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Help me find a new bag

Discussion in 'EDC Bags' started by Evyndall, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. Evyndall

    Evyndall Loaded Pockets

    Aug 20, 2017
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    Greetings everyone!

    I am in dire need of a new backpack as my old one is proving insufficient at fulfilling the tasks I lay before it.

    However, since the last time I bought one my standards have grown considerably but sadly my expertise in this area have not, so I come before you, seeking aid from the illustrious members of this community ;-)

    I need a backpack to fulfil several roles. I am not the type of chap who keeps a different bag for every occasion, I prefer to have a bag that accompanies me everywhere life might take me, be it a vacation, the woods or simple urban commute.

    Now it might sound at first as if I were a seasoned adventurer but do not let first impressions deceive you!
    My lifestyle is rather ordinary and humble, definitely more akin to a suburban couch-dweller than Ray Mears.

    Still, I am finding the EDC - survival - bushcraft culture more and more appealing and with time I have obtained a growing inventory of items I carry with myself daily. So far my Maxpedition Jumbo Versipack has proven to be a loyal and trusty companion but I need a fitting, equally well-made counterpart for occasions when I need to carry items that are more substantial in both weight and dimensions.

    After some research my first choice was the 5.11 RUSH 24 backpack with all the stellar reviews and an apparently non-negligible fanbase. However, in a video I have come across recently (), the owner claims the bag turns saggy after a few months of use, to a level where the admin pouch area becomes borderline unusable, not to mention the lack of compression straps seems to cause a great deal of issue.

    So my first question would be: is this really the case? Naturally I am not questioning the experience of the reviewer, I merely wonder whether or not people share a similar experience to his or is this a rare occurrence?

    Since I plan to use the admin pouch area of my backpack quite extensively (it is in my nature to have all my items neatly organized), this is a cardinal question for me. I do not favour the typical hiking backpacks you may find at your local outdoors shop that usually only feature just one big compartment (and maybe a side pocket or two).

    Other than that, I welcome any and all recommendations for a roughly 30 litre backpack that has several pockets, mesh, folds, zipper areas, etc. to arrange the contents neatly.

    Typical uses include:
    - day hikes in autumn / winter forest
    - carrying documents, books, folders for work and commute
    - occasional camping a few of times a year (festivals mostly)
    - stuffing in enough clothes for weekend vacations
    - travel bag for short holidays or work-related trips
    - sitting on a chair as a bug-out-bag when not in use

    What I look for:
    - while fulfilling these tasks, the bag should be able to hold all my EDC items as well, neatly separated.
    - I usually carry a water bottle with me, so a dedicated bottle holder is a welcome feature.
    - I would like a bag that holds its shape to a degree even when not fully loaded
    - last but not least, a comfortable double-strap

    So far the following models are on my radar:
    - 5.11 RUSH 24
    - Maxpedition ARG Tiburon
    - Direct Assault Dragon Egg MK II
    - Tru-Spec Elite 3 Day Backpack (not sure if I can actually get this one)

    For those wondering why I want a tactical backpack for such strikingly lightweight use, I give you my reasons:
    - I tend to expect the best but prepare for the worst, I don't like items failing me;
    - family tradition: every male member of my family has a fondness for gratuitously overbuilt items, be it a pocket knife, a bag or just a chair;
    - I found that the mixture of feature I am looking for are most commonly present in tactical backpacks: hiking / camping bags don't have the level of organization I am looking for and "manager bags" (like Samsonite) while often offer models with tons of pockets, lack comfort (I had to carry one for a week in the Dolomites, it was killing my shoulders).

    Please bear in mind that I am restricted to Europe (I have found several American brands are not available here, not even through the English or German Amazon.) and my options are rather limited in this area I live in.

    Shops do not keep a stock of the so called "tactical" brands (Maxpedition, 5.11, Hazard4, Direct Action, etc.) and the very few that have them for sale are only available through online order, which means I have no chance of inspecting them personally before purchase.

    Thank you kindly for your time and for reading my post!
  2. intocoman

    intocoman Loaded Pockets

    Feb 25, 2015
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    My recommendation is not tactical, but quite reliable. I've been using it for 3 years. Manufacture replaced all the zipper on it for free. Not sure on availably in your area.

