Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: backpack review

Survival Gear Bundle Contest Coming Soon

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For those of you who follow my YouTube channel know, I am working on putting together a backpack bundle with various gear to give away through a contest.

Please subscribe to the SurvivalistBoards YouTube Channel.

Also, please click the notification icon so you get notified when I upload a video. This way you stay notified of new videos.

The goal I am looking for:

  • Backpack
  • Knife
  • Compass
  • Fire starter

Total package would cost around $20.

The items will be bundled and given away either on the Survivalist Forum, or here on my blog, SurvivalBoards.

I am currently in the process of doing reviews looking for items to add to the contest.

Contest Items

Military Surplus Three Day Assault Pack

Three Day Assault pack

The Three Day Assault pack is a military surplus backpack that was designed for excursions lasting more than one day. It has a capacity of around of 1,850 cubic inches, which is enough room for the essentials.

The Three Day Assault pack has three compartments, large main compartment and an outer compartment. The outer compartment has a small storage pouch inside, and outside of it.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the United States military phased out the ALICE pack in favor of the MOLLE.

Three Day Assault Pack

The Three Day Assault pack is one of four backpacks in use by the United States Army:

  • Patrol Pack – Suited for day hikes, or lightweight overnight camping trips. No frame.
  • Three Day Assault pack – Large enough for a couple of days in warm weather camping. No frame.
  • Medium MOLLE – Slightly larger than the three day pack and has a frame.
  • Large MOLLE – Largest of the four packs. Suited for excursions lasting several days and has a frame.

Military Surplus Patrol Pack First Impressions

Patrol Pack

Overall, I found the patrol pack to be a well rounded and perfect addition to my backpack collection.

Call me old fashioned, if I like something, then I hang onto it. For the longest time ,one of my go-to packs for day hikes and even warm weather overnight trips was a Jansport black book bag. That pack was retired when I migrated to a Maxpedition.

For several years my go-to pack was a Maxpedition Condor II. The Condor II is a great pack that is perfect for day long excursions.

As with everything else, after using the Condor II for several years, I decided it was time to try something new. So where did I go to find a new pack? I went to Ebay and looked through various military surplus packs.

After shopping and doing my research for a couple of weeks, I found a military surplus patrol pack for $29.95 + $9.19 shipping.

Gear Sling Pack For Get Home Bag

Red Rock gear sling pack on hiking trip.

Are gear sling packs suited for a get home bag? After a hiking trip in July of 2016, my opinion is that it you use a gear sling for a get home bag there are some things you need to look for in the pack design.

The July hiking trip was a little short at around 6 – 8 miles. Up until then I had never taken a gear sling pack on more than just a couple of miles. At round maybe the 5 – 6 mile mark, the strap started digging into my shoulder. My arm felt like it was going numb from the pain.

I took a bandanna, folded it up and put it between the strap and my shoulder for extra padding. That helped for a little bit.

The pack I was using is a Red Rock Rambler. The strap is on the left side and can not be switched to the right. I ended up taking the pack off and carrying it by hand for the last couple of miles. The pain was so intense my shoulder was sore for a couple of days.

Get Home Bag

Gear Review: Maxpedition Falcon II Pygmy

Maxpedition falcon-ii pygmy backpack

The Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy backpack is a well rounded backpack suited for day long excursions into the wilderness. Featuring a main compartment large enough for most items needed on a day hike, a smaller outer compartment, and two water bottle pouches, the Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy backpack should fit most needs.

It was in the summer of 2009 when I received my Maxpedition Falcon II Pygmy. After using the Falcon II Pygmy on a couple of hiking trips, it quickly turned into one of my favorite daypacks. Hang on, let me take that back, its more like my favorite day pack.

One of the first times I used the Pygmy was on an eight mile hiking trip with my nephew and my son. It was on a super hot August day, and I knew I was in trouble when I noticed the signs of heat exhaustion setting in. But we found our way to a creek with a nice sized swimming hole where we were able to take a swim and cool off.

Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy Specifications

My 3 Favorite Maxpedition Backpacks

Maxpedition falcon-ii pygmy backpack

After using Maxpedition backpacks for several years, there are three which have made their way to the top of the list.

When it comes time to head out to the woods, I usually take a few minutes to think about what I’m going to be doing and what kind of gear I may need. If I’m going on a simple day hike, I might bring the Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy, if its an overnight trip I might bring the Vulture-II and if its a short trip or hunting trip I’ll bring the Maxpedition Noatak.

Lets start with the Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy – which is my favorite dayhike / warm weather overnight bag. Even though the Falcon-II Pygmy has capacity of only 1,400 cubic inches, for you ultralight backpackers out there that should be plenty of room.

One of the reasons why I like the Falcon-II Pygmy so much, its a light pack that is not big enough to bring the essentials. From time to time I see people post in the hiking and camping forum about some of the stuff they bring on a camping / hiking trip, and I just have to ask myself “why?”

Gear Review: Maxpedition Noatak Gearslinger

Maxpedition Noatak

The Maxpedition Noatak fits a wide range of needs. It is big enough to take on a day hike, go fishing, and go the 4-wheeler riding. The Noatak Gearsling design makes it easy to put on and take off while wearing heavy clothing, which makes it one of my favorite backpacks for deer hunting.

A Gearslinger design means there is just one shoulder strap, so when your wearing cold weather gear, you just have one strap to put on and take off.

