Last year my old pack (may it rest in peace :)) finally gave in, so, while training at the Mexican border, I found myself forced to buy another pack.
This time I went with the Patrick Molle Backpack, but I’m rather torn about it. There are so many things that I like about it, but there are just as many things that I totally „dislike”...
Let’s start with the pros:
- this pack is very large and has 8 front pockets for specialized storage
- the pack has a huge main compartment and the pack all together has a capacity of 3465 cubic inches (56L)
- the pack features Molle attachment options on the back, the bottom and the shoulder straps
- the pack, the stitching, the zippers seem to be quite long lasting (they „endured” some heavy weight)
- there are multiple straps and connection points, well placed
- the pack comes with a hip belt
- there is enough padding so you feel quite comfortable when the backpack is fully loaded
- the backpack is Hydration ready
- there is a big pocket behind the padded back where you can easily put your tablet or a thin laptop
- the handles on the top of the pack make it easy to carry around
- the pack has 2 gun pouches
As for the downsides, there are a few...
- the pack is quite deep so the more you load it, the bigger it will get (you’ll end up looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame...) Plus, there are no compression straps to squeeze the load
- there are no Molle straps on the sides and this doesn’t work for me
- I found it rather difficult to adjust this backpack to my body
- the hip belt is too wide in body areas where there’s a lot of body heat... you see how this gets unpleasant in a humid environment
- the pockets from the hip belt are odd and you can’t put anything hard inside (not a pistol, for sure! It will take forever to take it out!)
- I see no use whatsoever for the „flash bang” grenade pouches (who goes out on the field with this Molle backpack, carrying grenades???)
- I also see no use for the built-in cell phone pouches from the shoulder straps. As a matter of fact, I found them quite funny- most of the cell phones nowadays are much wider than these pouches!
- the extra straps and the buckles on the sides are also useless (for me, anyways. Maybe I’m not that creative to find a use for them.)
- the zippers are single-pull and your things might fall out of the pack since these zippers open quite easily.
I have to add that you can get an external holster for larger guns and a rain fly for the rainy days.
Now, I don't want this backpack to look like a worse choice than it really is. In the end, it's well assembled and can make for a great BOB at a great price. As a civilian, you can take it when camping for a few days or on multi-day hiking trips just as well. I do it when I’m off duty...