Friday, 1 Aug 2008

Piper Gear Long Range Bugout bag
Rating 4 of 5 stars
Design internal frame bag
Size extra large
Number of Pockets 6
Max. Load Carried untested
Price Paid $76
Pack Weight 6 lbs
Total size 4400-5550 (expanded)

Long Range Bugout bag is created by Sandpiper of California (PiperGear.com). They make various sports bags as well as travel packs, and “bugout bags”. I snagged a used Long Range Bag on eBay last week for testing and reviewing purposes.

This bag is huge, no wonder they call it the Long Range bag. Like most suitcases, there is a zipper in the back that compresses additional 3.5″ of fabric, which adds 1116 cu/in to the main compartment. Unexpanded this pack is around 4400 cubic inches. Expanded it is around 5550 cubic inches. Because of its ‘square’ design, and expandable feature, the Long Range bag reminds me of a travel suitcase. In fact there are two carry handles, and a zippered back compartment to put away the shoulder straps. This can be handy if you fly with this pack, or travel via public transportation. Material is 1000-Denier Cordura, ACU color pattern. Stitching seems pretty good, however the metal carabiner attachments at the end of shoulder straps seem flimsy for the kind of weight you can carry in this pack. The bottom attachment points for the shoulder straps could use reinforcing.

The main compartment has a back panel to hold your hydration bladder, and there is an exit hole for the water tube. There are also two horizontal and one vertical cinch strap with buckles to hold clothes or gear in place. Useful feature in any suitcase or travel bag. Unexpanded, main compartment measures 22″ x 14.5″ x 10″; if you expand it, the depth becomes 13.5″. This adds up to around 3190 cu/in unexpanded, and 4306 cu/in expanded. Since this bags shape is not all perfect squares, actual size is probably a little less. Dual zippers open about 2/3 of the opening, which makes it easy to get in and out. Because the fabric is not so stiff, it is easy to pull back the front, and stack clothes and gear neatly inside.

In front of the main compartment there is a large pocket that measures 20″ x 11″ x 4″. Inside there are two zippered mesh pockets sewn in. Once again, the dual zippers open about 2/3 of the way, which makes it easy to get inside this pocket. There is a document compartment in front of this large pocket for maps or a large notebook. It is not very deep, so stacking multiple books probably will not work.

In the very front there is an organizer pocket with MOLLE webbing. Two pouches sewn into the back panel, and multiple pouches sewn into the front. This compartment reminds me of a school backpack. A lot of small pockets for pens notebooks, business cards, etc. I wish it had larger dividers for medium sized flashlight, or other field gear. Check out the pictures to see what I mean… This pocket is 11.5″ x 11″ x 2.5″. All things considered, I like packs with several pockets to keep me organized. The old-school ALICE packs and similar rucksacks are a pain in the ass for organizing gear.

On one size of the pack, there are two small zippered compartments that measure 4″ x 5.5″ x 2″. On the other side there are two more pockets. One is 10″ x 4″ x 2″, the other is 8″ x 4″ x 2″. Because this bag is so deep, I cannot envision adding additional pouches to the MOLLE panel in the front. This bag is deep enough by itself to not be the most balanced pack around. Expanded it’s huge, with additional pouches, one could easily fall backward. On each side there are two external compression straps that go around the main compartment. There are also four D-rings sewn to the bottom to add a sleeping bag, tent or other gear using tie-down straps. There are two alumium main-stays to give this pack vertical support. They are removable, and very sturdy. I think the top 8-10 inches need to be bent by hand to fit a wearer’s back. Right now this pack is very straight, and not as comfortable as it could be. This is an easy fix for anyone, and would make the overall fit more comfortable.

The shoulder straps are 3″ wide, and almost 3/4″ thick. They have “grippy” rubberized fabric on the bottom to stick to your body and not slide off. These straps curve to fit a body’s contour, and make wearing the pack more comfortable. I am disappointed with the hip belt. It is not nearly wide enough, and does not have enough padding to properly support the kind of weight you can carry. If I am to use this pack in the field, I will have to retrofit a hip belt from the US Army MOLLE pack. The MOLLE hip belt has padding all the way around the waist, and it is much wider. I beleive Piper designed this pack to be a dual function travel bag/shoulder pack. If it had been designed purely as a backpack, I think the hip belt would be wider and thicker. There are loops to hang additional pouches from the hip belt, and the shoulder straps.

If you are comfortable wearing large packs on your back, the Long Range Bugout bag is a decent option. With some minor modifications, and sewing, it can be made into a reliable all-purpose bug-out pack. In my personal experience, it is easy to stuff too much stuff into your rucksack, and never use it in the field. There is definitely merit in ‘lighter is better’ school of thought. If you need to pack everything you can think of for a long camping trip, the Long Range bag is a viable solution.


5 Responses to “Piper Gear Long Range Bugout bag”

  1. dmitry Says:

    I forgot to add that a name tag and an accessory carabiner are included.

  2. Brock Hileman Says:

    That is a nice bag, the way airlines are today checking luggage is a poor option. If you can take everything as a carry on your definately money ahead.

  3. Edwin McKinney Says:

    I have found this bag to be very useful. It is a BIG bag…almost too big. However, when you are packing for long range it is best to have plenty than not enough. As far as a quick grab bag, this is not it. A 3 day bug out bag would be better for that. Overall, this bag is a great bag and I would recommend it to anyone.

  4. Ed Says:

    This bag is more for hiking, camping and military… It is awesome… I have had mine for about 3 years now and I am looking for an identical one at the moment since it is really worn out, I have used mine in extreme conditions (military, hiking) and I can tell you it is well worth the money…. It can expand as needed or you can use it as a small backpack.. very nice…

    [Edit: Are you commenting on the right bag? The Piper Long Range is pretty huge, and not the most comfortable for hiking… -Dmitry]

  5. Justin Says:

    I am in the military, and I had the unfortunate opportunity to carry this bag for 36 hours up in the mountains of Afghanistan. It is huge! That is why our team picked them up. We had food, batteries, water, ammo, surveillance equipment, survival items, and cold weather gear to last us 3 days. Keep in mind I was wearing body armor under this pack. That is not what bothered us. The shoulder straps roll up, and dig into your shoulders. The internal frame doesnt stabilize the pack. The compression straps don’t tighten enough to keep the bag from flopping around on your back. The waist belt ripped out of the bag! Lets just say I couldnt wait to get it off my back. Now I know what your gonna say. This bag wasnt built for these conditions! I had a bugout 3 day. I used that pack every day in Iraq, still have to this day. So yes the company can build great stuff. This bag wasnt designed for what I used it for. A LONG RANGE BAG!! haha If your a serious outdoorsman, who appreciates good gear. Then, DO NOT purchase this bag.

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