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Posted: 4/16/2014 9:36:42 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/10/2014 10:19:05 PM EST by rfizzle]
Hi I'm Rfizzle and I'm a gear addict.

For whatever reason Backpacks seem to be my vice. I am not .mil so I can't speak to a packs ability in those situations. I am LEO but nothing special, however I am an avid outdoors-men and in previous employment I would hike 5-10 miles a day with a pack. I also make my own gear, again nothing special but I think it gives me an appreciation for quality work and materials.

Below are these reviews:
London Bridge Tactical 3 day (the one that goes on sale for $59 every 2 months)
Hill People Gear Tarahumara $12
GORUCK SD25 $95
Kifaru Zippy $300
Tactical Tailor Removable Operator Pack $100
ATS Original RAID (owned a RAID II at one point too) $180-$200
Eagle Crossover Pack $30-$40
GORUCK GR1 $300
ILBE Assault Pack (USMC surplus) $20-$50
Kelty MAP 3500 $100-$150
Voodoo III MOLLE pack $60-$80
TAD Fast Pack $225-$325 (this review is an older generation/used pack)
Link Posted: 4/16/2014 9:37:46 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/16/2014 9:39:39 PM EST by rfizzle]
Hill People Gear Tarahumara
750ci 12.29L
$125

More info: http://www.hillpeoplegear.com/Products/tabid/762/ctl/ProductDetails/mid/1916/ProductID/25/Default.aspx

The Tarahumara pack is one of the smallest packs I own; it is also one of the most comfortable. Coming in at 725 cubic inches makes this a single day pack and by most standards it would be a small one at that. The Tarahumara is a single pocket with a single middle zipper for access, this makes the Tarahumara incredible simple which can be a positive or negative depending on use. Personally I use this for short day hikes or times when I need a couple water bottles, a jacket and a camera. The compressions straps expand to add even more external storage of jackets, also the bottom of the pack had a paracord compression set up (I changed it to shock cord).
The Tarahumara is an incredible comfortable pack, credit for this is due to the Hill People Gear shoulder harness. Of course it doesn’t hurt that at 725cu inches overloading can’t become a problem.

Likes:
Weight – I haven’t personally weighed it but according to Hill People Gear it weighs 1.25 pounds.
Dual side water bottle pockets – Having water bottle pockets on the side
Comfort – as stated above the shoulder harness is great and makes this pack great to carry

Dislikes:
Simplicity – this one could fit under “likes” and “dislikes”, some internal organization would be nice but it would add some weight and part of the beauty of the Tarahumara is the simplicity. HPG also make an insert which adds a PALS panel to the back of the inside of the pack.
Size – I hate putting this under “dislike” but 725ci is small, it doesn’t take a lot to fill it, but again if I need/want more room I have other options.

Overall the Tarahumara is an excellent day pack, it’s well built and Hill People Gear’s attention to detail is spot on. If you are looking for a simple, comfortable, daypack I can’t recommend a better pack than the Tarahumara.




Link Posted: 4/16/2014 10:02:16 PM EST
Tag
Link Posted: 4/16/2014 10:11:49 PM EST
London Bridge Tactical LBT-1476A Standard 3 Day Assault Pack
2240ci 36L
$213 list (About every 2 months LBT does a sale and these run $59)

More info: (couldn't find a link for the Tan) http://lbtinc.com/standard-three-day-assault-pack-11765.html

The London Bridge Tactical (LBT) 3 day pack is one that I picked up on a whim, mostly because I caught it on sale for $59. It mirrors many of the 3 day assault packs on the market (Eagle, Honor Point, etc, etc) which speaks to this design’s validity. The LBT 3 day pack is a pretty sizable pack at 36L/2240ci but it hides it well. It’s pretty comfortable though I wish the straps were a little wider, the included waist strap isn’t great a but I’m not a huge waist strap fan anyways. Materials and workmanship live up to the LBT name and the lifetime warranty.

Likes:
Organization – there are three different pockets as well as MOLLE.
Cost – $64 is what I paid with shipping (IIRC), LBT is great gear and at that price this bag is a steal. When not on sale the $213 list price is a “dislike” for sure.
Size – 36L puts this pack solidly in the 3 day range, but it doesn’t look huge.

Dislikes:
Straps – While the straps aren’t uncomfortable for a 36L pack they are pretty thin (width), 36L can be a lot of weight on those straps. Although they aren’t totally necessary I do like stabilizers that run from the top of the straps to the body, again with the load 36L can provide it would be another.

Overall the LBT 3 Day pack is a good pack, at the $59 price point it’s a great pack and I would recommend anyone looking for a 3 day pack to catch one of these on sale.





Link Posted: 4/16/2014 10:33:46 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/16/2014 10:37:34 PM EST by JarHead94]
Keep.Them.Coming.

Excellent job, OP! One criticism, if I may: can you give us interior shots on the next review?

ETA: and some shots next to a rifle leaning against the wall for size comps. I'm a picky bitch, I know! I a digging that Hill People pack, but can't tell how big it is.

ETAA: I'm a dumbass...the links you provided showed the reference shots.
Link Posted: 4/16/2014 10:43:35 PM EST
GORUCK Shadow Ruck 25 (SD25)
1525ci 25L
$95

More info: http://goruck.com/en/sd25#.U09HCVVdXug

The GORUCK SD25 is part of GORUCK’s lowest end line of packs, they call them their “book bags that don’t break”, and it is just that. I picked this up because I ended up with a gift card but it left me far short of the $300+ price tag of most of GORUCK’s packs. The SD25 is stripped of a lot of the features from the other GORUCK pack lines; no laptop pocket, really basic straps, no MOLLE (internal or external) and a few other areas that are lighter in material. The SD25 is still well built and comes with GORUCK’s scars guarantee, it’s a well made “book bag” for sure.

