Monday, February 8, 2010

Kodiak Gearslinger

The Kodiak is one of the newer (as of this post) Gearslingers by Maxpedition. Called a "gearslinger" due to it's sling style shoulder strap. Before I get into the review of the product itself let me say this... this pack and any "sling" style pack are not designed to be for heavy loads. This isn't a three day pack and is more of a carryall for a day out. If you weigh this pack down, you'll notice it in the right shoulder where the strap is slung. Since the weight of the pack isn't spread across 2 shoulders (and even a sternum and/or waist strap on hiking packs) all the weight is on the one shoulder. SO...don't load or expect to load this pack down with a ton of weight.

The Kodiak (and it's smaller version, the Sitka) have unique design features that allow them to be pulled to the front of the body while still worn to get to your gear. Now, any sling pack can do this but the Kodiak is specifically designed with this in mind. All the pockets and zippers are oriented toward the side to allow easy access when brought from the back to the front. This is convenient for getting items out on the move, or for bringing the pack to the front when getting on a bus. The location of the zippers still allows access from the top of the pack as well.

Another unique feature is that this pack has traveling and security in mind. The pouches can be secured by a cord system on the right side. This cord system allows you to pull all of the zipper pull tabs to that side of the pack and lock them down so that no one can easily unzip the pack. The front zippered sleeve is the only pocket that can't utilize this locking feature, so it features a tab that goes over the top of the zipper to limit access.

First I'll get to the features on the outside. When I say "back" I'm referring to the portion that lays against your back and the front is the portion opposite that. I'll refer to right and left sides as the pack is worn.


- Wide padded shoulder strap helps distribute the weight. A mesh back helps with heat issues. The shoulder strap has webbing along it's length for attachment points as well as routing for a water bladder. An HK style hook for keys, etc. Large side release buckle for easy removal in a hurry.

- Top carry handle with comfortable neoprene padding.

- A removable "Y" shaped compression strap. This helps to hold everything snug within the pack and takes the pressure off the zippers. I've used this once to hold a jacket to the outside of the pack, but generally have this removed.

- The left side has a water bottle pocket. This pocket easily holds a 32oz Nalgene bottle and has a draw string top to prevent your bottle or other items from falling out.

- The front has one larger pocket on the bottom
(10” high x 9” wide x 2” thick). This pocket has a couple of sleeves on the inside, both front and back. It also features a key ring lanyard. I've found that my netbook computer fits in here perfectly. The front of this pocket has a zippered sleeve style pocket. The zipper is secured by a tab that goes over it. This limits someone's ability to easily unzip this zipper. And, of course, the front of this pocket features 5 rows and 3/4 columns of PALS webbing. The web columnon the right of this pouch has a slightly larger opening (the width of 2 PALS columns). This is good for attaching items that might not fit under the PALS style webbing.

- The top front pocket (
4.5” high x 9” wide x 2” thick) is perfect for organizing your gear. The inside features a sleeve for thinner items, and elastic loops (2 wide, 2 narrow). The narrow loops fit a pistol magazine perfectly, and the wider ones fit a cell phone, small GPS, etc etc. The front of this pouch features loop Velcro and a drawstring shock cord for additional storage.

- The right side has 3 rows of PALS webbing. They are about 3 inches long so they not only can accommodate MOLLE pouches, but just above the PALS there is a D ring. So when I hang my keys or other items off the D ring they can be tucked under the PALS webbing to keep them from flopping around.

- Right between the lower front pocket and the PALS webbing on the right side is a handle. This handle is good for picking the pack up from the side, but is there for holding the front of the pack from flopping open when slid to the front of the body and unzipped.

- Also on the right side is the security feature that holds the zipper pull cords as I spoke about earlier. Below this is a D ring.

On the back of the pack there is a zippered sleeve style pocket that is the full size of the pack that has velcro in it. This can be used for a laptop, a water bladder or for concealed carry, which is what I've used it for. Utilizing Maxpedition's CCW holster you can swing the pack to the front of the body, unzip the back sleeve area, and draw your pistol very easily. At the top of this sleeve area is a loop to hold a hydration bladder in place and an opening for a drink tube. In my opinion, using a water bladder in this particular model of pack would bulge this area out and take up too much room in the pack, but the option is there.


- The main area of this pack is decent size. It isn't, however, very thick (17in high x 10in wide x 4in thick). So stuffing large amounts of gear in here like a three day pack isn't happening. I think of this pack as more for thinner items. Maybe a good bag for carrying your laptop, some smaller items, and a couple books.

- On the inner front of the main area is a sleeve that is held closed with a side release buckle (SRB). This sleeve has a mesh zippered pouch area on the outside of it that is divided into 2 pockets.

- The inner back has another sleeve, held closed with a SRB, which has velcro in it to attach pouches to. On the outside of this sleeve is another zippered pouch area which is divided into 2 pockets.

Overall I like this pack for an every day carry pack. I use it for when I have to go out of the house or away from camp for a few hours. I throw what I might need for a few hours in it and away I go. This isn't a pack you'll want to load down with a lot of weight though. If you do you're in store for a sore shoulder. This pack isn't designed for that. For quality, well, Maxpedition's moto "Hard Use Gear" really means it. Using 1000D ballistic nylon and all other quality parts, the pack will last for ages.

Capacity: 1100 cu. in
Colors: Black, OD, Khaki, Foliage, Digital Universal Camo (ACU), Khaki/Foliage
MSRP: $151.99


Matthew said...

I was interested in this pack and after doing some searching it led me to your page. Thanks for the review. The only thing that is keeping me from buying this pack is that I think it might be a tad to big for edc. But I do not want to get the sitka because it will not hold my laptop. BTW I likemo the picture of the Yorktown and the Arthur Ravenel Bridge. Do you live in the Charleston area. If so it is nice to meet another gear nut from Chuck Town! Thanks for the review.

Jake said...

It is a pack more specific for certain needs. It's okay for EDC depending on your EDC needs. If you carry a 13 inch laptop, an extra sweatshirt, etc etc it's good, but for those smaller EDC items it's definitely larger. It is however doesn't bulge out enough to put too much stuff in. Great for laptops and books!!
Nope, not from Charleston...just visiting, but would love to live in the area.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I was glad to see some model it with some scale in the background. I think it will be perfect for an EDC, with a little room left over for comfort. Thumbs up dude! Thanks for the video.

robbabcock1969 said...

Nice review! It helped me make up my mind- just ordered one!

cobra4246 said...

Good review thanks for posting it

Anonymous said...

Nice review!
I just bought the Kodiak and I must say that I am surprised about the bag!
It does not feel comfortable at all to wear and it is huge! I mean really big!
It pushes you to put a lot of stuff in it and than you realize it is too heavy to carry!
But for lighter items and some spare clothes for EDC it is great! Also as a gym bag! Or for bike trips!
As for the concealed carry... now that is really not functional... the bag pushes towards your torso when you want to grab your gun and so there is a lot of resistance through that!
The materials used are great and the design is unique!
Still for 150$ I did expect something else!
Don't get me wrong I really like the bag... but I would give it just 7 out of 10 points!
Take care


Jake said...

I agree that it can be uncomfortable when loaded with heavy items, but for everyday carry it hasn't been too bad. I like the concealed carry option in the back zippered's worked well for me but not every feature works well for everyone.
Again, this is how it's been for me, and everybody has differing experiences... take care and thank you for visiting the site.