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Gear Diary: Maxpedition’s Future and the new TAD Litespeed

Dan Hyman, who designed the Xantha backpack for Maxpedition, dropped me a note this week.  Dan said he appreciated some of our feedback on the pack and that more good stuff is coming.  The Xantha was Dan’s first design for Maxpedition.  If that pack is indicative of what we’ll see in the future then I expect great things from Maxpedition’s pack line, which has lacked sizzle in recent years.

Triple Aught Design sent over their new Fastpack Litespeed for a field test and review.  My first impression of the Litespeed is that it’s one of the most “solid” small grab and go packs I’ve handled.  My wife had a different observation.  You have to understand Mrs. TARFU’s dry sense of humor, but after observing me walk around the home office wearing the pack after the unboxing, she said, “Interesting straps.  It’s looks like you’re about to go parachuting.”  Indeed.  The Litespeed’s shoulder straps are thickly padded and loaded with webbing, buckles, and d-rings.  I think they’re overbuilt but also very cool looking and functional. My wife’s job description includes saving me from myself to keep me from looking silly but in this particular instance, we’ll have to agree to disagree.     

I’ve started writing an article entitled “The Modern Grey Man Philosophy”.  It’s a hard topic to write about without coming off sounding like a paranoid nut job.  

I had an interesting discussion with a friend about investing in gear versus investing in skills and what the percentage split should be between the two.  I think there is an ideal and then there’s reality.  People like new shiny things and skills take hard work in the form of practice.   

Upcoming gear articles: Reviews on a couple of packs from San Francisco-based Mission Workshop.  More clothing reviews including a kick-ass hoodie from Marmot and another jacket from Triple Aught Design.  More holster reviews including one from Raven Concealment Systems

Editor’s Note:  Expect more of these Gear Diaries in the future.  

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4 Responses so far.

  1. Ike says:

    Looking forward to the upcoming articles. I purchased the Litespeed when it originally was introduced. Incredibly bulletproof pack, well designed for a military use, but it just didn’t work for me as a daily carry bag. I would have preferred a bit more organization, and the top buckles blocking access to the main compartment drove me absolutely nuts.

    • Blaine B. says:

      Ike – you weren’t the only one that complained about the buckles and they fixed that in this version. They don’t interfere with the main compartment. The lack of organization is still an issue, but according to TAD, they will be releasing accessories that can be added to the pack (but for an additional cost). For now, I’ll probably move the transporter tail to the main compartment of the pack, which is also a new feature, and add the OP-1 to it keeping the exterior clean.

  2. jim Mc says:

    Hi Blaine

    Love the blog and looking forward to your grey man essay!
    Would you mind sharing which marmot hoodie you will be reviewing prior to
    your review – you haven’t steered me wrong yet! Best Jim

    • Blaine B. says:

      Hey Jim – it’s the Gates Hoodie. Here’s a preview. It has an exceptional shape and fit. It is made from a wool/polyester blend so it’s warmer that it should be for such a lightweight mid-layer. It’s overpriced at $150 retail, but if you can catch one on discount, I highly recommend it.

Comments and Questions are Welcome!

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