Category Archives: Packs and Pouches

Triple Aught Design FAST Pack EDC | Best Tactical Pack | Bug Out & EDC

Triple Aught Designs [TAD]

Triple Aught Designs is a small manufacturer of top-tier military focused equipment based out of San Francisco, California. All of their gear is produced on American soil, and so sought after that it can often be hard to get. If you do find the opportunity to acquire a piece of kit from TAD, you’ll soon realize what all the fuss is about. Their stuff is some of the most durable, well-designed, over-engineered equipment on the market. According to their website, TAD developed their name from the following principle:

“Engineers and machinists use 000 (triple aught) as shorthand for a thousandth of an inch, which has been the high standard of precision tolerance for over a century. Inspired by that ideal, we apply thorough design, high attention to detail, and strict tolerances to ensure our products meet your most rigorous needs.”

It’s the perfect concept to showcase the quality of their products. Their attention to detail in every aspect of product design and engineering is truly unmatched. Read on to find out more.


TAD FAST Pack EDC Review

Philosophy of Use

Triple Aught Design has developed the Fast Pack to be an extremely versatile, highly modular pack. While optimized as a 1-3 day pack, its attachment and customization potential allow it to reach much further in the right hands.

That being said, it measures in at 32.77 liters in volume. For this reason extended backpacking trips may not be its best application, for which I recommend the Kelty Redwing 50. It may be however the very best tactical EDC or bug-out bag, and is very difficult to beat in the 1-3 day range. It is literally covered in PALS webbing and attachment points.

While this may be ideal for some, this pack does not fit in the ultralight category. It’s more suited towards those seeking ultimate customization and versatility potential. This aligns with TAD’s primary focus and target customers; serious operators involved in military or outdoor pursuits.

“Ruggedized construction and modular adaptability are the foundation of our FAST platform, helping you conquer the routine, the unexpected and everything in between. Combining the best of military design and mountaineering ergonomics, the FAST Pack EDC is built to be your trusted companion for adventures close to home or missions far away.”


Materials and Construction

The Fast Pack EDC is has been put together almost entirely with name brand, cutting edge materials and accessories. This inspires a sense of true quality and craftsmanship that is hard to find elsewhere, and totally believable once you use it.

1000 and 500 Denier MIL-SPEC Invista™ Cordura® fabric is a high tensile strength composite nylon thread and webbing that’s resistant to abrasion, puncture and tears. It’s used throughout the body of the the pack for bomb-proof durability.

Hypalon synthetic rubber reinforces critical stress points on the pack. The same material is used to manufacture Zodiac boats for it’s notable resistances to chemical interaction, temperature extremes, UV exposure, abrasion, and puncture.

All padding is composed of Evazote® Closed Cell Cross-Linked Ethylene Copolymer Foam and enclosed in DRI-LEX® Aerospacer Moisture Management Mesh for superior cushion, durability, ventilation, and moisture wicking.

Zippers and Hardware:

  • YKK® #8 and #10 Nylon Coil Reverse Zippers with Paracord Zipper Pulls
  • ITW GhillieTEX™ Web Dominators to Secure Webbing
  • ITW GhillieTEX™ Looploc anchor points
  • ITW GhillieTEX™ SR Ladderloc buckles
  • ITW GhillieTEX™ Cordlocs, Ladderlocs, Tri-Glides, and other hardware.

Main Compartment

The large main compartment of the Fast Pack EDC is accessible through a full-zip clamshell opening for easy loading, unloading, and organization.

Previous iterations of the Fast Pack EDC were only equipped with a partial clamshell. Updating to a full length opening allows for maximum access to items buried within the pack. Also, it’s become much easier to load, unload, and organize your kit. If desired one can partially unzip the compartment to access the upper portion, using the compression straps as zipper stops to avoid dumping the packs contents all over the dirt.

Using the attached inner anchor points, large, heavy, or awkwardly shaped items may be strapped against the frame of the pack. Hefty items like hydration bladders and ammunition secured against the frame help to ensure their stability, preventing unwanted movement during complex maneuvers.

In addition to straps, the transporter tail can be removed from the outer of the pack and used as both an admin panel and for securing difficult pieces of gear. TAD also sells an attachment known as the Control Panel to serve the same purpose.

Also, the interior of the front panel comes equipped with zippered mesh pockets for further storage of small important items. The exterior of the panel also comes with a few important features. First, a velcro panel for patches and emblems. Second, a front zippered admin pocket for convenient access and organization of things like knives, pens, and cutlery. Third, almost the entire panel is covered in PALS webbing.

A separate, roll-top compartment has been included to store weather sensitive gadgets or gear, and is plenty large enough for most laptops. It’s basically a built in dry bag for critical components of your kit. It also allows for important items to be separated from the rest of the pack and easily accessed should the need arise. The buckles of the roll-top closure secure along the sides of the pack, ensuring the compartment remains tightly closed.

There are zippered external pockets on each sidewall that can expand to accommodate bottles, optics, or other accessories. These pockets are easily large enough to fit a standard Nalgene Botle. Beneath them are hidden compartments or “flashlight caves” for quick and easy access to items attached with dummy cord or gear retractors. Finally, the side pockets are also covered with, you guessed it, PALS webbing.


