I think I'm developing an addiction to Maxpedition stuff I thought I'd do a review of my latest acquisition and took some piccies in the back garden for your perusal.
I've called this a 'Bag' in the title but I suppose it could go by the names of Daysack, Gearslinger, Utility Bag, Bug-out-bag, you get the idea...
The first thing I noticed was the colour. I went for the foliage green on this one and I have to say I really like it. It's a very natural grey-green and it doesn't look military at all. It certainly wouldn't look out of place round town.
I knew the webbing along the side would fit a small hatchet as I had seen this done on youtube but I was counting on it fitting my GB Small Forest Axe. Result! It fit's perfectly.
Now here's what makes the Sitka a bit different from other packs. The main load bearing strap is just that, a single well padded strap that goes over one shoulder. I must admit that I did have misgivings as to how comfortable this was going to be but I can tell you that after carrying it around on a walk we went on last week for about three hours that I suffered no ill effects. There is a thinner support strap that comes around the other side of the wearer's chest which holds the bag in place and does help to even out the load. After a bit of fiddling with the adjustable buckles I found the bag to be actually very comfortable to wear. I think the trick is to wear the strap quite high up on the chest and keep everything nice and snug. There are also plenty of places on the strap to keep things close to hand. I've got a firesteel and pocket compass here but I have seen a knife stored here before (don't do that round town!).
If the strap arrangement makes the Sitka different then here is what I believe makes the Sitka brilliant. Once you unclip the buckle to the thin support strap (which incidentally has a cute whistle on it) then the whole pack can be spun around the wearer's body to the front. This means that the pack does not have to be taken off to access it's contents. It alos means that the wearer can sit with their back against something quickly without having to remove the pack. The pouches' and the main compartment's zips are configured in such a way for this very purpose.
There is a pouch on the side for bottles, flasks etc. This is a 1 litre 32oz maxp nalgene in the pic so you know it's big enough! there is plenty of room for a mug in there too if your bottle will fit inside one. This pic also shows that a lapplander folding saw will fit snugly in the webbing on the lower outside pouch secured by a lanyard to the 'Y' compression strap buckle.
The outside top pouch is very good for keeping your small items organised on the move or indeed in camp where I often misplace all the little bits of kit I'm using. This would fit quite a bit more than what I carrying here.
The lower pouch is also capable of holding more than what I'm showing here. It has a divider sleeve on each side and a security clip for keys etc.
Now to the main compartment. This is much bigger than at first seems possible somehow. I'm probably pushing it's capacity in this pic but I have got some large items here and I reckon a few small items could still be stuffed in. The zips closed easily anyway. There is another divider in this compartment and also some zipped mesh pockets which would come in very handy.
There s one more compartment which is situated on the very back or closest to the wearer's back. It is the full size of the pack and is designed for a hydration bag. There is a hole at the top to facilitate the drinking tube.
To say I'm impressed with this pack is a huge understatement. I thought I loved my Jumbo Versipack but that has now been relegated to Dad-Bag status and is now sheepishly carrying nappies and baby-wipes. I might let it carry a penknife and a torch as well if it's good. The Sitka has now triumpahntly been confirmed as Dad's 'Bushcraft Bag'.
If you want to know where to get one, I got mine from here and yes I know they're pricey but they and I are worth it.