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Pantac Versipack in CB (56k Beware)

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Old November 26th, 2008, 18:51   #1
Laike
 
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Pantac Versipack in CB (56k Beware)

Hi everyone, I just wanted to do a quick picture review of the Pantac Versipack since the only one I could find was in french.

So this is the Pantac (formerly known as Phantom) Versipack. From the size, I believe this is a knock off of the Maxpedition Jumbo Versipack, but I may be mistaken.

It's made from Cordura, though I'm not sure if it's 600 or 1000d. The belt is the same material as a seat belt and is pretty soft to the touch surprisingly. Unlike the real Maxpedition, it lacks the belt pad (which is sold separately, but I haven't seen them for a few months) so for some it may dig into the shoulder and neck. Since my previous bag was a cheap bag, this one seems much more comfortable in comparison. I do wish it came with the belt pad, though I can't seem to think of a pantac bag that comes with it stock. The stitching feels pretty solid, though I'll have to let my mother look at it for a more professional opinion on the stitching quality.

So onto the layout of the bag...



As you can see, there is a decent amount of molle on the bag to attach extra pouches. There is a 2x2 near the strap of the bag, a 2x3 on the top pouch and a 2x2 on the side pouch. Also, there's a nice strong metal clip sewn to the strap



The top pouch is about the perfect size for a Nintendo DS, a PSP, or any similar sized object.



There's a zippered pouch right behind it that's very roomy and has some velcro attachment. Maxpedition and 5.11 sells some velcroable mag, pistol, and tool holsters that will fit perfectly in this compartment.



On the sides, there are the water bottle compartment made out of mesh. I do wish this was similar to the original MAxpedition bag where the pouch was made out of cordura and can be packed away when not in use.



On the other side there is a pocket with the 2x2 molle that fits my leatherman, the extra drill bit kit with still a bit of room to spare. Behind that pouch is a pocket thats the perfect size for a large Sabre radio.



Just above that pocket is a cellphone pocket which is actually big enough to fit my Zune 80 with about a few centimeters sticking out. There's also two slots for pens attached to that pouch. Above that is the quick release buckle for the strap.



Onto the main compartment/flap of the bag. The flap has a strip of velcro and a pouch that opens up just above it. The Phantom/Pantac logo is stitched right in the middle of the velcro. I really don't get the logic of stiching it smack in the middle of the velcro, but this was easily addressed with a stitch remover and a evil cackle. It's secured by a big chunky buckle. On the bottom is a strip of webbing stitched to the bottom of the bag. I'm not exactly sure what I should do with it, I'm open to suggestions.



Opening that up you'll be greeted with more pouches. First is the smaller two pouches. One is an unsealed pouch which I just stick my clip on glasses in and the other is a zippered pouch that has a small mesh pocket and a black clip inside.



In the main pouch, it's nice and roomy and has another meshed pouch and a partition in the pouch. It's all sealed up with I guess what would be considered a moisture proof portion to keep things in there dry.



Flipping the bag over, we can see some foam padding and mesh to help keep things nice and dry. I really like that there's a velcroable belt clip to keep the bag from flapping around when running around with this bag. It makes it a little more field worthy in my opinion.


Anyways, in conclusion

Pros
+ Lots of molle
+ Good bit of room
+ nifty little belt clip
+ feels like good quality, seems like it's stitched well
+ has velcro strip which is perfect size for a name tape, flag, morale patch, or maybe even a full sized patch
+ LOTS OF POCKETS (Laike likes pockets)

Cons
- Could use a belt pad
- Would have prefered a cordura pouch versus the mesh pouch
- Phantom/Pantac logo stitched right smack in the middle of the velcro

The skinny
If you're looking for a cheap alternative to the Maxpedition Jumbo Versipack, check this bag out. If you're looking for a man purse, check this bag out.

Thanks to Jon at 1337 Tactical for getting this baby shipped to me so fast. My usual messenger bag was on my last legs.

Edit: Just a note, MrEvolution would like to point out this is officially Laike's first purse. Though this is a man purse, it apparently doesn't count as one if you're a girl.
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Last edited by Laike; November 26th, 2008 at 19:39..
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Old November 26th, 2008, 19:20   #2
ILLusion
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Missed another Pro:

Maxpedition functionality at a lower price


Overall, a good review. I have both the Pantac as well as the Maxpedition versions of the same pouch (and you're right, it's the Jumbo Versipack).

It's not an exact 1:1 replica in terms of materials, functionarlity and pocket layouts, but it's good enough. I used mine for a solid month through Asia and within that one month, the 600D Cordura had already begin showing some wear. That wasn't acceptable to me, but for others, it's more than acceptable considering the price.
Having owned a Thermite Versipack for years without any issues at all and getting used to the real 1000D Cordura that Maxpedition uses, the Pantac replica felt "cheap", although it was much more comfortable. 1000D Cordura is very very stiff and it took years of use on my Thermite to finally really break it in.

