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TAD Fastpack EDC 2015 First Impressions

This week TAD (Triple Aught Design) sent us their new Fastpack EDC for evaluation.  After a couple of days carrying the redesigned pack, I’ve made some early observations which I’ll share in case some of you are considering the investment.

 

Triple Aught Design Fastpack EDC 2015 Edition

Triple Aught Design Fastpack EDC 2015 Edition

 

I’ll start by saying this.  Overall, Triple Aught Design has improved enough aspects of the Fastpack EDC that I would recommend upgrading if you have one of the older versions.  Also, it may be time to buy into the hype if you don’t have a Fastpack in your collection.  I don’t feel as strongly about the new Litespeed but they nailed the dismount on this one.  Even the Russian judge would probably give them a solid 8.5 score.

Why you say?  I thought you’d never ask.  In my opinion, TAD made two major improvements.  First, they greatly improved the harness and the back panel.  Here is a picture of an older Gen EDC alongside the GoRuck GR1…

 

The Older Generation Fastpack EDC (foreground)

The Older Generation Fastpack EDC (foreground)

 

And here’s the new EDC…

 

 

As you can see, the new straps have more padding and structure than those on the previous Gen.  Once I strapped myself into the EDC and adjusted everything, it had a rock solid locked-in feel.  Maybe not to the degree of say… the Futura yoke on the Mystery Ranch 3DAP… but it’s definitely on that end of the scale.  The pack also carries higher on the back – similar to a GoRuck GR1.  Whether you like that or not is a matter of preference.    

The other big change is they opened up the access to the main compartment.  The old pack was a three-quarter panel opening…

 

 

The new main compartment panel lays nearly flat.

 

Triple Aught Design Fastpack EDC 2015 with CP-1

Triple Aught Design Fastpack EDC 2015 with CP-1

 

With the new Fastpack EDC, it’s easier to get to the contents of the zippered pockets – especially if you also add the Control Panel accessory (CP-1).

Was there anything not to like?  As I mentioned in my First Look article after the announcement, I didn’t care for the inclusion of the roll-top laptop compartment.  After trying it, I’m still not a fan but not for the reason I anticipated.  Getting in and out is not as convenient as a YKK Aquaguard zipper would have been but the bigger issue is the compartment’s lining.  Unfortunately, the bottom is not sewn in and it wants to come out along with the device every time you remove it.  You then have to stuff it back into the compartment.  It didn’t take long before that was REALLY getting annoying.  A regrettable design flaw that is certainly not a show stopper but worth considering if you routinely carry a laptop or tablet. 

Later this winter, I’ll do a full review of the Triple Aught Design Fastpack EDC 2015 Edition. Stay tuned.  

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22 Responses so far.

  1. Sam says:

    What size of a laptop can fit into that roll-top laptop compartment? (more spesificly would a 2.15″ thick 17″ laptop would fit?) and is that compartment padded / provides protection / can you feel the laptop against your back or is the backpack’s padding sufficient in that area? [also the bottom.. any isolation or is the laptop going to be hitting the floor?]

    • Blaine B. says:

      Sam, I thought I saw something that stated it will only fit up to a 15″ laptop. I will confirm with TAD. To answer your other questions…

      1) The roll-top compartment is sandwiched between the back panel framesheet and a second framesheet that separates it from the main compartment. First time I’ve seen two framesheets in one pack.

      2) The combination of the thicker back panel padding and the framesheet prevents the laptop from causing an issue. It puts a little more pressure on the lower back but that is all.

      3) The bottom of the pack isn’t padded but I think they narrowed the lower part of the roll-top compartment because my laptop doesn’t fall all the way to the bottom (essentially creating a raised compartment). Note: putting anything in the main compartment will come in contact with the floor so a case will be needed if you carry a device there.

      Hope that helps!

    • Blaine B. says:

      Sam, I did confirm with Triple Aught Design. The roll-top compartment will fit up to a 15″ laptop.

  2. Sam says:

    Blaine,

    Thank you for the quick and informative response!

    To the best of my knowledge there aren’t any protective laptop sleeves for thick 17″ laptops, thus the “will it fit” becomes a critical aspect.

    That double framesheet seems very interesting, also not letting the laptop reach the floor is a clever design, but they could have just as well place some padding\foam in that part, but hey, as long as it works.

