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Back Packs & Bags

Back Packs & Bags

Top 10 Backpacking Backpacks

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Choosing from amongst the truly thousands of different options when it comes to backpacks is never easy. While most of us believe having endless choices mean we have more and more options when it comes to picking a bag, the fact of the matter is that all of these different configurations and unique features serve to paralyze us from choosing the ideal back. Every time we learn about a new restrictive feature that one bag has that another doesn’t, we are left with a tough decision to make – and when you find that feeling multiplied by hundreds or even thousands of different choices things can get overwhelming quickly.

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Camping Gear Reviews

PARATUS 3 DAY OPERATOR’S PACK REVIEW – PRACTICAL MILITARY GRADE BUG OUT BAG

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9.2tech score

 

I was a bit skeptical ordering a pack from 3V Gear as it was a relatively unknown manufacturer, at least, to me.

After unboxing this great pack, a few things did stand out from other packs – it felt unbelievably rugged, it has a modular design as well as there was ample room to stack 3-5 days worth of bug out gear.

I acquired this pack for using it as Getting Home Backpack for my car, but it can also be used for camping/backpacking and as a Bug Out Bag. I love to attach additional MOLLEs with it for extra space.

Another reason is that I like to categorize my gear in modules. Therefore, it is easier for me to learn where certain objects are, unlike the casual day packs where all of them are just shoved in one big hole.

 CONSTRUCTION AND FEATURES

The build quality is excellent, featuring 600 denier nylon as well as double stitching all over the pack. I’ve filled it with 55 lbs of gear and bugged out many times with it.

It was comfortable plus the straps adjusted sufficiently, but anything beyond that and I’d personally look for a lightweight alternative which includes chest straps, internal frame, and beefier throw away pads.

It also didn’t ride being a backpacking pack where a few of the weight is distributed towards the hips: most of the weight seemed to lay on the shoulders. That said, it sat high enough so that it was still comfy and snug.

I’ve flown with this bag with the MOLLE pouches as well as bottom bag removed. I also noticed on a few of the longer hikes; the waist band loosens up after a few years. Not a deal killer whatsoever, but a small annoyance.

I was searching for a BOB/Vehicle/Stuff for all my bug out gear. It keeps eating my gear with room for a lot more. The material is high quality.

Overall, this is a killer deal for a high-quality bug out bag. If you are considering a bug out backpack in your trunk or for a weekend camping/ brief hiking backpack, this pack is tough to beat. It’s also all too easy to attach a rolled sleeping bag towards the top using the previous straps.

I’ve loaded it out using a sleeping bag, bivy sack, clothes and all the essentials for a three day overnight trip and still had free space left!

DESIGN

One of several selling points of this bug out bag is the particular modular design. As I initially ordered that, I questioned the usefulness of the two MOLLE pouches. After playing around with the punches, one side pouch turned into a designated medical bag plus the other pouch in shape for a 16oz s/s travel mug at the end with a 320z Nalgene bottled sitting inside.

With a tiny wiggling, I was able to get the zipper to close sufficiently to store the particular bottle. Without the cup at the end, it’s a fantastic fit.

On the topic of hydration, in the main compartment, there is a large pocket for your hydration bladder as well as a tight opening for your tube right below the center carry handle. The pocket has no hook, but I did not experience any major issues with this particular bladder while bugging out.

CUSTOMIZATION

BUILD YOUR BOOK OF ELI’S BUG OUT BAG AND PREP UP FOR A POST-APOCALYPTIC WORLD

Detachable fanny-pack is certain to get more use than imaginable. Stuff essentials in the removable pack, in fact, it is always ready to be broken away from the main compartment. You can leave this pack back in the camp, or leave it within the car for a brief hike. Paracord freezer handles make access in and out more smooth. And the internal pocket in addition to dividers keeps you much more organized than some file cabinet.

For the sagging waist pack, here’s a great solution…

Attach little bunnies that we connected through the fabric section of the alternate strap position on the waist pack. You then connect it to every ring located over the rest of the backpack and also connect it to the loops besides the most notable handle.
Black bunnies with a spiral wire cover give you another storage option. I furthermore put bow string wax around the bunnies to repel normal water, but that’s optional.

The backpack comes with a waist padding and also sternum strap. If you wish to know how much it is possible to stuff this bug out backpack, here is what I put inside –

  • A couple of MREs
    A Couple of Underpants
    A Couple of Shirts
    2 Couple of Shorts
    2 Couple of Socks
    A pair of Mini Vaseline
    2 Toothbrush w/ Toothpaste
    2 Shemaghs
    5 Tactical Ponchos
    12 AA Battery packs
    A Bunch of Cotton Balls
    A Deodorant
    First Aid Kit
    Bivvy Sack
    Multi-Tool
    A Deck of cards
    LED Flashlight
    Esbit 3-Piece Light-weight Anodized Aluminum Camping Cookset
    iPhone
    Toothpaste
    Nail Clippers
    Aquamira Frontier Emergency Water Filter System
    CamelBak 90352 Omega Water Reservoir, 3 Litres
    My Oakley Glasses
    Emergency Food Bars 2400+ Calories
    Mountain House, Beef Stroganoff with Noodles
    Canteen
    Multi-Blade Utensil Tool
    Outdoor First aid Kit
    Schrade SCHKM1 Large Full Tang Fixed Blade Kukri Machete
    The Schrade Machete has been my staple for years. It is brutal, ruthless and cut anything at will.

