In our reviews we cover a lot of great tactical gear. Ranging from EDC items to real steel downrange tools. Can you tell what’s missing? That’s right, something to help you haul around all that gear. So this time, for your carrying pleasure, we’ll be taking a closer look at a backpack that was released as a part of the “civilian look” line in 2016. I’m talking about the Tac Pack 22, supplied by our dear friends at Tasmanian Tiger.
Whenever you see the words “Tasmanian Tiger” and “backpack” written in the same sentence, you can be sure you are in for a treat. And this one is no different. We’ve had our share of TT products and were never left disappointed.
With its slender design, and minimum “military” features, it gives off the “civilian” look and helps the user to blend in while still providing the excellent experience that is Tasmanian Tiger. Its 22 Litre capacity is enough for those short range activities and with some experience and imagination it can haul a lot more.
Features that are a standard with Tasmanian Tiger packs, provide comfort and ease of use wearing, while some new ones add to the versatility. So let’s get it on.
AT FIRST GLANCE
The first thing that pops to mind when handling this pack is “wow, this is light”. The pack on it’s own weighs just under a kilo. Tasmanian Tiger is amongst other things famous for delivering maximum carrying capacity with minimum product weight. .
With some other packs on the market, you can immediately feel that the materials and stitching will not hold up to rigours of every day use for long. With Tasmanian Tiger, this is not the case as the backpack feels like a high quality product right off the bat.
SOME HARD FACTS
As stated above, the pack is very light, weighing just 930 g with the waist band attached. Its capacity is 22 L, measuring 50 x 25 x 15 cm. It features a padded back, three main compartments with two side pockets, waist band and sternum strap, two compression straps, a carry handle and is compatible with all hydration systems. There are two colour options available. All black and a two-tone combo of olive and coyote.
When producing hard hitting equipment, only the best materials are used. The pack features a healthy combination of 700D CORDURA® and T-square rip-stop nylon. Some elastic polyester fabric is added to make two side pockets and the extension for the outer stash pocket.
Zippers used are not from YKK, since they decided to switch to a Korean manufacturer named KANG JIN. No obvious markings. Nonetheless, they comply with DIN 3419 standards which guarantees high quality.
Buckles and hardware come from WOO JIN which is a Korean based company as well. Being one of the top manufacturers of such hardware like ITW and DURAFLEX, they use high quality POM (Polyoxymethylen) in the manufacturing process. A small WJ marking can be found somewhere on the bit.
As a standard with Tasmanian Tiger, all their items are built with precision and attention to detail. All stress points are reinforced either with multiple stitching and/or even extra material. There are very little exposed seams. The lines where multiple pieces of fabric join together are sewn together and reinforced with a strip of soft webbing. This extends the lifetime of the product greatly, as with constant use these points get damaged quite often. No loose edges that could be a fraying problem are present. The only one is just from the reinforcement fabric for the hydration system tube exit. No potential for fraying as it’s hidden away inside the top construction.
ON THE OUTSIDE
Starting at the top, first we notice the carry handle. It’s nicely padded and wrapped in a non-slip material. Securely attached to the pack with extra reinforcement material on the inside. Definitely not a weak spot.
Moving along, the pack features two zippered compartments and one half-zippered stuff pocket. This pocket can be unzipped, revealing triangular elastic polyester material. Closed by the means of a single webbing strap and buckle, it creates a very versatile pocket.
Lower on this pocket, there are two single rows of laser cut loops, which accept all kinds of attachment systems like MOLLE, PALS, MALICE, and such. True dimensions of the cuts always pleasing. A small drainage hole is present on the bottom.
Moving to the sides, they each feature one elastic polyester pocket. Reinforced with more elastic and webbing pull tabs, they easily hold a 1 L sized Nalgene bottle. They also feature a small hole reinforced with extra elastic on the lowest corner. Small details, huge difference. Looking like drainage holes but hey, they can serve that purpose too.
Above these pockets, the backpack offers two compression straps, one on each side, closed with a plastic buckle. This is a much appreciated feature as it helps secure the load inside perfectly. Their use extends to the outside too as they can serve several roles.
Coming back up to the shoulder straps, they seem very well built into the pack. When inspecting the attachment point, you can feel the bulk of multiple stitching with some extending to the outside. It’s safe to assume these shoulder straps will not fail easily.
Running down again on the shoulder straps, we come across the plastic “delta-ring”. One on each shoulder. Usually used for the hydration system tube retention it can also be used for much more. Webbing stitched together with the padding will hold it in place.
Even lower we find the sternum strap. It’s placed on the main webbing which is free to move for about 15 cm. This allows the strap to be moved up and down and maximise comfort. It can also be removed all together. The strap itself features a double elastic strip underneath the webbing for even more comfort.
The elastic is soft enough to ensure perfect fit and allow unobstructed breathing, but yet hard enough for the strap to do what it’s there for. With some other brands, when wearing a full pack, you have to tighten the strap so much, the elastic serves no purpose. It’s details like this that separate companies like Tasmanian Tiger from many other wannabee hard use gear manufacturers.
The padding ends in a narrowing to fit the main strap. Some extra stitching and a nice fabric logo are added. No pointy bits to rub against your body.
