The Maxpedition Condor II Hydration Backpack has been built with everyone from the urban explorer to the wilderness survivalist in mind. With large storage capacity you could fit anything you need for a day at the park, to a night or two in the woods. With expandability in the form of Molle / Pals webbing, you can expand and customize the capacity to fit your every need.
I had a chance to try this out over the holiday weekend and put this pack through it’s paces.
Construction / Appearance
When it comes down to it, Maxpedition doesn’t skimp on quality materials. The exterior is made of 1000 Denier nylon, and the interior organization pockets are made from 400 Denier nylon. The stitching is incredible to the point where it feels as if you could stuff the bag full rocks and swing it around all day with out a rip. The stitching on high stress points are well thought out and redundant.
Two straps on either side and a “Y” strap across the front of the pack keep it cinched tight and your gear close. These straps are well stitched to the bag and have quality buckles on them that should give you a lifetime of use.
The hook and loop material found in the hydration compartment and along the hydration tube port at the top, are high quality and should provide service for several years.
All the zippers are quality YKK #10 zippers which have been well proven to last for a long time in the roughest of environments.
The straps are well padded and should last for quite some time even when carrying a full pack on a regular basis. The elastic on the shoulder and sternum straps are strong and hold tight even when stretched to the limit several times.
All the nylon buckles and slides are well constructed and appear to be very durable.
The Maxpedition Condor II backpack has 1950 cu. inches of storage capacity. All that space is divided between the two front compartments and the main compartment. The exterior the pack includes MOLLE / Pals webbing on both sides and across the front to allow for customization and expansion to suit each user’s specific needs. At the bottom of the pack is a strap that also allows the wearer to put a bedroll or other long item strapped to the bottom of the pack.
One area that Maxpedition paid close attention to is load distribution. With the shoulder straps, sternum strap, waist strap, and compression straps it is quite easy to customize fit and and comfort. The compression straps on each side and across the front help compact a less than full pack to keep it close to your back allowing you to maintain mobility and balance. The straps are easy to work with a simple tug and lock securely. Releasing them is as easy as pivoting the slide on each compression strap and giving the strap a tug. The sternum strap claps firmly with a strong nylon clasp and can be adjusted with a simple plastic slide. The waist belt is 1.5″ and has a nylon buckle and plastic retainers to hold the extra strap material.
The pack has a separate compartment that can be used to house a 100 oz. hydration bladder with a hanger loop and opening for the drinking tube to run out the top of the pack. The flap over the drinking tube port has hook and loop material at three sides allowing you to choose which shoulder you want the tube to come over and hold it in that position. Maxpedition made the hydration compartment with a thick back wall to add padding to your back, and doubles as an insulator to keep the hydration pack cool and reduce heat transfer from your body to the pack. The compartment also has hook and loop material for use with Maxpedition‘s optional hook and loop holster. The sternum strap also has a handy spot for keeping the mouth piece of your hydration pack.
Inside the main compartment is a compartment with mesh material and a zipper for housing smaller items that do not fit well in any of the other organizational pockets. There is also another slim compartment made of 400 Denier nylon.
The top compartment on the front of the bag is held closed by YKK zippers and paracord style pulls and covered on the outside with MOLLE / PALS webbing.
The lower compartment on the front of the bag is held closed with the same zippers and pulls as well as webbing found elsewhere throughout the pack. The inside of the compartment is separated by a 400 Denier nylon organizer that has slots for pens / pencils and various other items. There is also a plastic hanging clip for hanging your keys on and keeping them quiet.
The top of the bag features a tough carry handle that (given the stitching and materials), might even double as a drag handle if needed. I haven’t tested this, or seen it written, but it seems tough enough given the overall strength of the materials used throughout the construction.
I had the opportunity to run through the woods over the holiday weekend with this pack about half full, and my Blackhawk hydration bladder in it. By woods, I’m talking about thick woodland with a lot of low to medium height vegetation with more briers than I care to remember. I knew for sure that this bag would take a beating in this environment.
I loaded up the Condor II with what I needed for the day and tossed in my hydration pack. I found cinching down the compression straps to be a breeze and really helped keep the items close to my back. I routed the hydration tube out the right side of the tube port and closed the flap. The shoulder straps have elastic and nylon webbing, both of which worked great to route the tubing through and around to the sternum strap where I tucked in my bite valve. Now having a Blackhawk brand hydration pack, I noticed that it did seem a bit narrow and long for the Condor II, but was still usable. One thing I would recommend, is for Maxpedition to include some sort of info pack, manual, or users guide with this pack. I was a bit baffled at how to attach the hydration reservoir to the hanger and just settled on using a zip tie to do it. Maxpedition does the CamelBak brand hydration reservoirs, but being that I don’t have one, I can’t tell you what the fit for those is like.
With it half full, and on my back I hooked up the sternum and waist straps and adjusted them accordingly. I found that they took a remarkable amount of weight off my shoulders and made the whole pack seem lighter. The padding on the shoulder straps was more than sufficient and the weight was well balanced allowing me to keep my mobility and agility.
Mucking about in the woods I brushed up against briers, thorns, branches and all kinds of vegetation. I couldn’t find a single tear, poke, rip, or loose thread after my romp in the woods. Maxpedition has definitely chosen the right materials for the job here. All the straps and buckles held fast throughout the day without needing to be readjusted or fastened again.
Maxpedtion has really created a winner with this bag. The quality of materials is top notch, and the construction second to none. The ability to balance an unevenly loaded bag was remarkable and the weight distribution was excellent. I appreciate the ability to just have a good time and not have to worry about my gear. When it comes down to it, there is not much in the way of cons for this bag. I would like to see it come with some documentation about installing the hydration reservoir, and an easier way to attach it to the bag. I would also like to see a way to stow all the excessive strap material. with the bag only half full, I found that I had an awful lot of loose strap material at the compression straps and shoulder straps flopping about. I also found that pushing the “Y” compression strap out of the way when opening the main compartment, was sometimes an exercise in futility as it would flop back to the opening more often than not.
Overall I’d recommend this pack to anyone, and the few cons are heavily out weighed by the pros. Whether you are hiker, camper, airsofter, or a part of our armed forces in the field, Maxpedition has made an excellent backpack in the Condor II that will suit about any need.
tags: maxpedition condor II