Friday, March 1, 2013

Review: Zombie Outbreak Hydro Bugout pack

Following on from my Zombie Outbreak Grunt Plate Carrier review, is another item in this line, again, thanks to Global Gear for sending them my way. This time I'll be showing you a daypack. This is the Hydro Bugout Backpack and here is what I can tell you about it:

Styled closely to that of the Maxpedition Typhoon or the Maxpedition Malaga from their Gearslinger range"

This is a smallish pack, measuring in at 30"W x46"H x 5"D with a storage capacity of 25L and happens to be loaded with features. One of the first things you notice about this pack is that it has some serious compression strap options. The front strap arcs over the top of the pack via two straps forming a v-shaped yoke over the front top external pouch, then connects to a webing strap that runs the whole length of the pack, with a Fastex style clip closing the two ends, and a D-ring pull toggle to assist in compression. The v-straps have sliders to adjust their tension as well.

The backside of the pack shows off the adjustable, and removable shoulder straps, a feature I really like, as it gives a whole new dimension to modularity and storage, carriage and orientation of the pack. At the top side of the straps, two close d-rings give a friction-feed closure to the shoulder straps, via the thick and heat-sealed webbing straps, before meeting the closed-cell padding of the harness. The front side of the shoulder straps feature more webbing, with PALS/MOLLE loops here and there, and more d-rings for attachment options. A light sternum strap, again removable, and can be relocated to best suit your needs.

The bottom of the shoulder straps is a more traditional tri-slide type buckle, but is seated on reinforced triangular flaps, giving a nice secure mount to the back, without pinching or pulling the pack. A wide belt with adjustable and removable straps finished off the mounting options. It's also good to note that the back is of a breathable mesh. The last notable feature of the back is the hydration bladder pocket, with a broad hook-and-loop closure and an internal webbing loop to hook a bladder to. I have had trouble fitting a 3L bladder in it, it simply isn't tall enough.

This is the top, front pocket, which is both surprisingly deep, and compressible, is a double sided zipper closing accessory pocket. The front of the pouch features a loop-field backing which has a single row of five channels of PALS/MOLLE loops. However, because of the stitching, only three of these rows are available. The loop field, being bisected by the MOLLE loop webbing, is only just wide enough to carry a nametape.

The front bottom pocket is even more spacious, holding my 1L Zombie Squad Nalgene bottle with plenty of space to each side, for more accessories. Again, as with the top pocket, it features twin zippers and deep sides, and has the main compression strapping running over the top of it. This poses something of a problem, as it limits the ability to get into the pocket to some extent. The front of the pocket features two of the same strips of PALS/MOLLE as the top pocket, this time backed with webbing bands instead of the loop fields of the top pocket. Two short compression straps mount to the bottom band, and allow you to really bind the pack, cinching it in tight.

This is the first and front of the two big internal compartments. It is a fully unzippable pocket, allowing it to be opened flat, and emptied fully, easily. You can see the utility pocket, with it's twin pen holders, and a single deep utility pocket. This is a good shot of the material used in the bag, it is a heavy, plasticized fabric, quite rugged, and whilst not a Cordura type of finish, it seems to hold up to wear well, and presumably adds some significant waterproofing.

The stitching is also clearly visible, and is of quite reasonable quality. The internal seems are all taped, which is great, as it lends considerable survivability to a pack like this, especially if things are constantly being stuffed in, and hauled out roughly...

Inside the second main compartments , which this time does not quite unzip all the way due to the bottom compression straps riding slightly over the base of the zipper, is deeper than the first compartment, and also has the additional bonus of two large pockets. The first sits against the back of the first compartment, and is made of mesh, and is deep enough to hold my iPad comfortably, and securely. The second is against the back of the pack itself, and is zipper closed, but only runs about a third of the depth of the pack, presumably to not eat into the hydration bladder space.

Here is the whole pack, stuffed full of blankets, books, bottles, clothes, and showing you the V-straps of the top compression straps, as well as the two additional single row, double channel PALS/MOLLE loops that are found on the side of the pack. The top seam also features webbing loops for dummy-cording or running a hydration bladder tube which I always like.

You can also see the drag-strap type of heavy rolled webbing handle at the top of the pack, and perhaps under that you can make out the mysterious elastic webbing square. I had initially thought this was the feed-hole cover for the hydration tube, but there was no slit for that purpose. It is also covering a square of loop-field, again, with no clear purpose that I can discern. A mystery, but not an unpleasant one.

Here is my typical load out, when I was teasing carrying it around. It packed quite nicely, and I was please with not only how each compartment filled out.

Lastly, I'll leave you with this: some might call the ultimate test of a daypack: here the Hydro Bugout is stuffed under my Virgin Australia Airbus 330 seat...

I like this little pack, it is well put together, full of features and carriage options. Certainly a good bug out bag option. I think I will be loading it up and putting it in a easily accessible location for the whole family.

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