Wow, that was a lot of items on this list! I might’ve forgotten some stuff since I am too lazy to evaluate every detail.

Guess what, despite having all those objects I listed up top there exists STILL MORE ROOM TO PACK FAR MORE STUFF.

I’d highly advocate this backpack if you are willing to fit its MOLLEs to good use!

  • PROS

    • Rugged, quality bug out bag.
    • Modular design is actually useful.
    • Hydration bladder suits well, despite the hole for your drinking tube staying extremely snug.
    • Not just a rugged pack but ingeniously designed as well. Other packs claim to be MOLLE’s, but the Paratus takes it to a whole new level.
    • Great value for money.

    CONS

    • Not created for prolonged hiking (heavier, deficiency of chest straps, frame and skimpy middle pads).
    • Midsection band loosens upward frequently and paracord zipper laces come down easily.
    • The waist pack is detachable that’s great but that sags and hangs.
    • I’ve also had some of the paracord laces around the zippers come off- all to easy to remedy, but yet again somewhat annoying.

I’d highly advocate this backpack if you are willing to fit its MOLLEs to good use!This specific beast can carry much stuff. I compounded a couple of smaller 72 hours kits into this one pack and received room to extra. With the MOLLE devices, you could stack so much stuff onto this thing which you couldn’t stand in place while wearing it.

 

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Back Packs & BagsTechnology

O.P. Sak Odor Proof Barrier Bag Review

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9.5tech score

Information about the O.P. Sak Odor Proof Barrier Bag

Description, year of manufacturer and MSRP: O.P. Sak Odor Proof Barrier bags were manufactured by Watchful Eye Designs in 2004. The barrier bags are a superior zip lock bag, well they are a polyethylene bag with a patented zip-lock type closure. According to the literature supplied with the bags, the O.P. Saks have identical seals to the ALOKSAK bags (also manufactured by Watchful Eye Designs.) What distinguishes these bags is the barrier film applied to the O.P. Saks. According to Linda Kennedy of Watchful Eye Designs, the film applied to the O.P. Saks is not as durable as that applied to the ALOKSAK. Three O.P. SAK Barrier Bags (12.5″ X 15.5″) have suggested retail price of $10.59 US and three O.P. SAK Barrier Bags (9″ X 6″) have suggested retail price of $7.49 US.

Weights and Measurements: No weights are listed on the manufacturer’s website. My weights, as weighed on my Arlec digital kitchen scales are 0.95 oz (27 g) for the 12.5″ x 15.5″ bag and 0.25 oz (7 g) for the 9″ x 6″ bag. The manufacturer’s measurements are 9″ x 6″ (229 mm x 152 mm) and 12.5″ x 15.5″, (318 mm x 394 mm) respectively. My measurements are 9″ x 6″ (229 mm x 152 mm) and 12.5″ x 16″ (318 mm x 407 mm) respectively.

My Experience Using the O.P. Sak Odor Proof Barrier Bag in the Field

Testing Location Overview: The hiking environment of the southwest of Western Australia allows for hiking and backpacking from coastal plains to the forest. Elevation ranges from 0 to 585 meters . Within this region, I hike in different situations from forestry roads to sandy tracks to single-purpose walking trails, to rock hopping, to beach walking to completely off- driving through an open and dense country.

Weather Conditions: During the summer period, daytime temperatures average 30 C (86F), whereas from March through to December the daytime average temperatures range from 15C to 26C (59F to 79F). During the autumn, winter, & spring periods the typical weather model is relatively wet with frequent heavy rainstorms evident.

According to The Times Atlas of the World, our weather is described as being “Mediterranean – rainy climates with mild winters, coolest month above 0C (32 F), but below 18C (64 F); warmest month above 10 C (50 F).” The atlas depicts the seaside area north of Los Angeles as having the same climate.

Field experience:

Since posting my Initial Report on March 2004, I have used the O.P. Saks on two-weekend bush walks, numerous day walks and as food storage bags between walks. The two-weekend bush walks have seen me camping at Long Point and Swamp Oak campsites, both on the Bibbulmun Track and both known for rodent visitors. The campsites provided me with an opportunity to leave rubbish in the O.P. Saks which were exposed overnight to see if any residents found the contents of interest. In summary, I have not experienced any attacks on the substance. That said, my experience with the Saks has been variable, and this is discussed in the context of the manufacturer’s claims below. Watchful Eye Designs make four specific claims in respect of the O. P. Saks. They are:

That the bags are liquid & air tight. The bags are certified 100% leak proof to 200′ (61 m) under water or 300′ (67 m) depending on what literature is referred to;

  1. that the bags are durable and safe;
  2. fully recyclable;
  3. soft-sided; quiet and shatterproof.

