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Conundrum: Non 'tactical' looking military style bag for EDC?

Discussion in 'EDC Bags' started by OzKnifeGuy, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. OzKnifeGuy

    OzKnifeGuy Empty Pockets

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    Hello everyone, first time on this forum, I'm looking for some help selecting a daypack out of all the various 'tactical' style bags. I'm at Uni and I need the bag to carry textbooks, workbooks, lunch, water bottle and FAK at the minimum, and then every other day towel and gym clothes (+ shoes if I can fit them) in addition. 15" laptop may be added to the load occasionally. I currently have a Kathmandu (Aussie camping/hiking brand) 18 L daypack that is falling apart after 18 months, I'm looking for something bigger, around 25-30L.

    So here is my issue:

    As I go to the city for Uni, I have to walk around people all day who will scorn me for having a military style bag, I would like to have as low key a bag as possible so I can blend in, but still have a sturdy pack that doesn't look too civilian. Basically I like the general shape of many military style bags, but I don't want the MOLLE straps everywhere.

    I also have a few other requirements - should come in black or foliage/grey, must have waist + sternum + [2] shoulder straps, must have side compression straps, must have at least two compartments, preferably an admin type pouch as well as an eyeglass pouch, should have good internal organisation areas, possibly a water bladder pocket (not essential), side pockets not necessary, must have top carry handle, preferably a few D rings to tie stuff to...

    Oh yeah and it MUST be rugged, because I like to use my gear hard, and I will be taking it hiking and camping, waterproof would be nice too, though I'll settle for less.

    Budget is up to $250 AUD.

    So I've been looking at the following:

    Maxped FII (possibly too small)
    Tactical Tailor Urban Operator
    The North Face Hot Shot
    Eagle Creek Ruckus
    Eagle Creek Universal Traveler
    TAD Gear Fast Pack EDC

    The winner so far is the TT urban operator, but it doesn't have compression straps. Next is the hotshot, but kind of don't want a bag from NF. The Eagle Creek Ruckus would be my next best option, but I don't really like the style and I can't find any decent reviews of it.

    Can anyone help me sort this out? I'm open to reccomendations, or even experiences with any of these... If worst comes to worst I think I will get the TT and sew compression straps onto it lol...that or get a MOLLE one and cut the straps off...

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. rabidchicken

    rabidchicken Loaded Pockets

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    The North Face Surge can carry everything you mentioned. Also look at the colored maxpedition bags.
     
  3. ovaltine

    ovaltine Loaded Pockets

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    From what you've said you want to put in the bag, I advise against the TT Urban Operator. I have the pack and like it, but it is on the mid range size. There's no way you'd be able to fit everything in there comfortably with all your stuff. It's about 1800 cubic inches which = 29L. Maybe try the Maxped Vulture II? Although there are some MOLLE straps, it may not be as noticeable in black.
     
  4. retrospeaks

    retrospeaks Loaded Pockets

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    i've heard good things from people who abuse their packs about the kelty company.

    cant go wrong with tactical tailor either.
     
  5. Ajax

    Ajax Loaded Pockets

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    Unless the exchange rate is horribly skewed, you won't get a TAD Fast pack for under $250.
     
  6. Trucker Al

    Trucker Al Loaded Pockets

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    I just found myself in almost the same situation as I'm studying atm. My pygmy falcon 2 was just too small, with a couple of books and files and edc kit in the front pouch there was no room for a jacket let alone a laptop.

    I got the TT urban operator last week and it's a great bag. While it doesn't have the compression straps it does sit very flat on your back, it's not really any thicker than the pygmy falcon when stuffed full. If you wanted to add a few grimlocks on the loops of webbing at the ends of the main zips and the ones for the shock cord on the front you could easily mount a strap to each side but I don't feel it really needed.

    All in I think it would carry what you need but it might be a tight squeeze with the shoes aswell, you could always add a roly poly to the outside for shoes though.
     
  7. SteelSwinger

    SteelSwinger Empty Pockets

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    Check out the offerings from saddlebackleather.com.
    Minimalist but very robust/luxurious construction and an amazing price point for the product you get.
     
    Rockhopper likes this.
  8. Gödel_Fan

    Gödel_Fan Loaded Pockets

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    FWIW, I'm a grad student and I carry 'tactical' bags all the time, and no one bats an eye.

    It's all in your head.
     
  9. Ajax

    Ajax Loaded Pockets

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    May not be the case Down Under.
     
  10. OzKnifeGuy

    OzKnifeGuy Empty Pockets

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    @rabidchicken, The Surge looks good, I'll check it out. While the coloured maxP bags look good to me and you, they still may be too military looking (also I want to avoid MP if I can).