Likes:
Organization – even though the shadow line has no MOLLE GORUCK didn’t skimp on the pockets, there is a large pocket on the front of the front panel and two additional pockets on the backside of said panel.
Size – 25L is a great size, its right in the zone of 1-2 day pack.
That GORUCK look – it looks like a GORUCK which to some people (myself included) it’s a gear whore badge of honor. Things like their signature zipper pulls (paracord with heat shrink) and the cool backwards flag sown into the loop on the front. Just little things that make the look of the pack standout.

Dislikes:
Support – I have a hard time being negative with this pack simply for the fact that GORUCK aren’t selling this as anything more than a Tacticool book bag. But the pack with any weight likes to sag bad, it actually makes it very uncomfortable. However if used for its intended purpose the books would probably act as a frame sheet, or just adding a frame sheet might help too.
Straps – I love and hate the straps, no sternum strap (or good/easy way to add one) makes them make less than ideal for long distance carrying, but they are well padded and a nice width.

Overall the GORUCK SD25 is an ok bag; it is what they say it is a “book bag”. It’s built like a tank but it’s missing a lot of features that I think are needed in a serious use pack. If you happen to be in the market for a school/book type backpack that has that GORUCK look and some good organization this might be an option.



Link Posted: 4/16/2014 10:49:49 PM EST
tag
Link Posted: 4/16/2014 11:15:58 PM EST
Kifaru Zippy
1500ci 24.48L
$299

More info: http://store.kifaru.net/zippy-1500-ci2458-liters-p122.aspx

The Kifaru Zippy is my most expensive backpack and it’s my favorite. The Zippy is almost overbuilt, that’s really the best way I can describe the quality of workmanship and materials, every edge is finished and every stitch is clean. It’s hard to describe (especially to my wife) why paying $300 for a pack is really worth it, there is something about quality that sometimes is hard to describe. If I had been planning ahead I should have done some side by side photos of the Zippy and a low end pack (Condor, Voodoo, etc.). Is it worth $300, to me: yes. Again it’s hard to quantify and really explain but the quality when in person really speaks for its self. Back to the Zippy its self: I use the zippy for most things, it’s great when I need a little more room than the Tarahumara (review above). Most recently I used it to go to a Rockies game and was able to haul: 4 bottles of water, 2 rootbeers, a pound of peanuts, 2 coats (winter), a blanket and my camera. If I wasn’t a gear whore it would be my one and only, it’s the right size for most jobs and is very comfortable.

Likes:
Organization – the Zippy lives up to its name, there are three ways into the main body of the pack: top lid, and two side access panels. Each of the side panels has a mesh pocket on the inside (with zipper) and the lid has an external pocket as well as mesh pocket (with zipper) on the underside. Inside there is also a small bag hanging (picture a pencil bag and sorry I didn’t think to take a picture till now), adding another zipper to the 7 zippers (thus Zippy). All of these make it easy to organize and access your stuff, which between camera gear and baby stuff is required for any bag I use on trips.
Size – as I said above the Zippy can fit a lot, and it has great access.
Quality – as I said above it’s hard to explain, especially when most packs are made up of the same stuff (500D cordura, ITW plastic hardware, and heavy duty zippers.) but the workmanship on Kifaru’s products is top notch.

Dislikes:
Price – like I said it’s worth it to me, but it still does feel silly to pay $300 for a backpack.
Water bottle pockets – I’m only including this because the day after I ordered my Zippy, Kifaru announced the Urban Zippy which has external water bottle pockets. I liked MOLLE to much to switch and the side access makes it easy enough to get my water bottle without too much effort.

Overall the Zippy is my favorite pack, it’s pricey but it’s well built, well organized, and fits my needs. I would recommend the Zippy to anyone who can afford a high end pack and is looking for a do it all pack.






Link Posted: 4/16/2014 11:27:33 PM EST


Thanks much. I miss CO



spf
Link Posted: 4/17/2014 12:00:40 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/2/2014 10:30:45 PM EST by rfizzle]
Tactical Tailor Removable Operator Pack (also sold as Grey Ghost Gear and MIlSpec Monkey Adapt pack, same design mostly)
1178ci 19.3L
$115

More info:http://www.tacticaltailor.com/removableoperatorpack.aspx

Since I mention it a couple times here is the Mil-Spec Monkey version too: http://milspecmonkey.com/store/packs-bags/341-msm-adapt-pack.html

The Tactical Tailor Removable Operator Pack is a great EDC (every day carry) size backpack, it would ideal for a 1 day situation. It is mountable via the included hardware and the straps stow away. Coming in at 1178ci it’s on the smaller end of my collection but the space is well utilized, the front pocket currently has all of my first aid stuff in it allowing the main pocket to be used for whatever else is needed that day. I use this pack a lot during training days; I’m able to fit a couple bottles of water, a jacket, and firearms stuff on top of the medical supplies that live in it permanently. As you can see I added a CAT tourniquet, a glow stick holder (which on night trainings comes in handy to find your bag) and I added a pistol taco to the other side.

Likes:
Unique features – not unique to the market but within my collect at least, things like the option to put the straps away and mount the pack.
Price – at $115 I can’t complain, and for a cheaper option the Mil-spec Monkey Adapt pack is essentially Mil-Spec Monkey’s remake (with Tactical tailors help) on this pack and it runs around $99.

Dislikes:
Size – this really isn’t a “dislike” as much as the pack would be useable in more situations it had just a little more room. The pack is a great 1 day or EDC pack but it’s limited to that in the end.

Overall the Tactical Tailor Removable Operator Pack is an excellent choice for an EDC pack or a 1 day pack. It’s well built, has some unique features and would be a great addition to any collection. Personally if I were to do it again however I would buy the Mil-Spec Monkey Adapt pack since it is a little cheaper and he added some more features to this pack.



