One of the keys in finding the right gear for your next outdoor adventure is to prioritize functions over form. The gear must be reliable even when it does not have flashy colors or other aesthetic ornamentation. In case of backpack, the important things are comfort, capacity, and ease of use. If you go hiking, hunting, or anything that involves wandering around the wilderness, your backpack should contain all your basic needs such as water bottles, clothes, foods, and probably some knives or a rifle. These call for large capacity backpack, or more commonly referred to as bug-out-bag (BOB). However, capacity also means bulkiness, meaning the backpack (on its own, without load) can be quite heavy.
Bulky backpack also brings balance issue. Poorly designed backpack probably has randomly placed compartments, which will put strains on your shoulder and back muscles. The imbalances from each compartment’s capacity bring too much discomfort and fatigue. The last thing you want during an adventure is unnecessary tiredness and muscle cramp only because you carry large heavy backpack. When you‘re tired, it should be from walking, hunting for foods, making fire, and building a tent, not because you carry more weight than you have to.
Another thing to consider is price. Everybody wants to get the best products for the best price. There should be good balance between price and features. A thing is not overpriced when the features can justify the benefits you get. Good versatile backpack can cost a couple hundred of dollars or more; depending on what you need and features you get, the price can mean either money well-spent or total waste.
If you are a little bit tight on budget, you should do more diligent search to get the best price and feature ratio. A BOB is not like any regular backpack. It has more compartments, but portable enough to carry items that you need for survival. The bag should provide enough room to carry all your essentials for at least 72 hours or more. Fortunately for you, there is one bag that has most (if not all) the requirements for outdoor adventure but without a hefty price tag. Manufactured by ALPS, the OutdoorZ Commander Backpack delivers all the good things including large capacity, good balance, and sturdy materials in one package yet it is available in the affordable range. The Commander actually consists of two gears: a Pack Bag and a detachable Freighter Frame.
The Pack Bag alone weighs only 2 pounds and 3 ounces. Constructed of Nylon Ripstop, the Commander can certainly take an abuse. It is probably not as tough as ballistic nylon, but the material is still durable enough to withstand dragging against rocks and other rough surfaces. Nylon Ripstop is made using special reinforcing technique to make the entire construction resistant to ripping and tearing. With interlocking thread patterns, the material becomes thick and durable but remains lightweight. The same technique is used in the manufacturing process of other high quality camping equipment such as tent and hammocks. Some parachutes are made the same way too. Even when the Pack Bag does rip, the damage (or rip size) will not spread or increase in size.
In addition to the main compartment, the Pack Bag also provides a front pocket, two side hinged pockets, and a spotting scope pocket. Underneath the hinged pockets, there is another pocket to support riffle stock, so it stays in place as you walk around. Designed for outdoor activities, it has all sorts of compartments, loops, and ports to get everything organized and easily accessible. Despite its small for factor and weight, the bag can contain a maximum load of 5250 cubic inches worth or volume. That is more than 85 liters.
Zippered compartments feature paracord pulls and edge fabric to cover the zippers; it is a simple idea but it does help prevent contamination from debris. Row of webbing with loops helps you attach other gears on the front. Shoulder straps and waist belt are generously padded to provide comfort. The back part is also padded for better cushioning. Commander Pack Bag nails the ergonomic factor very well, allowing you to walk lightly enough without leaving important essentials behind.
Made from high quality lightweight aluminum, the Freight Frame is detachable from the Pack Bag. It is secured to the bag using 8 Clevis Pins (4 on each side). There are three cross-bras for to support the overall construction rigidity and prevent twisting. These cross-bars are a little bit curved so they slightly move away from your back. Using the Clevis Pins and sliding mechanism, you can adjust the height as well. To make the attachment more secure, Clevis Pins are reinforced with Spring Clips. Freight Frame weighs 7 pounds and 5 ounces; in total, the OutdoorZ Commander Backpack weighs 10 pounds and 8 ounces (less than 5 kilograms). The frame has its own strapping system, so you can carry firewood or harvested food back to your tents pretty easily too.
- Easy top loading
- Rifle holder system
- Hydration pocket along with port
- Nylon Ripstop material for the Pack Bag
- Detachable Freighter Frame made of aluminum
- Clevis Pins and Spring Clips mechanism
- Height-adjustable frame
- Lower door access to main compartment
All in all, the OutdoorZ Commander Backpack is a versatile lightweight BOB with excellent design in both internal compartments and external frame. It is functional, durable, and it can carry a lot of things in organized way. Detachable frame makes it even more useful during long camp adventure.
5 / 5 stars