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Alternative to Maxpedition Mongo / Operator Tactical Attache?

Discussion in 'EDC Bags' started by Brewer, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. Brewer

    Brewer Loaded Pockets

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    My Mongo has been good, but a couple of things bug me - the compartments aren't a great fit for glasses or regular (eg 4") multitools, the top handle sucks, and the thing won't sit upright. It's a kinda slippery unstable shape, and won't stay where you put it. I guess the design is based around body carry, and I rarely use it that way. Mostly I just carry it by the grab handle in and out of the truck etc, over one shoulder if necessary, and place it on the floor at home or wherever I am.

    My usage is as a well-organised EDC with an EMPTY cargo space - I like to have things like pens, notebook, multitool, flashlight, phone chargers, batteries, FAK, toiletries etc organised in the various smaller pockets, leaving the main compartment free for any unexpected or job-specific loads like documents or purchases.

    The 'operator' could be a contender (except that it only seems available in black these days, and I just can't do black bags!) Many of Maxp's newer designs lack exterior organisation.

    I have no experience with other brands though, is there something else I should check out?
     
  2. twin63

    twin63 Loaded Pockets

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    Check out the Vanquest Envoy-17. They have a video on their website that goes over features. It says it's shipping March 2019, so it should be available soon.
     
  3. ferris209

    ferris209 Loaded Pockets

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    First Tactical has a couple that fits close to what you want, lots of organization. The Summit Side Satchel, Ascend Messenger, and the Executive Briefcase. I also think FT has a bag coming out that is larger than the Summit and smaller than then the Ascend, but I don’t recall it’s name. They’ve placed the handle in the best place on their messenger bags, not on one side like most do but directly on top like it should be. Give‘em a look and maybe you’ll like what you see, I love my Summit.
     
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  4. ferris209

    ferris209 Loaded Pockets

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    They all come in OD and Coyote, as well as black.
     
  5. Brewer

    Brewer Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks guys, I've checked those out and both brands look really good, but the bags aren't quite what I'm after. I find with most of those 'tactical messenger' style bags that the external organisation always seems a bit slimline - great for pens and documents, not so great for heavier/bulkier items like multitools, flashlights, phone chargers and eyewear, which is the kind of gear I want to organise and have accessible without going into the main cargo space.

    Thinking about it again, maybe I need to change tack slightly and look for something with large velcro-lined external compartments, and add tool panels for all that stuff. I'll go back and double-check those options.
     
    Last edited by Brewer, Mar 6, 2019
    #5 Brewer, Mar 6, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  6. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I think you might want to look again then?
    Both the 1st Tactical and Vanquest have loads of org. for exactly the stuff you are asking about in the front outside of the main compartment.
    What they dont have though is stuff hanging off all over the outside of the bag as Maxped. seems to specialize in and which I find to be a real deal breaker.

    The best for me are in the 1st layer under the flap where they are in the 1st Tactical and Vanquest,easy to get to but not in your face when the flap is closed.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    The 2 outside pockets on the flap are my favorite spots too and they hold so much more than you might think but all nicely out of site until you look in there yourself from above the flap.
    Just don't forget to zip those pockets closed before opening the flap!
     
  7. Brewer

    Brewer Loaded Pockets

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    Ha, yes you are right! I see now the organisers on the FT bags - there are no pics on their site but the video does mention them briefly (at 0:50) as it races over the internal features:



    I couldn't really see any signs of tool organisation on the Vanquest bags though, they mostly look to be for pen and admin stuff, although it looks like those pen pockets on the 13 are wider than on the 17 (both visible at 2:40) - I wonder if they'll take a full size multitool?!:



    I'm going to rule out the Operator btw - it's too big, and I kinda share your feelings about the external pockets. I don't want to look like I've come to defuse bombs. As long as I can fit a magazine or some documents in the main compartment it's long enough and tall enough for me.

    So I think it's probably between the Summit and the Envoy 13. I like that the FT is all 1000D and has a sunglasses pocket (and maybe better multitool pockets?), but the Envoy 13 is a touch bigger and a bit more 'structured' which i like. I also like the extra pockets/bottle carriers on the ends, and I'm really digging the grey and orange for some reason:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by Brewer, Mar 7, 2019
    #7 Brewer, Mar 6, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
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  8. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    It is really astonishing to me that the Manufacturers give so little effort to actually selling the bags by way of almost no thought it seems to letting us see the bag before choosing it?
    Can you imagine the time that goes into designing and creating these bags and then in the only real phase that matters to the end user they drop the ball and just assume we will buy almost sight unseen.

    So I have an Envoy II and the huge 1st Tactical and there are things about each that I prefer really.
    For me though having had the Envoy first and it being marginal size wise for my main computer at that time,I have not used the Envoy again since the first time I got the 1st Tac.!

    You can not really tell even from the pics I posted here but the 1st Tac has more organization and protected organization at that.
    There are a few open slip pockets which can be handy but I need to know that my stuff can not fall out on its own and get lost period and so the more spots like that on a bag the better for me plain and simple.

    I do think the Vanquest are better made and use better materials but it is not a huge difference either.
    Neither of these use a sandpaper like material like Maxpedition does which may or may not be tougher than others but it seems clear that they want you to think it is for sure!

    I don't think you can go wrong whichever you end up with.
     
  9. Brewer

    Brewer Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks EZDog, I totally agree about mfrs making such a poor effort at selling this stuff - even the ones that make their own videos seem more concerned with dramatic music and hero shots, and showing us how morale patches work.

    The Mongo is a very good bag, and will be tough to beat - rugged, all 1000D, with several large, 3-dimensional pockets outside the main compartment (but without the bomb disposal look!), so I have been able to organise my stuff well and it is surprisingly capacious when needed. Over time though it has softened up a bit which has only made its annoyances as a daily driver worse. It just doesn't 'handle' all that well in a crowded truck cab for example when you want to poke it behind a seat or stand it up on the floor.

