As expected First Tactical is doing a good job filling out their tactical product line including some nice packs and bags. To get a starting taste of their design style I got a chance to try out the Tactix 1-Day Plus Backpack and was certainly pleasantly surprised.
For quick first impressions the Tactix pack is a good medium size with a lot of organization and modern features in general. The name of 1-DAY PLUS BACKPACK perhaps implies the pack is around the 1-day size class plus a little more, but I'd think fair to call it a 2-day pack size at Approx. Capacity 2470 cubic inches / 40.5 liters. Also if curious, the PLUS does not mean there is another smaller Tactix pack. First Tactical offers smaller backpacks, however they are labeled as their Specialist one-day and half-day series. First Tactical also plans to release half-day plus and three-day plus packs later this year.
Keeping with the modern trends, a laser cut MOLLE/PALS slot system is used as opposed to traditional webbing. First Tactical calls it their Lynx Laser Cut Platform consisting of laser cuts in Two layers of 500D nylon fabric laminated together. They claim the system is 20% stronger which I'll be honest is hard to believe, but the expanded mounting positions offered is definitely noticeable. With the slots you get the equivalent of half step options when it comes to vertical mounting concerns and also more consistent slot options on the compartment borders. On traditional webbing setups frequently the end slots end up off spec. As one can see just glancing at the pack, there is a generous amount of PALS slots on the front and sides, with 6 columns on the front and 4 on the sides, this is rare on any pack of this size class.
With so many features it is going to be a long ride so hang in there, I'll get the party started off with external features. There is a nice drag handle up top in the typical location with bonus ones on the sides that include elastic to try and stay low profile by default. On the shoulder straps is another strap system that looks a little like a drag handle, however functions like an adjustable yoke strap. This is a pretty rad feature since usually people either love or hate a yoke strap and this is the first time I've seen one adjustable / removable.
The back of the pack and shoulder straps have a good amount of padding with airmesh material to aid in comfort and airflow. The main padding placement makes somewhat of an airflow channel down the spine that while minimal is better than nothing. Although not included, the pack is ready for a fancy hip belt integrating with the lower back pad, or if needing a simple waist belt, there are 1.5" tri-glides to attach to. Some will definitely be sad about the missing belt, however since the pack is just under the size class where a hip belt is super expected, I can understand the design decision to leave it out to keep the price down. That said, for those still interested, First Tactical plans to offer an add-on belt later in the year.
Back to the shoulder straps it is pretty cool that they have a big dose of PALS slots on the exterior and even a loop velcro zone for some cool guy patches. The sternum strap is plenty functional despite using the 3/4" webbing I'm not a super fan of and easy to adjust height placement using a slide-on-tubes setup. As a possible plus or minus depending how you look at it, the sternum strap is easy to take off by sliding up until it comes completely off. Other nice finishes are included such as elastic over the main SRBs (buckles) to prevent accidental release and hook-and-loop straps to manage webbing slack. On the bottom there isn't a whole lot of webbing, but there is enough to lash things down to like bedrolls. One may also notice the grommets are off to the bottom sides and this is because there is a sneaky small zipper pocket at the bottom.
As you may know by now, I'm not a big fan of compression straps on most packs, but the setup that comes with the Tactix bag is pretty nice. The hardware used lets one move or remove the straps and since they mount using the PALS slots there are quite the options for placement. The extra touches are still there such as elastic on the main SRB and elastic for the webbing slack. For an interesting backup note, if you manage to bust your main shoulder strap female buckle, one can use the compression strap hardware to replace and fix quickly with no sewing required. Thinking it might be a good idea if First Tactical offered to sell additional compression strap rigs as some folks may want more than the 2 provided, I inquired and turns out they hope to offer these later in the summer.
The last back compartment is actually more just access to the rigidity backboard and shoulder straps. You likely won't need to mess with this much, but pretty cool you can take out the backboard or add a some more length to the shoulder straps if desired. I didn't think about it till seeing the First Tactical video, but they also had some cool backup plans for the backboard including shovel, paddle, splint or brace. Moving forward a little is what some may call a hydration pocket, yet with the zipper access at the bottom it can be dual purposed to to work with First Tactical's Hook and Hang Thru System. I don't have the other case/sleeve to try yet, but you can see photo examples of it interfacing with First Tactical's Rifle Sleeves which is a pretty cool option. This compartment has G-hook like hangers as part of the system along with some extra sleeve pocket storage inside. Nice touches are continued like a slot for the bottom zipper pull to be secured into. Some may wish there were specific tube ports, but the double zippers allow similar functionality.
Jumping around to the front, the mid front zone has single zipper compartments on each side for ambidextrous accommodation. The inside of each has a few simple sleeve pockets height tiered for good stash zones and organization. Worth noting is the exterior has a solid amount of loop coming in around 6"x3" to offer a lot of patch mounting options. Behind this zone is a dual zippered compartment that is quite the organization party. The sleeve pocket sizes are greatly varied to help with holding options and even a single zippered pocket in the back for additional security options. One of those dumb plastic keypers is on the upper left, but they make up for it by having a hanging loop and full on sweet keychain rig on the upper right. Easy to overlook, just a little ways above is a single zipper CCW compartment. The area has a good overall size and a loop zone to interface with hook backed accessories like holsters. It is a little sad to have a single zipper here to mess with the ambi capabilities, but I understand the compromise as dual zippers would make the opening smaller and thus harder to whip out a pistol quickly.
Moving up is the upper frontal compartment. It uses a single zipper and the interior is no thrills, but the exterior has PALS slots and enough loop to sport a name tape or flag patches. You probably won't actually mount any pouches to this area, but the PALS slots are still useful for lashing and holding carabiner like hardware. Up to the tippy top is another single zippered pocket; this one is smaller yet lined with a soft material to make it great for holding eyewear or small electronics.
Finally on to the main compartment, the big show opens up clam shell style with double zippers. The zipper-pulls are unique and grippy, but I think the cord is a little long as it seems the other pulls work a little better or generally helps grabbing closer to the slider. These more fancy pulls are only used on the main compartment and larger frontal compartment perhaps to help ID the zones. Inside is a nice big compartment with the back being a soft yet velcro compatible material. It isn't as grippy as full on loop, but you can still rock some hook backed accessories for further organization. The sides have some simple sleeve pockets about the right size for hydration bottles, also good for quick stashing. The front interior has some cool mesh pouches with single zippers that attach with velcro. Only a little velcro is used, I believe, to allow the pouches to fill out better. Since easy to tear out they make for great medical storage, but can be useful for all kinds of things. Also not to be forgotten, since hook backed, one can attach these mesh pouches to the back of the main compartment if they like that setup better. Under the mesh pockets are some more vertical style pockets that open with single zippers. It seemed a little weird to me at first, but after inquiring with the designer they do make sense as the intended option of ambidextrous stash pockets that can be accessed with the pack front mounted. Even if not used for that, the pocket shape will give some options not seen in many other packs.
The Tactix Backpack is made overseas, but it is clear a lot of care was put into the materials and construction used. At $179.99 full retail that is still a good price for a pack with so many features. At the end of the day I really like the flexibility of the pack with all the attention to detail. Having the main compartment overall simple so bigger items can be carried while having other compartments for organizing the small stuff is totally my style for a versatile pack. The Tactix pack always looked great, but once I started to put it to use the design really shined as it generally seems easy to find the "right" place to hold all kinds of gear. If feeling you are wanting more storage capacity and less small stuff organization, you may want to look at the First Tactical Specialist 3-Day Backpack coming in at 3425 cubic inches / 56 liters for $149.99
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