Link Posted: 4/17/2014 12:13:43 AM EST
Thanks OP. And keep the reviews coming. In fact, tell your wife you have my permission to buy more packs to review. Let me know how that works out for ya.
Link Posted: 4/17/2014 12:32:47 AM EST
Now these are proper reviews... Thank you.
Link Posted: 4/17/2014 12:37:41 AM EST
I forgot to get pictures of the ATS original Raid so I'll follow up with that review at some point.

I thought I'd also share my wish list, hopefully I can review some of these one day:
-Kelty MAP 3500 (Shellback has them for $90 but I'm out of $$, thanks Kifaru...)
-Mil Spec Monkey Adapt (Tactical Tailor re-worked by Mil Spec Monkey)
-ATS Raid II (had one sold it want one again)
-Maxpedition Falcon (I was thinking I should have a black backpack at work )

Link Posted: 4/17/2014 12:51:19 AM EST
Thank you for taking the time to put this together. Lot of useful info
Link Posted: 4/17/2014 1:27:15 AM EST
Right now the Maxpedition Condor II and Grey Ghost Gear Stealth Operator Pack are on my wishlist. I would also like to replace my Covrt 18 with a Camelbak Urban Assault.
Link Posted: 4/17/2014 8:12:13 AM EST
Thank you for the reviews. But also darn you. I'll be buying that Go-Ruck bag. I have wanted a Go-Ruck for a long time but I wasn't going to pay $295 for one.

I didn't even know they had the cheaper ones.
Link Posted: 4/17/2014 8:42:34 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By hawkeye180:
Thank you for the reviews. But also darn you. I'll be buying that Go-Ruck bag. I have wanted a Go-Ruck for a long time but I wasn't going to pay $295 for one.

I didn't even know they had the cheaper ones.
View Quote


There's a multicam one for sale in the EE ;-)
Link Posted: 4/17/2014 9:24:39 AM EST
[Last Edit: 4/17/2014 9:26:53 AM EST by hawkeye180]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By rfizzle:


There's a multicam one for sale in the EE ;-)
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By rfizzle:
Originally Posted By hawkeye180:
Thank you for the reviews. But also darn you. I'll be buying that Go-Ruck bag. I have wanted a Go-Ruck for a long time but I wasn't going to pay $295 for one.

I didn't even know they had the cheaper ones.


There's a multicam one for sale in the EE ;-)
Is already gone.

In any case if I bought a Shadow Ruck I would find something to use as a frame sheet or stiffener.
Link Posted: 4/17/2014 8:30:04 PM EST
tagged and thanks
Link Posted: 4/24/2014 12:38:49 AM EST
Quick update:
-I ordered a GORUCK GR1 on closeout, I'll review after I get a chance to use it a little.
-The Original RAID is coming up
Link Posted: 4/24/2014 12:48:14 AM EST
[Last Edit: 4/25/2014 5:00:13 AM EST by rfizzle]
Original Lightfighter RAID pack
24.77L 1512Cubic inch
$100-$200 Ebay/EE/Etc. (RAID II $200+/-)

More info (RAID II): http://www.atstacticalgear.com/cgi/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=ST-12381

The Original RAID pack was my go to pack until the Zippy arrived last month; it’s been my trusty companion on many trips. At around 1500ci it’s (to me) the perfect size for most occasions, it’s enough to fit 3+ days of clothes and some extras (camera, etc.). Most notably I remember taking it to Vegas with a weekends worth of clothes and an extra pair of shoes and I still had room for my camera (at the time a Canon 10D with 50mm f1.8). I was flying a budget airline that allows only one bag (no personal item either) and checked bags were more than the ticket. The RAID was perfect; it fit everything and still fit under the seat in front of me. A frame sheet is a must ($20) for this pack, the back of the pack is well padded but without a frame sheet the pack likes to sag under any sized load.

Likes:
Organization (internally) – There are 4 compression straps which making packing for a trip super simple. There are also two mesh pockets attached to the front panel, the RAID II did away with these in favor of MOLLE which with some added pouches comes to the same solution.
Simplicity – In some ways this is a like in other ways it works against the pack (see Access below). It makes the pack easy to use and it has a nice clean look. It’s covered in MOLLE so it’s really user/”mission” adaptable.

Dislikes:
Access – I love how this bag is organized internally but the problem is that to get to anything you are opening the entire pack. It was most noticeable to me when flying and trying to get headphones or something out and if they weren’t at the top it was pretty impossible. The RAID II added a front pouch which would help with this problem since you could pack necessities in there.
Floppy (without frame sheet) – as I said above the back is well padded but it doesn't hold up to weight and the pack flops over.

Original vs. RAID II
Since I have owned both I thought I would talk about the differences between the two packs. The RAID II added an external pocket to the front of the front panel, instead of two mesh pockets internally on the front panel it’s a mix webbing and elastic in MOLLE. The RAID II lost the top compression/load stabilizer straps that ran from the straps over the top of the pack and buckled onto the front panel. The addition of the external pocket to the front panel was a really nice addition (as I said above), the removal of the top compression/load stabilizer straps was both positive and negative. Positive in that it made the pack that much simpler, negative in that with a heavy load (especially if adding pouches to the MOLLE on the front panel) it can cause the pack to come unzipped. The loss of the mesh pockets again added to the simplicity and adaptability of the pack, but having to buy a couple pouches is another $20+ on a $200+ pack.

Overall both the Original and RAID II are great packs; they are incredibly modular yet simple. They are a great size for everyday use or travel. The only downside to their simplicity is access is one way in, one way out, so you have to pack smart.







Here was the only picture I had of the RAID II I sold:
Link Posted: 4/29/2014 5:35:27 PM EST
I decided to do some affordable pack reviews as well.

I picked up an Eagle Crossover and an ILBE Assault Pack.

