After much eager anticipation of the FedEx delivery guy, my newest bit of kit has arrived… The Maxpedition Fatboy. This side carry pack was constructed with everyone in mind. Whether you’re serving in our armed forces in combat, an avid outdoors man, or just an urban busy body, this pack has something for you. Now on to the review.
Upon opening the packaging and holding this for the first time I was immediately aware of its solid construction. The exterior fabric is made of 1000 Denier nylon with Dupont Teflon coating and a proprietary polyurethane coating. What does all that mean? The high density nylon make it a rugged pack, and the fabric is not prone to ripping or fraying through extended use. The interior pockets are made from 420 denier nylon making them flexible and light weight. All the zippers are genuine YKK brand ensuring years of tough use and wear.
A simple squeeze of the buckles and they easily disconnect. The nylon material they are made of, glides easily into place, is light weight, and secures easily.
The hook and loop material found throughout the pack is excellent quality. I imagine that this will not weaken easily over time, and will provide many years of secure service.
All of the nylon cord appears to be sturdy and should provide years of use without failing.
Given it’s compact size, you would think that there isn’t much that you could fit in it…. you’d be wrong. The main compartment alone has 156 cubic inches of storage space! Storage comes in all shapes and sizes, and this pack has just about the right size pockets for all your needs. All together there are 11 pockets on this modest piece of gear.
The far left pocket features MOLLE / PAL webbing for attaching additional equipment / pouches to this already versatile pack. This pocket unzips about 2/3 of the way around it allowing easy access to all of its contents. It’s a great place to shove medium size items such as multi-tools into, or a candy bar, or other anything you wish.
The front of the unit features a plastic buckle closure system that is accompanied by a sturdy nylon d-ring and strap system for cinching the cover down tight. The cover features a small zippered pocket, excellent for small flat items such as credit cards, ID’s, and other items you need easy access to, but wish to store securely.
Under the front flap is where the business end of this pack begins. Immediately underneath, there is a medium size, open top pocket that I found perfect to keep my wallet in. Secure under the top flap, yet easy to access, this is a great spot for it. The next pocket underneath it is held closed by a quality YKK zipper and features an inner secondary pocket. It’s a great place to keep your digital camera, or a small first aid kit.
Behind this is the main compartment. The main compartment features a water resistant storm collar to help keep the items inside dry. It is easily deployed with a simple pull of a draw string and cinching it down with a spring loaded plastic cinch. Inside the main compartment are two smaller mesh compartments. These are great for keeping smaller odds and ends that you wouldn’t use as much, but don’t want to have to hunt around for when you need them. The mesh material allows them to breath and helps keep items visible when you’re looking in the pouch.
One feature that is sure to draw the eyes of those looking for a conceal carry bag, is the compartment just behind the main compartment. Secured by a YKK zipper, this compartment is easy to access, large, and contains loop material for working with the hook and loop accessories also available from Maxpedition. With enough room to conceal a compact handgun, concealed carry permit holders have yet another secure method of carry with the Universal CCW Holster that can attach in this pocket. Maxpedition also makes a triple mag holder, great for carrying extra pistol magazines, tactical lights, or tools; that can secure inside of this pocket with the hook and loop material.
For military users the loop material on the front cover is excellent for attaching name tapes, blood type labels, morale patches and more.
The metal Keyper is great for securely holding glove, keys, or any accessory with a ring on it. The nylon material below it makes a great place to stash your key when it’s attached to keep it from snagging on things or jingling.
The back of the pack is lined with padding and a mesh fabric to keep you cool, much like the shoulder strap. In addition, you’ll find a loop great for increasing the security of your Fatboy, by allowing it to attach to your belt directly. This makes it harder to drop, have it snatched from you, and holds it secure while running with it.
Okay, enough about the features let’s see how well this pack works. I’ve been running about town with it for the past few days and cramming everything from airsoft gear, gun gear, tech gear, and every day gear in it to see how well it fits, handles, and works. For the average Joe on the go like me, it’s quite the nice pack. I find myself often walking with too much stuff in my pockets (mp3 player, wallet, knife, bundle of keys, USB flash drive, cell phone), so having this makes everything easier. I simple just find a home for each item, and when I am leaving the house all I have to do is grab my Maxpedition Fatboy and go. I even keep a bottle or two of water in it so I can keep my self hydrated. As I will soon have a concealed carry permit for my state, this will make an excellent concealed carry bag for me when I’m not wearing something that will allow me to discretely holster a weapon.
The weight distribution is good with the cross the body shoulder strap and padding, and even better when attached to belt. Walking around with this for hours is quite comfortable and is a very efficient method of carrying everything you need for an afternoon in the woods or at the park.
For me personally, this will probably see most of its use found in an urban setting, I’ll still be using it when I make it out to the woods from time to time without reservation of its durability.
I had to look long and hard, but did see two things that could be done to make this pack more user friendly. The first would be to put a swivel below the large clasp on the shoulder strap (near the pack). A swivel similar to the one found on some of Blackhawk’s drop leg holster platforms, would be excellent in increasing comfort if you’re wearing this and have it attached to your belt and sitting or kneeling. The other feature that might be useful (but I could see draw backs to it as well), would be to put a drainage grommet at the base of the main compartment. I know it has a rain shield, but if you find yourself waist deep in water, you don’t want to drag it all out of the river with you. At the same time this might leave the opportunity to loose small items and allow more dirt into the bag.
If you’re looking for a lightweight easy to carry pack for hunting, camping, or just every day life, then this is a quality piece of equipment you should check out. Maxpedition has done an excellent job at making a pack that is easy to carry and packed with features.
For those of you who are in the executive security industry, this pack could be invaluable. A combination of an appearance that is not to high profile yet with excellent storage space makes this a great grab and go bag to keep on hand in a vehicle.
I know many of you who play airsoft might be wondering… why is he reviewing this? It doesn’t look too useful for such a sport. Well, with large main pouch (great for a dump or ammo pouch for a rifle), and a mag pouch for a pistol, and the concealment pouch… it packs quite a punch for guys who don’t want to wear 40 pounds of gear to just run around for a quick game.
All in all, I highly recommend this bag for everyone. I’m sure that if you had one of these you’d find a reason to use it and then wonder how you ever did without it.
tags: maxpedition fat boy