    @ovaltine, (the chocolate stuff? I HATE that stuff :D), My current bag is around 18L, and I can fit a 3" textbook, thick workbook, 2 sandwiches, towel and a shirt in there with a bit of a squeeze (no FAK unfortunately). I reckon ~30L should be good for me, as I don't take a textbook everyday, and I can just wear my gym shoes if need be. Also I don't want a really massive pack (massive to me, like 35-40L+).

    I'll look at kelty too retro.

    @Trucker Al, any chance you could post some pictures of you wearing it fully loaded please? If it really lies quite flat I can deal with it, but I also like to stick things like tent poles under com. straps when I go camping.

    @Ajax, yeah I know ~$300 is the cheapest I found, but I put that one in there just to kind of show the style of pack I am after, I could have put the EI AIII in retrospect.

    @Gödel_Fan, yes as Ajax said, that's not the case down here. While I won't have eggs thrown at me in the street (probably), people WILL look at me funny and treat me like I am the worst kind of doomsday survivalist. It's already a problem when I pull out my knife to cut stuff, and it's a small slipjoint. Here in Australia, at least in Sydney city where I am, there are '*******' everywhere. Out in the 'burbs or the sticks it wouldn't be a problem, in fact when I go hiking I take my Eberlestock halftrack and no-one looks twice (except to ask where I got it :D)

    Thanks for the replies guys.

    EDIT: Also, does anyone have any experience/know anything about Eagle Creek stuff? Can't find much on them.

    EDIT 2: Sorry, didn't realise that was a disallowed word.
     
  11. Blades

    Blades Loaded Pockets

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  12. ATCustom

    ATCustom Loaded Pockets

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  13. OzKnifeGuy

    OzKnifeGuy Empty Pockets

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    Thanks for the welcome Blades, Yeah I've seen the A-III, I thought it was slightly too big, but otherwise it would be perfect.

    ATCustom: I think the Jedburgh may be too small, the Skye looks okay though, but it's really expensive ($330)...
     
  14. hardcider75

    hardcider75 Loaded Pockets

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  15. OzKnifeGuy

    OzKnifeGuy Empty Pockets

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    Oh yeah forgot to mention, I hate sling (one strap) bags. I have one and I never use it - too akward. Thanks anyway hardcider.

    By the way, does anyone know how tough the Kelty bag materials are? This is from their site (station backpack):

    Body Fabric: 420D Velocity
    Reinforcement Fabric: 600D Poly
    Bottom Fabric: Hypalon

    I've heard that poly is pretty shoddy for wear and tear, may be wrong though. I don't know what the other two materials are.
     
  16. ovaltine

    ovaltine Loaded Pockets

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    well if your previous 18L was good enough, the TT at about 30L should be perfect. I say go for it.
     
  17. OzKnifeGuy

    OzKnifeGuy Empty Pockets

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    Now looking at Kelty packs too, the MAP 3500 and the Peregrine 1800. The MAP has a 3 month wait however.

    Looks like it might be difficult getting the TT to Aus without a CC...might have to hold off on that one.
     
  18. Dr Jekell
    • Administrator
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Dr Jekell I had fun once, It was awful.
    Staff Member

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    I know the perfect pack for you but it will be more than your budget.

    The Kifaru Express Pack

    [​IMG]
    DSCF8863 by Dr Jekell, on Flickr

    Check, you can get it in - Coyote Brown, Foliage Green, Olive Drab, Black, Multicam & ACU

    Two Shoulder Straps - Check
    Sternum - Check
    Hip Belt - Come as a option but you can choose between 4 different types to suit

    Check

    Check - Main Compartment, Lower Compartment, Top Lid pocket

    No real admin area on this pack.

    The top lid pocket will easily accept a glasses case.

    No real internal organisation in this pack, but there are chamber pockets & pull outs that can be added to organise the inside.

    Check

    Check

    There are tab loops that you can use.

    A very big check on the rugged requirement & their packs are very water resistant but AFAIK not waterproof.
     
  19. OzKnifeGuy

    OzKnifeGuy Empty Pockets

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    Yeah definately out of my price range -$293 for the base model is too much I think. By the way, how good is Kifaru customer service? I emailed an Angie Jones 2 days ago about getting an E&E...no reply so far.
     
  20. andiem

    andiem Loaded Pockets

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    Hi, +1 from me on the North Face Surge.

    Also, the new Camelbak Urban Assault Concealed might be worth a look, when it comes out on March 15.

    A.


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