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Review: Grey Ghost Gear Lightweight Assualt Pack

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.

Standard width webbing shown with the thinner webbing used on the Lightweight Assault Pack.

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!

Overview

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 hydration pouch features a hanger for your hydration bladder.

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.

Interior sleeves hold your water bottles or spare mags.

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.

Wrap Up

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.

Fight and Flight Tactical GP Mini Pouch with TAREINCO Special Item Carrier

The coming together of the Fight and Flight Tactical GP Mini Pouch and the TAREINCO Special Item Carrier (SIC) was bit of a happy accident. TAREINCO recently became a dealer for Fight and Flight Tactical and found that their SIC fit the GP Mini Pouch like it was made for it.

The GP Mini Pouch is a small clamshell opening pouch that is lined with hook and loop (Velcro) and features elastic loops for some organization. The SIC is a versatile small item organizer that can hold a number of different items. Together, they make a pretty darn good looking first aid/ blow out kit pouch. The kit will also include a TAREINCO Patch Field Strip for attaching blood type and medic patches.

You can read more about both items and purchase them at a special price at TAREINCO.com. You can also check out the Fight and Flight Tactical Facebook Page and the TAREINCO Facebook Page for a chance to win a combo of your own.

NavELite Android App

NavELite didn’t forget about all you Android users. Their iPhone app has been out for a while and now the Android versions is available.

This app is designed to show you how the NavELite will function. I have already checked it out and, even though it s demo of the stand alone NavELite, it is actually a really good compass app.

The NavELite Android app is available via Google Play.

TAREINCO MPIL Pouch

We are big fans of the Battle Systems MPIL and while one of the key features of the MPIL is that it can be stowed just about anywhere, it can be nice to have a dedicated pouch for it. That is where TAREINCO comes in with their MPIL Pouch. TAREINCO loves the MPIL just as much as we do so they did what they do and made a pouch for it.

The MPIL pouch is nearly as compact as the MPIL itself. It is just 3”x2.75”x0.5” and mounts to 1 column and 2 rows of PALS webbing. It features a pouch for holding the MPIL itself and a smaller pouch for holding your IR glint tapes for use with the MPIL. The front of the pouch has a Velcro panel that can hold small patches or IR glint tapes.

The MPIL Pouch is currently available from TAREINCO.com and they will be available as a package with an MPIL soon. Check out the MPIL on BattleSystemsLLC.com.

NavELite Ramps Up Global Distribution with Five New Distributors

More news about the most anticipated compass in a long time from Laura Burgess Marketing and NavELite:

PALM HARBOR, FL (September 2012)NavELite, a global provider of backlit magnetic compasses, proudly announces partnerships with several leading distributors of outdoor, military and law enforcement products. The distributors include: 215 Gear™, ADS, Inc., PLATATAC, Potomac River Group and SurvivIT. These distributors will carry NavELite’s wrist-worn, Backlit Magnetic Compass (BLMC) throughout their distribution centers to retailers worldwide.

The NavELite wrist-worn, Backlit Magnetic Compass was invented and patented by two Special Operation soldiers. Operations underscored the need for a reliable backlit compass for use when executing critical missions. It became apparent in the early stages of the Global War on Terror in Afghanistan when soldiers had to routinely reference cardinal directions for tasks such as Close Air Support (CAS), adjacent unit coordination, and SATCOM antenna orientation that the current equipment available did not meet the needs of the Special Operation soldier. The NavELite wrist-worn Backlit Magnetic Compass is a mission-enhancing piece of kit for the ground soldier; reducing nighttime operation signatures and adding to force protection. Thus, NavELite is pleased to offer this next generation, tactical, wrist-worn, magnetic compass for when survival counts

The wrist-worn Backlit Magnetic Compass from NavELite keeps correct magnetic orientation while providing an on-demand illuminated face to aid with orienteering and direction finding in low-light or no-light situations. This patented technology will allow soldiers in any military unit to acquire cardinal directions day and night with reduced night-time signature.