    I haven't been able to find any info of a new FT between the Summit and Ascend, and the Ascend is too large for me so I'm looking at the Summit. Its main compartment is half an inch bigger all round than the Mongo, but it doesn't have the same amount of external storage, so I suspect I'll need to make some compromises and move some stuff inside. Doubt the Envoy 13 will be much different in this regard, it just appeals a bit more - more velcro means more organisation options, and the use of laminated foam should help the thing to hold its shape (like a camera bag) making it a bit easier to handle. The external bottle pockets are also a plus.

    Having said that the Vanquest is double the price of the Summit, with no pics or opinions in the wild yet, and it's POSSIBLE the Summit's inbuilt organisation might just be perfect for me off the shelf.

    Hmm, considering getting a Summit now just to try it out...
     
  10. Wesmanthetiger

    Wesmanthetiger Loaded Pockets

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    I have both the First Tactical Ascend and Summit. I find that both bags have great organization with only a couple complaints. They are both well built and durable. Both are available in Black, OD Green, and Tan (First Tactical are one worst at posting some freaking pictures of all aspects of their bags). My only complaints are as follows...
    There needs to be a size in between the two. The Ascend is massive, and the Summit is Tiny. I found myself using a summit with extra pouches attached to the outsides in order to give me extra room, and yet the padded pocket only just fits my 10" Fire tablet. If I put the heavy duty case on it it doesn't fit at all. Unless you are carrying a 20 inch laptop the Ascend is probably too big for your needs.
    Issue Number 2, I could use some more webbing on the front as opposed to just one small area that's basically for a patch. One of the issues with carrying a messenger style tactical bag is that if you fill the flap pockets it makes the bag very thick and doesn't close as well ( at least with the velcro closure as that's how I like to secure it). To be able to attach some front pouches that don't swell the thickness of the flap internally would be awesome. Also if you don't attach anything to the sides of the Summit, it ends up looking a little too much like a small purse for my tastes.
    I also feel like these bags have not been real successful for First Tactical as they have not created a Tactix version like their backpacks and have not really updated them or added any more sizes. Since I don't foresee my needs fully being met by this brand. I might try the 5.11 Rush Delivery Mike as it has both additional webbing on the front and seems I believe an inch or two wider overall. [​IMG]

    Sent from my LM-G710VM using Tapatalk
     
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  11. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Its funny but these things are all really dependent on your point of view.

    I agree that the Ascend is a huge honking bag but that is what I need for my huge honking computer.
    The last thing that I want is anything hanging on the outside of the bag while you want provisions to have more.

    I was on the road a few weeks ago and I actually carried my Tom Bihn Pilot inside the Ascend and that was with the Ascend full of its usual load of crap too!
    I would sure rather have enough room to do this and not need it than need the room and not have it!

    I absolutely Love this Bag!

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  12. Wesmanthetiger

    Wesmanthetiger Loaded Pockets

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    Obviously YMMV. As I said if you carry around a big honking computer it's perfect for you, and obviously it is and that's awesome. One thing to keep in mind though to those that don't is that if the bag is not full there is no stiffness and the bag folds over on itself. When I carried it I kept a piece of kydex in the long zippered pocket under the flap so it would stand up on its own. I had failed to mention it in my previous post and wanted to bring it up. I also don't like adding additional pouches to a messenger style bag, but as there's no in between size I have no choice. On a positive note I used the Ascend for travel last October and was amazed at the sheer amount of stuff I was able to stuff in there. If you need that kind of size it's awesome!

    Sent from my LM-G710VM using Tapatalk
     
  13. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Yeah I was pretty much agreeing with you too,it all depends on your needs.
    I also keep foam in the bottom of the bag to keep it the Gaping Maw at all times and the giant computer keeps it pretty stiff while carrying.
    The problem of course is that it is too heavy to pick up sometimes,really!

    I use my Envoy or something else smaller if I need to,I never bought or kept a bag that I didn't like when I got it so I still like the ones that have kept.
     
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  14. ferris209

    ferris209 Loaded Pockets

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    They are releasing one in between the two sizes very soon.
     
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  15. ferris209

    ferris209 Loaded Pockets

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  16. Brewer

    Brewer Loaded Pockets

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    Nice one ferris209, so the in-between size will be called the Courier, and unlike the Summit and the Ascend it has a bottle pouch on at least one end (probably both).

    I get so frustrated with the endless comments on Youtube by people saying they want 'less tactical, less tactical'. It really bugs me - what they are looking for is called LUGGAGE and the malls are fecking full of it. To me the whole point of this gear is that it IS tactical - rugged, squarish, outdoorsy, and can have other stuff attached to it when required. Some of us don't have to navigate a nervous office environment with our bags and we don't care that they look tactical, in fact some of us kinda like that.

    So that's at least 3 of us that appreciate the advantages of a stiff bag! The Vanguard definitely scores some extra points for structure.
     
  17. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    The Ascend has pockets on both ends for bottles.
    They are tough to spot at times as they fold up nicely but they are there!

     
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  18. Brewer

    Brewer Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks EZDog, I had totally missed that :rolleyes_revamped:
     
  19. ox71

    ox71 Loaded Pockets

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    I have had the original rush messenger from 511 for years, it is my winter work bag and a weekend overnight bag.
    the size falls in the "Lima" bracket but is not exactly the same in layout.
    I'm not set up to share pictures to show you how awesome this bag is but there are many owner vids out there.
     
  20. ox71

    ox71 Loaded Pockets

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    I think the inside qualifies as a gaping maw[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-T380 using Tapatalk