|Rating||5 of 5 stars|
|Design||Frameless 3 Day Assault Pack|
|Number of Pockets||1|
|Max. Load Carried||25 lbs|
|Pack Weight||~4 lbs|
|Total size||1650+450 cu inches|
This is my second MOLLE Assault pack. The original one is first generation Woodland Camo version. I am using the Woodland pack as my BOB, and the Desert Camo version for 2-3 day summer camping trips. Both are my by SDS (Specialty Defense Systems). There are several differences between the first and second generation packs.
- Shoulder straps are different
- Gen 2 pack has a waist belt
- Gen 2 large pocket has a zipper instead of draw-cord
- Gen 2 has an additional small Velcro pocket on the outside of large pocket
- Gen 2 has four cinch straps on the sides
Everything else is pretty much the same. Fabric, zippers, buckles and total volume are the same. This pack is constructed from 1000 denier Cordura. The fabric is vulcanized on the inside to make it waterproof. SDS used YKK self-healing zippers, glide easily, and do not break.
The shoulder straps are about 3-1/4″ wide, and have thin padding material inside. The padding is only 1/8″ thick, but because the straps are so wide, it does not cut into the skin and spreads the weight well. This pack was not designed to carry a large load, so heavily padded straps are unnecessary. I imagine the soldiers wearing this pack on top of their body armor would not be able to tell the difference in the amount of padding at all. The sternum strap is in the usual location. The hip belt is just a 1-1/2″ strap with no padding. This makes it easy to tuck away the belt, if it’s not being used. On the other hand, if it is being used, the lack of padding makes it uncomfortable to wear with minimal clothing. Once again, the soldiers wearing body armor and a full uniform probably do not feel it. Each strap is covered with 3 rows of webbing.
The main compartment is 18″ x 13″ x 5″. The dual zippers open up about 3/4 of the way, and the fabric is not too stiff, so getting gear inside the bag is easy. On the bottom there is a small drain hole covered by some kind of tough mesh, so nothing falls through. I don’t see how anything could fall through a 1/8″ hole. Maybe it’s there to keep bugs from getting inside the bag?… On the back of the main compartment there is a piece of fabric that makes room for the framesheet and some padding. This framesheet is very light, thin and flexible, and the padding is about 1/8″ thick. This design allows for the framesheet to bend, and contour to whatever is inside somewhat. This could be both, a curse and a blessing. I normally carry clothes, and soft food inside the main compartment, so there is nothing to poke me in the back. At the top, on each side of the carrying handle there are two slits covered by Velcroed flaps for a drinking tube from a bladder, or an antenna from a radio.
The ‘only’ pocket in the front of the main compartment is 11″ x 11″ 4″. There are two small pockets attached to this pocket. They are both protected by a Velcroed’ flap. These pockets are not very deep; about the only thing you can fit inside is a small book, or something similarly flat. I put my FM-21 Army Survival Manual inside the small inner pocket on the BOB. The large pocket closes with a zipper, and that’s covered with a flap. The flap can be cinched down with two straps on the front, and one on each side. My first generation Woodland BOB pack does not have the side cinch straps.
I purchased this rig with a MOLLE II Buttpack. The buttpack has both webbing and it’s own waist belt. It can be attached to the bottom of the Assault pack via the MOLLE straps, or worn alone. The buttpack measures 15″ x 6″ x 5″. It is almost round in cross-section. I rolled up my GI poncho, and poncho liner, and stuffed it inside the buttpack. I have a Marmot Trestles 15 sleeping bag, which is about the same size when rolled up and compressed. It too can be stuffed inside the buttpack instead of the ranger roll. The buttpack’s belt is the same as the Assault pack hip-belt. There are two cinch straps to compress anything inside. There is an extra set of ‘female’ buckles on the bottom of the Assault pack, so that you can attach extra gear like a sleeping mat, or a tent and tie it to the pack itself. These ‘extra’ buckles are actually used to attach the Assault pack to the main MOLLE II rifleman’s rucksack.
On the sides of the Assault pack there are 3 rows of webbing to attach MOLLE compatible equipment. I purchased two MOLLE canteen holders, and rigged them to both sides. I can use the canteen pouches for water, or to store extra gear. The lower side cinch strap goes across the canteen pouch, so it is convenient to compress whatever is inside.
I have used this pack a few times for short hikes, and it has served it’s purpose very well. Now that I have the smaller sleeping bag, and two canteen pouches, I will test it in the summer on 2-3 day camping trips. The overall construction and stitching seems to be good. I may have to reinforce some seams after a while; for now nothing has come apart or looks like it will.
Below are pictures of the Fist Generation MOLLE II Assault Pack in woodland camo. It’s used as my BOB. Notice the different shoulder straps and different attachment for the shoulder straps. There is no hip belt, or cinch straps on the sides. The large pocket has a draw cord closure instead of a zipper.