For those who liked the Tactix 1-Day plus pack, but wanted some more holding capacity, this 3-Day versions delivers exactly that keeping true to a solid pack design.
At first glace the difference between the 1-Day Plus and 3-Day packs can be hard to tell they as they look so similar in pictures, but the 3-Day version is noticeably bigger in person. Although the laser cut PALS layout is very similar, the 3-Day seems to get most of the space additions in slight increases to all the compartment dimensions. One of the more drastic changes and a way to easily tell between the two is the addition of large side pockets. When fully stuffed these new pockets add a good chunk of holding capacity. To get a better idea of the size difference, the 1-Day Plus is listed as holding 2368 cubic inches while the 3-Day is approx 3794. Math wise one can see how the 1-Day Plus gets it's name by being more than the typical 1-day size, but perhaps on the low end if considered 2-day.
The packs are so similar I'm going to do a bit of a copy paste fest as a fair warning for the overall breakdown, but will be sure and note differences.
Keeping with the modern trends, a laser cut MOLLE/PALS slot system is used as opposed to traditional webbing. First Tactical calls it their Lynx Laser Cut Platform consisting of laser cuts in Two layers of 500D nylon fabric laminated together. They claim the system is 20% stronger which I'll be honest is hard to believe, but the expanded mounting positions offered is definitely noticeable. With the slots you get the equivalent of half step options when it comes to vertical mounting concerns and also more consistent slot options on the compartment borders. On traditional webbing setups frequently the end slots end up off spec. As one can see just glancing at the pack, there is a generous amount of PALS slots on the front and sides, with 6 columns on the front and 4 on the sides.
With so many features it is going to be a long ride so hang in there, I'll get the party started off with external features. There is a nice drag handle up top in the typical location with bonus ones on the sides that include elastic to try and stay low profile by default. On the shoulder straps is another strap system that looks a little like a drag handle, however functions like an adjustable yoke strap. This is a pretty rad feature since usually people either love or hate a yoke strap so good to make one adjustable / removable. I personally hate the yoke strap stuff when doing any sort of running with packs so take it off pretty quickly, however I've heard of folks who like yoke straps for heavy loads or their body type.
The back of the pack and shoulder straps have a good amount of padding with airmesh material to aid in comfort and airflow. The main padding placement makes somewhat of an airflow channel down the spine that while minimal is better than nothing. Although not included, the pack is ready for a fancy hip belt integrating with the lower back pad, or if needing a simple waist belt, there are 1.5" tri-glides to attach to. Recently available I was able to integrate a Tactix Waist Belt which makes quite a bit of sense on a 3-day sized pack. The waist belt works for any of the First Tactical packs with the same lumbar pad style which is some nice cross compatibility. The waist belt is fairly straight forward, overall easy to install and nice that it has PALS slots on the sides. I'm small so I have to crank it down pretty tight thus the webbing just dangles with no obvious way to secure it, so I'll probably make some simple keepers at some point. In theory I would like the webbing setup if the ladder locks went the other direction causing the webbing to go away from one's body rather then towards the center. Alas but I am monkey sized and probably most humans don't tighten it down as much. For a tiny complaint one can see the white padding through the od-green mesh, not a big deal, but I would have gone with black if an option. While on the subject of the waist belt it seems with the price difference of 1-Day Plus being $180 retail and 3-Day being $250 that the 3-Day should include a waist belt, however compared to similar out there one could just say the 1-Day Plus is just that much sweeter of a deal.
Back to the shoulder straps it is pretty cool that they have a big dose of PALS slots on the exterior and even a loop velcro zone for some cool guy patches. The sternum strap is plenty functional despite using the 3/4" webbing I'm not a super fan of and easy to adjust height placement using a slide-on-tubes setup. As a possible plus or minus depending how you look at it, the sternum strap is easy to take off by sliding up until it comes completely off. Other nice finishes are included such as elastic over the main SRBs (buckles) to prevent accidental release and hook-and-loop straps to manage webbing slack. On the bottom there isn't a whole lot of webbing, but there is enough to lash things down to like bedrolls. One may also notice the grommets are off to the bottom sides and this is because there is a sneaky small zipper pocket at the bottom.
As you may know by now, I'm not a big fan of compression straps on most packs, but the setup that comes with the Tactix bag is pretty nice and the larger the pack the more reasonable straps seem to me. The hardware used lets one move or remove the straps and since they mount using the PALS slots there are quite the options for placement. The extra touches are still there such as elastic on the main SRB and elastic for the webbing slack. For an interesting backup note, if you manage to bust your main shoulder strap female buckle, one can use the compression strap hardware to replace and fix quickly with no sewing required.
