Before I dive into this review of the Blue Force Gear Tracer Pack, I should give some context for my time with Blue Force Gear Dap Packs. I have been using their packs going all the way back before 2012 in their original line of Dapper compatible packs. I still have and use a Micro Dap Pack and Skye Dap Pack.
In the intervening years, Blue Force Gear discontinued their packs with the larger models being the first to go. They continued making their hook backed pouches in the Dapper line until the recent reintroduction of the Dap pack line to include the redesigned Jedburgh and finally, a new large Dap Pack, the all new Tracer.
The full panel loading Tracer Pack was designed to be an EDC/Travel/Office pack with a heavy dose of tactical stirred into the mix. The exterior appearance is fairly “low profile” though it does have a loop field and MOLLE compatible panel.
The straps are straight and thin but well padded. The rear of the pack is stiffened with a thin HDPE frame sheet so the pack holds its shape under a load and items don’t dig into your back.
It weighs in at 2.5 pounds and has 36 liters of capacity. That capacity is spread over the large main compartment with laptop sleeve, a front admin pouch, and a top stash pouch.
The Tracer Pack also feature distinctive and easy to grasp rubber zipper pulls. A very comfortable and grippy grab handle that is textured rubber over webbing so it is bull strong and two tweave water bottle pockets.
The interior back of the main compartment is completely lined for use with Dappers. The interior front of the main compartment is mostly lined as is the back of the front admin pouch.
Observations from Use
The Tracer Pack has been serving as my travel and EDC pack for almost 3 months now. That includes 2 full cross-country trips via air. It still looks mostly new which is not a surprise given how BFG builds these packs. The quality is excellent with great materials and attention to detail.
There is a lot to like in this pack. I especially like BFG’s use of tweave material. The water bottle pockets are excellent. They are deep and tightly retain bottles up to 32 ounce Nalgene diameter. They thoughtfully tapered the opening so it is lower on one side which makes bottles easy to retrieve. BFG also backed the upper stash pocket with tweave which allows it to stretch a bit when stuffing with oversized items.
I also like the use of BFG’s MOLLEminus to reduce the visual signature of the MOLLE field on the front of the pack. Most people wouldn’t know that they were looking at which helps the pack blend in a bit.
The fact that this is a panel loader makes great sense. It gives the user the ability to fully line the main compartment with Dapper pouches and then lay the bag fully open to access each pouch. I tend to like packs without a ton of built in organization so Dap Packs suit me. I can add the organization features that I want, where I want them.
Perhaps the best thing about this pack is the Dap Pack concept itself. If you like a big, wide open bucket of a backpack, you can do that. If you are more of an everything in its place kind of guy, you can do that. The organization features are completely flexible. I should also note that the admin pocket is a perfect fit for BFG’s really excellent Admin Dapper of which I have several because they always seem to find a place in my hook and loop style backpacks.
I don’t normally rave about grab handles but I will in this case. The Tracer Pack’s grab handle is a thick rubber coated webbing with large bumps for texture. It is comfortable to carry even when the back is heavy. It doesn’t roll in your hand like tubular webbing or cut into your hand like flat webbing.
This pack has a very good laptop sleeve. It is easy to access and well stiffened which is nice because my laptop is often the heaviest thing in the bag and the stiffened back panel helps support that load.
There are a few things I wish were different. The shoulder straps are straight and simple which is not a bad thing in and of itself. They are padded enough to comfortable but they are mounted very close together. it would be nice if they were spaced apart just a bit more. As they are now, they can ride up onto the start of the wearer’s neck and they feel shorter than they actually are.
Additionally, I recommend end users remove the little metal BFG logo plaque on the shoulder strap. When you don a pack, you often slide your hands down the shoulder strap as your pull it on your shoulders. That metal plaque has diced up my hand a couple of times. It is easily removed and I only put it back on for pictures.
The Tracer Pack leverages Blue Force Gear’s already well proven and flexible Dapper system so it is extremely functional right our of the gate. The shoulder straps could be spaced just a bit further apart but the build quality is typical Blue Force Gear which is to say that it is great. The materials used for the pack are smart, unique, and functional. I also happen think it is probably the best looking Dap Pack yet.
If you have been awaiting the return of the larger Dap Packs, wait no longer.