Saturday, September 12, 2015
SOG Tactical Barrage Internal Frame Backpack SWAT Police Bugout Review.
It finally happened, or has been happening for the past month or so. My venerable Swiss Gear backpack has bit the dust. It had everything; was lightweight, durable and had lots of pockets for papers, a tablet and/or a laptop, phones, pens, markers, painkillers (you do this job for as long as I have and you'll know what I'm talking about), wet wipes, tissues, eyeglass cleaner, insect repellent even a change of clothes to name a few. This bag went in my truck and with me all the time, even on weekend trips out of town. It was used and abused and still looks great with the two and a half years I've dragged back and forth from my work vehicle to the house and from personal vehicle to hotel. The reason I've retired this backpack isn't because of looks, but because the zippers are coming apart almost constantly now. The bits and pieces I carry can exceed the price of the pack. In the future, I intend on getting an iPad and these are horrendously expensive to fix, much less replace.
As it is black, I wanted to keep that theme going. After going through and spurning ten different models, including one that could separate into a fanny pack in camo, I found this one. It is the SOG Tactical Barrage Internal Frame Backpack. This means that it has a frame on the inside to actually use this for honest to goodness backpacking, or even as a bugout bag. It has a space for a water bladder, though one isn't included. There are also sternum and waist straps to make this easier to carry. As I carry this with the handle, all this is a bit superfluous, but I digress. The straps are all well padded and have a quality feel. There are also plenty of M.O.L.L.E. loops to attach items on the straps sides and back of this pack. I've already attached my mini pack to these on the side to hold a few small items. The user can clip flashlights, pens, a knife or anything else to this setup with only your imagination, and your back being the limits. While this can be had online for $70.00 plus shipping, I "stole" mine at Walmart for $45, which is about half of what I paid for the Swissgear pack.
The main compartment has five compartments, one drawstring, four zippered inside to organize toiletries, clothes, pens, markers, batteries, even cash receipts. There are holes for ventilation on the underside to help keep moisture at bay and the space inside is good for a spare shirt and trousers in case the day gets a bit dirty or wet. There are also side pockets that can also be used for pens, markers, a large flashlight, knife, or in my case a bottle of eyeglass cleaner and a lens case. The "tongue" of this pack also unzips to reveal eight more compartments, as well as the cavity inside. This also straps down against the main body of the pack to form another compartment. I'm not sure this area would be secure enough for a laptop or tablet. Probably better suited for a spare jacket or even a blanket. As there isn't much padding in this pack, you may want to make sure any electronics are in a case.
Speaking of electronics, at the top of this pack there is a compartment meant for a pair of sunglasses or a smartphone or two. While the opening is a bit small for my iPhone 6, it fit along with an iPhone 5c without a problem. There even another zippered opening at the top rear to accept a larger smartphone or small tablet with two pickets, one open one zippered. You won't have a problem finding a place to put your things in this pack and you might actually be able to find them again as this is well laid out. As was indicated before, there are M.O.L.L.E. loops all over same.
Compared to the Swissgear this replaces, this one has heft to it. It is made more for being outdoors on a policeman's back and not as a student taking this to class. Anyone using this as a school backpack will quickly grow tired of the material and straps to use this thing. Also, there is not meant to carry a laptop or tablet without some additional protection, However, as a handyman, this will fit the bill for me as I carry this into and out of my truck in inclement weather. It's more than big enough to carry my clipboard, and other necessities as well as a tablet in a hard or padded case in the main compartment. I will keep you posted as this pack ages and how I manage to use it.