Link Posted: 4/29/2014 6:07:51 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/29/2014 6:11:13 PM EST by rfizzle]
Eagle Crossover
2352 Cu in 38L (or so, Eagle vs. Natchezss numbers)
$40

More info:http://www.eagleindustries.com/products/detail.aspx?id=248
Purchase here: http://www.natchezss.com/product.cfm?contentID=productDetail&prodID=EYAAFCCPMS5&src=sim

This pack reminds me a lot of the RAID, simple but well designed. Instead of a full front panel unzip it's a 3/4, it also has a back pocket I assume for a laptop or hydration bladder. One review of this pack nailed it when they said it looked decisively small, it looks no bigger than a RAID (1500+/- Cu in) but comes in at 2300 cu in (Eagle and Natchezess differed on the measurements). It's very comfortable; the straps are on the thin side but not bad, they also include a sternum strap. It also reminds me of the RAID in the few downsides it has. I've been using it at work to carry a few extras: extra cuffs, flex cuffs, notebook, spare uniform, blue gloves, pens, etc. As with must things made by eagle it's well made, compared to the RAID it's not as overbuilt (no multi-layered webbing on bottom, just not as thick over all). Also it doesn't have the long side pockets that the RAID has, so overall I'd say it's a cheaper (but still great) RAID look a like.

Likes:
Cost - at $40 this is a great budget pack.
Adaptability - MOLLE everywhere!
Internal organization - Again this reminded me of the raid with two pockets on the front flap, Eagle also added a laptop sleeve and some other pen pockets to the back.

Dislikes:
No Compression Straps - They aren't a deal breaker, and with the MOLLE on the side it would be easy enough to rig something up. But for a pack this size it's easy to load up to the point where compression straps would become needed.
Floppy - this pack could do well with a frame sheet, it's not as floppy as some but it use one.
Metal zippers (pulls) - it's an easy/cheap fix to cut off the metal pulls and put some paracord on, but I hate when a pack jingles.
Access - much like the RAID, there is only one way in/out, and no external pockets.

Overall and especially for the price this is a great pack, the downsides are all pretty easy to fix. The only other problem I could see for most is the color options are limited (as far as I can tell) to ACU and black. I use this pack at work to carry a few extra things so black isn't a problem for me. I will be highly recommending this pack to people on a budget, it's a great pack on it's own but for $40 it's a super great pack.

Sorry for the pics, my house is really dark and it was crazy windy out today. (also I'm lazy)



Link Posted: 5/5/2014 3:51:21 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/5/2014 4:18:09 PM EST by rfizzle]
GORUCK GR1
1586 Cu in 26L
$195 (close out price as of May 5th, normally $295)

More info: http://www.goruck.com/en/gr1#.U2fzGcc6ndE

The GR1 is GORUCK's original pack, for whatever reason recently GORUCK has put almost all of their packs that aren't black on sale (most are -$100). I picked one up (in tan) and everything I complained about the SD25 (GORUCK's most basic pack, review above) is better in the GR1. The GR1 has a built in frame sheet, has the ability to add a sternum strap, and is a much heavier pack. I took the GR1 on a family hike today and I'm really liking this pack, it's very comfortable and holds plenty of stuff. The more I look at the GR1 the more I realize how lightweight/cheap the SD25 is. One thing I've noticed is that with only 3 rows of MOLLE on the outside the pack really isn't that expanable, 2-3 more rows would add a lot of modularity.

Likes:
Looks - my wife made several comments during our hike how she likes the looks of the GR1. It's a very simple yet stylish look.
Internal organization - much like the SD25 (review above) there are two pockets on the backside of the front panel. There is MOLLE on the back of the main pocket as well as a slip pocket, on the back of the pack there is a laptop/bladder padded pocket.
Heavy duty - GORUCK does a lot of doubling up of cordura they also add extra straps to support areas where weight will be an issue; like the bottom of the pack (see pics)

Dislikes:
Access - there's a theme here with me and access, panel loading packs... I love the way they look but it means you have to totally unzip the pack or have the important stuff on top (or front pocket). It's not a major issue just an observation.
Sternum strap - it's $11 to add one, which I did. But it bugs me that a $200-$400 pack doesn't include a sternum strap, personally I think a sternum strap with any weight is a must.

Overall I'm very impressed with the quality/toughness of the GR1, I would recommend this pack for anyone in the higher end pack game. It's very comfortable and and has a really nice look to it.






Link Posted: 5/5/2014 5:49:58 PM EST
ILBE Assault Pack
1500 cu in 24L
$20-$100 (Used vs New, and condition)

The ILBE assault pack is part of the Marine Corps' improved load bearing equipment (ILBE), my understanding (talking to a Marine buddy) is that these assault packs are issued with the larger main pack. I bought this because I thought it would be a nice budget option. I found mine for $20 shipped, it was "good" condition and the prices very depending on condition. Mine has a few repairs but overall I would say it's in good shape, for $20 I'm happy. At 1500 cu in this pack fits right in with all of my other "assault" packs, it also looks like a long lost brother to the RAID. The straps are very comfortable, and include an adjustable sternum strap along with two elastic bands to hold a hydration hose. There are some interesting features on the pack that I'm sure have battlefield use, like the two slots on the front panel (similar to a hydration hose hole) which I'm sure are for radios or something. My pack included a frame sheet, several I saw did not and the frame sheet was an additional $10-$12. The pack features a large main pocket and a side zip pocket on the front panel. Internally it's a blank slate other than the back which has a slip pocket and a zippered area for the frame sheet. The coolest cool factor about these packs is that they are designed by Arc'teryx (and made in mass by propper) and given Arc'teryx's history in backpacks you know this pack is well designed.

Likes:
Cost - $20-$50 is what I found most of the used ones going for, again condition being the deciding factor. It's a great pack for even $50, I found some new ones in the $100 range and I'd say it's well worth that price too.
Overall design - it's a great EDC pack or assault pack, it's very versatile.

