It seems that everyone in the world has recognized the value in lighter weight backpacks except those is in the tactical gear industry. While the outdoor gear world continues to shed weight, tactical gear makers seem to make heavier packs all the time. Grey Ghost Gear (GGG) is bucking that trend with the Lightweight Assault Pack and proving that full featured, durable “tactical” backpacks don’t have to be heavy.
Where the Weight Went
Zippers, MOLLE webbing, straps, and all the other components of a typical tactical backpack all add up in terms of weight. You can remove features, modify features, or utilize lighter materials in order to shed weight. Grey Ghost Gear does a little of each in the Lightweight Assault Pack.
They didn’t really remove much in terms of features from this pack. The only notable deletion is an organizer. The Lightweight Assault Pack lacks any kind of small organizer pouches, pen loops, or anything like that. Some small interior organizer pockets would be nice and would weigh less than adding a separate organizer, but I don’t really miss it.
In order to save weight, GGG makes use of a pretty ingenious modification. The majority of the MOLLE webbing is actually about 2/3” the width of normal webbing. The webbing may be narrower but it still weaves perfectly with normal pouches. It is a very clever modification.
Finally, GGG leverages some lighter fabrics to reduce the overall weight of these packs. Most of the Lightweight Assault Packs are constructed from 500D Cordura nylon which weighs nearly half as much as 1000D Cordura. The example that I have been using is constructed from Duro Industries LiteLok material which offers much of the durability of 500D Cordura nylon but weighs even less. The result is a pack that weighs just 19 ounces!
Don’t think that because this pack is designed to be light weight that it lacks features. The Lightweight Assault Pack has a surprising amount of functionality for a bag this compact and light weight.
The Lightweight Assault Pack has one of the better executed hydration pouches that I have encountered on a backpack. The hydration pouch is a top loading sleeve that is accessed separately from the main cargo compartment. The pouch is bellowed so that a full hydration bladder pushes into the cargo compartment instead of pushing into your back. The top of the hydration pouch features a sewn in tri-glide to be used as a hanger for your hydration bladder. The part of the hydration pouch that is against your back is nicely padded for insulation. The hydration pouch can be closed with Velcro and there is a covered hydration tube port located on the top of the bag.
The main cargo compartment of the Light Weight Assault Pack is bigger than you would think when you read the dimensions online. It is accessed via a zipper that extends about halfway down the height of the pack. The zipper is angled out away from your back which is handy since, if this pack is mounted to armor, it will have to be accessed by someone standing behind you. Some of the capacity is lost when you add a hydration bladder but there is still a surprising amount of space for a pack of this size. There are two sleeves at the bottom of the main compartment that can stretch to contain something as large as a 32 ounce Nalgene bottle. They are also handy for storing a few extra magazines where they can be found easily.
There is also an additional, smaller cargo space on the front of the bag. This compartment is accessed via a vertical zipper on the side of the pack. Like the larger compartment, this one will surprise you with how large it is. It will fit 2 32 ounce Nalgene bottles with room to spare!
The exterior of the bag has 3 separate MOLLE webbing fields. There is one on each side and one on the front of the bag. There is also a large Velcro panel for patches and identification. The shoulder straps are thinly padded and contoured. They also feature a sternum strap and can be packed away into the hydration compartment when not in use. The zipper pulls have been replaced with para-cord and the zippers themselves are all nicely shielded for rain/dust resistance.
The Lightweight Assault Pack comes with hardware that is used to dock the pack onto armor or a larger pack. Two sets of hardware are included.
Observations from Use
I have really come to appreciate the versatility of this pack. It is a versatile size that moves easily between day hikes, to EDC, to its intended role as an assault pack. It also derives a lot of versatility from the various ways that it can be carried. It works great as a stand-alone pack and when it is attached to the plate carrier.
Due to its light weight, it also works very well when used in conjunction with a larger pack. You can either pack it away to use as a day-pack once you have arrived at your destination. You can also dock it to your larger pack to use as extra storage space or an E&E type bag should you need to drop the larger pack. I used it docked to the outside of a Kifaru ZXR or in the cargo area of a Mystery Ranch Crew Cab.
The only stiffener in the pack is the foam padding on the hydration sleeve. This is appropriate for a small pack like this and is what I actually prefer so that the bag can be folded up for packing. If you are looking to carry heavy, multi-day loads, this isn’t the pack you want. A sensible packer could probably do an overnight out of this pack in warm weather. If you absolutely needed a stiffener, you could easily cut one from some kind of plastic (make sure to remove sharp edges) and insert it into the hydration compartment.
The shoulder straps are nicely executed. They are thinly padded and nicely contoured. Due to the nature of the LiteLok material, the straps are a bit slick so the sternum strap comes in handy.
Speaking of LiteLok, this material adds a heavy dose of cool factor to the Light Weight Assault Pack. The material is not only very light and quite strong, but it also has a very cool grid appearance that looks like a reverse rip-stop pattern.
When you first look at the thinner MOLLE webbing that it sewn on the pack, it looks like there is no way that it will create a tight weave but it does. Standard MOLLE pouches mount to this pack just as solidly as they do on full size webbing.
The Lightweight Assault Pack is the type of versatile pack that just about anyone can use. It weighs less than you would expect and holds more than you would expect. Those are both pretty flattering things to say about a pack.
Check out the Lightweight Assault Pack on GreyGhostGear.com.
Disclosure: Grey Ghost Gear provided this pack to me for review, free of charge.