him down one bit.
  • Flamer units in Mass Effect 2 come with fuel tanks on their backs. Incredibly dangerous at close range as it almost instantly breaks your shields and can stunlock you to death. The best tactic to use against them is to snipe the fuel tank from long range, which causes them to flail around before exploding in a shower of gibs.
    • Incredibly dangerous, that is, unless you have the Incinerate or Overload tech powers. In that case, flamers are more of a threat to their allies than to their enemies.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Vulcan Raven wears a massive ammo tank for his M61 Vulcan on his back.
  • Metro Exodus: At the start of the game, Tokarev, the Rangers' weapons expert, outfits Artyom with a backpack that also serves as a limited workbench. With it, Artyom can swap around the Gun Accessories he has available and craft ball-bearing ammo for his Tikhar air rifle.
  • Portal 2 shows one of the earliest models of the portal gun; it has a huge backpack used as energy storage.
  • The Gatling Gun from Resident Evil 5 comes with a ludicrously huge backpack-o-ammo, whether it's being used by the aptly named Gatling Gun Maijinis or by Chris "Punched a Boulder" Redfield. It's actually somewhat problematic when you use it since the huge backpack blocks off so much of your vision that large parts of the screen become obstructed while in aim-mode. But it does have the huge plus of both giving the gatling gun its ammo (it's infinite) and it will also block attacks from the back, making it hard to get grappled or struck from behind.
  • Splatoon: All Inklings and Octolings participating in Ink Wars carry their supply of ink in the form of a backpack consisting mostly of a large clear tube, which can be refilled by collecting ink spilled in the area prior. From Splatoon 2 onwards, a line on the tube indicates the minimum amount of ink required to use the assigned sub-weapon.
  • Team Fortress 2: The Medic has a backpack for his Medigun. Subverted slightly with Pyro; that thing on the Pyro's back is an oxygen tank, the ammunition is supplied by a propane canister on the flamethrowers itself (though the class selection screen still shows the backpack connected to the weapon). The Scout seems to keep all his weapons in his messenger bag, and the Soldier has a small backpack filled with rockets. The Sniper, when using the Huntsman, carries a quiver of arrows.
  • Robotic example from Too Human - some of the 'Troll' class enemies use heavy Grenade Launchers and wear huge, cylindrical ammo-canisters on their back to supply them. These are somewhat problematic since their presence prevents you from doing your 'jump up on their shoulders and stab them in the neck' insta-kill, and they're hard to destroy since the Trolls always turn to face you ... hence, the grenade-launching Trolls winds up being much more dangerous than their hammer-wielding brothers, but not because of their attack-range...
  • The Ammunition Backpack in Tribes, which doubles your ammo capacity. It's rarely used, however, since you end up sacrificing the ability to repair yourself, shield yourself, cloak yourself, or create a radar jammer.
    • The Energy Pack in Tribes 1 and 2 simply increased the recharge rate of your energy bar, effectively increasing your energy weapon refire rate, but saw more use than the Ammo Pack due to the fact that it also allowed more jetpacking and also being required to equip the Laser Rifle.
  • A few of the heavy weapons in the Ballistic Weapons mod for Unreal Tournament 2004 are attached to backpacks of some sort. Flamethrowers and the like can have their backpacks damaged, causing the unlucky user to shoot into the air before exploding.

  • S.S.D.D.: "Black Rose" Plasma Cannons are powered by a miniature fusion generator carried on the back. In fact, it is a major design weakness. The connecting hose is fragile and if ruptured, hot plasma spews out. Unlike larger reactors in cases where magnetic containment is breached, the plasma quickly superheats the casing upon contact before dissipating, causing an explosion.

    Real Life 
  • Most flamethrowers use backpack tanks to hold their fuel. They are very visible and draw fire from enemy forces, and the fuel inside can be ignited easily if it leaks out (the wielder certainly wouldn't want either of those things),note  which is one of the reasons flamethrowers are no longer employed in combat.note  They are also very heavy (weighing between 50 to 70 pounds when fully loaded), yet can only fire for a total of 15 seconds at most before running dry. Flamethrowers have been largely replaced by shoulder-fired rockets and missiles in the bunker-busting role, though they find use in non-combat functions, namely burning down brush and forests.
  • Arguably, quivers for archers count, when not worn at the belt instead.
  • While it's normally not a standard government issue accessory, many modern machinegunners do prefer to keep their ammo in the backpack, especially when they use a heavier belt-fed gun, as the standard belt box makes the weapon heavy and cumbersome, and requires more frequent changing than they would like. There's a number of both custom-built and commercially available ammo backpacks and belt sleeves that allow the soldier to connect their MG to the pack for a much longer belt than possible with the issue belt boxes.
    • The US Navy SEALs and MACVSOG had this during The Vietnam War. In Panama, the Delta Force used this. And in 2010, this backpack was unveiled.
    • Alternatively, if you don't have the fancy stuff, you can easily MacGyver one by emptying your backpack and duct-taping an ammo box or two to it. If you have a backpack with a frame, remove the sack entirely.