Dislikes:
Blank on the inside - a little MOLLE or even some pockets would be nice, something to organize gear.
MARPAT - I don't have anything against MARPAT, but I don't want to take away any respect that actual marines deserve. I don't want people to see my out of shape (fat) self and associate me with a group of men that I have the utmost respect for.

Overall this pack is a steal at even $100(new), it's well built and well designed. It'll withstand anything I can do to it, anyone looking for an affordable option should really consider this pack first and foremost.




Link Posted: 5/7/2014 4:44:00 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/7/2014 4:59:46 PM EST by steve2071]
I just got a GoRuck Bullet and was disappointed about the lack of waist straps. I had gone in knowing there were none, but I didn't think it was too big a deal.

Luckily, with the addition of a couple of QASM buckles on the front, some webbing, a few triglides, and side release buckles, I was able to fashion a pretty good waist strap. It's now my favorite tiny pack ever.

If anyone is concerned about the lack of waist straps, the fix is quick, cheap, easy, and non-permanent.

Link Posted: 5/7/2014 8:23:11 PM EST
Nice!

It is a little strange to me that even GORUCK's biggest bag (GR2 which is 40L aka big) doesn't even have a waist belt. The bullets don't have webbing on the side either so your hack would be even easier on the full size packs. I'm not a huge waist belt guy, which is why I barely even noticed but it's nice to know that it can be added easily.
Link Posted: 5/27/2014 11:47:06 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/28/2014 12:25:47 AM EST by rfizzle]
Speaking of hacks, I threw together a little something to make it easier for me to carry my camera while carrying a backpack. The problem is a tradition camera neck strap sucks, so I have the Echo-Niner strap (which is awesome). But when you have a backpack on the camera strap interferes with the backpack straps and you end up uncomfortable.

So I took a page from the rifle sling crowd and made it so my camera hangs off the backpack straps, it was easy due to the Echo-Niner have buckles from the strap to the camera attachment points.

Problem: (straps everywhere and it jabbing into my neck)


Solution:
A couple buckles (that work with the Echo-Niner strap parts):

I had to sew the buckles onto the straps but the strap is removable thanks to the tri-gilde.

With the camera (in tourist mode):


Slung: (similar to how I carry the Echo-Niner)


Camera can be brought up to my eye easily and it still allows me to "sling" the camera to one side. Also taking the pack off is still easy since I can leave the camera buckled to one side. This was another pain when carrying the Echo-Niner strap with a backpack, you had to remove the camera completely and then take the pack off. This way the camera can stay attached to the pack or be removed quickly.

ETA: if you notice the buckles don't match, I didn't have the same brand buckles but I've made a habit of keeping buckles off things so I was able to find a couple that worked.
Link Posted: 5/27/2014 11:48:52 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By rfizzle:
Speaking of hacks, I threw together a little something to make it easier for me to carry my camera while carrying a backpack. The problem is a tradition camera neck strap sucks, so I have the Echo-Niner strap (which is awesome). But when you have a backpack on the camera strap interferes with the backpack straps and you end up uncomfortable.

So I took a page from the rifle sling crowd and made it so my camera hangs off the backpack straps, it was easy due to the Echo-Niner have buckles from the strap to the camera attachment points.

Problem: (straps everywhere and it jabbing into my neck)
<a href="http://s38.photobucket.com/user/rfizzle_photo/media/E5A76BE0-E284-4BB8-B872-54FB6DE4BC10_zpsqhpxs9iy.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e135/rfizzle_photo/E5A76BE0-E284-4BB8-B872-54FB6DE4BC10_zpsqhpxs9iy.jpg</a>

Solution:
A couple buckles (that work with the Echo-Niner strap parts):
<a href="http://s38.photobucket.com/user/rfizzle_photo/media/1726D759-428F-4A9C-ACE9-F82755AFA7D7_zpssbqqjeht.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e135/rfizzle_photo/1726D759-428F-4A9C-ACE9-F82755AFA7D7_zpssbqqjeht.jpg</a>
I had to sew the buckles onto the straps but the strap is removable thanks to the tri-gilde.

With the camera (in tourist mode):
<a href="http://s38.photobucket.com/user/rfizzle_photo/media/857DB14C-E094-4423-A482-413CDB4B598C_zpsclr3v6nx.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e135/rfizzle_photo/857DB14C-E094-4423-A482-413CDB4B598C_zpsclr3v6nx.jpg</a>

Slung: (similar to how I carry the Echo-Niner)
<a href="http://s38.photobucket.com/user/rfizzle_photo/media/6893EF79-93C5-4F5E-A4B3-E443213A71BC_zpsfm1cvbjm.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e135/rfizzle_photo/6893EF79-93C5-4F5E-A4B3-E443213A71BC_zpsfm1cvbjm.jpg</a>

Camera can be brought up to my eye easily and it still allows me to "sling" the camera to one side. Also taking the pack off is still easy since I can leave the camera buckled to one side. This was another pain when carrying the Echo-Niner strap with a backpack, you had to remove the camera completely and then take the pack off. This way the camera can stay attached to the pack or be removed quickly.
View Quote


2 legit 2 quit

Always wanted to buy my wife a echo Niner for her Canon but she'd give me the look
Link Posted: 5/28/2014 12:21:46 AM EST
Kelty MAP 3500
2300ci 38L
$100-$150+ (color/sales)

More info: http://www.kelty.com/p-264-map-3500.aspx?category=backpacks

The Kelty MAP 3500 is pack I've seen recommended many times on this site, I jumped at an opportunity to buy a used one (EE - $75) because I had to see why it's such a popular pack. Kelty has this to say about it: "The MAP 3500 is the commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution for a sturdy and functional Military Assault Pack (MAP)". I have to agree with everything they say there, t's a great mix of civilian/commercial features and military/tactical features. Ironically I've found myself recommending this pack before I even owned one, one instance was when a guy on a local forum messaged me and asked about preventing back sweat. I looked at all of my tactical packs and realized that none of them really had features to prevent back sweat, I mean a few had some "air channels" sewn in but they were lame at best. I thought about other packs on my wish list and the MAP came to mind due to it's mesh back. I think in the end he ended up going with a civilian pack, and I can't blame him. There are a lot of things that the civilian pack market has figured out, and there are reasons for the tactical market not to adapt these, but it's nice when they do. The MAP is that pack, it takes some the best things and melds it with the tactical market well.

