I like Nitecore products. I like their flashlights, I like their cells… so far they I have liked most of what I’ve handled that they made! I wanted the chance to test that by having a look at one of their newer products, a backpack. Ok, a tactical backpack.
The going price on this bag is $69.95.
Quite the bag. I like all the attachment point and I especially like the removable internal metal frame.
Officially the size is 45 cm x 28 cm x 12 cm, and has a 20L rated volume.
I tested the main compartment with a large pillow (and no better way to measure capacity). Here’s that pillow, with nothing else for scale. Sorry about that. “Just a pillow, with a pillow–shaped pillow, like yours or mine.” He frowned.
Frame and Carry
I was surprised to note that this backpack actually has a wire metal frame. I haven’t experienced many tactical packs in this size range, and did not expect an internal frame at all. Here’s the frame, removed:
The frame adds quite a bit of stability to the pack. But more importantly it adds the ability to comfortably and securely carry heavier loads.
The internal frame is also easily removable, if a user finds it uncomfortable or finds that it’s unnecessary for the type loads they typically carry. To remove the frame, just access the frame under this mesh backing. The center of the frame has a plastic…. thing. To remove the frame, loose the frame (by squeezing it together) from this plastic bit, and there will be enough give in the frame to wiggle it out. It’s not hard to get in or out.
There’s a big thick pad resting on the lower back. It’s meshy, so should shed heat fairly well.
And the back itself is very breezy mesh, separated from the actual pack itself by the frame. This area should keep the users’s back nice and cool. And that was my experience, even though I wasn’t really using this in prime sweat season.
The fit of this bag is great, and also very adjustable. It’s fairly typical of comprehensive backpacks though – nothing noteworthily different. First of all the shoulder straps adjust at the waist, so the bag can ride higher or lower. The waist belt adjusts too. The waist belt can’t be removed (easily, anyway) and there are some hip-area parts that should help with a good ride, but aren’t removable either. The sternum strap is moveable over an approximately 5″ area, for positioning in an appropriate spot, and is also adjustable for tightness. The sternum strap does not, however, have any elastic to give a bit of soft adjustment once the strap is closed.
Boy are there pockets in this bag. Pockets all over the place. I’ve carried this bag for over a month and if I’m honest, not sure if I’ve found them all.
Here’s the large and primary pocket, accessible by a double pull zipper. The zipper is hooded for weather protection and this hood really really gets in the way of zipping this pocket. This pocket is quite big, and cavernous.
Behind this large pocket, and quite hidden really – there’s a flap over the top that looks to be the “top” of the backpack (it’s not), is another full-length pocket. This pocket it thinner than the main pocket, and would hold laptops and the like, though it isn’t actually padded for such.
Within this pocket there is a pouch for a water bladder. I could not find an exit point for running the bladder tube over the shoulder strap, even though the product photos indicate there is a slit. In the product photo, I’d guess they’re running the tube through the zipper opening. Not ideal at all, and a slit would be so easy to add.
This secondary main pocket has a key loop too. The reason I say this other main pocket is a bit “hidden” is this big sticking-up cover (seen below). When the bag is closed and cinched down, this covers the “hidden” pocket completely, and disguises it.
Below is the water bladder pocket, which closes with velcro and has a very thin (2mm ish) layer of foam for insulation between water and back.
Another pocket is this one on the very front of the bag. It covers the accessory pockets, and flips down. I had no idea what this was for, until I saw the product photos. Coupled with the loop at the top of the bag, this pocket is designed to hold the butt of a long gun, and the loop to hold the barrel. It should be effective for that. Here it’s holding my Convoy S2+ just fine. The reverse of this pocket (what would be seen if the pocket was not in use as it is here), is covered with MOLLE loops. Also note that it clips down with a total of four clips, which can be cinched. The top cinch is all the way from over by the frame, so it can essentially cinch the whole bag tight. The lower clip only cinches from midway in the “depth” of the pack. This pocket is completely removable, too.
Behind that scabbard pocket is the main accessory pocket. There’s not a lot going on in here, just one big zipper pocket, and one mesh pocket inside.
Based on the product description, I thought the sides had (what is typically) water bottle holders. The sides do not. They do have MOLLE loops, to which anything could be attached. But these are not pockets.
As this is a MOLLE bag, you’d expect it to be covered with loops. And it is. Just about the entire lower half has MOLLE loops. There are also various rings (as the V ring seen below) in various places on the bag. This piece will also extend so that a helmet may be carried behind it.
There’s a large ~8″ x 4″ velcro patch area on the back. Note here another small zipper compartment. This one’s quite small, but I was able to frequently store large single 18650 lights in here. There’s also an organizer in this pocket.
The shoulder straps have velcro patches too.
Inside this other pocket is another key holder in a much more obvious spot.
Below are better photos of the set that is meant to secure long guns. Butt goes in the part on the right, and barrel within the adjustable loop in the left photo.
I have used this bag extensively for around a month. In that time the area that pulls on the shoulder with the weight in the bag has become frayed here. It’s double stitched, and the second seam is secure, but this is a little disappointing.
Also due to my own stupid fault, I discovered that the material is not heat resistant at all. Some time during my use of the bag, a flashlight must have turned on in the bottom of the main compartment. The bag melted rather dramatically. However, it did stay sealed, there’s just …. much more breathable area in that pocket.
Issues of durability mentioned above aside, this is a pretty nice bag. There are tons of options for carrying things, strapping things, adjusting things, cinching things… on and on. This also means there’s a lot going on in this bag.
Overall the quality is very good. All the stitching except my one unlucky spot, is proper, and not loosening at all, nor are there even any loose threads (in fact even in the spot that is separating, there aren’t any loose thread – it may be the fabric itself that came apart). The clips are all of very high quality, too.
The webbing used for straps around the bag, including the MOLLE attachment points, is nice quality. The longer, flappier parts have a little velcro loop, so the excess can be kept in check.
I like the zipper pulls in particular. They’re large enough to grab with gloves on.
As I said above, these clips are very good clips. Around the bag, they’re also directional so that it’s hard to connect a male part with the wrong female part. I believe the clips are all the same size.
What I like
- Overall design is good
- Many pockets
- Multiple keyrings
- MOLLE attachments
- [Removable] Wire metal internal frame
- Large “hidden” pocket in the back
- Insulated water bladder pocket
What I don’t like
- No water bottle side pocket
- Laptop compartment isn’t really a laptop compartment, it’s just a compartment which can hold a laptop
- Fabric melts
- Frayed edges after 1 month use
- No slit for water bladder tube
I hope to finish the Imax B6 Mini soon, and I have a whole host of flashlights to go. Olight, Nitecore, Lumintop, and JETBeam, all upcoming!
- This backpack was provided by Nitecore for review. I was not paid to write this review.
- This content originally appeared at zeroair.org. Please visit there for the best experience!
- Whether or not I have a coupon for this backpack, I do have a bunch of coupons!! Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons. Note I’ve upgraded that sheet so that now, you may subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!