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Direct Action Dust Bag Review

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by Durandal64, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. Durandal64

    Durandal64 Loaded Pockets

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    After long last, here is my review/rundown of the Direct Action Dust 20 liter pack. The Dust is currently the smallest of the packs currently offered by Direct Action Gear. They come in a range of different color/camo options. I have chosen the Shadow Grey color because grey is the new sexy evidently. For the record, I did not receive this pack pro-bono, in exchange for a positive review or anything. I paid full price. So many positive reviews don't disclose this information, so I just want to be clear on that.

    Here are the specs directly from Direct Action:
    • 100% 500D Cordura fabric for durability
    • Unique Patented CVS-Combat Vent System® for operator comfort during prolonged use
    • Lightweight, durable, non moisture absorbing laser-cut MOLLE/PALS system
    • Heavy duty, glove friendly YKK® zippers
    • Main compartment has a padded sleeve for hydration bladder or up to a 15” laptop
    • Main compartment also has a mesh pocket
    • One external zippered flat pocket on front
    • Two small side pockets that expand when unzipped
    • Additional back compartment for hydration bladder
    • Paracord drag handle (contains (2) 2.5m cords)
    • Quick release shoulder straps
    • D-Ring attachment points
    • Side retention straps with buckles
    • Detachable hip belt
    • Velcro panel (10.1 x 5.1 cm / 4 x 2 in) for ID patches
    • All clips and buckles are made by Duraflex®/WooJin
    • PenCott™, Kryptek™ and Multicam® camouflages are NIR treated
    I've now been using this back for about 1 1/2 months. I dislike reviews with the tags still on them. Those are not reviews. How can anyone "review" anything without getting it dirty, smelly and figuring out what works and what does not. I've put this bag to daily use, and it has put about 4 10+ mile days doing some urban wandering. I've coated the bag in spray-on Nikwax, since no DWR coating seems to hold up. In the great PNW, waterproofing is everything. I walked home from work a few days ago during a rainstorm, and the Nikwax worked great. None of my expensive electronics got wet.

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    So here we go. Here is a Timbuk2 Alchemist next to the Dust for reference.

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    The pack is above the build quality I've seen from Maxpedition, and as good or better than 5.11. There are VERY few loose threads and no out of place stitches. The 500d cordura is fantastic. It is very flexible while maintaining good abrasion resistance. I personally feel it is an excellent balance.

    The laser cut molle is absolutely fantastic. It is uniform throughout and I wish more manufacturers were doing this. I dislike "tactical" looking packs. They scream "gun guy/gal" to me, and that is really not my thing. Sure, it is still molle, and those familiar with it will know, but it sure flies under the visual radar. i've test fit some of my molle pouches and found it to be as easy to use as the regular molle webbing systems.

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    The water bottle holders are well designed. They are expandable and hold a regular Nalgene bottle. The 20-27oz KK, Liquid Hardware and Hydroflasks do just fine. The only downside to the holders is the larger bottles do intrude somewhat on the internal space, so that is something to keep in mind.
    The laser cut molle is the same as the front of the pack.

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    The front flap has a small pocket. It can hold a Maxped E.D.C. pouch, or maybe a regular sized paperback book. That's what I use it for at least.

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    The zipper pulls are nice, but I'm not over the moon about them. I've heard that the shrink wrap can disintegrate but I am not seeing any issues after a month and a half of daily use. The YKK zippers are very nice. They are smooth and they do not hang up even when the pack is stuffed to the gills.

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    The interior map pocket is nice, but I don't use it. The EDC pouch for scale.

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    The interior organizer is well done, if basic. It holds everything I need.

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    The main compartment can hold a decent amount of stuff. I cart around a 13" MBP, and iPad and a Maxped Beefy. There is a small mesh pocket on the front of the compartment.

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    The laptop sleeve is lined in nylon, not microfiber material like some other packs.

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    The back panel is very well done. The shoulder straps are quite comfortable when carrying about 15 pounds all day wandering about PDX with friends. The sternum strap is basic. It works as expected. The back panel and mesh is one of the better systems I have run across. The pads have a slight wave / ripple to them. It's not something revolutionary, your back will still get damp if you are working hard. The waist strap hides in the panel. I really don't use it, as it is just soft webbing. All the loose tails are retrained by velcro keepers, which nice. I hate loose straps. The waist strap is NOT detachable as stated on the website, it can just be stowed away.

    Ok, now for some negatives.
    • The 13" MBP JUST fits. I have to roll the top of the pack back slightly to slide it into the sleeve. If the sleeve was 1-2" shorter, I wouldn't need to do that.
    • The 2 upper pockets on the organizer could be a bit deeper, or of equal depth to make them more usable.
    • Ditch the map pocket and move the mesh pocket from the main compartment to where the map pocket it. That might be a bit more useful for me. Maybe not for you.
    • The waist strap is not detachable as stated on their website.
    Over all, I really dig this pack. I have ditched my Maxpedition Malanga and Jumbo for the Direct Action Dust. The Dust, along with my Timbuk2 Alchemist are the perfect EDC pairing for me. This is my first real review, so if I missed something, I'll come back and update.

    If anyone has questions or wants clarifications, please let me know.
     
  2. Pepsi Jedi

    Pepsi Jedi Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the review. I appreciate it.

    I'll give a follow up soon. :)
     
    clydeosaur likes this.
  3. mole

    mole EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    great review. thanks!
     
