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Hazard 4 Kato Messenger (PICTURE HEAVY)

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by TARFU, Jan 27, 2012.

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  1. TARFU
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    TARFU EDC!!!!! Junkie

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    I decided to end my experiment with Maxpedition's Mongo Versipack and go a different direction - the new Hazard 4 Kato Messenger. I did this for a couple of reasons:

    1) The Mongo was bulky and heavy relative to what I was carrying in it. 2) The lack of a grab handle was a constant annoyance. 3) I had always heard good things about Hazard 4 and I wanted to try one of their bags. But nothing really worked for me in their product line. That changed with the introduction of the Kato.

    After receiving the Kato and playing around with it in various configurations, I can report that I'm very pleased with the purchase. Hands down, one of the most flexible and ergonomic EDC systems ever conceived... and I've tried quite a few. Build quality is excellent.

    I do have some minor complaints, but going forward, I see myself carrying the Kato more than my 5.11 COVRT 18 and everyone here knows the praise I've heaped upon that platform.

    Here are some initial pictures of the bag that I took while sitting in a cafe having breakfast this morning (in the configuration that I will mostly likely roll with). Over the next couple of days I will be posting a write up in sections with lots of photos. More to follow...

    [​IMG]

    Just to be clear, in the above pic, I attached a Maxpedition Mini Organizer to the large hook and loop area on the front flap. Hazard 4 makes a variety of morale patches, id panels, etc. that could be attached there but I felt like this provides a quick way to access a small spiral notebook, pens, multi-tool, or other items.

    Unbuckling and folding the front flap up and out-of-the-way reveals a four row molle panel setup. I just have a Streamlight there now but it obviously could be used to expand storage even more.

    [​IMG]
     
    Ile, Alchemy1, amdmaxx and 2 others like this.
  2. heathah

    heathah Loaded Pockets

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    Definitely interested in the internal organization of this one. Looks very well made and well thought out. Looking forward to more pictures.

    Heath
     
  3. TARFU
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    TARFU EDC!!!!! Junkie

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    Lowering the molle panel reveals the admin area. There is one large pocket where I've placed my Spec Ops BDU Pocket Organizer, two medium sewn pockets, and several smaller pockets that can hold pens, multi-tools, and knives. The inside of the panel has two straps attached that lowers a map pocket (identical to but larger than the Tonto). Overall, very good organization. My only complaint is the material used in this area, unlike in the rest of the bag, is somewhat thin. I'm not sure I'd want to store anything in the pockets with sharp edges for fear it would poke a hole in the material. One of my few complaints with the bag.

    [​IMG]


    The main compartment, which opens via dual two-way zippers is padded on all sides including the bottom and contains a velcro divider which splits the area equally to secure a camera/camera lens, water bottle, or other items. There are also slip pockets on either side and a back pocket which is sized to hold a 11" Mac Book Air. I use it to store my 8" x 10" Cambridge Limited notebook.

    [​IMG]

    The divider can be velcro'd out of the way opening up the compartment to store a laptop, netbook, or similar device. Here is a picture of my 12.5" Dell Elitebook 2530p laptop inside. As you can see, it fits but pretty much takes up the entire space. The side slip pockets snag the laptop going in and out if you're not careful. I wish Hazard 4 would have included some way to secure them. I'll either do a mod to velcro them myself or cut them out entirely. With a smaller device, like a netbook, it probably won't be an issue.

    I've confirmed that a 14" laptop will fit width-wise but not length-wise -- it's too tall and the compartment won't zip. If anyone wants a pic of that, then let me know.

    [​IMG]

    The vertical strip of velcro that attaches the divider to the Mackbook Air pocket can also be used to attach Hazard 4's holster so you can use the main compartment for CCW. There is a dedicated CCW pocket elsewhere (more on that later) so I wouldn't recommend keeping a weapon there, but you can if needed. Just another option and well done by Hazard 4.

    More to follow....
     
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  4. TARFU
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    TARFU EDC!!!!! Junkie

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    A rear compartment, that looks to be secured with a two-way splash proof dual zipper, contains a padded/quilted sleeve designed to hold a iPad and is externally accessible.

    [​IMG]

    The main compartment is also externally accessible via a hidden zipper with hard plastic keepers (partially visible above). Good luck getting a laptop out of there that way but you can reach in and grab something smaller through the opening.

    [​IMG]

    The grab handle is made of a rubber material and feels great to the touch. It has reinforced x-boxed stitching so it should hold up well under load. There are D-rings on either side of the handle in case you want to change how the strap is attached to the bag... perhaps for chest carry but don't quote me.... not sure why you'd want to carry this bag that way but yet another option I guess.

    More to follow....
     
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  5. ppfd

    ppfd Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks this is a definite buy for sure.
    The dividers in the main bag, do the come out or just fold out of the way?
     
  6. TARFU
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    TARFU EDC!!!!! Junkie

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    One side of the bag features a small vertical dump pouch with some caribiner loops.

    [​IMG]

    Inside there is a sleeve and the rest is an open pocket...

    [​IMG]


    I use the pocket to store my sunglasses in a Hazard 4 Mil-Pod hard case, which fits perfectly.

    [​IMG]

    More to follow....
     
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  7. TARFU
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    TARFU EDC!!!!! Junkie

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    The center divider just folds flat via velcro. One side of it is sewn to the bag.
     