My experience in respect of these claims is outlined below:

Claim 1: That the bags are liquid and air tight. The bags are certified 100% leak proof to 200′ (61 m) under water or 300′ (67 m) depending on what literature is referred to.

First and foremost as outlined in my Initial Report, for this claim to be valid, the O.P. Saks need to be sealed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, i.e., a small amount of air has to be trapped inside the bag, and the zipper completely sealed ensuring no kinks or bends in the seal.

My initial at home testing in the sink quickly proved the importance of following these instructions! It seems, based on my experience, that leaving that small amount of air trapped inside the Sak is important. Similarly, based on my knowledge on the weekend bushwalk to Long Point campsite it is important to not only seal the Sak correctly but also to be reasonable regarding the amount material placed in the bag.

On that walk, on a Friday night I had filled one large Sak with various food items and had sealed the bag I believe by the instructions. However, upon arriving at the Long Point campsite and unpacking my pack, I found that the Sak had burst open at the seal.

No damage to the Sak was evident. I can only put this down to one of three things: (a) incorrectly sealed by me; (b) overfilled or (c) the Sak did not seal as per the manufacturer’s claims. I suspect the cause of the problem was that I overfilled the Sak as I have since taken care to no more than 3/4 fill the Saks and have not managed a repeated burst.

My second test with the O.P. Saks has been to place some food rubbish in them and then leave them “outside” overnight at both the Long Point and Swamp Oak campsites. Experience has shown that Bibbulmun Track campsites have become known to the local native rodent population as well stocked supermarkets. Both campsite registers also indicated recent rodent activity.

I am pleased to report that on both occasions, upon checking on the following morning I was not able to ascertain any evidence of rodent interest. That said, it should be noted that no human residents of the huts reported any rodent activity either, which doesn’t mean there wasn’t any, but this may have been the case.

My third test of the O.P. Sak’s claim of being air tight has been too full one Sak with freshly purchased nuts and one Sak with an opened packet of water crackers. Both Saks were filled in March and have had their contents consumed over the field test period. In fact, the Sak containing the nuts has been refilled on occasion as it has been used as my trail Scroggin. My experience has been that the Saks have been very effective at keeping both the nuts and crackers fresh, suggesting a good air tight seal as claimed.

In summary, overall I am happy with the performance of the O.P. Sak’s air tight seals to date.

Claim 2: That the bags are durable and safe.

In respect of the “safe” claim, I can’t comment as I am not qualified nor am I am undertaking tests to ascertain whether any leeching or other harmful effects are taking place. That said, I have stored food in the Saks, and I have consumed food stored in the Saks and I have not experienced any known adverse effects at this point.

Durability is another matter. I took the claim of durability as implying that the Saks would be ok to fill with food and store directly in my backpack or day pack as desired. It seems, in light of the further comment by Watchful Eye Designs, that my idea of durability may not be correct. It appears that while the Saks may not need treating with “kid gloves” some “reasonable care” is required. I have now moved to using my Saks inside a nylon stuff sack with the intention of providing some protection from the rough and tumble of life inside my packs.

After using the supplied Saks over the Field test period of two months, I have one large Sak which I find hard to seal and this same large Sak and one small Sak showing great signs of wear including holes. I no longer consider either Sak functional as designed.

While I accept that these are “plastic” bags, the manufacturer has made claims of durability. I may have interpreted those claims unreasonably; however, I would suggest that Watchful Eye Designs more clearly spells out its claims of sustainability and considers providing care and use instructions.

I have also exposed the large Sak which is no longer okay to use to the washing machine as the bag is claimed to be “reusable” and throwing it in the wash seemed a good way to clean it. Maybe that was not a good idea! Again, clear care instructions would be beneficial in my opinion.

For the remainder of the testing, I intend to enclose any Saks used in my packs inside nylon stuff sacks to reduce the risk of damage.

Claim 3: Fully recyclable.

I inadvertently made a misleading statement in the Initial Report on the issue of recyclability. The large O. P. Saks do have a recycling symbol on them which is contrary to my original comments. The small Saks, however, lack the recycling symbol. The recycling code on the fat Saks is Four (4). Unfortunately, my local council’s recycling program will only accept plastics coded One (1) and Two (2), so the damaged or unusable Saks are destined for the rubbish.

Claim 4: Soft-sided; quiet and shatterproof.

Well that the bags are soft-sided, they are as quiet in my view as are other “plastic” bags when crunched and I have not shattered one as yet, so I guess at this point these claims are sustained.

Concluding comments:

Overall I am happy with my experience with the Watchful Eye Designs O. P. Saks. That said I am less than fascinated with their durability but will be taking greater care for the remainder of the test. I do like these Saks, and I am impressed with the evidence I have to date of their abilities against rodents. Something I find particularly useful!

 

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