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Review: 5.11 Tactical Drop pouches with Slickstick MOLLE/PALS mounting system

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by subwoofer, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. subwoofer
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

    subwoofer Loaded Pockets

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    In this review I am taking a closer look at two of the 5.11 Tactical drop pouches (large and x-large) and how their fold-away design means you hardly notice they are there when empty, but when opened out give you a surprisingly large amount of space to use.

    With all the possible different combination of pouches you can mount on your PALS equipped bags and backpacks, you can find yourself frequently fitting pouches when you need them, only to end up removing them if they go unused especially if bulky (well I do anyway).

    My loads tend to vary quite a lot and empty pouches annoy me, so all this weaving and un-weaving of the PALS straps can get a little frustrating.

    The 5.11 Tactical drop pouches provide an answer to both these issues, firstly in that they are the most efficient fold-away pouches with integral straps I've seen, and secondly use the 5.11 Slickstick mounting system, which can make removal a simple and quick process.

    [​IMG]



    Initial Impressions:

    Most drop pouches look pretty untidy; even more so when empty. Not the 5.11 Tactical drop pouches. They are incredibly neat and tidy and belie their true capacity due to a cleverly executed folding design.

    [​IMG]

    Another stand out feature is the inclusion of the 'Slickstick' attachment system, a 5.11 Tactical innovation, giving a distinctive look to this aspect of the pouch.

    [​IMG]

    All stitching, construction and material appears top quality and robust.



    Opening out the pouch:

    Each of the pouches opens and closes in the same sequence, and the following set of photos steps through this process.

    [​IMG]

    First lifting up the Velcro closed front panel.

    [​IMG]

    The pouch itself is folded in half, so next you unfold the body of the pouch.

    [​IMG]

    Both sides of the flattened pouch body had been folded into the centre, so you now open these out to fully deploy the pouch.

    [​IMG]



    A few more details:

    In the base of the pouch there are two drainage holes.

    [​IMG]

    The pouch has a drawstring closure with an elasticated cord and plastic spring plunger locking toggle.

    [​IMG]

    Looking into the pouch itself there is a Velcro panel that allows the top flap to be secured out of the way inside the pouch.

    [​IMG]

    Like so. In this way the pouch is a simple drawstring closure pouch.

    [​IMG]

    Drawing the pouch closed, you can see there is a Velcro panel on the outside as well, so you can also use the top flap over the top of the drawstring for extra security.

    [​IMG]

    Like this.

    [​IMG]



    The 5.11 Tactical Slickstick system:

    The distinctive feature of the 5.11 Tactical Slickstick attachment system is the Slickstick itself. This is the part that replaces the traditional MOLLE strap with a captive sliding stiffened Slickstick.

    With the two pouches side by side, the four Slicksticks have been shown at various positions showing how they slide within the D-ring.

    [​IMG]

    Fitting a Slickstick system pouch starts with the normal positioning phase.

    [​IMG]

    The Slicksticks are pushed under the first row of webbing.

    [​IMG]

    Hinging the pouch flat onto the webbing, the Slicksticks are then pushed through the webbing with small tweaks to weave over and under correctly.

    [​IMG]

    All the way until fully home and the poppers snapped shut.

    [​IMG]

    To remove, simply un-pop and pull the Slickstick slider up and out of the PALS webbing.

    Is this too good to be true? Well, yes and no.

    This Slickstick system is good, but not perfect. How easily it works varies from bag to bag and how tight the PALS webbing is.

    The main reason for this is that the popper in the Slickstick can catch on the webbing and not just slide through. It can also be a bit fiddly to get the Slickstick under the webbing on the pouch itself during the weaving process.

    On a couple of test PALS platforms, I had to be a bit brutal and weave the Slickstick the normal way to get it fitted.

    I'm impressed with 5.11 Tacticals attempt to make the PALS system quick and easy to use. A worthwhile idea, and one that can make pouch removal very fast.

    One possible improvement that I'm considering is to add a bevelled ring around the popper to ease its passage under the webbing.