A couple of things that bugged me about the Pantac replica:
The large zipper that accesses the document/CCW pouch behind the main pouch: the zipper clasp has a very large opening that would consistently allow the attached 550 paracord pull to slip out. I've lost that paracord pull several times already and replaced it as many times. Annoying as hell and I've tried hammering that gap tighter to no avail.

2nd Annoyance is a minor one: the buckle on the cell phone pocket isn't placed properly. Actually, more like the flap just isn't made long enough. Due to the length of the flap and the size of the buckle, there is no consideration taken towards the girth of any objects to be placed in there. The flap does not bend and is straight as a board from the seam out. If you have even a moderately thick item (I tried putting a 1.5cm thick HTC Touch cell phone in there), it won't close properly. Well it would, but it just looks funny because the flap & buckle stick out. It also places stress on the contents if the buckle is pressed down.

Anyways, being annoyed by these little things and knowing how good Maxpedition stuff really is, I actually felt bad for buying a replica that Maxpedition put R&D into. I gave in and bought the real thing and find I never go for the replica anymore.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 19:32   #3
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Just wanted to add that it seems the reason why the flap on the buckle is so stiff is because how they attach the buckle. It's like a plastic plate on the back. Also my zipper flap closure seems to be fine, and I couldn't get the paracord off even after pulling like crazy. I guess I got lucky with the QC

I would love to pick up the maxpedition bag, but I'm not too hot on their tan colour considering I can't seem to get a solid picture of the shade. The reason why I sprung for the pantac was I like their CB shade. If I could get the maxpedition bag in CB, I'd spring for it in a heartbeat!
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Last edited by Laike; November 26th, 2008 at 19:39..
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Old November 26th, 2008, 19:44   #4
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Yes, I agree. That plate is the issue - could have been easily solved with more material on the flap.

I have both Maxpedition Khaki and Pantac CB products here... there is a shade difference, but the difference is very minimal: the Maxpedition Khaki is slightly more subdued, whereas Pantac has a bit more colour saturation to it and tends to lean more to the greener/yellow side.

You know what's really hot? The Maxpedition Foliage Green colour...

Also, their new Khaki/Foliage combo products. The Jumbo is one of the very few products to use it, as is the Thermite:

Last edited by ILLusion; November 26th, 2008 at 19:48..
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Old November 26th, 2008, 20:57   #5
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I have the real Maxpedition Fatby Jumbo as well, use it as both a camera bag and EDC. The material on the Maxpedition looks more rigid, which is a plus since I use the MOLLE a lot for extra pouches in which I carry stuff like lenses (which weigh a fair bit).


The most noticeable differences are the mesh pouch (which is a collapsible Nalgene water bottle pouch on the Maxpedition, which also holds a Thermos coffee mug or a 70-200 f/2.8 lens quite nicely), and the absence of the cellphone pouch (there's a row of MOLLE over a large ALICE style strap; I attached a Maxpedition M-2 waistpack to mine for a cellphone and my IPAQ 2410 pocket pc/pda). On the new Maxpedition versions, the MOLLE on top of the top pouch has also been replaced by velcro (i'd rather have more MOLLE real estate).

The shoulder pad on the Maxpedition is very comfortable, even when carrying a heavy load. These bags (both versions) are a bit deceptive in that they look pretty compact but hold a surprising among of stuff. The ability to mount extra pouches makes it unbeatable.

This is now pretty much the only bag I use for photography, including on stage at a concert last summer; it's comfortable, it's easy to sling out of the way, and everything stays easily and quickly accessible.

I'm curious (didn't bother looking it up) how much the Pantac one cost you; there's another non-Pantac ACM version on ebay, which appears identical, and goes for really cheap. If you aren't carrying a heavy load, or subjecting the bag to much abuse, I think the knockoffs would do quite well, for a fraction of the cost.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 21:18   #6
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I got mines for 65CAD shipped. I believe its 57CAD at 1337 Tactical and 52USD at Red Wolf

Once I break this bag, I'm definitely swinging for the maxpedition bag now that I know the colour shade isn't that far off.
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Last edited by Laike; November 26th, 2008 at 21:20..
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Old November 26th, 2008, 21:50   #7
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Here's a comparison pic, for colors:




Pouch to the left is AITES Coyote Brown 499 (SOCOM) -- a shade different from the USMC CB498, and on the right are two SDS Coyote Browns (hard to tell in the pic, they're a tiny shade different, maybe because they're different material). And on the bottom, of course, is the Maxpedition Khaki (which is a perfect match to the BHI "Coyote Tan"). Background is an OD compression bag.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 00:10   #8
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Drake, I had originally used my Jumbo for photography use as well (both the Pantac and Maxpedition), but I've since upgraded to the Colossus and haven't looked back. It offers a lot of the great things that the Jumbo offers plus more - the biggest being a padded main compartment. Last thing I need is to be running around with all the photography gear in the bag and slamming in to things. Besides that, the padding helps keeps the main compartment in a square shape at all times - it makes swapping lenses and other gear much more easier. When I don't need my SLR body, I can even fit the full sized Nikon D3 in there with 24-70mm zoom lens mounted (with hood reversed, of course.)