Likes:
Civilian features - mesh back, lighter weight fabrics (internally), organizers, and mesh-backed straps. All of these add to the comfort of this pack but don't take away from the tacticoolness of the pack.
Cost - while not as cheap as some (LBT when on sale to name one), $150+/- is a very fair price for a pack with these features.
Internal organization - I could go either way with this one, but I'll leave as a "like", the inside kind of reminds of a school backpack with pencil organizers but it is handy. I personally prefer pouches (zippered) rather than pockets to organize, but it's nice to organize either way.

Dislikes:
Non-Expandable - there is zero MOLLE on this pack, and granted it's a fairly big pack (38L 2300cuin) but it means that other than the compression straps adding anything to the pack is not easy. It's not a huge deal but from time to time I've found my self needing to add something to the outside of my pack (that requires/uses MOLLE) aka mission adaptable.
Looks - "half of being good is looking good" I think the Kelty looks fine but it looks like a Kelty, it wouldn't look out of place hanging in an REI. Which as you can tell is not what my gear shed looks like. This could also be a positive, I mean I do live pretty close to Boulder so maybe blending in while still being tacticool isn't all that bad.
Rugged? - granted I just said a positive was the lightweight part of this pack, but it also means things can/will wear out faster. Granted it will have to be some heavy use, I've only bought a few packs used and this (minus the surplus ILBE) was the first with repairs. Looking over the rest of the pack it doesn't seem like it was that heavily used but rather that a few areas were unlucky. The ONLY reason this is a "dislike" is that compared to the rest of my packs this is the most lightweight and so compared to them (GORUCK doubles up everything) it would most likely be the first to wear out.


Overall the MAP is a great pack, it brings the best features from the civilian market and melds it with the tactical world. I can see why I've see it recommended so many times on this forum and others, and from here on out it'll be recommended by me too.

Pics: (sorry I didn't realize I forgot an overall shot, I'll try and get one here soon)



Link Posted: 5/28/2014 12:23:46 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/28/2014 12:27:03 AM EST by rfizzle]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By bradpierson26:


2 legit 2 quit

Always wanted to buy my wife a echo Niner for her Canon but she'd give me the look
View Quote View All Quotes
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Originally Posted By bradpierson26:
Originally Posted By rfizzle:
Speaking of hacks, I threw together a little something to make it easier for me to carry my camera while carrying a backpack. The problem is a tradition camera neck strap sucks, so I have the Echo-Niner strap (which is awesome). But when you have a backpack on the camera strap interferes with the backpack straps and you end up uncomfortable.

So I took a page from the rifle sling crowd and made it so my camera hangs off the backpack straps, it was easy due to the Echo-Niner have buckles from the strap to the camera attachment points.

Problem: (straps everywhere and it jabbing into my neck)
<a href="http://s38.photobucket.com/user/rfizzle_photo/media/E5A76BE0-E284-4BB8-B872-54FB6DE4BC10_zpsqhpxs9iy.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e135/rfizzle_photo/E5A76BE0-E284-4BB8-B872-54FB6DE4BC10_zpsqhpxs9iy.jpg</a>

Solution:
A couple buckles (that work with the Echo-Niner strap parts):
<a href="http://s38.photobucket.com/user/rfizzle_photo/media/1726D759-428F-4A9C-ACE9-F82755AFA7D7_zpssbqqjeht.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e135/rfizzle_photo/1726D759-428F-4A9C-ACE9-F82755AFA7D7_zpssbqqjeht.jpg</a>
I had to sew the buckles onto the straps but the strap is removable thanks to the tri-gilde.

With the camera (in tourist mode):
<a href="http://s38.photobucket.com/user/rfizzle_photo/media/857DB14C-E094-4423-A482-413CDB4B598C_zpsclr3v6nx.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e135/rfizzle_photo/857DB14C-E094-4423-A482-413CDB4B598C_zpsclr3v6nx.jpg</a>

Slung: (similar to how I carry the Echo-Niner)
<a href="http://s38.photobucket.com/user/rfizzle_photo/media/6893EF79-93C5-4F5E-A4B3-E443213A71BC_zpsfm1cvbjm.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e135/rfizzle_photo/6893EF79-93C5-4F5E-A4B3-E443213A71BC_zpsfm1cvbjm.jpg</a>

Camera can be brought up to my eye easily and it still allows me to "sling" the camera to one side. Also taking the pack off is still easy since I can leave the camera buckled to one side. This was another pain when carrying the Echo-Niner strap with a backpack, you had to remove the camera completely and then take the pack off. This way the camera can stay attached to the pack or be removed quickly.