    Osprey, Comet. It's 30L, great admin area, dedicated water bottle pockets, compression straps and comfy to carry.

    I have and continue to use it for everything you've mentioned, swapping your festivals for my diaper bag. Just got back from a 3 day business travel trip with just this bag. Only gripe is that it doesn't stand up on its own.

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
    Evyndall likes this.
  3. Evyndall

    Evyndall Loaded Pockets

    Aug 20, 2017
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    Actually that's not the first time I come across that recommendation, I am sure I have seen it on another board somewhere. Not sure if it was the Comet or not but people seem to like Osprey a lot. I will consider it. It does have the added advantage of being readily available at several outdoors shops near me.
    intocoman likes this.
  4. Journo

    Journo Loaded Pockets

    Jun 22, 2017
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    I had to stop watching that video when he was talking about saggy pockets. I have owned several 5.11 RUSH packs, I have never had those problems and I can promise you I have used them a lot harder than the video creator. Also, when he talks about things falling to the bottom of pockets that is because of a force called gravity, not because of any problem with the bag or the pockets, if you put something smaller than the size of the pocket in it then, yes, it will go to the bottom.

    BTW I have had my RUSH for 2 years and the admin pouch is great, I use it at least 3 times a week, I keep buying new bags and always go back to the RUSH. Also, it comes with enough compression straps for me and I would think adding 4 additional ones i just over kill.

    At 24:06 he says he needed the extra straps or the gear becomes a "blob of crap in the bottom", again with gravity. It sounds like he is packing that bag in a way he doesn't like. Every person will have a different view on how something works, I disagree with 99% of what he says in that video.

    My only complaint about the RUSH is that the rubber pads on the back seem to chew through my t-shirts.

    That being said, if you're in Europe and you get the chance check out the Wisport range of bags, I have two of the Sparrows the 20L and the 30L and they seem to be pretty amazing. I will also +1 on Osprey bags, I have owned one of their messenger bags for a few weeks now and it feels solid with some great organisation.

    I am still amazed at that video though, I have never had a pen come out of the pocket on my 5.11 RUSH. Let us know what you decide!
    ProjeKtWEREWOLF and Evyndall like this.
  5. Evyndall

    Evyndall Loaded Pockets

    Aug 20, 2017
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    This is exactly the kind of reply I was hoping for! I was about to order a RUSH 24, it was already in the basket when I stumbled across this video, making me confused and hesitant. On one hand I do see the myriads of positive reviews but it most be noted that most reviews are generally made after a short time of actual use, usually a few weeks or even shorter. "I just got this bag and it's awesome" was just not enough to convince me against someone's opinion who had used the bag for over a year. Those few who did make a long term review did not mention the admin pouch.

    That being said, I am somewhat familiar with the general laws of physics so I am not unaware that these bags will change their shape depending on load and the items in them.

    What I am curious about is what does a RUSH 24 look like when it is not fully loaded? Does it sag around like a thin canvas bag or does it retain some structure? Many of my previous "trendy" manager bags had a sort of rigid structure so they looked almost the same with or without load. From what I gathered the RUSH doesn't have that sort of structure (though there is that plastic back piece) which I do not mind all that much but I do hope it doesn't look like a lethargic plastic shopping bag.

    I will make note of the Wisport. I actually travel to Poland a 5-6 times a year, I might be able to pick one up while there. Who knows I might even get two bags and try both then sell the one I like less.

    I am vaguely aware of the fact that my search for the perfect backpack will likely never end, that I embark upon a journey that takes me down a slippery slope and many years later I will be like a crazy cat lady, only that instead of tiny felines I will have dozens and dozens of bags scattered around the house...still, I guess there are worse hobbies to have...;-)
  6. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

    Dec 3, 2012
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    I have had 2 Rush 24 for a few years now and I have to say that I have had none of the issues that that reviewer seems to think are troubles with the pack.
    I also think he is truly conflicted about the 24 because it is such a well made.feature filled pack and good value also that he has to try to find odd things about it that he does not like.
    He goes on and on about the things he does not like and I gave up on the review before hearing any of the good but he keeps using the bag so.......

    Starting with the compression straps,I am usually OK with the ones built-in to the pack but since I do have a set of Tier straps that came with the Moab 10 I have used them too if I needed to,not very often as for me they can be more in the way than useful mostly as compression straps.

