- Created: Tuesday, 01 March 2011 01:23
Maxpedition has had great success with the Jumbo series and thus continued to offer new variants to cater to more specific users. This semi new (heh my fault for being slow) KISS variant is specifically made to meet a lower price point by stripping down some features, yet while still keeping all the main capabilities that makes the Jumbo great. Don't worry the same great materials are used so there is no loss of structural quality. For those out of the know, KISS is a classic military term standing for "Keep It Simple Stupid". Going over every single change in comparison to the original Jumbo would swell this review a bit larger than it needs to be so I'll concentrate more on what the KISS is rather than what it is not.
The main key points that makes up the KISS is that it is is shoulder based bag with a main compartment, CCW slim pocket, open top adjustable hydration pocket, side zippered GP pocket, and a frontal rectangular zippered pocket. The hydration pouch has been slightly simplified where it adjusts with an exterior cordlock to squeeze in on the upper sides. Adjustment allows accommodation to both the popular Camelbak and Nalgene bottles. Budget version or not, I wish there was a grommet at the bottom of this area as it is pretty common to get one's hydration pocket wet. On the other side is the GP pouch which opens with a single zipper. On that note, all the zippers on the KISS except the CCW area come with standard metal sliders rather than 550 cord. No big deal as fans of cord can easily make the mods for cheap. The GP pouch offers some good holding height, but is otherwise simple with no extra webbing or sleeve pockets. The main flap has been simplified only having an incorporated slim zippered pocket and connecting with a 1" SRB. Once opened the main compartment is easy to access as there is no rain / parachute style cover. I thought that was worth noting as some users actually didn't like it on the Jumbo anyway. Besides the grommet, the main compartment doesn't have any other special features, but as an extra note I like how it seems to keep its expanded shape making it easier to access. The frontal pocket offers an exterior sleeve pocket and then a nice rectangular shape for the interior accessed by a single zipper. Not to be forgotten, in the back is the CCW compartment which offers a good sized opening with a single zipper. The interior offers a generous 6.5” x 8” loop field that is actually more than you get on the standard Jumbo. The main intent is for a pistol, but with all the cool velcro mount pouches Maxpedition now offers, you can get pretty creative for other uses.
The shoulder strap setup is pretty much the same classic Jumbo style, but comprised of a 1.5" main strap instead of 2". The usual shoulder pad is included which always helps quite a bit with comfort. Although a lot of webbing was taken off on the KISS, a good dose of PALS webbing still remains as a part of the strap area. One side offers PALS webbing and a stash pocket for items like knives, while the other side is a more generic connection point using 2" webbing and loop velcro. The 2" webbing is curious to me at first, but I can see it acting as a "belt" platform for mounting those type pouches to and the velcro is there for patches when not covered. The drag handle is even included which was not on earlier Jumbo designs at all. The back area that touches the user has stayed overall the same offering 3 pad zones. Since the same black airmesh material is used, it is comfy, yet still is one of the most fragile materials on the pack. It will fuzzy up over time and make sure to keep hook velcro away! The belt connection is gone likely since not many people were making use of it anyway.
I recommend checking out my earlier Jumbo reviews, but for those who haven't yet, the KISS makes for a great bang for the buck shoulder bag. In the KISS spirit, here is a quickie breakdown of usage possibilities:
Main Compartment - clothing, food, equipment, ammo (bulky stuff)
Hydration Pouch - most water bottles (water stuff)
Side GP Pouch - smaller bottles, medium sized radios, medical gear (tall stuff)
Frontal Pouch - utilities like flashlights, multitools, pistol magazines, medical gear (medium sized stuff)
CCW Compartment - pistol, admin or wallet-like items (specialty stuff)
Those are just some starter suggestions, don't let that limit your creativity as the item type doesn't matter as long as it fits in the pouch. For those who may not need all the little extra dividers and sleeves on the original Jumbo, the KISS offers a great affordable option to the proven shoulder bag design. The KISS is very usability flexible ranging from possibilities such as carrying tactical gear, to hiking/travel, to even a daily bag / purse.