2 legit 2 quit

Always wanted to buy my wife a echo Niner for her Canon but she'd give me the look


It is the most comfortable strap I've used, the multicam does get some looks sometimes too though. For a "civilian" equivalent the Black Rapid straps are also very comfortable and allow for the slung carry.
Link Posted: 6/10/2014 6:12:01 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/10/2014 10:24:30 PM EST by rfizzle]
Voodoo Tactical Level III MOLLE Pack
1800 cu in 30 liters (+/- best guess)
$70-$80

More info:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002B5XSAQ/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

Someone gave me this pack, they knew I was into gear and thought I'd like it. I hated it. First a little history (my take) on Voodoo tactical, they are an overseas manufacturer who copies designs. They cut corners, and I've rarely seen anyone defend their gear. I will say that I have one of their rifle bags and it was cheap, but has held up OK. This pack is a copy of a similar design made by Maxpedition, I will give the pack credit that it's a nice design with plenty of pockets and nice access. Where this pack falls short is anywhere Voodoo cut a corner or tried to make the design their own. The corners cut range from small, like shoe string material instead of para cord on the zipper pulls, to big things like the plastic hardware which is branded voodoo and feels cheap. The biggest thing I hate about this pack is the straps, they are the worst design I've seen to date. They are twice as wide as any of my other packs, they are made of a hard foam which doesn't bend, and there are too many adjustments. I think the pack has some potential if it wasn't for the straps, I did think about rigging up my own straps and replacing the originals.

Likes:
pockets/access - plenty of pockets, and all have great access.
Size - it's a nice EDC, small pack but doesn't look like you stole a kids backpack.

Dislikes:
The Straps - This pack due to the strap design is not carry-able. The hard foam doesn't bend and even where it's meant to bend it would bed into a shape that doesn't even closely resemble a human shoulder.
Cheap - as I said above the corners that are cut are everywhere. Nothing about this pack feels like it will withstand anything. The material (nylon) is maybe the one thing that feels ok.
Branding - all of the buckles and back foam have a "Voodoo" on them, if not the full Voodoo skull logo
Price - ranging from $60-$70+ this pack is not cheap, the Maxpedition (real/better) version is $130+ but is made 10x better.

If not for the straps this pack has a nice design, but Voodoo also cut corners and cheaped out throughout. I would not recommend this pack, yes it's cheap but it isn't worth it. Buy a real version (Maxpedition or Vanquest) and you'll be much happier

P.S. since doing this review I've seen several other brands (Fox, Condor, Draco, etc) with a similar pack, and giving those a quick glance they suffer from a lot of the same issues. Some of them at least have better straps, but again I can't stress enough that buying the real version of this pack is the ONLY way to go.





Link Posted: 7/3/2014 1:42:44 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/3/2014 1:48:59 AM EST by rfizzle]
Quick update:

I've fallen in love with the GR1 as an EDC/Hiking/Travel Pack. I did however decide to get a black one, I sold the tan on Ebay and picked up a "used" (once used, maybe) one in black. Though the tan is a nice color with the MOLLE/PALS on the front it's doesn't blend, it's nice having something that blends in.

Here is the black GR1 on a hike the other day:


BTW it was loaded down with a 48oz nalgene, a 32 oz nalgene, the camera (when not in use; Canon 6D + 24-105 f4L), a couple raincoats, small cooler w/ lunch, and some baby essentials. It carries all of that so well, I don't think I can recommend this pack enough.




I also on a whim picked up a used (very used, .mil guy) TAD fast pack, it's an older generation in multicam. Here it is loaded up for a range day:


I like it so far and I'll do a full review when I get a chance to use it a little more.
Link Posted: 7/10/2014 10:17:39 PM EST
TAD Fast Pack (This one is an older generation, and was the Patrol Size)
45L 2800 cu in
$225-$325 (Size,used, etc) (I bought mine used for cheaper as well)

Good info/review of this pack on MilitaryMorons (about half way down the page) http://www.militarymorons.com/equipment/packs2.html
More info (current generations): http://store.tripleaughtdesign.com/FAST-Pack-EDC

The TAD Fast Pack is another high end pack that a lot of guys love, and I can see why. It's well made, feature packed, and very comfortable. I picked this particular pack up from a forum (of mostly .mil types), it's heavily used and of an older and larger generation. This one would have been what TAD called the Patrol Size, it's much bigger than the current EDC (every day carry) and Litespeed versions. The guy I bought the pack from gave me brief run down of it's life, which included a long list of conflict zones and other countries. There are two areas where something broke/wore-out, one of the plastic tri-glides on the bottom is broken and one of the straps that holds the transporter tail in place is hanging on by threads. Given the pack's history I can't really fault TAD for a plastic piece that broke, however the frayed strap is maybe a defect but I'll blame it mostly on use. It'd say the TAD is over built; meaning the nylon is doubled in a lot of areas, but that speaks to it's ruggedness.

Likes:
Transporter Tail - It can do a lot; carry a rifle, hold a helmet, and any number of other uses. It folds down and has a pocket for long guns (or other long things), it also sits against the pack and acts like an extra pocket and compression.
Adaptability - MOLLE everywhere, the Transporter Tail, and compression straps means this pack could be adapted to any special use very easily.
Pockets/Organization - Two side pockets, mesh internal, two pockets on the outer front flap, and a hydration bladder/laptop sleeve spot on the far back. One of the pockets has a pencil/pen organizer as well.
Comfort - well padded, good internal support, and the straps are shaped perfectly.

Dislikes:
Strap-tacular - While each strap has a helpful and useful role, there are a lot of them. The only reason I put this down as a 'dislike' is that it's easy to catch those straps when in use, making this pack not my 1st choice for a carry-on/travel pack.
Cost - it's worth it, but it's still hard to stare down a $300+ price tag for a pack.

Overall the TAD Fast Pack is one of my new favorites, it's expensive but it's well designed and over built so it's worth the cost. I think another TAD pack will be in my future someday... when I can scrape together $325

P.S. I have to sell this due to a more pressing matter, but someday I'll be picking another TAD pack up.