    I find the side pockets which the reviewer actually seemed to forget about mostly to be extremely useful and for me the pack would not be that useful overall if I had no place to carry water by itself!
    I also use these pockets to carry concealed if I need to and they are great for a revolver or smaller automatic ad ammo and they are mostly never seen by people not familiar with this bag and I guess even with those who say they are?

    The Admin pockets are pretty great for me and like the last poster I have never had anything eject itself when sitting the bag down?
    Mine are not "Floppy" and retain the fabric stiffness so far although they are sandpaper stiff either like every Maxpedition item that I have ever handled.

    I use the rearmost compartment to carry a computer usually and it feel pretty secure back there and has always given me a sense that the machine will be just fine and I have carried the bag on planes countless times and gone through security with the computer back there and no issues at all ever!
    I do stick a small foam tube in the bottom of that rear pocket so that the computer is cushioned on the bottom.

    I also have a piece of blue foam pad cut for the bottom of the main compartment to give it more structure overall and to cushion things in there and this works amazingly well for me.

    Not sure how I feel abut the little front pockets though and these are the only ones that seem stupid to me really,I like the inside divided pockets but the main space in the pocket opens entirely to the bottom if unzipped all the way so that stuff can and will fall ot unless it is in an inside pocket thus wasting the main space up there to me?

    I also love the top pocket!

    Overall there are a lot of reasons these bags are so popular and I don't think you can go wrong with one.

    I would also look a the First Tactical line which was evidently designed by the founder of 5.11 I have 2 of those and they are pretty amazing as well.

    I also suggest seeing if you can get the Evade Pack that was designed with input from this forum as it might be the best overall EC bag of its size that I have tried.

    Last but certainly not least is the Camelbak Urban Assault bags and the Miltac Hawg both of which could easily be a standard bag by which others are judged.

    I usually carry an UA and that bag just has features and flexibility unmatched by most others.
    There are plenty of good reviews about them too.
  7. Evyndall

    Evyndall Loaded Pockets

    Aug 20, 2017
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    Well now that's quite some recommendations to dig through :)

    The H.A.W.G. will be too small for my needs. My current pack is 24 litres in capacity and it is good for daily tasks but I struggle the moment I want to carry a hoodie or raincoat, so the H.A.W.G. with 20 litres won't cut it. The Urban Assault looks good though. Good size, low profile, seems to have everything I need I am just not sure I can acquire one here, but I will keep looking. I am a bit confused about Camelbak though, the Urban Assault on their website looks completely different to what I see on Amazon or other online shops.

    That First Tactical Specialist 1 Day Backpack also seems like a solid choice, I dig it and I can actually get it from Amazon!
    I like the Evade Pack too but I can't seem to get it here.

    So many options!

    By the way, in this category, is there any actual difference in quality and workmanship between brands? Like Hazard4, Camelbak, 5.11, Tru-Spec, Maxpedition, etc.? Or does it just come down to personal preferences?

    As an additional question, I would like to ask why is it that every time I search for tactical backpacks it is almost certain I will run into either 5.11 or Maxpedition? These two seem to be the only constant members of any list. Or the Gorucks. Does it come down to simple marketing or is there more to it? And what makes the Maxpedition packs so expensive to begin with?
  8. Ethos

    Ethos Loaded Pockets

    Jul 25, 2016
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    I have a Rush 12 and it's solid, it's my smaller Bug Out Bag.

    Look at the 5.11 Covert 18? Awesome looking and looks like a normal pack. I may try one of these next.
  9. Jherman87

    Jherman87 Empty Pockets

    Jun 12, 2016
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    I've had a rush 12 for three years carried almost daily with no issue. I load that bag down and carry it empty. Mine has softened up a lot, but I prefer that since I really don't want a bulky empty pack. The admin pocket has been fine, but I do keep a lot of things in a maxpedition organizer. Sometimes my pens will fall out of the holders if I only have one in there, but then again I throw my bag all over as long as my laptop isn't in there. The only wear it is showing it at top of the strap there is a bit of fraying.

