I've had numerous daysacks, as I use them almost daily when in the field to hold food water, my snake equipment and paperwork etc. I've had quite a few over the last ten years, from the 35L Karrimor Sabre, the 30L version,a swell as other Karrimor models. These have always been slightly too big for me though and were bulky with wasted space. So a couple of years later I found a smaller alternative, and until now, my favourite, the Highlander 25L....
That easily held all of my equipment, with two 58 pat water bottles in each side pocket and FAK in the top pocket. The downside to this pack was the fact that all of my equipment used to get lost in the main body and finding it out was a chore. A lot of the equiment I use is small and there just isn't any quick access to small items in the main body and inevitably, the smallest always work their way to the bottom of the pack, so you have to take everything out constantly.
So after a bit of Heinnie browsing, I thought I'd check out MaxP's Pygmy Falcon. Looked just the job, and the quality is always there with MaxP's stuff.
So here it is...
What I really like is the flat profile. It doesn't stick out too far and catch on thick vegetation and branches. The material is a thick quality rip-stop nylon. The straps have multiple tension tapes to adjust height of carry and profile. It did come with a chest retention clip, but I don't use them on packs this small, so it went.
The mesh side pockets are good and open out with another retention cord, but unfortunately don't fit the 58 pat bottle or the US canteen (well, it will just). Bottles will fit such as Siggs and MaxP's own though. This didn't bother me too much as I was keeping the one side for my snake hook and the other for FAK. In the end, I moved the FAK into one of the internals and put a small Sig bottle in the other side.
The front pocket has ample room and you can store books, maps and other equipment there. Mine holds my paperwork and local OS.
The first compartment is deceptively large. So much so that I pulled out my FAK and transferred it to a bigger waterproof container and split off the plasters and compeed stuff into a smaller dry bag. The compartment also has a large pocket and several smaller compartments inside. Perfect for pens, smaller snake hook, phone, flashlight, snakebags, infra red thermometer, paracord, monocular and tons of other stuff. It has a nifty little hanging clip which I use for my keys. Easy access in seconds that saves faffing when I want to get back in the house quick after a knackering day.
Tha main compartment is just about large enough for all my stuff such as crusader kit and my canvas pouch that has my spoon, knife sharpener, coffee, matches, greenheat and other stuff. The rest of the space can take spare clothes, waterproofs, food and micro fiber towel I like to keep handy. A sipped pocket and larger open pocket hold these items easily and stop them falling to the bottom.
On the exterior, the bag has numerous tapes for attaching more compartments and diddly doos, as well as one main retention strap that goes over all the zippered compartments and pocket, thus making it all secure. You can also tighten this to flatten the profile even more both top and bottom. Underneath the smaller compartment is a bungee chord, which again is perfect for strapping waterproofs, or in my case, more snakebags. A much better position for it than the often used top of the rucksack, which I always found gets caught on branches and makes you look a tit when it pulls you over. In this lower position, it is protected from snagging, and also protects your items from getting dragged out without you knowing.
The base is also covered in a hard wearing rubber material, so it repels damp and dirt when sitting it down on the ground. On top, there is a strong carry handle which is great for hooking over tree stumps and fence posts when you want to get your bottle out without bending down.
Access is quick and easy, with two way zippers. You can get into any part of the pack without disturbing your kit and having to rummage around endlessly. You can access top, bottom, either side, quickly and easily without anything falling out. Just what I wanted.
In all, it is a very well made and thought out rucksack and immediately beats the others I have tried and used over the years. It sits right and is comfortable over long treks in all terrain and weather (been using it for a couple of months now). The only real gripe I have is the cool mesh back. It performs as cool mesh does, but lacks the chimney section that Karrimor and Highland have over the spine, so I find it creates more perspiration in the hot and humid days we have been having recently. This is a small gripe though, as even fully laden and heavy, it is comfortable to carry on one shoulder for long distances should your wet back prove too much in the heat.