Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A gear review...Kodiak Gearslinger

Sorry for the recent hiatus, but I've been working around the house lately and trying to pull some OT to pay some bills around here. You know the drill. Anyway, I had promised to do a couple of reviews earlier this year and finally am getting around to posting. A couple of months ago I reviewed an awesome penlight and now want to do one on my newest bag. The Maxpedition Kodiak Gearslinger.

My quest for a new general purpose(and possible BOB) started last year when I helped chaperone a zoo trip for LBD(littlest blond daughter). I had to carry her lunch and mine, as well as a ton of other stuff, seeing as how I was the only man in the group; making me the proverbial pack mule. The backpack I used was one I picked up a while back, on sale, at the big box. It had muted colors, plenty of pockets, and was as good of quality as one can get from Wally World. I dutifully strapped it on and within thirty minutes knew I would be on the internet that night looking for a new one. The straps were too tight and close together for my large frame and it was impossible to get off and on when fully loaded or when in a hurry. My first find was a "sling" pack from Hazard 4Evac; the "Rocket Bag". It was a one strap affair that could be slung over the head and carried on either shoulder. It is slim and could fit in the truck easily. Good idea, huh? After I received it I found that the quality was excellent and worth the price, but the thickly padded sling was attached in the middle to make it ambidextrous. This made it ride uncomfortably against my neck when in use. Soooooo that was sent back. That's when I finally brokedown and spent the money to get the Kodiak from a seller on Ebay. Here's what Maxpedition has to say about the bag:

Product Features

• #0468 Kodiak S-Type Gearslinger

•Single shoulder backpack designed to maximize utility when rotated towards front of body

•Main compartment: 17" high x 10" wide x 4" thick with internal organization

•Top front: 4.5" high x 9" wide x 2" thick with internal organization

•Bottom front: 10" high x 9" wide x 2" thick with internal organization

•Approximate Capacity: 1100 cu. in.

•Fits up to 15.4" (diagonal screen size) laptop computer.

•Main compartment and hydration compartment can accept CCW accessories

•Shoulder strap designed to go over left shoulder for better weapon shouldering

•Bag can be worn in front and contents comfortably accessed while sitting down

•Water bottle pocket sized to fit 32oz Nalgene bottle

•Compatible with 100oz hydration reservoir

•Theft deterrent devices built-in to capture zipper pulls

•PALS modular webbing throughout to for attaching accessories

•Top and side handles
After I got it in the mail (like a little kid at Christmas) I filled it with a bunch of junk laying around and walked outside with it. I was immediatley relieved to find that it felt 100% better on my shoulder. The key is that the strap is sewn on one side, making it sit more like a traditional backpack but with the speed and ease of one strap. It also has a cross chest strap the helps hold it in place(the buckle for this even has a neat little built-in whistle). When I originally ordered this I was worried that the strap wouldn't be long enough for my thick build( I would lie and say I was built like a brick sh#$house, but built like a barrel is more like it) and had also ordered a neat setup called the Janus extension strap/pack. It is also sold/made by Maxpedition and extends any of their packs by up to 12" or so. I was pleasantly suprised to find that I didn't need it at all. The Kodiak fit great and could fit someone bigger than me with no problem. The quality is excellent and I could find no faults with the bag. All the stress points were tacked and the webbing is the high quality stuff.
As seen in the top pic, the bag has two main front pockets, a side water bottle pocket, a roomy main compartment, and a hydration/CCW pocket hidden between the back and main compartment.
Top pocket:
As seen here the top pocket is arranged with a rear divider with 4 large elastic loops sewn in. This great for knives, leatherman, lights, etc. That's the stuff I usually keep in there and it has worked out great for keeping that stuff secure and from getting lost.
Bottom Pocket:
As seen here the bottom/front pocket is rather large and has several dividers. The first is sewn against the outside material and is clear to easily see what is in it. Maybe for papers/map? The inside divider has two pockets with the rear-most having a keeper for keys, etc. This pocket is great for papers, maps, tickets, and small to medium sized stuff that will sit a little flatter. I have often stuffed an extra t-shirt or fold up windbreaker in here. As seen in the next pic there is also an exterior slit pocket that is secured with a strap ands snap to keep would-be pick pockets from opening it up. This could also be used for papers, med kit, etc.

Main Compartment:

The Main compartment is roomy and is large enough to get a change of clothes in it, no problem. It has dividers to the front and rear as seen above that are subdivided and have straps with buckles to keep them from flopping around. The divider to the front of the bag(left in pic) is divided into two mesh, zippered pockets with a full size space behind it. I often keep small stuff like matches, lighters, fire starter in here so they don't get lost. The rear divider has two solid material zippered pockets and a full size area behind it. It can be opened all the way open like a book and has plenty of room. For overnight trips I will throw my change of clothes in here. The upper right zippered compartment has a homemade first aid kit in a plastic box. Once again, plenty of room, you don't even know it's there.