    I would purchase again, currently looking for something lighter and still comfortable when loaded
    ProjeKtWEREWOLF likes this.
  10. HVACn00b

    HVACn00b Loaded Pockets

    Jun 21, 2017
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    I've personally been looking at the dragon egg mk2 as well and also the vanquest Trident 31.
    Leaning towards the vanquest as it comes in 1000D and has Velcro to put in the dividers that it comes with(wife and I are wedding photographers, but do some travels too )

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11. Crazy Chester

    Crazy Chester Loaded Pockets

    Jul 6, 2015
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    Check out the Spec Ops T.H.E. Pack, Tactical.

    If you like ACU camo pattern, they have it on sale for $79 (regular $189)

    It does not have a built in admin section so to speak. But you can get a separate admin pouch that fits in one of the pockets. I prefer this, as it can be removed if your needs for the day changes. The bag itself is simple with a nice high viz yellow interior that makes finding things a breeze, and you can add whatever admin or other accessory you need. It also has 4 compression straps and can be cinched down fairly tight, or loosened up to expand.

    Spec Ops is very well made. You wont wear this bag out.
  12. Evyndall

    Evyndall Loaded Pockets

    Aug 20, 2017
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    First of all, thank you all for the replies and the recommendations.

    I did check all the models suggested above. Some were more tempting than the others, but sadly many are difficult to get here, meaning I would be forced to order from the US and that involves customs duty and taxes (you can calculate with an 30% increase in cost that way) and should I have warranty claims it becomes troublesome to handle.

    Although I must admit, that Camelbak Urban Assault or the Evade Pack both look like solid packs that meet all my requirements, it pains me I can't get them. To my surprise First Tactical has a European store page so that's good to know. I will also keep an eye out for Wisport packs the next time I visit Poland and I won't forget to personally inspect some Osprey models next time I visit the local outdoors shops.

    Anyhow, after much consideration I decided to give the 5.11 RUSH 24 a try. Not necessarily because I don't like the other bags that have been recommended but because at this point I have read so much about it I know I would always have that little thorn in my head, wondering what the 5.11 would have been like.

    In the off chance of not liking it, I believe I can sell it with relative ease and minimal loss to the local bushcraft / EDC community, which is something I can't say for more expensive bags like the Maxpedition Tiburon.

    Once again, thank you for all the input!

    Now I just have to decide what colour to choose: black, OD green or sandstone :D
    RoadWizard and intocoman like this.
  13. Evyndall

    Evyndall Loaded Pockets

    Aug 20, 2017
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    It has been almost a year since I bought my RUSH 24 and I thought I might as well give an update, in case anyone bumps into this thread in the future. In advance I will say that since I am not using it in any hardcore manner, I will not comment on the durability of the bag, that would be unfair.

    First of all, it's a nice looking bag in my opinion. I ordered mine in black and I believe that the color takes away a lot from the tactical look. Sure the metric ton of MOLLE webbing still stands out a bit but it's not terrible.

    Second, the size. This thing is unreal. Fit for 24 hours? Humbug! Maybe for someone in the service but for a civilian scrub like myself, it can easily hold enough gear for 3-4 days. At this point I am convinced it is a gateway into a personal pocket dimensions. It just keeps swallowing stuff!
    Last time I managed to stuff in 5 t-shirts, a pair of jeans, a sweater, a thin raincoat, a 1500 ml water bottle, 4 underpants, 4 pairs of socks, my toiletry bag (which is way too bulky for what I carry in it I just haven't found a better one yet), lots of tissue paper (being allergic is fun...) and a pair of slippers, all this on top of my usual EDC stuff (like headlamp, multitool, poncho, space blanket, notepad, a book, chargers, etc.). I think I have found my perfect travel bag since the vast majority of my excursions are only 2-3 days long.

    Third, the pockets. Pockets everywhere. I love it! However, I do want to note that I wish the front admin pouch area was a bit better in terms of holding stuff in its place. Unless I stuff the pockets tightly my bits and bobs tend to move about a bit. I think if 5.11 ever decides to make an upgraded version they should think about adding some elastic straps in there. All the other compartments are fine though!

    Last but not least - although I have yet to take it on a day-long hike - so far it felt far more comfortable than my previous bags.

    Thank you again to everyone who helped me make this decision, overall I am fairly satisfied with this purchase!
    anjin, NeWt, FLbeachbum and 1 other person like this.