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First Look: GWA Citadel Gen.1 Backpack

Gear Whores Anonymous is now taking pre-orders on the GWA Citadel Gen.1 backpack.  The Citadel is a mid-sized EDC pack measuring 19″ H x 11″ W x 7″ D.  


GWA Citadel Gen.1 Backpack

GWA Citadel Gen.1 Backpack


It checks most of the boxes that you’d like to see in an EDC pack including built-in pouches for organization, internal loop panel for custom organization, external loop panel for morale patches, compression straps, water bottle pocket, padded back panel, etc.   


The Citadel's main compartment features loop for adding hook backed pouches.

The Citadel’s main compartment features loop for adding hook backed pouches.


The Citadel’s straps are of the streamlined variety.




The only glaring omission is a built-in admin area but I’m guessing the designers are counting on the wearer adding that via an accessory of their choice to the loop in the main compartment.  As a CCL holder, a more covert pocket for concealed carry is something I look for also and is not part of this design.

GWA is currently taking pre-orders on the Citadel here.  It retails for $280 in the solid colors and $315 in multicam.  The pack is concepted, designed, and manufactured in the USA with USA sourced materials.  Orders should be shipped within 2-4 weeks.     

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5 Responses so far.

  1. Mike says:

    Seems pretty standard issue for $300.

    • Karl S says:

      I’ve got to agree with you Mike. Granted, R&D, US made with US parts costs, but way out of my budget for what it is. I really doesn’t LOOK much different than what I see many of the Techies wearing, (but maybe that’s the point).

      • Blaine B. says:

        I thought it was a bit expensive also, but pricing is a value thing. It’s different for everyone. I do place value on domestic manufacturing, but I also demand features on packs if I’m going to spend for gear in that price range.

  2. Nick Apodaca says:

    So I ordered this bag and I don’t feel it lives up to the price tag. The zippers are all #8 with no aquaguard(it is listed that they are #8 on the site). The laptop section is not suspended so your computer will hit the ground. The zipper pulls are flimsy, not paracord. The internal compartments in the front two outer pockets are too small and very limited on what can be stowed in them, an iPhone 6+ with a magpul case barley fits. The internal color of the bag is all black, which makes finding items at the bottom, difficult. The sternum strap is not removable, and there’s not an internal pack frame like in the Goruck or Tad packs. There isn’t a key ring either, which isn’t a big deal, but at this price, details matter. I actually sent mine back because there were so many loose threads and other issues that were not acceptable. This bag is priced in the aforementioned brands, but compares more with something from Tom Bihn as it is essentially a daypack. Tom Bihn uses #8 zippers on the small pockets and #10 on the main one with an aquaguard seal. Their price point is around 200 and made in the US. I get that GWA is a micro shop, but they missed some key points in order to charge big boy prices. All that being said, I have enjoyed carrying the pack and have found the different sections useful. I really like the laptop compartment separate from the main portion of the bag. I also like the Velcro backing to add extra organizational pockets. That was the main selling feature for me. I liked the idea of being able to quickly detach my small gear packs when needed. The water bottle section holds my 40oz hydroflask no problem and that’s hard to do. The bag is comfortable on and I like the looks of the bag as well. I requested black camo and removal of the front Velcro patch, and they made it happen. Customer service has been solid as well. When I sent it back, they paid shipping both ways and got it back to me quickly. As a first offering, I think it’s a solid start, but lots of room for improvement. Especially from other micro shops like Recycled Firefighter and Defy bags. Both handmade in the US. Competition is plenty!

    • Blaine B. says:

      Nick, that’s for sharing that feedback. The Citadel was supposedly seven years in the making so I wouldn’t expect design misses like a non-removable sternum strap, no raised laptop compartment, no aquaguard zipper protection for the laptop compartment, and the lack of a hi-vis interior. Especially at the price point.

Comments and Questions are Welcome!

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