What Are D-Rings Used for on Backpacks? 

 March 10, 2023

By  Diane Wuthrich

There are many new features that are added into modern backpacks. When shopping around, you may notice that some feature a metal or plastic D-ring, but what is its purpose?

Backpack D-rings function in a number of ways. They are commonly used to attach accessories onto the pack, such as camera bags, a mobile phone pouch, a cap, or sunglasses. Hikers use them on shoulder straps to attach a whistle, compass, water bottles, or for securing a hydration hose.

D-rings serve many purposes on backpacks. Read on below to learn more.

What Is a D-Ring on a Backpack

D-rings are an extremely useful accessory that are found on some backpack models. They can also be purchased separately to maximize a travel, hiking, or outdoor backpack.

They come in either plastic or metal, with plastic D-rings being more commonly used to attach lightweight items. Meanwhile, metal D-rings are better suited for attaching bulky or heavy items onto the pack. Examples of backpacks that have D-rings include:

Below is are examples of common ways D-rings are used on backpacks.

Attaching Bulky Items Outside the Backpack

Travelers and hikers use D-rings to attach bulky gear outside the pack. Examples of these items may include camera bags, insulated water bottles with hand-held straps, or fishing rod holder, an extra pouch for storing snacks and smaller belongings. Keeping them attached outside of the pack saves valuable storage space while also making your belongings more accessible.

Making Safety Gear More Accessible

D-rings can be used to make safety gear easier to reach for; this comes in handy for those who are trekking or rock climbing. For example, D-rings can be used to attach ropes, whistles, keys, carabiners, maps, and compasses.

D-rings can also carry a hydration system. The tube can passes through the D-ring while ensuring it’s stable even as you trek through rocky terrain.

Strap Adjustment

Some backpack models use D-rings at the end of straps, where the webbing is located. They can also be added separately though the main purpose of D-rings on straps is to make backpack straps adjustable.

Additionally, two D-rings on a strap can enable you to attach another strap to it with the use of a tri bar adjuster.


D-rings are an extremely useful backpack accessory. Whether to improve the overall safety or comfort of a backpack, D-rings can make a big difference.

About the author

Diane is our head writer and researcher for our backpack informational content. Her everyday carry is a Herschel.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}