  4. clydeosaur

    clydeosaur Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the review, really good!

    Could I ask how long the straps are? I'm a big guy and have a hard time finding a comfortable pack. Thanks.
     
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  5. hotworms

    hotworms Loaded Pockets

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    Fantastic review, very nice looking pack. Have to look into that one.
     
  6. Cody_2ZZ

    Cody_2ZZ Loaded Pockets

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    Great review! And definitely a bag I'm gonna look into. Thanks for putting in the time.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  7. ppfd

    ppfd Loaded Pockets

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    I had a dust and the waist belt came off mine.
    I agree on the "map pocket" I'd rather see another mesh pocket or something. If not at least reverse the zipper so one does not have to open the pocket all the way to access it.

    I liked the bag but the decade replaced it. I'm thinking about another one for a day hiking pack.
     
  8. Durandal64

    Durandal64 Loaded Pockets

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    clydeosaur: The max length of the shoulder straps in 38" end to end.

    ppfd: Thats cool your waist strap was detachable. Mine is sewn in. You can tuck it behind the back panel. You could un-thread the strap from the ends sewn into the pack, but that would be time consuming. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who found the map pocket irritating to use. For me, it the the only major gripe I have with a otherwise excellent pack.

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  9. ppfd

    ppfd Loaded Pockets

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    Weird, the dust I bought, which was no more than 6 months ago. The belt unthreads, comes completely off.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  10. Pepsi Jedi

    Pepsi Jedi Loaded Pockets

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    My Dust came in this morning. I checked and the waist belt comes off mine too. (In fact mine came 'off' and inside the bag itself).

    Gotta say. I'm very impressed with the bag. I got the 'Ranger green' and it's a nice color. Most places would list it as 'Foliage green' but... it looks to have a touch 'darker' gray than typical foliage green does. It's quite nice. From a few steps out it could pass as gray or green. Not eye catching at all. (Which is good for me). Excellent craftsmanship. I mean these things are put together WELL.

    I'd been looking at the Dragon's Egg and Ghost, but a fellow forum member here gave me a great deal on the Dust so I worked with him. It's a touch bigger than I thought. (The Dust) and.... it's really pushing me to ask for the Dragon's Egg for Christmas....

    Now... my biggest problem will be...

    Do I want the Dragon's Egg in matching Ranger (Dark foliage green) Green... or their Shadow Gray.. which also looks pretty snazzy.
     
    Last edited by Pepsi Jedi, Nov 9, 2015
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  11. Durandal64

    Durandal64 Loaded Pockets

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    I just took another look at mine. The belt does un-thread. I was approaching the belt like some of my alpine/backpacking packs that use a velcro system. My bad! Sorry to report faulty information.

    The whole DA lineup seems pretty solid. The Ghost and the Messenger seems to be calling to me in Stealth Gray.
     
  12. ppfd

    ppfd Loaded Pockets

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    I wish they'd get around to releasing the whole product line in the U.S. I really like some of the pouches.
     
  13. camporama

    camporama Loaded Pockets

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    Very nice review! The dragon egg seems to be calling my name...
     
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  14. Pepsi Jedi

    Pepsi Jedi Loaded Pockets

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    Mine too. Maybe for Christmas.

    Ranger green... or Shadow Gray..... Hurm.......
     
  15. Durandal64

    Durandal64 Loaded Pockets

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    I used to travel with a Camelbak Motherlode (one of the old ones) in Multicam. It is great as a carry on, but recently people keep asking if I am coming home from deployment. While I love the Motherlode, I don't want to run the risk of passing myself off as something I am not and a molle festooned camo pack stands out in an airport after some consideration and observation. So I just pulled the trigger on a Ghost as my new non-business travel bag. In super spy Shadow Gray of course.

    After I get a few trips and hikes under my belt I throw up a review of it as well.
     
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  16. jrdavidson

    jrdavidson Empty Pockets

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    YIKES! I just ordered a DUST (in Black) to carry a 15" MBP, and your review worries me if the 13" MBP JUST fits. Where is it tight? Vertically or Horizontally?

    Thanks,

    John in VA
     
  17. Durandal64

    Durandal64 Loaded Pockets

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    The 13" has a BIT of room side to side, but ZERO room top to bottom. I have to bend the top of the pack back, slide the laptop in and then kinda "roll" the top of the pack over the laptop. I don't think this is a design flaw, as my precious laptop is not going anywhere, but I don't think a 15" could fit. I have a few 15" MBP's at work spanning several generations. I'll test fit them on Monday and let you know.

    If I have time I'll post better pictures of the main compartment and laptop sleeve.
     
  18. rickh956

    rickh956 Empty Pockets

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    I couldn't agree more. I used the dragon egg for several months, then purchased the ghost. I needed something a little larger and the beaver tail was a perk. I've been extremely impressed with their products. Very well made at an excellent price.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  19. jrdavidson

    jrdavidson Empty Pockets

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    Thanks - both Amazon and the Direct Action website cite reviewers who carry 15" laptops, but there's no way to contact those reviewers. If it doesn't fit easily I'll have to move up one size to the Egg.

    Thanks for the help!
     
    Durandal64 likes this.
  20. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I just ordered the Messenger Bag in Shadow Grey and am pretty excited to see it!
    Looks like a lot of bag for the price.
     
    Durandal64 likes this.