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What Packs Are Your Keepers?

If you subscribe to this site then you’re probably as much of a gear whore as I am.  A lot of gear comes and goes here at Loadedpocketz but certain packs have been mainstays in my collection.  I’m not talking about closet queens.  I’m talking about packs that have seen frequent use for more than a year (and multiple Shot Shows). And because we’re gear whores, I think it’s fair game to count bags that we’ve purchased, sold, and re-purchased; even multiple times. Yes, it happens and I’m not the only one given the discussions I’ve had with some of you over the years.

Here are a few of my mainstays…




The Gamut has to be at the top of the list because it’s the bag I’ve carried the most since reviewing it in 2015.  It’s in my Work EDC rotation and it’s an absolute joy to carry due to the yoke harness. Add lots of versatile organization and very good device protection and you have a winner.  I just wish it was a little deeper.




Some one bag travelers fit a weeks worth of clothes in the Tri Star and I don’t know how they manage it.  Either their clothes are Hobbit sized or they are much more skilled at packing than I am.  I love the Tri Star for 1-3 day trips.  The ability to shift from hand to shoulder to backpack carry makes this bag a great option for the on-the-go minimalist traveler who prefers not to check a bag.




This little gem is my white whale.  I’ve owned bought and sold three; the latest being the classic 1000D Two Compartment version, which I purchased pre-loved off a fellow Perfect Pack member just a week ago.  That one is not going anywhere.  Since GoRuck discontinued the Bullet 15, they are getting harder to find in good condition and they selling on average at 2-3 times their original retail price.  The original 1000D version is even more rare.  Don’t understand what is so special about it?  I think it’s the perfect setup for a grab and go bag. Just enough capacity and organization to be useful but long and wide enough so that even guys my size can carry it and not look stupid.

Honorable Mentions:  Camelbak Urban Assault, Maxpedition Jumbo EDC

What are your keepers?  Share in the comments.           

25 Responses so far.

  1. Steve says:

    Gamut Plus for me, it’s my EDC bag which doubles nicely for weekend training events and a stellar carry on. It literally goes with me everywhere.

    • Blaine B. says:

      I need to try the Plus also. I ran a Camelbak Urban Assault XL for a while before gifting it to my son. The Plus would satisfy the same philosophy of use. Winter pack or whenever I need more capacity in a similar layout to my regular EDC.

  2. jsf says:

    Arc’teryx Blade 26, Goruck SK 26. On occasion the Hazard shoulder bag.

    • Blaine B. says:

      Nice list. It looks like the Blade’s shoulder straps are pretty close together at the top. Do you find that it rubs your neck at all?

  3. heavyduti says:

    GORUCK Radio Ruck is my keeper, a touch lighter than the 26 (no frame sheet and only 2 litres smaller) it has become my winter and summer EDC, as well as my primary carry-on. I’ve gone through the GR2 in both sizes (a few times) but the extra weight, zippers and material just does not work for me. I’ve also gone through myriad Mystery Ranch ASAP and 3DAP models but always return to the simplicity of the RR.

  4. Davie says:

    Goruck GR2 for travel, Kifaru E&E for EDC, MR 3DAP or Kifaru Loco for those tactical days! and a HSGI Armordillo for those laptop days!!!

    think I might have too many!!

  5. Adam says:

    The only one I’ve kept a long time is the First Tactical Summit Side Satchel. I have a Camelbak Trizip though that I suspect will make the cut too.

  6. Adam Volosik says:

    I’ve found the Evade to be the best for me. I’m surprised it didn’t stay on your list. I’ve used it for close to a year now and it’s handled everything from family vacations, heading out to the local grocery store on the weekends and day trips into the woods or into urban environments. I did use it for the office for a while and it worked really well but it was just to big for carrying into meetings so I have a different pack for office use now.

    • Blaine B. says:

      I’ve carried the Evade on and off for a year but, if I’m being honest, the Gamut sees more use. But it’s a quality pack that I still like. I’m very much looking forward to the Evade 2.0, which is coming later this year.

  7. Kevin says:

    My #1 is still the Tom Bihn Synapse 19 for EDC.

    Still using, sometimes abusing, and loving the Camelbak Urban Assault that you graciously sold to me some few years ago. It’s my go to for 1 to 3 day trips and kills it as a Dad pack with the insulated water bottle pockets.

    • Blaine B. says:

      Kevin – wow, that’s good to hear. The Urban Assault is a good pack. I’ve bought, sold, or gifted several since then. Two Dispatch models (the concealed carry version) and a XL to my son. I just found the Gamut’s straps to be more comfortable (for me) and the packs are too similar to keep both. But, it’s very, very close! Note: I’m currently evaluating the new Urban Assault 2.0. Review coming soon. 😉

  8. Adam Volosik says:

    There’s a 2.0 coming?

  9. Adam Volosik says:

    Oh and after reading this I might have to pull out my Gamut again for a comparison again.

  10. Rexx says:

    I’ve kept my old gen GR1 (black), my old gen Bullet 10 (old coyote), and the 15L Shoulder Bag (black). I’ve been kicking myself for selling a GR0 in the old school coyote, but c’est la vie. As much as I have tried to like the Gamut (esp the Bracken color), I couldn’t get into the overall design of the bag. I owned a Urban Assault at one point and sold it to move to the GR1. Owned a HAWG before moving to the Bullet 15L, which I then sold (and regretted).

    Thank you for testing out all these bags and giving us your honest assessments!

  11. Darren says:

    I use a GORUCK GR1 21L for my EDC. It is a tad small but I like the short length because, if I cinch it up, I can keep it from rubbing on my belt loops and wearing them out. Ask me how I know this! I like to keep a 20 lb. plate in there for general, continual strength conditioning. I have a GORUCK GR2 40L for any and all travel. I plan on taking it on a 2-week trip to Europe next fall. Still tweaking how I’m going to fit everything and still have a day-pack/camera bag.

  12. Shae says:

    I love the Vertx EDC ready bag; I like the Gamut, but I prefer the setup and organization of the ready a little but better. I also keep a 5.11 rush 24 pack for field time with the National Guard. The 24 is not a great EDC pack in my opinion, but I like how rugged and organized it is for going to the field. For travel I have fallen for the Safari Beano 5.5 travel duffel thanks to this website. Best travel duffel I have owned bar none.

  13. GORUCK GR1 and Bullet 15… Tom Bihn Brain Bag. Possibly my Synapse 25 as well :-)

  14. Myrddraal says:

    The Gamut plus is my all-time favorite for work. I’m so happy with it that I haven’t changed bags in over 6 months, which has never happened with me before. For weekend EDC (where I don’t need to carry a laptop), my two favorites are the Cannae Legion Elite and the Direct Action Dust, depending on how much I need to carry. For day hikes, it’s an Osprey Escapist 25, which is an awesome pack.

  15. I know right? :O Cats out of the bag now!

  16. najohn says:

    Are you still a fan of the Vertx EDC Ready?

  17. Chris says:

    I know it’s a tad big, but I love my GR2 34L. In another dimension, I would likely have the 40L GR2 plus a 26L GR1 plus a Rucker plus a 15L Bullet, but for me the GR2 covers enough bases to make it worth carrying for EDC and trips.

    I traveled to Europe with the GR2 and enjoyed having it around even as a day pack (souvenirs and other things fit quite well into it).

    If I really need a comfortable daypack, I have my Camelbak M.U.L.E. which I mainly got for biking but does double-duty as a nice carryall for light hikes as well as forays into the city for informal visits.

Comments and Questions are Welcome!

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