Rear hydration/CCW pocket:
 This slit pocket is between the back of the pack and the main inner compartment. It is big enough for a hydration bladder and has a hole at the top to accomodate the drinking tube. The shoulder strap also has some webbing loops to secure the tube as well. The rear wall is also lined with soft-sided velcro and will accept a CCW holster for carrying whatever bangstick you choose to place in it. This one here is from another bag I had and it wasn't being used, so voila'!  I have tried a couple of pistols here and it wasn't too bad, but anything of large proportions may be uncomfortable. The good news is that it can be stashed in another pocket and accessed just as easily. This pocket also has a hole built on the side to stash the cross chest strap while not being used.

Strap and padding: The padding on this bag is pretty comfortable and is made of a cool mesh type material. The shoulder strap is attached to the left so you can shoulder a weapon on the right, no problem. You can see the webbing that holds a drinking tube and the buckle attachment for the cross strap. The buckle slides up and down a piece of webbing to give you about 3-4" of adjustment on where you want the strap to ride. It actually stays in place, too. You can also see the stout spring clip on th strap also for quickly attaching or detaching items to keep handy; compass, GPS, etc. (this bag is also now made with the strap on the right- for lefties. Make sure you get the right one)

Exterior of bag:

As you can easily see this bag has tons of MOLLE on it. You can add your favorite accessory just about anywhere. It also has a large amout of softside velcro on the top pocket with a slide-through sleeve. On top of this is a length of small bungee cord with a cord lock. This great for stuffing a jacket under once the day has warmed up.  The velcro will let you attach your favorite smart-aleck patch to hack off some bleedy-heart. I'm not really sure what the sleeve is for, but I bet you could stick a camera tripod, shooting scope rest or some collapsed shooting sticks in there. The top handle is neoprene wrapped and sewn on for a soft grip and the side grab handle is made to grab the bag and slide it around in front of you with out removing it. What did he say? Yep, that's right. Since it only has the one strap you can reach down with your right hand, grab the handle, and pull it in front of you. This is great for accessing stuff in a hurry or even just pulling the bag in front of you to sit down in a vehicle or in a chair. Of course the zippers are on the correct side to make this an awesome feature. Don't tell anyone else, but it would probably also make a great rifle rest if tightened up to your chest some. You can see that it has a Y-yoke on top for tightening down the pack to make it more compact, but I rarely use it for that. It works out great for stowing other bulky stuff directly on top, like a sleep mat, etc. The water pocket is supposed to hold a 32 oz. Nalgene bottle, but I have been stuffing a 1.5 liter water bottle in there with no problem. It has a cord lock with shock cord to hold it down tight.

I like this bag a lot if you haven't figured that out yet. It is super handy and accessible. I took it dove hunting the other day and had a whole case of shells, t-shirt, two water bottles, choke pouch, hat, plus all the other stuff I usually carry on a day like that(EDC stuff). It took the load no problem and I got several comments on how handy it was. I originally bought this with the idea if possibly using it as my truck/BOB bag but like it so much that I am now just using it as an EDC/day bag. I got it for around 100 bucks on Ebay. I've seen them run anywhere from 95-135 bucks. Is that a lot of money? You bet. Especially in today's economy, but, that being said I bet this bag will last me for many years to come. It is very well made and is constructed of good materials.  I usually stick to the adage that you get what you pay for, and in this case you get a lot. I have a kiddie field trip coming up soon, so we'll see how it holds up to 5 year olds. That, my friends, is a whole different kind of torture test. So...that's my two cents. If you have any questions, shoot me a message. By the way, Maxpedition didn't pay me to write this, but I sure do wish they would. Y'all have a good 'un.


  1. That's a lot of bag. I like it.

  2. Flier-I really like it. It's about the size of an average school backpack, but better divided and built.

  3. Great review! I'm about to pull the trigger on this bag momentarily. While I am a right-handed shooter, I'm considering getting the one designed for lefties since I personally just don't like the feel of a single strap on my left side. Considering I'm accustomed to shooting with an old Alice pack on, the strap on my right shoulder shouldn't be an issue at all. Just something to consider for any would-be buyers out there, instead of just buying one simply because it says it's designed for left or right-handed shooters. Just a thought!
    Thanks for the review. The pictures do a good job of illustrating the layout and organization.

  4. Thanks! As an update I carried it to DC on an overnight trip with no other luggage. It was stuffed to the gills but still worked as my carry-on. I carried it through several museums etc. And it did fine. I did find that by the end of the second day, after carrying it non stop my shoulder and back definitely knew I was carrying a sling bag. Still, I think it is one of Maxpedition's best designed bags. I called and asked them if the could d a backpack version and they said they had no plans to do so. So....

  5. Thanks! As an update I carried it to DC on an overnight trip with no other luggage. It was stuffed to the gills but still worked as my carry-on. I carried it through several museums etc. And it did fine. I did find that by the end of the second day, after carrying it non stop my shoulder and back definitely knew I was carrying a sling bag. Still, I think it is one of Maxpedition's best designed bags. I called and asked them if the could d a backpack version and they said they had no plans to do so. So....