I used the bag to climb the Machu Picchu Inca trail in Peru and it didn't fail me once. Carried over 25 pounds of gear on a daily basis (Colossus plus daypack stuff in a backpack, water and photography equipment) up the mountain for four days and all the gear held up well. I don't think I could have done it without the Colossus.

If you like MOLLE, both sides of the Colossus are loaded with it. Extreme versatility.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 02:05   #9
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I bought my Maxpedition Jumbo Versipack in OD from DS Tactical, for I think under $100 CDN Shipped. Not a bad price. I actually have mine for sale as I rarely ever use it, I think Im going to keep it though as It really is a great piece of kit. I regret not getting khaki though, it work better as an all around colour.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 11:40   #10
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Brian, I actually never imagined I'd be using the bag quite like this. For one, there's a lot more space that what the listed dimensions make it sound like. I was originally only looking for an EDC bag that could fit a small DSLR body + walkaround lens, maybe a filter and spare battery pack, along with the usual crap I lug around: cell phone, glasses, keys, wallet, often times my PDA and a water bottle.

It turned out, of course, that the Jumbo can carry way more than that. I'd previously been using an SDS 3-day assault pack, and everything I was carrying fit into the Jumbo, which is both more convenient and way less conspicuous.

For what I do with it, I haven't had any problems with the bag bumping into anything and if I find it necessary to stabilize the bag I'll attach it to a rigger's belt, which I sometimes wear when I have my dog with me (I have a carabiner on the leash which I attach to the belt so he doesn't wander or anything, and it keeps my hands free).

The Colossus does look interesting, definitely something to keep in mind if I need more space or padding. So far the Jumbo beats any camera bag I've used, including a Lowepro slingshot 200 (I wanted it to do what the Jumbo does, but it didn't -- plus it was bulkier and carried less), so I wouldn't hesitate to get another Maxpedition bag. Most people seem to think it's a really cool looking bag, too.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 19:23   #11
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Hey,

I have a Nikon D80 and was wondering if it would fit into either three of those bags (preferably the phantom/pantac) main pouch with a 135mm lense vertically or horizontally?

Also if it does fit, is there enough room to add padding for extra protection?

Last edited by Hatori; November 27th, 2008 at 19:26..
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Old November 27th, 2008, 19:27   #12
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Not sure how big the D80 is exactly, or the lens... but I can fit both my Canon 300D with the 28-135mm IS lens (with the hood attached/reversed) AND the 30D with my 30mm walkaround lens.

That's only the main compartment and I don't have to "max out" the storm collar or anything.

And yes, it's a horrible carrying practice.
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Old November 28th, 2008, 04:37   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatori View Post
Hey,

I have a Nikon D80 and was wondering if it would fit into either three of those bags (preferably the phantom/pantac) main pouch with a 135mm lense vertically or horizontally?

Also if it does fit, is there enough room to add padding for extra protection?
It'll fit, but the Jumbo offers ZERO padded protection (even if you get the real thing.) At most, it will protect you from the elements, but as far as shock protection goes - it's only limited to as much as 600D Cordura (Pantac version, or 1000D for Maxpedition) can provide you. In other words, there is ZERO padding in the jumbo.

If you want REAL protection, get the Colossus... 1000D Cordura with foam padding lining the internals for shock protection.

Take it from me, I climbed a small mountain with my gear and came back with no gear problems. I'm planning to double the altitude next year with Mt. Killimanjaro using the same gear.

Last edited by ILLusion; November 28th, 2008 at 04:40..
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Old November 28th, 2008, 15:20   #14
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I also have a Max Jumbo, and I also use it as a camera bag for a Canon 20D SLR mounted with a 100mm lens, plus an extra lens (100-300 IS zoom). It has lots of room for extras (cleaning kit, batteries, memory cards). I took it on my honeymoon to Florida, and it was the bees knees. One comment, though - I don't know what they make the mesh backing out of on the back side of the Maxpedition versipacks, but that stuff is like iron. In a little over a week, it work almost completely through a pair of cheap nylon basketball shorts I wore in Orlando in August.
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