Modularity

As previously stated, the Fast Pack is designed to be highly modular, and accept the attachment of limitless pouches and accessories. It’s literally covered in Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) webbing, for use with compatible with Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment (MOLLE) accessories.

This enables you to customize the configuration of your pack for any possible circumstances. All of the webbing is compatible with Tek-Lok style hardware for affixing sheaths, holsters and other equipment. The removable compression straps enable one to store additional gear to the top, bottom, and sides of the pack. Along the top, 8 feet of paracord can be used to tighten down irregular shaped items or removed for use in an emergency.

Furthermore, the removable transporter tail can allow one to easily transport bulky or awkwardly shaped objects. Items like helmets may be secured with the tail raised, while longer things like rifles or fishing poles can be attached with the tail lowered. Also, as stated above the transporter tail can be removed and transferred to the interior of the pack for securing items against the frame.


Suspension

The Fast Pack is build with efficient suspension geometry through padded padded reinforced shoulder straps equipped with adjustable load lifters, and a rigid HDPE frame panel. These components position the pack high and centered on the back, keeping the load above the pelvis for balance and maneuverability.

The padded, reinforced shoulder straps ease strain on the shoulders and transfer away moisture. Also, the soft yet durable material reduces friction and therefore wear on contact material. A fully adjustable sternum strap further increases comfort and stablity without sacrificing range of motion through the use of elastic retainer straps.

TAD FAST Pack EDC – Final Thoughts

All in all the Fast Pack is an excellent piece of kit. Triple Aught Designs has created only two backpacks in their entire lineup, and both have been revised over and over. The amount of configurations and possibilities for this pack are endless. Matched with the fact that it’s one of the most well made backpacks on the market, it’s pretty hard to beat.

While not ultralight, or suited toward those who may have little need for so much modularity; For a tactical mid-range backpack the TAD Fast Pack EDC very well may be the best product available.


Specifications

Triple Aught Designs FAST Pack EDC


  • Volume: 32.77 liters
  • Dimensions: 12 x 21 x 8 inches
  • Weight 72 ounces
  • Materials: 1000 and 500 Denier Invista™ Cordura® Fabric, Evazote® Closed Cell Cross-Linked Ethylene Copolymer Foam, DRI-LEX® Aerospacer Moisture Management Mesh, Hypalon Synthetic Rubber Reinforcements, HDPE Frame Sheet

Source Hydration Bladders

Source Tactical WXP 3-Liter Hydration Reservoir System with Storm Valve, Foliage

Overview

It’s difficult to visit any trail these days without seeing someone sipping through a tube from a hydration bladder in their pack. They’ve become so popular due to the sheer convenience they provide. The ability to carry so much water without taking up a huge amount of space and drink hands free from your pack is just hard to beat. There are now plenty of brands and variations to choose, but many will argue the lesser known Source Hydration System leads the pack. Originally created by the Isreali Military, Source products have now been adopted by armed forces and civilians worldwide… testament to the quality and durability of their design.

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Bladder

Source has released a variety of different products, but all of them have some of the same winning features. First and foremost, their patented FDA approved, EPA registered “glass-like” liner effectively blocks the growth of bacteria and prevents unwanted taste or odor. In fact, it’s the only bladder that won’t leech any nasty plastic flavors in to your clean drinking water. This allows one to skip cleaning after days, weeks, even months of use. When it comes time to wash it out however, Source bladders come with a full-length top closure that allows full access to the interior of the unit. The ability to stick your whole hand into the pack eliminates the frustration of trying to shove complicated utensils through the small opening over comparable products. Finally, Source hydration systems simply don’t leak. While other systems have been known to spill water all over the precious contents of one’s pack, Source’s products are able to stand up to the kind of abuse offered by military use.

Connections and Accessories

One of Source’s other innovative features are quick-disconnect fittings. This allows one to swap hoses or mouthpieces on the fly. Also, if you want to remove the bladder from your pack for filling without fishing that long hose through the loops and holes of your pack; you can simply quick disconnect the hose and remove the bladder. All fittings are also complete with an auto-shutoff feature that allows one to swap attachments while water is still in the bag without leaks. Sources hoses even come with a tightly woven cord wrap. This not only increases the life and durability of the hose, but insulates the hose from UV rays preventing water in the hose from becoming lukewarm by the time you drink it.

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Quick disconnect feature allows one to easily add or remove inline filters from your system

As for the bladder cap and valves, the cap itself has the same dimensions as a Nalgene Wide-Mouth Bottle. Therefore, the same accessories and water filters compatible with a Nalgene will also work on your Source bladder. Valves/Mouthpieces swivel 360 degrees, and are angled 90 degrees allowing the optimal mouth to hose angle for easy drinking. Both the bladder cap and valves are attached with lanyard so they’ll never be lost. The provided cap is especially important on the mouthpiece which may frequently come into contact with dirt and dust, which it completely seals out.