    Again, thanks for your time and effort replying me, hope you don’t mind a follow up question that slightlys goes out of the scope of TAD;
    Are you familiar with the Mystery Ranch spadelock? The domestic website only shows 13″ and 15″ but foreign (counterfeit?) websites list a 17″ variation, none of them lists how thick either of this are, nor if they provide any protection which is very … annoying, but it got me thinking about calling MR and asking about custom made one… maybe it’s just my logic but .. in theory it should be easier to create this accessory in another measurement than it would be to redesign a backpack to fit 2″ thick 17″ laptop, no?

    p.s.
    Love your review and this website, and thumbs up on RSS feed support =)

    • Blaine B. says:

      Sam, I’d check with Mystery Ranch but I believe they are phasing out the Spadelock laptop sleeves. They were never a big seller with their military customers and most of the civilian packs they will be releasing in the future will come with laptop compartments built-in. Call them and confirm. The worse they can say is “no”. BTW, if you talk to Lance… tell him Blaine said “hi”. 😉

  3. heavyduti says:

    Sam, have you considered the Goruck GR2 for your computer size? From these first impressions I don’t think the TAD will do as good a job. Don’t get me wrong, I think the new EDC is a giant step in the right direction for TAD and I’ve owned several f the previous version.

    I also have two 3DAP MR bags and doubt that they would do the job either. They carry great but don’t suit computer-carry in my opinion.

    The GR2 is built solidly and sits on your back as if it was made to measure (as long as you follow their height advice to select the correct model).

    Blaine, Great article and pics as always, sir.

  4. RKS says:

    Having recently sent one back, I agree the roll top section is fiddly and annoying. I’d rather just throw my things in a Seal Line dry sack. I just don’t see it being useful, at least for me. I like the extra padding on the straps though.

  5. heavyduti says:

    Sam, have you considered the Goruck GR2 for your computer size? From these first impressions I don’t think the TAD will do as good a job. Don’t get me wrong, I think the new EDC is a giant step in the right direction for TAD and I’ve owned several f the previous version.

    I also have two 3DAP MR bags and doubt that they would do the job either. They carry great but don’t suit computer-carry in my opinion.

    The GR2 is built solidly and sits on your back as if it was made to measure (as long as you follow their height advice to select the correct model).

    Blaine, Great article and pics as always, sir.

    • Blaine B. says:

      Alan – the GR2 is a solid recommendation but I have one and I’m selling it. It’s a solidly built pack without a doubt and it can handle a 17″ laptop, BUT for me it was too big and heavy for practical use. And I didn’t find the organization as useful as I thought I would.

      At this point, I would recommend either the Vertx Gamut Plus or the Camelbak Urban Assault XL over the GR2. They are lighter and in general just more EDC friendly due to their built-in admin panels, Nalgene friendly side pockets, etc, etc.

      • heavyduti says:

        Blaine, you are THE expert based on your objective reviews, experience and use. You are absolutely right about the weight of the GR2, especially the larger version. I’m currently travelling with the 34L model which is one pound lighter but still pretty heavy and prone to overloading.

        I’m going to lighten my load for the return journey but the extra size is still pretty useful and it looks less ‘tacticool’ and ‘strappy’ than my 3DAP, which is why I used it for this journey through European airports.

        If yours was the 40L I urge you to look at the 34L and test-drive one, I think Goruck may have hit the travel sweet-spot for many users but it’s probably a tad large for most users’ EDC needs.

        This new TAD EDC looks like a winner for the company despite the roll-top which does not ‘speak’ to me and I’ve standardized on Goruck/MR bags. Let’s see how long that lasts.

        • Blaine B. says:

          Alan, good point on the 34L. If I was ever to venture into the GR1 waters again, I think I would instead go with the GR2 34L. Same height and width as the GR1 but with the depth and added organization of the GR2. Speaking of which, I mentioned not finding the GR2 organization as useful as I thought I would….

          Not sure if you experienced this, but I was a little frustrated with the mesh pockets on the GR2. I had it in my mind that they could replace the need for packing cubes, but in reality I found that they weren’t deep enough and getting my larger clothes in and out of them was frustrating. If I did stuff them, most of the pockets stole capacity from the neighboring compartments.

          I didn’t have that same issue with the EDC. The mesh pockets are much smaller so using them to store anything other than small items (hat, gloves, undergarments, toiletries, etc.) is not an option. But, they do have some depth so I found using them wasn’t nearly as problematic.

  6. heavyduti says:

    The GR2 mesh pockets are really only useful for flat items like notebooks, snacks and essentials. In fact, I’m using the entire front section for maps, travel info, books and other carry-on needs. It’s really only usable for a thin rain jacket (Arcteryx LT works well), extra underwear & socks in my opinion.

