The ability to survive well and efficiently usually comes down to an individual having more brains than gear. However, even the most resourceful individual still needs to rely on quality gear. More importantly, one needs a place to keep it all accessible, available and well organized. The grizzly bear won’t wait for you to rummage through your pack for your bear spray. Being able to reach something quick and easy takes not only the packing skills of a great organizer but the organization provided by a great pack as well.
The Transport Modular Assault Pack is an organizer’s dream. The accordion-style construction adjusts to your needs with two compression straps, whether you need to carry just a little bit or if you have to pack in all 1,086 cubic inches of this pack’s space limits. The pack is made from 600-denier, water-repellent and abrasion-resistant polyester (denier is a measure of weight; the higher the denier, the higher the quality). It sits 18 inches tall by 10 inches deep when fully packed. The 9-inch-wide base fits squarely between the shoulder blades, allowing for full movement of both arms without the pack getting in the way. Empty, it tips the scales at 2.1 pounds.
All exterior seams are box stitched and the stress points are double stitched. The two straps and back pad are moisture-wicking mesh fabric. All of the zippers are double, protected by a retractable (folded) rain guard. The sternum and waist straps are made from high strength nylon and secured by buckles; both the well-padded shoulder straps (which are contoured to better fit the body) and horizontal straps fit this pack snugly and confidently to your back. It will not shift even under a heavy run. Two D-rings can hold readily accessible gear, while the 10 openings on the pack’s shoulder straps can accommodate a variety of things. Along both sides of the pack are 10 modular attachment webbings, and the handle is a double layer of reinforced nylon fabric. The bottom is equipped with two straps for affixing additional equipment such as a bedroll or rolled tarp, as well as six more attachment webbings.
The pack is equipped with four distinct and separate storage spaces as well as a space for a hydration bladder that can be used to carry other items if necessary. The bottom pocket is 9 by 7 inches and contains two smaller pockets for wallets or cell phones and a dangling plastic locking ring for keys. A small metal-ringed drainage hole at the bottom of the pocket will ensure no water remains trapped. The pocket above this one is smaller, approximately 6 by 3 inches and has a similar drainage hole at its bottom. On the exterior of this pocket is a hook and loop patch for adding a name tag or logos. There are also five nylon loops for additional equipment.
The outermost pocket runs the height of the pack but is only about 8 inches wide. It contains two pockets, one polyester and the other mesh. The zippers of the main pocket in the rear run the entire length of the pack, which allows the user to completely open the flap and access everything inside all at once. It is wide and deep enough to handle a 15-inch diagonal laptop or a wide range of other objects. There are no drainage holes for the main cargo area and the walls are made of polyester. There is a zippered pocket toward the top, a mesh pocket on the flap side, and an opening that serves to both expose the top of the hydration bladder and to route the tubes through right- or left-handed ports at the top of the pack. Those ports are kept closed with heavy-duty hook and loop tabs. The hydration bladder area is 15 by 8 inches and comes with a hook and loop strap so the bladder hangs from the top instead of slopping around at the bottom.
This is a versatile pack with unlimited storage options, whether you’re out for the day or stuck behind the lines for an unlimited amount of time. If a weakness were to be found, it’s in the stiffness of the zipper covers that fold over the zipper tracks for weatherproofing. They bind up the zipper, but in fair weather, they can be folded back to keep them out of the way.
The pack is rugged, well-built and will last a long time even if you don’t properly take care of it. It’s also available in black and camouflage.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the February 2015 print issue of American Survival Guide.