If, like me, you have a habit of carrying around a large supply of things that you just might need then you are probably always on the look out for the perfect bag. This bag will be the perfect size, durable and waterproof and will have exactly the right number of pockets and hooks whilst being comfortable to carry all-day every day. Back in the real world, you are always on the look out for the right bag and never quite able to find it.
Maxpedition, a company founded in 1988 to make hard use mil-spec nylon bags and gear in California has extended its range significantly into the civilian and leisure markets, is a definite contender for manufacturing the perfect bag. All their products are made to be as durable and tough as possible, with great attention to detail, strength and versatility are key selling points. They use of large amounts of MOLLE webbing to allow modular attachment of pouches and tools so that all bags can be customized. They have come in for a fair bit of controversy over the years for their styling and some of their customer service, but there are a lot of devoted Maxpedition fans. I have used a Maxpedition bag myself for years and they remain one of my favourite brands.
So what are their bags like? Primarily the products fall in to three types:
Versipacks – worn over one shoulder sitting on the hip, always accessible. These bags come in right and left handed versions depending on which hip you like to wear them.
Gearslingers – worn over one shoulder sitting on the back and swivelling around the body to be reached without having to be removed.
Backpacks – traditional style shoulder bags sitting on the back needing to be removed for access. There are a number of other shaped bags but the vast majority of Maxpedition bags are of these three types or pouches made to be attached to them.
Maxpedition bags are strong, comfortable, many pocketed bags that will last for years, so what is the downside? Apart from the styling which is not to everyones’ taste the biggest problem with Maxpedition is the cost – not too bad compared to other specialist brands, but still not exactly economically priced. The Maxpedition Falcon for example (the bottom photo) costs around £150 and the pouches are between £20 and £40 each. It is not a price tag for the casual shopper, but a Maxpedition bag can be an investment that can pay off if you get the right size and style of bag for you. Some of the more unusual pouches can be hard to get a hold of, but most can be found via Amazon or via several resellers.
I have a small versipack for personal use that carry well even on long days out and I have larger Maxpedition bags for days out with the family. I carry my wife’s medical supplies – Epi-Pen, inhalers, splints, tape and medication. I have changed bags as my daughter has grown older, first to fit a nappy changing set, then a portable travel potty and now her spare set of clothes, binoculars and pencils. I have used it in urban settings, Maxpedition has travelled with me as an overnight bag when attending a conferences, a day pack, a student bag and a tech bag, but it has also accompanied us on family trips to the beach and short hikes in the New Forest. It is an all weather and all terrain brand and if you cannot afford it new, due to its durable design, a second hand bag is almost as good as new at a fraction of the price.
I am still looking for my perfect bag, but the Maxpedition bags have come close to fitting the bill.