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Field test – SOURCE’s new 3-day pack

I wanted to share a project we are currently working on at Source. It’s a 45 liter pack designed for everyday missions. The goal is to build a simple and modular pack for various load bearing scenarios while taking into consideration the specific functions needed for tactical use.

For this pack we came up with a long and narrow design configuration for convenient load distribution, while not adding to your width or interfering with body movement. Because we had body armor integration in mind, we designed a thin and simple back panel. After all, what is the benefit of a complex back system if it doesn’t come in contact with your back…The shoulder straps are also thin, so the pack is great with or without body armor. The special pack shape allows the user to go into the prone position without the pack limiting head movement.

We made a special effort to keep it simple and lightweight, without compromising on what we feel is important. For easy access the pack comes with one big zippered compartment that can be top loaded or fully opened like a suitcase. The zippered pouch on the top of the bag is easily reachable when the pack is on your back and on you are on the move. This pouch can be used for night vision or other small stuff that you need within reach, and the 2 side pouches have zippers that face inward for easy access, without having to take the pack of your back .

We will incorporate the new low profile WLPS hydration system into this backpack, as the bladder’s shape distributes the water content evenly.

The Source tactical gear team went on a hike in the Carmel Mountains to “test drive” the new packs. We started the track with an IMTV and a fully loaded pack. The first part was an uphill climb in open terrain. The weather was good and the fresh air felt great. Since I am tall and wore a tactical vest I didn’t feel the need to use the waist belt. Usually a smaller backpack waist belt doesn’t incorporate well with a tactical vest. That’s why we are actually considering selling the pack without a waist belt.

When we reached the mountain top we stopped for a while to eat and enjoy the view. So far the pack was very comfortable and I did not feel any pressure anywhere.

After resting, we continued. Somehow we got sidetracked and had to find our way back to the trail. We thought that the trail was below us so we started descending downhill through the dense bush. It was difficult. Everywhere it was muddy and slippery and there was no real path to walk on. After we descended quite a bit, we realized that the trail is probably higher up the mountain, so we started climbing up again. Still no path and the bushes closed in on us. This is where we were reminded of the need for a balanced bag with no loose pouches or zippers and loops that protrude. Otherwise these can get caught in the brush, pulling you back, tear at your pack and also make a lot of noise. This point raised the issue of using 3D mesh in the pack, which some believe can also get caught in the branches. I feel that as long as the mesh is on the inner side of the bag, in contact with your body/armor, its O.K. During these types of climbs, where you use your hands to grab the rocks and branches, you really appreciate the advantage of the hydration system on your back. At last we found our way back to the trail…what a joy.

When we started walking on the trail again, I took my IMTV off and strapped it onto the backpack’s outer panel. That was a liberating feeling. Shortly we arrived at the edge of the forest that burned down during the big fire on the Carmel last year. It was like being in a scene from” The Predator”. Because of the intense blaze, even the big rocks on the ground exploded and cracked. The heat of the fire turned them bright white, while the wood stumps were dark black. It was stunning. From there we continued walking downhill to find the creek. From time to time I reached into the pack’s top pocket and pulled my camera out to take a few shots of the view. After a while I started feeling some pressure on my shoulders. No doubt the shoulder straps need to be tweaked a little for a better fit. We continued hiking for a few more miles until we reached the road. The new backpack felt pretty good and did not strain my back. Now I know that this issue is covered. All we need to do now is work out the manufacturing layout for this pack and make it affordable.

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