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Universal Tap Adapter (UTA)

Another powerful attachment for Source systems is the Universal Tap Adapter (UTA). By swapping this for the mouthpiece, one can easily fill the bladder directly through the hose. Fill using a water bottle, faucet, or hose without ever removing the bladder from your pack.

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Specifications

Source Tactical WXP 3-Liter Hydration Reservoir System with Storm Valve, Foliage

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  • Capacity: 2 liters
  • Access: full-length closure and hose cap
  • Liner: antibacterial, anti-odor, anti-taste “glass-like” liner
  • Seals: 100% leak proof
  • Connections: quick-disconnect, auto-shutoff, leak proof
  • Tube: insulated woven cord wrap

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Maxpedition Tactical Can Case

Maxpedition Gear Tactical Can Case, Khaki

Overview

Modular packs and pouches allow the user to completely customize their kit organization and capacity. Externally mounted pouches can add extra room when pack space is limited. Also, allow for quick and convenient access to important or regularly used items. Gathering similar gear into a smaller, separate containers allows one to sort categorically for maximum efficiency. Some pack systems are dedicated entirely to this system, but most come with plenty of attachment points to accommodate modular accessories. Smaller pouches allow for highly specialized organization for usually hard to reach items.


Purpose

On the smaller end of modular accessory size, the Maxpedition Tactical Can Case is surprisingly useful. Those who use dip, or chewing tobacco, will be happy to find out that the Can Case fits two tins of dip. However, that wasn’t the reason we were so excited about it. For an accessory of this size, the options are truly endless for the sort of kit you can fit in here. For small gear sets that are accessed regularly, this is the perfect solution.

Uses

For Tenkara fishermen, the Can Case will snugly fit a line spool and fly can. Traditional fly fishers may also squeeze a reel and a couple flies. It’s about the ideal size for a compact fire kit, with plenty of room for specialized tinders. You may also pack it with a filter, shemagh, chemical tablets, and a squeeze pouch for an easily accessible water treatment pouch. Wind up a roll of cordage within it to easily unspool it straight from your pack. Depending on how clean and trim you like to be in the bush, fill it with hygiene items as a backcountry dopp kit. Your imagination is really the only limit here.


Specifications

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Maxpedition Gear Tactical Can Case, Khaki

  • Dimensions: 3.5 x 1.5 inches
  • Material: 1000-denier water/abrasion resistant nylon cordura
  • Treatment: teflon and triple polyurethane

Kelty Redwing 50

Best Mid Range Backpack

Selecting a pack requires one to analyze their needs before making a decision. A backpack’s configuration depends entirely on user preferences, skills, and intentions. For the average consumer, I feel the best mid range backpack to be the Kelty Redwing 50. Advertised as a 1-2 day pack, its 50 liter capacity makes it suitable for up to 1-2 week ventures depending on your circumstances and packing habits. This makes it such an ideal pack for a wide range of situations. I believe it to be the best value in the mid range category.


Features

The Redwing 50 is a versatile pack usable in both the city and backcountry. It has a slightly tactical look to it, but is unassuming enough to remain stylish. Off trail it can be used as a gym bag, weekend pack, or week long suitcase. Although it works well in these applications, it really shines on the trail.

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It’s a panel loader unlike most traditional top loading packs. The full zip allows for easy packing and unpacking. Comparable top loading packs can bury items at the bottom. With a panel loader you can simply unzip near its location, reach in, and grab. The main panel loading compartment comes with a sleeve perfect for a hydration bladder or laptop, and is spacious enough to fit a weeks worth of gear. Two side pockets have vertical channels through them for storing an axe, fishing pole, or rifle. The pockets themselves are also good for storing an extra water bottle. Personally, I load them with cordage and stakes, water filtration kit, and a fire kit, all with room to spare.

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Kelty Redwing 50 pictured with the Vargo Titanium Water Bottle

Just below the side pockets are two mesh compartments big enough to store a large thermos or Nalgene. I’ve found a good use for them carrying the Vargo Titanium on one side and a bottle of alcohol on the other for stove fuel, sanitation, or consumption. Running between the mesh pockets along the bottom are a set of attachment points perfect for attaching a sleeping pad, sleeping bag, tarp, or other gear.

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The top pocket has perfect for important personal items or hygiene kits. Or, you could stuff about 8 pounds of rice in there. Just below it, there are a set of compression straps to squeeze your gear closer to your back for better balance. There are also two more towards the bottom of the pack. These compression straps are reinforced and delightfully easy to use. I’ve also used them as additional attachment points in a pinch.

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The outermost rear pocket makes a perfect organizer for smaller and/or regularly accessed items. The admin slots are perfect for an LED torch, pencils, pens, knives, maps, my handy dandy Notebook, and more. I usually stash my Kindle and a USB flash drive in here, along with a compass and some other doodads as well. The outside of this panel has a vertical daisy chain of loops an a carry handle for some more attachment points.


Specifications

Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack

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  • Volume: 51 liters
  • Weight: 3.687 pounds
  • Dimensions: 26 x 16 x12 inches
  • Frame: internal polyethylene with central aluminum stabilizer
  • Materials: 450 denier polyester