Link Posted: 7/10/2014 11:00:48 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By rfizzle:
TAD Fast Pack (This one is an older generation, and was the Patrol Size)
45L 2800 cu in
$225-$325 (Size,used, etc) (I bought mine used for cheaper as well)

Good info/review of this pack on MilitaryMorons (about half way down the page) http://www.militarymorons.com/equipment/packs2.html
More info (current generations): http://store.tripleaughtdesign.com/FAST-Pack-EDC

The TAD Fast Pack is another high end pack that a lot of guys love, and I can see why. It's well made, feature packed, and very comfortable. I picked this particular pack up from a forum (of mostly .mil types), it's heavily used and of an older and larger generation. This one would have been what TAD called the Patrol Size, it's much bigger than the current EDC (every day carry) and Litespeed versions. The guy I bought the pack from gave me brief run down of it's life, which included a long list of conflict zones and other countries. There are two areas where something broke/wore-out, one of the plastic tri-glides on the bottom is broken and one of the straps that holds the transporter tail in place is hanging on by threads. Given the pack's history I can't really fault TAD for a plastic piece that broke, however the frayed strap is maybe a defect but I'll blame it mostly on use. It'd say the TAD is over built; meaning the nylon is doubled in a lot of areas, but that speaks to it's ruggedness.

Likes:
Transporter Tail - It can do a lot; carry a rifle, hold a helmet, and any number of other uses. It folds down and has a pocket for long guns (or other long things), it also sits against the pack and acts like an extra pocket and compression.
Adaptability - MOLLE everywhere, the Transporter Tail, and compression straps means this pack could be adapted to any special use very easily.
Pockets/Organization - Two side pockets, mesh internal, two pockets on the outer front flap, and a hydration bladder/laptop sleeve spot on the far back. One of the pockets has a pencil/pen organizer as well.
Comfort - well padded, good internal support, and the straps are shaped perfectly.

Dislikes:
Strap-tacular - While each strap has a helpful and useful role, there are a lot of them. The only reason I put this down as a 'dislike' is that it's easy to catch those straps when in use, making this pack not my 1st choice for a carry-on/travel pack.
Cost - it's worth it, but it's still hard to stare down a $300+ price tag for a pack.

Overall the TAD Fast Pack is one of my new favorites, it's expensive but it's well designed and over built so it's worth the cost. I think another TAD pack will be in my future someday... when I can scrape together $325

P.S. I have to sell this due to a more pressing matter, but someday I'll be picking another TAD pack up.
View Quote


For as expensive as they are, I would expect better build quality than all those hanging threads. Seriously, at $325 their QC should be better.

None of my expensive packs from other makers have stuff like that going on.
Link Posted: 7/10/2014 11:02:38 PM EST
Tagged for when I have time to read. Thanks for the reviews.
Link Posted: 7/10/2014 11:55:09 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By JohnnyC:


For as expensive as they are, I would expect better build quality than all those hanging threads. Seriously, at $325 their QC should be better.

None of my expensive packs from other makers have stuff like that going on.
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Originally Posted By JohnnyC:
Originally Posted By rfizzle:
review


For as expensive as they are, I would expect better build quality than all those hanging threads. Seriously, at $325 their QC should be better.

None of my expensive packs from other makers have stuff like that going on.


Very true, I thought about contacting TAD but have since had to put it up for sale

Here is the strap in question:
It's hanging on by the one corner, I should have pulled it out more to show better


Here's the tri-glide that broke, again this one is on the bottom so I can imagine it broke from the weight of the pack dropped on it.
Link Posted: 7/11/2014 7:51:13 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/11/2014 8:01:53 PM EST by sevin8nin]
I too also had a TAD gear pack and ended up selling it. I was tired of the shoulder strap adjustments slipping their adjustment under load.
For the money I'd rather have a Goruck, a Kelty, or a Mystery Ranch.
Link Posted: 8/4/2014 10:24:28 PM EST
Mystery Ranch Komodo Dragon?
Link Posted: 9/22/2014 9:37:17 PM EST
Just an update:

We took the family to Disney World for a week and I took the GORUCK GR1 along. It was great, it was super comfortable and being able to fillet it open for the bag checks (entering the parks) was great.

Here was the "load out", minus rain jackets and water bottles:
Link Posted: 9/22/2014 9:51:08 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By rfizzle:
Just an update:

We took the family to Disney World for a week and I took the GORUCK GR1 along. It was great, it was super comfortable and being able to fillet it open for the bag checks (entering the parks) was great.

Here was the "load out", minus rain jackets and water bottles:
<a href="http://s38.photobucket.com/user/rfizzle_photo/media/IMG_0082_zps04f4b2c0.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e135/rfizzle_photo/IMG_0082_zps04f4b2c0.jpg</a>
View Quote


Mind if I ask what tripod that is? My needs have recently change and I'm in the market for a compact travel tripod.
Link Posted: 9/26/2014 6:38:29 AM EST
Mefoto Daytrip, they make some very nice compact tripods.
Link Posted: 10/2/2014 10:37:53 AM EST
Great thread, thanks! I enjoy quality gear, but am on a budget...would you say the LBT 1476A when on sale has the best quality to price ratio? I'm looking for a quality multicam pack for sniper comps.
Link Posted: 10/4/2014 4:39:09 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Blazin_Bill:
Great thread, thanks! I enjoy quality gear, but am on a budget...would you say the LBT 1476A when on sale has the best quality to price ratio? I'm looking for a quality multicam pack for sniper comps.
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I think the LBT is probably the best bang for the buck. Although the ILBE assault pack is underrated for it's price.
Link Posted: 10/4/2014 10:35:55 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By rfizzle:


I think the LBT is probably the best bang for the buck. Although the ILBE assault pack is underrated for it's price.
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Originally Posted By rfizzle:
Originally Posted By Blazin_Bill:
Great thread, thanks! I enjoy quality gear, but am on a budget...would you say the LBT 1476A when on sale has the best quality to price ratio? I'm looking for a quality multicam pack for sniper comps.


I think the LBT is probably the best bang for the buck. Although the ILBE assault pack is underrated for it's price.


I have both, and fully agree. I may pick up an ILBE or two, just to put up. Seems when I like something, they seem to get discontinued. I bought a used ILBE off of the bay, in good shape. It is a solid pack for what it is.
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