I remember when I first started seeing the Maxpedition bags at gun shows from different vendors. I thought, that’s one heavy-duty man purse! I loved the utility of it and the great construction but didn’t buy one. I didn’t think I’d use it enough or thought it’s not very big. I finally bought my first bag a couple years ago; a Thermite Versipack in black, for using at the gun shows when I am walking around selling stuff. Great size for business cards, pens, notepad, and some samples from my Scott’s Knot’s business. I wear this one around the waist and use the leg strap. It’s the perfect bag since it’s roomy enough but I don’t have to wear it around my neck and block any info on the company shirt. That little bag is really tough! So of course, I had to buy another one. This time it was a Pygmy Falcon II in Desert Camo. It was another great bag. I wanted something for the woods and for water carrying, but not too big, and this does it. One of my favorite features is that the bag completely opens up. The zipper goes from bottom, around the whole top, to the other side’s bottom. You can lay it on it’s back and just open the whole thing like a big clamshell. It’s great.
The bag I’m writing about today is the Condor II in Khaki. This bag is touted as a military assault day pack but fills the bill for an excellent day hiker, heavy duty school bag, good sized B.O.B. or what ever you need an almost 2000 cu. in. bag for. I packed it to the brim for a small vacation recently to Put-In-Bay and it worked great. There is the main compartment, 17.5″ X 14″ X 6.5″, an upper outside pouch, 5.5″ X 9″ X 2″, and a lower outside pouch, 8″ X 9″ X 2.5″. Plus there are lots of little pockets inside each of the pouches and compartments to organize all you want to bring with you. At 1950 cu. in. you can carry lots of vital stuff on any trip. It will also handle a 100 oz. hydration bladder quite nicely. While the 9 outside compression straps will keep it all cinched down tight so that you don’t sound like a bag lady clanging down the street, the adjustable, padded shoulder straps, 1″ sternum strap, and 1.5″ waist strap will let you fit the Condor II precisely to each individual. All of these straps and heavy duty construction will, one, make the bag last much longer and two, allow you too greatly expand it’s capacity with modular pockets added to the front and side PALS attachment points using TacTie’s from Maxpedition. This is their patent pending attachment system used to secure accessory pockets onto packs, vests, MOLLE equipment and PALS surfaces. They work great, will not open unless YOU want them to, stay with the accessory bag when that bag is removed so they don’t get lost, and even come in 2 lengths and 4 colors to get the setup you want just right.
There are 10 improvements that separate the Condor-II from the Condor. Basically there are more PALS straps sewn on, a bigger hydration compartment, a high abrasion-resistant bottom, and you can hide a side arm in the hydration compartment using an integral Velcro mounting pad. I borrowed a small Velcro holster off of Tim to test out the bags secret compartment for gun deployment and carrying comfort. There is a ton of room in there first of all. I had a snubbie .38 packed in there but I can see that if you carry a Glock 19 for instance, you would have room for that, canted any way you wanted, and room for extra magazines, a backup knife (a gentleman always carries a knife remember), a pair of cuffs and some gloves. I would try to only put flat things in this area so nothing would be poking you in the back or pushing unnecessarily on a hydration bladder you might have in there. It also worked out nice that there was a slot for my badge holder to clip onto so that when you open the compartment, either someone would see that first and know you were one of the good guys, or it would be close at hand so that you could sling around your neck and be ready to ID yourself. This would be a great under cover “school bag” or for other covert uses where you needed to have some weaponry on you without looking like you have weaponry on you. Right now I see that the Condor II is available in black, OD, Khaki, Foliage Green, and ACU-Compatible Foliage Camo. Maxpedition has been coming out in more and more colors though including more civilian friendly oranges and blues, so maybe they will be available on this bag as well in the future.
I have started walking 3-4 miles every Sunday and I’ve been using the Condor II, always with a hydration bladder in there. There is a place to hook the bladder into the bag so that it hangs and doesn’t just lie in there. Next you would poke the drinking tube up through a slot (the one I hook the badge holder on), and out the top hole and down whichever shoulder strap you want. That top hole has Velcro on three sides and is sewn on the fourth, so whichever way you want the tube to come out, you can hold it in place nicely with the rest of the Velcro. It’s a very good idea, and better than just sticking a hole in the top. This also keeps junk from getting in there like twigs and sticks when your out being a Woods Monkey that might start rubbing on the bladder and puncture it. If you do incur a puncture, there are 2 big drain holes in the bottom of the hydration compartment that will water your legs and hopefully you’ll notice this and stop to check things. The area for the bladder is also the area that holds the gun. I had both in there at once and it would be a little full with 100 oz. of water, a gun, some extra magazines, etc. but doable. You just might have to reposition the gun so it’s more accessible but it isn’t a big deal.
With names like DuPont, YKK, and Duraflex mixed in with the quality of construction, this is a bag that will keep working for you season after season. The 1000-Denier material is water (it’s treated with DuPont Teflon) and abrasion resistant, the high strength YKK zippers are second to none, and great quality Duraflex nylon, low sound closure buckles help to make the Maxpedition bag a real winner. If I had one thing to gripe on it would be that my other Maxpedition bag, that Pygmy Falcon II that I mentioned earlier, has spoiled me with it’s complete opening clam shell which this bag does not do. That’s purely personal choice but I prefer the clamshell opening. Otherwise, this bag is very well made and will last the end user a long time.