- Created: Monday, 20 July 2009 07:13
SPECS: 20 In x 13 In x 11.5 In, 2318 CU IN (37.97 L)
Camelbak teamed up Mystery Ranch on this one offering their unique trizip zipper opening layout. The attention to detail on the small features really makes this pack stand out as a quality pack. Starting off I'll note the Futura Harness is extra heavy duty offering loads of padding and support. Feel free to put whatever the hell you want in this pack since the harness strap system is built tough enough to hold loads usually applied to much larger packs. Rather than a large frame, the system uses a smaller plastic insert for a balance of comfort and support. It is hard to describe, but the insert itself is used to release the upper shoulder straps for height adjustment. Be sure and view the video to see this in action. As with all good load bearing packs, a nice padded waist belt is incorporated to get the weight on the wearer's hips. For the times loads are lighter, the belt can removed with general ease. The majority of the points of contact with the wearer utilize mesh covered padding to assist in airflow to keep things cool.
For weight reduction 500D is the main material used which is a good balance of strength vs weight rather than the usual 1000D. If you are like me, you might be concerned with the zipper layout fearing it will just open up on its own. After giving it a good beatdown I can say it is a lot more secure than it looks. For additional security central compression straps are included, however the top is a semi weak point. To get a seal failure on the top flap I had to insert just a MICH helmet and shake the shit out of the pack. That said, when used normally it would be highly difficult to reproduce those same forces to cause unwanted flap opening. The exterior is covered with a good dose of PALS webbing for pouch additions. There could be a little more on the sides and bottom, but for the balance of manufacture ease there is still a good amount. Included on each side is a tall pocket which just so turns out fit the Camelbak Better Bottles well. As a bonus, the right side pocket is packed full of sleeve pocket organizers for admin gear. Up on the top is an integrated pocket good for smaller items that uses a more gentle material to play nice with objects like sunglasses. Behind that is another single zipper pocket which gives access to the hydration area. Since made to hold a 100oz bladder all of the bells and whistles are inside such as a loop to hang from and a port hole on each side to route your bladder cord. As a part of the package the Omega reservoir is included which is one of camelbak's heavy duty mil spec 100oz bladders. Made specifically to take an ass kicking and even has chemical / biological resistance. The Hydrolock valve gives simple on / off flow functionality while the Hydrovalve bite valve cover keeps the mouth piece clean till needed. To top it off the tube even has an insulation wrap to keep liquids cool and protect the tube while matching it to the color of the rest of the pack.
Using the trizip setup, the main compartment opens up nice and wide with the zippers moving on fairly straight paths. These motions are easier and pull more consistently then traditional backpack openings that require some zippers to follow tight curves. A slight downside is that zipping up a trizip design requires 3 separate zipper pull motions while other designs may only require 2. That said, the unzip ability of the trizip is easy where one can fully open by pulling up on the upper flaps and pull down on the middle zipper. The user has the option to use just the top flap for quick access or then can unzip the middle when full access is desired. Inside are some nice extra features including: Mesh zippered pockets on the sides, SRB buckle straps for lashing down, webbing loops on sides and top for connection points, antenna/wire port holes on the sides, and a sleeve pocket in the back with a cordlock setup allowing compression. These are all nice features while still keeping the main compartment generally sleek.
Some of the other nice small touches are that the external straps have integrated velcro wraps to make slack management easy and webbing loops are at placed strategically near zipper ends to work as nice grip points when operating the zippers. The only major con I've come across on this pack is that it feels a little small for how heavy duty the harness is. Coming in at around 2300cu I would recommend scaling it up to at least 3000cu. If you can get past that aspect, the Trizip is a well designed pack with a great rapid opening main compartment.