    That way the entire rear compartment is usable for shoes/clothing/jackets etc. That said, it’s only going to have the bare minimum for the return trip which will include one night in London.

  7. ah man, i almost bought the previous gen pack a few months back and im kinda regretting it… not a huge fan of the roll top section. had several of those types of packs from chrome and a bunch of various brands of packs and never seemed to like them… maybe someday…

  8. AA says:

    Lack of compression on the new GR2s these days is a bit of a deal breaker for me. The 34l GR2 would be a much better fit for me but I would miss the compression on my 40l one.

    I am debating picking up the EDC v2, Mt friend is in the US so I wont have to pay customs or international shipping. But I’ve gotten barely any use out of my litespeed v2 and I fear this will be the same, just so damn heavy.

    I’ve still got an older EDC I need to sell.

  9. JarheadGreasemonkey says:

    Does the roll top section function as a full-blown dry sack?

    • Blaine B. says:

      Sorry for the late reply. Not really. The compartment is really squeezed between the two frame sheets. You can stuff things in there but it doesn’t function well as a dry sack in my opinion. At least not for things that aren’t flat. Hope that helps!

  10. JarheadGreasemonkey says:

    Thanx. I was thinking this would make an excellent adventuring pack if so… Currently for summer river/lake/ocean trips I use an actual dry sack in the laptop compartment of the CUA (one I got for a killer deal) for cells, wallets, cameras etc. I was thinking this would be a more rugged replacement if the roll top section was made of the same material as standalone dry sacks and was truly waterproof; not just water resistant.

  11. Blaine B. says:

    Got this feedback from Jeff over email and thought I would pass it along…

    Email: Jducpa@gmail.com

    Subject: TAD Fast Pack EDC

    Hi folks,
    Thought I’d share some thoughts on the 2015 remodeled TAD EDC. In short –
    not happy.

    The bag was changed to ride high and as a result they removed the support
    belt. Of note, they left a passage way, for lack of a technical term, to
    pass through your own belt.

    We were in Costa Rica in December for two weeks. On the move, no more than 2
    nights at each stop. THAT bag got heavy and uncomfortable very fast–and
    it’s not light when empty!

    I use the prior model for my range bag which gets heavy fast with ammo,
    guns, and all the other stuff you take to the range.The belt makes it
    manageable. I’m a fit 63, not a SEAL. I’m real disappointed with them.

    I passed this onto the staff and and then asked for a belt recommendation. I
    forgot the company, but, I called them and they said they had nothing that
    would be an easy add-on. Not what TAD inferred.

    Yes, the new arrangement allows wearing it with a battle belt and provides
    easier wear with body armor, but, really, I don’t think most of their
    customers fall into that small category.

    I own three other of their back packs, and have recycled a few through eBay.
    Have also spent in the $000++ range with them. Being a very free spending
    customer, expected better customer service than cryptic short replies as if
    they were too busy. I sense a too fast growth problem.

  12. Alan says:

    Your experience is not unique, I’ve tried the EDC and the Litespeed a number of times but always reach the same conclusion about the weight and plethora of straps and options. I wanted to like them, they were just impractical for my use.

    I always thought that they need to do what other manufacturers do, like Mystery Ranch, and offer lighter, more civilian-oriented versions of their bags.

    The MR 3DAP and Goruck bags are more user-friendly but still adaptable to myriad uses.

    The only saving grace is that it’s usually fairly easy to resell TAD gear without taking a bath.

  13. AA says:

    So I’ve given up and decided to sell my v2 litespeed. I love configuring it but it’s just terrible in the shoulder straps. Would I be happier with a mystery ranch asap? It seems a bit over built, not like I’ll use it with armour. But it is lighter than the TAD. Either that or I go with HMG’s daybreak

    • Blaine B. says:

      Those are two extremely different packs. I’m personally not an ASAP fan. I’d opt for the new Front instead.

  14. Ido Shavit says:

    Joining a bit late to the party, hopefully i’ll still get a replay:
    I was wondering on your thought of the Fast pack compared to a GR1/2 for an EDC philosophy of use. My fear being the fast pack might be to big/”agressive” for day to say tasks.

    I don’t want to get the litespeed feeling it has a faulty shoulder strap system to it, and might be a bit on the small side as an optional carry on bag, though its very edc sized.

    Thoughts?

    P.S. great review, thank you so much!

Comments and Questions are Welcome!

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