I finally got a chance to test out the new pack, and I’ve got to say, it really exceeded my expectations. I picked this up through Redsgear, the outdoor gear company I work for. I’d read a few reviews of it, and it seemed like a good alternative to my old day bag that finally started to fall apart. The bag itself is built wicked tough, and has big fat zippers that I’m sure won’t break anytime soon. The real selling point for me was how moddable it is. There’s extra straps all over it, and plenty of MOLLE loops to attach extra pouches, my bed roll, etc. All of this I could kind of see before I bought it, but after carrying it around all day at elephant rocks over the weekend, I’ve got to say that the most impressive part is just how easy the thing is to carry. Even loaded up with thirty-five pounds of gear, I hardly noticed I was carrying it. I’m really looking forward to trying it out on some longer hikes.
So let’s get down to pros and cons here.
I’ll start off with the two complaints I have.
- Size;The pack itself only has a 25-litre capacity, which is a bit on the small side compared to my old bag (32 litres). I was worried about this at first, but after loading it up this weekend, I’m less concerned. I fit all of my gear into the pack itself, and all that MOLLE is going to make it really damned easy to strap on my tent, sleeping bag and anything else I deem necessary.
- Ease of access; This is my only real complaint, and ironically it’s caused by just how moddable the bag is. All of the MOLLE loops, as well as the extra straps that function as a place to slide a belt looped bag/hatchet sheath etc, mean that there’s a bit of unhooking to be done to get into the main part of the bag. It’s not a huge issue most of the time, but I can imagine it being a pain if you’re caught in a sudden rain or injured and trying to get to your first aid kit.
Now, onto the good stuff.
- Hydration Compartment; I didn’t even realize this when I chose the bag, but it’s got a 3-litre area to insert a water bladder, and it’s so cleverly positioned that when I put the bladder in it actually functioned as a padding for my lower back. That may not have been the intention, but I’ve got a feeling that on long hikes I’ll be grateful for it.
- MOLLE loops; So many MOLLE loops you guys. Just so many.
- Straps; I’ve got a feeling this played a huge part in how easy the bag is to carry, but having waist and sternum straps is a huge shift. My old bag had a waist strap, but I rarely used it. I’m not sure why, because I’m definitely goign to make these straps a priority the next time I need a new bag.
- Weight; This thing is pretty heavy duty, but there’s hardly any metal on it. On it’s own the bag only weighs 3lbs. That’s a huge improvement from my old 30 litre, which weighed in at about twice that.
All in all? Really happy with this bag, and I’m looking forward to modding it out with all of the accessories Maxpedition offers. I’ll have to take it on a real blister making hike before I head to Maine to see how it carries on a really long hike, but after this weekend, I’m not really worried about it in the slightest.
If any of you are interested in this, or anything else made by Maxpedition, head over to Redsgear and take a look at some of the stuff they offer. I’ve gotten most of my gear through them, and know for a fact that the people who run it will answer any question you’ve got about their products.