    Ready when you need extra space:

    These pouches really shine due to the amount of extra storage space you can carry for such a small and neat package.

    To give an idea of size, the large and x-large pouches are fitted to the side of a MOAB 6 bag. Starting off with the pouches in the closed position, they are very inconspicuous (more so if you match the colour to the bag).

    [​IMG]

    Opened up, and the cavernous pouches size speaks for itself. For this photo the pouches were specifically arranged into cylindrical forms to show their maximum size in relation to each other and the host MOAB 6.

    [​IMG]

    The ratio between folded size and available storage capacity is huge and makes these an easy choice to keep always attached and ready for when you need more space.

    I, at least, now have one less pouch dilemma, as carrying empty pouches 'just in case' always rubbed the wrong way.

    The minimal presence in their folded state, and transformation into truly useful load carrying capacity, makes these 5.11 Tactical drop pouches firmly part of my EDC.



    Test samples provided by 5.11 Tactical for review.
     
    Last edited by subwoofer, Apr 18, 2013
    Brainstorm, Jupeli, Trickster and 8 others like this.
  2. subwoofer
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

    subwoofer Loaded Pockets

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    Reserved ....
     
  3. scbubba
    • In Omnia Paratus

    scbubba Loaded Pockets

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    Very nice review. Hadn't looked at 5.11's drop pouches. Will definitely take a closer look when I get to the point of deciding.

    Thanks,
    Bubba
     
  4. CheepSteal

    CheepSteal Loaded Pockets

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    I have the medium one and think it's a great add-on for when you think you might need a catch-all for trash and knick knacks when you're out. Especially useful for fishing so you don't put gross fishy trash into your main bag.
     
  5. Hanselgaitan

    Hanselgaitan Loaded Pockets

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    That was a great review!! Thank you for all the detail. I own several 5.11 pouches and when I was looking at your review I felt like I need to buy more pouches
     
  6. Wolfhound0023

    Wolfhound0023 Loaded Pockets

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    Have a the large pouch on the side of my MOAB 10 to provide extra storage should I need it. For the cost I think they are slightly better than the Maxpedition RollyPolly
     
  7. Myth90045

    Myth90045 Loaded Pockets

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    Nice Review!! I need to get me at least one of these for my coffee cup during work days. Would the large version fit a coffee cup (no handles)?
    3"x8"
     
  8. subwoofer
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

    subwoofer Loaded Pockets

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    Yes, with room to spare.
     
    Myth90045 likes this.
  9. J4C3

    J4C3 Guest

    Another belter,what do you intend to review next mate?
    thanks
     
  10. Diecastfreak
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Diecastfreak Loaded Pockets

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    what size would handle a 32oz nalgine best?
     
  11. socaldsal

    socaldsal Loaded Pockets

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    I wonder if you've had issues with the pop buttons at the bottom coming undone with a little fiddling. I've had that happen a lot, just wondering if it was just me and I needed to play nicer with gear. I found the slick stick system to have its pros and cons as well, the #1 pro being speed. The #1 con being the button issue I mentioned.
     
  12. subwoofer
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

    subwoofer Loaded Pockets

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    I've not had any issues so far, but can see how they might be unpopped. In my experience, even unpopped the slick-stick seems to stay put nicely.
     
  13. Th4rg0r

    Th4rg0r Loaded Pockets

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    I love this pouch, always on the outside of whatever pack I'm using, sometimes, even clip to my belt when I'm fishing :). Pain in the :censored: to take off and put on like you described.

    So now I own 3. :p. Good review.
     
  14. Partagas

    Partagas Loaded Pockets

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    NIce review, I think they would work well for storing your empty brass at a day at the range or a comp shoot.
     
  15. Gryffin
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Gryffin Loaded Pockets

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    I was hoping there was a Medium version, that would be sized for a Nalgene or similar bottle. A search of the 5.11 site showed it as discontinued. Color me disappointed, the design seems like a distinct improvement from the Maxpud RollyPolly. Ah well...