Right next to these ends we can find the waist band attachment points. The waist band is constructed of two separate pieces and the back of the pack. It’s attached with hook and loop and is completely removable. When removed, the two opposite sides of hook and loop which used to hold the waist band fit together, closing the hole shut. Stiffened with a plastic insert, you can expect the waist band to always hold it’s form. They each feature a different detail which makes organisation of items easier. The one on your left, features a zippered mesh pocket over the surface with some extra material to store bulkier items. The one on your right is sewn to the waist strap on four points, thus creating three loops for various attachment possibilities. It’s closed together with a slightly bigger buckle than the rest. Some elastic is added to the strap to secure the loose ends. Also when removed, you can add a belt of your choosing as the hole goes all the way through.
Ending this section with the back, it features the Padded Back Carrying System. It’s plastic stiffener panel is split into three parts. The outer parts holding the raised padding while the middle strip provides overall shape and support. All together combined with the mesh fabric hold most of the surface away from your body, contouring to it’s shape and as mentioned, provide excellent air flow.
ON THE INSIDE
Now let’s have a look inside. The first fully zippered compartment features two mesh pockets, also closed with a zipper.
These pockets are big enough for storing various items ranging from smaller comms to gloves, survival kits, etc. They are perfect for organising smaller items that would just get messed up if shoved in one big compartment, while the mesh construction provides easy overview of their contents. While the compartments in a whole is quite shallow, it can still fit some soft items like winter caps and gloves when the mesh pockets have been filled.
The divider made of water resistant polyester, creates another “stuff sack” style compartment, which reaches way down to the bottom. Even though it’s usually meant for hydration systems, it too can serve multiple roles. The top edge is elastic and fits tightly over whatever is placed in there.
Above this divider, at the very top of the main compartment, you can find the hydration system attachment points. It features hook and loop strips and a simple loop. With these you can securely attach any kind of hydration system on the market and more.
In the testing period, we used the pack in various situations. Ranging from adrenaline park instructor duty and two day hiking trips to every day carry, we found that with some practice and imagination you can mate it work in any and all circumstances.
We found the pack to be extremely comfortable to carry, even when overloaded. Since the capacity is 22 L, you have to hang some of the gear on the outside. Not a problem, since the two compression straps and the carry handle provide enough attachment points for elastic cordage. The two laser cut molle points allow you to add an external pouch for even more room.
If you’re a “being prepared is a good thing” kind of person like me, you’ll want to bring some extra stuff. This will make you pack with some care but other than that, you shouldn’t have any problems on short range activities. Better to bring it and not need it, than needing it but not bringing it.
Quickly, i’d like to mention the only thing that bothered me personally, if only for a short while. It was the first compartment with two mesh pockets, we talked about earlier. While the whole arrangement is superb, the zipper tabs are very small. And with no zipper pulls i had quite a problem manipulating them with cold hands and finding them in the dark. So i quickly made some zipper pulls out of hi-viz paracord. Easier to handle and quickly check if all pockets are closed in low light.
Continuing inward to the main compartment, there are a few things to mention. Even though it’s just one big hole and a divider, it can still be used to organise the items. Naturally, when loading it you just need to pay attention to what you want to put in there and the order you might need it. With this in your mind, you can stuff unbelievable amounts of gear inside. While the packing in the image is just for a random few hours long photo shoot, there was still room for a hoodie and a few t-shirts if needed.
The divider can be used to hang lighter items like flashlights, knives, coms, etc. The compartment it creates, can fit a 15″ laptop. This being the maximum size of the laptop, as it’s a tight squeeze, but it could work. The hydration system attachment point can be used to hold smaller pouches or anything that can be hung on a small carabiner.
The outer most pocket is truly an awesome one. Being 1/3 elastic, it can fit bulkier items with ease. The webbing closure on top secures the load perfectly. Just unzip, stuff it in, close the buckle and tighten. We found that a bicycle helmet with goggles is the pockets maximum, there was still some room on the bottom and inside the actual helmet.
The back being all mesh and foam feels just right. In my opinion this is one of few backpacks that don’t cause my whole back to sweat during physical activities.
Returning back to the waist band, i must say it’s a welcome addition. The strap itself doesn’t look like much, it’s sufficient. If nothing else, it helps secure the backpack to the users back. And with its pocket and webbing attachment points it expands your carrying capacity even further.
The flaps sit near your back, so you have to reach for them and mostly do it by feel. Some might say this is a bad thing, but we would say otherwise. In this position, the items that are carried there are safe from you rolling over them when in a prone position. This means they are perfect for storing sensitive items like GPS and cell phones.
When the shoulder straps are under load, their lower attachment points help hold the waist strap in position/close to your body even if it’s not buckled. A brilliant design feature further proving that people at Tasmanian Tiger know what they are doing.
The points where the sternum strap is attached can also be used for more than they seem. The main piece of webbing there is free from the padding, thus allowing the sternum strap to slide up and down for perfect fit. The build quality ensures that all stitching will hold, so you can use these points to attach a separate pouch to store your “immediate access” items like camera lenses or tools. Or just attach a flashlight. The options are for you to choose.
In conclusion i would definitely recommend this pack to anyone looking for a small sized short range pack. Its design helps the user keep a lower profile (in all meanings of the word) while still allowing over loading if the need arises. An excellent all around civilian looking backpack with “tactical” features that let it be right on the line between the two worlds. Intuitive placement of compartments, all of which providing with more options that first meets the eye. With the price tag hanging around the 120 EUR mark, it’s definitely not the cheapest pack on the market. But with Tasmanian Tiger the investment is well worth it as it will serve you for many years to come.
WHERE TO BUY?
The Tasmanian Tiger Tac Pack 22 is available from their authorised dealers which you can find here: http://en.tasmaniantiger.info/dealers/