The NavELite BLMC can be purchased online at www.NavELite.com for a retail cost of $79.99. Dealers interested in carrying the NavELite BLMC may contact info@NavELite.com  for a Dealer Package and Application.

For the downloadable Press Release PDF, click here. For the downloadable image, click here.

S.O. TECH Solar Panel MOLLE Adapter

How cool is this? S.O. Tech is introducing a line of adapters that allow you to integrate Goal Zero solar panels into your MOLLE gear. The adapters will fit the panels without modification. The adapters will be available on SpecOpsTech.com later this month.

 

Review: RE Factor Tactical Blasting Cap

Ball caps don’t really have to do much to fulfill their purpose. If they keep the sun out of our eyes, we are usually pretty satisfied with them.  The Blasting Cap from RE Factor Tactical is a ball cap, but it does a lot more than keep the sun out of your eyes. It might just change what you expect from a cap.

Overview

It seems like everyone makes a tactical hat these days. Many are basically identical low crown, unstructured hats with a Velcro panel on the front. Others have incrementally introduced innovative, end user centric features like ventilation and interior signal panels. However, few have so successfully combined these features into something that feels completely new like the RE Factor Tactical Blasting Cap.

The cap itself starts out as a Flexfit ball cap with mesh side and back panels. The Blasting Cap has features that you expect from a “tactical” cap. It has front and rear Velcro panels for attaching patches and identification. The edges of these panels are embroidered for durability. It has a 1”x1” Velcro panel that replaces the button on the crown. This allows for comfortable use of over-the-head hearing protection and attaching IR glint tape. Additionally, there is a second 1”x1” Velcro panel on the inside of the cap for storing your IR glint tape when not in use.

The interior of that cap contains still more functionality. The binding tape on the interior of the cap is printed with the RE Factors of various Es as a reference for those who need this sort of thing (which is not me). The front most two panels are lined with high visibility orange material that can be used for signaling which I find to be extremely useful.

Basically, this cap has many more features that you would typically expect from a cap.

Observations from Use

Caps must be comfortable to wear or they are useless. Since the Blasting Cap starts with a genuine Flexfit cap, it is extremely comfortable. The fact that it has mesh panels to greatly increase ventilation improves the comfort exponentially in warm weather.

The embroidered edges on the Velcro panels are a nice touch. It should help extend the life of the panels by preventing the edges from pulling when you remove a patch.

The signaling panel is the kind of feature that you will get more use out of than you realize. You can get someone’s attention in a crowd, get noticed if you find yourself in an emergency in the woods, or use it as a reference point for land navigation while using the leap frog technique. Of course, there are military uses for the panel that I am not qualified to comment on.

Wrap Up

I have been struck with the thoughtful touches that can found in this cap. Things like the embroidered edges on the Velcro panels and the interior glint tape storage panel show attention to detail from the types of people who wear these caps on the job. Many of these features can be found on other caps but you will only find all of them in the Blasting Cap.

Check out the Blasting Cap on REFactorTactical.com.

Disclosure: RE Factor Tactical provided me this cap for review, free of charge.

Battle Systems MPIL News

The Marker Panel, Individual, Lightweight (MPIL) Mk1 is one of our favorite pieces of gear. It is now available from OC Tactical and direct from Battle Systems in addition to its initial release from ITS Tactical.

FEROX Folding Knife from Maxpedition

You already know Maxpedition for their EDC bags and pouches, but with the introduction of the FEROX Folding Knife, they are ready to dominate yet another portion of the EDC market.

The FEROX manages to pack a lot of features into a relatively inexpensive knife. The handles are made from textured fiber-reinforced nylon and are available in black, OD green, and khaki. The liner locking 5Cr13 stainless steel blade is hardened to 56/59HRc and is blackened for a low-profile appearance. The FEROX also features a tip down pocket clip and a guard/flipper for easy opening.

Read more and pre-order your FEROX at Maxpedition.com.

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