I carry a backpack with me every day and after using my current bag for several years it was time to find something new. The previous bag I carried daily was a simple LL Bean book bag which simply wasn’t the right tool for the task but it did the job. It’s only downfall to me was the lack of pockets, since it had only one large pocket with two smaller pockets on the front which couldn’t hold much, and a water bottle holder on either side…space was never an issue, but organization always was. After 6 years of every day use for work, it was time for it to retire and so the search for a replacement began.
I can be quite indecisive sometimes, especially when it comes down to buying something online since I cant touch and feel it so my search for a new bag took place over a couple months where I would look at some in stores and try them out, then look online for better prices and so forth. My search brought me to liking the Condor Compact Assault Pack because it was small but met the requirements of being able to carry all my work items along with some personal things, and also has MOLLE webbing to allow me to add on additional compartments as necessary for additional tools or whatever. The decision was made, so I thought. On Amazon I found a bag listed as Neewer® 30L 3P Comfortable Waterproof Assault Pack Tactical Backpack Molle Bag which looked exactly like a Condor Compact Assault knock-off at about half the price. Since it was only about $20 and I like to gamble, I figured I would roll the dice on this bag and worst case simply return it for the Condor.
This bag must have come direct from China because it took forever to arrive. Once it did, I immediately took photos for a later review which I had a feeling wouldn’t be a very good one. To my surprise, I have to say this bag is worth every penny I paid for it.
Overall Dimensions: 16″ (H) x 9″ (W) x 11″(D)
4 zipper compartments
Main Compartment: 16″ (H) x 9″ (W) x 4.5″ (D)
Has inside mesh pocket on one large wall and a small zipper pouch measuring 8″ (W) x 3″ (H)
Secondary Compartment: 14″ (H) x 8″ (W) x 4″ (D)
Top Outer Compartment: 4″ (H) x 6.75″ (W) x 2.5″ (D)
Lower Outer Compartment: 9″ (H) x 6.75″ (W) x 2.5″ (D)
Has a small pocket inside for pens
Velcro Water Bladder Pouch behind the back padding
*All measurements provided are by my own measure and not the manufacturer’s listing. The listing on Amazon for this bag claims it is either a 20L or 30L depending on which color you select but I tend to doubt that the size varies by bag color (I could be wrong, I will be ordering a second in Black which states 30L so we will know for sure soon enough). According to the dimensions listed above, the bag comes in right around 20L.
Adjustable padded shoulder straps – can be adjusted both at top and bottom of strap
Quick release buckle on shoulder straps
Waist strap (webbing only no padding)
Padded back with mesh
Top carry handle
MOLLE webbing on outer pockets
1 row on top pocket
2 rows on lower pocket
MOLLE webbing on portion of sides and top
5 compression straps
1 on top
2 on sides (1 on either side)
2 on the bottom
What I Don’t Like:
The shoulder strap adjustment at the top of the shoulder strap relies on 2 D rings which tend to slip over regular use, they never pull out, but get looser than I would prefer
Waist strap webbing does not have a fold and stitch at either end and pulled through the triglides on multiple occasions
The small zipper pocket in the main compartment is constructed of a thin nylon which did get a small tear in it very easily
One compression strap was twisted during construction
The tied on zipper pulls come off easily, lost several within a few days of use
No bottle holder, but this will be solved with the MOLLE bottle holder I just ordered
For having low expectations to begin with, this bag has actually performed quite well with every day use under a full load. I have used it daily for several months now for work and also taken it out on the trail on multiple occasions; it has performed very well, but it certainly isn’t perfect and does have it flaws. It has held up to long hikes, bike rides, and short jogs, I’d like to take it for a run fully loaded for further testing. Recently during a heavy downpour, I intentionally did not use an umbrella just to test the water resistance of the bag and water did not come through anywhere surprisingly. Despite its flaws, I do like it and have no regrets of buying it, in fact as I mentioned previously, I am buying a second one (as well as the Condor to review) to keep in my car with a bit of gear. It can fit everything I need in it for a weekend outing with the exception of bedding which can be easily strapped on with some webbing. The padding on the back and shoulder straps has been quite comfortable, I cannot say I have never been uncomfortable while carrying it for extended periods of time. The waist strap issues can be easily fixed by just folding the ends and stitching so they don’t pull out, and the one twisted webbing strap can be easily fixed by un-stitching and restitching, for the $20 I payed for this bag, I didn’t expect it to be perfect.
Again I’d like to reiterate what I said further, this bag was certainly worth every penny. It is totally worth the $20 I bought it for, and for $30 I would still be satisfied. If you are looking for bag on a budget, this will work quite well.
UPDATE 1/20/2016: Almost daily, I have received comments from people who like the bag for both it’s looks and size. After daily use of this bag under a regular full load of either office equipment (laptop, tablet, etc) or field gear for overnight campouts in the woods or day trips, it has had some failures. One zipper pull on the main compartment came loose, after a few times of re-clamping it to the zipper, it eventually let go and snapped. I contacted the company to try and get a replacement bag, and they did offer to reimburse me for the cost if I took it to a taylor for repair. My simpler solution was to remove one zipper pull from the upper outside compartment since it is small and doesn’t require two zippers and install it onto the main compartment, this took care of the problem. Additionally, one bottom corner of the pack has worn a hole in it from my MacBook Air rubbing on it every day. I will be sewing in a patch on both bottom corners to repair and reinforce and will also begin the selection process for my next economy bag long term test. Despite these two failures, my final decision has not changed on this bag, it is still worth the $20 I spent on it. This summer, I will give it a final test on a 3 or 4 day trek on the AT before retiring it to become a medical bag for my vehicle.