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Old February 3rd, 2016, 21:02   #2
Bravo One-Six
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Join Date: Oct 2001
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The Pack

Your pack is one of the most important items you will select. It is not an easy decision, and the market is filled with great options. Don’t be surprised if your first pack doesn’t quite fit your needs and you identify key features you’re looking for or could do without. Chances are, this won’t be your last pack purchase.

Things You Should Consider
  • Volume
    • Typically, a suitable 3 Day Pack has a volume between 30 and 45 litres. Less than that and you may not be able to fit all your equipment. If it’s greater, you may fill it with items that aren’t necessary.
  • Empty Weight
    • The weight of the empty ruck must be factored into your total load weight.
  • Load Transfer / Suspension System
    • Does the pack have a hip belt? Do you need one? Do you need an internal or external frame to help with structure and weight transfer?
  • External Features
    • Does the pack have PALS webbing on the outside to attach additional pouches if needed? Does the pack have straps that allow you to attach sleeping pads and sleep rolls so they can be stored externally?
  • Internal Features
    • How much organization do you need in your pack? Are there pockets for hydration or electronics?
  • Design of Openings
    • How the pack opens can be important to consider. Does the pack have a clam shell opening or does it just zip at the top? Is it a roll top? Three Zip? Does it have additional access points on the sides or bottom? These can be important when needing to access items located at different points in the main compartment.

Below is a list of the packs used by contributors for this article. The recommendations section contains why they chose the pack they use.
  • HG3D (High Ground Gear)
  • 3DAP (Mystery Ranch)

  • HG3D Pack by High Ground Gear (Sean)
My needs for a 3 Day Pack were pretty well defined and this helped greatly in selecting a pack. I wanted a pack around the 40L mark. My experience was that anything smaller wouldn’t hold all the equipment required for 48 hours. I also needed a pack that would support the 30-35lbs I expected to be carrying, so a suspension system was important. I didn’t want the pack to be too heavy on it’s own and eat into my 30-35lbs limit. The pack had to have good access points for the main compartment to allow me to get at gear quickly. I wanted something with organizational capability such as separate compartments for hydration and small items, and attachment points on the exterior for sleeping gear. PALS webbing was a nice to have so that extra pouches could be attached. The HG3D met my requirements coming in at 40L and 5lbs. It also had a few additional features that I’ve found useful.
  • It has dedicated hydration and comms routing ports that lead to zippered channels on the shoulder straps. These channels keep the cables and hoses from getting hung up on foliage or other gear.
  • It has two entry points into the main compartment, one each at the top and bottom. This has allowed me to get at shelter gear without pulling out all my layers or mission equipment.
  • The beaver tail on the pack allows for storage of a helmet or other items that you may want quick access to.
    High Ground Gear put in place a quick release system that detaches the pack from the waist belt, leaving you with a battle belt.
  • It also comes with a separate insert that rides along on the pack that fills the gap on the belt when the pack is removed. Essentially you carry extra gear on the insert and strap it in for a mission after you’ve dropped your pack. There is a lot of potential here but I’ve found the system a little challenging so far. More practice may resolve this.
For me the Mystery Ranch 3 Day Assault Pack comes at the end of a fairly long line of different packs. Some of the first packs I used were from offshore tactical companies like Condor or civilian companies like Osprey. While those packs served their purpose, they never served it well when it came to Milsim applications. In my search for the right pack I tried out packs from LBT, Tactical Tailor, Eberlestock and more. While they were certainly an improvement, none of them quite met my needs in a pack.

Enter the Mystery Ranch 3DAP. Mystery Ranch builds their packs based on the combined knowledge from years of mountaineering and pack construction with direct input from tactical real world users. That means they aren’t cutting corners when it comes to features or materials in their product. The end result is something comfortable and highly functional.
The primary features I was looking for in a pack were as follows:
  • Scalable: As a tall guy, many ‘one size fits all’ packs were simply too small for me. I needed a pack with an adjustable yoke and a sized waist belt.
  • Compressible: I wanted a pack could easily carry a full loadout, while not looking like a bag of dicks when only partially filled. This meant it needed compression straps to cinch down the load.
  • Comfortable: Many packs I’d tried failed to strike the balance between padding, weight, and proper distribution of the load.
  • Practical: Many packs I’d tried had features that simply weren’t needed, or poorly implemented. I wanted something simple and user friendly.

Clocking in at just shy of 33L the 3DAP is one of the smaller packs I’ve used for 24-48 OPs. Surprisingly, I’ve never run out of room to the point something important was left behind. The downfall of many packs in this category in my opinion is too many compartments of 500-1000D cordura. These compartments are useful for organization, but are rarely filled all the way and they add a good deal of weight to the pack. This results in a heavier pack with wasted space inside it. All the compartments in the MR 3DAP are contained within the main body of the pack, and separated by mesh or light nylon. This means partially filled pockets don’t waste space. Additionally, the Tri Zip design allows for the pack to be loaded (and more importantly unloaded) in a very efficient manner. Finally the numerous compression straps allow many bulkier items to attach the the exterior of the pack, saving room inside for the essentials.

"Solving an imaginary world's contrived and over dramatic problems... 6 millimeters at a time."

Last edited by Bravo One-Six; February 3rd, 2016 at 21:45..
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