If you’re anything like me, you’ve been through enough bags and packs to outfit a small army. A constant search for that ‘perfect backpack’ seems elusive. In this article, Woods Monkey takes a look at a tank-tough, Made in USA offering from Diamondback Tactical. As it turns out, the 3 Day Assault Pack really fits the bill!
Diamondback Tactical has been manufacturing nylon products in Phoenix, Arizona for years now. They make everything from rifle slings to small pouches and containers, to backpacks and duffle bags nearly large enough for a family of four. Diamondback Tactical is proud of their Made in USA policy, as well they should be. In this day and age of constant outsourcing and importing throw-away products, a company that stands behind its product and makes ‘em right here at home is refreshing and impressive. Before getting the 3 Day Assault Pack in hand, I had only heard about Diamondback’s quality. Once the pack was here, it took only minutes to realize that they really mean what they say!
The 3 Day Assault Pack is typically sized for a medium capacity pack. Having overall dimensions of 20 ½” high, by 13” wide, by 6 ¾” thick, the load capacity for the Assault Pack is impressive. With an ingenious three pocket design, the useful area inside the pack is able to carry everything needed for a several days. Built from a codura-style nylon, every seam and stitch is impressively put together. There are no worries about blowing this one out from overloading! The majority of the pack is covered in MOLLE webbing, allowing the user to further customize the pack by adding pouches, carabineers, or lashing on tents, sleeping bags and pads, or clothing.
The main compartment runs the entire vertical height of the pack, and has two access points. The typical “U” shape zipper around the top of the pack opens the pack up clamshell style. Another access to the main compartment is via a zipper near the bottom of the pack. This allows you to get to those contents in the bottom of the pack, without having to pilfer through the entire contents looking for that item down at the bottom. Where I found this especially nice was when I needed to access clothing or rain gear while out on the trail. When a recent trip to a nearby river to experiment with gold panning (hey, it’s as good an excuse to get out as any!) turned cold, I was able to unzip the bottom of my bag, get my spare jacket out, and leave the contents of the pack well organized. This sure beats pulling half my gear out, making a mess of the packs contents just for that one item down at the bottom.
The two additional pockets are well sized, and easily held anything I needed to stuff inside. The middle compartment is accessed via a “U” shaped zipper as well, while the outer most pocket has a horizontal zipper. All zippers on the 3 Day Assault Pack are robust in design with built in quiet pulls that don’t jingle and jangle while you’re going down the trail. The upper and lower compression straps on each side of the pack keep the contacts snug into your body, while the padded DryLex shoulder strap padding make the pack comfortable to wear for extended time. A top grab handle, one of my favorite features, rounds out the build design. I often carry the pack loaded down with gear and stored behind the driver’s seat of my Jeep. The top grab handle lets me pull the bag out and get on my way without having to fish around for a shoulder strap and pull the pack out at an awkward angle. This is a small feature, but one that makes a world of difference.
The 3 Day Assault Pack arrived just in time to serve as a road-trip bag for a three day trip to Las Vegas. I decided I would test the pack for functionality by only using it for all of my clothing and personal affects. Packing three days worth of clothes, Ham radio equipment, and a spare jacket and shoes into the main compartment was easily done. With access to the bottom of the pack, getting things in and out was a simple, convenient task. The built in hydration bladder storage is large enough for my 100oz Camelbak bladder, and also protects my 16” radio antenna when it’s slipped inside. For a carry-on, or durable bag for a few days, the 3 Day Assault Pack is more than enough.
But let’s be honest, a trip to the urban jungle just doesn’t really test the pack that hard. For real life testing the Woods Monkey reader will appreciate, I loaded the pack down for a trip to a local river. Having recently put together a sluice box with a friend, I was anxious to try my luck searching for gold in a local river. I loaded the 3 Day Assault Pack with everything needed for a day hiking the river, turning over rocks, and general adventuring. I was surprised to find that I could pack my sheathed 12” Ontario machete, one of my most used tools, into the main compartment with room to spare. A small survival kit, emergency bivy bag, and extra clothing packed away nicely. Another nice surprise was when I found I could put my favorite field guides in the outer pocket, allowing quick access when I want to figure out what the heck I was looking at. Over the course of the day on the river, I hiked some rough terrain through some fairly thick brush. The 3 Day Assault Pack carried comfortably, with no aggravating spots or unusual wear points on my shoulders or back. Looking at the Diamondback Tactical website, they say that ‘you can overload yourself, but not this pack.’
Well, there’s something that I needed to test! A trip to the shooting range provided an opportunity to load as much weight as I could muster into the pack, and sling it around for an afternoon to see how it holds up. I filled the 3 Day Assault Pack with well over 100 rounds of 12 gauge shotgun ammunition, 250 rounds of .45 acp, a brick of 550 rounds of .22lr, a full sized pistol, my spotting scope, rangefinder, data book, staple gun, targets, and a 32oz Nalgene bottle filled to the brim. Now, I didn’t weigh the pack after I had it loaded up, but I can assure you it was heavy! Much heavier than what I would want to tote around for any length of time. At the range the pack didn’t get to rest on the ground. Instead of setting it next to me, I hung the bag on the shooting bench by the grab handle, letting all the weight stay on the pack for an extended period of time. At the end of the day I saw no ill effects to the pack. The grab handle held up fine, and the zippers and pockets carried the weight in stride. I was impressed, and the build quality of the pack seemed to be capable of taking everything I could throw at it.
Overall I am very impressed with the Diamondback Tactical 3 Day Assault Pack. I have used it to carry everything from dirty socks to camping equipment to work gear. The pack has served as a rifle rest for my 13 pound precision .308 rifle, as well as an insulator for my butt while out in the field. Anything with the Made in the USA logo on it gets extra points for me, but in this case, the pack lives up to all its claims. It is extremely well built, and designed to adapt to your needs and last through all you throw at it. If you’re in need of a serious pack, step up to a Diamondback Tactical pack. The 3 Day Assault Pack has a MSRP of $155, but retail price is found significantly less with a little searching around. Check out Diamondback Tactical’s web site for all of their packs, bags, and pouches here http://www.diamondbacktactical