The last back compartment is actually more just access to the rigidity backboard and shoulder straps. You likely won't need to mess with this much, but pretty cool you can take out the backboard or add a some more length to the shoulder straps if desired. I didn't think about it till seeing the First Tactical video, but they also had some cool backup plans for the backboard including shovel, paddle, splint or brace. Moving forward a little is what some may call a hydration pocket, yet with the zipper access at the bottom it can be dual purposed to to work with First Tactical's Hook and Hang Thru System. This area interfaces with First Tactical's Rifle Sleeves which is a pretty cool option. This compartment has G-hook like hangers as part of the system along with some extra sleeve pocket storage inside. I ended up with a longer than planned Rifle Sleeve, but one can see on the pics it works out even at rowdy sniper rifle length. Nice touches are continued like a slot for the bottom zipper pull to be secured into. Some may wish there were specific tube ports, but the double zippers allow similar functionality.
Jumping around to the front, the mid front zone has single zipper compartments on each side for ambidextrous accommodation. The inside of each has a few simple sleeve pockets height tiered for good stash zones and organization. Worth noting is the exterior has a solid amount of loop coming in around 6"x3" to offer a lot of patch mounting options. Behind this zone is a dual zippered compartment that is quite the organization party. The sleeve pocket sizes are greatly varied to help with holding options and even a single zippered pocket in the back for additional security options. One of those dumb plastic keypers is on the upper left, but they make up for it by having a hanging loop and full on sweet keychain rig on the upper right. Easy to overlook, just a little ways above is a single zipper CCW compartment. The area has a good overall size and a loop zone to interface with hook backed accessories like holsters. It is a little sad to have a single zipper here to mess with the ambi capabilities, but I understand the compromise as dual zippers would make the opening smaller and thus harder to whip out a pistol quickly.
Moving up is the upper frontal compartment. It uses a single zipper and the interior is no thrills, but the exterior has PALS slots and enough loop to sport a name tape or flag patches. You probably won't actually mount any pouches to this area, but the PALS slots are still useful for lashing and holding carabiner like hardware. Up to the tippy top is another single zippered pocket; this one is smaller yet lined with a soft material to make it great for holding eyewear or small electronics. As I was noting earlier the sides have new large compartments opening with single zippers. The interiors are overall simple with simple sleeve pockets on the upper interior sides. The height lets these pockets fit longer items, but the shear size can hold all kinds of gear. Just in case that wasn't enough, the side pockets have a rowdy amount of PALS slots so you can have pockets on your pockets yo.
Finally on to the main compartment, the big show opens up clam shell style with double zippers. The zipper-pulls are unique and grippy, but I think the cord is a little long as it seems the other pulls work a little better or generally helps grabbing closer to the slider. These more fancy pulls are only used on the main compartment and larger frontal compartment perhaps to help ID the zones. Inside is a nice big compartment with the back being a soft yet velcro/hook compatible material. It isn't as grippy as full on loop, but you can still rock some hook backed accessories for further organization. The sides have some simple sleeve pockets, one side having a deep pocket and 2 offset pockets on the other side, good for quick stashing. The front interior has some cool mesh pouches, 2 small with single zippers and 1 long with dual zippers that attach with hook. Only a little hook is used, I believe, to allow the pouches to fill out better. Since easy to tear out they make for great medical storage, but can be useful for all kinds of things. Also not to be forgotten, since hook backed, one can attach these mesh pouches to the back of the main compartment if they like that setup better. Under the mesh pockets are some more vertical style pockets that open with single zippers. It seemed a little weird to me at first, but after inquiring with the designer they do make sense as the intended option of ambidextrous stash pockets that can be accessed with the pack front mounted. Even if not used for that, the pocket shape will give some options not seen in many other packs. Worth noting, First Tactical is starting to offer more hook backed pouches to work with these type interiors along with other cool purpose built organizers.
I was a solid fan of the Tactix 1-Day Plus pack so it was pretty easy to like this 3-Day version. When needing to hold a lot of stuff or just bulky stuff the holding capacity is certainly appreciated. I don't mind that there aren't a lot of differences which perhaps can infer just how feature rich the 1-Day Plus is. The additions of the large side pockets and large internal mesh tear-out pouch are welcomed additions rather than coming off as just looking busy adding things for no good reason. Although an included padded belt would be nice, it is a solid feature First Tactical thought ahead where these packs and several more can use the same waist belts and rifle sleeves. Usability is definitely there and I've been putting both packs to work for a while now with very limited signs of wear so would highly recommend either. Being made overseas is a downside, however the bang for the buck is difficult to ignore on the Tactix backpack series.