I am looking at buying a military style pack. Specifically a Becker Patrol Pack By Eagle. I want a rugged pack that has a good balance between design and adaptability.
This pack has 6 outside pockets with Fastex buckles --- 2 side pockets (9 x 5.5 x 2.75), 2 flap pockets (8 x 2.75 x 2), and 2 back pockets (8 x 4.75 x 3) as well as four interior pouches to help keep loads in place.
It is ALICE compatible with 2.25" webbing triple stitiched to the 11 oz. Cordura waterproof nylon shell
Underneath is a 28" sleeping bag strap and above is a 16" cargo strap.
The main compartment is a reasonable 1110 cubic inches (18.5 x 10 x 6)
Padded adjustable shoulder straps with a chest belt and ALICE compatable padded hip belt hold a respectable 50lbs comfortably.
The whole rig weighs just under 5lbs.
It fits my needs as advertized but I am concerned about hidden problems like poor craftsmanship or cut corners in the comfort department.
Does anyone have any experience with this pack or similar current military issue packs? My understanding is that the American, Isreali, and British military are using this pack. Is 199.99 a fair price or can I get a a better and sturdier pack for this or less?
Others I am considering are:
Maxpedition Falcon II
Motherlode Maximum Gear3L
i've currently use the Camelbak Maximum Gear Talon, Motherlode, and BFM - i use the Motherlode and BFM quite regularly for travel.
I'm not a big fan of Maxpedition - i dont think the Falcon is as well designed ergonomically as it could be or as well as the other brands.
EAGLE is a top brand - no issues with quality - if you're after military gear, it will outlast any civvy product on the market. The material is completely different, most mil spec gear uses 1000dn nylons whereas you'd be lucky to see 1000dn nylon in ANY civilian pack these days - most of them use 400 - 600dn if not lower spec material
Also the stitching thread on most miliary packs is of a more robust quality, CB and EAGLE both use a bonded nylon thread that is rot proof, moisture proof and UV resistant - so all in all, in layman's terms - most military packs will likely outlast the user.
with a pack like Becker - just be mindful of the whole "tactical timmy" look that you're gonna give out - in this day and age i wouldnt want to be attracting unnecessary attention at airports and border crossings - i think something like the Motherlode or BFM in Black or brown are fine, but i draw the line at using Alice Packs and patrol packs or camo colours for civvy trips.
ON THE DOWN SIDE - Military packs are generally designed for the weight to be carried on the shoulders - the assumption being that you will be wearing webbing around your waist. and this would interfere with a proper waist belt. The waist belts on most 35-60L military packs are quite pathetic...the worst among them being the ALICE PACK - civilian packs are miles ahead in terms of weight transfer from shoulders to hips.
Really it comes down to how long you'll be carrying the pack for, how much you will carry in it and what level of discomfort you are prepared to put up with. Any military pack will carry 50-70lbs no probs - but try humping that load on your shoulders over a 10-15 day trek that's meant to be your vacation and it becomes a very unpleasant experience..
You've also got added weight with these packs because of the heavier materials that are being used.
hope this helps
[ Edit: Edited at Oct 23, 2006 8:12 AM by Jeelan ]
Thanks for taking the time too write such a thourough review. Quite refreshing. I think I'll go with the Motherlode Maximum Gear 3L.
It looks simple and sturdy as well as compactly low profiled. And the hip belt looks to be wide enough to compensate for any lack of padding.
The "Tactical Timmy" syndrome is a new one to me but I know what your saying and it's a good point of view. I agree that the Motherlode in black would not draw any undue attention.
Thanks for the advice and safe traveling to you,
Yeah i used to use military surplus packs too when i was running on a tight budget, but it does attract a lot of unnecessary attention easpecially in countries like Myanmar, where security is really tight and the govt is so jittery - locals said they moved the capital to be more defensible ( within forests ) in case of uprising, and universities are convenietly built practically within lakes to prevent and control activism...