Specs from the Maxpedition site:

* Main: 11” x 7” x 4” with numerous internal pockets
* Front: 7” x 7” x 2” with internal keyper and sleeve pockets
* Front sleeve: 6.5” x 6.5” with anti-theft device on zipper
* Rear compartment: 8” x 12”
* Water bottle pocket: 7” x 2.5”; fits 32oz/1L bottle
* 1000-Denier water and abrasion resistant light-weight ballistic nylon fabric
* Teflon® fabric protector for grime resistance and easy maintenance

Thoughts on the Large MOLLE Pack

Large MOLLE Pack

After about 15 years of using the medium ALICE pack as my primary warm/hot weather backpack, I decided it was time for a change. So I got on Ebay and after looking through some of the listings, I decided to go with the large MOLLE pack with internal sleep system carrier.

There are 2 versions of this pack on the market – one where the main pack is separate from the sleep system carrier. And the one like what I bought, which is just one large pack.

First Impressions:

  • Large MOLLE is more streamlined then the large ALICE
  • Its easier to get into then the medium ALICE
  • It has more webbing then the large ALICE
  • The map case is larger then either the medium or large ALICE
  • The map case has a mesh bottom, so its easier to see the contents
  • The internal sleep system carrier has a zipper for easy access – lets talk about that just for a minute.

The way may pack is packed – the stuff to make camp is at the bottom of the pack. The ground cloth (6X8 tarp), tent, poncho loner or sleeping bag, hammock – all go in the bottom of the pack. When you reach camp you have to dig everything out of the pack to get to your camp gear. The bottom zipper access makes it easy to get your gear out without having to take “everything” out of the pack. Unzip the sleeping bag compartment and start pulling your gear out trough the bottom of the pack. Since the tarp (ground cloth) was put in the pack first, its the the first to go out through the bottom. Once the ground cloth is in position, its time to set the tent up, and spread the sleeping pad out. Once your finished getting everything out to make camp, zip up the sleep system compartment, and the pack is sealed up again.

Two things the large MOLLE is lacking – internal pouch and external pouches.

Maxpedition Falcon-II and Pygmy Falcon-II

Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon-II

When looking for a daypack, or lightweight pack for an overnight trip, there are 2 packs that should be seriously considered – and that is the Maxpedition Falcon-II and Pygmy Falcon-II. This is not about which pack is the better between the two, but which one will suite your needs the best.

Each pack has something different to offer. So lets do an overview of each pack, look at what they have to offer, then compare that to what the needs are.

Lets start out with a basic overview of the Maxpedition Falcon-II and Pygmy Falcon-II.

Now lets move onto the details of each pack.

Maxpedition Falcon-II

Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger Review

maxpedition sitka gearslinger review

This review of the Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger should be able to answer most of the questions that people have about the pack. First of all, when the Sitka was received, it was well packaged. Inside the box was a large packing slip that was easy to read and everything was spelled out. The toll free phone number is located in the top left hand corner of the packing slip – so its easy to find.

Maxpedition Sitka First impressions

This is everything you might expect to find in a daypack – and more. There is a pouch on the outside for a 32 ounce water bottle, a compartment for a water bladder, the main compartment is big enough for a Meal Ready to Eat (MRE), or an Eversafe meal, rain poncho, some tent stakes (for setting up an emergency shelter), water filter or water purification tablets, and a few other odds and ends.

The large outside pocket is big enough for a small first aid kit, TOPO maps, flashlight, matches,,,. The small outside pocket is big enough for map compass, medium sized GPS and maybe a couple of other small items such as a swiss army fire starter.

Maxpedition Falcon II Pygmy For a Warm Weather Backpack

Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon-II

The Maxpedition Falcon II Pygmy is an excellent all around backpack, including a warm weather backpack. It’s just big enough for a day long hike, or a light weight overnight camping pack, without being too large the hiker is tempted to carry unneeded gear.

One of the questions I have been asked, “what makes a pack a warm weather pack?” In my opinion, its the packs size – its so small you can not carry spare clothing. In a cold weather camping or hiking situation, you will probably want to bring extra clothing, maybe a hat gloves, extra socks,,,, the usual stuff that hikers and campers my need in cold weather.

In hot weather you can take clothing off, in cold weather you have to have extra clothing to put it on. If the extra clothing is not in the pack, there is nothing to put on.

Maxpedition Falcon II Pygmy

Final review of the Maxpedition Proteus Versipack

This is the last part of a Maxpedition Proteus Versipack review series. For the other two parts, see these links – Versipack part 1, Versipack part 2.

From the very first moment I handled the versipack I was impressed. Its the attention to detail that makes this a quality product. Its as if no short cuts were taken and some real thought was put into the design of the pack.

Its the simple things such as YKK zippers, triple polyurethane coated for water resistance, internal seams taped and finished, paracord zipper pulls, double stitched Stress points – all of these add up to make a high quality product.

In the following video I have 2 – 1 quart military canteens attached to the pack. I found out later that the attachment points are designed for MOLLE equipment and not ALICE clips. But that is ok, the ALICE gear still attaches just fine, its just a little tight.

With the canteens on the pack, its gets a little heavy. This makes the waist belt a little difficult to adjust. So what I did, I had someone stand behind me, pick the pack up with the built in grab handle, then adjust the belt. To do this by yourself, just back up against a tree and let it hold the pack in place when you adjust the belt. Without the canteens it would not have been any big deal.

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018