Over the last 8 months or so I have been buying backpacks. Specifically 3-day style assault packs to replace my too-small-for-my-needs assault pack.
What i have been using for the last 3+ years for airsoft, patrolling, and lots of other adventurous things is a Taiwan made "HAXpedition FarconII" (top right in photo) it is a rip off of a Maxpedition Falcon II complete with BS tags ( I removed at some point because I was a little embarassed by the HAXPEDITION logo). A friend got it for me in the night market several years ago and brought it home for me. It is identical to a CONDOR medium assault pack as far as I can tell.
It has put up with ALOT of abuse over the last few years like a champ and I have passed it down to a friend with a lot of life still in it. With this great pack in my mind I went out hunting for a replacement, just as good quality, but that could hold more gear for a longer walkabout.
THE DIPLOMAT: La police gear $20 special *
I got this pack because it looked the part on the website and 20 bucks is cheap. What I got is this piece of Sh*T. the nylon is the same as a cheap-o Jansport school bag, the webbing is MUCH MUCH WORSE than a jansport cheapo. the stiching is laughable and missed a seam entirely in one place. The only thing I would recomend this for would a like if you wanted a GYM BAG that didn't look like a gym bag. This could hold your sweats and gym shoes faithfully from you car to your locker, BUT LITTLE ELSE. Avoid this bag if you have more than 2 10 dollar bills to rub together.
SDS Assault Pack: purchased from an Army Ranger $70 ***
I found this pack on a classified and went and picked it up. It is a ggreat pack that was modified by the original owner. there is straps in the main pocket to strap down your helmet, an insulated pocket for a hydro and it is much larger than other 3-day assault packs. MUCH. The build qulait is great. 100% what you;d expect from a military backpack. I've taken it on a few overnight hikes with no surprises from it. My only gripe is I have no real use for the flare pouches on the sides. that and it really is TOO BIG for my purposes.
Tactical Tailor 1-Day Assault Pack: Wannabe.UK classified. $60 *****
This pack is GREAT for hiking, patrolling, and carrying gear. Another pack that does exaclty what you expect it to do, it is the EXACT same size as a black hawk 3-day Assault Pack. It also has these nice net pockets on the sides that hold my Naglenes nicely without the condensation soaking everything in the main compartments. The color is a good match for most Khaki gear I have. The previous owner added a camelback sternum strap which has proved useful.
hiking out of brooker's crik, putting our gear through it's paces. Me with TT pack and my buddy with my old HAXpedition.
BlackHawk 3-Day Assault Pack: ebay $23 *****
This is the old style, Pre-molle Blackhawk 3Day pack. Like the TT pack, this is beautifully crafted and the materials are GREAT. the Olive Drab material is a close match to older ALICE gear more than the newer OD-MOLLE gear that blackhawk makes. the straps are comfortable, and it can hold ALOT or can be cinched down to hold less.
This backpack was such a great piece, and I got it for such a great price, that it was the last backpack I felt the need to buy.
WHAT I LEARNED: If you are looking for a bargain, a cop-out or something "just as good" as what you really want, you will probably end up spending more money than if you just save up and buy the exact thing you want or keep checking that ebay until you find the exact thing at the exact price.
I've replaced the old HAXpedition pack with the Blackhawk pack for my OD gear set up, and the tacical tailor pack fits right in to my khaki gear. the rest, I'm going to get rid of as a " lesson-learned " about the range of quality you can expect from the backpacks out there. the absolute bomb-proof issued army ranger pack was just too much pack for me, the DIPLOMAT BS bargain was just not enough. The Blackhawk and Tactical tailor packs will be the last packs of this style I will ever buy and I would recommend either to everyone.