  8. TARFU
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    TARFU EDC!!!!! Junkie

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    I ordered Hazard 4's new "Flip Pouch" to attach to the other side of the bag, which has molle. The pouch has a cool built-in molle strap system with snaps so malice clips are not needed. I was skeptical about whether the snaps would stay secure but they do. I tugged hard on the pouch and everything held nicely. The outside flap has a hook and loop area, where I've attached a Hazard 4 flag patch.

    [​IMG]

    The pouch itself is extremely versatile. It has an adjustable compression strap so it can be used to store assault-rifle magazines, a 32oz Nalgene bottle, large radios, or something smaller.

    [​IMG]



    It has a secure draw-string gusset that protects the contents inside from the elements. One other outstanding feature (and what sold me on the pouch) is the accordion front pocket which allows the pouch to double as a phone holster. My Motorola Droid X smartphone fits in there nicely and it could accommodate a slightly larger device if needed.

    [​IMG]

    Both sides of the Flip Pouch (front and back) have molle areas, which means you could attach additional pouches to it such as Hazard 4's new Mil-Koala multi sheath.

    Next up, the CCW area....
     
  9. SAKplumber
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    SAKplumber EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Looks awesome. Looking forward to your review.
     
  10. TallNHairyDave

    TallNHairyDave Loaded Pockets

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    Looking great!

    Nice idea to attach the MaxP Velcro on organiser to he flap for super quick pen & pad access :)
     
  11. TARFU
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    TARFU EDC!!!!! Junkie

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    The CCW area is one of the best I've seen on a bag this size. It is located in the flap pocket, secured by dual two-way zippers that can be pulled to one side for quick access. Inside is a key keeper loop (which I've attached a ring), two horizontal loop fields, and a slip pocket secured via velcro. The two loop fields holds Hazard 4's Stick Up modular holster very securely while still leaving room for another hook and loop pouch like a mag or (in my case) a tactical light holster without interfering with the draw. This makes it superior to the CCW pocket in the Maxpedition Jumbo EDC, which is only large enough to hold a firearm.

    [​IMG]

    Shown here is my Springfield XD 45 Compact being drawn from the bag while slung over my shoulder. Hazard 4's holster is excellent in that it has a thumb break which ensures the gun stays put until needed. The holster and the Kato's CCW area is large enough with room to spare to hold a full sized duty pistol.

    [​IMG]

    As I mentioned earlier, the main compartment can be used as a CCW area also...

    [​IMG]

    But, if your jurisdiction requires transport of a firearm in a "locked case" to and from the range (like where I live - the People's Republic of Illinois) then it's much better to use the dedicated CCW compartment because Hazard 4 thoughtfully included zippers which can secured with a lock. Unbelievable - these guys have thought of everything.

    [​IMG]

    More to follow....
     
  12. TARFU
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    TARFU EDC!!!!! Junkie

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    Thanks! I will definitely include some thoughts at the end on my overall impressions of the bag.
     
  13. TARFU
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    TARFU EDC!!!!! Junkie

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    Thanks Dave. Most of this stuff I had already - either laying around or used with some of my other bags. I know I'm preaching to the choir when I say this but... it's fun to experiment with different ways to re-use them, which is why I prefer "tactical" packs like the Kato.
     
  14. Blitzwing
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    Blitzwing Loaded Pockets

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    I think my Mongo is going up for sale tomorrow!
     
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  15. TallNHairyDave

    TallNHairyDave Loaded Pockets

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    Now I just need to come up with a minimalist EDC setup that would let me get away with carrying a smaller bag... But try as I might I never seem to manage it!
     
  16. cap6888
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    cap6888 Loaded Pockets

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    So the CCW pouch is on the front flap of the bag, is that right?
     
  17. TARFU
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    TARFU EDC!!!!! Junkie

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    That's affirmative.
     
  18. TARFU
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    TARFU EDC!!!!! Junkie

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    The bottom of the bag is condura. It would have more sense to use the same wear resistant material there that is used on the flap and on the back of the bag but that is again a minor issue.

    [​IMG]

    The back of the bag has a loop that can be used to attach to your belt to keep the bag all that more stable when a firearm is being drawn from the CCW pocket. As was previously discussed, notice the molle on the back of the Flip Pouch for attaching additional accessories. There is a drainage grommet on the bottom of the dump pouch that has tiny holes versus one big hole that needs to be taped over or covered somehow. Yes folks, Hazard 4 even used a better grommet. Don't shoot the messenger Maxpedition fans. LOL.

    [​IMG]

    Last, but not least, we have the buckle. It's bigger and beefier than most, but the coolest thing is that it locks. A nice feature from a security standpoint.

    [​IMG]


    Tomorrow I will share some additional thoughts and observations on the Kato now that I've carried it for a couple of days.
     
  19. forte

    forte Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for sharing the modularity of the bag.
     
  20. RollingDonut

    RollingDonut Loaded Pockets

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    Awesome write up! I'm running pretty much the EXACT setup as you. I upgraded my Tonto when I decided I needed something a little larger. After checking out the Hazard 4 booth at SHOT, I was convinced this would work well for my needs. Haven't had enough time to draw my own conclusions, but I definitely agree with everything you've pointed out.


    Some crappy cell phone pics I snapped earlier.

    *edited with slightly less crappy cell phone pics*

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk
     
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